Sunday 29 June 2014

Sunday 29th June

A glorious day over with one major problem, the power went off this morning and did not come on 'til late afternoon... I had just spent a few minutes setting our generator running and then the power came back on... Back on Thursday, Emily had a good guided walk at Gruinart, up on the "mooorland trail" they saw an Osprey carrying a fish towards Bridgend from the Loch Gorm area. Then a male followed by a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down at Moulin, there were several juv Pied Wagtails present along with Whitethroats and Linnets too. Visitors had been telling Emily of seeing Buzzards carrying Adders! Yesterday, the Horwich birders, Chris and Tony Johnson had seen "hundreds" of gannets passing Machir Bay from North to South. Thanks to Chris and Tony for sharing their sightings with us.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Saturday 28th June

Yesterday the Horwich birders had seen a male Hen Harrier close to Foreland. At Blackrock, they counted 25 Eider and along on the River Sorn 2 Heron were present, and at the mouth of the River Sorn an Oystercatcher with young was seen. Along the shoreline on Loch Gruinart, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Redshank and up at the gate at Killinallan, Linnets and Wheatear were seen. Large numbers of Skylarks were singing over the dunes there and a count of the Sand Martins, around 25 were at nest sites there in the dunes. The show of Orchids in the dunes there was as good as they can recall over a period of visiting over a 30 year span, with Frog and Pyramidal Orchids to the fore, also seen were Twayblade and heleborines amongst the clover, bedstraw, bird's foot trefoil and numerous other species. Mary yesterday had 2 Swifts down at Portnahaven. The Horwich birders had seen a single swift amongst the House Martins and Swallows over Coullabus.

Friday 27 June 2014

Friday 27th June

Yesterday, the Horwich birders had heard some Corncrakes calling, one down near to the Coastguard cottages and a further 2 up beyond Saligo. They recalled that back in 1988, up on the cliffs at the "Opera House Rocks" there were thousands of Razorbills and Fulmars present, in 2009, only a few hundred and yesterday just a handful in total. Young Lapwings were seen in a field at Saligo, with post breeding flocks starting to gather with 26 together at Coull and 12 round at Ballinaby. A flock of 22 Linnets were present near to Saligo. There were 8 Sedge warblers seen between Coull and Saligo along the roadside both as individual and family groups, 2 Stonechat families were seen on the same stretch. Today, Bob heard a Snipe drumming outside his house.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Thursday 26th June

The Horwich birders on Tuesday had seen a pr of Mute Swans on Loch Ballygrant along with their 4 cygnets. In the trees on the edge of the Loch was a Spotted Flycatcher. Loch Allan held 5 Tufted Duck while in Ballygrant woods, Blackcap and Whitethroat were present. Round the edge of Loch Gorm yesterday, they saw Whinchat, Reed Bunting and Redpoll while over at Ballinaby, they had 6 Blackwits feeding away good style. A Dunlin was seen in the stream leading down to Machir Bay, and back at their cottage there was a family group of Song Thrush out on the lawn. Today, Mary had 4 Swifts at Claddach this morning and also the Rose coloured Starling was seen again in Port Ellen. Forgot to mention that it was seen by the Mark Shields on Sunday, Mark is Dave's No 2 down on the Oa reserve! The sun is out this evening, what a difference it makes when it comes out, it is meant to be summertime!!!

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Wednesday 25th June

The other day, the Horwich Birders had been over at Claggain Bay where they saw a Red throated Diver and also a Great Northern Diver as well. They also saw an Eider with youngsters and some Comic Terns there too. Close to Ardtalla there was a pr of Mute Swan with 5 cygnets, 8 Red breasted Merganser and a pr of Shelduck with ducklings, but best of all, an Otter! Coming back to their cottage, on the River Sorn they saw a Grey Wagtail. Mary yesterday had a count of 13 Pied Wagtails together down at Portnahaven. Last night was the bird nerds monthly meeting and 15 folk turned up, it could have been more but I was at the airport waiting to pick a passenger up, only to be told eventually at 9pm that the flight was cancelled. Will get an update from James tomorrow all going well about the bird nerds..The pr of Mute Swans on Loch Gorm still have all their 6 cygnets.

Monday 23 June 2014

Monday 23rd June

David Livingstone kindly sent through this image he took of a Rose coloured Starling down in a garden in Port Ellen. It was there yesterday as well and seen again today! Thanks David! James had a Spotted Flycatcher on the reserve at Gruinart yesterday, while today Mary had seen an Osprey mid morning, flying over Loch Gruinart carrying a fish and being mobbed by Oystercatchers!!! The Horwich birders are back for a week and yesterday up at Ardnave they saw broods of young Eiders, and many families of Wheatears, Choughs were seen as well and they commented on how vocal they were. Along the shoreline, they had Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers with Gannets and Black Guillemots offshore. At Traigh Nostaig there were a pr of Shelduck with 12 ducklings, also there was a creche of Eiders. Returning back though the dunes, a male Hen Harrier was seen as were some Linnets. Back on Ardnave Loch, the pr of Mute Swan were present with their 6 cygnets. Over at Sanaigmore a Corncrake was heard briefly and a few more Linnets seen. Also yesterday, David and Jane Griffiths had seen a male Hen Harrier up at Storakaig, with a Cuckoo calling at Loch Ballygrant where there was another pr of Mute Swans with 6 youngsters.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Sunday 22nd June

Before they headed off home yesterday, on Friday evening David and Jenny had heard 2 Grasshopper Warblers "reeling" away over beside the phone box at the head of Loch Gorm, they also saw a Dunlin display in the same area as well. While waiting on the ferry at Port Askaig, they heard a Chiffchaff singing. George yesterday had seen a male Hen Harrier at Finlaggan, back on Loch Skerrols, he counted 24 Mute Swans, probably non breeders. Back on the shore below his house, George had seen an Arctic Tern with young, with another sitting on its' nest.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Saturday 21st June

Another glorious day, here's hoping that it will last for the next fortnight at least! Yesterday was David and Jenny's last day of their stay here on Islay. Over at Bunnahabhain, they had seen a male Hen Harrier. In the afternoon, they took a walk up to Loch Cam, where they saw a few pairs of Common Gulls with young, Oystercatcher with young, along with plenty of Wheatears, Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Common Sandpipers too. They also saw a great variety of wild flowers on their walk. Alex Kidd from Fife has been over for the past week as well and had seen 87 species, highlight was counting 24 Chough down at Machir Bay on Tuesday and another morning seeing a corncrake at the reserve at Gruinart, well worth the 5.30 am rise... This morning, we had 3 young Chough out from their nest and sitting on the roof of our new house, so I am saying they are house birds rather than garden birds....Last night we had a Kestrel zip past over the garden when we were there. The local bird nerds are holding their monthly get together at 7.30pm on Tuesday evening. We are meeting in the car park at the Primary school in Bowmore for a short walk along the lane past the sports field along the "Moss road" and down on to the shore and return back up past "The Battery", so if you are over come along and put a face to the names that you read about on the blog...

Friday 20 June 2014

Friday 20th June

Yesterday, David and Jenny had heard and then saw a Corncrake at Carnduncan, up at Sanaigmore, they saw 4 Chough with 12 distant Manx Shearwater out over the sea. Later on, from the viewing platfrm at Gruinart, they saw an Osprey and also the Red necked Phalarope. Over Killinallan, they had a ringtail Hen Harrier and finally around Loch Gorm, an imm Golden Eagle was seen. On Wednesday, with the haar being around for most of the day, trying times but they had managed to spot a male Hen harrier and later on a ringtail, both round Loch Gorm. They also saw another male just behind Bowmore. David Griffiths had a family of 5 Great Tits on his feeders today, and this morning he saw 4 Herons along a Avonvoggie. This afternoon just around 4 pm there were 2 earth tremors heard rumbling away, look up the British Geological Survey's web page for more details!!!

Thursday 19 June 2014

Thursday 19th June

A glorious day, no haar at all today... Yesterday Carl and Sue had seen a Golden Eagle out past Ballygrant as they headed over to Port Askaig. This morning as we went out we saw a Peregrine knock a Rock Dove out of the sky, whether it was because we were close by, the Peregrine did not kill its' prey and flew away and the Rock Dove was a bit stunned but flew off a few moments later, minus some feathers!

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Wednesday 18th June

A late entry, but better late than never...David and Jenny on Monday had seen a Peregrine over close to Coullabus, on Tuesday, they had seen 2 GND and 6 Arctic Terns at Claggain Bay. On the Oa, they had 2 Golden Eagles, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Kestrel and 5 Whinchats. Peter Clements and his group from Naturetrek had been over on Jura yesterday and had seen a pr of White tailed Sea Eagles, at Small Isles Bay 2 GND were present as with a female Otter with her 2 cubs, and further on at Lowlandman's Bay, 2 Short eared Owls and also a male Hen Harrier were spotted. Today, they were up at Ardnave where they saw 2 Hen Harriers a family of Twite, a pr of Bonxies over Nave Island with a GND , Little Tern and 5 Arctic Terns over and on the water towards Nave island itself. James today had from the new hide at Gruinart, a Red necked Phalarope, Greenshank and a Blackwit

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Tuesday 17th June

Thanks to James for writing Monday's entry for me, see these computers, too clever, or is it just me that is getting too old and cannot understand how they "work". Before I forget, as I logged on tonight I noticed that we have had 333,667 page views since starting up back in May 2007, wonder who logged on to be 333,666??? Mary yesterday had seen a Swift down over Currie Sands down at Portnahaven, and in the evening her sister had a male Hen Harrier up behind Claddach. Today on the guided walk down on the Oa, Emily had an Osprey as well as a Golden Eagle and then a Kestrel, not bad considering there was a haar in and limiting visibilty... Carl and Sue, visitors from Leicester had a flock of 21 Chough down close to Machir Bay this morning, a great site to see.

Monday 16th June

A late post- lots of computer, come internet problems on Islay at the moment. We have had lots of great records from Peter Clements of Naturetrek: 10 Hen Harriers in the Gruinart, Kilchoman, Ardnave area, 5 Corncrakes a calling at Ardnave, Loads of Wheatears, a male Velvet Scoter on the south Rhinns, a total of 7 Golden Eagles around the Island, a Peregrine at Ardbeg distillery. Also reported a pair of Spotted Flycatchers at Gruinart and Common Terns on Loch Gruinart.

Sunday 15 June 2014

Sunday 15th June

What a difference a day makes, the weather here today and still is, wall to wall blue skies, and more to come by the looks of the weather forecast for the week...This morning I was out with Bob along with visitors Carl and Sue when we carried out the count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. On our way down to Bowmore, Carl and Sue saw a male Hen Harrier and then shortly afterwards a ringtail as we headed down towards Loch Indaal. Yesterday evening, they saw Choughs down behind Machir Bay, a great start to their stay here on Islay... The tally for our Webs count was as follows, 2 Shag, 140 Greylag, 30 Shelduck, 34 Eider, 4 GBB Gull, 2 LBB Gull, 10 Herring Gull, 26 BH Gull, 25 Arctic Tern, 40 Oystercatcher, 26 Curlew, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Lapwing, 35 Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank and 6 Dunlin. David and Jenny are back for another week, at a different time of year as well...Today they had seen a male Hen Harrier round Loch Gorm and then another up behind Port Charlotte. Also round Loch Gorm, they had seen 6 pr of Whinchat and down at Portnahaven, 5 Chough were present.

Saturday 14 June 2014

Saturday 14th June

Been a funny old day today, it started off with the crag being hidden by a sea haar (mist) and then when it cleared it was quite clammy with no wind, good the midges, but there again they were not around either! The Cuckoo was present in the wood this morning, calling away and this afternoon there was a family of young Wheatears flying between the headstones at the old churchyard. "Uncle Sandy" was telling me that the Choughs down close to where he lives, has been successful with 4 young and that they had all flown from the nest.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Thursday 12th June

A bit of a short entry this evening, been one of those days, our house should have a revolving door to let me in and out.... Yesterday Emily had a count of over 90 Marsh Frits on the reserve at Gruinart, a large number by all accounts! Michal happened to say the other day that he has been seeing more Marsh Frits about this year...Today, James, Dave and Izzy from RSPB with Morvern from SNH carried out a Sea bird survey from the sea down the West of Colonsay along with a group of "vols" to help out. Fortunately, the weather was a lot kinder to us all than it was on Tuesday down on the Oa. The tallies are not to hand yet, but when they do come through I will put them on the blog, but as with Tuesday's figures, the tally for today appears to be down on previous years. Apart from the usual suspects, we had a Puffin and also 2 Storm Petrels.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Wednesday 11th June

Gordon Yates sent this superb image of a female Hen Harrier which he took the other day...Thanks Gordon. Some sightings through from the weekend from Gary Turnbull who was over with the Renfrewshire members group of RSPB. On Sunday, they counted 121 Barwits at Blackrock, up at Ardnave, they saw a few Choughs along with big numbers of Sand Martins. From the old hide at Gruinart, they saw a Redshank close at hand, as well as Shoveller and Wigeon. They also saw an Osprey flying up Loch Gruinart. After lunch, round at Ballinaby they saw a Corncrake in the grass at the side of the road and along at Saligo Bay they had a male Hen Harrier. On their way down to the ferry, close to the airport many Meadow Pipits and a male Wheatear were seen. By the sounds of it all, a great time enjoyed by them all.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Tuesday 10th June

David Wood along with Mark and Emily and with some "vols" carried out a check on the sea birds breeding down on the Oa reserve this afternoon, but this time from the sea, rather than from the land. The tally was as follows, 105 pr of Fulmar, 75 pr of Kittiwake, 6 pr of GBB Gull, 21 pr of Herring Gull, 87 individual Razorbill, and 121 indiv. Guillemots. Dave told me that these were similar in number to last year, but a lot less than 10 years ago, in line perhaps with sea bird decline elsewhere.

Monday 9 June 2014

Monday 9th June

A bit of a late entry tonight folks, sorry about that folks... James phoned through late afternoon to say that there had been a Red necked Phalarope over in front of the hide at Gruinart. Here at home this morning, there were 4 Collared Doves down on the ground beside the bird table. Margaret this evening spotted the pr of Mute Swan from the lochans at Rockside road end, well this evening there were on Loch Gorm along beside the wee island where the "castle" is (according the OS map!!). They had at least 4 young still, but hard to get a right count as it was quite choppy...

Sunday 8 June 2014

Sunday 8th June

A day with some dirty showers mixed through it, but before the weather "broke down" I was out with Bob and Martin carrying out a BTO waterbird survey. This entailed us walking alongside the River Sorn from The Woolen Mill down to where the river enters the estuary at the top of Loch Indaal, a walk of around 2 miles or thereabouts. The highlight for sure was when 2 Jackdaws were heard calling away in distress, they then came into view in pursuit of a Buzzard which deftly dropped down onto one the "footbridges" across the water and picked up a Stoat in its talons. But almost immediately, it dropped the Stoat, whether it was nipped by the actual Stoat or whether the Jackdaws caused it to be dropped we are not sure. A few moments later the Stoat was up on the footbridge again as if nothing had happened... A Corncrake was heard, 2 Dippers seen at 2 different points, a Grey Wagtail down close to the mouth of the Sorn. We had a great time with all the usual birds seen and heard, the Great Tits had their brood out and just below the weir at Bridgend, a Mallard had her 5 ducklings out for a paddle. We also saw a Daubenton's bat hawking for insects over a shady part of the river. Here at home this afternoon, the Goldfinches had their youngsters on display and later on a hen Pheasant out with her brood. The Ravens up on the crag had her brood of 4 young out parading the sky.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Saturday 7th June

Gordon Yates kindly sent through this image of a Corncrake which he had taken earlier on this week, thanks Gordon! This morning just he was leaving here, Michal heard a Chiffchaff calling away in the woods, and then the Cuckoo started up, and almost 10 hours later it is still at it, does it never get hoarse??? Another visitor today was Gary Turnbull who is over for the weekend with a party of 10 from the Renfrewshire RSPB members group. Coming over on the ferry yesterday, they had 4 Porpoises in the Sound of Islay, a Golden Eagle there too as well as an Osprey over Jura. Up at Bunnahabhain they had a GND in the bay, a great start to their stay... Today in the rain, they had Common Sandpiper, Rock Pipit, 6 Red breated Merganser, another GND and 2 Red throated Divers as they headed out to Claggain Bay, they also saw an Eider there with 4 young ducklings. Back over this side of Islay, the Mute Swan down below Rockside on the lochans there, it was proudly showing off her brood of 6 youngsters, a long wait, but well worth the wait!

Friday 6 June 2014

Friday 6th June

This image of a Meadow Pipit was taken earlier on this week by Stephanie and Olaf Fritsche from Heidleberg in Germany. They have been over here on Islay for the last fortnight and today being their last full day before heading home, they had walked round Ardnave Point and had seen Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Wheatear, Chough, Sand Martin and spotted footprints of an Otter, they also heard a Corncrake calling up there too. By the sounds of their e mail they have had a great time while staying here,thanks for your image! David Formby today had heard a Quail over in one of the silage fields over below Neriby.

Thursday 5 June 2014

Thursday 5th June

Michal had braved the weather today, and been out down Portnahaven way, and captured this Canada Goose on camera. As you have gathered it has been damp today, not a lot but.... The Rochdale birders had been out testing their new waterproofs, with their new gear being a 100% successful in keeping the water at bay! Over at Port Askaig, they heard a couple of Chiffchaff singing away, round at Loch Tallant they saw a male Merlin. Down on the Rhinns, they saw 2 different Peregrines and also saw 2 different male Hen Harriers. Back at Port Mor at Port Charlotte, they heard a Corncrake calling away. Last night I thought I heard a different corncrake calling on our patch but only to discover that the wind was calling the sound to me , it was at least the best part of half a mile away...

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Wednesday 4th June

Just about forgot to mention the rainfall figures for May tallied out at 4.5", we had another wee drop of the stuff last night and so far (and it is only the 4th)the rainfall is over an inch, at least it is dry through the day!!! This morning there were several Song Thrushes poking about on the grass looking for worms after the rain. On the House and garage roof, we had 7 Chough perched and chattering away between themselves. Later on, this afternoon I counted 10 Goldfinches on the feeders where there had been a pair of Greenfinches earlier on. We seem to be not seeing as many Blue Tits around, not as many as in previous years.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Tuesday 3rd June

Many thanks to James writing the blog for the last couple of days as the computer here was playing up, but all going well, it is back to "normal" again, fingers crossed... It has been a great day out here again, think I might got some more suntan while cutting the grass late this afternoon!! James saw a Corncrake today on the reserve at Gruinart. At the weekend, George had seen 2 prs of Arctic Terns down on the shore below his house. He also saw an Oystercatcher sitting on a nest and a Ringed Plover with out with its' youngsters. The Rochdale birders spotted an Osprey fly over George's ponds.

Monday 2 June 2014

Monday 2nd June

A wet day on and off, but warm. Not much to report. The male Eiders are starting to gather in groups on Gruinart and Loch Indaal. I had a trip to Killinallen saw Lapwing and Redshank chicks in fields to the north of the farm.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Sunday 1st June

Not much for today- but a fantastic sunny summers day yesterday. I went to Texa and had Peregrines, Razorbills, Guillemots, Shags, Arctic Terns, Herring Gull, Lesser Black Back Gulls, Black Guillemots and Fulmars. Michal has some records for me - Bullfinch, 2 Chiffchaffs and Cuckoo at Bridgend Woods. A Quail was reported from Ardnave. On the 30th at Ballimony a pair of Cuckoos, a pair of Mistle Thrushes, 6 Crosssbills and lots of Goldcrests.