Thursday 30 June 2011

Thursday 30th June

A great day here over, not only the weather but for birds of prey too. On the Rhinns today we had 7 different Hen Harriers, 5 males and 2 Ringtails, not bad going considering we were not out looking for Harriers, really just out and about as normal! Coming home this evening there was dead Stoat on the roadside, just this side of Rockside road end. Margaret this morning had a Peregrine being mobbed by a couple of Hooded Crows and a visitor in the cottages had seen a Golden Eagle out on a thermal further along the crag. Back to smaller "normal" birds and there are now 2 Siskins coming regularly to the bird feeders at the kitchen window.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Wednesday 29th June

Some of the Choughs up on a dune at Ardnave taken by Len Eades last week, please note the blue sky with no clouds! Today Michal had counted 41 Chough up there, there were several flocks of Rock Doves present totalling 100 in all while over on Nave Island Michal counted 208 Greylags. Yesterday, while you are I were in bed, Michal had been carrying out a Cornrake survey and heard 9 calling males in the Gruinart area, including one over on Nave Island, a first in recent years! He also heard a Water Rail at Ardnave Loch, a first there for Michal. Yesterday Peter and Pia had walked the full length of the Big Strand, Peter commented that " basically nothing much appeared to be breeding along large stretches of the beach, most of of it too unprotected with little area above the High water mark, but they did see around 20 pairs of Sand Martins, similar numbers of Arctic Terns, 8 pairs of Ringed Plover. At Knockangle Point, there were 85+ Eider on the rocks and in the sea, mostly moulting males, but there were a few females with at least 8 young present. Also there were 3 pairs of Rock Pipits along with fledged young.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Tuesday 28th June

Two of the Mallard ducklings which we released down on George's pond this morning. Somebody "kindly" gave us the 8 ducklings when their parents were predated when they were only a few days old. We thought it safer if they went down to George's as here there is a history of an Otter taking ducks from time to time. They were still making the most of their new surroundings earlier this evening. Another of the monthly meetings of our informal Bird club. As usual many topics were covered including a discussion regarding a Gannet fishing, quite intense stuff you know. We also picked Peter' brains regarding the Bird Fair and his thoughts on it, not long now to the actual fair itself....Islay should be well represented as Carl and myself along with 2 members of RSPB staff will be manning the stand, George and Megan are going down too as is John Armitage. More about this again as time rolls in.

Monday 27 June 2011

Monday 27th June

Another of Len Eades' images taken while he was over on holiday for the last fortnight. This Snipe has been caught on camera by quite a few folk of late. It was taken over at the hide at the RSPB reserve at Gruinart, in fact several folk have commented to me about it!

Sunday 26 June 2011

Sunday 26th June

David Mason sent through this image of a Roe Deer with her offspring taken the other week while he was up here on holiday. You can view some of David's images on I feel myself that I have seen more Roe Deer with twins this year compared with other years. The Siskin was back on the feeder at the kitchen window as were the Greenfinch and Great Tit families. One or two of the Rowan trees out in front of the house which had taken a battering with those strong winds a few weeks ago have burst out with some fresh growth, as have some of the Ash, but not much sign of any other buds bursting at all, it looks more like the trees in the Autumn, no beautiful colours, just all a drab brown with shrivelled leaves, most of which are off the trees already.

Saturday 25 June 2011

Saturday 25th June

Gordon Yates took this Corncrake earlier on this week, just before 10 pm in the evening. Talking of Corncrakes, on Thursday night/ Friday morning in the wee small hours, James had been out around the reserve at Gruinart and had heard 10 Corncrakes, 1 Spotted Crake, a Grasshopper Warbler and also 5 Water Rails. Many thanks are due to Chris and Tony Johnson for their sightings last week.

Friday 24 June 2011

Friday 24th June

An image given to me tonight by Len Eades who has been over on Islay for the past fortnight. He saw the Corncrake out with her 12 youngsters, he took it through the kitchen window rather than going outside and disturbing them all... Other visitors who have kindly sent images and sightings over the last 3 weeks are Gordon & Pauline Yates who left to go home this afternoon. Another pair of visitors had been up at Ardnave today and had a male Hen Harrier, very low over the shore. Offshore there were Gannets, Eiders and Terns. Off Nave Island there were hundreds of Greylags, could they be there to moult? In the dunes they counted 32 Chough. They had also seen a pair of Shelduck with 6 young. The Mute Swan family was still present at Ardnave, and a Redshank was seen calling her 4 young away from the waters' edge. On the road between RSPB Loch Gruinart and Loch Gorm, a male Stonechat was present, and also a female a little further on. Down near to the Coastguards cottages, the Curlew and 2 young were still to be seen. Peter has seen 12- 15 Gannets fishing close to the pier at Bruichladdich, along with a few Arctic Terns. Today he had a Fulmar too, a bird that he does not see that often so far up Loch Indaal.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Thursday 23rd June

James had a count of 95 Jackdaws in his garden earlier this evening, all I could do to try to match it was a Hooded Crow watching the pheasant chicks, possibly thinking of an easy meal there for the taking...Visitors had a Ring necked Duck on Loch Ballygrant today, also there were 2 Red throated Divers, 2 Little Grebe and 10 Tufted Duck. In Ballygrant Woods they had 1 Treecreeper, 2 different sightings of Spotted Flycatcher, 1 feeding young, a male Blackcap and a family group of Willow Warbler. Along near to Lily Loch, 5 Crossbills were present along with a Goldcrest. On Loch Allan, 2 Little Grebe were present while Loch na Cadhan held 2 Mute Swan and 1 Little Grebe. In the Ardnahoe area, a pair of Hen Harriers were seen, at least 2 Buzzards, 1 Mistle Thrush, pair of Whinchats, family group of Whitethroats. Back down on Loch Skerrols, 10 Tufted Duck were seen along with the pair of Mute Swans with at least 8 young. In the woods there was a pair of Bullfinches. James also reported through that he had seen Blue tailed Damsel flies hatching out today. He also commented about the Swallows that nest in the "underpass" towards Craigens, normally at this time of year the young are quite large, but this year they are only a few days old. Thinking about it the Swallows, here in our garage they are usually fledged by now, but they too are just newly hatched.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Wednesday 22nd June

Down at Gartmain today were 4 Whooper Swans while back up here at home a Siskin was in at the bird feeders. Visitors had counted 22 Chough over the dunes at the back of Machir Bay, late this afternoon, and they also had heard a Corncrake calling in the reed bed below the Coastguard cottages. Earlier on they had seen a Cuckoo fly past down at Rockside road end. At the spit on Loch Indaal, the solitary Pale bellied Brent Goose was present while in Bridgend wood, at the mouth of the Rive Sorn a pair of Bullfinches were seen. Over in the woods at Kildalton, Chiffchaff and Blackcap were heard and along at Clouds cottage, a family of Siskin were noted. At Ardtalla, a pair of Shelduck were present with 8 young, also at Ardtalla was a family group of Redpolls. Yesterday, James had a Great Northern Diver in summer plumage calling away,close in to the shore at Uiskentuie.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Tuesday 21st June

An image taken last week by a visitor of the "noisy one", out in broad daylight, the cheek of it having the nerve to break cover.... Michal had been out last night and had heard 5 Corncrakes calling in the Ballygrant area. While he was out he also saw a Tawny Owl and also 2 Barn Owls, one near to Loch Skerrols, the other at Bunnahabhain. He also heard 5 Snipe drumming as well as 15 Grasshopper Warblers on his travels. Mary, this morning saw the Magpie down outside the hall at Portnahaven. Later on this morning, Michal had seen an Osprey flying over from Loch Laingeadail towards Ardnave Loch.

Monday 20 June 2011

Monday 20th June

An image of a Whinchat taken today by a visiting birder. He was just commenting that there were not so many Whinchats around this year, and also how few Stonechats there were in comparison to previous years. Yesterday other visitors had been up at Ardnave Loch and had seen the pair of Mute Swans along with their 4 cygnets. Also on the Loch were 8 Tufted Duck while on the shore, there was a pair of Oystercatcher along with young. A ringtail Hen Harrier flew past. Round Ardnave Point, they had Shelduck with 6 young, and a female Eider again with young. Offshore, but close in was a Great Northern Diver. Good numbers of both Little and Arctic Terns were seen, Black Guillemots and Gannets were seen flying past as was a Bonxie. At the reed bed area close to Braigo, a Grasshopper Warbler heard, Reed Bunting, Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler were present too, a Peregrine flew past and a male Hen Harrier was out quartering. Another 2 Grasshopper Warblers were at Saligo as was a female Hen Harrier. Close to the Coast guard cottages, a Corncrake was heard calling as was a Sedge Warbler. Back here at home the Corncrake did n't stop calling until after 5 am this morning, he did n't even stop to catch a breath of air either. I reckon he was calling at 72 calls a minute, a bit sad really, almost as bad as counting sheep to get you to go to sleep!!! A Magpie was seen down at Portnahaven through the day today, and was at Easter Ellister this evening.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Sunday 19th June

A better day today, although the mist covered the top of the crag for quite some time this morning, and this evening it looks quite settled, so possibly a good day again tomorrow, fingers crossed...... Bob and Martin had been over at Gartbreck today and had seen 45 species of birds. The highlights included 47 Eider with 30 young, 10 Shelduck with 10 young, 1 Cormorant, 6 Shag, 4 Turnstone, 4 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 70 Bar tailed Godwit, 57 Oystercatcher, 20 Arctic Terns, pair of Common Tern. Out on the small rocky outcrops were 34 Black headed Gulls including 10 nest sites. A visitor had seen 3 Sanderling up at Sanaig this afternoon.

Saturday 18 June 2011

Saturday 18th June

Michal sent this image through this morning, not taken today as we certainly have not had blue skies, just grey and overcast along with a dollop or two of the wet stuff...

New visitors arriving today had an Osprey close at hand as they left Kennacraig, and just as the "Finlaggan" (our new ferry) was leaving West Loch Tarbet 4 Red throated Divers were seen too. Michal this morning had seen the Curlew along with her 2 chicks in the same field as the visitors had seen them in yesterday. This evening in the wood here at the house, a Willow Warbler was busy feeding her fledglings while earlier on on the bird table the Great Tit family were in full flow eating away good style. By the way, that Corncrake was calling away last night, too close for comfort, closing the bedroom window does not shut it up 100%... and it is already calling again this evening!!!

Friday 17 June 2011

Friday 17th June

Another great image set through from folk over here on holiday. I do not think it was taken today as the weather was not too nice, certainly not a day for clipping the sheep as that was what I had planned to do but.... Net result was that it was not up to much for the birds either! Needless to say Michal was out first thing before the weather broke down. Up on Ardnave Loch he had the pair of Mute Swans plus their 4 cygnets, as well as the Whooper Swan. Down at Toyovullin he had a count of 73 Oystercatchers, and on the coastline towards Garra Eallabus there were several pairs of "angry" Oystercatchers, no doubt try to fend off any intruders from their young. Yesterday, Michal had a count of 56 Grey seals, 36 Arctic Terns and 3 Little Terns over on Nave Island. Visitors had seen a Curlew plus 2 youngsters on the newly cut and cleared grass silage fields at Rockside.

Thursday 16 June 2011

Thursday 16th June

Well, that's the first half of the month away, next milestone will be the longest day one day next week, and then the days start to get shorter and so on.... Earlier on this morning we went out and did our patch listening for any calling male Corncrakes, we heard 9 in all including one along at Sunderland Farm, the first that we have ever had there in the few years that we have being this! We are easily pleased sometimes! Michal had been up at Ardnave and had heard 12 Snipe drumming as well as a couple of Corncrake. I spoke lat night to an Orcadian who said this year there were 5 calling on Egilsay which was good to hear. Mark on the guided walk at Gruinart today had seen a couple of Hen Harriers, and also some young fledged Choughs and a Corncrake flying from one spot to another, not that a long flight. Mark was pleased being able to show folk the Corncrake, it is often difficult sometimes just to hear them. A visitor commented this evening of not having seen any Yellowhammers on the Rhinns this visit, usually he sees the odd one, but none this time.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Wednesday 15th June

Full moon tonight, so might as well go out at midnight and hopefully hear a few Corncrakes calling, we wait eagerly in anticipation.....

Mark and Sally are on their second week of their holiday and around 9 pm at Gruinart last night had spotted an Osprey from the hide. Other visitors had seen a Peregrine fly over "smelly corner" today and in Bridgend woods they saw a pair of Goldcrest. They were commenting on the seabird colonies and on the stretch they know well, Guillemots are around 50% compared to last year, Razorbills fared better about 90% but Kittiwakes around only 50% again. Not good really. Peter yesterday had walked out from Bunnahabhain out to Giur- Bheinn. He commented on the "birdless plateau" once he was out of the forestry, even although the forestry held common species, Goldcrest, Robin, Blue Tit, Willow Warbler, Wren, Redpoll, Chaffinch, Coal Tit and Siskin. A Crossbill was seen too. Peter had a White tailed Sea Eagle soaring high over Sgarbh Breac. Other birds included Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Whitehroat, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and a male Hen Harrier. Back on the reserve at Gruinart, James had an adder close to the former Kilchoman School, and later on had a Spotted Flycathcher also on the reserve.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Tuesday 14th June

Michal had been out round Ardnave doing his "early" morning survey, and I really do mean early, 5 am start if not earlier...He reported back through that there were fewer Lapwings on territories, 15 pairs, 3 weeks ago only 7 now. On a positive he heard 7 Snipe drumming, saw 4 Roe Deer, a Black tailed Godwit and also the Magpie checking out a Buzzard! Coming home, on the reseed there were 55 Greylags present. Along close to Sunderland Farm yesterday, a Whitethroat was singing away while on top of the dyke at the side of the road

Monday 13 June 2011

Monday 13th June

This young Hooded Crow was caught on camera by Michal yesterday as it hopped along this moss covered dyke. Today, Michal and Mary had carried out a count on Loch Gruinart, scores on the doors were as follows, 25 Common Gulls, 48 Herring Gulls, 60 Shelduck at the head of the loch, creche of 13 Eider ducklings, 134 Oystercatcher, 16 Whimbrel, 7 Curlew, 13 Ringed Plover, 5 Heron, 3 Redshank, 2 Dunlin and a Black tailed Godwit. Carl saw a Great Northern Diver on Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte this morning. Here at home, around 3 am the Corncrake moved down the hill, and started to call, so that was the end of sleep last night, little wonder that some folks actually shot them to get some peace! Possibly I should have shut the window. Better still this afternoon, I actually saw the blighter on top of the wall, but no camera or gun to hand!!!

Sunday 12 June 2011

Sunday 12th June

A Short eared Owl caught on camera this morning along with it's prey. Later on today the same visitors had counted 54 House Sparrows in a group down at Claddach at Portnahaven. Mark & Sally, other birders here on holiday, had seen Crossbills over at Loch Allan this afternoon. Over at Loch Gruinart, James had 5 Common Terns and a single Barnie. On the reserve itself he had a count of 4 Hen Harriers too. Peter had seen his 1st Islay Swift of the year up at Sanaigmore and also heard a Corncrake calling there too. Closer to his home at Bruichladdich, he had 2 different Arctic Tern colonies, one of 3 pairs and the other with 4 pairs. We too had seen 3 pairs past the spit at Uiskentuie, they were all in the air as folk walking their dogs went past unaware of any possible nest sites around.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Saturday 11th June

George sent this image through of a Heron taken up at one of the "ponds" behind his house. Yesterday James had seen a pair of Bullfinches on the reserve at Gruinart, with the female carrying food. He also saw 4 Redpolls and heard 2 Water Rails calling. Today he had a 2 foot long Adder, 3 Hen Harriers and a Spotted Flycatcher. Peter had been down in the woods at Bridgend and saw Treecreeper, Great Tit, Goldcrest and Willow Warbler all feeding fledged young. Down at Portnahaven he heard a Grasshopper Warbler while along in the walled Garden at Foreland House, in the chimney pot of the potting shed a Jackdaw was present feeding youngsters. Back here at home at Kilchoman, we had 4 House Martins this afternoon, the first I have seen here this year.

Not exactly breaking news, but to keep you in the loop, Islay Natural History Trust, Islay & Jura Tourism & Marketing Group and RSPB Islay Resereves are jointly going together to have a stand at the British Birdwatching Fair held at Egleton Nature Reserve in Rutland. The event takes place from Friday 19th August through to Sunday 21st August, so if you are going to the Fair, come and meet up with us. We will keep you updated with what is going to happen. At present both Carl and myself (Ian) along with others will be manning the stand.

Friday 10 June 2011

Friday 10th June

Another image through from Michal, taken this morning up at Ardnave on the moor of a Dunlin. While he was out he had a pair of Dunlin, 3 Twite, fledgling Stonechats, Kestrel, male Hen Harrier, a Golden Eagle over the moorland, pair of Buzzards, with the Whinchat of 3 weeks ago having a different song sheet, today it was mimicking Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Grasshopper Warbler, and Swallow, but no Red Grouse or Song Thrush! Visitors from Chicago had a great day yesterday including up on the feeders at The Woolen Mill, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit and also Siskin. On Loch Indaal they had Common Sandpipers, Ringed Plover and a group of 16 Oystercatcher walking across the road coming up from the shoreline to the grass! Further on they had saw an adult Shag plus young, with Herons on the shoreline too. Down on the Oa they had a Golden Eagle, all in all they had spent a great day. Another visitor phoned in to say that he had seen 2 Cuckoos mating, and his first Dark Green Fritillary on the wing of the year. A Rose coloured Starling was seen over at Knockcrome on Jura, either this morning or yesterday, exact details seem a bit sketchy!

Thursday 9 June 2011

Thursday 9th June

Michal sent this through yesterday, taken up at Ardnave earlier on. Talking of yesterday, I commented that it was not that often that I had seen a female Hen Harrier sitting on a post, well this morning I too had one on a post....but no camera to immediate hand, so you will just have to believe me... A visitor gave me a late entry last night of seeing Siskins in Ballygrant Woods eating Beech mast. Also yesterday, James had a Red Grouse on the reserve at Gruinart, and later on 2 Greenshank. Mark saw 3 Barnies on the guided walk this morning, as well as a late group of 8 Whooper Swans. A visitor told me after the walk, of seeing a Magpie up towards Ardnave, close to Garra Eallabus, wonder if it was the same one that was in the wood at Gruinart? Pia, Peter's other half, had seen a couple of Red legged Partridges beside the cattle market at Bridgend. George had a couple of Arctic Terns down on the foreshore below his house and they were being very protective as if they were on territory, as George cannot recollect ones nesting there of late. He also saw a Whitethroat and had an Eider with 5 young on edge of Loch Indaal. Bob had 2 Redpolls, 3 Siskins and also 2 Greenfinches feeding their young on his feeders at home. This evening he had a male Hen Harrier fly through his garden, about 2 feet off the ground and around 10 feet away from him, being chased by a Common Gull.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Wednesday 8th June

This great image of a female Hen Harrier was sent though to the blog by a visitor, not often you see them on top of a post! Another visitor yesterday had seen 2 young Willow Warblers being fed by their parents in the garden where they are staying in Port Charlotte. Over close to Ardbeg they had heard Chiffchaff and a pair of Yellowhammers singing away. Michal sent some sightings through from today. Early morning up at Ardnave there were several pairs of Lapwing with chicks of different sizes seen with 7 Snipe drumming away too. A single Buzzard was being chased off by a mixed flock of corvoids, Chough, Rooks and Jackdaws! Michal also tried to count the Terns on Nave Island and on Eilean Beag, but less birds were visible than last week. The numbers were, 1 Little Tern, 15 Arctic Tern, 37 Greylags, 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Barnie sleeping on the shore, 19 Eider, 59 Lesser Black backs, 115 Herring gulls, 2 Shelduck and 17 Grey Seals.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Tuesday 7th June

Last night, I only managed to get the blog entry done by the skin of my teeth, as moments after it was done the power went off and did not come back on until around 1am, by that time I was sleeping, not really that dedicated.... As promised the figures through from Mary for the Sea bird count carried out yesterday. The area counted spread from Sanaigmore down to Smaull. The tally was 153 Fulmar, 69 Kittiwake, 155 Guillemot and 134 Razorbill. 59 Black Guillemot were counted overall, from Port Askaig round to Smaull. I forgot to mention that on Nave Island there were 2 Barnacle Geese, wonder if they were a wayward pair or just 2 Geese???

By the way it has been raining again today, some showers heavier than others, but another 0.75" so far since this time last night...

Monday 6 June 2011

Monday 6th June

Just to spoil the script, it has stayed dry today, which is just as well. Some of us were out helping with the Seabird survey round Nave Island and along the coast line back from Sanaig to Smaull. There was a bit of a swell here and there, but we all came back safe and sound. All going well, I may have the figures for tomorrow's entry. Highlights included a Golden Eagle, a Manx Shearwater, 3 Great Northern Divers and also a Red throated Diver. On the way over to meet with everybody, down at Sunderland Farm, there were a few families of Greylags heading down towards Loch Gorm, with goslings of different ages. Also this morning, George had a Magpie down in his garden at Bruichladdich, and it was still to be seen there later on this afternoon.

Sunday 5 June 2011

Sunday 5th June

This image was sent through this morning by James' daughter Eleanor. Yes we realise that it is a Chaffinch but what else, any positive comments appreciated!
Mark and Sally, visitors over for a fortnight, today had seen a Black throated Diver in Loch Indaal close to Uiskentuie. Mary had some sightings on her granny's land down at Portnahaven. Mary reckons that there are more Arctic Terns present this year. Over by Frenchman's Rocks there were "dozens of groups of dozens" of Gannets taking a shortcut overland, normally they follow the coastline. On the stoney beach outside Portnahaven, there were a pair of Common Sandpipers scolding her off, along with a pair of Ringed Plover, sure enough Mary saw a very little Ringed Plover chick running ahead of her. Mary took evasive action so not to disturb them further. Later on she saw an Eider, but with only one duckling. The Corncrakes are still calling well down there too, but thankfully the one outside her bedroom window has moved on! Mary yesterday had 4 Collared Doves in front of her house, the first that she can recall down there in the village. Back here at home there was a hen Pheasant out with 6 young chicks on the grass this morning, Wonder what they are thinking of the rain, we have had almost 0.6" since mid morning....

Saturday 4 June 2011

Saturday 4th June

The heat wave has gone, but at least it is still dry, mind you I am down to the shirt sleeves again, earlier in the week, I had another 3 layers on, quite a change! This morning we had a brief visit from 12 Collared Doves, the most we have had here at the house, there have been odd birds before but certainly not as many. They were only here for a few minutes before flying off inland over the small crag. Yesterday along towards Uiskentuie we saw a Gull being harassed by a couple of Oystercatchers. As we got closer, we reckoned that the Gull had an Oystercatcher chick in its' beak, and sure enough it dropped it, similar to what they do to crack open mussels. As the road was busy we could not stop, so we do not know the outcome, no doubt the Gull won and had a meal with the Oystercatchers losing out. Out in the field the young Starlings are quite vocal trying to demand food from the adult birds, while the Jackdaws are at a loss with the trees not really offering much cover when they come in to roost, a bit odd really...On the way into Bowmore the solitary Brent Goose is still to be seen, I have not heard of any further sightings of the small group which Peter saw earlier in the week.

Friday 3 June 2011

Friday 3rd June

Another great day again, although this evening the haar (mist off the sea) came rolling in and with that the temperature has dropped!!! Last night some of us were out listening for the Corncrakes starting around midnight until you finished up. Michal had been out at Ardnave, down to the reserve at Gruinart, Craigens, Killinallan and finishing at Uiskentuie. He heard 9 Corncrakes calling, 18 Snipe drumming, 2 Water Rails calling, 5 Grasshopper Warblers and also a Spotted Crake. Bob on his patch had seen a Tawny Owl and also a Barn Owl as well as 2 Red Grouse. On our corner, we heard 11 Corncrakes, 3 Snipe, and 2 Grasshopper Warblers. Margaret saw the Cuckoo out over the crag again this afternoon, while James had 5 Black tailed Godwits on the flats at the reserve today. Peter had been over on Jura and up in the woods near to Lealt, he had 2 male Tree Pipits singing and displaying away.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Thursday 2nd June

Just what the doctor ordered, some sun and some more warmth thrown in for good measure, another day of it tomorrow will go down nicely....Peter yesterday had seen 8 Pale bellied Brent Geese on the shoreline of Loch Indaal. Coming home last night, in one of the fields along at Sunderland we counted 32 Greylags but no sign of any goslings. This morning on our way out, at the top of the hill beside the old church, we saw our first leveret of the year. On the walk at Gruinart today a wayward Whooper Swan was seen on one of the floods, and 2 Barnies were out on the estuary. Also on the estuary were quite a lot of Shelduck, again with no young. The Corncrake was heard calling out in front of the Visitor Centre. Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers along with Chaffinch, Wren and Song Thrush were all out in full voice. A distant pair of Chough were out on the wing calling away as they do. Bob had been over at Ard Imersay, just after Ardbeg today and had 3 Great Nothern Divers, 2 Red throated Divers, 2 Black Guillemots, 2 Common Terns, 60 adult Greylags with a few goslings hiding amongst the rushes, 2 Canada Geese, 8 Red breasted Merganser and later on his best bird was a Reed Warbler. Back here at home Margaret had to make do with the Corncrake calling, seeing and hearing a Cuckoo up the crag and also seeing a Kestrel away out the back of the crag. The Brent Geese were down close to the coal yard this afternoon. The wind has dropped this evening, so later on we will be out to hear if any Corncrakes are calling.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Wednesday 1st June

Another month in, a wet month at that with the tally for the month being 5.7", as wet a May that I can recall here on Islay. Tonight it is overcast, but we are forecast warmer weather over the next few days. Come to think of it, the longest day is just 3 weeks away and then.... The House Sparrows had their youngsters out on the bird table today, and this evening, there were 6 hen Pheasants hanging around, no chicks to be seen. Yesterday, visitors had seen a Red breasted Merganser over at Claggain Bay. They also saw a Red throated Diver which came relatively close to the shore and gave them a great chance to observe it. Later on a male Hen Harrier was seen on their way back from there.