Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Tuesday 21st August

Yesterday up at "base camp", Bob had seen  a large female Sparrowhawk which had spooked a mixed flock of 30 Linnets and 6 Twite. Over at his home, up behind Port Charlotte, he had seen a Sparrowhawk there too..with a Peregrine spotted over Carn while on the barley fields on Octomore, he counted 80 Rock Doves and also 30 Woodpigeon.
Distillery Dave made it home from the Birdfair, and up behind Ballygrant, he saw 2 White tailed Eagles yesterday evening. This morning while out with Ted, Dave had seen a Hen Harrier over the dunes behind Machir Bay, and also 2 distant Terns seen along the shore at the Bay. This evening, he saw a single Greenfinch up at Kilchoman.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Sunday 19th August

Well that's it, the Bird fair for 2018 is past, in the history books It was the 30th event, and as ever well organised. Our accommodation was excellent as ever...We met in with good friends from previous years and made some new colleagues,. All in all a hard few days work put in by everyone that helped us on the Islay and Jura stand . On the actual bird front, Distillery Dave had seen a Marsh Harrier and there was 5 Ospreys seen flying overhead by Joe Davis, the site manager...

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Saturday 18th August

Nothing to report from Islay, but down at Rutland Water there was a Marsh Harrier seen and the Red necked Phalarope was seen again. Another busy day for those us involved at the "coal face" at the Birdfair itself.. It does not help as the temperature rose somewhat, net result the heat was rather warmer in the actual marquees for us to "work  in" !!!

Friday, 17 August 2018

Friday 17th August

Nothing to report from Islay, but Paul W. had a Greater spotted Woodpecker on his feeders at his house this afternoon. The rest of us have had a very busy day down here at the Bird fair, if nothing else a grand day spent doing some networking... a lot of genuine hard work put into the whole effort by all concerned.


Thursday, 16 August 2018

Thursday 16th August

Yesterday, Peter and Anthony had gone down to Portnahaven for a spot of sea watching. They had seen 4 Bonxies, several hundred 100s of  Manxies, Gannets and Kittiwakes flying South past them. They also had seen 10 Fulmars flying past but no Auks.
Today,  the Rutland bhoys had seen Great crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Osprey, Peregrine as well as many Coots, Tomorrow is the start of the Birdfair, so just hope the weather holds and does not get too hot

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Wednesday 15th August

Peter and his friend Anthony from Tanzania have spent some time over the last few days carrying out
some quality birding. Their birds seen included Golden Eagle, White tailed Eagle, several Hen Harriers. Their top bird was a sighting of a Red Grouse along the track to Bolsay up behind Port Charlotte.
Today, some of us, who are away on the annual trip to Rutland, made the most of the chance to see Great white Egret, Little Egret, Red necked Phalarope down at Rutland Water. This evening while out with good friends, Paul and Avril Watchorn, who live close by at Whissendine, we had the great sighting of 14 Yellow Wagtails in one of their fields

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Tuesday 14th August

Gary yesterday had seen 3 different Kestrel round the Loch Gorm area and also a Bonxie at Machir Bay. Today off the ferry, he saw another Bonxie and also "loads of Gannets"

Monday, 13 August 2018

Monday 13th August

Yesterday afternoon, Bob and Distillery Dave carried out the WeBs count from Port Charlotte to Bruichladdich counting the following birds... 10 Arctic Terns, 32 Herring Gulls, 18 Common Gulls, 3 Lesser Black backed Gulls, 6 Great Black backed Gulls, 11 Gannets, 6  Curlew, 17 Ringed Plover, 8 Oystercatcher, 4 Dunlin, 34 Eider, 17 Cormorant, 3 Shag and a Great Northern Diver.
This evening, Helen Brown was in touch to say that she had counted 14 Greylags as they came in to land on Ardnahoe Loch.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Sunday 12th August

Today, Gary had seen a male and also a female Hen Harrier and also 2 Kestrels while out along the Glen road.
The blog may be a bit light on entries over the next week or so, as some of us are off/ heading out soon to the Bird Fair at Rutland. So, if you are coming to the Bird Fair, come along to marquee 7 stand 14/15, you will be assured of a warm Islay welcome, we are across the passage from our old friends from Speyside Wildlife.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Friday 10th August

Forgot to mention last night that I had an e mail through from Peter who had been speaking to Jan Reavey on Wednesday who had told him that she had been up at Ardnave with some "birding relatives" last Saturday and had seen the Rosy Starling.
Tonight, Distillery Dave had heard then seen the 3 Peregrine Falcons while walking down on Machir bay with Ted.
This evening, by chance, I watched a program on the TV with the President of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland  being interviewed. He came over very well, or so I thought, must have been well trained in his earlier life.... he is well thought of , might see you tomorrow Andy....

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Wednesday 8th August

Well, it is almost that time of year again with our local agricultural show being held tomorrow. Another important event for the birding folks on Islay is our trip down to Rutland and the British Bird Fair, an event well worth going along to if you are around that way next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This year is the 30th Bird Fair, and what an event it will be... Over the 3 day event, around 25,000 visitors attend. There are around 400 stand holders trying to promote their causes, and also 4 lecture Marquees where various speakers will give their illustrated talks over the 3 days. There are also many live demonstrations  including birds being caught and rung, the optics stands are in full cry selling their products, yes an event well worth some of your time to attend. This is the 8th year that some of us have helped out at the Islay and Jura stand, we are in our usual place in Marquee 7, stance 14/15 opposite our god friends from Speyside Wildlife, so see you are there, mind and come along and sample of the produce we have on offer and feel free to win the competition for a week's holiday for 4.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Tuesday 7th August

This morning, at the early hour of 4.30, Mike had a seen a Whimbrel flying over Port Charlotte and also a Greenshank flew past shortly afterwards. He also saw a Common Sandpiper on the rocks at Port Charlotte.
This evening, I took the chance and managed to take some images of the lbj flock flying past, over the seed crop. I knew that there were not as many as other times, but on a closer look on the computer, I counted 60 birds. On the red feeder, of Niger seeds there were 5 Siskins and 2 Chaffinches while on the Red Millet feeder there was 14 House Sparrows on the actual feed station itself with a further 10 n the ground. On the wee "anti Starling" table another mix of a further 8 birds were counted, and that was not counting the main feeders at the house....

Monday, 6 August 2018

Monday 6th August

Distillery Dave was down on Machir Bay early  this morning with his friend, Ted the dog.. Ted is a wee cracker, a bit of a nutcase too, but there again he is still a pup, young at heart...
So here are the birds that Dave had seen today, 21 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, a Greenshank and a Peregrine. Back at Rockside, the 2 Blackwits were still present.
The wee birds here at home appear to be enjoying the seed crop, joking apart, I will have a job in my hands trying to get a better count of what is there, as when they fly around, they are vey quick and mobile, and when they drop into the crop to eat, well they seem to disappear down in to the crop. The way to count them could be to possibly to try to use the camera to get an image and try to count them from it...

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Sunday 5th August

Yesterday, James Butcher e mailed through to say that "waders numbers were on the up on Loch Gruinart". By the sounds of his correspondence, James had a bit of problem trying to count the waders because of the presence of a Peregrine which caused the waders to be on edge and a bit flighty... James count was as follows, over 800 Dunlin mainly adult birds with a few juveniles, 250 Ringed Plover, 200 Sanderling, 16 Barwits and also a juv. Ruff, the first Ruff he has seen so far this Autumn.
This morning, Distillery Dave had seen some Dunlin along with the Sanderling on Machir Bay, back up at Rockside he had seen 2 Blackwits. This morning, I counted 23 Whimbrel as they flew off the Machir and down towards the sea.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Saturday 4th August

Today, Distillery Dave had counted 76 Sanderling down on Machir Bay, he also had seen a Black tailed Godwit as well.
This morning, I saw 3 Wrens down below the house, the first seen for a few days. Out on the seed heads over towards the reed bed were a family of 4 Whinchats. Late afternoon, while visiting friends, we saw 2 juvenile Robins in their garden. Finally this evening, the flock of birds coming to feed on the crop has greatly increased, again mainly Linnet and Twite with a good number of Goldfinches enjoying the thistle seeds on offer. The other "locals", the Siskins, Chaffinches and House Sparrows seem to be content on the other purchased seed on offer!!!!

Friday, 3 August 2018

Friday 3rd August

Rather a late entry tonight, but it has been a "busy day" , so here goes...
Distillery Dave , first thing this morning had seen over 100 waders down on Machir Bay and this evening he had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing opposite Dr Matt Jackson's house below Rockside.
Also today, Al Hart had seen Gannets flying past Frenchman's Rocks. On his  to his viewing point, he had also seen Linnets, Meadow Pipits and also Skylarks. He also watched a Buzzard take a rabbit...
This morning Mike, Peter and Mark Livingston had seen a pod of 11 Bottle nosed Dolphins on Loch Indaal while they were out in their boat fishing. Mike reckons that some of the pod were the same Dolphins that he had seen the other day as there was one with a distinctive notch out of its' dorsal fin.
This afternoon Mark and Val, Mike's wife, had walked from Ballygrant Woods towards Port Askaig where they saw a male Hen Harrier, a Spotted Flycatcher, Lesser Redpoll, and also 25 Mistle Thrush  feeding on Rowans.
This evening, here at home, we had a small mixed flock of 50+ Linnet and Twite on the seed heads of  the bird crop designed for that job. Over the fence, there were several families of Goldfinches eating on the thistle heads. Earlier on, in the afternoon, I took the chance and planted some more trees, mainly filling in a few spaces where some other trees had not  taken .. as well as some more in new sites as well, mainly Alder and some Birch, so fingers crossed that they all "take".

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Thursday 2nd August

This morning down on mudflats at Bridgend, at the top of Loch Indaal, Mike had a count of over 250 Dunlin, along with 40 Sanderling. He also had a pair of RTDs flew over in from the moorland to feed out on Loch Indaal. This afternoon, at around 15.00 hrs Mike saw a pod of 7 Bottle nosed Dolphins off Port Charlotte  which then swam along the coast towards Nerabus.
Also today, Al Hart had walked from Ballygrant along to the Lily Loch. He saw a flock of 50 + Siskins, a Spotted Flycatcher. He also saw a group of 8 Mistle Thrush and wondered if they could possibly be a family together? Over on the far side of the Loch, Al saw a Dabchick feeding. He also commented on the amount of Buzzards being around as well.
Allen and Fiona Skinner saw a Merlin fly close past them as they walked up from the Coastguards to the former  Rockside school around lunch time.
This morning, first thing around 6.30am I saw a Goldfinch, a Lesser Redpoll, an adult and also a juv. Siskin on the niger feeder, and that was before filling it with any new seed...Later on, after filling the feeder up, the mix of birds on it was changed, up to 2 Goldfinches and a whopping 18 Siskins while on another small feeder there were another 4 Siskins...

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Tuesday 1st August

This morning, Peter and Mike had gone up to Ardnave to see if they could se the Rosy Starling, no joy but they did have a group of 11 Blackwits at Ardnave Loch itself. Just as well that they had gone out this morning as the weather closed in this afternoon, a "gie driech" time since then. Maybe just as well I raked some grass cuttings as well, and I put them away down on the compost heap....On his way home, earlier this evening from here, Distillery Dave had a mixed group of 50 Curlew and Oystercatcher out on the Machir. Talking about the weather, the rainfall here came to an exact 4 inches for the month, Marsali at Mulindry was saying that for once she has not had as much as us, her figures tallied up to only 3.43 inches...

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Tuesday 31st July

Yesterday James had seen the Rosy Starling up at Ardnave while down on the reserve at Gruinart, he spotted a Swift flying past.
Today, Mike  had seen a Green Sandpiper on a pool up towards Bolsay. Here at home, at the bird nerds meeting, we were graced with a ringtail Hen Harrier fly through the garden, really close in, just fantastic... There were 16 folk attending, including 4 visitors, good of folk to come along. We never got outside, but had good craik with Peter and also James and Dave ably answering many points that were raised.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Monday 30th July

Yesterday, while on his way up from Portnahaven, Al Hart had seen a Buzzard carrying an Adder in its' talons. Up at Bruichladdich, he saw 2 Arctic Terns and also a Sandwich Tern.
This afternoon, late on, Distillery Dave heard and then saw 3 Peregrines along at Rockside. Here at home, there was a Willow Warbler on the seed heads on the border alongside of our house. This evening, we saw 2 Collared Doves close to the grain intake point at Bowmore Distillery.

Remember, tomorrow night, the bird nerds will be meeting at 7pm at Shepherd's cottage.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Sunday 29th July

Apologies for not putting an entry on last night.. Firstly, with the weather being what it was when I "normally" go to press, the computer was a definite no go area as we were in the middle of a thunderstorm, so I had even pulled the plug on the wall as a safety precaution.. It  did not seem to be much rain, but I reckon we had around 2.25 inches. It sounds a lot of rain, which it was, but rather than  a downpour, it was a steady fall and will gone into the ground rather than a flash flood.. Second reason was because of the rain, not many birds were around.
The Beardsen birders are up North for a few days and had counted over 200 Curlew on Loch Fleet. Down closer to Portmahomack, they saw 2 Osprey and a Red Kite.
Yesterday, Al Hart had a male Hen Harrier close to Foreland. We had a Wren scuttling about below the feeders, and then a Great Tit on one of the nut feeders.
This morning, first thing, Distillery Dave had a Merlin as he went down to Machir Bay with his faithful friend "Ted". On Machir Bay he saw Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Redshank. This afternoon, up at Sanaigmore, he saw 5 Wheatear, 8 Common Sandpiper and a ringtail Hen Harrier. This evening round Loch Gorm, he had a Reed Bunting, a ringtail and also a male Hen Harrier and great sighting of 2 Golden Eagles out behind Sunderland. What a difference a day can make with the wearther and also the birds seen around.
Here at home, we had 50+ Chaffinches this morning, with Margaret counting 36 Goldfinches on the thistle heads on an adjoining field this evening. Late afternoon, we heard and then saw 3 Peregrines out over the big crag with the Buzzard soaring around a wee while earlier on

Before I forget, the bird nerds will be meeting up at 7pm on Tuesday evening, up here at Shepherd's cottage, so if you are around, feel free to come along, and put a name to various folks' faces..

Friday, 27 July 2018

Friday 27th July

Rachel and Mary, the 2 birders from Edinburgh had seen Chough while on the RSPB guided walk on Tuesday on the Oa, they also had seen some more while on Colonsay on Wednesday. Yesterday, in the gardens of Bridgend Hotel, they saw a Chiffchaff.
This morning, Mike had counted 37 Curlew down on Machir Bay, Mike also saw a Greenshank on the stream as it enters the Bay as well. Mid morning, we had 16 Oystercatcher fly over the machir. Mid afternoon, Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing as it followed the dyke below our house. Finally, Gary watched and followed an Osprey as it flew along between Red Houses and Esknish, following the River Sorn, earlier on this evening.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Thursday 26th July

Another nice dry day out here again, but the forecast for the next few days, could possibly be going downhill with rain forecast.. it has been quite windy outside all day.
This morning Mike Peacock had heard a Grasshopper Warbler calling, along the track leading up to Bolsay. He also saw a juv Cuckoo being fed by a Meadow Pipit. Al Hart had seen a Grey Wagtail and also Spotted Flycatcher along the River Sorn while walking through Bridgend Woods. This evening, he had seen a Peregrine flying over Portnahaven and had a Corncrake in its usual plot...

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Wednesday 25th July

Got the correct date on for tonight's entry... and in a moment will amend yesterday's date!!!
Yesterday evening, Al Hart had heard Grasshopper Warblers and Sedge Warblers calling away round Portnahaven. He also had heard a Corncrake calling as well. Today, he managed to carry out a short sea watch towards Frenchman's Rocks. He had seen 3 Terns, a Bonxie which was chased away by the Terns...He also noted a strong passage Gannets and Manx Shearwaters flying South. Kittiwakes were present on the rocks, with Auks and Tysties flying close in. He also saw Turnstone flying past as well. Whilst waling in to where carried out his sea watch from Alistair, he saw Wheatear, Skylarks, Goldfinches, lots of Linnets and Mipits as well.
This afternoon Kathy, his wife had heard Corncrake calling round Port Mor and also at Octofad as well

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Tuesday 24th July

Another great day with the weather, like a lot of other places...


I took this image of a young Siskin, earlier on this evening, and it was not until I had downloaded the memory card on to my computer that I realised that it had a leg ring on... so I hope that is one of George E Jackson's birds..
Not a lot to report tonight, Gary had counted 5 Barn Owls on his way home last night from Port Charlotte with the last Owl in Gary's own garden!!! Through the day back here at home we have seen 2 Peregrines, a Buzzard, many birds seen on the feeders, possibly not as many as other days with that pesky Sparrowhawk possibly spoofing some of the regulars away...

Monday, 23 July 2018

Monday 23rd July

Another day with the mist rolling in from the sea quite often, but late afternoon, the weather improved with a nice quiet evening outside at present..
Earlier on, with better visibility at one time, I counted 38 House Sparrows on the barbed wire fence just in from the Millet seed feeder.. Later on while sitting out in the hut with 2 visiting birders from Edinburgh,  all of a sudden all the birds took off and there were no birds to be heard singing away, the reason?? A Sparrowhawk was flying past.. Earlier on the 2 birders had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier fly along the front of the crag. Yesterday, while walking along the 3 Distilleries path, between Port Ellen and Ardbeg, at one point, they had seen 2 Goldcrest.
Before I forget, the feathers that were on the blog the other night were from a juvenile Cuckoo, or rather what remained of it... Thanks to Bob for sharing the feathers with us!!!

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Sunday 22nd July

Yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey over Loch Gorm. Later on, up at Sanaigmore,  he watched 2 Otters out in the bay for over 30 minutes.. Birds seen at Sanaigmore included 7 Common Sandpiper and a flock of 30 Twite.
Today down on the beach at Portnahaven, Al Hart had seen a "smart looking Common Gull". Here at home, we had a young Lesser Redpoll and also a young Greenfinch out on the feeders, great to see them,  a fair chance that they were born local to here...

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Saturday 21st July

The weather today turned out a total reversal of yesterday, as through the day, visibility was good and not until around 6pm the mist/ haar rolled in off the sea..
Al  Hart is back over on holiday. While walking out towards Claddach from Portnahaven, he heard 2 Corncrakes calling. He also saw Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Pied Wagtails and heard Sedge Warblers. While we came back home this afternoon, we had a close sighting of a male Hen Harrier along past Sunderland Farm.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Friday 20th July

Today, the mist was in for most of the day, it eventually lifted after tea time, so not many birds to tell you about this evening. Out at the wee bird cage, I counted 12 birds in it all one time, 7 Siskins, 3 Chaffinches and also 2 House Sparrows, so I am well pleased so far...
Relating to the image of the feathers last night which I posted on the blog last night, well so far, all the folk that have sent their thoughts of which bird they were from, well they are all correct, 3 from Islay and one from the mainland in Argyll. I will tell you what the correct bird was in a day or two..

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Thursday 19th July

Remember a couple of night's ago, I mentioned that Bob had shown us some feathers that he and Pat had found up on Bolsay Moor the other day while out on a walk. So now I am doing a "Bob" on you the reader, what are the feathers from? Bob told me that the carcass had no head or legs, but thought they were off a young bird.. so feel free to contribute your thoughts as to what they were from...


Good luck, no prizes.. just remember that I am Scottish..

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Wednesday 18th July

As promised last night, an image of the new " experimental" bird table, designed by Bob's  Pat and a few alterations done by myself..


The 2 Starlings on the roof are puzzling if they can get in or not, while the Chaffinch, along with the Siskins did not take too long to realise that there is only one set of mesh big enough for to allow them access. A House Sparrow is now a regular with the Great Tit spotted inside this morning as was the young Blue Tit, at one time I counted 6 different birds inside... Many thanks to Pat for listening to me...


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Tuesday 17th July

Another not bad day with the weather, must sound like a recording repeating myself yet again... Today, has been spent watching the birds going in to our "new experimental" bird table. The main feeders are sited inside a cage  which has mesh sides to it. The idea  is that the Starlings do  not eat the good food. It is early days yet, but what size of mesh do we need, as a good friend said, "a matter of trail and error". I will try to take some images of the "table" tomorrow...
Whilst  we were out, we spotted a Whinchat out on the fence. Bob was round this evening, and had ben seeing some Stonechats with their young, close to his house and when he was here, we saw 2 Lesser Redpolls outside. Bob also showed us some feathers from a corpse that he had found up on Bolsay Moor earlier on, and I will try to take some images of them too, for you to guess what they came from....

Monday, 16 July 2018

Monday 16th July

Thankfully the rain remembered to stop, over the past 2 nights, we have had the best part of an inch of rain, not a lot, but a good amount to keep things going in the right direction... and today, it has not been that bad a day, honest...
Today, here at home, we were watching some youngsters being fed by their parents... We had seen the odd Greenfinch around earlier on in the year, but today, one was feeding its' young, a Willow Warbler feeding a grub to its young, Linnets on the bird seed crop, then they flited over the fence on to some thistle heads and awaiting them were their young. Also seen amongst the thistle heads were a few Goldfinches along with young. On the feeders today we had a Great Tit and then a Blue Tit was on the scare fence along the top of the wall, both birds which we do not see here that often!!!

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Sunday 15th July

Yesterday, Lesley and myself gave Bob a help to carry out the WeBS count from Blackrock round to Port Charlotte with our total tally coming to 10 Cormorant, 1 Arctic Tern,  1 Sandwich Tern, 71 Eider, 10 Herring Gull, 45 Common Gull, 31 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 4 Curlew, 27 Greylag, 6 Mallard, 3 L BB Gull, 2 Gbb Gull, 1 Common Sandpiper, 6 Shelduck, and 4 Tysties.
This morning, Mike had a pair of Sandwich Tern feeding newly fledged young at Port Charlotte.
Round midday Peter brought up Roger Broad for a long awaited catch up with us here at home, great to see you Roger. While we were outside, Roger was looking at the bumblebees while we bird watched, seeing a distant Kestrel away out over the crag, noted many Siskins on the feeders, some Linnets and Lesser Redpolls were around as well. This afternoon, the noisy, nosey locals, the Chough came along for a visit. Earlier on, we had a young leveret out in the garden, good to watch its' antics, as it went through  its' repertoire.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Saturday 14th July

This morning, as the Beardsen birders headed out to the Ferry at Port Ellen, they saw a male Hen Harrier, as the started to drive along the High road after Springbank. Earlier on at Rockside, there was a large number of Rooks and Jackdaws on the road and then a big flock of Starlings appeared as well, but still no sign of the Rosy bird!! From the ferry, little of note seen apart from some Gannets. Thanks for your birds folks.
Peter, Mike and Roger Broad went up to Ardnave and saw 3 flocks of very mobile Starlings of around 400 birds in each group, and yes, they managed to see the Rosy Starling. They also counted 43 Chough there as well.
Here at home, I think the large flock of Starlings from Rockside had paid a visit this morning, you should see the roof on the wee cottage next door where a lot of them have left their mark !!!

Friday, 13 July 2018

Friday 13th July


I managed to take this image, the other evening at  around 9pm, just too good a chance to miss...

This afternoon, Margaret spotted a hen Pheasant with a brood of 4 young chicks before they disappeared into some undergrowth. Margaret also got a handed on message, passed on a few times about a Corncrake seen down at Conisby with 5 chicks, when they were seen we do not know... No news today, as of yet relating to the Rose coloured Starling.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Thursday 12th July

Yesterday, Gary was out with some clients seeing an Osprey at Loch Gorm and later on, they saw 3 Peregrine Falcons out from Coal Ila as well as 2 young Cuckoos seen. The Beardsen birders had taken the chance yesterday and took the ferry over to Colonsay where they saw a juv. Golden Eagle up out of Scalascaig and then close to Colonsay House, a Corncrake was heard.
Here at home, this afternoon, we watched 2 Peregrines mob a Golden Eagle away out over the crag. The Eagle took the hint and did not waste much time in moving on... Jack Fleming was in touch late this evening , a reported sighting seen up at Ardnave of a Rose coloured Starling this afternoon.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Wednesday 11th July

Some sightings though from George E Jackson and his wife Pat. Back on Saturday, while out on their son's rib, while en route to Gigha, there was not to much to report apart from some Auks and the occasional Gannet. At one point, while they were traveling along at around 30 mph, a line of half a dozen Auks came from behind and overtook them. They increased their speed to 50mph for a few minutes and even at that sped the Awks were still faster than they were... On Monday down below Rockside, they heard a Sedge Warbler and then shortly afterwards, an adult Whinchat was seen out on the garden fence.. Early afternoon, they saw a Grey Wagtail over at The Woollen Mill and also 5 Siskins plus a vey young Siskin on the feeders there. Later on, out on the rib with their son Matthew on a short trip out round the Oa proved quite a success with around 50 Kittiwakes and 200 Razorbills were seen on their nesting ledges, with 2 Puffins and more Razorbills and some Tysties were seen out on the water.
Yesterday, George and Pat carried another hard, but productive  session here with their mist nets, with a total of 53 birds being rung and 8 retraps. The most interesting bird was a retrapped male Siskin wearing a ring from Holland, so once we hear back from Holland we will let you know more history of the bird. So all in all a total of 143 birds rung with 20 retraps over the 3 sessions.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Tuesday 10th July

Tom Garner from Cumbria arrived over the other day for another visit. On Sunday, they saw a male Hen Harrier  over beside the Airport. Yesterday, over, up beside Bolsa, they had seen a Golden Eagle  being mobbed by a Hooded Crow along with plenty of Wheatears and they also heard a couple of Yellowhammers calling in the gullies there. Yesterday, David Wood had heard a Quail calling over at Kinnabus on the Oa.
Marsali sent through her figures for the rainfall for June over at Mulindry, with the rain gauge showing 1.8 inches. not much use for the tatties.
This evening, we were out with Distillery Dave and his wife, and were watching a Kestrel and also 2 Peregrines away out over the crag.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Monday 9th July

Yesterday afternoon, Peter took his friend Ian up to Ardnave. On the loch, they saw another single Whooper Swan, probably the same swan that Peter had seen there 10 days ago. Out towards Ardnave, they saw a single Whimbrel and also 4 pair of Chough with young, a total of 17 Chough in all. The Bearsden birders are back over, and during a short walk in Bridgend Woods yesterday afternoon, they saw 2 Great Tit and also 2 Wrens.
Today, the single Whooper Swan was in the same field where Peter had seen it yesterday down at Rockside. Also here at home, I saw the ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing over the same patch of ground as yesterday, but this time it dropped down amongst the rushes before flying off with its' prey.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Sunday 8th July

Back on Friday, Gary had been out on the Islay lifeboat of which he is one of the crew. Well after the shout and while returning to Port Askaig, he had seen 5 RTD flying North up the Sound of Islay. Yesterday, while out with some clients, Gary had seen 5 Swifts flying over Machir Bay. Yesterday, Peter had a Greater spotted Woodpecker in the trees over beside Red Lodge on the High road. This morning Peter, Mike and Ian, Peter's friend who is over for a few days birding, had seen a Whooper Swan resting up on one of the silage aftermaths at Rockside. Also this morning James had a Spotted Flycatcher in his garden. This afternoon, we had a female Hen Harrier out along the base of the crag.
Reading back the blog, I have just realised that I forgot to tell you our rainfall figure for June, well it only came to a mere 1.1 of an inch, not a lot.... I know it is early days for July, bit the rain gauge has got nothing in it yet apart from a heavy mist last night, nothing much else in it so far.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Saturday 7th July

After a couple of busy couple of days setting the mist nets and ringing, Gorge and Pat took a well earned rest.. Earlier on this evening, I counted a group of 30 Curlew fly past our house.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Friday 6th July

Another great day with the weather out here on the far West. Mind you it has been another busy day with some more birds being caught and rung by George and Pat Jackson. Their tally today came to 35 birds caught and fitted with a  BTO ring and also 8 retraps. Today they caught 12 House Sparrows, 14 Chaffinches, 3 Willow Warblers, 1 Redpoll and 5 Siskins.. One line of thought is that the Siskins must have bred locally to here as  there was a total of  5 juv birds amongst the 11 caught over the past 2 days. The Willow Warblers had 5 juv birds out of the 6 processed on yesterday and today, so again had bred close to here as well..

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Thursday 5th July

George E Jackson and his wife Pat are back over to enjoy our great weather again... Shortly after their arrival on Sunday, they had a male Hen harrier out hunting at Rockside, and then around 5 minutes later they had a ringtail, as George commented " probably a pair hunting separately",  out over the same stretch along the burn. Later on on Sunday and on Monday, they had a scene out of Hitchcock's The Birds with a large number of starlings< Jackdaws and Rooks swirling around in the air, net result, their car, their son's house, decking and windows all plastered with their droppings...They had a single young Whinchat and also 2 young Pied Wagtail seen on the garden fence for a while too.  Pat had seen 4 young Wheatear at Machir Bay on Tuesday am while a walk there in the evening gave George counted 18 Oystercatcher on the beach with another 22 up behind the beach.  9 Curlew, 2 Dunlin and 5 Chough flew over. On the field beside the car park, 2 Lapwing and 3 Linnet were present with a Sedge Warbler heard calling up on the reed bed. On Wednesday, the Starlings had reappeared , so all the cleaning from their previous visit had been a bit of a waste of time!!!A walk down at The Machrie Hotel along the Big Strand produced a small mixed flock of Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover with also 25 eider loafing on the shore. 
This morning we saw a male Hen Harrier at Ballinaby, George counted 41 Chough down at Machir Bay. He came up for a catch up around midday and so we quickly set the mist nets  to see if we could catch anything... the obvious answer was yes, no trouble at all. Net result, after a short session of around 5  hours, we or rather George and Pat had rung 55 birds and also 4 retraps from previous sessions. We had 37 House Sparrows, a Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 10 Chaffinch, a Starling a Redpoll, and also 6 Siskin. Not bad going??? While we were almost finishing off, we saw 3 Peregrine screaming around, high up over the big crag, and we had also seen 3 Fulmars gliding along the front of the crag earlier on, mid afternoon.

A great time enjoyed by us all, thanks to George and Pat, sharing their knowledge and being very patient too...

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Wednesday 4th July

Gary had seen an Osprey taking a fish out of Loch Finlaggan, and yesterday he had a Corncrake flying alongside his van at Skerrols. Mike Peacock had spotted an Arctic Skua as he came back over on the evening ferry last night. Distillery Dave saw 2 Fulmars flying along the front of the crag at Kilchoman. He also had been hearing a corncrake calling up at Rockside with Gary hearing one calling over beside his house. This morning, here at home, it was great to see 6 Siskin on the feeders along with 2 Lesser Redpolls.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Sunday 1st July

I am not sure if you have been keeping in touch with the news of the horrific fire that has been going for the past few days just out of Bolton in Lancashire. Earlier this evening, I spoke with Chris and Tony Johnson whose house is around a mile away from the fire front. Chris was telling me about the strong smell from the smoke of the actual fire. During our short conversation, I heard 3 helicopters' ferrying water out... The annoying aspect is to think of the devastation caused by a few mindless idiots...The bulk off the area is in a SSI, and only designated as such fairly recently....

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Saturday 30th June

Some sightings through from Peter Roberts who has recently returned from leading a tour to Japan. Before I forget, I heard today that the weather or rather the temperature in Japan is lower at present this year, than it is here in Scotland.
Yesterday evening, Peter had heard 4 GNDs calling away out from Bruichladdich on Loch Indaal, 2 in full breeding plumage with the others in non breeding plumage.Back on Wednesday, Peter had seen another GND over at Claggain Bay., so we are definitely seeing some GNDs summering here on Islay...Back down at the pier at Bruichladdich, Peter had seen at least 8 Tysties, and wondered whether they were actually 4 pairs breeding there.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Friday 29th June

Another scorcher of a day, and not much let up expected over the next few days, and little sign of any rain as of yet..
This evening I found a nest in the undergrowth out in the garden, a Pheasant nest I think with 7 eggs in it...

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Thursday 28th June

Another wee cracker of a day... James said it was s hot a day on Islay that he can remember, his thermometer reached 24 degrees at one time this afternoon.
On the bird front some sightings through from James as well.. Today, he had seen 3 Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, a Willow Warbler, a Sedge Warbler a Reed Bunting and also 2 Lesser Redpoll, all on one bush on the reserve at Gruinart.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Tuesday 26th June

Yesterday afternoon, Martin had seen a pair of White tailed Eagles on the Low road to Port Ellen from Bowmore around the road leading to the Machrie Hotel.
Today, Gary had  seen 2 male Hen Harrier, and an Osprey and also the Ring necked Duck in at Finlaggan.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Monday 25th June

This morning while waiting for his clients at Islay House Hotel, Garry had seen an Osprey Flying south from Bowmore towards Gartbreck along the shore of Loch Indaal. Earlier on he had heard many Blackcaps and Willow Warblers calling in and around Whin Park.
If you want to see some cracking images of Hen Harriers, click on the link to Gordon Yates  blog on the right hand side of our blog.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Sunday 24th June

Just realised that yesterday was the Mallard Way birder last day of his June fortnight visit. Nothing much to report through from him apart from seeing some Gannets in the Sound of Islay out from McArthur's Head. Thanks for your birds and good to hear that you are home safe to Mallard Way. This evening the Coullabus crowd e mailed through to say that they had seen an Otter from the ferry just after leaving Port Ellen. This was the first Otter they had seen on/ around Islay on either of their visits here and they were beginning to think that it was rather elusive to spot.

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.