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....