Thursday 31 October 2013

Thursday 31st October

Due to technical issues I am Blogging tonite. While Ian tries to shake the spooks out of his computer. A few sightings from Bob today, birding between the heavy rain showers. A Merlin and 2 Grey Wagtails at Duich and a large flock of 320 White Fronted geese at Newton.
Some records from the Nature Trek group bird watching on the Island for the last few days: Loch Indaal -6 Great Northern Divers, 5 Red Throated Divers, 6 Slavonian Grebes and about 100 Scaup. Ardnave - Peregrine, 32 Chough, 13 Snow Buntings and a White Tailed Eagle. Bridgend Woods- Tawny Owl. Bowmore- 1 male Long Tailed Duck. The Oa- 200 Twite, 1 male Brambling, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier and a Snow Bunting.
Jura- 3 White Tailed Eagles, 1 Golden Eagle, Merlin, 5 Hen Harriers, 4 Great Northern Divers, 15 Whooper Swans and a female Otter with 2 cub.
There is thunder and lightening now so I think I will publish this post.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Wednesday 30th October

The RAFOS team had been out and about around Islay yesterday, a White tailed Sea Eagle was seen flying over Claggain Bay. While they were doing the farmland Bird survey down on the Oa, a Sparrowhawk put up a couple of flocks with over 100 Twite in each lot. 40 Chough were noted up at Ardnave while a Blackcap was seen back home in the trees in front of the cottages. They also commented on seeing our large flocks of Geese, not only on the ground, but also the large numbers in the air too. Gordon and Pauline had been over at Bunnahabhain this morning and had seen an adult WTSE flying over on the Jura side of the Sound of Islay. Whilst they were there, an Otter was seen and 70 Redwing were counted flying South down the Sound. Earlier on they had a Grey Wagtail "fighting" against its' own reflection on the window of their cottage in Port Charlotte!

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Tuesday 29th October

Latish entry again, no excuse really but it was bird nerds meeting, with 12 folk coming along, including 3 visitors. Yesterday, RAFOS highlights included a Merlin seen off the High road above Glenegedale Lots, a flock of 98 Scaup at Blackrock, Peregrine over the back of Machir Bay (? possibly the same bird that Ed had seen), and 2 Black Guillemot at Claggan Bay. Peter had 22 Common Scoter off Bruichladdich yesterday. One of the retrap Barnies that Steve had yesterday was initially rung 13 Years ago! Ed had a pr of Golden Eagles out on the West coast today, Emily had a ringtail Hen Harrier on the Oa walk this morning, George counted 40 Common Scoter on Loch Indaal today off Bruichladdich. Gordon and Pauline had counted 60 Twite, a Merlin and a Sparrowhawk up at Ardnave. At Bruichladdich they saw 20 Turnstone.

Monday 28 October 2013

Monday 28th October

Forgot to mention last night that I had to empty the rain gauge out as it was full, normally it can hold the rainfall for the month but not the case this October...Highlights from the RAFOS group from yesterday included seeing a flock of around 200 Golden Plover, a Merlin and also a pr of Hen Harriers. Yesterday afternoon along at Rock Mountain we saw 8 Collared Doves together and this morning we had a 20 Redwing in the willows just on the edge of the reserve at Gruinart. This morning, Steve Percival shot the cannon nets and "caught" some Barnies, so James did a quick phone round to get helpers to come along. Job was all done by 1pm with 118 geese rung and recorded and also 2 recaught birds from previous years. Ed Burrell who has just come to carry some work with the Whitefronts over the next few months got a quick introduction to us all!!! Later on Ed was down on the Oa and had a Hen Harrier there and also a Merlin. Gordon and Pauline are back over for the week and had been out and about today. Loch Skerrols had 40 Mute Swans and 2 Whoopers flew in while they were there, 7 Whoopers were seen coming in to Gruinart with another 7 seen flying out over Port Ellen. Down close to the Airport, a male Hen Harrier was seen as was a Sparrowhawk. At Ardtalla, 100 Siskin were seen and finally at Gearach, 80 Redwing and 20 Fieldfare were present.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Sunday 27th October

The weather over  here today has not been the best with a lot of heavy squally rain showers around, with the sea boiling away, the waves crashing over the rocks at Coull Point and further round at Saligo were really impressive!!! Back on Thursday, James counted 190 Redwings on the reserve at Gruinart. On Friday, he had a goose count, with the tally being 22,755 Barnies, 467 Whitefronts, 376 Greylags and a Canada Goose, hutchinsii sp. Visiting birder Angela saw the Red backed Shrike on Friday and again yesterday, still holding the same area close to Gruinart Farm. Friday evening, Emily had saw a Tawny Owl over at Gruinart and yesterday she had a Grey Wagtail over at Bridgend Woods sheltering from the rain!!! Some of the RAFOS group had seen a Golden Eagle out over the crag behind Machir Bay early this morning.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Saturday 26th October

If the truth be told, this should be the entry for Sunday, but then again the clocks go back shortly, so you could argue the point that it was a Saturday entry (00.41 on the clock just now!) Yesterday, the Horwich Birders had seen a Common Tern, 1 Black throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe and 13 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal from Glenburn, just past Blackrock. Today, one of the RAFOS team who have just arrived had seen a Long Tailed Duck on Loch Indaal, off Bowmore, a good start to the week. The Horwich Birders, or rather Chris and Tony Johnson headed home today as did the Collinsons to Newtonhill just South of Aberdeen, thanks folks for your birds, and hopefully we will have other sets of "new " eyes this week on the look out for some birds for us!.

Friday 25 October 2013

Friday 25th October

Just as well we manage to keep a few birds in reserve for you, as today the weather has not been great.... Some of our contributors, Danny and also Sheila Bancroft headed home today, so thanks for their birds while they were here. The Horwich birders yesterday had seen  12 Whoopers on Loch Gorm, and then seen 12 take off from Gruinart and head away. On Traigh Baille Aonghais up past Killinallan they had a total of 72 Sanderling, and also 92 Ringed Plover. Whilst parking up at the gate at Killanallan they saw a pr of Stonechats there. Up at Gortantoid, 2 Wrens, 2 Robins, 3 Reed Buntings, 2 Blackbirds were seen, as was a Peregrine which flew over low down and then headed off to the hills!Yesterday was the first day that they had not seen any Otters... The Red backed shrike had been seen again at Gruinart. Down on the Oa, Dave had seen a juv WTSE scaring the Geese present. Also on the reserve there were 2 Golden Eagles, Merlin, Buzzard and Hen Harrier. Dave had a count of 400 Whitefronts  with Twite numbers up to 420. other birds seen yesterday included 12 Redwing and 7 Whoopers. The Collinsons had seen 7 Pale bellied Brents down at Bowore today. The birders over with Naturetrek had seen 2 WTSE off Ardnave today and a Garganey amongst the Teal from the hide at Gruinart. Finally off the pier at Bruichladdich, some Common Scoters were seen but no sign of the Surf Scoter.
If you around on Tuesday evening, the "Islay bird nerds" will be meeting up, for their monthly meet, at the Visitor centre at Gruinart at 7.30pm. So if you are over, come along and have a blether, all welcome. 

Thursday 24 October 2013

Thursday 24th October

Yesterday, the Horwich birders saw a male Hen Harrier down behind the coalyard at Gortan and later on a Sparrowhawk flew across the Glen road. Loch Allen proved quiet but there were a few Redwings around. Earlier on around 9.30am they had counted 22 Whoopers on Loch Gorm with 40 flying South from Loch Gorm as well. They also counted a further 18 in the fields close to Gorm. In the early evening they counted 25 on Loch Gorm and 8 flying South from there. Other visitors yesterday had a Surf Scoter at Loch Gruinart, 5 Snow Buntings at Ardnave with a WTSE flying over towards Nave Island. At the top of Loch Indaal today, Danny had 80 Wigeon, 2 Red breasted Merganser and 16 Pale bellied Brent Geese.The Collinsons had seen a Golden Eagle down on the Oa along with several groups of Redwings. Here at home, 30 Fieldfare flew over at the back of lunchtime.. Peter had been over at Gruinart today and counted 320 Wigeon, 25 Pintail, 55 Red breasted Merganser along with 29 Pale bellied Brent Geese. The Bancrofts had seen 11 Whoopers flying South down Loch Idaal, while another 16 were seen arriving at Gruinart by David and Jane Griffiths to the annoyance of 2 Mute Swans already there! 

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Wednesday 23rd October

A few sightings through from last week to start with, George Newall had 150 Golden Plover down Machir Bay, Andy Robinson saw a juv WTSE down close to Kintra, it was even walking along the beach there! Mary on Monday had an Arctic Tern at Uiskentuie on Monday. Yesterday, the Horwich birders had a GND flying up Loch Gruinart, later on a further 2 were seen at Traigh Nostaig, with a flock of at least 60 Twite seen there too while in the sea there, there were 2 Otters having a bit of a squabble!!. They had 3 Snow Buntings in the dunes behind Ardnave Point. Coming back down from Ardnave, they had seen the Red breasted Shrike at Gruinart Farm. From the hide there was a Peregrine putting up the Teal and Lapwings from the floods, they also saw a Blackwit from the hide as well. Today there have been quite a few Whoopers coming and going, James counted 64 coming in to Loch Gruinart, Malcolm had 30 flying South down Loch Indaal , we had 19 coming to land at Rockside late afternoon. James was saying that there were more Whitefronts arriving today as well. The Bancrofts awoke to the Red Deer roaring away, and headed over to Jura where they had 3 Mute Swan, 3 Buzzards, several Pheasants, Hooded Crows, Chaffinches, Redwing all between Feolin and Craighouse and also a Red breasted Merganser at Small Isles Bay. Back on Islay, they spotted a Merlin down close to the airport. Finally, Clan Collinson had seen 2 Pinkies amongst the other geese at the top of Loch Indaal. They too had the Red breasted Shrike today, so it is still around!

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Tuesday 22nd October

Martin saw the Red backed Shrike up at Gruinart today. Some sightings from yesterday now. The Horwich birders had at least 12 Slavonian Grebes along with flocks of Eider and Scaup on the top end of Loch Indaal. They also saw a male Goldeneye, 7 Pale bellied Brent and 3 Turnstone  there as well. Further on, down past Ardbeg they had seen an adult White tailed Sea Eagle and a male Yellowhammer close to Kildalton. There was an Otter seen in Ardlistillery Bay. Danny had been over that way as well and had a couple of flocks of Fieldfares, each with around 200 birds in each one. Along close to Sunderland Farm there were 8 Whoopers. Young Peter's father, Martin had heard a Siberian Chiffchaff  in the wood, Peter had a count of 21 Chough out over the dunes behind Machir Bay and 7 Linnets and some Twite. Later on, a walk at Ardnave had a Bonxie being seen, 5 Cormorant, a Gannet and a couple of Eiders offshore. On the shore there was a large number of Barnies, 3 Snow Buntings were noted flying over the fields there too, with a further count of 46 Chough. Team Bancroft today had 60 Fieldfare down at Eater Ellister, and also had seen Mistle Thrushes, Song Thrushes, Redwing and Fieldfare all on the Rhinns. They also commented on hearing the Red Deer stags roaring away.
Before I forget, watch BBC1 tomorrow night at 9pm, the final episode of the "Great British Year" and it is covering Autumn, and I believe there is some footage from Islay....

Monday 21 October 2013

Monday 21st October

This is a more sensible time of the day to write the blog !!! Enough said... Made a quick dash over to Gruinart around midday and yes, got the Red backed Shrike, there was also a Blackcap there too. The number of times you hear of folk going to see a bird and missing it....Yesterday our Horwich friends had  a GND on Machir Bay, and in front of the hide at Gruinart a Blackwit  and then a ringtail Hen Harrier flew past, they also managed to see the Shrike too.Young Peter had 4 Sanderling down on Machir Bay along with 20 Ringed Plover and he also had a male Hen Harrier on his way down there. Yesterday, Mary McGregor's sister or rather Mary Redman's sister (cos Mary got married on Saturday) had a WTSE down at Claddach on her Granny's croft close to Portnahaven. Mary herself had a Wheatear at St Kiaran's church, between Port Charlotte and Bruichladdich and also she had a Barn Owl in Portnahaven in the evening. The Bancroft team had a male Hen Harrier down at Easter Ellister this morning. Young Peter and his Dad had a male Blackcap and a Brambling here in the wood this morning.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Sunday 20th October

Sorry folks, it has been one of those days, what with folk dropping in for a welcome natter this afternoon and just as I was about to do the blog, another friend came in and, well we have a good catch up of events on and off Islay, looking at the clock it is almost time for Monday's entry!!! Right then, here we go.. Yes, the Red backed Shrike has been seen again over at Gruinart by visitors as well as some locals too. Visitors yesterday had seen 40 Chough up at Ardnave, the Horwich Birders had another 18 early yesterday morning here over the dunes at the back of Machir Bay, they also had the WTSE up on the top of Loch Indaal, a male Hen Harrier as they headed up to Sanaigmore and another round Loch Gorm. They counted 70 Twite in a flock at Sanaigmore as well as seeing a Sparrowhawk there too. The North end of Machir Bay held 53 Ringed Plover and 6 Sanderling and out in the Bay itself, 2 GND. Over at Loch Tallant, there were 80 Fieldfare along with some Mistle Thrushes and a few Redwing. They also had seen a Treecreeper in the wood back where they are staying. Today after checking out the Shrike, Peter had headed over to Gortantoid, on the way there he had 2 Greenshank on Loch Gruinart as well as a WTSE. Highlights at Gortantoid included 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blackcap and a Treecreeper. The Bancroft group had a Golden Eagle down on the Rhinns this morning, 4 Curlew at Bruichladich with a charm of Goldfinches spotted at Octomore. Young Peter Collinson had a Swallow this morning here over the wood, a flock of 50 Redwings, heard a Fieldfare, 16 Twite, the wood itself had lots of Chaffinches and Goldfinches, 6 Robins, 5 Blackbirds, 21 Jackdaws and further out towards the crag 40 Rock Doves. Going over to Gruinart, a male Hen Harrier was spotted, at Gruinart, Barnacle Geese galore, 31 Whitefronts, 50 Shelduck, 2 Barwits, and a Peregrine while he was going round the moorland trail. The top of Loch Indaal held even more Barnies.. and best still 2 different WTSE, one perched was an adult bird, the other which was flying was an immature bird.  A great start to Peter's stay with Whitefronts, WTSE & Twite all now added to his list.  Should really be a Monday entry now....

Saturday 19 October 2013

Saturday 19th October

James kindly sent this image taken today on the reserve at Gruinart of a juv Red backed Shrike. It showed quite well and has been seen by by quite a few of our local bird nerds, might even get a chance to get up there tomorrow, as today has been manic for a Saturday, changeover day again...Possibly only the third ever record for Islay...
Yesterday the Horwich birders had been at Loch Skerrols, and met in with Andrew and Jane! Birds seen there were 30 adult Mute Swan and 7 cygnets, 1 Wigeon, 1 Coot. On Loch Ballygrant, 2 Mute Swan and 2 Whoopers. On Loch Indaal they saw 2 Slavonian Grebe along with a flock of  Scaup, there was also a flock of Eider present there too. Coming home, they had a male Hen Harrier on the flats at Gruinart.
Today, Danny had a Snow Bunting up at Ardnave and Sharon Bancroft and her friends saw a Golden Eagle over close to Coal Ila Distillery, minds me of my time spent on holidays way back at Coal Ila! They also had Guillemots in Bowmore Harbour and finally 2 Buzzards at Easter Ellister.
Thanks to Andrew and Jane for their sightings over this past week, as they are now away back home.

Friday 18 October 2013

Friday 18th October

Yesterday our Horwich birders had been out and about. On their way over to Gruinart they had at the former Kilchoman school, on the hawthorn berries 12 Redwing along with 12 Blackbirds (migrant type), all gorging themselves on the available food.  Up at Bun an Uillt, they saw 2 Greenshank, from the new hide at Gruinart, a female Sparrowhawk, and from the old hide a ringtail Hen Harrier. Also seen from there were 1 Ruff, 2 Snipe, and many Teal, Wigeon and Lapwing. From the viewing platform a Swallow was hawking  along the trees.  Later on, off Ardnave Point, a GND was spotted and several groups of Gannets were seen flying past.  6 Turnstone were seen on the rocks, and they even were fortunate to watch an Otter loafing about for the best part of an hour...Back down at the farm steading at Ardnave, a group of 40 Golden Plovers were present. Earlier on in the morning while it was still raining, they did some birding from the shelter of their cottage and saw at least 65 Reed Buntings coming in to shelter in the trees from the squally showers. Finally at Ballinaby they had a Whitefront with a collar on reading 3HX, possibly one that was "collared" there last winter. Dave down on the Oa, has seen some of the ones that were fitted with collars last Spring down there again. Finally Andrew and Jane had seen an immature White tailed Sea Eagle up behind Bridgend being mobbed by Gulls as it flew over...

Thursday 17 October 2013

Thursday 18th October

Rather a lot of rain through the night, but it turned a not bad day once it cleared up... Yesterday afternoon, the Horwich birders had seen the following, 1 GND at Saligo  along with Black Guillemot, Guillemot, Shag and Eiders. Above Traigh Fleigien Beag were 90 Golden Plover and in the dunes behind were 2 groups of Twite on the grass, one tallied at 36, the other 12. Other visitors had told them of seeing Snow Buntings further up the coast from Saligo as well. Peter had a Sparrowhawk on his garden at Bruichladdich today and Bob saw his first Woodcock of the Autumn along with a few Snipe just up behind his house at Port Charlotte. Andrew and Jane had 8 Sanderling and 41 Ringed Plover down on Machir Bay, at Loch Gorm they had a male Goldeneye, pr of Tufted Duck and 8 Reed Buntings. They saw a Merlin opposite Kilchoman Distillery, a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Kestrel at Ballinaby and then a Peregrine at Grainel road end. Finally on the former distillery pond at Port Charlotte 2 Moorhen were present. Coming back home this evening we had a Barn Owl on the flats at Gruinart and another just before Sunderland Farm. There was also a reported sighting of an American Golden Plover down on Machir Bay by a visitor, but no more details apart from that. 

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Wednesday 16th October

The Horwich birders had a Swallow at Smelly corner this morning, down on the Rowans at Foreland they counted 20 MistleThrushes. On Loch Indaal, just after "Cash Kelly's" former house at Blaskrock, a male Goldeneye was  present with some Red breasted Mergansers. On the  River Sorn they had a Dipper and also a Grey Wagtail. Coming back along the top of Loch Indaal they had 6 Barwits and "hoards" of Barnies and also Wigeon. Along on the stubble below Rock Mountain, 4 Whoopers were present and a ringtail Hen Harrier was out over the pools along beside Loch Gorm. The "vols" at RSPB had been out on the Oa doing a "field survey" yesterday with their tally being 322 Twite, 24 Reed Bunting, 66 Linnet, 150 Starling, 14 Stonechat and a Yellowhammer. A Merlin and a Hen Harrier were also seen. Andrew and Jane today 9 Pale bellied Brent at Bowmore along with some Turnstone, at Craigens a Merlin, over the flats a ringtail. On the flats, 4 Pinkies and a leucistic Barnie. The floods held  2 Blackwit, 2 female Pintail, Shoveler, Teal and Snipe. James carried out a count late afternoon at Gruinart, his birds tallied up as 28,980 Barnies, 18 Pinkies and 1 Canada hutchinsii sp. Coming home this evening, we had a Barn Owl was sitting on a fence post at Ballinaby. 

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Tuesday 15th October

Ann and Noel Hands from Warwickshire who had been staying over on Jura last week sent some of their sightings through... On their last day, on their way down to the ferry they had 3 different Owls within 2 miles of each other. It started off with a Barn Owl, then a Short eared Owl and finally a Tawny Owl on a fence post at the side of the road. They had been over on Islay one day and had been down at Gruinart and had seen the WTSE putting the geese about, "a re run of the clip seen on the Hebrides, Islands on the edge"...The geese were put up again by a Peregrine and by the Eagles another time. On their way back to Jura they had 3 different male Hen Harriers.  Natalie and Emily had carried out a count on Loch Gruinart yesterday with their tally being as follows, 1 Cormorant, 3 Shag, 11 Heron, 19 Shelduck, 132 Wigeon, 18 Teal, 46 Mallard, 51 RB Merganser, 28 Pintail, 16 Shoveler, 182 Oystercatcher, 1 Ringed Plover, 231 Golden Plover, 86 Sanderling, 228 Dunlin, 84 Barwits, 216 Curlew, 9 Redshank, 28 Turnstone, 7 Greenshank, 87 BH Gulls, 70 Common Gulls, 172 Herring Gulls and 7 GBB Gulls. Early this morning Andrew and Jane had seen a Barn Owl and Fieldfare down at Portnahaven. Later on they had a walk round Ardnave with over 30 Twite seen, 15 Chough, 2 male Snow Buntings, 6 Yellowhammers (inc 3 males). Also seen were Great Tit, Stonechat, Goldfinch, and a female Merlin. Finally down close to Gruinart Farm they saw a Sparrowhawk and close to Port Charlotte a Peregrine. Peter, this morning had a young Golden Eagle being mobbed by a pr of Buzzards and a Raven on the High road just behind Bowmore and this evening there were 8 Pale bellied Brent on the shore at Bowmore. George had a Tufted  Duck on his ponds, a new tick for the ponds, and he also saw a Buzzard following the Barnies today....Visitors from Lancashire had a great sighting of 2 WTSE flying in the Sound of Islay as they came in to Port Askaig this afternoon. Been a great day, look at all those sightings....

Monday 14 October 2013

Monday 14th October

Another glorious day out on sunny Islay, and what a great sunset to finish the day off with... Lots of birds for you all to ogle at, better still you all say!! Last Thursday, Emily at Loch Gruinart had seen a Barn Owl along the flats at Gruinart, on Friday over on Jura, she had 2 Dippers on the Corran river. Yesterday she had been watching the White tailed Sea Eagle out over Loch Gruinart. Today it has still been around there all day, and taking 2 geese for eats....Emily had seen the leucistic Barwit out on the Loch, think that could be the same returning bird that has been seen in previous years! David and Brenda along with Peter Donaldson had seen a Raven over on Orsay island. Large flocks of Goldfinches, Twite and Chafiinches were seen at Gruinart, up at Ardnave they had 71 Golden Plover and on Ardnave Loch there were a pr of Dabchicks. Andrew and Jane yesterday had 12 Stonechats between Port Charlotte and Portnahaven. In Ballimony forest, Coal Tits, Goldcrest, Woodcock and Kestrel were seen.  Today on Loch Indaal from Blackrock, 10 Slavonian Grebe, 134 Golden plover, 12 Knot, Blackwits and over 350 Wigeon. River Sorn held a Dipper and a Grey Wagtail, Claggain strip Long tailed Tits were present and finally on Loch Skerrols, over 40 Mute Swan and a Dabchick. Today, James had a Golden Eagle over the reserve at Gruinart. A female Sparrowhawk was seen to take a Teal from in front of the hide. Later on out over the flats a male Hen Harrier was seen and from the hide 3 Blackwits, 2 Ruff and a Greenshank were seen.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Sunday 13th October

Last night just at the darkening before the light faded completely, Armin had an Otter over at Saligo Bay. Moments later, when it was dark he saw a shooting star in the sky, needless to say the camera was packed away.  Andrew and Jane are back over and had seen a couple of Whooper Swans along with some Whitefronts at Octomore, out on Loch Indaal they had seen 3 RTD. Also yesterday, David and Brenda from Yorkshire had been over on Jura and saw 2 Grey Wagtails up at Lagg. Back on Friday, James had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle over towards Port Askaig. Today, James had a Golden Eagle down on the Oa, back home later on, he had a Merlin and a Sparrowhawk. This morning, I went out to help Bob on his count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck with our tally being as follows, 6 Cormorant, 76 Shag, 6 Heron, 1500 Barnies, 400 Greylag, 8 Pale bellied Brent, 2 Whooper Swan, 27 Mallard, 36 Teal, 5 Wigeon, 3 Eider, 30 Red breasted Merganser, 25 GBB Gull, 80 Herring Gull, 100 Common Gull, 3 BH Gull, 25 Snipe, 51 Oystercatcher, 12 Curlew, 4 Barwits, 4 Redshank, 5 Dunlin, 4 Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover, 440 Golden Plover, 69 Lapwing. Bob counted 520 Wigeon all together at Gartmain and also 18 RB Merganser at Uiskentuie prior to meeting up. Also further out on Loch Indaal, there was a Black Guillemot. Peter had been up at Gruinart and the sky was full of Barnies. Other geese seen were a Canada hutchuinsii sp., 4 Pinkies and also 2 Whitefronts with collars. He also reported seeing some Swallows today. 

Saturday 12 October 2013

Saturday 12th October

Been a great day with the weather out here today, good for time of year, dry and sunny although still an edge to the air, time of year I suppose! Peter had seen the immature Sea Eagle "worrying" the Greylags on Loch Gorm again this morning! Earlier on, on the Rowans down at Foreland, Peter had 20 Redwings, some Fieldares, some Song Thrushes and a few Mistle Thrushes, all making the most of the berries on offer. Armin had a Buzzard being worried by some crows on his way over from the ferry at Port Askaig this afternoon.

Friday 11 October 2013

Friday 11th October

Yesterday, Peter had  stunning  male Hen Harrier out  over Loch Indaal near Bowmore. Then a wee bit further on, an immature White tailed Sea Eagle at the head of Loch Indaal. James had count of the geese at Gruinart yesterday as well, the scores on the doors were 36,040 Barnies, 474 Whitefronts, 5 Pinkfoots and a Canada hutchinsii sp. Other birds of note included 11 Blackwits, 14 Whoopers and a Golden Eagle. Today, visitors had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle having a go at the Geese on Loch Gorm. It tried several times but no joy. Earlier on, this morning a low flying jet flew over....On their way back to the cottages our visitors had a Merlin and above the wood, a Sparrowhawk flew past with a Peregrine sitting atop the crag late afternoon. At Gruinart this afternoon, Mary had a small flock of 15 Fieldfares. Yes, it's that time of year with it all kicking in.  

Thursday 10 October 2013

Thursday 10th October

Not so windy today and better still, it remained dry, all the same it was not as warm as the start of the week when I was out cutting the grass in short sleeves... As you might have gathered I have not heard much from anyone today, but at Rockside this morning amongst the Greylags there were some Barnies and a few Whitefronts as well. There were 4 Whoopers down there too the back of 8 o'clock this morning before they headed off to Ireland!
Before I forget, on the TV later this month on BBC1 on the 23rd of October at 9pm, the program, "The Great British Year" has some footage taken on Islay. The camera work on last night was first class... so try and remember to watch it when it comes on and I will try to remind you to tune in as well!

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Wednesday 10th October

Yes, as predicted, the geese arrived in numbers today.... James did a count at Gruinart at 5pm with his tally coming out at 31,570 Barnies, 300 Whitefronts, 9 Pink footed Geese and 2 Canada Geese hucthinsii sp. There also had been 17 Whooper Swans there today. From the old hide at Gruinart, Bob and George had 3 Hen Harriers, with the ringtail trying its best to get a duck, but with not much luck. They also had seen 3 Blackwits, a Pintail and a Pale bellied Brent Goose there as well. There were also around 4,000 Barnies present at the top of Loch Indaal. Malcolm had 7 Whoopers fly South down Loch Indaal, late afternoon.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Tuesday 8th October

Forgot to mention last night that Bob had seen Stonechats and Whinchats the other day when he was over on Jura. Also last Saturday, Martin and Helen from Liverpool had stayed overnight on Jura in their camper van and commented on the noise with the Red Deer now all calling away, as they are now starting to rut. Today the wind has started to move round a point or two, net result is that some more geese are to be seen. Mid afternnon, at Gruinart, Mary had counted 601 Barnies, 24 Pale bellied Brents and 3 Whitefronts. There had also been 23 Whoopers but they only touched down for an hour before heading on to Ireland! Bob just at daylight had heard Fieldfares flying overhead, later on down at Octomore there was a flock of over 200 Skylarks on the barley stubbles. Down at the lighthouse on Loch Indaal at Port Charlotte, a Sparrowhawk was out flying above the whin bushes there.
If you are around tomorrow afternoon at 4pm from the Visitor centre at Gruinart, there is a "Wader walk", no doubt there will be the odd goose and some ducks to be seen at the same time.....If the geese are coming in, it is a sight to be seen, a bit like Heathrow with all the planes coming in to land!

Monday 7 October 2013

Monday 7th October

Yesterday, down at the new hide at Gruinart, Bob had a male Peregrine sitting on a fence post watching all that was going on. Then a few moments later, a large female Peregrine swooped along the loch and put up 48 Redshank and 3 Dunlin. Later on at the head of Loch Indaal, Bob had 120 Pale bellied Brent and then down at Kintra, a Bonxie was seen. Finally back at Port Charlotte, a Swallow was present. Today, here at home, there was a Peregrine sitting up on the crag. Is it the same bird that keeps an eye out on the Rock Doves???

Sunday 6 October 2013

Sunday 6th October

Peter and Pia had been up to Gortantoid today, not a tremendous lot around, but their tally included 4 Wheatear, over 20 Pied Wagtail and a cracking male Hen Harrier. On the Gruinart flats , on the Craigens side, a flock of over 200 Greylags along with a large hybrid Greylag x Canada Goose! Mid afternoon, back down at home at Bruichladdich, Peter had 80 Pale bellied Brent flying South down Loch Indaal. James had done a quick look round the reserve at Gruinart and saw the following, 40 Pale bellied Brent, 84 Barnies, 3 Whitefronts, 322 Golden Plover, 465 Wigeon, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Blackwits, 1 Hen Harrier and 9 Pintail. Here at home mid morning there were around 45 Rock Doves in a flypast, and as I was speaking to some visitors up at the old church, some Chough flew past, noisy and nosey as ever, they sure are great characters ... Turn back the blog exactly 1 year and 20,000 Barnies had arrived at Gruinart, perhaps they will come later this week once the wind changes round a bit....

Saturday 5 October 2013

Saturday 5th October

Yesterday Carl had lots of Swallows hawking for food out on Loch Indaal out from Port Charlotte. Also yesterday, Peter had the return of the 5 Black Guillemots to the pier at Bruichladdich, after a long absence, but now showing off their winter plumage... Further out were 17 Common Scoter and 3 RTD. Today Peter had been up at Killinallan and had seen a Greenshank amongst the waders present including Curlews and Barwits. He also had seen a Wheatear over there too.  Later on, over Loch Gorm, Peter had 14 Whitefronts flying. Around midday we had 120 Barnies on Loch Gorm itself along with several hundred Greylags on the water as well. Early this evening, there was no sign of the Barnies on Loch Gorm, although the Greylags were still there, and a quick spin over to Gruinart, but no Barnies noticed there either, sheltering up behind the sea wall out of our view no doubt!

Friday 4 October 2013

Friday 4th October

Been a busy day down at the Auction market with a sheep sale on, with buyers in from the mainland. The regular buyers were present plus another 3 buyers who I cannot remember seeing before, all in all it all helped to make a good sale for those of us who had stock present. Back to the purpose of the blog then, Islay and its birds.... Bob had been out and about today and counted 156 Barnies over on the reserve at Gruinart, the Ruff was still present amongst the Lapwing. Coming over this way to Machir Bay, Bob noticed more Wheatear and Stonechats around, a Merlin and out over the sea, 21 Barnies on the wing. Sam and Garry had 9 Whitefronts at Gruinart today and also a Peregrine too. A ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Carrabus on their way to Gruinart and at the head of Loch Indaal they had 20 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Not just the farmers have had a good day!!!!

Thursday 3 October 2013

Thursday 3rd October

Forgot to mention last night that we had a charm of 35 Goldfinches in the wood here at home yesterday afternoon. Back on Sunday James had 14 Greenland Whitefronts fly over the reserve at Gruinart. Today, at Gruinart, there were 24 Barnies and 1 Whitefront. Garry and Sam had been over on Jura today, several ringtail Hen Harriers were seen and some Yellowhammers close to Keills on Jura. The rain today has hampered any thought of bird watching.....

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Wednesday 2nd October

Yesterday, Sam and Garry had been down the Port Ellen area and had headed out for a walk from Kintra, and while they were getting blown about in the wind, they managed to see a pod of 4 Bottle nosed Dolphins. Today up beside his house behind Port Charlotte, Bob had 2 Merlin, a Sparrowhawk and a male Hen Harrier. We had 3 separate Wheatears today, one at Saligo, another at Coull, with the final one being seen at the Coastguards. Earlier on we had a ringtail Hen Harrier , just before the turn off up to Craigens at Gruinart. The big influx of geese has not happened as of yet, but they won't be far away!

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Tuesday 1st October

Yesterday, Sam and Garry had been over at the Sound of Islay. Looking over towards Jura they spotted a couple of Buzzards, then a moment later a Golden Eagle came into view, and then to cap it all a White tailed Sea Eagle to put the icing on the cake. Later on in the water, they had an Otter! This morning we had a great sunrise, click on the link to the INHT and look at the image taken by Malcolm this morning! September is now behind us with the rainfall tallying through at 4.1", last year it over 6" if memory serves me right! Today Peter had 4 Guillemots close inshore at Bruichladdich, with 5 Common Scoter and a RTD further out. Here at home there were 3 Buzzards out above the crag first thing this morning. After breakfast, there were a few Swallows hawking along past the trees and this afternoon down at Rockside a Greenland Wheatear was present.