Wednesday 28 November 2007

Mon 26th - Tues 27th Nov

Here is the leucistic Barnacle Goose which we took the other day down towards Bridgend. When we initially saw it, it had its head down eating grass and was more in the middle of the group, but was noticably a lighter coloured goose than its mates.
There were also 55 Lapwing flying along the shoreline over at Bruichladdich.
The story of the 2 House Martin fledglings sharing a nest with 4 Swallow has made the press with Margaret winning the star letter prize ,"In your garden" section, of the December edition of Bird Watching. The birds will again benefit as the prize is bird food, rather than another set of bins!
On Tuesday, there was a Fulmar in wheeling around in front of the crag, so look out for some stormy weather later this week, say probably Friday or Saturday. Over the last few winters I have noticed this pattern, does the Met Office know about this? IKB
A Pink footed Goose was amongst other geese around Loch Skerrols last week. MS
Also on the whole Islay picture, there have been numerous sightings of Sea Eagles this month, no doubt immature birds from Mull on a day trip over here. If anyone has seen any Sea Eagles over here, could they please let me know, and I will pass it on. AK
Here are some sightings from Jura for the last week, within a 200m stretch of road at Ardfin there were 2 Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and a Kestrel! There are a lot of Mergansers to be seen in the bay at Craighouse. Suicidal Woodcock on the go, as 14 were counted between Craighouse and Gatehouse (home) last Tuesday evening. Back on Islay, there was a flock of 20+ goldfinches sitting on a roof in Bowmore. LG

Sunday 25 November 2007

Fri 23rd - Sun 25th Nov

Not much to report from here, apart from a reported sighting of a possible male Black Redstart which was seen at Ardnave by a visiting birder. Here at home, there was a Grey wagtail, while the male Blackcap is still dominating the bird table, even game enough to chase the blackbirds away. IKB
Off Islay, and James has seen the following down on a visit to Rutland Water. Lots of Great Crested Grebes, Dabchick, 1 Little Egret, 10 Egyptian Geese, several Goosander, 2 Green Sandpiper, Black tailed Godwit, Woodcock, lots of Tree Sparrows, Gr. Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Bullfinch, Tawny Owl, Fox and Grey Squirrel. We certainly do not have the last 2 from your list here on Islay. JRH

Thursday 22 November 2007

Tues 20th - Thurs 22nd Nov

Our Islay birds are certainly keeping me on my toes, this week at least......

On Tuesday morning, in the middle of the Goose count, a couple of low flying jets came down over Loch Gruinart, round the back of Bowmore and then away to Port Ellen. I wonder what the poor folk who were counting the geese at the time thought! There are still some Whoopers trickling through, with 34 at the top of Loch Indaal on Tuesday, not flustered by the jets. Neither were the group of 46 Pale bellied Brent geese near Bruichladdich. IKB
The 2 Goosanders, males I am told, are still on Loch Kinnabus on the RSPB reserve on the Oa, the Lapland Bunting and the Corn Bunting are still there too. There have been 2 separate sightings of different Sea Eagles, down on the South east corner of Islay. AK
There were 52 Fieldfare in the trees at Ballygrant after their annual pillage on the fruit on some Hawthorns! SMcG
Thursday afternoon produced 33 Shelduck at Carnain in amongst numerous other ducks, mainly Mallard, Wigeon and Teal. Going into Bowmore there were around about 20 Pale bellied Brent geese, exact number not 100% correct as they were viewed from the road on a bad bend. On coming home, they had flown on, as there was no sign of them. IKB
Up the back of Port Charlotte, there were 2 Chough, 3 Whooper swans, a female Merlin, a Buzzard and plety of Corvids out and about. Over at Blackrock there were numerous Scaup to be seen out on Loch Indaal. JH

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Sun 18th - Mon 19th Nov

Sightings from around Islay, coming in thick and fast from our contributors on many good bird sightings. Before I forget, many thanks to James for keeping the blog up to date while I was away, soaking the sun up in Jersey, only one wet morning, so no real complaints.... By the way, it is now James turn to be our off island correspondent, Rutland Water look out!

There were 38 Brent geese at Blackrock briefly on Saturday, resting up, before heading over the water to Ireland. Up on Ardnave Loch on Sunday, there was 2 Whoopers and 1 Mute Swan along with numerous Wigeon and Teal and 40 Greylag Geese. On Monday, 8 Whoopers were seen flying down Loch Indaal. GJ

On the Oa, on Loch Kinnabus there were 2 Goosanders, and on the RSPB reserve on the Oa there was a Lapland Bunting. While going over on the ferry to Kennacraig a Grey Phalarope was seen. AK

5 Snow Buntings were up at Ardnave while a Golden Eagle was observed down at RSPB Loch Gruinart. JRH

A Northern Chiffchaff was spotted in Bridgend woods on Monday by a visiting birdwatcher on Monday, and here at home we had a male Blackcap on the feeders, also on Monday. MAB

Saturday 17 November 2007

12th November to 17th November

A quick update before I hand back to the blogmaster on his return from Jersey soaking up the Channel Island sun. (Although I believe they have recorded snow bunting, must have been soaking up the sun too.)
Some interesting comments were posted on the last entry to the blog, with yet more records that are worth a mention. DWT recorded otters at Kilnaughton and Ardbeg as well as 3 bottle-nose dolphins off Ardnave, 50 chough and a golden eagle at Kilchoman and also a goshawk some where on the Island, all recorded during there stay 3/11 to 10/11.
A WEBS count at Gruinart on the 12/11 revealed good numbers of wildfowl infront of the hide including 1,232 teal, 328 wigeon, 41 shoveler and 58 pintail. Wader numbers on the Loch were also good with large quantities of redshank having arrived (JRH). On the 13/11 at the Oa reserve (AK) reported a corn bunting and a male goosander. A goose count at Gruinart on the 15/11 produced a total of 12,700 barnacles and 605 whitefronts on the reserve plus a hutchinsii Canada goose. There was an International goose count on the Island during 12-13/11, but I have not heard any results yet. Today 17/11 (AK) phoned to say that he had seen a white tailed eagle on the Oa.

Sunday 11 November 2007

5th November to 11th November

Before I get started on this weeks sightings there are some good records for last week that have come in via the blog:
01/11, 5 long tailed ducks in the sound of Jura
02/11, 2 Hutchinsii canada geese at Bridgend, white tailed eagle with white tags at Gruinart, 4 purple sandpipers and 2 arctic terns at Bruichladdich.
03/11, 4 snow buntings at Ardnave
04/11, Jack snipe on the Oa (All records FS, thank you!)

Mean time we have received information from the beachmaster/blogmaster on location, or vacation in Jersey. While travelling to Jersey a stop over at the London wetland centre produce a great array of birds including 5 bar headed geese (or is that Brae headed geese) loads of coots and great views of a sparrowhawk. On Jersey so far a few birds not often seen on Islay, include magpies (common), little egrets, jay, a marsh harrier and around 500 brent geese.

Back on Islay this weeks news. Its felt quite wintry this week, but the birds have been good.
05/11, grey phalarope (FS) at Gruinart, black scoter (again, one here last year) off Bruichladdich, mandarin drake in a field at Kildalton, 37 lesser repdols, 3 mealy redpols, 16 yellowhammers and 10 siskins, at Ardtalla, 3 Leach's petrels at Frenchman's Rocks (AS). A windy day, but good birding!
06/11, A kingfisher at Bridgend and 5 crossbills at Avonvogie (FS), snow bunting on the Oa (AK), and 65 twite at Gruinart.
11/11, A quick trip to the hide at Gruinart, a cold wind, but clear air revealed an otter moving through the channels while the geese looked on, and a young peregrine that attempted to catch teal repeatedly.

Sunday 4 November 2007

31st October to 4th November

The blogmaster is away at the moment being a beachmaster on Jersey, so look forward to the Jersey update. In the meantime I will attempt to keep you posted of Islays latest.
Lots of whooper swans are still moving through the island, with 57 at Gruinart on the 31st.
A duck count at Gruinart on the 2nd revealed: 2022 teal, 408 wigeon, 33 pintail, 56 shoveler, 2 greenshank, 1 tufted duck, 8 black tailed godwits and 636 lapwing. Also on the 2nd a golden eagle at Kilchoman and 19 chough at Ardnave. At the Oa a possible rough legged buzzard showed briefly! On the 3rd a woodcock and barn owl at Gruinart.