Thursday 31 December 2015

Hogmany, 31st January

Another month, let alone another year almost in, but as ever we will keep you all in suspense regarding the rainfall figures, certainly not as much as some other places... Yesterday, Dave Newitt, a visiting birder, had seen a Black throated Diver, a Slavonian Grebe, several GND and also 30 Scaup at Blackrock on Loch Indaal. Today Dave had another good day with a White tailed Sea Eagle out from Bridgend, with a male Hen Harrier also nearby. On Loch Indaal, he counted 72 Scaup. Up towards Scarrabus, he saw 2 Red Grouse, 5 Yellowhammers and also 10 Reed Buntings. Later on the Glen road from Ballygrant towards Mulindry, at Storakaig, over the far hills, 3 Golden Eagles were seen and then another one was seen from Cattadale... a great day! Gary had been up at Bunnahabhain this morning and counted 13 GND and 31 Shag and spotted a juv. Gannet over the Sound of Islay. He also saw 2 Otters there, by coincidence we met Gary there and saw briefly one of the Otters in the distance. Coming home, between Ardnahoe and Torrabus, we had a great viewing of a ringtail Hen Harrier as it skirted closely alongside the road. Here at home, the Sparrowhawk was perched on the bird table again with the ringtail Hen Harrier quartering over the garden! Visiting birder, George Jackson had this morning been down on the Machir Bay walking his dog. The Glaucous Gull was still present on the pool beside the carpark. 23 Curlew flew out from the dunes and out to the sea, George wondered whether they were heading over Ireland. Also seen beside the pool were 32 Ringed Plover and 12 Turnstone while 22 Chough flew over head. While coming back up to his son's house at Rockside, George spent some time looking through the large flock of Barnies and was confident of seeing an immature black Brant amongst them. Finally, George saw a distant Golden Eagle, flying high up over the hills behind Rockside. A great day over here....

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Wednesday 30th December

Well, "Storm Frank" has come and gone, and thankfully not much damage has happened out here as far I know, and the ferries sailed apart from the first sailing at 7am... Yesterday Peter had been out for a walk along the strand at the top of Loch Indaal, walking towards Uiskentuie. He had seen 15 Pale Bellied Brent, 28 Ringed Plover with 3 Dunlin amongst some Oystercatcher and Turnstone present. On Xmas Day and also on the 27th he had gone up to Gruinart to try to catch a glimpse of the American Wigeon and the Green winged Teal, like visiting George, no luck. This morning at breakfast time, Peter had seen a Gannet flying down Loch Indaal past Bruichladdich, Mike had also spotted it too, down at Port Charlotte a few minutes later. They both thought that it had been blown in with yesterday's winds and was heading back out to sea when they saw it. This afternoon, George and Pat Jackson had a Dipper on the River Sorn. By the way, the sea, around breakfast time was something else with the big waves crashing over Coull rocks... and this evening it still remains quite noisy!!!

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Tuesday 29th December

If it was windy yesterday, well tonight as I write the blog I think that "Storm Frank" is knocking at the door with the top wind speed being 66.9 mph at 18.27, being at the top of the hill does not help!!! Visiting George Jackson had seen a Merlin at Grainel roadend as he headed over to Gruinart, in the forlorn hope of catching the Green winged Teal and the American Wigeon, no joy on either front... Down on Machir Bay, George had 30 Ringed Plover and 7 Sanderling. Here at home, a Greenfinch on the feeders and also yesterday late afternoon there were 20 Lapwing dipping around in the wind.

Monday 28 December 2015

Monday 28th December

Another day in, rather windy mind you and dry for the most of the time. The ferry never came today at all and the plane only came this evening... Bob yesterday had taken a trip up to Gearach around midday and saw 50 Greylags, 8 Mutes and 53 Wigeon on the water. The Sparrowhawk flew over the garden today, but no one else was around, so never got a meal here today at least!!! A quick trip round Loch Gorm produced nothing really of note, the winds today have not helped things and more to come over the next few days...

Sunday 27 December 2015

Sunday 27th December

Yes, the ringtail Hen Harrier was sitting on one of the garden fence posts again this morning, will try and get a happy snap of it tomorrow for you, all going well. There was a Stonechat on the roadside fence just after Coull today and earlier on 2 Whoopers were resting up at the edge of one of the pools in the fields... Late this afternoon, the chough came up off the machir as they headed to their roost and a small group of 14 Lapwing were tumbling around in the wind as well.

Saturday 26 December 2015

Boxing Day

Yesterday, forgot to mention that the male Hen Harrier flew over the garden and at one time yesterday, we had 22 Goldfinches at the feeders, just as well there was plenty of food there for them! Today, another day and a new tick for the garden with a ringtail Hen Harrier on the ground, it took off and landed immediately afterwards 3 times and then flew over and landed for a few moments on one of the fence posts at the edge of the garden, so a "garden bird" now for sure rather than one that flies over your garden! Coming back from Griuinart , late afternoon, and on top of one of the fence posts outside the RSPB offices was a Tawny Owl! Gary had done some birding today from Gartmain, where the wee stream enters Loch Indaal. His birds were 24 Pale belied Brent, 220 Barnies, 51 Wigeon, 14 Mallard, 7 Curlew, 53 Oystercatcher, 3 Knot, and 125 barwits. Over at Cash Kelly's House at Blackrock, on the other side of Loch Indaal, Gary had a count of 54 Scaup along with 17 R B Merganser. Today also, James had seen one of the Green winged Teal but no sign today of the American Wigeon, possibly over the sea wall...

Friday 25 December 2015

Xmas Day

A very Happy Christmas to all our readers, some of whom by now it will be Boxing Day...

Thursday 24 December 2015

Thursday 24t December

Gary had been down the hides on the reserve at Gruinart today and had a good spot of 2 male Green winged Teal and also the American Wigeon drake also present. Other birds seen there included 36 Mallard, 230 Teal, 57 Wigeon,17 Shoveler, a female Goldeneye, 62 Pintail, 27 Curlew, 71 Lapwing, 4 Redshank, 3 Snipe, 25 Greylag, 15 Whitefronts, 2 Mute and 6 Whoopers. Mandy and Fiona had seen a second winter Glaucous Gull on the pond beside the car park at the Machir Bay this afternoon.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Wednseday 23rd December

While Margaret and her sister Liz were doing a bit of shopping at the Woollen Mill, I did a spot of birding, not a lot seen, but good to spot 4 some Coal Tits frequenting the feeders there along with 2 Blue Tit and 4 Great Tit as well a few Chaffinches flitting back and forward. I had a quick look along the River Sorn, but no luck in seeing a Dipper, another day... Returning visiting birders, George and Pat Jackson have returned back over some days over the festive period and this afternoon, George had a count of 62 Wigeon down at "smelly corner", se you sometime over the next few days folks...

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Tuesday 22nd December

Today, Gary had seen 7 Waxwing down in Bowmore. The other day, Gary saw a couple of Brambling in the garden of Loch Gorm House which is down at Bruichladdich. With the wind today and also being a high tide in itself, the tide turned out quite high especially at the head of Loch Indaal, quite a spectacle to see...

Monday 21 December 2015

Monday 21st December

Yesterday, Bob had a Merlin fly across the road as he approached "smelly corner". Later on, in Bridgend Woods, Bob heard a Mistle Thrush singing away good style, is Spring round the corner? I had a quick look for any snowdrops, but no joy in that department. Today the weather as forecast has been rather blustery with gusty winds and the odd squally shower in the mix as well. Here at home this morning, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over the garden.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Sunday 20th December

First bird at the bird table this morning was the Sparrowhawk, all by himself, as the wee birds were not there then, so the Sparrowhawk just had to go away still hungry. Mid morning, we saw a Kestrel just after Rock Mountain as we headed down to Bridgend. Down close to Uiskentuie, there was a dead Sparrowhawk at the side of the road, and on our way home a wee while later on, there were around 30 Oystercatchers together along with a few Curlews between the road and the loch just below where the standing stone is.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Saturday 19th December

Like everywhere else in the UK the temperature is well above what we normally get in December, not that I am complaining. The daffodils are bursting through the ground, tomorrow I might go looking for some snowdrops out, somewhere it is sheltered might be a starting point! This morning as we headed out to get our papers, there was a male Hen Harrier down at Gortan, close to the coal yard. On Loch Skerrols, there were 61 Wigeon and 18 Mute Swans present. Back home in the afternoon, the Sparrowhawk came past looking for some food, but the wee birds were out of the way, then a male Hen Harrier flew over the garden, down over the pond and then it quartered back over the machir. Peter had been on Machir Bay this afternoon and counted 24 Chough. On the beach itself 45 Ringed Plover, 35 Oystercatcher,15 Turnstone, 1 Dunlin and a Sanderling were seen. Finally, early evening on our way back from Port Charlotte, we saw a Barn Owl out hunting just after Foreland.

Friday 18 December 2015

Friday 18th December

The temperature outside may be warmer, but the rainfall is on the increase again today, global warming you might say... A friend from Adelaide commented on it being so warm out there, "even the cold water is warm coming out of the tap".... Morven sent through the figures from the International Goose count from Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The tally worked out at 43,883 Barnies, 4644 Whitefronts and 596 Greylags. Thanks to Morvern and the team from SNH for these figures. Mandy had been out helping on both the days and close to Lossit Farm on Dunlossit Estate, a Kestrel was seen on Tuesday. On Wednesday, another Kestrel was seen off the Glen road near to Loch Fada. A Sparrowhawk was at Ardlarach while a Pinkfooted Goose amongst the Whitefronts at Mulindry.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Thursday 17th December

Yesterday James had 3 Hen Harriers on the reserve at Gruinart. He also counted a flock of 1065 Golden Plover, saw 8 Knot and had another count of 535 Dunlin, all at Gruinart. Up at Ardnave, James saw a 1st winter Iceland Gull with 2 Pochard present on Ardnave Loch. Izzy yesterday had seen a Merlin down on the Oa and a flock of 680 Twite on the game crops there as well. We saw 14 Pale bellied Brent at Blackrock around midday today.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Wednesday 16th December

Today, Malcolm and Bob had carried out the count round Loch Gorm for the International Goose count. On the flooded pool beside the track leading down to Machir Bay, there were a pair of adult Whooper Swans present. Earlier on when they were at Grulinmore (at the Western end of Loch Gorm) a family of 2 adults and 3 youngsters flew past from the Sanaig direction. At Rockside, there was a Pinkfoot amongst the Whitefronted Geese. This afternoon here at home, a male Hen Harrier flew past and the Sparrowhawk was sitting on the bird table having a look and see before going away empty handed!!!

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Tuesday 15th December

This morning, the Sparrowhawk visited again, but I am sorry to say that today, it had success in taking a chaffinch off the bird table, all the other wee birds flew off but the chaffinch thought it was safe staying inside the cage, but not so... Mary today carried the WeBS count on the floods, with the highlight being a juv WTSE spooking around 50 Mallard. Earlier on, the same bird had been spooking the geese down below the Visitor centre! Mary also had a Kestrel near to Gruinart Farm with a Peregrine seen over the salt marsh. Mary's tally for her count was 112 Wigeon, 186 Mallard, 226 Teal, 1 Green winged Teal (south hide), 1 Goldeneye, 3 R B Merganser, 6 Curlew, 11 Mute, 10 Whoopers, 66 Pintail, 1 Dabchick, 2 Heron, 17 Shoveler, 3 Lapwing and 39 Greylag. Mary was saying that someone had written last week in the diary about the American Wigeon being seen by the North hide, but she had no joy in spotting it today!

Monday 14 December 2015

Monday 14th December

A different day again, no ice on puddles and it did feel a bit warmer than yesterday! Forgot to mention that Bob had seen 5 Bullfinches up on Bolsay Moor on Saturday. Yesterday, Mike had carried out his WeBS count on Outer Loch Indaal, basically from Port Charlotte down towards Portnahaven. Mike's birds were as follows, 58 GND, 25 RTD, 36 Common Scoter, 2 Eider, 10 Shag, 11 RB Merganser, 59 Common Gull and 6 Guillemot. Val, Mike's wife had seen 4 Bullfinches and a male Hen Harrier while out walking at The Gearach. Today, we had a ringtail Hen Harrier coming off the south side of Loch Gorm and flying away over the moorland. Mary, today carried out her WeBs Counts as well. Before coming to work this morning, while she was walking her dogs, she saw a Barn Owl down at Portnahaven. Her WeBS counts were as follows, Ardnave Loch held 21 Wigeon, 31 Teal, 2 Mallard, 7 Goldeneye, 90 Lapwing, 2 Herring Gul,8 Mute, 8 Whoopers, 3 Pochard and 2 Tufted Duck. The tally for Loch Gruinart was 3 GND, 1 Shag, 13 Heron, 43 Shelduck, 84 Wigeon, 37 Mallard, 5 Goldeneye,11 RBM, 127 Oystercatcher, 13 Ringed Plover,350 Golden Plover, 230 Dunlin, 55 Barwits, 94 Curlew, 59 Redshank, 60 Turnstone, 6 C Gull, 39 H Gull, 7 GBB Gull, 2 Snipe and 4 Greenshank. There was also a Kestrel present at the head of Loch Gruinart.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Sunday 13th December

Who needs to speak about wind chill when you get ice here on Islay, puddles frozen over, the council even had the roads boys out with the gritter, and to drive the point home our wee pond even had ice on it as well... But the cold snap did not deter Bob and myself carrying out the WeBs count this morning, so are the birds we counted...8 GND, 1 RTD, 1 BTD,1 Slav Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 24 Shag, 23 Greylag, 7 Whitefronts, 921 Barnies,1 Shelduck, 105 Mallard, 115 Wigeon, 410 Teal, 5 Goldeneye, 10 RB Merganser, 22 Eider, 42 Common Scoter, 51 Oystercatcher, 77 Curlew, 1 Barwit, 18 Knot, 52 Dunlin, 11 Turnstone,2 Snipe, 6 Mute Swan, 3 Heron, 6 BH Gull, 10 C Gull, 70 H Gull and 3 GBB Gull. Gary has now started to do another 2 areas round Loch Indaal from Blackrock down to Port Charlotte, so possibly Gary will send his figures through to the blog. The conditions today were ideal, flat calm with good visibility, pity the temperature was a bit cool for the finger ends.... it made the cuppa at the end back at Bob's that bit more welcome!!! This afternoon Peter and Pia counted 22 Chough heading into the roost at Kilchoman.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Saturday 12th December

A better day out here today, virtually no wind so no wind chill factor to be allowed for in the outside temperature. The Paps of Jura were white with snow and the view over to Ireland was not a bad sight either. There was a blue sky for quite some time too, and with virtually no clouds, we saw several jets fly overhead. Here at home this morning, the Sparrowhawk was sitting on the picnic bench again. Earlier on, we had counted 21 Goldfinches on the feeders. Round at Coull there were around 35 Fieldfare in a flock together, a flock of around 4-500 Barnies were present at Coull as well. Over at Ballinaby, 2 Whoopers were in the fields there along with the 500 or so Barnies present, as well as 8 Whitefronts and a few Greylags, none with neck collars or leg rings on though! On our travels over to get the papers at Bridgend, there were small groups of Hooded Crows noted at Coull, Ballinaby, Coille, Carnduncan, Sunderland and down at Uiskentuie as well. At Bridgend itself, 5 Whoopers flew overhead heading out towards the sea. On our way back home, there was a single Pale bellied Brent seen close to the shore at Cash Kelly's former house at Blackrock. Finally there were 4 Whoopers resting up on Loch Gorm.

Friday 11 December 2015

Friday 11th December

A busy sort of a day out here today, starting of with meetings at 9.30am, and you call it retirement... Mind you, on our way over to Gruinart we saw a Merlin flash across the road before we came to the former Kilchoman School. This evening on our way back in, there was a Woodcock sitting on the road close to Foreland House, but it did eventually fly away... And finally between the road leading up to Rockside and home, we saw 3 separate pairs of Hares trying to outwit us, but we drove home safely with no accidents occurring.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Thursday 10th December

A bit cooler out here today, so I was glad once we had the big stove on, boy what a heat it can kick out... Just after Coull this morning, we spotted a Peregrine fly over. At Ballinaby, a Buzzard was seen while over at Craigens, the was a mixed flock of some Starlings, Lapwings and Golden Plovers on the ground. Back here at home, the pesky Sparrowhawk was seen, still all the wee birds are so far evading being caught... For those of you that may be interested in Fair Isle, there is a program at 9pm on Channel 5, I am not sure of the content as I think it could be about some of the residents, rather than the actual Bird Observatory.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Wednesday 9th December

This morning, Margaret had a new tick for here, yes, a Heron took off from beside the pond, hope it has not come across the frogs down there or equally bad, put its' beak through the membrane and pierced it...The pesky ringtail was seen this afternoon as it flew past, no doubt looking to spot what was around, not a lot, as the wind has picked up and most of the birds were busy on the feeders this morning... The ferry this evening was cancelled...

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Tuesday 8th December

Almost got a new "garden bird" here this morning, but they flew over the top of the fence and landed out on the Machir about 40 yards away, out towards the War graves cemetery.... Nothing really that exiting, just 36 Greylags! A short while later on, all the birds on the feeders flew off after being spoofed, and a quick look out the window and the ringtail was back, less than 2 yards off the table. At lunchtime, one better, the male Sparrowhawk was sitting on top of one of the cages on the bird table, will need to get the cameras looked out for the next visit!

Monday 7 December 2015

Monday 7th December

The rain eventually did stop yesterday, and in the end we had a mere 3 inches or thereabouts, certainly not as much by a long stretch of your imagination as other areas. I did my good deed by digging in 3 culverts to allow the water off the road this morning!!! Yesterday, visitors Keith and Hazel had seen a rather soaked and bedraggled Hen Harrier on the side of the road at Gruinart, as they slowed down the bird flew off carrying a rabbit! Here this morning, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew/ circled round the garden twice, no doubt we will see more of that one yet! Later on, a small group of over 20 Lapwings few past and this afternoon there were around 30 Curlews in a field as we came out of Port Charlotte.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Saturday 5th December

Almost 24 hours since I wrote yesterday's entry, guess what? You might have got it in one try, well yes, the weather tops the bill.... It has rained non stop since yesterday, not heavily compared to other areas, but at least a couple of inches have fallen here at home, and is still coming down as I write....Yesterday, before the rain started to fall, Pat, Bob's other half, had seen a Tawny Owl and then a wee while later on a male Hen Harrier, both over at close to Laphroaig. This morning, Bob saw a Kestrel near to Uiskentuie. Here at home birds coming to the bird food looked a sorry state, rather bedraggled and wet with it too... suppose I would look the same if I lived outdoors too!!!

Friday 4 December 2015

Friday 4th December

I think that I should stop talking on how the weather was on any particular day as this afternoon and now this evening, it is blowing a hoolie and with the rain, not a time for being outside... Having said that David Livingstone saw a juvenile White tailed Sea Eagle out past Carraig Fhada down at Port Ellen. Earlier this afternoon visitors from Pertshire, Keith and Hazel had seen an Otter tucking into the remnants of a Barnie, earlier on it had been other feathered predators enjoying the poor Barnie. They had also seen a pair of Stonechats, a bird not that common to them back home.

Thursday 3 December 2015

Thursday 3rd November

A beautiful sunset here this evening and a not bad day earlier on, but the forecast for later on Friday does not looks so promising... On our way over to Gruinart this morning we went round by Coull and Ballinaby. There were plenty of Barnies at both places but very few Whitefronts seen, and the Whitefronts seen, none had any neck collars on!!! We saw at least 4 Buzzards on our way to Gruinart and on the way home, this time round the other side of Loch Gorm past Sunderland and along past Rockside, nothing much of note apart from a large group of Rooks and the stubble where Kilchoman had been spreading Pot ale from the Distillery, possibly the warm pot ale had brought some worms to the surface for the Rooks to eat! Coming up through the dunes close to our house, a ringtail Hen Harrier was out looking for some prey. Later on that pesky Sparrowhawk was sitting on the garden wall, just waiting and watching....Mid afternoon, on the way over to Port Askaig, another 4 Buzzards were seen on our way there and back. Forgot to mention that yesterday we had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier as we drove up towards Sanaigmore.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Wednesday 2nd December

What a difference a day makes, no rain that is, clear skies and looking out over to Ireland and then up to Colonsay, Mull with Jura further round, a great tonic after the rain we have had... We took a run round Loch Gorm after lunch today and at Ballinaby, we were rewarded by seeing some Whitefronts with neck collars. There were 2 which proved difficult to read but all the same Margaret got 8 read and we sent their info through and duly got the data back from Tony Fox who collates all the info on the whitefronts. Gary today had been busy out in his garden noticing loads of Chaffinches and Greenfinches on his feeders. He has been fortunate in seeing a Brambling there over the last couple of days as well. Also present in his garden, a pair of Collared Doves while on the feeders, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Coal tits have been seen. Today, Gary watched 5 Treecreepers chasing each other round the trees! At dusk, he has been hearing Redwing and Fieldfare dropping in to roost in the trees.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Tuesday 1st December

Well, another month in and another season past, now we are in December and into Winter... The rainfall tally for the month came through at a mere 9.3 inches, the wettest month I think this year. Still we should not really complain as our friends over at Mulindry had 11.4 inches for the month, see these folk that live inland and close to the hills... Margaret saw the Sparrowhawk put in an appearance in the garden this morning, it even had the cheek to perch on top of the rain gauge for a few moments, hope it did not break it... I see that Mike's weather station is quite a bit different in his seasonal tally to ours, but I think that his weather station packed in with a lightning strike earlier this year and lost its' memory, so it had start from zero again.

Monday 30 November 2015

Monday 30th November

Another month almost in, a better day, not the warmest, at least it was not that bad, enjoyed wearing a jersey outside! Gary today had covered the patch at the top of Loch Indaal from Bowmore back up to the mouth of the River Sorn below Bridgend, a good variety of birds were seen as follows... 15 Long tailed Ducks, 11 Goldeneye, 33 Slav Grebe, 49 Common Scoter, 53 Greater Scaup, 23 GND, 7 RTD, 121 Mallard, 470 Wigeon, 79 Eider, 43 Teal, 19 Mute Swan, 7 Whoopers, 16 Pale belied Brent, 33 Red breasted Merganser, 21 C Gull, 21 BH Gull, 101 Curlew, 150 Oystercatcher, 93 Barwits, 300 Dunlin & Ringed Plover, 7 Sanderling and a Buzzard. Thanks Gary. This afternoon, here at home, a Buzzard was being chased away from the crag by a pair of Ravens, I had not realised that a Buzzard could fly that quickly, if and when the need arose...

Sunday 29 November 2015

Sunday 29th November

Another windy day with some heavy showers in the mix too. There was a gust of 61.5 mph around lunchtime. I emptied the rain gauge out this morning, that is now the second time that I have done it this month with a tally so far of 8.3inches and there is still until 9am on Tuesday morning, before I tally up for the whole month, looks a wet one for sure!!! Gary braved the elements and down on the Strand at Uiskentuie. Gary saw several Ringed Plover, 33 Turnstone, 45 Oystercatcher, 21 R b Merganser, 7 Eider and a Red throated Diver.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Saturday 28th November

Rather a pig of a day, another set of squally showers coming in from nowhere blown in by a blustery wind to move it all along.... Coming back from Gary's talk on Thursday evening, I had a Barn Owl fly over the van as I turned off the main road and up the hill. Yesterday around midday, a male Sparrowhawk was following the road over at Coull before it swerved away on to rest up on a fence post. Late yesterday afternoon, Mandy saw a Barn Owl down at the road leading to Rockside and here at home today the local Sparrowhawk flew through the garden, thankfully not catching anything yet again!

Friday 27 November 2015

Friday 27th November

Earlier this week, on one of the days when there was a brief lull in the weather, Mary managed to carry her WeBS, so here are Mary's "scores on the doors". On Loch Gruinart itself the tally was 6 Cormorant, 1 Shag, 5 Heron, 117 Shelduck, 161 Wigeon, 7 Mallard, 2 Goldeneye, 30 R B Merganser, 141 Oystercatcher, 29 Ringed Plover, 1010 Golden Plover, 705 Lapwing, 2 Knot, 25 Sanderling, 130 Barwit, 63 Curlew, 30 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 5 Turnstone, 13 B H Gull, 20 C Gull, 29 H Gull, 7 Gbb Gull and 33 Greylags. On the floods, 6 Mute, 8 Whoopers, 9 Greylags, 68 Teal, 38 Mallard, 8 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 2 R b Merganser, 1 Heron, 171 Lapwing, 1 Curlew, 1 Greenshank and 16 Redshank. Up on Ardnave Loch the tally was 6 Mute, 7 Whoopers, 23 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 8 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 10 Goldeneye and a Heron. Thanks Mary! Wednesday was the last full day of Ken and the Burbagebirders. They headed off down to the Port Ellen area in the hope of seeing the cackling goose, but no joy. Undeterred, Ken and his team headed up to Coal Ila and Bunnahabhain (possibly the Distilleries?).... Yes, they turned up trumps with 3 Golden Eagles and 2 White tailed Sea Eagles seen over Jura with an Otter seen in the Sound of Islay. On the road over to Ardnave, every flock of geese was scanned but still no cackling goose, but Ardnave proved trumps with over 40 Chough seen out on the wing. Ken and the team left yesterday morning, on a flat calm crossing, last bird for the list were some Black Guillemots who missed the bow of the ferry by a mere metre! Hopefully it won't be too long before you return again, always a pleasure to meet up with you when you are over...

Thursday 26 November 2015

Thursday 26th November

Back at the weekend, Alistair Hutchison had seen 2 Greater spotted Woodpecker down towards Loch Ballygrant, and last week, he had seen one perched on a tree in at Loch Skerrols. Today, there were some Redwings flitting along the fence posts over at Ballinaby. There were also several hundred Barnacle Geese who took off as we slowed down to scan through them. The Whitefronts were there with the Barnies, but seem quite settled allowing us to look for any with neck collars on, but none were seen!

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Wednesday 25th November

Mary, on her way into work yesterday, saw a female Peregrine down at Uiskentuie. Louise reported through to say that she had seen 2 Golden Eagles, 6 Snow Buntings and 25 Fieldfares whilst on her travels on Islay! Ken yesterday, along with the Burbage birders had a not too bad a day considering the weather. A raft of 52 Scaup and then a raft of 64 Common Scoter were seen off Blackrock. 39 Pale bellied Brent were present at Bowmore. Along the track leading to Laggan, 3 Yellowhammer, 2 ringtail Hen Harriers and a Merlin were seen. A Kestrel, 2 Golden Eagles and a flock of over 120 Linnets were present on the Oa. At the close of play, a juv. White tailed Sea Eagle was out past Ardbeg towards Claggain Bay. At the bird nerds meeting last night, Lesley told me that the Aberdeen team had 99 species in total during their brief stay, a great time, considering the weather... On our way home from the meeting, we had a Snipe at the roadside as came over the hill from Gruinart and just after Sunderland Farm, a Woodcock resting up in the centre of the road, just as well the van has got good breaks... Today, the Sparrowhawk swooped through the garden twice in the hope of catching something, no luck pal!!!

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Tuesday 24th November

An early entry being put to press tonight as it is the Bird nerds meeting plus the fact I have some sightings in already...Lesley and the Aberdeen RSPB group on Sunday afternoon had carried on round Loch Gorm having a count of around 300 Redwing, some 10 Fieldfare and the occasional Song Thrush noted along with Blackbirds. Over the fields, they had a flock of 50 Skylarks. They also had excellent viewings of both male and the ringtail Hen Harriers as they drove round Loch Gorm. 4 Gadwall and 2 Goldeneye were on Loch Gorm itself while 2 male Bullfinches were in some trees, as were a number of Chaffinches. At the visitor centre at Loch Gruinart, a Siskin was seen on the feeders, and a Peregrine flew past! From the hide, 20 Pintail and then a Sparrowhawk were seen. 3 Dabchicks were on Ardnave Loch, out on the sea, a B T Diver was present along with 2 RT Diver and a GND. The Choughs turned out in force with 46 being counted! Last bird seen at Ardnave was a Merlin, and as they headed down to Port Ellen to the ferry, a Cackling goose was seen amongst some Barnies about a mile out of Port Ellen on the high road.. Thanks to folks for your sightings. On Sunday, Ken Reeves returned with another group from the Burbagebirders, their 11th visit to Islay! On the ferry coming over, 13 GND were seen, a raft of 55 RTD. Heading over their accomodation, they had 46 Scaup on Loch Indaal and also 3 BTD. Yesterday, a Merlin was seen at Port Charlotte, off Bruichladdich Pier, 9 Purple Sandpipers and a Common Snipe were present. 50 Dunlin along the flats at Gruinart, 2 Chough at Ardnave as were 11 Whoopers. On Loch Indaal, off Bowmore, 2 Long tailed Ducks, 2 Slav Grebes, 7 GND, 2 BTD, 2 RTD and 31 Eider, all in seen in "challenging conditions", according to Ken!!! Yesterday afternoon, Steve Rightson had seen a Swallow at Gartmain.

Monday 23 November 2015

Monday 23rd November

What a difference a day makes, yesterday out in a jersey, today wearing a big jacket between the squally showers and windy as well... Early last week John Stephenson from Bowmore e mailed through (sorry only found it my junk box a few moments ago). Basically John was reporting that the big number of Whoopers were away from Ardnave Loch, but he had seen Chough there. Down in front of the old hide at Gruinart, he had 20 Whoopers the same day including 2 families with 5 youngsters. Yesterday afternoon, Mandy had 2 Greenshank, a Redshank and a Turnstone together at Bun an Uillt on Loch Gruinart. At the close of play around 5pm Mandy had a Tawny Owl on the verge at the side of the road as she passed the entrance to the visitor centre at Gruinart. Yesterday morning, Mike Peacock had 5 GND on the incoming tide at Gruinart. Mike also had 33 Sanderling, a few Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, with 4 Whoopers arriving in as well. Inland, Mike had 2 Hen Harrier and a Kestrel. Mid afternoon, from Port Charlotte panning across Loch Indaal to Gartbreck/ Laggan Point, 31 GND, 9 RTD, 53 Common Scoter and then another raft 9 were seen in flat calm conditions. Lesley was out with her old friends from Aberdeen yesterday. Going round Loch Indaal, 64 Pale bellied Brent, 4 Shelduck, 6 Slav Grebe and 6 Barwits. At Bridgend, a Dipper was seen on the River Sorn. In the woods at Bridgend a Goldcrest and Treecreeper were added to their list for their visit. More from Lesley tomorrow night... On our way down to Portnahaven last night, we had a Barn Owl below Carn with a Tawny Owl close to Ellister on our way home. We also saw several groups of Red Deer in the headlights too along with several Hares out on the roads playing silly games...they all lived to see another day.... Rememembr to come along to the monthly meeting of the bird nerds tomorrow night at the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore at 7.30pm, if you are around!!!!

Sunday 22 November 2015

Sunday 22nd November

What a glorious day it has been, a beautiful sunrise, and as I write today's entry a sunset over to Ireland, well words are hard to find to describe it, and in between the day was not bad either.... Just great to live out here!! Yesterday the Aberdeen RSPB group had spent their day down on the bottom end round about Port Ellen . On their way out to the Oa, they had seen 2 Red Grouse and a Golden Eagle. They also had a flock of 250 Twite at Kinnabus. Around 500 Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes were seen on passage. 2 Kestrels were seen as they headed out to the American monument on the Oa. On their return too the car park, they saw a stunning Snow Bunting. A total of 5 GND were seen as they headed out towards Claggain Bay. As Lesley put it, the "group" are well impressed (choughed?) with birding on Islay! Just what we want to hear... This morning, Bob, Gary and myself carried out the WeBS count, a week late but the weather has not been that kind to us ... Our birds were as follows, 2 GND, 1 RTD, 32 Shag, 2 Whoopers, 2 Greylag, 900 Barnies, 8 Whitefronts, 52 Mallard, 210 Teal, 432 Wigeon, a female Pintail, 22 R B Merganser, 2 Goldeneye, 1 Heron, 57 Oystercatcher,31 Curlew, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 20 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 44 Dunlin, 15 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 14 Turnstone, 3 Snipe, 1 Grey Plover, 8 Golden Plover, 40 Ringed Plover, 41 Lapwing, 9 GBB Gull, 296 H Gull, 109 C Gull, 18 BH Gull. Bob also counted 61 Scaup at Blackrock on his way home, and this afternoon Bob and Pat had a Short eared Owl up on Bolsay Moor. Today also, James had 7 Long tailed Tits and 2 Goldcrests in the wood at Gruinart. In front of the hides, he had a Goldeneye and a Tufted Duck, which are not that common in the hides! At his house, there was a Woodcock amongst his chickens and a count of 55 Redwing in the trees close to his house. Here at home this morning, Margaret had a Redpoll out on the bird table.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Saturday 21st November

We had 2 groups of Whoopers fly past on their way South yesterday, one of 8 and then later on a 9. There was a small family of 3 down at Rockside this afternoon. On Thursday afternoon Mark Sullivan arrived over for the weekend along with his group from the Aberdeen members group from Aberdeen and had a great start by spotting a Golden Eagle and also a distant White tailed Sea Eagle and that was even before the ferry tied up!Yesterday, they were not to beaten by the poor weather and by close of play they were up to 66 species seen. Round Loch Indaal, they had good views of Whooper and Mute Swans, at least 50 Pale bellied Brent, the flock of 44 Scaup close inshore at Blackrock, 3 Long tailed Duck, a Goldeneye, several R B Merganser seen in the distance, a GND, 2 Slav Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, a good cross section of waders and gulls with a flock of 200 Ringed Plover along with similar number of Dunlins at the head of Loch Indaal. Highlights seen at Loch Gruinart included 9 Pintail, 7 Shoveler, and 4 Greenshank. Along the flats, they had seen a flock of 350 Golden Plovers and they also saw 2 ringtail Hen Harriers over the moor. Gary today had been at Loch Finlaggan, almost his home patch now! His birds were as follows, 1200 Barnies, 100 Whitefronts, 57 Mallard, 23 Teal, 10 Tufted Duck, a male Goldeneye, 3 Dabchicks, a Buzzard, numerous Redwing & Fieldfare, 12 Blackbirds, 4 Dunnock, 12 Hooded Crow and 2 Ravens.

Friday 20 November 2015

Friday 20th November

Earlier this week the first International Goose Count took place when the whole of Islay is counted on one day and again the following day with the average count being the figure used. So here are the figures for the 17th and 18th November, there were 48,568 Barnies, 4,564 Whitefronts and also 929 Greylags. Thanks to Morven and the team from SNH for the figures. Yesterday Malcolm and Bob headed over to Jura. They had a Peregrine at Feolin, a Sparrowhawk was seen later on with many Buzzards seen on their travels, but not so many geese as on Islay, only 60 Greylags and 3 Whitefronts noted. Mid afternoon today, on their way back from Port Ellen, Gary and Sam saw a rather bedraggled looking Barn Owl, mind you I would have looked a rather sorry sight too as the weather has not been that great with dirty showers of sleet and also some "kid on" snow also.... Before I forget, on Tuesday night, the Islay Bird nerds are holding their monthly meeting at 7.30pm in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore, so if you are around, you will be made welcome!

Thursday 19 November 2015

Thursday 19th November

The Whitefronted geese that we had seen yesterday over at Ballinaby were some of the geese caught and rung back in December 2012 by Larry and Carl. They are over again on Islay at present and managed to catch, ring and fit neck collars on a further 29 Whitefronts... Equally important was a catch up with Ed earlier this evening, good to see you Ed! Yesterday while carrying out the International Goose count, Mandy and Fiona had seen a Snow Bunting up at Ardnave. Here at home yesterday, a Merlin sped through the garden and kept going, no birds nobbled! Gary last night saw a Barn Owl down towards The Woollen Mill. Today, he had a Lesser Redpoll feeding on a seed head on the road leading to Finlaggan, later on, he too had a Merlin fly though his garden as he was knocking down his garden wall... This morning, I counted a total of 33 Goldfinches in the garden, between those on the feeders and the ones over on the willows, resting up.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Wednesday 18th November

Not exactly a day for bird watching today with the wind increasing as the day went on, with at present the highest wind speed being a gust late afternoon coming through at 64 mph, little wonder the birds were having difficulty in flying!!! We saw 6 Whitefronts round at Ballinaby earlier today with neck collars on, so I have sent the details through to Ed and I think that these were originally caught and fitted with collars by Larry from WWT about 3 years ago. Larry is one of Ed's bosses! Once I hear back from Ed, I will let you know their history.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Tuesday 17th November

The wind may have dropped this morning, but already this evening the wind has started to pick up again, the lull before the storm?? This morning here at home, we had a count of 22 Redwings in the garden along with 2 Stonechats, both new to the house bird list... Later on, 2 small group of Whoopers arrived off the sea, a 10 and also 4. Later on 35 were noted heading out to sea and away South. There was a flock of 80 Rock Doves on the barley stubbles along at Sunderland Farm. Bob today had seen 57 Whoopers resting up at Easter Ellister. Martin, while taking his lunch at Killarrow House on the edge of Loch Indaal in Bowmore had managed some birding. Very productive it was too with 2 GND, a Slavonian Grebe, 40 Eider, 12 Red br Merganser, 2 Shag, 3 Mallard with a Twite seen on the grass! Martin had also seen a Peregrine as came down from Bridgend to Bowmore prior to this.

Monday 16 November 2015

Monday 16th November

Some sightings from David and Pat from Friday, they had seen a Kestrel at Scarrabus, a Pink footed Goose was in a turnip field where there had been some whitefronts earlier on the same day and they had a couple of Redpolls at Coullabus and finally 6 Black Guillemots were present off Bunnahabhain on the Sound of Islay. Thanks for your birds folks, and also to Armin for his too! Dave had 103 Whoopers at Kinnabus on Saturday afternoon, but these were not seen on Sunday morning, but a further 84 were counted on Loch Kinnabus on Sunday afternoon. Dave also had over 200 Redwings on Saturday as well. George Jackson had seen 50 Whoopers fly down Loch Indaal on Saturday. Yesterday, Bob had a Glaucous Gull at Uiskentuie. Today, Bob and Garry had seen 5 Pink footed Geese at Rockside this afternoon. This morning, 41 Whoopers flew out past our house early on, then a 14, 10 and finally 9... surely they should mostly be through by now, all the same great to see them battling against the strong winds....We should have done the WeBS count yesterday, but the weather was not kind to us, and today was not much better, another day..

Sunday 15 November 2015

Sunday 15th November

Catch up time with the rainfall over the past 24 hours, certainly not as much as other areas, but all the same we had 1.5 inches with the total for the month coming to a nice round 4.0 inches so far...not really heavy rain, just a steady fall of rain over 24 hours!!! On the Whooper Swan front, they are still on the move... More movements from yesterday included Mike seeing 37 fly past Port Charlotte, a 12 and then a 3, all around midday. Gary yesterday had 46 fly in from Jura and on inland, so possibly the Swans seen on Loch Skerrols by David and Pat Wileman. James today had 43 on the reserve at Gruinart and they took off flying South towards Loch Indaal. James reckons that his swans fly on over Loch Indaal and not to be confused with the swans seen here and around the Loch Gorm area. This morning, there were 2 groups flying away from here this morning, one of 13 and then 32 followed soon afterwards. Down on Rockside, early afternoon there were 3 groups of Swans on the different barley stubbles, 75, 27 and a smaller group of only 10. The lochans down there are as large as we can recall, and another "new" lochan where there was not there before!

Saturday 14 November 2015

Saturday 14th November

Dave and Pat Wileman, visiting birders from Norfolk have been over for the past few days and in between the showers yesterday, from their "mobile hide", (their car), they saw the following between Bowmore round to Port Charlotte, 8 Whooper Swan, 60 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 20 Wigeon, 40 Red Br Merganser, a female Goldeneye, 3 Long tailed Duck(2 m + 1f), 50 Eider, 3 GND, 3 RTD, 5 Slav Grebes, 1 Razorbill, 40 Barwits, 1 Knot, 4 Cormorant and 15 Shag. Elsewhere during their stay they saw lots of Redwings and Fieldfares all over, 1 Buzzard at Redhouses and a further 2 close to Storakaig, a Golden Eagle out over the hills at Storakaig with a Dipper seen on the River Laggan above Cluanach. Thanks folks, hope the weather did not put you off! Yesterday afternoon, Martin saw some Waxwings as he came out of Bowmore, but he was in traffic and could not get a right count let alone turn back...This morning, the wind has dropped and the Whoopers have made the most of the lull. Here at home alone we had seen a total 365 Whoopers fly out past us, out to sea and then head South. James had counted 258 on the reserve at Gruinart, so possibly we had seen some of James' Swans. Bob had 56 fly over his house and a further 37 resting up in the fields at Port Charlotte with Dave Protherough seeing 40 fly out over Kilnaughton bay at Port Ellen, so one way or another I reckon that at least 500 or thereabouts were seen. Bob this afternoon had a Kestrel over at Blackrock and seen some Redpolls at Martin's house at Glenegedale this morning.

Friday 13 November 2015

Friday 13th November

Yes, Storm Abigail did pass through with the windy weather still causing disruption, not just on the travel side, but the electricity was off mid afternoon for around and an hour or so, but power has been restored, well done to the teams from the Hydro board.... Not much to report tonight, but Mike had a 1st winter Iceland Gull fly down Loch Indaal around 14.30 and also seen was a Black throated Diver fairly close to the shore. Here at home, the birds have been busy eating away at the feeders, mind you apart from being rather windy, the temperature has dropped a few degrees as well...

Thursday 12 November 2015

Thursday 12th November

Rather blustery out here on Islay today, with gusts up to 60mph recorded and the power is still on, so you will get an entry from me tonight! Yesterday, Armin had seen a Buzzard sitting on the top of one of the chimney pots on the cottage round at Saligo. Further on up at Ardnave, on the loch there were only around 20 Swans seen, so it backs up the sightings yesterday of Swans flying out in groups. Bob had seen another 2 groups mid afternoon flying down Loch Indaal. Lesley Silcock, a returning birder to Islay and now resident down at Port Ellen had seen 2 groups of Whoopers fly out over Kilnaughton Bay yesterday morning. Also yesterday, over the dunes Armin had 15 Chough flying, and this afternoon, he had an Otter swimming in the sea at Carraig Fhada lighthouse at Port Ellen. Mike Peacock had a Leach's Storm Petrel battling against the storm as it flew down Loch Indaal, less than 10 metres from his living room window around 9am this morning. Mid morning Lesley had seen a possible Dotterel at the head of Loch Indaal.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Wednesday 11th November

This morning, early on, there were several groups of Whoopers flying out from the Loch Gorm area, following the road and out to the sea and then heading South, no doubt on to Ireland. There were 14, 10, 32 and then 30 in a short space of time, then around 70 - 80 Fieldfares flew South over the house mid morning. At lunchtime, another 24 Whoopers flew past. Needless to say, the wind has picked up quite a bit, so I have taken most of the bird feeders down, rather than find them on the ground tomorrow morning!

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Tuesday 10th November

Gary today, had some "good" birds in his garden over past Ballygrant. They included a male and a female Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting as well as good numbers of Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Coal Tits. Today, we moved one of the feeders in closer to the house, with an immediate response was the Goldfinches, Chaffinches, and House Sparrows arriving soon there... Late afternoon, with the weather improved, a quick run round Loch Gorm, did not produce much, a Stonechat on the whin bushes after Coull, around 30 Fieldfare at Saligo, no geese really seen apart from 20 or so Whitefronts and 6 Barnies at Ballinaby with 13 Whoopers at Sunderland and 8 more along at Rockside.

Monday 9 November 2015

Monday 9th November

Think I could start off with the opening lines that I used last night again, but that the wind was slightly stronger. Armin is back over the week, and apart from attending the Islay Sessions over the weekend, he has managed some birds for us too. He had a Buzzard on top of a fence post round at Ballinaby on Saturday. Yesterday on his way to over to Saligo to watch the boiling sea and the waves there, Armin had seen around 30 Whitefronts crabbing their way in the wind, and then later on 7 Chough over the dunes behind Machir Bay, with the Choughs hugging the dunes... also yesterday Gary and Sam had done a waderwatch on Loch Gruinart from Bun an Uillt, with their birds seen included Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew, 4 Greenshank, 1000 Golden Plover, Pale belied Brent, Barnies, Mallard, Wigeon, Pintail, R b Merganser, Cormorant, Buzzard, juv Peregrine and 7 Herons.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Sunday 8th November

Yes, the weather forecast was (yet again!)spot on as early morning, the rain came and the wind picked up, so needless to say the ferries are on amber alert and could be disrupted or cancelled, as ever we are lucky with 2 ferry ports on Islay...and the weather does not look much better for the rest of the week!!! Yesterday Gary and Bob had carried out a survey out over Loch Indaal from the Gaelic Centre (NR324604) just out of Bowmore. They too had seen the antics of the White tailed Eagle trying to possibly drown the Eider. They had seen the end of the tussle with the Eagle flying away with no prey! Birds seen were Oystercatcher, Redshank, Barwits, Turnstone, Curlew, 400 Golden Plover, 10 Grey Plover, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, juv. WTSE, GND, RTD, R b Merganser, Cormorant, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Eider, 1 Shelduck, 4 L t Duck, Greylags, Barnies, P b Brent, Whooper and Mute Swans, C Gull, B h Gull, H Gull, G b b Gull, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Dunnock, Redwing, and Reed Bunting.

Saturday 7 November 2015

Saturday 7th November

Yesterday was Mike Bell's last full day, but this did not deter him... He had seen Red legged Partridges at both the Market and than later on up close to Neriby as well as at Carabus, probably birds recently released. Before setting out in the morning Mike had a ringtail Hen Harrier at Kilchoman with 60 Fieldfare and 60 Redwing as he drove down towards the Coastguards' Houses. The Whoopers were still on Ardnave, the tally being 208, 13 Mute, 397 Wigeon, female Gadwall, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Tufted Duck, a male Pochard, 3 Mallard and 3 Teal. On the floods at Gruinart, 340 Teal, 3 Gadwall, a good count of 87 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, and a Greenshank, 12 Pale bellied Brent were out on Loch Gruinart itself. In the afternoon, the tally for Golden Plovers was 1600 at Gruinart with a Mistle Thrush seen at Loch Gruinart House. Further on, 60 Redwing were seen at Ballimartin, 2 Golden Eagles at Storakaig, 55 Fieldfare at Cruach, 17 Red legged Partridges at Carrabus, 100 Redwing at Lyrabus with a further 60 at Craigens. A male Hen Harrier was seen below Carnduncan while a ringtail was at Sanaigmore as was a Merlin. Paul and Avril Watchorn's "best birds" of their visit were seeing our Choughs, Hooded Crows, Stonechats the numerous Whooper Swans as well as Reed Buntings down on the Oa, not forgetting the Golden Eagle on Jura and the geese all around. Many thanks yet again to our visiting birders for sharing their sightings. Leslie Silcock who has moved to Port Ellen recently had seen Choughs down on the Oa this morning and 2 RTD in Kilnaughton Bay. This morning there was a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the crag, quite close in, but better to come as we went down to Bowmore later on. As we approached Gartmain, the birds on Loch Indaal all appeared to be very agitated, and rightly so as there over the water less than 70 yards from the road was an immature White tailed Sea Eagle trying to get an Eider. Each time it swooped in, the Eider had the sense to dive and escaped. We watched this going on for at least 5 minutes, thanks to Karen for flagging us down as I was driving and watching the traffic on the road.....

Friday 6 November 2015

Friday 6th November

On Wednesday, Bob saw a White tailed Eagle when he was in at Loch Skerrols. Coming home on Wednesday evening, we saw 2 different Barn Owls between Port Ellen and Bowmore. Yesterday, on the Oa, Dave had 13 Whoopers and 300 Greenland Whitefronts. Yesterday, Mike had walked in towards Coal Ila from Port Askaig and saw 4 Goldcrest, 6 Long tailed Tits and a Mistle Thrush. Back at Mulreish, there were 200 Fieldfare and 500 Redwings present. At Ballygrant, a further 40 Redwing and along at Kepolls, 120 Fieldfare and 20 Redwing, and also 3 female Sparrowhawks chasing after each other... A Golden Eagle was seen over the hills and also pair of White tailed Sea Eagles. At Eorrabus, 200 Redwings were noted. At The Woollen Mill, a Dipper was present on the River Sorn and also seen were 5 Long tailed Tits, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Siskin and a Mistle Thrush. 2 Whoopers were on the stubble fields at Cattadale with 69 Ravens seen down at Cluanach. Round Loch Gorm, Mike saw 2 Greylags with neck collars on at Coulererach amongst the Barnies and Whitefronts, both the geese were rung here on Islay and have not been seen off Islay! Finally Mike had walked out to the pond behind the dunes behind Machir Bay where he had 56 Whoopers (including 5 broods), 308 Teal, a female Pintail, a male Gadwall with 70 Twite, 17 Chough and 55 Golden Plover seen on his way back from the pond. This morning, a male Hen Harrier skimmed over the garden here at home, and then late afternoon a large number of Whoopers flew in from the sea, and we located them in 2 groups, one of 64 on the water on Loch Gorm, the other party was of 25 along at Sunderland along with some Whitefronts and also the 3 Pinkfoots.

Thursday 5 November 2015

Thursday 5th November

Really had to think what day of the week it was, knew the date but which day it was, another sign that I must be getting a bit old... say no more!!! At the weekend, Jack Fleming had a count of 40 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Bun an Uillt on Loch Gruinart. The other day when over on Jura, Paul and Avril Watchorn, the winners of the Gie's a brek (Give us a break) draw at the Birdfair back in August, had seen a juv Golden Eagle.. Visitors Alan and Viv Coy had seen a couple of Short eared Owls up past Killanallan on Tuesday. Mike Bell yesterday had counted 29 Whoopers, 820 Greylags, 3 Pinkfoots,19 Barnies, 214 Teal, 15 Mallard and 2 drake Pintails on the pool in the dunes behind Machir Bay. On the dunes, Mike had 12 Fieldfare, 60 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush and 3 Golden Plover. Along towards Rockside, 50 Fieldfare, 100 Redwing, 30 Chaffinch, a Brambling and a Yelowhammer were seen. Loch Gorm had a Great crested Grebe, a Dabchik, 5 Pochard, 7 Goldeneye and 11 Tufted Duck. Up on Ardnave Loch, Mike counted a Dabchick, 20 Mute, 218 Whoopers, a drake Pochard, 2 Goldeneye, 3 Tufted Duck, 1 RB Merganser, 5 Shoveler, 18 Teal, 372 Teal with a late Whimbrel also present. An Otter was seen at Traig Nostaig while out at Ardnave Point, 44 Chough and 25 Curlew were seen. In the afternoon, Laggan Point held a RTD, 8GND, 3 Eider, 39 Shag, 1 Gannet, a Black Guillemot, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Chough, 2 Rock Pipit. The "Laundry Loch" held a Dabchick, 19 Mallard, 4 Wigeon, and 3 Tufted Duck, probably there could have been more if the farmer had not been past a few moments earlier on his quad bike and spoofed some away...

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Wednesday 4th November

An early entry tonight as I am going out this evening.... On the reserve at Gruinart today, James had the following count, 13855 Barnies, 601 Whitefronts, 46 Pale bellied Brent and 85 Greylags, other birds noted were 3 Gadwall and 372 Lapwing. Mike Peacock, now resident at Port Charlotte sent in some sightings from today... On Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte across the Loch to Gartbreck in flat conditions, 53 GND, including a group 37 fishing together and also 9 RTD. Along at Blackrock, Mike had a further 5 GND, 48 Scaup, a female Long tailed Duck, 32 Eider, 3 Goldeneye, 22 Common Scoter, 5 RB Merganser and 2 Pale bellied Brent. Thanks Mike.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Tuesday 3rd November

This morning, Peter had seen a juv White tailed Sea Eagle over the North end of Loch Gorm. Today, Mike heard a Brambling in the wood down at Kilchoman. On the pool, in the dunes behind Machir Bay, he counted 570 Greylags and 90 Teal while on the beach on Machir Bay itself were 53 Curlew and 800 Barnies. 40 Whoopers flew off one of the lochans at Rockside. The 3 Pinktooted Geese were still there amongst the Whitefronts there. A Hen Harrier was at Killinallan with 3 Goldeneye out towards the mouth of Loch Gruinart. Along the beach there were 93 Ringed Plover, 85 Sanderling, 71 Barwits, 16 Turnstone and 27 Curlew. Inland he had seen 4 flocks of Twite, totalling 145 in all. Mike had 2 Greenshank out on the floods at Gruinart and also a female Bullfinch seen while walking along the "Woodland trail", along at Erasaid, 200 Fieldfares and 20 Redwing were present. On Loch Indaal between Bruichladdich and round to Bowmore, Mike saw 3 RTD, 19 GND, 9 Slavonian Grebe, 51 Pale bellied Brents, 436 Wigeon, 48 Scaup, 24 Common Scoter, 132 Eider, 58 RB Merganser and 11 Long tailed Ducks including 8 drakes. There was a count of 1200 Golden Plover on the merse at Bridgend. George Jackson (visitor) was up here at home this afternoon and rung 11 House Sparrows, a Dunnock and also a Goldfinch, boy were the wee birds wary of the mist net and took great delight to avoid being caught!

Monday 2 November 2015

Monday 2nd November

The weather has not been too bad out here today, not as good as yesterday and we had no disruption like other places with flights due to fog... Yesterday, Carl had 2 Wheatear, a RTD a White Wagtail and 2 Turnstone down on Uiskentuie strand, later on he had Merlin up towards Gearach. Mike from Dunkeld had been out and about today, he had seen 6 Whitefronts between Rockside and Ballinaby with neck collars on. One of the geese that Danny saw last week was rung at Ballinaby back in Dec 2012, and I think some of the geese seen by Mike today were caught and fitted with collars the same day as Danny's goose. This morning Mike, Mike seen 3 Pinkfoots amongst the geese at Rockside/ Coull. Over at Gruinart there was a ringtail and a male Hen Harrier causing havoc with the Teal there!! Loch Skerrols held 50 Whoopers, 9 Mute, 80 Wigeon, pr of Gadwall, 9 Teal, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Dabchick and a Moorhen, in the fields surrounding 27 Fieldfare and 75 Redwing. Down on the Oa, Mike had seen 120 Redwing and a Yellowhammer at Lower Cragabus, at Upper Cragabus 150 Fieldfare were present. Further flocks of 30 and 75 Fieldfares along with 2 flocks of 50 Redwing were also noted on the Oa, 2 Golden Eagles seen, a Grey Wagtail, 14 Twite and another 45 Redwing at Lower Killeyan. Back at Kilnaughton Bay, Port Ellen, 3 RTD and a GND were present with a further 80 Redwings on the move. A Hen Harrier was seen at Loch Tallant and another at Ballinaby. 16 Pied Wagtail were seen going to their roost down beside Loch Gorm. Late afternoon, here at home, a small flock of around 60 Fieldfare flew overhead.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Sunday 1st November

What a great day out here today, hard to believe that it is November, even noticed someone cutting their grass. The rain gauge read 3.3 inches when I emptied it out for the month of October, another dryish sort of a month... Yesterday George Jackson (visitor) had seen the Todd's Canada Goose down at Rockside, and then went out round the loop round the Rhinns from Port Charlotte. First up was a male Merlin just out of Port Charlotte, a female Merlin further on towards Lossit, with a tally of 200 Redwings and also 200 Redwings seen as they crossed the fields down to Lossit Bay itself. They also saw a ringtail Hen Harrier there too. Many more Redwings and Fieldfares were seen as they continued their trip back round to Port Charlotte. This morning, Bob heard a commotion out over the forestry behind Octomore, on checking it out there were 5 Sparrowhawks being mobbed by Jackdaws and other birds, similar to what we had the other week here at home! On our way over to meet in with James at Gruinart this morning, we had a male Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel all flying above the reserve. Later on, we saw "our" George Jackson up at Ardnave Loch, what a spectacle, 230 Swans and at least 330 Wigeon. Mike from Dunblane is back for the week, and had been up to Ardnave and had counted the Swans as well, and reckons there were 210 Whoopers and 17 Mutes, there were 17 juv amongst the Whoopers. Mike also counted 420 Wigeon, 2 Goldeneye, 7 Shoveler, and saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Out at Traigh Nostaig, he saw 25 Turnstone, 2 Turnstone and 16 Rock Pipits. On the other side of Ardnave Point, Mike had 59 Ringed Plover and 6 Twite. Between Bridgend and Bowmore, he had 54 Pale bellied Brents, a small Canada Goose amongst the Barnies, 449 Wigeon, 4 Pintail, 68 Eider, 7 Long tailed Duck (including 5 drakes), 34 R B Merganser, 3 GND, 1 RTD and a Slav Grebe. Down from Bowmore, 940 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 83 Ringed Plover, 6 Knot, 91 Dunlin, 113 Barwits and 16 Turnstone seen. Back at the floods at Gruinart, 75 Pintail, 700 Teal, 3 PBB Geese, a flock of 1350 Golden Plovers, a ringtail and also a male Hen Harrier were added to his birds. Finally, Mike had 2 Pinkfooted Geese amongst the Greylags and Whitefronts at Coull. His tally for Whoopers there in the morning was 58 including 15 juveniles. Mike reckons that the Golden Plovers were different flocks, so giving a total of around 2300.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Saturday 31st October

What a great day with the weather and a beautiful sunset to finish the day off with more to come over the next few days according to the weather forecast. Gary yesterday had a "probable" sighting of a Velvet Scoter at Blackrock, out from Cash Kelly's former house. Yesterday afternoon , we had a Todd's Canada Goose down in the barley stubbles along with Barnies, Greylags and also some Whitefronts. Visitor, George Jackson had seen probably the same Goose down in a similar location today. Danny, back on Thursday had a Greylag round towards Kilchiaran with a neck collar on, this afternoon, Bob Swann responded to say that it had been caught up behind Bruichladdich as a young bird in January and been seen over on Colonsay in the summer and returned to Islay again, and I think that Bob had seen it at Gartmain earlier on before Danny saw it! Danny also had a couple of Whitefronts at Ballinaby on Thursday, but we await a response through from the Whitefront team. As it is Saturday, so of our contributors over the last week have headed home, so thanks to you all for sending in your sightings, and tomorrow, we may well have some new names for you.

Friday 30 October 2015

Friday 30th October

Another month almost in, so wonder what the rainfall will be, but you can wait until Sunday for that piece of information! Yesterday had been Danny and Wanda's last day on their visit. Round at Ballinaby, Danny counted 87 Greenland Whitefronts, up at Ardnave, 204 Whoopers on the Loch. Back down at Rock mountain, a further 80 Whitefronts, along the road past Sunderland, just over the fence were 6 Whitefronts and 5 Whoopers. At Rockside, another 110 Whitefronts. Later on, on the lochan just before you drop down to Kilchiaran, there was a Greylag present with a neck collar, one which had been caught by Ed & co back in January up beyond Conisby. John, one of the vols at Gruinart had counted 684 Teal out on the "floods" at Gruinart. Today, James counted 579 GWF, 9 Pale bellied Brent and 585 Golden Plovers on the reserve at Gruinart. This morning, Steve Percival and his father had a male Blackcap in the trees at Gruinart farm, this afternoon, they had a Golden Eagle, a White tailed Eagle and a Redpoll, again at Gruinart Farm. Bob had a count of 30 male Blackbirds in his garden this morning. Today also, there were several flocks of Fieldfares and also Redwings passing through.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Friday 29th October

Yesterday, George Jackson (visitor George) had seen a Golden Eagle fly past his son's house below Rockside, the bird was on a mission and a few moments it dived into a hedge, but luckily it did not get its' prey, a Pheasant as it escaped unscathed! This morning, they had a brief sighting of 7 Bramblings on the garden wall... Today, the Rochdale birders had headed over to Jura this morning and had seen a total of 6 Otters, at one place, there was a female along with her 2 cubs together. Up at Tarbert, they saw another Whimbrel. They also saw a flock of 100 Fieldfares pass overhead and a ringtail Hen Harrier later on. Back on Islay, they had a male Sparrowhawk over at Coullabus and then another ringtail, this time up behind Ballinaby. Louise this morning, had a White tailed Sea Eagle down at Bridgend, wonder if it was looking for a Barnie for breakfast...

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Wednesday 28th October

Some birds gleaned from the bird nerds meeting last when there were 18 folk in attendance... Yesterday afternoon, there had been a count of 179 Whoopers on Ardnave Loch and also further 50 on Loch Skerrols as well as more over the Coull/ Loch Gorm area. The small Canada Goose was still present on the flats at Gruinart, while 45 Scaup were seen at Uiskentuie/ Blackrock. James had seen 8 Hen Harriers on the reserve, 16 Whoopers, a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, 260 Lapwing and his tally for the geese on Gruinart was 19,280 Barnies, 628 Whitefronts, 121 Greylags and 7 Pale bellied Brents. On the way down to Bowmore to the meeting, before Erasaid, we saw 2 Barn Owls and a Tawny Owl, and coming home with weather now being drizzly rain, a Barn Owl and a Tawny were noted, possibly some of the Owls we had seen earlier!!! Back on Monday, Mandy had seen 3 Red legged Partridges after Bruichladdich on her way back from her work. Danny and Wanda had a White tailed Sea Eagle as they headed over towards Bunnahabhain. This morning, the Rochdale birders had a count of 189 Whoopers on Ardnave Loch. Up past the farm steading, there was a Whimbrel being mobbed by a Hooded Crow. In the fields around Cluanach, up behind Bridgend, they had flocks of Redwings totalling 800 as well as 12 Fieldfares there too. Bob, this morning had seen, what he thought was a Great Snipe close to home, but after further watching, it turned out to be a Snipe. He also had seen many groups of both Redwings and Fieldfares flying overhead, proving great temptation to a male and also a female Sparrowhawk... but with no real success!! I see in the current edition of the Birdwatching magazine, that there is an "interesting" page on the proposed cull of the Barnacle geese here on Islay.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Tuesday 27th October

An early entry tonight, a I am off soon to the Bird nerds, so he we go.. Yesterday, Bob had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle down at Port Charlotte. The Rochdale birders had seen 2 ringtail Hen Harriers on their travels. today they had 2 males, one at Saligo , skimming over the top of their car, and the other over at Gruinart over the reserve. Their day was only to get better with account of 191 Whoopers on Ardnave Loch. Today, there has been several groups of Whoopers seen both coming and going... Tony Gibson, another visiting birder had seen 9 Whitefronted Geese over at Kintra, Port Ellen, one with a neck collar on it, possibly one that Ed has rung, so will find out more about it soon... Tony also had 50 Brents out of Bowmore on Loch Indaal, the Whoopers at Ardnave as well as around 35 Chough there as well.

Monday 26 October 2015

Monday 26th October

Yesterday, Gary and Sam went for a "blustery" walk down on the Oa. Apart from seeing the many Redwings all over the place, they saw 3 Chough, a juv male Hen Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawks and loads of Twite...On their way home they had an adult male Hen Harrier close to Storakaig on the Glen road over to Ballygrant. Returning friends, Danny and Wanda had headed over to Port Ellen the other evening to meet the ferry and bring home their guests for the week and had seen a Barn Owl out on the high road beside the sign to the Duich Lots. Yesterday, they seen the Whoopers over at Coull. Yesterday, James had a Greylag at Gruinart with a neck Collar on, and Bob Swann kindly sent through the info on it last night. It was originally caught and fitted with the neck collar up behind Bruichladdich in January and was last seen was at the end of May on Mull, but has returned back to Islay. Our Bob this morning had counted 70 Whoopers on one of the lochans at Rockside, none seen at Coull, but there were quite a few there this evening on the barley stubbles as the light started to fade. This morning around 8 am, the wee garden birds were spoofed all of a sudden and then a male Hen Harrier flew past....There were some reported sightings of Whitefronts arriving today. Before I forget, it is that time again, as tomorrow night is when the Bird nerds meet up at 7.30pm in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore for a catch up, so if you are around, feel free to drop in for a blether.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Sunday 25th October

For once an earlier entry, or perchance did I not change the clock back??? This morning when I looked out into the garden there were some Redwings around a dozen or so, but I have certainly been outdone as the Rochdale birders had seen a massive fall of Redwings down on the Rhinns, from Port Wemyss, to Portnahaven and round to Claddach and they reckoned that there were several thousand seen all around, Dave had several flocks of 50 Redwings or so seen passing the Oa with around 70 Whoopers. The Rochdale birders had travelled on through the Rhinns, up and around both sides of Loch Gruinart and had a total of 328 seen on their travels, but none on Loch Indaal at all! We had around 160 at Coull alone with a further 30 or so on the water resting up on Loch Gorm. The Rochdale birders had seen 10 Stonechats, 9 being males on their travels, a male Merlin chasing a Meadow Pipit at Sunderland but no joy and then a female Merlin just further along the road. Over up towards Ardnave, 2 different female Sparrowhawks were spotted and then over at Bun an Uillt, 3 Greenshank were present. Finally down at Blackrock, a Kestrel was seen, a not bad day for day 1 of their visit!

Saturday 24 October 2015

Sarturday 24th October

Quite a lot of rain last night, the best part of an inch fell, and by the look of the weather forecast for the coming week, some more is due by the end of the month, sorry to sound so negative.... Saturday, is normally "changeover" day here on Islay with one lot of visitors leaving and others arriving, today being no exception. On the ferry coming into Port Askaig this afternoon, the Rochdale birders had seen a White tailed Eagle as they headed up the Sound of Islay on Jura with 12 Turnstone seen on the Sound itself. Danny and Wanda had seen a Merlin down at Foreland as they arrived late afternoon. On Loch Skerrols, we had 9 Whooper and also 9 Mute Swans early afternoon.

Friday 23 October 2015

Friday 23rd October

Yesterday was Graham and Jo Morton's last full day on Islay. They had taken in the walk through Ballygrant woods and along towards the Lily Loch. In the woods, they saw a few Chaffinches, 2 Treecreepers, some Coal Tits, a Goldcrest and a Redwing. On Ballygrant Loch, 2 Mute Swans and 2 Dabchicks were present while along at Loch nan Cadhan, a further 2 Mutes were seen along with 40 Greenland Whitefronts. Overhead, 25 Fieldfare, a Raven and a total of 4 Buzzard were seen. Today, they headed home as did Wally and Jude who had seen 96species during the past 10 days. Thanks to you all for your sightings, it is what makes the blog tick... Yesterday, James carried out a Goose count at Gruinart with the tally coming through at 24,330 Barnies, 140 Greenland Whitefronts, 78 Greylags, 14 Pale bellied Brent, a Canada hutchinsii sp, 10 Whoopers, 2 Hen Harriers and 2 Sparrowhawks. Visitor Stephen Kirkup from Sutherland is over for a few days and is amazed with the sight of birds everywhere, especially the geese! He had seen both male and female Hen Harrier, South of Ballygrant and also 30 Brent Geese on Loch Indaal. The Green winged Teal was seen out from the new hide this morning by Roger Broad, Gary had a Leach's Storm Petrel at the top end of Loch Indaal, flying along towards the coal yard from the Uiskentuie end. We saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing, hawking over the ground as we headed out around midday.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Thursday 22nd October

Rather stormy out here today, the morning ferry diverted to Port Askaig rather sailing to Port Ellen, no complaints, at least it did come! The sea was "boiling" out at Coull Point with waves crashing over the rocks, quite impressive...Back on Tuesday, Steve Percival and his Dad had seen a Kingfisher down on the shoreline below the Gaelic Centre outside Bowmore, a new tick for both of them for their "Islay" list!!! Yesterday, they had seen some more Golden Plovers round with 70 at Ballinaby and another 40 over at Gruinart. More Whoopers were moving through too with 22 seen at Gruinart . Amongst the Barnies they saw a Canada Goose hutchinsii sp, one of the smaller ones that is....Ian and Susan Pettman from the Lake District had seen 40 Chough up at Ardnave, on the Loch they had 44 Whoopers and 2 Herons. Today, Martin Collinson and his son Peter had seen a Todd's Canada amongst the Barnies round at Ballinaby. Also today, Alan Harris from Surrey, had seen a small flock of 10 Snow Buntings up at Ardnave.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Wednesday 21st October

Not the best of days for birdwatching, you might have actually seen some birds flying backwards, low mist no morning plane but the ferry made it across, just fine eh... Graham and Jo had ventured out, and this morning they had a male Hen Harrier close to Rockside while down at Machir Bay, a Peregrine flushed 2 Curlews and 3 Chough were also seen here as well. At Gruinart , out from the new hide they counted 100 Teal, 10 Pintail, 2 Shelduck, 6 Greenland Whitefronts, many Rooks. A ringtail Hen Harrier was present over on the other side of Loch Gruinart along with 2 Golden Eagles up behind Bun an Uillt. Here at home, the only birds on the move were were the flock of around 70+ Jackdaws who appeared to like the challenge of flying in the wind... Steve Percival was in touch to confirm that the Barnie with white darvic ring on, seen a week ago by Gary was one that he had rung here at Gruinart Farm, back in November 2001, rung as an adult so it is least 15 years old...

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Tuesday 20th October

A good list of sightings through from Mary. On Friday, she had carried out the WeBS count. Her tallies were as follows, Ardnave Loch: 18 Mute, 28 Whoopers, 155 Wigeon, 1 American Wigeon, 1 Goldeneye, 4 Mallard, 4 Teal,2 B.H. Gull, 1 C. Gull, 2 H. Gull and a G.B.B. Gull. On the "floods": 2 Mute, 70 Greylag, 2 Gadwall, 166 Teal and 21 Teal with Loch Gruinart as follows: 27 P.B.B. Geese, 3 Shelduck, 11 Wigeon, 22 Mallard, 13 Pintail, 3 Shoveler, 9 R.B. Merganser, 13 Heron, 99 Oystercatcher, 64 R. Plover, 431 Golden Plover, 12 Grey Plover, 66 Lapwing, 40 Sanderling, 73 Dunlin, 23 Barwit, 135 Curlew, 1 Greenshank, 26 Redshank, 3 Turnstone, 33 B.H. Gull, 81 C. Gull, 137 H. Gull, and 3 G.B.B. Gull. Yesterday, a goose count took place on the reserve at Gruinart, but counting proved difficult as a young White tailed Eagle kept on flying around, other birds of prey seen were a ringtail Hen Harrier taking a Teal in front of the old hide, a Kestrel and a male Hen harrier up near to Grainel, a Sparrowhawk below the visitor centre as well as a Buzzard on the flats...The Goose tallies were 18,657 Barnies, 24 P.B.B. Brents, 2 Todd's Canada, 75 Greenland Whitefronts, 15 Greylags, 10 Whoopers, including a group of 6 with 2 juvs which arrived as they were counting! This morning, Graham and Jo had seen 6 Black Guillemots under the pier at Bruichladdich with 2 G.N.D., 15 R.T.D., and 2 Turnstone seen from the pier as well. Round the Rhinns, 4 Buzzards a Golden Eagle and also 2 Whooper resting up. Later on at the top of Loch Indaal, close to Bridgend, over 300 Golden Plover, 5 Grey Plover, 5 Pintail, hundreds of Wigeon, many Barwits, thousands of Barnies and a small Canada, probably a hutchinsii sp. Mike Peacock had seen 7 Bottle nosed Dolphins feeding on Loch Indaal this morning.

Monday 19 October 2015

Monday 19th October

Mike and Elspeth Anderson had been over at Gruinart on Saturday before heading home on the ferry, as they went down to the new hide they heard a call resembling a common Quail. Yesterday also, Steve had another 2 Todd's Canada over at Gruinart, the American Wigeon at Ardnave Loch along with 42 Whoopers. Over at Bun an Uillt, 2 Greenshank were seen, and Steve spotted a Barnie at Craigens, that he had rung originally back in April 1998 at Eorrabus, better still, it was with young! Yesterday, Graham and Jo Morton, birders from Nottinghamshire had seen the American Wigeon on Ardnave as well, a Goldeneye present there as well, out on the dunes, 40 Chough were present along with Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipits, with a Golden Plover, a Snipe and Redwing in the fields close to the steading. Later on at Gruinart, they saw a ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 Buzzards and 6 Golden Plover. As they headed towards Loch Indaal, a male Hen Harrier was seen. On Loch Indaal, they had 20 Scaup, 4 Eider,4 Slavonian grebe, 6 RB Merganser, a Long tailed Duck and 8 P B Brent. Some birds through from Dave on the Oa, on Friday on The Oa , he had 98 Redwing, 1 Wheatear, 1 Goldcrest and a Grey Wagtail. On Saturday from Blackrock on Loch Indaal, a total of 17 Slav Grebe, 1 GND and 7 Common Scoter and from Bruichladdich Pier 2 GND, 5 TRD,12 Common scoter and also 60 RB Merganser. On the Oa, on Sunday, Dave had a Goldcrest and also 35 Greenland Whitefronts. Gary had led a walk at Carnain on Sunday afternoon with a really good list of birds seen, including 2 Long tailed Duck, check on the link to the INHT for a full list of birds see.. Today, Bob had seen a Todd's Canada amongst Greylags up behind Gortan (coalyard) while down on the shore he had 17 Turnstone, earlier on he had seen Reed Buntings, more than of late up on Bolsay Moor. Back on Friday, I forgot to mention that while down at Port Charlotte, while speaking with Wally and Bob, we saw a Merlin chasing Starlings. Here at home this afternoon we saw 4 Sparrowhawks together flying around, possibly a family group? Since arriving last Tuesday, Wally has seen at least 12 Kestrel on travels, good to hear that one Wally! Another visitor who dropped by today was John Picton who is over leading a group from Speyside Wildlife, every bird that I seemed to mention, the group had already seen... apart from a Golden Eagle, Twite, wonder if they had seen the Red Kite??? Yes, there was one seen this morning over at Cluanach, as well as a male Hen Harrier by Graham and Jo. Up at Sanaigmore they had 10 Chough and a single PB Brent, probably a young bird, Loch Gorm held 20 Greenland Whitefronts, over 30 greylags, many Barnies all around, a male Pochard and 3 Dabchick. Later on, Machir Bay held 20 Ringed Plover, 4 Sanderling, a ringtail Hen harrier, 6 Chough, a Heron with a distant Golden Eagle seen over The Rhinns. Carl today had had a count of 41 Whoopers on Ardnave, 150 Wigeon, also 38 Chough and 10 Golden Plover. Skienns of Barnies were still coming in from the North over the sea. Finally, Carl had a large flock of hundreds of Fieldfares present over at Mulindry.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Sunday 18th October

Just realised that I forgot to write an entry last night.. oops, just another senior moment you might well say!!! The Bowland birders head home yesterday and had a grand total of 97 species seen during their week, so thanks to Andy and Jane as well as other visitors who kindly shared some of their sightings with us. Steve from Co. Durham had a Todd's Canada Goose amongst the Barnies at Sunderland this morning, later on Steve saw the American Wigeon amongst the Wigeon up on Ardnave Loch. This morning Bob, Gary and myself carried out the WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartmain, what a great day to do it with the water on Loch Indaal being flat calm. Going down to meet the others at Bowmore the sunrise was something else and the sight of the geese heading out was great to see... So here are our birds, 2 Heron, 2 GND, 9 Pale bellied Brent, 11 Shag, 2 Cormorant, 20 Greylag, 495 Barnies, 7 Greenland Whitefronts, 57 Teal, 16 RB Merganser, 41 Oystercatcher, 55 Curlew, 9 Redshank, 8 Turnstone, 2 Snipe, 6 Grey Plover, 209 Golden Plover, a Ringed Plover heard, 2 Lapwing, 3 GBB Gull, 90 H Gull, 10 C Gull and 10 BH Gull. There were 70 Common Scoter seen further out on Loch Indaal, but not deemed to be on our patch!!! There appear to be more Redwings and Fieldfares around today, there were a small group of 10 Fieldfare as went down the lane to the edge of the loch, and Bob had 60 drop in to the Water works opposite his house as he returned home. Wally and Jude had been over the East coast and between Coal Ila and on the road up towards Bunnahabhain they had a pair of Whitetailed eagle, a pair of Golden eagles and also a pair of Kestrel. They too had noticed and seen more Fieldfare and Redwing around today. I had 10 Redwing fly past down at the coal yard this morning and back at home, at lunchtime, 6 Whoopers flew from Loch Gorm out to the sea and then flew South onto Ireland, a Goldcrest was present in the trees down where we used to live this afternoon! This evening, to finish off a great day, the International Space station was seen, no doubt it will be back shortly, as it orbits the world every 90 minutes, or another way to think of it is that the crew see 16 sunrise and sunsets every 24 hours.....

Friday 16 October 2015

Friday 16th October

A brilliant day (again!!!) with a brilliant sunset to finish the day...The Bowland birders had their last full day of this visit. At Loch Skerrols, they had Coal Tit, Blue Tit, 30 Redwing, 10 Fieldfare, a Treecreeper, a male Brambling, Mistle Thrush and 2 Little Grebe. Along the road at The Woollen Mill, they had Great Tit and Greenfinch on the feeders with 2 Dippers seen on the River Sorn. Earlier this morning, Bob had heard the GN Divers calling out on Loch Indaal, it was so calm and the Loch was just like a mill pond... Here at home a Blackbird was heard out alarm calling as it shot into the bushes and then a Peregrine shot past... and then 4 Whoopers flew in from the sea and headed over to Loch Gorm to rest up!

Thursday 15 October 2015

Thursday 15th October

Another great day with the weather and also some good birds as well, long may it last... Yesterday, returning birders, Wally and Jude had spent a very productive hour in at Loch Skerrols. Jude had seen a Kingfisher and while Wally was watching the geese and other ducks present on the water, they were all spoofed and took off, a quick scan into the sky, with a White tailed Eagle seen being chased by 5 Buzzards...Later on, over at Craigens, on the overhead wires were some Linnets, that was before a Merlin came along and spoofed them all away! Louise, while waiting at Feolin on Jura for the ferry coming over from Port Askaig, had counted a flock of 52 Goldfinches. Noel and Anne Hand had seen the Rose coloured Starling along with 2 Collared Doves down at "The hedges" below Sunderland. Bob had seen 8 Redwings down towards Laggan Point, at the Point itself 2 Cormorant, 20 Shag, 2 Heron, 3 Whoopers flying South, also seen were 18 Golden Plover,40 Rock Pipits, 6 Stonechats and 4 Chough. On the Laundry Loch, 13 Mallard, 20 Wigeon and 8 Teal were present. Returning back to the road a Peregrine and 3 Buzzard were seen. On Loch Indaal, from the ICCI, 458 Wigeon, 10 R b Mergasnser, 40 Eider, 125 Golden Plover, 164 Barwits with 24 Pb Brent were there amongst the Barnies. From the road, leading to Gruinart from Loch Gorm, a Peregrine and a Kestrel were seen Finally, Bob had a Grey Wagtail along at Bruichladdich. The Bowland birders had 3 Dabchick, along with Tufted Duck and Goldeneye on Loch Gorm, while on the roadside there 30 Chaffinches with some Dunnock and Reed Bunting. Down on Machir Bay, 5 Sanderling, 39 Ringed Plover and 6 Turnstone. On their way back to their cottage, they were checking out the Starlings, looking for the Rose coloured Starling when a Sparrowhawk put them all up and away! Mike and Elspeth had counted at least 20 Whooper and 12 Mutes on Ardnave along with the Wigeon. They also had 2 Swallows hawking over the Loch too this morning. They also saw a ringtail Hen Harrier as they headed back, between Ardnave and Gruinart. This morning, earlier on there were 8 Whoopers resting up on the stubbles at Rockside. The sky last night was a sight to be seen, full of shining, twinkling little stars and the International Space Station was seen, last night and again earlier on this evening.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Wednesday 14th October

Yesterday Peter Roberts had a great sighting of an immature Golden Eagle, on the road that goes over the hill between Carnain and Gruinart up beyond Carrabus. With the water being so clear on Loch Indaal, Peter spotted dense shoals of small fish there at Bruichladdich Pier, also seen were 4- 5 Black Guillemots in winter plumage, offshore there were over 50 Eiders. Also yesterday, Mary had been up at Ardnave where she had Kestrel, 2 ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Buzzard, Skylark. At Traigh Nostaig, 27 Ringed Plover, 30 Oystercatcher, a Turnstone, a Redshank, and 7 Teal. Out on Eilean Beag, 109 Barnies and 12 Grey Seal pups. Nave Island held 65 seal pups, 29 GBB Gull, 3 Cormorant, 37 Shag, 11 Eider,10 Oystercatcher and a Buzzard. On Ardnave Loch, the American Wigeon was seen along180 Wigeon, 1 Tufted Duck, 5 Mallard,4 Teal, 23 Whooper, 19 Mute and 2 Swallows. Today, Mary saw a Kestrel close to Bushmills at Gruinart, the small Canada Goose (parvipes sp.)was seen out in front of the Visitor centre, 20 Greenland whitefronts were present along the flats along with 9 Whoopers while out on the estuary/salt marsh, 39 Pale bellied Brent were seen. Gary today had counted 2300 Barnies, 57 Pale bellied Brent, 4 Whitefront, 21 Pintail, 250 Wigeon, 99 RB Merganser, 179 Curlew, 750 Golden Plover, 30 Grey Plover, 123 Ringed Plover and 70 Dunlin, all at the top end of Loch Indaal. Gary saw the Rose coloured Starling amongst the Starling flock near to wee lane that leads down to Loch Gorm after Sunderland Farm. Loch Gorm held 116 Tufted Duck, 3 Goldeneye, a juv White tailed Sea Eagle harassing the Greylags. Also round the scrubby trees there, a Sparrowhawk was spooking the finch flock which also included a 1st winter Brambling. Dave, down on the Oa, had a Yellow browed Warbler in his garden on a Sycamore tree and also a Grey wagtail. James sent through the tally for the Barnies on reserve at Gruinart which came to 21,055 with a Pink footed Goose present too. Mike and Elspeth today had had 16 Choughs at the American Monument on the Oa, a male Hen harrier at Kintra this afternoon with 7 Pale bellied Brent amongst the rocks there. Off Blackrock, late afternoon, another 7 Brent were seen. The Bowland birders had started their day off at Killinallan where Greenshank, Merlin, Sanderling and a male Hen Harrier, they saw the wee Canada goose along the flats while out from the new hide, Pintails, Shoveller, a ringtail Hen Harrier were seen with the Brent seen out on the estuary/ salt marsh. Late afternoon, the Sparrowhawk as ever flew through the garden....

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Tuesday 13th October

Yesterday Mike and Elspeth had seen 4 Mute Swan, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe and a Cormorant with a Great Tit carrying food close by. Along at Loch Allan, they had a further 2 Mute Swan with a Treecreeper present there as well. From Blackrock today, they saw 32 Scaup, 10 Red breasted Merganser and 3 Slavonian Grebe with a further 5 divers out on Loch Indaal but identifying them proved difficult because of the sunlight! Down on the Rhinns they had 2 Golden Eagles on the wing and also 2 Chough and returning later on through Bruichladdich, 13 Ringed Plover and 3 Turnstone were present. "Our" George Jackson had been up at Ardnave Loch and counted 30 Whoopers, 12 Mute and 140 Wigeon. Returning birders, Anne and Noel Hand had seen the Rose coloured Starling at "the Hedges" below Sunderland Farm this morning. Gary had been over at Gruinart on the Eastern shoreline where he saw a small Canada Goose amongst the Barnies and also 3 Pink footed Geese amongst the Brent Geese there. The Bowland birders had 35 Scoter as they set out this morning on Loch Indaal, over on the Oa their birds included 2 Ravens, 12 Eider, 10 Chough, Rock Pipits,40 Twite, Kestrel, 2 Buzzard, 1 Golden Eagle, with a Wheatear seen at Mid Cragabus. On their way home, with the tide coming in on Loch Indaal, birds seen included were Barwits, Barnies, 150 Golden Plover, 8 Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin, 4 Knot, Teal, Mallard and Wigeon. Here at home 2 flocks of Lapwing flew past early this morning, of 50 Birds and other group being only 12 in total, no sign of any Whoopers on Loch Gorm, 13 Chough tumbling around late afternoon. Earlier this morning the "local" pair of Chough, were sitting on a wall, cheekily watching me as I walked by them, less than 5 metres away, no need for the bins!!! By the way, it has been another great day with the weather again, working away outside in shirt sleeves, not bad for almost the middle of October....

Monday 12 October 2015

Monday 12th October

The Bolton birders sent through their sightings after I had done the entry last night, so here are their birds from yesterday, all seen on the Rhinns...a day of raptors.. Peregrine, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and a male Hen Harrier. On Loch Indaal, from Carn they saw 3 RTD and 3 GND with a flock of 50 Twite seen at Carn, but over the land! The Sound of Orsay, 6 Pale belied Brent and 2 Swallows were present, at Portnahaven, 2 Chough and finally up at Cladville, 30 Lapwing were seen and also 10 Stonechats along the roadside on their travels. Today, they started off with 60 Barnies at Octomore, along at Blackrock on Loch Indaal, 30 Scaup and 3 Slavonian Grebe were seen. Up at Ardnave, on the Loch itself, 150 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, 1 Dabchick, 7 Mallard and 29 Whoopers were present with 12 Golden Plover noted in an adjacent field. A walk round Ardnave Point produced 50 Twite, 20 Chough, 2 Raven, 3 Buzzard, 7 Ringed Plover, 8 Turnstone, 7 Teal, Rock Pipit, Pheasant, Kestrel and Snipe. Birds seen coming in off the sea included 20 Greenland Whitefronts, 10 Whoopers, and around 500 Barnies over 3 hours. Late afternoon, we counted 40 Whoopers resting up on the water of Loch Gorm. James sent through the Barnies tally for today on the reserve at Gruinart which came to 17,150 an impressive sight...

Sunday 11 October 2015

Sunday 11th October

Michael and Elspeth Anderson from Edinburgh, who spotted the Cattle Egret back in 2009 have returned on another visit. Yesterday afternoon, after arriving off the afternoon ferry had a quick turn out along Loch Indaal and round Loch Gorm. On Loch Indaal, from Blackrock onwards there were small groups of Brents seen totalling around 25 Geese in all, round Loch Gorm there were at least 5 Buzzards. This morning from Blackrock, they saw 3 Slavonian Grebe, around 25 Scaup and at least 5 RB Merganser. Up past Coullabus, there was a large mixed flock of Twite, Linnets with Chaffinches and Goldfinches present there as well. On Loch Gruinart, 3 Barwits were present, with a walk further on produced 3 Meadow pipits and a Snipe. Out from the new hide this afternoon, they saw 35 Pintail and 2 Shovellers. Overnight and through the day, the Barnies have started to return, James mid morning had carried out a count with 5,155 Barnies, 17 Greenland Whitefronts, 5 Whooper Swans, 9 Pale bellied Brent, 200 Greylags and a Golden Eagle. Mandy e mailed through late afternoon to say that the geese were still arriving...

Saturday 10 October 2015

Saturday 10th October

George Jackson, our "local" GJ had a Kestrel at Carnduncan yesterday. Gary had been out for some birding this morning, a good list of birds, so here goes... At Carnain, 17 Heron were present, from the car park in front of Blackrock, on Loch Indaal, 19 Scaup, 25 R B Merganser, 3 RTD and a Slav Grebe. Out on Loch Gruinart, from the car park below Bun an Uillt, 550 Barnies, 19 PB Brent, 850 Greylags, 91 Lapwing, 9 Heron, 51 Curlew, 53 C. Gull, 47 BH. Gull, 31 H. Gull, 7 GBB. Gull, 1 Iceland Gull, 231 Oystercatcher, 101 Ringed Plover,2 Turnstone, 27 Redshank, 2 Blackwits, 4 Knot, 43 Pintail, 3 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 ringtail Hen Harrier and 2 Whooper Swan. Ardnave Loch held 18 Mute Swan, 10 Whooper, 11 Mallard, 171 Wigeon, 1 American Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 7 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck, and a Dabchick. There was also an Otter seen there too! On his way back down the road towards the RSPB reserve, a male Hen Harrier and a Peregrine were added to his list... Many thanks Gary. The Bowland birders have arrived over for the next week and saw some birds etc from the ferry over to Port Askaig, Razorbills, Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Kittiwakes, 2 Puffin, 2 Bonxie, a pod of Porpoise (sp unknown) and a Minke Whale!!! At Octomore they had Pied and Grey Wagtails and a Moorhen on the old Distillery pond behind Port Charlotte. Here at home today, the Sparrowhawk was out sitting on the wall as usual!!! Along at Rockmountain, a Peregrine flew along the ridge and at Gartmain, 15 Mute Swans were resting up.

Friday 9 October 2015

Friday 9th October

Same old tune again, a grand day for October, nothing else for it but get on and get some more work done in the garden, and some birdwatching at home at the same time... Bob this morning had a Water Rail at Bolsay, later on at Gartmain, on his way into Bowmore he had 420 Wigeon, 45 Pale bellied Brent and 2 Barnies. Early afternoon, on Loch Gorm he saw a Great crested Grebe, a male Pochard, 3 Goldeneye, 42 Tufted Duck and 50 Teal. Here at home the Sparrowhawk was present in the morning and again late afternoon in the garden, up to no good!!! Late afternoon, on the grass there were a total of 28 Pied/white Wagtails along with a Grey Wagtail. There were also 27 Goldfinches seen too. Out over the crag there were 15 Chough tumbling around.

Thursday 8 October 2015

Thursday 8th October

With this spell of good weather continuing, there was no other real option but to get some more "ground work" done in the garden, just takes time and a lot of patience... Coming back on the ferry yesterday afternoon, James saw a White tailed Sea Eagle over the Sound of Islay. This morning at Gruinart, James saw 3 Grey Plovers. David and Carol Andrews from Bruichladdich had a great, close sighting of male Hen Harrier as it flew along a roadside ditch, over close to the Airport. Later on, they saw a Kestrel at Blackrock. This morning, we had a ringtail Hen Harrier close to Grainel at Gruinart and another after Coull as we headed home. While we were working in the garden, our "local" choughs were, as ever, being nosey and keeping an watchful eye on what we doing, they are real characters...

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Wednesday 7th September

Another good day considering that we are in October... Some birds from Dave, seen on the Oa today, 4 Wheatear, 8 Redwing, 1 Goldcrest, a flock of around 30 Redpolls (at least 1 Meally Redpoll amongst the Lesser Redpolls), 2 Golden Eagles, 2 Hen Harrier, a Merlin and 5 Chough. Mary had a count of 470 Barnies this afternoon at Gruinart, along with 35 Pale bellied Brent and 335 Greylags. On Ardnave Loch, 10 Whoopers, 10 Mute and 4 cygnets, 5 Mallard, 1 Gadwall, 168 Wigeon were present with a RTD flying overhead in a NW direction. Yesterday evening, her brother in law James had seen 20 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Orsay Island.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Tuesday 6th October

A not bad day with the weather today and quite a few birds seen too... Yesterday, Malcolm had seen 8 Whoopers at Gartmain with 20 Pale bellied Brent as he entered Bowmore where the Islay Farmers complex once stood. Today, Mandy had a Grey Wagtail at Gruinart and also a Snipe flew over the RSPB office at Bushmills. On Loch Skerrols, Bob counted 12 Whoopers, 7 Whitefronted Geese, 7 Tufted Duck, 48 Mallard and 2 Dabchicks at lunchtime. Some Bullfinches were heard calling away in the trees there as well. Mid afternoon, we met in with Bob at the old hide at Gruiart, from there we saw a Wheatear on the scrape directly in front of the hide, Mallard, Teal, Wren, Skylarks, Pheasant and 4 Jackdaws as well. From the viewing platform, we had over 400 Golden Plover out on Loch Gruinart, and a count of 500 Barnies with a male Hen Harrier flying above the sea wall. Overhead, we had 17 Swallows. We then went round and drove up to Bun an Uillt, our birds along this stretch included Greylags(not sure of the count!), Curlews, Knot, Redshank, Oystercatcher, pr of Shelduck, Redshank, a Heron, 34 Pale bellied Brent, 70 Lapwing, 2 Kestrel, 40 Twite, a female Sparrowhawk and a Raven having a difference of opinion for sometime, a further 2 female Wheatears, Finally, Malcolm had 7 Whoopers fly from Loch Indaal inland towards Loch Gorm, late afternoon.

Monday 5 October 2015

Monday 5th October

A rather miserable sort of a day with some rain thrown into the mix, better still it shows me that the rain gauge is working if nothing else!!!! Forgot to mention that the other day after I had cut the grass that there were 18 Wagtails on the newly cut grass, a mixture of Pied and White Wagtails together...Visiting birder, Steve Curtis had been over for a few days, and not his last visit by the sound of things as he hoping to return next Spring. His top bird was a GND seen off Bowmore on Loch Indaal. The rain from Mulindry was 1.68", wetter than last September when there was only an inch of rain.. 50 Swallows were on their overhead wires on Saturday, but come Sunday they had all moved on. Today, we saw 3 Hen Harriers on our travels, we had a ringtail outside the house out over the Machir, further on at Sunderland Farm we had a cracking male on the wing and the third was another ringtail, this one was over on the reserve at Gruinart, just below the former Kilchoman School at the top of the hill just before you drop down to the flats and the Visitor centre.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Sunday 4th October

Yesterday James had counted 22 Barnacle Geese, 72 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 265 Golden Plover and a Peregrine on the reserve at Gruinart. Today, James had 224 Barnies, 31 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 225 Lapwing, and a Peregrine at Gruinart with 3 Hen Harriers, a male and 2 females together over the old hide! Bob, this morning was down on Machir Bay where he had a Barnie fly in from the sea, 2 Red breasted Merganser, 4 Sanderling, 41 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin. Another 7 Barnies flew in off the sea later as Bob returned to his car. Here at home this morning, a Chough was on the windowsill on the big gable end window, it then flew over and had an inspection of the garage and where we had been working in the garden yesterday... This afternoon, later on, there 4 Swallows dodging about, and then a low flying Raven being chased by 2 Jackdaws! A not bad day with the weather out here with the farmers trying to finish cutting their barley before the weather turns downhill...we also managed to do some more work in the garden!!!

Saturday 3 October 2015

Saturday 3rd October

Mary sent through some sightings from yesterday. She had a Red throated Diver fly over Claddach at Portnahaven, later on Mary watched a 1st year Golden Eagle being harassed by 2 Hooded Crows. Down in the village, she had 30 Goldfinches and finally a Sparrowhawk in her garden! Yesterday afternoon, Bob had been up at Ardnave where he had good views of 2 GND. Also seen was a large female Sparrowhawk, a male Hen Harrier and 5 Buzzards in total. On Ardnave Loch, there were 184 Wigeoon, 3 Whooper and 12 Mute Swans, but no sign of the American Wigeon! Finally out on Loch Indaal out from Loch Gorm House at Bruichladdich were 12 Common Scoter with 12 Lapwings over the fields there. Today, there was a reported sighting of the Rose coloured Starling in the fields down towards the Machir Bay. Here at home, late afternoon, the Sparrowhawk paid a visit, with no joy, the wee birds nipped out of its' way in time!

Friday 2 October 2015

Friday 2nd October

I think that somebody must have turned the thermostat down outside today, as it has not been as warm as the past few days, at least it stayed dry, and a not bad day for October! Bob had seen a Pale bellied Brent Goose down on Loch Indaal at Port Charlotte, earlier this morning, Gary also saw it later on around lunchtime. Friends over at Mulindry had 23 Swallows on the overhead wires this afternoon, we have not seen any here for a few days now.

Thursday 1 October 2015

Thursday 1st October

Well that is another month passed, and our "unofficial" figure for the rainfall was 1.5", the tally for the year so far comes through at 28.35" ... the tally last year at the same time was just short of 37", say no more... today, again, once the mist had lifted, a glorious day followed on, with the forecast looking the same for a few more days. Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining!!!! The bird front has been quiet today... Bob saw a large female Peregrine fly over Bolsay Moor. This afternoon, down on the Oa, we saw a Merlin and while looking at the game crops with the Dave, we saw the large mixed flock of Twite and Linnet of around 150 birds, there was also a Reed Bunting on top of the fence at the edge of one of the fields.

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Wednesday 30th September

At the bird nerds meeting held yesterday evening, on the head of Bruichladdich pier, the birds seen were as follows 2 Red throated Diver, 2 G N Diver, 1 Peregrine, 10 Knot, 13 Ringed Plover, 120 Eider, 20 Common Scoter and 10 Shag. Also yesterday, Louise had a Grey Wagtail over on Jura, later on she had 2 Barn Owls competing with some rutting Red Deer stags, not sure which lot made more of a racket! Here at home, once the mist and also the midges had cleared, what a glorious day followed on... no Peregrine noted but 3 Buzzards Vwere soaring high up on the thermals over the crag. Visiting birder Richard had seen a couple of Golden Eagles while down on the Oa this morning, along with large mixed flocks of Twite and Linnets. He also spotted some Ravens tumbling around. This afternoon, Richard had seen 6 Barnies amongst the Greylags at Gruinart. Early afternoon also, Gary had a Yellow browed Warbler across the road from his house over at Ballygrant

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Tuesday 29th September

Back on Sunday, Mandy had seen 10 Red breasted Merganser on Ardilistry Bay and later on a Merlin down on the Oa. Yesterday, on the RSPB guided walk on Jura, led by Louise and Heather, a Lapland Bunting was seen on the overhead wires along with 9 Swallows at Keils, a juv Golden Eagle was seen over the hills behind Keils, while a White tailed Eagle was flying below Keils towards Craighouse. At the sewage outlet pipes to the sea, Curlew, juv Grey Heron, Rock Pipits and Oystercatchers were present. Mary yesterday at Gruinart, had seen a Pipistrelle bat flying around at 1pm... Today, Paul who is staying in the "bothy" at Gruinart had seen a Snow Bunting at Traigh Nostaig at Ardnave. Today here at home, late afternoon, a Peregrine was seen out from the crag, having a go at a Buzzard, the Peregrine managed to chase the Buzzard away!

Monday 28 September 2015

Monday 28th September

Yesterday, Peter had seen 3 Whooper Swans on Ardnave Loch, but no sign of the American Wigeon there! Bob had seen 145 Twite when he was down at Machir Bay. Today, Bob had taken a walk along the Big strand on Loch Indaal down below the Airport and along to Knockangle Point. His highlights were 32 Sanderling, 6 Turnstone, 14 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 80 Golden Plover and also a male Hen Harrier. Thanks to Dave for holding the fort while I was away over the past few days. Before I forget, the monthly meeting of the bird nerds will be at the Pier at Bruichladdich at 6.15pm or thereabouts, so see what is out on Loch Indaal, so if you are around, come along....

Sunday 27 September 2015

Sunday 27th September

A lovely day, so much so I was compelled to mow the lawn. At least I was watched by a friendly pair of Stonechats.

Saturday 26 September 2015

Saturday 26th September

Southerly warm winds and the swallows are catching flys, and so are the dragonflys. Not too much in the way of bird movements. A Grey Wagtail and a Peregrine at Gruinart.