Saturday 31 July 2010

Sat 31st July

Well, almost another month in, but you will just have to wait until tomorrow night for the rainfall figures, not as dry as the last 2 months but...
Yesterday, Carl had 18 Shelduck at Carnain with the usual flock of Bar tailed Godwit were present at Gartmain. Back over at Gortan were 46 Eider in eclipse plumage along with 7 Redshank. Along at Bruichladdich were 12 Ringed Plover, 3 Turnstone and 1 Dunlin.
Early this morning, up on the trusses of the former Kilchoman Church, there were a big number of Jackdaws all perched up, a bit like something out of the film "Birds", a bit spooky for a moment or two! Up round the crag, a female Hen Harrier flew past and a Whitethroat was on the fence wire. Back down in the garden here at the house were a couple of Wheatear, the first I can remember in the garden itself rather than out in the actual fields or on the Machir.

Friday 30 July 2010

Fri 30th July

I received an interesting e mail through from James today which had been forwarded through from Rory who was here on Islay last year. It had been forwarded to Rory through the RSPB grapevine. The long and the short of this e mail, is that during 3 different archaeological digs carried out on the Outer Hebrides, here on Islay and on Rousay in Orkney that bones had been found of a Gadfly Petrel spp dating back to the first millennium AD. It is not only the present birds on Islay that we let you know about...
Back to today, and I noticed that one of the Swallows up in the shed has hatched her second brood with 5 youngsters looking to be fed!

Thursday 29 July 2010

Thurs 29th July

Forgot to mention yesterday that there was a large flock of Greylags over on the flats at Gruinart, I never managed to count them as I was in too big a hurry......
This afternoon at home, the tame dark hen Pheasant that comes to get fed every day, proudly presented her 4 young for us to admire. 1 of them is dark while the others are light in colour, will try to have camera handy tomorrow if they show up again!

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Wed 28th July

Here at home today, on the bird table, it has been a day of the young fledglings having a look and sampling the food on offer. There were some Blue tits, House Sparrows, Chaffinches and also a young Greenfinch too. Along in the "sparrow terrace", there is a new nest with another 4 eggs, whether it is the same parents that laid the first brood I am not sure.
The Redpolls that George has been watching have fledged their young.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Tues 27th July

A Mute Swan taken by Carl. Today Carl had seen 3 Chough down on the Uiskentuie strand, at Blackrock there was a charm of Goldfinches, while at Gartmain there were 50 Oystercatcher and 10 Mute swan. Later on on his way home, Carl had 5 Curlew and a Common sandpiper at Gortan.
Down the rocks on the foreshore below George's house at Bruichladdich, George counted 72 Common Gulls, of which only 6 were young birds. He also had 12 Redshank there too.
Bob reported in to say that he had seen 3 young Hen Harriers on the wing when he was out the other day. He also had a count of 300 Greylag Geese over on Nave Island.
Coming back home this evening, and there were a pair of Roe deer just after Sunderland, and just before Rockside were 12 Pied wagtails.

Monday 26 July 2010

Mon 26th July

As Carl put it, imagine having to that every time that you felt like some food. I thought that dooking for apples was bad enough!
Day 3 of the dank weather, but Carl was out and about. The flock of Bar tailed Godwits were roosting up at Gartmain again. In the wind there were a few hardy Sand and House Martins out hunting for food along with some, mostly immature Pied Wagtails and a Rock Pipit. 8 immature Shelduck were feeding with an adult out on the sandbank.
A Buzzard was enjoying the breeze above Bridgend Woods.
Over at Gortan there was a flock of 36 Eider in eclipse plumage and 6 Dunlin, 2 immature Lapwing and Curlew flew off as Carl approached Bruichladdich.

Sunday 25 July 2010

Sun 25th July

An image of a Skylark taken up at Killinallan last month by Imke Grewe, Armin's sister, Armin of . It was obviously taken in the better weather, as we have had another miserable day again, had to come sometime!!!!
Having said that we were fortunate to see the 3 young Kestrel out on the wing this morning. Needless to say that they were still being very vocal and demanding food from their parents.
Forgot to say that last night was birthday night, the 900th entry for the blog, should make the 1,000 before the end of the year, if I do not get too lazy...

Saturday 24 July 2010

Sat 24th July

A bit of a miserable day out here today, not really wet, just damp and muggy, so much so that Carl only had a Collared Dove today as he went to feed his chooks!
Some sightings through from James, on Thursday while up at Ardnave, he had seen 10 Sanderling, 20 Dunlin and a Bar tailed Godwit. Yesterday at home he had 2 different Hen harriers, and a Lizard at Grainel. Down on the reserve itself on some of the nettles, he had noticed lots of Peacock butterfly caterpillars.

Friday 23 July 2010

Fri 23rd July

A Redshank sent through from Carl. Carl had seen 4 resting up at "smelly corner" yesterday and also heard a Greenshank calling at Bruichladdich.
George had been over at the Lily Loch over towards Port Askaig today and had seen a couple of Treecreepers.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Wed 21st July

A rather, wet miserable day out here today, but after the dry spell of late, it had to come sometime! All the "burnt" knowes along with the grass at the head of Loch Indaal are all a healthy green colour again.
James came back on the ferry last night after his holidays. On the ferry crossing he saw 22 Porpoises, the largest group being only 5. Over 1,000 Manx Shearwater were also noted as well as 12 Great Northern divers. There were also lots of Guillemots with young, which as James said was a good sign, as sometimes it is only the adult birds but no young to be seen at this time of year.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Tues 20th July

A Swift was seen down at the Machrie last night around 7pm.
I knew that I spoke too soon about the Gannet, as I found it dead this afternoon, in around the same spot on the high water mark on Loch Indaal. It looked rather peaceful, not tangled up in any fishing line, in fact it was in quite good condition. Down off the pier at Bruichladdich, the Black Guillemots have proudly been presenting their young on the water. This evening, there was a flock of 24 Chough over the crag, presumably made up of mostly young birds before going into the roost.

Monday 19 July 2010

Mon 19th July

A quiet day on the bird front here, but yesterday Carl had seen 9 Twite up at Sanaigmore, the image is from Carl too!
On the phone wires at home this afternoon were 54 Swallow, while down in a field at Uiskentuie were around 30 Oystercatcher this evening. Earlier on, before seeing the Oystercatchers, there was a sigle Gannet on the shoreline at the top of Loch Indaal, but on our way home later on, it had gone. It looked healthy enough, rather than an injured bird so it might have just flown off, here's hoping!

Sunday 18 July 2010

Sun 18th July

Yesterday Carl had seen 3 Chough down on the Uiskentuie strand, at Braibruich 9 Rock doves were present, while at Gortan 30 male Eiders in eclipse were seen. The same group of Eiders were there again this afternoon.
Peter Roberts had been in the woods at Bridgend yesterdayand had many families of fledged birds, with the adults feeding their young. There were at least 4 succesful fledged broods of Spotted flycatcher, 2 - 3 pairs of Willow warbler feeding young along with fledged families of Goldcrest, Great tit, Blue tit & Coal tit. There were also 2 fledged families of Blackcap and also a recently fledged Dipper on the Sorn.
In the rough ground between the road and South of the pier at Bruichladdich, families of Rock pipits, Meadow pipits, Whitethroat and Sedge warbler are all present with the respective adults feeding their fledglings.

Saturday 17 July 2010

Sat 17th July

I forgot to mention last night that Peter and Linda Jackson also had great viewings of a Treecreeper in the wood. The other night while we were out round the back of the crag, we saw several young Wheatear out and about, a few still with some of their downy feathers on! At another point a Whitethroat was seen. Earlier this evening, we had a quick scan over Loch Gorm, but there was no signs of the Greylags that were present there the other day.

Friday 16 July 2010

Fri 16th July

An image of a Dunlin sent through from Carl. Yesreday Carl had around 100 Dunlin at Blackrock, as well as Snipe calling at Crosshouses in the morning. Coming home later on and on the sandy foreshore, with the tide being out, out from "smelly corner" were 60 Dunlin along with a dozen Pied wagtail. Several dozen Sand martin were also there, many of which were landing and resting up on the sand. At "smelly corner" itself were 3 immature Black headed Gulls. Off the Uisketuie Strand 14 female Eider Duck were seen.
The flock of Curlew at Braibruich seem to be increasing in number, reconvening after the breeding season, with 20 birds present.
Peter Roberts e mailed in to say that he had seen a couple of White tailed Sea Eagles over Keills yesterday afternoon.
Our visitors, the Jacksons from Hampshire had seen a Snipe yesterday determined to cross the road with 5 youngsters down near to "smelly corner". Later on, in the eveing they had seen a Barn owl when they were out, and were pleased to see some of our Choughs!

Thursday 15 July 2010

Thurs 15th July

A couple of young Kestrel fledglings taken the other day while we were out on the Rhinns, and only found purely by accident!
This morning there was a raft of Greylag Geese on Loch Gorm, we counted 87 in total, and within them there were several family groups to be seen.
George had been over at The Gaelic College, just outside Bowmore and had seen over 30 Terns as well as a few fledged Black headed Gulls on the wing too.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Wed 14th July

An image sent through from George tonight, of House Sparrows on Red hot Pokers in his garden taken the other day. George said that unfortunately it was taken through the window, and possibly does not look as clear as it might have been, if the window had been open.
Today Bob Davison and his 2 friends had seen a couple of Swifts over the phone box at the head of Loch Gorm. They had also seen a single Swift yesterday at Bob's house up the back of Port Charlotte. While they were out today they had a 2 Dunlin and 12 Sanderling on Machir Bay. At Gruinart they had seen 30 Bar tailed Godwit, 15 Redshank and 2 Greenshank. On Loch Indaal, they counted 275 Dunlin while on the spit there were a another 2 Dunlin and 6 Turnstone.
Yesterday on Loch Indaal, Carl had counted 178 Bar tailed Godwit.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Tues 13th July

An image of a Meadow Pipit sent through by Carl last night. Yesterday, Carl had seen Little Tern on Loch Indaal, young Meadow Pipits at Blackrock. Round at Gartmain there were a few Redshank, the family of 3 Barnacle Geese and also Common Sandpiper. The Little Terns were seen feeding their young the other day by our visitors, who were well pleased with a sighting of a Golden Eagle while they were out and about.

Monday 12 July 2010

Mon 12th July

An image of one the young Swallow broods newly fledged one day last week up in the shed. There are 3 nests up there this year, another nest above the fuse box in the garage, one in the dog's shed and another 4 nests up at Shepherd's cottage. On Saturday morning, I counted 24 Swallows perched on the telegraph wires, possibly all the first brood gathering up before heading off, as certainly there are not so many around today.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Sun 11th July

Yesterday evening, a couple of visiting birders from Hampshire had seen a Red Grouse along with 5 young when they were out checking what was present around Loch Gorm, that was before the rain came on! Yes, we already have had more rain so far this month than we had in total for May and June together. The sun is shining outside at present and it was nice this afternoon. Our visitors had also seen the Spotted Flycatcher here in the wood too.
George had 11 Arctic Terns down at Bruichladdich today including a few juvenile birds. He also noted that some of the adult birds were retuning with some sprats to feed the others. On the shoreline with Loch Indaal, George had 5 Ringed Plover and at 5am this morning there were 6 Oystercatcher calling away. Later on in his garden, he had a Whitethroat, a Greenfinch (the first for a long time) and a Redpoll. Last night George had heard a Whimbrel calling. Someone in Bruichladdich had been telling George of seeing a young Cuckoo out. Thankfully the Cuckoo has stopped calling here at home! George also had a dead jellyfish down on the beach.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Sat 10th July

A distant image taken this morning of a newly fledged young Kestrel, the first one out of the nest. With the rain on now, if it has any sense it will be back in to the nest again and shelter!
There are 3 siblings in all, 2 larger with the other being slightly smaller.

Friday 9 July 2010

Fri 9th July

This is an image sent in by Dan Brown taken from the ferry last week as he came over for a few days. If you look above the top right Manx Shearwater you will see a Peregrine Falcon. It had several attempts attacking the Shearwaters, but with no luck! He also saw 2 Crossbills at Ardtalla and had a large flock of Redpolls in one of the fields there too. If you remember back to February, Dan sent in the image of the White tailed Sea Eagle taken on the flats at Gruinart.
One of our visitors had found a dead Puffin the other day down at the "singing sands" at Port Ellen.
James is on holiday down on The Scilly Isles and was on the phone tonight to say plenty of Bottle nosed Dolphins to be seen, and also live Puffins around too! On Monday he is hoping to be "snorkeling with seals", all going well. The weather is better down there by the sound of things!
We noticed several Arctic Terns along the shoreline of Loch Indaal between Bruichladdich and Gortan.

Thursday 8 July 2010

Thurs 8th July

Another image sent through from Carl, this time of a Ringed Plover. Yesterday Carl had adult Ringed Plover along with young on the foreshore in front of Bruichladdich Distillery. Also at Bruichladdich were 2 Eider and 4 ducklings as well as a Black Guillemot, and Common Sandpiper. Along at Gortan, there was another Common Sandpiper.
Today, we had a few Gannets over Loch Indaal, and on the shore at Port Charlotte, there was a single adult Ringed Plover along with its' 2 youngsters.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Wed 7th July

A Chough family sent through by Carl, the adult bird has the bright red beak with the 2 youngsters sporting the duller beaks!
Carl yesterday had done better than me, not that hard to do... He had a Common Sandpiper at Gortan, a hungry Buzzard hanging on the rain soaked wind above the raised beach at Uisketuie. A Snipe was heard at Springbank, while back at home in Port Charlotte the pesky Herring Gull is still persisting at knocking on the windows!

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Tues 6th July

Well, the weather forecast turned out to be correct with the rain coming in by just after midday, not a lot, but it is still damp outside and now the wind is starting pick up too, just as forecast! With the wind coming in from the South west, in previous years it often leads to the leaves on the trees getting a bit of a salt burn. So with the change in the weather, to cut a long story short, not many birds on the go today, but I did see a family of 4 Chough out this morning, they have fledged later than the other sites and have been like that for the last few years.

Monday 5 July 2010

Mon 5th July

At breakfast time this morning there was a family of Chaffinches on the bird table, and on closer examination of them I noticed that one of the youngsters had a leg but no foot. It certainly was not ailing, eating away quite the thing and then it flew off.
Working outside later on and the Fulmars were soaring again on the air currents out from the crag, with the ever present Ravens never far away with their distinctive call. A Rock Dove flew past at a great speed, had some of his mates already been preyed upon? Earlier on we had been up towards Sanaigmore and saw several young Wheatears out and about and a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over the road on our way home.

Sunday 4 July 2010

Sun 4th July

After speaking to Clark yesterday, we are both in agreement that our rainfall figures are similar for the month, giving us a grand total for the first half of 2010 of only 13.5", last year for the same time it was around 29"..... Having said that, already we have had almost as much rain in the first few days in July as we had in total in June, almost an inch!
Carl commented on that today was not exactly the best of days to be out, but from one of his windows at home there were plenty of Gannets and a few Terns to be seen fishing over Loch Indaal. Willow Warbler and Wren were present on the bushes in the garden at Coultorsay, with a young Song Thrush on the drive leading up to the house.
Here at home today, there were some young Greenfinches on the feeders, and on the wall up at the churchyard last night a Linnet was getting pestered by 4 youngsters looking for some food. This afternoon, I saw Marcus Covell out for a run along the road at the Strand at Uiskentuie, with Marcus having to watch out for a couple of dive bombing Arctic Terns!

Saturday 3 July 2010

Sat 3rd July

Another image through from Carl, this time of a Willow warbler. Down at Portnahaven Carl had seen families of Willow warbler, Mistle Thrush, Linnet, Stonechats and Goldfinches. Back at home at Lorgba in Port Charlotte, Carl had Goldcrest in the Pine trees.
Back here at home, this afternoon it was good to watch some of the Fulmars soaring on the uplifts from the crag, not much effort needed there, a bit like when I used to go gliding on Deeside many years ago...

Friday 2 July 2010

Fri 2nd July

A topic that came up for discussion the other night at the meeting of local birders was, where have all the Arctic Terns gone? There used to be quite a few pairs along the top of Loch Indaal, but they appear to be a lot fewer this year. I have not noticed folk walking along being "dive bombed" by the Terns protecting their patch so far!
Carl was commenting today on the drake Eiders starting to gather together into male only groups on the edge of Loch Indaal as they enter eclipse. Yesterday he saw an Eider with 4 ducklings at Gortan. Today at Gartmain, the tide was well out as he passed by, with plenty of Bar tailed Godwits still around, but with the tide being out, counting proved difficult as they were spread out over a larger area than normal.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Thurs 1st July

Another month in, another dry month at that, with just around an inch, so we are really in dry times. Having said that we did have some rain through last night, not a lot but some... I will speak with Clark and get an update from him!
Another neighbour was in touch today to say that she has been seeing a male Hen Harrier out hunting from her house most evenings of late. The Chough that are nearby fledged 3 young and have moved on. On the whin bushes, there are a lot of Stonechats to be seen while the Swallows in her shed have all fledged their first brood.