Friday 31 May 2013

Friday 31st May

A great image of an Arctic Tern taken earlier on by Danny. His friend Geoff had seen an Osprey fly over Loch Skerrols at lunchtime today. Today has been a day for spotting young out of the nest being fed by their respctive parents. Danny had a Redpoll feeding its' young down perched on some gorse bushes, Bob had 2 broods of Whinchat out and about, as well as young House Sparrows out on his drive. Some visiting birders also commented on the poor number of Blue Tits around, or rather the lack of them. As you can see from Danny's image, another great day here although it did not start too good, it certainly turned up trumps after midday!

Thursday 30 May 2013

Thursday 30th May

Earlier in the week, Jack Fleming thought he had a possible Redstart over at Erasaid. Yesterday on the Oa, Michal had a male Kestrel mobbing a Cuckoo, and then later on it set about a female Hen Harrier. Also down on the Oa, Michal heard a Goldcrest singing away. This morning we had a Cuckoo on the overhead wires down below Rock Mountain, here at home a Collared Dove was out on the grass. This evening round the far end of Loch Gorm, a male Hen Harrier was out quartering his patch of ground.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Wednesday 29th May

Another great day out here, almost like a summer's day. Some folk down in Bowmore had red faces, but that could possibly have something to do with other things happening in Bowmore today!!! This morning Geoff, Danny and Dave had a Wood Sandpiper and also a Snipe with young out from the old hide at Gruinart. Dave had a pr of Shoveller on Loch Kinnabus today. Martin had been over on Colonsay where he he heard 3 Cuckoos and also 3 Corncrakes. Birds seen included 12 Stonechats, a Sedge Warbler, a Golden Eagle, and a Snipe displaying at Scalascaig. Coming home this evening on the ferry, Martin saw a Pomarine Skua flying North up the Sound of Islay. At Bunnahabhain, Steve had a GND in almost full summer plumage. Bob had a male Hen Harrier close to Sunderland Farm this evening, a count of 130 Greylags at Rockside, another male Hen Harrier on the edge of the reserve at Gruinart. On the Corncrake walk at Gruinart this evening, think more Cuckoos were heard, but at least 2 Corncrakes were heard as well. A Cuckoo was seen, Snipe drumming, Chough displaying, Whitethroat heard and seen as were several Sedge Warblers. 6 Pale bellied Brent were seen flying up Loch Gruinart itself. Coming home this evening, there were 9 Red Deer close to the road as we left Gruinart.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Tuesday 28th May

A pr of distant Terns taken by Anna down at Port Charlotte this evening. Earlier on, this afternoon, Anna had been over at Gruinart and had Redshank, Lapwing & chicks, 2 Whooper Swan, Curlew and a Whimbrel. Down off Bruichladdich Pier there was a Tystie. Back at Port Charlotte this evening, plenty of Goldfinches around, Razorbill, GND still in winter plumage, and Cormorant all out on Loch Indaal. Visiting birder Steve, had a GND off Coal Ila today in summer plumage.Tonight was the monthly meeting of the bird nerds, hence the late entry! Dave led 12 of us out to the Bay field and along to the American Monument and back to the car park. A great evening, great views all around. Highlight was definitely the sighting of the 2 Golden Eagles out on the wing, at one time being mobbed. We  also had 3 Swifts, a new "Islay tick" for me! Other birds were Peregrine, Whinchat, Hooded Crow on a nest, LBB Gull, Wheatear, Whinchat, Stonechat, Skylark, Swallow, Kittiwake nesting, Fulmar nesting, a Gannet from the Monument, some Manx Shearwater flying there too. Today, Danny had the Pale bellied Brent Goose over at Gruinart., and on our way out to the Oa this evening there were around 50 Greylags  (no young) down at Rockside. Coming home, down at the reed bed at the Coastguards, there was a Corncrake calling, it was so close, we almost jumped out our skins when it started up, we were actually listening to one further away at the time!!!

Monday 27 May 2013

Monday 27th May

After last night's dollop of rain, it turned out to be not that bad a day... Yesterday Geoff had a male Hen Harrier out on the Rhinns, today he saw 3  Golden Eagles down on the Oa. Later on he met in with Dave and Danny and in the wood here they had a Cuckoo, a Spotted Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin and Redpoll with a Chough flying overhead! Danny had seen a Razorbill on Loch Indaal, just out from Bruichladdich. and this year Danny commented on seeing more Linnets around and hearing more Sedge Warblers as well. Out below the Gaelic Centre at Bowmore, Danny had 6 Whimbrel with some Curlews also present. Yesterday, the Blackbirds fledged at Bob's, with 4 reared. Bob was also saying that at the open day at Bruichladdich Distillery yesterday, a Peregrine flew over, wonder how many of the folk present saw it!

Sunday 26 May 2013

Sunday 26th May

Michal sent through this image of a young deer fawn which he took earlier on today on the reserve. Thanks Michal. He also reported seeing lots of Whitethroats, a pr of Twite nest building, as were a pr of Whinchats. He managed to locate 2 Meadow Pipit nests, one with 3 eggs, the other containing 4 eggs. Bob yesterday evening had seen a pr of Stonechats carrying food back to young at their nest. Round Loch Gorm this morning, we had a close sighting of a male Hen Harrier being chased on by a Lapwing, camera was on the back seat, and I was not ready to take any images, hence no image! Dave today had been sailing from Lagavulin round to Port Askaig and had seen 3 Manx Shearwaters, 6 GND, a Peregrine Falcon, 3 Kittiwake, lots of Guillemots, Razorbills, Black Guillemots and Arctic Terns
For any visiting birders over on Islay this week, apart from visiting the many events at the Distilleries, why not come along to the monthly meet of the Islay Bird nerds at the Car park on the RSPB reserve on the Oa at 7pm on Tuesday, when we will go out for a short ramble out and about and see what we can spot. With the weather not looking too good for tomorrow, another alternative to the Distilleries is to visit the Islay Natural History Trust's visitor centre in Port Charlotte which opens up tomorrow for the season at 10.30am. Finally on Monday evening at 9pm, why not watch the TV with BBC Scotland screening the last program of "Hebrides, Islands on the edge", look out for the stars from Islay and their contribution!!! Certainly there has been tremendous photography throughout the series, a great advert for us all on the West coast.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Saturday 25th May

Another glorious day here.... Back on Thursday Mary had a Merlin up at Ardnave, and also saw a Pale bellied Brent Goose down beside the new hide at Gruinart. Yesterday over the moor at Gruinart, she saw a Golden Eagle and also heard 2 Cuckoos calling away. On the woodland trail she saw a fledgling Song Thrush out. Down outside Portnahaven, a pr of Stonechats and also a Whitethroat were calling away. Last night as it was calmer, Michal had carried out his Corncrake survey from Sanaigmore round along the North side of Loch Gorm. He had in total, 8 Corncrakes, 13 Sedge Warblers, 2 Grasshopper Warblers calling away, and he also saw 2 Barn Owls and a Snipe. Today on the reserve at Gruinart, James had a Whimbrel, 5 Pale bellied Brents (4 on Loch Gruinart and 1 on the flats), 5 Blackwits, 3 Gadwall and 1,790 Dunlin.

Friday 24 May 2013

Friday 24th May

Has summer arrived, we beg to ask. Yes the sun has been shining all day and it provided us with a little warmth too, not a lot but a start in the right direction... Dave had a Whooper Swan today down on Loch Kinnabus. Here at home, this afternoon there was a hen Pheasent proudly strutting about showing off her brood of 6 youngsters, a  Blackbird was carrying food back to her nest , up in the shed the young Starlings do n't half make a noise when they hear you enter the shed, am I meant to feed them as well??? Round at Ballinaby there were around 50 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin, in the next field 2 Lapwing, one with 3 chicks, another with 4, across the the road a pr Greylags with 2 goslings. Coming home the Sand Martins were out hawking for food, and earlier on this afternoon the Corncrake was calling away good style while I was cutting the grass.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Thursday 23rd May

If my memory serves me correctly, it was 2 years to the day when we had that big gale, net result was that a lot of the leaves on the trees were burnt off with the salt air. Today, a different story, yes windy but the leaves are hardly out yet! With the wind being up last night, it was not Corncrake counting weather, so just as well we did ours back on Tuesday! The Buff breasted Sandpiper is still present at Gruinart. I hear that yesterday off Lewis 1,125 Long tailed Skuas were counted in 2 hours on passage, the other day we well pleased with a count of 14 on Islay! Back on Tuesday, Carl had a GND off Port Charlotte, down at An Gleann towards Portnahaven, Carl saw 4 Whimbrel and 2 Woodpigeon. He had also heard the Corncrake calling at Bruichladdich. There was a report of a Corncrake seen down at Portnahaven with young. 

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Wednesday 22nd May

Yesterday George had the Corncrake calling again down across the road from the oil depot at Bruichladdich, on the shore there was a Turnstone in summer plumage, Up on his ponds, George saw a Moorhen, heard a Sedge Warbler as well as some Whimbrel calling. He also had seen a pr of Greylag with young goslings. Last night we took the oppotunity to go out and listen for any calling Corncrakes as it was not too windy, a wise decision as the wind is stronger this evening. Here on our section, we had 9 in all, not bad really as it is early days... James today had seen a Buff breasted Sandpiper along the flats at Gruinart. Bob tonight also commented on noticing more Lapwing around at present. He was also saying that he was seeing more Whinchats compared to previous years.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Tuesday 21st May

Yesterday George heard a Corncrake calling close to the Oil depot down at Bruichladdich, but it sounded as if it was on the shore side of the road. He also heard a Cuckoo calling and up at his ponds he had seen some fresh Otter spraint. Today, down on the Oa, on the RSPB guided walk , visitors saw a Golden Eagle. This afternoon, a female Dotterel was seen on reserve at Fang Dhu and Dave had counted 14 Long tailed Skua together over the reserve, flying inland. Here at home, there were a few more Swallows around, possibly arriving in with the slightly warmer weather yesterday! Having said that, the Swallow nest at the back door has fallen down already, the mud could not be of the right kind. I remember a few years back and all the House Martin nests fell down, again possibly the wrong mud...

Monday 20 May 2013

Monday 20th May

Yesterday Martin had been out around his patch over at Glenegedale. His highlight was watching a Short eared Owl out hunting  for around 40 minutes. He also had lots of Willow Warblers, a Grasshopper Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Snipe, 1 Stonechat, 3 Redpoll, 4 Siskin and 3 Song Thrush. James yesterday had lots of Turnstone in summer plumage on Loch Gruinart. Margaret last night heard 2 different calling Corncrakes from here at the house, wonder what we will get later on this week when all going well, the first survey is carried out for the year. Today, on reserve, Michal had a Sparrowhawk, and in 1 field alone he counted 7 pr of Lapwing with 18 young. This year there appear to be more Lapwing around...

Sunday 19 May 2013

Sunday 19th May

Yesterday, James saw the Wood Sandpiper out in front of the new hide at Gruinart. This morning on the reserve he also heard a total of 4 Whitethroats calling. Out on Loch Gruinart this afternoon, James had 4 Arctic Terns. This morning up near to his house, Bob had 2 pr of Greylags with goslings out, we saw another pr down towards Port Bhan and later on another pr with 6 goslings in a grass field at Coultorsay as well. Bob also had seen a female Hen Harrier out sitting on a post and wondered if it had failed as normally she should have been sitting on a nest somewhere. This morning I thought that I heard a Corncrake calling up towards the old ruin of the Kilchoman Church, but it only appeared to be calling for a short time, but I told the folk in the cottages and right enough it has been heard up there again. Might get it again myself later on.... Usually it can be one of the first calling Corncrakes each year, but not so this year, at least somebody is back!!!

Saturday 18 May 2013

Saturday 18th May

Yesterday was Andrew and Jane Greenwood's last full day here on Islay. Down on the Oa they saw 2pr of Ravens, Peregrine, nesting Fulmar and Kittiwake, as well as Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins. Today, from the ferry heading back to Kennacraig they had 2 Puffins, over 30 Manx Shearwater, GND, RTD, BTD, Black Guillemot, Guillemot, Razorbill, Gannet, Fulmar and Kittiwake. Over their visit their total list was 126 birds for the fortnight. Many thanks to you both for your birds and we look forward to your visit in the Autumn.
This morning Michal had a pr of Golden Eagles over Creag Mhor on the reserve at Gruinart. Also this morning, down at Foreland a male Hen Harrier swooped across the road in front of us, less than 20 feet away, no bins needed for that one!

Friday 17 May 2013

Friday 17th May

Another sunny day, not that I am complaining.... David and Jane yesterday had seen a Cuckoo over at Cluanach and heard several Grasshopper Warblers, in their garden they saw a Whitethroat. Down on the Oa today, Dave had a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Blackcap and also 2 Sparrowhawk. Bob had been down at the new hide this afternoon, and had seen a Wood Sandpiper close to the hide. He also saw 6 Blackwits, a female Shoveler with ducklings, 12 drake Shoveler, 6 drake Wigeon and a pr of Pintail. I was speaking to some visiting birders from Worcester who have been having a great time, with watching our Choughs amongst their highlights. Another 2 from Dartmoor were telling me their highlight was seeing a Golden Eagle down on the Oa and also seeing Hen Harriers at different places around Islay.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Thursday 16th May

Another glorious sunny day here again, just wish the sun would give us heat as well as light, no pleasing some folks......On Monday this week, Natalie from RSPB had carried a count out on Loch Gruinart, with the following birds seen, 1 GND, 208 Shelduck, 16 Eider, 4 R B Merganser, 182 Oystercatcher, 1879 Ringed Plover, 1 Golden Plover, 1279 Dunlin, 21 Curlew, 3 Redshank, 26 Turnstone, 6 Whimbrel, 11 Common Gull, 17 Herring Gull, 4 GBB Gull and 1 Greylag. On Ardnave Loch, birds were 33 Whimbrel, 2 Barwits, 2 Mute Swan, 9 Tufted Duck, 4 Oystercatcher and 1 Heron. Today Natalie saw 2 adult White tailed Sea Eagles hunting over the flats at Gruinart. Michal over the last couple of days has been down on the Oa, his birds included, 1 Golden Eagle, pr of Hen Harrier, 8 Sedge Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 1 singing Goldcrest and a Dipper carrying food. In the bay down at Port Ellen, Michal counted 21 Whimbrel. Yesterday Bob had a ringtail Hen Harrier close by his house, the first he has seen for a few weeks. Down off  Port Mor at Port Charlotte, Bob had 8 GND  and 7 Arctic Terns inshore with a feeding frenzy a lot  further out on the Loch consisting of over 40 Terns, Gannets, Kittiwakes and other gulls. He also had 2 Sandwich Terns, 4 Razorbill, 12 Whimbrel and 220 Common Scoter. This morning Peter was over at Dunlossit and had a female Great Spotted Woodpecker. He also had Blackcaps, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Sedge Warblers all singing away. Also heard were Cuckoo, Long tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Siskin, Treecreeper and Goldcrest were all heard as were Little Grebes calling away on Loch Allan. To finish off with Peter had an adult White tailed Sea Eagle fly past, great! Andrew and Jane today had been down in the woods towards Kildalton and had seen 3 Yellowhammers as well as numerous Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers. Along at Claggain Bay and in that area they had 8 Artcic Tern, 1 GND, 1 RTD, 1 light phase Pomarine Skua, 4 Common Sandpipers, 5 male Reed Buntings, more Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff,  4 Redpoll, and an elusive Cuckoo who never gave up. Returning home, at Blackrock 4 Whoopers were present and Kestrel was seen just before they got to Bruichladdich. Today down at Portnahaven, Alistair had heard the Corncrake calling and also a Cuckoo. At Port Bhan, a Black Guillemot and a GND were seen and 14 Whimbrel counted too. Dave down on the Oa today had a Swift, heard a Cuckoo and saw a Whinchat

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Wednesday 15th May

We are almost half the way through the month and the temperature does not seem to be rising much, at least it has stayed dry and sunny and we have not had any snow like other areas of the country...Before I forget, a  telescope and tripod were found today, so if you have mislaid yours today while you were out on Islay, give the Police in Bowmore a shout as the items were handed in to them. Their contact number is 01496 810 222. Andrew and Jane had 3 male and a female Scaup on Loch Indaal from Blackrock. On the foreshore opposite Blackrock farm itself, they had 42 Dunlin, 2 Little Tern and 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese before they were all spoofed by a Peregrine Falcon! This evening in the sun, looking out at the bird feeders, it was some job trying to decide whether the Greenfinches or the Siskins were the "greenest"....

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Tuesday 14th May

One of the Redpolls down on the ground, eating the spilt food from the feeders. Round the feeders, first thing this morning was some mess after all the rain that we had through the night, the burn was in full pelt too!
Once it faired up Bob managed to do the count from Bowmore along to Gartbreck so here's Bob's birds. 4 GND, 1 Heron, 17 Shag, pr nesting GBB Gull, 30 Common Gull, 20 BH Gull, 6 Arctic Tern, 1 dark phase Arctic Skua, 2 Greylag, 1 Pale bellied Brent, 26 Shelduck, 18 Mallard drakes, 1 Teal, 64 Red breasted Merganser (mainly drakes), 124 Eider (mainly drakes), 1 Common Guillemot, 40 Oystercatcher, 10 Curlew, 38 Whimbrel, 250 Ringed Plover, 12 Lapwing, 156 Barwits, 10 Redshank, 654 Dunlin and 4 Turnstone. Thanks Bob! Peter this afternoon heard a Whinchat singing and had a good sighting of a male Hen Harrier down at Foreland. Andrew and Jane also had a better day as well. Between Lily Loch and Loch Allan they saw Whitethroats carrying nesting materials, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Sedge Warblers all singing their heads off! Also seen were 2 Little Grebe. Off Coal Ila, 5 Black Guillemots were counted and a sub adult Golden Eagle was seen flying from Islay to Jura. Bridgend Woods were busy too, with 2 Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, over 20 Song Thrush with  a Dipper on the River Sorn.

Monday 13 May 2013

Monday 13th May

James today had a dark phase Arctic Skua over the reserve at Gruinart. Out on the floods, 2 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall and 2 Wigeon were seen. From the new hide, the male Garganey was still present along with 3 White Wagtails and 3 Barwits. Along the flats, in the field behind Loch Gruinart House there were around 3,000 Dunlin and 2- 300 Ringed Plover. Visitors had commented on groups of Whimbrel being around. Andrew and Jane saw 2 Turnstone on the spit on Loch Indaal. On the woodland walk at Gruinart, they had a pr of Treecreepers carrying nesting materials. Alsopresent there were Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Willow Warbler, Wren and Robins. From the new hide they also had the Garganey and the Barwits, an Oystercatcher with a BTO ring on, Mallard with ducklings, 4 Teal, 3 Shoveler, Moorhen and 2 Reed Bunting. This evening, over at Coull there were 5 small groups of 4-5 Linnets. Between Coull and Ballinaby, there appear to be more Wheatears around at present. There was a small mixed flock of 30 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin at Ballinaby and also a pr of Canada Geese. On one of the barley fields down at Rockside there were 20 Greylags present.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Sunday 12th May

In between showers and now this evening, it is quite nice outside, even although the ground is soaking. Clark cheered me up no end by announcing this afternoon, that we have had more rain so far this month than we had for the whole of May last year... Think the weather is looking to improve from the middle of the week onwards, fingers crossed.... New visiting birder Alistair yesterday had 3 groups of Whimbrel, each around 20 birds between Bruichladdich and An Gleann down towards Portnahaven. He also heard at least 2 Corncrakes calling at Portnahaven. Today Alistair saw a Cuckoo on the overhead wires close to Wester Ellister. A sea watch from Portnahaven produced over 500 Manx Shearwaters flying North and also an Arctic Skua. Gannets, Razorbills and Guillemots in good numbers too. Around 60 Fulmars flying North too, 4 Arctic Terns in the bay along with a GND. 2 Whitethroats were in song around Portnahaven. Andrew and Jane carried a out a sea watch from Port Wemyss for a an hour  this afternoon, with all birds heading North to Frenchman's Rocks. They were as follows, 300 Manx Shearwater, 150 Gannets, 250 razor/ motts, 50 Kittiwake, 15 Fulmar, 1 Bonxie and the Corncrake was heard behind the church at Portnahaven. James had heard  a Corncrake over at Grainel on the reserve at Gruinart. This morning before the weather broke down while he was out doing his surveys, James heard a total of 4 Grasshopper Warblers, and also saw a Shoveler sitting on a nest. Meanwhile Peter and Pia had been out in the rain and down at Foreland where they had heard 3 Grasshopper Warblers and a Sedge Warbler, also a Whitethroat singing away in the adverse conditions... This evening out in front of the new hide, they had a male Garganey. Back down at Bruichladdich 6 Common Sandpipers were seen along the shoreline.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Saturday 11th May

Some sightings or rather callings through from earlier in the week from Martin and Bob. They had carried out a survey from the Woollen Mill along the River Sorn to almost its' mouth at Bridgend. Here goes, a great variety of birds too. 2 Heron, 1 Buzzard, 30 Black headed Gull, 22 Common Gull, 2 Herring Gull, 6 Collared Dove, 1 Cuckoo, 3 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Robin, 6 Song Thrush, 1 Mistle Thrush, 12 Blackbird, 3 Blackcap, 9 Willow Warbler, 16 Wren, 2 Great Tit, 3 Blue Tit, 1 Coal Tit, 2 Treecreeper, 11 Jackdaw, 4 Rook, 6 Starling, 14 Chaffinch, 2 Redpoll, 4 Goldfinch and 6 Siskin. Yesterday, Andrew and Jane had a quieter day, (weather had a lot to do with that...) but saw a male Hen Harrier up at Gearach and on Loch Indaal off Bruichladdich, 2 Little Terns were seen. Today they had 5 Arctic Terns off Bruichladdich with a Redpoll on the shore opposite An Taigh Osda. They had a close sighting of a Long tailed Skua flying up towards Gruinart and finally had 3 light phase Arctic Skua over Blackrock heading towards Gruinart as well as 4 Pale bellied Brents were flying over to the head of Loch Indaal, Bluehouses area.

Friday 10 May 2013

Friday 10th May

Another miserable sort of a day out here, if only it would be wet through the night and dry through the day, not a lot to ask just move the clock around a bit, problem solved. Net result is that not much birding has been done. Last night before heading upstairs to bed, we went out for a quick Corncrake listen, possibly a bit windy and also early enough in the month but we gave it a go. We managed to hear 3 different males calling, one down towards the Machir Bay, one out towards Coull and another at Rockside. Down at the reedbed there was a Sedge Warbler "singing" if that is what you could call it! Overall, quite pleased, early days yet for the corncrakes to be heard. This morning over at Ballinaby there was a small group of Golden Plover, with 16 Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin in another field. Further along the road towards Saligo Bay, there was a young black rabbit out. Finally in the field where the Little Ringed Plover was last week on Coull Farm, this morning 2 large Canada Geese were present.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Thursday 9th May

A miserable sort of a day out here, but it has not really hindered folk out birding, so another good lot of birds  have been sent through. The other day, Carl had a Corncrake down at Shorefield, Bruichladdich. Bob had 12 Collared Doves at his house yesterday and today he saw an imm female Marsh Harrier fly past. George counted 30 Whimbrel fly past and also heard the Corncrake. Up at Ardnave Mary had a Lapland Bunting. Andrew and Jane had a good day starting with 3 Gannets on Loch Indaal off Port Charlotte and also a dark phase Pomarine Skua, along at Bruichladdich Pier they saw 2 Black Guillemots. Up at Ardnave Loch, a female Merlin was seen, a male Hen Harrier present, 15 Whimbrel, 20 Chough, 2 Barnies, 2 Canadas, 1 Greenland Whitefront and a male Whinchat. From the old hide at Gruinart, 6 Blackwits, a Mallard with ducklings, a Lapwing with young, 3 Sedge Warblers, "a lot of Swallows and Sand Martins" hawking over the floods were seen. Finally along the flats, Andrew and Jane heard a Corncrake, Whitethroat and also Whooper Swan still present as well as 3 Roe Does. This morning we had "a lot of Swallows and Sand Martins"  swooping along the road in front of the trees at Erasaid. Back here at home we are now up to 10 Redpolls, boy they can't half eat....The birds appear to eating more now than they were earlier on, another order away in the other day for more food....

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Wednesday 8th May

As forecast, the smurry rain did come in this morning followed by heavy rain and the hey presto around 
4 o'clock it faired up... Before it got too wet, Nick who is over doing some contract work for RSPB managed to do his survey round about here. He saw 2 pr of Twite, over 30 Sand Martins down the burn in the same area as where the colony was 2 years ago, seen Chough out  over the dunes, Linnets on the gorse in the glen, a Heron took off from the burn and down at the reed bed at the Coastguards Nick heard 3 Sedge Warblers calling away. Peter had 4 Razorbills off Bruichladdich from his house. Later on in Bridgend woods he heard his first Blackcap of the year and on the River Sorn he saw a pr of Dippers. On the "Wader walk" at Gruinart this evening, there was a pr of Whooper Swans, several Snipe were heard drumming, I heard 2 different Corncrakes (my first of the year!) and a Cuckoo was calling away. A pr of Shoveler were seen 6 Shelduck flew over, Redshank noted and Lapwings displaying too. A great evening after a poor start to the day!

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Tuesday 7th May

A great day out here with the weather, the temperature got up to a heady 16degrees, mid afternoon. Only trouble is that the forecast is for some rain tomorrow...The Hammills returned to Glasgow but had a great weekend birding, highlights included seeing the large flock of Golden  Plover near to Rockside and also Whimbrels near to Port Charlotte and more at Bruichladdich before heading home. Bob yesterday had a Golden Eagle flying low behind Port Charlotte, could it have been hunting for hares? George yesterday counted 120 Pale bellied Brent flying South towards Port Charlotte. Today, he had a Wheatear at his pools, with 12 Swallows flying over the pools, his usual Swallows are back in residence in his garage. This evening 20 Whimbrel flew in to George's fields and on the shore George noticed an Oystercatcher sitting on a nest down on the shore. Today Bob had a single Fieldfare fly over his house around midday. James when he was out doing his surveys this morning at 6am had a White tailed Sea Eagle at the head of Loch Gruinart. On the floods, James had 11 Gadwall, he had a Grasshopper Warbler and 2 Whinchat singing and also a Lizard out basking in the sun! Andrew and Jane had a Goldcrest, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blue Tit , Great Tit, Coal Tit, Robin and Wren all in the woods around Kildalton. Claggain Bay and the surrounding trees held the following, Tree Pipit, Dunnock, Yellowhammer, Siskin, Whitethroat, Mistle Thrush & Cuckoo. The Bay had 1 GND, 2 Black throated Diver, 2 Red throated Diver, Black Guilliemot, a nesting Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher also sitting on a nest, Wheatear and 2 pr of Common Sandpiper. Back at Octomore they was a flock of Golden Plover and a Sparrowhawk nobbled a Starling. This afternoon, here at home we heard our first Cuckoo of the year, and on the bird table we counted 8 Redpolls.

Monday 6 May 2013

Monday 6th May

Running late and with a deadline to meet to get a comfortable seat before 9pm in front of the TV, here we go...Colin and Mandy  who have been over for a few days, left today but had seen a male Hen Harrier  on the Rhinns on Saturday. Down at Portnahaven they heard and then saw a Corncrake. Yesterday over on Jura, they had 2 female Hen Harriers and also a male too. They also had a male Yellowhammer and saw a White tailed Sea Eagle while on Jura. Over their stay they had seen a total of 6 Otters, 5 on Islay and 1 on Jura. Martin today had been down at Loch Allan and saw 4 pr of Tufted Duck, a Whitethroat was seen, lots of Willow Warblers around, 2 Grasshopper Warblers heard and seen, plenty of both Wheatear and Swallows about too. Over that way, they had 2 White tailed Sea Eagles. Down at Bruichladdich this morning, Andrew and Jane had 5 Purple Sandpipers, 1 House Martin, a Ringed Plover, White Wagtail, pr of Common Sandpiper and also Rock Pipits all along the shore opposite the Distillery. Along the shore, opposite Bruichladdich Hall, 2 Sanderling were present. Out on Loch Indaal, 3 Long tailed Duck, 4 Scaup were seen, at up at Gortan, 19 Pale bellied Brent were counted. Later on up at Killinallan, a male Hen Harrier was seen and also a White tailed Sea Eagle being chased by a Raven. There appears to be no further sightings of the Shorelarks today, none that I have heard of anyway yet.

Sunday 5 May 2013

Sunday 5th May

Another image sent through by the Argyll birder, Jim Dickson of a Ringed Plover which he saw in the rain this morning before heading home. Between the entrance and sailing up West Loch Tarbert, Jim had 26 Black throated Divers, 32 GND, 12 Red Throated Divers and 12 Sandwich Terns. Thanks to Jim for his input and also sharing his images with us.Yesterday, George had 4 Hares running around close to his house, certainly there appear to be more of them out and about, just counted 10 down at Rockside! Back to birds, The Hammils from  Glasgow had seen 3 Shorelarks up past Killinallan today, the last sighting as far as I know was by Gus Keys when he worked with RSPB on the Oa. Bob and Martin today had been down past Ardbeg and had seen 4 Herons, 10 pr Greylags, pr of Canada Geese, 1 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 1 drake Wigeon, 3 pr Shelduck, 2 Common Sandpiper, 7 Sandwich Tern and heard 2 Cuckoos. Round at Ballinaby today, Peter counted 45 Golden Plover, 20 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin. He also reported through that the Black Guillemots are back at Bruichladdich Pier. Emily had 10 Whimbrel and 3 Barnies fly over Moulin at Gruinart today. Up past Moulin on the verge side there were 5 Goldfinches. She was also complaining of a Cuckoo calling from 4 am the last 2 mornings....Andrew and Jane today had a Black throated Diver and over 50 Scoter on Loch Indaal down between the Airport and Carn. Off Port Wemyss, they had a Bonxie and also Manx Shearwater, round Claddach a fall of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff, finally a male Hen Harrier towards Gearach. Round Loch Gorm this evening, we had 32 Greylags up on the barley field behind Machrie, many Wheatears all the way round, a Reed Bunting at Saligo. At Ballinaby, there were 101 Golden Plover and 27 Dunlin, no sign of any Ringed Plover, further on there was a Golden Eagle and another 39 Greylags.
Finally , in case you have forgotten, if you spare an hour tomorrow night , watch the TV, BBC1 Scotland at 9 pm for the first of 4 programs called "Hebrides, Islands on the edge". See if you can spot some humans that you may know as well as the abundant wildlife on show..... 

Saturday 4 May 2013

Saturday 4th May

A cracking wee Linnet taken today over at Gartbreck by the Argyll birder. Yesterday, Mary had a Whinchat over at Claddach Loch at Portnahaven, closer to the village she also had 2 Common Sandpiper. Mary had a phone call earlier from her folks who live on Kerrera, which is one of the islands just off Oban and they had just had a Nuthatch on their feeders! New visitors in, Andrew and Jane had seen a pr of White tailed Sea Eagle from the ferry. The Argyll birder had been out and about today, starting off with a male Hen Harrier at Foreland. He had 3 good flocks of Golden Plover, one of around 200 at Machrie beside Machir Bay, another 200 at Ballinaby along with 16 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin. Up at Ardnave there was a count of 365 Golden Plover. The Ring necked Duck was still present on Ardnave Loch with 21 Tufted Duck there too. At Gruinart, a White tailed Sea Eagle , 1 Blackwit, 11 Dunlin, 70 Barnies, 1 Greenland Whitefront, 25 House Martins, 150 Sand Martins, 20 Swallows, 8 White Wagtails and a male Hen Harrier were present. Gartbreck held 58 Blackwits and Loch Indaal, Bowmore 56 Barwits, 3 Little Tern, 6 Sandwich Tern and 4 Arctic Tern were noted. this evening Bob counted 80 Shelduck on Loch Gruinart

Friday 3 May 2013

Friday 3rd May

James took this Snipe earlier on this week over at Gruinart. I do not think that many images would have been taken today unless you wanted some of the rain and all the pools of water left behind, still it was the forecast! Colin and Mandy stayed over at Kintra last night and had a Merlin and a Sparrowhawk there. This morning, before the heavens opened, they were up early and counted 13 Little Terns, 8 Ringed Plover, 5 Turnstone and saw plenty of  Fulmars, Razorbills, Black and Common Guillemots. Later on, past Bowmore they had 68 Blackwits.
The tally for the rain last month came to 3.25", slightly drier than last April, but tonight the ground is soaking with the heavy rainfall with most of it going down the burns as surface run off, and not getting into the ground.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Thursday 2nd May

James sent through last night this image taken earlier on of the Long billed Dowitcher up at Ardnave. It flew off early afternoon yesterday, and as far as I know has not been seen again. The same story for the Little ringed Plover and the Yellow Wagtail, they could still be out there somewhere! New birders, over on their honeymoon, Colin and Mandy had 31 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Port Ellen when they arrived yesterday, today they had a good day on the Oa with their top birds including Hen Harrier, Buzzard, a Grasshopper Warbler reeling away, Whinchat, Stonechat and Raven. The Argyll birder had been over early am at Gruinart and was rewarded with a White tailed Sea Eagle. In one of the fields he had 14 White Wagtails. There, this afternoon he had a Golden Eagle on a carcase with another  Goldie nearby. He has not seen so many Blackwits today, 28 at Gruinart and just 14 at Ardnave. Whimbrels not so numerous either, 41 at Craigfad and 56 at Nerabus, could that be the flock of 98 seen at Nerabus yesterday, split into 2 groups today? At Ballinaby there were 235 Golden Plover and along at Coull, a Peregrine was seen. At Bruichladdich, 38 Pale bellied Brent Geese were counted while over at Gartbreck a single Little Tern was seen. Back on Monday, Bob and Lorna Young had a couple of Little Terns at Ardnave, heard a Cuckoo, seen a Sedge Warbler and witnessed a male Hen Harrier being mobbed by 2 Hooded Crows and they noticed more Swallows and Martins arriving. Another frequent Islay visitor, Ron had heard a Cuckoo at Glenegedale and seen a male Hen Harrier down that way too yesterday . Up at Ardnave today, Mary heard a Corncrake. Dave down on the Oa had 2 Goldcrest and 2 White Wagtails and also a Whimbrel, yesterday he had 3 Whinchat, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Cuckoo all on the reserve, possibly some of the same birds that Colin and Mandy had today! On her way home last night Louise had seen 3 Owls between the 3 arch bridge and Gatehouse, a Barn Owl, a Tawny Owl and also a Short eared Owl.  Here at home, on the feeders apart from the many finches present, the Siskins are still present, as is the Redpoll.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Monday 1st May

A great day over here with plenty of different birds seen today. It all started off with the Argyll birder spotting this Little ringed Plover, only the second one ever here on Islay, we believe. Mary found a Ring necked Duck at Ardnave Loch as well as a Long billed Dowitcher there too. Not to be outdone, James had a Tree Pipit on the reserve at Gruinart. Peter and Pia had a male Yellow Wagtail beema sp also on the reserve, from the new hide this afternoon. Peter also had 15 Ringed Plover at Coull and then around 200 Golden Plover at Ballinaby, the Argyll birder counted a total of 212 Plovers present there. The Argyll birder also had a Whinchat at Grulinmore and several groups of Whimbrel, 11 at Ardnave, 18 at Bruichladdich and 98 down at Nerabus. Bob this evening counted 30 at Octomore. Peter also had 3 Grasshopper Warblers and a Whitethroat at Foreland. James had a Merlin at Ardnave this afternoon, and we had one at Coull this morning which put the flock of Golden Plovers up. Yesterday Michal had a male Hen Harrier displaying down on the Oa. He also had 2 Golden Eagles,a Red Grouse, a Sedge Warbler and several Willow Warblers. He also seen "loads" of Meadow Pipits and also Skylarks there too. Bob had a Golden Eagle yesterday up behind Sunderland. Bob's friend Chris had 95 species seen on his 2 day trip to Islay.