Monday 31 March 2014

Monday 31st March

A small correction through from John and Kenny, their tally for the week broke though the 100 species, with Purple Sandpiper added at Bruichladdich and Whooper Swan and Reed Bunting at Gruinart, so their tally ended up at 102! Returning visitor Peter from Sunderland had seen the Ring necked Duck and the RTD in summer plumage on Loch Ballygrant, in the trees there, Chiffchaff and Treecreeper were seen while over at Finlaggan a Golden Eagle was present. Emily returned today to lead the walks at RSPB through the summer. At Gruinart, Emily had White tailed Sea Eagle at Gruinart, and then a Golden Eagle. Other returning visitors from the South had seen a Wheatear down behind Machir Bay with another on the road between Coullabus and Carnain. Below Corsapol they had a flock of around 150 Twite. After Ardbeg they saw 2 R B Merganser and then a Chiffchaff as they drove further on. One of the Dumfries birders had a good walk round Ardnave seeing several Wheatear there and also a Chiffchaff fly along the road in front of him as he went there. His friend had gone over to The Sound of Islay seeing a female Merlin, a Peregrine, Kestrel, Golden Eagle, and on the Sound itself, 2 RB Merganser and also 3 GND. He also had seen plenty of Ravens around, and coming back this afternoon, "smelly corner" held some Shelduck. A great day with many different birds seen around Islay!

Sunday 30 March 2014

Sunday 30th March

The Lincs birders as they packed their car yesterday had seen 2 Peregrines and a Buzzard on the thermals up behind their cottage. Along the road they saw a male Hen Harrier harass a Buzzard close to Sunderland Farm. The Bolton birders from the ferry had a quiet crossing although it was raining and misty for most of the way over....but at the mouth of West Loch Tarbert, a good number of GND, BTD, 2 RTD, 2 Slavonian Grebe and also 3 Gannets and a mixed flock of Auks. In the Loch itself, they had 14 GND, 2 RTD, 2 Slav Grebes plus a good number of Eider Ducks. On land and at Tarbert, a Great spotted Woodpecker was seen. Today Paul and Joan Graham had a male Hen Harrier as they walked down to the Sound of Islay. Finally today, visitors from Dumfries had seen 2 White tailed Sea Eagle over the Sound of Islay. In the small wood beside where they are staying they had a Goldcrest.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Saturday 29th March

Yesterday the Lincs birders had gone to Bunnahabhain where they saw several Buzzards, 4 GND, 2 pr of Eiders, 4 R B Merganser and a pr of Ringed Plover. At the other end of Islay, down at Portnahaven they saw a couple of Gannets off the wave generastor station where thay also flushed a Snipe. On their way back up, a male Stonechat was obligingly on top of a fence post when a male Hen Harrier glided past! They also saw a pr of Golden Eagles and 12 Whoopers at Ballinaby with a pr of distant Hen Harriers round Loch Gorm. The Bolton birders yestarday had seen 6 Wheatears while they were up at Ardnsave, they counted 12 GND, with 3 Barwits, 35 Oystercatcher and 4 Ringed Plover at Traigh Nostaig. Ardnave Loch held 3 Goldeneye, 4 Teal, 2 adult + 2 juv Mute Swan and 6 Tufted Duck. Out from the new hide at Gruinart, the Green winged Teal was present along with 2 Greenshank, also there were Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Pintail, Mute Swan, Lapwing and Redshank. John & Kenny had small flock of Fieldfare between Laggan Bridge and Bowmore. Gartbreck held a Jack Snipe,Tysties were present on Loch Indaal and a Rock Pipit was on the harbour wall in Bowmore. A male Hen Harrier was seen on the Oa as was a male Stonechat too. Numerous Divers were seen noted on Loch Indaal and also a mixed raft of Common Scoter and Slav Grebe. Their tally for the week came to 99 species seen in all. Thanks to John and Kenny for their birds, to the Bolton Birders, Chris and Tony and also Oliver and Lynsey from Lincs for all thier sightings throughout their time spent here on Islay. Finally, David Livingstone had a Magpie in his garden this morning over close to Port Ellen!

Friday 28 March 2014

Friday 28th March

Yesterday James had the Green winged Teal out in front of the "new" hide at Gruinart. James also had Greenshank there too with Lapwings on the nest already! Coming back from Gruinart yesterday at lunchtime, a male Hen Harrier flew across the road directly in front of us! The Bolton birders made the most of this good weather, like the rest of us, and on the hills up beyond Mulindry they saw 4 Golden Plover in summer plumage, 2 Curlew and "masses" of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. Up there, they had a Buzzard on the thermals while down on the ground, a Lizard was basking in the sun. From Bowmore Pier they saw 2 male and 2 female Goldeneye, 2 GND, 1 RTD and a Slavonian Grebe. John and Kenny had a female Kestrel at Finlaggan, seen Gannets at Portnahaven, 20 Chough at Sanaigmore and to cap the day 2 Golden Eagles having a scrap with 2 Ravens. The Lincs birders had seen a Golden Eagle soaring in front of the Paps of Jura, up at Inverlussa, there were 2 Goosanders, with 12 Pale bellied Brent at Craighouse. They also had a distant sighting of a female Hen Harrier having a tussle with a Peregrine.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Thursday 27th March

Earlier on in the week there has been a sighting of a Snow Bunting up at Ardnave and this morning I heard that a Lapland Bunting has been around as well, location not known! The Bolton Birders headed over to Jura yesterday. Up the top end of Jura at Lealt on the bird feeders, 6 Yellowhammers, 4 Goldfinches along with some Chaffinches.They also had great sightings of 2 different pairs of Hen Harriers, one around Lowlandman's Bay the other close to Inverlussa, with both pairs skydancing. While they were watching a couple of Otters on the Sound, a White tailed Sea Eagle flew past! Earlier on at the Corran Sands/ Small Isles Bay, they counted 12 GND with at least another 8 in the Sound of Islay! Down on the Oa yesterday, Dave and his team carried out a "Cliff survey" with the tally coming through at 6 Peregrines, 5 Golden Eagles, 21 Black Guillemots, 4 Otters, 10 Wheatear, 5 GND along with 100's of Meadow Pipits, in flocks of up to 40! At the darkness came in last night, here at home there was a Pipestrelle bat out hawking along in front of the cottages! The Lincs birders had a ringtail Hen Harrier out quartering over towards Gruinart. Over beyond Ardbeg, they had a flock of over 80 Golden Plover resplendent in the sun! Coming home along the High road, they had a male Hen Harrier out hunting and then a ringtail as they approached the bridge across the Laggan. John and Kenny yesterday had a White tailed Sea Eagle over at Gruinart. The Green winged Teal,5 Snipe, several hundred Golden plover, Moorhen and a Snow Bunting were all seen from the new hide. On Loch Indaal, Long tailed Duck, Kittiwake, Common Scoter, Slav. Grebe, Black throated Diver, and some Pale bellied Brent Geese. Down towards the Lily Loch at Port Askaig, they saw a Chiffchaff and later on a Long tailed Tit. Martin had a Yellowhammer on his feeders over at Glenegedale!

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Wednesday 26th March

Another great day again, could it be a start to some better weather, fingers crossed... Down on Loch Gorm there were 60 Whoopers, sign of birds on the move! The Green winged Teal was seen again today at Gruinart. Yesterday, the Bolton birders were at Saligo, "enthused about the turbulent seas, crashing waves and plumes of spray". There, Gannets and Fulmars constantly passing by with Eiders riding the surf. Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers were piping on the shore. Skylarks were singing over the grassland, with at least 5 Wheatear were seen feeding and perching on the rocks. Also seen were 2 Mute and 3 Whoopers (1 with a red ring another with a yellow ring) were seen on the pools in the fields behind. A pr of Stonechats were seen along the roadside on a patch of brambles. Along at Ballinaby, a female Merlin flew across the road and zipped into some gorse bushes. Sanaigmore a Golden Eagle was seen tussling with 2 Ravens. Over the wet field there, 14 Lapwings were displaying. Offshore, there were 4 GND with 6 Tysties and a flotilla of Eiders. a single Linnet few overhead. The Lincs birders had a pr of Stonechats at Laphroaig, Kintra, a Peregrine was seen and also a Raven. Further along from Ardbeg looking for an Otter, no joy, but several Eider, 2 Cormorant and half a dozen Merganser. Yesterday John and Kenny had an equally good day, with a small flock of Redwing along at Rock Mountain. Earlier on they had seen a pr of Buzzards mating high up on the crag behind Kilchoman, shortly afterwards the female after a bit of preening, launched herself off the cliff face. Seconds later, one the Ravens started to zap the Buzzard, what a spectacle. The Raven no doubt trying to "defend" its' patch! In the Bridgend Woods, they had Wren, Heron, Siskin, Bullfinch, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Treecreeper with a Dipper on the Sorn. Finally they had a Grrenfinch at Bruichladdich. Finally, last night coming home from Gruinart, we had a Barn Owl sitting on the fence post at the side of the road.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Tuesday 25th March

A glorious day over here, what a difference a day can make, we are all going round with a broad smile on our faces... This afternoon,Peter had spent some time in the "new hide" at Gruinart, time well spent as had 2 Greenshank, a flock of around 700 Golden Plover and to top it all, a fine drake Green winged Teal. Back home, Peter had 2 GND and 3 Black Guillemots off Bruichladdich Pier. Yesterday, the Bolton birders had 2 Siskins on the nut feedr outside their cottage, on the seed feeder Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Starling, House Sparrow, Great Tit, Blackbird and Robin. Over at Kildalton they saw 6 Yellowhammers and around 30 Chaffinches on the feeders at the Keepers cottage there. At Ardlistillery, over the Bay there was a Golden Eagle as well as 2 Buzzards! Offshore on the water were 4 R B Merganser, 4 Shelduck and 1 RTD. Along at Claggan Bay they saw 2 GND and 7 Gannets. Ardtalla in difficult, windy conditions, 2 GND, 4 R B Merganser,, 2 Mute Swan, also Shelduck, Shag, Heron and Eider. In one of the fields there, 55 Oystercatcher, 17 Ringed Plover, 60 Skylark were all feeding close together. The even windier Oa proved difficult too, only a female Merlin and pr of Stonechats! Off Kintra, 2 Gannets were seen. On the way home, a ringtail Hen harrier was seen. The Lincs birders had seen a Golden Eagle at less than 50 metres away! Later on in the day they had a Sparrowhawk at Sunderland, another over towards Saligo, Chough behind Machir Bay, Snow Bunting at Ballinaby, a Peregrine there too with a further 2 towards Bunnahabhain. Mulindry, a male Hen Harrier while down at Red Lodge and the Laggan Bridge, a ringtail Hen Harrier was sparring with a Buzzard.. a great day for them!!! John and Kenny had good day yesterday as well, starting off with a Barn Owl over at Eorrabus. Loch Indaal, Common Scoter, Slav Grebe, Ringed Plover and Pale bellied Brent were added to their list for the week. Up to Sanaigmore, more Stonehats and a Buzzard before heading to the shelter of one of the hides at Gruinart where they saw a flock of Twite, Greenshank, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pintail and Blackwits. They also saw a pr of Rooks going through the full mating display in the field beside the carpark at Gruinart! Finally, they had 2 Golden Eagles as they headed out to Bunnahabhain... A good number and variety of birds on a rather windy day....

Monday 24 March 2014

Monday 24th March

Yeserday the bird nerds had their monthly meet, with Ballgrant and the reported Ring necked Duck being the top of our agenda. After a bit of a search and looking from several viewing points, bingo...job done so back to get a welcome cuppa in Ballygrant! Also on the water were some Tufties a Red throated Diver, pr of Mute Swans, Loch nan Cadhan held a Dabchick and 2 more Swans. Visitors from Hamilton, John and Kenny enjoyed their new tick, on their way into Finlaagan they had a Wheatear, while up on the track behind Bunnahabhain , they saw a pr of Stonechats. The Bolton birders had a male Hen Harrier "skydancing" on their way to Bunnahabhain. Over Ardnahoe, they had a pr of Buzzards, down on the Sound of Islay they saw 2 GND. Coming back out of Bunnahabhain, a White tailed Sea eagle was seen, finally at Finlaggan a pr of Mute Swans were present. North of Loch Gorm, the Lincs birders had a pr of Golden Eagle North of Loch Gorm. Off Ardnave they had 4 GND and a Shag. Back down at Gruinart a count of over 100 Shelduck. Finally, round Loch Gorm they had over 40 Curlews together in one field, 6 different Buzzards as they went round and also several Stonechats. Here at home yesterday, after returning from Ballygrant when we were up at Shepherd's cottage, a Peregrine dropped out of the sky but had no joy in zapping any the Starlings it had spoofed. A few moments later and a Golden Eagle was out over the crag...

Sunday 23 March 2014

Sunday 23rd March

Yesterday birders from Lincolnshire had seen a pr of Mistle Thrushes up towards Gearach and also a male Stonechat there too as well. Later on they spotted a male Hen Harrier as they went round Loch Gorm. Also yesterday, the Bolton birders had counted 31 Ringed Plover and 1 Sanderling on Machir Bay, on the pool beside the carpark they counted 44 Oystercatcher. Over at Bunnahabhain, on the Sound Of Islay, 10 GND, 1 RTD, 4 R B Merganser, 12 Tysties and 2 Mute Swans. Back at the Distillery, they saw a female Merlin chase after a Meadow Pipit. In at Finlaggan, a distant Hen Harrier was seen. On Loch Skerrols, 3 Mute Swan and a Dabchick were present. Today down on the Oa, Dave had White Wagtail and a flock of over 30 Meadow Pipits. Also today, Peter had a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the trees up behind Port Askaig, back home later on, he saw a Gannet over Loch Indaal from his house in Bruichladdich.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Saturday 22nd March

Yesterday had been Scott and the birders from Aigas last full day here on Islay. In the bay down at Laphroaig, 2 Red throated Diver were present. Along the low road coming up to Bowmore, a male Hen arrier was seen, while from the harbour in Bowmore, Scott had 9 Common scoter, 12 Slavonian Grebe, 4 GND and a Red throated Diver. Scott also saw Goldeneye, R B Merganser and Eiders there too. Up on the River Sorn at The Woolen Mill, a Treecreeprer was seen with a Grey Wagtail down on the waterside. By all accounts it sounds that the whole group have had a great week while they have been here, thanks folks for your birds. Also yesterday, The Bolton Birders had a Dipper on the River Sorn down below the Woollen Mill Over at Ardnave Loch they counted 6 Whoopers, 4 Mute, 4 Teal, 10 Tufted and 3 Goldeneye. They also had seen some Chough there as well, and also few more over towards Machir Bay. Earlier in the week, David and Jane Griffiths had a Barn Owl over towards Neriby. Remember tomorrow the Islay bird nerds are meeting up at Ballygrant Hall at midday to go and seek the Ring necked Duck on Ballygrant Loch, see you there...

Friday 21 March 2014

Friday 21st March

Scott along with his birders from Aigas had a great day yesterday. In the harbour in Bowmore, they saw the Goldeneye present there. On Ballygrant Loch, they saw the Ring necked Duck, a RTD in summer plumage, 2 Dabchick along with a Treecreeper in the trees there! Up at Bunnahabhain, they had a GND in the Sound of Islay and also 4 Tysties. Coming out from Bunnahabhain they had a White tailed Sea Eagle. At the head of Loch Indaal, they had 10 Pale bellied Brent Geese In the afternoon, close to Sunderland they had 20 Fieldfare, along at Kilchoman Distillery/ Rockside a juv Golden Eagle was out spoofing the geese. Up at the Distillery, there was a small flock of Linnets and a Wheatear, round Loch Gorm they had 2 different male Hen Harriers. Finally at Gruinart, a Water Rail crossed the road along the flats!!

Thursday 20 March 2014

Thursday 20th March

A mixed day with the weather with squally showers coming out of nowhere...Ed had nipped over to Ballygrant Loch at lunchtime and saw the Ring necked Duck amongst the Tufties. Bob had a mixed flock of 71 Redwing and Fieldfare as well some Starlings at Gearach up behind Port Charlotte. Earlier on in the week David Livingstone had "patially albino" Chaffinch in at his bird feeders. The Bolton birders today had 25 Turnstone, 1 RTD, 3 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich, at Port Charlotte they noted 8 Common Scoter and 4 GND. Up behind Port Charlotte, they had 2 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush and 12 Meadow Pipits and then further on, probably the same mixed flock that Bob had seen. On the water between Port Wemyss and Orsay 2 GND and 2 Tystie were seen. Over at Ballinaby, a Peregrine was present with a male Hen Harrier down at Loch Gorm. From the hide at Gruinart, Mute and Whoopers Swans added to their list for the day, along with Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing, Curlew, Barnies and Whitefronts. They also had a flock of over 400 Golden Plover from the hide. Finally George had report of a sighting of a juv. White tailed Sea Eagle over at Loch Skerrols this afternoon. Tracey sent through the figures from the International Goose count carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday with the tally being 39,909 Barnies and 5099 Whitefronts. Thanks to Tracey and the team from SNH for these figures. The Islay bird nerds meeting this next week will be at 12 noon at Ballygrant Hall to walk to Ballygrant Hall and see what is around and hopefully the Ring necked Duck will be present for us to see... So if you are over, come along

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Wednesday 19th March

The Bolton birders had a great day birding today.... Over towards Port Askaig, they heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker and then they saw it flying off too. On Loch Ballygrant, they had 32 Tufted Duck, 4 Mute Swan and a male Ring necked Duck. Loch nan Cadhan held 2 Little Grebe, 2 Mallard and another 2 Mute Swans. In Ballygrant Woods, there had a Treecreeper. Loch Allan held 14 Herons in the trees. Just at the Finlaggan roadend there were 4 Buzzards together. Back down on Loch Skerrols, a male and 2 female Goldeneye and also 2 male and a female Tufted Duck. In the willows there, 2 Long tailed Tits were present. At Coal Ila, they saw 2 Tysties and an Otter. Smelly Corner held 8 Pale bellied Brent. From Port Charlotte, on Loch Indaal they saw 5 Common Scoter, 1 Red throated Diver, 1 Black throated Diver and a GND! Yesterday down at the car park at Machir Bay they counted 12 Chough. Earlier this week, Ed had a male Hen Harrier over beside the phone box at the head of Loch Gorm, was it hanging around waiting on a phone call?

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Tuesday 18th March

Yesterday Scott and his team of visiting birders had a Wheatear up at Ardnave as well as some Twite there too. On the high road they saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Today, they had Redwing on the Rhinns and at Port Charlotte on Loch Indaal, 6 GND, 2 RTD and a BTD all from the same spot! They also had a further GND in the harbour at Port Ellen. Today the Bolton Birders had a Treecreeper in the woods at Bridgend. They had also seen 2 GND at Glenburn, Blackrock and another 2 up in Sanaigmore Bay. Up there they also saw 5 Gannets and then another 3 soon after. Back on the spit in Loch Indaal, 2 Pale bellied Brent were seen and also a pr of Goldeneye. Finally over at Coull, 30 Twite were counted.

Monday 17 March 2014

Monday 17th March

A better day with the weather, managed to see the crag for most of the day! Scott O'Hara is over for the week leading a group from Aigas and yesterday had seen GND at Port Ellen and another along at Ardlistillery. Further on at Claggain Bay a Red throated Diver was spotted in summer plumage. James yesterday had a White tailed Sea Eagle over the reserve at Gruinart. James carried out a count on the floods with his tally coming through at 6 Gadwall, 6 Whoopers, 35 Shoveler, 441 Teal, 35 Wigeon, 50 Pintail, 17 Snipe, 58 Mallard, 2 Dabchick, 91 Redshank, 239 Lapwing, 9 Dunlin, a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Sparrowhawk. A Water Rail was also heard. Today, Malcolm had a Gannet fly past Bruichladdich up LOch Indaal, an early bird similar to the Whimbrel yesterday. Visitors today had a Snipe at Coull roadend, a Golden Eagle at the Eastern end of Loch Gorm. Up on Arnave Loch they had Goldeneye, Mute Swan chasing the Whoopers present there. Round Ardnave they had a flock of 25 Sanderling,a few Shag with some Oystercatcher and Shelduck also seen. A Glaucous Gull was at the mouth of Loch Gruinart. Finally, at Rockside they saw 2 Pinkfooted Geese amongst the Barnies there.

Sunday 16 March 2014

Sunday 16th March

Another murky day again, but it did not deter Bob, Tony and myself from carying out the monthly count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, so here are the birds we had...1 GND, 1 Slavonian Grebe,10 Shag, 1 Cormorant,2 Greylags, 220 Barnies, 13 Shelduck, 2 Mallard, 31 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 7 Goldeneye, 12 R B Merganser, 23 Eider, 3 Mute Swan, 2 Whooper Swan, 1 Whimbrel, 60 Oystercatcher, 22 Curlew, 4 Redshank, 3 Knot, 5 Turnstone, 2 Snipe, 20 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 36 Ringed Plover, 54 Lapwing, 2 G B B Gulls, 3 L B B Gull, 20 Common Gull, 1 B H gull and a Sparrowhawk. The weather was not the best, but looking at the forecast for the week, probably it was the right move to do it today. Another good thing today was that Aberdeen Football Club won the cup, ending a 19 year drought of silverware in the cupboard at Pittodrie....

Saturday 15 March 2014

Saturday 15th March

The weather out here was similar to yesterday, a coolish day, at least it did stay dry, a bit murky at times! Not much on the bird front, I forgot to say that the Fulmars were back in yesterday morning, I saw a pair of Choughs carrying some nesting material to their nest and today I had ringtail Hen Harrier down towards Sunderland Farm. Visitors arriving today told me that they had see a Red Squirrel run across the main road at Auchendrain just above Furnace.

Friday 14 March 2014

Friday 14th March

The mist has gone, the sun and the "warmth" has not returned, net result a cool kind of a day, mind you the days are starting to stretch out both in the morning and the evening. Ian Bennell on his way back out on the ferry had seen 10 GND and 3 Black Guillemot. At Kennacraig, just as he was about to join the main road at Kennacraig, Ian had a couple of Greenshank and some Redshasnk in the bay there. Thanks Ian for your birds while you were over.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Thurdsay 13th March

Knew it, this wee spell of weather was too good to be true, as we are back to this miserable dreich weather yet again, the plane came over this morning and shortly afterwards the mist came, so much so I could not see the crag this afternoon, worse still, the plane this evening was cancelled... Yesterday visiting Birders, Bob Swann from Tain along with Al McNee from Inverness had a male Wheatear at Ardnave. This morning James had a Peregrine over at the reserve at Gruinart, and at Saligo we had a male Wheatear and further along the road on a fence post was a male Stonechat, all before the mist came! Ian Bennell from Watford who headed home yesterday had seen a Canada Goose, hutchinsii sp over at Eorrabus while back at Gruinart he had a count of over 100 Barwits and 300 Golden Plover, all on Tuesday. Thanks Ian for sharing your sightings.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Wednesday 12th March

Another great day out here, could Spring be not that far off? Dave down on the Oa had his first Chiffchaff of the year as well as 6 Lesser Black backed Gulls. Back on Monday, he 4 large Canada Geese on the reserve as well. Visiting birder, Ian when coming over on the ferry on Monday had seen 15 GND, a Red throated Diver in summer plumage, 3 Black Guillemots and also 2 Gannets. Down at Port Charlotte on Loch Indaal, Ian had a further 2 GND and also a Black Guillemot, just North of Bruichladdich, he had a Golden Eagle while opposite Loch Gorm House he had the "probable" Thayer's Gull

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Tuesday 11th March

Another great day out on Islay, managed to carry out a good deal of outside in the garden as inside work was ruled out due to a planned power outage by our electric company as they connected a new 3 phase supply up to Rockside. Mary had seen a flock of 25 Meadow Pipits down behind the church at Portnahaven. She was also saying that the Chough down at Portnahaven have been more active of late. Back on Friday Mary, had counted 230 Skylarks together close to Grainel. Visiting birder, Ian from Herts has struck it lucky with his first visit to Isay. Not only the weather has been great, but he saw a Golden Eagle down on the Oa, a male Hen Harrier beside the low road between Port Ellen and Bowmore and the up at Kilchoman this afternoon great sighting of the local Choughs.

Monday 10 March 2014

Monday 10th March

Sorry folks forgot to post an entry last night, a busy day yesterday and today and the next few days look not much better, as they say, no peace for the wicked! Bob was telling me earlier on that he felt he had been seeing some Whitefronts flying up the Rhinns today from the South. Speaking with Ed and he was saying that his colleague from Wexford in Ireland and his figures were down, so possibly "Bobs' geese" were some of the Wexford Birds... Been a great Spring day out here with the wood full of bird song, out towards the War graves, the Lapwing present were displaying away and this evening the the large flock of Jackdaws was something else as they headed to roost up!

Saturday 8 March 2014

Saturday 8th March

Yesterday, Paul Graham looked out the window and what was sitting on his bird table, rather what was on top of the cage preventing the larger birds getting to the food there... a Sparrowhawk... Today, as predicted the wind was up, the ferry did not come first thing and waited until midday before coming over, yes, the Fulmars are not far away with the weather!!! Down between the Coastguards and Rockside road end we counted 8 Hares out earlier this evening, wonder where they go to through the winter?

Friday 7 March 2014

Friday 7th March

The other day while out goose counting, Bob counted a flock of 100 Wood Pigeons over towards Loch Skerrols and yesterday he had a Peregrine fly past close to his house up behind Port Charlotte. Here at home yeserday, the Fulmars were seen out in front of the crag, a ringtail Hen Harrier over the garden up at Shepherd's cottage, later on around 70 Rock Doves flew past the crag. There was Merlin down towards Sunderland Farm around midday today. Visitors from Glossop had been over on Jura and had seen Red Deer and some feral goats there, with a pod of Dolphins at Feolin as they waited for the ferry to come back over to Port Askaig.

Thursday 6 March 2014

Thursday 6th March

Thanks to James who has compiled the entries to the blog while I was away over on the mainland. Some sightings through from last week. Somehow I managed to omit Paul's birds from last Wednesday, he had walked from Ballygrant through to Port Askaig. In the trees around Loch Ballygrant, he had a Treecreeper and several Goldcrest. Further on Paul had a Great spotted Woodpecker and on the Lily Loch a Dabchick was present. Later on over at Craigens, there was a small flock of 10 Twite and on the reserve at Gruinart, 7 adult Whooper Swans 2 ringtail Hen Harrier and around 300 Golden Plover. Yesterday, Ken and the Burbage birders had seen the Canada Goose hutchinsii down beside Loch Indaal. Beside the Gaelic College, 147 Barwits and 1 Knot were seen. Smelly corner held 40 Shelduck, with 19 Black Guillemots counted in the Sound of Islay at Coal Ila. A Dipper was seen at the Woolen Mill and finally up behind Port Charlotte a flock of 137 Barnies along with a solitary Pinkie!

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Wednesday 5th March

A few catch up records (thanks to the Burbagebirders) on the 3rd- 14 Pale Bellied Brents, 9 Slavonian Grebes, 11 Great Northern Divers and 13 Scaup and on the reserve at Gruinart- 2 Chough, 1 Grey Wagtail, a Peregrine, 140 plus Golden Plover and a Ringtail Harrier. On the 4th - 3 Hen Harriers (2 males an 1 female), 2 Golden Eagles and a Merlin at the Oa, a Great Crested Grebe in Port Ellen Bay by the toilet block and at Smelly corner 5 Black Tailed Godwits. There has also been reports of a Theyers Gull reported at Bruichladdich on the 2nd March (Birding Frontiers).

Monday 3 March 2014

Monday 3rd March

A clear and sunny day today- the Lapwing calling and the Skaylarks singing, plus 2 Lesser Black Backed Gulls at Gruinart. I usually see some in Feb, but they are late this year. Other records from Gruinart include a Bullfinch, Treecreeper and 2 Goldcrests all on the woodland trail - seen by Mary. Lots of records for yesterday: From the BurbageBirders, Off the ferry- 2 Black Throated Divers, 4 Red Throated Divers, 7 Great Norther Divers, 17 Razorbills, 13 Guillemots, 40+ Black Guillemot and a White Tailed Eagle. At their accomodation An-Innes they had 6 Woodcock. Records from the 1st March: 1st winter Iceland Gull nr. Kilmeny, male Hen Harrier at Erasaid, Slavonian Grebe just off Bowmore and 4 White Tailed Eagle in the Sound of Islay. It has also been noticed that the Gannets are back cruising the coast.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Sunday 2nd March

I have had to post early today, due to internet problems, a small downside to rural life. Its been a beautiful morning, although a bit cloudier now. To add to the Spring feel I have seen Frog spawn at Gruinart and heard the croaking of frog activity on the pools. Also at Gruinart a female Hen Harrier, a Moorhen and Sparrowhawk. A count of the Geese on the reserve revealed 3,900 Barnacles, 142 White-fronts and 31 Greylags.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Saturday 1st March

Yesterday was Paul Beresford's last day on Islay. Over at Bruichladdich, Paul counted 21 Pale bellied Brent Geese and a Guillemot on Loch Indaal, while he was there a male Hen Harrier flew over. Just South of Port Charlotte, Paul had 2 Black throated Divers and a Black Guillemot close to the shore. While walking over on the track between Octofad and Ballimony he flushed a Woodcock. Finally, back in Bowmore, on the pavement, an obliging Rock Pipit was seen. Paul's tally for the week was 93 species seen. Thanks Paul for sharing your sightings while you were here. As it is now March, "officially" the first day of Spring, well the rainfall for for February was 7.2" for the month here at home.... The rain guage is getting refilled already as it is wet outside as I write the entry tonight....