Saturday 30 April 2011

Saturday 30th April

Another great day out here again, next thing folk will be wanting rain for the gardens, having said that I did see a sprinkler on in a garden on our way home from Bowmore this evening!

Goerge had heard a Cuckoo at Forlend yesterday, a couple of Sandwich Terns over Loch Indaal, in front of his house there was a Whitethroat, while up in the field behind his house a Wheatear was present. George also saw 4 Hares together and also 3 Roe Deer. Carl had a Sparrowhawk at Octomore, a large flock of Whimbrel at Gortan, a further 10 Whimbrel at Kintra. Whitethroats were present at Shorefield (George's house) and Kintra. Blackcaps and Chiffchaff were heard in the Bridgend Woods and Arctic Terns were seen at Bowmore and Kintra. 6 Dunlin were seen at Blackrock and a further 20 at Uiskentuie Strand while Common Sandpipers were present at Gortan. 2 Twite were at Kintra along with some Chough, there were also some more Chough at Uiskentuie.

Friday 29 April 2011

Friday 29th April

The birders from Lancashire who had seen the Lapland Bunting yesterday, had seen 2 Cuckoos up behind Port Charlotte as well as a pair of Hen Harriers this afternoon. John from Whitley Bay yesterday had seen a pair of Chough and a Peregrine on the sea cliffs as well as 8 pairs of breeding Fulmar. Later on they had a Golden Eagle high up on a thermal. Back at the cottage where they are staying they had a male Cuckoo calling. Today, they had been over in the Ballygrant area, and had heard a pair of Sedge Warblers and a Grasshopper Warbler, also a single Whitethroat in the wood at Lossit Farm along with a great viewing of a female Cuckoo. On the way back to Bridgend they saw a Redstart. Finally back at their cottage the male Hen Harrier was out quartering the field.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Thursday 28th April

A visiting birder had seen a Lapland Bunting at Ardnave this morning. Bob was up there this afternoon and had 4 different groups of Whimbrel passing through, 2, 4, 35 and finally 46. Michal had been there carrying out the morning survey, a few Lapwings, Redshank and Snipe were noted. There was a group of 8 Hares in one field too. There were also a few Ringed Plover to be seen and some angry Oystercatchers along the shore of Loch Gruinart as well as 5 Whimbrel below Kilnave Church. A Cuckoo was seen on the guided walk at Gruinart this morning.

Bob yesterday had a Merlin and a Kestrel at Duich, a Cuckoo over at Claggain Bay, Sandwich Terns at Lagavullin, a male Hen Harrier at Mulindry. There was plenty of activity at the Sand Martin colonies at Kilchiaran. This morning over at Bunnahabhain, there was no sign of the Iceland Gull, but 2 Common sandpipers were present. Back down at The Woolen Mill, the pair of Grey Wagtails were seen and also a pair of Bullfinches. On his return home he had a male Hen Harrier was our quartering the field beside his house!

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Wednesday 27th April

A bit cooler over here this evening, even felt a spot of rain....

Earlier this week, Becky had seen a couple of Cuckoos over at Kynagarry.

Michal had been an early bird this morning. Up at Ardnave at 6 am he had a count of 21 Chough, at the edge of Ardnave Loch there were 34 Black tailed Godwit present and 26 Golden Plover were on a ploughed field. A Kestrel was seen too. Back down at the office at Gruinart, a Blackcap was heard singing.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Tuesday 26th April

Another busy day, sometimes you cannot remember what's going on, or what you are supposed to be doing next, but it is time for the blog now...

Yesterday evening, Bob and Martin had seen a Short eared Owl up the back of Port Charlotte. They also heard a Corncrake calling out towards Bolsay and 6 different Grasshopper Warblers. Martin earlier on, down at Claddach at Portnahaven had a count of 27 Oystercatcher and heard a Sedge Warbler down there too. On the RSPB reserve at Gruinart yesterday, James had 9 Gadwall out in front of the hide, 37 Black tailed Godwit were present, 2 Bullfinch were in the wood, an Otter on the floods, 5 Barnies on the flats, and also 2 White Wagtail along with 20 Meadow Pipits.

Today on the reserve, there were 3 different Corncrakes calling, a Water Rail was also heard, 5 Grasshopper Warblers and 2 male Hen Harriers were seen. The Magpie is still present in the wood and a couple of Tree Sparrows have been seen there of late.

Bob today had 3 Sandwich Terns at Kilnaughton Bay, 2 Peregrines and a Golden Eagle on the RSPB Oa reserve, 60 Oystercatcher at Kintra, there were also 2 still in winter plumage, 6 Greenland Whitefronts at Cladville. George saw 10 Whimbrel at Bruichladdich earlier on this evening, and also 2 Razorbill on Loch Indaal. Today Martin had had a Grasshopper Warbler at Nerabus. Crystal had 300 Golden Plover at Killinallan, and also 6 pairs of Yellowhammer out towards Gortontoid.

A visitor e mailed some sightings this evening. He had seen a Golden Eagle being harassed by a Raven while up at Sanaigmore, 3 Chough were there too while in the sea, 3 Pale bellied Brent were swimming along with a Black throated Diver. A Merlin was seen at Saligo, along towards Machir Bay there were 24 Greenland Whitefronts and another Merlin was hunting along the the dunes. Every evening he has been seeing a male Hen Harrier where he is staying, and tonight a Cuckoo was heard calling.

Monday 25 April 2011

Monday 25th April

Yesterday, Bob saw a couple of Golden Eagles as well as a female Goshawk close to his house up the back of Port Charlotte.

This morning, Paul Graham had a White tailed Sea Eagle fly past Bruichladdich, heading North. A visitor reported in to George, who was manning the Islay Natural History Trust, that he had just seen a large bird of prey, bigger than a Buzzard, at the head of Loch Indaal. No doubt the same bird! Carrying on the same theme, we had a Merlin this afternoon over at Saligo, and a Golden Eagle on a thermal high above Coille. Back at home there was a Peregrine watching the Rock Doves. Later on a Kestrel was on the wing, hovering far out over the hill. There were also 9 Chough flying closer at hand too. A Pied Wagtail was briefly on the bird table, a first for us on the table!

Sunday 24 April 2011

Sunday 24th April

George reported in to say that he has had Swallows, Sand Martin and House Martin today down at his house, including a pair of House Martin who were inspecting one of last year's nests! Yesterday on one of his ponds George had a Mallard with 9 ducklings. Far out on Loch Indaal, George counted 30 Divers, too far out for a positive id, but probably Great Northern and Red throated.

Carl yesterday had 75 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Gortan and while round Loch Gorm he had a Sedge Warbler, a Whitethroat and a Cuckoo. Today off Port Charlotte on Loch Indaal, Carl had 3 Razorbills and a Red throated Diver. Malcolm had also seen the Pale bellied Geese but noticed that there were some different birds from the other day as one had been rung.

Over at Gruinart yesterday, James heard 2 Whitethroat and also a couple of Cornrakes calling. This morning James counted 21 Greenland White fronted Geese. He also had a male Merlin and also a Water Rail. Later on he saw a Lapwing nest hatching out, wonder how long will it be before they are predated.

Back here at home, we had 9 Goldfinch and 3 Greenfinch on the bird table, there have certainly been more Goldfinch around here lately.

Saturday 23 April 2011

Saturday 23rd April

This morning, Armin Grewe who has been over for Walkislay, heard a Corncrake down at the reed bed below the Coastguard cottages. Bob and Martin heard 3 Whimbrel calling while they were down at Frenchman's Rocks this morning. Today Malcolm had 3 Whimbrel fly past Bruichladdich, late afternoon. Earlier on he had heard a Cuckoo at Foreland. Along in front of the Distillery at Bruichladdich, Malcolm had 2 Purple Sandpipers and 2 Arctic Terns over Loch Indaal. Yesterday, in front of Loch Gorm House he counted 40 Pale bellied Brent Geese, and 2 Sandwich Terns fishing out in front of his house. There were 2 Arctic Terns also present. Carl heard a Sedge Warbler at Bridgend Merse yesterday.

Friday 22 April 2011

Friday 22nd April

Another great day over here again, but I doubt that there could be a change working with some rain forecast for tomorrow morning.

Carl sent through some sightings, 3 Barnacle Geese were still present at Springbank, I wonder if they are the same group that remained here last summer? A couple of days ago there was a Common Sandpiper at Gortan. At the same place yesterday, there were 8 Turnstones and a Dunlin. A Sparrowhawk was seen at Briago, Reed Buntings were heard at Springbank and also a Whimbrel was heard calling at Gortan.

James was telling me that a Corncrake was heard calling at the reserve at Gruinart, with another one heard up at Ardnave. A Sedge Warbler was also heard singing away on the reserve. On the floods a Mallard was seen with 5 young ducklings, while a Stoat was seen along the flats. Earlier in the week, visitors had seen a Stoat carrying a kit as it crossed the road just outside Bowmore.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Thursday 21st April

Just a few of the Black tailed Godwits that were present up at Ardnave Loch early this morning Michal took this image, and had a count of 18 in all. Closer to lunchtime, James had 120 down on the reserve. Michal had also seen 19 Chough at Ardnave. Back here at home, some visitors had seen a Golden Eagle on one of the thermals above the crag.

This evening Bob had 45 Pale bellied Brent Geese down at Bruichladdich, and later on he had a group of 65 Lesser Black backed Gulls along with 4 Canada Geese at the head of Loch Indaal.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Wednesday 20th April

Another good day for the walkers with 75 hardy souls venturing over to Colonsay and on to Oronsay itself. On the way down to the ferry we had a male Hen Harrier, down towards Loch Gorm. On Colonsay, a Cuckoo was heard, a distant Golden Eagle was high up on a thermal. There were quite a few Wheatears to be seen. On Oronsay itself, Chough were seen, a Peregrine too and the first Corncrake of the year was heard but not by us! At Scalascaig, in the harbour there were 10 Great Northern Diver close at hand, a great site to see. A Gannet was seen from the ferry in the Sound of Islay on our return to Islay.
Back here on Islay, Mary heard a Sedge Warbler and also a Grasshopper Warbler too, both round Loch Gorm.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Tuesday 19th April

As the week goes on, the weather is getting better all the time... Several folk on Walkislay managed to get a bit burnt, not a lot but they certainly will look different when they return home at the weekend! Something to show for their efforts...

Bob had over 70 White Wagtails up at Ardnave yesterday, they were coming in off the sea and coming directly in for a feed on the shoreline.

I heard a Grasshopper Warbler down on the lochans towards Loch Gorm this morning, earlier on up at Kynagarry, just before the walkers set out, a Cuckoo was calling away. This evening there were a couple of Arctic Terns down at Bruichladdich, I did not have my bins to hand, but I was 99% sure of them. No sign of any Owls on the way home! Colonsay and Oronsay tomorrow, so we will see what's over there!

Monday 18 April 2011

Monday 18th April

Another busy day, but life goes on. Walkislay our walking week here on Islay broke new grounds today with a walk over on Texa, a small island off Lagavullin. A good time was had by all, the weather held and the crossing itself was quite calm. Several pairs of Greylags were seen there, as well as around 60 - 70 feral goats of varying ages, the horns on some of the billy goats were something else. Would not fancy a butting from them!

Bob today had a Garden Warbler in the scrub just opposite his house, and he heard his first Cuckoo for the year. Yesterday, when he was out he saw a pair of Red throated Divers displaying on one of the hill lochs. Mark had carried out a count on Loch Gruinart the other day with the main sightings being a female Long tailed Duck, 1 Black throated Diver, 3 Greenshank, 77 Curlew and 28 Redshank.

James today had heard 3 Grasshopper Warblers on the reserve at Gruinart, including one in Catherine's garden!

Sunday 17 April 2011

Sunday 17th April

A busy day again, James had led one of the walks today, going round Ardnave Point and then following the coast along to Sanaigmore, with over 50 folk on the walk. James had 4 Arctic Terns off Ardnave Point. This evening Margaret saw a Cuckoo on the overhead cables down at Foreland. Malcolm had 200 Pale bellied Brent Geese flying South down Loch Indaal, trust they have realised they should be heading North...

George had seen a Barn Owl in his shelter belt today, the first he reckons in over 25 years. He had 60 Barnies heading North mid afternoon. James reckons that most of the geese have gone, with only a few stragglers left. George had a flock of 700 Barnies at Sanaigmore on Thursday, he also saw 3 Stonechats. Today he heard a Whimbrel calling while earlier this week he saw an Oystercatcher sitting on eggs down on the shore. Down on the shore today he had a Mistle Thrush as well as a couple of Song Thrush.

Yesterday Bob had 2 Arctic Terns and 2 Common Sandpiper at Ardistillery. He had Chiffchaff, Blackcaps and Bullfinches in Bridgend Woods, with another Bullfinch down at Cairnsmore Wood at Port Ellen. Later on there was a large flock of Golden Plover in the fields up towards his house. The Iceland Gull was still present at Bunnahabhain, with a White tailed Sea Eagle over the Sound of Islay. Today, over at Gartbreck there were around 200 Eider Duck displaying, a Merlin was also seen there and a few Knot were present at Gartmain.

Saturday 16 April 2011

Saturday 16th April

This Otter was caught on camera by Armin Grewe this morning down on the Machir Bay. I know he also managed to get some video footage of it too, so we will have to wait and see that too. Just goes to show that we have Otters all around us here! Thanks Armin.

James had managed a count on the floods this morning, 157 Teal, 3 Moorhen, 45 Wigeon, 11 Pintail, 7 Shoveler, 15 Mute Swan, 8 Gadwall and a Whooper Swan. James was saying that there are still a few geese around, and around 10pm last night he heard a Moorhen calling while out walking the dog.

Rob Patrick from Sheffield had been at Gortontoid yesterday and had seen 2 male Yellowhammer. Jeff Duncan had a Dipper, a Grey Wagtail and 4 Siskin at the Woolen Mill yesterday. Later on he had 5 Sanderling at Blackrock and a Peregrine at Ardnave.

This evening there were 8 Canada Geese round at Ballinaby, further on just below Carnduncan there were 3 Redwing along with a Wheatear. There certainly are a lot of Wheatear to be seen now. The Hares are more noticeable too, also plenty of Greylags to be seen all around Loch Gorm.

Friday 15 April 2011

Friday 15th April

Time flies, and that's April half away already, tomorrow sees the start to Walkislay our annual walking week here on Islay, one of the reasons that I hope that the weather holds good. There were quite a few of the "regulars" on the ferry today, some of them bringing new faces along too.

I have to hold my hand up to a mistake that I made in referring to one of the visitors as coming from Cheshire, but it should have been Lancashire, I could have said they were from Yorkshire!Many thanks to Chris and Tony Johnson for their sightings through the week and also to Tom Callan from Otter Ferry in Argyll.

Yesterday down in front of the hide there were 16 Black tailed Godwit, out on the loch there were 25 Shelduck. Back here at home the Chiffchaff was heard singing away in the wood and I saw a Willow Warbler, both year ticks for me. Carl had 3 Twite, 2 Bullfinch and a Heron at Bruaich Jeraich behind Port Charlotte, also present were several Willow Warblers. Carl also commented on not seeing any Grey Wagtail on the burn in Port Charlotte so far this Spring. Chris and Tony also remarked that they had not seen on the Sorn during their visit.

Thursday 14 April 2011

Thursday 14th April

A great day out here, more of the same will do nicely....

An early entry tonight, but I may get a chance to give you some more later on my return. There was a Corncrake heard calling last night round Loch Gorm, possibly the first on Islay this year. Bob had seen a Common Sandpiper at Kilchiaran today, again another tear tick! This morning as we headed over to Gruinart we saw 3 different male Hen Harriers, all in less than a mile along the road at separate locations.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Wednesday 13th April

Another visiting birder, this time from Argyll (mainland!) was in touch with some sightings from earlier on this week. Down at Gartmain, they had seen 330 Bar tailed Godwit, at the pier at Bruichladdich a pair of Black Guillemot, 8 Purple Sandpiper at Bruichladdich and a further 5 beside the lighthouse at Port Charlotte. A flock of over 300 Golden Plover was seen on the wing in the Loch Gorm area, with 250 Ringed Plover counted on Loch Indaal in from "smelly corner". On the River Sorn a pair of Dipper were noted up from the Woolen Mill, but no sign of any Grey Wagtail. Plenty of Wheatears seen at different locations, with a single Chough seen close to the Wave generator at Claddich. 5 Black tailed Godwits were seen from the hide at Gruinart.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Tuesday 12th April

Mark had been leading the guided walk down on the Oa this morning, the weather was kind, sunny although a bit cool! The folk had great sightings of a Golden Eagle. Chough were seen too, as were some Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Wheatear too. On the cliffs, Fulmar were present on the ledges, as were some Shag.

Over the reserve at Gruinart this afternoon, James had a male Merlin, and coming home late this evening from Port Charlotte there was a Barn Owl on a fence post at the roadside before it flew off as we got closer!

Monday 11 April 2011

Monday 11th April

Yesterday our friends from Cheshire had seen a flock of 50 Twite round at Ballinaby. Over there at the sandpit there was quite a bit of activity with around 60 Sand Martin flying around looking at former nest sites. Back here at home, this morning they had a male Yellowhammer eating the seed put out. Later on we saw a female there as well. Over at The Woolen Mill, our friends had seen a pair of Siskin at the feeders there, along with Goldfinch, Greenfinch and several Tits. Near to the Mill they also had 4 Bullfinch and further on another 2. They had a male Kestrel over the crag here, while down at the "spit" on the strand at Uiskentuie, they had a Little Tern and also a Red throated Diver. Along at Blackrock, a Slavonian Grebe was present while along at Bruichladdich, 3 Purple Sandpiper were seen. Also here at home was the first of "our" returning Swallows, with one checking out the shed!

The Somerset duo, Nigel Smith and his wife Elaine returned home last night. They had a slight detour, staying up at Nethybridge on Saturday night and saw a Blackcock lek before setting off home. They hope all going well to return soon to hear and hopefully see the Corncrakes... Many thanks to them for their sightings last week.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Sunday 10th April

James has returned from his week's holiday over at Rahoy. Although still "on holiday" today, he heard a Cuckoo calling from close to the former Kilchoman School over at the edge of the reserve at Gruinart. George this morning had 56 Turnstone down on the shoreline at Bruichladdich, 9 Whooper Swan flying North towards Gruinart, back at home he had 10 House Sparrows at his bird feeders, and George also heard a Willow Warbler in the trees around his house.

A visitor staying down at Port Charlotte had seen a Glaucous Gull at Saligo yesterday. Another visitor had seen the Iceland Gull at Bunnahabhain, a Stonechat was present too, an Otter was in the bay with her 2 youngsters, Great Nothern Diver present out in the Sound of Islay, over Margadale Hill a distant pair of Golden Eagles were seen out on the thermals. Near to Ardnahoe, a Hen Harrier was on the wing. Ballygrant Woods were quiet apart from Willow Warblers and Goldcrests. Back down in the ploughed field at the Coastguards' cottages, a Peregrine was seen taking a Golden Plover this morning!

Saturday 9 April 2011

Saturday 9th April

Bob yesterday had 2 skeins of Pink footed Geese fly North over his house, there were 30 in one and 65 in the other. Later on he saw 2 Golden Eagle high up on a thermal.

Visitors from Cheshire yesterday had 55 Pale bellied Brent Geese down below the coalyard, and also 12 Whooper Swan flying low from Loch Indaal over to Gruinart. Over at Gartmain, amongst the Barnacle Geese they saw a Pink footed Goose. In Bridgend Woods apart from the Chiffchaff and Blackcap, they saw and heard many Willow Warblers. Later on up at Ardnave, they counted 28 Great Northern Diver off Nave island, some close in and they were seen eating small crabs. At Traigh Nostaig there were 12 Turnstone and also a Grey Plover, offshore 6 Black Guillemots. Wheatear were present all around Ardnave in small numbers with Lapwing displaying around the wetter areas. Back nearer to Ardnave Farm, Linnets were seen and 85 Golden Plover were counted. In the evening, over at Saligo there were 180 Golden Plover in the air, while down towards the lochans beside Loch Gorm there was a ringtail Hen Harrier. Also seen were more Stonechats starting to return.

Friday 8 April 2011

Friday 8th April

Bob had been down at the hide at Gruinart yesterday. He saw several ticks for the year, Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin. He heard a Water Rail calling and saw a Moorhen. Back up at the "platform" Bob heard a Willow Warbler calling, and had also seen 12 Black headed Gulls, like George, more in number than usual. There was also a small group of Golden Plover in summer plumage in one of the fields behind the platform.

Today was the last full day here on Islay for the birders from Somerset. Although the weather earlier in the week was not too kind, they have enjoyed their stay. Round Loch Gorm today they had 100 Golden Plover, again in summer plumage. On Loch Gorm they saw 4 different Otters! Earlier this evening and they had a male Peregrine fly past.

Other visitors had been in the woods down at Bridgend this morning, and had heard a Blackcap and also Chiffchaff singing away... They also had a close fly by of a Peregrine while up at Ardnave this afternoon!

Malcolm had a White Wagtail on the strand at Uiskentuie, and in front of his house at Bruichladdich on Loch Indaal, Malcolm had 20 Pale bellied Brent Geese. The Magpie has moved up to Gruinart and has been seen there since Tuesday by Fiona MacGillivray.

Thursday 7 April 2011

Thursday 7th April

Catch up time over here today, with wall to wall sunshine all day, it had to come, better still, more of the same tomorrow!

George counted 40 Black headed Gulls down on the rocks below his house on the shore of Loch Indaal today. He cannot recall seeing as many as that there before. George also had 80 Common Gulls, 1 Shelduck, 1 Redshank, 20 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, back on the land he had 5 Roe Deer and 6 Hares, while on his bird table there were 2 Greenfinch and also 2 Goldfinch.

The birders from Somerset had made the most of a better day and headed over to Jura where they saw a male Hen Harrier displaying, a Golden Eagle on the wing, a male Yellowhammer. They also had a group of 12 Fieldfare and saw an Otter. A female Merlin was seen round Loch Gorm and there were 11 Whooper Swan on the flats at Gruinart.

Back here at home, I saw my first Sand Martin over the glen this year, a pair of Kestrel were seen too and mid afternoon, a pair of Peregrines were up on the crag, as well as a pair of Chough flying past calling away as they do. A single Wheatear was present at the back of Machir Bay.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Wednesday 6th April

Another day weather wise like yesterday, but this evening the haar is in from the sea, and we cannot see the crag!

A day also for migrants, there was a male Blackcap in the garden at lunchtime, here at home, while over at Gruinart 30 House Martins were seen. Another migrant heading back is Stacey who has left Bird Island in South Georgia. Stacey has been working out there since August 2008 and has some tremendous images on her blog. She worked here on Islay with RSPB prior to heading to Bird Island.

The "Somerset duo" had a Merlin and a Hen Harrier before setting out today. Over at Bunnahabhain they saw an Otter again, 2 ringtail Hen Harrier, a Swallow, a Black Guillemot and 2 Great Northern Diver in the Sound of Islay. At Gruinart, they saw the House Martins and a male Hen Harrier. Later on up at Ardnave Loch they had 3 female Goldeneye and 24 Tufted Duck.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Tuesday 5th April

Another mixed day with the weather today, it managed to stay dry this morning, although it was wet and windy through the night. It has reverted back to that again this afternoon and now this evening, at least it is not cold!

Catherine sent through some sightings from the Oa, 73 Fulmar, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 2 Buuzard, 1 Dipper, 3 Chough, Wheatear, Golden Eagle, 18 Tufted Duck, 263 Greenland Whitefronts, male Hen Harrier, male Goldeneye, Redshank and Lapwing were also present. The "Somerset duo"made the most of this morning and went over to Bunnahabhain where they saw a dog Otter eating a crab! The Iceland Gull was still present, as were several Great Northern Diver and Red throated Diver in the Sound of Islay. They also saw a Red legged Partridge in the Ardnahoe area. On Loch Gorm, a family group of 5 Whooper Swan were seen and also 3 Hen Harrier around the Loch. They also had a male Hen Harrier close to where they are staying.

Monday 4 April 2011

Monday 4th April

It was damp over here this morning, but after lunch it fared up a bit, not that bad really. Tomorrow is another day and some more rain is on the cards, it had to come... The visiting birders from Somerset had to make do with a visit to a visit to a Distillery in the morning! This afternoon they ventured down to the Oa. They saw a Golden Eagle, some flocks of Linnet and Twite as well as a Merlin. On their way home they had a ringtail Hen Harrier and at Bridgend they saw a Sparrowhawk.

Sunday 3 April 2011

Sunday 3rd April

A better day, no rain! On Countryfile earlier this evening, they were saying that March had been the driest for 50 years, and also more sun than normal.

David Mason had a Bullfinch in the woods to the west of Port Ellen at the start of the week, and later on he had a Treecreeper up in Bridgend Woods.

Yesterday morning, Bob was down at Frenchman's Rocks for a couple of hours. He had a count as follows, 350 Gannet, 150 Kittiwake, 100 Fulmar, 80 Razorbill, 35 Guillemot and 1 Black Guillemot. Back home, and Bob had a male Merlin fly through his garden, it did a quick about turn and come back through his garden, startling all the "wee birds" on his feeders....

There were 2 Sand Martins round at Kilchiaran this afternoon.

A visiting birder had a Swallow over at Gruinart today, 2 Merlin, 3 male Hen Harriers, 20 Black tailed Godwit, 6 Sanderling. From the hide he had an Eagle being harassed by 2 Ravens. On his way home he had 50 Golden Plover.

Saturday 2 April 2011

Saturday 2nd April

Quite a lot of rain through the night, the burn was running big this morning, as I write this evening, there has been 0.75" of rain since yesterday morning...

Going round Loch Gorm this evening, we had several pairs of Curlews, 3 pairs of Redshank, numerous Lapwing, 22 Golden Plover at Ballinaby, several Ringed Plover, 12 Pied Wagtail also at Ballinaby, Barnies, Whitefronts, Greylags, Meadow Pipits, Hooded Crows, Rock Doves, 3 pairs of Mallard, Chough, Jackdaw, in fact a good cross section was seen without us really going out of our way to find them. We have 2 young brothers along with their parents in one of the cottages this week and the boys are on the lookout for birds when they are here. I was well impressed as the elder brother even knew what a Chough looked like.

Friday 1 April 2011

Friday 1st April

Think the weather has been the "April Fool" here today, the rain gauge gave us a reading of 2.75" in total for the whole of March, so in keeping with the national figures it has been a dry month. In 2010 it was 4.5" and back in 2009 a wet 4.5", so we will just have to take what comes. Somebody told me the other day that July was going to be wet...

The figures came in for the International Goose count carried out on the 10th & 11th of March. The tallies were 35,661 Barnacle Geese and 6,911 Greenland Whitefronts. Many thanks to SNH for passing these figures through.