Tuesday 31 August 2010

Tues 31st Aug

On our way out this afternoon, on a telegraph pole down at McNicol's croft, just before Foreland House, was an Osprey. A car came the other way, and the Osprey flew off too before we could get the camera out. Was it the same bird that James saw last week, or even the Osprey which Peter Roberts had seen fishing over in Loch Gruinart on Friday? Coming home later this afternoon, on Loch Indaal just where the River Sorn comes in, was a large flock of Greylags. Up on the rape field at Rockside there was another even larger group of Greylags present.
George the other day had been returning home along the top of Loch Indaal, and had seen on the shoreline a Raven picking at the remains of a Diver. The Diver had been dead for quite some time, not "freshly dead".

Monday 30 August 2010

Mon 30th Aug

It looks as if "Home alone", the single young Barn Owl has finally left its' home. I have looked several times online since last night, but no sign of any bird at all.
Yesterday Carl was over the other side of Islay, over at Loch Allan, where he had some Tufted Duck and a couple of Dabchick too. On his way home, 6 Dunlin were present at Carnain.
Here at home this morning, one of the young Buzzards was out on the thermals along the front of the crag. It was great just to see it soar around and make use of the uplift. Later on this afternoon we saw a male Hen Harrier while we were out, and on our way home we had a ringtail too.We had a few Wheatear on the dykebacks as well as the odd Stonechat and also a couple of Reed Bunting. We also counted 13 Mute Swan on Loch Indaal too!

Sunday 29 August 2010

Sun 29th Aug

A family of Mute Swans taken yesterday by Armin on the canal just beside where he lives, sorry not here on Islay! He too was commenting that Mute Swans are not so common where he lives!
Yesterday, James had counted a flock of 470 Dunlin all in one flock on Loch Gruinart, there were others there too, but in other smaller groups. There were also 5 Turnstone and 13 Knot.
Coming back home from Gruinart this afternoon and just as we were approaching the road round Loch Gorm, a male Hen Harrier was seen out on the wing, fairly close to the road. There were a few Wheatear still to be seen, but not as many. The number of Swallows present appears to be down a bit so some obviously have headed off!

Saturday 28 August 2010

Sat 28th Aug

A change in the weather today, and I am glad to be wearing another layer up top to keep me warm, yet only a few degrees cooler than earlier on in the weather when we had the tremendous views over to Tiree and all around. Today we have had to put up with squally showers, but that is the way it goes. The farmers have got their combines out ready to cut their barley as and when they can.
As you may have gathered nothing much to report on the bird front today. Last night I read about an earlier sighting this month of a Mute Swan up on Fair Isle, a vagrant up there, and the first for 2010. It is odd sometimes how common a bird is in one location yet completely different somewhere else, just the way how it is.....

Friday 27 August 2010

Fri 27th Aug

A new photographer on the blog tonight. I just received this image through from my good friend Armin Grewe who for those who do not know him, Armin writes www.islayblog.com Back to our Islay birds, and back to yesterday, I forgot to mention that James had seen an Osprey fly over his house early in the afternoon, flying towards Loch Gorm, but so far I have not noticed it! Also yesterday, Carl had a count of 20 Turnstone at Bruichladdich.
Last night, Michal gave us an excellent illustrated talk at the Islay Natural History Trust on his 6 month spell on Aride and Denis Island in the Seychelles last winter.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Thurs 26th Aug

This Wheatear was up beside the Radar masts over at Kilchiaran this afternoon, along with a few mates. It was a great day, too good to be cutting grass... George was with us too and we had tremendous views all around, way up over Oronsay and Colonsay to a clear Mull and Ben More, with Tiree on its' left, over to Jura and the Paps, behind us was Donegal, mainland Argyll with part of the Mull of Kintyre showing over behind Port Ellen. As well as the Wheatears, some Chough were seen, a few Ravens and some Hoodie Crows too! Earlier on we had a couple of juvenile Hen Harriers as well as several Wheatears at different places.
Louise had seen a Swift earlier on in the week over Craighouse on Jura, she also had heard that a couple of Pied Flycatchers were seen down on the Oa.
Some folk on the ferry to Colonsay yesterday had seen 6 Basking Sharks while going there and another 4 on the return journey. Fiona MacGillivray had seen 6 in the Sound of Islay today, could these possibly be the same ones that were seen off the ferry?

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Wed 25th Aug

Carl had a few waders etc today. On his way into Bowmore he saw 36 Ringed Plover, including a high proportion of juvenile birds, 6 Dunlin, 2 Turnstone. Out from Springbank were 4 Bar tailed Gowits and a Knot. Along at Carnain ("smelly corner") 20 Teal were present, with small groups of Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Dunlin at various places around Loch Indaal. There were also 3 Heron at Gortan too.
James had a quick look at Loch Gruinart and counted 8 Bar tailed Godwit, 65 Redshank, male Peregrine, 16 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone and 5 Knot.
Back here at home there were over 60 Swallows and Sand Martins on the overhead wires. This evening on the "Bat walk" at Gruinart, we had several Pipistrelle Bats and earlier on a good number of midges! We also had a couple of Peregrine and when we were returning to the Visitor Centre there were several groups of Greylags flying to roost on Loch Gruinart. On our way home, there were a couple of Hedgehogs on the roadside and also 2 different Barn Owls.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Tues 24th Aug

Today, Carl had a Willow Warbler giving a sort of sub-song at Lorgba (Carl's home), plus he still has a few Spotted Flycatchers in the garden. A Sparrowhawk flew out of a Bowmore ditch earlier - plus he had one (big female) in his Scots pines a few days back, with irate Swallows in hot pursuit!
James had a count of 21 Snipe at the reserve at Gruinart. This evening, there were 8 Wheatear down at the Coastguard Cottages, and James said that he has noticed quite a few more Wheatears around. Further down the road we had a Kestrel while close to Loch Gorm itself, a male Hen Harrier was out on the wing.

Monday 23 August 2010

Mon 23rd Aug

Not really the 23rd as I write, but here goes for the 23rd anyway...
James today had 35 Twite over at Grainel, he only commented to me on Sunday that Twite flock sizes were on the up! On the reserve at Gruinart, he had a Peregrine and also Sparrowhawk as well as a Hen Harrier.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Sun 22nd Aug

This afternoon, before the rain came on, James had been up briefly at Ardnave. He had seen 2 Knot down on the shore, 19 Chough in the sky, and 9 Wheatear out and about!
Back here at home, this morning a Peregrine flew over the wood while yesterday a Sparrowhawk "crashed" into the willows after a lbj, whether it got it I am not sure as I did not see it emerge again! This afternoon on the overhead wires, there were quite a few Linnet and Twite to be seen.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Sat 21st Aug

We were down for a walk in the Bridgend woods this afternoon, it was a great afternoon, so why not?
After our walk, we were in the Islay Community Garden buying some vegetables and having a look around. On the seed heads, there was a bird eating away, and on closer examination it was a Bullfinch. As we went closer, it flew off and landed on top of the netting of the fruit cage where one of its' fledglings pestered to get fed. We also had a Grey Wagtail on the River Sorn, a young Peregrine on the wing, several noisy Buzzards, Wrens singing away, Blackbirds, and also over the River Sorn a bat, probably a Daubenton's Bat. We also saw numerous Peacock and Red Admiral Butterflies.

Friday 20 August 2010

Fri 20th Aug

Yesterday Carl had been out round the loop from Port Charlotte to Portnahaven and back home over the hill round by Kilchiaran. At Port Mor there had been 6 Siskin and a few young Goldfinches feeding on the thistle heads, while Redpolls were present along at Carn. On Loch Indaal itself, numerous Guillemots with their young were heard calling between themselves. Round at Kilchiaran, Chough were seen and 6 young Fulmar were still on their nest ledges.
Visitors from Edinburgh had seen a Barn Owl out hunting the other evening.
Today, James had a count of 418 Rock Doves in one of the stubbles after the arable silage at Grainel.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Thurs 19th Aug

Catherine had been up at Ardnave earlier on today. In one of the fields on the reserve at Gruinart Catherine had a count of 84 Linnet. At Ardnave itself, 65 Twite were present as well as 27 Chough. She has counted up to 47 Chough in other visits to Ardnave.
The "vols" had carried out a count on Loch Grunart today which tallied out at 220 Oystercatcher, 37 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 140 Curlew, 54 Bar tailed Godwit, 14 Eider, 113 Redshank, 61 Blackheaded Gull, and a Heron. The count for Dunlin and also Redshank were not as high as one might have expected for time of year.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Wed 18th Aug

Malcolm yesterday evening had 3 Whimbrel fly past Bruichladdich. In the morning on the foreshore at Bruichladdich, George had a count of 110 Common Gulls including 15 juvenile birds. There were also 2 juvenile Black headed Gulls with them. In the afternoon, the count for the Common Gulls had risen to 181 with 15 Juveniles, only 1 Black headed gull and also 6 Greater black backed Gulls of which 4 were juveniles. At George's house, the House Martins are on their second brood.
Bob had seen a pair of Wigeon with young down at Gartmain today. Wigeon do remain here on Islay all year, but it is not often that we observe juvenile birds. James had a count of 115 Linnets on the overhead wires at Grainel this afternoon.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Tues 17th Aug

I can honestly say that this image was not taken by Carl yesterday, simply because we had a pig of a day, exactly an inch of rain fell, and I do not remember seeing the sun out. It was grey and overcast with dreaded midges out in the morning, and then on came the rain! Still back to a nice sunny day today...
Carl yesterday had a Siskin that flew up off seed heads on the verge side as he headed towards Bridgend, while in the actual woods, a Robin was singing away, oblivious to the rain!
George, first thing yesterday morning had an Otter out on Loch Indaal below his house, overhead Whimbrel could be heard. Bob had a count of 41 Mistle Thrushes when he was out, and also had good numbers of Linnets, Goldfinches, Twite and Reed Bunting. Back here at home, Margaret counted 12 Blackbirds in the garden.
You will notice a link on the right, to James and Eleanor's epic canoe adventure due to take place next month. If you click over the image you will get straight to their blog. If memory serves me correctly, they still have a bottle of Whisky which will be auctioned soon to the highest bidder, or you can simply sponsor them. Their blog is well worth keeping an eye on.

Monday 16 August 2010

Mon 16th Aug

George had been out yesterday with some of his family on "The Angie" and while they were off McArthur's Head they had this Basking Shark. There appear to be quite a lot of sightings of them this year, with James Brown from Octomore seeing 12 on Friday off Laggan Point.
Michal had been out on the prowl yesterday, but up the other end of Islay, but had seen a Hen Harrier as well as a Golden Eagle.
By the way, it has decided to rain today, as the saying goes, "all good things come to an end."

Sunday 15 August 2010

Sun 15th Aug

A bit of a distant image taken at the back of 9am this morning of some of the mixture of young Swallows along with some Sand Martins. There were just over 100 on the wires when I took it, but not all shown here! Not to be outdone, early this evening I counted 154 Swallows but no Sand Martins this time!
James had a Stoat in his garden yesterday, not really that common a sighting here on Islay! On the thermals over the reserve today, (this spell of good weather is still present), there was Hen Harrier and also a Sparrowhawk making the most of the lift. In the willows in his garden, James had a Chiffchaff. Up in the bay at Sanaigmore yesterday, James reported seeing a lot of "By the wind Sailors" in the water. They are a type of jellyfish, if you are like me and did not know!

Saturday 14 August 2010

Sat 14th Aug

A grand sunny day over here today, next thing we will all be talking about is that we will be needing the rain again, just as the farmers want to think about harvesting the barley!
This morning, out over Machir Bay, several groups of Gannets could be seen flying South. Up on the top of the crag this evening a Raven is sitting, just watching all around, with a distant Buzzard calling while on the wing.

Friday 13 August 2010

Fri 13th Aug

So far, so good considering that it is Friday the 13th.... It can also be good to others too!
This afternoon, James's wife Sally and their daughter Eleanor were up at Sanaigmore along with some friends. To add to their day, a Basking Shark was seen in the bay.
Today James had a Barn Owl on the reserve at Gruinart, and felt that had been a fall of Wheatears, as he thought there were a lot more of them around as he went up to Ardnave. Later on and he saw 2 different Hen Harriers at the top of Loch Gorm.
Back here at home, just at the back of tea time, and a Peregrine was seen over the crag.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Thurs 12th Aug

Yesterday, George had been down on the Oa, and while sitting in the car park at Upper Killeyan, he had a good sighting of a Peregrine Falcon down in a field next but one to the car park. But more was to come, with a Sparrowhawk landing on one of the fence posts around the car park.... James today, also had a Sparrowhawk on the reserve at Gruinart, while on his way to the local Agricultural Show this morning.
A good day was enjoyed by all at the show, with a good number of entrants, especially with a few youngsters exhibiting too. I saw some of the gamekeepers there today, and there was not much sign of the "Glorious 12th" and grouse shooting, not that there are many grouse on Islay anyway!

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Wed 11th Aug

This was taken by Carl yesterday in Craighouse outside the Jura Distillery of some Swallows resting up for a moment or two.
Also yesterday some visitors had seen an Osprey fishing at the head of Loch Indaal. George had a count of 70 Common Gulls down at Bruichladdich, and there were 10 juvenile birds in the tally. Today he had seen 4 Ravens on the roadside between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte.
Earlier on in the week, Bob Davison had seen a Little Stint amongst some Dunlin up at Ardnave. He also had some Golden Plovers too. Back at home Bob has had counts of up to 26 Whinchat, and also had good numbers of Reed Bunting up at Grimsay.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Tues 10th Aug

Today, James had a count of 1,190 Greylag Geese on the freshly mown grass fields over at Gruinart. Back in June it was interesting to see the number of Rooks on the fields that were cut then.
Back to this morning, and on the wires between 2 of the electric poles, I had 5 different species of birds present, Swallow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Starling and House Sparrow, nothing really special, but good to see all the same. There was a Blackbird there this evening!

Monday 9 August 2010

Mon 9th Aug

It was meant to be us that was fishing, not this pesky Lesser black backed Gull. It decided to have one of the mackerel which had been returned to the sea as it was not deemed to be large enough to qualify as a "keeper".
We were out with Donald James MacPhee and his wife, Isobel along with a few friends on the Angie from Port Askaig. We crossed initially to Jura to pick up some folk from Feolin, and then we headed up into West Loch Tarbert on Jura. A trip many of us had never done before. We ventured right up to the head of the loch, I had not realised how many twists and turns it takes to navigate both in and out! We saw distant Red Deer on top of several shoulders of the hills, both on Jura and coming back down from the lighthouse at Rhuvaal. Margaret spotted a Golden Eagle over Jura. We had seals, Guillemots, Manx Shearwaters, Herons, Gannets, Gulls a plenty. Just before we started to fish, there was a Basking Shark close to the boat as we neared the "Post rocks", a sudden silence fell over us all, even the youngsters were quiet!
A great time was had by all, both young and old, many thanks to DJ and Isobel.
On the way home, another first for me, was a Buzzard dropping down on its' prey just after the market at Bridgend.

Sunday 8 August 2010

Sun 8th Aug

George had gone over today to Scarrabus and then walked on in to Loch Cam, up in the hills behind Scarrabus. On their way into Scarrabus, a good variety of birds of prey were seen including a Golden Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier and Buzzard. On Loch Cam itself a Red throated Diver was heard, and later seen flying off, 2 Heron were present, as were 2 Heron and also a couple of Whinchat. Back home on the shore at Bruichladdich, George had a few Turnstone resplendent in full summer plumage.
Up here at home, yesterday evening there 15 Chough out flying around, twisting and tumbling as they do!

Saturday 7 August 2010

Sat 7th Aug

No, it's not a laughing gull, just a Common Gull taken by Carl!
Yesterday while he was out and about, Carl had 50 Common Gulls at Port Charlotte, 79 Bar tailed Godwit at Gartmain, 8 Black tailed Godwit on the Bridgend merse along with 65 Dunlin. Along at "smelly corner", Carl had a count of 20 Dunlin and nearer to home, at Bruichladdich were a small number of Dunlin and Turnstone.
I am glad to say tonight, that there have been no sign of any midges, so I managed to finish cutting the grass!

Friday 6 August 2010

Fri 6th Aug

A few bits and pieces from today...
James counted 70 Linnets over at Grainel, here at home I saw 90 lbjs on the electric wires leading down to the house, but no bins, hence no positive id.... Michal had seen a Corncrake when he was out cutting thistles and mid afternoon and Margaret had a count of 93 Greylag down on the lochan towards Loch Gorm. Almost forgot the important part tonight, yes the dreaded midge is out, and Sally, James's other half had a quick head count of around 5 million of the blighters earlier on!

Thursday 5 August 2010

Thurs 5th Aug

Remember back to last week, and I told you about the House Sparrows in the "terrace" with 4 eggs, well a week on and Mother and Father are proud to announce the arrival of 4 youngsters. There is also plenty of activity with the Swallows in the garage with their second brood on the go too, as well as the second brood in the dog shed, and also up at Shepherd's cottage too.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Wed 4th Aug

On our way over to Bowmore yesterday afternoon, just before we dropped down to the road leading to Bridgend, at the back of the coal yard, a male Hen Harrier flew over the road just ahead of us as we came along. This afternoon, on our way up to Gruinart from Uiskentuie, at Erasaid, another male Hen Harrier flew across the road, but not as close as the previous bird. Today James counted 535 Greylags on the flats at Gruinart, and also heard a Corncrake calling a couple of times. He had heard it from his house at Grainel.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Tues 3rd Aug

I am glad that somebody out there is sharp eyed and noted that I put on the wrong date last night, well wrong as I was 2 months ahead of myself, claiming it was October. If you missed it, too late as I changed the month back to August early this morning!
Carl this morning had been up Bruaich Jerich, the small glen up the back of Port Charlotte, and had seen a variety of families and also newly fledged youngsters. Carl saw 2 adult plus 2 juvenile Grey wagtail, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, again 2 + 2, young Goldfinches, young Great Tit, young Wrens as well as young Dunnocks.

Monday 2 August 2010

Mon 2nd Aug

A Whimbrel taken by Carl. Today, Carl had seen Whimbrel flying high and calling over Port Charlotte. Out from Port Charlotte on Loch Indaal, he also had a Cormorant.
On the Islay Natural History Trust's webcam, "home alone" the solitary Barn Owl youngster this year, has been busy exercising his wings, so perhaps he is thinking of going out into the outside world. As the saying goes, "thinking outside the box"!
Here at home today the Buzzard was getting mobbed by one of the Ravens!

Sunday 1 August 2010

Sun 1st Aug

As predicted last night, the end of another month was coming, and as promised the dreaded rainfall figures. After all that, we only had 5.1" not that much, especially after a really dry May and June. The total for the year is still well down, but the rain we have had has fairly freshened everything up again, with everywhere looking nice and green again!
Out the back of the hill this afternoon was a noisy Buzzard while over the cave was the large flock of Jackdaws, probably the same birds that I had seen resting up on the trusses of the old church. The young Kestrels are gaining confidence on the wing, definitely more mobile and moving over a bigger area now.