Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Tuesday 15th January

Another windy day out here again but not too windy as the ferry has been sailing back and forward all day, and better still, it was not too windy for the first day of the International Goose count taking place.
James had been out today helping out with the Goose count today. Out over Borichil Mor, he had seen 2 Golden Eagles, a Sparrowhawk and also a male Hen Harrier. Down on the reserve at Gruinart, James saw a White tailed Eagle, a Merlin and also the Little Egret was spotted as well. All we can add to James ' list was the sighting a Sparrowhawk flying back and forward, at least on 3 different occasions across our garden...

Monday, 14 January 2019

Monday 14th January

Sorry not many birds tonight, partly due to the fact that nobody has been in touch with any sightings and another reason is that I have got a cracker of a toothache, so just some armchair birding from here... This morning, Margaret had a ringtail Hen Harrier doing a fly past out in front of the big window... This afternoon, she the Sparrowhawk out on the wing here as well, and all I saw was 4 Whoopers fly over just before I set out for the dentist!!!

For those of you who might be over on Islay on Tuesday 29th of January, it is the date for the evening out  when the bird nerds will be having their evening bar supper in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore. All welcome, give me shout by Friday 18th, so I can confirm numbers. Another request, please check out the menu online and let me know what you want to eat, so that Archie knows what to prepare...

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Sunday 13th January

I might have joked about winding the camera up in last night's entry, well today  was not exactly the day to go and use it, 2 small problems, the weather and there was not a lot of birds out there to get some happy snaps taken... may be tomorrow..

Bob was on the phone at lunch time with some birds... Yesterday, he had a couple of Mistle Thrush in Gleann Mor up beside his house. Bob too has been having Barn Owls visiting him. In his garden he has been seeing 2 pairs of Collared Doves and today he counted 50 House Sparrows in his garden.

Distillery Dave and his wife Ann were round for a natter, over a well deserved cuppa this afternoon. Round at Rockside, they saw a Kestrel and then a ringtail Hen Harrier down at their road end when they came up to here. Later on "DJ"  and Derek dropped in for a "newsie", great to see you folks..

On a footnote, the wind is still puffing away good style outside at present....

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Saturday 12th January

2 sightings through from Mandy which she told me about today while in for a cuppa and catch up...

She had seen a juv Glaucous Gull down in one of  the fields below her house at Carnduncan at the tail end of last week. On Wednesday, when she was out helping with the Goose count, she had seen a Whitefront with a neck collar fitted to it. Once I hear back from the folk in charge of the Whitefronts, I will let you know of where and when it was originally fitted with the collar.
Malcolm had emailed through earlier on today to say that he had 31 Collared Doves in on his bird food, before the holidays he was only feeding 20 of them so wondered where the "extras" had come from.. Another point of interest through from Malcolm was that he counted 55 House Sparrows. SNH had published some stats earlier this week which show that the population of House Sparrows had increased by over 50% between 1994 to 2017, down in England and Wales over the same time period, the Sparrows had declined by 20%. I know our numbers are well up here at home, but do not have any base period to relate to... George E Jackson caught and fitted rings to 92 House Sparrows up here this year over a total of 11 sessions, and there are still a lot of them with no bling on yet.... So may be that could be a wee job for tomorrow, to try to count who is about, better go and wind the camera up!!

Friday, 11 January 2019

Friday 11th January

A few birds again, so here goes...
This morning around 9 o'clock, when I was on the phone, I happened to look out the window and saw 2 Fulmars soaring along the front of the crag, a sure sign that the winds are due to pick up ... And now I have just read that Calmac have cancelled tomorrow's sailing from Port Askaig to Colonsay, and also the return ferry tomorrow evening back from Kennacraig, which has a knock on effect as thee will be no sailing from Port Ellen on Sunday morning either.. "Normal service due to resume on Sunday at 13.00 from Kennacraig".
Back to birds again.. Gary was up for a catch up later on this morning, and we all saw a Golden Eagle out from another of the windows. We watched it being mobbed by the 2 local Ravens and then being dive bombed by the other locals, the 2 Buzzards. Shortly afterwards that pesky Sparrowhawk skipped past low down and away on...

On a closing note, the wind has started to pick up already with a huff and a puff outside already!!!

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Hursday 10th January

Today, Gary had been down on the Oa where he had a flock of Twite, numbering "several hundred birds". He had also seen 4 Choughs down there as well. Coming back along the "Low road", Gary saw a male Hen Harrier close to the Machrie. Back up at Finlaggan , and he had another male Hen Harrier seen. Here at home this morning, and Margaret had a ringtail Hen Harrier float over the garden out from the big gable end window....  Fantastic, a real garden bird, it better be here for the "Big garden bird watch" at the end of the month!!!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Wednesday 9th January

Some sightings through from Gary seen yesterday. Between Torabus and Ardnahoe, he saw a Peregrine chasing a Rock Dove. Out on the water on Ardnahoe Loch, he had 2 Dabchick, and then Gary saw a juv. White tailed Eagle out over the surrounding hills. Down at Finlaggan, there were 4 Dabchicks present. Down between Bowmore Harbour and the Gaelic centre, Gary counted 56 Pale belied Brent Geese.
This morning in the wee sma' hours, here at home, the Barn Owl was caught on camera for less than a minute..
Mike, this morning, in near perfect, calm conditions, had counted the following birds out on Loch Indaal from Blackrock...6 Long tailed Duck, 32 Red breasted Merganser,  21 Eider, 2 Goldeneye, 16 Slavonian Grebe, 21 GND and also 3 RTD.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Tuesday 8th January

A better day today, at least I have got some more sightings in for you all to appreciate!!!

Mid morning, and Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier float along the line of the garden fence and on its way onwards..  Shortly after that, we had a dark bird of prey out of the big gable end window, but neither of us had that great a view of it to say what it was with 100% accuracy, so I went out with my bins to see if I could see it. No joy, but on scanning all around, I did seed see a couple of Buzzards mobbing a Golden Eagle away out over the hill behind Rockside. Better was still to come as the Buzzards dropped back onto their patch with the Eagle proceeding to fly along over the crag and it was joined by a second Golden Eagle before they both dropped down behind the crag, out of sight. That pesky Sparrowhawk has been close to hand again today, whether it has got the taste and mastered the knack of catching the odd wee bird, say no more...

James today had counted 9,373 Barnies on the reserve at Gruinart today, he also had a flock of 114 Dunlin as well as a large flock of Golden Plovers as well, but did not manage an accurate count of them... James also saw the Little Egret at Gruinart, out from the hide...  

Monday, 7 January 2019

Monday 7th January

You can always tell when I write a lot of woffle about the weather, the ferries and soon you realise that I have few reports of birds being sent through, well tonight is one of those days .... the morning ferry diverted up to Port Askaig, the beauty of having 2 ferry terminals on Islay... Yes, I suppose it was quite windy and a lot worse up North with several ferries being cancelled.
The only bird that I can speak about is... yes, the Sparrowhawk was sitting on the wall down beside the bird crop,watching and looking for any wee birds, but they, I presume had gone in to hiding, as I certainly did not spot any... Needless to say, he too eventually took off and flew away!!!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Sunday 6th January

The weather has been gie dreich out here today, with the mist struggling to get off the top of the crag!!!
Yesterday, James had seen5 Purple Sandpiper when up at Ardnave.
This morning, I counted 15 Pheasants down in the birdseed crop, there is still plenty of food in the crop for them to root about for. Later on, I saw that pesky Sparrowhawk  having a fly past on a look and see basis, as it never deviated from its' flight path at all!!!

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Saturday 5th January

Forgot last night to mention that I had a Snipe take off down in our garden.... Another thing that should have been mentioned was that we too have got snowdrops in flower, sorry James!!!
Today, another day and the Barn Owl was out and about at the back of 6 am... Lesley came up for a cuppa late morning, and we had a couple of Kestrel out on the wing over the bird crop, and then when I was checking up on something else, Lesley saw a Linnet just beyond the bird table... That was in the morning...Mid afternoon, and Mandy came for a welcome catch up... She had just seen a ringtail Hen Harrier over at Saligo, on her way to here. Better was still to come with a cracking view of a male Hen Harrier following the fence line round the edge of the garden.. To finish off Mandy's visit, there was a Sparrowhawk sitting down below the Pheasant feeder... Margaret saw a Merlin crash into the kitchen window,  it flew away none the worse for wear!!

Friday, 4 January 2019

Friday 4th January

Forgot to mention that James has got his Snowdrops flowering at Mill Cottage, and yes I can verify this as we saw them back on Tuesday when we were round visiting him...
Not a lot on the bird front today... But this morning, the ringtail Hen Harrier floated past over the bird seed crop and kept going, not like the Merlin yesterday!! Down on the rocks just out of Bruichladdich, there were 2 Curlew perched up as I went down to Port Charlotte around midday.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Thursday 3rd January

Yesterday, James had seen an adult White tailed Eagle making a nuisance of itself as it was chasing the Barnies around to no real avail...
Mike today e mailed through to say that he had seen the leucistic Common Gull down on Machir Bay, and over at Gruinart the adult White tailed Eagle was harassing the Barnies again!!! Here at home, a quick glance out of the window, and I saw a Merlin zip past and then it did  a sharp turn back round the bird feeders and nobble a Dunnock. Say no more on that subject... Yes, life can be tough sometimes!!!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Wednesday 2nd January

Good friend Marsali, sent through the figures for the rainfall in December over at Mulindry. Being closer to the hills than we are here at Kilchoman, Marsali's tally for December was 6.68 inches, while the total for the year came to 55.8 inches. Marsali also told me that the annual total was the driest since 2010, say no more, Mrs T!!!

Yesterday, Mike had seen a pair of Bullfinches eating the willow buds while he was out on the track leading to the Forest up behind Bunnahabhain. Today, he bettered yesterday figures by seeing 5 Bullfinches while on the track  to Bolsay up behind Port Charlotte... Gary today had seen 2 Golden Eagles chasing the geese over Keills. Bob, was up visiting us today and just after he left here, he saw a female Kestrel. Just after lunch, we had 3 Greenfinches out on the feeders, up here at home.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Tuesday 1st January

Well, as promised the rainfall figures for December.... The tally for the month came to 5.1 inches with the total for 2018 coming to 48.55 inches or 1233 mm if you understand metric measurements...
The total figure was slightly drier than normal, as we usually think of a figure of around 50 inches in
total.. the tally for 2017 came to 51.75 while back in 2016 was 45.9 inches..

On the bird front, today at home, we have seen 2 different Hen Harriers up here at home, a Raven came in to take pole position up on the top of the gable end of the old church next door,  there were 3 Buzzards circling around over the crag mid afternoon. Also seen were some Goldfinches, a Great Tit and later on a Blue Tit on the feeders as well as numerous Chaffinches and House Sparrows.