Another image of the Red breasted Goose, taken yesterday by Jim Dickson along at Sunderland Farm, thanks Jim! Some sightings through from yesterday, the Bartley family who I met up with at the Bird Fair are over for the week, and while sitting down at Whinpark close to Bridgend, as well as seeing the many Barnacle Geese present, saw the 2 White tailed Sea Eagles there too. The Eagles managed to have a Heron while they were there, a change from a Barnie or the odd Hare you might argue!! Also present down on the merse were some Curlews and Bar tailed Godwits. Further on between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte, a Guillemot was on Loch Indaal and later on, up behind Rockside a Sparrowhawk and some Chough were seen. Robin from Settle had the Long tailed Duck on Loch Indaal along with 3 Slavonian Grebe. At Claggain Bay, 2 GND were noted. David and Jenny last night had a Woodcock on the roadside going along the flats at Gruinart. This morning, they had 8 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Blackrock and a charm of 20 Goldfinches at the Gaelic College at Bowmore. At Sunderland Farm at lunchtime we had 8 Long tailed Tits. George today had a GND in summer plumage on Loch Indaal below his house. At his house, 2 Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, several Blackbirds, heard a Fieldfare and up beside his ponds, fresh Otter spraints were seen.
Wednesday 31 October 2012
Tuesday 30 October 2012
Bob sent though this image of a Waxwing which he took in his garden at lunchtime today, perched on topof the Raspberry bushes, note the Dahlias out in bloom too.... Earlier on Bob had been down at Frenchman's Rocks and seen several groups of Common Scoter flying South and also a Glaucous Gull. On his way there he had 2 Stonechats as well. Jim Dickson had been over from Lochgilphead for the day. At Sunderland Farm Jim had the Red brested Goose as well as a Golden Eagle there too. Along at Coille, he had 8 Brambling. On Loch Indaal, Jim had a total count of 86 Pale bellied Brent Geese, with 2 White tailed Sea Eagles at the head of the loch, and finally up at Cruach behind Bowmore there was a single Pink footed Goose present. David and Jenny, regular visitors from Staffs yesterday had the following birds, Golden Eagle up towards Sanaigmore, White tailed Sea Eagle flew from Ballinaby towards Gruinart, male Hen Harrier at Ballinaby, a total of 9 Stonechats around Loch Gorm, 180 Greylags on Loch Gorm, 4 different Kestrels round Loch Gorm, 100 Scaup on Loch Indaal, 2 Long tailed Ducks on Loch Indaal, 3 RTD & 8 GND there too
Monday 29 October 2012
Pete Thorp kindly sent though this image of a Fieldfare which he took last week while was over. Another visiting birder, Eve James from Cheshire wrote, " I would recommend all birders visit Islay at least once, it is an a fantastic experience and the local birders were very helpful when I met them". Eve also said that "during her stay, Choughs were regular and she had not seen so many Buzzards in a day, on more than one day, the figure was well into double figures". Today Paul G. had seen the White tailed Sea Eagle over the reserve at Gruinart. Has this bird developed a taste for the geese??? Bob saw a Golden Eagle come over the hill up behind Sunderland Farm this morning.
Sunday 28 October 2012
Tony Johnson sent through this image of a Snow Bunting which he took over at Saligo when he was over last week. The clocks changed today and so did the weather, with a lot of dirty showers appearing out of nowhere, at least it has not been as cold as it was a few days ago! New birders who arrived yesterday had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle eating a Barnie over at Gruinart today. From the "old hide" they also had a ringtail Hen Harrier. Up at Ardnave they had Chough, 2 Whooper Swans on the loch and 12 Redwing seen there too. On Loch Indaal, off Port Charlotte, they had a GND still in summer plumage, and also 12 Common Scoter. Dave, one of the the "vols" with RSPB had counted 36 Red legged Partridges out in front of the Visitor centre at Gruinart this morning. Back here at home with the weather changing, the birds have been busy on the feeders, especially the Goldfinches on the new nyger seed feeder.... the old feeder was just ignored!! Other visitors to Islay who came off the evening ferry crossing were today were well pleased to see Chough and our amazing scenery all around...and no doubt our squally showers for good measure!!!
Saturday 27 October 2012
A visiting birder from Argyll had seen a seen a Siberian Chiffchaff in Ballygrant Woods yesterday and on Friday a female Blackcap was down at Ardbeg. The Red breasted Goose yesterday was also seen yesterday behind Bruichladdich up towards Conisby. Today it was up towards Kilnave, it does not half get about!!! James today had a juv White tailed Sea Eagle at Gruinart, and amongst the geese he had a Canada Goose hutchinsii sp. Another birder this evening was telling me of seeing the same group of 4 Canada Geese down at Bowmore that Peter Thorp had seen earlier on in the week. The Leigh birders yesterday cracked the 100 species seen during their visit with a Song Thrush...On Loch Indaal, Common Scoter were seen along with the Long tailed Duck. On their way up to Sanaigmore they saw the large flock of Chaffinches and the Brambling was still present with them. It's been great over here this past week with so many visiting birders around, almost like the Bird Fair at Rutland, but not so busy or not even so warm.... Thanks to Lynne and Chris from Bedfordshire, Gordon and Pauline from Rochdale, Chris and Tony from Bolton, Pauline, Ian, David and Anne from Leigh, Danny, Wanda and Peter from Teme Valley and also Andrew Harrop who first spotted the Red breasted Goose if my memory serves me correctly, so many sightings just great, no doubt we will all meet up next year!
Friday 26 October 2012
Clive Mycroft who lives down on the Oa had seen a Ring Ouzel earlier this week close to where he lives. The Bolton Birders yesterday counted a flock of 60 Twite down towards the Coastguard Cottages. Further on at Saligo Bay they had a Snow Bunting, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen on their way up to Sanaigmore as was a Golden Eagle. 15 Whoopers were seen flying from Sanaigmore back down towards Loch Gorm. They also had a large flock of Starlings feeding in the barley stubbles at Ballinaby along with Skylarks, House Sparrows and some Reed Buntings. 12 Golden Plover were also close by. Finally at Coull road end there were 30 Lapwing present along with more Starlings! On Loch Indaal yesterday, we had a count of 12 Herons. The Leigh birders had spent their day down on the Oa yesterday. Their highlights included 3 different ringtail Hen Harriers, Golden Eagle, Peregrines, Chough, another great day! Lynne and Chris had a charm of 5 Goldfinches up the East side of Loch Gruinart, on the loch itself 2 Barwits were seen and up at Ardnave Loch, 8 Whooper Swans were present. This morning John Johnson who has been over for the week had seen a Yellow browed Warbler in some bushes up behind Port Charlotte. Bob had a juv Golden Eagle down in a field of rape over at Coull. From the new hide at Gruinart today, Mike and Elspeth had seen a Hen Harrier spoof 5 Red legged Partridges, then soon after a White tailed Sea Eagle was seen taking a Hare, but then to cap it all the Red breasted Goose was seen amongst the Barnies there. At lunchtime today, Pete Thorp had counted 72 Golden Plover at Ballinaby. Bob had another juv Golden Eagle from the old hide this afternoon.
Thursday 25 October 2012
This is image was kindly sent through of the Red breasted Goose taken the other day by one of the Rochdale Birders down at Sunderland Farm. There were also 2 small Canada Geese amongst the Barnies present. Today they had a flock of 300 Fieldfare over close to Cluanach. Ballygrant Quarry had 40 Redpoll with a Woodcock seen in the woods there as well. They also saw a Bluebell in bloom!! This afternoon, Danny had 3 White tailed Sea Eagles on the ground over at Gruinart looking at the remnants of a Barnie... Yesterday Mike and Elspeth had a mixed flock of House Sparrows, Linnets, Twite and Reed Buntings round at Ballinaby, also seen there was a male Hen Harrier out quartering his patch. Along at Blackrock there was a flock of Scaup and also some Pale bellied Brent geese and Red breasted Merganser, 1 RTD, 1 Long tailed Duck, and 5 Slavonian Grebe. Up at Sanaigmore, in the afternoon, they had a juv. Peregrine, 2 Chough, 1 Red breasted Merganser and a Ringed Plover on the beach. They noticed that some of the rabbits there had myxi... Down close to the phone box at Gorm they saw a juv Peregrine, or was it the same bird there? Lynne and Chris had seen a juv Golden Eagle up behind Rockside Farm yesterday. The Leigh birders yesterday had a Kestrel flying past the cottage where they are staying, this was followed by a couple of Ravens. On Loch Indaal, they had a great time watching the GND, RTD and Slavonian Grebes along with the Mergansers, 47 Pale bellied Brent spotted too. Round at the pier at Bruichladdich, 2 Black Guilllemots in winter plumage were spotted. Round the Rhinns a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen and shortly afterwards a large flock of around 1,500 Barnies were in 2 adjoining grass fields. On the feeders outside a bungalow, Goldfinches, Greenfinch, Chaffiches and a Brambling were seen. Finally over at Machir Bay a flock of 30 - 40 Twite were seen which were spooked by a male Hen Harrier. Today, Bob had a Wheatear at Coull and also 62 Twite. While he was looking through the geese at Sunderland a White tailed Sea Eagle flew over.
Wednesday 24 October 2012
An early entry for the blog for once! The Leigh birders had split into 2 groups yesterday, David and Anne stayed here on Islay. At Blackrock they had 6 GND, 4 RTD, also 5 Slavonian Grebe, 7 Red breasted Merganser and 23 Eider. Down at Machir Bay they had 16 Chough, and on the "new pool" there, a mixed flock of Herring and Common Gulls, around 200 in all. From there, they also saw 4 Buzzards out, and 3 Stonechats. On Machir Bay itself they had a Greater Black backed Gull along with Oystercatcher and Sanderling. A large flock of Barnies were in the air over towards Coull Point. Round Loch Gorm they had 5 Golden Plover, 12 Reed Bunting, c200 Starling, many hundreds of Barnies, 90 Greylag and 65 Whitefronts. A male Hen Harrier was seen and then chased on by a gang of Hooded Crows! Pauline and Ian headed back to Jura, towards Ardfin they had a Coal Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit and heard 2 Buzzards calling. A pr of Treecreepers were also seen there. Further on the Rowan berries more Redwings and Fieldfares were noted as well as a further 2 Blue Tits. Up past Craighouse they had 2 Goldcrest, and then more Redwing , Blackbirds and 2 Mistle Thrush on the scrubland. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen over the moor and then a sub adult Golden Eagle close to the road. A Reed Bunting was calling close to one of the cattle grids and a Wren and also another Stonechat seen there as well. Finally up the top end of Jura, they heard a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. Another good day but still missing is an Otter...Danny and his team seen 2 Golden Eagles up towards Sanaigmore today, down in Sanaigmore Bay were 2 GND. At the top of Loch Indaal, they saw 4 RTD, 8 Red breasted Merganser and 2 Cormorants that were actively fishing away. Jura was the destination for the Bolton birders today, before lunch they had a male Hen Harrier on the moor above Lowlandman's Bay and a ringtail later on in the afternoon in the same location. They had another ringtail over the woodland up at Ardlussa, in the bay past Ardlussa, an Otter was seen briefly with 5 Stonechats at Lealt. A charm of 12 Goldfinches were noted on the felled plantation. A large flock of over 700 Fieldfare was seen moving through along with some Redwing and Mistle Thrush. Back on Loch Indaal, on the Bridgend side of Blackrock, 4 Slavonian Grebe were with a large raft of Scaup and a female Goldeneye.
Tuesday 23 October 2012
Some sightings through from the Bolton Birders. On Sunday, at Bunahabhain they had a female Otter out in the Sound of Islay along with 2 young. Whilst up there, they also had a pr of Golden Eagles along with a juv Eagle. Coming back down the road they saw a Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and a Buzzard. A male Stonechat was seen on the wires too. On Loch Allan, a Little Grebe was present, while 30 Redwing were busy on the Rowan berries close to Loch Allan. Yesterday they had seen 2 Slavonian Grebe along with the Red breasted Merganser off Blackrock on Loch Indaal. As well as numerous Seals over at "Seal Bay" past Ardbeg, a dog Otter was seen. Ardtalla, a Kestrel was seen, a small flock of 12 Twite were there too and in the bushes close by were 8 Long tailed Tits. There was also a Red throated Diver along at Claggain Bay. Today up at Ardnave they had a flock of 70 Twite , 3 GND off Nave Island, 24 Chough, 8 Golden Plover, and 8 Turnstone. Ardnave Loch held the Mute Swan family and today, 4 adult Whooper with 1 cygnet, again the Mutes and Whoopers clashing!!! There was also a Little Grebe and 20 Tufted Duck present. The pond at the back of Machir Bay had 11 Whooper, 80 Wigeon and 8 Curlew late afternoon. The Leigh Birders had headed over to Jura yesterday, they had a Collared Dove just before Ballygrant. Jura started off well with a Kestrel, Buzzard, the odd Stonechat and a Robin. Further on they had a Sparrowhawk and then out over the open moorland they had 2 Buzzard, pr of Hen Harriers and then a Merlin shot across the road and away. Further on another pr of Hen Harriers and a further male. Finally a flock of around 160 Fieldfare flying high, obviously on migration, and all that before Craighouse! Out in the Small Isles Bay there was 4 Mute Swans and 10 Mallard. Along at Jura Forest, a Goldcrest was heard. Further on Golden Eagles and White tailed Sea Eagles were seen. They were surprised to see a female Sparrowhawk hunting up a burn and away out on to the moor. A Buzzard dived into the trees in one of the plantations, spooking a Sparrowhawk which in turn set some Redwings off... On their return leg another Eagle, probably on of the earlier birds seen, a Wren just outside of Craighouse and finally 2 different Kestrel were seen coming back towards the ferry. Back on Islay they saw a Sparrowhawk close to Avonvoggie. A great day by all accounts! Danny and the team yesterday had a male Sparrowhawk on the flats at Gruinart. Today they had 3 Kestrel while down on the Oa. They counted 5 Canada Geese, Richardson's amongst the geese at the top of Loch Indaal. 12 Wigeon were also seen there too. Further round Loch Indaal, 14 Pale bellied Brent were spotted. Today the Rochdale birders had a female Whinchat down close to the former Machrie Hotel, a Brambling up towards Skerrols, Ballinaby held a mixed flock of 180 Finches including 100 Twite, and over at Ardtalla there was a mixed flock of 100 Winter Thrushes, Redwing and Fieldfare. Chris and Lynne who are up from Bedfordshire for the week , it was Chris who initially pointed the Red breasted Goose to me, sent some sightings through. In the Mulindry/ Cluanach area today they had Yellowhammer, Blue Tit , Chaffinches, Redwing and some Whitefronts. Over on Jura, a mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare. Later on they had 6 Red breasted Merganser and coming back, while waiting at Feolin for the ferry, a GND . Finally close to Blackrock they had 50 Scaup and 2 Long tailed Ducks
Monday 22 October 2012
The Rochdale birders yesterday had been a walk round Ardnave Point where they saw a Swallow, Wheatear, Whinchat, 6 Sanderling, 2 Purple Sandpiper, 10 Twite and mixed flocks of Rock and Meadow Pipits. Back at Rock Mountain they saw a Merlin. Mike and Elspeth from Edinburgh had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier on their way up to Killinallan, also 4 Reed Buntings there too with another ringtail at Gortontoid. They had seen a total of 6 Buzzards, including a juv. bird with a huge rabbit up in the dunes!At the mouth of Loch Gruinart, they saw a Lesser Black backed Gull. The Leigh birders had seen 2 Goldeneye (male and female), 1 ad GND and 2 juv GND, Turnstones, R. b. Mergansers, Eiders, Barnies and Cormorants from the harbour at Bowmore. Amongst the Barnies as they came out of Bowmore, they had a lesser Canada Goose. Below Rockside they had a Merlin, over at Gruinart a juv Golden Eagle. Up at Ardnave Loch, a pr of Mute Swans with 4 young as well as a pr of Whoopers with 1 cygnet, the male Mute was harassing the male Whooper trying to get it to leave. Also on the loch were 14 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe. Over the dunes 60 Chough were seen. Heading back round Loch Gorm was a small flock of 18 Lapwing and just before that a count of around 200 Golden Plover. Coming home last night we saw 3 Barn Owls, one close to Sunderland, another further along the road and the final one was seen between Rockside and the Coastguard's. Today Bob had seen 2 Golden Eagle up behind Port Charlotte. Andrew Harrop who saw the Red breasted Goose yesterday had seen it again this morning along at Sunderland, and down on Machir Bay, he had a first winter Mediterrean Gull and round at Toranore beside Ballinaby 11 Lapland Buntings and a Greenland Redpoll were seen. Danny and the team had seen 34 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Blackrock today, and as they came back to the ferry at Feolin on Jura, they had an Otter. Mike and Elspeth had 80 Scaup at Blackrock this morning as well as 5 Slavonian Grebes. On the Oa they had a Peregrine and also 20 Fieldfare. They counted a further 12 at Cluanach and also commented on the numbers of Stonechats that they have seen so far. On the reserve at Gruinart James had a count of 19,000 Barnies, 516 Whitefronts, 44 Greylags, 7 Pale bellied Brent, 1 Canada hutchinsii sp., 1 Golden Eagle 2nd yr., 1 ad and 1 juv Peregrine, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk and 52 Whooper Swans.
Sunday 21 October 2012
An early entry for a change.... The big bit of news is that this morning there was a Red breasted Goose down at Sunderland Farm along with the Barnacle Geese there too. Fortunately a visiting birder showed me where the said goose was amongst the others, easy really when it's like that. I went down early afternoon, but there were not so many many Barnies around nor was the Red breasted Goose either, the Whooper Swans had moved off too, some down on Loch Gorm. On Friday, Andy Greenwood had at least 25 Slavonian Grebe on Loch Indaal, from Blackrock. Yesterday on his way back on the ferry, he had a Bonxie, 2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Kestrel, 1 Black throated Diver and also 10 Fieldfare. David Hardacre from Seahouses, another visitor who went home yesterday had seen 83 species during his trip and was well pleased with his first visit to Islay. Another first timer, Gavin left yesterday too, equally impressed, "seeing Eagles" from the kitchen window, just great!!! On Friday, over at Claggain Bay, he had 8 GND and a Razorbill and yesterday morning down at Machir bay, he counted 39 Golden Plover, 26 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling, a Merlin and also a Snow Bunting. Off the ferry going out in the afternoon, he had the pod of Bottle nosed Dolphin round about the MacArthur's head area. Off Gigha, 5 GND and a RTD were seen as well as an Otter. Many thanks to the above for their sightings through the week. Yesterday the Leigh Birders started their day off with a Stoat running past the patio doors where they are staying on the Oa, every morning they have 3 Hooded Crows coming in to be fed. On the road up to Bowmore, on the "Low road" they had 7 Long tailed Tits, briefly sitting on the bridge before flying off! From the power station, on Loch Indaal, numerous Barnacle geese, 11 Pale bellied Brent Geese, a handful of Barwits, Mergansers, Starlings, House Sparrows, Eider, Dunnock, Goldfinch, 6 Turnstone, 3 Wigeon, Curlew, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and Black headed Gulls. Gruinart also had 2 Greater black backed gulls, a female Peregrine sitting on the sandbars looking replete and resting up!!!Also seen were 4 Turnstone and a good number of Barwits, up the Ardnave side of Gruinart there was a Wren and also Stonechats seen. Going round Loch Gorm, a male Hen Harrier put a Snipe up, and several Buzzards were seen as well as more Stonechats. Down at Sunderland they had the Whooper Swans and also the Barnacle Geese, Greylags some Whitefronts and a few Mallard. Danny counted 99 Whoopers late afternoon at Sunderland, and had a Pink footed Goose amongst the other geese present
Saturday 20 October 2012
A great day out here, but this evening the temperature is dropping, could we be in for a touch of frost? Highlight for today must certainly be the sighting briefly of a flock of over 20 Snow Buntings up in the dunes behind Killinallan by the Bolton Birders. On Traigh an Aonghais they had 85 Sanderling and also 64 Ringed Plover, back towards the Killinallan gate there were 20 Turnstone, 3 Greenshank along with Oystercatcher and Curlew. Also behind the dunes was a ringtail Hen Harrier being mobbed by 2 Buzzards. The Whoopers were still in the same field down at Sunderland, but not so many, along with a large number of Barnacle Geese. Danny from the Teme Valley arrived yesterday for the week and had a Barn Owl in the car headlights over at Erasaid, this morning over at Ballinaby he watched a Golden Eagle fly along beside above only 50 metres or so up! Tonight, another Barn Owl but over at the former Kilchoman School towards Gruinart. Other new visitors in for the week this afternoon counted 103 Whoopers down at Sunderland, with other birds round Loch Gorm seen were 9 Buzzard, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin, 1 female Sparrowhawk and 15 Redwing. James last night had a Stoat cross the road at theGaelic college just outside Bowmore, and today he had 3 Siskins on the reserve at Gruinart. Peter today was commenting on the large group of Greylags loitering around at Gortan at the head of Loch Indaal. Peter counted 520 in all and wondered whether they were just grouping up before heading off.. He also had a single red legged Partridge at Killinallan. Yesterday Andrew G from Lancashire had a pr of Pintail at Gartmain, pr of Dipper at The Woolen Mill and a Kestrel at Gearach. Martin had seen a Barn Owl the other night as he was walking his dog down close to the airport at Glenegedale and has seen several small flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare passing through as well as 20 Whoopers flying on towards Ireland. He has also had a Brambling on his feeders! The Stewartry SOC group yesterday had 20 Redwing and 2 Mistle Thrushes close to Finlaggan, a female Kestrel up towards Bunnahabhain with a flock of 60 Fieldfare being flushed by a Sparrowhawk at Cattadale. On Thursday, over on Jura, they saw 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Hen Harrier (1 male and 1 ringtail), 1 Peregrine, 1 Kestrel, 11 Buzzards, "large numbers of Redwing and some Fieldfare passing through", 1 Otter, many Red Deer. One of their group had kept a list of wild flowers in bloom, 37 in all, not bad for late October...Yesterday The Leigh birders had 1 male Brambling along with a female Reed Bunting amongst a flock of Chaffinch up past Avonvogie, with a Coal Tit shortly afterwards. Continuing on along the "Glen road" they had several groups of both Fieldfare and Redwing along the fields on the roadside. A male Kestrel was seen past Heatherhouse on the way to Bunnahabhain where they had some more Redwing and also 5 Mistle Thrushes. Back overlooking Loch Indaal from the power station, 2 GND and 3 RTD were seen as well as 40 Whoopers out on Loch Indaal.
Friday 19 October 2012
As promised the sightings from the Leigh Birders from Thursday. They had been down at the RSPB reserve on the Oa noting the following birds, a Carrion Crow along with Rooks, 2 Redwing, 2 Dunnocks,small flock of Redpolls (all still in summer plumage). 7 Pink footed Geese flew West. At the monument, a juvenile Peregrine flew past as they were sheltered in the lea of the monument, while just over the edge of the cliffs there, they had superb sightings of an adult Peregrine. One of their group had walked round the circuit, rather than going straight out to the monument, and had a Merlin. In the afternoon they headed out from Port Ellen to Claggain Bay with the following birds seen, 8 Red breasted Merganser, 26 Curlew resting up at the high tide line, 1 Oystercatcher (Pauline doubts this low figure...) 6 Goldfinch, 1 male Bullfinch with 4 Whoopers flying over Lagavulin. They also had seen 5 Red Deer stags and later on a Fallow Deer along with its' calf. Andrew from Lancs birds included 3 Yellowhammer close to Rockside, a Sparrowhawk up at Kilchoman Distillery, male and ringtail Hen Harrier over Loch Gorm with an Otter on the floods at Gruinart. Today George had 10 Curlew, 14 Rock Doves and 1 Reed Bunting down at home at Bruichladdich. This morning, the Bolton Birders had been counting Whoopers, 44 at the pools beow Rockside including 9 juv, Sunderland count was 164 inc 17 juv. Later on a further 20 flew past at "smelly corner". The count at Sunderland late afternoon was up to 195 and a further 8 on Loch Gorm itself. A walk in Ballygrant Wood produced 2 separate Treecreeper and 6 Siskin, at least 30 Redwing feeding on the Rowan berries. They also saw 2 Little Grebe on Loch Ballygrant, another on Loch nan Cadhan and a final one on Loch Finlaggan. Finally they had 2 Red throated Diver off Gortan and another in front of An Taigh Osda at Bruichladdich. Think that is me caught up!!!
Thursday 18 October 2012
Sorry folks, should have done the blog before going out, so here goes, some will be "Extra" on Friday's entry!!! Carl, earlier this week seen a male Hen Harrier at Coull with another round at Ballinaby. At the weekend he had a fall of Goldcrests in his garden at Port Charlotte. This evening he had a couple of Red throated Divers at Gortan with 6 Whoopers out over Loch Indaal. This afternoon we counted 57 Whoopers at Rockside, a Merlin screamed past there too with a further 38 Whoopers along at Sunderland. Coming home, the Sunderland swans remained but the Rockside Swans were all gone, all in about 90 minutes!! The Bolton birders are back, and just before teatime, they had 78 Golden Plover, 20 Ringed Plover, 1 Sanderling and 4 Turnstone down on Machir Bay. Coming over on the ferry on Tuesday, just off MacArthur's Head they saw a pod of 8 Bottle nosed Dolphins out round one of the local fishing boats out checking the lobster pots! Yesterday they had a Dipper on the Sorn with a ringtail Hen Harrier on the reserve at Gruinart, and there today, they had a female Merlin fly up from a fence post post beside the road up and then perch on a telegraph pole.Yesterday the Stewartry SOC team had been out, some up the East side of Gruinart where they had 2 Greenshank, over 70 Redshank, a flock of over 100 Twite. South of Port Charlotte a ringtail Hen Harrier was spotted. The others in the group had seen a "very old (mature)" Golden Eagle out towards Bunnahabhain, several Redwing on their travels, a Grey Wagtail at Bridgend and a male Hen Harrier at Cluanach. Gavin had been over to Jura yesterday with an Otter being the highlight, especially for his 2 young sons! Birds seen included 4 Hen Harriers (2 male and 2 ringtail), a total of 6 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 8 Ringed Plover and 3 Red breasted Merganser. Have kept the Leigh birders entry on as an "extra" for tomorrow as the clock is ticking away and this will almost be Friday by the time it is posted...whoops...
Wednesday 17 October 2012
The blog is running late, better late than never, so here goes, another bumper edition mainly thanks to visiting birders! The Leigh birders yesterday had another busy day, 1 adult and 1 juv Great Northern Diver plus several Red throated Divers on Loch Indaal, seen from the power station at Bowmore, a Wren in a garden at the edge of Bowmore. They also had a Wood Pigeon and a Sparrowhawk mobbed by Hooded Crows just after Coille, the Brambling was seen again along with the flock of around 200 Chaffinch at Coille. Further on up on the far coast was a White tailed Sea Eagle, while down at Sanaigmore itself 4 Chough were present along with some Linnets and Pied Wagtails, in Sanaigmore Bay itself there were 13 Ringed Plover. On Loch Gruinart, they had 2 Greenshank and 2 Shelduck, flying South of Loch Gruinart, they counted 18 Pink footed Geese. At the Visitor Centre at Gruinart, 4 Coal Tit and 16 Red legs, some of the group that were mentioned last night possibly. Ardnave Loch held 4 eclipse Goldeneye, 5 Tufted Duck, 6 Wigeon, 2 Little Grebe and 2 Chough were nearby. Close to Kilnave, there were 5 Stonechats, 2 male Reed Buntings and 6 juv Linnet. A White tailed sea Eagle was seen being mobbed by a Buzzard over towards the Sound of Islay. The Stewartry SOC members had a Sparrowhawk at Imeraval, 2 Peregrines on the Oa, a distant Golden Eagle present there too. Over at Claggain Bay, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew past. Out on the bay, they had 3 Red throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver. Back in the Bay at Port Ellen 15 Ringed Plover were noted and late afternoon, just North of Port Ellen, a single Swalllow was added to their list. Overall yesterday, they reckon they had a total of 15 Buzzards on their travels. Bob this morning had a Merlin and 2 Goldeneye at Frenchman's Rocks. Andrew today had been in at Loch Skerrols. His birds included 40 Mute Swan along with Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Dabchick. In the surrounding trees, he had 16 Long tailed Tit, Treecreeper, Bullfinch, 20 Redwing, Wood Pigeon, Mistle Thrush, Siskin and Blackbirds. The Blackbirds, Redwing, Bullfinch were all feeding on the Rowan berries. On his way home he had a Barn Owl, close to Octomore. Today the Leigh birders had an easier day at home as the weather closed in, but still managed a ringtail Hen harrier, 5 Buzzards, 1 male Stonechat and also several Hooded Crows. Got some info back from James about the Whitefronts, but it can wait until tomorrow's entry, so watch this space...
Tuesday 16 October 2012
Bob took this image yesterday of one of the 2 Snow buntings that he had seen. Andrew from Lancashire had been up at Gortantoid yesterday, but no joy with either the Firecrest or the Yellow browed Warbler, but the Brambling was still making the most of the Rowan berries! In the sky over Killinallan, he had a juv Golden Eagle, an adult Golden Eagle and 2 White tailed Sea Eagles. Later on in the evening, Andrew had a couple of Woodcock roding over Ballimony on the Rhinns. This week also, a group of SOC members from The Stewartry are over, they sent in some sightings they had yesterday, 7 Slavonian Grebe on Loch Indaal, a flock of over 60 Twite at Saligo, juv Golden Eagle at Sanaigmore, an Otter on Loch Indaal just out from Bowmore Distillery, 1 Brambling amongst a mixed flock of Chaffinch, Twite and Greenfinch close to Coille, 5 Lesser Redpoll near Ballinaby, male Kestrel at Saligo, female Kestrel near Loch na Caiche, below Rockside. They also had a small, performing, mumeration of Starling close to Rockside. They were well pleased with seeing our Choughs and also the sightings of our winter visitors, Barnacle and Greenland Whitefronted Geese. The Leigh Birders, Pauline, David, Ian and Anne also had a great day yesterday starting off with a ringtail Hen Harrier where they are staying down on the Oa. Just after Sunderland Farm as the road drops down towards Loch Gorm , in the scrub there were 8 Long tailed Tits along with Great Tits.Up at Kilchoman Distillery they had a Brambling along with a Greenfinch, down on the "new pond" (after the recent heavy rain!) at Machir Bay they around 200 Common Gull and round there too were 12 Chough with also 5 Buzzards too. Saligo held a female Peregrine with the fields at Ballinaby, 23 Greenland Whitefronts. Heading back up the hedges to Rockmountain a male Hen Harrier was seen. They commented on the number of Stonechats around, a long time missing from their home patch in Lancashire, also the numbers of Robins around...Gavin had watched a Golden Eagle this morning for around 45 minutes, down on the South East coast of Islay. James today at Gruinart had a White tailed Sea Eagle, 431 Greenland Whitefronts and a Pink footed Goose. Andrew from Lancs this morning had 6 Scoter, 52 Scaup, 12 Slavonian Grebe on Loch Indaal from Blackrock. He also saw 3 White tailed Sea Eagles on the sand close to Gartmain. This afternoon, from the new hide Snipe, Ruff and 6 Black tailed Godwit. Later from the old hide, 3 Dabchick, 18 Red legged Partridge , possibly recently released birds, Gadwall, Moorhen, 5 Greenland Whitefronts with neck collars on them, and a Water Rail over towards Loch Gorm. James too has been seeing the Whitefronts with collars, and will find out more details about these birds.
Monday 15 October 2012
Almost a touch of frost last night, but at least the rain kept away...Peter's sighting of the Firecrest turns out to be only the second sighting on Islay, with the Yellow browed Warbler being a fifth. Visitors had seen a Brambling yesterday in the large finch flock that was close to the Visitor centre at Gruinart. On her way in to work this morning Mary had a female Peregrine on a fence post along the flats at Gruinart. Mary and the vols carried out a count on Loch Gruinart with the following birds, 3 Cormorants, 8 Heron, 20 Shelduck, 64 Wigeon, 25 Mallard, 1 Goldeneye, 30 Red breasted Merganser,18 Shoveler, 23 Ringed Plover, 43 Golden plover, 229 Lapwing, 160 Oystercatcher, 141 Bar tailed Godwit, 191 Curlew, 52 Redshank, 19 Turnstone, 1 Mute Swan, 110 Black headed Gull, 54 Common Gull, 55 Herring Gull, 7 Great Black backed Gull, 16 Whooper Swan. Ardnave Loch held 12 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 5 Whooper Swan and 6 Mute Swan.They also had a juv White tailed Sea Eagle out over Kilinallan. The Leigh birders today had 18 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal and 6 Whoopers at Sunderland Farm. Bob this morning had a Pomarine Skua off Coull Point. He also had 2 Snow Buntings there too and also a juv Golden Eagle. Today Gavin had 3 Golden Eagles while on the Oa reserve, 6 Chough, 2 Ravens, 3 Stonechats, 1 Lesser Redpoll and a flock of around 30 Twite were also present there as well. At Ardbeg, Gavin had 4 Swallows, and along at Claggain Bay, 1 Red throated Diver, 4 Black guillemot with 4 Fieldfare on land. Here at home around midday a Golden Eagle came out over the crag being mobbed by 2 Buzzards.
Sunday 14 October 2012
Another wee drop of rain through the night, almost 4.5" so far this month and it is only the 14th... at least we got a great day although the ground is soaking wet!!! Was out with Bob this morning doing a count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, the scores on the doors were as follows 4 Greylags, 900 Barnacle Geese, 126 Curlew, 159 Oystercatcher, 40 Red breasted Merganser, 22 Eider, 3 Heron, 53 Shag, 77 Golden Plover, 24 Mallard, 15 Redshank, 86 Bar tailed Godwit, 12 Turnstone, 3 Pintail and 6 Knot. 2 of the Knot were less than 4 metres away and fearless, but neither Bob or myself had a camera!! On the "Moss road" leading down to the shoreline, there were several Reed Buntings, Blackbirds, Robins, Dunnocks and a Coal Tit in the bushes. The Golden Plover in the sunlight were great to see as well. Earlier on Bob had counted 45 Pale bellied Brents at Gartmain. Back at home this afternoon, Bob had a Greylag with a collar on it, so Bob will give us more info on it once he hears back about it. Late afternoon, he had 6 Whoopers out on the stubble field directly in front of his house and later a further 22 on Loch Gearach. On his way home, Bob saw a Short eared Owl. Malcolm had seen an adult Pinkfooted Goose amongst the Barnies round at Ballinaby this morning. Peter, Pia and the "hound" had taken a walk up to Gortantoid this morning, a very productive walk too. At Gortantoid itself, they had several small groups of Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers numbering between 5 - 10 birds. The best was still to come with a male Firecrest, a Yellow browed Warbler, a Chiffchaff and also a Brambling. Gavin had been out to Claggain Bay today, and had 2 Red throated Divers, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black Guillemot and a Bottle nosed Dolphin. Back on land, he counted a flock of 50 Redwing. Earlier on he had seen the juv. White tailed Sea Eagle take a wader, it landed on the shore and ate it!!! Other visitors from Leigh had started their visit off this morning with seeing Great Northern Divers, Red Throated Divers and Scaup on Loch Indaal from Bowmore.
There is a guided walk at Gruinart on Wednesday. Meet at the Visitor Centre at 17.30 to see the geese coming back into roost for folk who are over on Islay this week, all welcome.
Saturday 13 October 2012
Yesterday was Bob Humphreys' last day of his visit, so he had a great day over on Jura where he had 2 Otters, 4 Hen Harriers (2 male and 2 female) between Feolin and Craighouse alone! Other sightings included 5 Red breasted Mergansers, 3 Herons and lots of Red Deer. Back on Islay they had a charm of Goldfinches close to Bridgend.The other day down on the Oa, Dave had a Carrion Crow on the farm track leading up to Kinnabus.Yesterday on the Oa reserve, Dave had 3 Golden Eagles, a juvenile bird and 2 adults. The juvenile bird was soon driven off by one of the adult birds after a tussle on the heather with much flapping and grappling, with the young Eagle eventually fleeing North!!! Today, Dave had a couple of White tailed Sea Eagles just as he came to Island Farm. Gavin a visitor arriving on Islay today, had an adult White tailed Sea Eagle on Jura from the ferry. This bird was also seen by another visitor, David who was also on the same ferry! Gavin also had a Great Northern Diver again from the ferry, but in West Loch Tarbert. On Islay itself, Gavin had another WTSE, this time a juvenile bird down the South East coast. He also had a male Hen Harrier, 2 Buzzards, 20 Wigeon and a Dipper, a great start to his holiday...
Friday 12 October 2012
Back here to the dry weather today, the wet weather has moved over to the mainland instead, the images seen on the news this evening were not too nice to see. This morning we had a ringtail Hen Harrier close beside us along the road at Rockside. Wally and Jude had a flock of 74 Golden Plovers at Ballinaby this afternoon, later on up at Ardnave they counted 55 Chough, but this was topped by other visitors, Dave and Lesley who had a whopping 77 Chough in all. Mary had been up at Ardnave earlier this morning, with 8 Golden Plover close to the farm steading itself, two separate flocks of 25 - 30 Twite, a pair of Ravens, an adult Golden Eagle over close the old lobster ponds, a Merlin near to the loch. Over on Nave Island, Mary counted 36 Shag, 32 Eider, pr of Ringed Plover, 108 Grey seal pups, only a few of them have lost their fluffy white coats so far! Later on, while Mary was "path building" on the reserve, a Mistle Thrush was busy tucking into the rowan berries and 3 Skylark flew over. Coming home from Gruinart late this afternoon, we had a Merlin shoot across the road directly in front of us. Along the road at Aruadh, the roof of the cottage was covered with Starlings. Wally was commenting to me earlier that he feels that he has seen more charms of Goldfinches over on Islay this visit.
Thursday 11 October 2012
A day of rain and more rain, at least 1.75" have fallen since last night and that is not over a 24 hour period, possibly 20 hours if that, needless to say, not a lot of birdwatching was done today, perhaps the visitors went on a Distillery tour instead. John Wilson had 33 Scaup down on Loch Indaal, and just the back of 5pm we had a count of 43 Whoopers down in one of the fields beside the Coastguard cottages. Thinking back to last week, while I was up the gully following the burn back up the hill, I came across 3 different Rock Doves which the Peregrine had nobbled of late. This backs up my belief about the Rock Dove numbers falling as the year moves on, their flock drops in size, and they fly quicker too... the Peregrine just sits atop the crag waiting for his chance...
Wednesday 10 October 2012
This afternoon, Bob had a Goshawk close to his house, up behind Port Charlotte. Earlier on he had seen a juv Golden Eagle up on the North west coast of Islay. Mary had done the goose count at Gruinart today, as James is on his holidays, Mary's tally was 22,771 Barnies, 554 Whitefronts, 2 Pale belied Brent and 4 Canada Geese. Another visitor, John Wilson had a small flock of 10 pale bellied Brent down at Gortan on Loch Indaal, while earlier on this week he had a Greenshank over at Gruinart. Bob Humphreys from Aberdeenshire had a great time today on the Sound of Islay watching 4 Otters over a couple of hours. Bob had also seen several mixed flocks of Tits including some Long tailed Tits. Other birds of note were Golden Eagle, Buzzard and Guillemot. This afternoon while working up in the garden at the cottage at the top of the hill I was almost "zapped" by a Sparrowhawk as it pursued a wee brown bird into the bushes, it happened that quick I never saw the final outcome!!! Steven from Suffolk was also commenting about seeing our resident Starlings. Another topic to mentioned and full marks to the local power company, SSE, after the Whoopers last year striking the overhead power lines, they have had a gang of men over putting in scarers on the cables, I should try and find out how many they have installed.
Tuesday 9 October 2012
Another great day over here, not only for birds but the weather too... Over at Gruinart yesterday, I had a Swallow fly past. Paul Graham had some Whoopers yesterday, small family groups, 4 flying from Bruichladdich heading to Laggan Point, later on 2 came back over Bruichladdich and then another 6 from the Gartbreck area. He also had seen several large skeins of Barnies coming in from Coull Point/ Machir Bay fly inland towards Sunderland Farm. Today Bob had been out at Coull point and had seen 2 Swallows fly past as well as 35 Whoopers. This morning Dave had been leading the guided walk down on the Oa, Highlights were 2 Golden Eagles, 3 Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Merlin and Kestrel as well as 9 Chough. Later on Dave had a Goldcrest. Dave was also saying that numbers of Whitefronts on the Oa reserve are now up to 150, with 23 Whoopers on Kinnabus Loch, with a good mixed flock on the birdcrop at Kinnabus itself with over 100 Twite plus Linnets, Goldfinch, Redpoll, Greenfinch and Chaffinch. Mary repoted through from Gruinart today, scores on the doors down a bit from the high that James had on Sunday as some of the geese are already spread around Islay, especially at Bridgend. Today the tally was 19,132 Barnies, 605 Whitefronts, 1 Pinkfoot and 1 Canada. 2 juv White tailed Sea Eagles were on the loch picking away at what was left of a wing of a goose!!! Also in front of the hide were several Pintail, Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, a few Black tailed Godwit along with Lapwings and Redshank. Yesterday at Ellister, Mary had a leucistic Hooded Crow! This afternoon while going round Loch Gorm, over to Gruinart and returning home later on, we counted 10 Buzzards in all and 2 Kestrel.
Monday 8 October 2012
It's been one of those days, not enough hours in the middle of the day to get everything done, so I am running a wee bit behind schedule, sorry about that! Yesterday, Bob had a great raptor day. It started off with a Sparrowhawk hunting through his garden. At lunchtime, sitting in his conservatory, Bob had a Peregrine take out a Rock Dove, and almost immediately after a Buzzard swooped in, chasing the said Peregrine off. The Peregrine tried to get the prey back but no joy, and then the Sparrowhawk came back again, resting up only 5 fence posts away from the Buzzard. Mid afternoon, 2 Buzzards and also 2 Golden Eagles were seen. Through the afternoon a total of 3 Hen Harriers were spotted and then a female Merlin came through the garden, and finally a Peregrine over the house, not bad from the house, who needs to go out birdwatching? Malcolm had around 40 Pale bellied Brents down below the power generating station at Bowmore this morning. Later on at lunchtime he had 30 Whoopers fly from Loch Gorm to Loch Gruinart. Our visitors from last week, Steven, Francis and Liz had been over to Jura today another raptor day, and seen Red Deer galore, everywhere... Before they got to Jura they had 2 Golden Eagles come out from Sunderland hill, one carrying a rabbit. Over at Port Askaig they had a White tailed Sea Eagle which flew over to Jura and then headed up the Sound of Islay. They had another Golden Eagle out over the crag as I was speaking to them earlier on, at the same time there were several Buzzards out too. Wally and Jude are back up for a few days, yesterday at Bunnahabhain they had 22 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing, at Skerrols a Wheatear and down close to Claddach, 4 Lapland Buntings were seen, also on the Rhinns they had a Buzzard mobbing a Golden Eagle. Yesterday, Bob from Aberdeenshire had seen the geese in numbers at Bridgend and also up at Gruinart. Later on he had seen a Hen Harrier from the high road, and later on while watching the rutting Red Deer stags, a White tailed Sea Eagle was seen, and it too flew on towards Jura. Think that's enough raptors from all around Islay for tonight!!!!
Sunday 7 October 2012
Back on Monday, Peter and Debbie Shearer saw a ringtail Hen Harrier drown a Teal while they were down at the hide at Gruinart, the Hen Harrier held the poor Teal under the water for a good 10 minutes before flying off with its' prey. On Tuesday down on the Oa they had a couple of Golden Eagles and also a Merlin. The other day George had an Otter in Loch Indaal down at Bruichladdich and also a Peregrine sitting on the shoreline.Yesterday, Carl had a Chiffchaff at Lorgba in Port Charlotte.The goose count carried out by James yesterday was 20,235 Barnies, 312 Greenland Whitefronts, 2 Pink footed Geese, 2 Pale bellied Brent and 1 Canada Goose parvipes sp. and 1 Canada hutchinsii sp. There was also a Peregrine watching all that was going on, on the top of Loch Gruinart. Last night on our way home we had a Tawny Owl between Rock Mountain and Sunderland Farm, usually Barn Owl territory, earlier on we had also seen the Otter down at Bruichladdich...James carried another goose count this morning, the tally was 25,125 Barnies and 455 Whitefronts.
Saturday 6 October 2012
An early entry tonight, rather than a late one.... For sure a raptor day, apart the coming and goings of the Whoopers and arrival of more geese. Visitors had seen a couple of White tailed Sea Eagles up behind Bridgend, coming home they had seen a total of 4 Buzzards and back where they are staying they had a Sparrowhawk in the garden.... This morning as we were heading out to get our papers, we saw a Peregrine along at Rock Mountain following up a solitary Barnie, by the time we got closer the poor Barnie was on the ground with the Peregrine circling overhead. The Peregrine circled 3 - 4 times and then headed off. Next visitor was a Hooded Crow, it also circled around a few times and then flew off. Finally a Buzzard appeared and circled around as well and it also flew off. After a few moments, the Barnie too decided that it was time to move on, and off it flew, looking none the worse for wear... A few moments later as we were heading to McNicol's croft a Merlin flew across the road. In the afternoon, we saw a Kestrel round close to Saligo Bay, it was hovering for a few moments and then dropped down to the ground. Shortly after it flew off, but with no prey. Have not heard today's goose tally, but will it have for you tomorrow night instead!
Friday 5 October 2012
What a great day it has been out here, the weather that is what I am talking about, as I sit writing the blog at the back of 7pm in shirt sleeves, not because the central heating is on either I may add!!! Up the top of the hill beside the old church views all around have been great, over to Ireland, up to Colonsay and beyond to Mull and then closer at hand Jura. Big change from the few rumbles of thunder last night along with some more rain.... David and Lesley had carried out a goose count this morning, at Gruinart, their tally was 12,380 Barnies, 50 Greylags, 2 Pale bellied Brent and 35 Whoopers. At lunchtime, I had a count of 160 Whoopers down at Rockside, about half of them were in one of the lochans with the others on the barley stubbles. This evening, the vast majority have moved on, in fact 15 flew over me while I was up the top of the hill, heading out to sea and on down to Ireland. Visitors had seen a Golden Eagle down on the South east coast of Islay when they were down there today. Forgot to say earlier that at the sheep sale today, the prices had not been very good.
Thursday 4 October 2012
Yesterday Peter had seen a group of 10 Pink footed Geese over at Gruinart, while in the air, a female Sparrowhawk was flying high up. Bob had also seen the pinkies too, while over at Machir Bay, he had a flock of around 2- 300 Barnies coming in off the sea, rather than flying directly into Gruinart itself. Up over the dunes, Bob had a count of 7 Buzzards, no doubt eyeing up the numerous rabbits on offer...James today had an early morning goose count, 11,740 Barnies present then along with 43 Whoopers, 1 Canada parvipes sp., 1 Canada hutchinsii sp. and 1 leucistic Barnacle Goose. Some of the Whooper Swans present at Rockside/ Coull flew out today, but there are still some around.
Wednesday 3 October 2012
Visitors over here on holiday for a fortnight were down on the Oa yesterday, they missed the guided walk, but still managed to see a couple of Golden Eagles and that was before they went to one of the Distilleries!!! James did a quick head count on the reserve at Gruinart at lunchtime, with the scores on the doors being 4015 Barnacle Geese, 86 Greenland Whitefronts, 1 Canada parvipes sp and 2 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Late this afternoon, we had a Kestrel at the West end of Loch Gorm and further on on our return a Peregrine flew across the road off the moor between Sunderland and Rockside. The Whoopers were still at Rockside, some on the barley stubbles with the others in the lochans along with the Greylags and the 2 Snow Geese.
Tuesday 2 October 2012
Apologies to Tom and Jo, I said in last night's entry that they had seen a Turtle Dove up the back of Bridgend, my mistake it was a Stock Dove.... Today there have been more Whoopers around, 63 were counted between Coull and Rockside, none wearing any collars as far as I could make out. The 2 Snow Geese had moved along the road with some of the Greylags to Sunderland Farm this afternoon, with a large number of Greylags on Loch Gorm itself. Over at Gruinart, Mary had seen around 70 Greenland Whitefronts at the top of the loch. The rainfall figure for September here at home was 5.5", and we reckon that we are still slightly drier than at the same time last year.... by the way there have been quite a few heavy showers today, catch up time already???
Monday 1 October 2012
Tom and Jo headed back to the mainland yesterday on the ferry. Before they left, up at Bridgend they had a sighting of a Turtle Dove. Down at Port Ellen, 21 Whooper Swans were flying South, from the ferry they had good views of a Sooty Shearwater flying alongside. Also seen off the ferry were plenty of Tysties, Razorbills, Guillemots and Kittiwakes. They also had a light phase Arctic Skua. Over their stay they had seen 103 species during their stay. James today had a Peregrine on the salt marsh at Gruinart, Bob had one at his home, along with 35 Lapwing. Bob has seen the continued passage of Skylarks still moving through over the past few days, his biggest flock was a count of 70 birds. Bob also counted 25 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Gartmain. Rockside had 23 Whoopers and of 6 were still at Coull, coming up through the dunes at lunchtime, there was mixed flock of over 40 Twite and 6 Goldfinches.