Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Wednesday 12th December

Yesterday, Mark had seen 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese as well as 25 Scaup at the head of Loch Indaal. At Ardnave Point, he saw a Merlin zip past. On Nave Island, he counted 18 Cormorant with 3 Greenshank seen out from Bun an Uillt.
This morning , we saw a Little Egret at the head of West Loch Tarbert over on the mainland.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Tuesday 11th December

Here are some results from a couple of WeBS counts over here on Islay , both carried out yesterday.
Gary had counted from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. His birds seen were as follows, 79 GND, 16 RTD, 84 RBM, 14 Cormorant, 122 Shag, 1 Great crested Grebe, 16 Slavonian Grebe, 12 Common Guillemot, 4 Tysties, 191 Eider, 59 Common Scoter, 64 Mallard, 293 Teal, 128 Wigeon, 7 Goldeneye, 123 Oystercatcher, 118 Curlew, 22 Redshank, 206 Ringed Plover, 110 Dunlin, 44 Turnstone, 24 Common Snipe, 9 Gbb Gul, 124 Herring Gull, 98 Common Gull, 62 Bh Gull, 8 Heron, 4 Shelduck,  2 Grey Plover, 586 Barnies, 7 Greenland Whitefronts and also 74 Greylags. Gary also had seen "good numbers of Reed Bunting in the lanes and fields, also Pied Wagtails on the shore, with over 100 Skylark moving around in the stubbles.
Lizzy and Ruth had carried out the count at Loch Gruinart yesterday morning, with their tally coming to as follows, 1 Greenshank, 1 GND, 622 Dunlin, 170 Wigeon, 3 Pochard,  208 Barwits, 298 Lapwing, 107 Curlew, 25 Ringed Plover, 88 Turnstone, 14 Sanderling, 66 Shelduck, 214 Redshank, 16 Snipe and 147 Common Gull.

Today, was the first day of the International Goose Count on Islay, so all going well, I should receive through the tally before the end of the week.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Monday 10th December

Yesterday, John Miles had seen a female Sparrowhawk flying away, carrying its prey , a Blackbird, while he was walking out along the track to the Big strand from Island Farm below Bowmore. Today, up at Loch Finlaggan, he saw a juv. White tailed Eagle. On the loch itself, he saw 12 Tufted Duck and also a Goldeneye. Shortly afterwards, he had a female Merlin. Finally on Loch Indaal as you enter Bowmore from Bridgend, John had counted 8 Slav. Grebes, 24 Scaup and also 4 RTD.
Today, Bob had been in at Loch Skerrols for a wee while with his bins, a productive visit by all accounts. He saw in total, a drake Goldeneye, 6 Tufted Duck, 10 Teal, 40 Wigeon, 12 Mallard, 20 Mute Swan and also 6 Whoopers.
Also today, Mike had carried out the WeBs Count from Port Charlotte down to Portnahaven, or the "Outer Loch Indaal count"... His birds included 31 Common Scoter, 39 GND, 8RTD, a Black Guillemot, and a 1st winter Iceland Gull along with some Herring Gulls and Common Gulls which all were fishing close to a  creel fishing boat. Coming back up past Craigfad, Mike saw a Kestrel.
Here at home, this morning, I watched a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past in from the front of the crag, it flew over the wee shed below the pond and it then followed the march dyke up the hill towards our house and then it veered to its' left and flew along over the rough verge along the march fence and then away out over the machir. I watched as it flew over a Pheasant, and kept on going on its way. Neither bird seemed out of sorts as they were only about 2 metres apart. Earlier on, Margaret saw 3 Whoopers fly over the house, flying South.

All in all a good days birding, everyone pleased... keep them coming in folks...

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Sunday 9th December

Mike and Val along with Peter had made the most of the better weather today.. At Gruinart, a Merlin flew along the road in front of them, up at Bun an Uillt, 3 Greenshank and also some Wigeon were present. Further on and over the dunes up at Killinallan, a 1st winter White tailed Eagle was present. Back down at Gruinart, a Golden Eagle put all the geese up in the air as well as several hundred Golden Plover. This afternoon, Mike had spotted 31 Common Scoter and also 7 GND out on Loch Indaal out from Port Charlotte.
Also this afternoon, Distillery Dave and myself gave Bob a hand to carry his WeBS count from Port Charlotte up to Bruichladdich, the tally there came to 3 RTD, 12 GND, 1 RBM, 3 Cormorant, 2 Shag, 12 Herring Gull, 2 Common Gull, 3 Eider, 4 Snipe, 1 Curlew and 7 Greylag. We also saw 11 Whoopers flying South down Loch Indaal. The tally from Bruichladdich round to Blackrock was as follows, 3 RTD, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 24 RBM, 9 Cormorant, 1 Gbb Gull, 13 Herring Gull, 6 Curlew, 23 Oystercatcher, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Sanderling,  8 Turnstone, 3 Heron, 8 Mallard, 20 Eider and 3 Long tailed Duck.
This morning, we had 3 Whoopers fly over on their way to Ireland...

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Saturday 8th December

The wind dropped considerably today as forecasted....
This morning, Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier fly over the bird seed crop, on beyond the wee pond and on its way out over the rushes, just nosing around with no drop ins for some fat wee birds!!! Shortly afterwards, while out in the garden, I counted 14 Whoopers as they flew overhead on their way to the sea and on towards Ireland. This afternoon, while coming over on the midday ferry from Kennacraig, coming up the Sound of Islay, just after Mc Arthur's Head, John Miles saw an immature White tailed Eagle as it flew across the water.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Friday 7th December

Not much to report on the bird front, mainly because the weather outside has not been that good for one to go outside and watch/ look out for birds. At one time, I went out in the garden to take some images of the stormy sea, boy, it was some job trying to hold the camera steady, and the camera does have "image stabilisation", but still no joy !!!
Coming back over from Keills this afternoon, Distillery Dave saw some Shelduck and also a few Pale belied Brent Geese all sheltering up, down at "smelly corner". A difficult place to stop and bird watch from the road... We went down to Machir Bay, mid afternoon and saw 5 Turnstone and 25 Ringed Plover up beside the car park there.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Thursday 6th December

Some sightings through from Gary from Wild Islay Birding... Yesterday, along from his house, at the road end leading up to Finlaggan, he had seen a Sparrowhawk. When he was in at Finlaggan itself, there was another Sparrowhawk having a tussle with a Kestrel.
Today, Gary had seen a Glaucous Gull flying over the Singing Sands, up at the moorland at Island Farm, a ringtail was present and finally today, Gary saw another Sparrowhawk, this one was in the woods at Bridgend.
Coming back from Gruinart around 11 am, below Carnduncan, we saw a  Kestrel on top of a telegraph pole before it flew away. This afternoon, James had a count out on the "floods" on the reserve at Gruinart. His tally came to 5 Mute Swans, 6 Whoopers, 1 Green winged Teal, 1,292 Teal, 107 Mallard, 212 Wigeon, 72 Pintail, 27 Shoveler, 5 Heron, 2 Redshank, 7 Snipe, 130 Curlew, 233 Lapwing, 2 Dabchick, 1 Blackwit, 660 Golden Plover. James also saw a Mistle Thrush, a ringtail Hen Harrier, a male Merlin and also a Sparrowhawk.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Wednesday 5th December

Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen 5 Turnstone down on Machir Bay. Up at Sanaigmore, "DD" had seen a single Turnstone and also a GND was present there as well.
Today as ever, the wee birds have been busy scoffing all the food on offer... I went out at one time with the trusty camera and took some images.. I downloaded them and counted an amazing total of 180 Birds on our feeders, all wee birds, no Starlings counted, no Jackdaws or Pheasants either, all wee birds.... Mid afternoon, the ringtail flew past , not paying any attention to those well fed, tasty morcels around the feeders...

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Tuesday 4th December

Last night, Distillery Dave had seen a Barn Owl at the side of the road leading up to Scarabus as he went to meet the evening ferry at Port Askaig. The Owl was still there on his return leg home . Dave also saw another Barn Owl at Uiskentuie.
Today, up at Finlaggan, Gary had seen an immature White tailed Eagle on the ground, and also present was a ringtail Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch over the moorland. Here at home, all the wee birds have been munching at the food on offer. An interesting fact is that the Goldfinches are not eating so many Niger seeds and are eating more of the other food on offer like the suet pellets and also the sunflower seed.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Monday 3rd December

I received through an e mail from Steve Percival, this morning,  about the 5 Barnies which Mark and Sally Johnson had seen when they were over here the other week. They were all fitted with Steve's darvic leg rings. 4 of them had been fitted by Steve, in fact one had been fitted back in 2006 and had not been seen since February 2014. The other goose had been fitted with its darvic ring on Tiree by John Bowler, so it may be that it "overshot" Tiree, and just down here for a change of scenery...
James today had counted 14,040 Barnies on the reserve at Gruinart. He also saw 407 Greenland Whitefronts, 12 Greylags, a single Pale bellied Brent, 7 Blackwits, 6 Whoopers and the first reported sighting of a Green winged Teal at Gruinart this winter.
Up here at home, the wee birds have been eating  all the food provided, a great sight to see, especially as the 2 Brambling are still present amongst the Chaffinch flock. I wonder whether the birds know that there is some colder weather coming this way over the next few days... Coming back from our pond, needless to say, I did not  have my camera, as I walked past a Redwing less than 6 feet away from me. It was perched on top of the dyke. Also mid morning, 4 Whoopers flew overhead, high up and out to sea before heading down South. Early afternoon, and 8 Whoopers came in from the sea and onto to the wee lochans at Rockside, and then they came up on to the barley stubbles. There was only the one cygnet in their group.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Sunday 2nd December

Yesterday was David and Dianne Wright's last day of their present visit  to Islay, but before the headed home, they saw the Little Egret on the reserve at Gruinart. Thanks for your birds folks!!!
Over at Gruinart today, James had seen a Merlin as well as a Hen Harrier. Speaking to James later on this afternoon, we both have the same impression about the Kestrels, that there seem to be more of them around as I feel that I am getting more reports of sightings lately of Kestrels.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Saturday 1st December

Well, another month in again, with the tally for the rain coming to 6 inches in all. At one point earlier on in November when we, like many other places had a few days of heavy rain, I was "pleasantly" surprised, as it could have ben a lot more.... Now, we are officially into winter, say no more!!!
Today, Bob had spent some time birding from the South hide at Gruinart from where he saw 12 Whooper Swan, 50 Pintail, 10 Blackwit, 6 Redshank along with a good number of Teal present there as well. Going back along the track to his car Bob had 3 Roe Deer grazing away which were reluctant to move on.....  Gary and Sam were over this morning for a catch up, Gary saw a Kestrel out of the kitchen window, while down among the feeding Chaffinches, the 2 Brambling were present. Then briefly, Gary saw a Redpoll. Earlier on before Gary and Sam arrived, Margaret saw the male Hen Harrier swoop low over the game crop and then on its way over the rushes along the front of the crag.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Friday 30th November

Another rather windy day, but today there have been some showers of hailstones in the mix, which causes quite a racket in noise when clattering against the windows etc....
Not much on the bird front today, but we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier quartering its patch over below Carnduncan, down towards Loch Gorm. Coming round past Ballinaby, there were only a handful of geese present, certainly not the larger numbers present as seen yesterday!! Back at home, here all the wee birds have been busy eating on the feeders, including the 2 Brambling.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Thursday 29th November

On the weather front for starters, the ferry has sailed back and forward all day, with the 3 scheduled return trips sailing, although they started out 2 hours ahead of the timetable which has turned out to be a wise decision as the wind is picking up already again. I believe that the first return sailings tomorrow are already cancelled !!!
Bob along with Derek had carried out the goose count on the Rhinns today on the Farm counts. Apart from the geese counted, they also had seen  a Peregrine, a Merlin and 3 different Kestrels. Up at the mast above Kilchiaran, they saw a female Snow Bunting. This morning, on our way over to Gruinart, we saw a Stonechat  on the gorse bushes  at the roadside below Sue Campbell's croft. There were quite a few geese seen at Ballinaby and just after Leek we had a male Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of us. As we returned from Gruinart , just before "Canada" ( a field!!) at Sunderland a ringtail was out on the wing as well. Back at home, this morning a Goldfinch struck one of our house windows, so I went out and lifted the  bird and put up in the shelter beside the house out of the wind, and shortly afterwards it flew off none the worse. Later on, this afternoon we had 2 different ringtail Hen Harriers fly past while 2 Bramblings were present amongst the ever increasing Chaffinch flock down eating the food on offer.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Wednesday 28th November

Well, if I thought that the weather over here was not the best, today it has not been that great, the wind has blown consistently strong all day, no ferries came or went and I am not sure as too whether the service planes came or not.
The net result is that not much news on the bird front. Today, with the weather being poor, I fed the birds on the ground rather than in the feeders..

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Tuesday 27th November

Yesterday, while out past Ardbeg towards Claggain Bay, visiting birders from Bury in Lancashire, Diane and David Wright had seen a White tailed Eagle fly overhead in a clear blue sky.
Today, is a different day with 4 of the 6 ferries cancelled out, but both the flights came through from Glasgow fine....A rather windy day to be polite on that front... On the way home from the Bird nerds meeting in Bowmore this evening, David Barr spotted a Barn Owl watch us as he drove home. It was on top of the fence at Pennycraig. David Wood's talk on his recent trip to Mauritius was well received by 20 folk who came along to the monthly catch up of the Bird nerds. As normal there is no meeting in December but we will meet again in January for our annual Dinner, so watch this space....

Monday, 26 November 2018

Monday 26th November

Armin took this image taken yesterday of a couple of Whooper Swans from one of the hides at Gruinart. There were another 4 Whoopers there as well, but they took off and all 6 flew onwards... He also had a ringtail Hen Harrier which flew past him several times. Also present were a couple of
Roe Deer away out grazing on the floods with the ducks and the geese.
Bob was up today, and last week while out on the goose counts had seen an Iceland Gull in the middle of over 200 Herring Gulls over at Coull. Up at Sanaigmore, the same day, he had a Merlin and also a Kestrel. Mandy lately has been seeing a Kestrel, on a regular basis over below her house at Carnduncan. 

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Sunday 25th November


David Livingstone had been down on the driving range on the golf course over at The Machrie today and had to share the facilities there with the 4 cheeky Choughs which seemed to be unfazed by David's presence.... David also commented on how close the Choughs were to the actual Hotel complex itself!!!
James had a Sparrowhawk over at Kilchiaran today and he also told me that the Little Egret is still to be seen on the reserve at Gruinart. The female Brambling was still present in the highly mobile flock of Chaffinches up at home. Mobile, yes, who can blame them with Hen Harriers that float past quite often or equally common a visitor, the Sparrowhawk!!!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Saturday 24th November

This morning, a quick scan through the Chaffinch flock outside here at home, and I saw a female Reed Bunting and also a female Brambling. The day got better and this afternoon, we saw a male Hen Harrier quarter over the garden on 4 different occasions, and fortunately the bird never did drop down on any prey. The weather has ben a bit on the cool side but when you see these birds, just wrap up and keep warm. Oh yes, it was dry too...
If you are over on Islay, please remember to come along to David Wood's illustrated talk on his recent trip to Mauritius. The bird nerds will be meeting on Tuesday at 7 pm and David's talk will be the main thrust of our meeting which will be held at the Gaelic College, on the outskirts of Bowmore. There will be an admission charge of £1 per person to help pay for the room hire...

Friday, 23 November 2018

Friday 23rd November


Above is an image sent through by Armin. He took it while down for a walk on Machir Bay, please note the geese starting to take off, as well as a blue sky with not a cloud in sight... This afternoon, just past Rockside, Armin had seen a Kestrel. Further along the road, a Buzzard took off from its' telegraph pole on which it had sitting on, with another one doing exactly the same before Armin got much further down the road as well.
Yesterday, just after lunch time, Mark and Sally Johnson had seen 3 White tailed Eagles over the top of Beinn Bheigier from where they were at Claggain Bay. This morning, they had seen a Brambling among the Finches down beside Loch Gorm.
Andrew Kent sent through the results from the International Goose count which was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The totals were as follows... 30,438 Barnacle Geese, 6,696 Whitefronts and 823 Greylags. Many thanks to Andrew and his team from SNH for these figures.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Thursday 22nd November

An early entry, but here goes anyway...
Yesterday, Mark and Sally Johnson had seen a Pink footed Goose amongst some Whitefronts in a field up towards Red Houses, past Newton out of Bridgend. Shortly afterwards, a Merlin flew across the road  and then round at Mulindry they saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Over at Rockside, amongst the Barnacle Geese, a Dark belied Brent Goose was present.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Wednesday 21st November

Yesterday, Mark and Sally Johnson had seen another 4 Whitefronts with collars fitted round at Ballinaby, the details of which I sent to Tony who e mailed me back their details. 2 were fitted at Ballinaby in the winter of 2012/13 at Ballinaby with the other 2 fitted with collars along the road a bit in 2016/17. On Monday, Mark and Sally had seen a Merlin as well as a Peregrine between Coullabus and West Carrabus. and top bird for them yesterday was a White tailed Eagle seen at Bunnahabhain, on their way back to the cottage where they are staying, they had Woodcock fly across the road in front of them along close to Rock Mountain. Alan Leitch along with his wife Emily along with 2 colleagues, fresh from the Scottish Bird ringing conference at the weekend have been over on Islay, for the past 2 days. Gruinart was something else according to Alan with the spectacle of seeing so many Barnies there... Up at Ardnave they had seen the Chough howking about in the fresh dung pats, and also they had a pair of Hen Harriers seen there as well. Today, Alan and his "team" had seen another different Whitefront with a collar fitted around its' neck in a flock of around 2 to 300 Whitefronts down at Sunderland. They also saw a Peregrine nearby, as well as a flock of 200 Rock Doves there as well. Later on, out of Bowmore they had seen 9 Pale belied Brent Geese. James had carried out the second day's count for the International Goose count on the reserve at Gruinart, his figures came to 10,010 Barnies, 340 Whitefronts, 2 Greylags, a Pink footed Goose and also a male Merlin, a Little Egret as well as 3 Hen Harriers noted down. Armin on Monday had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier as he left Machir Bay. Yesterday, he had a Little Egret fly over from the East at Machir Bay and fly on South Easterly.. Today at Gruinart, from the hide, Armin had a Buzzard spoofing all the geese about, finally before he left the hide, a Robin dropped by for a nosey at one of the windows.
Oh, almost forgot, the top bird today was a Great White Egret seen by David Wood down flying around Loch Kinnabus today

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Tuesday 20th November

Yesterday, Gary from Wild Islay Birding had been out with some clients.. They had seen 4 Pink footed Geese amongst some Whitefronts over at Coull. On the other side of Islay, the Eastern side, 5 Brambling along with at least 10 Yellowhammers and a few Reed Buntings were sitting on a fence at the end of the road leading to Bunnahabhain below Persabus. Driving up Bunnahabhain, 2 Kestrel and also 2 Sparrowhawk were spotted. Up at Bunnahabhain itself, 2 adult White tailed Eagles flew past.
James had been out counting the geese on the reserve at Gruinart, as part of the International Goose count taking place today and tomorrow. James's  tally came to 11,115 Barnies, 406 Whitefronts and 5 Greylags. He also saw a Sparrowhawk while he was out as well. He has also been spotting a Brambling on a regular basis in his garden. Catherine Fotheringham had seen a Bean goose while counting on the Kilmeny run during the count today.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Monday 19th November

An amazing form of contact, the internet is. When I got my first computer back in the last century, my sister was out working in Mongolia for a year teaching the kids. One night, back all those years ago, she sent me an e mail requesting a recipe for her to do some baking.. Margaret quickly looked through her recipe books and selected one which I duly sent to her that evening. The next morning, I had a reply from my sister thanking me for the prompt reply to her. To think that prior to that when everything was written by hand and posted out a quick turn round would have taken a good fortnight, and I was never too quick to reply to letters!! The long and the short of this story is that I sent the email to himself in Denmark last night about the 5 Greenland Whitefronts that Mark and Sally Johnson  had seen together over at Gruinart. The message back from Tony, this morning, was to say that they were all rung during the winter of 2016/ 17  at Gruinart, and like the most of the geese, have been faithful to that particular area, on their return to Islay each winter.
Before I forget, next Tuesday evening, the Bird nerds will be meeting up for their monthly catch up at 7pm in the Gaelic College which is situated on the outside of Bowmore. David Wood will be giving us a short illustrated talk on his recent trip to Mauritius. So if you are around, see you there, mind and bring your money to help to pay for the room hire...  so please pass the message on to anyone that may be interested...

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Sunday 18th November

Paul and Jill Harris before they left yesterday on the ferry had seen 3 White tailed Eagles, out to the East of Port Ellen. Mark and Sally Johnson have returned back over for another week on Islay. On the way to their holiday cottage, they had seen 4 Whitefronts with orange neck collars fitted and another fitted with what I believe to be a radio transponder fitted. They were all in a group together over at Gruinart on the reserve. I have sent the details, and once I hear back from Tony I will let you know their history.
Armin had been up until the wee small hours trying to get some images of the meteors over Islay, but commented on hearing the geese taking off from Machir Bay around 4 am.... He was down there later on for a walk and saw the large amount of goose droppings on the shore... This afternoon, just after he got up to the North hide (new hide) at Gruinart, there was a bit of a very brief encounter, a small raptor flew past the hide, and a moment later Armin had another visitor in the hide beside him, a Wren, so Armin wondered whether the Wren came in though the open window to evade being caught by the said bird of prey...
Another piece of news is that I read in today's edition of "Scotland on Sunday" newspaper, an interesting 4 page article about "Islay's battle of the Barnacle geese". There are several mistakes in it, but all the same, it makes some interesting reading... Just wish these journalists would get somebody to proof read their articles before going to press. I know that I can and often make blunders often enough, but that is me, a blundering old idiot!!!

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Saturday 17th November


The above image was sent through to me by Armin who had seen these 2 ringtail hen Harriers in the air from the South hide at Gruinart on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier on, when Armin first arrived at the hide, there was a ringtail sitting less than 10 metres away from the hide, but his camera was not to hand, still in his bag...  Earlier, on Tuesday morning, there was a large commotion outside of Armin's cottage by all the wee birds, a quick look around by himself, and he saw the reason behind all the troubles, a Sparrowhawk was sitting on top of a fence post near by!!!
Yesterday was Paul and Jill Harris's last day of their stay. They saw a ringtail Hen Harrier as they drove round Loch Gorm and over on the reserve  at Gruinart they had another ringtail as well as a male Hen Harrier there as well. A great time enjoyed by Paul and Jill , especially seeing the tremendous sunset the other night, a real bonus!!!
This morning, Ron from Islay info had seen the geese chasing after an Eagle at Port Ban.
Armin had 4 Pied Wagtail down at the car park at Machir Bay as he went there for a walk. He also noticed that the Geese up at Coull appeared to be very unsettled for quite some time. I wonder whether the Eagle which Ron had seen at Port Ban was causing the trouble at Coull??? Later on, after his walk, Armin had a  Hen Harrier fly past really close, up at the field gate leading to the War graves Cemetery at Kilchoman

Friday, 16 November 2018

Friday 16th November

Yesterday, a 2CY Iceland Gull  had been seen briefly by David Wood. Distillery Dave,  last night had seen a Barn Owl down at Carnain, Gary from Wild Islay Birding has been seeing a small flock of birds flying between the stubbles fields at Skerrols road end, in the flock there have been 3 Brambling present on a regular basis of late.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Thursday 15th November

Today I received the figures from the Farm Goose count which took place last week, and next week I believe that it will be an International count taking place. The tally came to 36,133 Barnacle Geese, 5,495 Greenland Whitefronts and also 1,419 Greylags. Many thanks to Andrew Kent and the team from SNH for giving these figures to share with you.
The winds today have been up a bit again with a little ferry disruption, so I managed to clean out some of our nest boxes . It has been interesting to note that some of the boxes which were put up for this season, that were not occupied, that it is these boxes that are being examined by the birds at present, so we will just have to wait and see next spring to se who decided to use which boxes...

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Wednesday 14th November

The other week, Ivan & Jenny Harding from Lyme Regis were over on Islay on holiday when they saw 3 barnacle Geese with fitted darvic leg rings on which they managed to read. They sent the info through to me and the other day I forwarded it through to Steve Percival . Steve e mailed through to say that 2 of the birds had been rung in the same field at Gruinart back in October 2013 with other goose being rung by Steve and his family the previous day to Ivan and Jenny seeing it...
Yesterday, Paul and Jill Harris from Yorkshire had seen the Chough coming out from the roost up in the crag, close to here they are staying and counted 25 birds in total. Later on, down on the Oa they had seen a flock of almost 500 Twite at Upper Killeyan. Along at the car park, they had a male Hen Harrier, with another seen at Risabus with a third present at Claggain Bay. Coming back up along the low road and they counted 320 Whoopers at the north end of the airport. Finally at Blackrock, 29 Scaup were present.
Today, Mike P. had seen a 1st winter White tailed Eagle over the raised beach at Gortan. Along at Sunderland Farm, Mike had seen a flock of 200 Chaffinch and also a Brambling was there with them. At Machir Bay, Mike counted 22 Chough and he also saw a Sparrowhawk.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Tuesday 13th November

Bob and Lesley had carried out WeBS count from Blackrock along to Port Charlotte, the scores on the doors coming to... 29 Cormorant, 4 Shag, 13 GND, 4 RTD, 3 Eider, 9 R b Merganser, 21 Oystercatcher, 10 Snipe, 3 Turnstone, 20 Herring Gull and a Gbb Gull. Returning visiting birders with whom I met in with last night had seen 4 Merlin on their travels around Islay as well as 5 Hen Harriers. They were well pleased seeing the Hen Harriers especially as they are not seen very often where they live on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors...Their previous visit to Islay was 15 years ago....Armin is back on Islay for his Autumn fix and also the Islay sessions, a trad music weekend held mainly in Port Charlotte. The other morning, he had seen 10 Oystercatchers and also 100 Herring Gulls down on Machir Bay and then a Buzzard down at the Coastguards. Yesterday afternoon, down on the merse at Bridgend, Armin was armed with his camera, hoping to get some images of the geese on the mudflats , but the tide was in , net result, not many, if any images were taken. By the time he got over to Gruinart, the light was poor... Just as the light was starting to fade, at home we counted 25 Chough going in to the roost....
Today, Mike Peacock had seen 39 Tufted Duck , 149 Teal and 4 Whoopers on Loch Gorm along with a Merlin close by. Val, his wife had been taking a walk down through the trees below Foreland and seen a Greater spotted Woodpecker , a Treecreeper and a Woodcock.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Monday 12th November

The other day James and Shonaisla had carried the WeBS count on the floods at Gruinart, their tally came as follows.... 282 Teal, 1,900 Teal, 254 Mallard, 62 Pintail, 7 Whoopers, 4 Mutes, 2 Dabchick, 39 Shoveler, 11 Blackwits, 31 Snipe, a R b Merganser, 5 Heron, 332 Lapwing, 14 Curlew and 1085 Golden Plover. Later the same day, James had seen a Little Egret and also a White tailed Eagle up the east side of Loch Gruinart. ShonaIsla and Mark had seen a Golden Eagle and a Ringtail Hen Harrier, not far from Craigens the same day.
Today, James had seen 2 male Hen Harriers and also 2 ringtails on the reserve at Gruinart. The Little Egret was  on the flats and a Merlin present out in front of the North hide. Mike P. had been in at Loch Skerrols this afternoon where he saw a Coot, a new Islay tick in recent times for Mike. The pair of Pochard were still present along with 125 Whoopers, 19 Tufted Duck who were all duly spoofed by an immature White tailed Eagle which flew past.


Not exactly the best of images of one of the Brambling seen outside up here at home today, there were 2 of them in amongst the flock of at least 60 Chaffinches...

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Sunday 11th November

Back on Friday, Mark and ShonaIsla Macintyre had carried the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart, the following were their birds counted. 2 Cormorant, 3 Heron, 18 Shelduck,  84 Wigeon, 43 Mallard, 18 R B Merganser, 177 Oystercatcher, 161 Lapwing, 14 Ringed Plover, 114 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 114 Barwits, 60 Curlew, 46 Redshank, 53 Turnstone, 3 Snipe and 2 Little Egret. They also saw 3 Common Seals as well. 
Yesterday, James had counted 93 Whoopers, a male Hen Harrier and a Kestrel on the reserve at Gruinart.
Today, Peter Roberts had counted 175 Whoopers in a field,out on the low road out of Bowmore. Distillery Dave was saying that the pond has returned down at where you can park your car up when visiting Machir Bay, not surprising when you know that we have had 3.4 inches (86.4mm...) so far this month, with the last 30 hours being dry!!! Down there this morning, Dave had seen 9 Turnstone, a Sanderling and some Ringed Plovers as well. Along at the Rockside road end, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier, with a Sparrowhawk up at Rockside itself. Also this morning, up here at home, Margaret had the Sparrowhawk on top of the willows less than 4 meters away...This afternoon, Dave's wife Ann had a Peregrine at the Coastguards.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Saturday 10th November

Yesterday was the last full day on Islay for this visit for Mike Bell and also the Bolton birders... Many thanks for all your birds folks... Not to be outdone, no, I have not gone without their sightings from Friday... the Bolton birders had seen 200 Whoopers on the merse at Bridgend and a juv. White tailed Eagle was also present there as well. Over at Keills, they counted 6 Brambling among the Chaffinch flock there. They also saw the 2 Golden Eagles out from Storakaig. Over at Bun an Uisg, at the edge of Bowmore, 34 Scaup were sheltering up from the wind, as were 16 Pale bellied Brent at Carnain. Mike made the most of the windy day as well, a bonus as he should have gone back home yesterday, but had to delay his trip on the ferry as it had ben cancelled... On Loch Skerrols, Mike counted 32 Mute Swans, 4 Whoopers, 98 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 29 Mallard, 2 Pochard, 19 Tufted Duck, a Moorhen, a Heron, a Grey Wagtail with 20 Siskins seen in the Alders there as well. He saw an imm. White tailed Eagle up towards Octovullin with an adult Golden Eagle seen over Scarrabus. Close to Skerrols House, Mike saw a male Merlin. Up the East side of Loch Gruinart, he had 400 Dunlin, while on the fields at Craigens, 1,550 Golden Plover and also 350 Lapwing seen. Along the flats at Gruinart, he had a flock of 220 Linnets. Along the road, his "friend" the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again!!! On the barley stubbles at Coull, the Whoopers were up to 120 in total while the Starling mumeration came to 1,500 birds. Down on Machir Bay, he saw 42 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling, 3 Turnstone and 10 Chough. Coming back up from Machir Bay, down at the Coastguards' a female Merlin zipped across the road in front of his car!!   Thanks again for your birds folks....
This morning, Martin had walked from Bridgend down along the River Sorn to where it joins Loch Indaal. Martin saw the following birds, a pair of Bullfinch, 12 Siskins,  a pair of Goldeneye, a Peregrine Falcon, 26 Wigeon and also 2 Whoopers. Back home at Glenegedale, Martin had a Sparrowhawk and a Treecreeper along with the usual Blue Tits and Coal Tits in his garden. Up here today in our garden, the Sparrowhawk was perched up on the fence while the Brambling was still along with our "wee" flock of 47 Chaffinches!!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Friday 9th November

Just as well that I have got some sightings up my sleeve from yesterday. The weather has not been that great here today, ferries cancelled with heavy, dirty squally showers in the mix as well as the wind huffing and puffing as well...
Back on Wednesday, the Bolton birders had seen 6 Snipe, a Jack Snipe, 2 Turnstone and they also counted 30 Dunlin at "smelly corner". Yesterday, they had seen a female Merlin as they drove up towards Rockside, and also 2 distant Golden Eagle were seen out over Gleann Osamail.. Over the moorland they saw 2 different ringtail Hen Harriers. Over behind Kilmeny, they had a Sparrowhawk, and past Storakaig 3 Golden Eagles. Down at Mulindry and towards Ballytarsin, 400 Whoopers were present. Mike Peacock had seen a male and a female Pochard on Loch Skerrols. Also yesterday,  James  had 2 Brambling, as well as a Golden Eagle on the reserve at Gruinart while up at Sanaigmore, he saw a Merlin. Mike Bell yesterday,  had counted 104 Whoopers at Rockside with a further 117 at Sunderland. He also had counted 240 Rock Doves at Sunderland. A walk from the car park at Bridgend up to wards Octovullin was quite productive...a total of 140 Redwing seen, 26 Fieldfare, 65 Skylarks, 450 Chaffinch along with 2 Brambling noted up close to Octovullin. Raptors/ birds of prey seen included an imm. White tailed Eagle and a Raven picking a carcass, a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, an adult and also a imm. Golden Eagle, Mike also counted 180 Woodpigeons and he also saw the 2 Pochard on Loch Skerrols as well. On a drive from Ballygrant along the Glen road, he saw another adult and an imm. Golden Eagle in the air up past Knocklearoch while out past Storakaig another Golden Eagle away out over the hills. He also saw 65 Redwing and 3 Fieldfare at Barr Farm with 45 Redwing and 5 Fieldfare down at Cattadale. At Gruinart, on the floods, Mike counted  2,150Teal, 165 Wigeon, 65 Pintail, 20 Shoveler, 9 Blackwits, 1,500 Golden Plover and a ringtail. On his way back to his cottage, Mike had a male Hen Harrier at Carnduncan and then another seen past Ballinaby and then a ringtail just before Coull road end. Up at Coull, in at the farm steading, Mike had a Starling mumeration of around 1,000 birds in all

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Thursday 8th November

Bob, yesterday had been on the "Gruinart run" while helping out with the goose count. On the reserve at Gruinart, he saw the Little Egret as well as a Pale bellied Brent goose. Up at Killinallan, he had a flock of 300 Redwings and also 2 male Merlin seen together close by. Over at Ardnave, a flock of 800 Golden Plover was seen with a smaller flock of 150 present at Grainel. Mike Bell yesterday had 88 Whoopers at Rockside, with another 110 along at Sunderland. Later on, he had seen the imm. Golden Eagle  between Carrabus and Coullabus. Over at Gruinart, Mike had the sighting of the Little Egret in full view, not like the other day when it had been lurking in one of the muddy creeks!!! On the floods, Mike counted 1,900 Teal with 1,550 Golden Plover in the air. A Buzzard flushed 65 Snipe. Also seen there were 4 Greenshank, 141 Curlew and 40 Redshank while on the flats, on the fields which have been cut really short recently, 100 Barwit and 6 Knot kept dropping in and out.
This morning, Louise, on her way to work this morning, had seen 3 White tailed Eagles, 3 Buzzards, a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk, between Gatehouse and the ferry at Feolin on Jura. Here at home the wee birds have been busy on the feeders for most of the day and the Brambling was evident in the mix this afternoon.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Wednesday 7th November

The weather as predicted by the forecasters has been not very good, in fact the rain gauge outside is almost on 2.75 inches, (70mm in metric terms) so far this month, say no more.... Still, the blog is always here for more than the rain/ weather reports...
Yesterday, Mike had seen 218 Whoopers at Sunderland and a further 313 along at Gartloist. Down at Kildalton, he had seen a flock of 60 Redwing and also 2 Fieldfare were with them. He also had a Woodcock on the verge side at Ardilistry. Coming back up this way, over towards Scarrabus he saw an adult Golden Eagle out on the wing and then a Peregrine chasing after some Ravens. The Rochdale birders, yesterday, had a Merlin over close to Glenegedale. At Kildalton, they saw 2 Yellowhammers. Bob had been out helping with the goose count on the Rhinns yesterday and had seen 2 Peregrines while he was out.
Some sightings in from good friend Lee Thickett who has been over for the past few weeks. As well as commenting on seeing so many Whoopers around this visit, Lee had seen a Sparrowhawk about 8 feet away through his kitchen window, White tailed Eagles and also Hen Harriers. He had seen a late Wheatear seen on the 28th of October, up at Sanaigmore. He was well pleased in seeing a Grey Wagtail over at Bunnahabhain. Another highlight was seeing 3 different Merlin during one afternoon alone.
Today, here at home while having a welcome cuppa with Mike Bell and The Rochdale birders, all the wee birds took off in a panic away from the feeders, but a Sparrowhawk appeared and took one of the birds, no doubt it appreciated a well fed bird for once... Mike Bell, late afternoon had a probable Golden Eagle being harassed by 3 Buzzards over the crag, it flew round the corner on the crag, but managed to spoof all the Chough which were already in the roost...

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Tuesday 6th November

Yesterday, down on Machir Bay, Mike Bell had seen 43 Ringed Plover, and on Loch Gorm 6 Goldeneye were present. Along at Sunderland , he had counted 206 Whoopers at the back of 9 am. On the floods at Gruinart he counted 1,350 Teal, 43 Pintail, 13 Shoveler, and at least 4Blackwits there as well. On his way up to Ardnave, Mike saw a Peregrine harassing 2 Golden Eagles that were siting on the ground, with the Peregrine being watched by 2 Hen Harriers who were in the sky, much higher up...Ardnave Loch was relatively quiet with a single Goldeneye on the water, also at the loch was a Merlin, and a flock of 115 Redwing. Up on the East side of  Ardnave he had seen a GND, 12   R b Merganser, 2Greenshank, 21 Chough and a flock of 50 Twite at the mouth of Loch Gruinart. Off Ardnave Point itself, 5 GND and a "Comic Tern" were seen. An imm. White tailed Eagle was present over Nave Island. At Traigh Nostaig Mike had counted 53 Ringed Plover, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Turnstone, 33 Curlew, a Merlin and 11Chough. Down at Bridgend, Mike counted 186 Whoopers flying off the merse in the Mulindry direction. Finally, he saw a male Merlin at Uiskentuie.
Also yesterday, the Rochdale Birders had seen a Grey Plover over at Bun an Uillt. Out from Port Charlottte, on Loch Indaal they had 4 GND and they also saw a Kestrel on  their way round the Rhinns.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Monday 5th November

Yesterday, Mike Bell had made the most of a rather windy day, the remnants of the winds  from Saturday were still around...At Rockside, he saw a ringtail Hen Harrier, while along at Sunderland, he had a large flock of 260 Chaffinches along with at least 3 Brambling present there as well. Over at Loch Tallant, he saw an imm. Golden Eagle. Then down on the Oa, Mike had seen an adult Golden Eagle as well as another imm. Golden Eagle and then a Merlin just zipped past. Along at Upper Killeyan, Mike counted a flock of 470 Twite. He also saw 48 Hooded Crows. At Cornabus, he counted a flock of 97 Whitefronts, 16 were fitted with neck collars  and a further 3 fitted with transmitters. Up behind Port Ellen, he saw a male Hen Harrier. Over East Cragabus, he saw an imm. White tailed Eagle. Along at the former Kilchoman School, 60 Redwing were seen. Finally , up at Sanaigmore, Mike saw a ringtail, an adult Golden Eagle and also a flock of 55 Redwing. The Rochdale Birders had been out and about yesterday seeing 3 Sparrowhawks scrapping over a place to roost upon... They had also seen 3 different Hen Harriers and also 2 Merlin.
This morning, we had 4 Greenfinch on top of the hip hedge, making the most of the rose hips on offer. These were the first Greenfinch that we have seen here for some time!!! Shortly afterwards, the ringtail came through the garden, down quietly over the bird crop, spoofing all the wee birds, it then wheeled round to its' right and cruised away along the front of the crag.... forgot to mention last night that Margaret had counted 24 Pheasants fly away down to roost down in the reeds just as the light was starting to fade..

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Sunday 4th November

Yesterday morning before he set out from Kilchoman, Mike had seen 2 Sparrowhawks. Later on, during a walk through Bridgend Woods, he saw 4 Long tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper. Up on Borichill Mor, he saw a juv Golden Eagle with an adult seen shortly afterwards down behind Coullabus. On the floods at Gruinart, Mike saw 5 Blackwits, and a Greenshank. He also saw a total of 3 Hen Harriers on the reserve at Gruinart and finally an adult Golden Eagle behind Ballinaby. The Rochdale birders had a count of 350 Whoopers at Mulindry with a further 286 counted along at Sunderland Farm
This morning, Bob had seen 6 Snipe, a Jack Snipe and a Merlin out on the barley stubbles at Octomore. Up here at home, the Brambling was in at our feeders again, and Bob had one visiting his feeders at lunchtime as well.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Saturday 3rd November

Yesterday, Mike Bell had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier round the Western end of Loch Gorm. Along between Sunderland and Rock Mountain he had a total of 180 Whoopers counted in the morning. Over on Loch Skerrols, he saw 28 Mute Swan, 62 Wigeon, 186 Teal, 5 Mallard, 16 Tufted  Duck with 18 Red legged Partridge and a flock of 40 Chaffinches and a Brambling noted in the surrounding fields. Up at Kilmeny, Mike saw 278 Redwing which had been flushed by a Sparrowhawk. Loch Lossit held 3 Dabchicks, 2 Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck, a Goldeneye and also 2 Grey Wagtails. He also saw a Bullfinch and a flock of 35 Redwing there as well. On Loch Ballygrant, he saw a further 4 Dabchicks while in the surrounding trees Mike had a Woodcock, a Greater spotted Woodpecker, 6 Long tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper. At Storakaig, he saw 2 Golden Eagles while along at Mulindry, 438 Whoopers and also numerous Geese were present there. Out on the merse from Whinpark, he had seen 45 Ringed Plover, 79 Dunlin and also 2 Knot. Up at West Carrabus there were 60 Skylark and 150 Redwing were seen.  On the floods at Gruinart,  Teal counted came to 1,630 in total. Up behind Carnduncan, Mike saw an imm. White tailed Eagle with 2 Golden Eagles seen in the air above Ballinaby.
The Rochdale birders returned for another visit yesterday, and had seen 3 White tailed Eagles as they came over on the ferry, 2 were seen on Jura with the other seen on Islay as they sailed up the Sound of Islay.
This morning, Bob had a Sparrowhawk crashing to his conservatory,  no damage to the property but, no such joy to the bird, as it is no longer ... over at Octomore, Bob had seen at least 500 Whitefronts on the stubbles.
 Also this morning, here at home, there was a Brambling out below the feeders along with the Chaffinches,  the first we have had so far this Autumn.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Friday 2nd November

Yesterday morning, Bob had seen a Woodcock and then a small flock of  20 Fieldfare were present along the track to Bolsay.
Mike Bell yesterday had a another good day's birding. Just after breakfast, he had a count of 50 Whoopers along at Sunderland. On the floods at Gruinart, he counted a further 52 Whoopers before they flew off in the direction of Sunderland Farm.. He also had 1,490 Teal, 7 Blackwits and  40 Redwing. While driving up the East side of Loch Gruinart, he had seen the Little Egret in one of the creeks. He had 550 Golden Plover near by with 119 Barwits, 345 Dunlin, 57 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and also seen were 2 different Ringtails. On the flats at Gruinart he had a count of 240 Linnets all feeding on the ground. On the barley stubbles at West Carrabus, there were 11 Whoopers. Over at Coal Ila, he saw 2 imm. White tailed Eagles and 3 distant Golden Eagles seen way over on Jura. Mike saw 3 Tysties flying North up the Sound of Islay with 32 Eider, 2 Common Scoter and 3 GND seen  on the water. He also saw 2 Goldcrest in the trees there as well. Up past Dunlossit, Mike saw a further 2 Golden Eagles, shortly afterwards he had 17 Fieldfare and as he approached Storakaig, 65 Hooded Crows were counted and then along the road, a flypast 38 Fieldfare flying South. Down on the stubbles beside Mulindry, he saw 394 Whoopers, 3 Pink footed Geese, 230 Whitefronts, 480 Greylags and also a flock of 70 Chaffinch
Here at home, this morning the Ringtail flew past following the garden fence .... Lunchtime the Sparrowhawk spoofed the wee birds from the feeders and then mid afternoon, a Merlin zipped past.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Thursday 1st November

Well, that is another month in and the rainfall was in line with the last few months, the reading was a mere 5.2inches in all.
Not sure where our 2 Blackcaps have gone but got another image taken this afternoon, of somebody else eating our apples, the reason why they were nailed onto a log was that yesterday the other apples were being taken away by the Jackdaws... Thanks to Hugh Harrop for this great idea!!!


Also this afternoon, we saw a juvenile White tailed Eagle being chased along from Rockside  and away along the crag, boy was it big, compared the 2 Buzzards who were in pursuit... We had seen 4 different ringtail Hen Harriers between here and Gruinart as we drove over for cake o'clock this morning...
Yesterday morning, Mike Bell had a large flock of 230 Chaffinch down at the track leading down to Loch Gorm, and had seen a Brambling with them as well. Later on yesterday, Mike had done the "Croft walk" over at Port Ellen. He saw a Black tailed Godwit and 2 Curlew down close to the shore. He also counted 53 Redwing and 21 Hooded Crows. Down on the wee lochan below Kilbride he had a family of 5 Whoopers, 11 Greylag, 9 Teal and 2 Wigeon present. At Gruinart, on the floods, Mike counted 1,200 Teal, 20 Shoveler, 3 Blackwits, 25 Snipe, 49 Whoopers and also 34 Redwing present there as well. Mike had seen a report of a Little Egret seen at Gruinart written in the diary at Gruinart, but did not see it... Along at Sunderland, on his way home, he saw 197 Whoopers.
Yesterday, Mark had a count on the reserve at Gruinart, top birds included 8,484 Barnies, 128 Whitefronts, 6 Brambling, 14 Redwing and also 19 Whoopers.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Wednesday 31st October

Yesterday,  Mike Bell had been out birding, but after the meeting last , I was too tired to write up a list of Mike birds, better late than never.. Yesterday at dawn, he had 30 Chough fly out from the roost at Kilchoman. Along the West end of Loch Gorm, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier. At Blackrock, he had seen 34 Scaup. He carried out his "own" WeBs count from Bowmore along to Gartbreck with his tally coming to a RTD, a GND, 68 Whitefronts, 90 Greylags, 9,400 Barnies, 46 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 36 Mallard, 27 Eider, 30 R B Merganser, 57 Oystercatcher, 42 Ringed Plover, 210 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 32 Lapwing, 4 Knot, 16 Dunlin, 17 Barwits, 30 Curlew, 21 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 9 Turnstone with 21 Ravens seen at the Refuse tip.  Over at Mulindry, Mike had seen 192 Whooper Swans. Now on his return leg to where he is staying, Mike saw a Golden Eagle and also a Peregrine as he drove from Carnain over the hill towards Coullabus. Up the East side of Loch Gruinart, he had 1,200 Golden Plover, 22 Knot, 86 Barwits, 3 Greenshank, 27 Turnstone, and 90 Redwing. On the floods at Gruinart, he saw 16 Whoopers, 1100 Teal, 64 Pintail, 15 Shoveler a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Blackwit. Up at Sanaigmore, Mike saw a Golden Eagle, a Merlin, a Peregrine, 7 Ringed Plover, 3 Turnstone, and 35  Redwing. Ballinaby held 3 Chough and finally 102 Redwing were counted at Saligo. A good day's work Mike, many thanks!!!

This morning, out on the grass we had a female Blackcap munching its' way into the apples on the ground...
Earlier on the ringtail flew through the garden, and just kept going. We had another fly through this afternoon, the same bird no doubt... There was another female Blackcap seen further down in the garden, this one was enjoying the Rose hips as was a male Blackbird. The other Blackcap was up at the apples at the same time. Margaret came through to say that the Blackbird was now enjoying the berries on the Cotoneasters.. please leave some berries/ hips for any Waxwings that may come and visit us... 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Tuesday 30th October

Louise Hughes is over leading a group of birders on behalf of "The Travelling Naturalist". Yesterday when they came off the ferry at Port Askaig, they went up to Finlaggan where they saw a White tailed Eagle spoof around 200 Geese and then a short while after that a ringtail Hen Harrier on the wing over the moorland. Today, Louise had taken the group up to Gruinart, where they had a Golden Eagle and up at Ardnave, they saw 20 Chough.
Dave Wood had 8 Brambling and also 2 Merlin at Kinnabus on the Oa. Martin had a Peregrine at Lossit Farm on the Rhinns as well as a Hen Harrier. Back over at Glenegedale where Martin lives, he had seen a group of 10 Long tailed Tits in his garden this morning. Bob, this morning had 2 female Merlin zip through his garden.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Monday 29th October

Yesterday, Eric Bignall had seen 2 Red Kites in the afternoon flying past over Kindrochaid. Also yesterday, John Wilson had seen a Brambling along with some Chaffinches at Rockside. At Ardnave, he counted 20 Chough and down at Blackrock, he had seen 33 Scaup along with 22 Common Scoter.
Today, well the weather has not been as good as yesterday, and that is me trying to be polite... all the same Mike Bell did venture out and discover some birds for us...Down at the Coastguards, Mike counted 55 Hooded Crows. At Neriby, he saw a White tailed Eagle and along at Mulindry he saw 34 Whoopers. Down at Machir Bay before getting soaked, he counted 38 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone and 31 Redwing. This afternoon, he had a 20 minute golden spot while walking out along the road leading up to Scarrabus.. In this short time he saw a Hen Harrier, a Golden Eagle, a male Merlin, a Sparrowhawk , 4 Buzzard and a Kestrel. He also counted 95 Redwing and a Fieldfare when out on his walk, it had stopped raining over there by then!!!!  On his way back to his cottage, he saw 296 Whoopers, 480 Whitefronts and 1270 Greylags at Sunderland Farm.

Remember to come to the Bird Nerds meeting at 7.30pm in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore tomorrow, if you are around on Islay..

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Sunday 28th October

James headed over on the ferry from Port Ellen to Kennacraig this morning and from the ferry he saw a total  of 52 GND,  6 RTD and also 2 BTD.
Mike Bell is back over on Islay this week and we met in with him earlier this evening...So here  are his birds seen today. Down on Machir Bay, he had 1500 roosting Barnies, 14 Whoopers flying West out to the sea, 79 Curlew, 24 Ringed Plover with 11 Reed Bunting spotted in the reed bed there. On Loch Gorm, Mike counted 81 Tufted Duck and 2 Goldeneye. Sunderland Farm held 110 Whoopers. Up at Ardnave, there were 19 Whoopers, 173 Redwing, and 15 Fieldfare, over at Traigh Nostaig, Mike saw 27 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 5 Turnstone and also 27 Rock Pipit. Off Nave Point he saw 2 GND, and then coming back down from the top of Nave back to his car he had a Snow Bunting, 9 Sanderling with 25 Chough seen as well. Over the Gruinart reserve he saw over 1,000 Golden Plover in the air with 840 Teal, 21 Pintail and 8 Shoveler present as well. From Gruinart, he also saw a ringtail Hen Harrier with a distant White tailed Eagle and then a distant Golden Eagle seen. Highlights from a drive round Loch Indaal, from Port Charlotte round to Bowmore produced the following, 67 RTD, 17 GND, a single BTD and also 34 Slav Grebes, including a raft of 19 seen off Blackrock, 140 Eider, 63 Common Scoter, 7  Lt Ducks (including 6 drakes), 33 Scaup at Blackrock, 93 R b Merganser with 8 Goldeneye seen off Bowmore. On the flats at Bridgend, Mike counted 25 Ringed Plover, 24 Dunlin, 38 Barwits, 6 Pb Brent Geese and also 24 Whoopers.
Up here at home, we have had several pairs of Stonechats , a pair of Reed Bunting, and also 20 Redwings as well. Mind you, the weather has ben a lot kinder to us all today..

If you are around on Islay, the monthly meeting of the Islay Bird nerds will be on Tuesday evening, in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore at 7.30 pm. See you there then, no excuses accepted!!!

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Saturday 27th October

Yesterday, while canon netting some Barnacle Geese, Steve Percival had a retrapped Goose wearing a darvic leg ring , LBL was the code on the goose's ring which Steve had originally  rung here on Islay by Steve, 24 years ago..
This morning, Mike Peacock had done a dawn watch from the hide at Gruinart... Apart from all the geese, swans and ducks present, Mike also had seen 3 Greenshank with large flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare moving through. On the way over to Loch Gorm, he had a Peregrine sitting on top of a dyke and back  in Port Charlotte, he saw a different Brambling in his garden. This afternoon, over at Loch Skerrols, Mike had a Golden Eagle, a Sparrowhawk and also large flock  of around 50 Chaffinch.
Saturday is normally change over day with the accommodation providers here on Islay, so some of our contributors of late are now away home with hopefully some others arriving. So, yet again, thanks to those of you who sent me their sightings and here is now looking into another set of birders in today with their sightings, watch this space ...

Friday, 26 October 2018

Friday 26th October

Some birds in from John Wilson and his son Jonti. Yesterday, they counted  30 Scaup, and 20  Common Scoter and a GND off Blackrock. Over at Persabus, they saw 2 Yellowhammers. Down at Bowmore, 6 Pb Brents were present and on their travels they had 3 different Merlin, one at Port Charlotte, another at Bruichladdich with the final one seen over at Bunnahabhain.
Today, the Bowland Birders had a day of dodging the many dirty showers that were around, apart from the numerous heavy squally showers of rain we had some long prolonged hail showers late afternoon... They had an estimated count of at least 100 Redwing down at Octomore. On a trip round the Rhinns, they had a single Fieldfare, a male Hen Harrier and a single Mistle Thrush as well. At Gruinart, they had another male Harrier with a Dabchick up on Ardnave Loch. They also had seen, 6 Gbb Gull and a Buzzard feeding on a carcass of a young seal, opposite Nave Island. This morning, Bob had counted 390 Whoopers on the stubble field at Sunderland. Mike P. had a Greenfinch on his feeders and Gary saw a Glaucous Gull on the spit on the strand towards Uiskentuie.
Dave Woods reported through to say that with wind switching round to the North, that there has been a big fall of birds down on the Oa... There were only 50 Whitefronts present yesterday, but now up to 360 earlier this evening. Also counted were a minimum of 800 Redwing and 200 Fieldfare, all freshly arrived. Dave also had 6 Brambling and a Chiffchaff at Kinnabus today. John Wilson and Jonti counted 26 Chough going in to the roost here in between some really dirty showers.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Thursday 25th October

Some sightings through from Gary who had ben out with some clients over the past couple of days. 3 groups of Bullfinches were seen, one over at Persabus, the other along the road up at Ardnahoe, with final group seen just as they approached Bunnahabhain itself. Over down below Bun an Uillt, they saw 2 adult Golden Eagles harassing the geese at Gruinart. At Sunderland Farm, they counted around 300 Whooper Swans on a stubble field.  Just along the road on the track leading down to Loch Gorm, they saw 2 Yellowhammers. Finally off Bruichladdich Pier, 2 Comic Terns were present.
Today, a "thin day" for the Bowland birders, top bird for them was a female Merlin siting on a gate post up past the waterworks behind Port Charlotte. Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly through our garden earlier on this  afternoon, she also had a Sparrowhawk sitting on the garden fence later on. Up here at home is where have our Siskins gone? They appeared in the Spring and remained here all the time until recently.. perhaps we might get an answer as George E. Jackson did ring a total of  22 with BTO rings on plus the Dutch rung bird as well... so look out for any Siskins with leg rings on....please!!!!

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Wednesday 24th October

The other day, Ian and Susan Pettman who are annual visitors to Islay had seen a male Stonechat and also a male Hen Harrier when they were over at the reserve at Gruinart. Both these birds are not that common where they come from.
This morning, Mike Peacock had a new garden tick in his garden down in Port Charlotte, a Brambling.. James this morning had a count of 267 Whitefronts on the reserve at Gruinart. He also had 99 Whoopers moving through the reserve this morning as well. this afternoon, The Bowland birders dropped in for a catch up, as did John Wilson from Leighton Moss along with his son Jonti. It was great to have a catch up folks, and great to see that I have not forgotten on how to put the kettle on...They all commented on seeing flocks of up to 150 Redwings as they came along the road to here as well as seeing so many Whoopers  around, just fantastic... Down on Machir Bay, The Bowland Birders had seen 7 Sanderling, 28 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone.
Other visitors, earlier this week, Jane and Nigel Clark had seen 2 Otters down at Port Mor, out of Port Charlotte, eating some flat fish...They also had a GND, along with several Cormorants out on the water , and on the stubbles there was a count of around 1,000 Barnies. Today, at the head of Loch Indaal, they reckoned that there were over 1,000 Barnies and also 7 Whoopers resting up. Up at Bunnahabhain, they saw another Otter.
Another pair of visitors Richard Houtman from Amsterdam, along with his father, today had seen some Redwing over at Lagavullin. Along at Ardbeg, they had seen 2 Swallows on the wing looking  for food, with another Swallow seen at Lagavullin.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Tuesday 23rd October

Yesterday, I was given a copy to read of the current edition of  "British Wildlife", and found a very interesting article written by Steve Percival and Eric Bignal about the current "Islay Barnacle Goose management strategy". A very well written article, well done to Steve and Eric..


This is an annual cull that takes place on Islay of the Barnacle Geese. Last year a total of 3,321 geese were culled by marksmen employed by SNH  under licence . I believe that the overall scheme costs around £900,000 each year, allowing for compensation payments to farmers, administration costs..

So here is a link to Steve and Eric's paper
https://www.britishwildlife.com/article/volume-30-number-1-page-37-44

Monday, 22 October 2018

Monday 22nd October

The wind this evening has certainly picked up....although somehow it has remained dry...
On Saturday, returning visiting birders,  Richard and Pat Howells had taken the ferry up to Colonsay. On approaching Scalascaig, they had 8 GND and a single RTD. Over at the airfield, they had seen some Chough, while round at Loch Fada, they heard a Water Rail calling. As the light started to fail at the dusk, 2 Golden Eagles flew overhead. Yesterday they had seen a "near albino" Greylag amongst the Greylags on the barley stubbles at Cruach. Later on up towards Killinallan, they had a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, several Barwits and also a single Shelduck. Over at Kilchoman, they had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the crag. Down at Bruichladdich, they had a single RTD and also 3 GND. Also seen, yesterday evening, was a single Barn Owl  down on the high road towards the Duich Lots. Today, down at Claggain Bay they had seen a Long tailed Duck as well as 13 GND. At Cruach, they had seen 60 Golden Plover and then a Grey Wagtail down at Glenegedale.
On the Saturday, "The Bowland birders" returned for another "Islay fix". They had a relatively quiet trip over on the ferry seeing Guillemots, Tysties Kittiwakes, GND and also some RTD.  Yesterday, a trip round the Rhinns was quiet as well, with a male Hen Harrier seen around Portnahaven before flying over to Orsay where they noted 8 Roe Deer!!! There was a very sparse passage of Gannets.
Today, down at Bruichladdich they had Ringed Plover, Curlew, Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch as well as 3 Ravens. Further along the road, out on Loch Indaal from Loch Gorm House, 2 Little Terns were present with 6 Turnstone noted out on the big spit. At Blackrock, Common Gull, 24 Common Scoter and a small group of 6 Slav Grebes seen. They saw 12 Scaup out on the Loch from there and also a further 40 in the bay out from Cash Kelly's house.
Yesterday from the North hide at Gruinart, Distillery Dave had seen 12 Snipe along with several Barwits present as well. Steve Percival had told me this morning that the large number of Whoopers seen yesterday at Craigens had not been present this morning, so probably had been some of the Swans which we had seen heading out last night. Here at home this morning, I flushed a Snipe out from down beside the pond. Bob, this morning had a count of 700 Greylags on the stubbles at Octomore this morning, they appeared to be all vey quiet, and did not fly away as he was quite close to them. He wondered as to whether they had arrived in through the night and were resting up...
Another piece of news is that John Picton who is leading a tour here this week with Heatherlea had seen a Little Egret over at Loch an t Sailein which is over past Ardbeg Distillery, this morning.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Sunday 21st October

Back to normal for a wee while, back to great expanses of Islay with little light pollution, with a coolish wind picking up speed through the day here. Some sightings through on the messages from folk in my absence. Back on the 4th, Bob had seen 15 Whoopers on the stubbles down at Port Charlotte. George Newall from Dunoon had seen 3 ? greylags with Red neck collars fitted to them at Rockside but they were too far away to be able to read the codes on the geese. I missed "old" correspondent Richard Belter who was over here while we were away... And also the Horwich Birders as well.. So, many thanks to you all for your birds, in my absence!!!!
Back on Friday, Eddie and Elaine Prince from Leighton Moss had the privilege to witness the arrival of 303 Whoopers at Gruinart in the space of around 90 minutes along with many skeins of Barnies arriving as well... Up at Ardnave, they had a count of 42 Chough as well as counting over 100 Twite up there as well... Bob yesterday, had seen 15 Fieldfare and then shortly afterwards 6 Redwing.
This morning, Steve Percival had a count of around 1,000 Whoopers, with 500  at Craigens, 300 along at Sunderland and over 200 next door at Rockside. Mike  Peacock was on the phone earlier to say he saw an Otter on Loch Indaal out from his house at Port Charlotte. This evening, we have seen numerous Swans heading out, but the light is now failing and so making it hard to get an exact count. We had a count of 36 Goldfinches on the feeders this morning, just as well that I remembered to bring another big bag home for them... No sign of the Siskins....

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Thursday 18thb October

Some birds in Gary from yesterday, at Killinallan, he saw a juv Golden Eagle and than a male Hen Harrier. Further on he saw a further 2 juv Golden Eagles and than round at Kilchoman, he saw a male Hen Harrier.
Some birds in from returning birders, Richard and Pat Howells, all seen yesterday. At Dha Urlar, they counted 12 Whoopers while after Cruach, they saw 20 whitefronts and a Pinkfooted Goose flying South-easterly. In the fields nearby, they had a flock  of  40 Twite, some Meadow Pipits, a female Stonechat and some Skylarks there as well. Down at Gartnatra, they had 11 Pale belied Brent which flew off to the middle of Loch Indaal. Round at Nerabus, a Sparrowhawk flew alongside their car as they drove along the road!!! Frenchman's Rocks, some GND and a few RTD were flying South along with a steady but thin passage of Kittiwakes.Returning back to Port Charlotte, they saw 2 Golden Eagles hanging in the wind. Finally at Gruinart, they had a distant Hen Harrier.

By the sound of the above a day for seeing Golden Eagles and Hen Harriers...

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Wednesday 17th October

An early entry for today, but got Phill and Shona Isla's list of birds seen on Monday at Gruinart, plus have got a moment or two spare at present, so here goes..  Over 11,000 Barnies, 1 Cormorant, 11 Grey Heron, 5 Shelduck, 349 Wigeon, 7 Mallard, 174 Oystercatcher, 31 R b Merganser, 47 Ringed Plover, 477 Lapwing, 771 Golden Plover, 90 Sanderling, 37 Turnstone, 233 Dunlin, 104 Barwit, 15 Blackwit, 196 Curlew, 44 Redshank, 9 Greenshank, 18 B H Gull, 78 H Gull, 13 Gbb Gull, 8 Greylag, 47 Whitefront, 9 Snipe, 52 Whooper Swan, 4 Gannet, 1350 Teal, 11 Gadwall, 24 Pintail and also 30 Shoveler.
Down on Machir Bay yesterday, Distillery Dave had 35 Ringed Plover and 4 Turnstone.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Tuesday 16th October

As promised the highlights from Noel and Ann Hands visit to Islay last week. Coming over on the ferry on Saturday 6th they had a Common Scoter, on Monday 8/10 they had the Little Egret on the merse at Bridgend,and down at Machir Bay, the Little Stint was seen along with a male Hen Harrier, Chough, 35 Ringed Plover with 6 Stonechat seen close by. The following day they counted 19 Whoopers at  Craigens, On the 10th, over at Lagavullin, a Swallow was there, a Redwing and also a Red Admiral butterfly. At Finlaggan, they had a flock of over 100 Twite, a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Golden Eagle.Up at Bunnahabhain, they saw 4 Gannets out on the Sound of Islay as well as 2 Kestrels together. Finally that day they had a juv Peregrine on prey at Coullabus and then a Merlin whizzed through.The following day they had a small fall of 19 Mistle Thrush along at the hedges, below Sunderland, and along at Rockside, they spotted a Pink footed Goose among the Greylags. At Machir Bay on Thursday the Little Stint was present along with 36 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone, 6 Chough,and a Grey Wagtail. On Loch Gorm, they saw 12  Whitefronts then at Bruichladdich they saw a Common Tern struggling in the wind and rain!!!Finally on Friday  they had 14 Whitefronts, 15 Curlew and a ringtail as well as a small family group of 2 adult and 3 juv Whoopers. Thanks for sharing your sightings with us.
Today Mike P had been down at Loch Skerrols where he counted 55 Adult and 4 Juv Whoopers, 18 adult and 4 juv Mute Swan and a count of 81 Wigeon.
I have got a tremendous list of birds through from Mark at Gruinart, seen by Phill Catton & Shona Isla but will give you it all tomorrow night....

Monday, 15 October 2018

Monday 15th October

Mike Peacock had carried out his WeBS count this afternoon from Port Charlotte down to Portnahaven. Mike had 32 GND swimming out of Loch Indaal. Also seen by Mike were 6 RTD, 2 Tysties, 9 Eider, plus a Little Egret flying down Loch Indaal towards Nerabus. Mike also had a mixed flock of over 500 Gulls on the stubble behind the Port Mor Campsite, just out of Port Charlotte. This morning Mike had seen 2 Fieldfare up the track to Bolsay.
This morning up at Gruinart, visiting birders Andrew and Kirsty Lamb had a Little Egret around 9.30am. They also saw a total of 6 Hen Harriers on their travels today.. what will they have tomorrow??? I wonder if their Egret was the other Egret from Whinpark the other week, as 2 had been seen there, or was it just the same bird that Mike had seen????
Got some sightings from returning birders Noel and Ann Hands from Warwickshire, but will save them for tomorrow nights blog. It was their 5th visit to Islay, with the worst weather encountered last week, but still a good lot of birds seen...

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Sunday 14th October

Today, with the weather being a lot calmer than of late, Bob and Distillery Dave had carried out the WeBs count from Blackrock to Bruichladdich and on to Port Charlotte. Their list of birds seen was as follows.. 3 Heron, 17 GND, 7 RTD, 3 Cormorant, 36 Shag, 8 Slavonian Grebe, 500 Barnacle Geese, 80 Greylags, 19 Eiders, 30 Common Scoter, 11 Gbb Gull, 82 Herring Gull, 54 Common Gull, 20 Bh Gull, 8 Razorbill, 7 Oystercatcher, 6 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 7 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Saturday 13th October

Some birds sent through from Eddie and Elaine, "the Leighton Moss migrants". They are over on Islay for a fortnight, with the first week of this trip past, birding has not been that great because of the weather. Yesterday, they had braved the elements down at Frenchman's Rocks, but found it rather hard to remain upright...Yesterday evening, when returning back to where they are staying from the reserve at Gruinart, they had "one of their best ever sightings on Islay". A juv Golden Eagle flew along the road in front of them, before alighting on top of the wall about 30 yards ahead. Its' wingspan was wider than the single track road!!! It then took off and floated down over the moorland, being mobbed instantly by a male Hen Harrier,a ringtail and also Buzzard, talk about being not being made welcome!!! They have often seen the same at Leighton Moss where Sparrowhawks are chased out of the airspace by Swallows and Martins... But yesterdays' event was something else!!!
This morning by 8.15 am, they had counted several groups of Whoopers flying South from Gruinart, totalling 76 Swans in all. Round at Rockside,  Distillery Dave had counted 16 Whoopers on the stubbles this morning and then late this afternoon, he counted 25 Whooper Swans present there.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Friday 12th October

Well, the weather certainly has been wild with the ferries all cancelled until mid afternoon, at least they did come... all we need now is for the main roads on the mainland to be sorted out which are prone to land slips around the "Rest and be Thankful" section of the A83....
Back to the main thrust of the blog, the birds seen on Islay . This morning, Mike Peacock had spent an hour doing some sea watching from Port Charlotte out on to Loch Indaal. Mike had seen a lot of Common Gulls, Black headed Gulls and Herring Gulls. Also sen in the mix, a definite top bird, an adult Iceland Gull, good one Mike....
 The Horwich birders had been out and about today, at Loch Skerrols where they counted 35 Whoopers with 2 young, 16 Mutes with 4 young as well as  62 Wigeon. The River Sorn was in spate with all the recent rain, but at The Woollen Mill, they had seen a pair of Siskin, 3 Long tailed Tits and a Goldcrest. Yesterday, on the garden fence of the cottage they have been staying this week, they had seen 3 male and a female Stonechat while over the moorland a female Hen Harrier floated past.
James today, managed to carry out the WeBS count on the floods at Gruinart, it was too windy to do the count out on the Loch!!! His tally for the birds seen was as follows...505  Golden Plover, 4 Snipe, 73 Mallard, 2 Heron, 11 Gadwall, 30 Shoveler, 349 Wigeon, 5 Mute Swan, 14 Whoopers, 1,350 Teal, 24 Pintail, 5 Curlew, 12 Blackwit and 185 Lapwing. James also had 12 Redwing while he was out as well.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Thursday 11th October

This morning, the Horwich birders set out down to the "other end" of Islay and made the most of the better weather while it lasted… At Claggain Bay, they saw 5 GND and 2 RTD out on the water… Back along the road at Callum Sharp's house at Kildalton, they had a Yellowhammer along with some Chaffinches and some House Sparrows on the feeders there...
I was looking at the entry from Fair Isle for yesterday, and noted that they had a count of 10 Goldfinches there, their 3 largest count of Goldfinches on Fair Isle, old saying as ever, different place, different birds...

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Wednesday 10th October

Other returning birders, Nigel and Nikki Gilbert from Sheffield kindly sent through some birds which they had seen yesterday. Down on Machir Bay yesterday afternoon, they saw 14 Chough, 31 Ringed Plover, and a single Sanderling. Out from Machir Bay, they had a strong passage of Gannets flying past. They also had seen plenty of Gulls flying around with a single Common Scoter bobbing around on the water. They were also well pleased in witnessing the arrival of the geese too. Also yesterday, Distillery Dave had a Sparrowhawk down towards Machir bay.
This morning James had counted 4,305 Barnies and 4 Greenshank on the reserve at Gruinart. Late afternoon, James had a count of 10,125 Barnies and also a Parvipes Canada Goose at Gruinart, all arriving in a S E wind... Gary today had a Merlin down at Gartmain, while down at Machir Bay, he counted 150 Herring Gull, 130 Common Gull, 38 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling and a juvenile Little Stint. The Little Egret were present up on the merse at Bridgend again...

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Tuesday 9th October

A few "returning birders" arrived over the past few days... Yesterday, the Horwich birders came over for a few days. As they were approaching Port Askaig on the ferry yesterday, afternoon, they saw a White tailed Eagle. Later on over at Port Charlotte, they saw a Little Tern.This morning down at Machir Bay, they had 40 Ringed Plover on the pond beside the car park there. Along at the wee lochans beside Loch Gorm/ below Rockside, they saw11 Whooper Swan. Over on Loch Skerrols, they had 12 Mute Swan and then a family group of an adult and 4 young arrived in. Also seen there, were 54 Wigeon. On the merse out from Bridgend, the 2 Little Egrets were present  and at Ballygrant, on the Loch, 2 Dabchick were seen. Finally at Gruinart they saw a Peregrine and a female Hen Harrier both hunting along the banks...
James today reported through with his sightings seen at Gruinart today, 1735 Barnies, 12 Whitefronts, 6 Whooper Swans, 615 Golden Plover, 9 Blackwits, 2 male and  female Hen Harrier. James was saying why there were not so Barnies seen today, as most of the earlier arriving geese have now spread round Islay already...

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Sunday 7th October

Gary was in touch to say that the 2 Little Egrets were still present on Friday and again yesterday, down on the merse at Bridgend. Gary also had a count of 45 Golden Plover together in one of the fields towards The Machrie Hotel.
Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen a Sparrowhawk while he was up at Kilchoman.
Think the weather today has not helped our birders today... the afternoon and evening ferries were both cancelled.

Saturday 6th October

Rather a late entry, but the wee box of tricks, the laptop was not wanting to work, so as Margaret has resolved my problem, here goes, as the saying goes, "better late than never2...
James on the reserve on Gruinart had counted the following birds..3,560 Barnies, 60 Whitefronts, 4 Pale bellied Brents, 1,215 Teal, 265 Golden Plover, 9 Blackwits and 17 Pintail, also 20 Whooper Swans were seen as well. James commented that he had possibly expected a few more Barnies in by now, but early dates yet...

Friday, 5 October 2018

Friday 5th October

As James wrote through today, the geese are still "dribbling in". on the reserve at Gruinart his tally of geese present early afternoon was as follows, 2905 Barnies, 4 Pale belied Brent Geese and 32 Whitefronts. Just thinking aloud here, come to think about it, I cannot recall seeing any Swallows around , so as the new visitors (geese) are arriving , others are/ have moving on the warmer climes...

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Thursday 4th October

James had a count on the reserve at Gruinart today, his top birds were as follows... 1610 Barnies, 1245 Greylags, 12 Whooper Swans, 4 Blackwits and also 20 Pintails.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Wednesday 3rd October

This morning, out on the Machir I counted 16 Hooded Crows hopping around on the ground, as large a group of them that I have seen together up here. Distillery Dave had seen 2 sets of Whoopers flying overhead as he was strimming the grass at Rockside, one lot consisted of 4 adults and also 3 youngsters, the other lot were just 6 adults, no young seen with them.
Looking down at the trees and the bushes that I have planted here over the past wee while, on a positive note, the vast majority have taken well and with the stormy weather of late, they certainly have shown a dislike to the salt laden winds, bit come next Spring, they should be fine and ready to put some fresh shoots out... fingers crossed!!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Tuesday 2nd October

Marsali kindly sent through the rainfall figures from over Mulindry for September, her gauge registered 135 mm or 5.4 inches in old money...  thanks Marsali...
James had a count of 1365 Barnies on the reserve at Gruinart as well as 17 Whitefronts present there this morning. Mandy had seen the large flock of around 500 Greylags and also 90 Barnies at Rockside. Gary this morning had seen 2 Little Egrets out from Whin Park at the top of Loch Indaal. Distillery Dave had seen a distant Golden Eagle way over the moorland on Rockside, late afternoon. Earlier on this evening, on my way back from Rockside I took a quick scan through the Greylags, the Barnies had headed back to the roost at Gruinart, but there were 15 Whitefronts mixed in through the Greylags on the stubble. James had quick look round Gruinart, late afternoon, spotting 34 Whitefronts, 12 Whooper Swan, 15 Pintail, 2 Dabchick, a Sparrowhawk and a ringtail Hen Harrier. Up here at home we had a Blue Tit yesterday and then this morning, a Robin was seen, both birds that are not that common to here...

Monday, 1 October 2018

Monday 1st October

Well that is another month in, and the rain gauge had 5.1 inches (129.5 mm) in it here at home.... Today or rather this morning, the weather was not too bad as I managed to cut some grass and a few more outside jobs, that was before the wind picked up and the rain started to fall again....
Yesterday, just after midday, Mandy had seen a Kestrel out hunting down at Springbank at Bridgend. This morning she counted 26 Barnies fly past down at Sunderland. This morning we had 3 Whoopers on the wee lochans below Rockside along with some Greylags. Sam had seen 6 Whoopers as drove to her work at The Woollen Mill from Ballygrant. Coming back home, we took the long road, round the other side of Loch Gorm and were rewarded by seeing 4 Mistle Thrush on the overhead cables below Sunderland, as one approaches "Canada" (one of the fields!!!). Just before Carnduncan, we had a Kestrel on top of a telegraph pole and a Stonechat on the verge side , just after Saligo. Finally , just before the Coastguards, we had a Merlin on top of a fence post, it took off across the field to return to another post as we approached. It did this a second time as we crept along, but this time it was quite content to sit and watch us drive past...Margaret this afternoon, saw a Merlin fly through our garden. Gary today had ben out with 2 American clients and had seen Scaup, Common Scoter and 5 Slavonian Grebe at Blackrock. Off Bruichladdich pier, they saw RTDs and also GNDs out on Loch Indaal with some Tysties back on the pier itself. Over at Machir Bay, they saw a distant Kestrel out over the crag, up behind the bay. At Gruinart, apart from the Barnies , they had 20 Whitefronts, with a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier along the flats. James had a count of 725 Barnies, 15 Whoopers and 4 Pintail on the reserve at Gruinart today.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Sunday 30th September

Just as well that some of the farmers took the option yesterday and got some combining done, as today the weather was not so good, especially as the wind has picked up again...say no more..
Today, Distillery Dave had headed over Gruinart for a spot of birding.. On his way there, he had seen 3 Golden Plover round at Ballinaby, a Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Sparrowhawk and also a Snipe. He met in with Bob, and out from the South hide they saw a good number of Barnacle Geese in and more arriving, 10 Pintail (all in eclipse plumage), 2 Drake Gadwall, a  single Greenland white fronted Goose3 Curlew and a ringtail Hen Harrier and the best part of 800 Teal. Bob, on his way home has a Sparrowhawk as he approached his house up behind Port Charlotte. This afternoon James had counted 685 Barnies on the reserve at Gruinart, 125 Golden Plover, 7 Blackwit, 8 Pale bellied Brent and a Pink footed Goose there as well.
Forgot to mention last night that on our way back from Gruinart yesterday afternoon, Distillery Dave and myself had seen 6 Redwing just as we approached the Hedges below Sunderland, and this afternoon , Margaret spotted a single Redwing on top of one of the headstones next door in the cemetery.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Saturday 29th September

Back on Wednesday, the really windy day which we had, well Ron from Islay info had seen 25 Whoopers fly South down Loch Indaal and on to Ireland.
This morning, Distillery Dave had a Sparrowhawk among the trees at Rockside with a Merlin seen at the road end there shortly afterwards. This afternoon, I went over for a short spell to Gruinart with Distillery Dave to see if there were any more Barnies in. We were well pleased as when we came over the hill, there was indeed a small group of geese flying in, high up. We waited and saw them land on the estuary and counted 42 in total. Later on from the South hide, we saw many Ducks with around 220 Lapwing and a similar number of Golden Plover flying around.  We also saw a handful of Swallows in the air there as well.  We also had a Coal Tit seen in the undergrowth up beside the viewing platform.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Friday 28th September

Yesterday, Pat, Bob's other half, had seen a Peregrine up beside their house behind Port Charlotte.

Today, Bob had seen a Kestrel over towards Octomore and in the gull flock there, he saw 2 second winter Med. Gulls along with the Common and Herring Gulls present. Kenneth had found a dead juvenile  Common Tern as he came off Machir Bay and late morning, he had seen 2 small groups of Pale bellied Brent  Geese at the top of Loch Indaal. Late afternoon and Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier skirting along the front of the crag. Around 6pm, Distillery Dave had seen another male Hen Harrier flying over the  road down at Rockside road end. Margaret and myself took a quick drive over to Gruinart once we had finished our tea and were rewarded with a count of 87 Barnacle Geese coming down the loch and landing on the mud flats.... Wonder what tomorrow will bring???

The weather has been dry today although there had been a slight dampness through the night, but the combines and balers have been out trying to make the most of it, not a good harvest for sure!!!!!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Thursday 27th September

Late yesterday afternoon, Mandy had seen a Kestrel down close to McNicol's croft.
This morning, Gary had seen 6 Barnacle Geese down at the top of Loch Indaal while he was having a look see while parked at the entrance to Whin Park. Louise had a Starling on her feeders this morning, a first for the Gatehouse list.. At the manse at Craighouse, Louise had seen a Sparrowhawk. Later on, she saw a Merlin and then a Hen Harrier up behind Ballinaby. Bob, this afternoon, saw a Little Gull among some Black headed Gulls at Carnain. The BTO sent more details about the Greylag goose that Bob had been handed in to him. It was initially caught and rung back on 12th of December in 2012 over at Ballinaby.
Here at home, a quick bird watch after tea produced 2 Buzzards, a Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Raven and around 30 Chough.


Yet another image of our very local Sparrowhawk, taken in the evening sun, through the kitchen window, earlier this evening...