Thursday, 22 June 2017

Wednesday 22nd June

Yesterday, Gary had been out with clients and saw 2 Bonxies at Loch Gruinart, a White tailed Eagle in the Kilmeny area and also the drake Ring necked Duck along at Loch Finlaggan. Today, John Wilson and his family were over on Jura, and they commented on how many Whinchats were present. This afternoon, Louise had a Golden Eagle over Loch Gorm, shortly afterwards a sub adult White tailed Eagle came by and then finally, a male Hen Harrier flew past. Here at home the Redpolls are still enjoying the niger seed...

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wednesday 21st June

Back on Sunday, Armin took this image of a Curlew, close to the roadside at Lossit, on the Rhinns. By its' behaviour it seemed be trying to distract Armin away, so probably on territory...


Yesterday, John Wilson had been down on The Oa, and had seen a Golden Eagle and also a Hen Harrier. Later on he had a Spotted Flycatcher  in the trees around  Kildalton and then another along towards Ardtalla. George Newall, before he left yesterday had 3 Greenfinches, over in the trees after Gearach towards Kilchiaran. Visitors Graham and Rosemary had seen several pairs of nesting Arctic Terns on the shingle in some of the bays around Portnahaven. An hour's sea watch out towards Frenchman's Rock produced 200 Gannets and a Bonxie flying South. later on they saw a Cuckoo being mobbed by a Mipit at Carn below Port Charlotte. Here at home, there were  5 Siskins on the feeders earlier this evening.
I received a reported sighting of a Rose coloured Starling seen over at Laphroaig today, but the info was a bit sketchy, but will let you know if I hear anything more on that one...
You should have been here last night as what a beautiful sunset was seen, should have got the camera out to show it to you all... another oops, sorry...

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Tuesday 20th June

Gary yesterday had managed to get some birds while out with his clients. On the South side of Loch Gorm, they saw a Golden Eagle out over the ridge. At Rockside, they saw a Whinchat, down at Coultoon, a pair of Whinchats were present and then down on Claddach Loch, they saw an Arctic Tern fishing. Returning visitors Graham and Rosemary, back for another Islay fix, had seen a Dabchick, Tufted Duck and also the Ring necked Duck on Loch Finlaggan. Round at Ballinaby, on the ploughed field, there were several Curlews and some Lapwings with chicks there too. Today on the guided walk on the Oa  today, they were  over the moon with seeing 2 Golden Eagles. Later on at Kilnaghton Bay, Common Sandpiper and Pied Wagtail were present. Late afternoon, Margaret saw a Golden Eagle up at Sanaigmore.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday 19th JUne

It is either a hunger or a burst this birding, yesterday the entry was full and full of goodies, tonight, the cupboard is bare... The mist rolled around for most of the morning and then burnt off to give us a cracker of an afternoon and evening with more sun forecast for tomorrow. This evening, outside on top of one of the old telegraph poles, a Song Thrush was singing away good style for quite some time. Earlier on, over at Gruinart, close to the road leading to Craigens there were 3 very young Lapwing chicks on the verge on the side of the road, a risky place to be, to put it politely...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Sunday 18th June

Been a bit of a dreich sort of a day here at base today with the mist in for the most of the day, not a lot of wind, net result, the midges came out..
Some sightings through from George Newall who has been over for the best part of 3 weeks. On the 31st May, he had a Spotted Flycatcher and 4 Chiffchaff in at Loch Skerrols and also heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker there as well. At Bowmore Harbour, George saw an immature Kittiwake. 3rd of June, at Claggain Bay Arctic Terns and Common Terns were seen and the following day, 4 Sanderling were at Gartbreck. On the 6th on the Big strand, below the Airport, George had 3 Little Terns, some Arctic Tern, a male Hen Harrier and also 20 Sanderling. On the 9th, he saw Reed Buntings feeding young and heard several Corncrakes as well as several Snipe drumming while at the reserve at Gruinart. On the 11th June, he had a female Blackcap at Kilnaghton. A walk from Bridgend up the River Sorn  produced Dipper, pair of Grey Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, later on the same day George heard 2 Corncrakes calling at Sanaigmore. The next day (12th) George had seen 2 Bullfinches beside wee lochan between Gearach and Kilchiaran, while at Kilchiaran itself, a Whitethroat was seen. On the 15th George saw a Corncrake up at Sanaigmore. Gary yesterday had seen 2 RTD at Claggain Bay, some Little Terns on the Big Strand, heard a Great spotted Woodpecker in the trees at Finlaggan with the drake Ring necked Duck out on the water there. Over at the  former Kilchoman School, Gary had a Spotted Flycatcher and finally a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Blackpark. Also yesterday, Carl had 2 Bonxies (Great Skuas) close to Killinallan. Coming back on the evening ferry last night Peter Roberts had  350- 400 Manx Shearwater and around 150 Gannets, closer to Islay, rather than the mainland... Peter also had a Common Porpoise from the ferry as well. Steve Wrightson yesterday had a Short eared Owl out beyond Craighouse, a Golden Eagle was seen while coming back to ferry at Feolin and today, he had a Corncrake with 2 chicks down at Machir Bay. This afternoon, we had a Golden Eagle out on Borichil Mor and then a male Hen Harrier close to Culbuie.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Saturday 17th June

Armin sent this image of a Snipe drumming, taken yesterday evening over at Gruinant..


Armin's image clearly shows the tail feathers out which cause the drumming sound, good one Armin.

Returning visiting birder, John Wilson is back again for another Islay fix. John popped in for a catch up this afternoon and told me of seeing Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers down at the reed bed leading to Machir Bay. Later on, we watched our "local" Chough pair trying to coax their 3 youngsters out from the nest. It  took them a week last year, so we will see how long it takes this year.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Friday 16th June

It may have been dry today, but think that the birds have disappeared.. Having said that the Goldfinches are still coming into the niger feeder here at home with the House Sparrows along with their young. Other long staying "now resident" Redpolls, Greenfinches and also  Siskins are still here, nice to see as usually they just appear for a brief stay and then move on... I hope that I am proved wrong, but the 2 broods of Pheasant chicks have not been seen over the last couple of days. Could they have perished with all the rain??? Coming back home this evening, the Shelduck was present at "smelly corner" with several large ducklings, not sure of how many were there... Yesterday evening, Armin had a ringtail Hen Harrier just after Leek and then a male and a ringtail up towards Culbuie. Today, Armin had another ringtail along at Rock Mountain as well as another male, but I have had a senior moment as I can't remember where...no excuse for old age!!!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thursday 15th June

Good friend of ours , and of a lot of folk on Islay, Armin is back over for his mid summer fix... yesterday evening as it was dry, he took a quick visit over to the hides at Gruinart and was pleasantly surprised to see 4 Herons, out on the floods. He also had a distant Mute Swan, some Redshank and plenty of Lapwing as he was coming back to the carpark. The Rochdale birders had seen 4 male Hen Harriers this morning at 4 different locations, all within 15 minutes of each other. Later on, "Mrs" Rochdale  had a pair of Bullfinch down below Foreland. This morning, we watched as Mark got a Mute Swan to fly away off the road across the flats at Gruinart.
The weather today has been not too good with the rain guage now measuring 3.5" so far for the month, certainly the shower that fell around 2pm added a goodly amount...

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wednesday 14th June

Well, job done, all the Distilleries have been approached regarding the Birdfair, so let's hope that they come up with the goodies.. Forgot to mention last night that Walker's Shortbread are donating us 11 cases of shortbread for folk to sample, much appreciated.
Janice and Tim Scott who were over last week sent some sightings through... Last Monday, they watched a Golden Eagle attempting to knock a feral billy goat off a cliff.. who won, the goat did as the Eagle gave up and flew off. In the trees around Kildalton on Tuesday, they heard a Wood Warbler and also a Tree Pipit singing, both first for them on Islay. On Thursday, up near the locked gate leading to Killinallan, a pair of Whinchat with young were present. Thanks folks. The Rochdale birders had seen 2 Twite over at Bunnahabhain today.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tuesday 13th JUne

The weather today has been rather dreich, and that is putting it politely. So what did I get up to, not much outside for sure. So it was some inside work that was called for. As many of you may well know, the Islay and Jura Tourism and Marketing Group share a stand down at the British Birdfair with RSPB Islay reserves. It is not just turning up on the day, with a smiley face, there is quite a lot of work involved behind the scenes that must be carried out. Our hotels were booked when we left last year... staffing the stand is all in place, some new banners advertising Islay and Jura are getting made, so tomorrow I intend to go round the other Distilleries to get some sponsorship to help us out. So by tomorrow evening that will all be done, and tomorrow while down at Port Ellen, I might as well book the ferry, and also drop by the printers and get some work dropped in to them. May be just as well we do get the odd wet day now and then. Might get another wet day, to catch up with Bird records for the Argyll Bird Club... enough said, it will happen, no panic..  Keep cool...
On the bird front, because of the weather, not a lot tonight, but visitor Angela Harrell had ventured out. she saw her first Spotted Flycatcher of the year over at Ardtalla, a Peregrine was present at Lagavulin and earlier this evening, she had a small group of GND on the edge of Loch Indaal at Port Charlotte. Thanks Angela.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Monday 12th June

Mike Peacock yesterday had carried out his WeBS count from Port Charlotte down to Portnahaven, or "Outer Loch Indaal", so here are Mike's birds... 2 Sandwich Tern, 3 Tystie, 23 Gannet, 20 GND, 2 RTD, 10 Arctic Tern, 2 Shag, 1 Cormorant and a Common Sandpiper. Gary yesterday, had been out and about, round Loch Skerols mainly,  seeing 1 Peregrine, 5 Buzzards, a juv Golden Eagle, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. He also heard 3 calling Corncrakes and also saw 3 Chough. Visiting birder, Toby Green had seen the Ring necked Duck at Loch Finlaggan this afternoon.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sunday 11th June

Bob, Lesley, Distillery Dave and myself managed to carry out our WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, before the weather deteriorated.. it sometimes does work out if you go for an early start!! Our tally came to 2 Greylag, 50 Shelduck, with 2 broods on the water, a nine and a six, 8 Mallard, 23 Eider, 2 Red breasted Merganser, 2 Gbb Gull, 20 H Gull, 10 C Gull, 2 Arctic Tern, 50 Oystercatcher, 9 Curlew, 9 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 7 Redshank, 20 Ringed Plover, 10 Lapwing, 7 Common Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 3 Cormorant and 1 Shag.
Visitor Angela Harrell, aka the Bucks birder, had seen a Mipit along with a Cuckoo on the overhead wires down towards Easter Ellister, a male Hen Harrier in the rain at Octofad and down beside the former look out tower at Portnahaven, a Corncrake was heard calling away.
Guy Broome sent some images taken while he was over last week.. note the blue sky!!






Saturday, 10 June 2017

Saturday 10th June

Oh no, not another young Wheatear, I can hear you all groaning... I spotted this one up at Ardnave on Thursday, just look at all the flowers out, as good a year in that respect!!!


The Rochdale birders were in touch this afternoon, to say that they had seen a male Hen Harrier catch some prey and rather than take it to one of his mates for to feed their young, it flew off on to a near by post and devoured it himself. A sight they had never seen before.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Friday 9th June

Been one of those days, nonstop, on the go, just as well we do not get a lot of them...but we managed to get the grass cut, take the chance when we can as the weather is rather mixed for the next few days.

Gary had been out birding with clients today and  had a good raptor day... over at Ballygrant they saw 2 White tailed Eagles, then a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a Golden Eagle at Bunnahabhain. Later on, they saw a Glaucous Gull below Rock Mountain. Finally along at Ardnave, a male Hen Harrier was seen and then 2 Otters were present on Ardnave Loch. Early afternoon, while we were out and about we had the impression that there were more Pied Wagtails around... Over at the Woollen Mill, 2 different Grey Wagtails were present.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Thursday 8th June

I do not think we are going to have another beautiful sunset this evening as it is rather wet just now as I look outside!! Over the last couple of days, we seem to be noticing more fledged young out and about. The other day,  we saw a lot of young House Sparrows "begging" to be fed, yesterday and today we saw some young Goldfinches around and also a couple of Wheatears, so I got this young Wheatear on top of the garden wall last night...


This morning, we had a cracking view of a male Hen Harrier just after Grulinmore. Earlier on, we saw a pair of Mute Swan with their 6 youngsters up at Ardnave Loch. Gary had ben out and about with some clients today. They had a flock of 30 Chough at Kilchoman, saw several Whinchats over around Carnduncan, a male Hen Harrier up towards Ardnave. They saw a Corncrake out in the carpark at Gruinart and watched it for around 5 minutes. They also saw it along the verge side there as well. Great sightings folks..

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Wednesday 7th June

Andrew Cockcroft has been over on Islay again and sent through this image of a Red throated Diver which he had seen...



Other birds seen by Andrew were a White tailed Eagle, a pair of Golden Eagle and also a pair of Hen Harrier. Thanks Andrew.

Yesterday evening 8 hardy folk turned up for the bird nerds meeting, including a couple of visitors. The weather stayed dry but was quite windy, nevertheless we carried out our walk along the big strand down below the airport. We saw a few Terns, not as many as in previous years, some Eiders with their ducklings bobbling about on the water, 2 male Hen Harrier, a Peregrine Falcon , 15 Dunlin, a few Curlews, some Redshank as well as Skylarks and also Meadow Pipits.
On our way home, Bob and myself spotted a single Barnacle goose at "smelly corner" and some Shelduck were there too along with their youngsters.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tuesday 6th June

We took the decision late last night to carry out the corncrake survey round our patch, a good decision as it is away far too windy to even think of trying to attempt it tonight. The sea was quiet although possibly the air temperature was a bit cool, it certainly felt colder than 10.8 degrees... Long and the short was that we only heard a total of 4 calling Corncrakes, not as many compared to other years.. We also heard Snipe drumming, a Curlew calling and a Sedge Warbler as well, no Barn Owls seen though!!
This afternoon Mark Shields has counted 4 Little Tern, 15 Arctic Tern, 3 Common Tern and 28 Blackwits up on the Eat side of Ardnave Point.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Monday 5th June

Not a lot  to report through tonight, but Gary had been out with visitors from the States this morning, top bird was an Osprey seen over at Gruinart. Other visitors to Islay told me that they had seen a Peregrine along over the hill at the back of Rockside.
Remember to come along to the Bird nerds monthly meeting, a walk along the Big strand. We  will meet at the track beside the Airport at 6pm for shared transport, tomorrow evening.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Sunday 4th June

Gary had ben out birding today with a client.. Top birds seen was a GND on the Sound of Islay, out from Bunnahabhain. Up over the hills behind Ballygrant, a White tailed Eagle and then a Golden Eagle were present. They came over this side of the island and were successful in hearing 3 different Corncrakes calling, one at Ballinaby, another at Machir Bay and the third was heard at Bruichladdich. Here at home we saw the hen Pheasant out with her brood of 9 , all looking well.. Out on the niger feeder it was a full house with all 20 ports taken by the Goldfinches, my image shows 19 in use... no wonder they are scoffing the seed!!!


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Saturday 3rd June

The weather forecast was correct with some HEAVY showers coming through, with the possibility of the odd rumble of thunder, the only thing that we did not get told about was hailstones, we had a passing shower of hail, not a lot, but...
While I remember, the postponed May meeting of the Islay bird nerds will be on Tuesday 6th June. We will meet at 6pm, over at the track at the Airport, leading down on to the Big Strand and we will share transport down to the shore of Loch Indaal and then take a walk from there down towards Knockangle Point, so see you there , if you are around. Some of us are meant to helping out with the second round of the Corncrake count for this year, if we are still awake, later that night!!!


Just after the thunder around midday, this hen Pheasant came out and proudly presented her clutch of 9 youngsters, some of which are above, so she must have had them well sheltered from the rain a couple of days ago!!!!  Mandy, yesterday had heard a Grasshopper Warbler singing up at Bolsay as well as 2 Curlews close by. She has been hearing a Whitethroat calling regularly at Carnduncan and this morning she heard a Corncrake while in at Ballinaby and then a Chiffchaff at Kilchoman. This morning, down in the reed bed towards Machir Bay, the Rochdale birders had heard a Corncrake calling. It was heard in the same location, late afternoon by David and Ann Barr. Margaret counted a Shelduck with 10 young ducklings at Blackrock, late morning.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Friday 2nd June

The other day, Carol Andrew who lives down in Bruichladdich was in touch to say that she has been seeing a raft of around 18 Eiders regularly out on Loch Indaal  from her house. This morning there was a traffic jam outside of Port Charlotte, as a couple of Greylags were escorting their 6 young goslings across the road, witnessed by Liz Harthaway who works as Office manager at RSPB at Gruinart. This evening, round at Ballinaby, there were 98 Greylags in one of the fields. Through the day here at home, there has been a male Greenfinch, no wonder they are called Greenfinch, its' plumage was great to see in the light.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Thursday 1st June

Another day, another  month and the season has changed to our "Summer", off the right start with a wet and miserable day, typical.. infact over half an inch so far today, mind you the plants will jump up in size. The tally for the rainfall in May here was 2.25inches, drier than May last year!!


I managed to snap this Chough on the roof of our neighbours' cottage the other night.. The Rochdale birders had seen an Osprey round the far end of Loch Gorm the other day, Bob heard a Corncrake calling in a new location yesterday, in the rough edge in the field next to his house, the tally for the Corncrake count the other week was just short of 60 birds heard and Margaret counted 22 Goldfinches on and around the feeders here at home this morning. Wonder how the wee Pheasant chicks will have fared after the rain today, will have a look for them in the hopefully better weather tomorrow..

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

WEdnesday 31st May

Been a better day with the weather, so I took the chance and cut the grass, as tomorrow, it is forecast to be wet... and the dastardly Hare has been thwarted, a positive event, so all my efforts yesterday were not in vain!!!
Gary had seen a Black throated Diver in summer plumage off  Bruichladdich on Monday. Yesterday, down on the Big Strand he counted 10 Little Terns, 22 Arctic Terns, 40 Dunlin and 50 Sanderling. Mike and Val Peacock had walked out from Ardbeg to Solum, the "fever village". Top birds seen included were a male Yellowhammer, Spotted Flycatchers, loads of Redpolls, 4 Whinchats, a Tree Pipit, 3 Cuckoos, a pr of Buzzards and a Golden Eagle. They also saw some new emergent Marsh Fritillary. Today the Rochdale birders had seen 3 Whimbrel while up at Ardnave, a male Hen Harrier and then later on, a Peregrine carrying prey while on their way round the Rhinns.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Tuesday 30th May

The reason why I never put an entry on the blog yesterday is twofold, the weather was foul for most of the day, and therefore I had no birds to report to you...Yesterday evening, though Mandy had heard a Chiffchaff at Sunderland Farm and then shortly afterwards, she heard a Whitethroat round at Carnduncan. Today, Mark had 6 Little Terns, 32 Arctic Terns, 3 Bonxies, a "lonely" Barnacle Goose and a count of 80 Sanderling, up at Ardnave/ Nave Island. The weather has been kinder today, but at the weekend I took the guards off from round the Willows, to give them a chance to bush out rather than getting too leggy... Big mistake, as when I walked along them this morning I spotted that one of the Hares had been nibbling at some of the young tender shoots.. so today, I have been kept out of mischief making and fitting almost 50 larger guards, so fingers crossed the said Hare will just need to eat some grass again....

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Sunday 28th May

What a glorious day it has been, wall to wall sunshine, not too hot, a good day for some work in the garden, get some weeds out of the way..
Gary had seen a male Hen Harrier out on the wing, quartering the moor up behind Persabus on his way to Bunnabhain. This evening we took a trip round Loch Gorm, not a lot to tell you about.. but there was a Stonechat on top of some gorse bushes at Coull, shortly after that a Buzzard was being mobbed by a Curlew. Over at Ballinaby, 2 Whimbrel were in one field and in the next field 89 Greylags were present. We also saw several Lapwings but no chicks, so had they been predated??

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Saturday 27th May

Before I forget, there will be No meeting of the Bird nerds this coming Tuesday as the Whisky/ music festival is on... but all going well we will meet up on June 6th , more about the venue next week...

Not much to report today, here at home one of the hen Pheasants appeared out with 6 chicks which appeared to be a few days old rather than newly hatched chicks, so fingers crossed on that one. Margaret, this morning spotted a Shelduck down at "smelly corner" with 6 or 7  well grown ducklings, again larger than ducklings of a day or two in age...The heavy rain that was forecast, did not come to much today, so possibly it was just as well that I had the watering can out on some newly planted plants this morning. Quite often after having the watering can out, it rains, but not today, although the dreaded midge did show face... Both the 2 pairs of Redpolls and the 2 pairs of Siskins are still with us on the feeders.
The Rochdale birders are back over again and seeing around 50 Gannets, at eye level and really close to them, in the Sound of Islay as the ferry approached Port Askaig.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Friday 26th May

While out carrying out the Corncrake count, the other morning, in the wee small hours, James had seen 3 Barn Owls on the Gruinart run, Mike Peacock had 2 Barn Owls on his patch towards and around Portnahaven, and Mandy had 3 Tawny Owls in total, 2 in Bridgend Woods and the other over at Avonvoggie. Bob yesterday had 6 Whimbrel up at Ardnave. Today, a visitor told me that he had seen a Ruff at Gruinart, and while over on Jura he saw a Golden Eagle and also a White tailed Eagle.


Bob trying to explain something to us the other day, when we were carrying the survey in Bridgend Woods, can't remember what though...

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Thursday 25th May

Another great image through from Mike Boyes, this time of a pair of Lesser backed Gulls displaying on the water. One of them was often seen upside down as it is in Mike's image

Last night, was the first round of the Corncrake survey here on Islay when we all try to go out and hear how many Corncrakes are around. On the run that I do with Margaret, we had 5 Corncrakes in total and it will be a day or two before we get a tally up. In total we do 3 counts... We also saw a Barn Owl, heard Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler, and a Lapwing and a single ewe bleating for its "missing" lamb... So after all that we got off to bed after 1 am, oh to be young again...

Carl Reavey had seen a Swift down at Bruichladdich today


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Wednesday 24th May

The low swirling mist that came in last night prevailed until lunchtime, so just as well you can arrive and depart from Islay on the ferry as the plane did not come..
Mike Boyes sent through this image of a Snipe that he had taken a couple of days ago while over at Gruinart, thanks Mike...


Yesterday, David Wood had heard a Quail calling in Glen Astle on the RSPB reserve on the Oa. Also yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey on Loch nan Cadhan. Here at home, we have had a Collared Dove visiting us... Today, Bob had a male Kestrel just out of Port Ellen, the first he has seen in four years.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Tuesday 23rd May



Gotcha...managed to get this Redshank on top of a fence post at the roadside over at Leek. A few moments later its' mate landed on the road and then their young chick was seen in the grass on the verge, better parents than Pheasants, I hope...

Bob today had seen a White tailed Eagle being mobbed by a Raven, over towards Ballygrant. A pair of Greylags were in the frame as well, but whether the geese were attacking the eagle, Bob was not too sure of. Later on, at the other end of Islay, Bob saw 5 Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin, down on the shore below Claddach just out of Portnahaven. Bob said the turnstone were in full summer plumage.

Several folk have commented on the big numbers of young Starlings that have been seen around over the past few days....

Monday, 22 May 2017

Monday 22nd May

Yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey take a fish from Loch Finlaggan and the eat it.. Later on at Finlaggan, he had seen 2 Dabchick, 15 Tufted Duck and also the Ring necked Duck. Today, Gary had a ringtail Hen Harrier there. Bob today had seen a Blackwit from the old hide at Gruinart. Out from the new hide, Bob had the male Garganey and also a Swift further out on Gruinart. Bob was speaking to a visitor while he was there, who told Bob that there was a Little Egret present out from the new hide yesterday.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sunday 21stMay


Above is the image of the Roe Deer and her calf a few moments after being born, captured by James on Friday. It certainly not only the Deer population on the increase. on Friday evening, we took a run
up to Sanaigmore, seeing a lot more Song Thrushes around. Yesterday, here at home there were many young Starlings hanging around, waiting to be fed. A male Blackbird comes in regularly and flies off with his beak full of food. One of the Pheasants showed yesterday, but with only one chick beside her, they really are poor parents... A Buzzard was over at Coull this afternoon being mobbed by 8 Lapwing, so I wondered at the time whether there is now a Lapwing chick less there now...
The "Rosssendale birders" yesterday had a walk at Kintra, Port Ellen seeing Chough, Meadow Pipit, Skylarks, 25 Oystercatcher, Hooded Crow and 2 active Sand Martin colonies. Further on Little Tern, Arctic Tern, 22 Ringed Plover and a further 17 Oystercatcher were present.. The Bowland birders returned home yesterday after seeing 116 species during their stay. Highlights for this visit were the White tailed Eagle, Ring necked Duck and also Velvet Scoter while here. See you both next visit and thanks for your birds folks.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Saturday 20th May


A fantastic image of a Red throated Diver sent through by visitor, Mike Boyes. Mike took it yesterday while out on a cruise led by Sea Adventures out of Port Ellen. There were a pair of Divers close inshore along the South east coast. Thanks for sharing your image Mike.

Gary on Thursday had a client out wishing to see a Corncrake, a difficult ask, but Gary came up with the bird, down at Machir Bay, another satisfied client... Yesterday while out with other cients, Gary had seen a White tailed Eagle and then an Osprey at Finlaggan, 30 Chough at Machir Bay, 3 Corncrake heard at Gruinart, a Greater spotted Woodpecker flew accros the road at Red Houses and finally 2 Dippers seen on the Rive Sorn close to the Woollen Mill.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Friday 19th May

Back on Wednesday, Irene Miller had a Spotted Flycatcher which was playing along with her as she was cutting her lawn. In the evening out on her fence a Magpie was present. Remember Irene had a Hawfinch in her garden last year... Other birds seen in Irene and Tony's garden include Siskin, Greenfinch and also Goldfinch. Yesterday, Bob had heard a Corncrake calling up towards Knockanbearach which is up past Loch Skerrols. Today, in his garden, he saw 2 Orange tip Buttefly. While he was  carrying out survey work, James saw a Roe deer giving birth, cleaning the calf and then watched it having its first steps and having its' first drink of colostrum. Up at Ardnave this afternoon, Mark had seen Little Tern, Bonxie and Sanderling. Here at home the Bowland birders dropped by for a catch up, and lo and behold we were fortunate enough to have a fly past by 39 Chough. Earlier on Margaret had counted 14 birds on the new niger feeder, mainly Goldfinches.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Thursday 18th May

Another day in, wonder if I will make the deadline of midnight, at present it is just by a few minutes, still the 18th... Yesterday morning, Lesley and myself gave Bob a hand to carry out the survey along the River Sorn. We were accompanied by visitors Paul and Sue Murfitt who are here for the week, Bob first met with them at the Birdfair. Our highlights were 3 Cuckoo, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Dipper, a Long tailed Tit, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. Today, Bob had been out with Paul and Sue. Over at the airport, they saw a couple of Curlew with 4 chicks and 8 Turnstone down on the shore. At Kildalton, 2 Greater spotted Woodpecker and 8 Spotted Flycatcher and a Bullfinch. Along at Claggain Bay, 2 GND were offshore and 2 Golden Eagles seen out over the hills. Finally, up behind Bridgend a distant White tailed Eagle was present. Today, the Rochdale birders had seen a juv. Golden Eagle over Octomore hill. They went up and walked in past Killinallan up to Gortantoid and back past the waterfalls and along the beach.. On their way to their starting point, they heard a Corncrake calling at Blackpark and along at Erasaid, a Blackcap was present. Birds seen on their walk were as follows, Mipit, Tree Pipit, Skylark, Robin, Twite, Barwit, Buzzard, Chough, Raven, Stonechat with young, Whinchat, Wheatear,  Whimbrel, Lapwing, Ringed Plover and 20 Golden Plover. Stephen and Mandy, other birders from the Birdfair, called in earlier on, so one thing led to another and when we went  out for some food we met in, by chance, with Paul and Sue, a really small world...Both couples had never visited Islay before, but both agreed that it will not be their only visit. Paul and Sue have seen 110 species so far... On our way home this  evening, we heard 2 different Corncrakes calling, one along at Rockside, the other down at the beach... Stephen and Mandy saw a pr of Bullfinches at Kildalton.

Job done with a minute to spare!!!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wednesday 17th May

Managed to get this wee baby Dunnock while out in the "hut" last night. Shortly afterwards, we had a flypast by a Cuckoo as it flew down to the wood being harassed by several other wee birds. Big mistake as the birds in the wood then ganged up on the Cuckoo as well...
This morning I saw 2 Cuckoos on the wing down at Foreland. Earlier on along the River Sorn I had seen 2 Spotted Flycatchers. The Rossendale birders had been down in the Bridgend Woods seeing/ hearing Grey Wagtail, Willow Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Siskin, Robin, Song Thrush and a Mallard with ducklings. Along the Claggan strip wood, they had a Greater spotted Woodpecker. Dave Wood had 3 Spotted Flycatchers on the Oa today, the first there this year. Dave and Phill had carried a "Cliff survey" and saw the following pairs of birds, 13 Fulmars, 2 Common Sandpiper, 7 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Gull, 2 Wheatear. Other birds seen were (Not pairs!) 2 Golden Eagle, 11 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Tystie,1 Lesser Redpoll, Mipits, Skylarks, Swallows, Sand Martins and a Peregrine. Mike P. sent through highlights from his WeBS count on Outer Loch Indaal... 34 GND, 23 Guillemot, 6 Razorbill, 81 Common Scoter, 4 Arctic Tern, 2 Common Sandpiper and 5 Gannets.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Tuesday 16th May

Rather a miserable sort of a morning with wet and windy showers around for most of the time... but it did calm down around midday, I even managed this image of a couple of Chough that were outside the kitchen window, around 12 feet away.

Margaret saw a pair of Shelduck with 10 ducklings at "smelly corner" mid afternoon.
The Bowland birders this afternoon had been over at Loch Finlaggan where they saw a drake Ring necked Duck in the water along with 8 Tufted Duck. Other birds seen thee were a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, a pr of Stonechat, 2 Sedge Warblers, a Reed Bunting, a Sparrowhawk, a Cuckoo,. Siskins were also present as were House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallows.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Monday 15th May

Yesterday, Phill carried out his WeBS count on the lochs down on the Oa. Birds noted were 17 Greylags with 5 Goslings,1 Curlew, 25 Lbb Gull, 42 H Gull, 1 Gbb Gull, 6 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 6 Common Sandpiper, 9 Mallard and 3 ducklings, 2 Tufted Duck and a Teal. Other birds seen were Sand Martin, Swallow, Linnet, Wheatear, Lesser Redpoll, 2 Buzzard, Twite, Skylark and Mipits. Today, as forecast, it has been rather wet, a good steady rain rather than a downpour, so it will be of some use.. Mandy had seen a male Hen Harrier carrying its' prey in talons, Mandy thought it looked  like a vole.. Today, the Bowland birders had also seen a male Hen Harrier down near to Gortan, along at the merse at Bridgend, 2 Barnies were seen, one with an injured left wing. Back at Port Charlotte through the day, have been spotting plenty of Arctic Terns flying up Loch Indaal. Today, here at home, we reverted back to the old way of feeding the birds.. as it was so windy, we put the food on the ground, rather than risk the feeders getting bashed in the wind...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sunday 14th May

Yesterday Steve and Mandy  from Rossendale arrived here on Islay, their first visit and are staying over at Kintra, Port Ellen while they are here, so here goes their sightings from yesterday.. On the beach, they saw 40 Oystercatcher, 8 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and 3 Pied Wagtail. They also heard a Cuckoo, and spotted 3 Sand Martin nest sites in use. Other birds included 6 Arctic Terns, 2 GND, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw, a Buzzard and 6 Swallow. Today, they walked in behind Kintra, out to Tokmal noting a male Hen Harrier out quartering, a Buzzard, pr of Stonechat, and a Cuckoo calling, other birds seen/ heard during their walk included a Robin, plenty of Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, many Skylarks, along the coast, they had 6 Fulmar and 3 Tysties and back at base at Kintra, 39 Oystercatcher, 2 Wheatear, 8 Lesser Redpoll, 7 Sand Martin, 2 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin and a Sanderling. The Bowland birders had watched a passage of 100+ Manx Shearwaters pass Port Wemyss.. They also had similar numbers of Gannets, Awks mainly Guillemots, Arctic Tern and Fulmar. Further on along the coast they saw 12 Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper while in the fields behind them, a pair of Golden Plover in summer plumage. Finally round at Claddach Loch, they had a male Whinchat. The weather held good for us this morning so Bob, Lesley, Distillery Dave ad myself did the WeBS  count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck.. the birds were as follows: 1 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant, 3 Shag, 3 Lbb Gull, 2 Gbb Gull, 2 BH Gull, 30 Common Gull, 20 Herring Gull, 4 Mallard, 2 Rb Merganser, 73 Eider, 9 Shelduck, 9 Curlew, 6 Whimbrel, 91 Ringed Plover, 3 Knot, 187 Dunlin, 65 Barwits, 74 Oystercatcher, 2 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 9 Lapwing, 1 Grey Plover and 2 Redshank. Other birds seen included a White Wagtail, 2 Sand Martin, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Wheatear and several Rock Pipits.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Saturday 13th May

Yesterday was "the Olds" last day of this visit.. At Coull they had seen 38 Whimbrel and 4 Ringed Plover. At Gruinart, a male Ruff in summer plumage was present, as were 3 possible Little Terns, a Redpoll and a Carrion Crow. Over at Bridgend they counted 210 Dunlin, 18 Blackwits, a Common Sandpiper and a Whitethroat. Finally, last night, they spotted a Merlin as it flew across the road down below Rock Mountain. The Bowland Birders yesterday took the chance to recharge their batteries and today have been out birding again... On the water at Loch Skerrols, they counted 60 Shelduck and 6 Mute Swan, one on a nest, while in the trees a Great spotted Woodpecker, Chifchaff and Willow Warblers were noted. Along at The Woollen Mill, a walk along the River Sorn produced 2 pr of Grey Wagtail feeding young, a pr Dipper feeding young, 3 male and a female Bullfinch, Coal Tit, Siskin, Red legged Partridge, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wren.
Here on Islay, it has not been as warm today, with the odd shower of rain, only saving grace is that it is the first time for around a fortnight that I have not had the watering can out for some of the plants.. The float on the rain gauge is now floating... as long as it is dry for tomorrow morning as I am meant to be helping Bob with his WeBS count!!!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Friday 12th May

An early entry tonight, as I am going out tonight...
Andrew Cockcroft had ben over to Islay last week, and saw an Osprey on Loch Gruinart. Over at Bunnahabhain he had seen a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and down at the "harbour" at Port Askaig, he saw an Otter chewing away at its' prey. Andrew said that it was great to see so many Cuckoos, Whinchats, Tysties and Chough. This Tuesday, Mandy spotted a Stoat before it dived of the road and into the vegetation at the side of the road!!! On Thursday, she had watched an Osprey up towards the mouth of Loch Gruinart for some time. "The Olds" yesterday had seen a male Hen Harrier round Loch Gorm, a possible sighting of a Baltic subspecies of a Lbb Gull, and also 3 Brent Geese there as well. At Coull, they counted 14 Whimbrel, and a further 16 down at Gortan. On the merse at Bridgend, 27 Blackwits were present , at Bruichladdich, 34 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover were seen. Port Wemyss held a family of Stonechats, a Whitethroat and a Siskin were also seen there. They also commented on so many Cuckoo and Buzzard on show on their way round the Rhinns. Last night, "Distillery Dave" had seen 4 Blackwits and 2 Ruff out from the South hide at Gruinart. Today, James and Mark had carried out the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart, highlights included a Great Skua, a Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 1471 Dunlin, 11Curlew, 47 Barwit, 179 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling, 2 Dabchick and a Grey Plover.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Thursday 1th May


I managed to catch these 3 young Chough siting out on our garage roof, earlier this evening, a Great Tit was on one feeder with a Blue Tit seen on one of the other feeders... Mid afternoon, Margaret had a count of 10 Pale bellied Brent at Blackrock.  Phill, today had been out in the field where he had a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, Siskin, a Chaffinch (it had found a tree in an otherwise upland area), 8 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Grey Heron, 4 Whinchat, a Cuckoo, and "numerous Sedge Warblers, Willow Warblers and Whitethroats". The Bowland birders had been down on the Oa today as well, like the rest of us, making the most of the good spell of weather which we are enjoying at present.. They saw pr of Golden Eagle, a male Hen Harrier, Kittiwake on the cliffs, Fulmar over the sea, small passage of Gannets, 2 Chough, Skylarks, Mipits, Swallows, Wheatear and Stonechat.
Dave forwarded the info of the Lesser Redpoll female which has been here since the 21st of April. It was rung on Hollesley Heath in Suffolk back on 29th December 2015, and is now 662 km from there now.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wednesday 10th May

Yesterday evening, "the Olds" had seen 2 Twite out towards the War Graves Cemetery. Here at home the Repolls and Siskins were busy on the feeders along with Goldfinches all day. Gary this morning had seen an Osprey over at Finlaggan. Phill carried out an upland bird survey this morning, counting 45 Mipits, 28 Skylark, 1 Buzzard, a male Hen Harrier, 2 Swallow, 3 Stonechat, 4 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Cuckoo, 5 Sedge Warbler, 7 Willow Warbler, 3 Whinchat, 6 Wren, 2 Wheatear, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll and a Greenfinch. Dave carried out a Wader count at the same time also on the Oa, Dave figures are all in pairs, 12 Common Sandpiper, 7 Lapwing,2 Dunlin, 10 Greylag, 3 Teal, 6 Oystercatcher, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Snipe, 2 Mallard, 3 Reed Bunting, 4 Wheatear, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Whinchat, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Swallow, 1 Starling, 1 Whinchat, 4 Mipits, 2 Linnet, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Skylark and a Redshank pair. The Bowland birders had been up at Gruinart today. From the viewing platform they heard/ saw the following.... drake Garganey,  Ruff in full breeding plumage, Lapwing with chicks, Mallard with ducklings, Corncrake below the platform, 2 very pale Buzzards, 5 Pale belied Brent out on the merse, Shoveler, Teal and Little Grebe. A walk along the Moorland trail produced Whitethroats, Linnet, a juv Golden Eagle being mobbed by Hooded Crows so much so that the Eagle had to land, Raven, Willow Warblers. On the Woodland walk, they saw a Spotted Flycatcher. This afternoon, while visiting friends at Ardnahoe we saw 2 Yellowhammers, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Lesser Redpoll, Coal Tit and Siskin on their feeders with a distant Golden Eagle soaring out on the thermals. At Sunderland Farm, we saw a Canada Goose and 5 Greylags with 5 Brents seen at Blackrock. "The Olds" had seen 18 Rb Merganser, 30 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover, a Sandwich Tern and a Common Tern at Uiskentuie. Up at Bunahabhain, they counted 19 Tystie on the Sound of Islay and inland, behind them, 4 Bullfinch were present. Close to Ardnahoe, a Red legged Partridge was seen and down at The Woollen Mill they reckon that there are 2 pairs of Grey Wagtail present. Also on the River Sorn, a Dipper was seen there too, while on the feeders at the Mill itself, 6 Siskin were counted. Overall "the Olds", this visit they feel that they have seen more Song Thrush and Collared Doves compared to their visits at similar times of previous trips.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Tuesday 9th May

Yesterday evening Bob had spotted the male Garganey out in front of the South hide, possibly the same duck that "the Olds" had seen earlier on. Today, James had watched an Osprey for some time over on Loch Gruinart itself. "The olds" today had seen 23 Whimbrel on the emerging barley field down at the Coastguards. Along at Coull, they saw a Sedge Warbler and then shortly afterwards a Collared Dove. Over, close to the airport they saw a cracking male Hen Harrier and finally 9 Pale bellied Brent geese at Blackrock. Up at Ardnave,Mark had seen 2 Great Skuas, 8 Comic Terns, 2 Barnies, 16 Whimbrel, 95 Dunlin, 57 Ringed Plover, a Hen Harrier, 17 Barwits and an Otter. The Bowland birders had been over out past Ardbeg today. In Kildalton Woods, they had Willow Warbler, Chifchaff, 3 Blackcap, Tree creeper, Siskin, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Redpoll, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and Wren. Along at Claggain Bay, they saw 2 Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, 4 GND, 16 Arctic Terns flying towards Port Ellen, many Redpoll, Common Sandpiper and a Sparrowhawk. On their way back to their holiday cottage, at Blackrock, they had the Brent Geese, House Martin and Raven. Here at home, this evening Margaret had a count of 33 Chough out on the machir. The birds have been busy again on the feeders, might try and get a count of them tomorrow for you...

Monday, 8 May 2017

Monday 8th May

Another great set of sightings today for you to peruse...
Yesterday morning at 7am Mike had counted 79 Common Scoter, 13 GND, 4 RTD. Later on Mike walked up to Bolsay from Port Charlotte and had Grasshopper Warbler, Whinchat, Cuckoo, he also saw a juv. Golden Eagle being mobbed by Raven, Buzzard and Hooded Crows. On Kilnaughton Bay, yesterday, Dave saw 6 Whimbrel, 2 Arctic Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern and a GND. Today, Mandy had heard Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler at Carnduncan with a Reed Bunting calling nearby as well. Phill sent some highlights from Kinnabus on the Oa this morning, "lots of Skylarks and Mipits, 8 Linnets, 4 Redpoll, 4 Wheatear, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 2 Stonechat, and 5 Swallow. Phil also saw the Magpie at Upper Cragabus on his way home late afternoon. "The Olds" today had seen a male Garganey at Gruinart, heard 2 Corncrakes calling on their way to the South hide, 4 Snipe were roding, up at Ardnave they had 12 Whimbrel, and down on the River Sorn below Bridgend they saw a Grey Wagtail. Bob heard a Whitethroat in his garden and then saw a female Blackcap over at the water works. The Bowland Birders had been up round Ardnave today counting 3- 400 Dunlin, 100 Ringed Plover, 100 Whimbrel, 5 Sanderling, 2 Chough, 4 Little Tern, 20 Barwit, a BTD, 6 Swallow, 25 Sand Martin, 3 White Wagtail, and a dog Otter. Other birds seen were GND, Sedge Warbler, Turnstone with a Corncrake as well. Ardnave Loch held, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Mallard and Redshank. Here at home, last night we heard a Corncrake calling down towards the Coastguards' and today Margaret counted 4 Hares out beside the "game crop" and a further 3 on the machir at the same time. Also on the machir were 22 Chough. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Sunday 7th May

Yesterday, "Distillery Dave" (David Barr) had been down at Port Wemyss where he saw a Common Sandpiper and 2 Comic Terns. He also heard a Corncrake calling away while having a piece of cake and a cuppa.. Later on, as it was getting dark, and hardly any wind, I took a quick run round Loch Gorm  to try to locate any calling Corncrakes... Not much joy apart from one at Ballinaby!  I also heard some Lapwings, a few Grasshopper Warblers and Sedge Warblers and also a Snipe drumming. Round below Leek, a Hedgehog was on the verge with several Wheatears sitting on the road, not wanting to move out of my way. Bob, last night had a Barn Owl through the willows at the Water works opposite his house....The "Olds" from Pagham are back, great to see you again folks, rather than a voice on the phone... Today, they had seen 12 Whimbrel and a Curlew over at Coull, heard the Corncrake at Port Wemyss, saw a Siskin there too, heard Cuckoos at Rockside and down at Ellister, finally they saw 2 Little Terns along the top of Loch Indaal. The Bowland birders are back for another "Islay fix". Today, they had a raft of over 100 Common Scoter out on Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte, also seen out on the loch were Terns, Razorbill, GND, RTD and Gannets. A walk up through the Octomore trees/ hill proved productive with a Redpoll, Willow Warblers, Song Thrush, 3 Siskin, a Tree Sparrow, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Wheatear, too many Greylags, Whimbrel, Reed Bunting, Moorhen on the Distillery pond at Port Charlote. They too had a Barn Owl last night, possibly the same Owl that Bob had seen as they are staying quite close to Bob...Phill from down on the Oa had taken a walk from Ballygrant out to Beinn Dubh and then back along the "Glen road". The birds Phill saw/ heard were as follows, 2 Red Grouse, 4 Grasshopper Warblers, 3 Whitethroat, a Golden Eagle, Buzzard, 15 Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, 2 Pr of Stonechat, 3 Swallows, Mipits, Skylarks and Song Thrush.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Saturday 6th May

Another glorious day and like a lot of places, I think some of us might like a wee shower of rain, to help the garden plants especially, as long as it remembers to stop, once it starts...
Back on Thursday, Paul Graham had seen a White tailed Eagle out on the wing, out past Ballygrant. Yesterday, Bonnie Wood, Dave's wife saw a Magpie between Mid and Upper Cragabus on the Oa, Dave saw it later on as well, does he not trust his wife's id skills?  Gary had seen a Swift over Loch Indaal yesterday. Today, down at Machir Bay, Mandy had seen 9 Whimbrel, 20 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin in summer plumage, 2 Wheatear and a Linnet on the fence wires. Along at Coull, a Sparrowhawk was seen and back home at Carnduncan, Mandy heard and then saw a Chiffchaff in a bush outside her window. She was also saying that the Cuckoo there is calling away non stop...

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday 5th May

Another great day again, and last night we had a beautiful sunset. As I write tis entry, the sun is streaming in the big window, so there might be some typing errors coming  up!!
Yesterday evening, Mandy had heard a Corncrake calling behind Machir Bay. In the dunes she counted 23 Sand Martin nest holes, a Common Sandpiper was seen on the stream as it enters the bay and finally Mandy counted 60 Greylags flew in from Coull Farm... Yesterday, Bob had a Sparrowhawk fly past his house, and soon after a male Hen Harrier flew through as well. Today, Mandy heard a Chiffchaff at Carnduncan. David Wood had seen a male Redstart down on the Oa earlier this week. Phill today on the Oa had 2 Grasshopper Warbler, a Whitehroat, Wheatear, several pairs of Stonechats, a Buzzard successfully hunting an Adder. Phill commented that the only Adders he has seen lately are those being carried in a Buzzard's talons!!! This morning, Carl had a Whitethroat in his garden in Port Charlotte and later on a count of 60 Dunlin as they flew past Brichladdich. In his garden, Bob saw 3 Willow Warbler, a Sedge Warbler and also a Blackcap and while he was visiting Bob, Martin saw a Peregrine ...  Botswana Dave saw 2 "lonely" Barnies at Gruinart, and James and Joan heard a Corncrake close to the South hide. Gary had seen a Corncrake at Bun an Uillt and heard another at Ballinaby where he also saw a Whinchat.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Thursday 4th May

Visitor, Mike Curnow from Banbury sent through some highlights seen so far this week, last night. On Tuesday, he had a Greylag and 7 gosling cross the road between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte. Yesterday, Tysties at Bruichlaadich with at least 30 Eider, 10 Ringed Plover and GND all closer to hand. Down on the Oa, a Peregrine was present, 10 Whimbrel counted and a pair of Golden Eagle spotted.Yesterday, James had a Common Sandpiper and also a Golden Eagle on the reserve at Gruinart. Today, James had seen a male Marsh Harrier, 3 Whinchats, 2 Grasshopper Warbler and a Whitethroat. Today, Bob had seen 3 Willow Warblers and also a Sedge Warbler in his garden in his garden and noted some Linnets and Greenfinches across the road in the water works up behind Port Charlotte. Some other visitors had handed their sightings to Botswana Dave. Terry and Shirley from Norfolk had also seen the Golden Eagles on the Oa on Tuesday, a White tailed Eagle over on Jura yesterday and an Osprey noted on Loch Gruinart today. On the guided walk at Gruinart this morning, Botswana Dave and Joan had heard 4 Corncrake calling away. Dave was also saying that a pair of Greenfinch were getting some grief from the Goldfinches on the feeders outside the visitor Centre at Gruinart...

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Wdnesday 3rd May

I managed to get the camera out to take this image of a Wheatear, taken on Sunday when we were out up towards Killinallan. This morning, I looked out the window and at the foot of the bird table and saw a Goldfinch, a female Lesser Redpoll, a male Siskin,  a female Chaffinch and a Starling. The Goldfinch and the Redpoll both were wearing leg rings, but too far off to read them.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Tuesday 2nd May

Another great day again, was forced to work in the garden, making the most of the good weather, next thing will be that I will be wanting some rain...
Yesterday, Gary had seen a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier at Mulresesh, quartering their patch. He had also heard 3 different Grasshopper Warbler round Ballygrant. This morning, Louise had a new alarm call in the form of a Whimbrel calling out behind her house over on Jura!!! Today, while out with clients, Gary, had a glimpse of a Golden Eagle while over at Bunnahabhain, had seen 10 Whimbrel at Port Mor, from Bruichladdich Pier, out on Loch Indaal, 17 RTD and 5 Common Scoter were present. Along at Blackrock, a further 50 Whimbrel were seen while up past Craigens towards Killinallan a male and also a female Whinchat were spotted. Over at Ardtalla, the Rochdale birders had seen a Woodcock with 4 chicks and also heard 2 Chiffchaff there too. Mark, had counted 108 Dunlin, 18 Whimbrel and 25 Ringed Plover at Traigh Nostaig, up at Ardnave. He also saw Turnstone, Twite and Sand Martins while he there as well.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Monday 1st May

Well, I was correct in predicting no more rain in April last  night with the tally coming through at a mere 1.4 inches, around 6 inches less for the year  than we had at the same time in 2016, but early days yet and we could have some wet weather to come before the year ends....
On his way back to the mainland on the ferry on Saturday morning, Peter Gill had a Bonxie and also saw 2 Manx Shearwater just after the ferry left Port Ellen. The Rochdale birders are back and had seen the flock of Golden Plover round at Ballinaby yesterday evening, I had been looking the other side of the road from where they saw them... Also yesterday they had a Kestrel at Bunnahabhain, at least 20 Tysties perched up on the pier at Caol Ila and 100 Whimbrel seen at Uiskentuie. Also yesterday, David Barr had seen a Peregrine on the shore at Gartmain. Mandy had heard a Cuckoo calling over at Carduncan early this afternoon. Here at home, there has been one calling away for the past few hours, hope it shuts up before I go to bed! This evening, we headed round to Ballinaby and located the flock of Golden Plover, now only around 90 in total, resting up in a ploughed field this time!!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sunday 30th April

Another month almost in, and another dry month by the looks of things, can't see a downpour coming over the next few hours...
This morning David Barr and myself went along and gave Bob a hand to carry out his survey along the River Sorn from The Woollen Mill down to where it enters Loch Indaal below Bridgend. In total we saw/heard 36 species of birds. Highlights included 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Dipper, 12 Blackcap, 14 Willow Warbler, 10 Siskin, a Treecreper, a Mallard with 12 ducklings. Best bird for me was seeing a really beautiful male Bullfinch on top of one bridges in the full sunlight, but my camera was in the van, not with me... Margaret saw a male Siskin on the feeders while I was away!!!
Later on this afternoon, we went over to Gruinart and up towards Killinallan. Nothing much to report from Ballinaby, no Golden Plovers there today! We saw a 38 Blackwits and several Wheatears as we drove up past Craigens with 9 Eider at Bun anUillt. We were both surprised to see so many Meadow Pipits, they were just everywhere...

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Saturday 29th April

The wind may have veered round from the North, but it still feels rather cold.... 
Bob yesterday evening had been over at Gruinart for some birding. He had counted 600 Barnies,  also present were 7 Whitefronts and a Pink footed Goose. On the flats, he had 58 Blackwits. Out from the South hide, he had a further 90 Blackwits, 30 Redshank, 20 Snipe, the drake Green winged Teal and also 14 Whoopers. While he was there Bob reckons that around half the Barnies flew off North, straight up Loch Gruinart....James yesterday had seen/ heard a Cornrake along the flats, saw the Pinkie too, counted 9 White Wagtails, counted 72 Pale bellied Brent at Blackrock and saw 4 Gadwall on the floods. Today, James had a Chiffchaff in his garden and heard another Corncrake on the reserve. This afternoon, we counted at least 180 Golden Plover at Ballinaby. Also seen there were 15 Greylags, 2 large Canada Geese, 3 Shelduck and 2 pairs of Stonechats.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Friday 28th April

Forgot to mention that I had seen a Glaucous Gull down at Uiskentuie back on Wednesday... Today, no sign of any of Brent Geese that were present at Blackrock yesterday. Mid afternoon , I heard a distant Cuckoo calling away out on the hill while I was "busy" planting out some more shrubs/ trees to hopefully give the birds cover in the future... Peter Gill had heard a Willow Warbler singing in the scrub willows below Carnduncan, and he was a bit more fortunate in seeing one in the reeds behind Machir Bay. Later, Peter had seen and heard a Cuckoo down in the same place that he had seen one at bird nerds meeting on Tuesday evening. In the scrub willow at Dun Nosebridge, he heard another Cuckoo. At Blackrock, he had 30 Dunlin and along at Uiskentuie, 97 Whimbrel were present. David Barr had counted 49 Whimbrel there earlier on, on his way to his work, so more must have come in after that.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Thursday 27th April

Yesterday evening Mandy had seen a Short eared Owl on her way round Loch Gorm. Later on, Mandy had a Stonechat, heard Willow Warbler, heard Sedge Warbler , seen a Swallow, 2 Chough and a Meadow Pipit all seen close to where she lives, not bad eh???  Coming away from Foreland and the bird nerds on Tuesday evening she had a Goldcrest and yesterday afternoon she saw 20 Greylag with 5 Whitefronts on the lochan below Rockside roadend. Yesterday, James had seen Lapwing chicks on the flats on Gruinart. He also heard at least 3 calling Corncrakes  and counted 6 White Wagtail, over 200 Barnies still present and also 10 Whitefronts on the reserve, Down at Uiskentuie, he had seen a Little Tern and also 7 GND there as well. At Blackrock today James had a count of 72 Pale belied Brent Geese, on the reserve he saw a Pink footed Goose and counted 9 White Wagtails. Mark saw a Sparrowhawk up at Kilnave. Peter Gill had spotted a male Hen Harrier over close to Bun an Uillt. On his way along the road leading to Finlaggan, he saw a ringtail Hen Harrier with another seen over the forestry. He also had seen 2 Sparrowhawk in the air over the trees the too. Finally, he had a Great spotted Woodpecker as he went along the "Glen Road" just out of Ballygrant.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wednesday 26th April

A better day again with the weather, not so windy, so I made the most of it and got our "game crop" sown for the birds in the Autumn/ early Winter, the bees can make use of the pollen too...
Up at Ardnave, Mark had over 300 Blackwits and at least 400 Golden Plover moving through. Peter Gill had around 80 Whimbrel down on the shore at Uiskentuie. Up at Gruinart, he saw the male Garganey out from the South hide. A Sparrowhawk was seen flying high over the car park and while walking the Moorland trail, a male and also 2 ringtail Hen Harriers were present. Finally down the reed bed leading to Machir Bay, Peter heard a Sedge Warbler.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Tuesday 25th April

Yesterday, Michal had seen a male Hen Harrier close to Mulreesh and today he had a Peregrine over at Kilchiaran. Peter Gill had also seen a Peregrine yesterday, down at Easter Ellister. Peter today had seen Hen Harrier out past Ardbeg. In the trees around Kildalton, 2 Long tailed Tits and at least 3 Treecreepers were seen with Blackcap and Chiffchaff heard there as well. They had also a further 2 different Hen Harriers as they drove along the high road. Gary had 32 Whimbrel at Uiskentuie.
Earlier this evening 11 folk came along to the Bird nerds and braved the cold North wind.. We had a not too bad a walk, seeing and hearing a Cuckoo calling, some Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, Sand Martin and Swallows hawking for food, Redpolls in the scrubby trees, Meadow Pipits on the ground with some Skylarks in the air, as were some Starlings. We also heard Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch calling as we walked along through the trees and saw a Buzzard fly overhead as well.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Monday 24th April

Well, the weather forecast certainly proved right, not exactly the weather we had yesterday, a cold Northerly wind blowing most of the day with some cold, raw dirty showers in the mix too...
Yesterday, Allen and Fiona Skinner had seen a Golden Eagle while out on a walk along to Granny's Rock.. Mark had noted 3 Coal Tits on the reserve at Gruinart yesterday. Here at home between showers I saw Linnets in the garden, a pair of Greenfinches, many Goldfinches, a single Robin, a Blackbird, best bird for sure was the sighting of 3 Chough on the ground, so I can now class them as a house bird, rather than a bird flying past.... The Siskins and also 3 Redpoll are visiting the food on offer still as well!!

Remember, Bird Nerds will be meeting below Foreland (NR271617) tomorrow night at 6.30, wellies advisable...

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sunday 23rd April

Mary Redman had seen a male Hen Harrier at Tormisdale on Friday evening.. Michal yesterday had 120 Golden Plover at Lossit and a short while later on, a male Hen Harrier as he approached Portnahaven. Yesterday, Botswana Dave had 32 Barnies out from the South hide along with 2 White Wagtails there as well. He had also heard a Corncrake calling there too. Today, while on the Moorland Trail, Dave had 2 male Reed Bunting and also a male Hen Harrier. Mary had heard a Grasshopper Warbler along from her house this morning, up on Claddach Loch, she saw a Canada Goose along with 8 Greylags, and in one of the fields, 6 Golden Plover were present. Mary also saw a Marsh frit caterpillar cross the road!!! This morning, Michal had heard a Cuckoo, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and also Mistle Thrush all singing at Foreland. He also saw and heard a male and a female Blackcap there as well. Michal also had another Mistle Thrush along at Rock Mountain. Also this morning, Mandy had seen 5 Sand Martin at Machir Bay, 10 male and 7 female Eiders were displaying there as well, with 4 Ringed Plover, some Curlews and around 70 Common Gull present there too. Prior to going down to the beach, Mandy had noted 20 Greenland Whitefronts at Carnduncan, but these were not seen on her return home!! Peter Gill had been up at Ardnave today where he saw a pair of sub adult Golden Eagles being mobbed by a male Hen Harrier. On the shoreline he had 30 Whimbrel, while on Ardnave Loch, 20 Blackwits were seen before being chased by a Peregrine. Over Ardnave Point in the air, Peter had over 700 Golden Plover. David Barr had seen 4 Common Sandpiper and GND at Bunnahabhain. Later, over at Bruichladdich, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Tystie, 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese and GND were present. Going out of Bruichladdich, at the Gleaner oil depot, he saw 6 Mallard ducklings cross the road and finally  in the fields between St Kiaran's church and Loch Indaal, David had 20 Whimbrel and also 2 Blackwits. James had seen the Green winged Teal also 2 Dabchick and a Orange tip Butterfly at Gruinart

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Saturday 22nd April

What a glorious day it has been with wall to wall sunshine, better still, the sun is streaming in though the windows as I write the blog..
Gary yesterday had a count of around 200 Pied and White Wagtails on the sand, down at Crosshouses. Gary reckons that there were at least 15 White Wagtails present. Some sightings also yesterday from James at Gruinart. On reserve he had the Green winged Teal, a male Garganey, a Greenshank, 162 Blackits, 10 Whoopers, a Golden Eagle and also a Merlin. Peter Gill yesterday evening had seen 4 Woodcock calling and flying low over the moor up behind Port Charlotte. Today, Peter had walked round the far side of Loch Skerrols and then down past the North Lodge and along the "Strath" back to Bridgend. At Skerrols itself, a Great spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and soon afterwards, it was seen. 6 Blackcaps were heard there as well, more than down in Bridgend Woods. 2 Chiffchaff were also heard on his walk, with 2 Grey Wagtails seen on the River Sorn as he approached The Woollen Mill. Just past Uiskentuie, 10 Whimbrel were seen, while up at Gruinart, an Orange tipped Butterfly was present. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Friday 21st April

Yesterday, Michal had seen 2 Whimbrel at Easter Ellister, a Common Sandpiper was on the shore with 2 GND offshore. Michal is back over for a few days carrying out some survey work, great to see you Michal...  Peter Gill yesterday evening had seen a Red throated Diver in breeding plumage on Loch Indaal out from Port Charlotte. Over at RSPB Loch Gruinart, today Peter had seen 9 Whoopers, the Green winged Teal was present out from the South hide, a Corncrake was heard calling briefly. Up at the North hide he counted a flock of 300 Blackwits and finally on the ploughed fields down at the Coastguards between 150 - 200 Golden Plover were there. Mike Peacock had seen a Peregrine up behind Port Charlotte this afternoon. Here at home, while I was looking at the birds on the ground at the base of the niger seed feeders, I saw that one of the Redpolls had a BTO ring on, but sorry to say that all I could read was "29", never saw the letters at the start, let alone the other numbers... and we have not rung any Redpolls here, so wonder where it has come from...
Before I forget, on Tuesday evening at 6.30pm, the "Islay Bird nerds" will be meeting up at NR 271617 for a walk through the Woods at Foreland House, wellies could be advisable as I believe that it may be muddy in certain places, so if you are around, see you there...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Thursday 20th April

Visitor, Simon Cohen had heard a Blackcap singing close to the North hide at Gruinart  on Sunday, and later on the same day, he had a Merlin over close to Sanaigmore. Yesterday,  over at Kilchiaran, he saw a Common Sandpiper and 2 White Wagtails. Gary yesterday had seen a Grey Wagtail on the stream beside Ballygrant Quarry, and later on, he heard a Cuckoo calling in Ballygrant Woods. Today Sam had been out with Gary, down towards Knockangle Point on the Big Strand, below the airport, they saw 10 Sanderling and also 40 Golden Plover. While going home along the Glen road back to Ballygrant, they saw 3 different Hen Harriers, a Merlin and also a Golden Eagle. Mark this morning had a count of 19 Blackwits on Ardnave Loch. Louise had seen a pair of Merlin as she drove round Loch Gorm. Peter Gill today had seen a large Canada Goose, South of Bowmore, in the trees around Avonvoggie, he heard and then saw a Cuckoo, and finally over at Blackrock, he had a Whimbrel and also 6 Dunlin.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Wednesday 19th April


I know that this image is not a bird, but I was really surprised to see this young leveret this morning, just as well that I had my camera in my hand!
Late yesterday afternoon, Margaret had counted 22 Chough out on the Machir. Also yesterday,  visiting birder Angus Hogg had seen 2 Arctic Tern on Loch Indaal, on Monday he had a Cuckoo over at Ballygrant with a Whimbrel and a Little Tern seen at Gruinart on Sunday. Peter Roberts today had gone out to see if he could locate the Little Gull, no joy , but he had 15 Eider at Uiskentuie with a raft of 35 R b Merganser out on Loch Indaal, Peter also had seen a further 20 Eider earlier on back at Bruichladdich.  Today, Bob had seen 32 Golden Plover in summer plumage and a Whimbrel in the Octofad fields behind Port Charlotte. Peter Gill had been over at Bunnahabhain today where he had Golden Eagle flying over from Jura, 4 Common Sandpiper on the shore, heard a Chiffchaff singing there as well, back close to Ardnahoe, 3 Red legged Partridge were present. Down at Loch Allan, 2 Long tailed Tits were seen, a Cuckoo heard as was a Blackcap. Here at home, there were 4 Swallows hawking the fields looking for food. Maggie Bell was in touch with Mark Shields to say that she had seen 9 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Leodamais Bay at Port Ellen.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tuesday 18th April

A lot cooler over here today, in fact we have had the big fire on today...Mary Redman yesterday sent  sightings from down at Portnahaven. She had seen some Swallows back at Claddach with 6 of them hawking over the fields looking for any insects for some food. Mary had a Snipe drumming close to Portnahaven Hall, a pair of Redshank were seen busy calling and displaying down near to Currie Sands while a pair of Meadow Pipits were trying to lure Mary away from their nest site!! Mary also commented on the lack of geese around as well.. Dave Protherough had 3 Sandwich Terns in Kilnaughton Bay while he was out with his kayak.  Peter Gill, yesterday had been down on the Oa, seeing a really close Golden Eagle, a male Hen Harrier and a single Chough. At Kintra, they had seen 2 Common Sandpiper with 2 Pale bellied Brent along at Blackrock. Top birds today from Peter were Siskin, Grey Wagtail and Dipper at The Wollen Mill. Later on up past Carrabus, a flock of 20 Twite was seen and shortly afterwards 22 Golden Plover spotted, all in summer plumage. Andy and Dot had 2 Golden Eagle up at Bunnahabhain. Mark had 8 Twite and 386 Golden Plover up at Ardnave this afternoon. Carl today had a Golden Eagle at Glenegedale, a Hen Harrier at Cragabus, a large Canada Goose at Kilnaughton as well as lots of GND present in the Bay there as well. Louise had 4 GND seen on the Sound of Islay as she headed over to Islay this morning. This afternoon, I had a White tailed Eagle over Port Charlotte flying South along the coast. Here at home, with the weather being colder, the feeders have been really busy, top birds included 2 Siskin, 3 Redpoll, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Linnets and late afternoon a count of over 70 Goldfinch, 55 at the feeders here at the house and around 20 over at the garage, the largest number here so far.. Gary has had a busy day, out with some clients. At Blackrock, this morning they saw a Little Gull, later on a couple of White tailed Eagles up towards Bunnahabhain, another White tail over at Port Charlotte, possibly the same bird that I had seen as well,  5 different Hen Harriers on their travels, including a pair sky dancing, great to see... A count of 40 Goldfinch at Octofad, and many Meadow Pipits seen around. Gary reckons they also had seen at least 10 Buzzards and a Kestrel while out and about. Finally, back at Blackrock , Gary stopped to check if the Little Gull was still present, but was content with a Glaucous Gull instead.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Monday 17th April

Been a bit manic out here today, possibly the reason for a late entry too..
As there was little wind this morning, George E. Jackson came up and we quickly set 3 mist nets up to see if we could catch and ring some birds, the final total was 17 birds processed, 2 House Sparrows, 6 Goldfinch, 9 Chaffinch, and a Starling. The number of time I saw birds flying directly towards the nets and then veer off at the last moment, say no more, but overall George was pleased with all our efforts....well done team!!
Before he left on Saturday, Armin had been over at Ardbeg where he saw a Heron being harassed by a couple of Gulls before the heron dropped the food out of its' crop. Gary yesterday evening had a similar experience at the top of Loch Indaal, but it was an Osprey which dropped its' food for the gulls to eat!!! Mark had a raptor day up at Ardnave seeing Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, 4 Snipe, a Lizard and Green Hairstreak. Visiting birders, Andy and Dot had flushed 3 Snipe as they came down off the crag, mid morning.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Sunday 16th April

Yesterday, James had a Redpoll on his feeders at Mill Cottage. Down from the North hide, he saw the Green winged Teal, pr of Gadwall, 6 Blackwits, 2 White Wagtail, "loads" of Sand Martins. Through the wood, James heard 2 Willow Warblers. Returning visiting birder, Peter Gill from Newcastle had seen a Bonxie fly South down Loch Indaal, past Port Charlotte. On the moor up behind Port Charlotte a male Hen Harrier while along at Bruichladdich, 3 Purple Sandpiper were present, all yesterday. Gary yesterday had 2 Snow Buntings down on the dunes behind Machir Bay, 2 Whimbrel were seen at the spit at Uiskentuie, and over at Finlaggan, a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier were seen. Today, Peter Gill had a male Hen Harrier at Gruinart, he heard a Corncrake calling as he walked down to the South hide, and a Treecreeper was seen while on the woodland trail, 2 Blackwits were seen out from the hide. Botswana Dave was reporting through re the Corncrake calling at Gruinart, but also to tell me about a Pink footed Goose seen amongst the Barnies at Gruinart. Carl today a heard a Woodpecker drumming at Loch Skerrols, on the water 2 pr of Mute Swans. Along at Eorrabus, 10 Whitefronts. In Bridgend Woods, a Blackcap was singing. A Snipe was added to Carl's list at Gortan, while Bruichladdich produced 20 Goldfinches and finally Carl had a Common Guillemot back at Port Charlotte. James from the kitchen window this afternoon, had seen a Siskin on his feeders, a male Hen Harrier flew past, a Wren bobbling along his garden wall with around 300 Barnies seen out on "Goose Hill"

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Saturday 15th April

Returning visiting birder, George E Jackson is back on Islay for a few days. On Thursday evening, George has 2 Snipe drumming over the merse at Whinpark. Early yesterday afternoon around Cattadale, on the "glen road" he had a feeding flock of around 50 Meadow Pipits. Later, on Loch nan Cadhan 4 Tufted Ducks were present with around 20 Herring Gulls mulling around there as well. Oliver headed home today, but yesterday had carried out a walk part of Islay's Northwest coast where he saw a Peregrine, a distant Golden Eagle and a Raven having a tussle with 2 Hooded Crows. Later on Oliver had a Sparrowhawk skimming over the grassland close to Saligo and then saw 20 Sandwich Terns off Bruichladdich. Today was Armin's last day before heading home, but a quick glace of the window at Clachan Cottages produced a male Hen Harrier out on the wing, flying across the  moorland towards Gartbreck. Here at home, we had a pair of Redpolls, 2 male and a female Greenfinch on the feeders. Down at Whinpark there were around 15 Sand Martins hawking over the merse  around lunchtime. George had seen 2 Wheatear at Machir Bay today.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Friday 14th April

Not the warmest of days outside today, with a few dirty showers thrown in.. even a shower of hailstones at one time...
Gary yesterday had seen a Grey Wagtail on the stream leading out of Ballygrant. He also heard 3 different Woodpeckers drumming in different locations in around Ballygrant. Yesterday afternoon, over the trees close to Coullabus, Gary saw a Peregrine and then a Merlin nearby. Further on, at the stream past Craigens, a Dipper was present. Back over at Keills , Gary heard a Sedge Warbler calling on a piece of rough grazing. This morning, we saw a Swallow down at the spit at Uiskentuie, 100 Golden Plover at Ballinaby, 60 Barnies in a field at Coull. Mark Shields this afternoon  at Ardnave had 60 Golden Plover, a ringtail Hen Harrier, Wheatear, 2 GND, 8 Linnet and a Swallow

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Thursday 13th April

Today, I saw my first Swallow of the year, unlike some folk that have seen them already, the good thing about this was it was at home...Late afternoon, there was a large flock a large flock of around 300 Barnies flying over towards Coull to roost up for the evening. Armin had a count of 50 Oystercatcher at the mouth of the River Laggan with around 300 Barnies flying NW towards Bowmore. Wonder if Armin and myself had seen the same Geese???  On his way back up towards where his car was parked, a Heron flew past, he had also seen some Pied Wagtail, not that common a sighting down where Armin comes from, close to Reading!! Bob this morning had counted 28 Whitefronts just after Sunderland Farm. While he was up here Bob and myself had seen a male Chaffinch and also a House Sparrow with BTO rings on, could they be some George E. Jackson had rung here previously, another question to ponder on!!!Mike Peacock today carried out the WeBS count from Portnahaven back up to Port Charlotte with his tally coming through at 33 Common Scoter, 28 GND, 3 RTD, 54 Razorbill, 5 Guillemot, 8 Tystie, 8 Shag, 5 Sandwich Tern with 2 Twite spotted at Nerabus. Oliver Woodman this morning had walked round Ardnave Point, seeing plenty of Otter footprints, but  no sign of any Otter themselves! He had more success on the bird front with a Peregrine, 6 GND offshore and also 12 Chough. Along the flats at Gruinart, a male Hen Harrier was present, and then later on while driving over the hill on the "Glen road" another male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier with a distant Golden Eagle spotted over the far hills.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Wednesday 12thApril

This morning Bob counted 20 Siskins on a flock on the ash tree in his garden,  we had 2 Siskins on our feeders, the first this year, and there were 35 Goldfinches count this morning.. Some sightings from today fromvisitor Oliver Woodman.. On the flats at Gruinart, there was a single Whooper Swan. On and around the River Sorn at The Woollen Mill, he had seen Grey Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Dipper. Later on along the "Glen road", he had a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and another visitor that Oliver had spoken with had  seen a Golden Eagle out over the hills on the same stretch of road. Finally, he had another male Hen Harrier seen out from the cottage where they are staying.