Thursday 30 October 2008

Thurs 30th Oct

Although we had frost on some puddles, and on the grass first thing this morning, it has turned out to be a nice sunny day. The Paps of Jura and the hills on Mull as well as here on Islay, are still wearing their snow caps.
With this colder snap, and with the fallen fruit on the ground, Redwing, Blackbird and Fieldfares were making the most of it. Within an hour today, our contributor had seen 7 different raptors, Golden Eagle, Buzzard, Peregrine, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. Good going by anyone's books.
James had been doing a count on the floods yesterday and had the following, 2 Snow Buntings, 802 Teal, 148 Wigeon, 58 Mallard, 2 Whooper, 5 Mute, 1 Moorhen, 34 Pintail, 42 Shoveler, 3 Black tailed Godwits, 42 Greylags and 2 Gadwall. On Tuesday he had some time to count the geese on the reserve which tallied at 11965 Barnies, 510 Whitefronts and 2 Canada Geese. He also had 15 Redwing, 1 Kestrel and a Ring tailed Hen Harrier. Out on the saltmarsh yesterday afternoon, James had 2 Buzzards on the ground being quite peaceable, and then along came a male Peregrine which gave one of them a real clout on it's head! JRH
On to migration news now and Catherine has gone to sunnier climes, to St Helena, to do survey work relating to the Wyre bird and Airport habitat mitigation. She should return early in December. We ourselves, are off today to Bird Island in the Seychelles and other islands out there. Trust that there is no frost, it was only 33C on Monday, so I hope the weather has not changed since than. James in our absence will keep you updated what is happened here at home.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Wed 29th Oct

This is one of the Grey Phalarope's that was seen at the weekend. This one was at one location, while another 2 were round at Port Charlotte.
Talking of Port Charlotte, and an elusive Waxwing was seen down there this morning by Jeremy Hastings and Carl Reavey.
Amongst the waders seen at Gruinart today were 2 Greenshank and a flock of around 100 Sanderling flew past. Out from Ardnave point there were a pair of Slavonian Grebes.
Our friends gave me report of their sightings today as follows. "At Saligo there was a flock of over 200 Golden Plover feeding in a wet field together with a large number of Starlings, when they all took flight on the appearance of a ring tailed Hen Harrier. At Sanaigmore, the only bird to be seen was a Great northern Diver. The shore at Bruichladdich, was quiet with only a few Ringed Plover, but just offshore was a Red throated Diver."

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Tues 28th Oct

What a day for October, the gritters have been out, gritting the roads to prevent ice, and plenty of dirty snow and hail showers thrown in for good measure. In fact the snow on the Paps of Jura, and also the hills behind Bowmore had their winter coats on all day, quite often it has gone by lunchtime, on the odd occasion when we get snow.
Michal had been out down on the RSPB Oa reserve today, and had captured this Redwing. There was a flock of around 70 birds there, along with a few Fieldfares. The flock of over 100 Twite still remain, as well as some Linnets. There was both a male and female Hen Harrier out hunting, and also he also saw 2 Golden Eagles and a Peregrine. MS
David Goodwin, a visiting birder who has visited regularly over the past 25 years, e mailed to say that he had seen 2 immature Grey Phalarope in the bay at Port Charlotte on Saturday morning.
While out in Port Charlotte with friends earlier this evening, there was a report of what could possibly be a Red breasted Goose, so something go and look for tomorrow! Coming home, we were pleasantly surprised to see 3 Barn Owls out hunting a different locations. The Swallows were seen in Port Charlotte again today and another couple were seen at Port Ellen too.

Mon 27th Oct

The weather certainly has calmed down although the wind has veered round to the North giving us a colder blast. It certainly has not moved the Swallows away from Port Charlotte as they were still present today. Whether the wind changing direction had much to do with it, but certainly here this morning there appears to be more Redwings around, rather than just the odd bird last week. There are some Fieldfares around now too.
Just after breakfast there was a Golden Eagle being mobbed by Raven, and then later a Buzzard thought it would have a go too, meanwhile a Merlin flew past closer to us.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Sun 26th Oct

Rather a long report from several contributors tonight, due to the fact that I never sat down to write a report last night, still 2 for the price of 1! Here we go then.....
James had been out and about on Friday and Saturday, and while out with Andy Schofield and Michal on the RSPB Oa reserve, they had a flock of over 100 Twite and also 2 Snow Bunting. On to Saturday itself, and on Loch Gruinart, James had 29 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 3 Black tailed Godwits, 19 Whooper swans, 1 Greenshank, a Peregrine and also 387 Lapwing. JRH
A visitor had seen a late Wheatear down towards Portnahaven through the week. On the barley stubble at Rockside, there was a flock of 66 Whoopers at the back of lunchtime yesterday, including 16 immature birds. While speaking with James today, he too had been noticing larger numbers of younger birds in the groups of Swans that he has seen lately, so perhaps they have had a good breeding season.
George had seen a couple of Swallows at Bruichladdich today, and yesterday he had a dark bellied Brent goose along with a pale bellied Brent Goose and was fortunate to get some images of them. George also told me though Malcolm that a Grey Phalarope had been seen, near to the former smiddy between Bridgend and Bowmore. GJ
Our friends from Lancashire had seen a rung Whooper Swan today, the first one here this year we believe. They also had a really view of a dog Otter on the Sound of Islay today.
Other visitors phoned to tell us of a flock of 80 Curlew at Port Charlotte today, they had also seen 2 Swallows still at Port Charlotte, an Arctic Tern, and yesterday they had the good fortune to see a young Golden Eagle on a post at Gruinart. The Snow Buntings were still at Ardnave.
The final comment for today comes from folk from Essex who were on the ferry yesterday afternoon returning home, and they noted that they had seen several Great Northern Divers from the ferry. They too had seen Golden Eagles during their stay here on Islay.

Friday 24 October 2008

Fri 24th Oct

I heard this morning that yesterday's Goose count had to be cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions. The weather calmed down here for a couple of hours at the back of lunchtime, but only briefly. The wind is back up again, and the forecast for the next few days is not too good.
There was a group of over 50 Whoopers down the road this morning, resting up. When scanning through different parties, there appears to be quite a few youngsters amongst them, so I must have a further look over the next few days when we are out.
Our friends called in briefly to say that they had 17 Snow Buntings on the shoreline up at Ardnave earlier on today. I wonder if this is going to be a good year for them, as I recall seeing a larger flock down on the Oa a few years back.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Thurs 23rd Oct

A late entry from our visitors for yesterday, better late than never......
" We forgot to say that we had a "comic" Tern whilst up at Ardnave Point on Tuesday.
The weather was still showery and cold, with the wind not quite so strong.
Whooper Swans have been moving around in general all day with groups coming off the sea and into Loch Gruinart. A ring tailed Hen Harrier was seen round Loch Gorm. Groups of Ringed Plover and Sanderling were along the Killinallan shore, with 23 Golden Plover at the mouth of the Killinallan River. A single Snow Bunting was on the edge of the dunes at Killinallan and 4 Red throated Divers flew into Loch Gruinart. A Peregrine and a Raven clashed at Killinallan Point.
There were 35 Teal on the pools at Loch Gorm, and 18 Whoopers ( 5 of these were immatures) as we came back in the late afternoon." In a lull this afternoon they had 6 Goldeneye on Loch Skerrols.
Today, the wind has certainly got up with the ferry only coming over at midday and docking up overnight at Port Askaig. At least we did not have the rain which was forecast and fell elsewhere.
On the pools down beside Loch Gorm there were 31 Whoopers (9 immature) this morning, and I forgot to include a mention last night of seeing some Redwing, just a few, also a couple of Goldcrest and also 2 Treecreepers.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Wed 22nd Oct

Today is the first of another set of annual Goose counts, so we will get these figures through once they are all tallied up. Whilst out on his route, Malcolm had counted 176 Whoopers on Loch Nigheadaireachd (Laundry Loch I was once told!), this Malcolm reckons could possibly be the largest single flock counted. There have be larger counts, but these have been totals of several flocks in one area on one day. Also present were 230 Greylags and 100 Wigeon. There were a further 26 Whoopers at the top of Loch Indaal. James had 65 Whoopers on the Goose walk at Gruinart this afternoon, while we had 30 flying overhead, here this morning with a similar number this afternoon resting down on the lochans below Rockside. There was a sighting of a possible Arctic Tern over the reserve during the walk, but it was past before a positive id could be done. Here at home there has been a couple of Coal tits on the bird table beside the kitchen window. In fact the birds have been feeding a lot today with more birds coming to the table for food rather than the actual feeders.
The "visiting birder" left a message to say that he had 2 Snow Buntings, a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine and to cap it all, a Red Admiral butterfly. Possibly, it could be the last butterfly for the year, if the expected weather forecast comes through!

Tues 21st Oct

Another entry for the blog from our visitors,
"A colder day, but still windy with showers. At first light, small groups of Whooper Swans were moving, and as usual thousands of geese too. Later, down at Machir Bay, 3 dead gannets had been washed in, whilst a Peregrine flew over carrying its prey. The tracks of an Otter could be seen, coming down from the dunes and into the sea.
As we drove past Loch Gorm, a male Hen Harrier was out hunting while over the road near to RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve, a Sparrowhawk flashed by. Up at Ardnave, there were 24 Whooper and 5 mute Swans on the loch. A group of Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Turnstone along the Gruinart shore which was sheltered from the wind. The highlight of the day were 5 Snow Buntings near to Ardnave Point itself.
Returning to Kilchoman, in the late afternoon, a large flock of Golden Plover and Lapwing was near to Rockside, with a group of Twite sheltering behind a dyke on the roadside. The final birds were another 14 Whoopers flying over with their lovely contact calls." Thanks for that folks.
Another visiting birder contacted me to say that he had the Crossbills down at Avonvogie again, and also that he had seen 2 small groups of Whoopers, one of 16 and the other of 18 heading down Loch Indaal out towards Ireland.
Michal had a count of 689 Whitefronts out on the reserve and also 122 Lapwing on one of the fields below the visitor centre along the flats. MS
George had 4 Swallows down at Port Charlotte today. GJ

Monday 20 October 2008

Mon 20th Oct

Another entry from one of our visitors,
"Another very windy day with heavy showers, encouraged us to take to the woodlands. As we were leaving Kilchoman, a Raven was feeding on a dead Pheasant on the roadside, and a single Fieldfare was blown overhead.
Down on the River Sorn, 8 Long tailed Tits were along with Blue, Great and Coal Tits with a Heron close by.
Later at Ballygrant, 3 Little Grebe and 5 Mute Swans were on the Loch. On our way home, we stopped at a woodland where lichen encrusted hawthorns were full of ripe berries. We were rewarded with views of Chiffchaff, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, a pair of Stonechat, and many other common birds".
Another visitor had the good fortune to see an Otter eating its prey over at Lagavullin, and then later on watching 2 separate male Hen Harriers battling against the wind. They were also fortunate to observe a Kestrel as well as 2 different Sparrowhawks.

Sunday 19 October 2008

Sun 19th Oct

Today has been a day of strong winds and heavy showers, but still birds were seen. The morning ferry was cancelled, with the evening ferry diverted to Port Askaig, as happened last night too.
4 Pink feet were along with the Barnies, White Fronts and Greylags down at Rockside. There was a Black Guillemot and a Red throated Diver on the edge of Loch Indaal, with Turnstone, Oystercatcher and Common Gull being buffeted in the wind.
In Bridgend Woods, a Dipper was seen near the Woolen Mill, and a Treecreeper along with Coal Tits and Goldcrests in the alders on the edge of the River Sorn.
A Kestrel tried to hover in the gale near to Foreland, and an immature Golden Eagle flew across the road at Saligo. A small flock of Golden Plover were feeding in a field near Saligo, while small numbers of Gannets flew South off shore. On the edge the edge of a stream there was a male Stonechat which was with Pied Wagtails and Pipits. On the shore, 2 Chough came down to turn over patches of sea weed searching for food. Many thanks for that entry from folk from the Manchester area. Our previous contributors from Cheshire were Chris and Ray Bertera, again thanks for all their sightings while they were here.
Another visitor told me of having seen 4 Swallows at Port Charlotte today, and later on, possibly the same immature Eagle, in a different location, but still in the same area.

Saturday 18 October 2008

Sat 18th Oct

Michal has been out and about on the RSPB reserve at Gruinart this afternoon and managed to get this cracking image of a Goldcrest.
Speaking around today, and nobody appears to have seen any Swallows for a few days, no Whinchats or Wheatears either. Come to think of it, the Osprey that has been around quite a lot this summer, no mention of it either. Possibly they have got the right idea and all headed off for warmer climes!

Friday 17 October 2008

Fri 17th Oct

Michal is back with his camera again, with this image of a Greenshank.
Earlier on today, he had busy doing counts out on the floods in front of the hide. The tallies were as follows, 6 Mute Swans, 41 Greylag, 137 Wigeon, 7 Pintail, 670 Teal, 9 Shelduck, 50 Mallard, 55 Lapwing, 1 Gadwall, 1 Water Rail, 2 Litle Grebe and 3 Heron. Up on Ardnave Loch, there were 19 Whoopers, 4 Mute, 21 Wigeon and 8 Tufted Duck. This was the first of the returning Shelduck to be seen this Autumn at Gruinart reserve. There were certainly not as many Whooper Swans to be seen around today, with our fiends only reporting 4 seen down on the stubble at Rockside. They also counted 570 Scaup in Loch Indaal in 3 separate groups.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Thurs 16th Oct

Although some Whooper Swans have already been seen already, certainly there were larger numbers passing through and on the wing. While going over to Gruinart this morning we had 3 groups in all totaling 56. Our friends, also in the morning had 8 over Machir Bay, 74 in Loch Gruinart, and 19 up at Ardnave Loch. After lunch they saw 16 down on the lochans beside Loch Gorm, and 51 resting up in a stubble field at Rockside. They also had a male Pochard and 4 Tufted Duck at Ardnave. On Loch Indaal, at Bruichladdich there were 6 Common Scoter, and just before returning home they had a really close sighting of a male Hen Harrier out quartering its ground.
The past few days, James has been over on Oronsay, and he was in touch earlier this evening with some sightings. Today, he had been having Whoopers flying South towards Islay, a group of 16 and another 9 later on. Also seen flying towards here were several Greenland Whitefronts, a Merlin and some Redwing. Earlier on in the week, James had 8 Great Northern Divers calling to each other, 2 Red throated Divers, a Sparrowhawk and 23 Golden Plover. He also had a good view of an Otter catching and later eating a fish close at hand. On Oronsay, he had 40 Grey Seal Pups on shore and reckons that there are around 300 pups over on Seal Island just off Oronsay. JRH

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Wed 15th Oct

Today our friends went down the bottom end and went past Ardbeg and out as far as Claggain Bay where they saw a Peregrine, a Red throated Diver and also 2 Black Guillemots. Near Ardbeg itself, they had a really good sighting of a female Merlin perched on a fence post. On their way home they had a male Hen Harrier close to the Airport and 22 Brent Geese on Loch Indaal. At Loch Gruinart they also saw a female Hen Harrier and a further male out on the wing beside Loch Gorm. They also had in the wood a Treecreeper along with Long tailed Tits before it got dark last night. The Long tailed Tits were still here this morning.
At tea time tonight, there was a brief shower of hailstones.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Tues 14th Oct

Guess who came to the bird table this morning, yes, a Common Gull caught on camera by Malcolm. He said that he often has the odd Herring Gull visiting, but a Common Gull does not frequent his bird table that often!
Yesterday, Malcolm had seen 4 Arctic Terns, 40 Common Scoter, ( there were only about 20 a fortnight ago), 3 Great Northern Diver and a single Red throated Diver. MAO
Also yesterday, Catherine had 50 Whooper Swan in total, flying over Gruinart on their way South.
Another entry from the Cheshire folk who are making the most of this spell of better weather. They had been out looking over Loch Indaal today and saw 4 Great Northern Diver, 5 Red throated Diver, 7 Slavonian Grebe, 5 Brent Geese, 18 Whooper Swan, 26 Common Scoter (off Blackrock), 25 Scaup (Blackrock too), a group of around 300 Golden Plover that were flying around, and only 2 Arctic Terns at Bruichladdich. In the Bridgend area they had a Canada Goose fly over, and up at The Woolen Mill on the River Sorn they had a Dipper. They did not see any Swallows at all while they were out today.
Back here at home this afternoon, they had 12 Long tailed Tits in the wood along with both Great and Blue Tits on the feeders.

Monday 13 October 2008

Mon 13th Oct

This is the Canada goose that was down the other day amongst the Barnies at Sunderland Farm.
Our Cheshire birders have been spotting the birds again today for us. They had 3 separate groups of Whooper Swans, a small group of 3 at Rockside and later on, 9 and then a further 19 flew in while they were at Gruinart. Also there were 66 Brent Geese and 45 Golden Plover. Down on Loch Indaal, they had a small group of Common Scoter off Bruichladdich, also there were the 2 Common Tern. They also commented on seeing a few Swallows, 1 at Gruinart and 5 at Loch Indaal. Round at Ballinaby they had their first Reed Bunting while being here this year, it was amongst some Linnet and Twite. Thanks again for that.
We were down briefly at Bowmore this morning, an interesting sight was a Mute Swan seeing off a Whooper Swan, probably trying to defend her cygnet. There was around 180 Scaup offshore from the Generating Station and some small groups of Brent on the shoreline including some at the point at Gartmain, and another group below the Gaelic College. Further round on the mud flats where the River Sorn enters Loch Indaal, we had a tremendous sighting of the Geese resting up and more Geese were coming in while we were there. Possibly the Geese had been feeding in the moonlight last night and hence the reason why they were there through the day.

Sunday 12 October 2008

Fri 10th - Sun 12th Oct

The weather for the last couple of days has been a bit kinder, although initially we had the edge of the rain that caused flooding in the South west of Scotland.
Our friends from Cheshire were really impressed on Friday, as they had 4 species of Geese all in the same field, namely Barnacle, Pinkfoot, Whitefront and Greylag, they also saw a Whitefront with a collar on, possibly the same one that John had seen earlier on in the week, but due to the buffeting effect of the wind it was hard to read the collar. Later on Loch Indaal they had Brent Geese, as well as a few Whooper Swans Yesterday, off Bruichladdich 2 Red troated Divers and 9 Common Scoter were seen. Today, they had a female Hen Harrier over the "Minister's Field", and along with the Barnies and Whitefronts, they had a further 4 Pink footed Geese and a Canada Goose. Over at Gruinart, 7 Brent Geese, 16 Golden Plover were spotted, on Loch Skerrols 3 Little Grebe along with 3 female Tufted Duck, On Loch Indaal itself 5 Whooper Swans, 2 Brent Geese and 160 Scaup. On the way home on Loch Gorm 126 Tufted Duck were counted. Many thanks folks for that.
Malcolm yesterday had a couple of Arctic Terns down at Bruichladdich, and also down on the shore there were some Purple Sandpiper as well as Turnstone. There are still a few Swallows at Port Charlotte, although having said that there were some late birds at Port Ellen last year in November!
Back here at home, recently I have been seeing a Grey wagtail quite often, infact the other day there were 2 birds to be seen.

Thursday 9 October 2008

Thurs 9th October

The only news for toady is that a Bar-headed Goose was seen today along with a flock of Barnacle Geese at Blackrock. If you recall, there was one seen last year, first of all on the 8th of October at Rockside, and it was seen quite often through last winter, mainly with the Barnacle Geese in and around Cornabus. The question is, could this possibly be the same bird or not, certainly last season's bird was at Blackrock at one point through it's stay here.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Wed 8th Oct

Our friends from Cheshire saw the Snow Bunting over at Saligo this morning, just after spotting a female Merlin. On the fields at Ballinaby, amongst the Lapwing, they also had 3 Golden Plover. Down at Bruichladdich, or on Loch Indaal to more precise, they had a Red-throated Diver, was it possibly the same bird that George had a few days ago? At the end of their day they seen 60 different species in all.
Other visitors over on holiday also had seen the Snow Bunting, but had seen 3 Golden Eagle later on.
The weather today has been good, with only the odd rogue shower of rain for a few minutes. As I write, the stars are shining brightly outside, no light pollution to spoil it all!

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Tues 7th Oct

Another miserable day outside again, but certainly not as bad as other areas over on the mainland!
The only bird of note was the sighting of a male Snow Bunting over at Saligo, this is the first report I have had of one here this Autumn. JRH

Monday 6 October 2008

Mon 6th Oct

All good things come to an end, yes, the weather has broken down again.... Yesterday, we had a good day whereas down South it was wet, well today it is a reversal with us having the rain and them having the better weather, but that's the way it goes!
It was interesting to watch the geese down on one of the barley stubbles at lunchtime today, there were Barnies, some Whitefronts and a few Greylags to be seen, and after scanning through for the possible rarity, it was time to head home. Up to that point the whole flock were quite settled and it was not until we started to move that they decide to fly off, but the interesting thing to note was that it was only the Barnies that took to the wing. I feel that this year, the geese have quickly left the head of Loch Gruinart and are out to some of the fields quicker than they have done in previous years.
There were 30 Pale bellied Brent at Bowmore and another flock further out in the loch but a count was difficult due to the swell on the sea, but I reckon that there were another 60 or thereabouts. There were a few Pintail amongst the Mallard and Wigeon at Gartmain and some Eider further on.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Sun 5th Sept

Another great day weather wise, no rain at least for a change!
After the main arrival of the Barnies yesterday, we decided to go over to Gruinart to see all that was there. The spectacle at Gruinart, both on the grass fields and on the mud flats was well worth the trip alone as the geese normally congregate here when they first arrive before dispersing out over the island. James's count today gave 24,555 Barnies and 317 Whitefronts and a single Lesser Canada Goose, a Peregrine Falcon, the sighting of a Sparrowhawk mobbing a Golden Eagle, ( this was also seen by other birders but from a different viewing point!). There was also a Gadwall, 4 Black tailed Godwits, 5 White wagtails and a solitary House martin. The other birders had 4 Swallows on their trip out. Again James's figures did not include the birds at Craigens, solely the birds on the reserve.
Later on while having a blether with James, we saw a Sparrowhawk chasing after a Skylark, but with no success. Believe it or not, all the Skylark could do was to continue on singing while avoiding being caught! An interesting fact came out of the conversation with James is that all the Barnies come first to Islay, and then some return North to Colonsay, others to Tiree and even some to the Outer Hebrides. JRH
While returning home from Gruinart I was surprised to see 2 large flocks of Barnies on the rough heather moorland down beside Loch Gorm, as we would normally expect to see them on grassland, with either Greylags or Whitefronts on the moorland. IKB

Saturday 4 October 2008

Sat 4th Oct

This afternoon the weather has calmed down a bit, and a settled sky showed itself off, not a cloud to be seen over here!

James has been busy counting the Geese, this morning at 10.30am, there were only 2425 Barnacle Geese and 32 Whitefronts, but by 5.30 this afternoon it was a different story. The figures had shot up to 26,625 Barnies, 205 Whitefronts, 8 Pinkfoots, 21 Pale bellied Brent, 2 Canada, hutchinsii sp, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Greenland Wheatear and 32 Pied Wagtail all in one flock. All these birds were on the reserve at Loch Gruinart and James reckons that there were at least another 8,000 Geese at Craigens. I queried James on his geese figures and he assured me that he counts in 5s, so who am I to doubt his figures? JRH

James also said that these figures were a record for the reserve. The vast majority of the birds that came in were coming up from the South, similar to yesterday, and certainly here at home, there were a lot flying up the West coast of Islay. George also had seen a lot of the Geese flying up Loch Indaal. So can we presume that all these birds had overshot Islay with the strong winds of late? James said that there were some birds flying in from the North, from the Colonsay direction. Malcolm e mailed to say there had been a record back in the 60s of a Greenland rung bird being recovered in the Azores.

George also had a Red throated Diver in Loch Indaal off Bruichladdich., and Macolm had a couple of Swallows again in Bruichladdich. GJ MAO

Friday 3 October 2008

Fri 3rd Oct

Well, after all the wind and rain, the weather has calmed down now. I forgot to say that the rainfall in September was 3.75", not too bad although it seemed a lot wetter!
Back to the bird news, mainly from morning counts by James at Gruinart, 1185 Barnacle Geese, 33 Brent Geese, 3 Black tailed Godwits, 75 Whitefronts, more were noted, but this was the largest group, 15 Whooper Swan, 1 Ruff, 1 Jack Snipe, 12 Snipe, 5 Swallow, 1 House Martin and 12 Pintail. James commented on the fact that the Geese arriving at Gruinart were coming in from the South, or Loch Indaal, rather than directly from the North, or even from the West and Loch Gorm direction. Possibly they had flown past Islay and turned back, this has been noted before after a Northerly gale. JRH
There were 4 Swallow at Bruichladdich and a further 7 on down at Port Charlotte. At Rockside there were 4 Whooper Swan on the barley stubble and another 14 on the water in Loch Indaal off Bowmore, and also 18 Brent Geese. IKB

Thursday 2 October 2008

Thurs 2nd Oct

Rather blustery over here tonight, the ferry that crosses over to Jura from Port Askaig had its last crossing at 4 pm, while folk coming over from Kennacraig this evening said that it was not that calm a sailing, enough said!
Our Cheshire birders saw the following birds today, a Jack Snipe while going over to Loch Gruinart, at Gruinart itself there were 11 Pale bellied Brent, 68 Greylag and 325 Barnacle Geese. Down on Loch Indaal there were another 18 Brent Geese, 5 Whooper Swan and 95 Scaup. They also 14 Swallow over Loch Indaal, including 10 at Port Charlotte as well as 3 up at Ardnave.
Round on the barley stubble at Ballinaby this morning, there were 2 small groups of Greenland White-fronted Geese, one of 8 and the other numbered only 5. There were also 10 Greylags and a Sparrowhawk on the ground in the same field.

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Wed 1st Oct

Yes, the Geese are starting to come in now, even although the numbers are low. This morning there were only 18 Barnacle Geese present and 14 Pale bellied Brent, but by late afternoon there was a total of 243 Barnies and 22 Brent, not a lot but a start. Tomorrow may bring more in as there is a Northerly wind, bringing a colder air in too. As well as the Geese, there were 6 Whooper Swans at Gruinart, and 24 Pintail. 5 Twite were also seen on the reserve. Round at Ballinaby yesterday, a single Swallow was observed.