Friday, 22 March 2019

Friday 22nd March 2019

A count of the Floods at Gruinart this afternoon:
Lapwing 180
Little egret 1
Heron 4
Redshank 45
Snipe 4
Teal 601
Little grebe 3
Wigeon 198
Mallard 86
Shoveler 40
Pintail 63
Whooper swan 10
Black headed gull 4
Mute swan 6
Curlew 11
Common gull 2
Golden plover 1385
Dunlin 14

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Thursday 21st March

A misty murky day - but the birds are singing, lots of redshank and Lapwing displaying on the Gruinart Flats and some drumming snipe today. The mist and murk has attacked Ians computer, hence the short updates from me (james).

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Wednesday 20th March

The spring equinox and it has certainly warmed up today with a couple of bumble bees out at Gruinart.
Mike had a Great Crested Grebe in a bay nr the Dower House beyond Ardbeg on the 16/03 and the Green Winged Teal was still at the Distillery pond Port Charlotte on the 17/03.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Monday 18th March

Could Spring be here now as the wind has dropped quite a bit, with the birds singing away as well? 
This morning, I saw my first Linnet up here for quite some time, all the birds on the feeders appeared more settled as well, giving some notes in their vocal chords a bit try too, rather than just polishing all the food off! There was a Buzzard soaring high ove the big crag, while on the deer fence along above the cave, another 2 Buzzards were perched up about 100 metres apart, just watching what was going on all around. Out towards the War Graves, I counted 43 Greylags out on the machir. The Choughs were noisey and nosey as ever!!!
This evening, Christopher McLellan told me that he had seen 4 birders down at Pennycraig this afternoon. They were out of their car with their cameras with big lenses fitted, trying to get images of the White tailed Eagle which was out over the top of Loch Indaal causing havoc with the Barnies present.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Sunday 17th March

James was over for a cuppa this afternoon, and over a cuppa , I gleaned some sightings from him... Yesterday, James had seen a Merlin, a Peregrine and also a Kittiwake at Gruinart. Today, he had seen 2 White tailed Eagles over at Loch Skerrols.
A quck e mail in from from Chris Mills this morning, saying that he got home at 10.30 last night, a long drive for him from Kennacraig to Norfolk...

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Saturday 16th March

Back on Thursday, Stewart and Cath, (the couple of visiting birders who I did not know their names, the other day) had seen 2 White tailed Eagles up the far side of Keppols. Chris Mills and the group from Norfolk Birding had seen 15 Chough fly into the roost up here on Thursday, late afternoon. Last night while coming back through Bruichladdich, they saw a Barn Owl carrying a vole. Then to finish their trip off, a Woodcock was seen as they approached they have been staying. If my memory serves me right, I think their tally for the week came to 95 species seen, a great tally considering the weather..  Many thanks for all your sightings folks, as ever much appreciated!!!

Kevin Morrison who lives in Port Ellen and is working down at Foreland House at present, had seen a Greater spotted Woodpecker on the bird table at Shuna's house where Woodie now lives. He also had seen 3 White tailed Eagles along from Uiskentuie, as he drove along the road towards the road junction leading up to Foreland.

Today, Mike along with 2 of his friends, Guy and Mark had seen an immature Golden Eagle and a White tailed Eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard, all in from Keppols. While coming along the Glen road, they saw an adult Golden Eagle, a Kestrel, as well as a Hen Harrier. Down on the merse at Bridgend, they saw a Little Egret. While walking down to the South hide at Gruinart, they heard a Chiffchaff calling away. Distillery Dave had seen 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal, in from Gortan this morning. Late afternoon, while in for a cuppa and a catch up, Dave spotted a Golden Eagle far out, away over the crag being mobbed by a couple of Ravens initially and then a Buzzard came and joined in the fray.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Friday 15th March

Today was the last full day of Chris Mills' group from Norfolk Birding for this visit.  Down on the Oa they had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier, with a flock of 50 Skylarks seen at Kinnabus. Also on the Oa, they counted flocks of over 250 Twite and 80 Linnets. A Peregrine was seen out from Arbeg Distillery as well as a Grey Wagtail seen nearby. Along at Kildalton, they saw 3 Yellowhammers. Further along the road, they had  2 White tailed Eagles. Finally at Leorin, they had spotted the Todd's Canada Goose amongst the flock of Barnacle geese there. 

An interesting footnote.. Yesterday's post to the blog was the 3,900th  post on the blog, so keep the birds sightings coming through folks and I will try to keep you informed as and when I get any sightings through. As I keep saying, there are lies, damned lies and then there is the bird blog...

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Thursday 14th March

James had managed to get out from beind his desk over the past few days to do a spot of birding.... better than being desk bound!!! On Tuesday, he had seen a Golden Eagle up at Borichill Mor and also 3 Lbb Gulls, a sure sign that lambing is not that far away!!! Yesterday, James had 3 Greenshank and also a Peregrine on the reserve at Gruinart and also a Merlin was seen over at Kilinallan.
Today, Chris Mills had been out and about leading his group from Norfolk Birding. They had seen 2 juv. Golden Eagles over towards Ballimartin, a flock of over 3,000 Barnies beside Esknish. Later on, they had a Moorhen on the Distillery pond behind Port Charlotte, but no sign today of the Green winged Teal seen there by Mike earlier on this month. Along at Bruichladdich, the 8 Purple Sandpiper were still present.
Andrew Kent e mailed through the figures from the International Goose Count which was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The totals came to 31,058 Barnies,  6,771 Whitefronts and 775 Greylags. Many thanks to Andrew and his team from SNH for these stats.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Wednesday 13th March

Chris and his group forgot to tell me last night that they had also seen 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal yesterday.

Today, they saw a juv. Golden Eagle flying while they were driving along the road between Saligo and Leek. Along at Leek, they had a ringtail Hen Harrier. At the reserve at Gruinart, the Green winged Teal was present. Down at Bruichladdich, 8 Purple Sandpipers were seen on the shore.
Another 2 returning visiting birders, not sure of your names folks, had a Merlin as well as a male Hen Harrier close to Leek this morning.

The wind down on Mike's weather station down at the road end at Rockside, had a recorded wind speed of 69mph at 8pm last night, and he is sheltered compared to up here.. The ferries did not sail until lunchtime today, but managed to fit in 3 double crossings, with some extra ferries being fitted in as well, catch up time, I presume!!!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Tuesday 12th March

Today, the weather has been something else.. rather windy and blowing strongly for most of the time, a constant wearying wind rather than one that huffs and puffs. Eventually our power went off but give the boys from the Hydro Board top marks ( to Rop and his lads!!).. the power is back on again!!!

Chris Mills and his group from Norfolk Birding, made it out and managed some birds for us... At Sanaigmore, they had 6 Chough close at hand, on their way back out they had a Golden Eagle . A Peregrine was hunting over the merse at the top of Loch Indaal. Finally, at the Woollen Mill, a pair of Grey Wagtail were seen on the River Sorn with a few Siskins seen on the feeders and also a Long tailed Tit there as well.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Monday 11th March

Yesterday, Chris Mills along with the group of birders from Norfolk Birding had seen a Fulmar out along the front of the crag, so watch this space again for the weather to deteriorate..
Today, they had seen a male Merlin, just after the road leading to Rockside, a male Hen Harrier flew across the road, at the road leading to Finlaggan. Over at Bunnahabhain, the group had 2 White tailed Eagles fly over to Jura with a Golden Eagle displaying there as well ... Down from the pier at Bowmore, they had counted 45 Common Scoter, 9 Slav. Grebe, a Tystie and over 300 Common Gulls. Finally, at the mouth of Loch Indaal, they had 120 Barwits and at least 40 Knot.
Up here at home, we had 3 Pied Wagtails out on the grass.

The news from Fair Isle is not too good, as by the sound of the snippets of information coming through so far, is that the Observatory will be out of commission for this season ... Our thoughts are with the team there.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Sunday 10th March

Chris Mills is over this week leading a group from Norfolk Birding. Last night they had a Barn Owl and on their way round Loch Gorm this morning, they had seen 2 Golden Eagles out over Ballinaby. At Gruinart, they saw the Little Egret.
James had counted 52 Knot out on Loch Gruinart itself, a Merlin on the flats, the Little Egret was noted out below the visitor centre and finally he had a Sparrowhawk also on the reserve at Gruinart. James said that the count for the Knot was a high count for here as we do not normally have that many...

Finally, some sad breaking news ... There was a fire this morning at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory, not sure of the exact details, but not sounding too good.. Fire crews from Shetland were flown in to help. Will try to keep you posted tomorrow should I get some more information.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Saturday 9th March

The wind has continued to blow again, fotunately it did not deter the ferries from sailing today which is possibly a blessing as the local farmers had around 900 cattle entered for the sale at Bridgend. So with the ferries sailing all the cattle should now be on the way to their new homes on the mainland..

Margaret saw a Raven out over the crag this afternoon, while I saw a couple of Buzzards earlier on along the other crag towards Rockside.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Friday 8th March

Last night as we drove home from Bridgend, and we had a good sighting of a Barn Owl hunting along  beside the road as we approached Blackrock. I wonder if it was the same Owl which we saw after the last bird nerds meeting, a few weeks back, it too was seen close to there.
This morning, when I was outside down close to where the edge of the pond is and the edge of the bird seed crop is to be sown, I counted 12 hen Pheasants having a good root around, so all should be good for some young  chicks later on this Spring.  
The wind has picked up strongly this evening, with it blowing away steadily rather than some gusts... Both the ferries are tied up for the evening already...

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Thursday 7th March

Today over at Gruinart, James had sen his first Lesser Black backed Gull of this "Spring". Also on the reserve, he had 2 good flocks of Skylarks, one with 98 birds and the other with 64.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Wednesday 6th March

Late afternoon, and Mike Peacock sent an e mail through to say that he has now seen the Green winged Teal on the 3rd, the 4th and again today as well, all seen on the distillery pond up behind  Port Charlotte. The long and the short is that Toby Green and the group from Heatherlea had also seen one on the 3rd as well, so Mike seems to believe (like myself..) that there is a strong possibility of 2 Green winged Teal drakes present now on Islay...

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Tuesday 5th March

Gary today has sent a list of birds that he had seen on his local patch. In at Loch Finlaggan he had the following birds... 19 Common Gulls, 3 Herring Gulls, a Gbb Gull, 6 Dabchick, 26 Mallard, 24 Tufted Duck, 11 Goldeneye, 300 Barnacle Geese, 18 Oystercatcher, 14 Curlew, 1 Kittiwake, a juv. White tailed Eagle, 7 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.
Today, we took delivery of a special mix of seeds for the Birds to munch through in the Autumn and in the Winter too. I have asked the merchant to change the mix slightly with the Wheat being dropped and Reed Millet and also some Linseed added instead, so I will keep you up to speed of how it does. I am also going to sow 3 strips of different wildflowers , so another ongoing interest to follow up through the year...

Monday, 4 March 2019

Monday 4th March

Toby Green is over on Islay for a few days leading a group from Heatherlea. Yesterday, they had seen thousands of Geese, both the Eagles (Golden and also White tailed) were seen. The Little Egret, Chough and also a distant Green winged Teal were present a well. A great start to their visit...

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Sunday 3rd March

Bob had ventured out in atrocious wet weather this morning, down to the distillery pond behind Port Charlotte, to look for the Green winged Teal, but no birds were seen there at all...
Pat, Bob's other half had seen a Barn Owl out hunting over the fields below their house. Bob told me that he has been noticing the Curlews starting to take up territory up on the moors

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Saturday 2nd March

The rainfall for February here at home came to almost 3.4inches. with the total figure for this year less than half of what it was for the same time last year...
This morning, Mike Peacock had seen a drake Green winged Teal down on the Distillery Pond at Port Charlotte. He was in touch with Bob who went down to see if he could locate it  but as Bob approached, all the birds on the pond took off. But (the new word in use now!) Gary had gone down and found the drake present there late afternoon. The big question now has arisen, is this the same bird from Gruinart, or another drake present as well now???

Friday, 1 March 2019

Friday 1st March

Malcolm was in touch to say that Jean Reid and Ian Turner had seen a Sand Martin flying around at Portnahaven on Wednesday, the earliest and only February record for a Sand Martin on Malcolm's data base. The earliest sighting of one, prior to Jane and Ian's sighting was of a Sand Martin seen back on the 1st of March 2000.

I also had heard that there was a Wheatear seen over on mainland Argyll as well as a sighting of  an Osprey, both earlier on this week..

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Thursday 28th February

Well, that is almost another month in again, so we will all have to wait in suspense to learn how much rain there has been, not a lot on Islay, I am sure. Having said that, it might be a lot more than some other places.
Yesterday, Peter had a phone call through from Pia , his wife who was in for a walk at Loch Skerrols. Peter heard Pia talking,  but in the background he heard a Great spotted Woodpecker drumming away in the background as well. Peter also told me that he too has had his lawn mower out cutting their grass.
The temperature has dropped quite a bit today, more inline of where it should be, net result is that the birds are back enjoying any food on offer.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Wednesday 27th February

Some sightings through from Gary... On Monday, he had seen a male Great spotted Woodpecker over at Kildalton. Along the road he saw a White tailed Eagle out over the skerries out from the Dower House. Over on the Oa, Gary had a Golden Eagle, and at Cornabus,the Todd's Canada Goose was still present.
Yesterday, Gary had a Greenshank as well as the Green winged Teal, both out from the  North hide at Gruinart. Over the hills behind the East side of Loch Gruinart, Gary spotted 3 Golden Eagles and also a White tailed Eagle.
Late this afternoon in flat calm conditions, Mike had a count of 97 GND, 24 RTD and 60 Guillemots going into the roost on Loch Indaal. Earlier on around 4pm, Mike 151 Common Scoter, out from Port Charlotte, feeding and displaying. Mike this morning had seen his first Siskin of the Spring in his garden in Port Charlotte. This balmy weather continues, I was out in the garden in my shirt sleeves, gardening, not the case a year ago. To think that I cut the grass over a week ago and it is still only February!!!!

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Tuesday 26th February

My good friend Armin sent me through an e mail the other day about a couple of Barnacle geese that are overwintering on Berneray this winter. "Normally" these birds should have been down on Islay. Steve Percival caught and fitted darvic leg rings to the 2 geese back in 2017 here on Islay, their leg codes are as follows, ZLN and ZLV.
At the weekend, my son Andrew who lives down in the Scottish Borders had a Sparrowhawk down in  his garden, eating a digestive biscuit, a plain biscuit with no chocolate for this bird....
Yesterday and also today at Gruinart, James had seen a White tailed Eagle harassing the geese. Today, with this great spell of weather, Skylarks have been heard singing away and also James had Lapwings displaying.
In the garden today, there were bees out flying around, butterflies seen out and also some Ladybirds as well.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Monday 25th February

Back on Saturday, as he was driving past Cash Kelly's old house just at Blackrock, Distillery Dave saw a Stoat resplendent in an ermine coat as it ran across the road at the stream that leads to the sea. I always thought that the Stoat only changed its coat when we had a cold winter!!!
Yesterday was the final day of the group from Sandwich Bay Bird obs which Peter has ben leading. Up on the track leading to Bolsay, they had a  Red Grouse, over behind Claggain Bay, they had a Golden Eagle. On the merse at Bridgend, a White tailed Eagle was present as well as a Todd's Canada Goose along with the other geese there too. They also had seen several Hen Harriers and some Sparrowhawks on their travels around Islay yesterday as well. Many thanks for your sightings to Peter and the Sandwich Bay birders.
Yesterday afternoon, Steve Wrightson had 2 White tailed Eagles sitting on the end of the spit that stretches out in to Loch Indaal along the strand at Uiskentuie. After a few moments, they flew on to meet up with another 2 White tailed Eagles, giving a spectacular flying display over the trig point and raised beach just across the road... David Wood had also seen the 4 White tails out on the wing at the same time as well. David also had a male at Cornabus on the Oa.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Sunday 24th February

On Friday, Peter and the group from Sandwich Bay Bird Obs had seen an adult White tailed Eagle in at Finlaggan with a juv one seen shortly afterwards, down at Port Askaig. A Golden Eagle was also seen when they were in at Finlaggan. Also present were a pair of Buzzards and also a pair of Sparrowhawks, all displaying. 2 Crossbill were there as well. A Grey Wagtail was  seen on the River Sorn down at Bridgend.Up on the flats at Gruinart a flock of over 300 Golden Plover along with many Lapwing were counted. 4 Hen Harriers were seen on the reserve at Gruinart with the Green winged teal and also the Little Egret noted out from the south  hide. Up at Ardnave, in the afternoon, 35 Chough were counted.
Yesterday, they had a pair of Dippers seen on the River Sorn above The Woollen Mill and also the 9 Scaup and the 2 Slavonian Grebe were still present off Bowmore. The leucistic Common Gull was at Machir Bay, a Greenshank seen out from the South Hide at Gruinart and 4 Pale bellied Brent geese were present at Uiskentuie.
Also yesterday, Mandy had heard a Skylark singing above Carnduncan.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Saturday 23rd February

Peter has a group of 12 folk over on Islay from Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory in Kent. Back on Thursday, They had seen a White tailed Eagle down on the Oa, the flock of over 200 Twite at Kinnabus, with the Todd's Canada Goose seen at Lyrabus on the Oa as well. They had also seen 5 Fulmars on the nesting ledges on the Oa as well. Between Bruichladdich and the Oa, they had 4 different Golden Eagles. Finally, they had seen 9 Scaup of out on Loch Indaal from Bowmore. Yesterday had been Chris Corrigan's last full day here on Islay. Out from Bowmore, in choppy conditions, he had seen 4 Scaup, a Slavonian Grebe, and 12 Common Scoter. Up at Sanaigmore 2 Chough were present. While going across the road from Loch Gorm to Loch Gruinart, a male Merlin was present, and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen taking a teal from Loch Gruinart. Finally, down at Kintra, Chris had seen a Peregrine. many thanks for your sightings, Chris.
Yesterday, Gary had seen 2 Crossbills in at Finlaggan, 2 Chough at Mulreesh, and flying way out over Giur  Bheinn, 2 juv White tailed Eagles and also a Juv. Golden Eagle was there as well

Friday, 22 February 2019

Friday 22nd February

Yesterday, Chris Corrigan had seen a Slavonian Grebe close in to the shore while  he was at Bowmore. Later on, Chris had seen a male Hen Harrier out over the moorland at Foreland, and then along at Sunderland, he had a female Merlin. Down at Machir Bay, Chris had counted a flock of 35 Chough and then out on Loch Indaal past Port Charlotte, he had a small pod of 5 Bottle nosed Dolphins.
Today, James had seen a Peregrine while out on the reserve at Gruinart. He also had counted 6,805 barnies  and also 91 Greenland whitefronts on the reserve

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Thursday 21st February

Some sightings though from Ken Reeves and the Burbage birders. The other day they had seen a total of 4 Golden Eagles. Yesterday down on the Oa, at Kinnabus, they had a flock of over 200 Twite. Up on the head of Loch Indaal amongst the large flock of barnies present, they had seen a Pink footed Goose and also a Pale bellied Brent Goose. Over at Gruinart they managed to read the leg rings on 11 Barnies along with neck collars that were on 20 White fronted Geese.
This morning Chris Corrigan missed out on a great chance to add a new tick on his house list... Chris was down in Bowmore when a White tailed Eagle flew over the cottage where he is staying in this week.
Also this morning, James had seen a Woodcock while he was out along the woodland trail at Gruinart.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Wednesday 20th February

Yesterday, up here (Getting forgetful???) we had 3 Fulmars soaring along the front of the crag, net result today the wind has been blowing away strongly and a good few dirty showers in the mix as well...Mind you there was no disruption with the ferry!!!
This morning out on the patch of ground where we sow the bird seed crop, there were a couple of Hares running around, boy they were covering the ground really fast. There has been no sign of the Sparrowhawk at the feeders today, but it was down on the wall beside the ditch. A ringtail Hen Harrier flew past looking out for anything to eat!!! The Rochdale birders had a Hooded Crow carrying a frog away to eat later on.. 
Chris Corrigan had seen a Barn Owl at 8.15 am, between Uiskentuie and Blackpark. From the South hide at Gruinart, Chris had the Green winged Teal and also saw the Little Egret. Back up at the car park at Gruinart, he had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier. Up towards Keppols, 2 Chough were present and then at Bunnahabhain, Chris had seen an Otter. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tuesday 19th February

Forgot to mention that last night Margaret had seen a Barn Owl as she was driving along the road towards Blackrock back from the meeting in Bowmore. Yesterday afternoon, I saw a Raven flying up to its nest site carrying materials for its' nest...
This morning Chris Corrigan had seen a White tailed Eagle out from Bridgend on the mud flats there when the tide was out.. Round off Bowmore, he had 8 Scaup, 15 Common Scoter, 22 Eiders, 5 GND and a RTD. Also today, Ken Reeves along with 4 members from Burbage bird club had been down at Bowmore in the morning where they saw 9 Scaup, 50 Eider, 17 Common Scoter, 3 Slavonian Grebes, 8 GND,  70 Ringed Plover, 60 Dunlin, a Pale bellied Brent Goose, 160 Wigeon and out on the estuary over 10,000 Barnies. Up at Gruinart, from the South hide, the Green winged Teal was present as were 15 Whooper Swans and finally they had 4 Tysties down at Bruichladdich. The weather out here this afternoon has not been good for birdwatching...

Monday, 18 February 2019

Monday 18th February

Ken Reeves along some members of the Burbage birders are over on Islay for a few days to catch up on the birds that we have...Great to see you all earlier on this evening... Yesterday, when they came over on the ferry, they had seen 10 GND, 1 RTD, 7 BTD, over 30 Guillemots, 10 Black Guillemots, 9  R b Merganser, 40 Kittiwake, 4 Goldeneye, 12 Eider and 3 Fulmar. On Islay, at Bruichladdich they had 2 Ringed Plover.
Another visitor who is over for a few days is Chris Corrigan who has kindly sent some sightings through... Yesterday, he had 8 Scaup and 7 Common Scoter off Bowmore out on Loch Indaal. From the South hide at Gruinart, Chris had a Greenshank, 5 Whoopers and also the Little Egret present there as well. Ardnave Loch held 22 Whoopers with 6 Choughs close by.
Today, Chris had 7 Common Scoter and a RTD off Bowmore.  Down on the Oa, in horrible weather, he had a Golden Eagle, and a male Hen Harrier. At Upper Killeyan he had a count of at least 100 Twite. Coming back along the low road from Port Ellen, he saw another male Hen Harrier close to the airport.
Up here, similar weather to Chris, a pig of a day, but that did not deter the Sparrowhawk from causing havoc with the wee birds, still as I said in an earlier entry, not to worry it has to be a bit better at catching the wee birds, all it is good at present, is  as  a "bird scarer".
This evening, The Islay bird nerds had a meeting with Bill Dundas who is the chair person on the Islay Goose Scheme. He kindly  gave us an outline about the scheme in general and was able  to answer most of our questions. "A right good meeting", thanks to James for chairing it!!!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sunday 17th February

Yesterday when leaving Port Ellen on the ferry Richard and Hilary had seen a Razorbill, so their tally for their stay  came to 107 birds seen when they were here..
This morning, Martin had seen 5 male Bullfinches just down from his house over at Glenegedale. He has also seen Frog spawn, and also mating frogs in the marsh there as well. This afternoon, Bob and Lesley had carried out the WeBS count from Port Charlotte, back round to Blackrock.. Their tally for birds seen were as follows...43 Herring Gulls,  GND, 3 GBB Gulls, 10 Cormorant, 7 RTD, 2 Snipe, 1 B h Gull, 16 Common Gulls, 1 Slavonian Grebe,1 Purple Sandpiper, 4 R b Merganser, 14 Ringed Plover, 4 P b b Geese, 43 Oystercatcher and also 12 Eider. Gary and Sam saw a male Hen Harrier up flying, behind their house over at Ballygrant.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Saturday 16th February

Yesterday was Richard and Hilary's final day of their 10 day trip to Islay. Their day started off  with seeing a ringtail Hen Harrier as they drove from Uiskentuie  up to Gruinart. From the North hide at Gruinart, they were fortunate in watching the birds getting moved on by the incoming tide.. Birds seen there were as follows... Sanderling, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Barwit, Shelduck, R b Mersganser, Barnacle Geese, Mipits, Pied Wagtails, Common Gull and also B h Gull. From the hide, they saw 2 new ticks for their stay, a Blackwit and also a Grey Plover. Over at Finlaggan, they had seen a male Hen Harrier as they approached, several Buzzards, a Golden Eagle as well as another tick for their list, a Red Grouse, making it a total of 106 different species when over here, a great total for the time of the year...
Speaking to Mandy today over a welcome cuppa, she had seen an Otter just opposite the Ramsay Hall in Port Ellen the other day with a Golden Eagle was out on the wing over close to Balole, later on in the week.
Distillery Dave had counted 8 Turnstone down on Machir Bay this morning. Shortly afterwards, he had a Merlin in his garden up at Rockside, then this afternoon, he saw a juv. White tailed Eagle down at the road end/ entrance to Rockside.
Late afternoon up here, the hen Sparrowhawk visited us again, with a fly past the big gable end windows, no cameras needed !!! Earlier on, we saw a male Sparrowhawk fly through the gardens down at the Coastguard cottages.
Forgot to mention last night that I took a daft turn and cut the grass up here at home in the afternoon, it does look a lot tidier now!!!  It is the earliest thatI have ever cut grass .. global warming???

Friday, 15 February 2019

Friday 15th February

Regular contributors this week, Richard and Hilary had been out and about yesterday .. Down on the Oa, they had seen a Golden Eagle, 4 Buzzards, a large flock of Twite seen on a stubble field behind Upper Killeyan. A walk out to the American monument produced Fulmars and a Gannet both seen well out to sea. Up at Bowmore, looking across Loch Indaal towards Bruichladdich, they saw 4 Long tailed Ducks. A female Hen Harrier was seen as they drove up the road towards Mulindry, while at Knocklearach they had had a Merlin fly across the road.
Some sightings through from Mandy, the other day she had seen a pair of Ravens displaying.  Later on the same day, she had a pair of  Hooded Crows displaying as well. Mandy's only comment was that she felt that the male Hoodie was not so good as the male Raven in its' display flying antics. Yesterday, as she was walking up the track to Carnduncan, a Sparrowhawk flew across the track, just ahead of her, almost too close!!! She wondered whether it had been hiding by the bank at the side of the track.
Today, The Rochdale birders had seen a male Hen Harrier over at Gruinart with a ringtail seen at Sunderland. On Ardnave Loch, 9 Whoopers were present. Down at Carnain, they had 2 Golden Eagles with  another one seen away out from Storakaig.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Thurdsay 14th February

Richard and Hilary had seen Teal, Wigeon, and Mallard and also close sightings of 2  Golden Eagles while in at Loch Skerrols yesterday. Later on, they had Whooper Swans, Teal, Wigeon, R b Merganser, Skylarks and a ringtail Hen Harrier at Ardnave Loch, while a walk round Ardnave produced Ringed Plover, Dunlin, 2 Barwits, 4 Purple Sandpipers, Rock Pipits, Mipits, Tysties, Bh Gull, Redshank, Wigeon, GND and also Chough.
Yesterday, on checking out our cameras late evening, the footage showed the Sparrowhawk up to its' antics 4 times yesterday with another 3 shows again today, but with no kills at all!!!

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Wednsday 13th February

Yesetrday was  John Matthews and team PE4 last full day here on Islay for this present visit.... By the sound of their sightings sent they made the most of it... so here goes with their top birds... Off Bowmore Pier, they had Slav Grebes, RTD, GND, Eider, Common Scoter, Ringed Plover and also Dunlin. They also saw P B Brent geese among some Barnies up towards Mulindry. Down at The Woollen Mill, they saw Goldfinch, Siskin, Coal Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow and Collared Doves. At Coal Ila , birds seen included Shag, Gbb Gull, Tysties and also Buzzards a plenty on their travels...Their highlight for the day was on the return leg to Port Ellen, about 2 miles down the road from Springbank they had 2 different Merlin sitting on the road side fences, but were only able to stop the car safely for a better view of one of them...  safety first!!!

Peter has had Alan Heavisides staying with him  for a few days.... Yesterday when up at Gruinart they saw a female Hen Harrier take a Teal out of the floods there. It then flew off with its' prey, sitting on it for some time before eating at it for  while, before an attendant Buzzard chased it away from the dead Teal which the Buzard then flew off with and seemed to cache it away in a bush. As Peter pointed out 4 interesting apects to this were, 1, the initial hunting of the Teal did not appear to spoof any of the other duck present on the floods, 2, A Teal is quite a large prey for a Harrier, 3, The Harrier gave its' prey up to the Buzzard without any fight, finally, 4, The Buzzard had no inteest in eating the prey, more interested in hiding it for another meal in the future. 
They also saw 4 Greenshank out from the South hide as well. 

Today, Gary had been out with  couple of clients. Up at Kilchoman, they had seen a juv. Golden Eagle out over the crag. They also saw another juv Goldie being chased by 2  White tailed Eagles close to Ballygrant. Back on Monday, Gary had seen 31 Long tailed Duck sitting in the rocks at Blackrock. He also saw 17 Slav Grebes out on the Loch around Blackrock as well. He is now already hearing Song Thrushes singing in the trees next to his house.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Tuesday 12th February

Yesterday, the "Port Ellen 4" along with team leam leader John Matthews, had seen a large flock of Twite along with over 20 Skylarks close to Kinnabus on the Oa, but sadly no Golden Eagles or Hen Harriers were seen, but they had counted at least 7 Buzzards on their way out to the Oa and on the return leg. While travelling up along the High road and then the Glen road over the top to Ballygrant, they had seen another 7 Buzzards, a Kestrel, Partridge, and Raven, while at Knocklearach, a Merlin was sitting on a fence post, at the side of the road. Up at Bunahabhain, an Otter, GND, Tysties, and also some Shags were present.
Yeterday, Hilary and Richard had seen the Todd's Canada Goose over at Leorin. Over at Claggain Bay they had RTD, BTD, GND, Tysties, Grey Wagtail, and some Shags as well as a small pod of Porpoises. Birds seen while returning back from Claggain Bay to Port Ellen included Yellowhammers, Brambling, Treecreeper, Reed Bunting, Long tailed Tits with a Greater spotted Woodpecker heard druming away. Up at Bowmore on Loch Indaal, they had Barwits, Eider, Common Scoter, Common Gull, GND and also BTD
Up here today, we saw a Merlin fly past out of the wee kitchen window, fly on over the bird cage then wheel down and over the bird seed crop and on its' way. After lunchtime, coming out of Bowmore, just after Pennycraig, another wee Merlin flew off the fence at the side of the road. On the way home, down below the lime kiln, we spoke with the Rochdale Birders who are over for another visit, their first for 2019 , great to meet up you folks... Over at Kildalton, this morning they had 4 Yellowhammers and the close to the airport, a male Hen Harrier was present quartering its' patch.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Monday 11th February

Richard and Hilary Pickard yesterday had been out and about with a great selection of birds seen. Up at Ardnave Loch they had seen Whooper Swans, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal & R b Merganser. A walk round Ardnave Point provided 18 Chough, 17 Ringed Plover, Rock Pipit, 3 R b Merganser, B t Diver and also GND. From the South hide at Gruinart, they had seen Greenshank, Peregrine, Buzzard, the Green winged Teal with a male and also a female Hen Harrier seen flying over the Gruinart flats and also over Gruinart House. Back on the feeders outside of the RSPB office at Gruinart, they saw Bullfinch, Goldfinches and a Sparrowhawk chancing its luck. Other "new contributors", The Port Ellen 4. They are obviously 4 of them , staying over at Port Ellen  with their chief man being John Matthews and all from England, so here goes with some of their sigtings so far... 2 Golden Eagles seen out from Kilchoman, at Gruinart they saw the same birds as Richrd & Hilaryas above but had also seen 2 Snipe, Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Pintail, the Little Egret. They had seen 2 Buzzards on the low road, with another 2 when travelling round Loch Gorm and 2 more at Loch Gruinart. Up at Ardnave they saw the following "extra bird" apart from Richard & Hilary... a Snipe. Finally, down off the pier at Bowmore, they saw RTD, Common Scoter, R b Merganser, Goldeneye, Eider, Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Shag.

Today, up here at home, the wee birds have been busy on the food on offer, and also that pesky Sparrowhawk was caught on camera again. I am not complaing about it all, as so far I have only seen it being successful once in a kill!!!  Margaret, late afternoon counted 16 Chough flying back in to the roost.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sunday 10th February

Visiting birdrs Richard & Hilary Pickard have sent me another e mail through with some more of their sightings...Yesterday, at Crosshouses/ Carnain they had a flock of Dunlin and some Ringed Plover and Turnstone in with them. Between the Gaelic centre and back to Bowmore, they saw Scaup, Slavonian Grebe, GND, Pale bellied Brent Geese, Goldeneye and Common Scoter. Up towards Mulindry, they had seen some Reed Buntings and in at Finlaggan, Golden Eagle & Peregrine were noted. Bunahabhain held GND and also Tysties. In at The Woollen Mill, a Dipper was seen on the River Sorn. Forgot to mention that we had a Kestrel sitting on top of the electric pole again, out in the garden, late yesterday afternoon.. A few birds in from Ashley from yesterday afternoon, before leaving Islay.. They saw the Todd's Canada Goose at Leorin again,and along past Ardbeg, 3 Bullfinches and a Treecreper were seen.. 

This morning around 9 am, the pesky Sparrowhawk came flying looking around for a meal, no joy as all the numerous wee birds must have learned to avoid being caught....Mike P had 2 Dippers already paired up while he was out for a walk along te River Sorn. Mike also had a Peregrine out displaying/ caling away over the trees/ woodlands there as well. The wee birds today have ben busy on the feeders with the wind having dropped a lot, so did the temperature!!!

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Saturday 9th February

Think by the looks of things that Ashley and his group who have been over from Oriole Birding, that they managed to get off Islay on the ferry which left Port Askaig at 18.00. Also on that ferry were Gary and Wendy Ruffel from Hampshire. Not sure how far that either of them are travelling tonight, but getting over to the mainland, was at least a start!! Many thanks to both parties for sharing their sightings with us when thay have been here.
Ashley, yesterday morning, had seen the Green winged Teal out from the South hide at Gruinart  as well 2 Hen Harriers ( M & F) and a Peregrine there as well. In the afternoon, they had seen the Todd's Canada Goose, amongst some Barnies over at Leorin, close to Port Ellen. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

Friday 8th February

Just as well that I kept some sightings back from yesterday, as the wind has certainly huffed and puffed all day, net result, no ferries came today with the service not resuming until the mv Finlaggan sets sail fom Kennacraig at 15.00 tomorrow.. The wind, here at home, touched 60mph at one time!!!
Yesterday, new contributors, Richard and Hilary Pickard had seen a couple of Chough up behind Kilchiaran. Later on, from the South hide at Gruinart, they saw the Green  winged Teal, a Little Egret, 2 Mute Swan, 6 Whooper Swans and also a juv. Golden Eagle.  Also yesterday, Ashley and his group from Oriole Birding, had a great time birding round Loch Indaal. They started off at the Gaelic Centre , just out of Bowmore, seeing 10 Slav Grebes, 8 Longtailed Ducks, 20 Scaup, and also over 25 GND, all counted from the college. Ashley reckoned that the conditions there were ideal, especially as the sun was behind them, and he never mentioned about the cafe or the toilets there... Over at Bruichladich, they saw 15 Purple Sandpipers. Later on, heading back over to Port Ellen, while on the Glen road, they saw a Golden Eagle as well as a male Merlin, close to Mulindry. Finally they had a male Hen Harrier on the wing beside Coillabus, but still no joy with the Canada Geese seen earlier this week.... Gary and Wendy Ruffel had walked around the tracks at Foreland yesterday where they saw Heron, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Mipit, Buzzard, male Hen Harrier. Later on, back at their holiday cottage at Carnain, they had a ringtail Hen Harrier, Great Tit, Heron, Jackdaw with Oystercatcher also there.... So reading between the lines we might get some more birds through from Ashley as he was "stormbound" as the ferry was not sailing today at all, but all going well, he should get on the sailing leaving tomorrow evening!!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Thursday 7th February

Yesterday, Ashley Saunders and his team from Oriole Birding had  amazing views of a White tailed Eagle at Gruinart, seen from the South hide there. Earlier on they had counted 26 Chough probing away, loking for food in the fields at Coull Farm. Down on the Oa, they saw  2 ringtail Hen Harriers as well as seeing a Golden Eagle there as well. Also yesterday, Gary and Wendy Ruffell had walked up to the old ruin at Scouller which is in beyond Daill Farm, up past The Woollen Mill. On their walk they had seen a small group of Whitefronts,  a few Buzzards, Rock Doves, Chaffinches, Robin and also Reed Bunting.
Today, we had a male Hen Harrier flying over the garden at around 8 am, boy it was on a mission with its wings being used to power its' flight, rather than just soaring along with not a care in the world to think about.... Mid morning, round at Ballinaby, there were several hundred Lapwings on one of the fields, I have never seen so many together before anywhere... The back of lunchtime, a Golden Eagle was floating about along the top of the crag and finally late afternoon, the Sparrowhawk, cleared all and sundry away off the bird table, not sure whether it caught anything.
The ferries are cancelled for tomorrow, so no newspapers tomorrow, so can catch up with any news off the web!!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Wednesday 6th February

Yesterday, Ashley Saunders and his group of birders from Oriole Birding had found a Todd's Canada Goose amongst a flock of Barnies over close to Leorin which is over on the High road down at Port Ellen. Needless to say,  today they have had no joy in finding either the Cackling goose or the Todd's ... that's birding for you !!!
Also yesterday, before the weather broke down, Gary and Wendy Ruffel had walked up from Scarrabus and up to Loch Cam. Birds seen included a flock of Fieldfare, Buzzard,  a group of Teal on Loch Cam itself with Raven and also Kestrel

Up here at home this morning, the 2 local young Choughs were back having a nosey around, so fingers crossed that they are here to stay. Late afternoon, and a male Hen Harrier was seen flying over the bird seed crop, and on out over the rushes (next door!!) and away over the machir.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Tuesday 5th February

Well, when I got up this morning, it was dry outside, not that I was up that early..., but by 9am it had started to spot rain and before long it was wet, and got wetter as the day progressed on, not much use for birding really... so what did I do? Only one thing for it, turn on the old pc and put some sightings onto the the spreadsheet and send off the Islay sightings from the blog for Jan 2019 away to himself, job done, mind you I am a great believer in "If in the mood, go and do it" as you tend to do it quite quickly and also fewer mistakes are made!!!!
So yesterday, Gary and Wendy Ruffell had walked up round Cnoc Don and also Loch Skerrols where they saw Buzzard, Rock Doves, Song Thrush and a flock of Fieldfare.  They also commented on seeing fewer birds when out compared with the similar walks there in previous years. Back at their holiday cottage at Cross Houses they also had Collared Doves, Teal, Curlew, Shelduck and also the local female Hen Harrier.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Monday 4th February

Yesterday, Mike and Val Peacock saw 29 Fieldfare, 7 Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, a Greater    spotted Woodpecker and also a Treecreeper, all down at Foreland. Yesterday, Gary Turnbull had seen a nice male Goosander coming to land on the water at the mouth of the Margadale River, over at Bunnahabhain. A  real busy day yesterday, with Gary and Wendy seeing Teal and also some Pale bellied Brent Geese from Carnain. As the light started to fade, early evening, they saw a Barn Owl, over the pool behind their cottage. Here at home, we had a Kestrel on top of the electricity pole.

This morning, we saw a couple of Golden Eagle soaring aroundout over the crag in the beautiful sunrise, with no wing beats to help them to fly.  Bob was up this afternoon, and the Eagles were out again in roughly the same place, but, ( there is always a but!!) there was a Buzzard flying close to them before it peeled off and returned to its' own "patch". James had seen a Golden Eagle over the reserve at Gruinart, and also the Little Egret was still present. Mike and Peter had seen a Tystie in breeding plumage at the top of Loch Indaal, between Blackrock and round to the Gaelic Colege, out of Bowmore. Other birds of note included 15 Scaup, 8 Long tailed Duck, 20 Slavonian Grebe and also 12 Common Scoter.

***  Stop the press, breaking news*
Ashley Saunders is over on Islay this week leading a group from Oriole Birding and had seen a Cackling Goose just at the start of the High road, in from Springbank. Keep them coming Ashley...

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Sunday 3rd February

Yesterday, while waiting start of the rugby game starting on the TV, Mike had counted 3 RTDs,  39 GNDs and a raft of 43 Common Scoter, all out from Port Charlotte on Loch Indaal. Lesley sent some birds which she had seen on Friday and on Saturday. Both days were low on raptors seen, with only Buzzards and Kestrel noted. Her main sigtings on Friday on a walk round Ardnave (Poor weather that day, a bit on the raw side) were as follows, a flock of 49 Twite, plus a few smaller groups seen of around 5 -10 birds. She also saw 42 Chough feeding, over beside the ground beside Traigh Nostaig, she had around 80 Ringed Plover. Other birds seen round Ardnave included 3 male Stonechat plus a female Stonechat, 5 Mute and 5 Whooper Swan on the Loch, also present were  15 Teal. Lesley also saw 10 Reed Buntings.
On Saturday, a much better day with the weather, a walk round Coull Point produced 2,500 Barnies, a flock of 60 Curlew, 9 Turnstone, 34 Chough, more Stonechats, more Reed Buntings and a count of 25 Lapwing, some of which were displaying. On both days she had 7 Hares, seen chasing around after each other...
Up here at home this afternoon, James and myself saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly low over the bird seed crop, down over the reedbed and then follow the dyke along the base of the crag. Great to see, initially less than 20 metres away, no need for the bins for that one!!! 

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Saturday 2nd February

The other evening as he was returning home from Bowmore, DistillleryDave had seen a Barn Owl , down close to the market at Bridgend.

Today, James had seen a White tailed Eagle over at Ardtalla. Also today Gary and Wendy Ruffel had seen a flock of Dunlin, as well as Red brested Merganser, Scaup, RTD, Common Scoter, Eider, Ringed Plover, Wigeon, Great crested Grebe and Redshank, all out on Loch Indaal from Crosshouses.

Friday, 1 February 2019

Friday 1st February

Another cold day again, luckily I left a tap running slowly through the night and the water in the house did not freeze up, having said that the tap over at the garage which is well wrapped up was frozen ... Loch Gorm was frozen over today....
Mandy, yesterday, had 3 Reed Buntings over at her home at Carnduncan, and today she now  has 5 Reed Buntings present there.
Today Gary and Wndy Ruffel had ventured out from Carnain along to Bruichladdich and then back home. Birds seen included Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones, BTDs, and some Ringed Plover. Out on Loch Indaal from the spit on the Uiskentuie Strand, they also saw GNDs and also Great crested Grebes.

As we are now into February, the rainfall in the rain gauge came to a mere 3.4 inches, the driest January here for the past 4 years at least... early days yet...
.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Thursday 31st January

Another cool kind of a day out here again...Been kept out of mischief today by recycling some of the flooring  that the builders have lifted and going to replace with floor tiles... No, I did not burn the flooring!!!

I looked at the cameras just as the darkness came in this evening, and the one covering the birdtable had been very active for most of the day, Pheasants, Jackdaws, Starlings, Blackbirds as well as many numerous wee birds all caught on camera... The "local" Sparrowhawk flew over the far side of the garden late aftenoon...

Gary and Wendy Ruffel from down South are over again at present and reported in today, a similar story to here with a lot of wee birds in the garden where they are staying at Carnain, with regular sightings of a ringtail Hen Harrier seen most days so far

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Wednesday 30th January

Another cold day out here on the edge of Islay, the council grit lorry was round before 10am today fitted with a nice big snow plough fitted on the front of the lorry... but not in use!!!

Mandy, today had a male Reed Bunting on the ground below her feeders over at Carnduncan. She also had the her usual culprits eating away at the food on offer... Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Great Tit and also 3 Goldfinch on her feeders, but no sign of any Blue Tits. 


Over here this morning, I saw a Wren scurrying along the base of one of our walls, out of the prevailing wind which was not that warm, a lazy wind going straight through you rather than round you!!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Tuesday 29th January

Well, a latish kind of an entry tonight, the reason being that I was at the Bird nerds post Christmas meal which was held down inthe Lochside Hotel inBowmore with 11 folk in attendance. Mind you the weather has not been that great today with quite a few dirty wintery showers moving around .. The roads comeing home this evening were not that clever... Needless to say we all had a good night out...good to see you all folks!!!

Some birds gleaned from the meeting tonight were as follows... Bob had a Jack Snipe down at Carnain. Sam, Gary's wife had a White tailed Eagle out from her new job at Ardnahoe Distillery, Gary himself saw a male Hen Harrier over close to Torabus. James had a Sparrowhawk as well as a Treecreeper at Mill cottage. Here at home , the wee birds have been busy tucking in the the food on offer, just as well more food was delivered in today!!!  Mid aftrnoon, there was a really big thud on one of the windows, Margaret went and loked out to find a rather stunned Sparrowhawk on the ground, but by the time I got my camera to hand it had flown away. Later on, another thump on another window, this time,  a dazed Chaffinch but it too recovered fine..

Monday, 28 January 2019

Monday 28th January

This morning, Gary had seen a group of waders down at Bruichladich consisting of some Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Redshank and also a couple of Purple Sandpiper as well. Along on the Uiskentuie strand, he had 2 groups of around 20 Curlews. Finally, on the overhead telephone cables at Rock Mountian, Gary had a female Merlin perched up.
This morning up here,we had a Buzzard sitting on top of the big electricity transformer pole in the garden, a shorwhile afterwards, a Kestrel was there, and then just before lunch, the Sparrowhawk flew past and away across the machir... 

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Sunday 27th January

Well, thank goodness for the Fulmars, yesterday when I wrote the entry for the blog, it was quite calm outside with the wind just starting to pick up... and then later on, it certainly was windy with a good few dirty showers through the night added to the mix, net result, not as much sleep as the hailstones clattered on the bedroom window.. still this morning, no slates off, thank goodness!!!

My intention today had been to carry out a count for the big garden birdwatch, but not many birds were around due to the wind still blowing away strongly... no morning ferry  today from Port Ellen and tomorrow no sailing from Oban to Colonsay either. I suppose, that it the time of year when we can expect some disruption because of the weather.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Saturday 26th January

Back being lazy again, as I am using my wee notebook to write the blog...

George Newall from Dunoon is over for the weekend and had seen some Kittiwakes from the ferry yesterday. This morning, George came up here with his friend who is over with him. While they were here in the house, we saw a couple of Fulmars soaring back and forward along the front of the crag, so no doubt, a sure sign that the wind is to pick up soon... while out in the hut, we saw 3 Buzzards and a couple of Ravens out over the crag...

Wonder how Peter, Mark, Jim Dickson, Roger Broad and David Formby are getting. They are out in Bulgaria for a week's birding along some others from Sandwich Bay... No doubt, we will hear from them once they return home to "warmer climes" next Wednesday...

Friday, 25 January 2019

Friday 25th January

Another quiet day on the bird front again today... James had seen a Jack Snipe when he was on the Moorland trail at Gruinart today. Here at home, the wee birds as ever have been busy on the feders again, and I have been busy helping the builders again, honest !!!

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Thursday 24th January

Not a lot going onover here today on the bird front, having said the we had seen a Kestrel as we returned back from Gruinat this morning. This afternoon, there was a Peregrine flying way out over the crag ....  The rest of the day, I have been busy being a "gofor" for the builders being asked for various bits and pieces, hopefully I was of some help to them !!!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Wednesday 23rd January

The cooler weather continues, the wee birds were hogging the food on offer, what's new you might well ask, well not a lot. The pesky Sparrowhawk was not present here today, but Distillery Dave had seen a male Hen Harrier as he drove along between Rockside and Sunderland Farm.

Next Tuesday evening, for those of you who may be over on Islay, the Islay bird nerds will be having their annual evening out at the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore for a bar supper at 7 pm. so if you are around and would like to come, please get in touch with Ian, so he can let the Lochside Hotel know our numbers...

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tuesday 22nd January

A true winter's day out here today, the Paps of Jura have got a good covering of snow...

Yesterday afternoon  when returning home to Islay on the ferry, James had seen 2 Slavonian Grebes and also a few Kittiwakes as well. Today up here not a lot to report , but the wee birds have been even busier at the feeders than yesterday. The pesky Sparrowhawk has been seen around the feeders at least 3 times , but did not appear to be very successful, thank goodness!!!!!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Monday 21st January

A few sightings through from Peter's friends Ken and Ernie who have been up for a few days birding on Islay instead of their beloved Sandwich Bay.... Yesterday,  just the back of lunchtime, they had 12 Purple Sandpiper and also 50 Pale bellied Brent on the shore at Bruichladdich. Up at Gruinart, they had a great count of 2,000 Golden Plover.
The weather has taken a big drop in the temperature here today, and the forecasters are even talking about SNOW, so needless to say the wee birds have been in at the feeders and making a feast of themselves with the food on offer...

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Sunday 20th January

Some sightings through from Peter who has had a couple of friends over from Sandwich Bay  over the past few days. Yesterday, up close to Kilnave they had seen 2 juvenile Golden Eagles and then soon afterwards they had a male Hen Harrier.  On Ardnave Loch, they had 8 Whooper Swans. Later on down on the wee pond at Easter Ellister, there were another 8 Whoopers present. Down off Orsay Island they saw 3 Gannets fly past, and finally they had a Red  Grouse on the track leading up to Bolsay, up above Port Charlotte. This morning, they had a small flock of 30 Linnet along at Uiskentuie. Down on Machir Bay, 25 Ringed Plover were seen. Up here at home, before enjoying a customary cuppa, a Kestrel was seen. Just after they left, we saw a young male Hen Harrier out from the big gable end window as it flew past and away out over the machir...

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Saturday 19th January

James was a bit like Gary, in the sense with an eye on the weather forecast, he took the decision and carried out his WeBs count on the floods at Gruinart, on Thursday, so here are the scores on the doors from James...  38 Curlew, 1665 Golden Plover, 334 Lapwing,  1 Dabchick, 4 R b Merganser, 6 Shoveler, 2 Common Gull, 15 B h Gull, 9 Grey Heron, 24 Whooper Swan, 5 Snipe, 135 Mallard, 6 Mute Swan, 901 Teal, 87 Pintail and 162 Wigeon.
Forgot to mention last night that we had a Buzzard fly low along the fence line here at home  yesterday. This afternoon, we had a Kestrel in the air over the garden, and also the pesky Sparrowhawk was around "visiting" . I watched it fly over the big feeding station, spoofing the birds inside, but the Sparrowhawk did not get its' meal, as it ducked and dived through the escaping birds... Late afternoon, and we watched the Chough going in to their roost, there were 21 Chough counted in total.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Friday 18th January

A big change on the weather front out here today, sorry to say that possibly just normal January weather, the mercury in the thermometer struggling to push the needle into double figures....

Gary wisely took the chance yesterday to get ahead of the game and he did his WeBS count, a change round in areas coved again with his patch now being from Blackrock back round to Bowmore. So here are his scores on the doors... 12 GND, 17 RTD, 59 R b Merganser, 1 Cormorant, 1 Shag, 38 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Dabchick, 17 Eider, 25 Scaup, 108 Mallard, 22 Goldeneye, 5 Long tailed Duck, 101 Wigeon, 32 Teal, 9 Shelduck, 25 Common Scoter, 102 Ringed Plover, 101 Dunlin, 5 Redshank, 474 Oystercatcher, 70 Curlew, 10 Grey Heron, 14 Gbb Gull, 130 H. Gull, 273 C. Gull, 70 Bh Gull, 500 Barnies, 2 Mute Swan, 9 Whoopers and also 2 Moorhen.
By the tone of Gary's email, I take that he got a bit weather beaten, say no more lad..


Oh another e mail in today from Andrew Kent saying that there was a mistake on the figures on the Goose count which he had sent me through yesterday, the number of Whitefronts should have read 6,256 not 6,364...….

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Thursday 17th January

Well, here goes, and hopefully I will get this entry out before this laptop goes on the blink. I started out writing this on my big pc and lo and behold, it has stopped working... boo hoo!!!
Andrew Kent has kindly sent me through the figures from the International Goose count held on Tuesday and Wednesday. The figures were as follows 35,251 Barnies, 6,364 Whitefronts and 616 Greylags. The figures from Jan 2018 were as follows 37,487 Barnies, 5,077 Whitefronts and 597 Greylags, while count from Dec 2018 was 31,263 Barnies, 5,847 Whitefronts. Many thanks to Anrew and his team for that.

Up here at home another raptor day, some place, and I was not glued with my bins stuck to my eyes. It started off with seeing a Merlin take off from the wall and fly away down over the reedbed. Late morning, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over the game/ bird crop, down towards the bottom of the field before it turned left ad flew along the front of the cottages. Mid afternoon, we had the pesky Sparrowhawk on the wing, I went and looked at the cameras, and right enough it had carried out a flypast over the old bird table as well, but never got anything!!! While  I was out the , I saw the pair of Buzzards out on top, at  their usual spot, perched away up the hill on the Deer fence!!! In between time over at the former Kilchoman School, on the way to Gruinart, a Fieldfare was seen.
Today Gary had seen 30 Long tailed Ducks on Loch Indaal, out from Blackrock, and later on, he had seen an adult White tailed Eagle perched on a rock way up above Finlaggan. More coming from Gary tomorrow night!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Wednesday 16th January

By the sound of things, over here today has ben an EAGLE DAY and that was only from 3 different contributors, so here goes...
Mid morning up here at home, and we saw 2 Golden Eagles high up away out over the crag and shortly afterwards, Margaret saw a Peregrine fly past ... Gary today had 2 Golden Eagles out past Bunnahabhain. James was out helping carrying out the International goose Count and over the reserve at Gruinart he saw a White tailed Eagle, a Golden Eagle, a Peregrine and also he had the Little Egret as well...

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.