Wednesday 31 December 2014

Hogmany , 31st December

Well that is another year almost in, only a few hours to go, although some of our readers/ followers may well be in 2015 already, have a great time wherever you are!!! Many thanks to visitors and also from the many other contributors who send in their sightings to me for using on the blog. The other day, James had been over on Jura where he saw a White tailed Sea Eagle and also 3 Otters while over there! There were 16 Goldfinches in on the nyjer seed today at home, word gets around and they are not long in coming back! Down at "smelly corner" there were a few Shelducks , while over at Gartmain, Wigeon, some Mallard were seen while coming back at Blackrock there was a raft of Scaup, close inshore.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Tuesday 30th December

The other day, George saw a White tailed Sea Eagle down at "smelly corner". Today Bob had been on Bolsay Moor up behind Port Charlotte where he saw 2 Red Grouse and a Golden Eagle overhead. On his way off Bolsay Moor, he spotted another Eagle, although Bob thought there was a fair chance that it was the same bird. Bob sent some images through for the blog, but for some reason I could not download them, sorry folks! Today at home a couple of Buzzards were overhead, calling away. The birds were not wasting much time in clearing the food that was put out for them, a possible sign of a change in the weather... Looking out to the sea late morning a large Oil rig was being pulled by a tug taking it down to Belfast... another piece of useless information is that the plane this morning came from Prestwick, rather than from Glasgow!!!

Monday 29 December 2014

Monday 29th December

Definitely a day for spotting a Hen Harrier, there was a ringtail here at home which swooped past the house and away over the garden and on its way... Going down to the airport, there was another just before we came to Duich Farm and then coming back home, just before Bowmore another one. Out on the food on the ground where I have been putting their food, there was 38 Chaffinches eating away. I put the nyjer feeder back on the pole yesterday and counted 7 Goldfinches there today! Another cool day, disruption with the plane today due to the fog in Glasgow with the plane returning to Prestwick and no plane coming over this evening. Mind you, I think most of the West coast flights were cancelled out...

Sunday 28 December 2014

Sunday 28th December

Yesterday, Peter, Pia and their visiting friends had a count of 27 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Gartmain. Today over at Bunnahabhain, Peter saw an immature White tailed Eagle fly over and on towards Jura. Down on the Sound of Islay, Peter had an Otter and finally at Ballygrant on his way home a Peregrine was present. Been another good day, and something which we do not see often, was a gritter putting grit on our roads as we do not often have frost, but this morning there certainly was frost on the windscreen of the car...

Saturday 27 December 2014

Saturday 27th December

It may have been relatively dry over on the West coast of Islay, it certainly was not very warm with the frost alarm going off as we drove along, and it is usually triggered when the temperature is 3 degrees or less. The Paps of Jura had a white cap on their summits with Mull looking like have had a lot more than Jura. Here on Islay, there was just a dusting up behind Bowmore towards Ballygrant and nothing worth speaking of down the Port Ellen end of Islay! So, off we ventured for a short walk along the River Sorn from the Woollen Mill up towards East Lodge. After saying that we had no Greenfinches here at home yesterday, well today on the feeders at the Woollen Mill, Margaret spotted a pair of them there! The feeders there are well fed by Gordon there with quite a few Blue Tits seen as well. A Wren was spotted in the undergrowth as we walked along with the odd Robin seen as well. Mind and watch the National Geographic channel tomorrow (Sunday) at 6 pm and watch "Wild Scotland" and you should see the final program with some footage from here on Islay along with some well known faces....

Friday 26 December 2014

Friday 26th December, Boxing Day

The birds have been busy today eating the food that has been put out for them to eat, with a good number of Chaffinches present, no Greenfinches have been seen for a wee while. As the weather has been windy of late, I have just been placing the food on the ground rather than using the actual feeders which could be tossed about and no doubt blown down on to the ground and possibly broken or damaged at least. The one good thing with not using the feeders is that it has given me the chance to give them a really good thorough cleaning!

Thursday 25 December 2014

Xmas Day

Not much to report today, as most of us out here, including myself, have just been lazing about having some time off with family and friends.... Eating too much leads to inactivity as well, I know for one that I tend to graze and eat little and often when the food lies around, biscuits and cheese... fatal! Malcolm had been out walking his dog Merlin along the top of Loch Indaal when Merlin flushed a Jack Snipe from the Marram Grass just beside the spit that leads into the Loch. Weather been not too bad, although Clark this morning was caught out in a dirty shower while he was out on his bike over at Coull.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Wednesday 24th December

Isla Mckechnie and her granny had seen a Little Egret on the merse at Bridgend the other day, from her Granny's house just outside of Bridgend on the way to Bowmore. By the way, I believe that Isla is still at primary school at Keills! Yesterday, James had been in his Land Rover bird watching and listening to some music , with the window open as one does... along came a Barn Owl and James had to shield the open window, as he thought the said Owl was going to come in... wonder what the tune was??? Today, James had a couple of male Hen Harriers "talon grappling" and also a Sparrowhawk on the reserve at Gruinart. Today Peter and his friends had been over at Gruinart where they saw 220 Lapwing and around 850 Golden Plover around the 2 hides there. Ken Reeves said that we should listen to Radio Leicester at 12.20pm tomorrow, so tune in, wonder what Ken has in store for us to hear... A Merry Christmas to all our readers and followers. Some of you may already be enjoying Xmas day already, wonder if anyone will be having a White Christmas? Anyway wherever you are, have a great time with your friends and families around.

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Tuesday 23rd December

The weather has been a lot calmer today, the wind has dropped a lot and hardly any rain to speak of either... Mary had seen a Mistle Thrush along with many Wrens while walking the Woodland trail at Gruinart, there had even been a Wren in the kitchen at Bushmills as well!!! From the old hide, she had a count of 73 Pintail along with a large mixed group of Shoveler, Teal and Mallard, but only saw one Wigeon and one Merganser there! From the North hide (new hide) there was a large flock of around 400 Lapwings, with around 100 Dunlin and some Golden Plovers seen there too. Down on the strand at Uiskentuie, Mary had seen 2 Snow Buntings, 1 Cormorant, 2 Rock Pipits, 3 Meadow Pipits, a Stonechat and 4 Oystercatcher. Along at Carn out of Port Charlotte, on Loch Indaal 7 GND and 2 Eiders were added to her sightings. Finally, down at Ellister she saw a large Peregrine sitting on the turf before it took off and flew off over the house. Today as well, Peter had been out with visiting birders/ friends who are over here for a few days. Out from Bowmore on Loch Indaal, 4 Long tailed Ducks were seen while from the pier at Bruichladdich they had a count of 95 Eider and on the rocks, there were 7 Purple Sandpipers were present.

Monday 22 December 2014

Monday 22nd December

I heard this morning that the plane last night did not take off because of technical problems but give them their due, a replacement aircraft was flown over and they flew out around 8pm. Today the plane was late in coming and late again this evening, but I did not hear whether yesterday's problem had been sorted or not. Today going in traffic to Bowmore there were some Whooper swans at Gartmain, but later on coming back from Bowmore, this time no traffic, but only 2 Whoopers were spotted, the others possibly had flown on to Ireland.... No Brent geese were seen there either today!

Sunday 21 December 2014

Sunday 21st December

As we headed down to the airport late afternoon, in the failing light, we noticed the Pale bellied Brent Geese at Bowmore, still never managed to get a count, tomorrow is another day... the pilot on the plane reassured the passengers, by saying that air traffic control would not normally have allowed the flight to come, but he reckoned there could have been a riot by the passengers from Port Ellen. Another person waiting on his passengers was like us a bit doubtful if it would come, but like us glad to see his family safely home for Xmas once the plane did come!

Saturday 20 December 2014

Saturday 20th December

Forgot to mention last night that yesterday afternoon while coming back from Ardbeg and the Xmas lunch/dinner party with RSPB, we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier just after Laphroaig Distillery with another being seen on the low road close to the road leading down to the Machrie golf course. Today, coming out of Bowmore and just before Pennycraig, there were a few Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal, how many we could not get a count of as we were in traffic and could not slow down...

Friday 19 December 2014

Friday 19th December

Been a rather blustery day here today along with some dirty showers in the mix as well. The wind outside is rather noisy at present as I put this entry together... Louise had been round Loch Gorm this morning and had seen a total of 5 Snow Buntings, 3 Whooper Swans, a Canada Goose hutchinsii sp and a Glaucous Gull on her travels. Morvern had given me through the figures from the International Goose count carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The tally was 39,185 Barnies and 4,772 Whitefronts. The figure for the Barnies was up on the last December, but down on the rolling average for the past 3 years, and again the Whitefronts were down, both on last year and also the 3 year average as well. Thanks to Morvern and the team from SNH for these figures.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Wednesday 17th December

Yesterday, Carl had a Jack Snipe at Briabruaich. Today at Lorgba (Carl's home in Port Charlotte), he saw a pair of Bullfinches as well as a Goldcrest. Along at Bruichladdich, Carl spotted 2 Dunlin. Today over at Gruinart on the reserve, James had a Merlin, a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Kestrel as well as a Barn Owl. Late afternoon I had a couple of Whooper Swans over at Coull.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Tuesday 16th December

Another stinker of a day, although having said that, it was flat calm this morning and I had good bonfire, an event I have been waiting since the start of the month to have.. Looking around later on and another 2 folk round the loch were up to the same ploy... On the bird front, Ed had a possible Jack Snipe close to Glenegedale. As you may have gathered, not a day really for birdwatching, just another day to get a soaking doing outside work!

Monday 15 December 2014

Monday 15th December

Another "hooley" tale tonight about birds in the wrong place... Yesterday, Mary had spotted 3 pairs of Eider ducks on Claddach Loch down at Portnahaven, normally they are on the sea at this time of year.. they all took off and were blown towards Portnahaven and Port Wemyss rather than the "short" flight down on to the sea. Another squally day with some dirty showers thrown in for good measure...

Sunday 14 December 2014

Sunday 14th December

Mid week when it was blowing a hooley, James saw a Red throated Diver over Grainel, well off course at we do not "normally" expect to see them over land. Today, between Grainel and the head of Loch Gorm (while in his car), he had a Sparrowhawk. Carl today had been out on is bike, braving the elements and round at Ballinaby, he had a Merlin. The wind has picked up again this evening with the ferry diverting to Port Askaig .

Saturday 13 December 2014

Saturday 13th December

Not to nice a day here again, but Bob and Pat had the courage to brave the elements and carry the survey from Bowmore along the shore down to Gartbreck, so here are the scores on the doors... 7 Cormorant, 31 Shag, 154 Barnies, 32 Whitefronts, 22 Pale bellied Brent, 1 Shelduck, 265 Mallard, 380 Teal, 570 Wigeon, 10 R B Merganser, 6 Pintail, 173 Oystercatcher, 200 Curlew, 6 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 130 Dunlin, 28 Turnstone, 21 Golden Plover, 23 Ringed Plover, 22 Lapwing, 4 Gbb Gull, 43 H Gull, 20 C Gull 30 Bh Gull and 2 male Hen Harriers. Thanks to Bob and Pat. This morning, Margaret had a male Hen Harrier over at Ballinaby. As the wind is picking up again, the evening ferry is being diverted to Port Askaig.

Friday 12 December 2014

Friday 12th December

Bob today had been out and about and sent through the best of his sightings. Down on the Oa, at Kinnabus, Bob had a male Hen Harrier with a ringtail seen as he headed towards Gartbreck at the "Moss road" just after Rannochmore. On Loch Tallant, Bob had a count of 800 Teal. Back over at Grainel at Gruinart, he had 320 Fieldfare along with male Hen Harrier while another ringtail was seen at Balllinaby. Close to the Coastguards, Bob had a Peregrine with a Golden Eagle spotted at Sunderland. Finally on Loch Indaal, at Blackrock a White tailed Sea Eagle was present.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Thursday 11th December

Forgot to mention on Monday's entry when talking about the Little Egret at Gruinart, well David Formby had seen one on Sunday on West Loch Tarbert as he headed down to Kennacraig to catch the ferry back to Islay. No word of the said bird at Gruinart today! The weather has let up a bit with the plane coming in today and the ferry resuming its' job this afternoon, not that I would fancy being on it as it can take time for the swell to calm down... Might even be a bit of a rammy at the Co-op this evening when the food starts to re-appear on the shelves!!!

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Wednesday 10th December

Well if you logged on to find some new bird sightings, well I am sorry to say there is not a lot to report due the lousy weather which we have had today, certainly not a day for going outside unless you were prepared to walk about at a funny angle. Because of the wind, which reached 77 mph over at the airport, we only got 71 mph at 10.50 this morning on Mike's weather station along the road, bird watching news was minimal... Ed had seen some Barnies trying to fly over Loch Indaal from Laggan Point to Port Charlotte, well a bit like the Jura ferry in the sense they "crabbed" their way over, rather flying in a straight line! Only other piece of news that I have changed my e mail address again, but beware the number 14 refers to this year, not my date of birth, let alone my age, so if you need to get in touch, it is all up on the link top right! By the way no ferries nor any planes so no post or papers, and no doubt panic buying in the food lines in the Co-op in Bowmore, the morning boats are already cancelled, but the midday ferry sailing will be reviewed midday...

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Tuesday 9th December

Luckily for you all out there, I kept some of Mary's birds, as I have not heard of any new sightings for today apart from Margaret seeing a hen Pheasant getting blown along at a high speed in the wind... The plane came this morning and again this evening, but we have not had any ferries coming today at all, and already tomorrow's ferries are already cancelled and the schools might even be closed as well. Mary managed to carry out her webs count yesterday, so here are her tallies... Loch Gruinart held 50 Whitefronts, 5 Pale bellied Brent, 215 Wigeon, 10 Mallard, 40 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 9 RB Merganser, 2 Goosander, 3 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 5 Heron, 1 Dabchick, 238 Oystercatcher, 5 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 228 Barwit, 189 Curlew, 2 Greenshank, 33 Turnstone, 11 BH Gull, 22 C Gull, 36 H Gull, 1 LBB Gull and 4 GBB Gull. On the floods at Gruinart, her count was 7 Whooper, 34 Greylag, 6 Wigeon, 275 Teal, 99 Mallard, 25 Pintail, 11 Shoveler, 795 Golden Plover (+ around 150 in nearby fields), 96 Dunlin (an additional 28 in a nearby field) and a Moorhen. Up at Ardnave, Mary's birds were as follows, 6 Mute, 7 Whoopers, 12 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 17 Mallard, 8 Tufted Duck and 6 Goldeneye. Thanks Mary.

Monday 8 December 2014

Monday 8th December

Some sightings from last week, sent through by John Harrison last night, thanks John! On Wednesday, he had 9 Whoopers up at Ardnave with a further 12 flying on past. Down at Bruichladdich, John saw 6 Pale bellied Brent and wondered whether these were the same ones that he had earlier on in the week over the other side of Loch Indaal? From Port Charlotte, he counted at least 20 GND and 4 RTD on Loch Indaal, noting it was as many as he had ever seen from one point. On Friday, John had 2 Greenshank and a Little Egret up at Bun an Uillt on the East side of Loch Gruinart. Also on Friday, he had a Woodcock over at Ballygrant, a male Hen Harrier at Persabus with a ringtail at Bunnahabhain. Finally on Friday on his way up the road to Sanaigmore, John spotted 2 Golden Eagles. A great week for John! Today Ed had seen the Little Egret on the floods at Gruinart. Mary had a ringtail over the flats, at the office at Gruinart, a Goldcrest with a Mistle Thrush being chased by a Jackdaw. Stuart, one of the farm staff at Gruinart had an Otter cross the road ahead of him as he drove along on his tractor and then it disappeared into the wood!

Sunday 7 December 2014

Sunday 7th December

Brrr, and yes Winter has come. A lot colder out here today, not been out a lot as the weather is not really for birdwatching! Just saw a flash of lightning followed by a clap of thunder, so have gone and looked out the candles in case the power and the lights go off!! Bob this morning had seen 7 Whoopers fly past down at Port Charlotte and then a Woodcock up at Gleann Mor. Mary had braved the weather too and she had 35 Golden Plovers sheltering up in a field at Claddach, a Kestrel found a stoney perch, nearby while on the feeders there a large flock of Chaffinches along with 3 Greenfinches and a Blackbird. I hear that the ferry is diverting into Port Askaig this evening and the same for the first sailing tomorrow morning, the advantage of having 2 ferry ports on one island!

Saturday 6 December 2014

Saturday 6th December

Down on Loch Indaal below the Gaelic College outside Bowmore around midday, Margaret had a count of around 21 Swans present there, a mixed group of both Whoopers and Mute Swans, but as we were in traffic, no real chance to slow down to see exactly who was who... Earlier on on out way out there was a mixed flock of between 50 and 60 Redwings and Fieldfares just as we dropped down to the reedbed and on towards the Coastguards. Today the weather has been, well dreich does not describe it, miserable neither, a pig of a day might be a better. The wind is picking up with the squally showers in for good measure too. The forecast over the next few days does not look too good, with ferry disruption looking possible mid week. Just as well we worked on in the dark last night and backfilled the "grunter wall" when we did!

Friday 5 December 2014

Friday 5th December

Yesterday evening, Mary had seen a couple of Barn Owls out from Portnahaven, on the "Claddach circuit". Here at home, this morning, the ringtail Hen Harrier flew over and on out over the Machir. Later on, a couple of Peregrines flew over and on above the crag. Been a mixed day with the weather, but it did not deter the builders from back filling a wall outside the house with concrete, to make it even stronger, job finished by 18.25, a good job well done...almost there now!

Thursday 4 December 2014

Thursday 4th December

Yesterday James had a count on the reserve at Gruinart with his tally coming out at 10,294 Barnies, 276 Whitefronts, 81 Greylags and a Pale bellied Brent Goose. He also had 430 Lapwing, 1,265 Golden Plover and 11 newly arrived Whoppers as well as a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier. Been a better day here today, the wind has dropped a wee bit. Here at home at lunchtime for a change the male Hen Harrier did us the honour of his low flypast, just over the fence posts and not much more, and yet we make comments about low flying aircraft.... earlier on we had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle sitting on top of a telegraph pole down close to Sunderland.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Wednesday 3rd December

Yesterday Bob had been out goose counting on the Gruinart patch, up at Ardnave, he had seen a Merlin there as well as a pair of Golden Eagles. Over on Nave Island, a White tailed Sea Eagle was present eating away. Could it have possibly have been devouring a young seal pup or even a goose??? Today at the top of Loch Indaal on the mudflats, Bob spotted another White tailed Sea Eagle while down at Claddach at Portnahaven he saw a male Hen Harrier. Margaret had the ringtail Hen Harrier fly past over the garden (again!) and later on she counted 10 Whoopers as they flew out to the sea and South towards Ireland, quite impressive the colour of the Swans against the grey skies!!!

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Tuesday 2nd December

A dry day today out here with an edge to the air again, should not complain, it is Wintertime I suppose...The "local" ringtail Hen Harrier flitted past this morning on its rounds and needless to say it spoofed all the birds on the feeders and just kept on going. David had a count of 20 Pheasants down in the garden at our old house the other day, and that is with getting no feeding! The view up here this morning was great today with the wind whipping up the sea and the white caps on the waves looked fantastic, but it not entice me to for a swim!

Monday 1 December 2014

Monday 1st December

As promised, here is the tally for November for the rainfall... the rain gauge read short of 6 inches in total, around 5.9 inches or thereabouts, so if memory serves me correctly still drier than last year at the same time! Today, well catch up time for sure as it has been rather miserable with a wetting rain all day, not really a day for going out let alone doing some bird watching... Ed had spotted a rather wet, bedraggled looking Blackcap down in Port Charlotte today. Visiting birder John Harrison had seen 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal, just North of Bowmore, he also had 10 Whoopers there too, thanks John. Here at home there were 4 Fulmars along the front of the crag this morning while on the overhead power cables I had a count of 75 Redwings along with a few Starlings. The birds this morning did not waste much time in polishing off the food put out for them this morning!