Friday 28 February 2014

Friday 28th February

Last night on our way back from Port Charlotte, we were lucky enough to view the "Northern Lights", possibly not as spectacular as it was in some places. but all the same it was great to see. Out over the West the sky was red for some time while further round to the North and a bit further round the sky had a greenish hue to it... Glad I was out as I doubt if I had been in the house, well I would not have seen any of it! A few birds for you now, two sightings from earlier on this week both from visitors, Adam Cross had a first winter Kumlien's Gull down on tip at Gartbreck. Over at Bunnhahbain, Terry Williams had a Crossbill on the overhead wires. Thanks folks for sharing your sightings as ever.

Thursday 27 February 2014

Thursday 27th February

A bit colder out here today than of late, and it is meant to be wintertime... Today, Paul had been down on the Oa and had seen a couple of Golden Eagles, on Loch Kinnabus he had a count of 20 Tufties while along the roadside he saw some Stonechats. Later on, over at the Lily Loch, Paul flushed a Woodcock. This afternoon, on our way home, we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier chasing after a lbj along the roadside just after Sunderland, think the wee fellow ducked out of the way into safety!

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Wednesday 26th February

Yesterday Bob had seen a Sparrowhawk just out of Bowmore. Today Ed had spotted an adult Glaucous Gull on the shore at Blackrock, later on he had an adult White tailed Sea Eagle near to Ballygrant. Back here at home, over the few days, some of the Lapwings appear to be pairing up and dislaying. This morning the Fulmars were back at the crag again...

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Tuesday 25th February

Just before Sunderland this morning we had a near miss with a ringtail Hen Harrier as it drifted across the road, how it did not come in to contact with us is a bit of a mystery, iwas low and did not try to avoid us.... Paul today had seen 2 large Canada Geese up at Ardnave, He also saw the Iceland Gull over at Duich Farm with a male Hen arrier present there as well. In the fields behind Bowmore, Paul had another male Hen Harrier, a flock of around 100 Skylarks with 4 Yellowhammers and a Grey Wagtail overhead. Finally over at Gruinart, Paul had a Greenshank. And yes, the wind has picked up, no ferry this morning and the ferry this evening diverting to Port Askaig...

Monday 24 February 2014

Monday 24th February

A better day out here today with the weather, although there is rain forecast for tonight, oops!!! Paul B had sent some sightings through. The small flock of Scaup were still present today, along with a cracking male Long tailed Duck on Loch Indaal out from the generator station outside Bowmore. Further out on Loch Indaal, 4 Slavonian Grebes and 30 Common scoters were present. Over at Bruichladdich, Paul had a small gropup of 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Further on down the Rhinns, a Golden Eagle was seen and at Kilchiaran Bay, Gannets, Fulmars and Kittiwakes were added to Paul's list. Back here at home, the Fulmars were back this morning on the crag, a sign of some stormy weather to come again??? The Iceland Gull was still present over at Duich Farm.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Sunday 23rd February

Forgot to mention last night that we had seen the adult Iceland gull over at Duich in a rather badly poached grass field. Bob was telling me today that some Greenfinches have returned to his feeders, 5 male and a female were there today. Ed had seen a Snow Bunting and also a Merlin. Later on, South of Bowmore, Ed saw 2 Peregrines. Around midday, Malcolm had an imm White tailed Sea Eagle up behind Bridgend and then later on an adult bird over towards Port Askaig. Returning visiting birder Paul from Notts had seen an imm White tailed Sea Eagle at the reserve at Gruinart this morning, also there were over 100 Pintail, 1 Whoopers, and over 80 Dunlin. Up towards there were 30 Chough in a grass field along with the grazing sheep. Paul also commented on the numbers of Skylarks and Reed Buntings around. Over at Loch Ballygrant, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier with 24 Tufties on the Loch itself. Close to Bowmore, on Loch Indaal, Paul had 2 GND and also a Red throated Diver. Below the generating station there were 8 Scaup, 3 males and 5 females. Back here at home, a new garden bird on the ground today, a Raven, been seeing some of them carrying nesting materials back to their nests of late!! For those of you on Islay this coming week, the bird nerds are meeting in the Lochside Hotel at 7.30pm for a blether and a pint, soi if you are around, see you there!

Saturday 22 February 2014

Saturday 22nd February

The Hampshire Birders yesterday, up on Ardnave Loch had 2 Whoopers, Goldeneye and Tufted Duck, round at Saligo they saw Reed Bunting and back at Crosshouse/"smelly corner" they had Mute Swan, Raven, Barwits, Curlew, Mallard, Shelduck, Barnies, Dunlin, Oysterctacher and Ringed Plover. Thanks to Gary and Wendy for your sightings while you were over. Gordon and Pauline on their way to the ferry yesterday am, had a White tailed Sea Eagle tucking into a Barnie at the top of Loch Indaal, also present was a Raven and a GBB Gull waiting patiently for any scraps! Whilst waiting for the ferry to leave Port Askaig, a Peregrine flew past the ferry about 20 feet away! Today down at Bowmore, in the harbour there were 2 cracking prs of Goldeneye. Coming home, and just past the Rockside road end, a male Hen Harrier flew over the road,less than 30yards ahead of us, not sure how it did not clip the top of the fence!

Friday 21 February 2014

Friday 21st February

Yesterday the Hampshire birders had walked up from Octofad through the woods towards Lossit where they saw Woodcock, Chough, Lapwing, Skylark and some Reed Buntings.At Bruichladdich they saw 3 Purple Sandpipers.Their daughter and son in law had walked out to the Singing sands at Port Ellen and saw Black Guillemot and Razorbills. Thanks to the Rochdale birders,aka Gordon and Pauline Yates who headed home today, back in April again, see you then!

Thursday 20 February 2014

Thursday 20th February

Just as well that I emptied our rain guage yesterday as we had another inch through the night, the ground is laden with water, out on the Machir in places that I have not seen before, water everywhere... Yesterday,the Hampshire birders had a Dipper on the River Sorn, out on the Sound of Islay they had seen Black Guillemots, Eider and GND. Over Jura they saw a pr of White tailed Sea Eagles. They also saw a pr of Stonechats on Islay. Visitors from Cambridge had seen a male and a female Hen Harrier, a Brambling, a GND, Canada Goose hutchinsii sp and 10 Barwits while out and about round Gruinart and the Loch Gorm area. The Rochdale birders were telling me that the flock of lbj's at Corsapol has turned to mainly Chaffinches rather than as many Linnets seen there. James had some birds seen from the ferry when he was away for a few days. He saw a White tailed Sea Eagle on the Sound of Islay, both coming and returning! Also seen were "loads" of Tysties in summer plumage in the Sound of Islay, as well as Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, GNDs, a Red throated Diver, Black throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 5 Slavnian Grebes. Highlight for James was a Great crested Grebe in West Loch Tarbert

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Wednesday 19th February

Forgot to mention last night that the Rochdale birders had 40 Barwits at the top of Loch Indaal yesterday. Today they had 22 Black Guillemots at Coal Ila with another 18 at Port Askaig. At Coal Ila, they saw a couple of Ravens carrying sticks into their nest,and a Rock Dove with an egg on its' nest! Over on Jura they had 2 Canada Geese. Down close to Portnahaven, they saw a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch. Dave down on the Oa reports that there are definate signs of Spring with Skylarks seen on the moor, Herring Gulls, Oystercatcher and Black Guillemots all starting to pair up and on their territories! Today Dave had 3 Buzzards, a ringtail Hen Harrier, a GND and 20 Rock Pipits all on reserve. Peter today had a flock of 50 Lapwing flying South past Bruichladdich offshore over Loch Indaal. There were also 10 Snipe following the shoreline along at the Oil Depot at Bruichladdich with a pr of Black Guillemots at the pier. Here at home there were 8 Fulmars in at the crag. This morning, I emptied out the rain guage with the best part of 5" in it, there is more rain forecast for later tonight and tomorrow!

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Tuesday 18th February

Peter and Pia had been over on Jura on Sunday and Monday. After crossing over on the ferry to Jura, between Feolin and Craighouse they spotted 7 Buzzards and also a cracking female Hen Harrier. Later on, they saw a pr of White tailed Sea Eagles and up behind Craighouse at Keills they had 8 Long tailed Tits and also 3 Coal Tits. The Rochdale birders yesterday had braved the elements down close to the Airport and saw an adult Iceland Gull there. They also saw 30 Redwing, some Chaffinches and a flock of 20 Skylarks. Today, over at Ardnahoe they had an adult Sparrowhawk, and later on down close to Ballygrant, a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on the wing, Spring not far away??? Yes, a better day with the weather here today folks!

Monday 17 February 2014

Monday 17th February

A miserable kind of a day out here today, after having a great day yesterday, just as well that I have some sightings from yesterday for you!The Hampshire birders had a juv White tailed Sea Eagle putting the Barnies up at "smelly corner", offshore they had 4 Red breasted Merganser, GND, Teal and Wigeon with Barwits there too. They also spotted a Canada Goose hutchinsii sp amongst the Barnies. Down on the Oa they saw Chough, Rock Pipit and also Rock Doves. Mary had 5 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich, over at Coal Ila, she had 4 Black Guillemot along with 2 Otters. At Kilchiaran, Mary noticed the Fulmars back in, Mistle Thrushes were present too and later on a juv Golden Eagle. The Rochdale birders had also seen the White tailed Sea Eagle, over at Finlaggan, they had a Woodcock with 11 Red legged Partridge at Ardnahoe and then a Sparrowhawk bothering the lbj flock at Corsapol. Ed had see 6 Long tailed Tits and a Treecreeper on his way out towards Ardtalla

Sunday 16 February 2014

Sunday 16th February

A good day with the weather over here, although I had to go and look for some de-icer to clear the windscreen on the van before I headed out..really had to think where the can was as it is not often needed here!!! This morning I met in with Bob to give him a help with the monthly count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. The tally was as follows,5 GND, 5 Heron, 9 Shag, 25 Whitefronts, 62 Barnies, 11 Shelduck, 80 Wigeon, 287 Teal, 8 Mallard, 7 Red breasted Merganser, 7 Goldeneye, 4 GBB Gull, 50 Herring Gull, 50 Common Gull, 120 Oystercatcher, 267 Curlew, 2 Barwit, 10 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 19 Lapwing, 9 Turnstone and 2 Snipe. Skylarks were heard singing away, a possible sign of Spring round the corner??? This afternoon Margaret and myself went down to the Machir Bay and carried out the "dead beach bird survey", the results not too good as there were a few seen, what we found was as follows, 1 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 1 Oystercatcher and 2 Puffin. Thinking back, considering the weather that we have had of late, I suppose it was not really surprising to find as many birds as that. We also saw a juv Golden Eagle up above the dunes behind Machir Bay and a pr of Chough probing about looking for some food. On the beach itself there were 40 Oystercatcher and 15 Ringed Plover plus a good number of folk out for a walk too.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Saturday 15th February

Yesterday, the Rochdale birders had seen a Glaucous Gull over at Duich, on their way there, they saw a male Hen Harrier hawking over the gardens as they left Bowmore!Whilst looking at the lbj flock of around 300 birds at Corsapol, a female Merlin zipped past, may be there are not 300 now! Behind Machir Bay they saw the flock of 100+ Lapwings. At Esknish, they had 25 Redwings and back at Port Charlotte there were 2 Sanderling and a Razorbill in the bay there as well as an Otter earlier on. In Port Charlotte itself, they have been seeing a female Grey Wagtail "attack" itself in its own image on a car mirror! Along at Carn, some Hares were seen "boxing" each other. Today James had a count on the floods at Gruinart, the scores on the doors were as follows, 182 Teal, 384 Lapwing, 73 Pintail, 10 Redshank, 2 Red breasted Merganser, 21 Shoveler, 117 Mallard, 9 Whoopers, 7 Mute swans, 44 Greylag, 2 Gadwall, 9 Wigeon, 4 Heron and 4 Snipe with a count of 680 Golden Plovrer out on the estuary.

Friday 14 February 2014

Friday 14th February

Yesterday morning as headed down to the Coastguard cotttages from here, there was a flock of around 100 Twite down at the "double gates". Earlier in the week, on Tuesday just before the snow showers, Ed had a pr of Golden Eagles over above Ballinaby, today he had another Golden Eagle down on the Rhinns with an adult Iceland Gull seen at Kilchiaran. The Hampshire birders today had 4 species of geese around where they are staying down close to "smelly corner" with Barnies, Whitefronts, Pale bellied Brent anf Greylags all being seen. Also seen close to their cottage were Oystercatcher, Curlew, Wigeon, Staling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Robin, Mute Swan and Shelduck. Up towrds Loch Gorm, they had a Stonechat, Lapwing, Buzzard and several groups of Barnies.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Thursday 13th February

Yesterday the Hampshire birders had a quick walk from Carnain along the shoreline to Blackrock, quite a few Shelduck,10 Dunlin,Ringed Plover and also 3 carcases of Barnies, wonder if that pesky Sea Eagle had been at them? Today they had been up at Ardnave seeing Redshank, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Tufted Duck, Chough, Pied Wagtail, Skylark, Reed Bunting with a GND offshore. Later on down at Portnahaven, they saw some Turnstone. Peter today, had seen 2 Long tailed Duck on Loch Indaal off Bowmore.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Wednesday 12th February

Back to normal, thanks to James for writing last night's entry. It was rather miserable outside for some time last night, and I believe today that the gritters / snow ploughs were out over the other side of Islay. Yesterday, before the weather broke the Hampshire birders had been out from Scarrabus up to Loch Cam. They had a Peregrine, several Reed Buntings with a Golden Eagle up at Loch Cam itself. A few moments later they had a White tailed Sea Eagle there on. On the Loch itself, 50 Teal were present. Today, the Rochdale birders had counted 17 Pale bellied Brent down close to Gortan, on the shoreline there they had 1 Dunlin along with 8 Turnstoe. Over at Corsapol at Gruinart, they had a mixed finch flock of around 300 birds consisting of Twite, Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Skylarks. Peter had 36 Pale bellied Brent towards Uiskentuie today.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Tuesday 11th February

Its been snowing - Ians internet dish is covered with snow, so I am blogging. Just finished building the snowman, you have to make sure you don't miss an opportunity on Islay. Eleanor is out in the dark putting the final touches to the snow creation. Yesterday the Hampshire birders had some good birds around Loch Indaal- a White Tailed Eagle at Smelly Corner and Black Guillemot, Goldeneye, Bar Tailed Godwits, Great Northern Divers, Black Throated Diver, Black Tailed Godwits, Lapwing and Grey Plover all between Bridgend and Bowmore. At Kilchoman 12 Fulmars came in to the cliff and yes today its windy and snowing! Today the Sevenoaks birders had a pair of Stonechats, a Buzzard and a Female Hen Harrier up close in the blizzard on the Oa. Thanks for the records Ian and Duncan. I was out and about at Gruinart and had big flocks of 1240 Golden Plover and 520 Lapwing on the Flats as well as 29 Redshank, a Sparrowhawk and a Hen Harrier.

Monday 10 February 2014

Monday 10th February

A few squally showers sped past today, but not enough to deter our birders....Mary and Amy from RSPB had been round Ardnave between the showers. They had a total of 41 GND as well as 1 Red throated Diver, 1 Black Guillemot, 12 Red breasted Merganser, 9 Shag, 4 Eider and also 9 GBB Gulls. Down at Tayovullin 3 Redshank, 21 Curlew (including 1 with colour rings on), 116 Lapwing, 21 Turnstone and 2 Ringed Plover. Later on Amy had 2 Bullfinches whilst along the woodland trail at Gruinart. Today, the Rochdale birders had a female Sparrowhawk in at Loch Skerrols, a really dark ringtail Hen Harrier close to Cladville, a Barn Owl out up the back of Port charlotte, over at Lagavullin Bay they saw 2 GND. The Sevenoaks birders had been out to Claggain Bay and had an Otter, 10 Black Guillemot, 5 Red breasted Merganser, 1 Dabchick, 8 GND, 12 Red throated Diver,15 Eider and 1 Shag. Aros Bay held 40 Oystercatcher, 6 Ringed Plover, 1 Redshank and a Turnstone. Just inland, there were 20 Meadow Pipits along with 6 Reed Buntings, then to top it all a female Merlin appeared out of nowhere within 10 feet of them! The wee lochan up behind Laphroaig had some Teal and Wigeon along with 5 Whoopers and also a pr of Goldeneye. Finally, they saw another female Merlin perched on a bough of a tree as they returned back to Port Ellen.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Sunday 9th February

Some sightings through from the Sevenoak birders who are over for a few days. Yesterday from the old hide at Gruinart they had a White tailed Sea Eagle, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 Greenshank, 6 Whooper Swan, 5 Red breasted Merganser and a Roe deer. Along at the new hide, they saw some Barwits, Redshank, Dunlin, Golden Plover and Lapwing. Up at Ardnave Loch they saw 8 Goldeneye on the Loch itself with some Culew and Oystercatcher on the shore. Today down at Port Ellen, a Rock Pipit was added to their list. Later, better still, a Golden Eagle at Storakaig, a pr of Stonechats along with several Buzzards seen on their travels. Up at Bunnahabhain, they saw 3 GND, an Otter munching its way through a crab, with a Red breasted Merganser seen there too. At Gruinelbeg (just North of Loch Gorm) they had a mixed flock of 20 Redwing and Fielldfare. Round past Ballinaby, they had 20 Ringed Plover and over the crag at Kilchoman, a Peregrine zipped past. Finally down over Loch Gorm they saw a possible Marsh Harrier.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Saturday 8th February

Rather a dreich sort of a day out here today, not really a day for going out birdwatching, but some folk do... Sam and Gary the Lochwinnoch Birders had seen 5 Brambling over at Corsapol amongst a mixed flock of LBJs... Thanks to Sam and Garry for sharing your sightings while you were over here. New visitors from Rochdale had seen 20 Redwings together down at Easter Ellister. Later on, close to Lossit Farm they saw a leucistic Barnie amongst the Barnies present there.

Friday 7 February 2014

Friday 7th February

Bob was telling me last night that the Starlings near his house had been mimicing other birds, Curlew, Black headed Gulls and Coots, so I wonder if the Starlings that were on song for a Coot were birds that were ones moving through as we do not have many Coots here for the Starlings to "learn" from... Pia this morning had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle Eagle tucking into a Barnie up past Ballygrant, later on on the grass close to Finlaggan there were over 35 Fieldfare and Buzzard in the same fields poking about successfully looking for food and the Fieldfares were not put off by the Buzzard. Later on from home at Bruichladdich, Peter had 35 Eider, 15 Red breasted Merganser, 8 GND, 4 Red throated Diver along with 2 Goldeneye out on Loch Indaal.

Thursday 6 February 2014

Thursday 6th February

After a late entry last night, tonight you are getting an early edition, 'cos I am going out (not again, I can hear you all saying) and I have some sightings to share with you, so off we go... Last night, James had a Barn Owl as he came along the road towards "The Hedges" down below Rock Mountain. The Hampshire birders are back over for another stay... Yesterday at Carnain they had 2 Snipe, a White tailed Sea Eagle on the spit, a GND on Loch Indaal, and later on a ringtail Hen Harrier. In the trees, going into Loch Skerrols they saw 2 Long tailed Tits and a Treecreeper too. This morning round at Ballinaby, there were 11 Hooded Crows together, the fields over there are laden with all the rain that we have had of late. This afternoon, on our way home there was a Merlin flying along the roadside beside us just after Sunderland Farm.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Wednesday 5th February

Another good day out here with the weather, not that a lot of folk can say that today. Carl, today had counted 75 Curlew down at Port Ban. The Lochwinnoch birders shared some sightings through as well, yesterday they had 3 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdichh, a Black Guillemot on the Sound of Islay off Coal Ila. Today they had 11 GND and 11 R B Merganser in the bay at Port Ellen. Later on up behind Port Charlotte they had 16 Fieldfare and 24 Redwing, along at Kilchiaran Bay a Glaucous Gull was present.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Tuesday 4th February

A better day over here allowing folk a chance to catch up with some outside work, but the forecast yet again is looking to be going downhill...Yesterday down at Gortan at the head of Loch Indaal, the party of Pale bellied Brent Geese were on the edge of the water with some Greylags on the actual beach. Up at McNicol's croft, a male Hen Harrier flew across the road as we headed home and in one of the fields at Sunderland Farm, there were Greylags, Barnies and Whitefronts all present in the same field. Earlier on down at Uiskentuie, they were some Oystercatchers and Curlews probing around looking for food. This morning Gary had seen 6 Fulmars in at crag, with a Sparrowhawk nabbing a lbj out of the wood. Later on there was another male Hen Harrier down this side of Sunderland.

Monday 3 February 2014

Monday 3rd February

I was speaking this morning to a friend who lives up behind Bridgend who was telling me that their rain guage for January tallied out at 11.2" for last month, see the folk that live up in the hills....Some sightings now for you. The Lochwinnock birders had seen a Sparrowhawk hunting over the gorse bushes at Gartbreck on Saturday and a small flock of 12 Golden Plover down between the Airport and the shore (I forgot to put them on!)Yesterday they had a ringtail Hen Harrier out in front of the hides at Gruinart. They also had a Peregrine out from the old hide. Along at Leck Gruinart they saw 2 Buzzards. Over the reserve, there was a flock of over 700 Golden Plover along with some Dunlin were flying around being chased by another Hen Harrier! Out in front of the hides were 50 Redshank, 50 Shelduck, 6 Pintail, many Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon as well as some Lapwing. They also saw a Stonechat. Also seen were 3 Hares and 5 Roe Deer. Peter had taken a walk out to Ardnave Point, highlights included a Snow Bunting, 2 groups of Twite totalling 40 in all. Between Ardnave Point and Nave Island 6 GND were on the water, while up on the shore on Ardnave Island 70 Grey Seals were parked up. Ardnave Loch held 6 Whoopers a few Tufties, lots of Teal and also 2 Goldeneye. The adjoining fields held a flock of 75 Lapwing. On his way home, Peter had trip down to the old hide at Gruinart where he had 4 Whoopers, lots of Teal,8 Pintail, 16 Shoveler and a ringtail Hen Harrier.

Sunday 2 February 2014

Sunday 2nd January

A better day over here today, compared to previous days that is!!! There was some rain today yes, but we saw the sun shining too, so do not give up yet! The visiting birders from Lochwinnoch yesterday had seen a male Hen Harrier down below Rockside. At the top of Loch Indaal a raft of 50 Scaup were present and on their way back to their cottage in the early evening, they saw a Barn Owl down close to Foreland House.

Saturday 1 February 2014

Saturday 1st February

Yes, that's January past, thank goodness with the rainguage filling up at a mere 9.2", certainly as wet a January that I can recall, straight behind a wet December as well, more rain in those two months than what we night expect to get in a 3 or 4 month spell... Global warming I ask you??? James had a male Hen Harrier on the reserve at Gruinart this morning. Down at Gortan, there were around 30 Pale bellied Brent bobbing about on Loch Indaal with a few Greylags on the shore. Up at Foreland there were several fields with Barnies and Whitefronts to be seen and at Rockside another 3 fields of Barnies with the odd Whitefront among them. I think that between Rockside and Sunderland today, the largest total of geese so far round here this Autumn/ Winter.