Tuesday 31 March 2015

Tuesday 31st March

If the weather was not very good yesterday, well today it has not been that great either, with the wind topping just over 63mph just after 4pm. Mind you when we had "our" top speed of 75mph back in January, spare a thought for the team players out on St Kilda, their "machine" topped 188mph before it packed in... say no more!!! Visitor Peter Gill had seen White tailed Sea Eagle over the reserve at Gruinart and a Green winged Teal out in front of the new hide on Sunday. Yesterday, he had a Dabchick on Ballygrant loch with 3 Treecreepers spotted on the trees. Today in the shelter down at Lily Loch, 2 Dabchicks were present with 2 Long tailed Tits seen there too. A Great spotted Woodpecker was heard nearby too. A friend of George's was telling him that he had seen 20 Whooper Swans flying North before touching down in the sea up at Sanaigmore. A piece of late news, Mark Shields had seen an early Swallow over the Oa about a fortnight ago...

Monday 30 March 2015

Monday 30th March

An image taken last week by Tony Johnson of a Sparrowhawk on a Rock Dove kill. Tony is regular visitor to Islay over the years and along with his wife Chris form the "Horwich birders" as you may know them by this name on the blog! This morning, Bob had a Glaucous Gull fly across the road in front of him down at the telephone exchange close to Coultorsay. The weather today has not been great, with a little spell of dry weather around midday but that was about all.... the ferries are already cancelled for tomorrow... forgot to say there was a Fulmar in the other day!

Sunday 29 March 2015

Sunday 29th March

A tousy old day out here with the odd blatter of rain thrown in for good measure.... Yesterday over at Port Askaig while waiting on the ferry to depart, the Horwich birders had counted 16 Black Guillemots, a GND and 3 Gannets flew along the Sound. New birders who arrived yesterday, Nadia and Darren from Essex, had a choppy crossing coming over, and while coming into Port Askaig they had 2 pairs of Red breasted Merganser, a GND, pr of Mute Swans and several Black Guillemots. This morning, while not venturing out from their cottage over on the High road over at Glenegedale, they had managed to see a pr of Stonechats, pr of Whinchats, pr of Goldfinches a Robin and a Pied Wagtail. Perhaps they managed out this afternoon....

Saturday 28 March 2015

Saturday 28th March

Yes, the weather forecast was spot on with the wind picking up through the night along with some rain... Yesterday, was the Horwich birders last full day before heading home today, a few hours later in leaving due to the ferries being rescheduled... Yesterday, just along the Strand from the coal yard they saw their first Wheatear of their visit. After that they headed up to Ardnave. At Traigh Nostaig, they counted 22 Sanderling, 78 Oystercatchers and 8 Ringed Plover. Off Ardnave Point 4 GND were present while a Jack Snipe flew up from a gully at the Point. There were 8 Goldeneye, 4 Tufted Duck, 4 Wigeon, 16 Teal 2 Mute Swan and a Dabchick on Ardnave Loch itself with 12 Lapwing on the shoreline there as well.

Friday 27 March 2015

Friday 27th March

Another not bad day with the weather, possibly a lull before the storm tomorrow when the wind is meant to pick up a notch or two, the early ferries are cancelled/ rescheduled already...Wally and Jude told me yesterday that they had over 20 Greenfinches on the feeders at the house they were staying at down in Bowmore. The Horwich birders yesterday had been down at The Woollen Mill where they had both Great Tits and Blue Tits in "great numbers" on the feeders. There also some Chaffinches and Coal Tits as well. In the conifers nearby, there were 20 Redpoll and a Siskin with a few Coal Tits, all feeding avidly. On the River Sorn there, a Dipper was seen. They also saw a GND off Blackrock. From the new hide at Gruinart their highlights were 4 Gadwall, 3 Greenshank, 1 Snipe, a male Reed Bunting. Other birds seen there were Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Redshank and Curlew. On their way down to the New hide, though the woods, a Treecreeper was present. Some of our visiting birders have gone home, so thanks to Wally and Jude, along with Neil and the group from Northamptonshire, good of you to drop in at the Bird nerds earlier this week.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Thursday 26th March

A bit cooler over here today, at least we have no snow!!!! Yesterday, the Horwich birders had a great day birding. On Loch Indaal, out from Uiskentuie they had 6 Long tailed Ducks, close at hand. Also seen from there was a Goldeneye, 8 Common scoter, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 4 GND and 35 Eiders, a good start... Just round at Blackrock, there were 11 Pale bellied Brent Geese. 2 Goldcrest were present in Ballygrant Woods. A further GND was on the Sound of Islay off Bunnahabhain with Redpolls seen up close to Bunnahabhain as well. Further Redpolls were seen down around Lily Loch as well as a couple of Long tailed Tits. 4 Tufted Ducks were on Lily Loch with a further 6 on Loch Allan. At Finlaggan, a Dabchick was seen with 4 Crossbills there too. Another Dabchick was on Loch nan Cadhan, as were 2 Mute Swans. Nearby they saw 2 Reed Buntings. On their way home, a distant White tailed Sea Eagle was seen. Also yesterday, the Northamptonshire birders under Neil McMahon's leadership had been over on Jura and a great time watching a couple of Golden Eagles attempting to force a Red Deer over a steep incline, but no joy!!!

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Wednesday 25th March

A not bad day here today with the weather, it has been dry which allows us all to get on with some outside work, the farmers are busy ploughing their fields. Yesterday, the Horwich birders had gone over to Jura for the day, in the Achamore area they saw a Merlin, approaching Inver Bridge they had a ring tailed Hen Harrier with another further on over Lowlandman's Bay as well as a Sparrowhawk there as well. On Loch Tarbet itself, there were 19 Whoopers resting up on the shoreline. Coming back down to the ferry, they had 4 GND in Small Isles Bay. Back on Islay, on a rather choppy Loch Skerrols, 7 Tufted Duck, 1 Goldeneye and 2 Mute Swans were present. Wally and Jude had 14 Whoopers battling their way up the Sound of Islay against a strong headwind at Port Askaig where there were also 14 Black Guillemots present. I got the figures through from last weeks'International Goose Count with the tally being 36,989 Barnies, 3,995 Greenland Whitefronts and 431 Greylags, thanks to Tracey and the team from SNH for these figures. Last night was the "early" meeting of the bird nerds, and we were all pleased with the turnout, 22 fol. Mainly visiting birders, it was a great chance to meet informally with them, for most of whom it was their first visit and certainly not their last, some of whom no doubt we will meet up at the Bird Fair come August down at Rutland.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Tuesday 24th March

Some sightings through from yesterday from the Horwich birders...on Kilnaughton Bay there was an Eider and 2 Red breasted Merganser, with nothing to be heard in the woods there. Out towards Ardtalla, there were over 14 Seals, more RBM, Eiders and Shelducks. There were also 6 Yellowhammers at the Keepers cottage close to Kildalton cross. In at Bridgend Woods, they had 4 Goldcrests along with Great and Blue Tits in the conifers. They also had heard a Great spotted Woodpecker, possibly the same one that Alistair had heard last week. Along at McNioll's croft a Merlin was in pursuit of some Starlings! Finally on the wee lochans beside Loch Gorm, 4 Whoopers were seen. Today, there was a Fulmar in, soaring along the front of the crag. AS forecasted a bit cooler today, at least it stayed dry for most of the time...

Monday 23 March 2015

Monday 23rd March

Catch up time, first with some birds that you have not heard about as they were stuck on my "dead inbox"....A week ago Peter had seen the Cackling goose along the flats at Gruinart, Alistair Hutchison had seen a Barn Owl out over the fields behind his house in Bowmore earlier last week. He also had heard a Woodpecker drumming away in Bridgend Woods up towards Daill. Yesterday, he found a freshly dead Waxwing in his garden. Also yesterday, Wally and Jude had 3 Treecreepers in at The Woollen Mill and later on, 4 Moorhens on the "Distillery pond" up behind Port Charlotte. Today, close to Avonvoggie, they saw 4 Siskins, 7 Whoopers along the flats at Gruinart with a flock of 64 Golden Plover at Ballinaby.. Bob yesterday had a new garden tick, a Snipe was beside his pond!! He also had a Golden Eagle high over Octomore Hill and also a pair of Goldfinches along the Bolsay track. Yesterday too, the Horwich birders had seen a Hen Harrier behind Ardnave Loch where they also saw a Wheatear. On the Loch there were 4 Mute Swan, 2 Whooper Swan as well as Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Teal and Wigeon. They also saw 4 GND off Ardnave Point with 12 Turnstone near to the Point itself. At RSPB Gruinart, they had a Greenshank, a Snipe along with Redshank, Lapwing, Pintail, Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon. Over the other side of Loch Gruinart, at Bun an Uillt they had a female Sparrowhawk feeding on a Rock Dove kill. Finally at Saligo they had 12 Ringed Plover with 10 Turnstone. Before I forget, there is wee change for the Islay bird nerds, as there are quite a few visiting birders around, we will be meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday evening) at 7.30pm at the Gaelic College just outside Bowmore. All our meetings are completely informal, so if you are around, see you there...

Sunday 22 March 2015

Sunday 22nd March

Many thanks to Mary for writing the blog while I was over on the mainland last week... The Horwich birders had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle as they came over on the ferry in the Sound of Islay. Wally and Jude today had seen a Dipper and 3 Grey Wagtails at The Woollen Mill. Coming in last night, we had 8 Hares in the grden in the car headlights and earlier this evening, there were 24 Greylags down below the garage, another new garden tick.....

Friday 20 March 2015

Friday 20 March

Not too much to report today, was out topping rushes again so head down rather than up! Narrowly missed a water shrew running for cover, and saw plenty of frogs and frogs spawn in the ditches. We were out watching the eclipse, too cloudy for any glimpse of the sun, but the dark sky was pretty spooky! Seemed to set the rooks off who gathered noisily by their nests near the office. The birds on the feeders weren't affected at all though! On my way out of Bowmore today I spotted 12 pale bellied brent geese near the Gaelic College; off frenchmans rocks this morning a line of 7 gannets went by south, nice to see them about the coast again.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Thursday 19 March

Chiffchaff, Dave Wood Bit of an earlier post today but a handful of spring sightings have come through this morning - Bob phoned to say he had a sedge warbler in his garden out by Port Charlotte; yesterday at the Oa, Dave had a chiffchaff and goldcrest, while on Tuesday 17th a swallow was seen. Iceland gull that has been knocking around The Oa for a while is still present, This morning I was out at Claddach and heard a wheatear nearby, they were also heard on north Jura yesterday by Andy. (Mary)

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Wednesday 18 March

James carried out a survey of the Floods today at Loch Gruinart: 93 mallard, 451 teal, one moorhen, 13 snipe, 4 mute swan, 2 little grebe, 16 wigeon, 21 shoveler, 54 pintail, 1 greenshank, 2 whooper swan, 3 red-breasted merganser, 293 lapwing, 30 redshank, 4 shelduck, 12 greylag, 4 gadwall, 7 curlew, 5 grey heron, one merlin. I was out goose counting and on my travels I saw 10 lovely long-tailed duck with 21 eider in Loch Indaal, off Ardnave point 7 gannet flew by. By Craigens farm a pair of hen harrier flew by together. Gorgeous sunny day here, hope it continues! (Mary)

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Tuesday 17 March

I've been asked to look after the blog again, first day and nearly forgot! I was out goose counting today, gorgeous day and nearly warm, spring is definitely in the air - skylark were singing and there were several large flocks of them including 94 on the reserve. Over the moorland I saw hen harrier displaying. Overhead at lunchtime, 23 whooper swan were high up flying north. On Nave Island there was a count of 17 lesser black back gulls, 5 greater black back, 14 herring gull, 2 common gull, 2cormorant, 3 shag, and one fulmar. Near the old lobster ponds at Ardnave I had 36 sanderling and 7 grey plover. (Mary)

Monday 16 March 2015

Monday 16th March

Same old story, another great day out here although there is a wee edge to the wind with it coming in from the East....Almost a Spring day with Lapwings displaying and many of the wee birds singing away too as well as many Skylarks around too. Bob today had counted 180 Golden Plover and also 10 Dunlin over towards Knockangle Point on Loch Indaal, just beside the Airport. He also saw many Greylags on the grass around the Airport much to the annoyance of the staff there, in case of a possible bird strike when the various planes come and go at the Airport. Visitors from Devon had seen one of Ed's collared Whitefronts last week when they were over birding. Ed informs me that the goose was rung over at Ballinaby back in December 2012, but has ben seen along with 3 goslings.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Sunday 15th March

Another glorious day over here and more to come through the week if the weather forecast holds true...Yesterday Peter had heard Crossbills calling as they flew overhead up at Gearach, later on he saw and heard more but this time over at Finlaggan. Today I went helped Bob with his WeBs count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck with the tallies being as follows... 1 GND, 14 Shag, 2 Cormorant, 32 Barnies, 12 Mallard, 11 Teal, 30 Wigeon, 40 Shelduck, 1 Goldeneye, 19 Eider, 2 Red breasted Merganser, 95 Oystercatcher, 24 Curlew, 54 Barwits, 3 Redshank, 42 Dunlin, 10 Purple Sandpiper, 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Golden Plover, 25 Lapwing, 12 GBB Gull, 1 LBB Gull, 20 BH Gull, 70 H Gull and 20 C. Gull. Mary this morning had a couple of Wheatears down at Claddach at Portnahaven, the first that I have heard of this year... James had a WTSE over the reserve at Gruinart, and today at home the Brambling is still present, but there were also a male and 2 female Greenfinches, another tick for the year in the garden!!! A piece of late news, but just heard it, there was a Cackling Goose along the flats at Gruinart on Friday, oops...

Saturday 14 March 2015

Saturday 14th March

Another great day out here again although not quite as warm, so I have been quite glad to have a jersey to wear... Yesterday was Rob's last full day here on Islay... Up on Ardnave Loch they had 7 Whoopers and a Goldeneye with some Chough nearby. Down at Gruinart there was a large flock of Golden Plover, many with summer plumage starting to break through. There were also some Dunlins present and also 3 male Pintails were seen there as well. Thanks to Rob and Ian and their other halves for sending your birds through, see you in August down at the Birdfair folks...Also yesterday Peter Roberts had been out behind Port Charlotte with some some visiting birding friends when they saw 3 Red Grouse with their characteritic calls... Today, Bob has had some Siskins coming in to his feeders, Carl had counted 14 Collared Doves in his garden in Port Charlotte, and this morning here at home, there were 24 Goldfinches, the highest count we have ever had, and still no Greenfinches...The Brambling is still present.

Friday 13 March 2015

Friday 13th March

A great day out here today, almost Spring like and some of the afternoon was spent out in the garden, working away in my shirtsleeves with some Thrushes singing away, a few more days like that and we will be going around with a big smile on our faces... Yesterday Rob, Ian and their better halves had been out and about. On their way round to Saligo from the Coastguards they reported having seen a big flock of Twite with good numbers of Skylarks and Lapwings. Out on Loch Indaal out from Gortan (coalyard), a flock of Wigeon was present while along at Bruichladdich pier 6 Red breastsd Merganser were seen with a Ringed Plover on the shore. Over on the Glen road, they spotted a Golden Eagle "defending" its' rabbit kill from some Hoodies and a Raven, further along the road there was a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch on the lookout for some prey.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Thursday 12th March

A better day out here with the wind dropping away around midday, better still was the arrival of the Open reach boys to give us a "temporary fix" on the phone, wonder how long it will take to give us a complete fix, but as the saying going, "it is good to speak"... Back to birds, Rob and Co had been over to Bunnahabjhain yesterday where they had 2 GND and a Black Guillemot out on the Sound of Islay, on the shoreline, there was a Curlew. Back over at Gortan, below the coalyard, 2 Turnstone were present amongst some Oystercatcher and a Black throated Diver was out on Loch Indaal. Back up at Kilchoman, they saw a couple of Chough over the old church and later on a Peregrine was out over the crag. Late evening as we came home, we had 7 Hares around the garden in the car headlights! Today down below the coal yard, there were 13 Pale bellied Brents on Loch Indaal.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Wednesday 11th March

The wind has dropped now with ferry travel resuming returning to "normal" at lunchtime...Yesterday on the reserve at Gruinart, James noted plenty of frogspawn around, on the bird front he had seen 3 Greenshank, 3 Gadwall and a couple of Mistle Thrushes. Rob and his friends had headed over for a visit to Jura yesterday... Going over on the ferry on the Sound of Islay they had Black Guillemot along with 2 small rafts of 5 Eiders. Just past Feolin on Jura, as they headed towards Craighouse, 2 GND and a pr of Wigeon were out on the water. On Small Isles Bay at Craighouse, 3 GND and a possible distant RTD were seen. Then a pair of Red breasted Merganser flew in. Further up the road and a pair of Stonechats were present. Finally, back down at Feolin while waiting on the ferry to come over from Port Askaig, a distant Golden Eagle was seen out above Coal Ils Distillery.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Tuesday 10th March

Yesterday Rob and Ian along with their other halves made the most of the weather, towards the Coastgurds they saw a male Reed Bunting. Down on Loch Indaal, below the coalyard they had 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 2 Ringed Plovers and a Curlew, along at "smelly corner" over 20 Shelduck were present. In Port Ellen Bay, they saw a GND. Here at home today, it has been a great day with the weather and in the afternoon, blue skies... It had not started off so well, as the electricity was off through the night, but by 7am the hydro boys were out looking for the fault and hey presto by 9 am power was back on... We still await the arrival of the team from Open Reach to sort the phones. We did mention to the Hydro boys that they might like to help the Open reach lads, but they have not taken our "suggestion" up as of yet. Back to birds and just before lunchtime, there were 7 Buzzards soaring around over the crag and late afternoon there were around 30 Chough and a similar number of Jackdaws flying back and forward out over the War Graves.

Monday 9 March 2015

Monday 9th March

Some sightings in from yesterday from Rob Hall who is over with his friend Ian for the week. Rob first visited Islay last Spring when he was the winner of the "Gies us a brek" (slang for Give us a break) compiittion which we have been holding at the Bird Fair over the past few years. So Rob is a returning visitor...Down on the Machir Bay, they had a flypast by a Chough. Coming back up from the reedbed at the Coastguards, on the fields there were 15 Redwing, along with several Hares!Back at the cottages, and they had a male Sparrowhawk hunting after the Chaffinches!!! Ron from "Islay info" had been over at Port Ellen yesterday and out over Ballaclava, a pair of Golden Eagles were out on the air. The ferries made a quick splash and dash first thing this morning, before calling a halt, who would blame them! The morning plane made it late morning and hoping to come later on this evening after 8pm, but I doubt it.. The wind here gusted up to 62.8mph this afternoon...

Sunday 8 March 2015

Sunday 8th March

A great day out here today with the weather, but tomorrow is not looking too clever with the wind due to pick up again, so we may be lible for some ferry disruption. Today to cap the lack of communications through the land lines with BT/ Open Reach, I have just heard that the mobile signal with Vodaphone has gone awol, hope there are no emergencies... moan over, honest for today... Mary yesterday had counted a flock of 14 Skylarks fly over Portnahaven with a young Cormorant flying along the coastline! Later on, she heard the Skylarks singing away at Claddach. Along at Octofad, there were 12 Hoodies along with a Carrion Crow, while up at Bruichladdich, Mary counted 13 Pale bellied Brent Geese

Saturday 7 March 2015

Saturday 7th March

I think that solitary Fulmar did mean something the other day when I saw it as it has turned out quite windy over here today although no ferry disruption!!! To cap it all, I saw another one flying along the front of the crag this afternoon. The Brambling is still here at home as are 5 Hares in the garden, including one who has only one ear. I have looked at it closely through the bins thinking that possibly the other ear was down close to its' body, but no sign of it, so I am taking it to be an one eared hare...With the landline phone being out of action for almost a fortnight, the phone line is quiet and no news for the blog from that side of contacts. There is a rumour/story going round that there is a "Open reach" team coming to sort it next week, we will just have to wait and see...

Friday 6 March 2015

Friday 6th March

Yesterday Malcolm came across a dead 1st winter Glacous Gull down on the top of Loch Indaal opposite the "Foreland" roadend. Malcolm say said that it was in poor condition and in poor condition. Yesterday Pat and Angie had seen the Brambling up at Kilchoman, over at East Carrabus they saw a male Hen harrier with a ringtail seen over at Ardnahoe Loch on the road to Bunnahabhain.. Today they saw another Hen Harrier, this time on the road twards Kilbride just out of Port Ellen. Earlier on they had seen a Peregrine while out on the OA.Up at Allant, they spotted several Yellowhammers. Thanks to Pat and Angie as well as Chris and John for their birds through this past week, safe journey home folks...

Thursday 5 March 2015

Thursday 5th March

Forgot to say last night that I spotted a solitary Fulmar soaring along the front of the crag yesterday morning, hopefully a single Fulmar does not indicate that we are due for some more stormy weather.... Chris and John had seen 20 Common Scoters along with 9 Long tailed Ducks and 3 Slavonian Grebes on Loch Indaal. Close to the pheasant feeders at Loch Skerrols, Chris saw a flock of 10 Yellowhammers. Along at The Woollen Mill, they had a Golden Eagle fly past with a Dipper on the River Sorn, a Bullfinch and a Great Spttted Woodpecker were also present nearby. Along over the hills towards Balimartin, another Golden Eagle was seen. The best of the day came up towards Bunahabhain with 3 distant Golden Eagles seen over Jura, and also a pair displaying over Islay. Then a pair of White tailed Sea Eagles flew from Jura over over to Islay, with one overflying where they were parked up! They also saw 2 Peregrines over the Sound of Islay with an Otter down in the Sound of Islay itself. Finally back at Ballinaby, they had a flock of 80 Twite and another flock of around 200 Skylarks which needless to say caught the attention of a Sparrowhawk. Today, at lunchtime I had a count of around 100 Skylarks down at Sunderland Farm.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Wednesday 4th March

Yesterday Chris and John had been out making the most of our "Spring" weather...Yes, they did manage to see some birds, so here goes...They had a Cackling goose in a flock of around 1200 Barnies near to Canaidh mhor which over beside Storakaig, on the Glen raod. They also had seen a hybrid goose, probably a Cackling x Barnie, simlar to the ones seen previous winters, often down at Carnain. Up closer to Storakaig, 2 Fieldfare and 2 Mistle Thrushes were seen. At Bunnahabhain, around 10 Black Guillemot and 6 GND were out on the Sound of Islay with a couple of Goldcrests in the scrubby bushes there. A pair of Golden Eagles were spotted over the hills far out behind Esknish. Also yesterday, Pat and Angie from Yorkshire had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Merlin and a small mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing while driving up towards to Ardnave. Here at home today, the Brambling was with his friends making the most of the food on offer. Later on the Sparrowhawk came in and perched on one of the bushes before flying on to one of the fence posts, a garden tick now for sure as he has touched base rather than doing a fly past...

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Tuesday 3rd March

Yesterday Chris and John had braved the weather and managed to get some birding done and that was in between the dirty showers...At Uiskentuie they saw the Glaucous Gull, along at Bruichladdich 13 Pupple Sandpipers and 90 Dunlin were present. Up the Eastern side of Loch Gruinart they counted 200 Barwits, 140 Sanderling, 1 Knot and a Grey Plover. Over the hillls to the East of Killillan, 2 Golden Eagles were noted. Back down close to Craigens, a Grey Wagtail was present and along the flats at Gruinart, a large Canada Goose was spotted amongst the Barnies. Over Borahchill Mor, an immature Golden Eagle was seen, and on their travels, 4 male Hen Harriersvwere seen at up the East of Gruinart, Coullabus, Carrabus and Foreland all individuals, with a ringtail was seen at Grulinmore. Another pr of Golden Eagles were seen late on in the day up behind Sunderland. A small flock of 12 Redwings were seen at Ballinaby as well as were a few others on Chris and John's travels. Finally at Ballinby they saw 6 of Ed's Whitefronts with neck collars on. Ed himself, yesterday had sen a pr of Golden Eagles way out past Scarrabus. By the way the "Spring" weather has not arrived yet, it has been another day of wintery showers. Forgot to mention that yesterday was the 2,500th entry on the blog...

Monday 2 March 2015

Monday 2nd March

Yesterday James had an Iceland Gull over the resrrve at Gruinart. Alistair Hutcheson saw a ringtail Harrier close to the Woollen Mill up behind Bridgend. Visiting birders, Chris and John had counted 55 Chough up at Ardnave, they saw 4 different male Hen Harriers, one at Sunderland, another at Blackrock, one at Gruinart and the final one just out of Bowmore. They also saw a ringtail round at Ballinaby! On Loch Indaal closer to Bowmore, they spotted 12 Scaup and saw 58 Pale bellied Brent Geese. At dusk, 4 LBB Gulls were seen. Amongst the pre roost flock of Rooks at the head of Loch Indaal, a Carrion Crow was seen. Earlier on at Gruinart they had 20 Pintail with a flock of around 1200 Golden Plover which were put up by a Peregrine. Here at home the Brambling is still present amongst the ever increasing flock of Chaffinches.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Sunday 1st March

I will put you all out of your misery and tell what the rain guage claimed the rainfall came to for February... it only came to 4.4" a bit drier than last year when we had 7.2", enough said!! On Friday, Mary had seen 60 Chough, 6 Ravens and 3 Skylarks up at Ardnave. Round Ardnave Point, Mary had 34 Oystercatcher, 27 Sanderling, 4 Turnstone, 23 Common Gull, 13 Herring Gull and 19 Ringed Plover. Nearby 2 Skylarks were heard singing, is Spring round the corner?? Back closer to the steading, a Merlin put up a mixed flock of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. At the same location, high above there were 3 flocks of Lapwings flying, there were 60, 150 and another 100 in each. Peter Roberts had a "drift" of 5 Snow Buntings yesterday over on the Big Strand, down below the airport. Visiting birders Chris Mills and John Hopper had seen a 1st winter Iceland Gull flying West from the ferry as they came over yesterday. Other birds seen off the ferry were 4 Slav. Grebes, 2 BTD, 42 GND, 20 Black Guillemot, 25 RB Merganser, 13 Razorbill with a Greenshank seen at Kennacraig. Here on Islay, between Coastguards and Coull, there saw 2 different flocks of Skylarks of 100 and 200 birds in each flock, round at Saligo, a flock of 60 Twite were present. James yesterday had a LBB Gull on the reserve at Gruinart. Today, Pat and Angie from E. Yorkshire had seen a Glaucous Gull at the head of Loch Indaal where the River Sorn enters the loch. At Ballinaby they had a male Hen Harrier along with a large flock of Twite.