Thursday, 15 November 2018

Thursday 15th November

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

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Wednesday 14th November

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

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Tuesday 13th November

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

Monday, 12 November 2018

Monday 12th November

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


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

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Sunday 11th November

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

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Saturday 10th November

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

Friday, 9 November 2018

Friday 9th November

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

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Thursday 8th November

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

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Wednesday 7th November

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

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Tuesday 6th November

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

Monday, 5 November 2018

Monday 5th November

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

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Sunday 4th November

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

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Saturday 3rd November

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

Friday, 2 November 2018

Friday 2nd November

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

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Thursday 1st November

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


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