Thursday, 30 October 2014

Thursday 30th October

Rather a dreich, miserable sort of a day. It has not been that wet with a lot of rain, but just a smurry sort of rain off and on. The old computer is working a bit better tonight so I have got an image through from Danny of a Golden Eagle which he took last week...
I have also got a map through from Ed showing the exploits of 3 of his tagged Whitefronts, showing their trip up to Iceland in April, over to Greenland and bang up to date with their return here of late...
As you may have realised because the weather out here today, not much really to report, but the Rochdale birders had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier sat on a fence post round close to Ballinaby. I had one here just after breakfast time when it was out on the wing quartering its' patch. There was also a reported sighting of a Yellow legged Gull down at Portnahaven earlier this week.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wednesday 29th October

Another good day with the weather.... Danny Arnold had been over last week and sent some highlights through. He had a Wheatear at Coullabus, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen every day from the kitchen window in the cottage where he was staying, Golden Eagles most days, a White tailed Sea Eagle at Loch Gorm on the 18th, 19th and 20th. He was also saying that he noticed plenty of Stonechats around the Loch Gorm area. A Peregrine was seen from the hide at Gruinart. On his way to the ferry on Friday morning they saw a Barn Owl. Yesterday, was Phil and the Heatherlea team's last day. Down on the Oa, they saw a Merlin attacking a flock of around 350 Twite. At the car park there, a male Hen Harrier was seen with a Golden Eagle seen from the American Monument. Later on, at Blackrock a raft of Scaup were present and from the Visitor Centre at Gruinart, Dabchick, Pintail and Shoveler were noted. Thanks to Danny and Phil for your sightings, and tomorrow if the computer is working, some of Danny's images...Amanda and and Glen are over at present with their highlights so far being, 3 Golden Eagles, 2 Peregrines in The Gorm area, on the Oa, Merlin, Hen harrier and Gannets seen while other birds included Ravens, Chough, Twite, Pect. Sandpiper and Redwing. Here at home, out over the crag a Peregrine was out and about as was a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down at the reedbed beside the Coastguard's there were around 100 Twite. The Rochdale birders had gone to Jura today where they saw 15 Turnstone, a male Merlin nabbing a Pipit and plucking it on a fence post. At Feolin, they saw a Dolphin. Back on Islay, a female Sparrowhawk, Loch Gorm area, a male Hen Harrier, at Coull, 72 Curlew. Ballinaby held a mixed finch flock of around 100 birds, up at Ardnave, they counted 68 Chough and finally at PortBhan , on their way back to Port Charlotte, a large female Sparrowhawk was spotted. Ed today had a Golden Eagle a mere 10 yards from his car at Carrabus, 2 Choughs there who got a shock of their lives! On his travels today, Ed had 2 ringtails, one at Machrie, the other at Kinnabus. He also had 2 Pinkies, one at Port Charlotte, the other over at Cornabus. I think that most of the Whoopers must have moved through as I only saw one group of 6 fly past the whole day. One of the fields at Coull, late afternoon, was literally black with Barnies, wonder how many were there all together???

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tuesday 28th October

The weather here for the past few days has not been that great, but today, somebody turned the switch and hey presto a dry day with not much of a wind either! Janeice and Tim Scott who had been over last week had seen their first Redwing of the Autumn last Wednesday at West Tower down at Bridgend. Earlier, on Sunday they saw an Otter swim past the lighthouse at Port Charlotte. On Thursday, over in the woods near Ardtalla they had a flock of Long tailed Tits along with some Goldcrest there too. In the fields around there as well, a flock of Redwings was present. They also commented on the numbers of Whoopers both arriving and departing. Yesterday, Phil had been over on Jura with his clients from Heatherlea. A Golden Eagle was perched on thier way up to Craighouse. Small Isles Bay, an Otter was seen really close at hand, completely unaware of the group watching it! Also there were, Red throated Diver and Great Northern Diver as well as a Black Guillemot. Back on Islay, top bird was a Pinkie amongst the flock of Barnies near to Ballygrant. Back here at home this morning, we had a distant sighting of a White tailed Sea Eagle out from Granny's Rock. Earlier on I was watching the numerous comings and goings of the geese and the Whoopers as well. From the house I counted 26 different groups of them at one pass as I scanned round, just great living up on top of a hill.... I see that in the current edition of "Nature's home", the RSPB magazine that they have an article on Loch Gruinart reserve. This evening at the Bird nerds meeting down at the hide , Dave Woods had spotted a Green winged Teal. We also had pr of Dabchick close to the hide. Ed from WWT is now back over to do his work on the Whitefronts and was able to tell us us all some history about the Whitefronts with neck collars on, out from the hide as well. Bjorn had seen a Greylag the other day with neck collar N18 round its neck, it turns out that Ed and his colleagues had rung it on Tiree back in July. It's a small world sometimes!!!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Monday 27th October

Yesterday, Merja and Bjorn from Norway had seen a small Canada Goose amongst the Barnies at the top of Loch Indaal. Also yesterday, Phil and his clients from Heatherlea had seen Chough at Kilchoman and also over at Ardnave. On Ardnave Loch, a female Goldeneye was seen. At Mill cottage, a Common Redpoll was spotted. Amongst the geese at Gruinart, several Whitefronts were present with neck collars. Close to Kilchoman, they had a male and also a female Peregrine, the hen bird flushed a Woodcock and almost caught it! At Ballinaby they had 100 Twite, a Sparrowhawk was present at Gruinart, with another on their way back to Bowmore. There were 170 Whoopers resting up at Rockside. Back at Bowmore there were a few Pale bellied Brent, some with leg rings on. Today, the Rochdale birders had been down on the Oa this morning seeing 2 different Merlins, a Peregrine and a Redpoll. Back over at Loch Gorm, a female Merlin was present and at Gruinart, over 1,000 Golden Plover. Steve Percival braved the elements this morning and managed to fire his cannon nets, catching and enabling around 70 Barnies to be rung with BTO ring, Dravic rings with letter combination and also a plain yellow ring to presumably denote the actual year that they have been rung. Remember, if you are over, tomorrow at 16.00 the bird nerds are meeting at the car park at Gruinart and going down to the hides all going well... might see you there!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday 26th October

As forecast, not the best of days here today, still we managed to remember to turn the clocks back. No ferry sailed today, so no papers either but not that was not a great loss!!New birders off the block this week.. The Rochdale team had a count of 320 Golden Plover round at Balllinaby yesterday with a further 40 seen down at Claddach. Also at Claddach there were around 500 Starlings being pursued by a female Merlin. Redwings were seen all over. At The Gearach, a male Hen Harrier was spotted and a ringtail seen up at Sanaig. A female Sparrowhawk was seen in Port Charlotte with a male spotted at Foreland. Yesterday, Phil Knott brought a group over from Heathelea and had seen a juv Golden eagle being mobbed by 2 Buzzards at Feolin and shortly afterwards a White tailed Sea Eagle. Up at Bunnahabhain they saw 2 Otters, a great start for both sets of visitors. Wonder what Phil's highlights were for today, apart for getting rather wet... you will just have to wait in suspense until tomorrow night! Here at home this morning, I spotted 6 Whoopers attempting to fly into thehead wind out towards Granny's rock and then they did a quick about turn, what a difference with a tail wind behind them as they came down and rested up at Rockside.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Saturday 25th October

A rather blustery day here today, the ferry battered through and sailed back and forward to Kennacraig, but by the sound of things it did not head to Colonsay due to "technical" problems rather than a weather related cancellation.. it only returned the other day to "break down" today... Yesterday was the Horwich birders last day. In a hedge over at Persabus, they counted 15 Yellowhammers with 2 different Bullfinches as they headed on up towards Bunnahabhain. They also had a flock of 12 Long tailed Tit close to Loch Allan, on Loch Skerrols, some Mute Swans, 1 Tufted Duck and a Dabchick were present and coming back to their cottage, a Merlin flew low over the road at Foreland. Thanks to Tony and Chris Johnson for your sightings. Yesterday was also the Norfolk birders final day. On Thursday, at Bunnahabhain they had a Dipper and at Feolin, a Peregrine was seen. Yesterday, they saw a Merlin close to Lossit on the Rhinns, a Peregrine at Kilchoman and at least 50 Whoopers between Portnahaven and Kilchoman. Again many thanks to Mike, Nick, Margaret and Oksana for your birds, makes it all worth while for me when you share them for us all to hear what is happening over here! Bjorn-Reider Olsson and his wife yesterday saw a Greylag from the new hide at Gruinart with a neck collar, so once we get some information back, I will let you know all about it!! They also had the Barnies there along with Lapwings, Whitefronts and also a hybrid Greylag with a lot of white plumage. Bob yesterday had seen 6 Yellowhammers down the Moss road out of Bowmore. There was also a Female Hen Harrier chasing after some pheasants, but to no avail. Later on at Loch Skerrols, a Golden Eagle was seen, while over at Ballinaby, a juvenile White tailed Sea eagle, a flock of 150 Twite and also 45 Golden Plovers were all present. It is almost time for the monthly catch up of the "Islay bird nerds", so we are meeting on Tuesday afternoon at 16.00 at the car park at RSPB Loch Gruinart and hope to go down to the hides to see what is around, so if you are around, feel free to come along, all welcome.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Friday 24th October

Gone from one extreme to the other... from an early entry, to a latish entry tonight, only common denominator was that I have been out both evenings...Yesterday the East Anglian birders had been over on Jura with their highlight being the sighting of a White tailed Sea Eagle. The Horwich birders yesterday and had been over at Loch Gruinart and then up to Ardnave later on. At Bun an Uillt, in a field there were 2 Whoopers while out on the estuary there were 34 in one group and 11 in another, both groups resting up. Later on and 2 more groups flew in from the sea, one of 30, the other counted 14 Swans in all. They had a Peregrine down near to Craigens and also a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing all morning from Craigens on up towards the locked gate before Killinallan. On Ardnave Loch, thee were both Mutes and Whoopers along with some juveniles and also a few Wigeon, but no Teal or the Lesser Scaup seen! There were 4 GND off Nave Island along with a Black Guillemot while a RTD was seen on Loch Gruinart from Ardnave. They also saw 5 Turnstone feeding amongst the seaweed close to Ardnave Point.. Other waders seen included 3 Ringed Plover, Curlews and Oystercatcher. A Snow Bunting was also seen down on the shoreline too. 15 Chough were counted near to Ardnave Loch and a Merlin was seen closeby. We saw a male Hen Harrier round the far end (East end)of Loch Gorm as we returned from Gruinart yesterday morning. James today had seen 2 Pectoral Sandpipers out in front of the old hide, on the reserve were 1025 Golden Plover, 119 Lapwing, 120 Whooper and a Gadwall. A count of geese tallied through at 13,595 Baries, 687 Whitefronts, 152 Greylags, 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese along with 4 large Canada Geese.