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...

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Wednesday 26th September

Sorry folks that I never put an entry on for yesterday, but by the time I got home after the Bird nerds meeting, I was really feeling rather whacked, and I am sticking  to that story!!!!
On Monday, Gary had seen an Osprey fly from Jura over to Bunnahabhain, over Finlaggan, he saw 3 White tailed Eagles along with 2 Golden Eagles seen there as well. Up at Torrabus, Gary had a Kestrel and finally on Monday, Gary had seen a male Hen Harrier over the moor  behind his house. Yesterday, he had a Kestrel at Coal Ila as well as a ringtail Hen Harrier seen there too. Gary commented on seeing large numbers of Goldfinches, Redpolls and also Siskin mainly in Alder thickets. He also spotted Chough over the moorland at Keills.
James was telling us all last night that the Corncrake numbers heard of calling male birds on Islay had fallen to only 60 calling birds compared 74 last year.. Bob gave me a ring of a dead Greylag which had BTO ring on which he had been given the other day, so I was in touch with Bob Swann and through time we will get the history about it.
Other news from  yesterday, well up here at Shepherd's cottage, I emptied our rain gauge out as it was full, a mere 127 mm meanwhile down in Lincolnshire, Nicholas Watts has only had 19 mm in total.. No pleasing some folk!!! And, oh yes, there has been some rain more since I emptied the rain gauge.
Today, late afternoon, there was a knock at the door, it was Kenneth with a juvenile Gannet under his arm. It appeared to be uninjured, so I took it down and released it down at Bruichladdich, out over Loch Indaal. Kenneth had found it down on the side of the road, on the grass verge below Rockside.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Monday 24th September

Just a wee reminder as tomorrow is the last Tuesday of the month, time for the monthly meet of the Bird nerds here on Islay... So , we shall meet up at the Gaelic college, outside of Bowmore at 7pm, so if you are around and at a lose end, come and meet up with us, as ever visitors are made welcome...
George E. Jackson along with his wife Pat arrived over yesterday for a few days, and had seen 5 Swallows at their son's house  as well as a flock of around 250 Starlings. earlier on this evening Distillery Dave had a female Sparrowhawk on top of the fence around the wood beside his house at Rockside.



As promised, an image of the Big bird feeding station which Distillery Dave helped us build....

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Sunday 23rd September

Yesterday, Distillery Dave had been over at Gruinart and from the South hide he had seen plenty of Mipits, Wagtails as well as Curlew and Lapwing present there as well. He also had a pair of Dabchick and also a Sparrowhawk. James, had seen loads of Sanderling up at Ardnave and also a Merlin there too. Down on the reserve at Gruinart, James saw another Merlin and also a Golden Eagle.
Sandy MacTaggart, this morning had seen a large number geese flying South past Machir Bay, around 1,000 geese in all, probably Brent geese flying to Ireland according to James. Today at Gruinart, James had seen a Kestrel. Here at home in the new big bird cage, we had a count of at least 44 birds in sampling the food on offer at one time this morning... Later on, we saw a Great Tit in on the nuts and then mid afternoon, there was a Greenfinch in.. out on the garden fence, a Sparrowhawk was watching all that was happening round about. This evening, as we watched the antics of the Chough, a Peregrine zipped past.
Good friend Armin Grewe who lives down close to Reading had some Blue Tits and Great Tits on his feeders today, neither bird is that common to him..

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Saturday 22nd September

Last night while driving up towards his house at Rockside, Distillery Dave spotted a Barn Owl on top of a straining post.
Today, returning visiting birder, Kenneth from Norway had seen 2 White tailed Eagles  past Kildalton, probably the same Eagles that Gary had seen yesterday, out from the Dower House.
Distillery Dave gave me a hand (again..) and we finished off making a new big bird cage to allow us to feed our wee birds in and hopefully keep the Starlings and Jackdaws at bay. It will also be of benefit to me as I will not have go in bent double when I go into fill the feeders !!! Some of the birds must have known what we were up to, as it not long before some Siskins were in having some of the treats available. Goldfinches were on the niger feeder with Chaffinches and House Sparrows all in for a snack too.. Will try to get an image for  you to see tomorrow... by the way there is also a feeder outside for the bigger birds and also a pheasant feeder for anyone to eat at, that wishes it...

Friday, 21 September 2018

Friday 21st September

The other day, Ron McNab had a count of 50 Manx Shearwater while spending some time doing a sea watch down at Frenchman's Rocks. He also saw 2 Sooty Shearwater and then 2 Arctic Skuas harassing some Kittiwakes. Over at Gruinart, Ron had seen 2 Whooper Swans, possibly the Swans that did not fly away in the Spring. Coming over the hill from Gruinart, Ron had a White tailed Eagle and then a Kestrel while he was driving around Loch Gorm.
Yesterday, as we watched out the windows the Sparrowhawk flew through and over the crop spoofing all the wee birds up, but to no avail, maybe they are all too fat for it...
Today, Gary had seen large numbers of Goldfinch and Redpolls flocking while he was down on the Oa, with a pesky Merlin hunting through the flock. Later on, Gary had seen 2 White tailed Eagles siting on the skerries out from the Dower House.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Thursday 20th September

Yesterday evening, Distillery Dave had seen a female Wheatear fliting along the road in the car headlights over at Saligo Bay.
Today, David Wood had seen a Leach's Petrel off Lower Killeyan on the Oa. James How had seen a Peregrine on the reserve at Gruinart with Louise spotting her "regular" Peregrine on top of a telegraph pole below her house on Jura. Back on Gruinart, James Butcher had 9 Pintail, possibly the first sighting of the Autumn. Bob, this morning, had seen a large charm of over 300 Goldfinch round at Ballinaby. He also saw 10 Mipits there as well. Also seen at Ballinaby, 50 Skylarks as well as 4 Stonechats.
Obviously a much better day for birdwatching, with an "almost" dry day, and yes the wind had dropped considerably as well!!!

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Wednesday 19th September

James sent through a couple of sightings which he had yesterday, sent through too late for the deadline for yesterday's blog ....
On Loch Gruinart itself, James counted a total of 84 Pale bellied Brent Geese while on the reserve he saw 2 Ruff. Today, well the wind certainly picked up with plenty of rain in the mix too... It certainly has not helped my hairstyle, say no more !!!
Stop the press.. Just been watching the small cruise liner the "Black Watch" sailing past Coull Point, heading south, a bit close in for my liking... The other liner which sailed past night was the same vessel which broke its moorings earlier on today, over at Gourock ...

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Tuesday 18th September

Another day like yesterday, but this evening the wind has started to pick as per the weather forecast, around 6pm there was also a brief thunderstorm along with lightening as well, which is not that common here.
Mandy, this morning at 9 o ' clock had seen an Osprey down at Blackrock. Also at Blackrock, on the water, she had 9 Pale bellied Brent. Later on this afternoon, Mandy had an Eagle while over at the Dower House. She was not100% sure as to whether it was a Goldie or a White tail as she had not got her bins with her...
Returning visiting birder Ron McNab had seen 2 Peregrines mobbing a Buzzard while he was driving round Loch Gorm. Later on, he saw a female Wheatear while up at Kilchoman.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Monday 17th September

Not exactly the best day with the weather, with heavy showers coming in from the sea, coupled with strong winds. Another reason why tonight's entry is light in content!!
Yesterday Gary had a ringtail Hen Harrier over the moorland as drove down to Claggain Bay. At Claggain Bay itself, he saw an Arctic Skua harassing some Kittiwakes. He also had a male Wheatear there as well.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Sunday 16th September

Yesterday, Bob saw his second Goldcrest of this Autumn in his garden. Later on, in the adjoining field, he saw a Kestrel, the first that he has seen there for 4 years...
James was up for a natter and a cuppa this afternoon.. Back on Thursday, 21 Pale bellied Brent flew over the reserve and onwards. On Friday he counted a further 29 fly onwards .... Today on the reserve at Gruinart, James had 2 Goldcrest and also 4 Blackwits.
Up here, while having the famous cuppa with James, a female Sparrowhawk came and landed just outside the window, less than 20 feet away, no need for the bins, but the camera might have been handy ...
Talking about Geese starting to be seen, I read this morning that there had been 30 Barnies counted on Fair Isle yesterday..Svalbard geese rather than the ones that come down from Greenland to here !!!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Saturday 15th September

Some sightings trough from visitor Steve Willis who had a brief visit from Wednesday to yesterday.... Down at Kintra, he had seen 2 White tailed Eagles fly overhead, on the shore, there was a small group of 10 Curlew and he also a great sighting of a big hen Peregrine at Kintra as well. While driving up towards Kilchoman, he had a Sparrowhawk fly across the road. Down at Machir Bay, he saw Raven, Buzzard and then a Merlin mobbing the Buzzard. Finally at the top of Loch Indaal, Steve watched an Osprey fishing. Many thanks Steve, much appreciated.
This morning, here at home, around breakfast time, the ringtail Hen Harrier was out over the bumble bee crop, no doubt looking for a snack for its' breakfast, but no joy as it just kept on flying away from me!!

Friday, 14 September 2018

Friday 14th September

The other day, Bob had seen around 2,000 Meadow Pipit fly over his house, heading West towards Kilchiaran in a 2 hour watch. Louise, yesterday, had a charm of over 100 Goldfinch round at Ballinaby in the morning. Distillery Dave had seen a small group of Pale bellied Brent at Bun an UIsg, just as he was coming out of Bowmore, but could not get a right count as he was in a line of traffic, in the early evening.
This morning, on my way home from Bowmore, a Merlin flew across the road down at McNichol's croft. This afternoon, Martin Armstrong had seen around 95 Twite up here on the bird seed crop and then later on, I had  another flock of around a further 65 Twite.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Thursday 13th September

Forgot the other night to put some sightings in from Peter.. On Tuesday, while out in the rain, and in between showers, he had managed to spot 10 Blackwits and also a flock of over 30 Chough when he was up at Ardnave.
Earlier on today, Gary sent through his WeBS count which he carried out yesterday from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. His tally was as follows, 1 GND, 1 R b Merganser, 6 Cormorant, 4 Shag, 19 Eider, 15 Mallard, 4 Teal, 10 Wigeon, 83 Oystercatcher, 47 Curlew, 23 Redshank, 30 Barwit, 10 Blackwit, 99 Ringed Plover, 49 Dunlin, 6 Turnstone, 16 Gbb Gull, 104 H Gull, 12 C Gull, 6 B h Gull, 37 Knot,  1 Golden Plover, 14 Pbb Brent Geese, 102 Greylag, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Osprey and 1 Peregrine Falcon.
Today, as usual, the wind blew quite strongly, but on a positive note, some of the farmers did manage to get their combines out and cut for a couple of hours before the rain came on yet again. Another note on the positive side of things was that I took the chance and cut the grass, just before it started to rain..

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Wednesday 12th September

The wind kept on huffing and puffing again today, with the odd occasional dirty shower of rain thrown into the mix... It did not deter Gary from being out, and his reward was seeing 14 Pale bellied Brent Geese fling south down Loch Indaal this morning, the first here on Islay this Autumn, as far as I know... Mid to late afternoon, here at home there were 2 Peregrines heard calling away somewhere along the front of the big crag....

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Tuesday 11th September

No entry yesterday and almost a repeat, no show again today, as the weather has been not exactly A1 with many heavy showers of rain along with strong winds, not very nice at all...
But Gary had been out and saw some birds for the blog... A Grey Wagtail and also 3 Kestrel over at Bunnahabhain, an Osprey carrying a fish flew over the road at Red Houses, just out of Bridgend and back close to his home, he had a Redpoll at the Finlaggan road end. This evening, just as it was getting dark Distillery Dave had a Barn Owl between Coull and the cattle grid as he went round to Saligo. He also had 2 Snipe while out as well.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Sunday 9th September

Yesterday afternoon, Peter had seen a Sandwich Tern sitting on the rocks on the edge of Loch Indaal, out from Loch Gorm House at the edge of Bruichladdich.
This afternoon I gave Bob a hand to carry out his WeBS count from Blackrock back round to Port Charlotte, with the tally coming in as follows, 23 Cormorant,1 Grey Heron, 73 Eider, 30 R B Merganser, 5 Oystercatcher, 4 Rock Dove, 16 Ringed Plover, 61 Dunlin, 1 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 2 Med Gull, 4 Bh Gull, 265 C Gull,  2 Sandwich Tern, 9 Herring Gull, 1 Gbb Gull, 1 Kittiwake.
Both the Sandwich Terns seen were in the same location as to where Peter had his Tern yesterday.
Needless to add, but with a  lot of dirty squally showers around for most of the day, we were fortunate in being able to actually do the count....

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Saturday 8th September

Yesterday evening, Distillery Dave had seen a Kestrel away along the crag towards the masts above Kilchiaran as he walked along Machir Bay. Today, he had a raft of 47 Red breasted Merganser out from Uiskentuie on Loch Indaal. New birder contributing today, Gordon Pollinger had seen a Whimbrel feeding along with 9 Curlew out in a field below Easter Ellister. He also saw a couple of Chough at Ellister as well.
George E. Jackson was in touch this evening to say that he has just received some information on the Siskin which he caught up here in his mist nets back on the 10th of July this year with a Dutch leg ring fitted.... It was originally rung in Lippenhuizen, Friesland, Holland back on 27th of March this year. The other piece of information is that it is 867 km in a WNW from Holland to here..

Many thanks to "JD" for your birds while you were here..

Friday, 7 September 2018

Friday 7th September

A better sort of a day, having said that I doubt if much combining would be carried out today as the dampness never really got off the crops, certainly no baling of any straw should have occurred.
On the bird front, Bob had a Merlin through his garden today. Up here at home, we had a Sparrowhawk over the Bee crop this morning and it reappeared again this afternoon, this time through past the willows beside the big electric transformer pole, no joy either time, a juvenile bird wearing the "L" plates me thinks..
"JD" today had a Grey Wagtail at Carnain and also had 55 Barwits, a Blackwit and 41 Knot. Round toward Bruichladdich out from Loch Gorm House he had 9 juv. Kittiwakes feeding close off shore.  Up at Craig Mhor on the west side of Loch Gruinart, he saw a juv. female Merlin zip past.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Thursday 6th September

Another mixed day with the weather again today..
Here at home, this morning before my breakfast, I had a flock of around 200 Twite out on the bird seed crop, mind you that is what we planted it for!!! On the feeders, well the other birds have been busy there as well. The last couple of days, we have had a Great Tit and then a Blue Tit seen here, neither of which are that common here.. Late afternoon, Margaret counted 16 Pheasants, a good number for here, and not for to be shot at!!!
"JD" had seen the 2 second year Med. Gulls at Carnain this morning and then this evening along with Peter and Mike had the juv. Med. Gull at Blackrock and then along at Carnain, they saw an Arctic Tern, on the estuary. At Blackpark, "JD" had a count of 220 Linnet in the flock there. Up at Loch Finlaggan, he saw 10 Tufted Duck and also 2 Dabchicks.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Wednesday 5th September

A pig of a day, dull and dreich for most of the morning with some heavy rain coming in late afternoon in and around tea time, but a nice evening outside at 8pm.. so, one way or another not a great day for birding, or for the farmers either..
Bob had ben out with "JD" this morning and they saw a second winter Med. Gull just out of Bowmore. They had a flock of 70 Goldfinch at Carnain and saw the Reeve up at Gruinart. This evening, "JD" at Carnain saw 3 Med. Gulls, 2 second winter and a first winter and also a count of 23 Knot.
Up here, just as it was drying up 2 Peregrine flew along the crag and then flew on towards Rockside all at quite a high altitude. Shortly afterwards, the pesky Sparrowhawk had the cheek to be sitting on the picnic bench beside the bird feeders, but no wee birds were around for it to have for its' supper...

The Bearsden birders reported through to say that they had seen their first Siskin of the Autumn the other day, along with a couple of Goldfinch and also a Great spotted Woodpecker on their feeders in their garden, Earlier, last week they had a count of over 1,000 Common Scoter up on the Dornoch Firth.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Tuesday 4th September

Marsali sent through the rainfall figure for August up at Mulindry, it came to 4.8 inches, so that is the second month that it has been drier at Mulindry rather than here at Kilchoman...
The weather turned out not too bad today, although it was later on before the combines started up as the dampness took a bit longer to lift ... so as well as the combines working away, some of the farmers had the balers out, making the most of this spell of weather.
"JD" today was in touch to say that he has now seen 4 Med. Gulls, the 2 seen today are second winter birds according to himself... At Blackpark, he had a count of 140 Linnet and up at Bun an Uillt, he had 31 Barwit, 14 Knot and also the female Ruff , or Reeve as some folk call them..Over at Ardnave, he saw 25 Twite, 80 Linnet, 40 "Alba" Wagtail, and 120 Mipits.   Out on Loch Indaal, 11 RTD and 55 Common Scoter were present. Up close to Bob's house, behind Port Charlotte, he saw a juv. Sparrowhawk and counted a flock of 80 Woodpigeon.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Monday 3rd September

A better sort of a day with a glorious sunset coming in shortly, so here is hoping for another good day tomorrow, mainly to allow the farmers another crack at cutting their barley...Distillery Dave was telling me earlier this evening that he had a count of around 400 Greylags early this morning, on the silage aftermaths down at Rockside. This evening, a few moments ago, the geese were in the air, but appeared to "drop" in to the barley crop...
"JD" had a flock of 160 Linnet and also 55 Goldfinch at Carnain this morning. Up at Gruinart, the female Ruff was still present as were 2 Whooper Swans, presumably the 2 that have been summering there... Craigens held a flock of 120 Linnet and then between Craigens and Coullabus, a Whitethroat and 4 juvenile Whinchat were present. Up at Braigo, he saw 12 Lesser Redpoll and 2 House Martin. Along at the road end leading to Coull, a Sparrowhawk was sitting on a fence post. Down on Machir Bay, he had 30 Ringed Plover and 4 Turnstone. This afternoon, he saw 22 Knot, 6 Barwit, a Blackwit and also 41 Wigeon down at Loch Indaal.
A 10 minute spot of bird watching mid afternoon, here at home proved to be quite productive, with 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Peregrine, 3 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk all seen out along and over the crag. The Peregrines chased the Eagles away with the Sparrowhawk  being mobbed by many lbjs and Swallows..

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Sunday 2nd September

Yesterday afternoon, James Butcher had a flock of 145 Twite up at Killinallan, "JD" had seen a flock of 120 Linnet over Blackpark along with several groups of 10 - 20 Lesser Redpoll and many groups of up to 40 Goldfinch in the same area at Blackpark. Remember also it was also "JD" who had seen the Med. Gull at Blackrock, well also yesterday later on, he also saw a second Med. Gull there as well.
Today, along past Uiskentuie, he saw the 2 Med. Gulls close together along towards the spit that projects out into Loch Indaal. Up at Gruinart, he saw 11 Blackwits and also 14 Barwits, a female Ruff, a juv. Sparrowhawk, a juv. Peregrine and also a female Hen Harrier. Over at Bun an Uillt, "JD" saw 3 Shoveler.  On Loch Gorm, he counted 41 Tufted Duck, a Greater Scaup and a Gadwall. This morning before breakfast time, Distillery Dave had 4 Turnstone down at Machir Bay.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Saturday 1st September

Well, another month has passed, and the rainfall figure for August was 4.9 inches.. There was a dampness last night, with the net result being that I doubt if any of the farmers cut any harvest today. 
"JD" is over for the week and had a great spot, seeing a Mediterrean Gull down at Blackrock this morning. Out on Loch Indaal from the same viewing point, he saw  3 GND, a Slavonian Grebe, 2 Great Scaup and also 48 Common Scoter. Up at Gruinart, he saw 18 Knot and also a Greenshank. Gary had been down and saw the Med. Gull as well as 2 Chough just inshore. Distillery Dave saw a Peregrine round at Saligo this morning, and up here at home, mid afternoon the Sparrowhawk flew over the bird crop and then around 15 minutes later, it returned and dropped down into the crop, but when it reappeared, it was not carrying anything. A moment or so later it dropped back into the crop again, and when it reappeared it was not carrying anything the second time either.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Friday 31st August

Some sightings through from James Butcher who had seen the following waders on Loch Gruinart yesterday.. a count of over 1700 Dunlin, at least 300 Sanderling, 67 Blackwit, 5 Knot, 3 Barwit and 8 Golden Plover. He also saw a Merlin there as well.
This morning, Distillery Dave had seen a Snipe down at Machir Bay. Gary had seen a Kestrel over at Bunnahabhain, a Sparrowhawk was present at Persabus with an adult White tailed Eagle over Kilmeny. Early evening, Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past, over our garden and then shortly afterwards I counted 30 Chough ducking and diving in their acrobatic, noisy flight on their way to the roost.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Thursday 30th August

Almost forgot to give feedback on the bird nerds meting at Bun an Uillt held yesterday evening. Fortunately the weather stayed dry... We saw 10 Curlew, 12 Barwits, 2 Grey Heron, some Oystercatcher, a Greenshank, Redshank and Dunlin were the main birds present. While we were walking back to our vehicles, a hen Merlin zipped across our view. Going over to Bun an Uillt, Distillery Dave and myself saw a Stonechat on the fence just after the Sunderland quarry. Dave had seen a few Turnstone down on Machir Bay while I had the Peregrines screeching away, flying high above the big crag, here at home.
Another thing that happened yesterday, was that Andrew Jones had the combine out cutting his first barley field, over at Ballinaby, the first report of any harvest here on Islay this year. He cut another field today while Rockside were busy lifting their second crop grass silage this evening.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Wednesday 29th August

Mandy has returned from a holiday over in Sweden. Top birds seen by her were some Cranes, a Black Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Whooper Swan with young. Other birds seen including a Willow Warbler, Goldcrest as well as a Willow Warbler.
Today, Mandy along with her neighbour Irene had watched 2 Buzzard mobbing a juvenile Golden Eagle up behind Carnduncan over towards Gruinart. James this afternoon had counted 43 Blackwits and 4 White Wagtail out from the North hide at Gruinart.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Tuesday 28th August

Just as well that the decision was made to postpone the bird nerds meeting from today until tomorrow evening.. The weather through the day here was not that bad, but around 5pm the weather took a downward turn and it turned rather damp, rather dreich..
On the bird front, the Swallows down below the pond here at home, well their second brood fledged today, while other pair that have a nest above our air source het pump, we will keep an eye for them fledging as well.. Late afternoon, there was a small mumeration of over 300 Starlings which tumbled and twisted about as they do... eventually they all lined up on the overhead electric cables, and all really close to each other...

Monday, 27 August 2018

Monday 27th August

Yesterday, Distillery Dave along with his wife Ann, and also their faithful mate Ted were down in the South hide at Gruinart where they saw a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a juvenile Peregrine.
Today, up here at home, I saw the Sparrowhawk sitting out on one of the feeding stations, less than 4 metres away, no need for the bins...Earlier on the Peregrine was out calling away along the crag, needed the bins for that one, but not to hand.... The Buzzards were out over the lamb crag or Cnoc an Uain

Remember that the bird nerds will be held on Wednesday at 6.30pm rather than tomorrow evening, as the weather forecast does not look too promising. We are meeting at Bun an Uillt, to hopefully see some waders...

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Sunday 26th August

Just as well that I cut the grass when I did yesterday, as it has rained all day, and I would not have been able to do it today...
Mid afternoon, we headed over to James's house for a cuppa and also a long blether. On the way over to Gruinart, we had flock of around 150 Greylags take off from a field of barley at Ballinaby and on the way home there was a female Sparrowhawk perched on top of a fence post at Ballinaby as well. Back at home, there was a small flock of around 30 Twite on top of the fence beside the crop grown for the bumblebees.
As the weather does not look too good for the Bird nerds  on Tuesday evening, at present we will be delaying the actual meeting for 24 hours, until Wednesday evening at 6.30pm. We shall be meeting up at the wee car park just before the sheep pens at Bun an Uillt (NR 294690) and we intend to see what waders are around on Loch Gruinart..

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Saturday 25th August

A better sort of a day, once the grass had dried up I cut the grass and the net result later on, was that we had 18 Pied Wagtail on the newly mown grass.. Later on around 7.30 pm, there were over 30 Swallows hawking over the crop catching food. Out on one of our buddleia bushes, we had at least 10 different butterflies, mostly Tortoiseshell and Peacock. Mid afternoon, there were a couple of Peregrines flying above the old church with another one perched away along the crag, spotted by Margaret. Yesterday, I briefly saw a Sparrowhawk flying out of the cover crop...
Today also Distillery Dave had seen  a White tailed Eagle over behind Ballygrant. In at Finlaggan, he saw a male Hen Harrier and back home at Rockside he saw a female Sparrowhawk up behind the steading.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Friday 24th August

Sorry about not writing an entry yesterday, but after a day travelling home and emptying the car out, I felt rather tired, not that I feel that much better tonight. Yesterday evening, from the ferry we saw quite a lot of Manx Shearwaters as well as some Gannets.
This morning, David Formby who is now retired after being our dentist here on Islay for a good few years popped in for a catch up with us. David was telling us that he had a flock of 150 Greylags seen over at Gruinart while walking along the moorland track, he also note seeing a Barnacle goose with them as well. While David was here, we had great delight in seeing a male Redpoll out on the feeders.
If any visitors are around, next Tuesday is the time when the Islay bird nerds will be meeting, for their monthly catch up, and hopefully I will have got it all arranged over the next couple of days, so keep an eye open for the venue and the starting time folks...

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Wednesday 22nd August

Some waders seen by James Butcher on Loch Gruinart  today included 2000+ Dunlin, 200+ Sanderling, 43 Blackwits, 23 Knot, 1 Barwit, 87 Curlew and 4 Turnstone.

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.