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.