Friday 30 January 2009

Fri 30th Jan

Just having a quick look back to the birds that we had in 2008 for the "Big garden birdwatch", last year we had here 14 species, only 12 this year. We had no Starlings this year, although there are a few around, but none when the "watch" was done, no Jackdaws either, and no Siskin. I have not seen any Siskins here this backend at all. The numbers of Chaffinch were up by 66% on the year, while the Blackbirds were down on the year. It will all come out nationally fairly soon.

Thursday 29 January 2009

Thurs 29th Jan

Yes, the good old Fulmars are dependable right enough, as the wind is up this evening as I write this entry.... even the ferry did not come back tonight!
At the weekend, it was that time again for the "Big Garden Birdwatch", so here is our entry for the stats, 2 Robin, 3 Blackbird, 5 Coal Tit, 1 Great Tit, 35 Chaffinch, 8 Goldfinch, 4 Pheasant, 3 Greenfinch, 4 Blue Tit, 1 Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow) 4 House Sparrow and 1 Song Thrush. Not bad going 12 species.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Wed 28th Jan

A distant image of a young Golden Eagle taken today as we returned home at lunch time from Bowmore. It was a lot closer, but it took a few seconds for the penny to drop, get parked up and then get the camera out, by which time it was off!
Michal had done a Goose count on the reserve at Gruinart today, 3,646 Barnies, 145 Whitefronts and 6 Greylags. Michal commented that as the amount and quality of the grass is now poorer, the Geese are starting to graze over more of the fields on the reserve, rather than just the good quality, better fields as they do earlier on. MS
Malcolm had seen 2 separate Barn Owls on Monday evening while returning from the airport, one was in Glenegedale and the other was up at Torra on the high road. Today, he had seen 2 Brambling at Eorrabus, while down at Loch Skerrols, the Goldeneye tally was only 35, well down on the previous high, earlier on in the month. Have the other birds gone out onto Loch Indaal, one asks? MAO

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Tues 27th Jan

Guess what was seen today, well how's about the saga of the returning Fulmars...... recently there has only been up to 7 seen, but today there were 14. Does that mean it is going to be more windy than normal in a few days time or what, we will just have to wait and see! We had a hunting Barn Owl out the other night as we returned home.
Meanwhile James had a White Wagtail round the other side of the Loch, and on Saturday saw a large flock of Golden Plover at Coull in a rape stubble field which made actual counting a bit difficult, but possibly the same flock that Malcolm had seen earlier on in the week while out Goose counting.

Monday 26 January 2009

Mon 26th Jan

Apologies for not have an entry on for the last couple of days, but I have been a bit out of sorts, but hopefully normal blogging will resume.......
On Saturday, Michal had been out up at Killinallan, and had seen the following birds in and around the steading there, 45 Rock Dove, 60 Golden Plover, 60 Lapwing, 30 Reed Bunting and also 9 Ringed Plover. Elsewhere, today he a flock of 70 Rock Doves, 60 Skylark and 40 Reed Bunting. MS
An e mail in this afternoon from Tracey and the team from SNH, for last week's Goose count, the figures were as follows, 48,290 Barnies and 6,399 Whitefronts. Thanks again folks.

Friday 23 January 2009

Fri 23rd Jan

A few records in from Malcolm, earlier on in the week, he had an Iceland Gull in the Saligo area and also 530 Golden Plover at Coull. Between his home in Bruichladdich and the coal yard/ Foreland road end he had a count of 54 Pale bellied Brent geese. Today, he had been up at Loch Skerrols, no sign of the Canvasback, but did have a distant viewing of the Lesser Scaup, along with 27 Whoopers, 8 Mute Swans, 74 Goldeneye, 10 Wigeon, 21 Tufted duck and 7 Scaup. There was no sign of the Coot either! The number of Goldeneye, was a new high January record, as back in 2003 in Port Ellen Bay, 65 were recorded. On his way over to Loch Skerrols this morning, there was also a possible immature Glaucous Gull at Blackrock, and it was still there just after midday, but on both times id proved difficult due to the traffic on the road. MAO
Meanwhile, Michal had been out and about, and reported back to say he had seen 74 Ringed Plover and 4 Turnstone in an inland field at Ardnave, possibly sheltering up! MS
Look out for the winds again, as the Fulmars were back in this morning.....

Thursday 22 January 2009

Thurs 22nd Jan

A message through from Andy Schofield, saying that he had seen the Canvasback Duck and also the Lesser Scaup this morning down at Loch Skerrols. We went down after lunch and only saw the Lesser Scaup, and it was hard enough to identify, but thanks to Andy for that. There were also 24 Whooper and 9 Mute Swans there too, along with a Coot, a few Wigeon, some Goldeneye, a few Scaup and Tufted Duck, it was too cold to count! RAS
Tracey forwarded me on last week's Goose counts from SNH, tallying out at 40,191 Barnies, and 6,097 Whitefronts. Whilst at Loch Skerrols, I had been speaking to Becky Williamson from Bowmore, who took the images of the Rosy Starling, and Becky said that while doing the Goose counts back in December, that she had seen the Bar headed Goose.
George had found a dead Heron up on the ponds at the back of his house, and he reckons that it was possibly the same Heron that was quite tame and was a frequent visitor. Another visitor George had was a Sparrowhawk, while he had a count of 107 Curlew in one of his fields. GJ

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Wed 21st Jan

Michal is back from holiday over the festive period, and all raring to go, so here are Michal's figures of a count that he carried out the other day.
2 Great northern Diver, 5 Shag, 1 Heron, 89 Shelduck, 136 Wigeon, 30 Mallard, 1 Goldeneye, 7 Red breasted Merganser, 16 Ringed Plover, 133 Lapwing, 60 Sanderling, 363 Dunlin, 314 Bar-tailed Godwit, 134 Curlew, 56 Redshank, 91 Turnstone, 3 Grey Plover, 1 Greenshank, 1 Snipe, 60 Common Gull, 110 Herring Gull, 13 Greater black backed Gull.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Tues 20th Jan

James has just been on the phone and gave me a count for birds on the floods at Gruinart, they were as follows, 994 Teal, 149 Wigeon, 45 Mallard, 58 Shoveler, 43 Pintail, 9 Mute Swan, 1 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Heron, 3 Red breasted Merganser, 1 Moorhen, 21 Greylag Geese, 3 Whooper Swan, 75 Lapwing, 28 Redshank, 15 Curlew, 2 Gadwall, 1 Shelduck and 3 Snipe. It was good to hear that the Pintail numbers were holding up, although no reports recently of anybody seeing a Green winged Teal this winter so far.

Monday 19 January 2009

Mon 19th Jan

George had a Goldcrest in his garden the other day, and today there was a Reed Bunting on his feeders. He also had seen over 50 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal as he went round the top of Loch Indaal to Bowmore from where he lives in Bruichladdich. GJ
I must be getting forgetful, as here at home the first of the Snowdrops were out last week in a sheltered spot in the lea of a dyke in the garden.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Sat 17th Jan

Forgot to mention yesterday, that while coming back from Bridgend, we had good sighting of a Peregrine feeding on it's prey, another camera opportunity missed!
Today, the wind has picked up steadily as the day went on, with the waves on Loch Indaal breaking over the breakwater at Port Charlotte quite spectacularly, similarly the sea boiling over the rocks at Coul Point were something else too.

Friday 16 January 2009

Fri 16th Jan

The other evening James carried out a Whitefront roost count from the hide at RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve, along with the help of his daughter Eleanor. There was a total of 289 Whitefronts coming into roost, and at the same time they observed a Little Grebe and also a Peregrine.
Today, James did a Goose count on the reserve, and the scores on the doors were 4,718 Barnies, 292 Whitefronts and also the lesser Canada Goose. A Grey Wagtail and also a Sparrowhawk were also seen.

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Wed 14th Jan

This morning before the weather broke down, the bird table was busy, and then all of a sudden there was a crash on the window, the Sparrowhawk was in for his breakfast too, but like James's bird yesterday, it went away hungry too! Needless to say the bird table was quiet for a while after that.
There was a small group of Rock doves to be seen flying past the crag, while late morning a Peregrine flew past.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Tues 13th Jan

The figures are through from Tracey and the team from SNH for last week's Goose count and tallied up to 45,951 Barnies and 7124 Whitefronts.
George was in contact earlier today, to say that he had seen an immature Gannet flying up Loch Indaal. GJ
The Fulmars were to be seen here again this morning, while James had been watching the Sparrowhawk chasing a Blackbird into some bushes, but with no luck, possibly luck for the blackbird though!

Monday 12 January 2009

Mon 12th Jan

The wind dropped through the day today with the birds returning to the feeders in numbers, the only downside is that the Fulmars were back in again this morning, so we are probably due another windy spell mid week onwards! There was a really heavy shower of hailstones, just after lunch time, which brought me back indoors rather quickly.....
James had been busy doing paperwork, but still managed to note 3 Whooper Swans on the reserve, along with a Sparrowhawk. The lesser Canada Goose is still to be seen along with the other Geese at Gruinart.

Sunday 11 January 2009

Sun 11th Jan

Jim Dickson, one of the committee members of the Argyll Bird Club, had been over on Friday trying find and photograph the Canvasback duck but with no luck, the bird was not to be seen, and of course the wind had picked up by then and Loch Indaal changed from flat calm to rather choppy, making the spotting of the bird rather difficult. Jim did manage to locate a Glaucous Gull at the head of Loch Indaal, while on Loch Skerrols he had a Lesser Scaup which had been seen by John Armitage and Andy too, but on Loch Indaal. Jim kindly sent me images over, but due to technological problems, I have not been able to share them with you!

Saturday 10 January 2009

Sat 10th Jan

I forgot to say earlier on in the week that I had seen the Fulmars back in at the crag, and true to form, the weather has changed with the wind picking up overnight, and rain showers too. The morning ferry was diverted to Port Askaig from Port Ellen, not that I would have too happy being a passenger on it either way! So, as it turns out, not a day to be out looking for birds. To cap it all, late afternoon, we had a 3 hour break in the electric supply, whatever the reason.

Thursday 8 January 2009

Thurs 8th Jan

The Canvasback duck was seen again this morning amongst the Scaup at the head of Loch Indaal. It was originally seen by John Armitage, who contacted Andy Schofield and Louise Gregory from RSPB. Later on, it was also seen by James How and Michal Sur. It is the first sighting of this bird on Islay, and Argyll, and had only been seen 7 times previously in the UK. If confirmed by the rare birds committee that would bring the tally to 8. RAS
While down looking at this duck on Loch Indaal, James also had seen 5 Long tailed Ducks, 1 Black throated Diver, several Great Northern Divers along with several Red throated Divers. There was also a large flock of Scaup present too, as well as 5 Slavonian Grebe. Back at the Gruinart, and the lesser Canada Goose, hutchinsii sp is still along with the other geese on the flats. JRH

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Wed 7th Jan

Malcolm e mailed in to say that he had seen a 3rd winter Iceland Gull, over at Laggan Farm when he was out Goose counting yesterday.

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Tues 6th Dec

Tracey and the team from SNH have just given me the tallies for the International Count for the Geese done back on 16 - 18 December. The totals came to 41,613 Barnies and 6,783 Whitefronts.
Back to today, and James had a Golden Eagle fly over his house on the RSPB reserve at Loch Gruinart, and I had to make do with a Buzzard on the bird bath, but the camera was not to hand!

Monday 5 January 2009

Mon 5th Jan

Another great day along with a beautiful sunset, but having been busy on other things today, there has not been a tremendous amount of birding. There were 4 adult Whooper swans down at the lochans below Rockside, while in a field at Sunderland, there was a flock of over 50 Fieldfares along with 10 Blackbirds. Obviously, with the cold snap continuing, the birds have been busy again on the feeders. It was interesting to see the size difference between a Coal Tit and a Greenfinch, something that I had not really appreciated before!

Sunday 4 January 2009

Sun 4th Jan

This spell of drier weather continues, and this was the sunset from the East end of Loch Gorm looking out towards the Coastguard cottages and further on to the Machir Bay. The outline of Donegal was quite clear today.
While out and about, I saw 3 separate groups of Greylag Geese, but none with more than 30 birds in total. There were quite a few thousand Barnacle Geese at Rockside along with some Whitefronts too. Down at Bruichladdich there were some Purple Sandpiper, and a few Ringed Plover and Turnstone too. There were some Pale bellied Brent, on the top side of Bruichladdich. On the Bridgend side of Blackrock, there was a large raft of Scaup present on Loch Indaal, but quite close to the shore.

Saturday 3 January 2009

Sat 3rd Jan

James had a walk round Ardnave Point this afternoon, and saw 27 Purple Sandpipers, a Sparrowhawk, and offshore there was a Great Northern Diver, and a Red throated Diver, but no sign of any Snow Buntings. Back on Ardnave Loch, there were 7 Whooper Swans. While feeding the cows this morning, James had a pair of Hen Harriers and also a Sparrowhawk at Gruinart, with the female Hen Harrier having a tussle with the Sparrowhawk, no quarters spared, even the talons were out... JRH
Meanwhile at Bruichladdich, George had been watching several Goldcrest on his feeders for over half an hour this morning. GJ

Friday 2 January 2009

Fri 2nd Jan

A Happy New Year to everyone, better late than never! The total rainfall here for the year was just over 49.5 " , only over last year's tally by an inch. Certainly for the last 10 days or so there has been very little rain at all, and at one point when coming home last night the outside temperature was registering at -3 degrees Centigrade, which is low for Islay.
Back on the bird front, and James had been over at Loch Ballygrant where he had seen 2 Little Grebe, 2 Woodcock and a male Hen Harrier. Back here at home we had a Peregrine flying overhead, but relatively close to the ground, certainly no more than 20 feet above us.