Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Wednesday 31st August

Another month almost in, so I took the chance and emptied the rain gauge out... There was 3.75" in for the month, and by the look of things, there will not be any more to significantly change it! Today has been a day waiting for folk to turn up as promised, waiting on phone calls, net result really was that I hung around for basically nothing, very trying to put it politely, and no bird news, worse still... sorry...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Tuesday 30th August

A Golden Eagle was seen out over the crag earlier today, and a little later on the same folk had a Peregrine there too. David Mason, a volunteer with at RSPB at present, had seen a Yellowhammer over at Bunnahabhain on Saturday, and today up near to the former Kilchoman School, a Reed Bunting was present. Coming home tonight and there were a lot of moths out on the wing.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Monday 29th August

I was speaking with visitors to Islay this afternoon who told me that they had seen a Curlew Sandpiper down at "smelly corner" yesterday. Today they had seen a couple of Hen Harriers while they were out and about. Bob today had seen 9 Wigeon on Loch Indaal just below the generating station as you enter Bowmore from Bridgend. This afternoon, just after "smelly corner" and almost at the entrance to Whin Park, we saw an Osprey carrying a fish torpedo style, flying over the head of Loch Indaal, wonder if this was the same Osprey that Eddie Brown saw over Carnduncan last week?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sunday 28th August

George had seen an Otter down on the shore this morning below his house, the first he has seen there since the middle of May. Up on his ponds, George saw a juvenile Moorhen today, the first there for some time. Yesterday, coming home he had a flock of around 100 Greylags on Loch Indaal, opposite Bruichladdich Hall. Over the past few days Bob has had a Sparrowhawk in his garden on a regular basis out hunting the wee birds. Over in the willows at the water works beside his house, Bob has seen 8 Coal Tits quite often lately. This afternoon, James had counted quite a few waders on Loch Gruinart, 145 Sanderling, 245 Dunlin, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 12 Turnstone with a Peregrine trying to catch them. There was also an Arctic Skua there too. Back up at home there was a Merlin and also a Sparrowhawk chasing the finches in the game crops.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Saturday 27th August

A rather late entry folks, should really have done it before I went out, but did n't.... Mark on his way over here this morning had seen a Merlin just before Rockside. Visitors who arrived here on Islay this afternoon had seen a couple of White tailed Sea Eagle as they were coming up the Sound of Islay, and later on they saw 10 Chough over the crag.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Friday 26th August

Mark had a count of 790 Greylags on the flats this afternoon. Eddie Brown, our local painter/decorator from Conisby at Bruichladdich had been in touch with Malcolm to say that he had seen an Osprey over Carnduncan around 1pm today. James was out for a while today too and had the followings birds, 45 Black tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 26 Sanderling, 14 Knot and 34 Bar tailed Godwits on the reserve at Gruinart.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Thursday 25th August

Yesterday, Michal had a count of 150 Linnets close to Gruinart Farm, and on his way home from the Bat night at RSPB Gruinart, Mark saw a Barn Owl out hunting. This morning, on the guided walk at Gruinart, Mark had a Kestrel, 35 Black tailed Godwit, 50 Sanderling, 20 Knot, 5 Ringed Plover and 25 Twite.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday 24th August

Forgot to mention other "Rutland birds" that were seen, Andy on Thursday afternoon had a Hobby directly overhead where the Bird Fair was being held, and on Paul's farm a pair of Nuthatches as well as Yellow Wagtails are also seen regularly. Back to Islay now, and yesterday morning first thing as he let his dogs out, Bob saw a couple of Hen Harriers mobbing something on the ground just over the brow of the hill. When he went for a closer look the Harriers left and what was on the ground but a pair of Golden Eagles who in turn took off and flew away. Here at home yesterday morning there was a large group of Sand Martins flying around before they headed off in a Southerly direction, youngsters heading away? Think back a few days ago and the blog reported on Martin seeing a Redshank with coloured bands on it's legs, well Martin received through an e mail today to say that the same bird was seen yesterday on the River Orwell in Suffolk, not far from where it was originally first rung, must have been fit enough to get that distance anyway!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tuesday 23rd August

Yes, the Islay crew have returned to base again. The above is an image of Gordon Langsbury along with local lad Paul Watchorn enjoying some "hospitality" at our stand at the Bird Fair. We sure had a great time, but boy, was it busy...... I know myself that I would not have made it home yesterday had it not been for Andy doing the driving up to Balloch as I for one was exhausted, thanks Andy. Thanks also to Carl and Michal who kept the whole show on track with back up from George and Megan too. You all did us proud folks. I did not really have time to do much birding while we were away but at Paul's house there were numerous Tree Sparrows on his bird feeders, a Greater spotted Woodpecker, a family of Red legged Partridges, rather than released birds, as well as the most numerous bird being Woodpigeons. There were also a few Magpies to be seen too. A fully grown Horse Chesnut Tree laden with conkers on it, out in front of Paul's house. We really are easy pleased, us island boys.....

Monday, 22 August 2011

Mon 22nd Aug 2011

A busy Monday not much time for birdwatching. A sunny August day with a breeze to keep the midges at bay. I did count 453 greylags on the reseeded field on the Gruinart flats.
Bird fair is over and I believe it was a good show. Ian and Michal should be heading back north to Islay tonight.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sun 21st Aug 2011

A sunny Sunday. I was out looking for marsh fritillary butterfly larval webs. A few birds: hen harrier, sparrowhawk and a flock of 45 twite all at Gruinart. Last night while driving the roads of Gruinart, I had 2 barn owls and 2 hedgehogs.
I believe all has gone well at bird fair - well done Ian, Carl, Michal and Andy. I hope all of you that visited the stall had a good time and will come up to visit Islay soon.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Sat 20th Aug 2011

Today was Port Charlotte gala day and great weather made for a good day out. Bob had been out birdwatching before the gala. Yesterday he had a female merlin at Ardnave. This morning between Bowmore and Gartbrek he counted 75 greylag, 60 oystercatchers, 120 curlew, 1 whimbrel, 2 redshank, 1 greenshank, 2 bar tailed godwits, 2 sanderling, 380 dunlin, 200 ringed plover, 65 turnstone and 2 sparrowhawks. From Gartmain 220 bar tailed godwits and later another sparrowhawk.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Fri 19th Aug 2011

A good morning with the weather closing in over Islay during the afternoon. I had a look over Loch Gruinart, lots of waders are on the move. A couple of the more interesting records include 63 knot and 1 ruff, also a hen harrier hunting, a young male.
I had a trail camera out earlier in he week and got this picture of a roe deer jumping into view!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Thur 18th Aug 2011

Todays star bird has been an Osprey over Loch Gruinart. Although its the number of passerines on the barley fields that are causing remark. Bob reported up to 200 House Sparrows near Port Charlotte and loads of rooks, jackdaws and ravens as well as 3 Golden Eagles drifting over during the day. At Gruinart there has been on flock of 40 twite and another flock of 85 twite, 37 linnets and 22 greenfinches. There has also been a report of a ruff at Ardnave.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Wed 17th Aug 2011

They packed the pickup with all the supplies and more than a few wee drams and the boys road journey to Bird Fair 2011 started! I helped pack and waved them off or at least they went in for some well earned soup before departure. Good luck!
On Islay the Greylags have continued to gather, a good count on the reserve 1120 yesterday. Today 22 Greenfinches, 48 Twite and 14 Linnets were being chased by a Hen Harrier.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tuesday 16th August

Just had an e mail in from the Jackson/Wodrich family who are over on holiday, their first visit to Islay. On Saturday 13th August, they saw 2 Basking Sharks in the channel between Port Wemyss and Orsay Island. "Wonderful experience, wonderful place". Many thanks for sharing your sighting with us. This evening, just the back of 7pm when I was up the hill, a Golden Eagle flew over, it had its' feet down about to land but saw me and kept on the move. It then was mobbed by a Raven and then a Buzzard, it was great to see, less than 50 feet away, and yet again no camera, that's the way it goes sometimes! Michal has been doing some counts yesterday and today. On Loch Gruinart, the scores on the doors were as follows, 51 Greylags, 13 Eider, 135 Oystercatcher, 237 Ringed Plover, 6 Golden Plover, 80 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel, 99 Curlew, 135 Black headed Gull, 49 Herring Gull, and 1 Lesser Black backed Gull. On the floods the count was 16 Mute Swans, 1 Whooper Swan, 25 Teal, 14 Mallard and 4 Heron.

James will be looking after the blog over the next few days as I am heading off down to the Bird Fair at Rutland along with Carl, Michal, George and Megan Jackson and also Andy Robinson from RSPB. No doubt we will forget something, but we will not tell you until what it is until our return.....So if you are going, we will be on Stand 14, Marquee 1, we look forward to meeting you.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Monday 15th August

Sorry folks, forgot to put an entry on last night, an age thing honest... Rob Lucking who was over on holiday had seen a Knot with colour rings on, down on the Strand beside the airport on Friday, and received through the data on it today. It was originally rung on the island of Simonszand which is off the coast of Holland on the 25th August 2006, and this is the first time time it has been seen since. Nick Wilkinson who is over working here on Islay had 12 Black tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel, 28 Knot, 108 Oystercatcher and 36 Curlew this morning on Loch Gruinart.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Saturday 13th August

Last night when James was walking his dog, he had a Barn Owl out hunting. This morning he had a Whimbrel fly over his house on the reserve at Gruinart. Also today, Mary had seen a Merlin twisting and turning, chasing after a lbj down close to Nerabus. Also at Portnahaven, the Twite and Linnet flocks are starting to gather in size. Next thing I will be writing about is that the days are starting to draw in, well "show day" is now past, so winter can't be that far off.....

Friday, 12 August 2011

Friday 12th August

No doubt on the mainland, some of the sporting estates would be getting exited today, with today being "the glorious 12th", the day that the Grouse shooting season starts. Over here on Islay we have very few Grouse, and it would be doubtful if any were actually shot here... The weather here today has not been that great, overcast, not much sign of blue skies, temperature about normal for here, not really a day for birding. On the bird table the birds are certainly making the most of the food put out. Earlier this week, a visitor had seen a Great Skua or Bonxie fly past when he was up the East side of Loch Gruinart.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Thursday 11th August

A better day weather wise for the local Agricultural Show, it started of damp (not wet) and overcast, it dried up and by mid afternoon it was not too bad a day at all, better still no midges which can be a nuisance at the best of times! It was good to see some of the young folk competing in the various classes and winning rosettes for their stock, it can sometimes be a bit of a grind with the same folk winning all the time, just like the football teams... Bird front obviously quiet, but Bob had been down on the Machir Bay and counted 70 Sanderling.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Wednesday 10th August

Sounds a bit like last night's entry again, but today it has rained all day, in fact I reckon at present as I write this entry, we have had around 1.5" of rain in the last 21 hours, with no sign of any let up. The mist has kept swirling around the crag all day, and never lifted, the plane never came in today either in the morning or the afternoon.....So, instead I did some bits and bobs for the Bird Fair. I even see that our presence down at Rutland has got a mention in the current Bird Watching magazine, just hope that it all goes to plan....the ferry is booked, hotel booked, what else needs to be done?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Tuesaday 9th August

Not a lot of birding done here today by me as I have been busy this afternoon helping to put up the marquees for our local Agricultural show which is held on Thursday coming down at Bridgend. Fortunately, Martin got an e mail back regarding the Redshank with the colour rings that he had seen over the weekend. It was initially rung as an adult bird on the 8th of September 2010 down in Suffolk on the River Orwell, and the last time it was seen was at the same location on the 1st of March 2011. Was it a bird returning from Iceland on its way South when Martin saw it?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Monday 8th August

Forgot to say last night that Bob had seen 10 Greenshank together when I mentioned that he had seen Greenshank down at the head of Loch Indaal. This morning over Main Street in Bowmore, Bob had a Peregrine fly over. Back here at home and there have been 3 pairs of Goldfinches along with their young on the seed heads. I think I spoke too soon the other night as the pair of Swallows in the garage have laid a second clutch of eggs!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sunday 7th August

Yesterday Bob and Martin had been out, at Bruichladdich they had 4 Turnstone along with 2 Ringed Plover. At the spit on the strand along from Uiskentuie, 6 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover and a tired looking Redshank with coloured rings on its legs were seen. Martin has informed BTO so it will of interest to hear of its' history. Along on the merse at the head of Loch Indall, Greenshank, 6 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 250 Oystercatcher, 200 Curlew, 2 Knot, 80 Dunlin, 206 Bar tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone and 2 Snipe. On the Gorse bushes there, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and also a Wood Warbler were present. There was also a group of 10 Arctic Terns mobbing them at one point. 3 Herons were out on the edge of the merse, and back at home Bob had Blue Tits and Great Tits on his feeders, the first he has had for a while.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Saturday 6th August

A bit of a change of change today with the weather. We did not have much rain here but there was a rumble of thunder earlier on and possibly the poor souls on the Islay Mini marathon would getting a soaking.... Coming home last night from Port Charlotte Mark had a Barn Owl and further on a Tawny Owl. Earlier on while down on the Oa in the afternoon, he also saw a Golden Eagle. Here at home, this afternoon there were 39 Swallows on the overhead wires at the back of the cottages. At tea time tonight, there were 2 young Golden Eagles out over the crag getting harassed by a couple of Buzzards and then after that there was a small flock of 10 Chough out over the far crag. Over at Ballinaby this evening, there were 80 Greylags, on the flats at Gruinart 131 were noted and a further 62 at Sunderland, all on the fields that had been recently cut for silage. There were also 40 Rock Doves at Sunderland in the same field.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Friday 5th August

A not bad day out here, no complaints, even had the flymo out cutting those awkward pieces of grass.....George had 2 young Herons and an adult Heron down at Bruichladdich. He also saw an adult Linnet feeding young. A Greenfinch was in at his feeders, and he has seen a few more Wrens around of late. A visitor told me last night that they had seen a dead Puffin over at Saligo Bay, wonder if it was the same bird that was seen over there in poor condition. Bob had been over at Kintra this afternoon and had seen a Merlin, 2 Red throated Divers, 10 Chough, a flock of around 100 moulting Eider, 150 Greylags and 2 Common Sandpiper.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Thursday 4th August

A mixed day with the weather today, at least it turned out a better day than was really forecasted.... A Green Sandpiper was reported in as being seen earlier this week on the North Rhinns. This morning, James had a Greenshank fly over the office at Gruinart. Yesterday we had a male Hen Harrier flying over the fields up behind Imeraval at Port Ellen, later on I saw a ringtail flying over Minister's field here at home, and this evening there was another ringtail down at Rockmountain. Also there was a Roe Deer grazing away with her 2 youngsters.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Wednesday 3rd August

Another great day again folks, even managed to get some grass cut too. James had an Adder up the back of the office at Bushmills yesterday, and later on while out walking his dog he heard a family of Barn Owls calling away. This morning on top of one of the walk through sheep feeders there was a newly fledged Robin, and just the back of lunchtime there was a young Wheatear out on the back grass.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tuesday 2nd August

There was a low mist hanging around first thing this morning, which lead to the plane coming in late, but at least it did come. I forgot to say that we saw a Kestrel on the overhead wires on Jura as we made our way back to Feolin about 1 mile out of Craighouse. Margaret commented that the Swallows that nest above the fuse box in the garage have only raised one brood of youngsters this year, normally they raise 2 broods and occasionally a third brood. Another pair of Swallows out in the garden shed have built their nest this year above an old wasp bink, and they raised their first brood no bother, but again no sign of another brood. Late afternoon there were 16 Chough out over the crag, earlier on there was a Buzzard calling away for quite some time.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Monday 1st August

Another month in now, and another dry month with only 1.6" of rain for July, so we are still behind last year's running total.... This afternoon, Bob had been up at Ardnave on the INHT ramble led by Becky, and on one of the bays the following were seen, 80 Oystercatcher, 4 Black tailed Godwits, 8 Bar tailed Godwits, 1 Knot, 10 Dunlin and 3 Little Stint