Today is the Autumn equinox, or to put it more simply, the length of daylight now is shorter than the darkness hours and will continue on that way until late December when the days will start to get longer again. Just hope the weather is not going downhill as well, as today it has been a pig of a day, although it was dry for a short time at first light this morning... Only bird sighting through is from James who saw a Peregrine fly over his house at Gruinart early this morning. On a positive note, I managed to put some bird sightings on the spreadsheet for JD and the Argyll Bird Club, mind you I do not want too many wet days...
Thursday, 21 September 2017
James and Mark yesterday had seen 25 Snipe as well as 2 Hen Harriers up on the moor on the reserve at Gruinart and this morning, James had counted 12 Snipe in the same location. This afternoon while out for a short run down the "Glen road", on the moorland at the entrance to Avonvogie, we saw several family groups of Stonechats out and about. Here at home just after lunch, there were a pair of Buzzards flying high up on thermals above the crag.
Wednesday, 20 September 2017
One thing for sure, today I very much doubt if any of the combines were cutting any crops, perhaps they moved the machines from one location to another. The rain gauge is now over 4 inches so far this month, at one time we always used to say that September a better month for getting some decent weather, not true in 2017...
This morning Nicholas Watts from Vine House Farm sent me through an image the Tree Sparrows eating the Red Millet on his feeders, I reckon that there are over 200 sparrows in and on the actual feeders. Nicholas too is having his hands full trying to finish off his harvest as well..
Mike Peacock had been down on Machir Bay today, seeing a mixed flock of Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Dunlin. Mike also saw a Curlew Sandpiper amongst them as well. Up on the dunes, beside the bay, a Sparrowhawk was present, spooking everything all around. Wonder if it was the same bird that was having a look see, up here late afternoon???
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
The farmers will be pleased, another dry day, and another day to get some more harvest cut, but the glass is dropping, so the rain is returning, with a wet day forecast for tomorrow..
Bob Swann was in touch regarding the Greylag goose with the orange neck collar on, seen on Sunday evening over at Ballinaby. It was first fitted with the collar as a youngster, here on Islay at Gortachuirn which is up behind Bruichladdich on the 30th of January 2015. It was seen up on Colonsay in June the same year with a brood of goslings. It then returned to Islay and was seen 3 times on the Oa during the winter of 2015/16. In February 2017, it was noted on Rathlin and then a few days later on Fair Head, both in Co. Antrim in Northern Ireland and has now returned to Islay, at present... Many thanks to Bob for this data...
Gary today had seen a White tailed Eagle and also a ringtail Hen Harrier at Finlaggan, he also saw a Sparrowhawk over the moorland there as well. In the trees beside his house, a lot of wee birds have been present including Coal Tits, Blue Tits and also 7 Goldcrests. Down on the merse at Bridgend, Gary had seen a Peregrine playing havoc with the waders. There were several hundred Mallard and Teal also present, with Gary witnessing a White tailed Eagle taking one of them... Also down on the trees there, Gary saw an Osprey perched up.
Monday, 18 September 2017
The farmers have been making use of the delayed spell of better, drier weather.. as well as their combine out, Rockside has been baling the straw and others are catching up with delayed silage making...better late than never!!!
Back to birds, Bob had been a walk out towards the old wreck that is visible at the head of Loch Indaal when the tide is out. He saw at least 50 Barwits and also a Peregrine. He was saying back at his home up behind Port Charlotte, he has been seeing more Skylarks around of late. This evening we counted over 38 Chough heading into the roost. The count for the Greylags came through at 2,178. Thanks to Andrew Kent and his team of counters.
Sunday, 17 September 2017
A great day out here today and yes the farmers got their combines going and managed to get a start made to the harvest. Round at Rockside, Andrew Woods was driving the combine on behalf of Kilchoman Distillery, with the moisture being 18.5%, which all things being considered was not too bad...
The Distillery have got their combine customised to advertise their machine...
Back on the bird front, not a lot happening apart from 10 Pied Wagtails on the lawn at breakfast time, the Peregrine was watching life go by, the Swallows that are still here were hawking after insects over the game crop as were several Stonechats as they flitted about, 4 Dunnocks were also noted and this evening amongst around 300 Greylags at Ballinaby, one had a orange neck collar on, so better get in touch Bob Swann to find out its' history.
Saturday, 16 September 2017
A not bad day with the weather. Not the warmest, but it is looking like another dry day tomorrow, as I write the blog, the sun is streaming in the big window with a beautiful sunset in store...
Distillery Dave and Ann, his wife, had been up at the old hide at Gruinart where they great views of a juv. White tailed Eagle for quite some time. They also saw a ringtail and also male Hen Harrier. Up at Ardnave, over close to Traigh Nostaig, they saw 2 Greenshank and as they returned to their car, they saw 40 Black tailed Godwit and 6 Golden Plover. Down at Bruichladdich, 5 Turnstone, many Dunlin, and some Ringed Plover were present. Off Uiskentuie, they saw 2 GND and a Red breasted Merganser. Earlier this evening we watched a ringtail Hen Harrier as it flew past close to us, a Buzzard flew over the old church, low down while up on the crag a Peregrine was just sitting, watching the world go round...
Friday, 15 September 2017
Better keep quiet as today, it has been a lot better on the weather front, so with a bit of luck, it may stay with us and allow the ground to dry up a bit... Mind you I was kept out of mischief, planting a couple of wee bags of Daffodil bulbs, so finger crossed that they do not get twisted about by the wind like the ones that we planted last year... I also spent sometime moving some plants around outside too. Yesterday afternoon I saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch down behind Machir Bay. Today, we saw a single Red legged Partridge on the road below Carrabus. Jim D saw the ever present Little Egret as the ferry approached Kennacraig today on his way home. Thanks for your birds Jim!
Thursday, 14 September 2017
It is meant to September, normally a month of better weather for the farmers to get their combines out and get their harvest cut and home, not so this year, so far this month we have had over 3 inches of rain, the fields are sodden, so it will be difficult to get machinery to move around without getting bogged down...
JD had done some birding on his last day for this visit. At Frenchman's Rocks, a lot quieter today, but a Great Skua was seen, on Loch Indaal, 6 Arctic Terns, a Greenshank, 31 Common Scoter, 52 Wigeon, a Slav Grebe, a Greater Scaup, a juv BTD. At Cgaigens, Jim saw a juv Whinchat and Gruinart, 2 Peregrine, an imm White tailed Eagle, 2 adult Whoopers and a Barnacle Goose were present.
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Mary Redman yesterday had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier close to Claddach Loch and also a Dabchick on the water itself. Today, JD has put in another days' birding... At Frenchnan's Rocks, Jim did a sea watch for almost 1.5 hours seeing 930 Manx Shearwater, 127 Kittiwake, 11 Fulmar, 2,100 large Auk, and an Arctic Tern, he also saw 2 Ruff and 2 Golden Plover in off the sea. Later on, he had a Grey Wagtail at Kilchiaran with 6 Red Knot and a Wheatear at Carnain. Off Bruichladdich, 5 Arctic Tern and a Sandwich Tern present, with a female Greater Scaup noted at Blackrock. A Sand Martin was present at Gruinart with 7 Gadwall seen on Loch Gorm.
Here at home, many thanks to the Electricity Boys as we lost power through the night, the long and the short was that they laid a complete new cable to allow us power again, so once again thanks to Rop, Shimy, Ross and Ant..
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Yesterday, Peter had seen a Wheatear when he was over at Glenegedale..
Today the weather improved quite a bit, no rain until after lunchtime and a few showers after that, and oh yes a power cut for almost 3 hours, power back on in time to make the tea, and better still, in time for me to write the blog, well done the local engineers who sorted the problem out..
JD has been out and about.. At Portnahaven, he had seen 9 Turnstone, Bruichladdich held 94 Ringed Plover and a further 6 Turnstone. At Gortan, Jim had 2 Arctic Tern, 27 Common Scoter, 2 Slav. Grebes, 2 male Greater Scaup, and 4 RTDs. Along at Bridgend Merse, 2 Barnies along with the hybrid Canada Goose x white Greylag goose were present. Round at Gartnatra, 11 Blackwits were seen. At Gruinart, Jim saw 2 juv Ruff, 3 imm Pintail, 3 Wheatear and 2 Whooper Swan. Up at Coille, 2 Sparrowhawks were harassing a Buzzard and Jim saw another Sparrowhawk at Coultorsay.
Above are some of the flock of House Sparrows, Linnet and Twite that were on the game crop this afternoon, at one time I counted 131 lbjs in the air before they dropped in to the seed heads.. Earlier on, I had counted 36 Goldfinches up on the big niger feeder and around the other feeders. Oh yes, I managed to finish cutting the grass as well, another job done for the time being.
Monday, 11 September 2017
This poor spell of weather, not to beaten, I tried to cut the grass with varying amounts of success, got some cut, not a lot, but on the downside, the rain stopped play 3 times, mind you I did manage each time to stop before getting too wet!!!
JD thought otherwise and went out to carry out a spot of sea watching at first light, but the weather beat him there.... but he had seen other birds while out and about later on.. A Wheatear at Kilnave, 6 Golden Plovers at Gruinart, along at Coullabus over 50 Pied and White Wagtails were present. Down at Gortan, a Sparrowhawk was seen , off Carnain, 6 Knot with 2 Arctic Terns and a count of 22 Common Scoter between there and Bowmore. Tomorrow might be better, fingers crossed!!!
Sunday, 10 September 2017
An absolute pig of a day with heavy squally showers sweeping inform the sea, and not much improvement in the forecast for a few days ... Just as well we are not "trying" to grow barley for one of the Distilleries.
Yesterday, Mike Peacock had seen 2 Brent Geese off Port Charlotte, possibly the same birds that Carl had seen. Today Jim D's top birds were a female Sparrowhawk and a Wheatear between Claddach and Portnahaven. Here at home, we had seen a Greenfinch, the first one we have seen in almost 5 weeks. I wonder, with these high winds as to whether we may get some "different" birds dropping in, we can but hope!!!
Saturday, 9 September 2017
A drier day out here, but possibly not for long.. So some of us been making the most of it!!
Gary this morning had an Osprey out from Gartmain, Carl had seen a couple of Brent Geese down at Port Charlotte. This afternoon Jim Dickson had a couple of Brent Geese at Gruinart, but no sign of the possible Little Stints. Jim also had 2 Slavonian Grebes at Gortan, out from the coal yard on Loch Indaal. This morning, Distillery Dave and myself made use of Jim Dickson and so the 3 of us did the WeBS count in the absence of Bob and Lesley. It was raining at the start, but after a few minutes it dried up and off we set towards Gartbreck... Our birds seen included 144 Greylags, a Red throated Diver, 2 Cormorant, 35 Shag, 22 Oystercatcher, 82 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel, 7 Redshank, 19 Ringed Plover, 21 Lapwing, 37 Dunlin, 7 Barwits, 2 Snipe, 1 Ruff, 7 Heron, 10 Black headed Gulls, 322 Herring Gulls,12 CommonGulls, 2 Lbb Guls, 9 Gbb Gulls, 5 Kittiwake, 5 Razorbill, 1 Guillemot, 2 Red breasted Merganser, 7 Mallard, 1 Long tailed Duck, 42 Eider. We also saw a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard, a ringtail Hen Harrier . We saw many Rock Pipits on the shore, as well as some small flocks of Goldfinches and a few Linnets enjoying the shoreline seed heads!!!
Friday, 8 September 2017
Another miserable sort of the weather, yet again...Mike got the stats back from BTO relating to the Manx Shearwater which he had found dead down on Machir Bay, on the 4th of Sept. It was rung as a first year bird at Bardsey Bird Observatory on the 5th of Sept 2004, a mere 4,747 days ago!!
Gary today had been down for a walk along the River Sorn from the Woollen Mill. On the River itself, he had seen a Dipper with Goldcrests and Long tailed Tits heard calling away in the trees. Mark and Phill had joined forces today and carried out the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart with their birds counted as follows: A Pale bellied Brent Goose, 2 Barnies, 234 Greylag, 380 Ringed Plover, 238 Dunlin, 16 Barwits, 2 Blackwits, 14 Knot, 121 Curlew, 29 Sanderling, 9 Turnstone and a Peregrine. They also reported through a possible sighting of 2 Little Stint up on the shore below Kilnave.
Jim Dickson arrived over for a week's birding, so here are some of Jim's birds seen today, 30 juv. Blackwits, an adult Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 House Martin, 1 Shelduck and 4 Knot all at Gruinart. 4 Greenfinch were at Kilnave with a Merlin at Ardnave also a male Hen Harrier at Coull. Finally Jim had a Willow Warbler along at Sunderland Farm. Here at home, I saw 3 families of Stonechats on the game crop this morning as well as one of the House Sparrows caught and rung by George E Jackson in the Spring. It was up close to the house and I managed take some images of the leg ring and matched the ring numbers.
Thursday, 7 September 2017
Another mixed day with the weather again, with more rain forecast for tomorrow...
Yesterday, James had been out to help with counting Greylags, and all going well I should get the tally through from SNH for tomorrow's entry. On his trip out, James had a Sparrowhawk, a Grey Wagtail and then an Osprey seen out on Loch Gruinart. Up at Ardnave, James counted 21 Chough and saw Grey Seals with pups over on Nave Island. Today, here at home, Margaret spotted a male Chaffinch with a BTO ring on its' leg, possibly one that was caught and rung by George E Jackson here previously.
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
A similar sort of a day today with the weather, but we will not be beat, got all my jobs done, just fine, a happy bunny again.. Forgot to mention on the blog last night that I had a Snipe down below the pond, in the rushy area.. Gary had seen an Otter up at Bunnahabhain, and reported that both Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes are starting to flock up over beside here he lives.
Today, Mike and Peter had carried out a sea watch at Frenchman's Rocks. I was also glad to hear that Bob had been out with them too, no excuse now Bob, another few weeks and you will be driving again. Their birds were as follows, 997 Manx Shearwater, 23 Fulmar, 4 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 29 Auk sp., 3 Tysties, 1 Arctic/ Common Tern, 10 Gbb Gull, 339 Gannets with another 150 feeding around the Rocks, 7 Great Skua, 12 Sanderling, a Whimbrel and a Storm Petrel. Today, Phill was leading the guided walk down on the Oa where he had a pair of Golden Eagle displaying well, 4 Chough close to the American monument and also a Kestrel nearby. Here at home, on the game crop the Linnets have been joined by some Twite, possibly the ones that Mike had down at the Machir Bay the other day...
Tuesday, 5 September 2017
Been a better sort of a day although there has been the odd shower thrown in for good measure... So in between the rain I have been out on the wee tractor topping some of the grass that has not been cut so far this year, and then after that I took the big strimmer and cut in places that the tractor would not go, and if the weather holds tomorrow, I should finish that job before lunchtime... After tea tonight, we took some time out and sat in the hut for the best part of an hour...2 top birds came by, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over the game crop and landed down on the wall and remained there for the best part of 5 minutes.... Later on a Sparrowhawk flew past and carried on up the gully. The usual wee birds were around Linnets, Goldfinches, a Robin, a Dunnock, Great Tits, Blue Tits, House Sparrows, Starlings, Jackdaws and some Pheasants as well. 3 Hooded Crows were out on the machir, and a few Greylags were flying back to their roost, with a Buzzard perched up on the crag. Earlier on a Wren was out beside the hut too with some Stonechats hopping along the wall.
Monday, 4 September 2017
Well, you will all be relieved to her that it has stopped raining, although a low swirling mist this morning caused the flight from Glasgow to Islay was delayed. This afternoon, the cloud broke and it has turned out to be a not bad day, with the sun streaming in through the window as I write this entry. Mike made the most of the afternoon, with a walk along Machir Bay producing 51 Ringed Plover, 11 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin and a dead ringed Manx Shearwater... Mike also had a flock of 30 Twite and also saw 2 nearly fledged Sand Martins at their nest hole. . On the game crop, here at home, the Linnet numbers were up to over 60 today, and this afternoon, we had a Peregrine sitting on the march fence between Coull and Ballinaby. We also had 2 charms of Goldfinches below Coulererach, one of 40 birds, the other with at least 70 in number.
Sunday, 3 September 2017
You might want to search somewhere else tonight if you want to read about Islay's birds as today has been a total washout with wall to wall rain, not a lot but enough to keep me inside all day... I have not crossed the doorstep today. One person who might be pleased is JD, as I completed off the data base records for Islay for August and e mailed them to him...
Our good friend Marsali sent through her rainfall figures at Mulindry for August. Her tally was higher than last year for August, coming to 149 mm, or 5.96 inches, if you still think of the rainfall in imperial measurement... Thanks again Marsali. The forecast for the week does not bode well either, with more rain forecast, say no more. Might have some birds for you tomorrow, no promises!!!
Saturday, 2 September 2017
Not a lot to report tonight.... This morning, Mike had a Common Sandpiper down at Port Charlotte. Here at home, the Redpolls and also the Siskins that have been "resident" since the Spring have not been seen since before the Birdfair, but on a positive note the Stonechats are still around!!! Tonight, the wind has picked up and I feel that could be a wee change working in the weather with possibly some rain coming in over the next few days... Just as well that we have spent most of the day outside, working in the garden...
Friday, 1 September 2017
Well, that is August out of the way again, the tally here for the rain came to 4.4inches, almost 2 inches less than last year at the same time, time for that to change very quickly, let's hope the farmers get a chance to get their harvest in before it gets too wet...
Yesterday, Mike and Peter had a count at Bridgend Merse and the surrounding mud flats as the tide was outish... birds seen came to 2 Sanderling, 55 Ringed Plover, 178 Dunlin, 227 Oystercatcher, 251 Curlew, 3 Knot, 29 Wigeon and 29 Barwits. Today they had done an hour down at Frenchman's Rocks where their birds were as follows : 181 Manx Shearwater, 201 Gannet, 29 Fulmar, 7 Kittiwake, 38 Shag (all perched on Frenchman's rocks), 17 Razorbill, 15 Awk sp., 1 Tystie, 1 dark phase Arctic Skua, and a Sand Martin in off the sea!! David Formby had been up round Ardnave today noting the following, 24 Chough, 4 Curlew (inland), around 40 Linnet, a pair of Ringed Plover with a very young pulli, and 2 Dunlin. Coming back down from Ardnave, he followed a Sparrowhawk along the road for around 100 yards.. Here at home, Margaret had 3 Wrens and a young Robin at the back of the garage this morning, and late afternoon, directly over the house a couple of Buzzards were wheeling around in a thermal.