Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Wednesday 30th April

Been one of those days, hence the late entry, so here goes. Last night the famous Islay Bird nerds met up at the hide at Gruinart, a bit of a crush with 20 folk coming along including 5 visitors, great to see you folks, as ever all made welcome with some food provided by Margaret and Pat, many thanks folks! On Monday, Mark had a Redstart down on the Oa and Richard Gordon who was on the guided walk there yesterday morning, spotted an immature Glaucous Gull following the plough. The nerds had a good time and from the hide we heard Snipe drumming, saw Whimbrel, Shelduck, Pintail, Shoveler, Mallard with young, Greylags, Redshank, Single Ruff , Lapwing but no Corncrake was heard last night! James was saying that thee is around 260 Barnies still present and the single Pale bellied Brent was seen up at Ardnave earlier on this week. Yesterday am, Michal heard 3 different Cuckoos between Port Ellen and Kildalton cross, and also 2 groppers and 3 Sedge Warblers too. He had a single Common sandpiper opposite Lagavulin Distillery and a Yellowhammer at Kildalton Cross. Today Michal saw a Whitethroat at Moulin on the reserve at Gruinart while over at Bunnahabhain, 2 Common sandpipers were present and 40 Black Guillemots as well. At Ardnahoe, a Cuckoo was heard, a Common Sandpiper seen and another Gropper heard. Finally above Caol Ila a Whinchat, Whitethroat, 2 Groppers. 1 Cuckoo and Mistle Thrush were all heard! Alistair staying down at Portnahaven saw 9 Whimbrel out at Claddach.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Tuesday 29th April

A great list through from Portnahaven birder... yesterday he had done a sea watch out at Frenchman's Rock beteween 7am and 8am, his tally was as follows. 340 Gannet flying North, 28 South, 44 Manx Shearwater going North, none South, Guillemots, 48 N, 7 S, Razorbills 10 N, 4 S, there more Auks seen but further out and hard to id. Fulmars 8, Kittiwake 5 N, 5 S, Shag 6, 1 Cormorant (new sighting here to him), 8 Turnstone, 9 Whimbrel, 8 Oystercatcher, Also seen on the way there and back and on Currie's Sands were 3 Pied Wagtails, 2 Eider, 2 Hooded Crows, 2 Stonechats, 12 Mipits, 1 Cuckoo (heard), 4 Skylark, 12 Starling, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Black Guillemot, 3 Wheatear, 16 Herring Gull, 5 Swallow and 1GND. Over on Loch Indaal, close to Bowmore he saw 4 Little Tern, at Gruinart, 14 Blackwits, Lapwings with chicks, a male Hen Harrier round Loch Gorm, a ringtail up towards Sanaigmore and Cuckoo on the wires don towards Wester Ellister. Here at home there were a couple of Collared Doves seen, and extra faces on the bird table were a couple of Redpolls and also a Greenfinch. The Rochdale birders had a count of 4 Yellowhammers over at Bunnahabhain and also a male Hen Harrier there too. Another was seen at Sanaigmore with a male and female seen at Loch Gorm.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Monday 28th April

Bjoern from Norway sent some more of his sightings seen here on Islay last week. He had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle, Golden Eagle, several Hen Harrier, Buzzards and from where he was staying at Lyrabus Croft he had see an Osprey and heard a Water Rail. James yesterday had 2 Greenland Whitefronts on the flats, he also saw 13 Blackwits and a Ruff. Down towards the old hide he hearda Sedge warbler and also a Corncrake. Today, Michal saw a Whitethroat down at Bruichladich. Bob had heard 6 Sedge Warblers down towards Loch Gorm and also saw a Merlin there too. Between Sunderland and Kilchoman he counted 52 Greylags in the fields and back home, he heard a Corncrake calling away in the waterworks across the road. The Rochdale birders had heard a Sedge Warbler and also a "gropper" over at the Lily Loch close to Port Askaig. On the trees at Loch Allan, they saw a pr of Crossbills on the pine cones. They also saw 2 pr of Herons along with their young there too. At Bruichladdich, a Purple Sandpiper was seen with 10 Whimbrel present at Port Ban, finally they saw a Golden Eagle fly over Loch Gorm

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Sunday 27th April

Another glorious day here, can it last through to the end of the month, only time will tell....Before Jim Dickson left for home, he managed some more sightings... 24 Whimbrel close to Craigfad and another 7 up at Uiskentuie. Jim also saw a male Whinchat at Ardnave, heard 3 singing Sedge Warblers on the reserve at Gruinart and saw 3 Blackwits there too. Michal had a Mallard crossing the road at the reserve with her brood following on behind. Our Portnahaven birder had heard 3 "Groppers" (grasshopper warblers) reeling away as well as 4 Sedge Warblers singing, he also saw a pr of Ravens and a pr of Buzzards all close to Portnahaven. He had lots of Linnets at Port Wemyss and "more Wheatear and Meadow Pipits", too many to count! David and Jane Griffiths had heard a Cuckoo up past Cluanach and saw a distant White tailed Sea Eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard. The single Pale bellied Brent Goose was still present at Bowmore alongside a raft of around 50 Eiders. Back on Friday on the Big Strand, Bjoern Olsen from Norway had seen a Glaucous Gull. Visiting birder Phil had a good day out from Ballaclava out down on the Oa with his tally for the day coming to 55 species. Highlights were a pr of Golden Eagles, a male Hen Harrier, 2 Chough and a "Gropper" reeling away all on the reserve itself with another "gropper" back at Ballaclava. For any folk over on Islay this week, the Islay bird nerds will be meeting on Tuesday evening at 7pm at the carpark at RSPB Gruinatrt, with a view of doing some birding from the hides, might even hear a Corncrake too...

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Saturday 26th April

The Argyll birder (Jim Dickson) has headed home now, but yesterday had seen the "Kumlien,s Gull with some Thayer's features" down at Bruichladdich again. Jim noted an increase in waders with 758 Dunlin, 129 Ringed Plover and 76 Barwits and a single Blackwit present at Gruinart. 10 Whimbrel were at Uiskentuie wth 10 Arctic Terns seen there too and also a female Long tailed Duck flying towards Black Rock, there were also a tight group of 23 GND and a further tally of another 15 GND on Loch Indaal itself. Blackcaps were heard at Gruinart and also at Loch Skerrols, 2 Common Sandpipers were present too as well as a female Sparrowhawk. He also heard a Cuckoo at Lagstoban. Carl had a Common Sandpiper at Gortan. Another visiting birder has come this week based down at Portnahven, today he had 40 Whimbrel close to Nerabus, a Cuckoo on the overhead cabling as he came out of Portnahaven and off Port Wemyss, 5 GND were seen. George had seen House Martins, Sand Martins and also some Swallows at his house today, a good sign!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Friday 25th April 2014

Some sightings through from Mary from earlier this week, she carried out a count on Loch Gruinart estuary on Wednesday with the following birds seen, 3 GND, 291 Shelduck, 8 Wigeon, 8 Mallard, 20 Eider, 141 Oystercatcher, 254 Ringed Plover, 641 Dunlin, 11 Barwits, 17 Curlew, 51 Redshank, 12 Turnstone,1 Long tailed Duck, 3 BH Gull, 186 Common Gull, 6 LBB Gull, 4 GBB Gull and 27 Herring Gull. Yesterday at Ardnave, Mary had a male Hen Harrier out hunting as well as a pr of Twite gathering nesting materials. In the evening, she had a gropper (grashopper warbler) singing behind her house down at Portnahaven and this morning there were 2 singing and further on in the village she heard her first Sedge Warbler for the year, with a distant Cuckoo also heard. The Rochdale birders had 21 Barwits up at Ardnave yesterday. Today, they heard a Whinchat at Gearach, saw a flock of 120 Golden Plover at Lossit and down in the field adjacent to the car park at Machir Bay 9 Dunlin and 20 Ringed Plover were present.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Thursday 24th April

Yesterday, the Argyll birder reported through that were more Golden Plovers and House Martins around.. At Gruinart he had 8 House Martins, 1 Barwit and 250 Dunlin. At Ballinaby, there were 440 Golden Plover along with 16 Ringed Plover. Ardnave held 196 Golden Plover, a further 65 at Craigens and also 78 at Conisby! At the head of Loch Indaal, 38 Barwits were seen along with 8 Knot. At Bun an uillt, a female Goldeneye was seen while between Coillabus and Erasaid, 10 House Martins were present. Today, the Rochdale birders had seen 17 Whimbrel and then a futher 6 a few moments later. At Loch Tallant they saw an adult Whooper with a juv. Yesterday over at Finlaggan, they saw 60 Meadow Pipits fly low in a N E direction in the space of a couple of minutes. This morning Michal had a Chiifchaff at Moulin while Emily was awoken to a Cuckoo calling....

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Wednesday 23rd April

We might have had a slight amount of rain through the night, but "as ever" another good day ensued...The Argyll birder yesterday had a Common Sandpiper at Portnahaven. Round at Ballinaby, he had a count of 400 Golden Plover, 8 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin. On the reserve at Gruinart, the Ruff was still present along with 8 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall,and 16 White Wagtail. On the mudflats, there were around 200 Dunlin and Ringed Plover while on the flats there were 4 Whoopers. Over at Craigens 12 Greenland Whitefronts and 8 White Wagtail were seen. On Loch Indaal, 46 Barwits were present. David Griffiths heard a Cuckoo yesterday evening over close to Neriby. Today, Louise saw an Osprey up behind Loch Gorm, Michal had 2 Blackcaps at Keills with another outside the office at Bushmills. The Rochdale birders have been busy today as well with a Peregrine at Gearach, a Chiffchaff in the wood over at Tallant, 3 different Hen Harriers close to Bowmore with a Cuckoo heard at Foreland. At Tallant thay also saw 2 Speckled Wood Butterflies while in Ballygrant Wood, they saw their first for the year of an Early Purple Orchid which was in flower. Down at Bowmore the single Pale bellied Brent was still there , wonder if it is injured? Here at home on the bird table this afternoon was Redpoll along with many Goldfinches while there were some large Canada Geese present round at Ballinaby.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tuesday 22nd April

Another dry day, so should not really complain... Yesterday, Carl had been in Bridgend woods where he had Redpoll, Siskin, Goldfinches, Coal Tit, Great Tit , Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit and also Treecreeper. Down at Rannochmore he had seen a White Wagtail and on his way there, at the sewerage treatment works outside Bowmore there were hundreds of Sand Martins flying around. The Argyll birder had seen 7 Greater Scaup along with 12 Tufties on Loch Gorm, round at Ballinaby he had a flock of 431 Golden Plover. Today, the Rochdale birders had heard 2 Blackcaps singing away in Bridgend woods as were 2 Goldcrest also there. They had a further 2 Blackcaps singing down at Kildalton while back outside Port Charlotte, there were 150 Golden Plovers present. Here at home, there appeared to be more Swallows flying around this afternoon.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Monday 21st April

Yesyerday Michal walked from Ardtalla round the coast to Port Askaig. At Ardtalla, Michal heard a Cuckoo and saw several Redpoll as well as a Goldcrest. On his actual walk Michal had 3 Peregrines, 2 pairs of Ravens, a Mute swan on the nest, possibly the same Mute that Armin had seen, and Michal also saw 2 Common Sandpipers. Marsali Thomson had heard a Cuckoo and seen Swallows over at Mulindry. Carl Mitchell on Saturday before he headed home, had 2 Common Sandpiper at Bunnahabhain and a further 2 at Kintra as well as 5 Sandwich Terns there too. Carl R yesterday had 150 Golden Plover at Ardnave and also "lots" of Wheatear seen there too. Bob yesterday done the Bowmore to Gartbreck count, with the count being, 3 GND, 10 Shag, 3 Cormorant, 10 Barnies, 30 Shelduck, 3 Wigeon, 78 RBM, 110 Eider, 40 Oystercatcher, 15 Curlew, 80 Dunlin, 7 Turnstone, 81 Ringed Plover, 4 Lapwing, 2 GBB Gull, 12 Herring Gull, 12 Common Gull, 22 BH Gull, 4 Sandwich Terns, 6 White Wagtails, 4 Wheatears and a female Merlin hunting around the wee islands. In the afternoon, at Octomore, a female Sparrowhawk, a male Hen Harrier, with a Blackwit and 32 Golden Plover in the flooded fields beside Port Charlotte. James yesterday counted 340 Barnies still on the reserve at Gruinart, he also had a Golden Eagle and also 6 Wheatears. Later on, leaving Kilchoman, down close the Coastguards a Merlin sped past, just fresh in from the eea, or that general direction....

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sunday 20th April

Words fail me, another glorious day, not like some parts of the country...Yesterday Michal heard a Blackcap singing when he was over at Kilchoman, later on as we walked up to Shepherd's cottage there was a happening in the rough grass, 2 Crows must have had a dispute with a Kestrel as we just saw the end of it as they all took off, still ducking and diving! Armin, back on Friday along with the group of walkers on the "walkislay" walk on the Sound of Islay had met in with the group from St Andrews who were catching a tagging Seals as part of the survey into the tidal array to be sited there soon. A late entry too, through from Ken and Karen who had a Treecreeper while out walking from Ballygrant earlier this week on Wednesday. Yesterday Carl Reavey had a Swallow at Wester Ellister and a several more at Octofad where there was a Wheatear too. At Easter Ellister, a Mistle Thrush was seen and back over Port Charlotte, several skeins of Barnies were seen flying high, North westerly, possibly heading away...The Rochdale birders are over for another "Islay fix". They had seen 2 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich, heard a Cuckoo at Gearach, saw a female Merlin close to Claddach and also a male and a female Hen Harrier at different places on their way round the Rhinns. A visitor over for the week from mainland Argyll had seen a Thayers/ Kumlien Gull down Bruichladdich today, on Loch Indaal a tight group of 52 GND with another 10 seen individually there too and also a raft of 30 Common Scoter. Up at Gruinart he had a total of 18 White Wagtail, the Ruff is still present as well as 4 Dunlin. Before leaving Kennacraig, he had seen a Whimbrel yesterday.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Saturday 19th April

Another great day out here, long may it last, time for my "solar panel" to heat up...Some sightings through from yesterday, "solo" from Dumfries had seen 3 Swallows, 2 Buzzards and a Raven chasing a Golden Eagle over close to the Sound of Islay. "Solo" alais Mick Durham has headed home now, so thanks to Mick for giving us some sightings while he was over, hw was aided by his friend Edmund Fellowes at the start of his stay. The Bearsden birders, Ken and Karen Graham have also headed home but they heard the Corncrake calling at Gruinart yesterday.One of the folk over for walkislay, Armin Grewe had 3 Buzzards, 3 Golden Eagle, 2 Mute Swan, 5 pr of Goldfinches and a few Siskins while on the walk out from Ballygrant yesterday. Carl Mitchell yesterday had heard a Cuckoo calling over at Ballivicar at Port Ellen, seen a single Pale bellied brent Goose at Bowmore and also 6 GND in the bay at Sanaigmore. Michal had seen 8 Yellowhammers and also a Kestrel while walking from Gortantoid round to Bunnahabhain. Finally Carl Reavey had seen Blackcaps at Skerrols and also at Eollabus, 3 Chiffchaff at Skerrols, noted the large fall of Willow Warblers, seen "everywhere", over 60 Linnets seen at Newton, Wheatear at Octovullin, Comic Terns on Loch Indaal, a Merlin at Port Charlotte and a Peregrine at Craigfad. We had a male Hen Harrier fly past Shepherd's cottage yesterday afternoon

Friday, 18 April 2014

Friday 18th April

A glorious day on sunny Islay, blue skies too.. what else do you want? Some sightings through from yesterday, Mary saw a male Snow Bunting in summer plumage down at Claddach at Portnahaven. Carl Mitchell, one of Ed's bosses who is over for a few days had seen 6 Sandwich Terns perched on the rocks at Bruichladdich and he also heard the Corncrake calling below the viewing platform at Gruinart. "Solo" had been round Ardnave Point and had 6 GND, a Red breasted Merganser, 4 small groups of Ringed Plover, pr of Shelduck, 30 Eider and also 5 Gannets fishing off Nave Island. He also had seen a few Chough and back at Kilchoman, he had a Chiffchaff. The Bearsden birders had around 40 Shelduck at "smelly corner" on their way back from Bowmore in the evening. Forgot to mention that back on Monday evening that we saw the International Space station as it passed by, wonder if the crew spotted us waving to them!!!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Thursday 17th April

Some sightings through from Pete Morris who is a BirdQuest guide who is over with his family on holiday rather than leading a group! Sightings were gleaned from Pete by Peter Roberts over a dinner table! On Monday, they had the Green winged Teal and a Greenshank on the reserve at Gruinart, the North side of Loch Gorm a flock of 300 Golden Plover were seen. On Loch Indaal, from Bowmore, at least 5 Slav Grebes present while on the Oa they had a Golden Eagle and 2 Peregrines. Tuesday, at Killinallan, an adult White tailed Sea Eagle was present and also a second yr Golden Eagle as well as a small flock of 10 Twite. Over at Finlaggan, they had a sub adult Golden Eagle and also Hen Harriers "sky dancing". Yesterday, they had a count of 27 RT Divers on Loch Indaal, over 40 Barwits and heard the Corncrake at Gruinart. At Bunahabhain, another Golden Eagle and also a Red Grouse were present. Portnahaven had several Manxies offshore and also 3 Common Sandpipers, Bruichladdich, 2 Sandwich Terns, Bowmore a single Pale bellied Brent Goose and at Gartbreck, 3 Sandwich Terns were seen. Solo from Dumfries saw a Common Sandpiper on the Sound of Islay yesterday

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wednesday 16th April

Better late than never... I went over to Colonsay and then with the tide being out over the strand to Oransay, so once I came home, I was tired out and did not do the blog, sorry... On Tuesday down at Portnahaven Mary had a Grasshopper Warbler and at Gruinart, James had a Ruff, 6 White Wagtail and also noted the fall of Willow Warblers that Bob had too. On Colonsay/ Oransay and going over there on the ferry, we saw the following birds, Black Guillemot, GND, Greylags, Barnacle geese, flock of over 300 Golden Plover, Golden Eagle, Rock Doves, Kittiwake, Skylark, Chough and also 2 Snipe "chipping" at Scalascaig. The weather out with the rain only coming on near the end.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tuesday 15th April

Another good day here, there might have been a wee edge to the air, but by the sound of the forecast,tomorrow is not looking too clever with rain here by midday! On Sunday, Mary Merrall had a Common Sandpiper down at Claddach at Portnahaven. George had 2 Golden Eagles up the back of Carrabus at the tail end of last week, possibly the same birds that Mary had seen there around the same time. Today, George had a Willow Warbler today down at his house at Bruichladdich. Bob, yesterday had noticed more Willow Warblers around with a Merlin up on Bolsay Moor. Down at Knockdon on a field being ploughed Bob counted 64 Lbb gulls, 120 Herring Gulls, 36 Common Gulls and 16 Black headed gulls. Today "Solo" from Dumfries had walked from Saligo round Coull Point to Machir Bay, his birds included a group of 3 Swallows, several pairs of Fulmars on the cliffs on thier nest sites, 2 Wheatear, pr of Chough, on Machir Bay iteslf, 6 Sanderling and 2 Turnstone were seen. The Beardsen Birders had seen a Swallow at Kilchoman, 1 Wheatear at Ardnave, over the reserve at Gruinart, a pr of Hen Harriers and then at Rock Mountain a further male Hen Harrier was present. This evening they saw 5 Hares while going over to Saligo from Kilchoman and then 2 Roe Deer at Rock Mountain. Armin and "London Dave on their way to their walk today over from Port Ellen had sen a Kestrel being mobbed by 2 crows on the high road, coming home the same road 2 Hen Harriers were seen.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Monday 14th April

A glorious day over here today, a great day for Mary's walk over to Kilchiaran. On the way we had Sand Martin, Swallow, Wheatear, Buzzard, Chough and Raven, over at the bay at Kilchiaran, Kittiwake and Fulmars were seen on the nest! The Rooks at Gruinart have started to hatch their eggs....Michal had a Chiffchaff in the woods around Gortantoid and had 4 singing Yelowhammer up along the coast from there as well. David Griffiths had a Dipper at The Woolen Mill on the Sorn the other day After the walk, this afternoon, we had a Peregrine high up in the air, here at home, and then it must have seen some prey, and it just dropped out of the sky, wings tucked in, no mercy shown there!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday 13th April

Yesterday, Carl had 2 Sandwich Terns at Bruichladdich while Bob was over at the hide at Gruinart where he saw a White Wagtail and also the male Green winged Teal. Today Bob carried out a count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck with the scores on the doors being as follows, 2 GND, 1 Slav Grebe, 1 Shag, 2 Greylag, 10 Barnies, 10 Greenland whitefronts, 1 Goldeneye, 27 Shelduck, 6 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 2 Pintail, 119 Eider, 17 Red Breasted Merganser, 65 Oystercatcher, 4 Curlew, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Barwit, 6 Redshank, 20 Knot, 18 Turnstore, 3 Lapwing, 17 Golden Plover,76 Ringed Plover,1 Snipe, 2 Arctic Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 GBB Gull, 2 LBB Gull, 10 Common Gull, 25 Herring Gull and 16 Black headed Gulls.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Saturday 12th April

John Hughes who has been over for a few days gave me through his sightings, so I have selected some of his birds. On Tuesday on Loch Indaal, John had 21 Eider and also 5 Sandwich Terns. Wednesday, at Gruinart the flock of around 700 Golden Plover were seen as well as a pr of Gadwall, 137 Shelduck from the hide and also a male Hen Harrier as well. On Thursday, John had a Peregrine at Kilchoman and also 2 Chiffchaff at Loch Allan. On Friday, John's last day, a flock of around 40 Twite as he went up to Sanaigmore, also another Peregrine. In the bay at Sanaigmore a Slavonian Grebe, Black throated Diver and also 3 GND. At Gruinart he had 18 Sand Martin while down on the shore of Loch Indaal, 13 Turnstone were seen. Thanks to John for your birds. "Ken's IKIP birders" have also had a good week, starting off last Sunday with 3 Buzzards close to Bunnahabhain and a futher 2 at Finlaggan, one being hassled by a crow! On Monday on the Oa, a Golden Eagle was soaring lazily minding its own business but it was being constantly battered by a a particularly angry seabird! They also saw a ringtail Hen Harrier close to where they are staying. Tuesday highlight was seeing a White tailed Sea Eagle at the head of Loch Indaal. Wednesday was a Jura day watching Hen Harriers, another 2 Buzzards and also 5 Herons. Thursday on the Oa they had seen 2 different Golden Eagles, but in peace this time nobody hassling either of them today! They also had their first Swallow. Friday early evening they watched a male Hen Harrier eating some prey which it had caught. Thanks Ken. Yesterday Alistair Paterson had a Hobby down at Port Ellen at 7 am and it flew across the bow of the ferry as it left to go to Kennacraig!. Today Peter had been over to Loch Allan where he heard Willow Warblers singing away as well as Treecreepers and also Goldcrest singing too.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Friday 11th April

Yesterday, Mary had spotted 2 juv Golden eagles up behind Carrabus, also there she had 6 Ravens and 2 Chough. On the samew patch today Mary had 2 Weatear. Peter from Sunderland he had a Merlin at the Coastguards the other day with a Kestrel hovering along near to Loch Gorm. Today he had 3 Sandwich Terns at Port Charlotte, at Blackrock the 9 Pale Bellied Brent geese were present. Over on Jura yesterday he had seen a Golden Eagle. THere was a flock of around 300 Golden Plover along at Rockside this afternoon.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Thursday 10th April

"Solo" from Dumfries had seen a Red throated Diver fly from Islay across to Jura this morning. Carl today had seen his first Swallow for the year down at Easter Ellister with a Stonechat at Carn as he headed back to Port C harlotte. Finally at Port Charlotte itself, Carl had a Razorbill in LOch Indaal. It is not just the birds that migrate around as Michal is back for a few months to do some contract work for RSPB, Emily has also returned to lead the walks for a second season while Ed has migrated South as he has completed his winter work on the Whitefronted Geese, so as the saying goes you win some and you lose some...Walkislay starts this Sunday, so we will get some more returning "well kent" faces for the week... hope the weather is kind to the walkers!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Wednesday 9th April

Peter from Sunderland had a couple of House Martins amongst the Sand Martin at Gruinart this morning. He also saw over 700 Golden Plover there too. On the way up to Ardnave, he saw several pairs of Wheatear. Yesterday, while leading the guided walk for the RSPB on the Oa, Emily had Chough and also a Peregrine. Peter had a count of 9 Pale bellied Brent down at Blackrock. Emily has been hearing the Snipe drumming over the reserve at Gruinart. Ed, earlier on in the week had a Great spotted Woodpecker fly across the road close to Lagavullin and later on a Golden Eagle harassing a juv White tailed Sea Eagle up behind Bridgend. This afternoon, Jack Fleming heard a Whimbrel at Gortan. More of the geese appear to have moved on, as there do not appear to be so many around!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Tuesday 8th April

Yesterday, Mary had a Magpie close to Garra Eallabus on the way up to Ardnave. At Ardnave farm, Mary saw a Swallow, while on the bird feeders, a Redpoll was present. The solo birder from Dumfries saw a female Merlin sitting on top of a fence post down beside the wee lochans beside Loch Gorm. Here at home this afternoon one of the Ravens, defending its' patch, chased a Buzzard off. Jack Fleming at Gruinart was telling me that some of the geese have flown North today. Just heard on the evening news that there has now been a total of 18 raptors found dead in part of Ross-shire, not good news at all, here is hoping that the person who carried out this crime is caught and severely dealt with.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Monday 7th April

Dave down on the Oa yesterday had seen 3 Willow Warblers a Fieldfare and also a Blackcap. Our solo birder from Dumfries today had a Blackcap and then later on a Peregrine. Here at home there were a pair of Siskins on the bird table outside the kitchen window. Visiting birder, John from London had a great start to his visit today with seeing a Kestrel and also a pair of Chough moments after his arrival here at Kilchoman.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sunday 6th April

A funny old day over today with squally showers coming out of nowhere, on the postive side of things, here at home we had a Bumblebee out, and there had been one yesterday as well, but I forgot to mention it last night...onto to birds, and there were 2 Greenfinches on the nut feeders this morning! The Fulmars are still here, so yes, posibly they are here at the nest sites, keep tuned for further info! Peter Roberts had a count of 50 Sand Martins out in front of the old hide at Gruinart. Along the road, up close to Garra Eallabus, a female Sparrowhawk was out on the wing skimming along, a mere 6 inches above the ground between some brambles and the gorse bushes there. On Ardnave Loch, there were 15 Tufted Duck and also 3 female Goldeneye present. The Dumfries birders, now down to one, so it should be a singular "birder" had seen a male and 2 female Goldeneye in Bowmore Harbour this morning and then a pr of Ravens up above Kilchiaran this afternoon.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Saturday 5th April

Yesterday, the Dumfriesshire birders had seen a Woodcock over on their way down the Sound of Islay. Out on the Sound were 2 Herons along with some GND. There was a constant movement of Fieldfare and Redwing flying North up the Sound, around 100 Fieldfare and 6 Redwing in total. At Ballygrant they saw a Collared Dove. Back at their cottage, they had a female Siskin on the nut feeder. Here at home on the bird table, there has been a Greenfinch, a bird we have not seen much over the past few months. Down at Blackrock this morning, there were 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese. The Fulmars have been in on the crag the last couple of days, may be there thinking of nesting rather than being a sign of "stormy weather"... we will wait and see!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Friday 4th April

Visiting birder, David Clugston back on the 31st March, had seen a 1st yr Iceland Gull at Craigens.On the 1st of April, he saw 6 Sand Martins at Ellister and 2 more over Loch Tallant yesterday and also 5 Sandwich Terns down at Port Ellen..Yesterday, Bob had seen the Green winged Teal from the new hide at Gruinart and up on Bolsay Moor a Merlin chasing a Chaffinch, sorry I do not know the outcome! Over at Glenegedale, Martin heard 2 Snipe out drumming and also saw a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch. Today, Bob had heard 2 Chiffchaff and 4 different Willow Warblers close to Port Charlotte. He also had a count of 65 Redwing as well as 170 Fieldfare there too. Malcolm had noticed that the female Mute Swan was back on her nest at Carnain, let's hope that she has better success this year. Today Malcolm saw 2 Sandwich Tern at Bruichlaadich with a RTD calling out on Loch Indaal. Peter also had seen the Sandwich Terns there closer to lunchtime. Peter from Sunderland had 3 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich a 2 large Canada Geese at Port Charlotte yesterday. Today at Port Charlotte, he had a Sandwich tern with a GND, RTD & a BTD close together on Loch Indaal as well as a distant Slav Grebe further out! Over at Loch Allen, in the trees there at least 4 Treecreepers as well as 4 Willow Warblers were seen. Yes, the geese are still here.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Thursday 3rd April

A bit of a murky, dank day out here today... Yesterday, James had a count of 10 different Hen Harriers over the reserve at Gruinart and up to Ardnave itself as well. He also saw 2 Red Grouse at Gruinart and up at Ardnave, James had a male Merlin and also a 2nd yr Golden Eagle there as well. Today, Danny had a count of 40 Fieldfare on the hill road between Coullabus and West Carrabus and down close to Saligo Bay in one of the Ballinaby fields, 40 Ringed Plover were present. This morning down beside the Coastguard cottage there was a Pink footed Goose amongst some Whitefronts. Further along the road there was a Whitefront with a more white at the top of its' beak, really quite noticeable. Coming back from Gruinart, at lunchtime we had a Snipe take off from the side of the road close to Culbuie. Back home this afternoon, James spotted a Peregrine being mobbed by a Raven over the crag when he came over to do some work with his sheep. The Snow Bunting that James had at Ardnave with the white ring Z4, was caught and rung in Calais on the 23rd of February, James saw it on the 19th of March!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Wednesday 2nd April

The other day Mary got some stats back from BTO from the birds that she had found dead on the Beached bird survey back in February along with Emily. Both the birds were found at the top of Loch Indaal, both Razorbills and both rung as nestlings. One bird was rung on Fair Isle back in 1980, so it was almost 34 years old, the other was a mere younster rung on the the Isle of Sanda in 1998. Back to today, Bob had a Spotted Crake over on Bolsay Moor this morning. We saw 3 different Sparrowhaks today, one beside the lime kiln down below Foreland, another in the willows at Shorefield, George's home at Bruichladdich. Later this afternoon the final bird flew past the kitchen window here at home. In the garden this morning, a Wren was singing away good style, is Spring in the air?? There was a small flock of Redwings up beside the old church at the top of the hill here this morning as well. The Dumfries Birders had an adult WTSE fly ovrer the Sound of Islay towards Islay. They also flushed a Snipe. Last night, they saw a Merlin chase the Starlings along the front of their cottage. Danny had been down at the hide at Gruinart and had seen good numbers of Ducks present, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler and Shelduck a great selection! By the way the Vulture yesterday was not an April Fool's trick, it was 100% true, honest...

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Tuesday 1st April

Today Malcolm had a phone call of a sighting of a new bird to Islay. So Malcolm and Peter set off and found the said bird over at Laggan. It turned out to be a Ruppell's Vulture which had flown off from the "World of Wings" centre close to Cumbernauld. It went awol back on Sunday 23rd of March, but Malcolm and Peter managed to capture it and all going well it will be returned there tomorrow. It flew off once before a few years back...Bob today had 6 Sand Martins and 3 Barwits out in front of the old hide at Gruinart. Peter from Sunderland had seen a juv WTSE up behind Port Charlotte yesterday and then one at Gruinart later on, possibly the same bird both times and the same bird that Emily had at Gruinart. Also at Gruinart yesterday, Peter had 2 Willow Warblers, the Green winged Teal out from the new hide. Today he had a Swallow at Saligo Bay and later on at Kilchiaran, a mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare. He also saw several Hen Harriers while he was out on the Rhinns today all ringtails, no males! The Dumfriesshire birders had 2 Golden Eagles a juv WTSE, pr of Dippers, female Wheatear, Kestrel, Peregrine, a distant Hen Harrier several GND and a Gannet over on the Sound of Islay today. Michael and Trish from Co Durham had counted 10 Chough down close to Lossit Bay, a male Hen Harrier just out of Portnahaven and a steady passage of Gannets and Awks past Rubha na Faint. Before I forget, the rainfall for March tallied out at 4 inches exactly, slightly damper than the previous March tallies for 2012 and 2013!