Monday, 31 October 2011

Mon 31st October 2011

I had to be in doors all day today, but I have had some records from the Oa for Saturday- a male hen harrier, merlin and 2 golden eagles as well as at least 200 twite a few greenfinch, goldfinch, a yellowhammer and a leucistic linnet. At on the Long Strand at the Kintra end a comic tern and long tailed duck and at the Singing Sands 12 chough.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sun 30th October 2011

A good day for birds of prey records- on the Oa a golden eagle was showing well, plus a hen harrier and merlin, at Loch Gruinart at least one hen harrier, a golden eagle and a sparrowhawk. Early this morning at Gruinart a tawny owl was calling and 2 greenshank were visible from the hide. At Port Charlotte, groups of redwing and chaffinch have been noticed moving through with a few fieldfare, 12 yesterday and 5 today also a merlin and 2 yellowhammers. BBC Autumn-watch have been filming on the Island today and they reported back that the snow buntings were still at Machir bay.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Sat 29th October 2011

A busy day with lots of birdwatchers out and about on the Island, all being rewarded with good birds, as ever. I was out at dawn at Gruinart and watched the spectacle of the geese rising from the roost, as well as 2 greenshank and 9 black tailed godwits. David reported from around Loch Gorm: 6 dark bellied brent and 75 whoopers at Sunderland farm, 8 snow buntings and a peregrine at Machir bay, on Loch Gorm 24 scaup and 300-400 Geenland white-fronts. On Loch Skerrols the American wigeon is still present and at least 2 juv golden eagles.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Friday 28th October

Yesterday Carl had seen a male American Wigeon up at Loch Skerrols and also another one, this time an immature male down between Gartmain and the Gaelic College. Down there too, Carl had 6 Long tailed Ducks, 4 Slavonian grebes and a Goldeneye. On the merse he had around 1,000 Golden Plover. In the woods at Bridgend a Treecreeper was present and up at Coullabus, a Bullfinch was seen. At Gruinart, 22 Shelduck were present along with a Juv. Golden Eagle, ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Greenshank, 2 Little Grebes and 13 Black tailed Godwits. A Purple Sandpiper was at Bruichladdich and at Port Charlotte, 5 Arctic Terns were seen out on Loch Indaal. Today Carl had the Arctic Terns at Port Charlotte, some more were seen off Ardnave Point. 50 Twite were seen at Ardnave along with 6 Snow Buntings and a ringtail Hen Harrier. Another ringtail was at Port Charlotte while a Merlin was down at Cladville. Visitors yesterday had seen 42 Mutes, 30 adults and 2 groups of 6 youngsters, also on Skerrols were 16 Whoopers, 160 Wigeon , 2 Heron and 1 Dabchick. Loch Ballygrant held 6 Tufted Duck and 7 Mutes, and there was a Kestrel just Ballygrant itself. Just before Foreland house on the verge side they saw 2 Reed Bunting, 5 Yellowhammers along with Meadow Pipits and Chaffinches . There was also flock of 200 Golden Plover over at Coull Farm. Other visiting birders reported in the following today, a pair of Bullfinches up towards Garra Eallabus, the leucistic Barnacle Goose was still up at Ardnave, 4 of the Whooper Swans that were seen with rings earlier on had been rung at Walney in Norfolk, a ringtail from the hide at Gruinart, 160 Lapwings and 15 Black tailed Godwits also at Gruinart. 6 Snow Buntings were seen on a windy Machir Bay!!! 34 Whoopers were on the stubble at Sunderland at lunchtime.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Thursday 27th October

A busy day out here with sightings coming in from a lot of folk, great, so here goes. Carl had been in at Loch Skerrols and had seen the drake American Wigeon, is it the same bird that Peter had first spotted down at Gartmain? A visitor had a count of 92 Whoopers at Coull Farm and a further 27 at Sunderland, both on the barley stubble fields. Becky and Fiona had been up towards Bunnahabhain today and had a pair of Bullfinches, at least 2 pairs of Crossbills, a Barn Owl at Staoisha Earach and also a Blackcap at Bunnahabhain. This morning over the flats at Gruinart, the geese were spoofed by a Golden Eagle, earlier in the week it was the RAF boys that spoofed them! Round above Craigens on the estuary, there were 15 Shelduck. Peter had been up the back of Loch Skerrols and had an immature Golden Eagle, and later on 4 Red legged Partridge were seen too. Another annual visitor from Yorkshire had been in touch with the sighting of 8 Long tailed Ducks on the top of Loch Indaal, along with 7 Slavonian Grebes and 5 Scoter. Up at Ardnave he had seen 4 Snow Bunting. At Gruinart today James had 87 Golden Plover, 8 Black tailed Godwit and 1 male Hen Harrier. We also had one round at Saligo midday today. I had not seen any Buzzards for a few days but we saw 4 yesterday round Loch Gorm at different locations... Today, from his house down at Bruichladdich, George had a mixed group of 70 Gulls, mainly Common & Herring Gulls with a couple of Lesser Blacks too. George also had 15 Arctic Terns, 10 Guillemots and 8 Scoter.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wednesday 26th October

Today, weather wise, it has possibly been the best day this month, at least the sun was out, there was a blue sky and the mosst important bit was that it remained dry.....

Some sightings first from yesterday, a male Blackcap was seen out in the trees in front of the house here in the morning, Bob had a Golden Eagle from his house, as well as a single Canada Goose in the fields next door. 11 Snow Buntings were counted down at Machir Bay. At the meeting last night, various other sightings were thrown into the ring, 12 Scoter off Bruichladdich, a Purple Sandpiper, also at Bruichladdich, a Swallow over Bowmore. On the walk on the Oa yesterday, Mary had 2 Golden Eagles, a light coloured Yellowhammer, 2 Swallows, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, a Golden Eagle was also seen later with prey. An Arctic Tern was off Bowmore while a Sandwich Tern was off Port Charlotte and a Peregrine was seen eating a Golden Plover. There had been 200 Golden Plover round at Ballinaby. This afternoon, we had a Golden Eagle on a dyke far out on our way over to Gruinart, a couple of Stonechats below Culbuie, round Loch Gorm another Golden Eagle was perched up on a rock on the skyline. A Kestrel was at Coull roadend and 10 Snow Buntings were at Machir Bay today. Over at Lussa on Jura, there were around 350 Fieldfares with a few Redwings .

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tuesday 25th October

A great night tonight, we had a record turnout at the bird nurds with 20 folk coming, certainly the number was swelled by visitors, but that is what it is all about! Coming home the sky was full with stars and better still were a couple of Barn Owls sitting on fence posts at the side of the road. We had a male Bullfinch just we turned off the road going into Loch Skerrols late afternoon, while Peter and Pia had one just in Bridgend woods up the back of the Hotel. They also had the large flock of Chaffinches in the wood that was present there yesterday, the male Brambling was still with them along with 4 Goldcrest. In the adjacent fields there was mixed flock of around 25 Fieldfares, 65 Redwing and 5 Mistle Thrushes and 5 Song Thrushes. There also saw 40 Brent Geese at the top of Loch Indaal. Visiting birders had seen a female Merlin bathing in a pool beside the "car park" up at Ardnave, while down on the shoreline they had 9 Snow Buntings. Over close to Storakaig they had a mixed flock of 200 Fieldfares and Redwings. Other visitors had a count of 125 Whooper Swans down at Sunderland. Another set of visiting birders had been up at Ardnave too, and had a 32 Chough up towards Ardnave Point itself, along with a flock of 60 Twite. Off Ardnave Point and towards Nave Island they saw 8 Great Northern Diver and 2 Red throated Divers. They had a count of 11 Snow Bunting in a different place to the group of 9. They also saw 3 Bar tailed Godwit at Ardnave Point and also 2 Grey Plover. Down at Traigh Nostaig, 14 Bar tailed Godwit, 4 Grey plover and 12 Turnstone were seen and on their way home they had 2 Hen Harriers close to the former Kilchoman School.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Monday 24th October

Before I forget, the monthly meeting of our local birders is tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, held down in the Islay Natural History Trust in Port Charlotte at 7.30pm. It is a completely informal meeting, no chairperson, no talk, but a great chance to catch up with each other. Often we head off the the local for pint afterwards, completely laid back..... any visitors around are made welcome!

Right, back to birds, earlier this evening while we were out, we had a Barn Owl out hunting close to Sunderland Farm and on the way home there was another one sitting on a fence post just after Erasaid heading up towards Gruinart. A visitor had seen 4 Snow Buntings at Killinallan today. Another visitor had 31 Pale belied Brent Geese at Blackrock, a Great Northern Diver close to the shore at Bowmore, 110 Golden Plover in the fields as you go into the golf course at The Machrie, and later on at Ardtalla, a Bullfinch and also a Goldcrest were seen. Another visitor had 85 Whoopers in the barley stubble down at Sunderland, with a further 22 seen on the edge of Loch Gorm, there were 13 adults and 9 young birds present. Down on Loch Indaal, 80 Scaup were noted along with 12 Red breasted Merganser and a Slavonian Grebe at midday. In Bridgend Woods, there were large numbers of Chaffinches moving through the trees and feeding on the track. There were 200 counted at one point, and a Brambling was also present with them. Close to The Woolen Mill, Tits were seen Goldcrest and a Treecreeper too. Mid afternoon at the hide at Gruinart, a ring tail Hen Harrier was present, along with a good mixture of duck and waders present, Pochard, 4 Dabchick, Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Whooper Swan, Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank and Black tailed Godwit. On their way home they had 160 Golden Plover and also the Starling flock round at Ballinaby. Late afternoon they had 4 Snow Buntings at Machir Bay.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday 23rd October

Perhaps the day started off dry, but mid morning it took a nosedive and it has rained and rained and rained again, well over an inch has fallen with obviously flooding with water coming off the high ground... This morning there were around 100 Whoopers down at Rockside and this evening there were around 40 along at Sunderland on the stubble there. The bird table has been busy making the most of the food available. There were a few Golden Plover at Ballinaby earlier on. Not much sign of any Owls out on the wing this evening, with this wet weather, I don't think there would be much prey out anyway!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Saturday 22nd October

Forgot to say the other night that we had a great illustrated talk by Nigel Pope and John Aitchison down at the Islay Natural History Trust, well attended by over 80 folk of all ages. Nigel and John's stories and photography was better than first class.

From the ferry today, a Manx Shearwater was seen off Gigha and in the Sound of Islay, a pale phased Arctic Skua was noted. Today James had a count of 409 Whitefronts on the reserve at Gruinart along with 8 Gadwall, the Canada goose, hutchinsii sp. is still still present on the flats, while on the floods 2 Greenshank were seen. 2 Sparrowhawks and 2 Hen Harriers were also seen at Gruinart. A visitor had seen an Otter fishing in Loch Indaal, close to Bowmore, along at Gartmain a female Sparrowhawk took a Turnstone out of the air. Finally, at the top of Loch Indaal he had a White tailed Sea Eagle was on the merse eating a goose!!!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday 21st October

Earlier this week, James had carried out a count on the floods on the reserve at Gruinart. The "scores on the doors" were as follows, 509 Teal, 3 Little Grebe, 249 Lapwing, 16 Black tailed Godwit, 2 Moorhens, 138 Wigeon, 35 Shoveler, 2 Heron, 57 Pintail, 12 Mute Swans, 111 Mallard, 1 Red breasted Merganser, 6 Gadwall, 1 Water Rail and 1 Sparrowhawk.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Thursday 20th October

There was a juvenile leucistic Barnacle Goose up at Ardnave today, and the leucistic Bar tailed Godwit was seen again. Round at Ballinaby a flock ogf 220 Golden Plover were counted this morning. Mary this morning had a mixed flock of around 20Thrushes close to Wester Ellister, consisting of Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbirds. Yesterday, Mary had carried out a count on Loch Gruinart, the totals were 7 Heron, 6 Shelduck, 34 Mallard, 53 Wigeon, 3 Eider, 2 Goldeneye, 3 Scaup, 34 Red breasted Merganser, 106 Oystercatcher, 56 Ringed Plover, 6 Grey Plover, 1 Lapwing, 1 Knot, 45 Sanderling, 169 Dunlin, 364 Bar tailed Godwits, 160 Curlew, 43 Redshank, 2 Turnstone, 1 Snipe, 7 Pinkfooted Geese, 130 Black headed Gulls, 61 Common Gulls, 79 Herring Gulls, 2 Greater Black backed Gulls, 2 Peregrine, 2 Buzzards, 1 Mute Swan, a family of 6 Whoopers and finally a Redwing on the way back up to the office. On Ardnave Loch, Mary had 2 Whoopers, 2 Mute, 10 Tufted Duck, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Herring gulls, 4 Mergansers and 2 Scaup. A visitor had seen a Snow Bunting on the burn as it enters Machir Bay yesterday, and later on a Merlin at Octomore. This evening, just before the darkening, I had to empty the rain gauge as it was up to 5" for the month so far... Glad I stay on the dry side of Islay! One of the gamekeepers told me earlier that this Autumn has been the wettest deer stalking seasons that he can recall.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Wednesday 19th October

Carl in the wee sma' hours early this morning, while he was tapping away on his keyboard, when most mortal folk would have been sleeping, heard Whooper Swans flying over Port Charlotte..... Not to outdone, role reversal, I went down just after 7.30am (Carl might have still be asleep then!) and checked the field at Rockside. Right enough the greatest bulk had gone, with only about 50 Swans remaining between the field and those on the lochans. The Swans that were present were quite unsettled and sure enough they too were all away to Ireland. The film crew had seen them moving off in the grey dark yesterday evening and some sight it was, wonder if they got any footage of the Swans leaving? Today, the field has been taken over by a mass of Geese, a mixture of mainly Barnies along with some Whitefronts there too. The Greylags are around too. The film crew had seen a Golden Eagle out over the Geese on another field yesterday at Rockside, just generally being disruptive and putting the Geese up rather than hunting! The light coloured Bar tailed Godwit had been seen by a visitor up at Ardnave again yesterday.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tuesday 18th October

Today, James had a count of 101 Whooper Swans over on Gruinart, the large group of Whoopers is still present down at Rockside, and I felt that there appeared to be more birds present, but I did not count them... Mary had led the guided walk down on the Oa this morning, and the weather was not great, but the birds were out in force. 4 Golden Eagles, 6 Golden Plover, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Merlin, 2 Hen Harriers, 18 Hooded Crows (Mary said they could possibly be all young birds), 2 Ravens and 2 Chough. A visiting birder over for the week had 2 Slavonian Grebes on Loch Indaal close to Bowmore, and over at the spit on the Strand at Uiskentuie, they had a Snow Bunting.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Monday 17th October

Just as well I have some sightings through from Carl and Peter, as it has not been a day for birding really. We have had steady rain for most of the day, with it drying up around 6pm. Think most of us found inside jobs! On Saturday morning Peter had seen the American Wigeon over at Gartmain, down on the Oa there were 2 Golden Eagles aerial sparring over the cliffs at Upper Killeyan. Up at Lyrabus a Sparrowhawk was chasing after Twite, Linnets, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting. Early evening from the hide at Gruinart there were 22 Black tailed Godwit and also 25- 30 Lapwings. Yesterday there were over 80 Scaup off Blackrock, up at Bunnahabhain there were a couple of Red legged Partridges on the foreshore. Down at Frenchman's Rocks, there were a few Gannets, Common Guillemots and Kittiwakes (20-30 of each) in the afternoon. Carl had been over at the Singing Sands on the Oa yesterday, with a good number of Kittiwakes feeding, a Peregrine flew past while he was there too. A few Shags were out fishing , with some very tame Hooded Crows working the shoreline!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sunday 16th October

We are half way through the month now, and the rain gauge is at 4 inches already for October, with more forecast for tomorrow, at least it is not snow which is predicted up towards Inverness!The visitors from Durham had seen the American Wigeon over at Gartmain this afternoon, there were also 10 Dunlin, 130 Bar tailed Godwit and 6 Turnstone there too. Along at Loch Skerrols, they had counted 46 Whoopers. The Whoopers are still to be seen down at Rockside, and quite often a few take off for the small hop along to the lochans, to return a short while later to the stubble. There was a male Hen Harrier out down at the reedbed at the Coastguard cottages this morning, with a further one out close to Leek over the other side of Loch Gorm from here. Martin had been up round Ardnave Point today ad saw a group of 20 Whimbrels fly past, a Curlew was also seen at the time so Martin had no doubts with comparison in size. Down on the shoreline he had a very light coloured Bar tailed Godwit, while offshore were some Scoters. George had been over on Jura today and had close sightings of 2 Hen Harriers, a male and a female at different points. He also had a Merlin, 12 Raven, 1 Kestrel, 2 White tailed Sea Eagles over the Sound of Islay, 2 Stoenechats, 30 Goldfinches on Ragwort heads and 5 Herons sheltering up in a rushy field beyond Craighouse.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Saturday 15th October

Yesterday when George was out over this side of Islay, he watched a Merlin hunting after a lbj as it ducked and dived for the best part of 4 minutes, the lbj survived with the Merlin going home hungry. Malcolm had seen 2 Swallows down at Bruichladdich. The visiting birders had seen 3 Wheatear and 4 Twite up at Ardnave while down at Machir Bay they saw 2 Snow Buntings yesterday. Today the swans have moved back all together again along at Rockside, and were still there just after 5pm. There were 2 Wheatears on the dyke beside the Coastguards at noon. Bob, Martin & Johno had seen the American Wigeon over at Gartmain along with 50 Wigeon and 20 Pale bellied Brents. Up at Bun an uillt, beyond Craigens on Loch Gruinart, they had 1 Pinkfoot and also a Spotted Redshank. From the hide they saw 3 Moorhens and also 3 Little Grebe. Carl today had 5 Red throated Divers and a Guillemot off Port Charlotte on Loch Indaal. He was also commenting on the length of time that the swans have remained. Round at Saligo, Carl had a male Hen Harrier out on the wing.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Friday 14th October

Another not bad day for time of year, even managed to cut most of the grass this afternoon, net result, I did not do much birding for the blog. Peter turned up trumps this afternoon with a drake American Wigeon over at Gartmain. There was also a Cackling goose present there too, as was a Pink footed goose. Peter had a count of 65 Whoopers on Loch Skerrols along with 25 Mute, he also had a further 70 Whoopers in a stubble field up at Cruach, up behind Bowmore. Also seen today by Peter was a small flock of 20 Fieldfare between Mulindry and Knochlearach, and also a pair of Dippers at the Woolen Mill. Yesterday, late afternoon, the Whoopers at Sunderland joined with the Rockside birds with Peter having a count of 303 including 49 young birds. This morning, the swans were split back into their 2 different groups again! All in all there is well in excess of 450 Whoopers on Islay at present. Yesterday Peter also had 5 Snow Buntings on Machir Bay along with 35 Ringed Plover, 15 Sanderling and 5 Dunlin. Up at Ardnave Peter had a count of 45 Chough. Carl had seen the large flock of Swans too as well as 80 Scaup off Blackrock. George also had been over to see the Swans and had a Sparrowhawk up beside McNicol's croft on his way home. The visiting birders from Durham had been over on Jura yesterday and had seen the following birds, 16 Twite on the shore of Small Isles Bay, 2 flocks of Goldfinch, one of 105, the other of 23 near to Craighouse. There was also a large flock of over 400 Fieldfare moving through. James phoned through an update for Gruinart today with a tally of 35,665 Barnies present, 349 Whitefronts, 76 Pale bellied Brent, 13 Whoopers, 326 Lapwing, 7 Canada consisting of 3 hutchinsii sp, 2 parvipes sp., 1 taverna and 1 Cackling sp.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thursday 13th October

A better day out here today, no rain that I can remember at least... 4 Snow Bunting were seen up at Ardnave, a flock of 250 Golden plover were seen over at Ballinaby along with 25 Twite . The Whoopers were concentrated into 2 groups, one a Rockside this morning had 108 swans while the Sunderland party tallied through 196, wonder how longer they will stay here, I thought that today that they might have moved on with conditions being better! Carl spent a few minutes doing a "birdwatch" from home and saw the following 6 House Sparrows, 2 Chaffinches, 1 Great Tit, 1 Robin, 4 Herring gulls (including 1 immature), 2 imm. Common gulls, 1 Shag, 1 imm. Cormorant, 1 Buzzard, 2 Pied wagtails and a Collared Dove.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Wednesday 12th October

Yesterday on the reserve at Gruinart, there was a count of 34,665 Barnacle Geese present. Carl yesterday had 20 Turnstones at Gartmain, 2 Swallows over Loch Indaal at Uiskentuie Strand, a Red throated Diver on Loch Indaal off the Strand and 18 Ringed Plover with 3 Turnstones at Bruichladdich. The visitors had been down the Oa and had a ringtail Hen Harrier, Kestrel, 2 Chough, a female Merlin at Risabus, 11 Stonechats at various locations, 1 Wheatear at Mid Cragabus, an immature Grey Wagtail at Kilnaughton Bay, 10 Swallows over at Kildalton and a male Hen Harrier at Kintour. Also seen were Grey seals loafing on the rocks at Loch a' Chnuic with bellowing stags heard over the hills. A dog Otter was seen catching a large flounder and devouring it, in front of where they were parked up!!! The weather has not been that great out here with the mist coming and going all day with the odd shower of rain too, but I had a total count of of 239 Whoopers this morning between Rockside and Sunderland, with a large group of 122 present at Sunderland alone. Mid afternoon this group was up to 186 and the various groups along at Rockside giving a total of 293 in all. There was also a Wheatear towards Sunderland too. Coming back home this evening there was a Barn Owl out in about same place just along from the cairn to the Kilchoman bard.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Tuesday 11th October

Yesterday, Carl had a "comic tern" on Loch Indaal at Gortan. Visitors had been busy too with 2 Black throated Divers, 1 Red throated Diver, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 15 Common Scoter, 25 Bar tailed Godwits and 6 Knot all on Loch Indaal. They had 3 counts of Whooper Swans, 7 flying over Loch Indaal, 6 over Bridgend and a further 22 up at Gruinart. In Bridgend Woods, they had over 25 Robins, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Treecreeper and 10 Long tailed Tits. Thanks folks for your sightings. Today, we welcome back Louise with some birds from down on the Oa today. This morning there had been a count of 47 Whoopers flying out over the Oa heading over to Ireland. Back on land and a Wheatear was seen as were 2 Swallows. 1 Scaup was seen on Loch Kinnabus on the Oa, and a further 37 were seen earlier on Loch Indaal. Louise was telling me that a few weeks ago that a Kingfisher had been seen over at Tarbet on Jura, but she forgot to tell me at the time! This afternoon while we were out we counted 31 Whoopers on the barley stubble at Rockside, a further 36 in the barley waiting to be cut at Sunderland. Over close to Heatherhouse at Port Askaig, a Wheatear was on the roadside, and further on at Ardnahoe there were 12 Red legged Partridges, no doubt released birds! On our way back, in at Loch Skerrols, a Treecreeper was seen and a Kestrel flew overhead. On Skerrols itself there were 27 Whoopers and 23 Mute Swans counted, while on the fields below Octovullin there was a large mixed flock of Barnies, around 150 Whitefronts and a Canada Goose. Back on the Loch, and there was a large raft of Greylags. On one of the trees, a Heron was perched up. Coming back home, the Whoopers were still on the uncut barley field at Sunderland, the lochans at Rockside had 20 and a further 54 were present on the same barley stubble at Rockside. There was a big group of Greylags on the heather behind the lochans at Rockside. There were also some Whitefronts and 7 Barnies on another cut field at Rockside. There was a large number of Barnies present this afternoon at the head of Loch Indaal.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday 10th October

Another big dollop of rain again last night, what's new? What's new, well today we had the geese arriving in big numbers, Mary was in touch with some scores on the doors for today. The tallies at Gruinart were 22,265 Barnies, 29 Greenland Whitefronts, 28 Pale bellied Brents, 335 Greylags, 2 Canada hutchinsii sp and 1 Pink footed Goose. Mary also said that there were a good number of Lapwings and Black tailed Godwits on both the floods and the flats on the reserve, Crystal had 21 Greenland Whitefronts on Loch Kinnabus on the Oa reserve. A visitor e mailed through last night with having seen a White tailed Sea Eagle in the Port Askaig area, a Swallow over the Rhinns and 8 Arctic Terns on Loch Indaal at Port Charlotte. Yesterday Bob had a House Martin at Port Charlotte and a Greenshank out from the hide at Gruinart. Today he has seen several groups of Whoopers moving through, 28 flying South over Loch Indaal, 9 present at Garmain and also a small family group of 6 at Sunderland. Also on Loch Indaal, Bob and his friend had 47 Scaup, and on Loch Skerrols they had a count of 35 Mute Swans, 17 Whoopers, 3 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall, 9 Wigeon and 1 Little Grebe. Up at Knockdon they had seen a juvenile Golden Eagle, a Coal Tit and 2 Goldcrest.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday 9th October

On Friday, George had a Hen Harrier over at Gruinart at dusk, earlier on at Uiskentuie, he had seen a Swallow. At home today he saw 10 Chaffinches, 2 Greenfinches and 3 Collared Doves in the garden, while down on the shore there was a Merlin. Over at Gruinart today, James's numbers were 3,577 Barnies, 30 Whitefronts, 61 Pale bellied Brent, 2 Canada hutchinsii sp., 1 Peregrine and 27 Whooper Swans. We had a female Peregrine over at Ballinaby this afternoon, and later on a male Hen Harrier at Craigens while we were out looking at the geese. There was quite a lot of rain last night, the best part of an inch, so far this month the total is at 2". With us being away last month, I forgot to put in last month's tally which was 6.75", although we are still drier than last year, the total is catching up!!!On Friday evening Bob went over to Port Askaig to pick up one of his friends from the evening ferry, over there he heard a Tawny Owl and also saw a Barn Owl. Yesterday, they had a Sparrowhawk at home, and also 2 Redpolls as well as a couple of Hen Harriers fly over the garden. In the fields around the house there were 3 Whooper Swans and 55 Lapwing while down at Uiskentuie a Peregrine was present and along at the spit 25 Turnstone were present. From the hide at Gruinart, 1 Black tailed Godwit, 10 Snipe, 300 Teal, 1 female Tufted Duck, 25 Pintail, 15 Shovelor, 20 Wigeon, 2 Little Grebe and 2 Moorhen. This morning down at the hide at Gruinart, they had a female Goosander along with the Red breasted Mergansers, 10 Grey Plover and a mixed flock of Sanderling, Bar tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover and Dunlin. While round at Craigens, 15 Whooper Swans flew in. In the Loch Gorm are were 2 flocks of Whitefronts (27 +15), 700 Greylags, 200 Barnies, 60 Tufted Duck on Loch Gorm itself along with 3 Scaup. 2 Arctic Terns were seen on the wing between Bruichladdich and the spit. In the afternoon, on the left of the hide they counted 35 Black tailed Godwit, 20 Snipe, 400 Lapwing, 12 Gadwall, 20 Pintail, 7 Whitefronts and 20 Twite. Back home they had a further 25 Twite in the garden. Over the last couple of days a total of 71 species seen so far!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Saturday 8th October

Michal yesterday had seen 4 Bullfinches in the trees opposite the office at Gruinart, and this morning we saw one down close to Foreland House. Not really been that great a day over here with the weather, we have not seen much of the crag today with the mist coming and going for most of the day, the papers did not make the 7 am ferry, the plane did not come in this morning. Nothing for it but give you James's birds for today then! On the reserve, the birds of note were 3,462 Barnies, 30 Whitefronted Geese, 1 Canada hutchinsii sp., 38 Pale bellied Brents, 30 Black tailed Godwits, 1 Peregrine, 1 Hen Harrier and 1 Little Grebe.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday 7th October

A Sabine's Gull and also a pair of White tailed Sea Eagles were seen over the Sound of Islay today. On the reserve at Gruinart, James counted 3,246 Barnacle Geese, 51 Greenland Whitefronts, 49 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 7 Whooper Swans, 17 Pintails, 8 Grey Plover, 1 Peregrine, 1 Hen Harrier and the Pectoral Sandpiper. Bob was down at the hide and had seen the following, 6 Ruff, 1 Black tailed Godwit, 10 Shovelor, 150 Teal, 60 Mallard and a Little Grebe all on the floods. Earlier this morning at home he saw a female Sparrowhawk being chased by a Crow, while this afternoon, on a fence post a male Sparrowhawk was present. Out on barley stubbles beside his house, Bob counted 200 Greylags, 20 Lapwing and 500 Starlings. James count for yesterday was as follows, 3,120 Barnies, 280 Pale bellied Brent, 3 Whitefronts, 1 Canada, hutchinsii sp. and also 7 Whooper Swans, all at Gruinart.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thursday 6th October

The goose invasion continued today as George reported that over 2,000 Barnies were at Gruinart while he was over there. On the guided walk this morning, Michal reported through to say that the Pectoral Sandpiper was still present out in front of the hide, and also 7 Ruff. Many thanks to Michal for keeping the blog going over the past week when I have been away. Not a lot of birding was done but we did see a Nuthatch, 3 Jays in our son's garden this morning, squirrels and a fox there too, numerous Magpies, Parakeets, only one Kestrel, Coots and Canada Geese on the River Thames as well, different birds to us apart from the Kestrel, but still great to see. Woodpigeons were 10 a penny, I know we have some on Islay but not that common. Then there was the traffic, so it back home to this cooler weather again, must remember to find a jersey to wear tomorrow to keep warm!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wednesday 5th October

A bit wet day today which should keep the water levels on Floods up and ducks happy... Just a quick scan of the Floods and saltmarsh and hardly any greylags or barnies to be seen but 273 brent geese and a male peregrine seen feeding. On the Floods a flock of 180 teal, one black-tailed godwit, one female pintail, 8 ruffs and at least one pectoral sandpiper is still present. In the woodland on the reserve a bullfinch and redpoll was heard. Later in the evening James counted 512 brent geese and about 500 barnacle geese. The goose invasion has begun!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tuesday 4th October

Bob did some birdwatching today from the Loch Gruinart hide and he saw 8 ruffs, two pectoral sandpipers, one tufted duck, female pintail, 6 shovelers and about 250 teal. Down at Gartmain he noticed the female pintail was still there as well as the peregrine. At Uiskentuie he saw 32 scaup, there was also a single shelduck on Loch Indaal and a juvenile osprey flew overhead. Back home he had large flock of several hundred finches with 6 brambling amongst them. James had 87 brent geese on the saltmarsh.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Monday 3rd October

A bit windier today compared to yesterday. White wagtail has been seen on the Loch Gruinart Reserve. Flock of 60 goldfinches and 20 redpolls were seen feeding on thistles. Down on the floods in front of the hide number of ducks is growing steadily with over 110 teal and 4 shovelers also a pair of mute swans with 7 cygnets. A visitor reported a white-tailed eagle from the top of Loch Gruinart. James had merlin, 4 mistle thrushes and male and female hen harrier on the reserve. Bob saw two different sparrowhawks at Port Charlotte as well as merlin and male hen harrier. Also at Gartmain he had 300 wigeon, 1 female pintail, 2 brent geese, 10 bar-tailed godwits and male peregrine. Visitors reported 30 choughs in Ardnave and male hen harrier at Lyrabus

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday 2nd October

Bob was out on Frenchman’s Rock this morning and saw big number of auks heading south quite far of the shore. He also saw 5 red-throated divers, 12-15 skuas far of the shore – at least one great and one arctic. On his way back he saw juvenile peregrine, male and female merlin, female hen harrier and a kestrel. Later in the afternoon him and Martin had good views of a pectoral sandpiper amongst 12 ruff from the hide on the Loch Gruinart Reserve and on their way home they saw 12 turnstones, 2 slavonian grebes, another 5 red-throated divers 14 eiders and 14 red-breasted mergansers – all at Loch Indaal. On the salt marsh at Loch Gruinart the number of brent geese is slowly decreasing – only 63 today. There was also a peregrine, 4 grey plovers, 300 dunlin and about 20 redshanks. On Gruinart Flats there was flock of 213 lapwing with 5 ruffs. Nick Wilkinson had a female blackcap in the Gruinart woods. Number of ducks on Floods is increasing slowly but surely – at least 50 teal, 15 mallard and about 20 wigeon this evening. Juvenile golden eagle was seen yesterday and today on the reserve as well. Visitors reported flock of linnets, goldfinches and twite from The Oa. They also saw 5 redwings, 6 wheatears, a willow warbler, goldcrest, merlin, peregrine and several buzzards.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday 1st October

Bob had a little grebe and 2 pectoral sandpipers feeding amongst a flock of 16 ruffs on the reserve just in front of the hide. Female hen harrier was also spotted hunting right in front of the hide. On Loch Indaal he also saw 280 bar-tailed godwits, about 500 oystercatchers, 375 greylags and 50 teal. Back home at Port Charlotte he had a merlin. On the flats at Loch Gruinart there was 8 different ruffs feeding amongst a flock of 128 lapwings. Elsewhere on the reserve there was a mixed flock of 130 linnets and 50 twite and little flock of about 30 goldfinches. Rooks and jackdaws that roost in big numbers in trees at Aoradh seem to discover a new feeding ground on the Floods as the water levels are being raised gradually pushing all invertebrates closer to the surface. George saw a flock of 16 swallows heading south.