Thursday 31 July 2014

Thursday 31st July

Another month almost in with just a few hours left to go. Been a busy day today, but not really on the bird front though! This morning I double checked along with James that we had everything in place for the Islay stand at the Birdfair, and touch wood, we think that all is in place. It is not long now and in a fortnight's time we will down at Rutland with our stand ready for action. So if you are at the Birdfair, come along and meet up with us, we are in Marquee 1, stance 14, in the same neck of the woods as Speyside Wildlife. Come along and enjoy some of our hospitality and enter our draw for a week for up to 4 folk for a week to come and see our geese in the winter. Your cottage is at Kilchoman House, with Caledonian MacBrayne providing free ferry tickets for the winner. It is a free competition and will be drawn at 3pm on the final day of the Birdfair.

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Wednesday 30th July

Visiting birder Nigel, who is over staying at Port Charlotte for a few days had been out and about on the Rhinns. On Monday evening he had seen a Woodcock, later on up towards Gearach, he had a Short eared Owl and then further on a great sighting of a male Hen Harrier. Yesterday morning on the walk on the Oa produced no Golden Eagles, but the bonus was a Bonxie fly past The American monument! This morning Bob had 3 young Cuckoos on Bolsay moor. One of them was spoofing the Greylags on the ground, Bob thought that the geese could be thinking that it was a Peregrine. This evening, coming back home from Gruinart, we saw 2 groups of Pied Wagtails, one lot of around 10 at the far (Eastern) end of Loch Gorm, and then down at the reed bed at the Coastguards, around 15 were present. Earlier this evening we had 9 Curlew fly past over the dunes.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Tuesday 29th July

A bit of a late entry, but tonight was bird nerds.. we did not see much this evening but had a great time comparing each others scopes, with no real best scope coming out as the best! James today had seen a Treecreeper on the reserve at Gruinart while Dave ad a Greenshank down on the reserve on the Oa! Yesterday he had seen 4 there. Martin had a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past his kitchen window today down at Glenegedale.

Monday 28 July 2014

Monday 28th July

A new garden bird here today, a Robin was out in the garden, while I was at the sink in the kitchen, I saw a distant Golden Eagle, it flew in from the dunes behind Machir bay, pity I do not think I can call it an "actual" garden bird... If you are over on Islay at present, tomorrow night is the monthly meeting of the Islay bird nerds, so we are meeting up at the Gaelic college just outside Bowmore at 7.30pm for a look around to see what is out on Loch Indaal, so if you are around, see you there.

Sunday 27 July 2014

Sunday 27th July

Sorry folks, late night last night, so I forgot to do the entry... Up on top of the crag yesterday was a solitary Raven cronking/ calling away. George was telling me today that the Moorhen on his ponds is sitting on a clutch of 7 eggs. Down on the shore there are now 5 juv Arctic Terns as well as 14 Lapwing, 1 Dunlin and 5 Snipe were present there. On top of George's house this evening were 2 Collared Doves. Today, Carl had a Red Grouse on Bolsay Moor, up behind Port Charlotte.

Friday 25 July 2014

Friday 25th July

Forgot to mention last night that Tim and Janice had heard a Corncrake out from Bridgend woods, and later on through their stay, another down at Claddach, Portnahaven. Yesterday on the guided walk at Gruinart, Emily saw a Barn Owl, earlier on Mandy had seen an Osprey up at Ardnave with the vols spotting a a male Hen Harrier down at the "old Hide" and a wee while later on 2 Whooper swans were seen there too.... This afternoon up the top of the crag, there was a young Buzzard watching all that was going on, probably the same one that I saw the other day. This evening the was mixed flock of over 44 Chough and Jackdaw, at least over 30 Chough, but hard to get an exact count as they duck and dive while in flight!

Thursday 24 July 2014

Thursday 24th July

Another cracker of a day, possibly not as hot as some other places, but certainly hot enough for here... Janice and Tim Scott who were over last week were fortunate to watch the Osprey fishing at Gruinart. They also had a ringtail Hen Harrier take off from the verge side at Gruinart and on the woodland trail, they saw a further 2 ringtails. Janice and Tim are away home now, but will return to see the geese in October. Yesterday, James had seen the Osprey at Gruinart fishing again...Bob today commented on seeing more Willow Warblers around today, so possibly some moving through.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Wednesday 23rd July

The weather just gets better every day, as good a summer over here this year, as far as I can remember. Yesterday, I was speaking to a friend who lives up behind Bridgend and he was telling me that in one the Swallows nests where he lives that they reared a brood of 5 youngsters. The other morning, a wee while ago while listening to his radio, the topic of conversation was the call of a female Cuckoo, lo and behold later that morning he heard one calling away... Yesterday, in the garden, I saw a pr of Pheasants out with a brood of 5 youngsters, all of which were just a few days old by the size of them. The other regular family with only the one chick, well, it is growing rapidly and has learned where the food is on the bird table as well as the dish with the water too...

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Tuesday 22nd July

Another glorious day again, although I had to put the wipers on coming home late afternoon, but only for a few seconds... Visiting birder Jonny who arrived at the weekend had seen a Corncrake down close to Bridgend. Down there too, he heard a Grasshopper Warbler and further on 12 Barwits and at least 5 Common Sandpipers were added to his list for the day. Yesterday over the reserve at Gruinart, Jonny had a male Hen harrier, at Sanaigmore he saw a Whimbrel flying South and a Golden Eagle, South of Bowmore, he saw a Whinchat. This morning, he saw a Hobby chasing some Swallows over the merse at Bridgend. Here at home this morning, one of the young Buzzards was out on the wing, possibly one of its' first flights as it was not that good at flying yet... a Collared Dove flew over the garden, does it have to be in the garden or can I class it as a "garden bird" when it flew over the garden???

Monday 21 July 2014

Monday 21st July

Forgot to mention last night that 2 Gannets should have been on the list of birds that Bob and myself had on yesterday's count!!! James is back from his holidays.. Today on Loch Gruinart, he saw an Osprey carrying off a fish heading out towards the hill on the reserve, no doubt to tuck into its' prey. James also saw 3 Spotted Flycatcher and then later on 4 different Barn Owls. Here at home I have been seeig a "friendly" Wheatear, I can be no more than 8 feet away from it and it is quite unfazed by my presence.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Sunday 20th July

A bit misty through the night, but once it burnt off, a not bad day followed behind... Back on Friday, Bob had 60 Dunlin down at Gartmain. This morning, i helped Bob doing he count along the shore from Bowmore along to Gartbreck, with the tally being as follows, 85 Greylag, 5 Mallard, 8 Shelduck, 21 Eider, 48 Oystercatcher, 15 Curlew, 6 Ringed Plover, 28 Dunlin, 3 Redshank, 3 Lapwing, 2 Heron, 1 Snipe, 2 GBB Gull, 10 Herring Gull, 30 Common Gull, 10 Black headed Gull, 10 Arctic Tern, 1 Red throated Diver, 5 Shag. Although we do not actually count Rock Pipits, there must have been around 80 to 100 including a leucistic. One of the GBB Gulls was actually tucking into a carcase of a Eider...

Saturday 19 July 2014

Saturday 19th July

Some sightings through from Emily from through the week... On the guided walk on Tuesday, down on the Oa, Golden Eagles were seen as well as Ravens, Wheatear as well as some Twite robbing a Linnet. At Gruinart, on the walk, 3 different ringtail Hen Harriers were seen, a juv Cuckoo on the moorland trail with a juv Treecreeper spotted in the woods. On Friday, Emily had a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier at Grainel with a Buzzard also there in the evening. Emily had told by some visitors of seeing an Osprey on Thursday up at Ardnave, the same visitors had been speaking to other visitor who had just seen one at Blackrock. Here at home today, out flitting in about the willows were 3 Willow Warblers and later on a Wren hopping along the dyke or stone wall.

Friday 18 July 2014

Friday 18th July

Rather a tousy day out here today, at least it has remained dry! Yesterday, Mary and Mandy was over at Ardbeg Distillery where they saw a pr of Arctic Terns chase off a Peregrine. Other birds seen included " dozens" of Shag, a Cormorant, 10 Black Guillemot, 3 Heron, 3 Eider far away , a distant raft of Greylag. Overhead there were plenty of Swallows and a few Sand Martins. They also saw some Common seals with pups. Late afternoon, back at Gruinart, a male hen Harrier was flying high over the flats.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Thursday 17th July

Another great Summer's day again.... Speaking to Bob last night who was saying that he had a mixed flock of wee birds on the grass field out in front of his house, he reckons around 100 or so birds in total, about the biggest half were House Sparrows, with the others being Linnets, Twite, Goldfinches and a few Greenfinches. Mandy one of the "vols" at Gruinart was saying to me this morning, that the other day up at Ardnave she saw a Great Skua taking a Shelduck... Down at Bruichladdich this evening there was a pr of Shelduck proudly showing off their 8 ducklings. Back at Loch Gorm the Mute Swans still have got their 6 youngsters in tow...

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Wednesday 16th July

A not bad came all around today, after the rain last night, should not really complain when it comes like that! One day last week, Louise had seen 6 Corncrake chicks cross the road along the flats at Gruinart...Yesterday morning, Mary had heard a Gropper singing away close to the church at Portnahaven. This morning, she saw 2 RTD flying in a circle over Portnahaven, calling away, then they headed over to Port Wemyss and on towards Loch Indaal. Last night on her way home Mary had 2 Snipe cross the road in front of her! On the feeders at Gruinart, some Greenfinches have returned while in the field corridors the Goldfinches have increased in numbers.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Tuesday 15th July

The weather today has not been that bad, but there is some rain forecast for tonight, so I made the most of today getting some of the grass cut...There was a distant Buzzard sitting on top of a straining post, keeping a watch on his patch. Looking out to the sea and there were some Gannets flying past Machir Bay. Late afternoon a House Martin flew past. Over the last couple of days I have been engaging my brain and double checking that all is in place for the Bird Fair down at Rutland and all going well tomorrow will book the ferry which Calmac kindly provide us with. More about our plans for the Bird Fair another day! The Bird Fair is not that far off... So hopefully, we will see some old friends from previous years and also try to get some new folk to come and enjoy the varied wildlife that we have here on Islay and Jura.

Monday 14 July 2014

Monday 14th July

On Friday, Mandy, the longterm vol at Gruinart had seen a Spotted Flycatcher feeding one of its' fledglings on the trail.The vols had been over on Jura at the weekend where they saw 3 different prs of Short eared Owls. This morning, Mary saw 3 Red throated Divers fly overhead from North to south close to Uiskentuie. Also just after lunchtime, we had a ringtail Hen Harrier take off from the roadside as we headed over to Gruinart. The sun is shining again this evening after a steady dampness earlier today, almost an inch was not really that wet just a steady fall of the wet stuff...

Sunday 13 July 2014

Sunday 13th JUly

This image of a Black tailed Godwit was taken on the 21st of June round at Ballinaby by Tony Johnson. Tony did some detective work and has found out that the Godwit was rung as an adult male back in Northern Iceland on the 15th of July 2010. Each year it returns to Iceland and has been seen mostly in North West England. This year alone, it was on Merseyside on the 31st of March, on the 29th of April, it had returned to Northern Iceland and then on the 21st of June it was here on Islay...Thanks Tony!

Saturday 12 July 2014

Saturday 12th July

Rather a dreich day over here, I suppose it had to come sometime, the mist has come and gone several times today with the plane managing to come in through one of the slots, no sign of Ireland let alone Mull today! Emily earlier on this week, when on the walk on the Oa had good sightings with a Peregrine close at hand beside the carpark, later on Golden Eagles and then a couple of Kestrel as well as the 10 Swifts over the Bay field on the reserve. Yesterday here at home out in the garden, there were 14 Song Thrushes probing around for worms, down on the reedbed below the crag, a Sedge Warbler was reeling away and early evening there were 16 Chough out doing their acrobatic routine and calling away at the same time.

Friday 11 July 2014

Friday 11th July

Some more sightings through from Mary... On Wednesday, she saw 18 Dunlin fly over the office at Gruinart. Yesterday morning, down at Portnahaven, she had 6 Sedge Warblers, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, a Chiffchaff and also 10 Meadow Pipits. On her way to work, Mary had 3 GND off Carn on Loch Indaal. George was watching his "20 day old" Arctic Tern chicks, and they are already almost taking flight...Along Loch Indaal, he spotted a total of 30 Greylags with their youngsters. Up on his ponds, George saw a Moorhen and heard a Sedge Warbler. This evening, the weather is not so good looking, a grey sky, could we be in for some rain?

Thursday 10 July 2014

Thursday 10th July

Words fail you sometimes, as I am not sure how to describe the weather here today, just stunning and what a sunset last night with a great sunrise here this morning to follow it. Back on Sunday, Mary had seen 8 Chough down over Cladville up behind Portnahaven. In Portnahaven itself, Mary had a big flock of House Sparrows and a mixed flock of 30 Chaffinches and Linnet together. On Tuesday, down on the Oa, Mary saw 10 Swifts and also a pr of Golden Eagles displaying, and on Tuesday evening, outside the visitor centre at Gruinart, there was a Corncrake "chick" on the road! Here at home, there were some Linnets on the seedheads out in the garden, with young Pied Wagtails out on the grass.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Wednesday 9th of July

Another glorious day out here on the west, what a beautiful sunset there was last night, not that I am complaining, wonder how the Distilleries are faring, are they running short of water? For those of you who follow the blog, some of you might notice a small change in the list of contributors, Michal has headed back to the mainland after doing a contract survey on our Chough population. Michal has contributed some of his images over the years, be it sightings or images. He heads away after another stint here on Islay, rumour has it that he does not like our winters, another reason possibly why he spent 3 winters out in the Seychelles on various projects. Wally from Lincs was quick to "spot the deliberate error" last night as I had put my new e mail address and Wally got no response as I had entered the wrong address. Over and above that computer is not liking the move, as e mails are awol.... Out over the crag this afternoon the Ravens were out and later some of the remaining Fulmars were out on the thermals. The Choughs were out doing their acrobatics too..

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Tuesday 8th of July

After a busy spell, hopefully the blog is back on the go again, sorry about that folks, the main reason was that I was in the middle of moving house and equally as important, retiring... we have only moved up to the cottage at the top of the hill. The views around are tremendous, over to Ireland in one direction, up to Colonsay and further on, Mull and going further round the view with the Paps of Jura and to complete the view, the backdrop of the crag behind our former house with a different aspect there too. We may have only "moved around 200 metres, but different views all around! The garden is different too, Song Thrushes out on the grass and this evening a Wheatear was outside, last night there were over 200 Starlings on the garage roof and on top of the gable end of the former church. So all in the all, the blog is back on the go again!

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Wednesday 2nd of July

Sorry folks for not having an entry on for a few days but life this week is rather hectic, just keep the chin up and get on with it, plus some of our usual are now off Islay on holiday... The rainfall for last month was 3.2"... Malcolm this evening had a count of 26 Whimbrel fly South down Bruichladdich...