Monday, 19 March 2018

Monday 19th March

Yesterday, Gary had seen 2 White tailed Eagles up at Bunnahabhain and a Peregrine flying across the Sound of Islay to Jura. Down at Persabus, he saw 3 Bullfinches in the hedge at the roadside. The Horwich birders are back after a few years absence, good to see you back on Islay again. Yesterday, they had been in Bridgend woods noting a Dipper on the Rive Sorn, a Grey Wagtail at The Woollen Mill. Also present on the feeders there,  were large numbers of Chaffinches, Blue Tit and Great Tit along with some Robins and Blackbirds. They also had seen 30 very vocal Redwing in the tree tops. On the new weir which feeds the water for the new small hydro scheme at Ballygrant, they saw another Grey Wagtail.. finally, they saw 160 Golden Plover over at Ballinaby. Also present were a few Lapwing and some Common Gulls.
Today, round at Kilchiaran, Lesley Silcock had seen a total of 4 Wheatears. Down on the Oa, Phill had seen 5 Whooper Swan, a Curlew, 3 Lapwing, 127 Whitefronts, 6 Chough, 2 Buzzard, a Kestrel, a White tailed Eagle and a Snipe. Not the warmest of days again, at least it remained dry, some of the farmers have been out with their ploughs. I took our wee tractor out to, and rotovated the ground where we sow some crops for the birds. I will rotovate the ground again every 10 days or so in an attempt to try to kill off the "couch grass", before sowing it in late April / early May weather permitting.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Sunday 18th March

A bit of a late entry tonight folks, but better late than never. No, my brain has not frozen yet, certainly not Spring weather out here yet, but managed along with good friend Distillery Dave to put up some more nest boxes, so we both will wait in anticipation..
Yesterday Dave and Jean Killick had walked through from Ballygrant to Port Askaig ... Ballygrant Loch held a Kingfisher, 25 Tufted Duck and a Dabchick. On Loch nan Cadhan, there was a drake Goldeneye along with 2 females. Further on, around the Lily Loch, 5 Herons were present. In the fields they had seen several small flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare,  and also a pair of Stonechats. Coming over the "glen road" towards Mulindry, they saw a male Hen Harrier. This morning, Mary Redman had seen her first Wheatear of the year down at Claddach at Portnahaven. She also had a small group of 8 Golden Plovers there as well. Mary also commented on seeing "Gulls being on territory, a sure sign  that Spring is here" not quite agreeing with you on that comment, Mary!!! Last Tuesday, Mary had seen a juv. White tailed Eagle being harassed by several gulls out over the bay.
Today, here at home, there were 29 Greylags and a Barnacle Goose out on the grass around 8 am. Late afternoon, James and Margaret saw a Kestrel flying along the front of the crag, the first seen for a long time.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Saturday 17th March

An even colder day out here today, had to look out a vest to wear to keep me warm, what a big "sap" I must be turning into..
Yesterday, Mandy reported through to say that over on the feeders at her home at Carnduncan, she had a Blue Tit  plus her garden ticks of Dunnock, Wren, Blackbirds, Robin, Chaffinch and Song Thrush plus the regular pair of Great Tits. Today, Mandy had seen a Redwing in her garden, keep it up Mandy!!! Yesterday, Dave and Jean Killock had walked from along the River Sorn from Bridgend up to The Woollen Mill. On the River, they saw a Dipper and also a Grey Wagtail. Other birds of note seen were 5 Siskins and 2 Treecreepers. Over at Eollabus they had 2 Red legged Partridges and a Redwing. Coming back up to our cottage at the dusk this evening, I saw the Hares out again.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Friday 16th March

Another cool day out here again, with the wind upping its' strength, Calmac have already stated that there may be some disruption with the ferry tomorrow... 
Jim Dickson was in touch  to say that there was a "reported" sighting of a Sandwich Tern down at Machir Bay today.  Here at home, the wee birds have been busy at the feeders for most of the day, and we had a Siskin today again. Out on the grass, we had 7 Greylags present in the morning, but by mid afternoon the flock was up to 11 geese, but no collars/ leg rings on...Forgot to mention last night that we saw the Iceland Gull at Ballinaby and on our way home, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen below  Leek.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Thursday 15th March

Another day when the weather was decidedly cool..
Yesterday Louise had seen a Dipper on the River Sorn in Bridgend Woods. Later on, she saw a Common Sandpiper,  North of Loch Gorm. This morning, Phill had a count of 37 Whooper Swans on Loch Dubh which is on the Duich Moss on the "Low road" between Bowmore and Port Ellen. James had seen Woodcock on the reserve at Gruinart. Here at home this afternoon, we had 20 Greylags down beside the pond, and just before 5 pm, 3 of them browsing around up on the grass around the house..

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Wednesday 14th March

Been a bit on the cool side to call it a "Spring day", and to  cap it all the ferry came and went first thing this morning and decided to call it a day from 1300 hours, so tomorrow the boat will be busy playing catch up, if it comes...
So some catch up and also some sightings from today, so here we go. Back on Sunday evening when we arrived home 3 Hares were outside on the grass, as we drove up towards the cottage, another 4 ran in beside the game crop with a different 3 on the garden grass. I heard this morning that there was a reported sighting of a Wheatear up at Ardnave Point on Monday, if I get any more info regarding who saw it, I will keep you posted. Returning birders, Dave and Jean Killick, yesterday had seen a good number of Common Scoter, over 70 Eider, 10 GND, 2 RTD, at least 10 Slav Grebes and a drake Long tailed Duck out on Loch Indaal. At Finlaggan, they saw an Iceland Gull, 2 Dabchick and a Peregrine. In the afternoon, they walked up from Bunnahabhain in towards Loch Staoisha spotting a distant adult White tailed Eagle, an adult and also an immature  Golden Eagle plus a pair of Hen Harriers. On the trees they saw 2 Crossbills and another 5 mobile birds around as well. They also had a mixed flock of around 40 birds, mainly Chaffinches, but there was a Brambling, 6 Siskins and some  Lesser Redpolls along with them too. At breakfast time, this morning I counted 32 Rock Doves out on the grass, yes, they getting larger in number and possibly size by coming in around the feeders!!!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tuesday 13th March

It might have been sunny, but the temperature was not that hot, in fact there has been a cool edge to the wind this afternoon, having said that I did some tidying up work outside this morning and then late afternoon, I got the paint brush out and put some preservative on the nest boxes which we received through from good friend Wally last week, so all gong well, if the weather is kind, we should get them up this weekend.
Peter Roberts had seen 4 pale bellied Brent Geese and counted 26 GND out on Loch Indaal from his lounge window in Bruichladdich. Today, James had counted 11,660 Barnies, 169 Whitefronts and 2 Greylags on the reserve at Gruinart. He also saw an Iceland Gull down at Bruichladdich.

Mondaty 12th March

Gary had seen an immature Golden Eagle fly across the Sound of Islay from Bunnahabhain across to Jura, and later on he had a female Hen Harrier fly from Jura across to Islay... He also saw a distant Golden Eagle over the North end of Islay! Down at Finlaggan, Gary had 9 Crossbill in the trees there, with a Glaucous Gull and an Iceland Gull present amongst other Gulls seen there. Along on the short grass beside Finlaggan House, 2 Chough were present. Finally, Gary had a Yellowhammer back at his house.  Here at home, we had 4 Siskin on the feeders amongst the 20 plus clamouring Goldfinches. We also saw a Golden Eagle flying high over the hill behind Sunderland Farm and late afternoon a couple of Lesser bb Gulls flew along the crag. Just before lunchtime I spotted a Fulmar flying along the front of the crag and head on, out towards the sea.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Sunday 11th March

Gary, today had seen 4 Snow Bunting down at Carnain, and he also spotted a White tailed Eagle out on the merse below Bridgend. Back at home, he had 10 Siskins on his feeders with a mewing Buzzard flying overhead. While waiting on the evening ferry to return to Islay, I saw a Redshank and also a Greenshank beside the causeway at Kennacraig. There was also a beautiful drake Teal resplendent in glorious plumage in the failing light. There were also 6 Tysties in at pier head as well.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Saturday 10th March

Quite a few sightings from yesterday which came through after I had done the entry last night...
Fiona MacGillivray had ben down on the Machitr Bay where she saw an injured goose being chased by a Glaucous Gull, then an adult White tailed Eagle joined in the fray, chasing the goose out to sea. The goose drooped down into the water, the W t Eagle cicled, and gave up and flew back towards Coull where it was joined by a second W t Eagle and also a Golden Eagle.
Yesterday was Kathy Evans last full day of her present visit. While having  her breakfast, a Peregrine flew past her window in Bowmore, out on Loch Indaal. Along at the council refuse tip at Gartbreck, Kathy had 2 juv Iceland Gull and her first Lbb Gull for 2018. Down on the Oa, top bird was another Peregrine close to Cragabus. Finaly down at Kintra, Kathy had  a group of  Greylags, 7 of  which had neck collars on them.
Yesterday was also William Earp's last full day as well before heading home. At Bun an Uisg, Bowmore he saw 7 P b Brent Geese with another 4 seen at  Gortan. Along the top of of Loch Indaal, towards Uiskentuie, William saw a BTD and also 3 Slavonian Grebe. Many thanks to William and to Kathy for sharing some of their sightings with us.
James yesterday said that it was a "lovely sunny day, almost Spring like"...  He had a count of  255 Dunlin on the flats, and was saying that the Lapwing present were displaying.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Friday 9th March

An early entry tonight as I am going out shortly..
Mainly,  some sightings through from yesterday. William Earp's top birds were as follows: Off Bowmore he had 7 P B Brent Geese, Ardnahoe Loch held 8 Whoopers including 4 juveniles. Up at Bunnahabhain, a Grey Wagtail was seen while out in the Bay, north of the distillery, an Otter was present. Down at Finlaggan, he had a juv Iceland Gull. Over at Gruinart, he counted 207 Golden Plover along the flats, some of which were starting to wear their summer plumage. From the hide at Gruinart, 2 Greenshank were seen, up at Ardnave, he had a flock of around 30 Chough and finally at the dusk, he had some Woodcock, at Gruinart. Kathy had a male Hen Harrier south of Dunlossit, a pale leucistic Barnacle Goose amongst a large flock of geese North of Cluanach. Down close to Kildalton Cross, she had 3 Yellowhammers and finally along at Claggain Bay, a Long tailed Tit. Peter Roberts had a Razorbill beside the pier at Bruichladdich. This afternoon,  Mandy was in touch to say that she had seen 4 Whitefronts with neck collars fitted in a small flock of around 20 or so geese below Carnduncan.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Thursday 8th March

On his way home yesterday afternoon, Distilery Dave had seen 2 drake Goldeneye off the mouth of the "Grey River" at Uikentuie. Also yesterday, William Earp had seen a Merlin at Saligo Bay. Along towards Sunderland, William had seen the leucistic Common Gull.
Today, George E.  Jackson and his wife Pat had spent some time up at Ardnave  seeing 6 Mute Swan on Ardnave Loch itself. Up at the mouth of Loch Gruinart, they saw a RTD, a GND, a Red breasted Merganser and also a Tystie. On the shore, the usual birds were present, some Ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatchers and a single Turnstone, 4 Rock Pipit were present as well with 2 Curlews noted up in the dunes.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Wednesday 7th March

Some more sightings through from some visiting birders... Yesterday, later on once he was out and about, William Earp had seen an Iceland Gull down towards the refuse site at Gartbreck, and he also had a male Hen Harrier in the same area as well.. At the bottom end of the "high road", he saw a Merlin. Down in the bay at Port Ellen, towards the harbour, he saw 4 RTD and a GND. Over on the Oa, he saw a small flock of 30 Twite sitting on the fence wires close to Upper Killeyan. Coming back out from the Oa, he saw a pair of Golden Eagles mating.  Kathy, today had a great start for her day this morning, spotting 3 female Scaup through her scope set up in her bedroom. shortly after that she had an Iceland Gull flying past. Along at The Woollen Mill, she saw a Dipper on the River Sorn with a female siskin seen on the feeders there.  An Otter was present at Bunnahabhain. Back down at the mouth of the Grey River at Uiskentuie, Kathy had another Iceland Gull. At Bruichladdich, she saw 4 Purple Sandpiper.  Down on the Rhinns itself she saw a pair of Golden Eagle. Gary today had a pair of Chough at Mulreesh and later on a Golden Eagle out from Lagavullin. Pat Jackson saw a Glaucous Gull down on Machir Bay this morning.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Tuesday 6th March

A bit of a late day, but been rather a busy day today. Been a busy day from the birding point of view as well, so off we go..
Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen a Golden Eagle at Sunderland Farm on his way to work. Also yesterday, David Wood watched a juv White tailed Eagle trying to unsuccessfully catch and drown a Merganser close to the shore at Kilnaughton Bay. Yesterday also, in the afternoon, visiting birder William Earp had a Golden Eagle as the ferry approached Port Askaig. This morning William saw a an Iceland Gull perched on top of the school roof in Bowmore. On the feeders in the garden of where he is staying , a female Siskin was present. Another visiting birder, Kathy had seen 5 Snow Bunting along at Carnain. Over at Gruinart, she saw 2 Ruff in a large mixed flock of Starlings, Golden Plovers and Lapwing as she was driving along the flats, after the turnoff up to Craigens.. She had also seen a juv White tailed Eagle trying to unsuccessfully nobble a goose down over the merse at Whin Park

Monday, 5 March 2018

Monday 5th March

Back on Saturday, Phill had a couple of Crossbills in at Finlaggan. Later on the same day, he saw  2 Bullfinches, a Treecreeper, a Snipe, a Song Thrush and also a lovely flock of Long tailed Tits at Dunlossit. Here at the bolt hole, we had a pair of Siskins on the feeders, the first I have seen since last Autumn...a great sighting !!!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Sunday 4th March

Yesterday, George E. Jackson had commented on the amount of fresh goose droppings that he had seen down on the Machir Bay, presumably barnacle goose dropping after roosting on the bay after the full moon that we have had this week. Beside the pool at the carpark there, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Golden Plover, (1 complete with black under belly) and also 4 "alba" White Wagtails were seen. On the dunes, there were 3 Lapwing along with 20 Oystercatcher and then a group of 40/50 boisterous Chough. Finally, he managed to flush a Jack Snipe out of the marram grass. In the afternoon returning up from Port Ellen along the high road, he saw 4 Redwing and also 3 Fieldfare. Finally back at Rockside, George had a distant Golden Eagle out over the distillery. Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen a Snipe and 2 Woodcock down at Cornabus Plantation. Today, down on the "duck pond" behind Machir bay, Dave saw 6 Whooper Swan and counted 36 Chough poking and probing in the Machir itself. Gary and Sam had seen 2 Crossbills in the trees at Staoisha and when returning home, a Golden Eagle flew over Heather house beside Caol Ila.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Saturday 3rd March

Sorry folks, but I have no Islay reports through tonight.. but down here  in residence in our wee bolt  hole, I have been kept out of mischief as I have been busy clearing the snow away. It has been quite bad, and luckily there has not been much wind otherwise we could have had problems with snow drifts.. Having said that, the snow that I have been shifting was at least 16 inches of level snow, quite tiring work when all I had was an "Armstrong loader" and a shovel. On the Bird front in at the feeders, we have had 2 Yellowhamers,  5 Brambling, around a dozen Long tailed Tits, several Coal Tits, several Dunnocks, 3 Bullfinch, as well as other species, including a pair of Tree Sparrows. No sign so far of the Greater spotted Woodpecker that we had seen in previous visits. There were 16 Woodpigeon scoffing the food outside this afternoon, and this morning Margaret saw a Magpie out in the garden!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Friday 2nd March

Back on Tuesday, George E. Jackson had seen a male Pheasant nosing about in the sea weed down at the water's edge along past Ardbeg. He also said there were some Oystercatchers in the same location too. Yesterday, Phill had 12 Ringed Plover down in the bay at Port Ellen. He also saw 12 Oystercatcher and 2 Common Gulls there as well. Distillery Dave saw a Merlin zip across the road in front of him on his way home from Kilchoman.  Today, Gary had a count of 11 Snipe and also 7 Snow Bunting down at Carnain. Gary on his way home had a male Hen Harrier  fly across the road at Keppols just out of Ballygrant. George E Jackson had a count of 24 Whitefronts out towards the War Graves cemetery at Kilchoman with 15 Chaffinch and 8 Goldfinch in at the feeders ..Pat and Angie had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier down towards Gartbreck

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Thursday 1st March

The other day Phill had seen the Todd's Canada Goose down at Kinnabus, and then later on he saw a Lesser Black backed Gull. James had a count of geese on the reserve at Gruinart, with his tally coming to 4230 Barnies and 241 Whitefronts. He also had a Golden Eagle while he was out. Today, Phill had seen a couple of Golden Eagles  at Upper Cragabus, and along at the carpark on the Oa reserve, he saw 6 Golden Plover and also 3 Chough. Out at the American monument, he had a single Snow Bunting while on the cliffs there was a "lost" looking Lapwing. Up behind Bridgend, Pat and Angie had seen a 1st winter Golden Eagle while at Bunnahabhain, they saw an Otter.