Tuesday 31 July 2012

Tuesady 31st July

Just as well the decision was made to change the walk out to Laggan Point to last night, rather than than hold it tonight as it is raining outside at present,it would not have been much fun! Bob led the walk, there 15 folk in all including a hardy visitor staying at Port Ellen who cycled there to meet with us, and Dave brought Clive along, Clive saw the Hobby down on the Oa just recently. I never realised that there were so many Shags over there before. There were also still some youngsters on the ledges. We also saw a young Fulmar on its' nest, looking quite scruffy!!! Other birds seen were Eiders, Red Breasted Merganser, Mallard, Greylag Geese, Reed Bunting, Twite, Meadow Pipit, Chough, Raven, Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Greater Black backed Gull, Gannet, Peregrine, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Starling, Blackbird, Rock Dove, Swallow, Sand Martin, Curlew.  Think we all enjoyed the evening out!!!

Monday 30 July 2012

Monday 30th July

An early entry tonight as we are heading down to Laggan to meet up with the local "nerds". The weather this morning was something else, rain and more rain of the wetting variety, but it has turned out this afternoon to be nice and sunny, blue skies with the odd cloud...The "vols" at Gruinart had carried out a count on Loch Gruinart on Friday, with their count being 1 Cormorant, 3 Heron, 58 Shelduck, 28 Eider, 295 Oystercatcher, 34 Ringed Plover, 26 Dunlin, 74 Curlew, 3 Greenshank, 58 Black headed Gull, 300 Common Gull, 8 Lesser Black backed Gull, 5 Greater Black backed Gull, 11 Herring Gull, 5 Gannet and 8 Greylag Geese. James who is on holiday down on the Scilly Isles has seen Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Little Egret, Reed warblers, Golden Pheasants and also Swifts being the top of his lists.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Sunday 29th July

Another month almost in, not quite but only a couple of days left... I know it is a bit overcast this evening, but as the locals say that once the Agricultural show is past (this year on Thursday 9th August) that the nights start to draw in....Tomorrow is another day anyway, and if  you did not read last night's entry the monthly meeting of the bird nerds is on Monday night, not Tuesday as the weather forecast for Tuesday evening does not look too good, and an odd midge could be out on that evening! If you are over here, meet up with us at Laggan at 7pm, we look forward to seeing you there. 
In the garden this morning there were 2 families of Goldfinches totalling around 12 birds on the willows, This evening down at Bruichladdich, a Heron was standing around just where the burn enters Loch Indaal just past the Distillery, no sign of an Otter but a Seal was swimming along beside the pier.Out on Loch Indaal itself, there was the odd Gannet flying past, with some plunging in too. Also there, at the pier was a Black Guillemot, while along the shore, there were a couple of Oystercatchers and also a Common Sandpiper on the rocks. There was no sign of any Eider in moult up at the usual spot towards Gortan where they normally hang out!

Saturday 28 July 2012

Saturday 28th July

As the day went on today, the weather picked up, okay it was rather miserable this morning with the odd heavy shower of rain, but this afternoon it was quite pleasant.
Yesterday Bob was down at Laggan Point, and sent through this image of some Shags which he saw down there. He reported good numbers of Shags present, along with a good number of young with them. On the "Laundry Loch", Bob and Pat had a count of 80 Greylags. Today, Dave and Bonnie had been over on Jura, and had seen a Yellowhammer, Spotted Flycatcher and also 2 Hen Harriers.
Before I forget, it is almost time for our local birders to meet up, a slight change this month, as we will be meeting down at Laggan (NR285555) at 7pm on Monday for a walk out to Laggan Point and taking in the Laundry Loch, so if there are any visiting birders over on Islay this coming week, come along, great to meet up with us. The weather forecast for Tuesday does not look too good for Tuesday, hence the change of date!!!

Friday 27 July 2012

Friday 27th July

Martin had a UK tick this week for himself, he had an Osprey close to Bridgend on Monday evening, and yesterday morning around 9.40 he saw another along at Blackrock. The other day, I found a dead Wren out in the front garden, and this afternoon, Margaret came across another fatality, this time a Treecreeper on the grass out the back of the house, life can be cruel sometimes, both birds looked to be in good condition, and no sign of the cats having nobbled either of them!

Thursday 26 July 2012

Thursday 26th July

Down on the Oa this afternoon, Dave had seen several small groups of mainly young Siskins totalling around 30 in all. Other birds of note on the Oa today were Sand Martins, Whinchat and also Chough. An Osprey was seen over one of the lochs near to Ballygrant today, and it was seen again late afternoon at the top of Loch Indaal by Lorna Williamson on her way home from work at the INHT. There were around 24 Swallows, mainly youngsters on the overhead wires here at home this afternoon, are they grouping up before heading off?

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Wednesday 25th July

A great day out here today, summer has come, but the midges were out as we came out from Port Askaig earlier on. The folk on Colonsay would have benefited from the weather too, as there were a good number of cyclists and also foot passengers coming off the ferry from Colonsay this evening. On our way home, we saw a White tailed Sea Eagle up behind Port Askaig. A Red Kite was seen by visitors up at Bunnahabhain yesterday. Bob had said there were some Redpolls up on Bolsay Moor this afternoon.  The Starling flock were all perched up on the electric cables down at the Coastguard cottages this evening.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Tuesday 24th July

The weather dried up last night thankfully, and so allowing the moth traps to be set up at the Islay Community Garden close to Islay House at Bridgend. There were 3 new species recorded for Islay, for a fuller report, please click on the link to the Islay Natural History Trust on the right of the page! This afternoon, out in the garden I was watching a young rabbit facing a young Pheasant up, but the pheasant would not play game with the rabbit. The same young rabbit was seen shortly afterwards amusing himself doing some acrobatics, quite something else to watch! The other night there were around 200 Starlings lined up along the top of the wall between the old graveyard and the field. The Swallow in the garage has got her second clutch of eggs laid with 4 eggs present earlier on this week.

Monday 23 July 2012

Monday 23rd July

Almost forgot but back on Saturday, I looked out the kitchen window over the willows that are at the edge of the garden, in the lea of the big garden wall, and one of the willow boughs were 7 young Swallows, not sure how the bough or branch did not snap as there was quite a "bend" on it! Today for most of the day, it has been wet with rain, the wetting miserable kind that gets to you after a short time.... It did fair up around teatime, no doubt the midges would be out in force, and now around 10pm there is a nice sunset out over the sea with mist in the hollows round Loch Gorm, it would  have made a good picture for somebody! As you can gather not really a day for being outside birdwatching!

Sunday 22 July 2012

Sunday 22nd July

The weather today has been of 2 halves, up to mid afternoon it was a not bad day, grey skies yes, but it was quite pleasant all the same, and then it went downhill with a damp smurry rain, better than a downpour you could say! Earlier on this morning on the bird table, one of Euan's rung young Starlings was taking centre stage and hogging the table and chasing away anything that tried to come to the table! Down close to Loch Gorm we had a male Hen Harrier beside the road and later on there were 22 Mute Swans on Loch Skerrols. 

Saturday 21 July 2012

Saturday 21st July

Yesterday, Gordon & Pauline Yates had seen 2 young Peregrine in a pool at the side of the road as they returned from Bunnahabhain. Over at Gruinart, they had both male and female Sparrowhawk, as well as male and female Hen Harrier. Along at Bun-an-uillt, they watched an Osprey trying to catch a fish, 5 times it tried, but no joy... Thanks for your birds through the week. Today Bob had done a count down from Bowmore to Gartbeck, the tally was as follows, 4 Mute Swan, 2 Greylag, 1 Barnacle Goose, 17 Shelduck, 4 Mallard, 25 Eider, 76 Oystercatcher, 90 Curlew, 2 Redshank, 48 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover, 1 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 2 Heron, 30 Black headed Gull, 120 Common Gull, 35 Herring Gull, 12 Greater Black backed Gull and 55 Arctic Tern.

Friday 20 July 2012

Friday 20th July

A better day again, even ventured out and cut most of the grass round the cottages this afternoon... 
Earlier on in the week, Mary had a Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper and 2 Sanderling on Currie Sands down close to Portnahaven. On Monday she saw 3 Chough fly over Portnahaven itself. There was a young Cuckoo over towards Grainel on the Gruinart reserve yesterday, on Loch Gorm several "family groups" of Greylags totalling 33 Geese. On the guided walk at Gruinart, Mary had 2 Treecreepers feeding away in the wood with a Blackcap up in the canopy. Further on, down on the ground was a ring tail Hen Harrier for a few moments before it took off. Close to the hide, there was a Roe Deer with its' calf. Later on Mary, on the road up to Ardnave, had another Roe Deer with twin calves at foot. A visitor told Mary of seeing a Chiffchaafff feeding at Blackpark, and it had a growth/ red ulcer below one of its' eyes. Dave last night saw an Osprey at Kennacraig, and had "loads of Guillemots and Razorbills with young as well as Manx Shearwaters from the ferry".  Tonight on the Docken and Thistle seedheads at Ballinaby, there was a small flock of over 60 Twite, earlier on there was a Linnet on a Thistle head at Coull.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Thursday 19th July

This afternoon, on Loch Indaal not far from Pennycraig, there was a single Whooper Swan. I had noticed earlier on when it was out on a sand bar in shallower water where it was standing up giving quite vigorous exercise with its wings and it later moved into deeper water and swam towards some Mute Swans which were closer by to the actual shore. Possibly it was one of the Swans that was injured at the time they moved North again, certainly today it appeared to be fine today, be it from a distance! Down where the stream  at Gartmain enters Loch Indaal, there were a group of 27 Redshank and 7 Oystercatcher close by, not far away were 2 Black headed Gulls and 10 Common Gulls, but none with coloured rings on Euan! Here at home, over the far crag at lunchtime were 2 Golden Eagles with a Buzzard closer to hand, on the bird table, 3 of Euan's birds, a Chaffinch, Blue Tit and a House Sparrow

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Wednesday 18th July

Earlier on in the week, Carl heard a Whimbrel down at Carnain. Yesterday, we saw a couple of Mute Swans along with 2 cygnets at Blackrock but there was no sign of them around earlier this evening, wonder if they are the pair from behind Carnain?  This morning in the middle of all the rain there were 5 Song Thrushes out on the lawn probing around looking for worms. Up in the sheep shed, there were some young fledged Swallows inside sheltering from the rain! Euan sent through his totals from last week of the birds he caught and rung while he was here. He had 2 Common Gull, 16 Herring Gull, 16 Swallow, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Wren, 1 Stonechat, 2 Sedge Warbler, 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Blue Tit, 7 Great Tit, 7 Starling, 20 House Sparrow, 5 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, 5 Greenfinch & 1 Reed Bunting, a total of 99 birds, thanks to Euan for all his time and effort. One of the young House Sparrows was feeding on the bird table today!

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Tuesday 17th July

Visitors reported last night that they had seen a Razorbill swimming with young in Loch Indaal below Port Charlotte. They watched for some time and saw the adult bird feeding the young, so possibly proof that they had indeed bred on Loch Indaal. This morning they had a young Goldfinch, Willow Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher in the willows here at Kilchoman, all in a matter of minutes. Later on, they had a young Cuckoo further out on the crag. Earlier this morning Mary had been out walking her dogs down at Portnahaven, close to the hall, Mary heard a Grasshopper Warbler and along the verges of the road she saw a Sedge Warbler feeding.

Monday 16 July 2012

Monday 16th July

Euan sent this image of a Herring Gull showing it's yellow ring, so if you see any gulls with similar rings, give us a shout and I will pass it on Euan.
Another image from Euan, this time showing an orange ring on a Common Gull, so keep an eye out for gulls with coloured rings on!

Yesterday Dave had been down at Gartbreck and had seen "lots of Arctic Terns", Little Terns and one Sandwich Tern, Curlews present too and several Shelduck with ducklings. On the reserve at the Oa today, Dave had 2 Peregrines, 3 Hen Harriers, 1 Golden Eagle, 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard and 6 Chough. George has been seeing an Otter quite often of late down at Bruichladdich, and today had a count of 22 Curlews in one of the silage fields down there. This evening Bob had a Hobby down on the Rhinns.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Sunday 15th July

Michal had been up at Gortontoid yesterday and caught on camera this Yellowhammer singing away! The Ravens, Greater Black backed Gulls and Hooded Crows have been visited the dead sheep out on the hill, it is not one of ours, I hasten to add!! It is quite amazing how quickly the the Gulls got to know about its' location as we do not see that many around, the Ravens and the Hooded Crows are around all the time, and only to be expected.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Saturday 14th July

Yesterday, Dave had a Coal Tit on the RSPB reserve on the Oa, only the second record of one on the reserve. Also seen were family groups of both Redpolls and Twite. Today, Dave had  Arctic Terns and also Little Terns over at Kintra. Here at home , we have been watching through the 'scope, the demise of a ewe out on the far hill. Ravens have been down, as well as Hooded Crows and also a Greater Black backed Gull, but that's the way Mother nature works...

Friday 13 July 2012

Friday 13th July

Today has been almost as good as it gets, wall to wall sunshine, last night on the weather forecast they were saying that so far this month that Edinburgh has had a mere 11 minutes of sun per day, Tiree was top of the list at 4.5 hours per day, I do not think that we can be far behind! Earlier in the week, Mary had seen a male Hen Harrier and further on a Kestrel between Kilchiaran and Tormisdale. Yesterday, Mary had the solitary Barnacle Goose down at Gortan and south of Port Charlotte a Barn Owl. Along at Sunderland Farm,  George had a Barn Owl too, this was mid afternoon. This morning I had a male Hen Harrier less than 20 feet away as it flew across the track on the Rhinns which I was on, but I was initially unsighted as it was hidden from view by bushes, no camera with me, so no image so you will just have to believe me! Later on, on my way home the single Barnacle Goose was still on the rocks on the shoreline at Gortan.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Thursday 12th July

This afternoon, Euan set up a couple of mist nets, and in around 2 hours he had caught over 30 birds here in the garden.These included an adult Willow Warbler, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, House Sparrows and Starlings too. Some of the birds were clever enough to fly over and around the end of the mist nets and still get into the food which was on offer, one even had the cheek to perch on top of one of the poles supporting the nets!!! Later on I saw one of the Sparrows, out on the table in the garden, having a look at the piece of bling on its' leg! Other birds seen while Euan was ringing were 2 sets of Ravens, 2 adult Kestrel along 3 young, 7 Chough, 2 distant Hooded Crows, distant Buzzard. This evening there were at least 66 Jackdaws on the grass picking away at the leftovers from this afternoon's feast, and no sign of Euan!

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Wednesday 11th July

Another good day over here, sounds a bit of a bore after a few times, what's the odds??? James went off on the ferry earlier today, and had counted over 100 Manx Shearwaters going over to Kennacraig. Michal the other day had counted 60 Lapwings in a ploughed field over at Ballinaby. Here at home, I saw my first Robin for some time. This afternoon, a young Great Tit was sitting in the back of the car, as I had left the car door open in between bringing stuff out of it!

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Tuesday 10th July

Another great day with the weather over here again. Louise had been in touch with James to say that an Osprey has been seen quite often of late over on Loch Tarbert on Jura. Yesterday Euan had managed to catch and put some colour rings on some Gulls, and today rung another 2 broods of young Swallows. This afternoon, Euan caught and rung a Sedge Warbler. The other day, Margaret had a Snipe sitting on top of a fence post while round Loch Gorm. Last night we tried to do a Corncrake count, but to no avail as it was windy and so making it hard to get an exact location of any calling birds.

Monday 9 July 2012

Monday 9th July

A not bad day out here today, weather wise that is, even managed to cut some of the grass...Dave down on the Oa had fledged Whichats in his garden this morning, and also some fledged Common Sandpipers on the track  up to his house. Out on the reserve, Dave had a flock of 30 Redpolls. There certainly appear to be more Redpolls around this year. Visiting birders had seen 3 different male Hen Harriers while they were out today, one here at Kilchoman, another at Gruinart on the reserve and the final one was over at Port Ellen.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Sunday 8th July

Euan Ferguson from Aberdeen kindly rung 2 of the broods of Swallows this afternoon, so now all we need now is wait and see if through time we here any further details of their whereabouts... George has returned from his trip to Namibia and was in touch to say that he has has seen some more House Martins around his house, but this year none have built any nests yet. In the willows at the back of his house, he has seen more Willow Warblers recently, and also some Redpolls. Here at home, there was a Wheatear on the dyke directly in front of the cottages this morning, we do not normally get them that close. Over the crag the other day there was a Kestrel seeing a Buzzard off.

Saturday 7 July 2012

Saturday 7th July

A few sightings through from Mary. Yesterday, she had a count of 350 Greylag geese over on Nave Island, off Ardnave Point she had 3 GND, 2 of which were in full summer plumage. At Ardnave itself she counted at least 72 Chough. Visitors who left this morning had seen 5 Corncrake chicks and this morning we saw 3 youngsters skulking about in the edge of the long grass. The visitors had also seen a pair of Red legged Partridges in the garden as well as many rabbits in different shapes and sizes...

Friday 6 July 2012

Friday 6th July

After the thunder and lightning that we had last night, today turned out a great day again. The rain last night down at Bridgend and Bowmore was really heavy, while up here it was just the edge of the shower... Down at Upper Cragabus on the Oa today, Clive had a male Hobby. Further on down on the Oa, Dave had 3 Siskins on the reserve today. This evening, here at home there were a couple of House Martins, the first that I have seen here this year. Visitors from Bearsden in Glasgow had seen a Corncrake over at the reserve at Gruinart yesterday.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Thursday 5th July

A good day out here today. It was up to 20 degrees this morning, so the sheep were enticed into the shed and the stragglers got shorn. The big tup who is some size has his annual short back and sides!!! James came over after lunch and we soon had his sheep clipped too, another job off the "to do" list. Dave down on the Oa was in touch with a few birds, the mist or haar that has been keeping the Oa shrouded for a few days has gone with the rise in temperature. This afternoon, Dave had a Swift and earlier on had 3 Hen Harriers. At the weekend Dave saw a Short eared Owl on Saturday and again on Sunday on the reserve. Here at home, just after we finished clipping, a male Hen Harrier flew over the crag, and the young Swallows vacated their nest up in the shed.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Wednesday 4th July

Not much birding done today, as I have been busy doing other jobs. This morning was taken up for most of the time finalising plans for the visit to the British Bird Fair at Rutland Water, only 43 days to go, starting on Friday 17th  August for 3 days. Accommodation all finalised, spoken with Calmac regarding ferry tickets, only got to finalise some details with Mark at Islay Studios about the layout for our posters. All the whisky and gin are to hand, so think the job is almost done and dusted, great. By the looks of things we are in the same Marquee as last year and with the same exhibitors round about us, so if you are at the Bird fair, look us up, Marquee 1 stand 14 and enjoy some hospitality from Islay and enter our free holiday draw for a cottage for 4 to come and see our geese. This afternoon, as it was dry, was taken up with cutting the grass and later on clipping some sheep, only the few that refused to come in to the shed are left to be shorn, if only they had come in the job would be done..... sheep can be really stupid at times!!!

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Tuesday 3rd July

Donald James MacPhee, or DJ as many of us call him, had seen an Osprey take a fish out of the Lily Loch over behind Port Askaig, last Wednesday. Adam the "vol" from Gruinart had been out with Bob on Sunday.  They had a young Cuckoo over at Ardtalla, a Kestrel up at Loch Cam, and on the Rhinns they saw Hen Harriers and Short eared Owls. Adam is away home now to his day job, back in London after spending the last fortnight or so as a "vol" with RSPB here on Islay.

Monday 2 July 2012

Monday 2nd July

I managed to get this Yellowhammer on camera last week when I was away. We were at Scott's view in the Scottish Borders overlooking the River Tweed and the Eildon hills when we saw this Yellowhammer on the top of the dyke just across from where we were parked up! Back at home the bird table has been busy with plenty of fledglings to the fore. There were 3 young Blue Tits, the Great Tit young from the nest box, young Greenfiches and Starlings too, even young Jackdaws trying their luck too!! The young Swallows have flown from their nest in the garage, but the young are still on the nest in the back porch, but not long before they too take off! There are a few Pheasants around with young, the largest brood is only 5, I am not sure if they are from the nest of 22 from the poly tunnel, but I have not seen any larger brood than that...There was a ringtail Hen Harrier at Lyrabus on the edge of Gruinart reserve just before midday, and a male later on at the far end of the reserve. No sign of any Greylags with young of late.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Sunday 1st July

The other day Armin sent through a male Hen Harrier, well today it was the turn of Michal for a female Hen Harrier taken over at Gruinart. These folk with with their Nikon cameras....Yesterday when Michal was here, he heard a Blackcap in the trees. The other day on the reserve at Gruinart James saw a Barn Owl in the evening, and earlier on over the moor he had a Short eared Owl as well. The rainfall here at home for the month was 4.8" not a lot compared to some other areas in the UK no doubt!!!