Thursday 31 May 2012

Thursday 31st May

Yesterday, James heard a Blackcap calling down in the scrubby wood behind the office at Gruinart. Also, this week, he has been seeing a rufous brown female Cuckoo on the reserve, quite often it tends to be the grey morph that we see. Round at Ballinaby this morning the Greylags were up to over 100 including the one with the large white collar round its' neck, the collar is white feathers rather than on for id purposes!!!

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Wednesday 30th May

A great image of a Corncrake taken last week by John Anderson when he was over on Islay. We were out on the Corncrake walk this evening with Beki and heard 2 males calling away, but no joy in seeing either of them! Speaking with Bob Young tonight and they had seen 2 Swifts up at Ardnave yesterday, and also 2 pr of Shelduck with young, one of 7 ducklings, the other a brood of 8. Another visitor on the walk had 2 Swifts today at Cragabus on the Oa. On the walk this evening there was a Snipe drumming away, Sedge Warbler singing, with both Redshank and Lapwing on the wing too, we also had a Reed Bunting.This afternoon round at Ballinaby I had a count of 79 Greylags.  

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Tuesday 29th May

Danny had been down on the guided walk on the Oa this morning, and there was a Spotted Flycatcher seen, normally seen in woodlands, not the Oa!!! Later on Danny had a walk through Bridgend Wood and had young Wrens, young Starlings, young Blue Tits, 4 Siskin and a pr of Blackcap too. On the River Sorn itself, a Dipper was seen. Here at home the dreaded midge was out earlier on which put paid to painting this evening, another time will do, the first time we have had them this year!!!

Monday 28 May 2012

Monday 28th May

Before I forget, there will not be a meeting of the Bird nerds tomorrow night, some of us are away, others have visitors staying, so next meet will be at the end of June! This morning James had seen that the Mute Swan in front of the hide at Gruinart was out, proudly presenting her 6 cygnets! When he was doing his survey work this morning, he heard a Red Grouse calling up on the moor, a couple of Water Rails calling too on the reserve, 2 Grasshopper Warblers calling away, saw 6 Redpolls and also a Common Hawker dragonfly. The temperature is still warm but slipping down to 23 degrees according to Mike's weather station!

Sunday 27 May 2012

Sunday 27th May

Armin kindly sent this image of a House Martin which he had taken at home earlier today, the sky is blue like Islay, but the location is wrong as Armin lives down at Aldermanstone close to Reading!! Here at home on Islay, we do not have many House Martins, more Swallows and Sand Martins to be seen! We had a Collared Dove and also a Wood Pigeon this afternoon here at home. Over at Port Askaig, a Gannet was flying up the Sound of Islay and a Shag was on the water close to where the ferry was about to tie up! Forgot to say last night that Andrew had 113 species seen while was over. The sun is still with us, with the mercury up to 24 again today, and similar temperatures due for the next few days. At least I might get a sun tan rather than being weather beaten...

Saturday 26 May 2012

Saturday 26th May

Another hot sunny day over here, possibly not so warm only 24 degrees, but still a lot better than a few days ago! On the upside too, some of the trees are now starting to burst their buds, although here at home I can still see through the wood which was not possible at this time in previous years. Yesterday Paul Graham was over playing golf at The Machrie and had seen a juv. White tailed Sea Eagle, no further sightings today of the Golden Oriole. Many thanks to Andrew Greenwood who gave us sightings through over the past fortnight.

Friday 25 May 2012

Friday 25th May

This morning, Dave down on the Oa saw a female Golden Oriole. George, Bob, Margaret and myself went over later this afternoon, but no joy, that's bird watching for you, but on the other hand we did see a Swift! The other great thing today, again was the weather, 25 degrees, no complaints in that department....Rob headed home today but in his week's stay he has had 111 species in all, finishing off today with the Barnies at Blackrock, a Dipper on the Sorn at The Woolen Mill, also the Grey Wagtail while the Siskins were on the feeders. Needless to say Rob was well pleased. Yesterday Andrew had walked out to Soldiers Rock on the Oa and had a Golden Eagle. On nests were Fulmar and Shag and 30 Guillemots were seen too.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Thursday 24th May

John Legassick, one of the RAFOS team who were over last week, kindly sent through this image of a Siskin taken over at The Woolen Mill, thanks John. The Osprey was seen last night flying high over the reserve at Gruinart while we were all looking for the calling Corncrakes at ground level... Danny and Dave had a count of 45 Greylags at Ballinaby yesterday and James while he was doing his survey work on the reserve at Gruinart had a Grey Plover in summer plumage and later on a Grasshopper Warbler. Andrew had a pr of Barnacle Geese down at Blackrock, on Ballygrant Loch a male Scaup and a possible Ring necked Duck. Today the sun has been shining bright all day, the temperature got up to 19 degrees! Bob and Rob had been down at Frenchman's Rocks this morning and had a Bonxie, a Puffin passing along with some Razorbills. There were Gannets too, Arctic Terns and also Manx Shearwater seen. Up at Ellister there were a pr of Scoter seen. Over on Jura, they had a male Yellowhammer up at Lealt. Also seen on Jura was a Kestrel, male Bullfinch, and Spotted Flycatcher as well as quite a few Cuckoos. We saw 2 pr of Greylags out with goslings along at Sunderland Farm, one brood had 5, the other had 6. Later on Danny and Dave had another pr with 4 goslings also in the same field. Michal had Redshank with 3 young out on Gruinart today.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Wednesday 23rd May

A great day over here, once the cloud had rolled back, down at Bridgend it was 21 degrees, some more of that would not go amiss... Andrew yesterday had gone up to Gortantoid, before setting out, on Loch Gruinart itself, he counted 12 Bar tailed Godwit. At Gortontoid he had 2 pairs of Stonechats, one of which was feeding young, pr of Whinchat, pr of Reed Bunting and to top it all, a male Yellowhammer singing away. Bob and Rob had a Peregrine at Imeraval at Port Charlotte. Along at Lagavulin, they had a pair of Canada Geese, could these be the same pair that were seen during Walkislay out on the skerries? At Ardilistry, Spotted Flycatcher was seen while up in Bridgend Wood at The Woolen Mill, 4 Crossbills and 3 Treecreepers were present. On Manday evening Rob had an Otter along at Port Mor.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Tuesday 22nd May

Just after I wrote the blog last night, several e mails came through with sightings, so to catch up here are folks birds from Monday, or should I have gone and added them later on? James saw an Osprey carrying a fish, probably a trout, away from Loch Gorm in the evening. Carl had a Pale bellied Brent Goose flying up Loch Indaal. Beki up at the Visitor Centre at Loch Gruinart had heard a Corncrake calling close to the Centre, and soon after saw the Corncrake, and then another flew out of the nettlebed directly below where she was standing! Bob and visiting birder Rob, had 24 Red breasted Merganser on Loch Indaal, on the River Sorn a Grey Wagtail. Up at Ardnave they saw 7 Sanderling, 14 Whimbrel and 2 Pale bellied Brent Geese. In the evening, Rob had been out a walk past Port Mor and had a Peregrine taking a Ringed Plover. Andrew had been down on the Oa yesterday and had the following birds, 2 Golden Eagles, 4 Chough and a Peregrine. There were Fulmars seen on their nest sites on the cliffs, and a Shag on its' nest on the cliff below the monument. On the road side fences, both Stonechat and Whinchat were seen. Wheatear, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were also present.

Monday 21 May 2012

Monday 21st May

I took this image of a Lapwing chick when I was out yesterday with Bob and Rob down at Gartbreck, where were several broods of Lapwing chicks moving around, and all differing ages and sizes too. Bob had a seen a brood of Shelduck ducklings being transferred down to the water this morning, wonder how many made it? Gary Trew from Sussex had a small flock of Greylags at Kintra yesterday and had several GND on Loch Indaal where he also had a pod of about a dozen Bottle nosed Dolphin, including a couple of young. On the Oa he had a couple of Golden Eagle and also 3 pr of Chough. Later on on theRhinns, Gary had another Eagle having a tussle with a Buzzard! This afternoon I was talking to some visitors from the Lake District who were over on a short break doing some birding, and commenting on the change in weather, up to a heady 17 degrees this afternoon. I also noticed that some of the leaves on the trees have taken a slight salt burn from last Monday's wind when it blew up to 58 mph, also some of the other buds have burst now, but will keep an eye on them, the wood at present is bare at present!

Sunday 20 May 2012

Sunday 20th May

A bit cooler here today, but fear not as the forecast for the week claims that is it is to warm up and be dry, so I went and cut some of the grass this afternoon. Bob had been out with Rob Young from Yorkshire yesterday down towards Laggan Point. Just as they came off the "low road", they had a Redpoll and a pr of Bullfinches. On the "laundry loch" they had a Whooper Swan, 2 Common Sandpiper,  saw a pr of Chough and also a Snipe. Other birds noted were Shag, a group of 14 Black Guillemot, around 80 Fulmars on nests, 1 Turnstone and out on Loch Indaal, 2 GND were seen. Today, they had the following birds down between the Moss road and Gartbreck, 2 GND, 4 Shag, 5 Greater Black backed Gull, 6 Herring Gull, 10 Common Gull, 84 Black headed Gull including 35 on nests, 23 Arctic Tern, 87 Eider mainly males, 1 Greylag, pr large Canada Geese, 11 Shelduck, 26 Red breasted Merganser, 58 Oystercatcher, 11 Curlew, 26 Whimbrel with 17 in one group, 6 Bar tailed Godwit, 46 Dunlin with 25 in one group, 16 Ringed Plover, 4 Mute Swan and 8 Redshank. Rob runs East Yorkshire Bird Tours and is over on Islay for a few days. Andrew who first saw the Dotterel, today had Spotted Flycatcher and 4 Cuckoos up the back of Port Askaig, later on at Loch Skerrols he had a male Crossbill. Here at home today the Cuckoo was calling away early in the morning, just to annoy the folk in the cottages! This afternoon there were 3 Collared Doves down on the cut grass.

Saturday 19 May 2012

Saturday 19th May

Changeover day in the cottages today, the RAFOS team left today, I think that they had 113 species seen during their stay, but will get it confirmed through later on. Back on Wednesday, some of them had headed over to Jura and a Redwing was on their list when they came back! One of the team members who had not visited Islay before commented on the fact that he was was regularly getting over 60 species each day, whereas when he is at home he is toiling getting any more than 30 in a day! So, new birders in today, Cuckoo heard, Spotted Flycatcher seen, Sedge Warbler seen and heard, and no doubt our "local" Corncrake will be out too. This afternoon, Margaret saw a Pheasant out with young. James, Mary and Crystal have been busy at the Scottish Bird Fair at Hopetoun House, just outside Edinburgh today, so hope the weather warms up a bit for them tomorrow!

Friday 18 May 2012

Friday 18th May

Yes, the Dotterel were still to be seen on the ploughed field round towards Saligo again today, difficult to see, but definitely there! Down at Roockside in one of the barley fields, there were 33 Greylags, no sign of the Pink footed Goose from earlier in the week. Close to Port Charlotte, there was a pair of Greylags proudly showing their brood of 5 goslings. Round at Ballinaby there was a female Hen Harrier out quartering and back at home a Golden Eagle was out over the crag, mid afternoon. Possibly the same bird was seen by one of the RAFOS team who saw one at Rockside around the same time.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Thursday 17th May

Yesterday must have been the day of the geese, as James saw 10 Pink footed Geese on Loch Gruinart, we had 6 Pale bellied Brent down at Blackrock while the RAFOS team had a total of 20 Pale bellied Brent on Loch Indaal. Also later on, the RAFOS team had a Wood Pigeon down at "the hedges" at Sunderland and another at The Woolen Mill, a tick for their list for the week! Today over at The Woolen Mill, they had a Dipper as well as a Grey Wagtail and also the pair of Siskins on the feeders there! To cap it all late this afternoon, there was a phone message from a visiting birder who had seen 10 Dotterel on a ploughed field over at Ballinaby, next to where the stream comes out of Loch Gorm, boy were they difficult to pick out when they got hunkered down in the ploughing, thanks Andrew! We also heard a Corncrake calling there too, another new site for Crystal, and we are claiming it was on our patch as it sounded to be on the far side of the stream!!!

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Wednesday 16th May

Last night when I went a quick turn round Loch Gorm, at Ballinaby amongst the Greylags, there was another goose present, by the looks of it, a possible Pink footed Goose. This evening, amongst the Greylags at Rockside, the Greylag hybrid with the large white collar was seen. Late last night, as it was so calm, Margaret and myself went out on our patch and listened for any Corncrakes, and by the time we came home this morning we had 8 calling birds, one more than our earlier turn back on the 2nd of May. Michal today had 6 Siskins, 2 Cuckoo, pr of Hen harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel and a few Redpolls in the forestry ay Lurabus down on the Oa. George yesterday had 2 White tailed Sea Eagle over towards Port Askaig and also a Cuckoo there too. Back at home he had only 4 Whimbrel and the Whooper Swan. Today the Whooper Swan was still present, but the Whimbrels were up to 43. He also had a Cuckoo out the back as well. George had a count of 21 Common Gull, 3 Black headed Gull and also 3 Arctic Terns. RAFOS today had 20 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal, and had the 2 juv White tailed Sea Eagles on the bottom end of Islay.They also had good numbers of Gannets on Loch Indaal, passing the Oa and also down at Portnahaven.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Tuesday 15th May

Another image from Tony Matthews, could this be an Oystercatcher's nest or even a Common Gull possibly, open to debate.... Today James had a pair of Whitefronts on the reserve at Gruinart. RAFOS gave me through some sightings from today. A juv. White tailed Sea Eagle was seen from the low road close to The Machrie, also seen in the same area was a male Hen Harrier out quartering his patch. Down at Rockside, big John, not tall John, or John O, had a count of 60 Whimbrel. Back here at home, they had 20 Chough on the wing over the crag, a Buzzard and a Golden Eagle. We  watched out the kitchen window this evening and saw 3 Jackdaws putting a Fulmar off its' nest, wonder if they have been chasing other Fulmars away as well.

Monday 14 May 2012

Monday 14th May

2 of the RAFOS visitors had been out for an early walk at 6am and not only had they heard the Corncrake, but one decided to cross the road in front of them.... Later on rond Loch Gorm "tall John" had a Short eared Owl and later on he had a Golden Eagle out over the crag. Mid afternoon over the old water mill a Kestrel was hovering eyeing some prey up. The 2 different Corncrakes here were both heard calling through the afternoon when I was out painting as it was dry, making the most of it before Thursday with more rain forecast! There was a Gannet fishing in Loch Indaal off Port Charlotte this morning while the Whimbrels were still in the barley fields at Rockside.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Sunday 13th May

This young Dipper fledgling was caught on camera the other week on the River Sorn by Tony Matthews. In Bridgend Woods on Friday, Carl saw a pr of Spotted Flycatchers and also a pr of Siskins. Also down at Bridgend he had a Redwing, while at Loch Indaal lighthouse just outside Port Charlotte, Carl had his first Whitethroat of the year. Yesterday at Rockside, there were lots of Whimbrel in the fields, and round at Saligo, Carl saw a White Wagtail. Peter Roberts had a flock of 15 Whimbrel fly over his house, flying high and calling loudly, was it a tick for Peter's garden bird list?? Here at home, a pr of Ravens were mobbing a Buzzard, the Ravens have been seen more of late, so could their young almost be ready to leave the nest? Today, the Whooper Swan was still present at George's eating away on his ponds. He only had 20 Whimbrel, not so many, but some House Martins have returned now. Down on the shore, 2 Turnstones were seen, 1 in winter plumage, the other in summer plumage.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Saturday 12th May

A sunny day out on the edge today with a cold touch to the air, doubt if it got much above 10 degrees, at least it stayed dry! Bob this morning had 2 Whitethroats up the back of Port Charlotte. James had 2 as well on the reserve at Gruinart and also 3 Whooper Swans out on the floods. While we were changing the cottages this morning, Margaret looked out the kitchen window, what was in the garden but a Corncrake and later on we heard another calling away in the Iris bed where I had been yesterday! RAFOS are over for the week, and in a quick foray in Bridgend Woods, after coming off the ferry, some of their group had a pr of Bullfinch, heard Chiffchaff and also Willow Warbler too.

Friday 11 May 2012

Friday 11th May

Dave took this image down on the Oa today of a pair of Dotterel that had been seen initially by Mark Shields. Beki, on the guided walk yesterday at Gruinart had Lapwing, Redhank, Whooper & Mute Swan, Teal and Wigeon on the floods, on the way down to the hide they had some Sedge Warblers amongst the whin bushes. George had a count of 85 Whimbrel on his fields and a Whooper Swan on his ponds. Bob had seen a Stoat as well as 2 Sedge Warblers close to his house. Dave also had Sedge Warblers down on the Oa, as well as a Peregrine. Michal round at Saligo had 50 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin and a Golden Plover. Back to Gruinart, and James had 5 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Here at home, I heard a Corncrake calling from one of the Iris patches out in the fields, I went over and sat for a good 15 minutes, the Corncrake kept calling, blowed if I could see it, another day, another place.. Margaret found a Pheasant's nest in the garden with 22 eggs in it, probably 2 hens using the same nest.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Thursday 10th May

The weather took a turn downhill today, the wind turned round and we even had some rain, not a lot, but a dampness rather than a downpour. I heard this morning of someone down in Oxfordshire who had been saying that since the hosepipe ban came in, that they have not had a dry day, and this statement was backed up with a similar tale by somebody from Norfolk. We never seem to be happy with the weather....Back on Monday, Bob saw a Peregrine chasing after waders when he was over at Gartbreck, later on he had a Merlin at Kentraw. Yesterday, Bob came across a Teal's nest with a clutch of 10 eggs in it and on the "distillery pond", he had a Bewick's Swan. Malcolm had the GND out in front of his house, and while he was out with Merlin, his labrador, he had 2 Cuckoos yelling away, one was at the old lime kilns up from Tynacoille, with the other yelling back from the trees around Foreland House. On the reserve at Gruinart, James had heard 3 seperate Corncrakes calling and late afternoon, he had a Black throated Diver on Loch Indaal beside Uiskentuie. Along the strand from Uiskentuie, Peter had 4 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel, 6 Turnstone, 10 Sanderling and 2 Little Tern. On Loch Indaal from Bruichladdich. Peter had 2 Red throated Divers, both in winter plumage, and 2 GND, one in winter plumage, the other in summer plumage.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Wednesday 9th May

Another of Tony Matthew's images taken last week. This Black tailed Godwit was up at Ardnave. Before I foget, last night I had on the blog the wrong dates for the Scottish Bird Fair, it should have been 19th & 20th of May, old age creeping in!!! Yesterday, down at Gortan at the head of Loch Indaal, there were 50 Dunlin, earlier on at Rockside there were 12 Ringed Plover on the newly germinated barley field, also there were 5 Whimbrel. Further on, a Kestrel was on the wing closer to Loch Gorm. Over on Jura, we saw a male Hen Harrier, in Craighouse Bay there was  a GND in full summer plumage, a Heron and 4 Eider. Also on Jura we had Whinchat, Stonechat and Wheatear too. Coming home in one of the grass fiekds at Rockside, 37 Greylags were counted and at "smelly corner" there were 30 Shelducks, mainly all males with the females no doubt on nests. George had counted 107 Whimbrel at Shorefield on Monday and only 70 yesterday. On Loch Indaal, he had a GND in summer plumage, a Wheatear down on the shoreline and also an Oystercatcher with 2 fledglings. Beki, on her walk on the Oa, had the female Golden Eagle out on the wing, it was out for some time giving the folk on the walk a good chance to see it. They also had a female Hen Harrier out over the heather. They had 2 prs of Chough, one pr feeding in one of the fields and the others flying past. Out over the sea, several groups of Gannets were noted flying past. Back on land, and a good number of Wheatear were seen too.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Tuesday 8th May

Back on Sunday morning, I went out with Bob and carried out a count from Bowmore along to Gartbreck on the shoreline and out on Loch Indaal, but not on land. The tally was as follows, 10 Mallard, 1 Teal, 70 Eider, 8 Shelduck, 5 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 2 GND, 1 Black throated Diver, 18 Shag, 12 Greater Black backed Gulls, 10 Herring Gulls, 22 Black headed Gulls, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 90 Oystercatcher, 90 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 200 Dunlin, 28 Bar tailed Godwits, 2 Turnstone, 65 Ringed Plover, 11 Arctic Tern. We also saw a Willow Warbler but that was on a whin bush onland! On my way down to meet up with Bob I had a Golden Eagle soaring over the hill behind Sunderland Farm. Yesterday on the Oa, Dave had 3 Whinchat, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Hen Harrier and a Peregrine. Today, the weather has picked up again, temperature soaring into double figures, just!!! I have been busy visiting some of the Distilleries both here here on Islay and over on Jura sourcing some bottles for folk to have a taster at the forthcoming Scottish Birdfair, to be held on the 19th &20th of May at Hopetoun House which is close to Edinburgh. James will be attending along with Mary and Crystal, so if you are attending, come and meet up at the Islay stand and enter our free draw for a short break to see our geese in the Autumn.

Monday 7 May 2012

Monday 7th May

One of the set of images sent through this evening taken by Tony Matthews who was over on Islay last week. Don't think the Curlew would have cast a shadow today, as it has not been that great weather, damp but not pouring down, miserable all the same! Thanks Tony, and we will have some more of his images to share with you over the next few days. The "Scouser birder" aka Chris Arnold left on Friday, but had seen a pair of Black Guiilemots off the Oa at the start of the week. Chris was well pleased hearing the Corncrakes calling last Wednesday night, he headed off today to Hungary on another birding trip on the search of Woodpeckers. On Saturday, Dave had counted a total of 21 Black Guiilemots off the Oa. Yesterday, Carl had a Cuckoo and had also seen the White tailed Sea Eagle over towards Port Askaig, earlier on he had counted 63Whimbrel at Braibruaich, heard Sedge Warblers at Gruinart House and at Coulerarach. On his travels, Carl also commented on more Wheatears being around. George, in his fields, had a total count of 79 Whimbrel, out on Loch Indaal, he had a GND. At home, he had 3 Swallows and also a House Martin. Michal had counted 62 Whimbrel at Saligo yesterday.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Sunday 6th May

The boy is back in town, yes, Michal is back with his camera. He took this Ringed Plover  up at Ardnave Point  yesterday along with a further 25 and also 15 Dunlin. Down the East side there were another  20 Plover counted. Michal had also noted 35 Whimbrel round at Saligo too. On Friday, Mary had a Ruff in summer plumage at Ardnave, also present was a large Canada Goose amongst some Greylags, along the loch edges 18 Whimbrel were counted. 25 Dunlin were in flight and 11 Golden Plover were over the fields there. Down at the new hide Mary had a fledgling Pied Wagtail being buffeted along by the wind on the path to the hide itself. Along at Coulabus there was a Mistle Thrush carrying food for its' young. Yesterday Carl had a Merlin and also a Glaucous Gull at Rockside, with 11 Whimbrel pesent at Ballinaby. Between Gortan and Bruichladdich there some Turnstone, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Whimbrel noted. Visitors had a Peregrine and also a Merlin up at Ardnave. Coming home last night, we had a Barn Owl just at the darkening. It was pity last night that the moon was not fully visible to we could see the moon, what we saw of it through the cloud, yes, it was massive. Many thanks to the Hampshire birders over the past fortnight, Peter and Linda Jackson have now headed home.

Saturday 5 May 2012

Saturday 5th May

Time moves on, almost forgot, yes, it was the birthady of the blog the other day, it was "born" on the 1st of May back in 2007...I might even raise a glass to celebrate, later this evening!!! Thanks to all the folk who have contributed over that time and also all the followers and other readers too...
Michal had been down on the Oa yesterday and had seen 2 Dipper, 2 Sedge Warbler, 3 Stonechat families, a Buzzard on its' nest, some Willow Warblers, later on Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were seen as well. Bob had seen a pr of Stonechats out with their fledglings close to his house, a Short eared Owl out on the Rhinns, he was also commenting on the fall of Wheatears earlier this week with 12 to 15 up beside home. This morning we counted 10 between "The hedges" and Len's house with peats outside. Bob also had 40 Whimbrel down between Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich. Bob also had a Ringed Plover fly over his house, and that is about 1 mile inland from the sea! Today, visitors had 50 Barnies up towards Ardnave.

Friday 4 May 2012

Friday 4th May 2012

James yesterday on the reserve at Gruinart had a great day, with a lot of new birds in. His sightings included 3 Sedge Warblers, 5 Grasshopper Warblers, 3 Whinchats, 7 Pr of Stonechats (3 with broods), pr of Lesser Redpoll, 1 Bullfinch, 2 calling Water Rail, 2 Cuckoo and loads of Green Haitstreaks.The Hampshire birders yesterday had a Red legged Partridge over at Ardnahoe, in the wood at Mulindry, close to the bridge there were, 6 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit and a Willow Warbler. Going up to Dun Nosebridge, they had another Great Tit and a further Willow Warbler. Later on at Port Charlotte they saw 3 Common Terns. Today they had 27 Barnies at Garra Eallabus which is up towards Ardnave while down on Machir Bay there was a solitary Sanderling. In Port Charlotte bay, Carl yesterday saw a Red throated Diverand also a G ND both in summer plumage, along at Port Bhan 5 Sandwich Terns while at Coutorsay  40 Whimbrel were present and on Wednesday Carl had 2 Sandwich Terns along at Bruichladdich. Twice through the week, there has been the probable hybrid Greylag seen along at Rockside, it has a large white collar. Coming home last night, we never heard a Corncrake, it was quite windy. Another visitor had heard one calling down towards Gartbreck yesterday.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Thursday 3rd May

Another great day out here with the weather, and another early entry for you to read, got another meeting tonight... It was the Wader watch at Gruinart last night and it was well attended by folk. Top of the list was a Corncrake, further on Snipe were drumming, we had some Red Deer down off the hill too, Redshank, Pintail, a Mallard with her brood in line behind, a Whooper Swan, 5 Mutes including 3 juv., 2 Whitefronts, a few Greylags, pr of Shoveler. So not to be outdone, later last night I went with some of the birders from the cottages for our own trip out to hear if any more Corncrakes were around, the target was 5 seeing it was still early days, by the time we got home we were all well pleased with 7 calling males heard. Crystal had been out at Gruinart later on too, and heard 3 Corncrakes, plus a Water Rail on the flats , and also a Spotted Crake up at Coullabus. We all had seen quite a few Wheatears resting up along the roadside in the headlights, and certainly there apeared to be more around, so perhaps there had been a fall of them last night. Yesterday down on the Oa, Dave had a Bonxie fly over the reserve, and today Dave saw 17 Common Sandpipers, a Grasshopper Warbler, a Cuckoo and 3 Mistle Thrush.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Wednesday 2nd May

An early entry from here today, possibly better early rather than a late entry! To start off with, we welcome back Michal to Islay again, Michal came over to Islay way back in 2006 and has been a regular summer migrant to these shores, it's great to see you back. Michal had returned from his third winter spell on The Seychelles, okay for some...Michal was off to a good start this morning with a Wood Warbler in the wee wood opposite the office at Gruinart. He also heard a couple of Blackcaps calling away there too. Mary yesterday heard her first Corncrake of the year down at Portnahaven, last night from here at the cottages, another was heard by the Hampshire birders while this morning Eoin Brown heard one calling out in front of the Visitor centre at Gruinart, more summer migrants back!!!Mary is now into the survey season. Yesterday up at Ardnave, she had a Willow Warbler in song at the loch and a second just beyond the farm. Futher on, Mary had a pair of Peregrine out over the sea, flying over a huge dog Otter. She saw a pr of Stonechats with their 2 fledglings while out over the moorand she counted 9 Swallows flying North. Back in the fields around the steading, there were 68 Golden Plover, as well as a Lapwing protecting her 4 young from a Greylag which was a bit too close! Today, Mary had a juv Golden Eagle out at Ardnave Point, at the lobster ponds 5 Whimbrel were seen and also 10 Twite. Back at Tayvoulin there were 3 Dunlin, 65 Barwits, 2 Little Terns and also 12 Turnstone nearby. Off Nave Island, there were 7 GND and 2 Red throated Divers, all in summer plumage. Flying past were 3 Sandwich Terns, one of which was being hassled by a young Herrin Gull, hoping to get the sand eel off the Tern! Mary commented on seeing more Swallows around, and that one of the Portnaven Starlings has already started to mimick the Swallows!!!

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Tuesday 1st May

Yesterday, Dave down on the Oa had 1 House Martin, 2 Dippers, 3 Swallows, 4 White Wagtails as well as a Peregrine, a Kestrel and also a Hen Harrier. Mary had from the hides at Gruinart had 5 broods of Mallard of differing ages, 5 pairs of Shoveler, 5 Moorhen, 4 Snipe (some drumming), 18 White Wagtails, she had another 14 Wagtails along at the new hide, 3 Whoopers and also 5 Black tailed Godwit in summer plumage. The Hampshire birders today had 2 Yellowhammer out at Gortantoid. Other birders had a Goosander, but forgot to say where! George had 4 Goldfinch, 4 Greenfinch as well as 8 House Sparrows on his feeders at Shorefield. Back here at home, the rain gauge tallied out at just over 3 inches for the month, and today the temperature was up to 18 degrees, what a change from the cold weather of late, even cut some grass after tea tonight...