Friday 30 May 2014

Friday 30th May

Another good day with the weather again, so no complaints! The Rochdale birders had been over at Loch Ballygrant yesterday and had seen an Otter there. Also out on the loch was a Red throated Diver which was calling away and fishing too. In the trees a Tawny Owl was there. Over at Foreland, on the other side of Islay they had a Barn Owl and then later on another Tawny Owl. On the guided walk at Gruinart yesterday, Emily had seen a Redpoll, 2 Cuckoos, Reed Bunting, and a "perched" Peregrine. Later on Emily was out Corncraking during the "wee small hours" and had a Barn Owl out hunting over the reserve and then she heard a Water rail over at Loch Gorm, close to the phone box there! This evening we saw a Cuckoo being chased by a Meadow Pipit along at Foreland.

Thursday 29 May 2014

Thursday 29th May

Only a couple of days and that will be another month in... On Wednesday morning, early on, we carried out the Corncrake count on our patch, conditions were ideal, no wind and hardly any noise being heard from the sea, net result was 11 calling males, Michal covered the Ardnave section and he heard 9 birds calling, so that's a good start, must try and speak with Mary tomorrow and heard what the others heard. Yesterday morning James had being carrying out some survey work on the reserve at Gruinart where he saw a Marsh Frit, newly hatched from its' pupa, James' first for the year. He also saw 2 Golden winged Dragonflies, 4 Spotted chasers, 4 Whinchats and a Gropper while he was out. Yesterday, Michal heard 2 Cuckoos at Avinlussa and another one Kildalton. Yesterday evening there were 100 Greylags on one of the barley fields at Rockside. Today, here at home some of the young Starlings must be out of their nests as they were making one hell of a racket in the wood early afternoon!

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Wednesday 28th May

After an overcast start to the day, the cloud rolled back to give us blue skies and the temperature along the road on Mike's weather station rose to 18 degrees, that's warm for us! Some sightings from yesterday, Dave had an Iceland Gull still present on the Oa, David Formby had seen a Bullfinch fly across the road in front of him below Cluanach as he headed to the Bird nerds meeting, the Rochdale birders had seen 2 Whoopers on Loch Tallant and in the afternoon, Bob had 2 Whimbrel on Bolsay Moor. Emily had seen a Barn Owl out at the weekend on the reserve at Gruinart. The Bird nerds met up last night with 11 folk turning out including 4 visitors. We all had a good time, better still there was a slight air to keep the midges away! We saw Arctic Terns, Little Terns, Shelduck, 2 pr Wigeon, 8 GND, 18 and 48 Eider, 13 + 40 Sanderling, Ringed Plover + chicks, Turnstone , Dunlin, 2 Curlew, a good night out with a male Hen Harrier flying past as we were meeting up, a fine night enjoyed by all...

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Tuesday 27th May

Another beautiful day with blue skies and wall to wall sunshine, honest.... Yesterday the Rochdale birder, who is back over for some more of Islay, had a count of 41 Sanderling down on the reseed beside the Coastguards. A few moments later, a Peregrine screamed past, he also managed to hear 3 corncrakes calling away at 3 different locations round this end of Islay up around Machir Bay. Today he saw his first Marsh frit of the year and later on he also had a Red Admiral. Down at Claddach he saw 2 Turnstone. Michal today, had been up the top end of Islay and heard a Chiffchaff and also a Cuckoo calling at Bunnahabhain. On the track where he was walking, he also saw a basking Adder out in the sun!. Coming back from Bunnahabhain, Michal had a Grasshopper Warbler as well as a Common Sandpiper at Ardnahoe.

Monday 26 May 2014

Monday 26th May

Jim Dickson kindly sent through this image of a Sedge Warbler which he had taken at Gruinart when he was over on Friday. Jim was fortunate to be able to see the Temminck's Stint and also the Green winged Teal as well as the pair of Garganey. Today Danny and Dave had seen the Velvet Scoter down on the Rhinns, with some Sanderling seen along on the spit at the top of Loch Indaal. The Collared Dove was here again at home this morning. Speaking with my son, Andrew this afternoon, he had 2 Greater spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Jays, a Magpie, a Nutchatch as well as Great Tits out feeding their youngsters, sorry to say that was down in his garden in Surrey, not here! Remember, if you are over and wanting a night away from the whisky, the bird nerds are meeting up on Tuesday evening at 7 o'clock down at the track beside the Airport, for a stroll along the Big Strand to see what is around.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Sunday 25th May

David Livingstone sent this image of a Cuckoo which he had taken earlier today down close to Easter Ellister. Graham & Jo made the comment about seeing so many Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Starlings... The good number of waders on the reseed at the Coastguards still continues with at least 10 Sanderling present there today along with the Ringed Plovers and Dunlins, thought they would have moved on by now! Here at home there was a Collared Dove on the bird table this morning.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Saturday 24th May

Another great day with wall to wall sunshine and blue skies... Yesterday Ken and Sal had spent some time down on the Oa where they saw a Glaucous Gull fly past and join some Herring Gulls, LBB Guls and Common Gulls in a field past Fang Dhu. They also had 1 Kestrel, 2 Buzzards, 3 Ravens, several Northern Wheatear, 1 Stonechat, numerous Hoodies and Mipits. Down at Kilnaughton Bay 2 GND, 3 Black Guillemot, 2 Common Guillemot, 2 Common Sandpiper were seen and Siskins were heard calling from the trees there as well. In all, Ken and Sal had 106 species seen during their 7 days here. Graham and Jo yesterday had gone over to Claggain Bay were they had 14 Arctic Terns, 6 Ringed Plover (+ 1 Chick), 4 Dunlin, 2 Common sandpiper and a GND. From the top of Loch Indaal, 2 Arctic Terns, 4 Dunlin, a Ringed Plover with 2chicks were seen. Later, a trip round the Rhinns produced 3 Buzzard, 3 Chough and 2 Golden Eagle, a great week. Andrew and Jane, the Bowland Birders yesterday had seen a pr of Garganey at Gruinart and also the Green winged Teal, but no joy with the Phalarope, or the Temminck's Stint. Their tally for their fortnight' stay was 123 species seen. Thanks to all the above birders in giving us their sightings, makes the blog more interesting when you get others helping us along. No doubt we will meet up down at Rutland at the Bird Fair come August, not far away... Michal yesterday had seen a Common Sandpiper and a Heron in at Finlaggan and also heard a Cuckoo there as well. The "Islay bird nerds" will be meeting up on Tuesday evening (27th May) at 7pm over at the track down at the Airport which leads down to the beach, we had a great time time there last year, so if you are over this week, come and join us!

Friday 23 May 2014

Friday 23rd May

There was a reported sighting of a Red necked Phalarope down in front of the hide at Gruinart yesterday. The Bowland birders yesterday had been down on the Oa, and had done a spot of sea watching from Port nan Gallan where they saw Manxies, Black Guillemots, and a passage of around 60 Gannets/ hour fly past. They also saw plenty of Fulmars nesting on the cliffs there, near the American monument a male Hen Harrier and back at the car park, a Kestrel on the overhead wires. On their way back, 2 Swifts were seen at Island Farm and prior to that another male Hen Harrier close to the Machrie Golf course. Ken and Sal headed over to Jura and had a good day there with the following birds seen, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a Tree Pipit calling, Garden Warbler seen, 2 Siskins, Yellowhammer and a few Greenfinches all past the River Lussa. North of Tarbert 2 Common Buzzards wereseen, Red breasted Merganser just North of Craighouse, and they also had a possible Pied Flycatcher as well. They also heard and saw many Cuckoos on Jura. Graham and Jo had started their day around Loch Gorm with Whitethroat, 2 Whinchats and a male Hen Harrier seen. From the car park at Machir Bay, they had 8 Chough, 2 Buzzard and 2 Twite, they also heard a Corncrake calling there as well. Up the North end of Machir Bay they saw at least 70 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin and 50 Sanderling. Later on they saw a Peregrine over Kilchoman Distillery and then a ringtail Hen Harrier on their way over to Loch Gruinart. From the visitor centre there, a Spotted Flycatcher was seen and a Corncrake was heard.

Thursday 22 May 2014

Thursday 22nd May

Another good day here, although I was told it had been raining down on the Oa....Yesterday, Ken and Sal had headed over to Claggain Bay where they counted 17 Arctic Terns, a GND, 2 prs of Buzzards and also an Osprey, with a Cuckoo calling away there as well. They heard a further 2 Cuckoos close to Kildalton Cross and also a Chiffchaff there too. Along at Loch an t-Saillein they saw another Osprey but wondered whether it might have been the same bird. Back over this side of Islay, at Sanaig they heard a Corncrake calling, another Cuckoo, 1 GND, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Chough, 12 Sanderling and 4 Dunlins. On the way back to their cottage, the newly sown field beside the Coastguard's still had the Ringed Plover as well as the Dunlin and also 3 Sanderling present. Peter and David had the Velvet Scoter on the Rhinns yesterday as had the Bowland birders who spent some time close to Portnahaven where they had 6 Maxies, 7 Turnstone, 2 Fulmar, over 20 Gannets, Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag and Cormorant. Graham & Jo had been on the Oa yesterday and saw 2 Stonechats, 2 Whinchats, 4 Ravens, 2 Northern wheatear, Sedge warbler and 2 Golden eagles, later on at Ardilistry Bay, they had 2 Common Sandpipers and a Red breasted Merganser. Yesterday, Michal had a Chiffchaff sing at Moulin, on the reserve at Gruinart, today between Ardilistry and Kintour Michal had heard a Cuckoo, seen several Blackcaps, Whitethroats, and heard a Redstart singing in the Oak woods there, back at Lagavulin, another Cuckoo was calling. David Livingstone today had 2 Golden Eagles down on the Oa, and we had 2 Golden Eagles as well over the crag, here at home. On the reserve at Gruinart, James had a Temminck's Stint and a Green winged Teal on the floods and out on the estuary amongst the Dunlin, was a Curlew Sandpiper, a good way to finish this entry....

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Wednesday 21st May

A great day with the weather here, and I awoke this morning at 4am to the Cuckoo calling, enough said.. Turn the clock back further, on Monday Bob and myself did the monthly count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck with the following tally, 4 GND, 3 Shag, 1 Pale bellied Brent Goose, 10 Shelduck, 4 Mallard,4 Teal, 49 Eider, 1 White Wagtail, 50 Oystercatcher, 11 Curlew, 6 Whimbrel, 114 Dunlin, 2 Snipe, 1 Lapwing, 45 Ringed Plover, 2 GBB Gull, 8 Herring Gull 10 Common Gull, 12 pr BH Gull and 38 Arctic Tern. On my way there I heard a Corncrake calling at Gartmain, just before entering Bowmore.... Visiting birders Graham and Jo from Nottinghamshire on Monday saw 2 Corncrakes on the reserve at Gruinart, round the top of Loch Indall, at least 8 GND, 10 Eider, 1 Little Tern and 2 Arctic Skuas. Yesterday they did a circular walk from Bridgend to The Woolen Mill returning back by Skerrols, they saw Treecreper, Bullfinch, Blackcap and Siskin in the woods with both Greenland and Northern Wheatear ad also a Whimbrel out close to Skerrols House. Later, along at Caol Ila, Black Guillemot were seen in the Sound of Islay. Peter and David who had the Cuckoos down at Ellister on Sunday, had heard a Corncrake at Ballinaby and 2 more at Gruinart on Monday and yesterday had seen Willow Warblers, Bullfinch, Wren and Siskins in Bridgend Woods. Later on, they had a Common Sandpiper on the Glen road at the bridge over the Kilenanan River. Yesterday, the Bowland birders had stopped just past "smelly corner" and saw 2 Arctic Terns, 20 Sanderling, 30+Barwits, 5 Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel, and 1 GBB Gull. Later on the walked the Moorland Trail at Gruinart, and can recommend it! Birds noted were Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and a Cuckoo seen as well. From The old hide they saw Shoveller, Teal, Gadwall, 6+ Blackwits in summer plumage, Lapwings with young, Mallard and ducklings, Sedge Warler and Redshank. From the new hide, Shoveller, 4 male Teal, 5 Mute Swan, Reed Bunting, 6 House Martin and Shelduck. Below the Visitor centre they heard 3 different calling Corncrakes. Ken and Sal yesterday had a pr of Spotted Flycatcher out in front their cottage and heard a Corncrake down at Machir Bay and another along the road towards Coull. Up past Bunnahabhain, they spotted 2 Golden Eagles out on thermals, and 25 Black Guillemot in the Sound of Islay, back at Blackrock, a Red throated Diver was seen, 1 RB Merganser and 30 Sanderling. Yesterday evening, Rae fron SNH had seen an Osprey in at Skerrols. Finally this afternoon, while watching the Buzzards up the crag at Kilchoman with some other visitors, we saw some Chough and then a Sparrowhawk zipped past.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Tuesday 20th May

Speaking to some Ileachs today, we all had the same topic to speak about, the thunderstorm last night along with all the rain, around 1.5" fell... Still today it may have been overcast, but at least some outside work could be carried out!The Bowland birders yesterday had a quick trip in to Finlaggan where they saw Dabchick, Cuckoo and 12 Tufted Duck. Down at Caol Ila they had 6 Black Guillemots in the bay with 3 GND flying North up the Sound of Islay. Later on they walked from Port Askaig on the track leading to Ballygrant and back. They saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and later on an Osprey. Other birds included Chiffchaff, numerous Willow Warblers, Goldcrest, Goldfinches, pr of Redpoll, pr of Siskin, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Treecreepers, pr Reed Bunting, Sedge Warblers, M. Thrush, S. Thrush, Sparrowhawk, male Bullfinch, 4 different Cuckoos and many Whitethroats. On their way back to their cottage, they saw a pr of Red leged Partridge at the Auction Mart at Bridgend. Ken and Sal yesterday had seen the mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover down on the newly sown field at Rockside. Round at Ballinaby they saw 6 Greenland Wheatear and later on a Whitethroat singing away. Up behind Bowmore, a Golden Eagle , and at Blackrock they had 105 Barwits, 4 Knot, 1 GND, 4 RB Merganser and 35 Sanderling. At Bruichladdich, a Sandwich Tern, 1 GND, 1 Black Guillemot and 3 Gannets were seen. Mary had seen a Velvet Scoter down on the Rhinns yesterday.

Monday 19 May 2014

Monday 19th may

A bit of a late entry I know, but when I normally write the "post" this evening we were in the middle of a spectacular thunder and and lightening storm along with some torrential rain, so here goes.... The Bowland birders yesterday seen 2 Barwits along with a Whooper from the viewing platform at Gruinart, along at Blackrock they saw 2 Little Terns and 3 Arctic Terns,and from Bridgend they walked round the Claggain strip where they had Willow Warbler, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 pr of Bullfinches, heard Chiffchaff, Great Tit,Blue Tit, Treecreeper and Buzzard all seen. Peter Donaldson yesterday had seen 2 Cuckoos being chased by 2 Meadow Pipits down at Easter Ellister, one of the Cuckoos made of, leaving the other to face the music... this continued for around 10 - 15 minutes with the said Cuckoo getting moved along a fence line from one stob to the next one along a length of around 100 metres before going onto the telegraph wire! Ken and Sal yesterday had 78 different species yesterday alone, a great start to their visit, their highlights included seeing good numbers of Greenland Wheatears at Ballinaby and also up at Sanaigmore, as well as the Northern Wheatears all through their day, also at Sanaigmore they heard 2 Corncrakes calling. On the way up to Killinallan they saw 6 Whimbrel and also a Little Tern feeding, they also saw 4 GND there, as well as 3 in the bay at Sanaigmore. Down from Port Wemyss they reported a steady stream of Gannets fly past in groups of 10- 20, lots of Razorbills, lots of Guillemots, 2 Puffins, over 10 Kittiwakes and a few Fulmars. Today Bob had come up and counted the mixed flock of Ringed Plover/ Dunlin that we had seen yesterday evening, Bob counted 300 Ringed Plover and 50 Dunlin, we checked before the "storm" this evening and they had all moved on...Bob also was telling me of seeing 2 prs of Stonechats out with their new broods up beside his house, great! Dave had an Osprey down at Kilnaughton Bay today, back on the reserve on the Oa, he had the Iceland Gull present and also saw a Spotted Flycatcher while Mark had a Bullfinch there as well.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Sunday 18th May

Yesterday the Bowland birders had seen a Dipper on the River Sorn at The Woolen Mill and down at Loch Skerrols, they saw an Otter as well as a Long tailed Tit. Over at Ballimony, a male Hen Harrier was present and also while going past Loch Tallant in the evening they had 3 Woodcock roding. This evening we had a quick spin round Loch Gorm after tea. On the sown field past the Coastguards towards Coull there was a large mixed flock of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, 13 Greylags while in the next field along the road but on the right hand side, there were a good number of Lapwings along with at least 17 young, it is no wonder they get predated so easily as the adult birds were not paying much attention to their bairns! Going round the loch, a good number of Wheatears were noted, the Mute Swan is still sitting tight on her nest down on the wee lochans and then in another reseed at Rockside 47 Greylags! Finally coming home at the reedbed the Sedge Warbler was seen and heard, and by magic the Corncrake there had to chip his piece in as well, boy is he close to the road!!! Forgot to mention last night that Liz Hathaway had seen a Greylag with 6 young goslings down close to Loch Gorm yesterday morning.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Saturday 17th May

Yesterday was not a good day with the weather here, but we "birders" are not that easy out off... The Bowland birders had seen a Marsh Fritillary caterpillar on their walk over to and around Granny's Rock on Thursday. Yesterday itself, they had walked out from the gate at Killinallan along the track to Gortantoid and back by the waterfall and along the beach, "what a windy day", their comment, not mine!. All the same, they managed some birds for us, Lapwings, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks all busy feeding, calling and nesting! Up at Gortantoid itself they had a calling Yellowhammer along with many Wheatear. Coming back along the shore 50+ Sanderling, 30+ Dunlin and over 20 Ringed Plover were seen. Finally on their way back to their cottage they had a male Hen Harrier over the flats at Gruinart. Coming home this evening, we had a count of 14 Red Deer down on one of the barley fields at Sunderland...and at Rockside a flock of Golden Plover hunkered down for the night..

Friday 16 May 2014

Friday 16th May

A great day out here, but late afternoon the temperature has dropped like a stone, feels like being back in single figures again, and the jersey is back on too...Some sightings through from Emily, on the guided walk on the Oa on Tuesday, the Golden Eagle pair were seen along with pr of Chough, pr of Hen Harriers, Peregrine, Linnets, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Stonechat & Whinchat. On Thursday's walk at Gruinart, Emily had Linnet, Redpoll, Cuckoo on the moorland trail, Corncrake showing itself off outside the Visitor Centre, and pr of Gadwall from the hide. The Bowland Birders had pr of Common Sandpiper by the car park at Machir Bay, in the reed bed, there was a Corncrake and also Sedge Warblers calling away. Over at Granny Rock they had 2 pr of Ravens as well as some Fulmars there too. In the Buin Dubha wood they had Whitethroats, Reed Buntings and Willow Warbler while over Cnoc Dubh itself, a male Hen Harrier was seen. Finally, round at Ballinaby, 10 Golden Plover were spotted.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Thursday 15th May

David and Jane Griffiths had been out a walk at Ardnave on Tuesday and heard the elusive Corncrake calling close to the steading... wonder how many folk hear them compared to those who actually see them! On their way back from Ardnave they had a male Hen Harrier out quartering his patch at Kilnave. On the Glen road, David heard a Grasshopper Warbler, while along at Neriby a Cuckoo was being purseued by a small bird. David has also been seeing Siskins on his bird table lately as well. Yesterday Andrew and Jane, the "Bowland birders" had seen 4 Black Guillemots at the pier at Bruichladdich, also there were 4 Turnstone and a pr of Common Sandpiper. From the old hide at Gruinart, they saw the following, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Dabchick, Moorhen, Snipe, Mallard, Lapwing, Mute Swan, Sedge Warbler, Cuckoo, Corncrake, B H Gull, Shelduck, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Wheatear, Redshank, Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow. Along the "woodland trail", their birds were Greenfinch, Coal Tit, Robin, Treecreeper, Rook & Jackdaw while down at the new hide Gadwall, Shelduck, Moorhen, Wheatear, Lapwing and Mute Swan were seen. Today Bob had a young male Hen Harrier out skydancing on the Rhinns. On the reserve at Gruinart, James had 2 Garganey. This morning we saw a male Hen Harrier on the reserve at Gruinart, another later over Carnduncan and then a ringtail below Coulererach, we also saw 2 Cuckoos, one at Carnduncan and the other at the former Kilchoman school. This afternoon, there were around 27 Chough out over the dunes behind Machir Bay.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Wednesday 14th May

Yesterday, Andy and Jane had headed over to the other side of Islay. While going along the "high road" they saw 2 ringtails and 2 Peregrines in a thermal and also a male Hen Harrier skydancing. Kildalton wood held Willow Warblers, 3 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, Treecreeper along with Great Tit, Blue Tit & Robins. Over at the Keeper's cottage at Ardtalla, a Yellowhammer was present as a Cuckoo. Another Cuckoo was at Balivivcar. Along at Claggain Bay, 6 Arctic Terns, 6 GND, 2 Common Sandpiper,3 Redpoll, a Tree Pipit carrying food, 4 Wheatear and 2 RTD in summer plumage were present. Another male Hen Harrier was seen at Island Farm at they headed home. Also yesterday, David Livingstone saw a Golden Eagle as he walked out to Soldier's rock. George heard a Cuckoo in the trees beside his house the other day, had a Mallard out with her young ducklings on his ponds and last night had heard a Corncrake down below his house between the road and the shore, while Paul Graham had another up behind An taigh Osda also at Bruichladdich. There was a late reported sighting in today of a Bee-Eater seen up at Ardnave back on the 18th of April.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Tuesday 13th May

Mandy, who is one of the "vols" with the RSPB here on Islay at present, kindly sent this image of a Wood Sandpiper which she had taken yesterday evening down in front of the first hide at Gruinart. Andrew and Jane yesterday had been up round Ardnave where they had Corncrake, 12 Little Terns, 3 Arctic Terns, over 150 Dunlin, 100+ Ringed Plover, 40 Barwits, a Grey Plover in summer plumage, pr of Golden Plover, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 6 Twite, 2 Canada Geese, several Chough, Linnet, Rock Pipit, 60+ Whimbrel, 6 Sanderling, 1 White Wagtail, and back on the reserve at Gruinart, 2 Whitefronts and a Barnie were seen. At Bruichladdich they saw 2 Common Terns and also 2 Common Sandpipers. Back close to where they are staying close to Port Charlotte, they had seen a Barn Owl on Sunday night and also Chough there too. On the wild flower front at Ardnave they spotted early Purple Orchids and also Bogbean in flower. Bob today had a Barn Owl out and the Corncrake calling close to his house and this afternoon he had a female Peregrine. Back home here, and Jane and Amanda down from Aberdeen for the week had a count of 17 Chough in a flypast.

Monday 12 May 2014

Monday 12th May

Emily sent through this image of 2 of her 3 neighbours, the noisy Cuckoos, taken as they did a fly past, wonder it was not a gun rather than a "shot" from her camera! As well the Cuckoos, she has also got 2 Corncrakes calling away too and also a Whitethroat to make the choir up! From the old hide, Emily had a Gadwall yesterday, she also was saying that a visitor had seen an Osprey on Loch Indaal, close to Bowmore on Saturday. Andrew and Jane had a trip round the Rhinns yesterday with Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Goldcrest, Stonechat, Whinchat, Siskin, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Sparrowhawk carrying prey, a Peregrine and a Lapwing with 3 chicks. They also saw 2 Arctic Terns fly over to Orsay island. Last night as it was quite calm, Margaret and myself went out to hear any Corncrakes on our patch, a bit early, but there are some around, so by the time we came home we had heard 8 calling birds, to think that a few years back that number was the total for the whole of Islay. All in all, we were well pleased with our tally. The official counts does not start until next week.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Sunday 11th May

Cathy and her friend who were over the other week just e mailed me through today, to say what a great week they had spent over here on Islay, only small shower of rain and wall to wall sunshine the rest of the time with their highlights being seeing Chough, Hen Harrier and also Golden Eagle, no doubt Cathy and her friend will be back... Forgot to say the Rochdale birders (Gordon and Pauline Yates) went home the other weekend too, so thanks your sightings folks, I think that come the Autumn this Year that it will be their 100th trip to Islay! Coming over on the ferry yesterday, Andrew and Jane had seen 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Puffins and an Arctic Tern and coming up the Sound of Islay they saw an immature Golden eagle. Off Port Charlotte they had a raft of 150 Common Scoter.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Saturday 10th May

Some sightings through from Michal from earlier on this week...On Thursday, down on the shore below Easter Ellister, he saw 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Terns and also a Merlin, he also heard a Cuckoo there as well, later on, down at Portnahaven, he saw another Common Sandpiper. On Friday, he heard a Chiffchaff at Port Wemyss, at Wester Ellister, he saw 2 Whinchats and at Octofad a Snipe was drumming, and at Moullin on the reserve at Gruinart, Michal's home, he saw a male and also a female Cuckoo. The Redpolls and the Siskins were seen on the bird table today, here at home.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Thursday 8th May

Dave sent this image through of an adult Iceland Gull that he had seen down on the reserve on the Oa today. Dave also had sen a Collared Dove, 6 Whinchats as well as 5 Whitethroats. Today, James had a count of 1450 Dunlin, 2 Little Tern, an Arctic Tern at Gruinart. Here at home the 3 Redpolls and 3 Siskins were present on the bird table, the dreaded Cuckoo was also heard, luckily around midday rather than at first light! Yesterday there was a reported sighting of a Hawfinch at Gruinart, also yesterday, Michal heard a Cuckoo down at Easter Ellister.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Wednesday 7th May

This image is of a Greenland White fronted Goose taken on the 1st of May in Iceland, as you may be able to see it is wearing a neck collar with number 22 on it. It is infact one of the geese "collared" by Ed, Carl and Larry back in November at Gruinart. Good to see that it is alive and looking well, and hopefully we will see it in the Autumn back here on Islay, with a few tales to tell us off its' transponder too... Yesterday James had 5 Groppers, 5 Redpoll, 1 Whitethroat and 2 Whinchat on the reserve at Gruinart. Today it has been miserable for most of the time, but a Siskin visited the bird table as did the Redpolls. More rain already this month than the total for April!

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Tuesday 6th May

This morning Michal had heard a Chiffchaff singing outside the Visitor centre at the reserve at Gruinart. Later on down at Easter Ellister, he had 2 Grasshopper Warblers, a Whinchat and also a Stonechat. On my way over to Bowmore this morning, there were 15 Whimbrel seen flying off Loch Indaal at Uiskentuie, and onthe way home a further 20 were seen Flying inland from Machir Bay towards Loch Gorm. This afternoon a Heron flew off from the burn here at home.

Sunday 4 May 2014

Sunday 4th May

Martin sent me through this image which he took of Bob while the 2 of them were out this morning on a walk from The Woolen Mill along the River Sorn to Loch Indaal. The birds which they saw were as follows, 6 Mallards, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Corncrake heard in the fields, 6 Woodpigeon, 2 Swallow, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Dipper,5 Treecreeper, 15 Blackcap, 18 Willow Warbler, 1 Bullfinch, 1 Siskin, 2 Greenfinch, 12 Robin,5 Mistle Thrush, 14 Song Thrush and 16 Blackbirds. Here at home as well as the 3 Redpolls at the bird table, 3 Greenfinches were there too.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Saturday 3rd May

Yesterday was Phil Espin's last day on his week long trip to Islay and he walked back from the Oa to Port Ellen along the coastline. Phil's birds included a Golden Eagle, 1 Peregrine, 2 Chough, 3 Whimbrel, 5 Whinchat a Cuckoo and also 2 Black Guillemots, thanks Phil for your birds and all going well we will see you in August at the Birdfair, if not before...Emily was saying that the Corncrake at reserve at Gruinart was calling away yesterday, infact it was actually seen as he called from a nettle patch, Barnies now down to only 3 and there were some Shelduck out in front of the hide. This afternoon, Alistair did a "sea watch" from Portnahaven, rather than going to Frenchman's rock... His tally was as follows, 1 Arctic Skua flying N, 73 N Gannets and 322 flying S, 4 Manxies N, 1S, 3 Kittiwake S, "Awks unidentified" 18 N 46 S, 5 Black Guiilemot, 8 Fulmar, 5 Shag, 7 GBB Gul, 18 H Gull. Around the bay, 4 Eider, 2 Common sandpiper, 4 Chough, 6 Swallow were present. Here at home, around mid afternoon, the dreaded Cuckoo was calling/ singing/ making a noise in the wood, but thankfully I think it has headed away, fingers crossed! The 3 Redpolls are still coming to the bird table...

Friday 2 May 2014

Friday 2nd May

Yesterday, Emily had seen around 30 Barnies still present on the flats at Gruinart, there were also many Shelduck there too, possibly sheltering from the wind! She saw a young leveret at the side of the road, and while on the woodland walk there was a pr of Song Thrushes along with their 3 fledglings. A Blckcap and also a Linnet were heard singing away there too. Later on once the wind had died down, Snipe were drumming away, but no Corncrake was heard! Over at Machir bay, Sand artin, Oystercatcher Dunlin and Ringed Plover were there. A White tailed Sea Eagle had been reported on the reserve on Tuesday and again yesterday.Also yesterday, Carl had seen a pr of Canada Geese along with a pr of Greylags up behind Bruichladdich. Today, Bob had a count of 126 Whimbrel at the top of Loch Indaal, over at the tip at Gartbreck this afternoon, we heard a Corncrake calling quite close to us! Alistair from Portnahaven had been up in the woods at Bridgend and heard at least 8 singing Blackcap, a Goldcrest, plenty of Willow Warblers, several Chiffchaff. He also had heard a Corncrake calling in the fields there as well.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Thursday 1st of May

That is April past now, the tally for the rain did not even come to an inch, just around 0.8 of inch, a really dry month for here. The farmers will all be well pleased with them all having their Spring barley sown by now, last year with a really wet Spring the last few fields were sown as late as the 22nd of May.. Back to the birds then, Phil from Lincs, one of Wally's friends is over this week and well pleased with his birding and possibly the Distilleries too! Yesterday they had spent some time on the Rhinns and up to Ardnave. His highlights included 50 Whimbrel at Traig an Luig, 60 at Nerabus and a further 3 at Claddach.They also saw a Peregrine, several Chough on their travels. They had an immature Golden Eagle flying less than 50 m overhead, no need for the bins! Good sightings of 3 different male Hen Harriers and also a ringtail. A Whitethroat was seen at Port Charlotte and 3 Little Terns were at Traigh an Luig. Dave Wood today had 15 Knot, 70 Barwits, 80 Dunlin and 9 Shelduck between Bowmore and "smelly corner". Alastair from Portnahaven had a Cuckoo at Blackrock while I heard a distant one calling here around midday