Sunday 30 September 2012

Sunday 30th September

Yesterday James was in touch to say that some more Barnacle Geese had arrived at Gruinart, with the tally for the day being 155. James also had 9 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 6 Greenland Whitefronts, 7 Whooper Swan and 125 Lapwing. Mary had been down at Frenchman's Rocks and saw a Peregrine take a Storm Petrel off the top of the waves while the other 2 Storm Petrels present got away!!! She also had 20 Pale bellied Brent fly past and a Red throated Diver. Yesterday was Michael's last day here. Down on the Oa, Michael saw a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a couple of Buzzards! Michael also had a first winter Stonechat and 6 Lesser Redpoll there. Up at Gruinart, he had 9 Black tailed Godwit, 2 Redshank and 7 Whoopers, probably the same Whoopers that James saw. Tom & Jo had a great "raptor day" yesterday with a second winter Golden Eagle up behind Bridgend, a ringtail Hen Harrier at Cattadale, a Sparrowhawk at Finlaggan. Over the merse at Bridgend they had a Peregrine and also a Merlin out hunting. Along at "smelly corner" they had 2 Grey Plovers and and a Whooper. Today, we had 15 Whoopers between Coull and Rockside, there was a family group of 2 adults and 4 cygnets. Also seen there were the Greylags along with the 2 Snow Geese. Up the road to Ardnave, we had 2 Wheatears and several small groups of Linnets and Twite. Finally, we noticed more Stonechats around than of late.

Saturday 29 September 2012

Saturday 29th September

Michael Giles sent some more sightings through for us from yesterday. On Loch Indaal Michael had 18 Pale bellied Brent geese and 40 Wigeon present too. Up at Gruinart in the afternoon, the tally was as follows, 1 Black tailed Godwit, 60 Greylags, 1 Peregrine , 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Little Grebe, 30 Teal, 200 Wigeon, 3 Whooper Swan, 20 Lapwing, other ducks noted were Scaup, Pintail and Shovelor. Bob had a strong passage of Skylarks yesterday over his house from first light through to around 17.30 averaging around 100 birds per hour. Tom and Jo yesterday at Blackrock had 2 Slavonian Grebe and 5 Red throated Diver. Over at Carnain ("smelly corner") were 9 Pale bellied Brents and off Bowmore they counted 25 Scaup, 55 Common Scoter and 1 Whooper. Up here today we had 6 Whoopers flying from Rockside out to the Machir Bay and onwards towards Ireland...It's great when visitors feed in their sightings to the blog, to give everyone a chance to read what is on Islay at present, thanks to you all.....

Friday 28 September 2012

Friday 28th September

Visiting birder, Michael Giles sent some sightings through from yesterday. At Gruinart, Michael saw 1 Peregrine and 1 Scaup, at Ardnave he had a further 4 Scaup as well as a Reed Bunting and over in the Kilchoman area Michael had around 400 Greylags along with the 2 Snow Geese. He had also seen some Choughs around there too. Yesterday, Tom and Jo had seen a Velvet Scoter fly past the Mull of Oa, back at Kilnaughton Bay they had 8 Razorbill, 5 Black Guillemot, 3 Guillemot, 35 Kittiwake, 30 Twite and 2 Wheatear. On Loch Indaal at Bowmore, 9 Pale bellied Brent were seen and also 2 Slavonian Grebe, finally on their way home, a male Hen Harrier was up behind Bridgend. Yesterday Bob had a Short eared Owl and a Kestrel at Cultoon. Frenchman's Rocks were relatively quiet with only a few Gannets, 1 Red throated Diver and 1 Great Northern Diver. From the hide at Gruinart, Bob had a female Tufted Duck and also a drake Pintail in eclipse plumage. Today, Dave down on the Oa had a few birds on passage, 4 Robins, 3 Goldcrest and 3 Coal Tits. Up at Gruinart today, Michael Giles counted 18 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Whilst in at the dentist's today, David Formby our resident dentist commented to me that he felt that he had not seen any Swallows for the past couple of days, certainly I have not been seeing any here at home either....

Thursday 27 September 2012

Thursday 27th September

Yesterday Tom and Jo had been up the North East part of Islay with the undoubted highlight of the day being 3 Golden Eagles. Later on they had a Sandwich Tern, a Red throated Diver, a male Hen Harrier,  1 Chough and 1 Guillemot. Up at Sgarbh Breac they counted a "congress" of 22 Ravens all in the air together.... Back down at Bunnahabhain they saw 2 Yellowhammer, another Guillemot, 6 Turnstone and 2 Chough. Mary had a White tailed Sea Eagle out on Loch Gruinart yesterday, it was on the ground for the best part of an hour!!!Dave has returned back to the Oa, plus new arrival baby Evie... Today Dave noted a few common migrants about, several Robins, Chaffinches and a Whinchat too. He also had a selection of raptors, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Kestrel, Buzzard and 2 Golden Eagles as well. Bob today had 38 Fieldfare fly over at Erasiad on his way home from Gruinart

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Wednesday 26th September

Almost forgot to mention that Peter saw a Fieldfare on Sunday morning up at Gearach which behind Port Charlotte on the road to Kilchiaran. Yeserday, Tom and Jo had been down at Frenchman's Rocks where they saw 2 Great Skua, 22 Kittiwake, 1 Fulmar, 1 Black Guillemot while on the land a Merlin was seen. Up at Ardnave, they counted 64 Chough and also 2 Wheatear with a Little Grebe on Ardnave Loch itself. From the new hide at the reserve at Gruinart they had 13 Barnacle Geese and on their way down to the old hide, they had a Blackcap. Last night on their way back to Bowmore after meeting up with us at Gruinart, Margaret Nelson and her sister ("the 2 Canadian sisters") had a Barn Owl fly across the road in front of them at "smelly corner". Today, James 6 Pink footed Geese on the saltings at Gruinart.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Tuesday 25th September

Yes, we got the rain through the night, certainly nothing like what a lot of the mainland had. Tonight was the monthly meeting of the Islay bird nerds, what a name, honestly we are not at all like a bunch of nerds... The long and the short of it was that 20 folk came along between locals and visitors including 2 folk from Canada. A good time was had by all, we spent the best part of a couple of hours down at the hide at Gruinart watching all that was around. The highlight was possibly  the ringtailed Hen Harrier who kept flying around just to spoof the ducks, it certainly never made any effort to catch one!! Ducks present were mainly Teal, around 40 Wigeon, some Mallard. Also seen were a Merlin, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Tufted Duck, 9 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff, 3 Heron, 8 Hooded Crow and a Snipe. There was a Roe Deer on the bund between the the 2 "floods" as well. As ever, we were very hospitable with Margaret and Pat providing some eats along with a welcome  tea or coffee for those who wished a cup... many thanks.

Monday 24 September 2012

Monday 24th September

The rain came as forecast, not a lot yet... but there again the high winds are not here yet either....Yesterday, Tom had 15 Common Scoter out on Loch Indaal. Today, Tom had 1 Grey Plover, 10 Pale bellied Brent geese, 200 Bar tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, 15 Redshank, 30 Curlew, 130 Oystercatcher and 25 Ringed Plover at the top of Loch Indaal. Yesterday, visitors from Canada had a Stonechat up at Ardnave, down below the Gaelic College they had 10 Pale Bellied Brent (?possibly the same geese that Tom had today), and 40 Wigeon. Further on at Bowmore itself they had some Red breasted Mergansers, Bar tailed Godwit and also a few Turnstone. Remember tomorrow night we have our "informal" meeting up at the old hide at Gruinart at 6pm, visitors welcome.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Sunday 23rd September

Another not bad day here again, with the combines cutting away at the barley, and in some cases balers busily baling the straw before the rain returns tomorrow.... Earlier in the week, Becki had a ringtailed Hen Harrier out over the reserve at Gruinart as well as some Red Deer stags present too. She also had another ringtail on her way down to the Oa. George had a female Sparrowhawk on his large "wooden" Albatross  at his house, it sat there for a good 5 minutes, but as George said, no camera was around...Out on Loch Indaal, he counted over 220 Greylags on the water yesterday, up in front of the new hide at Gruinart, George had 60 Black tailed Godwits and 26 Lapwing. Further on, on Ardnave Loch, the 2 Mute Swans were seen with their 4 cygnets, but no sign of any other ducks on the loch. This afternoon, out on the floods at Gruinart, James had 32 Blackwits, 1 Tufted Duck, 52 Lapwing and 2 Heron. There were quite a few Mallard around too. Out on the Loch there was a Greater Black backed Gull, 2 Buzzards and 2 young Ravens having their fill on the remnants of possibly a Greylag. Coming back through the wood and a Robin was singing away good style, great to hear. No sign of yesterday's Pectoral Sandpiper, but possibly out on the Loch.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Saturday 22nd September

Yes, another good day with the weather out here on the far West. Even the farmers took the plunge and had their combines out... Tom and Jo yesterday had a Yellowhammer and also a Whitethroat over at Balitarsin. At Bridgend they had a Merlin and 7 Sand Martin, on Loch Indaal there were 15 Whoopers with 11 Pale bellied Brent and 3 Golden Plover there too but on the wing.  At "Smelly corner" they had a a tally of 311 Bar tailed Godwit, 7 Sanderling and a Knot, while across the road on the trees was a Bullfinch. Today, Peter had a sweep with his scope over Loch Indaal from the pier at Bruichlaadich, he counted a total of 35 Red throated Divers, mostly all showing some summer plumage, 25 Common Scoter, several Eider and 3 Guillemot. James had 13 Barnacle Geese and 2 Greenland Whitefront at Gruinart this morning and out in front of the new hide 45 Black tailed Godwit along with a Pectoral sandpiper. The 2 Snow Geese were in Minsiter's field at Rockside along 2 Whooper Swans and the Greylags. They returned to the same field this evening but the Whoopers were not with them.
For anyone over visiting Islay this coming week, the "bird nerds" will be meeting up at Gruinart on Tuesday evening, down at the "old hide" from 6 pm onwards, hopefully to see some good birds from both the hides before the light fades, all welcome.

Friday 21 September 2012

Friday 21st September

A different tack tonight, we have had a beautiful day out here all day, blues skies from dawn to dusk, more tomorrow by the sounds of the weather forecast.... it is a bit cooler tonight, but I should not complain... Yesterday evening once it had faired up , Tom and Jo had a mixed flock consisting of 70+ Repolls, 75+ Goldfinches, 50+ Chaffinches, 8 Siskin and 3 Greenfinches close to where there are staying over towards Mulindry. Along the road, near to Cluanach, there were 16 Song Thrushes, 25 Blackbirds and 2 Blackcaps. Today, Bob had been down at Frenchman's Rocks while he was there 45 Pink footed Geese flew past, and Peregrine was content to be perched on the rocks watching all flying past. Just before lunchtime, he had a Common Crane take off from a field at Octofad at Port Charlotte, it flew out over Loch Indaal, over in the direction of Laggan Point. Earlier in the week, Bob had 3 Puffins fly South past Frenchman's Rocks. Over on the reserve at Gruinart, James had 4 Greenland Whitefronted Geese and also a Peregrine. Mid afternoon, we had the 2 Snow Geese amongst the Greylags on one of the lochans below Rockside, and this evening they are up in "Minister's field" on the grass, but heading towards the crop of standing barley....

Thursday 20 September 2012

Thursday 20th September

If the Swallows had not flown away overnight, I think they would have been washed away instead, another dollop of over an inch in the past 24 hours, some catch up time!!! Just as well that I kept some sightings back from yesterday... Tom and Jo had seen the following at Gruinart, on the reserve itself, 7 Whoopers, 10 Golden Plover, 20+ Lapwing, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Snipe, 1 Treecreeper and 2 Snow Geese along with over 170 Greylags. This morning the Snow geese were still present with the Greylags, but by mid morning, when I got over they had gone, but I counted 43 Lapwings...anyway it was raining... but this evening we caught up with them at Coull where they were with the Greylags present there, they had black primaries as they took off and looked the job! Also at Coull, was a male Hen Harrier, close to where we were parked up. David one of the vols at Gruinart had a count of 13 Barnacle Geese flying in earlier on this evening, and also 17 Pink footed Geese at the head of Loch Gruinart as well.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Wednesday 18th September

Just heard tonight that a Pectoral Sandpiper had been seen at Killinallan back on the 6th of the month. A visitor had seen a Peregrine between Wester Ellister and Portnahaven today. It flew across the road and landed on a rock and sat there for a few minutes, allowing Mr Taylor a good view of it. Tom and Jo had forgotten to mention that they had 8 Chough at Port Charlotte yesterday.  Up at Ardnave today, they had 63 Sanderling, 17 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin, 2 Turnstone, 40 Chough and 5 Wheatear. Off Ardnave point, they had 3 Manx Shearwater and a Razorbill, while on the land they had 19 Twite and a Peregrine. 2 Red throated Divers and a Sandwich Tern flew up Loch Gruinart. Back here at home, just around 6 pm, there was a count of 21 Swallows on the wires, no doubt they won't be there in the morning.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Tuesday 18th September

Another miserable sort of a day. The weather forecaster this morning even mentioned snow on the high hills, but that was on the mainland...Tom and Jo who are over for a fortnight send some sightings through last night. Coming over on the ferry on Monday evening they had a Leach's Petrel as well as 2 Manx Shearwater, 5 Black Guillemot, 6 Razorbill, 15 Guillemot, 3 Kittiwake and several Gannets. In the Sound of Islay itself, they had a Red throated Diver and a Black Guillemot. Today, they had a Ringtail Hen Harrier over towards Neriby. Down close to Gortan, they saw 2 Sandwich Terns, a single Pale bellied Brent Goose and a Bar tailed Godwit. Further on at Portnahaven they had 2 Wheatears, with several Gannets and Manx Shearwater offshore. There was a single Greenland Wheatear just past the spit on Loch Indaal this morning, and coming home a Stonechat on one of the stay wires of a telegraph pole just before we got to Rockside. 9 Shelduck were down at "smelly corner".

Monday 17 September 2012

Monday 17th September

Nothing much to report tonight. Through the night the wind got up and there were several heavy showers of rain clattering against the bedroom window. I reckon that we had almost an inch of rain through the night, the burn was well up this morning and there were pools of water around in the usual places. Margaret just commented today that the bird tables were a lot quieter than of late, infact I have not seen any Greenfinches today at all, nor any Goldfinches either. A flock of around 30 Rock Doves flew down the gully behind the house and  while I was going down the road this morning, a Raven was sitting on top of a telegraph pole down by Loch Gorm and stayed there until I was quite close to it. You do not realise how large they are until you see them close at hand.... The combines and balers have been idle today, needless to say....

Sunday 16 September 2012

Sunday 16th September

Yes, the combines certainly would not have moved an inch today, unless the farmers decided to bring them back from the field to the shelter of the shed, in other words it has not been great today, and not much sign of any change through the week either...The other night when we came up from the ferry, there was a Barn Owl sitting on a fence post down close to Sunderland Farm. Paul Graham had a male Hen Harrier come up from Loch Gorm earlier during the week too. Yesterday, James had a Siskin in the woods at Gruinart when he was leading a walk for folk at the Islay Jazz Festival. Up at Ardnave, James had a leucistic Bar tailed Godwit, could this be the same bird that was up at Ardnave through last winter? On Loch Gruinart itself there were 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Last night as we came back home from Bruichladdich, there was a Barn Owl out hunting before Foreland House.This afternoon, James had 23 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff and 4 Pale bellied Brent out in front of the new hide and on Loch Gruinart amongst the waders present were 13 Knot with a Peregrine out hunting... Bob, today at home had a Sparrowhawk on his garden gate, a Short eared Owl hunting earlier on and also a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier also seen. Bob reckons that the male Hen Harrier was probably a young bird as it was not in full adult plumage.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Saturday 15th September

A better day over here, not a blazing hot day, dry at least and the farmers might well have started their combines in the hope of cutting some barley and possibly baling some straw before the next dollop of rain comes along....Bob yesterday morning braved the winds down at Frenchman's Rocks and saw a Storm Petrel, 1 Red throated Diver, 2 Great Skua and a Grey Phalarope. In the afternoon at the Gaelic College in Bowmore, on Loch Indaal there were 30 Bar tailed Godwit, along at Gartmain there was a Whooper Swan along with 6 Mute Swans and finally over at Blackrock Bob had 34 Eider and a Great Northern Diver.

Friday 14 September 2012

Friday 14th September

Some sightings through from earlier this week from Martin. Over at Claggain Bay, he had a pair of Dippers flying along the coast and they then headed inland up the "Claggain River". On the way back there were 28 Curlew in Ardilistry Bay and along at Lagavulin, Martin had a count of 35 Pied Wagtails. On Sunday, on his way out to the Lily Loch, Martin had a flock of about 30 Long tailed Tits, which proved hard to count as they were so active!!! Yesterday Bob had been out at Ardnave Point, 5 Barnacle Geese came in individually from the sea, 3 Great Northern Divers, 1 Bonxie, 1 Arctic Tern, 3 Sandwich Terns, loads of Gannets passing by and also 2 Manx Shearwater, further on there were 12 Knot. Out in front of the old hide at Gruinart, there were 49 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff and 250 Teal while there was a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a Peregrine sitting out on the merse. Carl also had a Sandwich Tern off Port Charlotte yesterday. Today, here at home a good garden bird, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew past the kitchen window, or may be it was just over the wall in the field, certainly it was close in!!!

Thursday 13 September 2012

Thursday 13th September

Thanks to James for writing the blog on my absence while I have been across the water over the past few days. Yesterday as we came home, at Tarbert just before we headed on to Kennacraig for the ferry, a Sparrowhawk crashed into a planter along beside the harbour. It came out after a moment and flew off. What it had hoped to have caught I don't know as nothing else emerged and I had not been aware of anything before hand either! Earlier on just out of Ardrishaig, on the shoreline along Loch Fyne there were at least 5 Herons in about a 2 mile stretch, the fishing must have been good, or was it?  Also back here on Islay, George had a Sparrowhawk fly through his willows at his home at Bruichladdich, a Buzzard overhead and 2 Herons on his ponds. Just after the former Kilchoman School we had a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing, and later on, and another one down beside Loch Gorm just past Rockside again this morning. Also today, James had a phone call from a lady who had just seen a Magpie in The Glebe in Bowmore. From the new hide on the reserve at Gruinart this afternoon, James had a count of 22 Black tailed Godwit and a flock of 35 Twite there too.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Wednesday 12th September

Barnacle geese.
Yep - 9 barnies arrived and landed on the Gruinart Flats, with a group of greylags. It was a sunny, but cold day, with the wind blowing a bit of north to the westerly, giving an autumnal feel.
Other birds included 10 red breasted mergansers in a tight flock and a red throated diver on Loch Indaal, and back at Gruinart a sparrowhawk chasing the big flocks of linnets and twite.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Tuesday 11th September

A day of many rainbows.
Bob had seen a peregrine hunting over the reserve at Gruinart. I was in the ditches again and didn't see much today except for an eel about 12 inches long or 31 cm if metric.

Monday 10 September 2012

Monday 10th September

I have been busy working on the Loch Gruinart sea wall all day - only birds were 3 wheatears and 5 white wagtails, which landed to take advantage of the ground disturbed by the diggers. News for yesterday included a report from Carl of a juvenile white tailed eagle over Springbank.

Black tailed godwits By Jim Dickson

Sunday 9 September 2012

Sunday 9th September

Malcolm sent the following through:
The Brents that Jim and I saw were a small part of a very early large
influx into Strangford Lough, the main arrival site in Northern Ireland
for this population. Apparently, there was a massive, unprecedented
influx of birds there (5,000+) sometime during 28th/30th August, and by
7th September, when we saw our birds, around 16,000 were present or
about 40% of the total population. Nothing has been discovered about the
weather further north (Iceland where they normally pause in September,
or north-east Canada where they breed) that would have stimulated such
an early arrival. It is usually at least mid-September before arrivals
begin, and October before they're all present.

Other sightings yesterday included, an Osprey mobbing a peregrine on Loch Gruinart, 4 white wagtails and 10 stonechats.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Saturday 8th September

The "tick" mist (see yesterday's blunder!!!) has gone, the plane landed this morning, some of the papers did not get through to the ferry on time, in other words, life on Islay is back to normal again....
A few birds through from Bob Young who was over the week. On Thursday, he had an Osprey on Loch Gruinart, while on Wednesday up at Sanaigmore, Bob had a Peregrine, a Buzzard and also a Golden Eagle. On his way home over to Gruinart, he had a female Hen Harrier. Here at home today, mid afternoon, there were over 50 Swallows on the overhead wires, the other day there were some Sand Martins and House Martins with the group present then. Well, at just after 19.00 they have already moved on, there were some other Swallows on the barbed fence wire along the top of one of the dykes or stone walls as well.

Friday 7 September 2012

Friday 7th September

The tick mist/ haar is still around all day today, so much so that none of the scheduled flights came from Glasgow today, but the wee plane made it down from Oban...say no more....
Jim Dickson this morning counted 912 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Gruinart and Malcolm this afternoon had a count of around 700 of them flying close to the water heading down Loch Indaal heading on towards Ireland. Bob had s10 Mistle Thushes at Foreland today, a male Sparrowhawk further on, and at Machir Bay there was a mixed wader flock consisting of Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstone and Ringed Plover. Back at home, Bob had a female Hen Harrier and also a Sparrowhawk. Back on Wednesday, Jane Griffiths saw a White tailed Sea Eagle over at Neriby, up behind Bridgend.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Thursday 6th September

I knew it, I spoke too much about the spell of good weather that we were enjoying, well it came to an end around lunchtime, with smurry rain thereafter, so the combines had hardly got a chance to start this morning, although Rockside had got some straw baled... Yes, the bulk of the Swallows had gone overnight, James commented this morning of seeing a passage of hirundines as he was out walking the dog yesterday evening. Bob, yesterday, had a count down at Gartbreck, his tally was as follows, 8 Cormorant, 27 Shag, 2 Heron, 360 Greylag Geese, 1 Barnacle Goose, 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 43 Red breasted Merganser, 3 Buzzard, 70 Oystercatcher, 49 Ringed Plover, 26 Turnstone, 6 Sanderling, 35 Dunlin, 62 Curlew, 221 Bar tailed Godwit, 8 Redshank, 1 Greenshank and 33 Greater Black backed Gull. Back at home, Bob had a Peregrine fly past early afternoon. Here at home this morning, a Sparrowhawk swooped through the wood, whether it caught anything I don't know as it was flying away from me!

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Wednesday 5th September

The farmers have again been making the most of this spell of good weather with the combines out in force cutting their barley. Yesterday morning, George had a Barn Owl at 7am fly past his home down at Bruichladdich. On his feeders, George had 10 House Sparrows, up on his ponds, he had a Heron. Last night, in the early evening, 2 Buzzards flew low over the house here, this morning, there was a Buzzard preening itself out in the trees, was it one of the birds from last night? There was a Kestrel just after Rockside, early afternoon. Mid afternoon, on the overhead cables back at home, there was a count of 43 Swallows, with them still around this evening, bet they have gone overnight....

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Tuesday 4th Sept

Another good here weather wise, most of the local farmers will be making the most of it with their combines out cutting the barley, and some will be taking the chance to make some more grass silage. The weather forecast for Thursday does not look too good, so make the most of this spell of weather, boys... Yesterday Bob had 4 Little Grebes and also 17 Mute Swans on Loch Skerrols. Today Bob had been round Ardnave with a visitor, their highlights included 11 Red breasted Merganser, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin, 150 Oystercatcher, 1 Bar tailed Godwit, 6 Turnstone, 3 groups of Sanderling, 20, 34 & 60,  61 Dunlin, 1 Little Stint, 180 Curlew and 2 Black tailed Godwit. Over the other side of  Loch Gruinart, they had 2 Great Skuas, 2 Wheatear, 20 Twite, 45 Goldinches and a flock of 60 Chough. Bob this evening saw a Short eared Owl out of his kitchen window.  There has been a Chaffinch visiting the bird table of late that has several white tail rings on it Euan! At midday, just past the memorial to the Kilchoman bards, there was a single Wheatear, and just along the road another 2 were present.

Monday 3 September 2012

Monday 3rd September

A damp kind of an evening, that smurry rain, enough to dampen the gravel outside, having said that I cut most of the grass today before the rain came on... Yesterday, Bob had been down at Frenchman's Rocks doing some sea watching. His tally was 970 Gannet, 700 Manx Shearwater, 26 Fulmar, 19 Kittiwake, 10 Great Black backed Gull and a female Merlin hunting the Rock Pipits. On the burn below Fornisaig/ Tormisdale, Bob had a Grey Wagtail. Also yesterday Jan, a visitor over here on holiday, had been at the reserve at Gruinart and had a count of 7 Herons, 30 Lapwing, 2 Mute Swan and with their 2 cygnets, 2 Buzzards were overhead, one of them had taken off from the car park 

Sunday 2 September 2012

Sunday 2nd September

The weather was a better than yesterday, at least it stayed dry, and looks to be settled for the week, fingers crossed... The new bird food that I purchased the other week is not being liked by the birds here, they appear to be not eating the maize, nor the millet seeds or the nyjer seeds, the nyjer seeds are a bit of a puzzle as Bob feeds them as does Martin and both say their Goldfinches eat them as if they are going out of fashion, the Goldfinches here just ignore them! There were a few Stonechats to be seen round on the whin bushes close to Coull this afternoon, a Wheatear flew across the road just past the sand pit there. Later on, a Kestrel flew across the road, just after Ballinaby. There was another family of Stonechats up close to Ardnave as well as another Wheatear. Ardnave Loch had a pair of Mute Swans with their cygnets and also a distant Mallard. Also seen at Ardnave was a group of around 45 - 50 Chough. The whole time we were out, we never saw any Hen Harriers and only one Buzzard and that was on the reserve at Gruinart. A quiet day in some ways, but it has stayed dry....

Saturday 1 September 2012

Saturday 1st September

Yesterday, Bob had a couple of Sandwich Terns down at the Machir Bay. Yes, that's another month in, rainfall 3.5" by my reckoning, still an inch less than last year at the same time.... Today the weather has been mixed but that was what the forecast said it was to be... Today was John Lee's last day, down beside the lighthouse at Port Charlotte, he had a mixed flock of birds consisting of  5 Song Thrush, 8 Blackbird, 20 Linnet, 1 Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Dunnock, 1 Wheatear, 1 Whitethoat, 5 Rock Pipit, 6 Meadow Pipit and 1 Pied Wagtail. John also had a male Hen Harrier up towards Kilchoman, and another between Bowmore and Port Ellen. He also had a Kestrel over that way too. Malcolm this morning had 3 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal at the generator station at Bowmore, Malcolm said that there have been a few records of Brent actually seen in August before now. Peter and Pia had been down at "smelly corner" and counted 80 Ringed Plover, 140 Dunlin and 40 Sanderling. Out on estuary was an Osprey just watching all that was going on!