Saturday 31 August 2013

Saturday 31st August

Yesterday Dave had seen 3 Sooty Shearwater  as well as some Gannets and also Manx Shearwaters as they passed by the Oa. This morning, down at Frenchman's Rocks, Peter and Pia had around 20 Kittiwakes, 1 Great Skua, 210 Manx Shearwaters, 150 Gannets and 46 Fulmars all flying East in an hours sea watching. Earlier this evening, down at Uiskentuie, there was a single Barnacle Goose present amongst all the Gulls. There had been quite a few Gulls present where the freshwater enters the sea this past week. Later on a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over the cottages here at home. Mark round at Rockside has had his combine out this week cutting his barley when the weather still holds good with the baler right up behind the combine. This evening there were a large number of Greylags on the stubble

Friday 30 August 2013

Friday 30th August

Tom and Jo headed back to the mainland yesterday, and on the ferry over to Kennacraig they saw 2 Red throated Divers, 3 Fulmars, 20 Manx Shearwater, 12 gannets, 23 Shag, 10 Cormorant, 11 Dunlin, 99 Kittiwake, 217 Guillemot and 28 Razorbill. On Wednesday, at "smelly corner" they had 22 Teal, 96 Oystercatcher, 191 Curlew, 206 Dunlin, 10 Knot, 1 Turnstone, 123 Barwits and 3 Blackwits. Up at Gruinart they counted 80 Dunlin, 15 Barwit and 31 Redshank. Thanks to Tom and Jo for sharing  their sightings with us

Thursday 29 August 2013

Thursday 29th August

Here is an image taken last week, before the rush, of part of our stand down at Rutland Water. The winner of Gie's a brek /Geese a break , the draw for a holiday cottage to come and see our geese when they are here in the Winter was Rob and Lynsey Hall from Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire. The winner of the Islay monopoly set was J. Stenhouse from Edingale while the winners of the DVD, "Hebrides, Islands on the edge", were Nina Morris from Clithroe and M. Woodward from Cheltenham. The actual draw had just short of 1,000 folk taking part, 996 entries in actual fact, with quite a few from overseas participating as well!

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Wednesday 28th August

Last night was the the monthly meeting of the famous Islay bird nerds and we all met up at Gruinart to help release the Shelducks which Paul Graham had rescued back on the 16th of June down at Machir Bay. In the mean time Margaret has fed them and looked after them with all 7 being released. The ungrateful little sods just flew off up Loch Gruinart a short distance, one remained in the pool, swimming around and preening itself. Hope they were not looking for someone to feed them this morning! Today, James had a Sparrowhawk on the reserve at Gruinart and this afternoon James counted 22 Blackwits flying down Loch Indaal

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Tuesday 27th August

Jim Dickson had been over from the mainland today and kindly sent through this image which he took of the Wryneck, yes it is still here and in the same location... Peter today had a pr of Little Grebe on Loch Skerrols feeding their well grown youngster. Yesterday, Tom and Jo had seen a Peregrine, 3 Whitethroat, Tree Pipit and 2 Crossbill at Cluanach. Later on up at Sanaigmore, they saw 3 recently fledged Ringed Plover along with an adult, also there were a flock of 21 Twite and out in the bay, 63 Shag. Today they had seen the Wryneck as had Becky, 3 Whitethroat seen there too, at the Airport, a Peregrine was present, while up at "smelly corner", 77 Ringed Plover, 172 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling and 13 Barwits were noted. This evening they saw a White tailed Sea Eagle coming off the merse at Bridgend and flying inland.

Monday 26 August 2013

Monday 26th August

Yesterday Bob carried out a count from Bowmore out to Gartbreck, with the scores on the doors being as follows, 3 Shag, 956 Greylag, 6 Mallard, 2 GBB Gull, 60 Herring Gull, 25 C. Gull, 2 BH Gull, 92 Oystercatcher, 55 Curlew, 121 Barwits, 8 Redshank, 60 Dunlin, 2 Blackwits, 12 Ringed Plover, 1 Snipe and 5 Heron. A high count for the Greylags! Later on over at Gortan, Bob had 130 Dunlin, 65 Ringed Plover and 10 Turnstone. Today, Bob had gone down to the Oa along with Peter and Pia and found the Wryneck in the same location along with 4 Mistle Thrush, some Wheatear, Whinchats and Stonechats too. It's that time of the month again, tomorrow night at 7pm the Bird nerds will be meeting up at the old steading at Gruinart Farm, to go down on to see what is on Loch Gruinart, may be see you there...

Sunday 25 August 2013

Sunday 25th August

Today Martin had been down on the Oa,  and taken in a walk down to Port an Eas, several White Wagtails seen along with Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear, but his top bird was a Wryneck, the last was seen over at Kildalton in 1927!!! Visiting birder Rob had an Osprey over Loch Indaal, a ringtail Hen Harrier close to Loch Gorm, an Otter up at Sanaigmore, Chough up behind Machir Bay, a great start to their week. Tom and Jo today had seen a Grey Plover at Neriby fly down toward Loch Indaal. At Mulindry, they had 1 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff and 5 Lapwing, down at Bridgend they had 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 7 Wigeon. Along out on a far tide from "smelly corner", 28 Red breasted Merganser, 48 Teal, 1 RTD, 10 Heron, 157 Oystercatcher, 6 Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin, 127 Curlew, 24 Barwits, 1 Blackwit and 12 Redshank. At Bowmore, they had a count of 51 Eider. Also today, Peter had an Osprey over at Gruinart and later on possibly the same bird as Rob had at Loch Indaal. From the visitor centre at Gruinart, 2 Whoopers  were seen, with another pair at the top of Loch Indaal as well as a solitary Barnacle Goose there too. At Ardnave, 36 Chough were seen, and also a count of 20 Hooded Crows on the reserve at Gruinart. 

Saturday 24 August 2013

Saturday 24th August

Tom & Jo are back over for a few days again. Coming over on the ferry yesterday they had 9 Manx Shearwater, 2 Fulmar, over 70 Gannet, 24 Shag, 1 Arctic Skua,17 Kiitiwake, 1 Puffling,  over 420 Guillemot including 160 of this year's young, 40 Razorbill and 20 Black Guillemot. Today at Kilnave they had 3 Barwits, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Whinchat, 5 Wheatear, 1 Whitethroat and a mixed flock of  80+ Linnet and 25+ Twite. Up at the old Lobster ponds on Ardnave their count was 85 Ringed Plover, 28 Dunlin, 13 Sanderling, 2 Barwits, 1 Turnstone and 16 Twite. 

Friday 23 August 2013

Friday 23rd August

Good friend Charles, looked in earlier this evening before heading South tomorrow after his holidays, one day last week he saw an Osprey carrying a fish over Loch Indaal...Bet he was envious as he loves fishing when he is here!!! Yesterday, Natalie had done a count on Loch Indaal, her tally was as follows, 3 Shag, 11 Heron, 11 Eider, 22 Greylag, 263 Oystercatcher, 87 Ringed Plover, 20 Sanderling, 235 Dunlin, 55 Barwits, 326 Curlew, 87 Redshank, 142 BH Gulls, 116 Common Gull, 417 Herring Gull, 8 GBB Gull, 1 Osprey, 2 Hen Harrier all on Loch Gruinart. On Ardnave Loch there were 7 Tufted Duck and 5 Mute Swans.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Thursday 22nd August

Martin from Skye yesterday had seen a male Hen Harrier out quartering over the North side of Loch Gorm, 3 Whimbrel in the fields at Gruinart and heard a further 2 calling while up at Ardnave. Round at Ballinaby, we had 20 Barwits this morning. Today Bob and his brother in law Pat had been over to Jura.  A great day was had, seeing a Short eared Owl, ringtail Hen Harrier, 1 White tailed Sea Eagle,  2 Golden Eagles and a total of 20 Buzzards.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Wednesday 21st August

Bob yesterday had walked round Ardnave Point and had seen the following birds, 4 Barwits, 20 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 50 Ringed Plover, 8 Turnstone, a flock of 45 Chough flying around, several small groups of Linnet and Twite. On Ardnave Loch itself, Tufted Duck and a Mute Swan along with 4 cygnets. On the way down the road, 2 Wheatear and 6 Stonechats were seen. Down over the flats at Gruinart, Bob counted 250 Greylags. Today, about a mile South of Bowmore, we had an immature Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of us, further on over the moor before Duich, a young Golden Eagle was out hunting over the moor, not that far off the road. Bob's brother in law who is over for a few days had a White tailed Sea Eagle over at Lagavulin this afternoon.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Tuesday 20th August

Thanks to Mary who has run the blog over the past few days for me while I have been down at the Birdfair at Rutland Water. Our stand was even busier than ever... The five of us, Andy, Bob, Dave, James and myself were kept busy along with Dave's sister, Dot, Long John, John A., John T., Karen and Danny who all came along to help us out to make all our efforts worthwhile. Thanks should also be given to the Distilleries for their assistance, Calmac for ferry tickets, Margaret for all the shortbread, Mick Durham, Gordon Yates, Danny Arnold, John Anderson, Michael Anderson, Ken Willets, Bruichladdich Distillery for allowing us to use their images. All a great help to us, much appreciated, all a great credit to Islay and Jura...... On the bird front, birds seen included were Hobby, Green Woodpecker, Great spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Kingfisher (Paul Watchorn had seen 2 on his stream, but not seen by us!), Little Egret, Greenshank, Ruff, numerous Woodpigeon,  some of which are not that common to Islay. Off the ferry last night James had 2 Arctic Skua as we came up the Sound of Islay. Louise yesterday had 8 different Buzzards between Feolin and Gatehouse on Jura on her way home!

Sunday 18 August 2013

Sunday 18th August

Not too much to report today. The strong onshore wind brought gannets in close at claddach for great views. There are lots of successful herring gulls in Portnahaven, it seems there's a young one on every other chimney begging for food!

Saturday 17 August 2013

Saturday 17th August

Spoke too soon, Ian isn't back for a couple of days! Was out and about today in the heavy rain showers and wind, but between the showers it was still warm. I saw a solitary greenfinch on the beach at Bruichladdich, taking shelter maybe. Along at Carn 2 cormorants were up on the rocks, preening. This evening I went to the Ryan Hock memorial rowing competition at Port Charlotte. Great attendance and a great night. As the evening closed in we saw the large rookery come to life as a hundred or more rooks gathered for the night.

Friday 16 August 2013

Friday 16th August

Lovely day here today, what a difference from yesterday! We were out putting up the electric fence in the floods in front of the hides. While we were working we spooked a number of birds, including lapwing, a pair of mute swans with 3 large cygnets, three snipe, and two birders from the hide. In the woods I could hear willow warblers calling and sedge warblers. In the silage fields that were cut recently there are huge flocks of starlings. Ian's back 'on duty' tomorrow so it will be back to normal then!

Thursday 15 August 2013

Thursday 15th August

Very wet here today so not too much to report. I was walking from Bowmore to the recycling area and counted 9blackbirds together in a cut silage field. Between showers a sparrowhawk broke cover and flew along the gorse bushes, spooking a few meadowpipits as it went.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Wednesday 14th August

Well, Ian is on his way south to the Bird Fair and he has left the blog to be filled by me, so excuses in advance for any spelling mistakes! On Tuesday at the RSPB guided walk on the Oa Emily had a few sightings: twite, reed bunting, over 20 raven together in a flock, a pair of chough, peregrine, juvenile wheatear, stonechat and whinchat. She also saw a red deer stag with freshly stripped velvet, among the first of the year and a sure sign of Autumn approaching. Today at the south hide on Loch Gruinart Emily spotted greenshank, blacktailed godwit, snipe and linnet. Also, two ring-tailed hen harriers hunting along the bunds.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Tuesday 13th August

Visiting birder Johnathan had a great sighting of a White tailed Sea Eagle over towards Bunnahabhain today, I heard late last night that another one had been seen over the top of Loch Gruinart yesterday. Today down at Easter Ellister, Mary had a Cuckoo, her first for some time. This evening while out on her Tom's fishing boat, they had a couple of GBB Gulls begging to be fed along with a LBB Gull. The LBB Gull had the better staing power over the GBB Gulls! Got the van all packed up with all the goodies for the Birdfair, so better go and pack some clothes myself and mind and take it with me in the morning!!! 

Monday 12 August 2013

Monday 12th August

Please note the date, "The Glorious Twelfth". What did James  see on the reserve at Gruinart, you guessed it, 2 Red Grouse. Also present were 2 Hen Harriers and a Sparrowhawk... Forgot to say yesterday, that we saw a Bullfinch as we came through the woods at Bridgend! Weather here has been showery today, although this evening I managed a quick turn out and cut the most of the grass, another job done before heading South...

Sunday 11 August 2013

Sunday 11th August

This morning, Bob had a female Sparrowhawk zap a Blackbird in his garden. The other day up in the garden at the top of the hill there were 9 Song Thrushes out prodding around on the lawn looking for worms. On the bird table this afternoon, a young Robin was casing the bird table for future forays when hungry....Spent some time with James later on this afternoon, checking that we have covered all angles for our trip down to the Bird Fair at Rutland. Just 3 jobs to do tomorrow and  on Tuesday and we should be all ready for the off on Wednesday morning. So if you are going to the Bird Fair next weekend, come round to the Islay stand where you can get a taste of Islay hospitality. The main raffle prize this year will be a cottage for 4 to come and visit while our geese are here with Calmac providing free travel over to Islay from Kennacraig, this will be drawn on Sunday afternoon. We will also be holding a smaller daily draws with Maramedia kindly giving us a couple of copies of the first program of the recent "Hebrides, Island on the edge" and also C & E Roy has given us "Islay monopoly" for someone else to win, so make sure to come along and enter...

Saturday 10 August 2013

Saturday 10th August

Another changeover day in the cottages, just waiting on new arrivals to come once the ferry arrives shortly in Port Ellen... Today Mark had seen the following birds on the reserve at the Oa, 10 Curlew, Red throated Diver, ringtail Hen Harrier, Tufted Duck, Redpoll, Linnet along with "lots of Ravens and Greylags"...

Friday 9 August 2013

Friday 9th August

Think I spoke too quick about seeing a Hedgehog last night, as I saw 3 dead ones today on the road between Blackrock and Bridgend. The second had also been seen by a Buzzard as well, and it took off from the road carrying the said hedgehog in its' talons. Yesterday was our local annual Agricultural Show, the weather was good, just the odd spot of rain, a good crowd came along which all helps to cover all the expenses of the show. No doubt the "Dance" in the evening would also help bring in more money to the coffers...Debbie Jackson who had recently been over on Islay had seen a male Hen Harrier down towards Claggain Bay and also 2 ringtails on her way up to Sanaigmore. I hear that there were no successful breeding Hen Harriers in England this year.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Thursday 8th August

Today Dave had a Greenshank down on the reserve on the Oa. Yesterday Mary had noticed that the flock of Starlings round Portnahaven appears to be increasing in number...Walking along the road between Ballymeanach and Portnahaven, Mary had Willow Warblers calling, Sedge Warblers seen in the verges, Grasshopper Warblers singing away and also a perched Raven calling away as well!!! Later on along the strand towards Uiskentuie, 2 Chough were seen and also a Sparrowhawk close to the office at Gruinart. On the road itself, there were quite a lot of Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails. Coming home the other evening, there were some frogs hopping about on the road itself...and a hedgehog on the verge after Sunderland, we have not seen one for a while....

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Wednesday 7th August

Bob was on the bus going over to Bowmore this morning and just before the Auction market at Bridgend, a Sparrowhawk flew in off the top of Loch Indaal and almost struck the bus.... Clark heard a late Corncrake calling down in the reedbed  towards Machir Bay this afternoon. Down on the reserve at the Oa today Dave had a Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Peregrine and Golden Eagle as well as 2 Chough and 3 Whinchat. Another glorious day with the weather here again after a doubtful start...

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Tuesday 6th August

Another good day in out here, on the "Islands on the edge", the odd wee scuff of rain but not a lot... Mark down on the Oa had seen 2 Golden Plover on the silage aftermath at Upper Killeyan, there were also 25 Twite present too. On the guided walk there this morning, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Chough and a Golden Eagle were seen, all common to us to but many folk would give their back teeth to see them.....

Monday 5 August 2013

Monday 5th August

Just spent a few moments having a look at other birding blogs round the country, and after doing that, a lack of  bird sightings seems to be a common theme... it is just that time of year..I had a ringtail Hen Harrier down close to Foreland this morning. Here at home this afternoon, 2 Chough flew overhead calling away as ever. I had not seen them lately, but good to see and hear them back!

Sunday 4 August 2013

Sunday 4th August

No entry last night I hear you all say, well yesterday was a long day, it started early and just kept going until it was all done and in between time managed to clean the cottages between guests and meet and greet them when they arrived, think I should bet paid by the hour, and is Saturday  overtime as well?? Today has been another busy day, today with the effort being, sitting on my beam end cutting the grass around the cottages. Net result, no birds tonight for the blog either apart seeing 28 Greylags on the silage aftermath at Ballinaby. In the adjacent field there is a scarecrow, or should it be called a scaregoose!!!Managed to get a few more wee jobs done for Rutland too, all falling in place, a bit like a jigsaw in some ways.

Friday 2 August 2013

Friday 2nd August

Just at tea time, the skies blackened and then the thunderstorm came,  along with a good dollop of rain, the best part of half an inch in half an hour, glad I was inside.... Megan the old dog just slept through it all!!! Visitors ended up on a high earlier today, seeing a Golden Eagle, yesterday they had a ringtail Hen Harrier. Another visitor who is over doing a spot of fishing had seen a Seal down at Portnahaven earlier this week, with a 5- 6 lb fish in his mouth, bet Cliff was rather envious! The last day or two I have been kept out of mischief, getting my head round "things", getting the liquid supplies together from the Distilleries ready for our foray down to Rutland and the Bird Fair. Today I was over at Islay Studios picking up some images that Mark has been doing for us, all looking good. Some of the images are by folk who have kindly allowed them to be used to promote Islay, a special thanks to you all.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Thursday 1st August

Yes, the rainfall certainly was dry for the month, a mere 2" in total, and according to the official weather forecast, high record temperatures for Islay for July. Today it has been different, another month you may well say, but almost 0.5" so far and the day is not through yet...Yesterday some sightings through from James and Mary from the reserve at Gruinart... A Water Rail was seen, later on a Corncrake as it crossed over the track leading down to the old hide. 2 Peregrines were spooking the waders, mainly Redshank and Lapwing but 2 Greenshank were spotted there too... James also had 2 Hen Harriers on the reserve . A Lizard was seen out on the footpath at Gruinart too, as had been an Adder earlier on!!! Mary also was saying that she has been seeing more Willow Warblers lately down at Portnahaven, plus the fact that they are more vocal of late!!