Saturday, 24 August 2019

Saturday 24th August

Mandy had seen a male Hen Harrier down below Carnduncan. Shortly afterwards she saw a Sparrowhawk fly acros the road betwen Coull and the Coastguards and to finish her sightings off Mandy had a Grey Wagtail down at Kilcoman House... This morning I had a White Wagtail down on the grass beside our wee pond...

Friday, 23 August 2019

Friday 23rd August

This afternoon, Dave Wood had seen an Osprey flying over the Oa, it then headed out over the sea and flew on towards Northern Ireland...

Mind the Islay bird nerds are meeting on Tuesday at 6 pm, so hopefully we shall see some folk there. We will  meet up at the carpark at Killeyan.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Thursday 22nd August

Yesterday, James had seen a Ruff and also 34 Black tailed Godwits on the reserve at Gruinart. This morning, before the weather broke down (big style...), James had the following birds seen again at Gruinart.... 43 Bar tailed Godwits, 20 Knot, 2 Osprey, a Merlin and a Peregrine.

While I remember, the monthly meeting/ catch up of the Islay bird nerds will be held on Tuesday 27th, at 6 pm. We shall be meeting at the car park at Killeyan on the Oa. If the meeting is in doubt, please contact David Wood on 01496 300118 by 5 pm for an update if there is a change in venue. Pleae note the earlier start....

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Wednesday 21st August



This cheeky Sparrowhawk was caught on camera by myself at breakfast time this morning, it was there for the best part of 20 minutes trying to get a Starling out from the feeding cage here at home. The Starling was sensible to remain in the middle of the cage, well out of range of the Sparrowhawk!

Mid morning, the wind picked up and it started to rain around the same time, but now early evening, normal servivce has resumed, little wind and no rain...

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Tuesday 20th August

A kinder sort of a day with the weather, I even managed to dig and lift our tatties today....  we only grew 2 varieties, Charlotte and Rooster, so all going well I might get them stored away tomorrow, for use later in the year, fingers crossed. Both varieties seemed to have done well...

Coming back along the high road from Port Ellen, late afternoon, we had a ringtail Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of us, just as we approached Torra. This evening, up here at home, we had a fly past by a Buzzard, high up over the house. There was also a large number of Jackdaws all perched on the overhead power cables.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Monday 19th August

The weather out here, well in a few short words, not very nice...  mind you the poor weather certainly helpd to attract numerous birds today to our feeders, just as well that we ordered some more the other week...

The high number of House Sparrows that are around here is something else at present, no Tree Sparrows, still a lot of Linnets around, but mainly on the areas specially sown for the birds to munch through... another bird in short numbers is the Goldfinch, but be patient, they will return..

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Sunday 18th August

On Friday morning, George E. Jackson had seen a juv. Stonechat on the garden fence at "Horizons", one the bungalows at Rockside road end.. Shortly afterwards, between the Coastguard's cottages and  Machir Bay, George had a male Stonechat, carrying a beakfull of food, so probably for its' young close at hand.... Early evening back along at "Horizons", there were around 10 Swallows  and in with them a couple of House Martins, which had a good inspection  of the nest box which son Matthew has put up... Time yet, possibly to get a late brood away???

Malcolm yesterday had seen 6 Turnstones, the first seen by him this Summer/Autumn. They were down close to Gortan, along from the coal yard.

Over at Gruinart, James had seen 37 Knot, 12 Blackwits, 3 Greenshank and a Peregrine, all yesterday.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Saturday 17th August

On Thursday, David Livingstone had seen a group of 4 Choughs over on the Big strand down beside Kintra. One of the Choughs had coloured leg rings on, and on checking with Eric Bignal, the bird was a youngster born down on the Oa this year. 

The weather out here has been quite windy with the odd shower of rain in the mix, not as wet as other places. I was hearing from folk down in Bolton who told me that so far they have had almost 6 inches of rain so far this month, up here have had just over  2 inches !!!!

Friday, 16 August 2019

Friday 16th August

George E Jackson sent some sightings from through the week...
Coming back home on Tuesday evening, they had seen a Barn Owl between Sunderland Farm and Rockside. On Wednesday morning down on Machir bay, 7 Greylags were seen, but George also commented on the amount of Goose footprints seen up the Coull end (North end) seen there over the past few days.. Other birds seen there included 5 Chough, as well as 15 Ringed Plovers. On the fence along the edge of the dunes around 40 Linnets were counted with 15 Sand Martins out feeding. A Stonechat was seen there as well. Up in the reed bed, a Sedge Warbler was present. In the afternoon, over at Finlaggan, they had a family group of 4 Stonechats and then separately, another 2 Stonechats. Also, sitting on a fence post in at Finlaggan was a Buzzard. Yesterday, they had gone over to Jura, up from Craighouse and before Ardlussa, they had 5 pair of Mute Swans seen, none of which appeared to have any youngsters... From the ferry coming back from Feolin they had seen an Otter, in the middle of the Sound of Islay.

Today, Richard Williams and his wife came and visited for a well earned cuppa and catch up, great when visitors throw their sightings at me for to use on the blog... It has been their first visit to Islay and by the way they both spoke, it will not be their last, just spread the words around folks...

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Thursday 15th August

Well late morning/ early afternoon I managed to cut the grass which is just as well as the weather has gone downhill since with a few showers of rain falling since then, and by the sound of the forecast, more heavy rain is coming in later on tonight and tomorrow...

Peter and Mike had spent a couple of hours doing a 2 hour stint of sea watching down at Frenchman's Rocks this morning. During a 30 minute spell, they had a passage of 70 Manx Shearwater going past.. They also had seen plenty of Gannets, with a smaller number of Kittiwakes and Fulmars on passage but no Auks were seen at all. Top birds were 2 Arctic Skuas (1 Dark and also a light phased bird) as well as a Great Skua.

Richard Williams had seen a Wheatear down at Kintra today, also seen was a Rock Pipit  and also a Buzzard on top of a fence post with many Greylags seen in the fields in the same area.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Wednesday 14th August

A mixed  sort of a day with the weather, no shorts being worn!!! Having said that I managed to lift some of our tatties today... As I write this entry, there is a rather watery looking sky outside!!!

This morning on his way to work, Phill had seen 2 Sandwich Terns on the "North beach" at Port Ellen which were present along with 5 Common gulls and also 12 Mallard.

Richard Williams had been over at Claggain Bay where he saw 6 Red throated Divers close in to the shore. Also in the bay, Richard had seen 3 Eider and a Guillemot. On shore, he had a Goldcrest and also several groups of Coal Tits and Long tailed Tits. Earlier on, close to KildaltonCross Richard had seen 2 Common Whitethroats.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Tuesday 13th August

Another glorious day, warm enough for me to be wearing shorts, proud to be showing my lily white legs off...
Richard Williams, today, had been on the guided walk on the Oa, and got caught in a shower of rain... Top birds seen by Richard was a male Hen Harrier, just befor the actual walk started. On the walk itself, they had seen some Chough, a mixed flock of Linnet and Twite and as they were finishing off the walk, a distant Golden Eagle was spotted. Returning back from the Oa,  a female Whinchat was on top of a fence post beside the road. At Caraig Fhada, a Sparrowhawk was present with a Guillemot seen there as well.
Gary had seen 3 White tailed Eagles close together on the ground, up near to Ballygrant today. This evening, there were 3 Peregrines cavorting around up here at home, if they would not call, perhaps I would not see them as often. Last night at around 9 pm, in one of the grass fields down at Rockside, I counted over 60 Greylags roosting up for the night.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Monday 12th August

A long day out here today, hence a sort of late entry for you to read...

Yesterday, George E. Jackson had counted 6 Dunlin and also 20 Oystercatchers up at Sanaigmore. In the evening on Machir Bay, he had seen 42 Common Gulls, 2 Dunlin and also 19 Sanderling.

Today, Richard Williams had seen a Barwit and also 2 Arctic Terns on Loch Indaal between Bowmore and Bridgend. Later on over at Portnahaven, Richard had seen 8 Painted Lady butterflies.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Sunday 11th August

Another day with weather similar to yesterday, dry and possibly not so windy.

Yesterday was Al Hart's last full day on Islay for this visit... His daughter, Eleanor had seen a Lizard as she was walking along to Claddach. Out past MacKenzie Island, Al reported on seeing a strong paasage of Gannets and also Manx Shearwaters. He also was saying that there appears to be a pair of Fulmars nesting on the island itself.

Yesterday, Richard Williams and his wife arived on Islay for a week's stay. Coming over on the ferry they had 2 groups of Manxies and also 12 Gannets as they sailed up the Sound of Islay.
Also yesterday, George E. Jackson had been out on the water around Texa, only birds seen were some Shags and a couple of Gannets. In the evening, down on Machir Bay, George had counted 16 Greylags and also 53 waders, which consisted of 4 Ringed Plover, 10 Sanderling, mostly in summer plumage, and the rest being Dunlin, these were mostly all adult birds again in summer plumage, but there were some juvenile birds along with them as well.

This morning, at around 7 o'clock I was lucky to see a couple of Peregrines out way above the crag, it was them calling which gave them away... Shortly afterwards, 2 Choughs flew past and landed on one of  the chimney stacks on the former manse, down below here.
Richard Williams had seen 8 Eider at the head of Loch Indaal this morning and then up at Bun an Uilt, he saw 12 Rock Doves and also a young Buzzard close by. In the afternoon, when up at Ardnave, he saw a Golden Eagle being harassed by some Greylag Geese, a Bonxie was present, 10 Choughs noted and also Wheatears, and some Stonechats were seen as well.

This evening, Distillery Dave saw a Peregrine and a Raven having a tussle together, high up  over the big crag here at home, good spotting by  Dave...

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Saturday 10th August

Through the day out here it has surpisingly kept dry, but now early evening, the wind has picked up quite a bit, bit still remaining dry...

George E. Jackson is back over visiting for another Islay fix. Yesterday, in Bowmore he saw a Sparrowhawk fly over the distillery, it then proceeded to fly out along the village, much to the annoyance of the Swallows, before causing havoc with the Starlings. In the afternoon, up at Killinallan, he had several Dunlin in summer plumage, and he also saw a few Ringed Plover. Up close to the locked gate, a juv. Stonechat was seen.

Early this morning, I saw that pesky Sparrowhawk flying through the Linnet flock, it flew up the top beside our house, resting up on the fence for a few moments and it then flew away... Later on, I saw a Grey Wagtail


This afternoon, Sheila Sim had walked down to the Lily Loch up behind Port Askaig. She had seen the following birds ... Raven, Twite, Siskin, Treecreeper, Wren, Coal Tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Osprey, Hen Harrier and a Robin. A great selection , well done Sheila.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Friday 9th August

Quite a lot of rain through the night, and quite windy as well...

This afternoon, James had seen an Osprey flying over Loch Gorm. Later on, while visiting up here with his father, they saw a Sparrowhawk flying through the Linnet flock. This evening, I was watching 3 Buzzards out flying together over and around the crag, as well as the Peregrine out on the wing as well.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Thursday 8th August

A great day for the local Agricultural Show which was held today. I thought that with little air up here, that the midges could have been out, but not so according to James How.

Today Peter had taken his friends down for a walk on the Oa. Birds seen included a family of 4 Chough with a Golden Eagle out soaring around. They had seen several small groups of around 15 birds in total of mixed Twite along with some Linnets. They also had a single Whinchat and then in a field at Upper Killeyan, they heard a late calling Corncrake.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Wednesday 7th August

Well, because of a power cut last night, I did not manage an entry, but here goes, as ever, better late than never...

Alistair Hart yesterday had seen a Hen Harrier being mobbed by House Martins down beside Octofad.
James had seen a Sparrowhawk on the reserve at Gruinart.
Up here at home, we had the pesky Sparrowhawk sitting out on top of one of the feeding cages, less than 10 feet away. It flew off and thankfully did not "bother" anybody else. I saw a Wheatear on top of the garden wall, the first seen here for a wee while.
Phill Catton had seen a White tailed Eagle being chased by some angry Gulls, all flying low over the harbour in Port Ellen yesterday evening

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Tuesday 6th August

Another very late entry, but here goes anyway.. On Monday, Peter and some of his old friends with whom he used to work with had been out and about.. Over at Finlaggan, they saw 4 Crossbills, and then down at the Bowling Green at Bridgend, they saw a Spotted Flycatcher. Today, while they were up here, they had seen a ringtail Hen Harier out over the Machir.

Louise was in touch with the figures from the Corncrake surveys carried out this year. The tally came to 53 calling males, down from last year, but at least a lot more than in the early 2000s when we only had single figures in calling birds heard...

James last night had seen a Barn Owl and today he had a Green Sandpiper both on the reserve at Gruinart.

Monday 5th August

Meant to put these pearls of wisdom down for you last night, but did not because it had been a long day, so here goes...Bob and Lesley had carried out their WeBS count from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock on Sunday. Their birds were as follows... 2 Herons, 5 Cormorants, 4 Tysties, 44 Greylags, 2 Shelduck, 16 Eider, 1 Curlew, 18 Oystecatcher, 45 Dunlin, 75 Ringed Plover, 2 Gbb Gulls, 34 Herring Gull, 14 Common Gulls and 1 Black headed Gull.

Back on Saturday morning, Islay Heads, on his way to his work at Kilchoman Distillery, had seen an Osprey carrying a large fish "torpedo style" at less than 30 metres away down above Loch Gorm.
Up here, the Linnet flock appears to be getting larger in number each day, perhaps the birds themselves are getting larger themselves as well!!! I saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the Machir on Sunday afternoon. The Peregrine is being heard more regularly of late as well, and the Sparrowhawk has been here annoying the wee birds, but I suppose one should expect the large spectrum of raptors with so many small birds around as well...

On Sunday, Kathy Hart, Al's other half had seen a  common Lizard out sunning itself beside the War Memorial between Port Wemyss and Portnahaven. Yesterday, they had seen some Ravens out flying around Easter Ellister,  and shortly afterward, they had great viewing of a Stoat close to Port Bhan.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Sunday 4th August

A cooler but mostly a dry day...

The Jackdaws were around again, so I took some pity on them and threw a little food but not a lot on the ground, they did not waste much time in devouring the food on offer..

Good  friend, Marsali sent me through her rainfall figures for June and July read over at her rain guage at Mulindry. The  June tally was 1.64 of an inch while the  July figure was 6.24 inches , the wettest month so far in 2019.

Earlier in the week, Marsali had counted over 100 Starlings on the overhead cables leading to their house, no signs of any Rose coloured Starlings though...

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Saturday 3rd August

Oops, almost forgot to put an entry on the blog tonight, just been one of those busy sort of days, but thakfully it is almost over...

It all started of with a major hiccup on the old pc, but beyond my confidence level to sort out, but an old friend came to my rescue the situation for me, easy when you know how, no it was not James How, and surprise surprise I do have more than one friend in my life..

Enough of the ramblings, just spill the beans on the birds seen today... Not much, I am sorry to say, change over day in the holiday accomodation so tomorrow might bring some new birders on board.
There were 14 young Swallows on the overhead wires later on last evening. This evening the old ruin of a church had a good number of Jackdaws, at least 200, perched there. As long as the Jackdaws do not expect me to feed them.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Friday 2nd August

May be not as warm as yesterday, but up here certainly was great drying day with a  warm wind around as well, possibly some of the farmers might try to make some hay rather than silage in big bales...

Louise had seen a male Pied Flycatcher at lunch time, today at her house over on Jura.

Returning visitor, Martin Hughes and his family are over on holiday at present. He e mailed through to say that they had seen a Red throated Diver out on Kilnaghton Bay this afternoon. He also had an Otter  then too. Better still, he had 2 Otters there yesterday in the morning with another seen out from Port Charlotte Hotel in the evening...

Just thought I could include another image of  2 more Painted Ladies, seen on the Ragwort in the grave yard next door to us. We appear to be noticing more Red Admirals around now..


Thursday, 1 August 2019

Thursday 1st August

What a brilliant day, I almost turned to  greasy spot...

Hopfully, this image willl be online for you to see a couple of Painted lady butterflies taken the other day. still quite a few of them around again today...


The rainfall for June and July came to exactly 8 inches, not sure how much fell in which month but the overall tally is correct.

Not a lot on the bird front today, only 3 Buzzards and a single Peregrine were seen out over the crag, late morning. with the Linnets up to around 80 birds on the seed crop...

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Wednesday 31st July

For some reaon, I could not manage to download some images of the butterflies seen here yesterday. Today, there have not been so many of them around as were present yesterday.

Mandy had seen a Corncrake chick up behind Bruichladdich this morning...

Up here this morning around 8 am, there were 2 Peregrines out over the crag, down here on the seed crop, over 60 Linnets were present. Later on in the morning, we counted 5 Buzzards away high up over the crag and then late afternoon, I saw a family of Stonechats...

Alistair Hart had a male Hen Harrier over at Carnduncan and also he had some Ringed Plover and Dunlin down at Bruichladdich.












































































Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Tuesday 30th July

What a day it has been with an"explosion" of Painted Lady butterflies seen on the seed heads on the both the seed crops which we have sown here at home, great to see and watch. Will try to put some images on tomorrow's blog.
Over at the Bird nerds meeting at Bun an Uillt, we were fortunate to see 5 Little Terns fly up the loch, spotted by Distilley Dave and confirmed by Peter.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Monday 29th July

More rain fell last night, quite a lot. Through the day , we have had the odd shower, but the mist shrouded the crag until late aftenoon, net result was the the morning and also the midday flight from Glasgow were cancelled. Once the mist lifted the delayed flight from Edinburgh came as did the evening flight from Glasgow...

Just as I was starting my pc up this morning, there was a thud on one of the windows, lo and behold a Sparrowhawk who then went and surveyed all around for the best part of 4 minutes. Mid morning, and a Peregrine flew past. Late morning, I heard some Buzzards calling away, and located them out over the top of the dunes, 3 in total. Late afternoon, after the mist had lifted, Margaret then saw another Peregrine flying past..  The weather looks a lot better now that the mist has disappeared, and looking out of the window, yes, Ireland could be seen...

Remember, tomorrow evening, at 6.30 pm if the weather holds, the Bird nerds will be meeting up at Bun an Uillt to try to see what is out on the estuary at Gruinart. If in doubt give me a phone on 01496 850 303 by 5.30 pm...

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Sunday 28th July

Well, the rain did come through the night as forecasted, but it thankfully stopped... the mist has been rising and falling... surprisingly enough, the plane arrived through from Glasgow safely and on time...

On with the news about the birds, I can hear you all say... Bob was up with a piece of his 8oth birthday, but no candles, much appreciated pal.. yes, I sampled a piece just recently... Bob had seen a young Cuckoo fly across the road as  Pat and himself drove home. Shortly afterwards, Distillery Dave, Ann, Margaret and myself happened to look out over the crag, and there were 3 birds flying around close together.. A quick grab of the bins and the larger bird was  a Buzzard which kindly flew off by itself, leaving the other 2 chasing each other around. An Osprey being harassed by a Peregrine. We watched them fly around for at least 3 minutes at least. Almost forgot, that before Bob and Pat arrived, that the 4 of us had a Kestrel out over the crag, the first Kestrel seen here for a while... Just as Dave and Ann were setting out for home we had 4 Peregrines out on the wing, what a noisy lot they can be sometimes and boy they can fly across the sky when they want...

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Saturday 27thJuly

James forgot to include on his sightings from yesterday of a Sparrowhawk and also a Golden Eagle
as well.

Today, Al Hart had seen"plenty of Willow Warblers and Stonechats seen along the road to Claadach, out from Portnahaven".

Here at home today, the Peregrines were seen out over the crag, late afternoon. Looking out over the seed crop, and I felt that there were more WillowWarblers around and a few more Linnets around as well..



This coming Tuesday evening, it is that time again, the Islay Bird nerds will be meeting again, we will meet at 6.30pm for a look at the birds over at the estuary on Loch Gruinart. So if  you are coming, we will shall see you up at the wee quarry before the sheep pens at Bun an Uillt (NR294690), roughly a mile up past Craigens on the East side of the Loch. If the weather is in doubt, please give me shout on 01496 850 303 by 5.30pm for an update ....

Friday, 26 July 2019

Friday 26th July

Coming over on the ferry today, Alistair Hart had seen Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Tysties and a good number of Auks as well...

James had a quick scan on the estuary at Gruinart  today, seeing "at least 2,900 Dunlin", 100 Sanderling, 10 Barwits, a single Knot as well as  2 Peregrines.


Up here at home,  a Buzzard was flying along the top of the dunes, a single Wren was seen out in the garden, and after much searching, I saw a  Willow Warbler flitting between the seed heads.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Thursday 25th July

Yesterday, Peter and Mike had taken a walk along the track leading along to Bolsay. They had seen a Swift flying past them, heard a Grasshopper Warbler calling away, a distant Sparrowhawk was seen and at least 4 Buzzards were spotted as well...
Lesley, yesterday morning had seen a few small groups of Mistle Thrushes flying around down at McNicol's croft and then in the afternoon, she had 11 in total on the overhead wires beside her house.

Today, Allen Skinner  had seen an Osprey above the reed bed leading to Machir Bay, it continued to fly upwrds on a thermal from the dunes behind the bay before he lost sight of it.... Shortly afterwards, Allen saw a Merlin zip across one of the barley fields down at Sunderland Farm.
Up here at home, I looked down to the shed door and who was seen, yes, the 2 wee Swallows sitting on the sill, waiting to be fed, better that, than getting blown about in the strong winds I suppose..

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Wednesday 24th July

Looking out from the kitchen window this morning, Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier flying along the front of the far crag and way along towards the masts at Kilchiaran. Nearer to lunchtime, Allen Skinner had a ringtail Hen Harrier flying past towards the sanctuary slab at Kilchoman. Distillery Dave was over visiting us late morning along with his son, Jamie, who is over for a few days... Along with Margaret, they saw a couple of Peregrines flying high up above them. This evening, I had a low count of only 10 Chough out for a fly past, noisey and nosey as ever...

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Tuesday 23rd July

Last week, while out for a walk up at Sanaigmore, visitors Allen & Fiona Skinner had seen quite a few Wheatears. 

Last night, James had seen 2 Barn Owls on the reserve at Gruinart...

Today, James had spotted 6 Greenshanks out on Loch Gruinart and  he saw a Peregrine and also 2 Hen Harriers over the reserve itself. He also reported a sighting of an Adder which was out basking in the sun along the moorland trail.
This evening, I saw a Peregrine sitting on top of the crag, great to watch, as it sat there watching the world go past.. Another piece of news, the 2 young Swallows have been seen around most of the day, mostly sitting on the sill of the door, waiting for the food to brought in by their parents...

Monday, 22 July 2019

Monday 22nd July

I will keep it short, about the rain... well, by the time it had stopped we had over an inch of the wet stuff. A  steady fall rather than a downpour... the rain and wind have flattened some of the flowers in the seed crop, but can't be helped!!!

James has been away for a few days holiday, a well earned break...Up in the Cairngorms he had seen Crested Tit, Ptarmigan, Wood Pipit, heard some Crossbills and he also had seen a few Red  Squirrels. This past week, James and his family had been closer to home, staying in Morvern where they saw both Golden Eagles and White tailed Eagles. Mammals seen included Pine Martens, Otters, Badgers and a few Dolphins.

Yesterday evening, in betwen some of the rain showers, we had a few Goldfinches on the feeders, today after the rain, it was the turn of some Linnets in at the feeders... Another piece of news was that early this afternoon, I went and checked the cctv cameras to notethat the 2 young Swallows were not to be seen!! Checking back on the footage, the first youngster "left" the nest at 8.30 am, looked like it was bumped away by its sibling... Then at 11.15am the second youngster flew away itself.... I thought that possibly I would not see them again... But around 15.30 they were both sitting on the door looking to be fed...

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Sunday 21st July

Around midday out here today, the weather has broken down with some dirty squally showers of rain in the mix. So, to put you out of your misery, not that great a time to be outside. I would have got weather beaten rather than a sun tan if I had ventured out..

Bob was up this afternoon, and gave me some birds for the blog...
On Friday, over at Saligo, he had a Swift. Yesterday, at Laggan Point, Bob had seen a Dabchick, and a female Peregrine. He also had a Cormorant there as well as over 100 Shags flying around, many with young. He counted 40 Fulmars on nests too. Also present were 6 Red breasted Merganser and a female Eider with 2 youngsters. Bob also had seen a possible Little Gull there as well. 

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Saturday 20th July

Another great day but already the fire is out of the sun, but so far no rain. Tomorrow is another day and we are due to get quite a lot of rain.. Forgot to mention that last night there was a tremendous sunset.

Yesterday afternoon, while down on Machir Bay, returning visitors Alec and Joan had watched a couple of Peregrines cavorting about, and had a distant Eagle soaring high up over the crag..

Just to annoy Alec and Joan, this morning I saw a total of 5, yes 5 Peregrines in total, 3 together and the other 2 appeared from nowhere... Shortly afterwards, I had a Fulmar out wheeling along in front of the crag. Later on, I had some Twite and quite a few Willow Warblers around as well.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Friday 19th July

Once again, the weather will take top line on the blog... This morning, it was great with quite a warmth in the air but mid afternoon, there were a few spots of rain, not a lot but...

Having said that, I took some time out in "our hut" this morning with my "bins". Apart from seeing numerous House Sparrows, Siskins were seen and then out from nowhere a juvenile Goldfinch was spotted down on the edge of the bird seed crop. But equally rewarding was seeing around a dozen or so Willow Warblers on the various seed heads. Out of the kitchen window, we had a Hooded Crow strutting around beside where the wee birds are fed, you could almost hear it say "Look at Me". Also this evening, I just saw a Rock Dove in a similar mode and again in the same place, if not a bit closer to the house... Out on the grass, there have been some Pied Wagtails as well as a few Blackbirds and Song Thrushes have a good howk looking for some grubs to eat.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Thursday 18th July

An odd sort of a day with the weather, still hopefully I did "my work" in fine time, before the odd spot of rain came through...I was trying to spray off some annoying weeds out from the gravel, so I will just have to wait for a few days to see if I was successful or not, watch this space, a lot easier than trying to hand weed it all..

Mid afternoon, I was speaking to a returning visitor who had seen 2 Peregrines out along the crag last night..... I am not too sure as to where the Goldfinches have gone to, not for the want of offering them a choice of food, which is eaten away by the Siskins and many House Sparrows!!!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Wednesday 17th July

Well, the weather broke down today, big style, enough to stop me outside for most of the day. Now this evening, until a few moments ago, the mist was well down over the crag, so the evening flight to Islay from Glasgow at present has been delayed...

So, as the weather was not up to much outside, I was looking through the current edition of the RSPB's "Nature's Home, their magazine which comes out evey quarter...I found an  article on Page 39, about the Chough, cattle dung pats and Islay..

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Tuesday 16th July

The heavy rain which I thought that might have come last night did not materialise, although there was some dampness on the gravel outside when I got up this morning...
The weather has been good again although there was not much wind, the clegs were out, better I suppose than the dreaded midge, at least a good swipe at a cleg and it is no longer a living cleg, midges are harder to get rid of... Enough on that subject!!

This afternoon, I saw a beautiful male Linnet down on the bird seed crop, and then shortly afterwards a Willow Warbler was present on one of the seed/ flower heads on the other crop.. Still that is what the seed mixes were planted for....

Monday, 15 July 2019

Monday 15th July

Late on, yesterday evening, we heard a "thumping sort of a noise" outside and on looking out of the window there were around 60 Starlings perched up on top of the bird cage , built as a feeding station, for the wee birds.  A wee look outside and there were a further 160 + on the overhead cables leading to the electric transformer out in the garden and another 40 + down towards the cottages on the overhead cabling there as well. A quick scan though the groups, but no sign of a Rosy Starling here last night anyway...

The weather here has been hot today with a sultry kind of a heat with a warm air thrown in to try to cool things down, so possibly we could get a thundery shower to wet the ground a bit, to come in later on???

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Sunday 14th July

A beautiful day here today, with wall to wall sunshine.... and quite warm as well

Today up here at home, I saw 4 Buzzards wheeling around out over the big crag in the morning. Later on, I heard a Peregrine calling away out towards the War graves cemetery, but did not manage to see it! Then this afternoon, I had a Golden Eagle soaring high up along towards the masts and just after tea, there were a pair of Stonechats down on the fence, great colours on the male bird.... Oh, yes another bird seen today was a Hen Pheasant out with her brood of 10 new chicks, so I wonder how many of them will survive, they all went in to the cover of the bird seed crop, so we will just have to wait and see!!! I have already seen the odd Pheasant poult from some of the earlier broods, but not that many...


Saturday, 13 July 2019

Saturday 13th July

This morning, Gary had gone over to Jura and along towards the school in Craghouse he had seen the Rose coloured Starling. It has been seen there in Craighouse for the most of this week, by the sound of things. While he was there, he also had seen a Red throated Diver flying out to the Small Isles Bay.
As the weather has been a bit drier today, this morning I took the chance and cut the grass, time for a tidy up...

This afternoon, Mike and Peter were up here for a catch up, a cup of coffee and some of Margaret's delicious Lemon drizzle cake. But the main point of their visit was to tell us about a sighting that they had had down at Bruichladdich. A 1st summer Mediterrean Gull was present in a group of around 150 Common Gulls, "a bootiful bird" quote Peter, but not a house tick list, as  out of the range of his garden etc!!! We then all took a wee stroll round the birdseed crop and also the the plots with the wildflower mixtures outside as well, and I think that they were both suitably impressed.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Friday 12th July

One problem which I had forgotten about was the rainfall figure for June, and as I was not here around at the 1st of the month to read and empty our rainguage out, I did it today. So the rain that was in the said guage was really for June and also July up to this morning... the tally at that time was exactly 5 inches. Not a lot really compared to Nicholas Watts from Vine House Farm in Lincs ... his tally came to 5.75 inches for June alone, not often that we are drier than Nicholas!!!

I presume that most of the birders on Islay, are on holiday at present as nothing through from anyone so far tonight. Plus the weather with a low swirling mist at times is not the best for birding, or for our service planes to land here on Islay!

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Thursday 11th July

A bit of a late entry, but here goes...

Gary had a "reported" sighting through of a Rosy coloured Starling seen over at Craighouse on Jura, no images through, and the weather has not been great for someone to go check it out...

Mark had an Osprey flying over Loch Gorm, in the afternoon...

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Wednesday 10th July

Hallo there folks, the message is the same as last night with the score board  reading the same  "rain stopped play", but all going well there might be a different script to read.... here is hoping ...

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Tuesday 9th July

Well, the weather has put paid to any news on the bird front, as it has rained non stop for the past 24+ hours.... What a moan, I must sound!!!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Monday 8th July

Back on Saturday, Distillery Dave and his wife Ann had gone over on the ferry to Colonsay for the day. On their walk up to Kiloran Bay, they saw a male Hen Harrier and also a close sighting of a male Linnet.
Today, James had seen an Osprey flying over Loch Gorm.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Sunday 7th July

Gary had seen a juvenile  Golden Eagle at Finlaggan yesterday. A trip along to Avenvogie later on in search of the Golden Oriole, proved fruitless, but he did have 3 Hen Harriers (2 M + 1F) . On his way home along the Glen road, Gary had another Golden Eagle. In at Finlaggan today, Gary had another 3 Hen Harriers, again 2 males and a female.

Earlier on this evening, I watched a program (a repeat...) about Fair Isle on the TV, still it was good to see it again,  it rekindled some memories, needless to say...

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Saturday 6th July

The last couple of mornings, while out walking his dogs, Distillery Dave has been hearing a Corncrake calling down towards the wee lochans at the Rockside road end.
This morning over big crag up at Kilchoman, he saw 3 Peregrines out on the wing, with one of the birds being very vocal. Dave also saw a Fulmar out on the wing up there as well.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Friday 5th July

Some sightings in from some folk who are over on Islay on holiday this week....

Karen, David and Daniel Wrigley from Hitchin in Hertfordshire had heard 2 Corncrakes calling when down on the Oa on Monday, but did not manage to see them. Yesterday, they watched an Osprey fishing it at Finlaggan. It had also been annoying the Oystercatchers there as well...

Yesterday afternoon, Sandra and Ian Hardy had seen a male Golden Oriole down towards Avenvogie.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Thursday 4th July

Ann Barr had heard a Corncrake calling up at Rockside the other night...

Al Hart had  a great close sighting of a pair of Whitethroats between Portnahaven and Port Wemyss today. Apologies to Al as I misunderstood his e mail relating to the number of  Arctic Terns that he had seen on MacKenzie Island, should have read 12 pairs not 24  pairs, still we can but hope...

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Wednesday 3rd July

Returning visitors from the best part of 10 years since their last visit, Sian and Bob Horn had been over on Jura yesterday, where they saw 5 R Bb Merganser, several pairs of Mute Swans and also a Heron. Over at Gruinart they had seen a Shoveler.
Al Hart is over on Islay at present for a few days. Down on Mackenzie Island, off Portnahaven, he estimated there to be at least 24 pairs of Arctic Terns present with another 2 pair seen on neighbouring Orsay Island. Al also commented on seeing a continuous passage of Gannets and also Manx Shearwaters flying past as well. He has been hearing many Sedge Warblers down around  Portnahaven.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Tuesday 2nd July

Another possible reason for not many sightings coming through was that the weather turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag with some showers of rain in the mix..., oops!!!! (and possibly that "us birders" do not like to go birding when the weather is not so great...)

Monday, 1 July 2019

Monday 1st July

Apologies folks for not having any entries on the blog since Thursday, the reason is really quite simple, and no,  it was nothing to do with my laptop but simply that nobody had sent in any sightings through....

Gary, had a reported sighting of a Spotted Flycatcher seen the other day sitting on the Kilchoman cross. Yesterday, James had seen some Red Grouse  while out for a walk when out over towards the Sound of Islay

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Thursday 27th June

Another class one day with the weather, but do not expect me to "spout lyrically" about it once we get the rain and it refuses to stop.

Yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey out over Loch Gorm. Later on, he saw another one at Loch Finlaggan.

Today, James had a Swift over at Gruinart.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Wednesday 26th June

Another beautiful day with end to end blue skies all around, honest it means that I am running out of adjectives to try to describe the spell of weather that we are having out here at present...

This morning, Gary from Wild Islay Birding was out with some clients had heard a Corncrake calling up towards Kilchoman, but failed to see the elusive bird...

Later on when Bob was up for a wee visit, we saw 4 Ravens out on the wing, what we all thought to be 2 adults along with 2 young.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Tuesday 25th June

Another glorious day with the weather, not a bad complaint though!!

Gary, today had seen an Osprey fishing on Loch Finlaggan. While he was there he also had a White tailed Eagle fly over and shortly after that he saw 2 Red throated Divers (RTDs) 

This morning, visitors Andrew and Karen Evans had a RTD out over Kilnaugton Bay. This afternoon, along on the Oa, they had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a mixed flock of Twite and Redpolls.

This evening, at the Bird nerds meeting down at Foreland, we had seen Whitethroat, Longtailed   Tits, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Goldcrest, Willow Warblers, Blackbird, Song Thrush and also heard a Bullfinch. Margaret spotted a Peregrine sitting on top of the crag this evening,  up here at home.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Monday 24th June

Visitors, Andy and Karen Evans from Perthshire are over on Islay for this week on holiday. Yesterday, they had seen 2 Hen Harriers on the high road, with  another one present just out of Bowmore. On the mud flats out from Bowmore, at the head of Loch Indaal, they had a Greenshank amongst some Oystercatchers and Curlews.

Late yesterday evening, we had looked outside to spot that Angus (our cat) had just killed a Stoat, so he was praised for his efforts!!!

This afternoon, Margaret saw a Golden Eagle soaring high above the crag, here at home..

Before I forget, if  you are around tomorrow night, the bird nerds will be meeting up down at Foreland at 6.30 pm.

Another piece of news, tonight is the 4,000th entry on the blog....

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Sunday 23rd June

Not a bad day with the weather out here today, but tonight the wind has dropped with no air moving at all, the result, the midges are out and I am inside, thank goodness...

Back on Thursday, Armin had seen a male Hen Harrier as he was driving down past Foreland, it flew across the road in front of him!! Mid afternoon, up at Ardnave, he saw a Heron being chased by a Bonxie, no doubt attempting to get the Heron to drop any food which it might have been flying past with. Finally, down past the Lobster ponds at Ardnave, he saw another male Hen Harrier. Yesterday, on the ferry going back to Kennacraig, Armin had been watching many Gannets as there were in a feeding frenzy diving in to a shoal of fish. Thanks to Armin and also to John Wilson for their input and to other contributors recently as well.

This coming Tuesday evening, the Bird nerds will be meeting at Foreland at 6.30pm, if in doubt, give me a shout, please phone for an update for "plan no 2", betwen 4.30 and 5.30 on 01496 850 303

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Saturday 22nd June

What a great sunset we had out here last night, needless to say I did not take an image of it, so you will just have to believe me...

Earlier on this week, Distillery Dave had a White tailed Eagle flying over the Distillery where he works, the Kilchoman Distillery which is along the road from here at Rockside.

Gary had seen a Whooper Swan and also he had an Osprey fishing on Loch Finlaggan yesterday.

Christine Menzies had seen a couple of Barn Owls as she was coming home to Port Ellen , both around the Machrie yesterday evening.

This afternoon, I was speaking with Kevin Hand who is leading a tour  for Ace Cultural Tours over on Islay, Jura and Colonsay at present. Some top birds have been seen by their group... A White tailed Eagle on Jura, a Cuckoo heard on Jura, Hen Harriers seen on all 3 islands and some Redpolls on Jura, Sedge Warblers seen and heard  on Islay, and also some Chough here. Hopefully, Kevin will send some more sightings for us before they leave on Tuesday. 

Friday, 21 June 2019

Friday 21st June

This morning, on his way into the Machrie, for a round of golf, David Livingstone had seen a male Hen Harrier on the ground eating its' prey. 

This afternoon, while we were oustside doing a spot of birdwatching, Margaret saw a Buzzard swoop down onto the ground. It was being annoyed by a hen Pheasant and shortly afterwards the Buzzard flew off, carrying the hapless Pheasant chick away in its' talons... We were pleasantly surprised watching around 25 to 30 Sand Martins flying low over the meadow next door, great to watch them hawking for some food.

Today, was John Wilson's last full day of this present visit... Down on the Oa, they had seen some Twite and heard 2 Corncrakes calling away...Out past Ardbeg, they had a Great spotted Woodpecker and out on the water on Claggain Bay, 19 Red breasted Merganser were present. Finally John saw a ringtail Hen Harrier along at Rockside.


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Thursday 20th June

Yesterday, Malcolm had found a dead adult Manx Shearwater around lunchtime on the strand close to the Foreland road end. It was not thin and unmarked. As Malcolm put it, "odd to find an adult at this time of year, most records are of young birds after storms in the Autumn. He also said that he has seen them feeding offshore in June, but not in Loch Indaal."

Yesterday afternoon, we had seen a  Golden Eagle soaring high above Borichil Mor, and then later on 2 cracking close views of male Hen Harriers, one was over at up at Bunnahabhain, the other was on the ground about 15 metres away from us over below Coull.

This morning, John Wilson had seen a Corncrake, as it flew across the road into some longer vegetation in the sand pit at Kilchoman.

James had seen some Marsh Fritillaries on the verge side on the road leading to Ardnave. On the reserve at Gruinart, he had an Adder, seen some Blackcaps, and back at Mill Cottage, he had counted 70 Pipistrelle Bats. This morning, James had a Sparrowhawk, out over the flats at Gruinart.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Wednesday 19th June

I was speaking with my old chum, Ken Reeves on the phone this morning, and he told me that he had seen a couple of Minke Whales from the ferry, just off Gigha, as his family returned home from their recent visit to Islay.

The other day, Armin had seen 2 Whooper Swans along the flats at Gruinart. Immediately after seeing the swans, a male Hen Harrier flew across the road in front of him, it swooped down on the ground, only to be chased off by an agitated hen Pheasant trying to protect her brood of chicks. From the hide at Gruinart, Armin had seen and heard Snipe drumming, seen 2 Mute Swans with 5 cygnets with  a Hare really close at hand as well.

John Wilson had seen a pair of Dippers feeding their brood of youngsters at the side of the River Sorn over at The Woollen Mill. Today, when over on Jura,  John had a great viewing of a White tailed Eagle, "closer and much better" (John's words, not mine..) than ever seen by him on Mull!!  He also had seen a good, close sighting of a male Hen Harrier.  Further on, they had seen a Grey Wagtail

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Tuesday 18th June

Armin had seen a Heron when he was packing his car up, over on Jura before coming to here on Islay for his second week of this present visit. When he was about to set off the said Heron was seen returning, flying along the shore.. The other day, Armin had been down on Machir Bay where he had seen quite a few Sand Martins battling into a headwind.

John Wilson is over this week, great to see you this morning John... Some birds seen by himself included 6 Blackwits, 2 Wigeon, some Shovelers at Gruinart, he had heard a Corncrake calling away down close to the church at Portnahaven. On the feeders at The Woollen Mill, he counted 10 Siskins with another 5 present at Ballygrant Inn yesterday evening. This morning, John had 2 different male Hen Harriers seen as he drove round Loch Gorm. Finally, he had seen 3 Buzzards out flying out over the crag at Kilchoman.

Bob had carried out his WeBS count from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock yesterday afternoon, when his scores on the doors came to 2 Gbb Gull, 1 Lbb Gull, 76 C Gull, 49 H Gull, 41 Oystercatcher, 2 Kittiwake, 13 Arctic Terns, 20 Greylags, 4 Shelduck, 35 Eider, 4 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover and 4 Tysties. Lesley had helped Bob on his count.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Monday 17th June

Apologies for not putting an entry on last night, but it had been a long day, say no more...

This afternoon, there was a Rose coloured Starling seen over at Keppols.

Gary from Wild Islay birding, today, had been out with clients... Over at Bunahabhain, they had a Golden Eagle, at Torrabus a male Hen Harrier was seen out quartering its' patch. Then along the road, a White tailed Eagle was seen out on the wing well, and then finally they had an Osprey out over the water in at Finlaggan.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Saturday 15th June

Breaking news today is that the dreaded midge was out in numbers today... I believe that Peter Bartlett who lives over at Glenegedale had a fan blowing in his polytunnel trying to keep the midges away while he was trying to sell plants today. I remember being told by a good friend several years ago that if the wind is blowing at more than 4 mph then you get rid of the midge, so perhaps that is what Peter was trying to "stimulate" by using a fan blowing, and it was not that Peter was feeling cold...

Friday, 14 June 2019

Friday 14th June

Another day, in fact another week is now in.... The weather, today,  has taken a down turn on Islay with some rain showers coming through, but nothing like what some areas have had...

Still I suppose we have been fortunate, especially any visitors will have appreciated the dry days, although, possibly,not the warm weather that one would expect in June...

Distillery Dave had heard 2 Cuckoos calling over at Rockside today

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Thursday 13th June

This morning, Gary from Wild Islay Birding had seen a male Hen Harrier out over the moorland behind his house. This evening, while out walking his dog, Gary had seen an Osprey fishing on the loch at Finlaggan.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Wednesday 12th June

A rather early entry, just before 11am .. the reason is for some breaking news.. Bonnie  Wood, Dave's better half, had seen a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW earlier on this morning down on the Oa. It is a first for Islay and Argyll, and fewer than 10 have been seen on the UK. More details later on.

Dave was in touch to me later on to say that the bird had not been seen again at that point. It had been seen by Bonnie around 8am out through her kitchen window, needless to say poor Dave was out carrying out some survey work and Bonnie was unable to raise him on his mobile phone as where he was, well no reception, hence no signal....

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Tuesday 11th June

Some sightings through from my old mate Armin who has contributed many sightings to the blog when over here on holiday... This visit,  a bit of a change to Armin's "normal" visit as he is over on Jura for his first week.. Back on Sunday, he had watched an Otter out hunting/playing around in the middle of Small Isles Bay. On the beach just in front of the cottage where Armin is staying, he saw a Ringed Plover running along the beach, kicking the sand as it ran along.. He also saw a Starling looking for something in the seaweed.

Yesterday, Armin had the long trek over to Loch Tarbert walking along Evan's walk. When he was stopped for some lunch, taken over at Loch Tarbert, he spotted a pair of Shelducks with their 8 young ducklings.

Today, Armin had taken the boat trip to the Corryvreckan whirlpool, and on the trip, he had seen at least 4 Golden Eagles and also a White tailed Eagle. He also saw several Gannets as the boat approached the whirlpool... Back on dry land again after his trip, down at the pier at Craighouse, he had seen 3 Mute Swans. Shortly afterwards while walking back to his cottage, the swans flew past, and they landed in the water close to the cottage. He also spotted a Heron standing on the shore.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Monday10th June

Not a lot for the blog tonight, but James had counted 39 Canada Geese on the islands in the Sound of Islay as he returned home to Islay this afternoon.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Sunday 9th June

Yesterday, Roger and Hazel Ferris had been over on Jura where they had seen 2 male Hen Harriers as well as a Short eared Owl
.
Today, James had heard a Wood Warbler singing away when he was out on his bike and then shortly afterwards he saw a Swift flying over the river... No, not on Islay as James had been over on the mainland entering an "enduro cycling competition" which was based down in Innerleithen in the Scottish borders. The forest in which James was in was at Traquhair, with the river being the River Tweed!!!

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Saturday 8th June

Yesterday Roger and Hazel Ferris had seen 4 different  Cuckoos sitting on top of the telegraph wires as they drove up from Portnahaven, they also had seen the 2 Velvet Scoter on the pond at Easter Ellister.

Peter had been helping out David Wood who had organised a boat trip to carry out the Sea bird Breeding survey along the coastline of Islay and Jura. Highlights included seeing some Canada geese along with 10 goslings over at Proaig., this was the first definite sighting of Canada geese breeding since 1984 which was at Gearach. Mark Shields saw a Cormorant with 3 young amongst some Shags, again the first confirmed breeding. They had also seen a GND in summer plumage. Down towards Ardbeg,  a pod of 12 Bottle nosed Dolphins was present. They had also seen several Golden Eagles and White tailed Eagles. Up Loch Tarbert on Jura, Hen Harrier and Peregrines were present.

Earlier on today, Distillery Dave, had seen a Blue Tit entering one of his net boxes, the second pair to breed if successful this year with Dave..

This evening, at Kennacraig, while waiting on the ferry, Armin had seen an Osprey. Initially it was being mobbed by some gulls who were trying to get the fish from the Osprey, but no joy with that, as the Osprey flew off with its' prey in its' talons.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Friday 7th June

Yesterday morning, Ken Reeves had seen  2 Otters while over on Jura. Later on back on Islay, he had seen a Golden Eagle when driving along the "glen road", a Hen Harrier seen down close to Mulindry. in Bridgend woods, a Great spotted Woodpecker was present and then down at Claddach , a Whinchat was seen.

David Livingstone had seen a White tailed Eagle soaring high in the sky, late yesterday evening down between Cornabus and Kintra, over out from Port Ellen

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Thursday 6th June

Yesterday was Karen and John's last day of their present visit to Islay...They had seen at least 5 different Hen Harriers as they worked their way down to Port Ellen for an early start this morning on the ferry.... On the Oa they had heard several Corncrakes calling and they also saw a distant Golden Eagle there as well. They also had seen Twite and Whinchat on the Oa. Other birds seen include Whinchats at Bunnahabhain, and Gary kindly showed them a White tailed Eagle on their way up to Bunnahabhain. Many thanks to Karen and John for their sightings and all going well, we look forward to catching up with you down at the Birdfair in August.

Gary himself had been out with clients including Morag Rae and her husband who are both stalwarts of the Argyll Bird Club... They had seen 5 Hen Harriers on their day out with Gary. Down at Rockside, they had an Osprey on top of a telegraph pole. As well as the shared White tailed Eagle that Gary had shown to Karen and John, the said bird was sitting in a field over close to Keills.

James, this morning, had seen a Peregrine and also a Black tailed Godwit on the flats at Gruinart.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Wednesday 5th June

Gary spotted in the diary at Gruinart, that somebody had seen a Red backed Shrike over at Kilchiaran on Monday, needless to say they did not say who they were, so any further information regarding this sighting would be greatly appreciated, please e mail me..

Yesterday, Ken Reeves along with his family group had seen a female Golden Eagle on the Oa, and over at Claggain Bay they counted 22 R b Merganser, 5 RTD, a BTD and also a Dipper. 

Today,  David  Scott had heard 3 Corncrakes calling in and around Portnhaven. Along the road, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of them and then up on the pond at Easter Ellister, they saw 2 drake Velvet Scoter and also a single female Common Scoter was present aslong with them.

This afternoon, we saw a large hen Sparrowhawk ducking and diving through the whin bushes over below Leek.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Tuesday 4th June

Marsali e mailed her rainfall figures for May over at Mulindry and her figure was exactly the same as May last year at 2.48 inches... Thanks Marsali
Ken Reeves, yesterday, had a male Hen Harrier at Gruinart, 2 GND at Bunnahabhain, 2 Chough up behind Port Charlotte and also a White tailed Eagle further along the road from where the Chough were seen.
Chris and Wendy had seen 2 pair of Ringed Plover with young down at Machir Bay yesterday, and the adult birds were trying to distract them away... This afternoon, they had 3 Golden Eagles flying high over the cottages where they are staying.
John and Karen yesterday had 2 R b Merganser at Clagain Bay. Garry, today had 4 RTDs there at Claggain Bay.
The Bowland Birders had seen some Lapwing flying around in a "distressed manner" up towards Storakaig, but when they stopped to have a better look, a hen Peregrine was on top of its' prey, an Oystercatcher.
David Scott had seen a couple of Crossbills and heard a few more down in Bridgend Woods and he also heard a Chiffchaff singing away there as well this morning. This afternoon, he had a GND in summer plumage off Carraig Fhada.
Up here at home, late morning I watched a Hooded Crow being chased away off the bird seed crop by some Jackdaws, away on to the wee crag, and on closer examination with my bins, it was sitting close to its' 4 youngsters....
This evening, there were 12 folk who came along to the Bird nerds meeting which was held down at the South hide at Gruinart, rather than us getting a soaking walking down at Foreland... On our way to the meeting, Distillery Dave spotted an Osprey on top of a telegraph pole down beside Loch Gorm, it took off showing its prey, a fish. Chris and Wendy also saw it on their way out as well and on their way home, it was sitting again in the same location, but with no fish...

Monday, 3 June 2019

Monday 3rd June

Coming over on the ferry on Saturday to Islay on Saturday, David and Catherine Scott had seen 3 Puffins and also an Arctic Tern. Yesterday, they had found another nest site of a Great spotted         Woodpecker, this one was in the woods up from Bridgend. It is David and Catherine's first visit to Islay, and had met up with a few of us at the British Birdfair at Rutland over the past few years.

John and Karen loked up today for a cuppa and catch up, they too have been visiting Islay and also us at Rutland and were telling me that they had seen a White tailed Eagle the other day up behind Port Charlotte, earlier on during their present visit. Great to see you both!!!

Ken Reeves e mailed to say that he too is over this week, and from the ferry he had seen 2 BTD and then a Golden Eagle flying low over Jura as the ferry sailed up the Sound of Islay towards Port Askaig yesterday.  Below where Ken and his family group are staying, they heard 2 different Corncrakes calling. Down towards Portnahaven, at Easter Ellister, they saw the Velvet Scoter on the pond ....  Ken is another returning visiting birder and good friend from his numerous visits both to Islay and also to us at Rutland. 

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Sunday 2nd June

A not bad sort of a day, after quite a lot of rain that fell though the night... the wind has just started to pick up in its speed and noise as well!!

Yesterday, Lesley had carried out a recce down at Foreland where the Bird nerds are meeting up on   Tuesday at 6.30 pm. The birds seen by her included 2 Cuckoos, 2 Common Whitethroats, many Stonechats, Willow Warbler and also a Spotted Flycatcher. 

Up here at home this afternoon, we saw a Hooded Crow on top of the wall, with a Pheasant chick, we tried to get it to stop, but too late as the corvid flew off  with the chick in its' beak, so I suppose that's the way it goes sometimes...

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Saturday 1st June

Well, another month has gone, so it is time to tell you how much rain that we had in our rain gauge. It came to 2.3 inches which is more than May last year when we had only an inch. On the other side of  the coin, the tally for the year so far is a lot drier at 14.2 inches compared to 17.15 last year. Today, the weather has remained dry and a little bit more heat....
With it staying dry, the Swallows have been busy down on their nest sites, and also the 2 broods of Pheasants appear not to have lost any of their chicks yet !!!  This morning, we watched a couple of Buzzards being mobbed by some Jackdaws out over the machir, and then late afternon, another light coloured Buzzard was being by a couple of Jackdaws, this time out towards the crag.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Friday 31st May

Well, after a day of continuous rain, it has faired up, the sun is streaming in through the big gable end windows and warm. Possibly is it warm because we have the fire on, whatever it is just fine by me!!!

The Bolton birders had a ringtail Hen Harrier round at Leek the other day and later on an Osprey was seen up behind Bowmore.
Yesterday, Mark had 3 Bonxies, 2 GND and a count of 15 Comic Terns up at Ardnave. Down on the reserve at Gruinart, a Spotted Flycatcher was present. Late yesterday afternoon, Gary had seen 4       Pale bellied Brent Geese down at Smelly corner.
This morning, Karen and her partner John had spotted a pair of Wheatears feeding 3 youngsters out in the dunes at Kintra, from their camper van. Late afternon, Mandy had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier
glide past her kitchen window up at Carnduncan and now poses the question, does it qualify as a garden bird???

Before I forget, as promised, the Bird nerds will be meeting on Tuesday evening at 6.30 pm at Foreland (NR271636) for a walk through the policies there to see what we can see and hear.

Just before I started to write this entry, I checked out some stats about the blog, and noticed that since last night, that someone, somewhere was the 1,000,000 person to read the blog since it was started away back on  1st May 2007!!!

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Thursday 30th May

Certainly not all to wall sunshine, more like wall to wall blanket of mist, I have not seen the crag since yesterday sometime... and there has been the odd dollop of rain  thrown in for good measure.

James saw a few birds for us, up at Ardnave, he had 2 Golden Eagles, a Peregrine and also 3 Hen Harriers as well.

Late afternoon, up here at home and we counted over 30 Goldfinches and even more House Sparrows in at the feeders. The numbers of the Sparrows being swelled by some youngsters begging to be fed. Just after that, I went out down round the "garden" and saw a hen Pheasant out with her brood of 7 chicks and then a different hen with her 4 young chicks....

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Wednesday 29th May

Yesterday afternoon, Martin Armstrong took his daughter Belle out for a stroll along the Laggan where they saw 3 Common Sandpipers and also a Grey Wagtail. On the plantaton, Martin spotted a male Crossbill.

Up here at home, early afternoon we saw a hen Pheasant, out proudly presenting her brood of 7 young chicks, wonder what happened to the 2 dark chicks that we saw last week? 

The weather forecast was almost spot on, with a light dampness coming on around 4 pm, enough to make me stop working out in the garden!!!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Tuesday 28th May

Yesterday evening, after writing the entry for the blog, I took a wee walk down along the burn from here towards the Coatguards and on towards Machir bay and the sea... I was not disappointed as a Heron took off from the burn, and there are at least 40 active nest sites being occupied by Sand Martins. Finally when sitting down for a breather, I heard a distant Corncrake calling over on Rockside.

Jamie Barr, Distillery Dave's son who has been over for a few days visiting his folks, had seen a male Hen Harrier yesterday, down close to Foreland.

By the way another glorious day with the weather again, so we managed out in the garden, all going well, we might get the borders finished tomorrow...

Monday, 27 May 2019

Monday 27th May

Back to the drier weather again, having said that the little rain that we did have will no doubt have been of some use to the gardeners rather than to the Distilleries..

Up here at home, we have had  great sightings of Stonechats and also Whinchats. This afternoon, we were in the right place, at the right time, and happened to see 3 Buzzards flying high up above us.

The Bolton birders areback for another Islay fix. Today, they had seen a Great spotted Woodpecker on a nest site, and on their travels round Islay yesterday, a total of 4 different male Hen Harriers were seen.

Please remember that there is no meeting of the Bird nerds tomorrow evening, but we shall be meeting next Tuesday evening, venue and time to be confirmed...

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Sunday 26th May

Well, the rain certainly came as forecasted, but not as much as what was expected !!! From the Bruichladdich Distillery's point of view, it stopped raining just before they opened up around midday and it stayed dry though their event, or that is what we had. now the sun is shining again with the wind picking up as well, the evening ferry being diverted from Port Ellen to Port Askaig.

On the bird front, I have just heard that earlier on this week that a visitor had seen a pair of breeding GNDs, on a wee lochan up behind Port Ellen. 
With the damp / wet weather we have had, I noticed that the Swallows were not seen so often going back and forward to their nest sites and wondered where they have been sheltering up...

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Saturday 25th May

Yesterday, Christine Menzies who now lives on Islay, at Emiravale just on the edge of Port Ellen, had seen a mixed group of 8 waders made up of Sanderling and Dunlin down at Kilnaugton Bay. She had also heard a Cuckoo calling out behind her house...
David Wood was telling me that he had heard 3 calling Corncrakes, the other night at Upper Killeyan down on the Oa. Must try and find out the total heard... 
Distillery Dave had seen 5 Sanderling down on Machir Bay first thing this morning, that was before the weather went awol.. it has "been gie damp", not wet, more or less all day, and as I look the window out the crag has been shrouded in mist since midday. Not exactly a day for bird watching for sure!!!

Before, I forget because of the local Feis being held here this week, the Bird nerds will not be meeting this coming Tuesday, but we will meet up on Tuesday 5th June, with a place and time to be finalised yet, watch this space for more information nearer the time...

Friday, 24 May 2019

Friday 24th May

An e mail through from Garry saying that he had seen an Osprey over at Bun an Uillt which is on the East side of Loch Gruinart and shortly afterwards he had another Water rail cross the road down at Coullabus, possibly the same bird that he saw at Erasaid.

Marcus Covell, down at The Woollen Mill, was telling me that he has been hearing a Great spotted Woodpecker on a regular basis lately. The birds present on the feeders are worth a visit themselves!

Up here at home, we counted 17 Choughs, sitting on the garage roof, needless to say, they were being nosey and very vocal, especially when they flew off...

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Thursday 23rd May

Another beautiful day here yet again... I am getting a "farmers' tan" for sure...

The Corncrake survey last night, well on our patch, the tally only came to 3 birds heard calling, whether it was the temperature was rather low, a mere 3 degrees at one time... or possibly not so many Corncrakes around anyway....

Gary had seen a Water rail cross the road up past Erasaid, the other day.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Wednesday 22nd May

I know it is rather boring, but yet again another beautiful day with wall to wall sunshine, and more to come tomorrow, will I tell you about the wet weather when it returns???
Rather an early entry tonight as we are due to go out on the first run of the Corncrake survey for 2019 later on tonight, so fingers crossed on that side of things.. 
This morning, Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing, out over the rushes below the crag. It definately upset a Pheasant, who chased it on its way, so here is hoping that the Pheasant still has got her brood intact.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Tuesday 21st May

Another glorious day, but only after a wee dampness, enough to chase me inside!!

Distillery Dave had seen a pair of Goldeneye on Loch Gorm, and he also had a Hen Harrier on a food pass when he was out as well!

At the head of Loch Indaal, we saw Redshank and Oystercatcher and at smelly corner, a pair of Shelduck out with their brood of ducklings in tow. Later on, we had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier ... Christopher McLellan was saying to Margaret earlier on today that he had seen a White tailed Eagle mobbing some Shelduck down on Loch Indaal.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Monday 20th May

Another glorious day, so another day spent in the garden...

Over at the old Kilchoman school, this evening, we saw a Cuckoo flying around, and earlier on, we saw a Buzzard sitting on top of one of the deer fence posts, up here at home, the first one seen up there for sometime...

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Sunday 19th May

What a difference a day makes, especially with the weather, by mid morning today and all afternoon, we have been kept out of mischief by working out in the garden...
Apart from being out in the garden, we were fortunate to spot an Osprey out along the front of the crag, that was before it got chased away by a Raven.. A Fulmar was seen out on the wing this evening...
This morning, Distillery Dave had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier as he walked down to the road end at Rockside. He also saw 3 Canada geese on the fields.
Mike Peacock today had seen 19 Common Scoter and also a Velvet Scoter, all together out on Loch Indaal. Earlier on this morning Mike had heard 6 Cuckoos calling away up towards Bolsay.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Saturday 18th May

A bit cooler out here today, glad to have a jersey on.. another piece on the weather is that we have had a slight dampness, off and on, for most of the day, still it was better than none at all, or equally as  bad, a downpour !!!
Bob was in touch this morning with some news from Steve Batchelor from Kent who left yesterday for home. His total species came to a good tally of 95. Top birds on Steve's list included a White tailed Eagle seen just after his arrival at the airport, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Chough, Garganey, Gadwall, Tysties and Rock Doves.
Up here at home today, we a saw another hen Pheasant out with her brood of 5 chicks, which had 2 dark coloured chicks along with 3 normal coloured chicks...

Friday, 17 May 2019

Friday 17th May

Yesterday, Distillery Dave had counted 8 Whimbrel and also 26 Rock Doves on the fields at Rockside. In the morning, he had seen an Osprey fly overhead when he was down at the road end, and in the evening, he had seen another one, as he drove home from his evening class, this one was perched on top of a telegragh pole about 500 yards before the turn off up to the Distillery. The second Osprey was also seen by Dr Matt Jackson  on his way home as well. Dave was also telling me that he has now been hearing another Corncrake calling at Rockside now as well...

Today, James and his team from Gruinart had carried out the WeBs count today...   On the Loch, the tally was 3 GND, 141 Oystercatcher, 239 Ringed Plover, 37 Sanderling, 3628 Dunlin, 45 Barwits and 2 Little Terns. The tally on the floods came to 78 Mallard, 6 Shoveler, 4 Moorhen, 1 Wigeon and a Greenshank. Also seen was a sub adult Marsh Harrier on the Floods, and on the Flats, 3 Blackwits and also a Whitefronted Goose. 



Thursday, 16 May 2019

Thursday 16th May

This morning, James had seen 9 Barnacle Geese, 13 Canada Geese, 3 Whooper Swans, a Blackcap and also a Spotted Flycatcher.
Up here at home, this evening we saw 2 Peregrines, the usual gang of Chough flying into the roost as  well as a fly past by a male Hen Harrier.

The weather has given us another beautiful day, yet again....

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Wednesday 15th May

Another great day with the weather, but I succumbed to using the watering can on the newly sown vegetables that I planted the other day...

Yesterday, when were over at The Woollen Mill, we saw 4 Collared Doves and Gordon, the stalwart there, was telling me that they have been seeing a Great spotted Woodpecker recently on the feeders.

Today, Mandy had heard a Whitethoat singing over at Carnduncan, and here at home, I saw the hen Pheasant again with her 2 youngsters, wonder how many she started out with ???

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Tuesday 14th May

A glorious sunset again out here on the West of Islay, as I write this entry. I heard today that some of the Distilleries here on Islay are a bit concerned with the lack of water, with one or two of them have stop distilling any new spirit...

Today, down on the Oa reserve, David Wood had seen House Martins and also Swifts. David also told me that he has heard a Corncrake calling at Kinnabus as well.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Monday 13th May

Yesterday,  Steve Batchelor from Kent had been down on Machir Bay seeing 3 Whimbrel, 6 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin and also 20 Ringed Plover. He also had seen an immature Glaucous Gull there as well.
Today, at lunchtime, Malcolm had counted around 55 Dunlin on the spit on the strand along from Uiskentuie. He also had spotted 2 Turnstone, on the shoreline, back towards the turn off leading up to Foreland.
James today on the reserve at Gruinart had seen the following birds, a male Garganey out from South hide, a Reeve out from the North Hide, a Gadwall out from the North hide,  a scattering of Dunlin in front of both hides, 2  pr of Wigeon and a few Shoveler.
Up here at home when "working " out in the garden, we saw our first hen Pheasant  of the year out  with her brood of 2 young chicks. Got the tatties rowed up and the weeds from around from the onion sets and planted some brocolli plants, some Cauliflowers and some Brussel Sprouts as well, all hopefully sheltered from the wind! Might have to water them some time as the ground is rather dry!
This evening, we counted 21 Greylags on a grass field down at Rockside.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Sunday 12th May

Yesterday James had seen some Yellowhammers over at Ardnahoe, and told me that he has now got 3 corncrakes calling on the reserve at Gruinart. Mandy was saying friends of hers from the mainland had seen a single Whooper Swan  on the "Laundry Loch" which is over, beside Laggan Point.

This afternoon, Distillery Dave had been down on Machir Bay where he saw 5 Sanderling some Ringed Plover and also some Dunlin

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Saturday 11th May

Bob Mitchell or Derbyshire Bob to use his pen name was in touch last night to tell me that the bird which I could not make out on his video was in fact a Little Stint which he had seen along with some Dunlin over close to Killinallan, not bad for his 100th Islay bird of this visit and also his 200th tick on his year list...
Many thanks for your sightings Bob, trust you are wending your way home now!!!

Today, Distillery Dave had seen the Corncrake on 2 separate occasions at Rockside had also seen the Cuckoos in flight as well... So if you want to see either of theses birds , head round to Rockside and enjoy a cuppa and a piece of cake at the Kilchoman Distillery visitor centre and possibly see either the Corncrake or a Cuckoo...

Friday, 10 May 2019

Friday 10th May

Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen 2 pairs of Reed Buntings in the ditch leading up to the Kilchoman Distillery at Rockside. Most days  this week, he has also been seeing a solitary Whimbrel in the barley fields there as well. He also told me that the Cuckoos and also the Corncrake have both been very vocal, calling away close to the farmhouse!!!  
Gary from Wild Islay Birding, today had a pair of Cuckoos displaying over close to Coal Ila Distillery. He had also seen the Hen Harrier "sky dancing" up behind his house.
Derbyshire Bob had seen his 100th bird of this present visit and oddly enough it was his 200th tick for the year, unfortunately I could not open his video clip, so I do not know what it was...May email Bob back and ask him what it was...

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Thursday 9th May

Yesterday, Derbyshire Bob had seen a White tailed Eagle out over the hills behind Ballygrant. Later on, while walking through Bridgend Woods, Bob had seen a Dipper on the River Sorn and a Bullfinch and some Siskins in the trees.
Louise was in touch to say that over the weekend and earlier on this week she has been seeing a Fieldfare close to her home at Gatehouse over on Jura, but she said that it is no longer present!!!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Wednesday 8th May

Yesterday, Derbyshire Bob had been down on the Oa, where he had seen a Golden Eagle perched up on a crag. He also saw Twite on the feeders , a Peregrine flying along the cliffs, Shags were present on their nests. He also had seen some Rock Pipits. Below Ballinaby, he had a male Hen Harrier out quartering its patch.
Mandy returned back to Islay yesterday, and as the ferry approached Islay she had seen a White tailed Eagle. Back home at Carnduncan, she had heard Groppers reeling away below her house and also a Cuckoo calling as well.
James had seen a Merlin on the reserve at Gruinart, the other day.
Yesterday, Mike had a count of 30 Whimbrel at Blackrock.
Today, Mike had a productive walk down at Foreland hearing a Wood Warbler, 2 Groppers reeling away, a Blackcap, Whitethroats, "loads of Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers"
Around 6am this morning, Derbyshire Bob had a corncrake calling at Balinaby, close to where is staying...

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Tuesday 7th May

Yesterday, Derbyshire Bob, (Bob Mitchell) had heard a Cuckoo calling close to Ballinaby, shortly afterwards, he had heard another one calling over towards Lagstoban. Over at Gruinart, a Corncrake was heard by Bob. He also saw 2 Snipe and 2 Whooper Swans there as well. Up at Ardnave, Bob had seen some Little Terns and also present were Blackwits and Whimbrel.

Bob said that he has now seen 80 species of birds in 2 days, not bad going

Monday, 6 May 2019

Monday 6th May

Yesterday Distillery Dave had been down over at Claggain bay where he counted 13 Red breasted Merganser and he also saw Eiders and a few GND out on the water. As he returned into Port Ellen, Dave had seen some Stonechats and Wheatears. Round at the Singing sands, he had Common Sandpipers, Razorbills and also 5 Common Terns. Over at Blackrock, he had a "good number" of Dunlin along with a few Whimbrel. Finally just after 10 pm when out with her dogs, Ann Barr had heard the Corncrake calling up at Rockside

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Sunday 5th May

Helen Brown had been watching 2 Tufted Ducks as they were swimming around and also diving on Ardnahoe Loch today, the first time she has seen any Tufted Ducks on the loch there.
James today had seen a Dotterel up on Borichill Mor, later on he saw a Yellowhammer over at Persabus.
Derbyshire Bob is back over for his annual visit to Islay. He scoped a Golden Eagle high up over Jura, from where he is staying. In field in front of his cottage he had a Whimbrel, a pair of Wheatears and also 2 Pairs of Stonechats present. Between Ballinaby and Saligo Bay, he had several Wheatears and at Saligo Bay itself, 6 Ringed Plover, 5 Sanderling, 4 pair of Eiders as well as some Oystercatcher and Common Gulls present as well. He also commented on how quickly some of the locals returned to his feeders, the locals being Goldfinches, House Sparrows and Chaffinches.