Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Tuesday 31st October

Just back in from the talk given by Ed Burrell on the Greenland Whitefronts at the monthly meeting of the bird nerds, a really informative presentation with 27 folk attending.... Thanks Ed.. 

Mike Bell had been out and about today, braving the elements.. In Bridgend Woods he had 55 Redwing, a Fieldfare and 6 Goldcrest, no Dippers on the River Sorn, or Siskins at the Woollen Mill. At Gruinart, Mike counted 410 Teal, 25 Pintail, 16 Shoveler, 3 Brent Geese, a male Hen Harrier, a total of 2,240 Golden Plover ( a flock of 1,000 in the fields and another flock of 1,060 out on the estuary), 250 Lapwing, 5 Blackwits and 4 Greenshank. Round at Ballinaby, he saw a Merlin. John Wilson and son Jonti had a ringtail as they drove over to Gruinart this morning and also saw the large number of Golden Plover on the flats as well at Gruinart.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Monday 30th October

Today, John Wilson along with his son Jonti had seen a Comic Tern off Bruichladdich and they saw 5 Mistle Thrush close to Port Charlotte. Up on Loch Skerrols, they counted 112 Whoopers and also 116 Wigeon there as well. Mike Bell had seen a ringtail at Rockside and then 13 Tufted Ducks on Loch Gorm. Down on the High road close to Leorin out of Port Ellen, a ringtail was seen with another spotted on the road leading out to the Oa. On the Oa itself, a pair of Golden Eagles were  displaying, a Peregrine was noted as was a Merlin, with over 400 Twite seen on the cover crop at Upper Killeyan where a flock of 60 Redwing were also seen. A close encounter as Mike drove down the single track road to Kintra when a  Golden Eagle and 2 Hooded Crows seen less than 20 yards away.. At Kintra, he saw some Mistle Thrush and Redwing, possibly birds on passage. Offshore out on the water, were GND & RTD. A female Long tailed Duck was seen flying South. As he headed out to Claggain Bay, a Golden Eagle was close to Kildalton with 2 Whitetailed Eagles spotted along the South Coast. Back up at Bowmore, 20 Common Scoter were out on Loch Indaal along with a single Goldeneye. Round the top of Loch Indaal, and the Merse, 15 Pintail, 145 Wigeon, 290 Teal, 34 Brent Geese, 73 Ringed Plover and also 76 Dunlin and 2 Knot were present. The Rochdale birders are back for another "fix" seeing 2 groups of Snow Buntings totalling 7 birds around Ardnave, a female Sparrowhawk at Finlaggan with another present  up towards Bunnahabhain. They also had a group of 7 Whoopers fly off Jura and inland towards Loch Staoisha.

Sunday 29th October, continued....

Well, I trust that you all have got the wee bird sorted out from earlier on, and yes, it was a possible Little Bunting, requiring verification by the rare birds committee, a first I believe for Islay and only the fourth for Argyll, not that common a bird.. right on with the birds from Sunday as promised... George as stated in the previous entry, topped the 100 birds rung here at our home, at the end of play George has caught and "processed" 127. Yesterday's tally came to 2 House Sparrows, 5 Goldfinch, 17 Chaffinch, a Robin, a Blackbird, the Little Bunting and a Blue Tit, just fantastic...Many thanks, George.
John Wilson yesterday had seen 2 Golden Eagles at Kilchoman, a Peregrine and 40 Linnet round at Rockside, several groups of Fieldfare, the largest being around 40 in number close beside Loch Gorm. Up at Ardnave John had seen 40 Twite and 18 Whoopers on Ardnave Loch. Several groups of Whoopers  were seen flying past here through the day. Mike Bell had seen 2 Mistle Thrush up at the old church next t o where we live. Down on Machir Bay, 57 Curlew were present. At Coull roadend, he saw a ringtail, a male Hen Harrier as he drove up to Ardnave with another ringtail at Ardnave itself. Mike counted a total of 32 Rock Pipits as he walked round the Point. At Traigh Nostaig,  4 Barwits were seen with a GND offshore. There were 1,060 Golden Plover on the flats at Gruinart, with 65 Turnstone were on the estuary. Down at Bruichladdich, 2 Purple Sandpiper were seen and between there and Blackrock, Mike saw 20 RTD, 7 RTD, 5 Slav Grebes, 10 Common Scoter, 49 Eider, 44 Scaup, 58 R b Merganser, 8 Guillemots, 12 Razorbill and 4 Tysties

Remember the talk by Ed Burrell on the Whitefronted Geese at 7 pm on Tuesday round at the visitor centre at Gruinart... along with some socialising too over a cuppa, no doubt.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sunday 29th October

Sorry folks, a rather VERY LATE entry, should really be Monday's date...
Been a great day out here, a long and busy day at that, tried to write entry before I went out earlier this evening, but did n't manage. Will give you an image of a wee bird that we had in the garden earlier on and tell you more about other stuff later on.
All I can say at this late hour of the night, or rather early hour of Monday morning that the above image is the 100th bird caught and rung by George E. Jackson here at our house..... a wee cracker!!!
Back on Saturday night George E and Pat Jackson had seen a Barn Owl at smelly corner while coming home from Bowmore on Saturday evening.... 

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Saturday 28th October

Yesterday Irene and Tony Miller who live between Port Charlotte and Portnahaven had seen a Hawfinch out on the feeders in their garden. In May, last year Irene and Tony had a Hawfinch in their garden... This afternoon, they spotted a couple of Bramblings amongst the Chaffinches. Irene had seen a female Blackcap earlier in the week, and regularly sees a male Hen Harrier hunting past her feeders and fortunately the wee birds are not present when this happens. Out in their garden she has been seeing a 2 Goldcrests. At breakfast time we believe that we saw a "possible" 1st winter Ring Ouzel out in the garden, no Bramblings seen here though...... Today, James had 3 Bramblings in his garden at Mill cottage.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Friday 27th October

Lee Thickett saw a Basking Shark on the Sound of Islay, North of Bunnahabhain back on Tuesday, also on Tuesday, Ian and Linda Brockbank had 2 Yellowhammers over at Kintra. On Wednesday, Lee saw  3 Greenshank on Loch Gruinart and yesterday he saw a BTD and also a Leach's Petrel close in , up at Sanaigmore. Today, Alan Harris had seen 2 Golden Eagles while down on the Oa. James had carried out a count on the reserve at Gruinart, (less the Barnies...) his tally came to 630 Whitefronts, 28 Brent Geese, 8 Whoopers, a Pinkie, 2 Ruff, 4 Blackwit, 1,555 Golden Plover,109 Redwing at Gruinart with a further 80 over at Craigens, 4 Fieldfare and 2 Moorhen. Mark covered Loch Gruinart itself, seeing a Ruff, a Dabchick, 6 Blackwit, 5 Whoopers, 60 Golden Plover, a Peregrine, a Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 40 Twite and also 5 Snipe. Mike and Elspeth had walked though Ballygrant Woods along to Loch Allan seeing mixed Tit flocks and at least 2 Goldcrest. On Loch Ballygrant itself, 2 Mutes, 10 Whoopers, 14 Tufties and 4 Mallard were seen while over the fields, a Peregrine was spotted. Out from the "Glen road" they had a Golden Eagle and also a male Hen Harrier.  This morning Mike Peacock had 6 Slav Grebes, 28 Scaup and also 2 BTD. Off Port Charlotte, out on Loch Indaal this afternoon, Mike had 38 Common Scoter, a Velvet Scoter, 15 GND, 5 RTD, a BTD and also 14 Eider. Finally, Mike had a Merlin on the shore, in front of his house, chasing starlings. Peter and Jane headed off today, but saw a female Merlin fly over the stern of the ferry as they crossed over to Kennacraig. Graham and Jo had been over on Jura today, seeing a Golden Eagle close to Feolin, another along the road after Jura House, some R b Merganser along from Craighouse as well as some Buzzards on their way through Jura. Returning back to Craighouse they saw another Golden Eagle and then shortly afterwards while waiting on the ferry at Feolin a White tailed Eagle was seen over the Sound of Islay, another Golden Eagle was seen out from Ballygrant. Here at home, Margaret spotted a Golden Eagle soaring high up over the crag and later on 3 Buzzard were seen dodging along.. George E Jackson had another successful day catching a ringing some more wee birds with a further 35 birds fitted with BTO rings, and also 2 retraps, one from yesterday, the other  being one that George rung here back on the 2nd of January... Keep up the good work George... apart from the usual bird that have been rung, George managed to fit a ring on 3 Starlings and also a Robin... Almost forgot, the cheeky, local ringtail flew past close and had a peek at us ringing the wee birds, and no, it did not fly into our "mist nets". Several small groups of Whoopers were seen heading out to Ireland, the largest being 12 Swans in total around 5.30pm
Mind the Bird nerds meeting on Tuesday evening at 7pm at the visitor centre at Gruinart, when Ed will give us an update on his work with the Whitefronts

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Thursday 26th October

Yesterday, Gary and Sam had seen 8 Bullfinch at the start of the track leading out  from Bunnahabhain, out on to the hill. They also saw a Woodcock shortly afterwards. Today, Graham and Jo had seen many  Redwing, a flock of 20 Twite, 4 Reed Bunting, a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2  Golden Eagles, a Peregrine and also 2 Ravens, all on the Oa. Coming back to Port Ellen they saw a Swallow. Out on Loch Indaal from a vantage point close to Blackrock, they saw a GND, 2 Slav Grebes, 2 Common Scoter and a probable Common Tern. Off Bruichladdich, they saw 2 Common Guillemots while on the shore a Wheatear, Rock Pipit and Ringed Plover were seen. Mike and Elspeth had a Merlin on the Oa and also a large flock of Fieldfare and also around a dozen Whitefronts close to Leorin. Gary had ben out with clients seeing a Merlin on the Moss road, just out of Bowmore 4 Golden Eagles on the south of Islay, a juv Swallow at Imeraval and heard Crossbill calling at the plantation on the "Glen road".   On the ferry back to the mainland, just out of Port Ellen, Richard and Pat had seen 20 GND and a BTD. Half an hour in to their crossing, they had an Arctic Skua and 9 Bonxies.. the Bonxies were their 100th species seen this visit.. Peter and Janet had counted 570 Golden Plover on the flats at Gruinart, and also spotted 2 Todd's Canada Geese.They saw 2 Swallows over Islay House Square this afternoon  while out on Loch Indaal, they had 3 GND, a RTD and a Slav Grebe. Other visiting birders, Bob and Sheena Tonner from Paisley had also seen 3 GND between Bridgend and Port Charlotte, a BTD off Port Charlotte, 20 Whitefronts down at Octofad. Highlights from a "mini sea watch" at Frenchman's Rocks  include a RTD, 50 Kittiwakes, 4 Manx Shearwater, a Brent Goose and also a Purple Sandpiper on the rocks nearby...  Here at home today George E. Jackson is back over for a few days visiting, so we had a wee session ringing some of the birds, in total George caught and rung a total of 22 birds with 2 retraps from previous sessions. We had a male Brambling and a Great Tit as well as some House Sparrows, Goldfinches and Chaffinches. We also saw several departing groups of Whoopers heading away over to Ireland.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Wednesday 25th October

This morning, Al Hart had done a "wee sea watch" from where the former wave power station was once, rather than brave the elements and go further out... Al had seen a Pomeranian Skua, 4 Bonxies, along with Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and Auks. Graham and Jo Morton today had seen a male Merlin, 3 Bullfinches, and a few Fieldfare as they headed up towards Bunnahabhain where they had 2 GND out on the water. Later on, they had seen 3 different ringtail Hen Harriers and an adult Golden Eagle, also a 1st winter Goldie there as well. They also saw Snipe and some Fieldfare as they drove along. At Neriby, 24 Whoopers and 20 Whitefronts were present while 2 Buzzard were seen over Claggain. Mike and Elspeth today had a "deliberately quieter" day, noting the GND in the harbour in Bowmore first thing, also there were 4 R B Mergansers.  Along at Blackrock, they had a Comic Tern. From the old hide at Gruinart, they had 2 Dabchick and a "very fine" male Ruff. The new hide had a lot of ducks but proved difficult due the lowish sun. Peter and Janet Roworth had over 550 Golden Plover, over 120 Lapwing and at least 24 Pied Wagtails on / over the flats at Gruinart today. Here at home, the Bramblings are still around, could it be all the food that is on offer that keeps them here? Along between Ballinaby and Leek, there were a few Fieldfares in the scrubby bushes along the roadside. Late this afternoon, I had a really close sighting of a ringtail as I walked round the back our garage, no need for the bins, and no camera to prove it either!! Richard and Pat Howells today had a juv Golden Eagle near to Feolin and also soon after 3 White tailed Eagles close by. They also saw a Woodcock at the other end of Jura, on the roadside, but no sign of any Ring Ouzels.

With the clocks changing this weekend, the Bird nerds meeting will be held inside, up at the Visitor Centre at Gruinart  on Tuesday evening at 7pm when our good friend Ed Burrell will give us an update on his work with the Whitefronted Geese

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Tuesday 24th October

Yesterday over at Gruinart Al Hart saw a Whitefront with an orange neck collar on... Back on Sunday returning birder, Lee Thickett had seen a Jack Snipe over at Ardtalla, and yesterday, he had seen a Lapland Bunting while walking up from Machir Bay towards Granny's Rock. On Sunday, Dave Pierce, Neil McMahon along with their group from Naturetrek, had counted 39 Scaup and also 2 Common Scoter at Blackrock while at Gruinart they saw a juv. Golden Eagle and also 6 Grey Plovers. As they headed to Jura, they had 3 White tailed Eagles. Yesterday, up at Lealt  on Jura they saw 3 Ring Ouzel as well as many Redwing and Mistle Thrush with a Dipper back at Craighouse. Yesterday also, Peter and Janet Roworth had a male Merlin at Gruinart while at the top of Loch Indaal, they had 4 Barwits, 10 Pintail, 6 Knot, 16 Whoopers, 138 Wigeon and 34 Brent Geese. Today, Gary had a Todd's Canada Goose amongst the other geese present below Rock Mountain and then later on, he saw the Little Gull along on the pool at Saligo. Dave Pierce, Neil & co had a dark morph Arctic Skua on the Sound of Islay and also saw Golden Eagles and White tailed Eagles on both Islay and Jura. Botswana Dave had a male Ring Ouzel close to Lagstoban. On the guided walk down on the Oa, Dave was able to show folk on the walk a Golden Eagle being harassed by 3 Ravens, forcing the Eagle off its' kill. Other birds seen on the walk included a Peregrine hunting Redwing & Fieldfare, a ringtail Hen Harrier, Stonechats, Twite and a pair of Chough. Bonnie Wood, Dave Wood's wife spotted a Ring Ouzel while out walking their pup. Other birds seen on the Oa this morning included 2 Brambling, a Chiffchaff and 5 Goldcrest. The Redwing flock is up to around 3,000 birds along with several hundred Fieldfare, with more birds arriving in from the North. This morning Richard and Pat Howells managed a count of the wee waders on the breakwater at Bowmore counting 50 Ringed Plover and 24 Dunlin. While waiting at Port Askaig, they saw a White tailed Eagle flying up the Sound of Islay. A Peregrine was seen hunting along the shore as they headed up to Craighouse where they saw a Dipper and then 2 GND further out on Small Isles Bay. Today, Mike and Elspeth had been round the loop on the Rhinns, not as many birds seen compared with other visits, but a fall of Redwing at Claddach, a Peregrine, a Merlin with 28 Whitefronts seen at Octofad. The GND was present again in the harbour at Bowmore this afternoon. and a smaller flock of waders seen there as well. Peter and Janet had seen a White tailed Eagle while they were driving over the Glen road up close to Storakaig this afternoon. Graham and Jo Morton today had 40 Scaup and 4 GND at Blackrock, at Bruichladdich, they saw 10 Ringed Plover, a Redshank, a Rock Pipit, and a Common Guillemot. Along at Sunderland 50 Whoopers were present amongst the mixed flock of Whitefronts, Greylags, a few Pinkies and a lot of Barnies. Close to the pool behind Machir Bay, 20 Chough and 25 Ringed Plover were seen. Finally, they saw a RTD up at Sanaigmore

                  

The image is of our 2 Brambling, seen regularly along with the Chaffinches

Monday, 23 October 2017

Monday 23rd October

Another bumper edition coming up..
Peter  Roworth had a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Ruff and a Blackwit over the flats at Gruinart. On Loch Indaal, he had a RTD, 2 GND, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 5 Eider and 43 Scaup. Up on the barley stubbles  opposite Neriby, 11 Whitefronts, at least 2,500 Barnies, 17 Greylags and 76 Whoopers were present. Past Cluanach, on the Glen road on the hedges there 12 Fieldfares and over 120 Redwing. On the barley stubbles around Newton, 100 Chaffinches, at least 3 Brambling, with Robins, House Sparrows, Redwing, Mistle Thrushes and 11 Collared Doves were seen. Finally at Craigens, 67 Whitefronts were counted. Yesterday also, Richard Howells had 10 Brent Geese below the Gaelic college, out of Bowmore. Loch Gruinart held around 400 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 11 Dunlin, 10 Knot, 2 Blackwit, a Barwit, 50 Brent Geese, a Grey Wagtail, some Redwing and some Fieldfare. At Bruichladdich, 6 Scoter and a GND were present while along at Blackrock, a raft of 38 Scaup were seen. Up past Bowmore, towards Cruach, a Sparrowhawk flew across the road below the radio mast. Yesterday evening as they drove back in the darkness from Port Ellen, he had 2 different sightings of a Barn Owl, along the High road. Al Hart is back over for a few days seeing a juv. Kittiwake in the water at Portnahaven and then later on, a small group of 5 Fieldfare at Lossit. Dave Pierce along with the Naturetrek group had 2 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich and it was Neil McMahon who saw the Ring Ouzel there. Carl Reavey saw a "lovely" drake Long tailed Duck at Sanaigmore. Visiting birdrs from Cumbria, Ian and Linda Brockbank had a ringtail Hen Harrier over beside the Airport and this morning a juv. Swallow while on the Oa. Gary yesterday had a Golden Eagle and also  2 White tailed Eagles in the Coal Ila area. Today, Gary had 2 Comic Tern at Bruichladdich and he also saw a Canada Goose  amongst the Barnies in the field below Bob's house. This afternoon, David Wood had a flock of over 2,300 Redwing and around 200 Fieldfare on silage aftermaths at Kinnabus. He also had 4 Brambling, 2 Blue Tit, 12 Snipe and 2 Hen Harriers. Richard and Pat had 4 Swallows fly over a field of Redwings at Cruach. From Bowmore Harbour, they saw 2 GND, a RTD, and a Slavonian Grebe as well. Other waders seen on their way up to Bridgend included 2 Knot, 2 Barwits, 7 Redshank while up on Loch Skerrols, a female Pochard was present. On their way back to where they are staying, up at Cruach, a ringtail was out over the field where the Redwings had been in the morning...Returning birders from Nottinghamshire, Graham and Jo Morton had seen 10 Whitefronts, a few hundred Barnies & 20 Chough at Ardnave,. From the old hide, they saw many Teal, Wigeon, 10 Pintail, 5 Blackwits, 6 Ruff and 5 Snipe. From the viewing platform they saw over 1,000 Golden Plover, 40 Whitefronts and thousands of Barnies. Mike Anderson today saw the small flock of 140 waders at the Bowmore Harbour at first light, made up of mainly Ringed Plover, a few Turnstone and around 20 Dunlin. This evening, Mike had a GND in the harbour. A wet walk up at Ardnave , not a lot seen, but 2 Tufties along with 2 Mutes on Ardnave Loch and a count of 24 Chough out on the West coast at Ardnave. the 2 Bramblings are still showing well here at home as is our other regular visitor, a ringtail passing over the game crop. A late entry through from Gary, a visitor had seen a Ring Ouzel over at Carnain, and today the same birder had a Little Gull on the flooded pond in the field at Saligo and also saw 3 small Canada Geese amongst the Barnies out at the top of Loch Indal between the old smiddy and Bridgend...

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sunday 22nd October

Surprise, surprise a dry day  for once, the first for some time, mind you I had to empty our rain gauge as it was full, we had the best part of an inch of rain yesterday with quite a lot of flooding along the roads...Right on with the main interest, the birds seen on Islay from various folk ....Yesterday, Mike who spotted the cattle Egret back in 2009, returned for another Islay fix along with his wife Elspeth. Late afternoon a quick run out from Bowmore  and over the head of Loch Gruinart provided great views of Barnies, and Golden Plovers, also a good flock of Redwing and a small flock of 10 Twite. On the stubbles below Sunderland they saw around 90 Whoopers. Richard and Pat had a White tailed Eagle up behind Ballygrant. A ringtail was seen being mobbed by a Hoodie while driving along the "Glen Road". Down at Cluanach, some Long tailed Tits were present. They also had 2 Dabchick at Ardnahoe Loch. Naturetrek had had a group over on Islay over the past few days, led by Dave Piece and Neil McMahon. At Kennacraig, while waiting on the ferry, on Thursday, a Wheatear and also a Rock Pipit were seen. On Friday they had 17 Scaup at Blackrock, 4 Ruff at Gruinart,  a Chiffchaff at Leckgruinart. At Ardnave 2 Wheatear and 41 Chough were present. Thy also saw the Golden Eagles at Gruinart already reported in earlier entries to the blog. Between Lyrabus and Ardnave, they sawa total of 5 ringtails and  also a male Hen Harrier. Yesterday another productive day with a Tystie, GNDs, a RTD, a BTD, 15 P B Brent and a Merlin, all seen between Bowmore and Bridgend. Over 1,000 Redwing along with a few Fieldfare were present out of Port Ellen towards Ardbeg. Also seen were another Merlin, a Peregrine, a Goshawk,  2 Sparrowhawks and an Otter! Over on the Oa, 2 Golden Eagles were present, another Merlin, a Kestrel, a ringtail and a male Hen Harrier, around 40 Twite,Brambling, some Whitefronts were noted with neck collars as well. Mary Redman saw a juv. Little Gull at Claddach out of Portnahaven this morning. This morning, Mike and Elspeth had seen 3 groups of Brents between Bowmore and Bridgend totalling 30 geese, with around 50 Scaup at Blackrock. Between Sunderland and Rockside they reckoned a tally of 170 Whoopers were present. Early afternoon, a RTD was seen North of Bowmore Harbour with a couple of Turnstone seen on the shore there as well. Later on, up towards Mulindry around 70 Whoopers were present as was a large flock of Ravens in the same field. Just as the light was starting to fade they had a mixed flock of around 70 Ringed Plover and Turnstone came in to the shore at Bowmore, possibly in to roost for  the night.. Her eat home the Brambling was still present, not one but two, seen by Distillery Dave, a new tick for him. Late afternoon, and I have noticed several groups of Whoopers leaving, honking away as they flew on ...
There was a reported sighting of a Ring Ouzel down at Bruichladdich this morning, but still to be confirmed, watch this space..

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Saturday 21st October

As promised the sighting that folk had sent through from yesterday....Peter and Janet had seen 16 Scaup and a GND out on Loch Indaal and then counted 26 Ringed Plover together down at Port Ellen. In the Ardbeg area, they had seen over 500 Redwing along with only 6 Fieldfares. Along at the area around Kildalton, 2 Golden Eagle were seen soaring high, also present was a flock of 30+ Redpoll with 5 Long tailed Tits and 3 Goldcrests. Another flock of  20+ Chaffinch, a few Goldfinch and Siskin was also seen there as well. Yesterday was Eddie and Elaine's last day.. Down on the Oa, they saw 2 Golden Eagles, a juvenile Peregrine landed close where they were and remained there for around 30 minutes, appreciating the sun  they also had a small flock of 15 Redwing and then 4 Swallows, a sight that they had not seen before, Swallows and Redwing together! They also heard a Water Rail calling there too. On their way back over to Gruinart, they had 3 Slavonian Grebes at Blackrock. From the viewing platform at Gruinart while watching the geese coming in, they saw a Golden Eagle which flew in below them and landed on a distant fence post, soon afterwards another Goldie flew along and landed 3 fence posts away... Richard and Pat had seen 5 Chough on the Oa, and noted Fieldfare as they came back off the Oa. They too had seen the flocks of Redwing & Fieldfare along the South coast, at Lagavullin, Laphroaig, Kildalton and along to Claggain Bay where 8 GND were present. James had carried out another count at the reserve at Gruinart yesterday, with his goose tally coming to 20,165 Barnies, 274 Whitefronts, 30 Brent Geese, 6 Greylags and a Canada Goose, hutchinsii sp. Other birds of note were 2 Golden Eagles, a Ruff, a Blackwit and a Hen Harrier. Back on Thursday, Gary saw  2 Common Terns off Bruichladdich and yesterday up at Kilchoman, he saw a Brambling, a Greenshank at Bun an Uillt with 17 Slavonian Grebes on Loch Indaal. He commented that the numbers of Grebes and Divers present are starting to rise.
Today, first full day back home a rather wet day, a very wet day and this evening the wind has started to pick up... While having a catch up with Mandy over a cuppa at the back of lunchtime, amongst the Chaffinches Mandy spotted a male Brambling, a tick on Islay for her. Later on, we had a Blackbird gorging itself on the cotoneaster berries, suppose that was why they we planted the catoneasters ... a ringtail Hen Harrier glided past and finally 30 Chough flew into the roost...

Friday, 20 October 2017

Friday 20th October

I am just home again after being away for the best part of the last fortnight, the long and the short of it I am rather tired so you will not get a lot tonight but the entries that I had for tonight will be on the blog tomorrow night. While waiting on the ferry docking at Kennacraig this afternoon, we saw a Wheatear hopping around on the rocks. Bob today had seen over 600 Redwing flying South over his house. Ian and Susan Pettman had seen a Snipe as they walked along the Moorland trail at Gruinart.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Thursday 19th October

Mary Redman had seen her first Redwing of the Autumn, seeing a small flock of around a dozen or so near to Claddach , out from Portnahaven.yesterday a flock of round 60 Redwing flew past her kitchen window, but not seen again all day, early this morning saw another flock of similar numbers, so Mary wonders if it was the same flock that had possibly ben roosting up in the brambles along the burn? Her father had a count of 40 Whoopers flying south past Kerrera, off Oban and reckons that they were en route directly to Islay!!!Mary has also been seeing several skein of gees and swans flying South past Portnahaven. Also yesterday, Wally saw a Wheatear at Kintraw. Louise had a Dipper spotted in Craighouse on Jura. This morning, Louise had seen 172 Whoopers at Bridgend, 48 at Sunderland and the big lot of 218 along at Rockside. Richard today had managed some birds between the showers...Off Bowmore, Richard had 40 R b Merganser a BTD, a GND and some Turnstone along the shore.Over at Gortan, close inshore, 36 Scaup were present and along at Ben Cladville, 2 Mistle Thrush, along with some Redwing and Fieldfare were seen. At Port Mor, 4 Guillemots were noted while 1 small flock of 10 Chough were seen out at the War graves Cemetery at Kilchoman.at the entrance to Rockside a Merlin was being chased by a Hooded Crow, and at the top of the drive a male Blackcap was seen. James had a Brambling in his garden with Wally noting 7 Pinkies at Newton. Peter and Janet Rowarth had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier at Leek, 30 Pinkies mixed in with the greylags and Whooper on the bottom (South) side of Loch Gorm. Between Ben Cladville and the forestry plantation, a male Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel, a Buzzard and a great sighting of a male Hen Harrier were seen A flock of 33 Redwing were also present.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Wednesday 18th October

A lot of sightings through from yesterday, here we go....
Peter and Janet Roworth had 2 Redwing with 4 Blackbirds in the hawthorn bushes outside Loch Gruinart House. A single Wheatear was seen in the scrub, along the "Battery" out of Bowmore. On the River Sorn, they saw a Dipper. Gary had 3 Grey Wagtail over at Bunnahabhain, and had some Redwing moving though the bushes there as well. Later on, with Sam, they counted 122 Whoopers and 9 Pinkies at Newton out of Bridgend, On Loch Skerrols, they had another 46 Whoopers. Wally and Jude had a total count for the day of 452 Whoopers including a flock of 240 at Rockside itself. Eddie and Elaine had Grey Wagtail at Claggain Bay, as well as 5 GND and several Fieldfares. Another visiting birder at present is Tom Lowe who had a Lapland Bunting at Blackpark. Distillery Dave had seen some Snow Bunting up at Ardnave
On to some sightings from today... Gary had ben out with a couple of clients seeing a total of 5 Buzzards, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Peregrine and 3 Kestrels over between Coal Ila and Bunnahabhain. This afternoon, Richard and Pat Howells had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier being hassled by a couple of Rooks over the car park at Gruinart. Later on they had a male Merlin over past Cruach.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Tuesday 17th October

Visiting returning birders, Peter and Janet Rowarth from Lincolnshire sent some sightings from earlier this week. On Saturday on their way over on the ferry, coming up the Sound of Islay they saw a White tailed Sea eagle and then later on they had a Merlin over the saltmarsh at Gruinart. On Sunday, they saw a male Hen Harrier over the flats at Gruinart. Up at Ardnave Point,  a single Redwing was spotted with over 16 Chough seen there as well. Returning back from Ardnave, near to Kilnave, a flock of 28 Twite and 2 Chaffinch and a Greenfinch were seen, with a distant Otter swimming on Loch Gruinart, with 52 Brent Geese present there as well. They saw a ringtail Hen Harrier at Toranore, also seeing the large number of Whoopers reported by Wally and Jude, at Rockside. Also present were 23 Pinkies, a single Brent amongst the Barnies and Greylags there.  44 Ringed Plover were in the field behind Machir Bay. They also had 2 Redwing fly through as they drovr from Loch Gruinart over towards Loch Gorm. Gary yesterday had a single Pink footed Goose amongst the Barnies, along from Gartmain. A single Brent was present with the Barnies at Gruinart and up at Coullabus, Gary had a male Hen Harrier. Some sightings through from Phill on the reserve on the Oa. Today Phill had 2 Chough, a Snow Bunting, 50 Golden Plover, a Kestrel, 150 Twite and 3 Snipe. James sent the tally for his count at Gruinart from earlier this afternoon... 25,735 Barnies, 445 Whitefronts, 70 Greylags and 15 Brent Geese  were present.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Monday 16th October

Our reporters have been out and about with some birds today, that is before the winds started to pick up, certainly not as strong on Islay as other places, but..
On Saturday, James had seen 2 Merlin, a Dipper and 3 Snow Bunting while over at Bolsa. yesterday Bob, Distillery Dave and his son Jamie managed to carry out the WeBs count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. Their tally came to 70 Shag, 8 Cormorant, 12 Whoopers, 242 Greylags, 62 Whitefronts, 2,000 Barnies, 6 Brent Geese, 7 Mallard, 7 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 16 Eider, 14 R b Merganser,  62 Oystercatcher, 55 Curlew, 40 Barwit, 10 Redshank, 10  Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover, 102 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 31 Lapwing,1 Snipe, 3 Turnstone, 300 Common Gull, 25 Herring Gull and 15 Gbb Gull. Also yesterday, Wally and Jude had a Kingfisher down at Bruichladdich. Today, they had counted 107 Whoopers at the Kilchoman end at Rockside. Wally reckoned that there at least 170 in total in the area. Val Peacock had counted 30 Whoopers flying down Loch Indaal, in a SE direction, hope they made to Ireland before the wind picked up...James sent through a count of  19,650 Barnies, 15 Brent Geese and 30 Whoopers from the reserve at Gruinart.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sunday 15th October

From the ferry heading back over to Kennacraig today, Clive McKay had seen 2 Storm Petrels off the South end of Jura. He also had seen 4 Porpoises from the ferry as well.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Saturday 14th October

Another big entry from visiting birders here on Islay..
John Miles has been over for the past week... Back on the 8th, John had 53 Whitefronts at Gartbreck, as well as 2 Grey Plover and 120 Golden Plover as well. The following day at Rockside he saw a Male Hen Harrier, a female merlin and 26  Whoopers at Rockside. On the 10th John had the Pinkies at Rockside that Wally and Jude had seen amongst the Barnies and Greylags present there. He also saw 4 different sightings of Merlin , all within 3 miles of Kilchoman! Later on that day 2 Wheatear were seen up at Ardnave with 2 White tailed Eagles were present over on Nave Island round the Grey Seal pups. 3 GND, 2 RTD and a BTD were present in the channel between Ardnave and Nave Island. From the old hide at Gruinart, an adult Golden Eagle was seen, with 5 Ruff, 4 Blackwits,16 Pintail and 12 Shoveler were seen out on the floods. Along at the new hide a juv. Peregrine was spotted annoying itself with the waders there!!! Down on the Oa on the 11th, a 1st yr Golden Eagle, a 1st yr male Peregrine, a Kestrel and also a flock of Twite seen at Kinnabus. An adult Golden Eagle was seen later on close to Cragabus. On Thursday,  a male Hen Harrier was spotted at Kilchiaran and an adult Golden Eagle seen, on the moor South of Loch Gruinart. Yesterday, was John's last day . he saw Long tailed Tits and a Tawny Owl in the trees at Kilchoman, and then 2 Swallows over at Ardbeg. From the ferry returning to Kennacraig, he had a count of 10 GND, a Slavonian Grebe, and over 40 Common Scoter. Thanks John for your sightings. Yesterday, Eddie and Elaine from Leighton Moss  had seen 7 Snow Buntings as they walked round Ardnave, they were seen probing in around in the sea kelp... Richard today had a GND at Kintra and also a male Hen Harrier. He had also seen a male and also ringtail Hen Harrier down on the Oa. Also seen down there were Stonechats, lots of Linnets and a Raven. At Upper Killeyan, a Redwing was spotted while over at Laphroaig, Swallows were present. Finally, Richard had 7 Pale bellied Brent Geese in the bay at Port Ellen. Gary today had seen a RTD, a Red breasted Merganser along with 30 Scaup at Blackrock and at Bruichladdich a Comic Ternnwas seen.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Friday 13th October

James today  reported through to say that more Geese have arrived. The figures of Geese at Gruinart were as follows, 17,250 Barnies, 180 Whitefronts, 86 Brent Geese, and a Pinkie. On the flats, there was a Whitefront with one of the radio tags fitted by Ed Burrell from BTO, also there, were 3 with neck collars. Out on Loch Gruinart  735 Golden Plover, 2 Knot, 4 Grey Plover and a Little Stint were present. Also out on the estuary were "a lot of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone and a few Sanderling"

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Thursday 12th October

Back on Monday, Clive McKay, (please note the correct way of Clive's surname tonight!), after the rain cleared, he had a short walk up at Ardnave, seeing a Wheatear, a Whimbrel, a Pink footed Goose coming in with 17 Barnies, and also a ringtail Hen Harrier. This morning, Bob had seen 3 Fieldfare fly over his house, and a Merlin while he was waiting down in Port Charlotte. Along at Carnain, Bob had 9 Snipe and counted 14 Brent on the shore there as well. Also this morning, Mandy had a ringtail Hen Harrier quartering over the game crop up at Kilchoman, and this afternoon she saw a Sparrowhawk sitting on a fence post, close at hand, also at the same location. James, today had managed to carry out another reserve count which tallied out at 10,195 Barnies, 125 Whitefronts, 16 Brent Geese, 57 Greylags, 560 Lapwing, 5 Blackwits, a male Merlin, a Sparrowhawk and 4 Chough. James also mentioned that "lots of Mallard have arrived".

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Wednesday 11th October

Not a lot to report tonight, but Gary had been down at Coal Ila where he saw 2 Bullfinches, a total of 7 Herons, a Tystie was there as well.  A White tailed Eagle was also seen flying over the Sound of Islay between Islay and Jura.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Tuesday 10th October

Quite a few birds for your perusal tonight, a sure sign that the weather is a bit better today...
Gary managed to do his WeBS count from Port Charlotte back round to Blackrock. His scores on the doors came through at 10 GND, 55 RTD, 6 R b Merganser, 12 Cormorant, 34 Shag, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 38 Common Guillemot, a Tystie, 36 Eider, 13 Common Scoter, 26 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 33 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 7 Gbb Gull, 52 Herring Gull, 4 Common Gull, 5 Gannet, 2 Grey Heron, and also 5 Greylag Geese. Round at Gartmain, 19 Brent Geese and 170+ Wigeon were present. There was a large Barnacle goose flock out on the estuary between the Sorn and Gartmain, but nothing of note present. Up at Skerrols, a large flock containing 1,000 Barnies and 32 Whitefronts were seen. A walk through Ballygrant Woods produced a nice mixed flock of Goldcrest and Coal Tits with a Golden Eagle was seen over the hills. Back at home, Gary had a group of 10 Long tailed Tits in the woods beside his house. James had carried out a count of the geese present on the reserve at Gruinart this morning. His tally came to 12,825 Barnies, 72 Whitefronts,56 Greylags, 12 Ruff and 905 Golden Plover. Mandy today had seen 21 whoopers amongst the large mixed flock of Barnies, Greylags and gulls down on the stubbles at Rockside. Other good friends, Wally and Jude have arrived over for their visit, and Wally had told Mandy that he had seen 20 Pinkies drop in beside the Whoopers etc late afternoon. Yesterday, Clive Mackay had a count of 125 Linnet on the game crop up towards the top end of the reserve at Gruinart, he also spotted a Long tailed Tit in in his garden.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Monday 9th October

Richard, who is over on holiday had a Wheatear as he drove up towards Ardnave. He saw numerous Barnies  and Whitefronts at Gruinart as well as a ringtail Hen Harrier, with Wigeon on the floods. He also had seen a Stonechat at Loch Gorm. Mandy this morning had seen Barnies flying in to the barley stubbles down at Rockside.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Saturday 7th October

John Miles is over for a week, and kindly sent though some sightings which he had today. Down at Frenchman's Rocks, he had 2 Bonxies, an Arctic Tern, 60 Kittiwake and an endless stream of Gannets. From the viewing platform at Gruinart John saw 2 male Peregrine, one carrying a Dunlin away. Further out on the flats/ floods 3 Blackwits, 4 Ruff, 300 Lapwing, 6 Shoveler and 4 Pintail with a few Pinkies noted amongst the Greylags there. At Port Charlotte, a female Sparrowhawk was present. On the stubbles at Rockside, there were around 30 Whoopers present late afternoon.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Friday 6th October

It is that time again for us al to ty and fit in our WeBS counts... Mike had carried out his patch, Outer Loch Indaal, his birds were as follows, 61 Common Scoter, 34 GND, 5 RTD, 8 Shag, 110 Herring Gull, 24 Common Gull, 2 Black headed Gull and a Harbour Porpoise. James had done his stint on the floods at Gruinart seeing 84 Mallard, a Moorhen, 2 Whoopers, 13 Mute Swan, 299 Teal, 14 Pintail, 97 Wigeon, 2 Curlew, 3 Blackwit, 14 Ruff, 2 Lapwing and 9 Shoveler. Late afternoon, and James had done the goose count on the reserve, with his numbers tallying at 10,650 Barnies, 104 Whitefronts, 6 Brent Geese and 5 Greylags. Phill from down the Oa has had a good day there as well. On Loch Kinnabus, he had 4 Whoopers, the first there for this Autumn. He also saw a Blue Tit and also 3 Long tailed Tit, both new ticks for Phill on the Oa reserve itself. Other birds seen by Phill were 2 Goldcrest, 2 Black headed Gull (the second sighting for 2017),  2 Golden Eagle, a Peregrine, a Hen Harrier and also 2 Grey Wagtail. Here at home, down on the lochans below Rockside, 18 Whoopers were present.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Thursday 5th october

Back on Saturday, John Stephenson had heard a Corncrake calling up behind Machir Bay. Yesterday, Mike P.  had seen 26 Ruff, 3 Blackwits and 12 Golden Plover on the grass reseed at RSPB Gruinart reserve. He also had seen a Hen Harrier out over the floods on the reserve as well. This morning, down on the stubble at Rockside,  8 Whoopers were present with a further 5 on the lochans. Mike had carried out a sea watch for a couple of hours at the middle of  the day, his birds included 2 Bonxies, 325 Kittiwake, 135 Auk sp., 4 GND, 3 Common Scoter, 3 Long tailed Duck and 137 Barnies. James had a count on the reserve at Gruinart with his tally coming to 9,307 Barnies, 68 Whitefronts, 25 Brent Geese, 8 Pinkies, 9 Whoopers and 18 Ruff. Our count of Whoopers, late afternoon at Rockside was 55, which then all flew along to the lochans.
The rainfall so far this month is up to 1.75 inches already and today it has been quite dry, honest!!!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Wednesday 4th October

Not a great day with the weather, and not much better for birdwatching either.... a low mist was here late afternoon as well.. Marsali kindly sent through her rainfall tally for September which just beat us coming in at 5.76 inches... By the way, we have had over an inch of rain so far in October, with a lot more being blown past the rain gauge rather than being collected in it!!!
James had done a morning count of birds on the reserve at Gruinart which came to 6,550 Barnies, 20 Greenland Whitefronts, 2 Pinkies, a possible Canada goose parvipes sp., 14 Pale bellied Brent, 278 Greylags and also 6 Ruff.
This morning, as the wind was not as strong and also veered round a bit, I put up some of the feeders again, not that the birds had not been fed.... Goldfinches, Chaffinches and House Sparrow never far away,  it was good to see 2 Great Tits tucking in as well, all welcome....

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Tuesday 3rd October

The wind may have dropped a little, plus it has veered round a point or two as well... Mike had attempted a seawatch yesterday, not to be beaten it was done from his pick up truck.. Top counts were 505 Kitttiwake, 32 Brents, 2 RTD, 5 Diver sp. Up at Ballymeanach, on his way home Mike had seen a Wheatear. Mary Redman yesterday saw a flock of 60+  geese battling past Orsay island in the wind and driving rain. Later on, Mary had seen a Wheatear at Claddach and also 3 Brent Geese close to the shore there. Bob yesterday had seen 3 Snipe and 38 Goldfinches down towards Port  Charlotte. A count by James at Gruinart first thing his morning produced 1440 Barnies, 14  Pinkies, 26 Brent and 5 Ruff. Down at Port Charlotte, Ron from Islay info had seen 9 Whoopers flying South down Loch Indaal at breakfast time. Mike carried out another seawatch today, his tally came though at 3 RTD, 17 GND, 12 Diver sp., a Bonxie, 5 Common Scoter, 7 Whooper Swan, and 181 Barnies. On his way back to his vehicle, Mike had a Merlin and then a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the crofts at  Portnahaven.. We saw a Grey Wagtail here on the gravel at the house at lunchtime and then a male Hen Harrier as we headed pat Saligo with another seen along at Leek. Gary had a Merlin flying along the road at Ballygrant. Down at Gartmain, 4 Turnstone and 33 Brents were at the mouth of the stream. He saw a male Hen Harrier on the merse at Bridgend while at Carnain, Gary had 600 Greylags, 350 Barnies, 100 Curlew, 150 Oystercatcher, 17 Knot, a Sanderling, 50 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 33 Rock Pipits, 18 Pied Wagtail, 6 Teal, 17 Common Scoter, 11 RB Mergansers and 10 Barwits. Bob had been over this afternoon at Gruinart with Martin seeing around 5,000 Barnies, 30 Whitefronts, a female Pintail, 30 Wigeon, 250 Teal, a Blackwit, 30 Golden Plover, a Sparrowhawk, as well as a fly past of 14 Whoopers. James carried out a final count at Gruinart at tea time which came through at 4,915 Barnies, 40 Whitefronts, 26 Brent, and 4 Pinkies as well as a Peregrine for good measure.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Monday 2nd October

The weather, what can I say apart from that it has ben rather windy out here, the wind itself has huffed and puffed all day... Mind you the ferry did come and leave again late afternoon, so fingers crossed that we may get a few more in and out tomorrow, before the wind picks up again...The birds have been few and far between... This morning I was down at Whinpark, down at Bridgend and was really fortunate to see a White tailed Eagle in the air less than 60 metres away over the merse, no need for the bins, and boy it was big !!!  In the meantime back here at home, with having taken the feeders down last night, the birds got fed on the ground today. Margaret counted 41 Goldfinches there  at one point!!!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Sunday 1st October

Well, that is another month in, but the weather out here does not look too good, the ferries are cancelled this evening, as are all the ferries until lunchtime at the earliest, but it may be Tuesday before they start to sail again.... The rainfall for September came  to 5.75 inches, the wettest month so far this year, and worse still, is that the total for this year is now more than it was at this time last year...
Bob this morning had a Siskin in his house... and he had also seen 50 Woodpigeons fly over from Octomore. James this morning had a family of 5 Stonechats on his garden fence, 2 adults and 3 youngsters. This afternoon, he spotted 2 ringtail Hen Harriers out on the wing up at Grainel. Here at home, Margaret had a great spot, seeing a Sparrowhawk being wind assisted along, a tail wind perhaps???  I have taken all the feeders down this evening as they might be on the ground in pieces tomorrow if I did not do it!!!