Sunday 3 March 2024

Sunday 3rd March

Mostly pleasant and sunny today, but a few moderate rain showers at times.

Not a huge amount to report today, but David Dinsley saw 14 Choughs on the lawn in front of the Machrie Hotel. Kathy Evans was pleased with a "good raptor day": 2 Golden Eagles, up to 4 White-tailed Eagles near Claddach and Hen Harriers near Portnahaven and Gruinart. She also had 5 Little Egrets at  the Gruinart viewing platform.

Saturday 2 March 2024

Thursday 29th February - Saturday 2nd March

A triple-billing to catch up the blog today. No bird news at all on Thursday and yesterday the only news was from Valerie Wilson of the Glaucous Gull still at the top of Loch Indaal and a couple of White-tailed Eagles at Portnahaven.

Today was a bright sunny, very pleasant day that produced a bit more to tell you about:

Valerie saw a Pink-footed Goose amongst the Barnies on fields near to the Woollen Mill. Later, David Wood wandered away from The Oa to look off Blackrock and reported 10 Long-tailed Ducks, 8 Great Northern, 1 Black-throated and 4 Red-throated Divers, 80 Eider, 4 Slavonian Grebes, 14 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Common Scoter and 3 Black Guillemots.

Ed Burrell provides us with the first valuable nest record of 2024, having seen a Collared Dove incubating on a nest in his cow shed at Cornabus (he also reports dolphins this evening in Kilnaughton Bay).

Kathy Evans got lucky up at Gruinart with a sighting of the long-staying Red-breasted Goose. She had also seen a couple of White-tailed Eagles from the viewing platform, Hen Harrier and Golden Eagle at Ardnave and another Golden Eagle plus15 Chough at Sanaigmore (but none up at Ardnave).

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Wednesday 28th February

 A mainly unpleasant grey and rainy day.

Despite the rotten weather, there was a slight portend of spring with the first Lesser Black-backed Gull of 2024 seen by David Dinsley at Kinnabus.

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Tuesday 27th February

Rain and cloud with odd sunny spells in between.

Despite the not too great weather, it did feel a bit like spring with Dunnocks and Robins singing here at Bruichladdich and Song Thrushes at Kildalton.

Valerie Wilson was watching Choughs and a White-tailed Eagle at Sanaigmore and Steve & Lyn Rogers had had 43 White-fronted Geese at Cornabus.

Monday 26 February 2024

Monday 26th February

 A lovely bright and sunny day throughout.

Gary Turnbull had an impressive count of 5 White-tailed Eagles calling over Finlaggan this morning.

Whooper Swans seem to be on the move, with Mary Redman finding 20 on Claddach Loch  and James How noting 29 up at Gruinart. James also saw a Peregrine and 6 Woodcock at Gruinart.

Joanna Dailey on a return visit came across the regular Chough flock up at Ardnave - 24 in total, at least 17 of them colour-ringed, while over on Loch Indaal she watched a White-tailed Eagle chasing a gull, which presumably got away.

Other than birds, Mary Redman took a photo of some Marsh Fritillary caterpillars warming up in the sun.

Sunday 25 February 2024

Sunday 25th February

A cold but sunny and dry day.

Martin Armstrong saw a couple of Red Grouse at the Ard, Port Ellen this morning, while James How reports Golden and White-tailed Eagles at Gruinart, 10 Slavonian Grebes, 15 Long-tailed Ducks, single Scaup and the presence of Common Scoter, Red-throated and Great Northern Divers on Loch Indaal.

I took a walk up to Killinallan this afternoon and noticed 3 White-tailed Eagles together at the north end of Gruinart. All three flew off towards Ardnave as the tide rose and pushed them off the sand banks.

Visitor Valerie Wilson started her visit to Islay well, with the young Glaucous Gull asleep at the top of Loch Indaal, then the Red-breasted Goose on the west side of Gruinart in the afternoon. A little later she was at Blackrock where the Slavonian Grebes were accompanied by a Great Crested Grebe - quite a rarity here. It was rare enough for me to go straight out on receiving the Whatsapp message and go on a "twitch" for it. Unfortunately, despite close scrutiny of the various assembled ducks, grebes and divers there was no further trace of it.

This evening Mary-Ann Featherstone heard a couple of Tawny Owls calling at Kildalton.

Saturday 24 February 2024

Saturday 24th February

A dry, sunny but chilly day.

Jonathan Farooqi reported plenty of activity off Bowmore in loch Indaal this morning, with 20 Slav. Grebes, 20 Red-throated Divers, 15 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver, 25 Long-tailed Ducks, 100 Common Scoters, 100 Eider, 30 Red-breasted Mergansers and a single Scaup. (The Slav. Grebe and L T Duck numbers are quite high counts). 

Jonathan also found the Red-breasted Goose, 2 White-tailed Eagles and 5 Greenshank at Gruinart Flats, a Golden and White-tailed Eagle over the Ballygrant end of the Glen Road, 2 more White-tailed Eagles at Finlaggan and a Dipper at the Woollen Mill.

Louise Muir was on Islay seeing additional White-tailed Eagles at Kilmeny (a young bird) and Gearach (an adult) - so a possible tally today of 5-8 birds?. 

Margaret Brooke is back at Kilchoman where a Hen Harrier flew across her garden.

There was a bit of belated, but very welcome and interesting bird news from Jim Duncan and John Graham who had been on the island recently. They had taken a photo of a collared Greenland White-front that Ed Burrell confirms as a bird caught on Greenland in July 2008 that has been wintering on Islay every year since - a good age for a goose!

John and Jim also sent in a series of excellent photos of a couple of happily boxing Hares, followed by an attempted catch of the two Hares by a Golden Eagle, with an end result photo of a forlorn eagle and two lucky lagomorphs!

Great action photos - many thanks for sending them in - and thanks to everyone for their records which all go to the Argyll Bird Club database and help fill in an overall picture of  what and how many birds are here.