Wednesday 30 June 2010

Wed 30th June

Over the last few days, we have been hearing quite a lot of Wrens singing. Hearing them is one thing, easy, but where are they, and then sometimes you get lucky and find one! On the bird feeders this morning there were a couple of young Great Tits and later on a young Blue Tit.
By the looks of things on the Islay Natural History Trust's Owlcam, there has only been one egg hatched, and the youngster is making the most of being the only one, as it seems to be bigger each time you check up!

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Tues 29th June

A Magpie had been seen down at Bridgend today, where exactly, I am not sure but I will try to find out more tomorrow!
The second get together of folk interested in bird watching was held this evening. Some 13 folk came along including a couple of visiting birders. We intend to have this informal get together on the last Tuesday of every month, and all those who attended including the visitors seemed well pleased with the format so far, no committee required!

Monday 28 June 2010

Mon 28th June

These are the juvenile Swallows up in the sheep shed, taken last week just before they left the nest. The others from the dogs' shed are still around with all 5 of them often seen perched on the fence in the garden.
There were 12 Mute Swan down at Bunanuisg at Bowmore today. If you are wondering where that is, well it is where Islay Farmers former store once stood, now demolished!
Carl was out on the road yesterday and had a male Hen Harrier in the morning, out on the wing round at Ballinaby and it managed to upset 12 Lapwing. Later in the afternoon, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Portnahaven, and 4 Chough flew past while he was playing croquet and Redpoll were frequently seen overhead.
This evening here at home, there has been some drizzle, not a lot, but the midges will be out, not that I am going out to check! By the sound of things come late Wednesday and Thursday, the weather is back to normal with some rain!

Sunday 27 June 2010

Sun 27th June

Remember the other night that I claimed that this bird photography was not easy. No, I did not take this one that night, but I got this just as it was deciding to go "off camera" when we were over at Port Askaig the other day.
Last night in front of the house there was a hen Pheasant out with her brood of 8 newly hatched young, but no camera was to hand!

Saturday 26 June 2010

Sat 26th June

This is one of the Dunnock family present in Carl's garden down at Port Charlotte. Yesterday Carl had the seen the Great northern Diver again out in the bay at Port Charlotte. Today at the mouth of the burn at Uiskentuie he had 5 female Eider with their respective broods together. Over at Gartmain there were there were 7 Mute Swan present.
Yesterday, Margaret had been watching a young Chough emerging from the nest. It came came out, but a Jackdaw came along and gave a tug at one of the Chough's tail feathers and the youngster made a hasty return back inside!
Tonight as we came back home there was a Short eared Owl out on the wing down beside Loch Gorm.
On leaving us this morning, Charles from Derbyshire said that they had seen 9 different Hen Harriers whilst being here this week as well as several Otters. Needless to say he was well pleased as was the rest of his family too!!

Friday 25 June 2010

Fri 25th June

Late last night, but when it was still light, George had been watching an Otter out on Loch Indaal, from his house in Bruichladdich. On the shoreline today, he had 6 Oystercatcher and a Common sandpiper. George was also well pleased today as the Willow Warblers have all safely fledged.
James yesterday had been watching an Otter in one of the sluices at the reserve at Gruinart and today saw a Whooper Swan out on the floods, in front of the hide.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Thurs 24th June

A Stonechat taken by Carl the other day while out and about. Yesterday, he saw one down at Easter Ellister and further on at Wester Ellister there was a male Whinchat on territory, singing half heartedly... Families of both Linnet and Wheatear were seen at Nerabus, with Redpolls at Carn. Today, over at Gartmain he had over 100 Godwits, while back in the bay at Port Charlotte, a Great northern Diver in summer plumage was present.
Over at Gruinart today, a Whitethroat was seen , on the floods 4 Herons, 2 families of Mute swan were seen and in amongst the rushes, a Roe Deer with calf at foot.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Wed 23rd June

On the way out early this morning, when we were heading down towards the Coastguard cottages there were over 40 Sand Martins sitting on the road, don't worry they had all flown off by the time we got to where they were sitting! On a trip out and about after that we saw several Hen Harriers, both male and female out on the wing. Coming home round the other side of Loch Gorm, and it was good to see that the Sand Martin colony at Ballinaby was looking well with a good number of birds flying around.
I forgot to say that the pair of Swallows that have bred in the dog shed for the past few years fledged 5 youngsters, who were sitting on the garden fence yesterday. This pair of Swallows were the ones who also reared a couple of House Martins along with their own brood, after the young House Martins had fallen out of their original nest which had fallen down.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Tues 22nd June

James has been seeing some Short eared Owls recently round the Loch Gorm area. Charles, a visitor from Derbyshire also commented on seeing a Short eared Owl too, but by chance at close quarters. He had also seen a male Hen Harrier near at hand and a female Peregrine sitting on a fence post less than 20 metres away! Talking of close encounters, last week while we were out on the Corncrake count, a Barn Owl was in the headlights sitting on a fence post. It took off and flew from one side of the road to the other in the headlights, in fact at one point Margaret thought that it was going to fly in through the open window, but veered off at the very last moment!

Monday 21 June 2010

Mon 21st June

I have just come back indoors after loafing about outside, waiting patiently trying to get some images to put on the blog, to cut a long story short, no decent images... These birds fly too fast!!!!
It was a great evening mind you, Wheatear, Pied Wagtail, Skylark singing away overhead, a distant Red legged Partridge calling away, Chough out on the wing, Ravens on the wing as well as some Rock Doves. A Lesser Black backed Gull was out on patrol looking for some food. In the field there was a newly born calf. This morning a Vole ran across the road as I headed down to Bowmore.
Coming back home on the ferry this evening and Carl had an Osprey out fishing in West Loch Tarbert. Another person returning home to the mainland, after a great stay was Gordon and Pauline Yates, we thank them for their input and also some images which they shared with us to appreciate.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Sun 20th June

This afternoon James had a walk round Ardnave Point. He saw a flock of 41 Bar tailed Godwit, a late entry and also good numbers of them too. On the water, he had a nursery of 21 Eider ducklings of differing sizes and ages.... Over on Nave Island, he saw a Greylag with a lot of white plumage, could this be the same goose that we had out in the field here at home earlier on this year? Over the water towards Nave Island were quite a few Terns fishing, both Arctic and Little. On the shoreline, James found a dead Puffin complete it's colourful beak. He also had a couple of Common Sandpiper, while on Ardnave Loch the Mute Swans were showing of their 6 cygnets. Several Tufted Duck were also present.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Sat 19th June

Another nice sunny day, but this evening the wind had turned round, coming out of the North, with a decided edge to it. I'm glad to have another layer on... Wonder what the sheep that I clipped think about it!
This evening the Jackdaws are making a fair bit of a din outside. They are quite cunning with the fat ball feeders, as one of them manages to breaks pieces off the fat ball which then fall to the ground for the other Jackdaws to devour. The Goldfinches have got their young out and about which is great to see. We still have no sign of any House Martins here at home, and I do not think that there are any down at the Coastguard cottages either this year

Friday 18 June 2010

Fri 18th June

Last night or rather first thing this morning, the second Corncrake count was carried out. On our patch, we only managed to hear 2 calling males. One possible theory for the low count was that the males have managed to find a mate and therefore quiet, another theory is that there are possibly more feral cats around. I have not spoken to Michal yet, to hear how other areas tallied through. There were several Sedge Warblers calling away, as well as a few Lapwing and Oystercatcher too.
This morning there was a Golden Eagle out on the thermals above the crag here at home while the Chiffchaff is still calling in the wood. The Cuckoo is still present, but thankfully, not quite as vocal as he was earlier on in the season!
Over towards the Lily Loch behind Port Askaig this afternoon, there were a pair of Siskin in the wood, and a Grasshopper Warbler calling away. Coming back home over the Glen road from Ballygrant, there were quite a few Ravens to be seen

Thursday 17 June 2010

Thurs 17th June

With the weather still holding so good, James took the opportunity and decided yesterday to head over to Colonsay for the day. It actually turned out to be a visit to Oronsay, as the tides were really good. On the way to Colonsay, from the ferry at the mouth of the Sound of Islay/ Loch Tarbert on Jura, a Minke Whale was seen, it surfaced 7 times! A Puffin was in the same area, 2 Great northern Diver in summer plumage and 10 Manx Shearwater were also seen from the ferry, while on Oronsay, James had a Red throated Diver.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Wed 16th June

This image was sent in tonight by a visitor who had managed to catch on camera this recently fledged Short eared Owl along with its prey of a short tailed vole which been brought in by the male bird.
Margaret has been keeping a close eye on the Owlcam, but has nothing more to report, there still appears to be only the one young Barn Owl. Mark from the Trust had said that the female had been off the nest at one point, and the 3 eggs were still visible.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Tues 15th June

This image of a Golden Plover was sent to me this evening by local birder Becky Williamson. It was taken over on the Glenegedale lots.
Today we have noticed some Shelduck out with their broods of very young ducklings. There was a pair at Bruichladdich on Loch Indaal with their young swimming directly behind. There were also a few family groups at "smelly corner".
This evening before the midges came out we were looking at a new Sand Martin colony, there are at least 80 nests, so we will try to keep an eye on them. While we were there 45 Greylag flew overhead.

Monday 14 June 2010

Mon 14th June

Well, I eventually got through to the help desk in India, but with precious little joy, I even got to speak to the Supervisor who assured me all was well and the problem was resolved on the 7th of June, case closed... tomorrow is another day...
This evening just after 7pm there was a really low flying jet out on practice, boy did it put the birds up. One wonders how there are not more bird strikes when they fly so low, this one was well under 500 feet and here we are not living in a low flying zone like how we used to be when we lived in the Scottish Borders.
The owl on the Islay Natural History Trust "Owlcam" hatched her first egg out last Tuesday, but I am not sure as to whether any further eggs have hatched. She had laid 4 eggs in total.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Sun 13th June

We had another small interruption in the power supply at lunchtime, enough to stop the whole set up through our faster broadband connection, so revert to plan B and the snails and turn on the satellite again , a back up but....
While making a start to clipping the sheep today, the Swallows in the shed were busy feeding their brood in their nest. Sandy down at the croft towards the Machir Bay was saying that his Chough had fledged 5 young this year and yesterday was the first day they were out on the wing. Last night, around 10 pm there were around 60 Starling doing a flypast just before roosting up for the night, not quite as good as Gretna Green last November!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Sat 12th June

Tonight's entry will be short as the broadband connection is playing up, and no doubt it will be Monday before we get any response from the help desk...
Michal was saying this morning that he reckons that the number of Corncrakes is holding up well compared to last year. I think it will be another week before we have another count.
Coming back up from Portnahaven this evening, and there were 2 different Otters to be seen, and at Easter Ellister there were 10 well grown Greylag goslings in 2 family groups of 5, and and another family of 5 goslings, but these were a lot younger.

Friday 11 June 2010

Fri 11th June

As the day was so good yesterday, "just pure dead brilliant", we headed over to Jura for the day, with the camera too! The number of times that we stopped to look and take in the views and to take yet another image, well...
This stag was less than 5 metres away and not really bothered by us, and no I did not "plant" the buttercups at either side of his mouth! You can just see the flies on the tips of his antlers on the velvet. It was just as well we went yesterday, as today the weather was not so good!
Yesterday James had a Short eared Owl on the reserve at Gruinart, heard a couple of Cuckoo calling and saw 20 Common Tern on Loch Gruinart itself. With the good weather there were Marsh Fritillaries on the wing. Today, he saw a Red Deer with a young newly born calf at foot. James also saw a Narrow bordered Bee Hawkmoth.
Last night Michal had been out on the prowl again and heard a couple of Corncrakes calling in the Ballygrant valley. At Ardnahoe he had a Tawny Owl and also a Barn owl near to Kilmeny.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Thurs 10th June

An image sent in last night by a visitor, better still is that is only her second attempt at bird photography. What else can I say apart from keep it up, and it is a Corncrake!
Coming back home this evening from Port Charlotte, just before Gortan, on Loch Indaal was an Otter close at hand, we all saw it before it submerged and we lost it. We had been over on Jura today, hoping to see Otters but with no luck, so tonight made up for it.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Wed 9th June

After a dampish start to the day, the weather turned better this afternoon.
A visiting birder had reported into RSPB at Gruinart that he had seen a Ring Ouzel earlier on in the week on a dyke up towards Ardnave.
Carl had been down to Portnahaven today and saw a Peregrine at Carn, 21 Common Gulls and 4 Lesser black backed Gulls, at Craigfad 6 Curlew were seen at Octofad. On the pond at Easter Ellister, the Greylags were present with 30 goslings and at Wester Ellister, Whichat, Whitethroat and Skylark were seen. At Portnahaven itself, Redpolls were heard calling.
Here at home this evening, looking out the kitchen window, a Buzzard was getting mobbed by the Jackdaws (think I remember writing that before, a couple of years ago!)

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Tues 8th June

Another great image through from Carl taken yesterday when he was out at Tormisdale. On his way out there he saw 2 different male Hen Harriers and going through the Gearach forestry there was a Mistle Thrush. At Port Mor last night, Carl had a Short eared Owl while at home today he had young Song Thrushes out, as well as a pair of Siskins on the nut feeders, the first for a few months.
Bob reported in seeing 3 Kestrel at different locations of late, and a visitor commented that there were not as many Wheatears around compared with just around a month ago.
This morning James had heard a Spotted Crake, and had 3 Water rail and also heard an Otter calling on its young all on the reserve at Gruinart.
Today, out past Ardbeg we were watching the Seals loafing about on the rocks on Seal Bay when there was a movement in one of the clumps of seaweed, and an Otter appeared and we were fortunate to watch it for a few minutes. Further on there was a pair of Bullfinch and 2 families of Long tailed Tits in the Hazel trees after the Gatehouse entering Ardtalla Estate.

Monday 7 June 2010

Mon 7th June

This afternoon, Carl been out at Tormisdale and took this great image of a Shag on it's nest. There were also Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes to be seen .
This Turnstone was seen today along with another 4 birds down at Claddach near to Portnahaven by a regular visitor to Islay. He also had a Whimbrel too.

One of the visitors in the cottages had seen a Barn Owl when coming back home from Port Charlotte last night.

Yesterday, Carl had seen a Buzzard carrying an Adder down at Foreland, he also had heard a Cuckoo calling there too. Along at Loch Gorm, a Reed Bunting was seen. This morning, on Loch Indaal, Carl had 5 Great Northern Diver, a Red throated Diver and 25 Scoter. In his garden the Spotted Flycatcher was present again.
Andy had seen 2 Red footed Falcons were seen flying over the Oa late this afternoon. Also later this afternoon, Margaret had seen a Golden Eagle out over the hill at the back of Kilchoman. This morning at Gartmain there were Godwits present, exact numbers I could not get as we were in a line of traffic and could not pull over, and at Pennycraig there was a family of 3 Barnies, one with an injured right wing

Sunday 6 June 2010

Sun 6th June

This image was sent in last night by one of our visitors, of a Mute Swan with her 9 cygnets in Tarbert Harbour yesterday afternoon.
Today James had a Snow Bunting on the flats at Gruinart, he has had them in June before he assures me!
Yesterday George had 3 Great Northen Diver on Loch Indaal, close to the shore, "rather scruffy looking" according to George who thought that they were probably young birds from last year. Today on Loch Indaal, he had a pair of Greylags with brood of 4 goslings in tow, the first George has seen on Loch Indaal this year. He was also saying that he has 5 House Martins at home, not as many as last year. The male Hen Harrier did a fly past in front of his house today also!
Here at home this afternoon, while I was out in the garden, there were a pair of Cuckoos to be seen, one on a fence post in the garden, and the other on the garden wall, the camera was in the house, so there is no proof for you only my word!

Saturday 5 June 2010

Sat 5th June

After a dullish, misty start to the day the sun soon peeled the clouds away and a grand sunny warm day followed.
Last night, or was it early this morning on his way home from Portnahaven, Carl heard a couple of Corncrakes and a Grasshopper Warbler at Brookfield, and further on at Carn there was another Grasshopper Warbler. Today at home in Port Charlotte, Carl had a Spotted Flycatcher and a Grey Wagtail.
Over at Loch Skerrols this evening there was a Treecreeper. The Loch itself was very quiet with a distant Mute Swan being the only bird on the water. Overhead a Buzzard was getting mobbed by a couple of Jackdaws.

Friday 4 June 2010

Fri 4th June

I received a message on the phone today that a visitor had seen an Osprey being mobbed by around 20 Oystercatcher down beside Craigfad which is between Port Charlotte and Portnahaven. I also heard late last night that an Osprey had been seen on Tuesday, again on Loch Indaal, but this time at Pennycraig, the former smiddy just outside Bowmore. Here's hoping that the bird is around for a long stay. There was one seen at Bunnahabhain in the middle of May too.
I was speaking with Andy down on the RSPB reserve on the Oa, and he has Tree Sparrows on the reserve again this year, which is also good to hear.
The pair of Collared Doves were in the wood here again today. I am thinking that they might be sharing their time between Rockside and here, similar to what the Great spotted woodpecker did the other winter!

Thursday 3 June 2010

Thurs 3rd June

Well as promised some figures through from the first count of this years Corncrake counts. Overall the tally was 49 calling males, which compares favourably with previous years. I know the route that we carried out was slightly down, there were a couple of sites where we had birds calling last year but none this year. The sea itself was quite noisy, so it made hearing some of the birds hard to hear. All in all I think Michal was pleased with the results so far.
On the guided walk today at Gruinart there were 27 adults and a few children in attendance, we managed to show them a Hen Harrier, although it was not close at hand, a pair of Chough, a Goldcrest carrying food back to its young, both Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat seen and heard. On the floods, there were the Mute Swans with their cygnets in tow, many Lapwing and Redshank and a few Heron out fishing! The Corncrakes were quiet...
Back home earlier this evening, I went and checked the new House Sparrow Terraces put up in the Spring. The other day when I checked them out there was a few pieces of nesting material in one of them. Tonight when I looked there is now a nest along with 4 eggs in it, so Springwatch had better look out!

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Wed 2nd June

I forgot to mention in yesterday's entry that early yesterday morning, down in a field at Sunderland Farm there were 5 pairs of Greylags along with their broods of young goslings setting out on their way down to Loch Gorm.
Tonight is the first night of the Corncrake count here on Islay, so will keep you posted on what we hear in tomorrow's blog. One of our visitors had seen one today while they were out.
I had an e mail from a friend in Bearsden, Glasgow who had found a dead male Blackbird with a BTO ring on its leg in March, it had flown into one of his windows. Ken got in touch with BTO and filled in all the details, and it was initially rung back in Oct 2007 in Fair Isle!
Today at Smelly Corner, Carl had counted a Mallard along with 11 ducklings, 18 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover. There were 2 Snipe "singing" in the marshy ground beside Crosshouses, in fact one of them was perched on the Telegraph wires! 24 Drake Mallards were at the mouth of the River Sorn. Back on the Uiskentuie Strand the Little Terns are still present, with some Arctic Terns starting to show some activity.
Another piece of news I heard today was that Bowmore Distillery had stopped producing Whisky, a lack of water one presumes!

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Tues 1st June

Another month in, and only 1" of rain for May, a running total for the year of only 12.5", 10" less than last year to the end of May. I will not speculate from here on in!
Carl had a Moorhen, 8 drake Mallard, a Heron, pair of Redpoll, a Willow warbler, Chaffinch, several Pied wagtail and Meadow Pipits around the pond at the back of Cash Kelly's former house at Blackrock. On the tidal spit on the Strand at the top of Loch Indaal, 20 Oystercatcher and a Barnacle Goose with an injured wing were present. A pair of Red breasted Merganser were at Port Ban.
Bob Davison counted 105 Bar tailed Godwit at Gartmain and 20 Sanderling also on the shoreline of Loch Indaal.
A visitor had seen a Woodcock at Kildalton today and also a Red Grouse on the Rhinns.