Tuesday 31 May 2011

Tuesday 31st May

The weather held out again today, in fact I managed to put some weedkiller on, a job that has been on the "must do" list for a while but it has been too windy and often wet of late. Another job done today was cutting the grass, not that there were many cuttings, but at least it keeps the grass tidy!!

The Starlings along behind the cottages fledged the other day with 5 youngsters emerging. There does not appear to be any sign of any of the young Pheasants today but a former gamekeeper reckoned that with the weather we have had over the past few days there would probably not be much insect life around for them to feed on. The Mute Swans that were sitting on the nest down on the lochan at Rockside road end have brought out their young, but with only 2 cygnets to be seen with them, were there more initially, I do not know, but they were all on Loch Gorm.Visitors had seen a Peregrine taking a Dunlin off the shoreline of Loch Indaal today. George had a Wheatear down on the shoreline below his house, something he rarely sees there. Over at Finlaggan he had 2 Cuckoos, one of which was eating a large caterpillar. He also saw another Cuckoo at Coultorsay. On the first nature ramble of the year led by Becky over at Bunnahabhain yesterday afternoon, a Yellowhammer was seen, as well as a Spotted Flycatcher, a Reed Bunting and also a Whitethroat.

Many thanks to Danny Arnold and his wife Wanda for their input over the last fortnight while they were over on holiday. Tonight we had our monthly meeting of our local "informal" bird club with 14 folk coming along, 9 locals and 5 visitors. It was good to meet up with the visitors and share some time with them.

Monday 30 May 2011

Monday 30th May

Could this be a record, a day in May 2011 with no rain, at least it was a change, for the better too! Carl this morning had 3 different Terns at Port Charlotte, Common, Arctic, and Sandwich. He also saw a pair of Red breasted Merganser, a Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage as well as a dark phase Arctic Skua. Bob was on the pier at Bowmore around the same time and had a pale phase Arctic Skua being chased by 8 Sandwich Terns, far out in the bay. Down at Gartbreck he heard a Corncrake and on his return home he saw 2 Golden Eagles out on thermals and 4 Buzzards out and about too. Over at Gruinart, James had a distant White tailed Sea Eagle as well as 25 Whimbrel closer to hand. Michal saw a male Bullfinch on the woodland trail at the reserve at Gruinart. Up on Nave Island he saw 2 Barnies and also 2 Canada Geese. Also counted were a Great Northern Diver, 35 Arctic Terns, 6 Little Terns, 4 Shelduck, 39 Greylag along with one lot of goslings, 40 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 2 Cormorants and 48 Grey Seals. We had a pair of Bullfinch down at the lime kiln below Foreland at lunchtime.

Sunday 29 May 2011

Sunday 29th May

Margaret had her camera to hand yesterday when the Pheasant was out with her youngsters. I am not sure how many are left now as already there are only a few left out of the original 10, nature can be cruel sometimes. Mary had been over on Jura yesterday, only briefly, not competing in the annual race up The Paps! She saw an Otter on the road, and just after Craighouse she had a pair of Shelduck with ducklings. She also had a flock of 20 Dunlin along with 2 Ringed Plover there too. Later on down close to home in Portnahaven, over on MacKenzie Island there is a healthy and very vocal population of Arctic Terns. Today Mary had been at Bunnahabhain where she saw a Common Sandpiper and 2 Black Guillemots. At the other end of Islay, on the Oa she had a 2 Golden Eagles, Wheatears everywhere, a Whinchat too, 2 Ravens, a newly emerged Marsh Fritillary, a female Adder, and on her way back a female Hen Harrier.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Saturday 28th May

Well after the rain through the night, it faired up and remained dry through the day although it was a bit on the cool side, wonder if it got into double figures??? On the positive side of things, Margaret saw one of the hen Pheasants out with her brood of 10 young, fairly recently born we reckon as they were just bundles of fluff. On the downside, Crystal had found a dead dark phase Arctic Skua on the beach close to Killinallan, hope it was not the same bird that Mark had seen yesterday afternoon!

Friday 27 May 2011

Friday 27th May

Back to more rain again, after drier weather earlier on in the year, it certainly is catch up time now with not much sign of it letting up... Bob today had an Osprey flying over his house close to Port Charlotte. Mark had a dark phase Arctic Skua flying past the hide at Gruinart this afternoon. He also saw the Wood Sandpiper on the floods while James had 4 Black tailed Godwits there too.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Thursday 26th May

The day turned out better than I thought it might as it was windy (not so strong though) and wet through the night. The wind would have made it difficult to have heard the Corncrakes round our patch as you tend to hear the sea roaring away, so all in all we went to bed, but the forecast looks like more wind over the next few days... Dave Holden had been over for a few days with his wife and had seen a pair of Turtle Doves over near to Kintra. On the RSPB walk at Gruinart today the folk had close views of some Chough, and on the estuary a Barnacle Goose was still present, no doubt it will remain here all summer now. Mark had mentioned that down at the hide yesterday he had seen a Jackdaw predate a young Redshank chick. Some visitors had also seen a Gull down at Uiskentuie dropping a chick onto the road from a great height, similar to what they do with the mussels...There appears to be a lot of Shelduck around but few with young, but will keep you posted on that front.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Wednesday 24th May

We are getting back to normal again thankfully, although I heard that some folk round Loch Gorm had been without power for 36 hours, think I will stay this side for the time being... Jon and Angie had seen a Purple Sandpiper on the shoreline just at Bruichladdich Distillery. Friends from Bearsden had been up at Bunnahabhain and had an Otter eating a crab. Last night Michal had been out Corncrake counting, and he counted 8 on the reserve at Gruinart. On his travels he also heard 4 Water Rails, 9 Snipe, 7 Grasshopper Warblers and at least 13 Sedge Warblers calling away. He also heard a Barn Owl at Moine Mhor when he was out . A Corncrake was calling at Gruinart this evening for the folk that came on the Corncrake walk, a Sparrowhawk was also seen. We saw a pair of Oystercatchers along with 3 young after Sunderland Farm, James had a Shoveler and with her brood of 6 on the reserve at Gruinart while Malcolm saw the Mute Swan plus 7 cygnets down at "smelly corner".

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Tuesday 24th May

After the disruptions due to the weather yesterday life is getting back to normal again, although we have had a further power cut this evening, hence a late entry, honest....Jon and Angie are here for their second week, and they too had problems with no electricity. On the bird watching front they had a Kestrel over beside the car park on the Oa. At Kintra they saw a Carrion Crow and along at Kildalton, a pair of Yellowhammers were present. Other visitors had seen 2 Great Northern Divers over at Bunnahabhain and also a Peregrine on their way home. The Peregrine was only 20 yards away, so no need for the bins! James today had heard the Chiffchaff beside the RSPB office at Bushmills. On his way home this evening he had a "possible" Lesser Whitethroat. The Garganey was still present out in front of the hide. Up at Ardnave, 100 Dunlin were in the ploughed field. These were also seen by another visitor too. Both James and this visitor had both commented on the weather yesterday and the effect it would have had on the birds that nested along the shoreline, as yesterday with the tide and the wind, many nests would have been destroyed plus any new fledglings. here at home, the leaves on the trees are black today, the nettles too are black, not to worry the Corncrake was heard this morning and a Kestrel was out hovering this evening in the wind above the crag.

Monday 23 May 2011

Monday 23rd May

Well, the weather forecast was spot on. I have not seen the wind blowing so hard as it did mid afternoon, and coming home this evening the leaves on the trees have taken a tanking too. Quite a few leaves needless to say have been blown off, some limbs have broken off while leaves that still remain on the branches will now be salt burnt. The salt burn often happens after a big blow in July, but not in May! The sea out to the Atlantic was boiling as was Loch Gorm, quite a sight to see really. The ferry made a quick single trip mid morning, hats off to the crew as I would not really have fancied the trip over. The power too has been off and on, and I believe that we are on the generator as I write, at least we have the choice. Forgot this was meant to be a bird blog, oops.... Bob had seen 6 Gannets and 2 Arctic Skuas (dark phase) fly over the pier at Bowmore this morning. Mary had spotted 4 young Coal Tit fledglings in the gorse bushes up at Gruinart. A visitor counted 80 Rock Doves round at Ballinaby, 6 Common Terns down at Portnahaven and they commented on the poor Starling getting buffeted in the wind as kept bringing food back to the nest. They had seen a Tern flying but getting nowhere... There was a wind gust of 71mph over at the airport earlier today. It is a bit calmer now, but the airport is meant to be shut tomorrow because of the ash from Iceland, thought it would have blown past by now!!!

Sunday 22 May 2011

Sunday 22nd May

A better day with the odd squally shower, but beware the forecast for tomorrow does not sound so good, we will wait and see.... Jon and Angie had a Sparrowhawk down at Foreland today. From the hide at Gruinart they saw a female Pintail, and on the brambles beside the hide they saw a newly emerged Small Copper butterfly. Over in the wood beside Loch Skerrols, a Treecreeper was seen feeding young, and also 5 Roe Deer were there too. Other visitors had 2 Cuckoos down at Heatherfield on the way to Portnahaven. Round at Ballinaby some Whimbrel were present along with the Curlew, while over towards Bowmore on the shoreline, the Pale bellied Brent Goose was still present. All I had was the Corncrake calling when I was out in the garden, better than the Cuckoo calling, but that might happen later on!!!

Saturday 21 May 2011

Saturday 21st May

Well, the weather has beaten us all today, I was fortunate that I went out first thing this morning and fed the sheep. Since then it has rained all day apart for a short time late this afternoon. This coming week, here on Islay is the "Feis" week, originally a week of music and dance, but of late the Distilleries have helped out and given it a new turn. In fact I doubt if there would be any spare accommodation on Islay over the next few days. The next point is that over the last few years, some of the Distilleries had to shut production down due to a lack of water, not so this year!!! The only bird of note that I have seen today is the "reversing" hen Pheasant, and the Cuckoo was singing away good style in the rain, sorry folks.... Tomorrow might be better but the forecast is for more rain and high winds on Monday!

Friday 20 May 2011

Friday 20th May

Another of Andy Robinson's images which he has allowed us to share with you. It leads me on to the comment that a lot of youngsters have been seen lately. James had the pair of Mute Swans out in front of the hide proudly showing her 8 cygnets off. The Garganey was still present as were 13 Black tailed Godwit. Earlier on yesterday morning when he was out on the hill doing his survey work, James had a Red Grouse. Off the ferry over to Kennacraig on Wednesday, James had a Pomarine Skua, and while coming back through Ballygrant, a Barn Owl was seen.

On to today, Michal heard a Chiffchaff singing behind the RSPB office at Bushmills, Jon and Angie saw 2 female Goosanders on Ardnahoe Loch with a pair of Bullfinches were close by. Up at Bunnahabhain, they saw a pair of Stonechats feeding 3 young, and lower down towards the distillery, a Coal Tit was seen carrying food. Peter and Linda Jackson from Hampshire had a male Bullfinch, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and a Blackcap in Bridgend Woods today. They had seen an Eider with young over on Jura through the week. Today we had a Teal with her brood out, crossing the road just after Rockside. Down on the merse towards Bridgend, there were Shelducks out with their young and this evening I saw my first Pheasant chicks along with their mother. I wonder, come the end of the season how many of them survive....not a lot!

Thursday 19 May 2011

Thursday 19th May

The computer came back as promised, first thing this morning, so as I said last night, all I would like now (not want) is that more reliable broadband connection...

Mary had a Goldcrest in the car park just up from the hide at Gruinart this morning. Jon and Angie Shutes had been at Ardnave today, and had seen 3 Great northern Divers, 1 Red throated Diver and 6 Little Terns between Ardnave Point and Nave Islad. On Nave Island itself, they had a pair of Ravens and also a single Canada Goose. Back down closer to the farm at Ardnave, they were fortunate to see a Corncrake, before it scuttled off. On their way down Gruinart thay saw a male Hen Harrier. Yesterday on the River Sorn they saw a Dipper with 3 fledged youngsters and also a Grey Wagtail with 5 fledglings. The Lapwings next to where they are staying, lost their clutch of eggs overnight and they wondered if a hedgehog was the culprit. The Magpie was seen again on the the guided walk at Gruinart this morning, an Islay rarity....

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Wednesday 18th May

An early entry today folks as the computer is going away tonight for a long awaited overhaul, all going well it should be back for tomorrow night, all we need now is a more reliable broadband connection to the outside world but the new MSP Mike Russell is on the case...

Mary and Michal had done a count round Loch Gruinart yesterday, so here are the "scores on the doors". 124 Oystercatchers, 122 Ringed Plover, 89 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, 44 Common Gulls, 32 Herring Gulls, 2 Lesser Black backed Gulls, 3 Greater Black backed Gulls, 3 Black headed Gulls, 4 Redshank, 25 Eider Duck, 1 Great Northern Diver, 4 Red breasted Merganser, 10 Whimbrel, 4 Curlew, 5 Bar tailed Godwit, 34 Shelduck, 7 Barnacle Geese, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Shag, 4 Arctic Tern and 6 Turnstone. Ardnave Loch had 18 Turnstone, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Herring Gull, 2 Common Gulls, 6 Oystercatcher, 4 Redshank, 1 Lapwing and 1 Mallard. Yesterday earlier on, Michal had seen a pair of Greylags along with 4 young goslings on the hill at Ardnave. He also saw a male Hen Harrier carrying food, 3 Reed Buntings, 2 Sedge Warblers, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Dunlin singing briefly, and a couple of Twite. He also heard a Whinchat mimicking Chaffinch, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting and Red Grouse....

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Tuesday 17th May

It's like a back end day over here today, rather miserable in a nutshell, the post was early, by our standards that is.... so we will have to turn the clock back 24 hours for the blog...Forgot to mention that we saw a Cuckoo on the way over to Port Askaig, close to the Caol Ila road end! Jon and Angie Shutes from Norwich had seen a Short eared Owl, a male Hen Harrier and also an adder close to where they are staying here on Islay, up the back of Port Charlotte. On Sunday they had seen a pair of Yellowhammers when they were over at Ardbeg.

Monday 16 May 2011

Monday 16th May

Another great shot through from Andy Robinson, what can you say, just great...

The weather has not been that good (again), although visitors had seen the Wood Sandpiper and also a Garganey out in front of the hide at Gruinart. Tonight along the flats at Gruinart we counted over 20 Red Deer on our way back home. Earlier on, over at Port Askaig we saw 4 Gannets flying up the Sound. The weather has had a dampening effect on us all today, with not a lot being seen, although the Corncrake is calling away now it is dry again. The Cuckoo had being on song at 5.30 am, not that I heard it, the window was shut, my reason for not hearing it!

Sunday 15 May 2011

Sunday 15th May

Another of Andy Robinson's images taken the other week when he was over. I do not think he would have the same image in sunlight today, as it has been rather miserable to put it politely with just a "wetting rain" for most of the day, not a lot, but....The birders that came in to the cottages were well pleased yesterday, as when I was speaking with them outside their cottage, a Corncrake was heard and then a Chough flew overhead, right on cue! Hope the Corncrake did not keep them awake, at least the Cuckoo is quiet. George had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle over at Bunnahabhain today and also 2 different male Hen Harriers over that way too. Back at home, down at the pier George had a Great Nothern Diver close in, 2 Arctic Terns over the water, 2 Common Terns were on the pier itself, while further round at the top of Loch Indaal, he had 2 Little Terns. A visitor had told George of hearing a Corncrake on the way up to Sanaigmore the other day, while off Coul Point they had seen 30 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Bonxie, 3 Arctic Terns. Further round the headland, they had seen some Guillemot and 40 Razorbill.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Saturday 14th May

Another of the images from Andy Robinson, this time of the Little Egret that was out in front of the hide last week. Other folk who sent entries through recently included Gordon & Pauline Yates, Dot & Andy Street and also John Forbes from Whitley Bay, many thanks to you all for your input.

Peter Roberts who had his friend George over from USA for a few days had a great 4 days and saw 107 different species including a Purple Sandpiper in summer plumage at Bruichladdich on Thursday. The Brent Goose was seen at Bowmore. Claggain Bay held a male Goosander along with 2 females in the sea close offshore. Woodcock were roding at dusk at Bridgend woods earlier in the week. Yes, George did get his sighting of a Grasshopper Warbler! Yesterday afternoon, before George left, they had fantastic sighting of a dog Otter at the yatch marina in Port Ellen Harbour, both far off and also close at hand. It stayed for ages and kept coming up with butterfish!

This morning Bob and Martin had taken a walk out from Bowmore along "The Battery" towards Gartbreck and they saw the following, 1 Knot, 1 Grey Plover, 50 Bar tailed Godwit, 6 Whimbrel, 10 Curlew, 250 Ringed Plover, 300 Dunlin, 50 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank and a drake Shoveler. This was the first time that Bob has had a Shoveler there this year.

Friday 13 May 2011

Friday 13th May

This is one of a series of images that was forwarded to the blog from Andy Robinson who works with RSPB. Andy was over here working last week, and has kindly allowed us to use his images, more from Andy over the next few days.

Mary had been out round Loch Gorm and sent some sightings through. 3 Pairs of Stonechats seen, a Short eared Owl, 2 different male Hen Harriers, numerous Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Linnet and Twite. A couple of Sedge Warblers were heard singing, but there seemed to a lot more along the road running around Loch Gorm. She also saw an Arctic Skua (pale form) which was following the coastline North up towards Sanaig.

For some reason or another I have just noticed that the entries for the last 2 days have disappeared into cyber space, lost in the far yonder....

Thursday 12 May 2011

Thursday 12th May

This image of a Log tailed Tit was sent through today from Steve Ash from Wallingford in Oxfordshire who was over here birding in March. He admits that he is jealous of us having Corncrakes calling as they do. We had a great one today Steve, not far from where we were standing when we were on the guided walk at Gruinart, needless to say we never saw it... Michal was out on the prowl at the back of 5 am this morning up at Ardnave, he had a good variety of waders over at the "lobster pools", 80 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, 20 Sanderling, 10 Bar tailed Godwit, 20 Turnstone and 20 Oystercatcher. There was also a flock of 30 Whimbrel round Ardnave Loch itself. About 40 Gannets were fishing at the mouth of Loch Gruinart, 2 Little Terns and 15 Arctic Terns were also seen. Back on land and on the reseeded field beside Ardnave Farm, 57 Greylags were counted! Yesterday evening Bob and Martin had seen 2 Wood Sandpipers out in front of the hide, difficult to find but certainly there! Bob also heard a Greenshank, and on their way home they had a couple of Whinchats and also a male Hen Harrier down at Foreland. Along at Rockside in one of the barley fields 11 Hares were seen and the Barnacle Goose was still round at Ballinaby along with 12 Greylags.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Wednesday 11th May

This is the image that I was trying to upload for last night's entry when things went all wrong. It was taken by Armin Grewe from where he lives down in Berkshire, so this is not an Islay Red Kite!

An Osprey was seen in at Loch Skerrols today, could this be the same bird that was seen the other weekend over Loch Indaal? We had one here a few summers ago and it was seen quite often through the summer at different locations. Today, James had a Stonechat while he was out round Loch Gorm. There were 14 Whimbrel at Ballinaby and he had 2 separate male Hen Harriers and also a Peregrine. In the gravel pit at Ballinaby there was strong activity by Sand Martins with around 100 nest sites being looked at. James commented on the low numbers of Stonechats compared with other years. 7 Barnacle Geese were seen on the reserve at Gruinart today, and the single Barnie is still to be seen at Ballinaby, no doubt with some Greylags!

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Tuesday 10th May

Apologies for the late entry folks, but the entry I had entered decided not to want to be published, so here goes again... James had the Wood Sandpiper out in front of the hide at Gruinart again this morning. Pete Roberts was able to show a friend over from the States a couple of "ticks", one was a Reed Bunting, the other I cannot remember, sorry George, but another tick he would like before he leaves is a Grasshopper Warbler, fairly easy to hear, but harder to see!

Monday 9 May 2011

Monday 9th May

This Dipper was seen over at The Woolen Mill today, no doubt carrying food back for youngsters. There were also a pair of Grey Wagtails carrying food back to their nest site too. Many thanks to the visitor who sent this through. Bob had heard Cuckoos calling up behind his house today, while on his bird table 2 pairs of Greenfinch and also 2 pairs of Siskin are still regulars. The wind has been blowing strongly again all day, hence the reason for the blog being light of news!

Sunday 8 May 2011

Sunday 8th May

As forecast, we certainly got the rain, the best part of an inch fell overnight, but it was fair by breakfast time. The only problem then was that the wind picked up, not great for bird watching... James had a Wood Sandpiper in front of the hide at Gruinart today. The Magpie was seen in the wood at Gruinart again. George had a count of 24 Whimbrel in a field next to his house, while in his wood a Goldfinch nest was found. On his house, there are a few pairs of House Martins having a look at nest sites. Also in his wood today he had a Spotted Flycatcher. Last night, Mary heard her first Corncrake of the year down at Portnahaven/ Port Wemyss. Back here at home that darned Cuckoo is calling first thing in the morning, the rain did not stop it this morning, it is quiet through the day and returns late evening to remind you that it is still not far away..... (too close for comfort)

Saturday 7 May 2011

Saturday 7th May

A quiet day on the bird front, but a busy day with the cottages as Saturday is changeover day. Late this afternoon, we saw something that neither of us had seen before. Out on the grass in front of the house there was a female Pheasant along with a couple of male birds. The female kept facing the male birds, not aggressively, but if they advanced, she kept reversing away from them, but not turning around and making a hasty retreat. We must have watched this going on for over 5 minutes, before we gave up, not the birds! It was rather odd to watch, seeing the female reversing around with the males not really getting much closer.
Michal had seen an Otter along with 2 cubs when he was up at Ardnave earlier on this week.

Friday 6 May 2011

Friday 6th May

A great image sent through the other day of a Brent Goose taken down on the shoreline of Loch Indaal. It has been quite windy here today, we had some more rain through the night, but some more rain is forecast.... A few more Whimbrel and Godwits were seen around today as they continue to move through. Earlier this evening as I was walking round the sheep, I came across a dead Adder out in one of the fields, I had never seen one here before, so possibly a Buzzard had picked it up somewhere else and dropped it. The head was missing from it....

Thursday 5 May 2011

Thursday 5th May

Caught on camera, this Whimbrel was down at Coultorsay this morning along with 30 of his friends. Also present were 3 Black tailed Godwits. George had 3 Sand Martins over his ponds today. On the guided walk at Gruinart today, a Corncrake were heard calling, Hen Harrier and Chough were both seen. The Magpie was seen at the edge of Gruinart Wood again this morning, but no sign of yesterday's Little Egret. Also at Gruinart were a few House Martins. Over at Gartmain there were 38 Oystercatcher and 58 Bar tailed Godwit. As I write, the beloved Cuckoo has just started to call in the wood, hope it shuts up before I go to bed! By the way, we have had a little rain today, enough to lay the dust and that's about all it will do!

James yesterday had carried out a Rook survey at Gruinart and counted 103 nests in all. On the estuary, he had 95 Ringed Plover and 200 Dunlin. The Bullfinch was seen in the same area again.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Wednesday 4th May

Michal sent this image through yesterday of a Lapwing trying to defend its' territory against a Hen Harrier. Forgot to say the other night that it was birthday time for the blog, as it all started on the 1st of May 2007, so many thanks to everyone who has sent us sightings through to share with you all out there!

David Mason sent some sightings from down on the RSPB Oa reserve, 1 Redshank, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Black Guillemot,2 Guillemot, 2 Razorbills, male Hen Harrier out quartering over the moor, 1 Chough, 20 male and 8 female Eider, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Mistle Thrush with alarm calls in the birch woods being confronted by a Hooded Crow, over 30 Oystercatcher, 1 Great northern Diver, numerous Willow Warblers and Chaffinches in the woods and willow scrub.

A Little Egret was seen down on the floods in front of the hide at Gruinart this morning.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Tuesday 3rd May

Yesterday George heard a Cuckoo in the trees next to his house, and today he had a Sparrowhawk flying around as they do, causing great upsets...Bob had a Greenshank on the floods at Gruinart, and round at Ballinaby today he had a Barnacle Goose along with the Greylags, a Pink footed Goose was also there too. The other day there were 38 Greylags and a large Canada Goose in one of the fields next to his house.

Here at home at 4.30 this morning the Cuckoo was in full cry! Over at Ballinaby a male Marsh Harrier was seen this morning, and other visitors had seen a pair of Marsh Harriers up the top end of Jura. James today on the reserve had 6 Grasshopper Warblers, 4 Whinchat, 1 Stonechat, 8 Whitethroats, 1 Bullfinch (out on the hill) 3 Water Rail, 2 Cuckoos calling. Also seen were a Green hair streaked butterfly and also a Peacock butterfly.

Monday 2 May 2011

Monday 2nd May

Another great day out here, we were out round Loch Gorm this evening, over at Ballinaby, the sand from the fields had been blowing and we were surprised to see it along the roadside! In one of the grass fields there were 30 Dunlin, 30 Golden Plover and 10 Whimbrel. A visitor yesterday had seen a Curlew Sandpiper present there the amongst the Dunlin. Another visitor had seen an Osprey taking a fish out of Loch Indaal over the weekend.

This morning another visitor had seen a Red Kite out from Bunnahabhain, flying over towards Jura. James had a third Garganey on the floods today. Michal had been up at Ardnave this morning where he saw a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Kestrel, Hen Harrier and a Raven at the same time! Carl had been up there later in the day and had 40 Whimbrel at Ardnave Loch, 5 Little Terns and also a male Hen Harrier. Martin had been over at Kintra at Port Ellen today, and seen his first "Islay" Cuckoo on the "High road" on his way there. At Kintra itself, he had 3 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks, 41 Oystercatcher in one flock on the beach and he counted 28 Sand Martin nest holes in the dunes. There were also 7 Terns flying over Loch Indaal, diving into the sea, but far enough out so Martin was unable to get a positive id. Here at home the Cuckoo is back, calling away before 6 am in the wood, and was heard again further out on the hill late afternoon.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Sunday 1st May

Forgot to wash my face in the dew this morning, not that there was much anyway! The rainfall last month only came to 2.4" and some folk are already talking of a wet June and July.....

James today had a pair of Garganey on the floods out in front of the hide at Gruinart. The other day when coming back to Islay on the ferry, he had seen 2 Sandwich Terns and 5 Great Northern Divers. Bob had a day at home, but a good day for all that, a Kestrel, a male Hen Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 2 juvenile Golden Eagles out on a thermal, and also 6 Whimbrel. Some visitors up from Yorkshire commented on the number of Wheatears they saw today, and also seeing Golden Plover in summer plumage, a sight they are not used to seeing.