Tuesday 20 February 2024

Tuesday 20th February

The day developed into something tolerably pleasant with plenty of sunshine if a bit breezy, and it was good enough to get me out in the afternoon to the Gruinart hides.

Nothing sensational was seen, but it was full of activity with large numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover, smaller groups of Dunlin, Curlew and Redshank and 3-4 Greenshanks showing in good light. The ducks were numerous and a delight in the sunshine. 10 Whooper Swans were pootling about and a Little Egret present.

Monday 19 February 2024

Sunday 18th & Monday 19th February

A grey, drizzly day on Sunday meant very little birding news, though Mary-Ann Featherstone reports a total of 200 Lapwing north of Port Ellen mobbing a Buzzard.

Today was a little bit brighter - mostly dry with a bit of sunshine at times. Gary T. saw a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers towards Lily Loch - always good to receive records of this species to assess how many pairs might be breeding.

David Dinsley saw a Snow Bunting down on The Oa and Steve Williams watched a Golden Eagle over the Glen Road in the afternoon.

Malcolm O. sent in a note to say that 4 White-fronted Geese were caught at Kintra on Saturday and fitted with numbered neck collars. They were seen just a few km away at Coillabus today, but any further sightings of these or any marked White-fronts (including numbered leg rings) would be gratefully received.

Saturday 17 February 2024

Saturday 17th February

Ghastly weather today - at best overcast, grey and misty, at worst, grizzly, or breezy with rain.

Understandably, the birding news is limited, though Steve Williams did get out and found a White-tailed Eagle and Hen Harrier up at Gruinart.

Otherwise, there was a note posted on the Islay Facebook page that Malcolm O. picked up on regarding birding etiquette on Islay. There has apparently been some fairly dodgy and potentially dangerous behaviour from a photographer (presumed to be a birder) who has parked up in awkward places on bends on our narrow roads to wander off and take pictures. It is sometimes quite frustrating when something good is seen in a spot that is unsafe to stop in. However, the plea is to be careful and thoughtful to other road users, and find somewhere that is safe to pull off the road and if necessary walk back to where you want to be.

Friday 16 February 2024

Friday 16th February

 A grey, dreich sort of day - but mild and calm.

Steve & Lyn Rogers saw a Barn Owl last night near the airport.

Today there are further reports from Steve Percival and Steve Williams of the Red-breasted Goose in the Gruinart area and the two Cackling Geese up at Skerrols - a lone Pink-footed Goose with them.

The Kingfisher was seen again by Steve Williams at Bowmore Harbour, while Gary Turnbull was seeing Golden Eagles at Carrabus and the Glen road, a Merlin at Newton and Hen Harrier at Scarabus, plus Crossbills on the Cluanach road near the Abbatoir.

I was down at Port Ellen in the afternoon and counted 8 Whooper Swans at what appears to be a new outfall associated with the rebuild of Port Ellen Distillery. This is attracting large numbers of greylags, mallard, corvids and gulls. I'm sure someone with the necessary, devotion, will-power and know-how could carefully check through all those gorgeous immature gulls and rustle up something rare....................

Thursday 15 February 2024

Wednesday 14th & Thursday 15th February

A couple of days of varied, but mild winter weather - sun and showers yesterday and fairly overcast, misty, drizzly today.

Nothing reported yesterday, but a few bits and pieces coming in today:

Steve Percival noted 2 Cackling Geese with the Barnies at Bridgend, also seen by visitor Tricia Cuninghame at Gruinart this morning. White-tailed Eagles also noted - 2 seen by Gary Turnbull and later by Tricia on their usual rocky island at the mouth of the River Sorn at the top of Loch Indaal. From the other side of the island, Ed Burrell sent in a note of a Carrion Crow seen by Larry Griffin at Kintra.

Gary also watched a couple of Otters at Carrabus Burn near Blackrock this morning.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Monday 12th & Tuesday 13th February

Not a lot of bird news to report over the past two days of blustery, sunny weather with sometimes heavy rain showers. Yesterday Gary Turnbull noted flocks of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits  enjoying the sun in the fields and pasture up at Finlaggan, making it sound almost spring-like. Today Malcolm Ogilvie passed on a Facebook message that John Cameron saw a Kingfisher on the pier at Bowmore this morning. This prompted a response from another Islay resident saying that they had seen one at Port Askaig pier last August!

Sunday 11 February 2024

Sunday 11th February

Mostly dry and sunny today, with occasional showers - not too bad for winter.

The Red-breasted Goose rediscovered yesterday was seen again at Loch Gruinart today by Steve Percival. Other than that, I noted 18 or more Brent Geese along the coast of Loch Indaal this afternoon from Uiskentuie down to Bruichladdich.