Monday 31 May 2010

Mon 31st May

Yesterday George had been over at Claggain Bay and had seen a Common Sandpiper carrying a piece of broken egg shell away from it's nest site to the sea shore, a distance of around 100 metres. This was repeated a second time, probably a defensive effort so that predators would not pick up the nest site. He had also seen an Eider with 5 young ducklings, 4 Red breasted Merganser as well as some Arctic Terns. In one of the former Swallow nests at George's house, a Wren has taken the nest over this year!
A visitor told me of hearing a Chiffchaff in a garden in Port Charlotte this morning at 5.30, Michal had heard it too, and then Carl also heard it, and confirmed the Chiffchaff as being in his garden! Carl's first for 2010 in Port Charlotte! The visitor also told me of seeing 6 different male Hen Harrier while he was out and about today.
Carl today saw that the Mute Swan at Crosshouses has hatched 6 cygnets, along with a female Shoveler. At "Smelly corner" there was a count of 22 Drake Mallard, Gartmain had 110 Bar tailed Godwit and a male Greenfinch, while below the Power station outside Bowmore 14 Drake Eider were counted.
There was a Kestrel below Carn on Loch Indaal this afternoon, but each time I tried to get an image, it peeled off and flew on, rather annoying to put it politely! At Rockside there was a total of 43 Greylag in 2 groups, and back at home the Ravens have got the 3 youngsters out on the wing and vocal with it too!

Sunday 30 May 2010

Sun 30th May

Today over at Gruinart, James had seen 3 broods of Eider ducklings strung along behind their parents. He also had a Redpoll, and heard a Grasshopper Warbler.
Carl had gone down from Port Charlotte to Portnahaven via Kilchiaran and Cultoon rather than going by Ellister and following Loch Indaal. The Sand Martin colony at Kilchiaran is occupied again, but possibly not as many birds as in previous years, and also juvenile Wheatears were seen close by. At Cultoon itself was a Curlew with young. During a short 20 minute sea watch from Frenchman's Rocks, 1 Red throated Diver, Arctic Terns, Fulmars, Guillemots, Kittiwake, Shag, Rock Pipits, Oystercatcher, Greater black backed Gull, Common gull and also 72 Gannet were counted. On the small lochan just before Claddach was a Canada Goose and also 35 Greylag. Lapwing with chicks were seen at Portnahaven, with a Corncrake calling beside the former Coastguard tower. Cuckoos were heard at Kelsay and later on at Wester Ellister.
Back here at home today a Wren was singing away as loud as ever, not to be outdone by the Chiffchaff and the ever present Cuckoo. Coming back from Gruinart there were 2 different Cuckoo on the wing ahead of us at different points, and down at Rockside there were 21 Greylag. With the recent dry spell, the causeway leading to one of the small islands has reappeared on Loch Gorm along with some of the large stones/ boulders showing now too.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Sat 29th May

Must have spoken too soon yesterday about "the good weather" as today is not so good, glad to have another layer on to keep warm. The tumble drier has been on to dry the sheets etc from the cottages!
A double entry from Carl today, as I had just written the entry last night when his sightings came through. On Friday, Carl had Kittiwake off Port Charlotte pier, a Grey Wagtail also at Port Charlotte. On his way to Bunnahabhain, he had 10 Jackdaws at Blackrock, I do not think that I have mentioned them on the blog before, and further on he had Cuckoo, Great Tit, both Rock and Meadow Pipit and also Wheatear. Today at Port Sgioba at Port Charlotte, there were Grey Wagtails juveniles to be seen, Greylags with goslings at Easter Ellister while at Wester Ellister, Whinchat, Stonechat, Cuckoo and Sedge Warbler were present. A pair of Chough were at Octofad and from Craigfad, 12 Guillemot, 1 Black Guillemot and a Razorbill were seen on Loch Indaal.
On the reserve at Gruinart, James had 4 Redpoll, a Sparrowhawk, and 5 Woodpigeon. Woodpigeon are not that common a bird on Islay!
Here at home today the wood was aloud with bird song especially this morning. The Cuckoo was to the fore followed by Starling, and Michal picked out a Chiffchaff. On the grass there were several juvenile Starling out getting fed by their parents. Earlier this week a Spotted Flycatcher had been seen in the wood by one of our visitors.

Friday 28 May 2010

Friday 28th May

Another good day out here, weather wise that is, although sunny and bright there is an edge to the air. The grass does not appear to be growing like what it has in previous years, the grass round the cottages certainly has not been cut as frequently, and the grass cuttings are not as plentiful as before. I had been speaking to one of the Distillery workers this evening and he reckons that in a fortnight's time some of the Distilleries will be short of water!
As you may have gathered there are not many bird entries for today, but one of our friends had seen a juvenile Dipper on the River Sorn today. Another visitor was well pleased with seeing a Golden Eagle yesterday.
Back at home, the Pheasant was out with her brood again this afternoon but with only 3 chicks present, what has happened to the other 5? Were the others still hidden in the undergrowth, or was it a different bird with only 3? I will try to keep you posted of any further sightings.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Thurs 27th May

Yesterday's entry about the Crossbill image was incorrect, I had misread the e mail through from Tony Johnson, the image was taken on last Tuesday, 18th May at Loch Allan, not on Saturday at Bunnahabhain, my mistake!
Carl heard a Cuckoo at Foreland today. At Bruichladdich there was a flock of 20 Ringed Plover with small flocks of Dunlin on the shoreline along with a single Turnstone. From Carl's house, looking across Loch Indaal to the cliffs at Laggan, Carl reckons that there around 25 Fulmar there on the ledges.
Yet again as I write this evening, the Cuckoo is calling away outside. It can be a bit annoying, especially first thing in the morning.... Today there were 3 Collared Doves out on the grass out the front. Over at Gartmain, there was a large group of Oystercatcher and Godwits, but they were grouped together as the tide was coming in so hard to get a right count of them.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Wed 26th May

This image of a Crossbill was taken last Saturday by Tony Johnson up at Bunnahabhain, while he was putting off time while waiting on the afternoon ferry! Thanks Tony.
The Ravens up on the cragg have fledged their young today. There appeared to be 3 youngsters out, with great consternation by the Lapwing trying to move them on. The Rock Doves were agitated too as were some of the Fulmars. James commented this evening about the young Ravens also fledging on the reserve today as well, and with 3 young too.
Looking from his house today across Loch Indaal, Carl had Fulmar, 3 Red throated Diver, a few distant Auks and small numbers of male Eider. Off Uiskentuie Strand, 12 Red breasted Merganser and 1 Great northern Diver in summer plumage, with Little Tern, Dunlin, Sanderling and Ringed Plover present on the shoreline.
Bruichladdich held small groups of Dunlin and 5 Turnstone, while on the rocks 2 Arctic Terns were noted.
A Barn Owl was seen late last night by one of our friends on their way home. Earlier on this week they had seen a couple of Pink footed Geese amongst some Greylags round at Ballinaby.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Tues 25th May

2 late entries for last week, just heard about them today.... A visitor had seen a Magpie last week, a rarity over here! The other was an Osprey seen flying over at Bunnahabhain.
Today, James saw that one of the Mute Swans has hatched her brood and has 6 young on the floods at Gruinart, also out in front of the hide was a Moorhen with 2 youngsters. Other birds seen today on the reserve included a Red Grouse, pair of Redpoll, male Wigeon (probably the only one left!), 2 Black tailed Godwit and only 1 Whooper Swan, there was no sign of the other 2. James saw a Four spotted Chaser, (a dragonfly) and also a Green Hairstreak.
Carl had all 3 hirundines on the wing over the Bridgend Merse this afternoon, a few Rock Pipits were rooting around and little else apart from Shelduck, Mallard and 50 Oystercatcher at the low tide mark. 30 Dunlin, 5 Sanderling and 20 Ringed Plover were at Blackrock and the Little Tern were on the Uiskentuie Strand. At present there is no sign of the Arctic Terns nesting.
Back here at home, and one of the hen Pheasants had her brood of 8 out on the grass this afternoon. This evening, down at Rockside there were 3 pairs of Greylag together with their respective broods.

Monday 24 May 2010

Mon 24th May

James too has been out on the prowl, out trying to hear Corncrakes mainly! On Saturday evening, late on he had a count of 10 in the Gruinart area alone. He also heard a couple of Water rail and had a Short eared Owl. Yesterday, James saw a Large Red Damselfly, and tonight was commenting on seeing several young Song Thrushes.
Carl had a Grey wagtail on the River Sorn at The Woolen Mill. Later on at Jura House Gardens, Carl saw 12+ House martins and some Song Thrushes feeding young. On the shoreline below Jura House, Arctic Terns were seen, and at Ardfin a Cuckoo was heard. There appear to be a more Cuckoos being heard this year, even a report of one being heard in the middle of the church service at Kilmeny yesterday!

Sunday 23 May 2010

Sun 23rd May

Before heading home yesterday, Chris and Tony Johnson had spent some time up at Bunnahabhain where they saw 3 different pairs of Yellowhammer, several pairs of both Stonechat and Whinchat and many Whitethroats. Many thanks to Chris and Tony for their sightings while they were here. Other birders who contributed last week were Andy and Dot Street. They were well pleased seeing a Corncrake as well as a Cuckoo through their visit.
Yesterday evening, we were fortunate to see 3 different male Hen Harrier out on the wing, and today I saw my first young Robin of the year.

Saturday 22 May 2010

Sat 22nd May

Not the clearest of images, but you will get the general idea behind it all. The Heron was having a bit of a problem in trying to eat the poor fish, so it eventually dropped the fish out before eating it successfully at the second attempt. Any thoughts of what kind of fish?
Carl today had 18 Sanderling and 2 Dunlin down on the Uiskentuie Strand. Later, on the ponds on the left hand side after Newton there was a drake Shoveler and a few Mallard present.

Friday 21 May 2010

Fri 21st May

Michal had been out on the prowl last night to try to hear any new Corncrakes. It is still early days yet but so far he has over 30 calling birds. As well as the corncrakes, he also had heard 9 Grasshopper warblers and a Water rail on his travels! Wonder if Michal heard that Cuckoo that keeps calling up here?
Carl today had a pair of Guillemot at Bruichladdich and on the Uiskentuie Strand, the Little Terns are most definitely defending their territory!
Today Malcolm had seen 3 large Canada Geese, larger than the ones that we normally get here in the winter.
While the van was in at the garage this morning, we took time to do a bit of birding ourselves. On Loch Indaal from Bowmore we could only see one Great northern Diver, (have the other Divers moved through now?) At Gartmain there 91 Bar tailed Godwits, 131 Dunlin, 17 Oystercatcher, 1 Knot, 3 Mallard, a few Eider and some Shelduck. Up from The Woolen Mill and beside the River Sorn, we had a Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Great Tit, male Bullfinch with Siskin on the feeders at The Mill itself. Further on a Kestrel was seen, as were several Buzzards at different places.
Friends had a Grey Wagtail with 3 young on the River Sorn below Bridgend. They too had a Spotted Flycatcher and also a Treecreeper in the same locality.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Thurs 20th May

Carl sent through a late entry (I think he is trying to keep up with my last Saturday late entry!) Yesterday, Carl had 12 Bar tailed Godwit, 5 Turnstone and a Whimbrel at Gartmain. At Bruichladdich, he saw 2 Shags, 2 Razorbill and 3 male Eider. Today at Gartmain, the Bar tailed Godwits numbers had risen to 104, while on the pool beside Crosshouses were 2 Moorhen.
The folk on the guided walk at the RSPB reserve at Gruinart had a great time this morning listening to several different Corncrakes, and they were really fortunate to actually see one in flight as well. You can sometimes see the Corncrakes as they skulk about, but see one in flight was something special! They also saw and heard Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat. Through the Woodland trail, the Treecreepers were seen too, and finally over the moorland a male Hen Harrier was out on the wing.
Visitors had reported a possible sighting of a Goshawk in Bridgend Woods. One the locals has been seeing a Great spotted Woodpecker in the woods there too, and also hearing it drumming away on the trees!

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Wed 19th May

Friends arriving from Mull report seeing a colour ringed Twite. When the sighting was followed up by Alan Spellman, of Mull Birds, Raymond Duncan of the Grampian Ringing group responded.
"The Grampian colour ringing project started in winter 2008/9 in Foveran, Donside and Montrose. The summer sightings are almost entirely in the west, with this Mull record being the furthest south, and others stretching from Lewis to Skye and down to Tiree. Should you see Twite on Islay, keep an eye open for colour rings and please record the exact combinations and we will send them off to Raymond."
James had 17 Black tailed Godwit and a Short eared Owl on the reserve at Gruinart today.
Birders staying in the cottages had today been over the other side, down at Port Ellen that is. At Kilnaughton Bay they had Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin and 4 Great northern Diver. In Kildalton Woods they had a Chiffchaff and also heard a Wood Warbler. Claggain Bay there was an Oystercatcher with 4 young and a further 6 GND. In the woods at the back of Claggain Bay Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Buntings, many Redpolls, Buzzard and a Cuckoo. On their way home they had a diver at Glenburn beside Blackrock, it was considered to be a Black throated Diver although seen from a distance.
Other visitors reported seeing a Hen Harrier down at Loch Gorm, a Whinchat and a pair of Stonechat.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Tues 18th may

A Yellow Wagtail was seen up at Ardnave yesterday by a visiting birder.
Other visitors had seen Spotted Flycatcher in Ballygrant Woods with at least 3 singing. A group of 4 Crossbill were seen there feeding on conifer cones, one of these was a juvenile bird. Ballygrant Loch itself had Mute Swan and Tufted Duck. On Loch nan Cadhan, there was Mute Swan, Little Grebe, 2 separate broods of Mallard ducklings, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting. The woodlands were full of singing birds, both residents and migrants. Buzzards were soaring overhead and at least 3 Cuckoo were heard. Butterflies noted were Small Heath, Orange Tip, Peacock and Green veined White. Flowers seen included a few Early Purple Orchid Spikes,many Lesser Twayblade and Adder's Tongue.
Fishermen on Loch Allan caught and returned an Arctic Char. On Sunday, some local fishermen saw a Roe Deer swim across Loch Finlaggan and it swam close to their boat in the middle of the loch.
Another local told me of seeing a Short eared Owl out on the wing the other day over the burnt out moorland beside the airport.

Monday 17 May 2010

Mon 17th May

A Green Woodpecker was seen this afternoon over at Ardtalla, the most recent sighting being back in May 1988.
Islay was fortunate to have the Council for RSPB staying over and visiting the Reserves here on Islay. By all accounts, a great time was had by all. 106 species of birds were seen including a Pectoral Sandpiper on the floods at Gruinart on Sunday afternoon.
Today Carl had 124 Oystercatcher and 94 Bar tailed Godwit at Gartmain. At Blackrock 2 Turnstone, 41 Oystercatcher and 29 Dunlin. Late this afternoon 18 Pale bellied Brent Geese were over Loch Indaal, flying North low over on Loch Indaal, Malcolm saw the same birds flying South!
James had a Peregrine on a Rock dove kill just outside his house, but no camera to prove it!
Now for the late edition, stop press... At the Visitors Welcome Evening tonight I heard that a visitor had counted 29 Pale bellied Brent this morning below the coal yard. Carl forgot to tell me before that he had a couple of Little Terns mobbing a Herring Gull on the Strand! Another visitor gave me some late entries, so here goes. On the River Sorn today they had 2 Dipper and also 2 Grey wagtail while on the feeders at The Woolen Mill there were Siskin, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. In Bridgend Woods they heard at least 7 Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and saw Bullfinch, Willow warbler, Blue tit, Coal tit, Great tit, Chaffinch, Song thrush, Goldcrest, Robin, Wren, Blackbird and a Buzzard. They also saw a Cuckoo being mobbed by Meadow Pipits. Also in the woods they saw Peacock, Speckled Wood as well as Green viened butterflies. Loch Tallant held Grasshopper warbler, Sedge warbler and another Cuckoo. There were 80 Grey seal on the sand bank on Loch Gruinart today

Sunday 16 May 2010

Sun 16th May

Carl had been on the road past Mulindry today and had counted 24 Raven feeding in one of the "pig enclosures". Off Port Charlotte, on Loch Indaal he had seen a Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage, and down at Portnahaven he had heard a Corncrake calling. Michal was saying today that he has 0ver 20 calling birds so far, but early days yet...
Malcolm was in touch to say that he had heard there was an injured Mute Swan with possibly a broken wing down at Carnain yesterday, so we are wondering if it is the male bird from the pair down there as Malcolm had seen the female still on the nest. We will keep you informed if we hear anything more. Still on Swans, there are 5 immature Mute around from Bowmore back up to Gartmain, so are these the same ones that were seen frequently through the Winter/ Spring in the same area, less their parents?
Another set of visitors in this week, had 14 Great Northen Diver coming out from Kennacraig last night in West Loch Tarbert, along with 1 Red throated Diver. Coming into Port Ellen, they had counted a further 12 GND. Also on the crossing, close to the ferry they had seen a Puffin near to the mouth of the Sound of Islay. Guillemots, Razorbills, Tysties and some Gannets were also seen coming over. Today, they had 22 Golden Plover on the North end of Machir Bay, and heard a Corncrake calling in the reedbed beside Machir Bay. 2 Sedge warblers were heard calling there too and at least 30 Sand Martin were flying over the reeds. Up at Traigh Nostaig on Ardnave were 20 Sanderling, 1 Grey Plover, 18 Dunlin 5 Turnstone and a few Ringed plover. 18 GND were counted off shore as they walked round Ardnave Point. Down at Saligo Bay they had seen a male Stonechat with 3 juvenile birds, and further on they had seen a pair carrying food.
The visitors who had given in sightings over the past few weeks were Chris and Ray Bertera from Frodsham in Cheshire who had been visiting for a fortnight, many thanks to them, especially as it was them who initially saw the Common Crane.

Sat 15th May

Rather a late entry (it is now after 1.15am Sunday!) but what with one thing and another, it has been a long hectic day. The cottages are starting to get busier, in fact I think that all the cottages this week are full with bird watchers...more of that on Sunday's entry!
Down on the Oa today and a group of visitors on a walk there had a sighting close to the car park at Upper Killeyan on the RSPB reserve of a Dotterel.
Carl was in touch tonight with some birds. He had a Whinchat in Portnahaven, sitting on the same fence as a Stonechat, a Cuckoo flew overhead and at the same time a Sedge warbler was singing. Back at Carl's home, he has an "annoying" Herring gull that pecks extremely loudly and persistently at a whole range of windows! Carl wants to know of any "Herring gull window pecking deterrents". All answers will be passed on to Carl!

Friday 14 May 2010

Fri 14th May

A better day over here today, and the temperature is back into double figures again!
Caught this Wheatear round Loch Gorm this evening. The number of times I have tried to get an image of one close at hand but with no luck. But tonight this one decided to sit on the post and not fly off as they normally do... There were 3 Greenland Wheatear in the barley field round at Ballinaby and several Northern Wheatear were seen on our way round Loch Gorm. A few more Stonechats were present, and at Rockside road end there were 44 Linnet. Back at home over the past week, there have been more Goldfinch present and a few Greenfinch too.
George had 12 Great Northern Diver displaying on Loch Indaal yesterday in front of his house. Today he had 5 Turnstone, in full summer plumage, down on the shoreline and a late pair of Shelduck looking for a possible nest site. George also saw 3 Ringed Plover chicks scurrying about. George had a Redpoll, while he had his first Greenfinch for the year on his bird table. Another returning bird to his table was the Lesser Black backed Gull, it normally returns in June but is early this year. George reckons that this is the same Gull which came first of all back in 2005.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Thurs 13th May

Just after doing the entry last night I took a quick run down to the Machir Bay in the hope I might hear a Corncrake, but no joy. On the other hand, I was fortunate to see 11 White wagtails together in the reed bed, presumably just about to roost up for the night. Over at Gruinart, James had a count of 51 Snipe.
Today Carl had 32 Rock Doves feeding on the newly sown barley field at Octomore, just outside Port Charlotte. At Bruichladdich, he saw 4 Sanderling and 6 Dunlin, on Uiskentuie strand 20 Sanderling, 20 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone were present. Over the merse at Bridgend, 50 Whimbrel were flying, a White wagtail was also seen. There were Dunlin present, still in large numbers but more fragmented than the past 2 days.
Michal had a Crossbill in the plantation beside Finlaggan and a visitor had seen a Yellowhammer at Bunnahabhain.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Wed 12th May

Michal had a Blackcap in the wood at Eresaid, this is the wood just down from Gruinart.
James today had seen the Green winged Teal on the floods along with 3 Whooper Swan. He also heard a Mistle Thrush and had a count of 1570 Dulin on the estuary at Gruinart.
Carl had 51 Whimbrel resting up at Gortan (beside the coal yard), 3 Sanderling and a Dunlin on the Uiskentuie Strand while at "smelly corner" 300+ Dunlin were present. Round on the small island in front of the Gaelic College at Bowmore, Carl had 11 Arctic Tern as well as 10 Black headed Gulls sitting on nests.
Back at home this evening, and I have just seen my first House Martin, have they just been late in returning to here?

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Tues 11th May

A female Black Redstart had been seen down on the Oa last week and today a visitor reported to say that they had seen Tree Sparrows close to the car park at Upper Killeyan on the Oa.
Yesterday, there was a Garganey and also a single Redwing seen on the North west of Islay. Today at Gruinart there was a Green winged Teal on the floods out in front of the hide, and another visitor had seen a Short eared Owl over the reserve. All over Islay, reports have been coming in of Cuckoos being seen and heard, in larger numbers than other years.
Carl had been down today at Frenchman's Rocks in a north westerly 4-5. Carl had 43Gannets>S, 26 Gannets>N, 6 Fulmar>S, 8 Fulmar>N, 7 Herring Gull, 3 Common Gull, 3 Gbb Gull, 1 Kittiwake, 5 Guillemot>S, 3 Shags, 1 Redshank, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Ringed Plover & 1 Eider. Carl also had a Cuckoo at Kelsay, 3 Great northern Diver in Kilchiaran Bay, one of which was tangled in a fishing net which it was dragging behind it. Down at Cladville, he had 20 Hooded Crows and 4 House Martin at Claddach.
Later on Carl had a count in excess of 300 Dunlin at "Smelly Corner", and a few more in smaller groups on his way to Bowmore. There were also over 100 Sand Martin on the wing over the Merse at the head of Loch Indaal
One piece of news that I forgot to enter last night was that there was a large moorland fire yesterday. It had started off at Torra on the high road and spread along to the Link road, the wind did not help matters, and the fire spread down to the low road, and it also burnt an area between the low road and the sea. The exact area involved I am not too sure of. Both roads were closed to traffic for a while.

Monday 10 May 2010

Mon 10th May

A late entry came through last night from Carl. " There were grey seals in Portnahaven Harbour this afternoon. Common seals are more usual there. A few Arctic terns, a flock of a dozen Eider- and a Ringed plover desperately feigning injury to the human intruders and furiously attacking wandering Herring gulls. A steady passage of Gannets flying both north and south past MacKenzie island. Good numbers of Fulmar too. Greylag geese were on the island as were an indeterminate number of Whimbrel that could be heard calling. 6 Whitethroat, 2 Stonechat and 2 Reed bunting were heard singing between Port Charlotte and Portnahaven this afternoon. A buzzard was being mobbed by 2 ravens, and we found a long dead kestrel at Lorgba. The starlings in the Portnahaven whisky barrel have 3 young- you can see them through a wee hole in the top of the cask!"
Carl today had done a count of the Rookery in Port Charlotte with 40 nests being present, ten years ago there were only 14. James figures for the reserve at Gruinart were up by 20 nests on the year.
Today, coming back from Bowmore, and at "smelly corner" there were quite a few Shelduck around, could they be drakes with the females on the nest, certainly most of them appeared to be drakes when we had a quick scan through them.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Sun 9th May

This Curlew was over on the moss round at Ballinaby this evening. Down at Rockside there were 38 Greylag Geese on a grass field, 10 on a Barley field at Ballinaby and a further 10 down on one of the lochans beside Loch Gorm, and these were all in groups rather than being paired up!
Also at Ballinaby were 12 Greenland Wheatear and later on were some Northern Wheatear too. There were still 18 Golden Plover to be found in the furrows of a ploughed field.
I have not seen Barnies of late or any Greenland Whitefronts, so perhaps they have all moved on now. There are still no House Martins to be seen here at home, as of yet. We were also commenting on the low numbers of Stonechats.

Saturday 8 May 2010

Sat 8th May

Yesterday while out round Loch Gorm, we noticed 2 Ravens being chased off by a couple of Curlew, on checking this out with the binoculars, we thought that one of the Ravens was flying off with an egg in it's beak. On a different tack yesterday, at home in the evening was a Buzzard getting mobbed by 10 Jackdaws, what was up with them I was not sure!
Yesterday George had heard a Cuckoo at Foreland, and seen a few Golden Plover down there too. From his house he had seen an Oystercatcher with 3 young. Today, George had heard a Cuckoo at home, while over Loch Indaal he had seen some Common Terns and 4 Razorbill on Loch Indaal.

Friday 7 May 2010

Fri 7th May

Another great day over here with the weather, perhaps there is a slight edge to a coolish air, but it is nice and sunny and dry with it too!
Yesterday Carl had a Little Tern at Blackrock, 4 Barnies at Pennycraig (the old blacksmith's workshop between Bowmore and Bridgend) and also a Whitethroat back in Port Charlotte. Today at Springbank, Carl had seen Reed Bunting and Snipe and had Willow and Grasshopper warbler singing.
Early this morning on Loch Gruinart itself, James had 187 Ringed Plover, 735 Dunlin and 9 Sanderling.
Our friends had been up at Loch Ballygrant and had seen the Ringed necked Duck again along with a few Tufted Duck. On Loch Indaal, they counted a flock of 65 Red breasted Merganser and also a Red throated Diver. Over the reserve at Gruinart, they had a sub adult Golden Eagle.
The star of "owlcam" has now laid her fourth egg.

Thursday 6 May 2010

Thurs 6th May

On the guided walk at Gruinart today, we were fortunate enough to hear a Corncrake calling directly in front of the Visitor Centre, and another was heard over towards the hide. 2 Coal Tit, a Peregrine, a Chough were the highlights, and 41 Barnies were seen over at Craigens. A Sedge warbler was also heard.
George had seen a Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage out on Loch Indaal directly in front of his house, he also saw another one but rather a scruffy looking individual, not yet into summer plumage!
A late entry through from Carl from Monday, partly my fault, over at Bowmore he had 15 Whimbrel, at Gortan (near the coal yard) on Loch Indaal were 30 Red breasted Merganser, 4 Goldfinch at Bruichladdich and at home in Port Charlotte, he had 12 Collared Doves.
The elusive Common Crane had been seen up Gruinart way yesterday, and this afternoon, we had a phone call to say that it had been seen on the wing over at Coul. We took a run round Loch Gorm, but did not see it!
This morning our visitors had 2 Sandwich Tern, 47 Dunlin, 48 Red breasted Merganser, 38 Scaup and 255 Bar tailed Godwit all on Loch Indaal. At lunchtime they saw 42 Whimbrel in a field between Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich. In Bridgend Woods this afternoon, they had Blackcap, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff and a Grasshopper warbler. At The Woolen Mill there was a Grey wagtail on the River Sorn and on the feeders at the mill were 7 Siskin. Coming home later this afternoon 63 Golden plover were at Ballinaby.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Wed 5th may

This is an image of the Common Crane that was seen yesterday.
On the reserve at Gruinart yesterday, James had 2 Carrion Crow, 4 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Water Rail, 6 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 5 Canada Geese, 5 Gadwall and a Peregrine Falcon. Today on the reserve James had 2 Lesser Redpoll, 475 Dunlin, 80 Ringed Plover and 4 Sanderling. The waders he reckons are gathering up before heading off to Iceland to breed. James had done count of 160 Rooks nest around the reserve as well.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Tues 4th May

Another piece of breaking news, a Common Crane was seen on the edge of a ploughed field at Coul this morning. At the same time, a female Marsh Harrier was also seen by those present. The Harrier was seen off by a Lapwing and headed away while the Crane disappeared with no further sightings of it being reported in. The Crane itself was a good distance off and so it did not lend itself to be caught on camera, not even digiscoping it worked as the sky was overcast. The Harrier was on the wing and showed well.
Elsewhere on Islay, 33 Barnies were present on the reserve at Gruinart. 24 Dunlin and 40 Scaup were on Loch Indaal, and down at Port Charlotte a Razorbill and 3 Guillemot were seen. 55 Whimbrel were on one of the fields opposite the War memorial at Port Bhan and there only 10 Golden Plover down on the field beside the Coastguard cottages. Thanks to our visiting birders for the above sightings, especially the Crane and the Harrier!
The Owl on Owlcam now has 3 eggs

Monday 3 May 2010

Mon 3rd May

Bob Davison phoned last night when I was out to say that he had seen a Red footed Falcon on the Rhinns. It is a dark male.
Michal e mailed through to say that there were now 4 Corncrake calling at the reserve at Gruinart and another 2 at Ardnave. He had heard a Whitethroat at Gruinart and a Chiffchaff up at Kilnave.
This afternoon Malcolm had 2 Great Skua flying South down Loch Indaal while this morning he had seen 80- 90 Pale bellied Brent Geese flying up the Loch.
There were 42 Barnies seen by our friends who also had 2 Canada Geese down on Loch Gorm. This evening, down at Sunderland 36 Whimbrel were present.

Sunday 2 May 2010

Sun 2nd May

After a damp morning, it turned out a beautiful afternoon, and better still the last ewe lambed which means I can get a full night in bed!
Yesterday, James had 5 Common sandpiper while he was over at Lossit Loch at Ballygrant.
Bob Davison who has just come to live here on Islay, sent in some birds that he has seen. Over near to the small lochan on the way to Kilchiaran, Bob had a Redwing singing while at the back of Port Charlotte he had a Sedge warbler, a Blackcap and a pair of Bullfinch. Also in a couple of fields there, a fall of around 100 Wheatear were present. Certainly today there appear to more Wheatear to be seen out and about. Round at Bowmore he had seen a couple of Arctic Tern over Loch Indaal and also 30 Whimbrel.
Our friends had seen a Little Tern today over Loch Indaal, and seen the 2 Pink foots at Rockside along with a couple of Barnies, but no sign of any Barnies at Gruinart.
As I write, I have just heard that 50 Golden Plover have just turned up in a field down at the Coastguard cottages.
Back to Owlcam, and the Barn Owl has laid a second egg!

Saturday 1 May 2010

Sat 1st May

Another month in, with the rainfall for April being just over 2", and in total around 11.5" for the year so far, compared to 18" last year, according to Clark who lives down the road.
Michal had bee up round Ardnave this morning, and down on the sandy beach near the former lobster pools at Traigh Nostaig, Michal counted 180 Dunlin, 50 Oystercatcher, 40 Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank, 3 Sanderling, 1 Spotted Redshank and 3 White wagtails.
On the reserve at Gruinart, James had 66 Golden Plover and 17 Black tailed Godwit. Yesterday on the flats some visitors had a Snipe drumming, and out in front of the hide watched one of the Mute Swan defend its' territory against the pair of Whooper swan who are still present. Today our friends had seen the Garganey, and on Loch Indaal 44 Scaup and a Little Tern. Two of our visiting birders left for home last night, and contributed over the fortnight both with sightings and images were Gordon and Pauline Yates, many thanks for your input, much appreciated.
At Bruichladdich today, Malcolm had 2 Arctic Terns and 5 Purple Sandpiper while along at Kentraw he had 22 Whimbrel.