Saturday, 31 December 2011

Saturday 31st December

Another miserable sort of a day over here, the ground is very wet, it will be interesting to see what the tally for both the month and the year turn up! Personally, I feel it has been as wet a December that I can recall in the last 12 years... The Guillemot was still in the garden this morning, but it flew off later on once daylight came in, a good sign. Later on, between Whin Park and Bridgend there was a Cormorant walking about on the road looking a bit lost, but otherwise okay! So, to end the year, may I thank all the folk who have contributed in their sightings for the blog, and it is great to get the input from visitors to Islay as well, much appreciated. So to all our readers and followers, have a good New Year when it comes along.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Friday 30th December

David Willis, who has been over for a few days, saw 2 small Canada Geese over at Eorrabus yesterday, and today Peter saw one up the Mulindry road at Ballitarsin. At Gartmain this morning, Peter had a count of 53 Pale bellied Brent Geese, along with 8 Long tailed Ducks, around 12 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Black throated Diver and 10 Common Scoter. This afternoon, he had a male Merlin up at Ardnahoe and saw the Iceland Gull at Bunnahabhain. Today the weather has not been great, no sun, but plenty of the wet stuff, rain, rain and more rain, how much can we take? Out on the bird table today there were 3 House Sparrows, after saying a couple of days ago that I had not seen any for a while! This evening out in the garden there is a Guillemot on the grass, now about 30 minutes later it is looking a bit more alert, sitting up and preening itself!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Thursday 29th December

The wind has dropped and the temperature too, some dirty showers passed through, but at least some birds have been seen, so here goes.... Yesterday Bob had 5 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal just outside Bowmore, round at "smelly corner", he had 10 Shelduck and 15 Pale bellied Brent. Bob also had a Merlin on the low road down close to the airport. Peter has been trying without luck to see some of the Canada Geese, but had 2 Pale bellied Brent amongst the Barnies up at Neriby, which is about 2 miles from Loch Indaal, later on at Cluanach which is just along the road, a Pink footed Goose was with the Greenland Whitefronts present there. Today, Peter still was on the lookout for the Canada Geese, but found the "scruffy looking" Snow Goose in a field at Newton. Later on in the Ballygrant valley he had a White tailed Sea Eagle and further on a pair of Golden Eagles. He also had a 1st Year Golden Eagle up behind Loch Skerrols. We had a Merlin up at Lyrabus, and a visitor told me he had 35 Chough at Ardnave. Just been watching the first of the Earthflight programs on BBC, I believe that later on, there is footage taken on Islay, so keep watching...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Wednesday 28th December

Hope you are not looking for many sightings from Islay tonight, as the weather has been against us and the birds too, lots of Greenfinches on the bird table today, no Goldfinches, plenty Chaffinches, no Siskins, but the odd Starling seen, a single Robin, single Coal Tit, Great Tits and a few Blue Tits to report. Come think of it there have no been many House Sparrows around for a few days... The weather today, well, no ferries, no planes, no post, and for an hour this afternoon, no electricity. It was an experience trying to stand while watching the big seas down at Machir Bay, and you had to keep a hold of your hat!!! The blog has been done before the power goes down again as the lights are flickering a bit...

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Tuesday 27th December

Peter forgot to say, (not me for once!) that they had seen 3 Greenshank over on the Killinallan side of Loch Gruinart yesterday. Today we had been down in Bridgend woods, and had a couple of Treecreeper, a Coal Tit, up at The Woolen Mill on the feeders there, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, and Chaffinch were present but no sign of any Siskins. Down closer to Bridgend there were quite a few Snowdrops out, with many others just waiting to burst out into bloom. James had been down at Kintra and had a Great Norhern Diver close in, and later on a pair of Chough were seen . As I write, the wind is starting to growl a bit outside, just increasing ready for tomorrow's blow, Calmac put out an amber warning in anticipation mid morning today....

Monday, 26 December 2011

Monday 26th December

A few sightings through from Peter & Pia, yesterday over at Ballinaby, they had a male Hen Harrier. Today Pia had a juvenile Golden Eagle near to Gruinart Farm, and later on while looking through the Barnacle Geese flocks over at West Carrabus for Cackling Geese, but with no joy, they came across a "scruffy looking" intermediate Snow Goose which they watched for some time before the scaring gun/ device went off, and the whole flock took off!!! Before I forget, the "bird club" meeting will not be on tomorrow night as quite a few of us are on holiday, others have folk staying with them, so it is not on....

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Sunday 25th December

Happy Christmas to all our readers, and due to all the jovialities that go with it, no bird watching has been done. The only birdwatching today has been watching Happy Feet on the TV....Tomorrow is another day, so we might venture out with bins round our necks, but tonight we are going out for Dinner with family and good friends to enjoy the evening, perhaps some might not feel too good tomorrow after all.....

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Saturday 24th December

So, what this motley group got to with with Islay birds, you may well ask. Well if the truth be told, it is just some of us being sociable after one of our hectic meetings. The 3 on the left are Badger, John and Ewan who came along when they were birding here on Islay at the end of last month. After that, the one with no hair is me, Ian. Next to my left with the hair is James, then there is Bonnie and David, David is the new site manager for RSPB on the Oa reserve, and finally on the right is Margaret. To cut a long story short, now you now know who some of us are.....Thanks to Badger for his image.... Today Peter and Pia had been over to Bunnahabhain along with a friend who is visiting Islay for a few days. Over there they saw the Iceland Gull, the first report of it being present this present winter. They also watched an Otter there too. We were down at Portnahaven, the weather was poor, the waves were big and the birdwatching was poor, or non existant if the truth be told! Only thing seen was a few Seals on the wee sandy beach over on Orsay, sheltering up!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Friday 23rd December

The weather has been a bit mixed here today, but certainly a lot better than it was a year ago when we were all shivering away, trying to cope with snow and icy roads and frozen pipes in some cases...Today, Bob had a female Merlin at the mouth of the River Sorn, a Goosander along at Uiskentuie, in Bridgend Woods 6 Siskins were present and a few Bullfinches seen at the Community garden. Back over towards Port Charlotte, a female Hen Harrier was out. We went over to Kildalton ourselves and in a grass field beside Kintour there was a mixed flock of around 20 Redwing and 30 Fieldfare along with some Starlings. Returning home there was a male Hen Harrier and also a Merlin above Glenegedale. On the Glen road to Ballygrant, several groups of Red Deer were close to the road.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Thursday 22nd December

Yep, it's sure is that time of year again, when all us humans migrate to be back home to be with friends and family. Here on Islay, or Kilchoman to be exact, we have the house full with Margaret's sister over from the Scottish Borders, and tonight Andrew, our son came home for a break along with his other half Amelia. Amelia's mother is here too, but all the way from Adelaide and also here is Mardi, one of Amelia's friends from down under but now works in London, so we are going to be eating, drinking and enjoying ourselves. Some of the local birders are away so the blog may be a bit light in bird content... This afternoon before the gang arrived, out on the back bird table there were 10 Chaffinch, 8 Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Great Tit, 1 Blue Tit and on the ground there were 28 Chaffinch picking on the spilled food. Must try to get a count of both the feeders at the same time...Might even have Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Robins or may be a House Sparrow to add!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Wednesday 21st December

Yesterday James had done a goose count on the reserve at Gruinart, with the numbers as follows, 4,833 Barnies, 376 Whitefronts, 89 Greylags and 1 Canada hutchinsii sp This morning George had seen 2 White tailed Sea Eagle in the Sound of Islay. Carl had a count of 50 Curlews at Uiskentuie today, with 20 Shelduck at Carnain ("smelly corner" as we sometimes call it!) Carl also seen a Barn Owl there and another at Octofad. Back here at home, there was a pair of Buzzards out over the crag along with a single Peregrine. The other day day, the birds on the feeders moved off quick style as a Sparrowhawk sped through, but did not get anything, although there was some feathers below the feeders this morning when I was putting more food out. You can't win them all!!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Tuesday 20th December

Mary And Crystal carried out a count on Loch Gruinart today, with the scores on the doors as follows, 3 Shag, 1 Heron, 157 Shelduck, 94 Wigeon, 79 Mallard, 1 Eider, 1 Goldeneye, 5 Red breasted Merganser, 41 Shoveler, 14 Pintail, 189 Oystercatcher, 11 Ringed Plover, 12 Grey Plover, 297 Lapwing, 71 Sanderling, 370 Dunlin, 524 Bar tailed Godwit, 166 Curlew, 130 Redshank, 36 Turnstone, 3 Greenshank, 211 Common Gull, 20 Herring Gull, 4 Great Black backed Gull and 1 Common seal. The count for Ardnave Loch was 2 Mute Swan, 9 Whooper Swan, 3 Mallard, 7 Goldeneye, 9 Wigeon and 4 Tufted Duck. James had done a count on the floods at Gruinart yesterday with his highlights being 157 Greylag Geese, 4 Little Grebe, 67 Mallard, 57 Pintail, 77 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 1,116 Teal, 19 Shoveler, 3 Greenshank, 800 Lapwing, 58 Golden Plover, 15 Mute Swan and 13 Whooper Swan. The count of Lapwing was a high count according to James. Down on the Oa yesterday David had a Golden Eagle, Merlin, Woodcock and Snipe on the reserve.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Monday 19th December

Back to normal tonight, doing the blog at a more sensible hour of the day.... Mike from Bird Quest had left a message on the phone last night with highlights of their 3 day stay over here, 9 Slavonian Grebes in Loch Indaal off Gortain, a Canada Goose Hutchinsii sp was up the back of Bridgend on Sunday, and also another Canada, Taverner's sp up at Cennacroic on the way to Mulindry. At the head of Loch Indaal, there was a group of 19 Pale bellied Brent with another 8 also seen. A pair of White tailed Sea Eagles were seen over at Killinallan, male Hen Harriers were seen at Loch Gorm, Bunnahabhain and another one at Cennacroic. A ringtail was seen South of Port Charlotte while a Short eared Owl was seen on a fence post in the dark as they were coming up from Portnahaven. A Peregrine was at Gruinart and 4 Greenshank were out the front of the hide. Over at Bunnahabhain, 2 Guillemots and 9 Black Guillemots were seen as well as an Otter! A Tree Sparrow was at Blackrock while along at Loch Gorm, a pair of Chough, a flock of Reed Buntings and 3 Yellowhammers were seen. Today off the ferry as they headed back to Kennacraig their tally read as follows, 60 Kittiwakes,10 Razorbills, 20 Great Northern Divers, half of which were flying West. A Puffin was at the mouth of West Loch Tarbert, while in West Loch Tarbert, 7 Black throated Divers, 10 Red throated Divers. Many thanks for sightings folks. Today on Bob had a small Merlin at home, just the size of a Mistle Thrush . Later on there were several Snipe and Woodcock coming in to feed on the barley stubbles with around 300 Whitefronts coming in to roost. Mary had seen a Water Rail crossing the road at Easter Ellister as she came to work this morning. The figures came through from the team at SNH for the December International Goose count which was carried out last week, the scores on the doors were as follows, 42,595 Barnies and 4,670 Whitefronts. Many thanks for these stats.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sunday 18th December

Bob had been out over at Gartbreck, down below Bowmore this morning, and had the following count, 25 Mallard, 300 Wigeon, 120 Teal, 1 Goldeneye, 21 Red breasted Merganser, 16 Eider, 4 Shelduck, 4 Mute Swan, 121 Curlew, 45 Oystercatcher, 300 Dunlin, 20 Redshank, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 32 Knot, 90 Bar tailed Godwit, 73 turnstone, 26 Ringed plover, 350 Lapwing, 800 Golden Plover, 2 Grey plover, 1 Cormorant, 57 Shag, 6 Great Northern Diver, 2 Slavonian Grebe, and along at Gartmain 2 Little Stint along with 50 Dunlin. This afternoon here at home, out with birds on the feeders on the back garden was a Brambling. Yesterday Carl had a Merlin at Port Charlotte, and later on 20 Fieldfare were counted up at Octomore. Sorry about the late entry tonight, but more to come tomorrow!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Saturday 17th December

This Snow Bunting was taken by Mary this morning down at Portnahaven, after it had been in for a feed at the bird table. It has been present since the gales last weeks coming in with the Chaffinches to be fed! Mary had a count of over 5,000 Barnacle Geese on the reserve at Gruinart through the week, along with 300 Greenland Whitefronts and 150 Greylags. The leucistic Barnie is still up at Ardnave, over at Killinalan the numbers of geese were not as many but Mary reckons that there has been a juv. Golden Eagle over there! On her way to work, most mornings she has been seeing a Barn Owl out hunting, just she was coming out of Portnahaven. Yesterday, Mary had carried out a farmland bird survey and noticed more Blackbirds around, the largest flock was 13 along with 3 Redwing. Quite a lot of Reed Buntings were seen too, the largest count being 23 at Moulin. Today James had 7 Whoopers at Gruinart, and also 3 different Hen Harriers, 2 females and 1 male. Below the visitor centre there were 14 Long tailed Tits present, as were 4 Red Deer stags. Peter had a Slavonian Grebe in Bowmore Harbour, almost in summer plumage and a further 6 out on Loch Indaal itself. Yesterday Malcolm had a 1st winter Iceland Gull over on Jura.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Friday 16th December

Today down on the Oa, David had seen 2 Hen Harriers, 5 Skylarks, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Mistle Thrush. Earlier this week, he had 4 Golden Eagles, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Buzzards, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel all on the same day on the reserve. Today George had 2 Herons, 1 Moorhen and 4 Mallards on his ponds, out on Loch Indaal a Great Northern Diver was present. On the bird table George had his first Reed Bunting for the winter, 5 Goldfinches, 15 Chaffinches, 4 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Dunnock and yesterday a Coal Tit was present too. At present Bird Quest have a tour over Islay, based at Port Charlotte. Down on the Oa they had a Golden Eagle, around 30 Fulmar were on the sea. Back on land, 5 Snow Buntings were present, along with around 100 Twite, 3 Skylarks and a Great Tit. Down the low road, a ringtail Hen Harrier was noted. 25 Great Northern Diver were counted between Loch Indaal and Port Ellen Bay, and between Bowmore and Bridgend 15 Pale bellied Brent. Over at Bruichladdich, the 8 Purple Sandpipers were still there along with some Ringed Plover.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

THursday 15th December

Peter and Pia have returned from their travels, Peter was leading back to back tours to Brazil and on down to Antarctica, and then to come home our recent windy spells..... Over at Bunnahabhain, they had seen 10 Bullfinches in one flock, with an Otter offshore in the Sound of Islay. Back home at Bruichladdich, they counted 8 Purple Sandpipers on the shore. James had a phone call to rescue a Great Northern Diver at Uiskentuie that had got blown off Loch Indaal and was caught in a fence. James came to the rescue and got it out of the fence, he later released the bird up on Loch Gruinart and it swam off none the worse of its' earlier mishap! I was saddened to hear earlier this week that there were only 4 pairs of Hen Harriers that reared young in England this year, questions need to be asked somewhere. Similarly, an egg thief who got a 6 month sentence this week for his collection of over 700 eggs, and it was not his first conviction for egg collecting, but it was the maximum sentence the judge could impose...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wednesday 14th December

Normal service again out here folks, the wind has dropped down and the sea is relatively quiet. Needless to say, the water on Loch Indaal itself was rather dirty in colour and had thrown a lot of sea weed up round the edge of the Loch! By the looks of the forecast for Friday it is down South that may catch the brunt of the weather that day, and we look like getting another good day, great!! Today Bob had counted 1,000 Starling on the flats at Gruinart, also present were 1,200 Lapwing, 500 Teal and one group of 60 Redshank. Further on down at Traigh an Luig on Loch Indaal, there was a Knot, 8 Turnstone, 20 Oystercatcher and a poor looking Cormorant. At the weekend, Carl had a small group of 8 Long tailed Tits on the roadside below Rockside. This afternoon, the single Whooper Swan is still present at Sunderland, and it appears to be okay.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Tuesday 13th December

If you wonder why the blog entry is light with bird entries tonight, this is the reason, the strong winds... This was taken down at Port Charlotte mid morning, and that was before the winds really picked up. Last week Port Charlotte was relatively calm but the wind direction was round a few points. We had a gust at 2pm of 70 mph on Mike's "Kilchoman weather" link. The only birds we saw on our way down to Port Charlotte, were a few Fieldfares at McNichol's croft at Foreland. On a positive note, at least we have had no snow with the wind...

Monday, 12 December 2011

Monday 12th December

Bob had been over at Gartbreck this morning and had seen the following birds over there, 30 Chaffinches, 15 Pheasants, 20 House sparrows, 3 Dunnock, 15 Skylark and 6 Blackbirds. Later on back at home, Bob noticed that the geese were very unsettled, flying around a lot more and he wonders whether that this was another "sign" of the wind getting up again? Certainly later this afternoon, the wind has picked up and the temperature has dropped a few degrees. Last week I even noticed that the gritter had been up our road which is a bit of a rarity as we do not often get frosts... May be it was going to be frosty in Oban!!!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sunday 11th December

Not much going on the bird front today, today has been a bit of a catch up day, getting odd jobs done that did not get completed before now. Net result, not much birding as I have been inside for most of the time, although looking out of the kitchen window at one point, what flew past, a Fulmar. Armin, please note.... Come to think of it, the weather forecast for Tuesday is not looking too good with strong winds forecast again!!! Talking of weather, we have already had 3" so far this month, there certainly is no drought conditions here compared with Essex and other Southern counties. I was speaking with a friend from Rutland and he assures me that he could walk across his fields in his shoes, not the case here Paul!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Saturday 10th December

Some birds through from David down on the RSPB reserve on the Oa, 1 Snow Bunting, 25 Chaffinch, 5 Reed Bunting, 3 Hen Harriers, 1 male and 2 different ringtails, and 2 Golden Eagles. Here at home the bird table had been busy, so much so that we got an another order through from our suppliers to keep the birds well fed over the festive period...

Friday, 9 December 2011

Friday 9th December

What a difference a day makes, today here on Islay, blue skies and the sun was shining too, and no wind to speak of. We heard this afternoon that there had been gusts around 90mph down at Portnahaven yesterday. The only damage that I saw was the skin on the polytunnel at Blackrock has gone awol. Several other tunnels around Islay that often catch it, seem have got a reprieve this time round. All in all, we got off lightly although I believe that down below Port Charlotte and in the Portnahaven area folk are still without power. Right back to the purpose of the blog, Islay and its' birds. Danny commented yesterday that he had seen some geese flying backwards... Today before he set off for home, Danny had 2 small groups of Pale bellied Brent Geese, one of 6 and a further 12 both on Loch Indaal just before going into Bowmore. He also commented on a single Whooper down at Sunderland. Thanks to Danny for your sightings this week. We also saw the same swan later on ourselves, and it appeared to be okay, it was up on its' feet and no sign of any wing damage. Down at Portnahaven this morning Mary saw a rather sorry looking Hedgehog, perhaps wondering what yesterday was all about. Up at Uiskentuie, there was a solitary Moorhen, well off course, whether it got swept down the burn is a possibility...Bob this morning had 3 flocks of Lapwing fly past his house, a 20, 30 and also another flock of 50 birds. In the fields nearby were a flock of 30 Fieldfare and also 20 Redwing. Along at Loch Gearach, there were 50 Wigeon, 30 Greylags and also 3 Whoopers. Down at Jimmy's shop at Bridgend, Bob this morning had an immature White tailed Sea Eagle fly over just above the trees! Bob thought that it might have taken off from down on the merse at the head of Loch Indaal and it appeared to be heading inland.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Thursday 8th December

They say things happens in threes, well here is today's set of three from Islay, no ferry, no plane and no post, but I would imagine it would be a similar story across the Western Isles today, at least we have got electricity and hence the blog entry... Danny had braved the weather and had gone out to get some birds for us. There were 21 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal, Danny also managed to see 3 Scaup and further on at Gartmain a small flock of 6 Turnstone being buffeted in the wind. There were a few Oystercatcher sheltering up from the wind at Pennycraig. At Loch Skerrols, there was a pair of Mute Swans along with their 8 cygnets, and a further 13 adult Mute Swans also present. At the top of Loch Indaal just along from Uiskentuie, 20 Oystercatchers were sheltering up. The other day on our way home, on the road below McNicol's croft there was a fresh road kill, a Hare. As we came on it, a Buzzard was on the Hare being watched by 2 Ravens sitting on the fence close by. Normally the Buzzard would have flown off, but it stayed "defending" its' meal and never moved off, no doubt it would have done if I had had the camera out. No doubt the poor bird was hungry with this spell of poor weather. Last night we had a Barn Owl sitting on the fence just after Red Lodge on the High Road.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tuesday 6th December

Forgot to say the other day that the blog passed another milestone, with the magic 1,400 entries being broken.... Yesterday David had carried out a Farmland bird count down on the Oa which produced the following figures, 510 Twite, 65 Linnet, 12 Reed Bunting, 32 Chaffinch, 6 Greenfinch, 120 Fieldfare, 30 Redwing and 8 Song Thrush. George yesterday had 90 Greylag, 50 Whitefronts and 2 Barnies on the fields up behind his house. An hour later, only the Barnies remained but their numbers were swelled in excess of 600!!! The Heron was present on his ponds too. Danny today counted over 300 Lapwing on the flats at Gruinart.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tuesday 6th December

Late last night we had a few flashes of lightening and distant rumbles of thunder to go with it. Today there have been quite a few squally showers on the go, here the ground is still green but further over, the hills are white for sure! David down on the Oa had 3 Golden Eagles, 2 Chough and a Sparrowhawk. Danny today had 5 Pale bellied Brent at Bruichladdich, 2 Great Northern Diver on Loch Indaal before he came into Port Charlotte. Up the back of Portnahaven, 50 Fieldfare were seen. At Coullabus, there were 6 Reed Buntings on the roadside, and also a Kestrel. There was another Kestrel over at Sunderland. He also had a female Sparrowhawk on a mission down at Foreland, whether it caught its' intended prey he did not see as it had then flown on out of sight! Finally Danny had 6 Brent Geese over at Bowmore.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Monday 5th December

A beezer of a day. Here on the West coast of Islay, just the odd shower of hailstones, but the hills of Mull were pure white, nothing on Colonsay, a dusting of snow on Jura and the same on the hills around Port Ellen. Yesterday Carl had been out round Loch Gorm, at Sunderland there was a Reed Bunting, while on the burn at Rockside a Heron was present, 4 Whoopers were on Loch Gorm, and round at Ballinaby 6 Redwing were seen. At Brybruich, another 6 Redwings were present and also a flock of Curlew. Back at Port Charlotte, Carl had a Siskin, 3 Greenfinch as well as a Peregrine. This morning there was a male Hen Harrier down over the lochans at Rockside and the Heron was still to be seen on the burn. Later on, we had 27 Greylags down at Bruichladdich, initially I thought it was the Brents that are often seen there but on checking them out, they were Greylags! Louise had a Glaucous Gull this morning off Saligo. Danny today had a mixed flock of 70 Golden Plover and 120 Lapwing on the flats at Gruinart, and later on down on the Oa he saw 60 Fieldfare.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sunday 4th December

Bob yesterday had a Merlin over at Gartmain, today at Bolsay Moor he saw a Red Grouse, and a Woodcock. On the fields coming home he had 20 Fieldfare, and at home Bob counted 12 Greenfinches on the feeders. George today on his feeders had 7 Blackbirds, 4 Greenfinches and 10 Chaffinches. Down on the shore below his house there were 2 Purple Sandpipers and in his fields, 8 Hares were present. James had 2 Woodcock on the reserve at Gruinart, 2 Hen Harriers, a Sparrowhawk and at the hut circles at Culbuie road end, 6 Bullfinches were noted. Danny counted 30 Chaffinches down at the Coastguards this morning. The geese round at Ballinaby were getting spooked by a male Hen Harrier as it kept quartering over them. The same was the story at the hide where 2 Shoveler came in directly in front of the hide only to move on smartly as a Hen Harrier was on the move too. With this colder snap here, the bird feeders have been busy although I have not seen so many Goldfinches around as of late, a couple over at the cottages the other day but none since.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Saturday 3rd December

I know it is December, but all the same it has been a bit parky outside today, it was not that cold at this time last year, but then I was in Trinidad while the UK had the snow etc... Ewan and his friends left Islay on Thursday, but before they left, they managed to get out to Claggain Bay where they had an Otter, and counted 10 Great Northern Divers, 20 Common Scoter and a Slavonian Grebe. At Port Askaig, they had a Golden Eagle over Jura. They had " a great 4 days of birding and certainly we want to return". It was great to meet with them and good of them to pass on some of their sightings. James had 20 Whoopers at Gruinart today and also a Peregrine. There was a small group of 7 Whoopers taking off from the lochans below Rockside, and they appeared to be heading out en route to Ireland, as we headed out for our papers. On our way back there was a Merlin just before Sunderland Farm. Danny who came over yesterday had an Otter at Kennacraig as he waited on the midday ferry. Today on Ardnave Loch, he had 3 Whooopers, on his way there he had a male Hen Harrier on the reserve at Gruinart. At Bowmore, Danny had a couple of Goldeneye, 2 Red breasted Mergansers and a small group of Pale bellied Brent. There were also a few Curlews in a field beside Blackrock.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Friday 2nd December

Ewan Urquhart who has been up with his 2 friends, John and Badger, sent in their sightings from Wednesday when they started down on the Oa. They saw 2 Golden Eagles, 60+Rock Doves, 1 male Stonechat, over 100 Twite. From the generating station at Bowmore, on Loch Indaal they had 10 Common Scoter, 4 Long tailed duck (including 2 males), 1 winter plumage Black Guillemot, 1 first winter Scaup which was asleep close to the shore, further out was a large flock which they did not manage to count. Also seen from there, they had 6 Great Northern Divers and 7 Slavonian Grebes. Further on between Bridgend and Port Ellen, there was a count of 3,500 Barnies and the small Canada Goose, hutchinsii sp was with them. Many thanks. Today, David down on the Oa reserve had 84 Rock Dove, 57 Fieldfare, 25 Redwing, 105 Starling and 8 Whooper Swan.

By the way, the wind is picking up and tomorrow's Colonsay/ Oban ferry has already been cancelled...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Thursday 1st December

Yesterday Bob had been up at Loch Skerrols, and had seen 2 female Goldeneye, 16 Tufted Duck, 12 Wigeon and 42 Mute Swan. Down at East Lodge, there were 4 Whoopers and 45 Wigeon, back over above Knockdon, an immature Golden Eagle was out, while round at Gruinart, 17 Whoopers were present and in the "floods" in front of the hide, there "lots of ducks packed into large flocks, making them hard to count." David, yesterday down on the Oa, had a Golden Eagle, Merlin, Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Buzzard, and also 3 Whoopers. On the track leading up to Kinnabus, he had a mixed flock of wee birds consisting of Twite, Linnet, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Brambling. This morning going over to Gruinart, we had a close sighting of a male Hen Harrier as we went over the moor, 20 Whoopers flying South down Loch Gruinart. Coming home the fields at Ballinaby held quite a number of Barnies and further on a Merlin flew across the road in front of us.