Wednesday, 1 July 2020

As promised the rainfall for June came to 3.22 inches on Matt Jackson's rain gauge.. more Islay figures tomorrow night, I promise you!!!

Yvonne McCrone sent through the rainfall figure for Otterferry rainfall for June...4.25inches. Some bird news from Yvonne tomorrow night as well, as ever watch this space...

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Tuesday 30th June

Well apart from there being no Islay bird nerds tonight, and another thing to think about is how much rain has fallen in June, well yet again I should be able tell you all about it tomorrow night. Come to think about it, last Friday there was a flash flood in Shore Street in Bowmore, yet no rain at either Rockside or up at Shepherd's cottage....

Monday, 29 June 2020

Monday 29th June

Well, another month has almost past, please remember that there will be no meeting of the Islay bird nerds tomorrow night.

James yesterday had a Spotted Flycatcher as well as 5 Redpolls in his garden at Mill Cottage. 

This morning I received an e mail through from Matt Jackson....
"The Corncrake is still calling overnight on calm nights, haven't heard it during the day for a while and there only seems to have been one calling recently - for a while in late May there were two calling nearby.  After the initial interest, here the House Martins didn’t come back to the box sadly."

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Sunday 28th June

Well like everywhere else it has been a pig of a day, with heavy squally showers appearing out of nowhere... So just another day spent watching the bird from the comforts of the house...

Karen Graham from Bearsden was in touch with similar thoughts to me...

"Well then, I was working away at the kitchen sink and the Sparrowhawk tore past between house and garage, missing the Willow and the birds in at the feeders. Juv Woodpecker  a regular now and red colour on head turning black but as yet no sign of red at back of neck so probably a female.
 Looks like a few more days of rain ahead. Very heavy just now so not going past door today."

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Saturday 27th June

Before I forget, just a wee update about the meeting of the Islay bird nerds which should have been held this coming Tuesday evening, well there will no meeting then due the present lockdown under which, we are all due to obey the advice given, out with my control..

Perhaps, come the end of July, we will be back, able to meet up again, here's hoping.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Friday 26th June

Not a lot to report tonight mainly because of the weather today and as I write there is another thunderstorm rolling around, not nice...
James was in touch to say that the Corncrake area surveyed the other night was The Rhinns and the Oa, leaving Bridgend, Bowmore and the Ballygrant areas to be counted.

Better go and press the publish button and turn off the pc before it gets fried..

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Thursday 25th June

James was  in touch earlier on this evening... He was telling me that there were only 24 calling Corncrakes heard last night. Not sure whether this was a total for the whole of Islay , or which part was surveyed, I am not too sure, but hopefully I will speak to James again soon. He was also telling me that he had a Tawny Owl and also a Barn Owl on his patch.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Wednesday 24th June

Earlier on tonight, Mandy was in touch to say that she had heard a Corncrake calling away down at Machir Bay this morning.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Tuesday 23rd June

Some news through from BTO relating to the House Sparrow which I had written about on Friday's entry on the blog

"This record was deleted as it was flagged as an inputting error by the other ringer. You should have received an email explaining the situation, apologies that this was not the case. It would indeed be a very unlikely movement for a House Sparrow!"
The "other ringer", I hasten to add was not George but it refers to the person in Somerset who caught and sent the detail into the BTO...

Monday, 22 June 2020

Monday 22nd June

Yesterday, Peter and Mark had been out and about looking for any nesting Terns, but sad to say that they did  not have much joy ..."We saw none on McKenzie Island or Orsay off Portnahaven, though there were 2-3 pairs by the old Wave-Gen plant near Portnahaven.  Most notable sighting was a pair of Great Skuas (Bonxies) on McKenzie Island"

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Sunday 21st June

James was in touch this afternoon with some birds and a general natter as well...
The other day up at Ardnave, James had counted 80 Barwits and also an Otter was present there as well. James was saying to me that along the Woodland trail at Gruinart, he had heard 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff calling away as well as  3 Goldcrests seen there.

Malcom e mailed me part of an article that was in today's edition of The Times, relating to the recent series screened on the TV of Springwatch..
" Now that Springwatch has been forced to abandon its distracting and cringe-inducing campfire repartee, it has evolved into the fascinating programme that it always ought to have been. Great to see that Chris Packham has been transformed into an adult. Please keep this format".

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Saturday 20th June

The last few days, Margaret and myself have been watching a couple of hen Pheasants and their respective broods.. The first  brood of young chicks were 6 in total  with the second brood consists of 10 smaller, younger chicks. The really great news is that so far both broods have not been predated, so we really must try to keep an  eye on them, not just for our curiosity, but we always thought the maternal instinct in Pheasants was really poor... But we will try to keep an eye on them....

Friday, 19 June 2020

Friday 19th June

Gary was in touch earlier on this evening to say that the Rose coloured Starling was still present in the same garden in Bowmore today again. He has also been seeing a small group of 6 Chough flying past his house most days recently.

George E. Jackson e mailed some interesting news regarding a House Sparrow which was caught and rung up at Shepherd's cottage on the 6th of August last year as a pulli from one of the nest boxes. It was caught down in Somerset on the 2nd of April, so quite a distance for the wee bird to fly, and better still it was still alive..

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Thursday 18th June

Gary earlier on this evening sent through this cracking image of a Rose coloured Starling seen in a garden in Bowmore today....

David Wood had seen a Puffin and also a Bonxie  down on the Oa, also today.

Armin was in touch to say that he had seen a Little Egret  in some trees as he was out on his walk first thing this morning along the canal down beside where he lives in Berkshire. Shortly afterwards he saw a Red Kite , but as it was raining quite heavily, he was unable to take any images of either bird!!

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Wednesday 17th June

Mary Redman e mailed through this morning....

"This week, the Corncrake at Claddach has been calling day and night, and on Monday I saw one near the calling Male, slip into the grass off the road.

Tuesday, a male Hen Harrier hunting near Wester Ellister.  Another yesterday just behind the village.

Snipe have been active drumming at Claddach Loch, but the Lapwing that were so active earlier in spring have disappeared.

And at the weekend, my mum had a close encounter with a Golden Eagle above a sheltered bay on the Croft!

Its dry as a bone here, the grass isn't so lush as last year at this time. This week has been thick fog, apart from blue skies on Sunday where we happily got our sheep sheared! Happy granny too."

Thanks Mary and great to hear from you...

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Tuesday 16th JUne

Louise was in touch earlier on today, to tell me that an Osprey had been seen over on Jura.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Monday 15th June

Two e mails in with some birds for you to enjoy....

Peter wrote the following comment..

"Mark Shields reports seeing the “usual” mixed Velvet / Common Scoter pair on the loch at Easter Ellister last Monday (8th). Assuming the Velvet is one of the remnants of the previous wildfowl collection there, it makes the bird apparently well into its twenties!"

David Wood had seen a  "migrant spotted flycatcher and blackcap on the Oa today"

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Sunday 14th June

A couple of birds seen by James yesterday.. He saw a Peregrine carrying some prey home to its' young. Back at Mill cottage, he saw his first Siskin of the year.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

SAturay 13th June

David Barr this morning had seen a Magpie, a new house bird for his list over at Lochearnhead. Mean while we have been watching a family of Blue Tits, a family of Great Tits and also a family group of Chaffinches all in around the feeders. The other day and ever since then, a family group of Tree Sparrows are regular visitors here now as well. Margaret counted a hen Pheasant out with her brood of 10 chicks, so must keep an eye on the group of them to see how many come through at the end...

Friday, 12 June 2020

Friday 12th June

Gary was in touch earlier on to say that he had seen 4 Crossbills on the overhead lines behind his house. They then took off and flew to the wooded area along the road beside the Ballygrant Inn. This evening Gary had a Heron fly over his house...

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Thursday 11th June

David Barr was on the phone for a catch up last night, good of you to phone David.. He was telling me that he had seen the Green Woodpecker again yesterday, 2 Jays and also pair of Bullfinches. He had seen them in around his house and garden where now lives in Lochearnhead.

Karen Graham had e mailed though later on last night from Bearsden, and was saying that she has been having a family of Great spotted Woodpeckers on one of the feeders in their garden, but yesterday evening one of the youngsters flew directly to strike one of the windows.. On checking up on the young bird which appeared to be stunned on the ground, when it saw someone coming to check on it, it flew off, none the worse for the experience!!!

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Wednesday 10th June

Lesley was in touch by  e mail last night with the birds seen by her when she carried out her patch from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. Birds seen were as follows...2 Cormorant, 10 Shag, 65 Eider, 10 Mallard, 3 Redshank, 3 Shelduck, 4 Curlew, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Mute Swan, 18 Ringed PLover, 1 Snipe, 4 Dunlin, 21 Oystercatcher and 9 Greylags. She also made the following comments as well....

"The count was very low both in overall numbers and number of species.

There was a fledged youngster in the Ringed Plovers and a pair of Mallard had 5 small ducklings and the pair of Shelducks with 6 small ducklings. I found an Oystercatchers nest above high tide mark with 2 eggs. A pair and a single Redshank both had a nest or young nearby by the way they were alarming until I moved on."
She also saw a pair of Spotted Flycatcher down in the plantation between Island Farm and the top end of the Big Strand and the dunes there...

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Tuesday 9th June

Sarah Bedford yesterday had carried out the WeBS at Gruinart, so here are her "scores on the doors"

Ardnave Loch
Loch Gruinart
Great-northern diver





Tufted duck






Red-breasted merganser

Ringed plover






Bar-tailed godwit



Common gull


Herring gull


Lesser black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull


Common Tern


Arctic Tern





Mute swan
Whooper swan


Little egret


Black-headed gull





Thanks to Sarah for this information.

Karen Graham was in touch with the birds seen by her in her garden yesterday...
This morning an adult GS Woodpecker was on the fat cake and then feeding a youngster sitting onthe willow. The youngster had that light red head feathers which was a subject on BTO email this week end. A first for us as adults in almost daily but never have seen a young one before. Families of blue tits also gathering on willow to be fed by adults. Unfortunately have not good enough camera on phone to get close up. Any movement and the Woodpeckers take off. 

Monday, 8 June 2020

Monday 8th June

Bob was on the phone earlier on this evening, and like many others, he managed to carry out his WeBS count today from Port Charlotte back round to Blackrock. So here is the tally for his birds...
4 GND, 3 Gannets, 5 Razorbill, 3 Tysties, 4 Shag, 2 Cormorant, 2 Gbb Gull, 25 H Gull, 30 C Gull,
35 Greylags, 3 Shelduck, 38 Eider plus 13 ducklings, 6 RBM, 1 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper,  2 Ringed Plover, 30 Oystercatcher and 4 Grey Heron. Great speaking to you Bob...

Matt Jackson, on his way to work this morning saw an Osprey carrying a trout perched on top of a telegraph pole on the side of Loch Gorm..

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Sunday 7th June

Margaret saw this image taken by Armin, and he was reminiscing about it. It was taken back in June 2013....taken down on Machir Bay...

"They were the exact same that Paul Graham rescued, back in June 2013. I can't remember the exact sequence of events, but I spotted them during my morning walk/run and took a few pictures. As I was on my own I couldn't really do anything about them. I'm not sure if I saw you straight away when I got back to the cottages and mentioned them or not. I know that later in the day you showed them to me and told me that Paul and some friends/family had spotted and rescued them. Imke, my sister, was also there that year (she arrived a few days later) and followed their progress from Germany after seeing them while on Islay."

I remember trying to coax the little blighters to feed and better still we managed to release them all over at Gruinart at the Bird Nerds at the end of July, so all I have to do now is to have a rummage around and see if I took any images of the ducklings being released... watch this space...

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Saturday 6th June

Armin sent through the following birds seen down South, not on Islay....

"Interesting sighting this morning: At the wooden footbridge crossing the canal during my daily morning walk I spotted three Grey Wagtails. Usually I only see one or two at that spot. An invader from somewhere else? Will there be a fight over the territory?

In other news:

Yesterday morning, a Heron stayed put on the other side of the canal when I walked past, usually they fly away when I approach.

Today, a Heron flew past me quite close along the canal. It was coming the other way, flying along the canal. When it spotted me it seemed like it was briefly pondering, should I turn off to get away from the human or just continue along the canal? It decided to continue along the canal, giving me a nice view of it flying along."
Thanks Armin...

Friday, 5 June 2020

Friday 5th June

Alistair Hutchison e mailed through last night with some sightings seen by himself on the Sorn

"Have come upon pairs of Bullfinches or the same pair over the past couple or three months ( either side of the site of the former Dry Bridge, initially )

Yesterday a pair halfway between East Lodge and the bridge above the Woollen Mill ... but today, at least one parent with at least 2 fledglings .... below the White Bridge heading to the bend above the last Sorn weir.

One dead bird trackside in winter.

Have also seen many more Treecreepers than hitherto ...."

Many thanks to Alistair for your birds, keep them coming through.....

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Thursday 4th June

Peter e mailed some sightings ....

"There has been a recent unconfirmed report of a Nuthatch at Bunnahabhain, This would be a first for Islay, so I popped down there to look for it – no luck. There were 8 Black Guillemots in the bay and a lovely Otter fishing just off the pier. Grey Wagtails, Spotted Flycatchers and Goldcrests all present and looking as if they are breeding. I went for a walk to Lily Loch and the deciduous woodland there to see if the nuthatch may have moved to thicker cover, but couldn’t find anything. However, there was a lovely Great Spotted Woodpecker on dead trees around the loch – interesting that the species still seems to be here as it was the first site for suspected breeding on Islay a few years back."

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Wednesday 3rd June

On Monday evening, Sarah Bedford had an Osprey sitting on a telegraph pole over at Loch Gorm, with very close views. Wonderful bird. And I had a Grasshopper Warbler calling outside the former school at Portnahaven. 

James was in touch saying that his rain gauge at Mill cottage came to 1.4 inches for May, more or less the same as up at Shepherd's cottage...  

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Tuesday 2nd June

Well not so much news about our birds on Islay, but seeing that May has been and gone, II have managed to get some rainfall figures for you... Marsali who lives over at Mulindry had a total of 1.9 inches for the month with Dr Matt Jackson's  figure was only 1.34 of an inch  recorded in his weather station, at Rockside road end...So all going well, I will get in touch with some more of our weather watchers for their figures. A wee job for tomorrow to do!!!!!

Monday, 1 June 2020

Monday 1st June

Lesley e mailed some more information for me to share with you...

"Not much for today but I was speaking to James this morning and he gave me the heads up that the reserves are now open. The Oa and Gruinart trails open - one way with numbers restrictions etc in place. Gruinart VC, loos and all hides still closed. Anyway I thought I would stop off on the way to Coop and have a walk around. Not a lot to see - it was around midday . I had a Chiffchaff in the Gruinart visitor carpark, Whitethroat singing in a gorse bush and orchids (? early purple - I’m not good on orchids) and Ragged Robins blooming. Plenty of blossom on the Rowan ready to produce food for the migrating Redwings and Fieldfares in the autumn. Life continues."

Lesley was also saying that she walked through the woodland trail under the rookery, and luckily for her the birds did not poo on her as walked past them!!

So, it is good news that the RSPB reserves on Islay are opening up again, even although they are not 100% open as such.

James, himself was speaking to Margaret around tea time confirming about the reserves opening up again. He also was telling Margaret about watching a food pass between a couple of Hen Harriers being seen by himself. Shortly afterwards he saw a Cuckoo.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sunday 31st May

Lesley kindly sent an e mail through with some sightings seen by her yesterday...

"Just briefly - this morning’s walk round Foreland - Loads of Small Heaths on the wing, plus a Small Copper and both male and female Orange tips- then at last I had good views of a pair of Whinchats, a Whitethroat singing from the top of a bush - followed by the Osprey flying over towards Loch Gorm, carrying a very large fish (salmon?) and coming from the direction of Loch Gruinart. Then a Green Hairstreak and a smallish ? Fritillary to finish off. Not bad when I wasn’t expecting anything new."

At present I am watching a program on the TV, called  "Highlands, Scotland's wild heart" I realise that the program has just started, but so far it has certainly got some great photography.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Saturday 30th May

Looking back a couple of days ago,  I commented on having seen a Yellowhammer out below the feeders in our garden, well last night there were 2 present, actually a pair of them. So I managed to get this image for you see them together..

So, I managed another one of the male bird as well

Friday, 29 May 2020

Friday 29th May

Well I suppose that another month is almost in now, but do not worry about the rainfall as I do not think that there has been much, more information will  be "announced" at the start of June....

Unfortunately, mainly because of the coronavirus, the blog has been light of sightings as we are all supposed to be "stay at home" people, which can and has been difficult to quite a few of us. Luckily yesterday, I had the camera to hand and managed to take of a male Pheasant which was out under the feeders.. It was obviously enjoying the sunny weather like the rest of us, as well!!!

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Thursday 28th May

David Barr was out today walking his canine friends, Ted and Ella, just before midday...

"Blackbirds making a bit of a racket caught my attention. With a bit of scanning I came across a Tawny Owl roosting on a branch close to the trunk staring me in the face .
Also watched a pair Bullfinches and Blackcaps." 

All I can offer you, is that we saw a Yellowhammer out in our garden, late afternoon....the first seen here for some time...

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Wednesday 27th May

Karen was watching a family of Dunnocks hopping around in her garden in Bearsden this morning.

Gary was in touch today and had seen 3 Goosanders, a juv Golden Eagle, an adult White tailed Eagle and also 2 Crossbills.

Just after the end of Spring watch, James was in touch and I gleaned from him, some of his sightings on the reserve seen by him at Gruinart today... He had an adult White tailed Eagle, on the woodland trail at Gruinart, 2 Blackcaps, some Chiffchaffs noted as well as many Whitethroats.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Tuesday 26th May

Good friend, Karen Graham from Bearsden was in touch earlier on this evening...

"Making tea and tiny male Goldcrest on back door harling. Looking back it was early April when last spotted one in exactly same place. Must still be a nest around.

Very warm this afternoon and more to come. Family of Starlings including 4 youngsters enjoying a bath too."

Just been watching "Springwatch" on the TV, the first program of the current series, and personally, I thought that it was a lot better program than some seen in other series... no stupidity between the presenters!!!!

Monday, 25 May 2020

Monday 25th May

Gary emailed some sightings seen by himself today...

"Down at Carnain, 9 Whimbrel on the grass, 1 Moorhen in the ponds & a Water Rail flying across the pond from muddy area to thick vegetation."

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Sunday 24th May

Before I forget there will be no meeting (again!!!) of the Bird Nerds  this coming Tuesday due to the dreaded Coronavirus and the lock down regulations in place...

I was speaking to David Barr earlier on this evening, and he has been seeing some tremendous sightings of a Green Woodpecker close to where he now lives close to Lochearnhead.

Peter e mailed me that he has had another new bird on his garden list, an Oystercatcher...
"While I see Oystercatchers passing by on the shore beyond the garden every day, yesterday and today were the first time I’ve actually had an Oystercatcher come into the garden. There was one yesterday feeding on the lawn, and two together today. They stayed quite a while and seemed to be finding plenty of food. Whether they are finding feeding elsewhere more difficult and are driven into the garden in desperation – or whether they’ve just realised that there is plenty of food in this new place, I’ve no idea – but it is fun to watch them plodding about with the Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Starlings on the grass."

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Saturday 23rd May

Well the weather has not been that great out on Islay today, wet and very windy to put it mildly. I believe that Dr Matt Jackson had a top wind speed of 60 mph recorded earlier on today!!!

No word, as of yet, as to whether anyone else saw the Hoopoe over in the Ballygrant area today...

Friday, 22 May 2020

Friday 22nd May

James today had seen an adult White tailed Eagle on the floods at Gruinart. The weather  has not been that great today as forecasted mainly wet and windy...  Dr Matt Jackson's weather station recorded a wind speed of 59mph just around 6 pm this evening!!!  No wonder Calmac changed the ferry times for returning back to Kennacraig...
Armin kindly sent through this image of a grass snake swimming in the canal seen when he went out on his morning walk on Wednesday.

Another piece of news was that, this morning there was a reported sighting of a Hoopoe over close to Ballygrant.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Thursday 21st May

Speaking to Peter earlier on, and he saw an Osprey overfly his garden in Bruichladdich yesterday while sitting outside having a cup of coffee. It was being mobbed by a bunch of Common Gulls. Peter, like me, wonders how long will it be before we have a pair of Ospreys breeding on Islay???Another interesting piece of information that came out during the conversation was that Peter reckons that the Dave Wood's Common Rosefinch was only the fourth recorded sighting of one on Islay...

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Wednesday 20th May

Good friend Armin was in touch earlier on this evening...
"Not sure if you can see it in the picture, but plenty of insects in the air here at the moment. "  No doubt it will provide some great food for the birds.

This afternoon when loafing around, I saw a Grey Heron, a Kestrel, a Swallow and also 2 House Martins flying over our garden...

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Tuesday 19th May

Gary was in touch late last night/ early this morning.....
"Some birds up at Finlaggan, juvenile Golden Eagle, adult White tailed Eagle and male Hen Harrier doing a food run."

Dave Wood had a young male Common Rosefinch singing away down the Oa at Kinnabus this morning, great image sent through...

Monday, 18 May 2020

Monday 18th May

I really must pay a bit more attention when looking for some saved images, as I found the missing image taken by Morag Sinclair and sent to me yesterday by Karen Graham.

I only noticed tonight that apart from the Blackbird in the bath having a wash/ bath that there is also a House Sparrow ? possibly waiting patiently for its turn in the bird bath....

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Sunday 17th May

Karen Graham sent an e mail through to me today and had attached an image taken by her friend Morag Sinclair which hopefully I am going to share with you...
Apologies, you will just have to wait until tomorrow to see Morag's image folks as I have gone and put it somewhere that is so safe I can't find it!!!!

Gary was in touch to say that this morning he went through to his kitchen to make a cuppa, and what did he see out of his kitchen window, an Osprey flying overhead.

While carrying out my hour's stint doing a garden birdwatch, I too was well pleased, a new bird noted a Magpie, now 35 species seen in the garden. Today's total for the hour was a grand total of 215 different birds seen in the garden. I am becoming quite hooked on this idea now, say no more.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Saturday 16th May

Dave Wood sent through a couple of sightings seen by himself down on the Oa

"8 Whimbrel and a Spotted Flycatcher on reserve today."

Friday, 15 May 2020

Friday 15th May

Lesley was in touch by e mail today...

"A walk along Loch Gorm today as the Osprey wasn’t around. I was not expecting anything new as I think most avian summer visitors have arrived however I did see 2 beautiful female golden/ rich brown Common Adders sunning themselves on the track. They both were at least 18-22 inches long and were socially aware being about 6 feet apart!!! Also there must be some plump Song Thrushes around as there were loads of anvil stones and broken snail shells. A few waders on the shore, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover and about 10 Dunlin."

James also sent through an e mail with his top birds seen today..
" A couple of birds – little and large

A Spotted Flycatcher and White tailed Eagle, both seen from the garden at Mill Cottage."

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Thursday 14th May

David Barr was on the phone later on last night and in conversation with him, he told me that earlier on yesterday, he had seen a Whitethroat and also a pair of Stonechats.

Oddly enough, Margaret looked through the window around tea time, and what was sitting on top of the roof of our bird table, surveying all around, almost as if it was the owner of all it could see around, but the pesky Sparrowhawk. It sat there for 2 to 3 minutes before flying off, needless to say it never caught any prey....

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Wednesday 13th May

Oops, I reckon that I should have checked my list of garden birds seen by ourselves, as on checking out our list, we now have amassed a GRAND total of 34 species seen in the garden even including the odd over flying species... really must go and give Gordon a phone...

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Tuesday 12th May

Just like the rest of you out there, we have been holed up since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown... but not to be outdone, I have been doing a daily bird watch in our garden, and surprisingly enough , so far the total number of species seen is 28. Another person who has been doing a similar watch is Gordon Yates with his tally coming to 24, so I must get in touch with him to compare my list against his. I already know that he has had a Reed Bunting in his garden, a bird that I have not seen here...

Monday, 11 May 2020

Monday 11th May

Mandy was in touch by e mail earlier on today...
Finally, I have seen the Osprey this morning, on it was on its usual perch in Loch Gorm, preening. 👍 Then later on I watched a male Hen Harrier quartering.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Sunday 10th May

Peter was in touch by e mail earlier on this evening...

"Here are a couple of records from yesterday (Saturday) from Pia as she was walking the dogs at Loch Skerrols:

  • Adult White tailed Eagle low overhead
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming loudly.  Looking back through this spring’s records, it really does look as if this species has now become properly established on Islay. Looking back through the blog for March and April and up till now, there have been records from Ballygrant/Lily loch; Ardbeg; Laphroaig; Foreland and now Loch Skerrols – so there seem to be a few pairs now spread across suitable woodland habitat over the island."

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Saturday 9th May

James was in touch by e mail..

"Probably 5 Corncrakes calling at Gruinart. Lots of whitethroats and whinchats about now and I had an Osprey fly over the loch on Thursday."

Mandy e mailed the following to me last night.. 
"Yesterday, I saw a Whitethroat, lots of Sedge Warblers and heard Groppers. This morning, I saw 2 Snipe drumming, and this evening I'm listening to 2 Cuckoos."

Friday, 8 May 2020

Friday 8th May

The Corncrakes are back... oh no, sleepless nights. Sorry folks, almost as bad as the other noisy summer visitor the Cuckoo...
Louise was in touch saying the she had head 2 different Corncrakes on Jura, and David Wood has heard one calling down on the Oa, while Ed Burrell heard one at Cornabus, at that is not counting up the other "usual" sites on Islay.

Earlier on this evening, Margaret and myself found 2 Pheasant eggs which appeared to have been predated as there was still a lot of colouring of the egg yolk inside the remnants of the said eggs...  

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Thursday 7th May

Matt Jackson sent me through this e mail, earlier on this evening....

"I had 2 Corncrakes calling all night at Rockside. Also a Peregrine at Foreland on my commute to work this morning."

This morning Gary e mailed some sightings through
" A couple of days ago had an Osprey flying south bound over house.

Yesterday had several different warblers through the garden, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat & Blackcap. Golden Eagle overhead when we were having lunch outside.

Red throated Divers still flying overhead moving between lochs."

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Wednesday 6th May

Some more details regarding the Barnacle Goose found by Bob in a field close to his house up behind port Charlotte... It was originally rung as a young bird on the nest on the 19th of July last year, and Bob had found it on the 25th of March this year.. It had travelled/ flown 1071 km over 250 days...

When I was speaking to Bob earlier this evening, he was telling me that he had heard a Lesser Whitethroat singing in his garden this morning as well as 2 Sedge Warblers joining in as well.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Tuesday 5th May

This morning I received an e mail through from Steve Percival about a Barnacle Goose which Bob had found dead out in a field close to his house up behind Port Charlotte, it had been initially caught and rung last year in Iceland.

More about the  goose tomorrow on the blog, watch this space...

Monday, 4 May 2020

Monday 4th May

Lesley tonight sent me through the following sightings of some birds

" Rather late but on Saturday, I saw my first (4) House Martins for the year also a pair of Gannets close into the shore doing a fly past. Plus Common  Sandpiper again, I always forget just how wee they are.

Today my walk was very noisy. Warblers competing with Sedge coming in first, Willow close behind and Grasshopper a poor third. Then there were the Stonechats, dapper Reed Buntings, Skylarks and even Redpoll. All with the ubiquitous Cuckoos and cronking Ravens."


I was Speaking to Distillery Dave this evening, and he was telling me about seeing an Osprey on Loch Earn the other day. Today, he had seen the Green woodpecker as well as 4 different Jays and also a striking male Bullfinch as well as a pair of Greenfinch....

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Sunday 3rd May

Good friend Armin Grewe sent me through the following e mail last night... Armin often visits Islay, but not so far this year...

"This morning I noticed a pair of Tufted Ducks during my walk along the canal. While I've seen them on some lakes around here regularly they're fairly uncommon on the canal, where it's mostly Mallards.

Yesterday morning I watched a horse chasing three pairs of Canada Geese on its paddock. When I passed again half an hour later on the return leg the geese were gone, so seems the horse was the winner.

Last Saturday I saw two Pigeons chase a Magpie, first time I think I've seen that happening. Not sure what the Magpie did to cause the chase, they suddenly flew across the path as I was approaching home.

On Easter Monday I saw the first duck with its ducklings for this season, unfortunately haven't seen it since. A few days ago I saw a lone duckling in small stream next to the canal, not sure where mother was or if it was the same family as this was about a mile up the canal.

A few weeks ago on my way to my weekly shop I noticed some roadkill (couldn't make out what it was) on the A4. More interestingly on my way back an hour later I watched a Red Kite unsuccessfully trying to pick it up, it got disturbed by an approaching car. May be it was more successful on a later attempt? (I had to drive on, so couldn't watch if it made another attempt)

Most mornings during my walk I say good morning to the rare Roof Duck (see picture). It's keeping a watchful eye over the canal below the roof where it lives. Sometimes the female comes out as well, but most of the time it's just the male.

Also a few weeks ago a pair of Long Tailed Tits visited me at my fake balcony, I think only the third or fourth time since I live here that I've seen some at my flat. I usually only see Blue Tits and Great Tits from the flat, so that was a welcome change. One even seemed to want to come in, it landed on the railing and then lightly flew against the door.

Other than the birds I've seen a Muntjac and a Roe Deer on the "fenced off" section of the towpath (some old gravel pits on the other side, fence was put in for safety reasons a few years back). 

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Saturday 2nd May

 God friend Marsali fromov at Mulindry sent me through her tally from her rain gauge...The rainfall for April here was 19mms or 0.76 inch, the driest for many years but still damper than Kilchoman. See these folk that live up in the rain shadow of the hills....

Oops, I almost forgot our rainfall figures from up here at Shepherd's cottage  to just below 0.5  of an inch. James's tally for the month came to a mere 12mm, so very similar to us at Shepherd's cottage. 

Birds seen today by James included a Whitethroat, Gropper, Cuckoo, Whinchat, and male HH all from between office and Mill cottage.

Mandy e mailed through last night,
"Just found this light blue egg shell on the track - Starling I think. Lots of Linnet on my walk just now, ie a flock of 9 and others along the road. Also Sedge Warbler, Willow Warblers, Mipits etc and a stunning male Stonechat with the female nearby."

Friday, 1 May 2020

Friday 1st May

Well, I managed to  find the rainfall for April down at Matt Jackson's weather station  where it came to only 0.45 of an inch.... say no more...a rather dry April for sure...

Speaking to Louise the other day, and she was saying that there have been a few pods of Dolphins seen in the Sound of Islay and also in Loch Indaal as well, being seen of late...

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Thursday 30th April

Matt Jackson sent me the following birds seen by himself over the past few days...
"I had an Osprey by Loch Gorm on my way into work this morning, not far this side of Sunderland Farm. It had a huge trout still flapping in its talons! The House Martins have been back investigation my nest box today (they had a look last week then disappeared again) and there has been a Wheatear in the garden all week - it’s had a couple of altercations with its reflection in the window!" 

Matt also sent this one relating to the corncrakes around now...
"I also had heard a Corncrake from the house here at Rockside this afternoon."

I also believe that he was really fortunate to see a food pass between a pair of Hen Harriers earlier on this week.