Saturday 30 June 2012

Saturday 30th June

Earlier this week, Mary had carried out a count on Loch Gruinart, with her tallies as follows. 6 Heron, 130 Shelduck, 25 Mallard, 59 Eider, 231 Oystercatcher, 26 Ringed Plover, 1 Lapwing, 128 Curlew, 18 Rock Pipit, 21 Black headed Gull, 38 Herring Gull and a Greater black backed Gull.

Friday 29 June 2012

Friday 29th June

Armin kindly sent this image of a male Hen Harrier, taken last week when we had blue skies, mind you the weather today has been a bit kinder!!! Still catching up with some sightings from when I was away, Carl had a Greenshank last Saturday down at Gortan, Mary had a family of Siskins on the bird feeders at Claddach down at Portnahaven last weekend. Bob & Lorna Young had a GND up at Sanaigmore, heard a Corncrake there too, as well as a Common Sandpiper were their highlights for last Saturday. On Sunday, up at Ardnave, their top birds were a White tailed Sea Eagle and later on a Shelduck with brood of ducklings. On Tuesday, down on the Oa, Michal saw a Short eared Owl.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Thursday 28th June

Some sightings from earlier this week... Peter had a Grasshopper Warbler calling down at Ellister the other night when he was out listening for Corncrakes. Michal on Monday had a juv Golden Eagle being mobbed by 5 Ravens just off Gruinart reserve. on Sunday, Adam "the vol" with RSPB at present had seen the Ring necked Duck up at Finlaggan as well as some Siskins there too. In Ballygrant wood, he had the Great spotted Woodpecker and a Treecreeper while on the Sorn, Adam saw the Dipper with young and also a Grey Wagtail. Karen from Portmahamock who is over for the week had a count of 45 Lapwing in one of the silage aftermaths at Rockside, and on Monday evening heard 2 Corncrakes over at Ballinaby, one at rockside and another down below the Coastguards cottages.
Thanks to James for doing the blog over the past few days while I have been away. 

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Wednesday 27th June

We had a bird group meeting last night, so I have a round up of bird sightings from around the Island.
Around Bolsay, Bob has had a redpoll family and whinchat family, as well as at least 2 male hen harriers and 1 female. Adam who is volunteering at RSPB has seen 5 black tailed godwits outside the main hide at Gruinart, 2 short eared owls just outside Port Charlotte and a ring necked duck at Finlaggan. Pete has seen a tawny owl in Port Charlotte and Michal reported a female hen harrier, a short eared owl and a golden eagle at the Oa reserve. At work today I also received a report from Fiona that there were 57 beautiful black tailed godwits at Kilchoman, just to the north of the beach car park.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Tuesday 26th June

Not such a good day for birding, however last night was perfect for listening for corncrakes- with virtually no wind, the sounds of the night were clear. I could hear the seals moaning and the shellduck chuckling. Back to corncrakes, I heard 6 in the Gruinart area, with 2 water rails and 3 barn owls.
Yesterday a count of the Loch Gruinart Floods area revealed- 22 lapwing, 28 redshank, 78 mallard, 8 teal, 27 shoveller, 5 moorhens, 4 herons, 8 mute swans, 2 whoopers and today a male common scoter.

Monday 25 June 2012

Monday 25th June

A cloudy, but good day with plenty of evening sun. I was out and about on the reserve at Loch Gruinart, where I saw a family of ravens with 3 young still begging for food from their parents. I also saw 3 siskins in different parts of the reserve. Siskin is not that common on the reserve - has there been an influx?
Bob and Martin had been out yesterday around Loch Indaal between Bowmore and Gartbeck. They had 18 shellduck, 26 greylags, 34 eiders with 18 ducklings, 50 oystercatchers, 16 ringed plovers, 45 lapwing, 6 dunlin, 35 curlew, 46 bar tailed godwit, 28 black headed gulls and a total of 88 arctic terns.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Sunday 24th June

A better day  with sunny spells. All the wet areas on the Island have been filled by the recent rain, making the young waders- redshank, snipe and lapwing easier to see, as they feed up. The warblers have become quieter, with the exception of sedge warblers still singing well especially at night.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Saturday 23rd June

Well, thank goodness,  it has stopped raining! Certainly not as bad a lot of other places as we only had a mere 1.5", it was a steady fall rather than a downpour. It may have done some good getting into the ground rather than straight surface run off. An e mail came through this evening from David and Donna who hail from  Wigan. There were over on Islay earlier this month a had a great time bird watching. unfortunately, no Golden eagle seen, but had great sightings of Wheatear, Common Sandpiper, Linnet, Siskin, Skylark and Stonechat

Friday 22 June 2012

Friday 22nd June

Some sightings through from earlier on this week from a group over with Peter Clements. On Saturday, down at Portnahaven, they saw the Arctic terns as well as 3 Sanderling, 4 Turnstone, and a Dunlin.On Sunday in the Gruinart/ Killinallan/Ardnave area, they had a Golden Eagle, Twite, Wheatear with young, flock of 12 Chough, 4 Corncrakes calling and a Spotted Flycatcher. Monday over on Jura, another Golden Eagle, a sub adult White tailed Sea Eagle, 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Short eared Owls, a Grasshopper Warbler and also a large female Otter were their highlights. Thanks to Jennifer for sending the sightings through. By the way, as in keeping with other places the weather today has been poor, the mist has hung over the crag all day and the evening flight from Glasgow was cancelled, not sure about the morning flight, probably cancelled too!

Thursday 21 June 2012

Thursday 21st June

Penny and Jenny who are up for the week from Cardiff had gone over to Colonsay for the day yesterday and had seen a Golden Eagle while over there. Armin on his travels around Islay, in the past 24 hours has seen 3 different male Hen Harriers, one on the reserve at Gruinart, another down close to the golf course at The Machrie and the third Harrier close to Sunderland Farm. Here at home yesterday morning, over at the cottages, there were a pair of Siskins on the bird feeders, and late this afternoon, there were 37 Jackdaws feeding on some food which was present. Full marks to our Hydro board who have put "scarers" on the overhead power lines down at Sunderland Farm in the field where several Whooper Swans came to grief last Autumn.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Wednesday 20th June

Peter, yesterday morning, had been up at Ardnave and had a flock of over 30 Chough, including some youngsters. Later on at The Woolen Mill, he had a Dipper feeding its' young on the River Sorn. Finally, around 10pm Peter had a couple of Otters lazing around at Bruichladdich. Last night while Beki was out doing her patch for the Corncrake survey, she saw a Barn Owl. Adam had a Short eared Owl on the Rhinns last night as well. This morning, on the reserve at Gruinart, Beki had some newly fledged Sedge warblers out. Martin and Elisabeth had an Osprey over Loch Gorm this afternoon. Here at home this evening, out in the willows in the garden, the young Great Tits are making the most of this good weather! Tomorrow night, at 9pm at the reserve at Gruinart, Beki is having a "Moth Extravaganza", so come along to at the Visitor information Centre, all welcome.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Tuesday 19th June

A bit of a late entry, but got on the blether with Martin and Elisabeth.... but here goes now! James today had 2 Cuckoos on the reserve at Gruinart, and later on he had 2 separate male Hen Harriers. Carl yesterday had seen fledged Siskins and fledged Goldfinches in his garden in Port Charlotte. Along at Rockside he had young Reed Bunting and young Whinchat. Peter yesterday had seen the male Ring necked Duck on Loch Finlaggan, also there was a male Reed Bunting feeding young. Over on Jura near Inverlussa, Peter had a female Common Redstart. Back on Monday, Adam who is a "vol" at Gruinart had a male and a female GND up at Ardnave and also 3 Otters there too. At Port Mor, he had another Otter and down at Eilean Dubh below Port Charlotte, Adam had  another 2 males and a female GND. In the evening, he had a Barn Owl and a Long tailed Tit in the trees to the West of Octofad. On his way back to Gruinart, he had another Barn Owl. Beki and Josie had a pod of 4 bottle nosed Dolphins close to Port Mor last night. 

Monday 18 June 2012

Monday 18th June

Dave Woods had taken a walk in Ballygrant woods yesterday and reported back to say that it was "hooching with fledged Tits, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Robins". Also there was a Spotted Flycatcher and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Today, down on the reserve on the Oa, Dave had 3 Hen Harriers, 2 Buzzards and 5 Chough. Mary today had a Corncrake trying to cross the road along the flats at Gruinart, or was it a road runner? Along beside the RSPB office at Bushmills, Mary had a Siskin. By the way, it is raining outside this evening, just as well I clipped some sheep this morning, and cut the grass this the sheep are not thinking the same!!!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Sunday 17th June

Martin and Elisabeth Fisher who won a week's stay on Islay when at the British Bird Fair last August and visited in October to coincide with the geese, returned again yesterday for another stay. This time with the days being longer and fingers crossed good weather, they will get to see Islay's other half, not that the weather was unkind to them last year! Today, Martin and Elisabeth had gone up round Ardnave Point and had a count of 25 Chough, and heard many Skylarks singing. They also heard a Cuckoo calling away, they saw several Stonechats and Wheatear too. On the shoreline, Sanderling were added to their list. Back down at Gruinart itself, they had Herons and Redshank out on the floods at the reserve.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Saturday 16th Jue

An early entry for once, but thought you might spot Mary and later on Megan in the small video from the recent Scottish Bird Fair

Friday 15 June 2012

Friday 15th June

Yesterday, Michal had a Dotterel up at Ardnave, on the reserve at Gruinart, James heard a Quail and 3 Long tailed Tits were seen in the trees opposite the office at Bushmills. Down at Port Charlotte, on Loch Indaal, Carl had a GND in full summer plumage.Here at home this morning there were a couple of Collared Doves hanging around, and later on I saw a Great Tit was on the bird table along with some of its' youngsters, possibly the brood out of the nest box! This evening, outside the temperature has dropped, so I am proud announce that the jersey is back on, at least it is dry, and the forecasters were talking of rain today!!!

Thursday 14 June 2012

Thursday 14th June

Some sightings in this evening through Peter, well seen by Peter's friends who are over here for a few days. Yesterday, over at Ardnahoe Loch, a full summer plumaged Black throated Diver flew in and landed. Up towards Bunnahabhain a Buzzard was being mobbed by a Short eared Owl. Over on Colonsay, they had seen a pair of Golden Eagles and late yesterday evening back on Islay, on the edge of Bridgend woods, close to the Market a Woodcock was seen roding. Today, over on Jura they had seen  2 Short eared Owls close to Craighouse.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Wednesday 13th June

Just off the phone , speaking with Mick Durham who comes over to Islay quite regularly to film Otters. Regarding the Otter question last night, Mick had 3 possible answers that he thought were possible. Had the said Otter been in scrap with another Otter, could it have been in  a fight with a seal or another possibility, could it have been swimming too close to a small boat like a lobster potter and got struck by the propeller?
The temperature dropped down quite a bit last night, and before I went to bed I went outside for a few moments, yes it was calm, but no Corncrakes calling! This afternoon round at Coull and on towards Saligo, Lapwings were in the fields along with their young, but I was quite surprised how far the adults were away from the youngsters, are they trying get predators away from the young, especially when they feign injury etc The adults are not frightened when they dive bomb attacking predators! We also had some Linnets on top of the gorse bushes and a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits to be seen too along with the odd fledged Pied Wagtail. Forgot to mention that the other night when we returned home after listening to the Corncrakes,  we had a Barn Owl fly past.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Tuesday 12th June

Michal was out with his camera at the weekend and took this image of an Otter over at Saligo, you can just make out the injury to it's head, what caused it, Michal was not too sure! Today, Peter Roberts had a Ring necked Duck over on Loch Finlaggan. On the reserve at Gruinart, James has been seeing more Whitethroats and Whinchats than last year, and yesterday had 5 Redpolls. Here at home, the bird table is busy with the youngsters being "introduced" to the food available and to us. The other day there were over 20 Starlings at one time! At one point this morning a young Starling saw a House Sparrow off .... another time there was a family of  4 fledged Greenfinches along with their proud parents! Wonder if the Great Tits will bring their brood along to show them off in due course?

Monday 11 June 2012

Monday 11th June

Okay, not an Islay bird but this Little Egret was over at the ferry terminal at Kennacraig today, Jim Dickson sent the image through with the Egret been seen initially by Steven Black. So if you are coming over on the ferry in the next few days keep a lookout for it! Yesterday afternoon, James had a count of 133 Grey Seals up at Killinallan. Also yesterday over Loch Gruinart, an Osprey was seen and shortly afterwards a Golden Eagle. Late last night, as it was so flat calm we went out to count Corncrakes on our patch, and came home later on with a total of 14 heard. The odd one or two had moved on and others heard calling in new places, some were really easy to locate while some that were further away were hard to pinpoint, but we got the job done...

Sunday 10 June 2012

Sunday 10th June

Another image through from Michal, he took this one of a young Ringed Plover a few days ago. This afternoon while we were out round Loch Gorm, we heard a few Corncrakes calling away, so possibly the males trying to attract the females and get a second clutch of eggs laid. The birds which we heard calling were on the same territories as earlier on, not new sites. We also saw 3 pairs of Lapwing at Coull with a total of 8 chicks all fairly young while over at Ballinaby there was a pair with 3 young which were much larger. Peter & Pia have returned and had 50 Common Scoter off Bruichladdich on Loch Indaal this evening. Earlier on at Frenchman's Rocks they had lots of Gannets, Guillemots, Manx Shearwaters, Kittiwakes and Fulmars.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Saturday 9th June

Michal kindly sent through this image of a Razorbill which he took earlier on this week. He was commenting that there appear to be not so many Razorbills on nest sites this year. This was also commented to me by Chris and Tony Johnson that Razorbill numbers have been on the decline over the last few years. Fulmar numbers are down too, but on the other hand, we appear to have more Wheatears, Blackcaps and Cuckoos around. The weather has not been too bad, it was misty first thing this morning but it burnt off and we had quite a nice afternoon, but now early evening, the mist has rolled back in from the sea, at least it has stayed dry!!

Friday 8 June 2012

Friday 8th June

Danny Arnold kindly sent through this image of a Whinchat which he took the other week when he was over on holiday. Danny' other interests include moth trapping, so if you click on the link to the Islay Natural History Trust, you will see some more of Danny's images including some of moths. Thanks Danny. This image by the way, was part of Wednesday's entry for the blog which went "walk about" along with some sightings which I can't remember, must be old age creeping in.... Bob, when he was coming home on the ferry the other night, saw a couple of Porpoises and 3 GND. Mary, today had a Swift at Wester Ellister which is close to Portnahaven. Today, James heard a Red Grouse calling on the reserve at Gruinart and saw a Sparrowhawk also on the reserve. He also had a couple of Collared Doves on the track up to his house this evening. 

Thursday 7 June 2012

Thursday 7th May

I know that sometimes we can get confused, but tonight when I logged on I dicover there was no "published" entry for yesterday. I know I definately did write it, but where it went to, I cannot say...

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Tuesday 5th June

It's been a long day, been up since the early hours this morning, but back home now so time for a quick blog. I notice that I put the wrong date for yesterday's entry...but on double checking I am correct that this is Tuesday and it is the 5th, back on track again!!! Mary had been busy over the weekend carrying out survey work. She had a pair of Canada Geese over on Nave Island on Saturday and also an elusive Barnacle Goose there too. At Ardnave point, there were 3 Golden Plover in summer plumage. Round at the lobster ponds, a pair of Shelduck was seen along with  8 ducklings, also there was a pair of Greylags with their young. There were a large flock of 50 Curlew and nearly 60 Oystercatcher. Round the corner, 8 Whimbrel were seen, 19 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone in summer plumage, 3 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover and 6 Sanderling in varying different stages of moult. Yesterday, Mary had a Black tailed Godwit in full summer plumage at Ardnave, several young Lapwings in flight and 3 pairs with very young chicks as well. Back down in the woods behind the office Mary had a couple of Blackcaps calling away, as well as some Willow Warblers there too. Returning back down to the office, a male Hen Harrier was seen, and later on a couple of Ravens were heard calling away. Today, Mary had a couple of Cuckoos on the reserve at Gruinart, and down on the Rhinns she saw a Short eared Owl. Yesterday, Dave saw 3 Risso's Dolphins off the Oa.

Monday 4 June 2012

Monday 4th June

Yesterday evening, just after 6 pm, Ryan and Vickie from Liverpool saw an Osprey fishing in Loch Gruinart, and then it was chased by Shelducks. Also on the reserve, they had been hearing and also seeing the Corncrakes. Up at Ardnave they had 15 Chough, back on the reserve they had a couple of Barn Owls and a male Hen Harrier. On Loch Gruinart, they had 2 Arctic Skuas and down at Bruichladdich, another male Hen Harrier. Here at home this evening, a Buzzard was getting mobbed by a Lapwing, the Buzzard was carrying something in its' talons, could it have been a young Lapwing? There were also 2 or 3 Jackdaws mobbing the Buzzard too, and then a Kestrel came along and saw the Buzzard off.

Sunday 3 June 2012

Sunday 3rd June

Forgot to mention last night that Dave had a Hen Harrier and also a Peregrine down on the reserve at the Oa. Becky Williamson and her daughter Lorna had a Wood Warbler over at Dunlossit yesterday. Today Michal had been up at Gortantoid and saw a Yellowhammer there. On his way there Michal also saw a Reed Bunting and Whitethroat.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Saturday 2nd June

Another great day with the weather, not that I am complaining.... Today Dave had a pair of Siskins on the RSPB reserve on the Oa. In Bridgend Woods, Dave had a Spotted Flycatcher , a Goldcrest feeding fledged youngsters and a Dipper on the River Sorn. Back here at home, the young Starlings are out in strength in numbers, where they nested I am not sure, but there are a quite a few around. Some of the hen Pheasants are starting to reappear, but sad to say no sign of any broods along with them.

Friday 1 June 2012

Friday 1st June

Good day for seeing Hen Harriers, we had seen 3 different males out at different places round Islay and this afternoon, Danny and Dave had seen a food pass. Earlier in the week, there was a flock of 30 Chough along with a few Jackdaws fly over the house, great to see, but the Chough are difficult to count as they duck and dive! This afternoon, a Peregrine flew past. This morning, I remembered to empty the rain guage, with the total coming to a mere 1.5", a dry month for us!