Monday, 20 November 2017

Monday 20th November

Yesterday, Mandy spotted a Barn Owl on a fence post as she drove across the Gruinart flats. During the afternoon yesterday, she had a Kestrel sitting on a fence post below Carduncan, it took off and then started hovering, great sighting Mandy, her first Kestrel seen for over a year. Yesterday morning Mike had carried out hid WeBs count on Outer Loch Indaal, basically from Port Charlotte down to Portnahaven. Mike counted a total of  110 GND, mostly in groups, the largest group being 18 in number. Within each group they were calling to each other while on the surface, then all diving together. Other birds seen were 3 RTD, 24 Common Scoter, 6 Wigeon, 6 Eider, 13 Shag, 11 Guillemot and a Tystie.
Here at home, the Goldfinches were back at the big niger feeder, after being awol for a few days...

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sunday 19th November

This morning, we saw a Moorhen down on the pool at Carnain, where a pair of Mute Swans have tried to breed over the past few years.  The Scaup were present in the bay at Cash Kelly's house past Blackrock. Today Bob, Martin and Distillery Dave had carried out the WeBs count from Bowmore along to Gartbreck counting the following birds, 6 Greylags, 850 Barnies, 60 Whitefronts, 16 Mallard, 64 Wigeon, 42 Teal, 9 Eider, 25 R b Merganser, 6GND, 2 Cormorant, 35 Shag, 2 Shelduck, 6 Heron, 52 Oystercatcher, 38 Curlew, 50 Barwits, 2 Blackwits, 20 Knot, 7 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, 1 Snipe, 7 Turnstone, 450 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 55 Lapwing, 25 Ringed Plover, 8 Gbb Gull, 40 H Gull, 20 C. Gull and 8 B h Gull.
This afternoon, Margaret spotted over 20 Whoopers flying South towards Ireland, way out past Granny's Rock.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Saturday 18th November

Yesterday Carl had been out with a photographer.. Up at Sanaigmore they saw 3 Golden Eagles, a Merlin and a Kestrel. Today while out his wheels by himself, Carl saw 2 Red Grouse close to the former Kilchoman school as you come over the from Loch Gorm down towards Gruinart.
Over at Finlaggan yesterday, Gary saw a Kestrel, 4 Bullfinches and a count of 7 Buzzards. Today, Gary had ben out with folk that won a competition to come over to stay on Islay  for a few days and see some of our tremendous wildlife. Gary came up trumps, for sure... They saw 5 Golden Eagles over Jura, and from Coal Ila, they saw 3 White tailed Eagles and another 2 Golden Eagles and then up at Bunnahabhain, they saw an Otter out on the rocks. Later on at Finlaggan, they saw a Grey Wagtail, a Peregrine in the air as well as a fly past by a Crossbill..
Gary was also commenting on more Buzzards being around, while waiting on his folk this morning, he saw 8 Buzzards from Whin Park, all on the ground on the merse and out on the sand.
No sign of the Blackcap here at home today, perhaps he did not like the apples that he was guzzling into yesterday... mind you I made the most of the day planting even more daffodils... What a show they will be if and when they come into flower... as long as the wind does not twist them around too much, but hopefully, I have planted most of  them in sheltered places...

Friday, 17 November 2017

Friday 17th November

A mixed day with the weather, with quite a lot of squally showers coming in from the sea..
The Bowland birders had seen 2 Barn Owls up past Bob's house out of Port Charlotte.. This morning they saw a Moorhen on the distillery pond at Port Charlotte. Later on they had seen 6 Snipe near to Ballinaby, then a Snow Bunting at Machir Bay and while they were up having a catch up with us a male Blackcap was in at the feeders, eating away at the apples on the ground. Also seen here, over 40 Chaffinches and around 20 Goldfinches clamouring around the feeders, and then a ringtail flew past, keeping everyone on their toes!! The Lesser Whitethroat is still on Martin's feeders..


The Blackcap was a new "Islay tick" for them.. a not bad week, with 90 species seen so far.

Mark along with the "vols"  had carried out the WeBS count at Loch Gruinart today, with their tally coming in at 1,610 Golden Plover, 114 Curlew, 47 Turnstone, 106 Sanderling, 6 Dunlin, 49 Ringed  Plover, 9 Snipe, 6 Greenshank, 104 Shelduck,175 Wigeon, 54 Barwit, a Blackwit and a Pale bellied Brent Goose

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Thursday 16th November

Another dry day out here again, a bit on the cold side, but for time of the year, certainly not that bad a day.. This afternoon, out in the garden I manage to get some more bushes planted as well as a few daffodils too..
The Bowland birders, yesterday had gone round Loch Gorm seeing Skylarks, Dunnocks, Wood Pigeons, Mistle Thrush, 4 Chough down close to Machir Bay, with 25 Ringed Plover seen there too. The Cackling goose was present amongst Barnies at Rockside along with a flock of around 80 Chaffinches. Back at Octomore, Reed Bunting was added to their list for the week. Today at Octomore, they saw a Grey Wagtail. At Bun an Uisge, where Islay Farmers used to trade from, they saw 6 Pale belied Brents. At the top of the merse at Bridgend, 12 Pintail, and a male Goldeneye were seen. Loch Skerrols held Mute Swans, Whooper Swans, Tufted Duck, Wigeon and Teal. Round at Newton, on the stubbles there, a Brambling was amongst the large flock of Chaffinches. A walk from the Woollen Mill produced Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, 7 Goldcrest and a Treecreeper.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Wednesday 15th November

Yesterday, Gary had been out with some clients, a great day to be out plus they had some great sightings thrown in, so here are some of their best sightings. At Coal Ila, they saw a couple of Otters out in the Sound of Islay, what a start... While they were there a White tailed Eagle and then a Golden Eagle were also seen, along the road and over the hills behind Ballygrant, another White tailed Eagle was present. From Blackrock, out on Loch Indaal they had seen a Red throated Diver, only 5 feet from where they were parked up, GNDs, Common Scoter, 3 Long tailed Duck, Slavonian Grebe and the flock of Scaup as well. Along at Rockside they had 2 small Canada Geese and also the larger Canada, Todd's goose amongst the Barnies and Whitefronts present there.


This morning, Gary dropped in for a cuppa and a natter, who else came by but this female Sparrowhawk who happily sat on the old sack barrow outside the kitchen window while I managed to get the above, could be a bit clearer but taken through the double glazed window. Earlier on,  Gary had seen the Snow Bunting down on Machir Bay and also found a dead Common Gull with BTO ring on... Mandy had seen some Whitefronts over at Carnduncan with collars fitted but too far off to read, she has also had a couple of Greenfinches on her feeders at Carnduncan itself.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Tuesday 14th November

Today, Lesley Silcock reported through on a report of 2 Snow Buntings being seen down at Machir Bay. While she was there, in the Coull field adjacent to the car park, Lesley had a count of at least 24 Curlew, a Snipe along with 2 chough being present as well.
The Bowland birders have been out and about, making the most of a better day.. At Bruichladdich, opposite the mini market, 2 Purple Sandpipers were seen. From Blackrock, 8 Slavonian Grebes out on Loch Indaal, 57 Scaup counted close to the shore, with a pair of Stonechats seen in the car park there. From the hide old hide at Gruinart, they saw a Peregrine and also a Ringtail harassing around 100 Teal around. A flock of 12 Long tailed Tits were seen clos to the viewing platform. Along towards the visitor centre at Gruinart, they has a small Canada Goose, a male Hen Harrier, 2 Little Grebes, 6 Wigeon, 6 Whoopers including 2 Juvs. Along the flats they had a Whitefronted Goose with a radio collar on. A female Merlin flew along the road at the former Kilchoman School, and finally they saw 4 Woodcock, back at Octomore. Martin was over here visiting this morning us when a ringtail flew over the garden. The Lesser Whitethroat was still present on his feeders this morning with a Blackcap flitting around as well. We also had a small flock of 20 Redwing on the overhead cables leading up to our cottage

Monday, 13 November 2017

Monday 13th November

Yesterday, the Bowland birders had taken a drive round the Rhinns. Down at Bruichladdich they saw 3 Purple Sandpipers, Ringed Plover and Redshank while out on Loch Indaal they had 7 Scoter along with GNDs and RTDs. They had a male Sparrowhawk at Easter Ellister and then another at Claddach Loch, down past Portnahaven. Some flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing were present at Claddach as well. Today, they covered from Port Charlotte along the top of Loch Indaal along to Bowmore. They had a total of 23 Brents in 3 groups, 7 noted at Bruichladdich, 8 at the spit along the Uiskentuie strand and 8 along at Blackrock. Along at smelly corner, a male Sparrowhawk and also a female Merlin were seen, with plenty of Dunlin and Ringed Plover present. A flock of around 100 Golden Plover were seen flying out over Loch Indaal. Off the Generator station, 50 Scaup were seen, bit no sign of the Little Egrets, no Slav Grebe or any Long tailed Ducks, roll on tomorrow, fingers crossed folks..

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sunday 12th November

The weather today, a typical Autumn day for sure with a coolish wind blowing for most of the day and then mid afternoon a dirty hail shower appeared out of nowhere, just glad we have a big stove to light to augment the central heating...
The Bowland birders are back over for another visit. Yesterday, as the ferry approached Port Askaig, they saw a Little Gull being pursued by a Kittiwake, while over on Jura they saw a White tailed Eagle tucking into a carcase. This morning, Bob had seen 2 pairs of Bullfinches in his garden. With this wee cold snap of weather, the birds have been busy on our feeders...

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Saturday 11th November

Not a lot  to report tonight, but Martin was in touch to say that the Lesser Whitethroat  is still present in his garden. He also had a solitary Redwing there as well as a Goldcrest. Down at the mouth of the River Sorn at Bridgend, Martin saw 2 Dippers and also 8 Long tailed Tits present there as well.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Friday 10th November

Gary, yesterday had a good day out birding with some clients. They saw the Kingfisher down at Bridgend, then 2 Peregrines on the South side of Loch Gorm. Along on the barley stubbles at Rockside, amongst the barnies present, they had a Todd's Canada Goose and also a cackling Goose. Back over the hill behind Sunderland, 2 Golden Eagles were seen. Finally along at Newton, 3 Brambling were present amongst the flock of finches.
Martin, this morning, had the Lesser Whitethroat on his feeders in his garden at Glenegedale.
Earlier on this week, we had a great evening with the staff from Speyside Wildlife who were over on Islay "team building". Great to see you all and trust you all got home safely!!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Thursday 9th November

Peter returned home yesterday from leading 2 back to back tours in Oz and then visiting family in New Zealand. He wasted little time, on his return, seeing the Lesser Whitethroat on the feeders in Martin's garden. He also saw the 2 Little Egret at Bridgend.
This morning, we saw 2 Red Grouse on the road while driving over Loch Gruinart. They were on the grit in the centre of the road up past the Culbuie road end. They were loathe to move, I had to stop and blow the horn at them, to get them fly out of the road. Needless to say no camera with  us... Instead you can make do with another of George E Jackson's birds that he caught in the nets here last week, the first Blue Tit that we have caught and rung here


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Wednesday 8th November

Weather has not been great out here today, the wind has been growling away and with the rain blattering away against the windows, not a day for doing much birdwatching...
Lesley had  the 2 Little Egrets down at Bridgend this morning, Gary had also seen them yesterday, Also yesterday, Gary had seen 3 Bramblings and a Chiffchaff down in Martin's garden but no joy with Martin's Lesser Whitethroat.
This ringtail Hen Harrier was caught and rung in the mist nets by good friend George E Jackson last week. It was in hot pursuit after a Chaffinch that it never saw the net... Good one, George!!!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Tuesday 7th November

Islay seems to be the place to be tonight, with some great birds seen, or a we an easy to please lot of folk?? Martin had the Lesser whitethroat in his garden feeders this morning.

Martin took this image for to share it with you all. He also had a couple of female Brambling as well. Mike Peacock had seen a Little Egret this morning at Carnain. Martin had gone down this afternoon to Carnain, no joy with the Egret but he saw a Kingfisher on the Sorn. Fiona and Bob had seen a male Merlin at Rockside and up behind Sunderland, a juv White tailed Eagle being mobbed by some corvids. To finish their day off they saw 2 Little Egrets at Carnain. James had a quick look around Gruinart noting 494 Whitefronts, 32 Whoopers, a Cackling goose (hutchinsi sp), a Green winged Teal and counted 710 Teal   . The Green winged Teal was seen out to the left of the South /old hide...

Monday, 6 November 2017

Monday 6th November

Rather a tousy sort of a day with some dirty showers in the mix too, and the evening ferry has been cancelled with the wind increasing its strength... not really a day for being outside, let alone birdwatching!!!!
A couple of sets of e mails that I had overlooked with birds on , so here we go... Gary had seen a juv Golden Eagle over Jura, a Ruff was present amongst the Golden Plovers and then he saw a juv White tailed Eagle out on the merse at Bridgend, all on Saturday. Mike had ben off the rails earlier on last week but got out at the end of the week seeing a Snow Bunting at Bruichladdich and and then another along at Carnain, a Brambling below the Coastguards cottages leading to Machir bay and then Mike had a Merlin hunting over the stubbles at Sunderland.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Sunday 5th November

Marsali sent through her rainfall figure from Mulindry, up behind Bridgend  and her figure for October came to 5.6 inches, which meant for once her figure was lower than our tally..
Today, a dry day for a change, Martin Armstrong caught a sighting of an late visitor, a Whitethroat on his garden wall and then shortly afterwards, Martin saw a juv Swallow over at Kilnaughton Bay. Mike Peacock today had seen a Great spotted Woodpecker on a fence post over Craigens, along at Bun an Uillt, he had a Peregrine and also 2 Greenshank and up at Killinallan a small flock of 8 Twite were present. This morning, Margaret had the pesky Sparrowhawk on the garden wall
Yesterday morning  Irene Miller had 5 Brambling on her feeders, a pair of Sparrowhawks flew past her house and on down the glen. On Friday, Irene had a Kestrel over behind Uiskentuie and then a male Sparrowhawk flew past her car, close to Craigfad. Carl had a Comic Tern at Bruichladdich fishing out in front of the Distillery

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Saturday 4th November

Mike Bell had a  great list of birds seen for the blog, all seen yesterday... Up at Sanaigmore, Mike saw a Hen Harrier, 12 Ringed Plover, 1 Sanderling, 7 Turnstone, 80 Redwing and also 2 Chough. Mike had a flock of 105 Redwing, out from the visitor centre at Gruinart, along at Coullabus he saw a Merlin carrying prey which was attacked by a female Peregrine, with prey being lost during the skirmish. At Storakaig, 20 Fieldfare were present and up behind Kilmeny, a Golden Eagle was seen. Finlaggan held a Peregrine and out behind Scarrabus a pair of Golden Eagles were out over the hills. At Newton there was, on the stubbles, a flock of 160 Chaffinches and a Brambling, with the tally on Loch Skerrols coming to 25 Mute Swan, 47 Whoopers, including 17 juvs, 116 Wigeon, 13 Teal, 8 Tufted Duck with 3 Siskin noted in the trees. Finally Mike saw a pr of Golden Eagles up behind Ballinaby and also a Kestrel, his only Kestrel from this visit.  Yesterday had been John and Jonti Wilson's final day of this visit. Up Ardnave they saw 40 Chough with a flock of 80 Twite there as well. Down at Bowmore, 54 Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 5 Knot were seen. At Kilchoman they had a Merlin  and a ringtail. They also saw another ringtail and also a Dabchick at Gruinart.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Friday 3rd November

Yesterday, Tim and Em had seen a female Merlin being mobbed by a couple of corvoids  and then shortly afterwards, they saw a Whimbrel . Over close to Kilchoman, they had 40 Chough and 14 Whoopers flying over Machir Bay. Also yesterday, John and Jonti had seen the large flock of Golden Plover at Gruinart, and they also saw a ringtail there as well. Down on the Oa, they had a small flock of 65 Twite while  along past Kildalton 2 Redpoll and 6 Long tailed Tits were seen, with 6 GND at Claggain Bay

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Thursday 2nd November

Today, Mark had seen 7 Whoopers and 5 Greenshank from the North hide at Gruinart. James had carried a "wee" count on the reserve and his tally came to 18,440 Barnies, 722 Whitefronts, 44 Greylags, 1,945 Golden Plover, 700 Lapwing, 72 Twite, 55 Linnet, 3 Brambling and a Peregrine.today Mike Bell had a Brambling at Kilchoman, and then a Hen Harrier along Rockside. Over at Craigens, he counted a flock of 90 Mipits, which is a good count for this time of the year, as well as 80 Redwing. Further on, up at Killinallan, a Hen Harrier, 3 Chough and 3 Twite were seen, On the estuary of Loch Gruinart, 66 Shelduck, 167 Wigeon, 11 Rb Merganser, 57 Ringed Plover, 2,240 Golden Plover, 690 Lapwing, 2 Knot, 13 Sanderling and Curlew were there. On Ardnave Loch, 10 Whoopers were seen along with 2 Goldeneye, out on Ardnave Point 35 Chough were present and on the cover crop coming down from Ardnave, 180 Linnet and a Peregrine were counted. Down on the floods at Gruinart Mike saw 510 Teal, 29 Pintail, a Blackwit and also 5 Greenshank.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Wednesday 1st November

That is another month in, a rather wet one, with the tally coming in at 5.8inches, which gives the tally for 2017 so far a lot wetter than the same time last year...
Ed sent info through on the Whoopers that he had seen at Sunderland Farm on the 21st - 22nd October. The pair ZKZ and YPV were caught at WWT Caerlaverock  in March 2014 and Feb 2016 respectively and are "regular winterers" there. Another Whooper XBC was seen with an unrung mate and cygnet, XBC itself was caught and rung at Glaumbaejareyja, Skagafjordur, Iceland. Tim Halliday, "Al Hart's old mentor" had seen an adult winter Little Gull as he came over to Islay on the ferry today. John Wilson had counted 62 Scaup at Blackrock, 84 Whoopers and 15 Mutes on Loch Skerrols, He also saw a Brambling and also a ringtail Hen Harrier round at Rockside. Finally, John counted 36 Chough flying in to the roost on the crag. Mandy had seen 2 Whitefronts fitted with coolars at Corsapol and along the flats at Gruinart, she saw another 5 with collars and another with a radio collar, so will let you know any history on them later on. Mike Bell today had 2 Dabchick, 2 Tufties, a Woodcock, 21 Blackbirds, 2 Treecreeper, a Brambling and 12 Siskin at Loch Ballygrant and the and woods. Close to Port Askaig, 2 Golden Eagles, and another Goldie up behind Ballinaby while at Sunderland Farm 34 Whoopers were present. Irene and Tony Miller now have 6 Bramblings in their garden amongst the many Chaffinches, Goldfinches and also some Siskins present, notably back after a long absence...Their House Sparrows, Dunnocks, and Robins are always around, with a male Hen Harrier scouring the glen every day. Irene also commented on the Brambling being less shy than were when they first returned.