Saturday, 23 June 2018

Saturday 23rd July

Well another set of visiting birders, "the Coullabus crowd" headed home today. Back on Wednesday evening they had a RTD in summer plumage off Bruichladdich. A walk out around Coullabus the next morning , a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen and then a Roe Deer with her 2 twin calves were . Finally, a short walk in Bridgend Woods provided Siskin and also Grey Wagtail. Many thanks for your birds while you were over and see you at Rutland, at the Birdfair, not long now, less than 7 weeks away!!
This evening, Distillery Dave had been round at Kilchoman, where he had a Greenfinch on the feeders,  a Fulmar gliding along the front of the crag, the customary, noisy Chough as well as a Kestrel and also a Buzzard.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Friday 22nd June

Another week almost in and almost the end of Peter Donaldson's second visit to Islay and not his last either, a great time was had and the weather was great too...Yesterday, Peter had a Whitethroat singing away down at Port Wemyss. He also had seen the Velvet Scoter at Eater Ellister. Over at Coull, he had seen a male Hen Harrier. Today on the Glen road, he had a male Hen Harrier at Cattadale with a ringtail seen as they approached Knocklearach.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Thursday 21st June

Gary today had been out with a client. Down at Claggain Bay they saw Red Throated Diver with Little Tern seen along the big strand. They also saw 3 male Hen Harriers while on their travels.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Wednesday 20th June

Yesterday, the Coullabus crowd had been out and on a walk between Carnmore Woods and the Singing Sands over at Port Ellen had seen/ heard the following birds...Willow Warbler, Song Thrush, Blackbird, GND, Ringed Plover, Shag, R b Merganser, Oystercatcher, Gbb Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Meadow Pipits, a male Hen Harrier, Tystie, Common Guillemot and Hooded Crow. The others in the group had been down on the Rhinns and had heard a Corncrake calling at the cemetery  at Nerabus.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Tuesday 19th June

The Coullabus crowd had gone over on the ferry to Colonsay on Saturday. Top bird was hearing a Corncrake calling away close to the car park up at Kiloran Bay. At the far end of the beach,  there  was a well decomposed carcase of a whale, on which there was a Hooded Crow. 6 Chough were over the dunes with some Kittiwakes, a single Razorbill with the gulls out on the water there. From the ferry going up to Colonsay, they had a distant sighting of  6 Cory's Shearwater and then at Scascaig while waiting on the ferry to return back to Islay, they had a Great Skua. On Sunday, they had a possible sighting of a Great Grey Shrike being seen of by some Wheatear while up at Ardnave. In the drizzly conditions in the afternoon, at Gruinart, they heard Snipe drumming with Reed bunting seen there as well. They also saw a Heron being mobbed by Redshank and Lapwing. Up at Finlaggan, on Monday they had a Sedge Warbler and a male Reed Bunting. A walk through from Balulive to Bunnahabhain produced 2 male Hen Harrier and also 2 Buzzards. Yesterday,  the Mallard way birder had a male Hen Harrier fly across the road about 15 metres away, down towards the old lime kiln below Foreland. Returning home in the evening, he had the Curlew on the same gate post as before, defending its' territory and wondered if it was the same bird...
Lesley was in touch to say that she has been having up to 12 Siskins on her feeders, and said that there were some family groups present within their numbers.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Monday 18th June

Yesterday, Bob, Lesley and Distillery Dave had carried out the WeBS count from Blackrock to Port Charlotte.   Their tally came to: 8 GND, 1 Heron, 3 Cormorant, 8 Greylag, 2 Mallard, 25 Eider, 23 Common Scoter, 18 Herring Gull, 40 Common Gull, 7 Gbb Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern, 1 Curlew, 1 Sanderling, 15 Dunlin, 3 Turnstone, 37 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Sandpiper, 18 Ringed Plover, 1Tystie and 3 Gannets.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sunday 17th June

The "Mallard way birder" yesterday had seen a Curlew defending its' territory as he drove round Loch Gorm. This morning, he went for his walk along Machir Bay, but went a bit further by walking on, up past Granny's rock and up to the Radar masts above Kilchiaran!! Along the Machir Bay, he was surprised as to how low the Sand Martins were skimming along just above the sand on the Bay. Up at the masts, he was amazed at the numbers of skylarks flying around. Coming back down past Granny's rock, he saw a six spotted Burnett moth. further on, he saw a lot of Snails out, possibly a sign of some rain coming in, my friend???

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Saturday 16th June

Yesterday was the Barnsley birders last full day of their visit... Over on Jura, they had seen 3 male Hen Harriers and also 3 different ringtail Hen Harriers. Near to Craighouse, they had seen a Spotted Flycatcher and back in the Sound of Islay, an Otter was spotted. Back on Islay, close to Port Askaig, they saw another male Hen Harrier. Finally 2 of their group had seen a "possible Iceland Gull" down on Machir Bay. They had seen 101 species on Islay and Jura while they have been visiting here. Many thanks folks for sharing your birds with us all, and hopefully meet up with some of you down at the Bird Fair in Rutland in August.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Friday 15th June

Some sightings from the "Mallard Way birder". On Monday 11th, he had heard a Corncrake calling away while he was in the old chapel at Kilchiaran. When he came out of the chapel, he saw a Kestrel hovering over the hillside beside the chapel. He also saw several Sand Martins  flying up the burn, from the sea to the nest sites in the sand bank . On Wednesday, he heard a Corncrake calling in the field opposite to Port Mor campsite., and watched some Gannets fishing off Laggan Point. Yesterday morning, he had seen a pair of Stonechat while walking along to Nerabus. In the afternoon, he had a distant male Hen Harrier over Loch Gruinart, seen from the hide  and also a pair of 5 Mute Swan along with their 5 young cygnets. Shortly afterwards, he seen a Heron being chased by some Redshank and also some Lapwing, and he took it to be that the said Heron had stolen a young chick...He also had some Shoveler with young, one pair proudly showing their 5 ducklings.
The Barnsley birders had ventured out yesterday, seeing a Little Tern, a Whimbrel also a Peregrine as they drove up the road on the East side of Loch Gruinart. Over beside Cnoc Fada, a male Hen Harrier was seen.
Distillery Dave was commenting on how low, and close to the ground that the Swallows and House Martins were hawking to get their food with the wind being so strong yesterday morning.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Thursday 14th June

Yesterday, the Barnsley birders had heard a Corncrake calling up at Kilchoman House around 11am. Down at Machir Bay, they saw some Chough. Round at Ballinaby, they had some Dunlin, all in summer plumage and also a Whinchat nearby. Over in front of the Visitor centre at Gruinart, 2 Whooper Swan were present. The Coullabus crowd yesterday had the Ring necked Duck over at Finlaggan as well as a Sedge Warbler there too. Earlier on in the morning they had seen 2 Chough between Coullabus and over the hill towards Carnain and also saw a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch. They also noted seeing a Cuckoo and a Meadow Pipit together on the overhead phone wires on their travels. Over on the reserve at Gruinart, they saw Snipe, Shoveler, Redshank, Moorhen and also some very bedraggled Herons during yesterday afternoon....

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Wednesday 13th June

Returning visitors/ birders, the Coullabus crowd (their choice of name, not mine for once!!!) are back on Islay again. A walk along the Big strand proved quite fruitful with a pair of Gannets, pair of Guillemot, a pair of Common Tern and a Common Sandpiper, all seen either out on the water / or over the water. Inland, they saw a par of Hen Harrier, a Linnet, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and they also heard a cuckoo calling. Yesterday, over on Jura they had a total of 44 species seen/ heard, but no Eagles or even an Otter were seen. Top bird for the day was an Osprey up at Inverlussa. Also yesterday the top birds seen by the Barnsley birders were as follows... Down on the Oa, they saw 2 Golden Eagles and a Merlin, on Aros Bay they had 2 Black throated Diver and 2 Red Throated Diver were sen at Claggain Bay. Finally back up at loch Finlaggan, they saw the Ring necked Duck.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Tuesday 12th June

Back on Sunday, Distillery Dave had seen 2 Canada Geese down on Machir Bay.
The Barnsley birders yesterday had seen the White tailed Eagle and also a sub adult Golden Eagle while in at Finlaggan. Later on, at Loch nan Cadhan, 2 Golden ringed dragonflies and also 3 Marsh Fritillaries. Finally, in Ballygrant Woods they saw a Garden Warbler and also a Treecreeper.
Around midday, we saw a male Hen Harrier out on the wing, flying close to the lochans below Rockside, and this evening Margaret spotted another skirting along the trees below Creag Mhor. This morning, we saw a single Fulmar flying along the front of the big crag. When we first came to Islay there were around 35 pairs of Fulmar nesting, and now down to possibly only a single pair nesting.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Monday 11th May

Yesterday, after leaving us, the Mallard Way birder  had heard a Corncrake calling down at Machir Bay. On his way back over to Port Charlotte, he was "overtaken" by a pair of Curlew who were in hot pursuit of a raptor. The raptor landed on a telephone pole, only to be zapped several times by the Curlews.
Bob had carried out t BBS survey down from the Woollen Mill along o the mouth of the river Sorn. He h a total of 27 Species seen/ heard. These included a Greater spotted Woodpecker, 9 Grey Wagtail, 15 Wren, 4 Collared Dove, 5 Siskin, 7 Willow Warbler, 11 Blackcap and a Lesser Redpoll
Mike P had taken a walk up to Gortantoid woodland, seeing a pair of Lesser Redpoll, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Willow Warbler feeding brood, and 2 Linnet.  Close to Killinallan Mike had a flock of 47 Lapwing seen there. Along the shore at Bun an Uillt, there was a female Eider present along with 6 ducklings.
This afternoon, Mike had been over  at Loch Finlaggan where he had seen a White tailed Eagle being pursued by an Osprey and also a Buzzard. Mike also saw the male  Ring necked Duck on Loch Finlaggan itself. Garry today had seen a male Hen Harrier out on the wing up behind Bunnahabhain

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Sunday 10th June

Some sightings through from visitors tonight.  Jake McMahon who has been staying over at the campsite at Kintra, out of Port Ellen. He had seen 5 Eiders out on the water at Kintra, and 9 Gbb Gulls on the shore. Up on the woods to the NW of Kintra he has heard 2 separate Cuckoos calling. He also had seen Hen Harriers along the Cornabus valley along towards Kilnaughton Bay. Each morning he has been woken to a dawn  chorus of Meadow Pipits
Colin and Linda Graham are over with a group of birders from Barnsley. Yesterday, they counted 26 Chough on the roof of Kilchoman House, and also saw a Peregrine and 2 Ravens overhead. Today, they had a Grasshopper Warbler and 2 male Hen Harriers seen on the reserve as well. Up on Nave Island, they saw 10 Little Terns, with the Velvet Scoter seen at Easter Ellister and also a Whinchat close to Loch Gorm. Back here at home we saw 2 different Golden Eagles, one soaring high up on a thermal with  the other away far out, just as well that we had the bins with us and also verified from the "Mallard way birdman"...

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Saturday 9th June

Yesterday, Ailidh Reed had been down at the Currie Sands below Claddach, out of Portnahaven and had some great views of a Golden Eagle flying past.  Gordon Hewitt had seen a pair of Shelduck below the campsite at Pot Mor, South of Port Charlotte. The Shelduck had 7 ducklings alongside them out on the water. Along the road a little, Gordon had seen a Stonechat on top of some gorse bushes. He also saw a Heron and also a pair of Lapwings out on the wing..

Friday, 8 June 2018

Friday 8th June

Some sightings from yesterday sent in by Mark. up at Ardnave he had seen 14 Arctic Tern, 2 Little Tern, 52 Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper, 62 Greylag and 9 Gbb Gull.
Today, the Bolton birders had been up at Ardnave where their birds seen included 12 Bar tailed Godwit, 12 Sanderling and 12 Dunlin. Here at home, I have had a day of pottering around, mainly a day with the paint brush, it was just the right temperature for me, not to hot along with a bit of a breeze to keep the dreaded midge away... This evening,  Distillery Dave and young Ted came round and gave us a hand doing some remedial work, many hands male light work, much appreciated Dave (and Ted!)... Later on  when outside the noisy, nosey neighbours, the Chough flew past on their way to the roost.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Thursday 7th June

Yesterday, James had seen a sub adult White tailed Eagle, out past Ardbeg. Also yesterday, visiting cyclist Graham Hewitt had pedalled out from Port Charlotte, up to Kilchiaran and then up over past Granny's Rock and on to Machir Bay and then along the road back to Port Charlotte. Above Kilchiaran, Graham had a Cuckoo,  with a pair of Goldfinches seen down close to the farm steading. Up at Granny's Rock he had 3 Ravens. Back at Port Charlotte, down below Octomore he saw a Stonechat.
Today, the Bolton birders had seen a pair of Shelduck down at Bruichladdich with 13 youngsters in tow. Over at Ballygrant, they saw a Peregrine, with a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier up close to Storakaig. Round Loch Gorm they saw another male Hen Harrier. This afternoon,  while we were speaking to a couple from Derbyshire, we saw a distant Golden Eagle out over the crag with some Choughs milling around, closer to hand. Just great to show to visitors. This evening we had another Golden Eagle but much further out and shortly after that the local hooligans appeared, 26 Choughs out on the wing....

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Wenesday 6th June

Distillery Dave has a new alarm clock, a regular wake up call at 5am by the Cuckoo!!! This afternoon, there were a pair of Peregrine screeching away out over the crag.

This an image of the Birdseed mix which we had sown for the birds at the start of May and looking really well.. even although it has hardly seen any rain yet... The image below is of the Bumblebee mix which we have sown in an another patch of ground, but sown 2 days later.


As they said in the brochure, it should produce a "colourful mixture designed for bees, producing copious amounts of pollen  producing flowers."  Will take some more images as the year follows on...

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Tuesday 5th June

Nothing to report through on the bird front tonight, but the other day I received through an e mail to say that the "Islay birds" blog was in the top 10 bird blogs in the UK, and it was not an April Fool's day trick either!!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Monday 4th June

Another day of mixed, muggy weather with plenty of midges around, the sea haar here at home has come and gone several times today, all the same I did manage to cut the grass and not get eaten alive!

Yesterday, the Bolton birders had watched an Otter eating a crab down below Easter Ellister. Today, they had 4 GND below Carn and also a Golden Eagle over behind Ardbeg. This morning, Mike P. had counted 19 Common Scoter off Port Charlotte. Later on, down the road at Easter Ellister, 3 Scoter came in off the sea and landed on the wee lochans. Mike managed to id them as 2 female Common Scoter and a drake Velvet Scoter, possibly the same drake as last year.. Early evening, Mike counted 16 Common Scoter off Port Charlotte.  Gary had been out with 4 clients today and top birds seen included a Golden Eagle at Dunlossit, with a Black throated Diver on Ardnahoe Loch. 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Sunday 3rd June

Yesterday, Paul Graham had seen a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch out from his house,between Ballygrant and Keills. This afternoon, he saw a White tailed Eagle fly past his house. Visitors to Islay, Ian and Pauline had seen a pair of GND and also a pair of Red breasted Merganser and an Otter, all around Carraig Fhada. The Bolton birders this morning had a count of 16 Common Scoter off Port Charlotte with a GND and an Otter seen nearby. Distillery Dave along with his daughter Jessica had been down on Machir Bay seeing the following birds, 10 Common Sandpiper, a Turnstone, 10 Eider drakes, 6 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. This afternoon, Margaret saw a distant Peregrine sitting out along the crag and this morning we had the 2 Redpolls, along with the 3 Siskins on the feeders. The Tree sparrows may have moved on but the number of House Sparrows appears  to be a lot more than in other years.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Saturday 2nd June

A big change in the weather today, with a low mist/ sea haar  in for most of the day. From here at home, we could not see the crag in one direction or the Cross out at the War Graves cemetery. James How had seen a Swift over the Reserve at Gruinart, yesterday. This evening, the low mist/ haar has lifted a bit, and lo and behold the midges came out... the first we have here this year at Kilchoman, so needless to say I did not stay outside for very long!!!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Friday 1st June

Yesterday, James Butcher, the long term "vol" at Gruinart had seen the Green winged Teal out in front of the South Hide. Today, James B. had seen 2 Swifts while he was up at Ardnave, the first Swifts that he has had this year. Just before lunch time today, Donald Jones had seen a Glaucous Gull when he was out checking the stock at Coull. Here at home, the House Sparrows have had some of their young out on the feeders, "begging" to be fed.
As we are now in another month, I emptied out the rain out of the rain gauge, with he tally for May coming to a mere 1.1". Come to think of it I forgot to mention that the figure for April was 3.1".

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Thursday 31st May


On our way over to Gruinart this morning, we were very fortunate to see this adult Little Stint which was seen over on the muddy pool beside the gate at Saligo, along with a few Dunlin and Ringed Plover. We returned home about an hour later and it was not there, just as well that I had the camera with me!! Over at Gruinart there  were 6 Whoopers seen, a group of 3 and also 3 single  Swans... Bob had gone round to Saligo this afternoon, and it was back again, along with 4 Lapwing with young, 9 Dunlin and 6 Ringed Plover. He also heard 2 Snipe drumming while he was there. We revisited this evening, with Distillery Dave, but no joy at Saligo. On the return leg home, we spent some time down at the reed bed towards Machir Bay and we heard a Corncrake calling.
The Bolton birders have had another great day seeing 5  adult Marsh Fritillaries on the wing at Gearach, 3 days earlier than last year. Further on, they had seen 12 Turnstone down at Currie Sands. On their way back home, they had a GND at Carn and another seen off Port Charlotte. Down at Machir Bay, they saw a Peregrine away above the crag and also heard the Corncrake. Round towards Leek, they had seen 2 different male Hen Harriers. Finally over at Loch Tallant, they saw another 2 different male Hen Harriers and also a hen Sparrowhawk.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Wednesday 30th May

Steve Davies from North Wales was on the phone last night. He had been visiting Islay last week, and by the way he spoke to me, it  was his first visit and certainly not his last... Down on the Oa, he had seen a male Hen Harrier out quartering out over the moorland. On his way back from the Oa, he had another great sighting, this time a Buzzard dropping on to its' prey successfully, an Adder was the victim.. Up at Gruinart, he saw an Osprey taking a fish from the water. Another day during his visit, he had seen an adult White tailed Eagle and also a sub adult close together, forgot to ask exactly where.. Great to speak to you last night Steve...
Some birds  heard at Gruinart yesterday evening at the Bird nerds meeting included a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler, Robin and Skylarks. Birds seen were Swallows, House Martins, Sand Martins, Mallard with young, Redshank also with young, Lapwing, Teal,  Shoveler, Rooks, Jackdaws, a couple of Hooded Crows and also 8 Black tailed Godwit in full summer plumage. And, we never heard a Corncrake calling... though we did see some Hares.
Bob was in touch this afternoon to say that he has got 2 pair of House Martin using his cups/ trays that he has put up for them to use as nest sites. James emailed through late afternoon to say that he had seen a pair of Garganey out in front of the South hide at Gruinart.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Tuesday 29th May

Some sightings through from James seen yesterday on the reserve at Gruinart, 3 Whinchats, 5 Stonechats, 2 Groppers, a Peregrine, a Spotted Flycatcher, and he also heard 2 Water Rails calling away. Out on the loch, he had 95 Dunlin, 113 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, a Sanderling and also 5 Little Tern.
Today,  the Bolton birders had 35 Dunlin along on the remains of the pool at Saligo, with this spell of weather, it has almost dried up. Today also they had the Little Egret on one of the creeks as one approaches Bridgend from Bowmore on loch Indaal. Here at home the pair of Siskins, the pair of Redpolls and also the Greenfinches feeding young have been seen through the day. Late this evening,  down on a grass fields at Rockside, we  saw a single Whooper Swan and 50 Greylags.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Monday 28th May

Yesterday afternoon, Distillery Dave had seen a Whimbrel when he was over at Gruinart.
Here at home nothing much to report, although there was a pair of Greenfinch feeding young. The Tree Sparrows appear to have moved on as we have not seen them for the best part of a week. The Linnets are not so numerous and the Goldfinch are down in the numbers coming to our feeders. A lot of our birds are late in arriving with others definitely late in breeding as well.

Remember that May catch up for the Islay bird nerds will be held at the South hide at Gruinart tomorrow, Tuesday at 7pm. so if you are over on Islay this week, do come along and meet  us...

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Sunday 27th May

Yesterday evening, Mandy had a distant sighting of an Iceland Gull, seen out from Saligo. Today we welcome back the Bolton birders... Up at Sanaigmore they heard a Corncrake calling and then had the good fortune in seeing it. Down at the "disappearing pool" at Saligo they had the Greenshank along with  a mixed group of 30 + Dunlin and Ringed Plover. At Bruichladdich, they saw 2 Sanderling in summer plumage. They also had a Turnstone seen down on Currie Sands, below Claddach out of Portnahaven  

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Saturday 26th May

What a moan am I??  Writing about this nice spell of weather yet again, the weeds got heaved out of the ground, a job not done on a wet day for sure ...
The Bowland birders headed home on the ferry today, as did Derbyshire Bob, so thanks to you both for sending your birds through...
On Thursday evening Jane, one half of the Bowland birders, had seen a Red legged Partridge up at Octomore. On Friday they had spent some time over at Gruinart and seen Teal, the Green winged Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Heron, and some Redshank with young chicks. But no sign of either the Little Egret or the Ruff... Coming round Loch Gorm, along at the pool at Saligo, they saw Redshank, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Lapwing. This morning as they were leaving Port Ellen on the ferry they saw an Arctic Skua over Kilnaughton Bay, giving a tally of 112 birds seen from their present visit.
Last night as he was returning home, Distillery Dave had a Barn Owl as he approached the entrance up to Rockside. Here at home, on the feeders, here have been a pair of Redpolls eating the Niger seed as well as the Siskins.


Before I forget, it is almost another month in, so on Tuesday night, the "Islay bird nerds" will be meeting up at the South hide at Gruinart at 7pm, to hear the corncrake as well as seeing some other birds as well, so if you are around, we will be pleased to see you.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Friday 24th May

This spell of great weather continues, so rather than birding, I spent some of the day weeding and also putting another lick of wood stain on the gable end of the garage... Some birds seen at home included the Siskins as well as some Greenfinch, but no sign today of the Tree Sparrows....I hope that they have not moved on, but we will keep an eye out for them....
Yesterday, Derbyshire Bob had seen a male Hen Harrier flying towards Loch Gorm. Later on he had seen 2 Golden Eagles while driving along the "glen road" from Ballygrant over the hill down towards Mulindry. The Bowland Birders yesterday had ben over at Coal Ila where there were a lot of Tysties seen, a Yellowhammer was present up behind the distillery. They also had seen a distant Golden Eagle over Jura. A walk down to the Lily Loch and Loch Allen produced Tree Pipit, Blue Tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Great spotted Woodpecker, Willow Warblers, Heron and Buzzard.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Thursday 24th May

Might have to go and look out some sun tan lotion...
Last night, Derbyshire Bob had heard 3 Corncrakes calling round at Ballinaby. The Bowland Birders had yesterday been up for a wee saunter round Ardnave, birds seen/ heard included Chough, Mute Swan, Sand Martin, Curlew, Whimbrel, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear, Meadow Pipits, Sanderling, 50 Golden Plover, Redshank, Raven, Lapwing and Ringed Plover. On Loch Gorm, they saw 4 RTD and also a pair of Scoter.
Late morning we saw a Greenshank on the pool over at Saligo. Ian Bradey from Lancashire had seen a Little Egret over at Gruinart and one of his colleagues from the Wildlife Sound Recordists had seen a Barnacle Goose, 4 Golden Plover, 12 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper and 30 Eider down on Machir Bay, all today.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Wednesday 23rd May

Well the "Farmers' tan" continues, perhaps if I wore a short sleeved shirt, rather than rolling my sleeves up, my tan might look better...
Janice and Tim Scott, from North Yorkshire had been over last week and sent through some of their sightings. They had been staying up at Sanaigmore.. They heard a Corncrake calling several times. Other birds seen/ heard included Swallows, Sand Martins, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Linnet, Lapwing, Snipe, Curlew, Starling, Jackdaw, Sedge Warbler, Wheatear, Blackbird, Wren and Song Thrush. Out on the water below their cottage, they saw GNDs and Tysties with Common Gull, Herring Gull, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover on the beach. Other top birds seen while here on Islay included a White tailed Eagle being mobbed by a Raven, Whinchat and Golden Eagle. They saw several Buzzards but no Hen Harriers. Thanks folks for your birds.
Yesterday, Pia had seen an Osprey with a fish along below Carnduncan. Last night in flat calm conditions, some of us ventured out to carry out our corncrake surveys on our predetermined routes. Mike had heard 4 calling birds and on his way home he had a Short eared Owl. We went out on our route and sorry to say, we heard no birds at all, the first time of that happening with us..
Here at home there were 7 Collared Doves in at the feeders today...

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Tuesday 22nd May

What a difference with the weather out here today, might get a sun tan yet this year...better than being "weather beaten"
Derbyshire Bob had a male Hen Harrier out on the wing along the far end of Loch Gorm, yesterday evening. Today, he had seen some Little Terns out on Nave Island. The Bowland birders had gone over to Bunnahabhain, and complained about the weather, weather up, birds down!!! They had seen Rock Pipits feeding young, several groups of Gannets flying through the Sound of Islay, a pair of Buzzard, plenty of Tysties seen, an excellent sighting of a GND in full summer plumage, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat as well. Mike had carried out his WeBS count on Outer Loch Indaal, top sightings included 26 Common Scoter, a male Velvet Scoter, 2 Common Tern, 7 Arctic Tern and 5 GND. He also had seen a feeding frenzy by Gannets, Shag and some Gbb Gulls on a far out shoal of fish. Here at home we had 2 Collared Doves, 2 Redpolls, 3 Greenfinches and 3 Tree Sparrows.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Monday 21st May

A miserable sort of a day with a steady amount of rain falling until the middle of the afternoon.. not a lot but possibly al our sown crops will jump with the rain and some heat forecast over the next few days, better not get too excited... This evening the burn leading down to Machir Bay is not up much, a sure sign that the rain has gone into the ground, rather than a torrential downpour!!!!
This morning, Derbyshire Bob had been woken at 5am by a Corncrake calling away, down at Port Wemyss, he saw a solitary Eider Drake and then 3 different Cuckoos seen as he drove up from Port Wemyss.
The Bowland birders had not broken camp until 3 pm. ..They drove from Port Charlotte down to Port Wemyss, seeing Arctic Terns, Gannets, Tysties, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Shag, Rock Pipits and also 15 Manx Shearwaters. Round at Kilchiaran they saw some Sand Martins down towards the old Kirk there. Close to the Gearach they had seen a pair of Stonechats. Late afternoon, we had over 30 Sand Martins skimming around at Smelly corner, it was certainly living up to its' name as drove along, not  too pleasant a smell!!!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Sunday 20th May

Not sure where the summer weather has gone, but it ain't here for sure, I even made a dive for a thick jersey before heading outside earlier on...
The Bowland Birders yesterday had seen a Whinchat at the Rockside road end. Down towards Machir Bay, they heard a Corncrake calling, with a pair of noisy Chough nearby. 45 Ringed Plover were on the bay itself. Some Redshank were seen on the pool round at Saligo with a single Pink footed Goose close by. Finally, they had a male Hen Harrier at Foreland. This afternoon, they got out in a brief respite from the rain, at Gruinart they had 15 Dunlin, Shoveler, Mallard, a Wood Sandpiper, but no sign of the Ruff or the G W Teal.. They had also seen a single Barnacle goose and a couple of Whooper Swans.
A new contributor to the blog, Derbyshire Bob had heard a total of 4 Corncrake calling at Ballinaby, seen 5 Whimbrel, along at the pool at Saligo bay they had 18 Dunlin while out on Saligo Bay a single Tystie was present with a couple of Chough seen over the dunes. Here at home while I was out in the garage , there was rather a noisy clatter on the roof, sounded like a heavy shower of hailstones, but on looking outside, no way, only the local Choughs were out to annoy me and having a play time on the roof...

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Saturday 19th June

Yesterday was the RAFOS team's last full day of their present visit... On Loch Gorm, they had seen 3 Common Scoter, while up at Gruinart they had a male Hen Harrier from the North hide, and as they returned to their cars along the "woodland trail" they saw a Stoat as they approached the viewing platform. One of their team members, Scott had seen a Corncrake as he was returning to his cottage. As ever many thanks to the various visitors who have sent through their sightings. Yesterday, the Bowland birders had seen the Ring necked Duck along with a male and also a female Tufted Duck on Loch Finlaggan. They also had Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Cuckoo and Grey Wagtail there as well. Away over the moor towards Coal Ila, they had a distant viewing of a White tailed Eagle. Back down at the Woollen Mil, Dipper and Siskin were present with a Mistle Thrush  seen at Newton. Mandy had 2 Grey Wagtail on the River Sorn as it passes through Bridgend Woods.
Today, James Butcher had seen the Green winged Teal at Gruinart this afternoon. Here at home, the Tree Sparrows are still here, great to see, another year tick for here are a couple of Redpolls on the feeders, seen yesterday and again today.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Friday 18th May

Some sightings through yesterday for starters.. The RAFOS team had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier at Saligo, with 2 Redshank seen on the pool there. Along the road towards Ballinaby, they had 6 Whimbrel on one side of the road with a Curlew in the field on the opposite side of the road. Over behind Ballygrant, they saw 2 White tailed Eagle, Blackcap heard at The Woollen Mill, and also a Grey Wagtail carrying food there a  well. In the woods at Bridgend, along the River Sorn, they had Dipper, Grey Wagtail and also a Spotted Flycatcher. George Newall had seen 2 Little Tern down at Knockangle Point. The Bowland Birders had seen House Martin at Crosshouses. In the trees around Kildalton, they had Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch and Coal Tit. Along at Claggain Bay, they saw Common Sandpiper, GND, Tree Pipits, Redpoll, Goldfinches, ringtail Hen Harrier sky dancing, Long tailed Tit, Sparrowhawk, Raven, Sedge Warbler, Cuckoo, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Wheatear, Common Gull, Herring Gull and Lbb Gull. Gary had been out with clients yesterday around Islay, seeing a total of 7 male Hen Harriers, 4 Golden Eagle, 2 White tailed Eagles, a Merlin, a Kestrel, an Iceland Gull took off from Loch Gorm, and they also had a Ring necked Duck on Loch Finlaggan. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Thursday 17th May

Last Saturday, Mandy had heard a Chiffchaff singing in her garden over at Carnduncan, this morning with the dawn chorus, she had a Whitethroat singing away. Mark today had a male Ruff displaying out from the North hide at Gruinart. Up at Ardnave, Mark saw 4 Bonxies, 6 Little Terns and 14 Arctic Terns. Back here at home, the Tree Sparrows are still here, that is over a week that they have been present now.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Wednesday 16th May

Gary today had seen a distant Golden Eagle over Sgarbh Breac which is the big hill up towards the lighthouse at Rhuvaal. At Bunnahabhain, an Osprey was seen, with a Whinchat seen down at Torrabus. The RAFOS team had been down on the Oa today helping David Wood with some survey work there. While they were there they saw a Spotted Flycatcher at Kinnabus, the first of 2018 on the reserve there, and also a Golden Eagle. This afternoon, Mike Peacock heard a Corncrake calling down on the reed bed between the Coastguards and Machir Bay. Along at Rockside, Mike had also seen a Merlin and a ringtail Hen Harrier. Here at home the Tree Sparrows are still around.. and late afternoon we had the distant sightings of 3 large bird of prey soaring way up on some thermals and the jury is still out, was it 2 Buzzard and a Golden Eagle? Bob had been round at Rockside visiting DistilleryDave where they had  a Lesser Whitethroat.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Tuesday 15th May

A few sightings in from yesterday.. The Bowland birders had counted 42 Dunlin along with 25 Ringed Plover down at Rhubha Ban. One of the RAFOS told me that he had seen 2 RTD on Loch Gorm. Along on a ploughed field towards Coull, he saw 3 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin and 30 Ringed Plover..
This morning, here at home we had a male Hen Harrier glide past while I was out feeding the other birds... A pair of Ravens were seen out amongst the rushes for the best part of 2 hours, gorging themselves on something, possibly an afterbirth from a recently lambed ewe.. The Tree Sparrows are still present, and after an absence of a few days, the Yellowhammer was seen again, the bird seed crop has germinated and looking great, as is the wee patch with the bumblebee mix... The RAFOS team were out and about today as well, seeing a male Hen Harrier down at Loch Gorm, late afternoon, they had a Glaucous Gull and also an Iceland Gull seen close together on Loch Gorm. On the reserve at Gruinart, they had seen 6 Dabchick, 2 Blackwits, loads of Mallard ducklings and also Redshank displaying with Snipe drumming away as well. The Bowland Birders today had been busy in at Loch Skerrols and surrounding trees where their birds included  Coal Tit, Woodpigeon, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Wren, Chaffinch, Mallard, Song Thrush, Raven and Buzzard. On their way home to their cottage, from Blackrock they counted 15 GND, 6 RTD and also 6 RBM.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Monday 14th May

Yesterday, visitor Steve who is staying over along the Distillery road out of Port Ellen had had a good start to his visit. Around Ardbeg, he had a possible Hobby, seen a few Wheatear, saw some Swallows, a Bonxie seen, heard a Cuckoo and then a Great spotted Woodpecker was drumming away. . He also had a Pheasant with 10 chicks as well. Bob was in touch this morning to say that the survey which David and myself had helped him with produced a total of 37 Species, a "healthy" figure as Bob put it.
James was in touch to say that on the reserve at Gruinart, he had 3 Blackwits, a Chiffchaff and heard 2 Groppers. Gary today, had seen an Osprey on Loch Gruinart, out on the sand bar. He also had had 13 Whimbrel flying North and back up behind Ballygrant, 2 White tailed Eagles were present. Some of the  RAFOS team had seen a Short eared Owl and also a 3 cy Glaucous Gull, and also an Osprey eating a fish supper...The Bolton Birders are back for their Spring fix. From Octomore, they heard a Corncrake calling, a Cuckoo close by and saw a Moorhen on the former Distillery pond up behind Port Charlotte with Twite, Wheatear, Fulmar and Pheasant also seen further along the road. At Blackrock, they had seen both Arctic and Common Tern, Turnstone, Dunlin Whimbrel, GND and also some R b Merganser
Here at home great excitement, 6 Tree Sparrows were seen around midday, then mid afternoon Petr came up and scanned round the ground, not 6 but 8 Tree Sparrows were present!! We also had a pair of Siskin and a wee while earlier on a pair of Greenfinch were on the feeders.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Sunday 13th May

George Newall forgot to mention that the other day he had seen a male Goosander when in at Loch Skerrols. Yesterday Mike Peacock had watched an immature White tailed Eagle being mobbed for a total of 57 minutes, before being able to fly away. The attacking mob were a male Hen Harrier,  a pair of Ravens, 7 Hooded Crows and a Gbb Gull... Today, Mike had seen a GND in full summer plumage off Port Charlotte, 2 Common Sandpipers on the shore and also 18 Whimbrel flying high in a Northerly direction. This afternoon, George Newall had a probable Redstart when over at Claggain Bay. This morning, Distillery Dave, Bob and myself carried out a survey from the Woollen Mill down along the River Sorn to its mouth below Bridgend. top birds seen/ heard were 2 Bullfinch, a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 young Dippers and at least 6 Grey Wagtail. Distillery Dave had 3 Whimbrel as he walked down to his lift with me from Rockside. Down on Loch Gorm, we counted 30 Greylag on the water.
Some sightings now from today from the RAFOS team who over for this week, great to see all you folks again.. At Kilchoman, they saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down at the reed bed beside the Coastguards a Grasshopper Warbler was present, 3 Dunlin and also 3 Common Sandpiper were at the pool just past Saligo towards Ballinaby. A Whitethroat heard at Gortan, a ringtail at Gortan. South of Port Charlotte they saw 5 Greylags along with 5 young gosling and soon afterwards 9 Whimbrel. At Port Wemyss, they  had a Corncrake calling away, with 2 Common Sandpipers there as well. Back up at Port Charlotte, they saw both Arctic and Sandwich Terns, while at Bruichladdich, another Artic Tern was spotted with 9 Ringed Plover on the shore
Back here at home, late afternoon, some of the RAFOS team along with Distillery Dave and his wife Ann along with Margaret and myself did a wee bit of birding, noting the Tree Sparrows, a few Sand Martins, some Swallows as well as the antics of the Chough, great to watch as ever!!!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Saturday 12th May

Oops, a wee bit of a mistake last night as I forgot to mention that Graham & Pam from Sheffield had seen a Glaucous Gull on Loch Indaal....
This morning, James had  3 different Cuckoos on the reserve at Gruinart. Here at home, the Tree Sparrows were still present, a Kestrel was seen, a Collared Dove flew past, a mixed flock of over 30 mainly Linnet and a few Twite are still here. The piece of ground where the Choughs were "working" yesterday seems to be attracting the Jackdaws along with some Rock Doves a having all good howk !!! This morning we saw a male Hen Harrier fly across the road below Rockside and then a few minutes later, we counted  12 Canada Geese on Loch Gorm.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Friday 11th May

The weather as forecast has not been that great today, and three was an edge to the wind as well.. Visiting birders from Sheffield, Graham and Pam reported in to say that that they had been seeing a regular passage of around 30 - 40 Whimbrel flying North on hill road over past Borichill Mor each day while they have been here this week. They had seen a ringtail  Hen Harrier up past the former Kilchoman School and soon after a male bird seen along at Culbuie.  Forgot to mention last night that Andrew and Amanda had seen 6 Golden Plover as they walked back down from Gortantoid. Today here at home, the 4 Tree Sparrows were still around.. This morning before the rain set in, there were 28 Chough helping themselves to whatever in the ground, boy who needs a rotovator when you have some Choughs at work!!!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Thursday 10th May

Back on Tuesday, George Newall had seen a Blackwit on the pool at Ballinaby. Yesterday, he heard a G s Woodpecker drumming away while he was in at Loch Skerrols. It was still present there today.
Today, Zul Bhatia had seen 17 Whimbrel at Bruichladdich, a pair of Twite were there too and also a Purple Sandpiper as well. Close to Finlaggan Zul had a pair of Whinchat, 2 different male Hen Harriers were also present. Back down at The Woollen Mill, he saw a pair of Grey Wagtail carrying food...
This morning, Andrew and his wife had started their day of at the reserve at Gruinart, where they had a Greenfinch, heard Song Thrush, saw 3 Whooper Swans, heard many Snipe drumming, Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler singing as well as spotting many Sand Martin out hawking. After a walk up to Gortantoid, they saw an juv. Artic Skua as it flew past them.
This morning, we counted 18 Whimbrel round at Ballinaby, with a Dunlin and a single Redshank spotted on the pools there. Back here at home the 4 Tree Sparrows were present again. This afternoon, we had a hen Pheasant out with her 4 young chicks, an early sighting for here!!! 2 weeks ago, on the Wednesday, I saw 2 sets of Greylags with young goslings when at Leighton Moss. This evening, we saw a Peregrine out along the crag. Andrew and his wife had seen a distant Golden Eagle away out past Kilchiaran earlier this evening.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Wednesday 9thMay

Not to much to report tonight, as the weather has not been that good, but still some birds seen. Off Bowmore, Andrew and his wife had seen 25 R b Merganser swimming together doing some synchronised swimming as they all dived in a group, and then appeared on the surface in a oner.. They also had a GND on Loch Indaal as well. James Butcher had seen 2 Curlew Sandpiper out in front of the North Hide at Gruinart. Out over Loch Gruinart, he saw 2 Bonxies fly past. Here at home, we had seen 4 Tree Sparrows, a new tick for the garden bird list!!! The Greenland Wheatear was still present along with the Linnets and some Twite. A pair of Greenfinch were added to our list for today, along with a Heron that flew past.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Tuesday 8th May

Yesterday, on the reserve at Gruinart, James How had seen 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Cuckoo, 3 Stonechat, 7 Whitethroat, and 3 Whinchat with a count of 335 Dunlin on the floods. Today, James had 33 Blackwit on the floods and a Little Tern seen out on Loch Gruinart itself.  Visiting birder Zul Bhatia today had 8 P bb Geese on the beach just North of Bruichladdich, they then flew off out on to Loch  Indaal. There was also an Arctic Tern perched on a rock there. Round at Whinpark out on the shoreline he had seen 2 Sanderling with 54 Dunlin counted there in one of the muddy inlets. Yesterday evening, James Bucher had counted 343 Dunlin,  23 Blackwit, 25 Ringed Plover and also saw a Curlew Sandpiper out on the floods at Gruinart. Gary had heard 4 different Corncrakes calling down behind Bruichladdich last night. Andrew and Amanda had seen many Gannets streaming past Frenchman's rocks, 8 Whimbrel seen there too. Also seen by them were several Common gull, a rare bird to them.. Eider and also 10 Turnstone were noted at Currie Sands . A Cuckoo flew past them as they drove back to their holiday cottage. This evening, here at home, by chance we saw a Peregrine perched up on the crag, earlier we saw a Kestrel away far away out above the crag, and I counted a small flock of 23 Linnet on the piece of worked ground where we had some bird seed sown on Sunday. There was also a Greenland Wheatear there as well. I took the chance today and sowed the Bumblebee mix, up beside the house, so we wait in hope for both the 2 small plots producing the goods, the bumblebee mix should also be quite colourful as well. Distillery Dave had seen 34 Whimbrel round at Ballinaby with 3  Blackwit on the pools beside the gate to Smaull.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Monday 7th May

Yesterday, visitors Richard and Jean Fletcher, had seen a White tailed Eagle up behind Ballygrant, and then 2 Cuckoos were present as they drove along the road. Coming back down from Bunnahabhain , they had another Cuckoo. Finally, at The Woollen Mill, they saw a Dipper and also 2 Grey Wagtail.
Today, Andrew and Amanda had been over at Gruinart and then up to Ardnave. At Gruinart they had seen Snipe, Redshank, Sand Martin and numerous Lapwing, 2 Whooper Swan, 2 R B Merganser, Ringed Plover, also Dunlin, a Blackwit, and 2 Wigeon. On the moorland trail at Gruinart, they had Skylark and a Willow Warbler. A walk round Ardnave Point produced 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 3 Whimbrel, 8 R B Merganser, many Eider (too many to count), a GND in Summer plumage and then shortly afterwards, one in Winter plumage. They also saw 3 BN Dolphins.
Back here at home I have busy planting some Alders, watching the antics of the Chough and doing a bit of PR, speaking to 2 different sets of birders who are over this week on the back of the Bird Fair stand

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Sunday 6th May

Some clients who had been out with Gary earlier on in the week had seen a Ring necked Duck amongst the Tufted Ducks on Loch Ballygrant on Friday. Yesterday evening, Mandy had heard a Corncrake calling down at Conisby and also saw some Chough while there as well... Carol Andrew saw a male Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of her as she was driving down towards The Machrie. This morning, Distillery Dave had seen a White tailed Eagle from the pier at Craighouse on Jura. Visitors, Andrew and Amanda had walked over the hill from Machir Bay passing Granny's Rock and on down to Kilchiaran Bay where they saw Ringed Plover, 5 male and 2 female Eider and also 6 Sand Martin. Here at home, Margaret had a Whinchat, and later on we saw a Cuckoo being chased by a couple of Meadow Pipits, over at Culbuie. James had a Golden Eagle fly over Mill cottage early afternoon, and a Spotted Flycatcher in his garden yesterday. There was a Whinchat on one of the stone dykes below James' cottage this afternoon.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Saturday 5th May

Sorry folks about not writing an entry last night, but by the time I got home last night  off the ferry, and got all our stuff emptied out and put away, well anothr day was done. tonight it is only 8pm, but already a 14  hour shift put in so far...
Gary, on Thursday, had watched an Osprey take a fish out of Loch Finlaggan. The same day, he had seen 30 Pale bellied Brent on the merse out from Whinpark, up close to Torrabus, he watched a Cuckoo being mobbed by Meadow Pipits. Then up towards Bunnahabhain, Gary had a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard.
Last Sunday, Pauline Greenhalgh had seen a Short eared Owl when she was over on Jura. On Wednesday ,she had a dark phase Arctic Skua, just up from Feolin , a Fieldfare up past Lealt and on her way back down to the ferry back to Islay, a Kestrel was seen close to Feolin. On Thursday, a Merlin zipped across the road near Ardbeg. Close to Kildalton, an Osprey was seen on top of a telegraph pole eating its' prey. And in the woods around the Dower House, Chiffchaff and also Blackcap were heard.
James Butcher had seen a Pectoral Sandpiper and over 60 Whimbrel up at Ardnave around midday yesterday.
This morning, on the feeders here at home, we had a Yellowhammer and also a wee while later on a Greenfinch. Late afternoon, 2 Hooded Crows were mobbing a Raven forcing it down to the ground and then this evening, a Hooded crow forced a Buzzard to the ground...
George Newall is over from Dunoon for 3 weeks, he had a Glaucous Gull out from the old hide at Gruinart today.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Thursday 3rd may

Some sightings in from today.. Richard Fletcher from Warwick had seen an Osprey at Finlaggan, later on Loch Indaal off Bowmore he had seen 50 R Bb Merganser and also 2 GND there as well. Yesterday he had been out for some birding with Gary. Richard said in his e mail that he had met us at the Bird fair last year. Last week, when down at Leighton moss, I spoke to an artist whom I met at Rutland last year as well... I often wonder how many contacts we have made over the few years of attending the Bird fair!!!
Today, Jim Dickson had seen over 100 species in the one day, 112 to be exact, and it could haver been more as he had not seen a Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Whitethroat, Peregrine or a White tailed Eagle. A great day Jim all the same, not bad going for only one set of eyes. More on Jim's birds tomorrow, as I myself am feeling rather tired.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Wednesday 2nd May

Bob was in touch to say  that he has heard a Corncrake calling outside his house, the past 4 nights, worse still was that it had the cheek to walk up his drive this afternoon, before heading off in flight, needless to say Bob's camera was not to hand...
Today Jim Dickson had been out and about, a couple of Sanderling were on Uiskentuie strand, along on the merse at Bridgend a 2 CY Iceland Gull was seen with 61 P bb Geese counted further out on the estuary and in the trees at the Woollen Mill, a GS Woodpecker was added to Jim's bird list. From Gortan, he counted 16 RTD out on Loch Indaal.Down at Loch Gorm House, he had 24 Sandwich Tern, several in courtship, passing fish between each other, there were also 2 Common Terns  as well. At Craigens, another 2CY Iceland Gull was there as were 20 Golden Plover. On the flats at Gruinart, 10 Barnies and a GwfGWF Goose were seen while on the floods at Gruinart, 8 male and 4 female Wigeon , with a pair seen mating, a Ruff and also 9 Blackwits,. The 17 Whimbrel were still at Coull along with some Lapwing with their small chicks as well. At Rockside, an Iceland and also a Glaucous Gull were seen quite close together...

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Tuesday 1st May

Yesterday, Mike reported through some birds seen out on Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte,  in flat calm conditions, a count of 119 Common Scooter, which Mike thought this to be a high count for time of year. He also had a Glaucous Gull along with other gulls in a feeding frenzy. Mike also had 2 RTD and 10 GND and also a Common Sandpiper seen on the shore.
Today, the weather has not been that great, but it did not deter Argyll birder, Jim Dickson from spotting some birds for the blog, oh, to be young again... Jim had 39 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Uiskentuie, at Coull, 17 Whimbrel were seen. Over at Ballinaby, Jim saw 43 Golden Plover and a Grey Plover, with a count of 81 Linnet there too. Up at Ardnave, 32 Whimbrel, a Blackwit and 13 Canada Geese with some Greylags seen there as well. At Gruinart 4 pair of Wigeon were present.

Monday, 30 April 2018

monday 30th April

On Saturday while over on Jura, Pauline Greenhalgh had watched an Osprey fishing on the top end of Loch Tarbert where it successfully had taken a large fish out of the sea loch...also watching were a group of gulls!!!
Yesterday,Mandy had seen 5 Canada Geese along in the fields close to  Saligo. Back at Carnduncan, Mandy has ben hearing a Cuckoo calling, a Starling has started nesting with some Swallows already prospecting for nest sites.. James, yesterday had seen 2 Arctic Terns between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte. Also seen were 4 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and a GND. Today on the reserve at Gruinart, James had seen a Whitethroat and also a Whinchat

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Sunday 28th April

Gary had been out for a walk down to the Lily Loch. His sightings included 2 Great spotted Woodpeckers, a Tree Pipit, a male and also a female Hen Harrier, a Whitethroat and also a Blackcap. Also some sightings from James Butcher,  a long term "vol" with the RSPB on Islay who will be with us over the summer. Today, James had seen 29 Whimbrel down at Claddach, 2 Cuckoos heard calling at Kelsay, a Grasshopper Warbler heard reeling away out of Portnahaven. Back on the reserve at Gruinart, he had a Ruff and also a count of 15 White Wagtails. Also today Distillery Dave had heard his first Cuckoo of the year this morning, up at behind Rockside...

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Saturday 28th April

Around midday, Malcolm had seen 12 Whimbrel on the shoreline below the former school at Gortan, beside the coal yard on Loch Indaal. The other evening, Distillery Dave took a walk down to Machir Bay from Rockside and had seen at least 8 different Wheatears, 5 seen before he got along to the Coastguards and the others seen between the Coastguards and Machir Bay itself.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Friday 27th April

Today, was the last full day of Tim and Emily Holliday's present visit. This morning, up behind their cottage they had seen 2 male Hen Harriers and at the same time but much higher up on a thermal, a Golden Eagle was spotted. As they walked along to Ardbeg Distillery for their lunch, they heard a Cuckoo calling, and saw a total of 5 Blackcaps, with a Whitethroat heard calling as they approached Ardbeg itself. On the sea lochs as they walked along, 2 Common Sandpiper were seen, as was an Arctic Tern, a GND with some Golden Plover also present. As ever, many thanks for sharing your sightings with us folks....

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Thursday 26th April

Some more sightings for you, all from yesterday apart from Tim and Emily's record of hearing a Gropper calling away on Sunday out towards Ardtalla. Yesterday, they had a male Blackcap and also a pair of Treecreepers in the wood beside their cottage. Mike Peacock yesterday had heard 2 Blackcaps calling in the trees round Loch Skerrols and also a Cuckoo. He saw 2 male Bullfinch and a pair of Bullfinch and a Treecreeper there as well. On Loch Skerrols itself, 3 Tufted Duck and over 20 Shelduck were on the water. Gary had seen 11 Sanderling, a Merlin, 3 Whimbrel and also 22 Little Terns on the Big Strand. He had also seen 5 Tree Sparrows at Caol Ila

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Wednesday 25th April

Some sightings through from James from the bird nerds meeting last night...Osprey seen at Loch Gorm. Chiffchaff heard at Foreland and also a Whitethroat, Glaucous Gull at Machir Bay, 2 Grasshopper Warblers heard at Foreland House, 4 Cuckoos heard at Foreland, an Adder seen at Foreland. At Bruichladdich, both Arctic and Sandwich Tern were present. A visitor had a reported sighting of a Ring Ouzel at Port Wemyss. Finally at the meeting in the hide at Gruinart, plenty of Sand Martins were seen out hawking out in front of the hide at Gruinart.
Pia had heard a drumming Greater spotted Woodpecker at Loch Skerolls this morning

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Tuesday 24th April

Back on Sunday, Marsali Thomson had heard a Cuckoo calling, over at Ballygrant. On Sunday evening Tim and Emily had a seen a male and a female Hen Harrier out on the wing up behind their cottage. Yesterday they saw 2 Common Sandpipers on the edge of Loch an t Salein and then another at Loch a Chnuic over at Gruinart they had seen House Martins, Sand Martins and also Swallows. Down at Bruichladdich, the Purple Sandpipers were still present.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Monday 23rd April

Yesterday visitors, Andrew and Anne Johnson had seen 7 Purple Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, 2 GND and a Sandwich Tern while down at Bruichladdich, Today, they had 5 Chough, 6  Wheatear, 10 Golden Plover, 2 GND and a Peregrine while walking up at Ardnave. Down at Machir Bay, they saw 20 Chough and also 8 Ringed Plover.
This morning, Mark heard a Sedge Warbler and a short time afterwards James heard a Grasshopper Warbler on the reserve at Gruinart. He had also heard a Whimbrel calling out on the estuary. Also today, Dave Wood had a Lesser Whitethroat at Upper Killeyan on the Oa

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Sunday 22nd of April

Today, Peter had seen an Arctic Tern off Bruichladdich Pier. Visitors, Tim & Em had heard a Whitethroat singing up  behind the cottage where they are staying, Another returning visitor, Pauline Greenhalgh, had seen a flock of Golden Plovers on a ploughed field close to Loch Gorm.

So if you around on Tuesday evening, feel free to come along to the Bird nerds meeting at the old hide at Gruinart at 6.30pm...All welcome!!!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Saturday 21st April

Another wee cracker of a day with the weather, but for how long, well that could be a different matter

Peter had seen a pair of Little Terns at the top of Loch Indaal, round towards Bridgend.. Pia had heard her first Cuckoo calling at  Foreland on Thursday. Tim and Em Halliday are back over for another Islay fix...and saw  a pair of House Martin in the air at Ardbeg and also heard a Cuckoo calling away  up behind the cottage where they are staying in, Fairy cottage out towards Ardtalla.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Friday 20th April

While I remember, our monthly meeting of the bird nerds will be on Tuesday evening at the South (OLD) hide at Gruinart at 6.30pm, so if you are around, James will be there to meet and greet..

Spring has arrived, James this morning e mailed through to "confirm" this... a flood of Willow Warblers all singing away, a Chiffchaff as well, 2 House Martins, 8 Blackwit all seen / heard at Gruinart. James also saw 10 Whoopers flying North...
Lesley had some Sandwich Terns and also 2 Common Sandpipers, down at Kilnaughton Bay, with Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler heard calling in the Cairnmor Woods behind the bay. Lesley also heard a Cuckoo calling, and said that the Skylarks are in full song with the better weather now.
Forgot to mention that Gary had heard a Cuckoo while doing his WeBs count yesterday, out over the moor beside Gartbreck.
James , late afternoon had been out on reserve and counted 2,640 Barnies still present, 27 Blackwit, 440 Dunlin with a Peregrine out over the flats.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Thursday 19th April

Gary sent through a list of birds seen this morning while carrying out his WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck....22 GND, 17 R B Merganser, 2 Cormorant, 23 Shag, 1 Common Guillemot, 6 Tysties, 99 Eider, 48 Common Scoter, 28 Mallard, 16 Wigeon, 15 Oystercatcher, 21 Curlew, 10 Redshank,  130 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 93 Lapwing, 29 Common Snipe, 61 Golden Plover, 17 Whimbrel, 1 Osprey, 36 Shelduck, 1 Common Sandpiper, 60 Barnies, 12 Sandwich Tern, a Razorbill, 10 GBB Gull, 10 LBB Gull, 125 H Gull and 76 Common Gull. Other birds seen on shore was a small flock of 11 Twite, 7 Linnet singing on territory, 3 Yellowhammer singing, loads of Pied Wagtail, 6 White Wagtail, and 2 Sedge Warbler heard on the Moss Road.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Wednesday 18th April

Some sightings through from Kendall and Kendall Clark who are visiting Islay for a few days from the States. Along the High road they had seen some Lapwings showing off their acrobatic skills...They also had seen some Whitefronts while driving along the High road as well. Down off the pier at Bowmore, GNDs were seen, with Little Terns seen feeding along the shore towards Lagavullin. Before they arrived on Islay, they had Eider and Tufted Duck present at Kennacraig.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Tuesday 17th April

Rather blustery, all over the country today, with a fair bit of rain thrown in for good measure...

Today, Mandy had heard a Willow Warbler at Carnduncan. Gary saw a Common Sandpiper up at Bunnahabhain and then he had seen some Swallows at Finlaggan. This morning, we had a female Blackcap out in the garden, so possibly a pair as a male has been seen here on Sunday and also yesterday. The Chiffchaff has been very vocal again outside today as well.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Monday 16th April

Today, James had seen the Green winged Teal out from the north hide at Gruinart... This afternoon, I saw one at Aberlady as we were walking out over the wee creek there. There was Little Grebe seen there as well with a lot of Skylarks singing away good style. Back at the cottage, a Blackcap was on the feeders this morning, a pair of Siskins and then Margaret saw a Chiffchaff out on the bushes, late afternoon. so perhaps spring has come, at long last.....

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sunday 15th April

Peter sent through some sightings from today...
Around midday off Bruichladdich pier, there was a feeding frenzy by gulls on some tiny "sprat like fish". Gulls seen by Peter were Herring Gull, Gbb Gull, Lbb Gull and Common Gull as well as a nice adult Iceland Gull.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Saturday 14th April

Rather a bad hair day today, not that I am a bad loser but on 2 counts today it seemed that way.. Firstly I do admit to be a supporter of Aberdeen FC, and well they got knocked out of the Cup today, and then to make matters worse, the Melrose Rugby Sevens tournament was on the TV...and Melrose RFC got beaten by Watsonians RFC. In that game I suppose I should be pleased regardless of who won, say no more...
On the bird front no real news from Islay, but on the Lammermuir hills, we had really close sightings of some Red Grouse. Up near the top of the hill, there was a reported sighting of 7 Ring Ouzel back on Monday, but no joy on seeing them. Coming back we had a large flock of around 300 Fieldfare on the wing, close to Gilston.....and the weather was quite good for once, dry for the whole day and warmer than previous days, not that that would be hard to do!!!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Friday 13th April

Some sightings through tonight from Mike Peacock... Yesterday, Mike had seen a Magpie along with 5 Mistle Thrush down at Easter Ellister. Out on Loch Indaal, from Easter Ellister, he saw 4 Sand Martin and also a Swallow. Today, Mike has been seeing 4 Sandwich Terns for most of the day over Loch Indaal, from Port Charlotte. Up off Loch Gorm House, Loch Indaal, the Glaucous Gull was still present. Mike had a flock of 65 Golden Plover at Rockside and then he saw a Wheatear down at Machir Bay.

Thursday 12th April

A bit a late entry, but at least better late than never..
Susan Parr and her sister are over on holiday, staying over at Kilnaughton Bay at Port Ellen. They had seen a pair of White tailed Eagles fly over and also commented on seeing some of the wild goats  and with kids down on the Oa.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Wednesday 11th April

Today, David Clugston had seen a Hawfinch down in Port Wemyss. Louise had a Bonxie out from Saligo Bay, 5 GND, 2 Tysties and also saw 7 Common Scoter there as well. All I can offer you is a Magpie here at home. I remember the last time seeing one on Islay, it turned out to be a bit of a twitch then, again here at home... a Magpie was seen last Saturday over on Texa last Saturday, and then Mark saw the one at Gruinart yesterday, so one wonders if it was the same bird that we all saw!!!
The weather has not ben too bad, so I took the chance and rotovated the ground again, in the hope that we will be trying to knock the heart out of the couch grass....

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Tuesday 10th April

Jeff Duncan is back over at present for another Islay fix...Yesterday, Jeff had seen GND, Slavonian Grebe and Sandwich Terns off Bowmore on/ over Loch Indaal. Round at Carnain, he had Sand Martins, House Martins and also Swallows. In the evening he saw a female Hen Harrier and about 30 minutes later a male Hen Harrier, both seen from the kitchen window from where they are staying! Also yesterday, Mark had seen a Glaucous Gull at Gortan.
Today, Mark had a Magpie on the reserve at Gruinart. Bob was speaking to some visiting birders at Gruinart this morning and they told him that they had heard 3 Willow Warblers earlier on, on their way down to the hide. On my way back from Bowmore at lunchtime, I saw 6 Pale belied Brent  at Blackrock. James reported though a count of 4,375 Barnies and 117 Whitefronts on the reserve at Gruinart... He also saw 2 Ruff while out in front of the hide. Visiting birders came to visit us today while I was out, but Margaret spoke with them and they saw a Redpoll, and 2 Greenfinch along with other birds around here at home. This afternoon, the Yellowhammer was still around. Later on, a Sparrowhawk zipped through, spoofing all and sundry. It flew past and returned to sit on top of a fence post for the best part of 5 minutes before flying off, still hungry!!!!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Monday9th April

A mixed day with the weather out here today, it started off with fog which eventually did clear and mid afternoon it was raining, but now it is turned out quite sunny... And no snow!!!
Yesterday, Gary had seen 4 Hen Harriers while driving up to Bunnahabhain, a male and female sky dancing and shortly afterwards, another 2 out on the wing, yes, sky dancing too, great to watch... Down towards Caol Ila, he heard a singing Yellowhammer. Finally, over the pools behind Carnain, he saw 3 Sand Martins. Also yesterday, Dr Neal Vaughan-Jones, one of the our local GP team, had seen 2 Swallows on the Eastern side while down on the Oa. He also had a male Hen Harrier there as well with some GND heard out on the water of Loch Indaal. This afternoon, we watched for a wee while, a Yellowhammer out on the feeders at home, earlier on in the rain (it was dry when we started out!) while walking back home through the dunes behind Machir Bay, my sister and I saw a cracker of a Wheatear and also close range views of the local Choughs. On the edge of the large pool in the dunes, we saw an Iceland Gull along with the other gulls there. Margaret counted 46 Goldfinches on the feeders today, no wonder I am kept busy buying niger seed!!!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sunday 8th April

A great day with the weather out here today folks, the temperature even creeped into double figures and that is on centigrade not fahrenheight scales..
Merja and Bjoern Olsen are back for another visit. Yesterday they had seen several Buzzard  at Bridgend, Port Charlotte and Kilchiaran. They also had a Peregrine out over the hill at Kilchiaran. Out from Kilchiaran, over the sea, they had several large groups of Gannets flying past. They also had a Grey Wagtail on the wee burn leading down to the bay at Kilchiaran.. Near Bridgend, they had a Sparrowhawk with 2 Barwits  seen nearby. Back on Friday, they had seen an Iceland Gull, in a field out towards Claddach. Yesterday, Pia had heard a woodpecker drumming while she was in at Loch Skerrols
Bob, this morning had a count of 400 Fieldfare between his garden and the adjacent field. Martin was over at Rockside visiting Distillery Dave this morning, and had seen several Goldcrest and some Goldfinch in the trees there. This afternoon, up towards Borichal Mor, we had  seen a Golden Eagle and a White tailed Eagle getting higher and higher on the same thermal, great to see them together for comparison, boy the White  tailed Eagle makes the Golden Eagle look so small. We also saw several small groups of Redwings as we drove around.... Peter this evening had seen 7 Pale bellied Brent on Loch Indaal out from his house in Bruichladdich
On a foot note, this evening, I went and gave a Distillery Dave a helping hand to rescue a ewe that was well and truly stuck in a muddy hole. Boy, was I glad to have a shower when I got home....the combined smell of mud and an old ewe is not too pleasant, trust me!!!!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Saturday 7th April

A not bad day with the weather out here today, and as I write this entry a nice looking sunset to finish the day off..
Martin Armstrong had seen a couple of large Canada Geese flying past the singing sands over at Port Ellen this morning. A friend who lives over close to Ballygrant was on the phone today, saying tat he has had 12 Yellowhammers in at his feeders. Gary had seen a flock of around 500 Redwing out at Finlaggan today, and I was well pleased just seeing a few passing over this morning... Possibly birds are on the move now!!!

Friday, 6 April 2018

Friday 6th April

Sorry folks, no birds today as the weather has been not very great. To put it politely, rather wet, could even think of a stronger adjective to use but decided not to use it!!! The best part of an inch must have fallen, a steady fall, rather than a downpour. It did eventually fair up around 6pm. Coming back from Distillery Dave's a wee while ago, the Hares were out and about as usual, as well as a few Frogs seen in the car headlights on the road, a sure sign that it is not too cold outside...

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Thursday 5th April

Yesterday, Mandy had seen 2 Wheatear close to Mulreesh and this morning she had a count of 17 Whooper Swans on Loch Gorm. Gary today, had seen a Grey Wagtail and also a singing Dipper on the burn at the back of Ballygrant, close to the small hydro dam. Later on , while out with clients, he saw a pair of Bullfinch on the hedges leading up to Persabus. Here at home, as it was dry for most of the day, I took the opportunity and planted some more willow whips, which hopefully should take... This evening, out on the crag, we saw a pair of Buzzard mating.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Wednesday 4th April

Today, the weather has not been that great for the time of year, this morning it was damp and windy with the temperature not great either.. tonight, a great sky with a beautiful sunset on the cards, the mercury on the thermometer might have moved but only a wee bit, still not Spring!!!
Al Hart, yesterday had seen 2 Sandwich Terns down at Portnahaven. Today, here at home the feeders have been busy with many birds including Yellowhammer and Siskin present. A wee run out and about this afternoon produced a Merlin at Coull, a large flock of Golden Plover on a ploughed field at Ballinaby, a ringtail Hen Harrier seen out below Culbuie, several Lapwing and Redshank on the flats at Gruinart, 2 distant Golden Eagle  were out way over Borichal Mor. Back here at home this evening, there were 5 LBB Gulls flying around, a sure sign that lambing is in progress. The Chough, around 30 in number eventually appeared and "very vocally" went to bed. Another bird seen high up over the crag was a Peregrine.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Tuesday 3rd April

Yesterday, Brendon and Charlotte had counted 16 Tysties at Port Askaig as they waited for the Jura ferry returning back from Feolin. They saw their first Wheatear of the year, just as they headed out from Feolin towards Craighouse.
Back on Islay, they saw a male Hen Harrier as they were coming back down the rod from Bunnahabhain. It appeared to be gaining height all the time before peeling off its' ascent and flying over to Jura. Then, out of the blue, from where they were parked up, a Golden Eagle appeared at a low height being mobbed by a Peregrine! Further on down the coastline, high up, a second Golden Eagle was seen, with it being mobbed by a Buzzard!!! Up past Carrabus, on their way over to Gruinart, they had  another male Hen Harrier. In the dunes at Ardnave, a mixed flock of Chough and Jackdaws were present with a small flock of Twite  there as well. Finally, back at Bruichladdich, they had 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese, opposite the mini market. Thanks folks for your sightings, much appreciated...
Here today, the weather has been rather miserable, and that is being polite about it, not a day really for outside work, and certainly not a day for lambing sheep outside...all the same "usual birds" were in at feeders, the  30+ Goldfinch, other top birds included a pair of Greenfinch as well a pair of Siskin. Along towards Sunderland, I counted 3 Pairs of Reed Bunting

Monday, 2 April 2018

Monday 2nd April

Yesterday, Brendon and Charlotte had headed over to Jura... They saw a ringtail between Feolin and Craighouse and then a male was up past Lealt, beyond the end of the public road.. They also had seen an Otter close to the ferry at Feolin and from a boat trip up to the whirlpool at Corryvreckan, 2 White tailed Eagles were spotted. Before heading over to Jura, they had seen 4 Tysties at Bruichladdich and also the "usual" 4 Purple Sandpipers.
Today, we may have been lucky with our weather, windy and cold yes, and the small amount of rain we had, did not come until around 3 pm... Al Hart had seen an Iceland Gull at Blackrock, a ringtail Hen Harrier up towards the reserve at Gruinart, with a mixed Thrush flock with some Fieldfare and Redwing seen up towards Sanaigmore. Here at home, there was a Yellowhammer out below the feeders again... later on a Sparrowhawk flew through the garden, putting everything up, but to no avail!!! With this cold spell just now, the birds have been tucking into the food that we put out for them.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Sunday 1st April

Well that is another month in, and I have just realised that I forgot the rainfall tally for February as I was not here, so the combined figure that I have is for February and March comes to 5.1 inches...

Yesterday, Brendon and Charlotte had seen a pair of  Golden Eagle from the hide at Gruinart, over the hills behind Gortantaoid. From the hide, they also had a Greenshank. Charlotte had seen a Merlin as Brendon was driving their car across the flats at Gruinart. Round towards Saligo, they had a large flock of Golden Plover. Down at Bruichladdich Pier, 3 Tysties were present, and then a GND was seen over at Kilchiaran Bay.
Al Hart today had spotted a Common Lizard out sunning itself at Port Mor, out of Port Charlotte. Earlier on, he saw "plenty of Skylarks" while walking up towards Cladville, but no Wheatears.. As the weather was not that bad, I had the tractor out again, and rotovated the ground where we are going to sow the cover crop for the birds, in an attempt to knock the couch grass out of being so strong. Distillery Dave was round for a catch up this afternoon, and saw a distant male Hen Harrier away out over the crag.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Saturday 31st March

Yesterday was Andy and Martin's last day of their visit. They saw a House Martin over the pool at Carnain. Beside the pool on the left of the road as you head to the airport, after Duich, they saw a possible Marsh Harrier. Out below the airport on Loch Indaal, but really close to the shore they saw a pod of Bottle nosed Dolphins. Up at the Woollen Mill, they had some Long tailed Tits on the feeders and then a total of 3 Grey Wagtails were present on the River there.
Today was Richard's last full day of this visit... Up on the beach at Sanaigmore some Ringed Plover were seen and then coming back from Sanaigmore, a ringtail Hen Harrier was spotted.  Over at Finlaggan, he saw a White tailed Eagle and also a total of 7 Crossbills. At Ballygrant Hall, Richard had 2 Bullfinches and then down close to Avonvoggie, another ringtail Hen Harrier. Up on Ardnave Loch,  he saw a female Goldeneye and on his way back down to Gruinart, a male Hen Harrier. As ever, many thanks to Richard, Andy and Martin for sharing their sightings with us.
Al Hart is back over for the week with his family. This morning, on Loch Indaal, out from the Coal yard, he saw the second year Glaucous Gull. Also present were 2 Sandwich Tern and also 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese with some Skylark. Back down at Bruichladdich, the 4 Purple Sandpiper were still present. Here at home, I had our wee tractor out, making the most of the dry spell of weather, and made a start to working the area of ground where we hope to sow a crop for the birds to feed on in the Autumn. This evening we counted 31 Chough as they flew into the roost..

Friday, 30 March 2018

Friday 30th March

Visiting birders, Brendon and Christine arrived on the ferry yesterday... Up at Bunnahabhain , they saw a White tailed Eagle flying South, in at Finlaggan, they saw a RTD out on the loch, and on Loch Indaal they had a Glaucous Gull. It was there again this morning, along at Bruichladdich, 4 Purple Sandpiper and they had good viewings of the Crossbills in at Finlaggan. Richard today had a Merlin on the moorland at Gruinart. Down at Bruichladdich, he had the Purple Sandpipers as well as a Ringed Plover and also a Turnstone. Out off the pier, 2 Tysties, 3 GND and also some Eider were present. Out on the trees beyond The Gearach, a pair of Crossbills, while a short distance out of the plantation, towards Kilchiaran, Richard had  a Redwing with a small flock of 8 Song Thrushes, all on the ground. After that, he saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Finally, down on Claddach Loch, he saw 2 Whooper Swans. After picking some parcels from the local carriers, we too were in at Finlaggan seeing a Slavonian Grebe on the Loch, further out on the water a large number of Barnies resting up and then 2  White tailed Eagles away out over the far hills.. coming back out a male Hen Harrier flew across the road as we approached Mulreesh. Late afternoon, we had a cracking, really colourful Yellowhammer out on the ground below the feeders, but the camera was not to hand...

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Thursday 29th March

Today Bob had seen 2 different pairs of Hen Harriers while out round the Rhinns, great to watch. Here at home, we have been watching some of the local Choughs who have been regularly been seen out in the garden probing around in the newly worked ground. Margaret saw a pair of Linnets out on the fence out in the garden today as well. Richard had gone over to Jura for the day. From the ferry as he crossed across the Sound of Islay, he had 2 Tysties and 2 GND as well. He saw a ringtail Hen Harrier just after he left Feolin and then a Golden Eagle was seen just as he approached Craighouse. Further on, he saw another ringtail as he came to Evan's way, the path that leads you over to Glen Batrick and Loch Tarbert. Back on Islay, at Finlaggan, he saw some Crossbills. Finally, Richard had an Iceland Gull and also 2 Glaucous Gulls on the head of Loch Indaal. Back here at home, there are 22 Greylags out on the grass in the garden as I write this entry.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Wednesday 28th March

Can' t take much more of this, another day and another meeting,it is a bit like waiting on a bus, you wait for ages and then 2 come along together... just getting past it!!!
Last Friday, on the 22nd of March, Paul Hathaway heard a Cuckoo calling down in Port Charlotte and then the following day Cathy Woods heard one calling down close to Octofad Farm. Today Peter Roberts had seen 2 Sandwich Terns down at Bruichladdich. Richard Belter saw 2 Ruff out from the South hide at Gruinart, a quick visit at Ardnave produced 2 Goldeneye along with several Chough. At Sanaigmore Bay RTD and also GND were present while down at Machir Bay, he had seen 8 Tysties. Andy and Martin along with their wives had been in for a natter today and while they were here, there were 3 Greenfinch, 2 Siskin out on the feeders, and then who was on the garden wall for a brief showing, a Wheatear. The Fulmars were wheeling about along the front of the crag showing us how they make flying look easy... Coming home this evening we spotted a Barn Owl I the headlights as we approached Springbank.  

Yesterday evening, we had our monthly meting of the Islay bird nerds, with 21 folk coming along. It proved quite a long but interesting meeting, the main thrust being about the Barnacle Goose cull that has been taking place here on Islay over the past few years. Dave Wood also spoke of the forthcoming surveys taking place this summer, so hopefully most of our resident band of "happy helpers" will be getting some more info from Dave of what is all involved.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Tuesday 27th March

This morning out on the feeders, Margaret saw 3 Greenfinch, 30 Goldfinch with numerous Chaffinch and a short time after a male Reed Bunting was there as well. James reported through a sighting of a Pectoral Sandpiper seen out from the South Hide at Gruinart.
Philip and Helen Mugridge had been over last week. On Sunday 18th, they saw a White tailed Eagle close to the South hide at Gruinart. The next day, they had a Greenshank on Ardnave Loch, and top birds round Ardnave included a Snow Bunting, 2 Wheatear, 30 Sanderling, 7 Barwits and also 4 Purple Sandpiper. On Friday, over on Jura they saw a Merlin, a pair of displaying Hen Harriers and a Mistle Thrush. Back here on Islay they had 11 Pale bellied Brents on Loch Indaal.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Monday 26th March

Back on Saturday, Peter had been over on Jura along with some visiting friends. They witnessed a "good showing of Hen Harriers" with 2 different males displaying to a total of 3 females.. They also saw 4 Canada Geese,  just out of Craighouse. Up past Lealt, at the end of the public road on Jura, a Yellowhammer was spotted. Back on Islay, they had a count of 18 Tysties at Port Askaig. Yesterday they walked round Ardnave Point with impressive numbers of Lapwing and Skylark displaying and calling away. They also had 2 Wheatear and a total of 8 Snipe. Back at Bruichladdich, they saw 2 Razorbill at the pier.
Visitor Richard had seen an Iceland Gull on Machir Bay this morning, and commented on seeing several Chough there as well. Down on the Oa, Richard had a mixed flock of Linnet and Twite. He also had Raven, a few Chough and also Fulmars. Down at Kilnaughton Bay, 2 Rock Pipits were seen with some Eider and a GND present out on the water. Over at the "Singing Sands" he saw a Stonechat. Over past Ardbeg, on Claggain Bay, he had a RTD and  2 GND. Other visitors, Andy and Graham along with their wives had seen 2 Yellowhammers and also a small mixed flock of Linnet and Twite close to their cottage at Kilchoman.
Tomorrow night, at  the Islay bird nerds will be meeting at 7pm in the Gaelic College for our monthly catch up, so if you are over on Islay at present, you will be made most wlcome. There will be a small charge to help pay for the rom hire, so hopefully see some new/ old faces along...

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Sunday 25th March

A tremendous day with the weather, and really not that bad a day for some birding either.. Over at the Woollen Mill, we saw a Dipper on the water with Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit and Chaffinch seen on the feeders there. Along the road towards Keills, while having a catch up with some friends, a quick look at their feeders produced 6 Yellowhammer, 2 Reed Bunting, a female Bullfinch, Great Tit, Robin and Chaffinch. Back at home, we had 3 Greenfinch out on the feeders, and a pair of Fulmars cackling away over on the crag. Down on ground level, 7 Hares were playing around. I saw 25 Whoopers flying in from the South this morning, they landed down on the water o LochGorm to rest up before flying North again mid afternoon. Yesterday, Distillery Dave had a Yellowhammer down on some gorse bushes on the track leading to Laggan. He also saw a Barn Owl perched onto of a fence post alongside Loch Gorm. Along at Foreland, a Woodcock was seen. Lesley Silcock has now got 2 pairs of Siskin along with Goldfinches on her Niger feeders over at Kilnaugton Bay. Andy Mortimer and Martin Gooch, returning birders from last year Spring had seen a Merlin along at Rockside...Richard Belter also came back for another Islay fix. On the ferry coming over Richard saw RTD, GND, R b Merganser, Guillemot, Tystie, Razorbill, Eider and Shag. In at Finlaggan, he had a large flock of Barnies with a few Crossbills present at the big house at Finlaggan. Finally, Richard had 2  Slavonian Grebes out from Blackrock. Distillery Dave this evening saw a Glaucous Gull on the ploughing at Sunderland.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Saturday 24th March

Earlier on this week on Thursday, visitors Dave and Jean Killick had seen a Glaucous Gull down at Machir Bay. Yesterday, Mike Peacock saw an Iceland Gull on a dead Seal, also on Machir Bay....  Yesterday, also was the Horwich birders last full day for this stay... From the South hide (old hide) they saw an excellent mix of waders and ducks.. Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon and Mallard were noted along with a Snipe, a flock of around 200 Golden Plover, 4 Greenshank, Redshank, Lapwing, Mute Swan and Whooper Swan. A female Hen Harrier was seen out quartering her patch. A hen Merlin then shot past. On the path leading through the woods, they saw Treecreeper, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and also Coal Tit. Up, out in front of the new hide a drake Gadwall was present.. Over at Bun an Uillt, they saw a male and also a female Hen Harrier. Out on Loch Gruinart, 3 GNDs were seen on the water. Many thanks to our visitors and their sightings...

This afternoon, we saw a male Hen Harrier, at close range, as it flew across the road down at Foreland.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Friday 23rd March

After a damp start, the weather picked up and what a beautiful sunset to end the day with. Morven kindly sent through the figures for the International goose count carried out here on Islay on Tuesday and Wednesday. The tally came to 34,750 Barnies, 4,422 Whitefronts and 483 Greylags. Many thanks to Morven and the team from SNH for these figures.
I also recently a couple of e mails through from visiting birders who have been over on Islay recently.. Derek Stanyard along with his colleagues have been coming over to Islay for a short 5 day visit normally in February/ March since 2010. This year they had seen 86 species , a few down on previous years but the weather kept them in for one of their days. By the sound of things, it was Derek et al who had seen the Sandwich Tern down on Machir Bay last week.... The other person who sent through an e mail was Philip Cohen from Dundee. Philip was over last weekend from the 16th to 19th March and saw a total of 78 species with another 3 heard but not seen. A great list for only one set of eyes to see in such a short spell, and especially as it was Philip's first visit to Islay, hopefully not your last!!!... So many thanks for your birds to you both, as ever, much appreciated.
The Horwich birders had seen a Black tailed Godwit out from the South hide today.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Thursday 22nd March

Yesterday and this afternoon, the weather out here has not been that great, especially if you are visiting to do some birdwatching...The Horwich birders had braved the elements with a wettish trip over to Ardtalla and Ardbeg before getting a good soaking... They counted 16 Ringed Plover and 7 Canada Geese feeding in a field at Ardtalla. Further along the coast, they had seen a pair of Mute Swan and shortly afterwards, a juvenile White tailed Eagle while along on the water at Claggain Bay a GND was seen. Back at Kilnaughton Bay, 4 Eider were present with a single Buzzard over the trees there. James has counted 37 Whoopers up at Ardnave yesterday. Peter, yesterday, had a 2cy Iceland Gull down on Machir Bay, along with 32 Chough. Over at Ballinaby, Peter counted a flock of 250 Golden Plover and later on he had seen 6 Purple Sandpiper at Bruichladdich. This morning before the rain set in Gary had done his WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. His count was 9 GND, 1 RTD, 31 R B Merganser, 6 Cormorants, 43 Shag, 1 Tystie, 1 Razorbill, 76 Eider, 10 Common Scoter, 17 Mallard, 35 Teal, 46 Wigeon, 1 Tufted Duck, 3 Mute Swan, 83 Oystercatcher, 3 Curlew, 4 Redshank, 70 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 48 Lapwing, 1 Grey Plover,  16 Snipe,19 Gbb Gull, 154 H Gull, 18 B h Gull, 1 Glaucous Gull, 1 Iceland Gull, 83 Whitefronts, 9 Pb Brent and 931 Barnies. Here at base camp, there have been a couple of Fulmars floating along the front of the crag, seen often over the past couple of days. The 2 Greenfinches were seen again this morning as well.
Before I forget, the next indoor meeting of the "Islay Bird nerds" will be held on Tuesday 27th March at 7pm in the Gaelic College, Bowmore. There will be a small charge to help pay for the room hire, just come along with your hard earned money....

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Wednesday 21st March

Back on Monday, Bob and myself carried out the WeBS count from Port Charlotte back to Blackrock. The birds seen and counted were as follows 7 GND, 1 RTD, 7 Shag, 16 Cormorant, 25 Barnies, a single Greylag, 14 R b Merganser, 48 Eider, 2 Shelduck, 4 Mallard, 24 Oystercatcher, 18 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew,7 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 1 Purple Sandpiper1 Snipe, 2 Tystie, 2 Gbb Gull, 4 Lbb Gull, 32 H Gull, 59 C Gull, an Iceland Gull. We also noted a Pied Wagtail, 5 Redwing, a male Stonechat and a Song Thrush , while on a field at Coultorsay with 92 Greylags were  resting up. Yesterday the Horwich birders top sightings included a pair of Crossbills at Finlaggan, a Hen Harrier seen at Ardnahoe,  a Grey Wagtail were present at the mouth of the Margadale River at Bunnahabhain with a pair of Mute Swan and a Tystie out on the Sound of Islay. On Loch Skerrols, they saw 6 Tufted Duck. Also yesterday, James had been out of the office and had some birds for us... A Wheatear was seen up at Ardnave with some Gannets also seen there offshore, on reserve at Gruinart, 14 Whoopers were present. Along at Erasaid, James counted 57 Ravens while down on the Uiskentuie strand, 2 large Canada Geese were seen.
Just the back of 6am today, there were 45 Greylags out on the Machir just over the garden wall from our house. There were a pair of Greenfinches on the feeders, a bird that is not that common nowadays here on Islay.