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.


Project Member (DWT) said...

Our week on Islay (3-10th) produced a few records to add to those in the blog entry: single otters at Ardbeg and at Kilnaughton (just beyond the lighthouse), three bottle nosed dolphins at Arnave (4th), 50+ chough at Kilchoman plus an imm. golden eagle there (8th), a confiding snow bunting on the road by the Oa car park plus a merlin with redwing prey, a pair of peregrines and three hen harriers also on the Oa (5th), a male goshawk at what had better be an undisclosed site just in case it is resident (7th) and four undetermined canada geese with barnacles near Cluanach (also 7th) - it was dull and raining hard at the time! We also saw some of the species mentioned in the blog entry, eg arctic tern, purple sandpipers etc.

Rather surprising was our failure to see a single kestrel or wood pigeon even though we covered most of the island doing 'roving recording' for the new BTO Atlas as we drove/walked around, seeing over 90 species during the week. Recording even common species such as blackbird and hoodie in each tetrad was not the chore it might seem and we can thoroughly recommend this valuable activity to anyone else visiting Islay (or elsewhere come to that).
We have not visited Islay since 1994 so were struck by the increased numbers of both barnacles and especially whitefronts (is there a latest estimate of how many winter now?).
No doubt we will be back!

Nick Brown/Kath Patrick

PS The blog is useful and informative - thank you and keep up the good work!

Project Member (DWT) said...

Entering last week's 'roving' records for the new BTO Atlas which we referred to in the previous comment (and it turns out there were over 650 of them in some 80 tetrads all over the island!) took Kath most of today to enter on the BTO's Atlas website!
However, in retrospect we both feel our holiday was enhanced (and given a purpose beyond the pure enjoyment of watching birds) by making these records, many in some of the relatively 'duller' tetrads which perhaps local recorders will not cover, there being so few of you resident bird watchers on Islay it seems and yet so many tetrads to cover!
I must add this was Kath's initiative. I was purely the main bird finder whetjer we were driving or walking - since Kath was as often head down with map and notebook as head up and looking for birds that I had missed!
Nick Brown
PS Please ignore the mysterious 'project member (dwt)' tag since it refers to another unrelated project for which I use my blogger account down here.