Friday 31 January 2014

Friday 31st January

Yesterday afternoon Peter had been down on Machir Bay for a walk with his dog and managed some bird watching too. On the tideline amongst the seaweed there were 5 Twite and a pr of Reed Buntings poking around with a Snipe taking off from there too. Further along the beach there were 20 Ringed Plover with 85 Curlew present up on the fields above the beach. On the negative side, Peter found 2 dead Razorbills and a dead Puffin on the beach which obviously had been washed up after the recent storms, the Puffin had a bright red beak. Thanks Peter for that, as the weather today has not been great, and certainly no good for bird watching unless you were looking art the birds eating away good style on your feeders!

Thursday 30 January 2014

Thursday 30th January

Today while out goose counting on the Oa, Bob saw a female Marsh Harrier having a tussle with a Buzzard below Upper Cragabus. Yesterday he had a Peregrine at Finlaggan and aslso a Goldeneye on the loch there.. He was also was telling me that there were 4 Hares out running about this afternoon in the fields joining his house, odd how they are not seen and then they reappear, it is not that they migrate or hibernate, they just are not to be seen as much! James did a Goose count on the reserve at Gruinart today with the tally being 3530 Barnies, 150 Greenland Whitefronts and 52 Greylags. Today Pia had seen the White tailed Sea Eagle over the raised beach between Gortan and and the spit towards Uiskentuie

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Wednesday 29th January

Some sightings through from yesterday, Amy who is a "long term" vol at Gruinart and the Oa had done walk along the trails at Gruionart with her tally coming through at 3 Wren, 6 Robin, 1 Dunnock, 1 Great Tit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Goldcrest, 6 Blackbird, 10 Fieldfare and 3 Mistle Thrush. David and Jane had 2 Golden Eagles up at Sanaigmore yesterday, with another 2 later on, possibly the same pair. Up behind Bridgend, they had a Merlin on their way home. George reported through to say that he only has been seeing the 2 juv. Whooper Swans of late on his ponds, no sign of the adult bird. On our way out to the Bird nerds last night we had a Barn Owl sitting on a fence post at the side of the road at Lyrabus, and on our way home another close to Grainel as we dropped James off. Last night was our "social" night out with 18 folk enjoying the evening at the Golden Dragon in Bowmore... No tales to tell from there! Today Malcolm had a 2nd yr Iceland Gull down at Portnahaven this morning and around midday an imm White Sea tailed Eagle out over the hill at Coultorsay

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Tuesday 28th January

A great day out here, no wind and better still no rain, but the high hills on Mull have got a dusting of snow on top of them.... Last Monday David and Jane Griffiths had a Golden Eagle out over Storakaig. Yesterday at Ardnave Loch, they had 15 Lapwing, 13 Oystercatcher, some Curlews, 3 Whoopers and 2 Mute Swans with "many Choughs" flying overhead. On their way home they had a ringtail Hen Harrier out quartering between between Bridgend and Bowmore. This morning on the reserve at Gruinart, James had 2 male Hen Harriers and also a Merlin.

Monday 27 January 2014

Monday 27th January

Forgot to mention last night that Dave Woods had 2 Golden Eagles as well as 4 Buzzards when he was out walking on the Big strand down at Kintra. Today, Peter had an adult Iceland Gull fly past down at Bruichladdich at lunchtime. Later on Peter counted 46 Pale belied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal, just out of Bruichladdich. Peter's gull, a new one as it was an adult bird. Weather not been as bad as was forecasted...say no more.

Sunday 26 January 2014

Sunday 26th January

Not been a great day for folk attempting to do the big garden birdwatch with squally showers coming out of nowhere. So, we did try our bit for the cause this morning when it was slightly better with our scores on the doors coming through out at 16 Pheasants, 2 Goldfinch, 26 Chaffinch, 2 Great Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 5 Blackbirds, 1 Robin and 3 House Sparrows. Mary had been out and about today and reported through to say there was a large flock of Gulls down at Port a'rhedline (down between Portnahaven and Claddach) and amongst the gulls, an Iceland gull was present. Over at Uiskentuie Mary had a Cormorant and on the low road just out of Bowmore, a male Hen Harrier was seen. Peter had braved the elements too today and had counted 120 Oystercatchers and 35 Curlew. He was also saying that there was no sign of the Iceland Gull there or the Glaucous at Bruichladdich. Wonder how many folk noticed the Blackie ewe along the strand with her newly born lamb? By the way the wind gusted a mere 51mph just after 2pm today on Mike's weather station and yes the rain guage here at home is alreafy over 7.5" for the month, yep, it's going to wetter than last month....

Saturday 25 January 2014

Saturday 25th January

Almost forgot, it was the night when we are supposed to remember Rabbie Burns, our famous Scottish poet, long and the short I have had had my evening meal now, with no haggis being consumed, time yet for a dram to toast Rabbie though... As you may have gathered another poor day for the birds and the blog, but James did see around 20 Golden Plovers as he came over here this afternoon. In this small group there were 2 birds with black bellies aleady, summer plumage...The forecast for through tonight is that the wind is to pick up and more rain to fall, what's new you may well ask?

Friday 24 January 2014

Friday 24th January

Trust that you were not hoping to find a long list of birds on tonight's entry, as the weather today has been rather dreich all day, and here at home home low cloud swirled about too, net result no birds, The "rain" was just a constant smurry dampness combined with the wind, net result a wetting rain. Sorry about that, and by the looks of the forecast, more of the same tomorrow... Think the big garden birdwatch this weekend could be a bit of "trying affair" compared to previous years!!

Thursday 23 January 2014

Thursday 23rd January

A bit of a late entry this evening, but better late than never... Dave sent through some sightings from down on the Oa. Yesterday he had a Carrion Crow amongst the Hooded Crows, the Golden eagles have been more active as of late while the Twite numbers are down to only 60.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Wednesday 22nd January

A quiet day on the bird front today... The Fulmars were back in again at the crag this morning, not many but they were there! George was telling me that the 3 Whoopers Swans are still around on his ponds. Bob was round at Kilchiaran this afternoon and watched a Golden Eagle having 3 attempts at a hare, by the way the hare kept ducking and diving and lived to see another day...To finish off with, it is a bit cooler outside now...

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Tuesday 21st January

After the weather being such a good day yesterday, well, today it went downhill rapidly, I even had to empty the rain guage out this morning as it was full, with over 5" of rain in so far for this month alone. Why do ducks have webbed feet, think we should possibly have webbed feet too... Fortunately I kept back some of Mary's sightings from last week. The highlights of a Farmland Birds survey carried out on Thursday included 31 Twite, 80 Chaffinch, 45 Skylark (individual birds rather than together), and a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard up towards Ardnave. Friday was the day for the Winter Thrush Survey covering both the trails at Gruinart, the tally covered everything, not just Thrushes, so here are Mary's figures...24 Blackbird, 16 Redwing, 2 Fieldfare, 15 Robin, 5 Dunnocks, 3 Wren, 5 Roe Deer, 7 Greenfinch, 1 Treecreeper, 2 Great Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 9 Reed Bunting and 2 male Bullfinches. Thanks Mary. Yesterday, here at home there was a flock of 150 Twite fly past when I was up at Shepherd's cottage

Monday 20 January 2014

Monday 20th January

Mary had carried her count out on Loch Gruinart on Wednesday, with her tally as follows. 4 GND, 1 Cormorant, 9 Shag, 1 Heron, 2 Pintail, 222 Shelduck, 152 Wigeon, 11 Mallard, 9 R b Merganser, 12 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 96 Oystercatcher, 20 Ringed Plover, 885 Golden Plover, 460 Lapwing, 346 Sanderling, 465 Dunlin, 222 Barwits, 229 Curlew,71 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 69 Turnstone, 7 Blackwits, 1 Dabchick, 2 Common Gulls, 82 Herring Gulls and 3 GBB Gulls. Ardnave Loch had 10 Whoopers, 4 Mute Swans, 1 Lapwing, 4 Oystercatcher, 27 Teal, 14 Goldeneye and 7 Mallard. The floods at Gruinart held 10 Mute, 7 Whoopers, 2 Gadwall, 77 Teal, 148 Teal, 3 Pintail, 22 Shoveler, 4 R b Merganser, 5 Heron, 37 Lapwing, 1 B H Gull, 4 Herring Gulls and 5 Dabchicks. Thanks Mary, busy day for you!Yesterday I had a ringtail Hen Harrier fly directly over, low down, over the garden at Shepherd's cottage, can I call it a garfden bird along with the Corncrake??? On my way down to meet up with Bob yesterday morning, I had a Merlin at Rockside,and a Peregrine down at Foreland. Coming back home later on, there were around 15 - 20 Blackbirds in the bushes/ trees at Foreland.

Sunday 19 January 2014

Sunday 19th January

well, as promised I managed to get out and get some birds today, the weather turned out better which helped too! So I went out and gave Bob a hand on his webs count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. The scores on the doors were as follows, 7 GND, 22 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 4 Heron, 80 Barnies, 7 Whitetfronts,7 Shelduck, 16 Mallard, 149 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 28 Eider, 7 Red breasted Merganssr, 4 Turnstone, 175 Curlew, 192 Oystercatcher, 8 Barwits, 2 Redshank, 22 Dunlin,88 Ringed Plover, 40 Lapwing, 9 GBB Gull, 80 Herring Gull and 25 Common Gulls. Bob told me that he too had seen the Scaup on Loch Indaal on Friday afternoon and had counted 130 in the raft, also there were 2 Slavonian Grebes. Earlier during the week while out on the Goose counts, at Eollabus, Bob had 60 Woodpigeon.

Saturday 18 January 2014

Saturday 18th January

Nothing much to report on the bird front today as I have been busy here at home today, in fact I have not been off the place all day, the rain set in late morning, so it was a great chance to get on with some indoor jobs that needed a start made on. Having said that Margaret did notice that there were a few Fulmars in along the front of the crag before the rain came. No promises, but I will try to get some birds tomorrow if the weather picks up, fingers crossed....

Friday 17 January 2014

Friday 17th January

Yesterday Malcolm had the Glaucous Gull down at Bruichladdich, it had been awol for 3 days.... Today down at Blackrock there was a flock of Scaup, not as many as in previous years. Along the road, infact on both sides of the road the flock of Barnacle geese were really close to the road and not really bothered about the passing traffic. Coming home and between Blackrock and Uiskentuie, a Merlin was perched on the dyke at the roadside.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Thursday 16th January

Forgot to mention last night that I had a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past when I was up at Shepherd's cottage speaking with the builders... Coming home last night, we had a Barn owl sitting on a fence post down close to Foreland. This morning, around 10am, Pia had a White tailed Sea Eagle soaring overhead while she was out with her dog, along from Gortan towards the spit, with the Eagle high up over the raised beach. Going round to Gruinart around the same time, we had a Kestrel, hunkered up in the gravel quarry at Coull. On our travels, we saw 3 Buzzards and another 2 over the wood outside Bushmills. We also had a Hooded Crow up past the old Kilchoman School. Back home again, and the Lapwing flock were out towards the War Graves again, and a couple of Chough flew past as well, can't they ever not fly past quietly? Bob around 3pm had the White tailed Sea eagle directly above his house.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Wednesday 15th January

Yesterday while walking back in from the Singing Sands over at Port Ellen, David and Jane Griffiths watched an Otter which was close by in the sea close to the shoreline. Tracey sent through the figures from the International Goose count carried out on Monday and Tuesday with tally being 41,951 Barnies and 5,329 Whitefronts. Thanks to Tracey and the team from SNH for sharing these figures. On his way home at lunchtime today, Bob had a second year White tailed Sea Eagle between Port Charlotte and his house. A quick look at the rain guage today showed that we have already had 3.5" of rain this month... say no more...

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Tuesday 14th January

This morning, Ed had a Common Crane over at Loch Skerrols. The geese were uneasy and Ed had a quick look around and saw the Crane flying South East... Bob had been out on the Ballygrant/ Keills run doing the Goose count today. At Esknish he saw a pr of Bullfinches, shortly afterwards a Red legged Partridge, possibly a formerly released bird. Along at Keills, a Grey Wagtail was spotted and then a Sparrowhawk further on. Bob was saying that there were several groups of Reed Buntings about, the geese themselves appeared to be quite skittish today! Here at home, a Peregrine zipped past

Monday 13 January 2014

Monday 13th January

A better day over here, no rain to speak of, altough not the warmest of days...still it is January!!! Yesterday Peter saw a Razorbill and also a juv. Kittiwake, both off the pier at Bruichladdich. Today Peter reported through that the Iceland Gull was still along close to Uiskentuie, but no reports of our ever faithful Iceland Gull over at Bunnahabhain so far. Over at Port Ellen today, Bob had 4 female Goldeneye in the bay, down on the Oa, 2 ringtail Hen Harriers were seen with a male along the low road and another male close to his house up behind Port Charlotte, late afternoon.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Sunday 12th January

As forecast, the weather was not too great, rather a dreich sort of a day, wet and raw.. The other day, James had a Grey Wagtail over at Craigens, on the reserve he saw 4 Greenshank out on the "floods" with a count of 960 Golden Plover over the reserve as well. George was in touch to say that the 3 Whoopers were still present on his ponds this morning, also there were 25 Whitefronts, 8 Mallard and also a Heron.

Saturday 11 January 2014

Saturday 11th January

Another great day out here on the Western extremities, no real complants on the weather front, more of the same please... Yesterday Bob had done a count along the top end of Loch Indaal with his tallies coming through at 86 Barwits, 300 Curlew, 48 Lapwing, 180 Oystercatcher, 42 Shelduck, 202 Mallard, 187 Teal, 293 Wigeon and 3 Buzzard. Between Blackrock ang Gortan, Bob had 2 groups of Pale bellied Brent with a total of 82 Geese noted.

Friday 10 January 2014

Friday 10th January

Some sightings through from yesterday, Mary had a Snow Bunting up at Ardnave and 4 GND off Ardnave Point. Carol Andrews saw a family group of Whoopers at Bruichladdich, there was an adult and 2 youngsters. Peter reports that the Glaucous Gull is still at Bruichladdich and the Iceland Gull along at Uiskentuie. Between Bruichladdich and Uiskentuie, Peter had count of 56 Pale bellied Brents. Today George had seen the Whooper family up on his ponds, also there were a Snipe and also a Heron. George counted 17 Brents along at Bruichladdich and saw more round at Uiskentuie but could not get a count as he was driving at the time.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Thursday 9th January

What a great day over here, I know that there were a few showers rolling in from the sea, but on the whole for January, a good day and to top it all little wind to speak of, what else can one wish for? I just happened to turn the TV on at the right moment late afternoon to see the end of the "The Great British winter" on BBC 2 and who was on but John Wilson covering a feature on Leighton Moss, it was great see John on "his" patch, also on was footage from the Somerset levels and the impressive Starling murmuration. So what happened here today, well just after breakfast, a Golden Eagle soared over from Rockside and appeared to follow the crag and away on towards Kilchiaran, never beating a wing, it was quite high but luckily I had my bins with me at the time. Later on, there were some Buzzards around calling away as ever and to finish off with a few Chough were ducking and diving about as they do while flying about, very vocal too...

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Wednesday 8th January

Sorry folks but did not get round to an entry last night as I was not in top form, a stinker of a cold, no voice either, Margaret thought she was in second heaven in the house... Forgot to mention back on Sunday that James has Snowdrops out in his garden at Mill cottage, looking at ours down beside the burn this afternoon, think they are a few days off yet. Yesterday Peter had see the Iceland Gull at Uiskentuie, 2 Whoopers at "smelly corner" and 120 Wigeon further on round the top of Loch Indaal towards Bridgend. Ed yesterday had a Golden Eagle trying its' luck with some Whitefronts. At Craigens, Ed saw another Iceland Gull eating the remains of a Barnie and he reports that the Glaucous Gull was still at Bruichladdich yesterday. Today up at Craigens, Ed had an imm. White tailed Eagle fly over towards Loch Gruinart.

Monday 6 January 2014

Monday 6th January

First thing this morning, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew past the cottages and later on in the morning I had another ringtail out on the wing close to Saligo. Out towards the War Graves the flock of around 100 Lapwing is still present along the Barnies and Whitefronts. Also there today were about 100 Golden Plover on the wing. The weather over here today has not been too bad, dry and windy, but I was rather surprised that we only had a ferry leaving Port Askaig at 0700 and not coming back at all, possibly they were thinking of the swell and high tides leading possible problems when docking. The plane came in both times today and on time, no problems there...

Sunday 5 January 2014

Sunday 5th January

Yes, think the Fulmars were correct in coming in to pay us a visit early yesterday, as the weather broke down again after lunchtime with more heavy rain coupled with the wind picking up too. The ferry was hoping to come over this evening and the afternoon plane arrived a wee bit later than scheduled, at least it came! James made the most of it and got some birds on the reserve at Gruinart this morning, a flock of 17 Reed Buntings, 5 Gadwall, 11 Whoopers, a Greenshank and also a White tailed Sea Eagle. Think the weather is due to settle down after tomorrow, we will just have to wait and see...

Saturday 4 January 2014

Saturday 4th January

A calm day over here today, but then again I did see a couple of Fulmars out on the wing along the front of the crag just after breakfast time so perhaps the wind is due to pick up again. Come to mention it, the ferries are on an "Amber alert for tomorrow afternoon...hmmm.. And there has already been an inch of rain so far in 2014!!! Also today, Peter and Pia have returned and were in touch to say the the Glaucous Gull is still down at Bruichladdich, on the grass outside the Distillery and the beach. At the Uiskentuie end of the strand the Iceland Gull is still present, with both Peter and Pia and also James spotting it too. Peter and Pia also had 35 Pale bellied Brent along the shore between Bruichladdich and Uiskentuie.

Friday 3 January 2014

Friday 3rd January

Yesterday, James saw a Golden Eagle over the reserve at Gruinart from his house. This morning, Jack Fleming had a Glaucous Gull from his his house along the flats at Gruinart. Visiting birder, David Bates had sent some sightings through via Malcolm. On the 31st December, David had 2 Canada Geese, hutchinsii sp over close to Mulindry, with another one seen down at Uiskentuie on the 1st of January. Other birds seen by David were a flock of 125 Skylark at Lyrabus, 3 Greenshank on reserve at Gruinart, 200 Twite and also 200 Rock Doves both at Craigens. He also saw a 2nd winter Glaucous Gull at Uiskentuie on the 2nd and also again today. So I wonder if that was the same bird that Jack had as I was not sure of its' age, and a different one from the Bruichladdich gull...

Thursday 2 January 2014

Thursday 2nd January

Forgot to mention the other day that another bird that we saw down in Surrey was a pr of Mandarin on a pond at Bushy Park The flock of Lapwing were still present along with the Geese out towards the War Graves again today, here at home the bird table has been busy with the wee birds all feeding their faces off... The rainfall tally for last month was 7.5" giving an overall tally for 2013 coming to 51", a dry year for over here!!!

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Wednesday 1st January

A Happy New Year to you all out there, wherever you may be... Not much to report today, but there was a flock of around 100 Lapwing out over the Machir around the War Graves' graveyard this morning along with a few Barnies and some Whitefronts too. A Sparrowhawk flew along the front of the cottages at a great turn of speed, and later on a Merlin was down below Rockside, possibly the same one that Marc had seen chasing after the Reed Buntings. The rain this afternoon, did not deter folk going down to Machir Bay for a walk!!