Sunday 31 May 2015

Sunday 31st May

A mixed sort of a day, sunshine and showers with the odd shower with hailstones for a change rather than just the "normal rain". Just as well it is the end of the month, although the weather forecast for the next few days does not look too good, the wind is due to increase tomorrow with the possibility of disruption to the ferries later on, we will just have to take what comes... the Rochdale birders had taken a trip out and about yesterday and had seen a total of 5 male Hen Harriers, they also saw a Sanderling in summer plumage, 2 Peregrines but possibly the same bird seen twice, up at Ardnave Loch they saw the Mute Swans along with their clutch of 6 youngsters. No sign this year of any Mutes sitting on a nest at either Carnain or on the lochans at Loch Gorm.

Saturday 30 May 2015

Saturday30th May

A dry day, infact 2 dry days in a row, but then again the forecast is for some more rain later tonight.. Alistair Hutchison had heard a Greater spotted Woodpecker close the Lily Loch last Sunday. The other day, he came across a nest of a Common Sandpiper with eggs in it as he was out foraging for some fungi up at Loch Skerrols. Later on he heard a Corncrake up behind Bridgend. Yesterday, the Teme Valley birders had a solitary Whooper Swan along the flats at Gruinart, and up at Ardnave, on the loch, a Mute Swan with 6 young cygnets. Down on the Oa today, they had Rock Pipits close in as they were on their walk. Coming back from the Oa, they had a male Hen Harrier at Risabus and then another between Island Farm and Bowmore. Along at Blackrock, they heard a Corncrake calling. George today had counted 6 pairs of Arctic Terns on the shore down at Bruichladdich. This morning, we saw a pair of Curlew with their solitary young chick at Rockside. This afternoon, Margaret saw a Kestrel out along the front of the crag.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Thursday 28th May

A mixed sort of a day with the weather, but still on the cold side, never happy are we? Yesterday the Teme Valley birders had seen a male Hen Harrier out quartering his patch over at Kintour, further on, at Claggain Bay they saw 2 GNDs. Today, down at Easter Ellister they saw 5 pairs of Greylays, along with 15 goslings. At the coalyard at Gortan, 6 Eider were seen on Loch Indaal while up in a ditch beside the road at Gruinart, they had a pair of Shoveler. Bob today, had a Stonechat along with its' brood up on Bolsay moor. Round past Ballinaby, we had a pair of Common Sandpiper, some Wheatears, 2 Mallard and a Stonechat.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Wednesday 27th May

Back on Monday, Alistair Hutchison had seen 2 male Hen Harriers whilst out and about on Islay, he had one close to Cladville just out of Portnahaven and the other one was near to Kildalton. On Monday night, some of us went out and did the first run of the Corncrake survey this year, not sure of the overall tally yet. We only heard 6 on our patch, a bit on the low side but some other routes had better figures. It was rather windy and hearing some of the birds proved rather difficult, also the temperature was a bit on the low side too. Apparently, they do like calling when it is cold....Today, certainly not really a day for bird watching as it has been rather miserable, cold and wet, a poor day for the "open day" at Bowmore Distillery and also for Islay Ales, and tomorrow looks not much better!

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Tuesday 26th May

The Teme valley birders had seen a pair of Teal on the wet scrape towards Coull yesterday evening. Today they had a couple of Cuckoos, one below Sunderland Farm, as you take the turning down along "the hedges" and past the wee quarry at the foot of the hill. The other one was up at Ardnave . At the Bird nerds meeting this evening we had seen/heard 24 different species from the carpark leading to Islay House square, from there we walked along the bank of the River Sorn and returning along the other bank. The birds we had were as follows Siskin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Spotted Flycatcher, Treecreeper, Starling, Jackdaw, Herring Gull, Robin, Willow Warbler, Wren, Blackcap, Mallard, Cuckoo, Mistle Thrush, Dipper, Blue Tit, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Peregrine and Goldfinch. Highlight for me was seeing the 3 male and a female Bullfinch together! Coming home, down on the barley field at the coastguards were 43 Greylags, but none with any collars on...

Monday 25 May 2015

Monday 25th May

A better sort of a day here today, I even took a wobbly and looked out a paint brush and started to paint the garage with some wood preservative, better still, yes, the correct shade too, might even get some more done tomorrow all going well...The Rochdale birders are back for another "Islay fix", yesterday on their travels round Islay, they had seen 4 male Hen Harriers. Today down at Bruichladdich, they saw 2 Shelducks taking their brood of 7 youngsters down onto Loch Indaal. Other returnees , the Teme Valley birders yesterday had seen a Cuckoo on a fence post at Machir Bay, needless to say a Meadow Pipit was mobbing it. Later on over at the reserve at Gruinart, they saw 2 ringtail Hen Harriers. Today, down past the Coastguards Houses, they counted 17 Greylag geese and the along at Coull, there were another 17 Greylags including the one with the red neck collar , again to far to read... Also at Coull were 6 Curlews. At Coulererach they saw their first Whitethroat of the year. As they went round Loch Gorm , they commented on seeing more Linnets and also more Wheatears than they usually see when they are here.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Sunday 24th May

Andrew and Jane (the Bowland birders) yesterday while on the ferry going back to Kennacraig had seen a Bonxie on the water, just out of Port Ellen, 4 Arctic Skuas were present 3 off Ardbeg. They also saw many Guillemots and Razorbills from the ferry but no cetaceans. This morning I gave Bob a hand to carry out the monthly count from Bowmore out to Gartbreck along the shoreline of Loch Indaal. The tally came to 7 Shag, 21 Shelduck, 2 Mallard, 100 Eider, 42 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 2 Whimbrel, 20 Barwit, 62 Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plover, 4 Lapwing, 24 Bh Gull, 6 Common Gull, 2 Herring Gull, 2 LBB Gull and 1 GBB Gull. We also saw a Willow Warbler and heard a Sedge Warbler as we walked down the lane leading to the shore. The weather was not great and quite windy, and we managed to avoid the showers, thank goodness!!! This coming Tuesday (26th May), the Islay Bird nerds will be meeting at the car park leading in to Islay House square. We will be taking a walk up the River Sorn and then returning back along the other side of the River, not really a strenuous walk, more a gentle stroll, so if you are around, come along ,all welcome.... by the way we will meet at 6.30pm

Saturday 23 May 2015

Saturday 23rd May

Yesterday was the Bowland birders final full day here on Islay, before heading home this morning.. Yesterday, they managed a spot of sea watching at Frenchman's Rocks. Birds seen were Bonxie, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Guillemot, Arctic Tern, Common Gull, Pied Wagtail, Manx Shearwater, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Rock Pipit and Gannet. Over their stay, Andrew and Jane had recorded 120 species, but there might be more as they went over on the ferry... Many thanks for your input, most welcome as ever. This afternoon, we saw 2 Cuckoos being pursued by some LBJs at Gartloist between Bridgend and Bowmore, coming home we had a male Hen Harrier close to the road near to Foreland House. This evening, the weather is not too good with a damp, wet, smurry dampness, not a lot, but enough to lay the dust, and possibly help the plants that we put in yesterday me watering them!!!

Friday 22 May 2015

Friday 22nd May

A not bad day today, once the mist had lifted of the crag... the morning flight from Glasgow was delayed, in fact not sure whether it came or not.... The Bowland birders yesterday had a walk round Loch Skerrols where they had a good cross section of birds, Dabchick, Mute Swan, Mallard, Heron, 3 Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers, Blackcap, Wren, Buzzard, Robin, Common Sandpiper, LBB Gull, Song Thrush, Starling, Blackbird, Goldcrest and Goldfinch. James reported through to say that there are still 4 Barnies at Gruinart. Mary had led the guided walk at Gruinart yesterday and had seen the following birds, a group of 6 Whoopers were seen on the flats, out in front of the hide a pair of Tufted Ducks were present as were 20 Blackwits. Along the Woodland trail, a Cuckoo was calling away, fledgling Greenfinches and Chaffinches were seen, a Treecreeper was feeding its' young on the nest, a Starling was seen at its' nest, a Goldcrest seen, a Whitethroat heard, while from the viewing platform the Swallows and Martins gave a superb aerial display as they swooped down low over the floods as they preyed on the insects present. A great walk by all accounts. Yesterday evening, Bob had a mixed group of around 400 Common and Black headed Gulls as they were fishing on the surface fish on Loch Indaal off Bruichladdich Pier. Here this evening, one of the hen Pheasants came to door and proudly presented her brood of 7 young....

Thursday 21 May 2015

Thursday 21st May

Yesterday, peter had been outwith an Australian birder showing him some of our birds here on Islay. Out in front of the old hide, they saw a pair of Wigeon while out in front of they new hide, 24 Blackwits were there, as well as a single Barnie. A flock of 26 Chough seen at Ardnave, from the Visitor centre at Gruinart they heard a Corncrake, and 2 more heard at Ardnave. Peter has been hearing 3 down at the back of Bruichladdich and in the Conisby area. Over on the feeders at The Woollen Mill 3 Siskins were present. Gary yesterday had done the Moorland Trail at Gruinart. On his walk, he had a male and 3 ringtail Hen Harriers, 5 Buzzards, a Golden Eagle as well as an Osprey. He also saw the Blackwits that Peter had. Gary also saw 2 Spotted Flycatchers on top of the fence leading to down to the hide. The Bolton birders had seen both Common and Arctic Terns off Blackrock. Over at Port Askaig, Loch nan Deala held Sedge Warblers, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Water Rail. On Lily Loch, a Dabchick was seen while at Loch Allan, Redpoll and Cuckoo were seen. Bob had been out showing some visitors the birds that we have round Ardnave. While going round Ardnave Point itself, many Wheatears were noted, a flock of 35 Whimbrel seen, on the shoreline 3 Little Stint, 6 Turnstone, out on the water 6 GND, 60 Kittiwakes close in, 200 Artic Tern offshore, 3 Barnies on Nave Island. Bob also reported seeing very large flocks of Dunlins and Ringed Plovers.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Wednesday 20th May

On Monday, Gary had taken a walk out to Killinallan Point and along through the dunes there. He saw many Pied Wagtails and several Stonechats. On his way back down the road towards Craigens, at Bun an Uillt, Gary saw a Great Skua was chasing the waders there. Yesterday over at Bunnahasbhain, Gary had a Golden Eagle flying over from Jura to Islay. Down in the Community Garden at Bridgend, Gary had several Blackcaps singing and also a pair of Bullfinches calling there too. The Bowland birders yesterday had seen a Peregrine, and a pair of Raven on a walk out from Machir Bay. Also present were 2 Chough, plenty of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. Back at the car park at Machir Bay, a Corncrake was calling away, and up past the Coastguards in the barley field, a Pink footed Goose was present along with some Greylags, one of them had a red neck collar on. The Bowland birders could not make out the lettering and we went down later on, but no luck either...

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Tuesday 19th May

Rather a tousy sort of a day out here, and yes, there was a shower with some hailstones late afternoon, not the weather we expect in May!!! Yesterday, the Bowland birders had Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, male Whinchat, Whitethroat and Dabchick at Loch Tallant. Up towards Mulindry, they saw an adult White tailed Sea Eagle being harassed by Hooded Crows, causing it to drop its' prey. Further on, above Knocklearach they saw a Golden Eagle and also a solitary Golden Plover. 2 spotted Flycatchers, male Bullfinch, male Blackcap, Wren and Treecreeper were seen on their walk out from Islay House square through the Bridgend woods. This afternoon, we had 2 Cuckoos being chased by Meadow Pipits, one was between Torra and Red Lodge on the Laggan Bridge, the other was at the lime kiln above Gortan and before Foreland House. We also saw a cracking male Hen Harrier just before we came to Torra, and better still only 20 metres away at the most, no need for the bins...

Monday 18 May 2015

Monday 18th May

A much better day over here today, with the sun streaming in through the windows as I write the blog, not like last night with the rain running down the windows... Before the rain came yesterday, the Bowland birders managed to get out a spot a few birds for us... Over at Finlaggan, they had a female Whinchat on the fence with Tufted Ducks out on the water on Loch Finlaggan itself. Up at Bunnahabhain, they had a Spotted Flycatcher with Common Sandpiper, GND and Tysties out on the Sound of Islay. Back inland at Cattadale, they saw a Cuckoo. This morning here at home in the garden, I saw a hen Pheasant sitting on her brood of youngsters, the first I had seen this year. Mid morning and Margaret saw a Hooded Crow nobble a young Lapwing chick, and then at lunchtime away at the other end of the garden, there was another hen Pheasant with a different set of chicks. This evening just after Auradh cottage, 2 Buzzards were sitting on the ground being mobbed by a couple of Hooded Crows. Many thanks to the RAFOS(RAF Ornithology Society) for sharing their sightings while they were over, wonder how many species they managed to spot in total?

Sunday 17 May 2015

Sunday 17th May

A rather dreich day out here today, not what I would call a typical May day...Some more sightings through from earlier on in the week... Back on early Friday morning, Bob , David and myself carried out the BTO Waterways breeding bird survey from The Woollen Mill down the River Sorn to its mouth as it enters Loch Indaal, a distance of over 6 km. So here are the birds that we logged, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Mallard, 1 Buzzard, 1 Pheasant, 2 Herring Gull, 6 Wood Pigeon, 5 Collared Dove, 1 Cuckoo, 15 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 10 Wren, 4 Dipper, 2 Dunnock, 2 House Sparrow, 11 Robin, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Mistle Thrush, 15 Blackbird, 23 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 11 Willow Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Great Tit, 4 Blue Tit, 3 Treecreeper, 40 Jackdaw, 10 Rook, 17 Goldfinch, 12 Chaffinch, 2 Redpoll, 3 Siskin and 52 Starling. Yesterday, Gary had seen some Sandwich Terns and also Common Terns at Blackrock. He also had 2 Great Skuas flying South low over Loch Indaal and then and then an Arctic Skua harassing the terns on the rocks! The Bowland birders, Andrew and Jane, had been in at the Woollen Mill yesterday where they saw a Grey Wagtail feeding its young, saw a male Siskin on the feeders and heard a Chiffchaff singing. Further on in the woods there, a Sparrowhawk was present, a Dipper was on the River Sorn, 2 male and a female Bullfinch seen, they also heard at least 9 Blackcaps singing away as well as some Willow warblers.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Saturday 16th April

Some sightings through from Thursday, Karen Sims, one of the RAFOS team had seen a Garden Warbler down in Bridgend Woods and there was a reported sighting through from Maggie Birtwell of a Wood Warbler again in Bridgend Woods in from East Lodge. David Formby had a Whitethroat in his garden at Ballitarsin Smiddy with another 2 seen along the road his house towards Neriby. The Bowland birders on Thursday had a female Whinchat at Foreland. Over at Ardnave, Chough, Arctic Terns and 2 Little Terns were seen. They also had 3 male Hen Harriers, one at Ardnave Loch, another at the mouth of Loch Gruinart being harried by Arctic Terns and the third back at Octomore. Other birds at Ardnave included 2 Turnstone in breeding plumage, Sanderling, Dunnock with 2 Corncrakes heard calling, they also spotted an Otter eating a crab! On Friday, on the feeders at Gruinart they saw a Tree Sparrow, from the old hide a drake Garganey, Gadwall with Dunlin displaying. Through the woodland walk, a Spotted flycatcher was present while from the new hide, they had at least 6 Gadwall with dozens of Sand Matins hawking over the water looking for food.

Friday 15 May 2015

Friday 15th May

The rain came exactly 13.00 as forecast, not a lot but you would have got wet if you were out in it... better still, it saved having to get the watering can out to the plants... Peter Donaldson had headed over to Colonsay for the day on Wednesday and had heard a Corncrake and then saw one close to Upper Kilchattan, coming back to Port Askaig on the ferry, Peter had GNDs, Tysties and Guillemots. On Thursday, up at Ardnave he had 20 Chough with a superb Hen Harrier down at the former Kilchoman school, a pair of Ravens at Coulererach and then 2 Corncrakes calling in the reedbed leading to Machir Bay. Thanks Peter for your birds while you were here. The RAFOS team had been down on the Oa on Wednesday where they saw Hen Harrier, Twite, Grasshopper Warblers and many Wheatears. Over at Claggan Bay, they had RTD, GND, Arctic Terns and Common Sandpipers. Yesterday, they had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle up past Ballygrant, Corncrakes calling at various locations, at Killinallan, Little Terns, Arctic Terns and Sandwich Terns were added to their tally. A Grey Plover was seen at Killinallan Point. Spotted Flycatchers were seen by them back at their cottages over at Kilchoman. James also had one at Mill cottage at Gruinart.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Thursday 14th May

A cracker of a day with the weather today, not as hot as Spain where they were possibly looking at 40 degrees today, so think it was just as well we were there last week... Yesterday, Gary off Bruichladdich Pier had seen 12 Black Guillemots, 23 GND, 1 RTD and an Osprey flying South along the coastline. He also had a good mix of Arctic and Sandwich Terns nearby as well. Later on along at Uisekentuie, 2 Little Terns were fishing offshore and an Osprey was noted flying North over the trig point. Finally, Gary had watched an Osprey fishing on Loch Gruinart before Gulls came along to mob it, and it flew higher and eventually drifting South, possibly the same Osprey on all 3 sightings. Yesterday, birders from south of Inverness had seen 2 Golden Eagles while down on the Oa. Last night, Peter Roberts had heard a Corncrake out behind his house in Bruichladdich. Today on the reserve at Gruinart, James had seen 4 Barnies, 13 Woodpigeons, 8 Blackwit, 14 Whimbrel, 1 Bonxie and a "best count" of 1700 Dunlins.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Wednesday 13th May

Yesterday, the RAFOS team highlights were as follows, 6 Barnies at Gruinart, 3 Garganey there too along with 4 Corncrakes, 1 of which was seen. 2 Spotted Flycatcher seen on the reserve too, up at Ardnave 50 Golden Plovers and also Twite too. Over on the East side of Loch Gruinart, 8 Blackwits added to their tally, a Dipper was present at The Woollen Mill with an Osprey seen over Loch Gorm. 11 Turnstone and a Redshank were on Currie Sands down towards Claddach, Portnahaven. Peter Donaldson yesterday had a GND on Loch a'Chnuic, just past Kildalton. Also yesterday, the Bowland birders had a Sanderling and 14 Golden Plover at Rubha Ban. At Loch Skerrols, a Dabchick, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Treecreeper and Goldcrest. Today, they had 2 Ospreys over Loch Indaal and then moments later a third Osprey was seen from the same location, heading inland...Kildalton Woods held 3 Bullfinches, male and female Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, and Treecreeper. Along at Claggan Bay there were over 20 Arctic Terns, 5 GND, Common Sandpiper and RB Merganser while in the woods there were Dunnock, Cuckoo, 5 Tree Pipits, Redpoll, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Tuesday 12th May

Andy and Jane, the Bowland birders are back for another "fix" on Islay. Coming over on the ferry on Saturday, they saw a Puffin and also some Harbour Porpoises. On Sunday, down at Port Wemyss, they had 3 Sandwich Terns, 2 Twite, Rock Pipit, at least 12 Manx Shearwater, 4 Fulmar, loads of Gannets. In a field at Windyedge, they had 6 Whimbrel, 3 Blackwits and also 2 Chough. Round at Kilchiaran a male Hen Harrier and some Snipe were present and finally back at Octomore at Port Charlotte, a Barn Owl was there. Mr Berrington, a visitor had a Yellowhammer over at Kildalton yesterday. The Bowland birders had seen a pair of Ringed Plovers with chicks on the shingle at the top of Lochindaal, a Whitethroat was at Blackpark, up along the flats at Gruinart, both Mute and Whoopers Swans were present with a Corncrake heard calling out in front of the Visitor centre there. Also seen on the reserve, there were Blackwits, Snipe, Dabchick, Dunlin (3 in summer plumage), Reed Buntings, Sedge Warblers and White Wagtails. As he came up towards Leckgruinart yesterday, Peter Donaldson noticed a commotion on the fence post ahead of him, a Cuckoo being mobbed by a pair of Meadow Pipits!!! Further on up at Ardnave, he had heard a Corncrake calling away.
Gary sent this image of a Whimbrel which he took today close to Carnain, there were 6 Whimbrels and 7 Golden Plovers which all flew in together. Yesterday at the top of Loch Indaal, 7 Barwits were present along with 22 Knot. Back home at Coullabus, a male Hen Harrier flew over the garden. Also yesterday, the some of the team members of the RAFOS team had carried out a sea watch down at Port Wemyss from 10.00 - 11.30, noting a continual passage of hundreds of Gannets flying South, also seen were Fulmars, Kittiwakes, GND flying N, a single RTD flying N, Guillemots, Razorbills and 5 Common Scoter flying N and a Arctic Skua flying South. Between Bowmore and Bridgend, 23 Knot (some in summer plumage) and over 10 Barwits were present together, feeding and flying about and also a few Red breasted Merganser.

Monday 11 May 2015

Monday 11th May

A mixed sort of a day with the weather out here today, and also a lot cooler than this time last week when we were over bird watching in Extramadura in Spain. Peter Roberts led the group, ably assisted by Jim Dickson from Carbaan, Jim is a member of the Argyll Bird Club, Daphne Campbell another ARC member with the others, Bob Davison, George Jackson, David Formby, Margaret and myself, all members of the Islay bird nerds made up the group. We all had a great time with over 130 species seen, not sure of the highlight but hard to pick out for sure, was it a Black Stork, or a more common bird like a Golden Oriole, or a Bee eater...Yes, a good time and thanks to Peter for organising it all for us. Yesterday, some sightings through from RAFOS... At the top of Loch Indaal, they saw 32 Red breasted Merganser and also a Goosander. Also present there, were 2 Little Terns. Up at Sanaigmore, a Whitethroat was heard singing away with 5 Golden Plovers seen at Saligo with a strong feeding passage of Gannets was noted further offshore there. Back over at Kilchoman, a male Hen Harrier was seen flying close to their cottages.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Sunday 10th May

Not a great day with the weather today, rather dreich, even put the big fire on, rather than turning the thermostat up!!! Some birds from earlier on for you now instead...At the start of last week, Carl had Arctic Terns off Port Charlotte. Vising birder Andrew Pears from Co Durham went back home yesterday after spending his last full day up at Ardnave where he had a flock of 50 Golden Plover, 40 Whimbrels and 24 Chough with Twite and Linnets present there too. His highlight of the day was when a female Hen Harrier flew overhead, and then hovered above him, spoofing all the wee birds around... Thanks for all your sightings and sharing them with us...Another visitor, Peter Donaldson had seen 2 White Wagtails down at Portnahaven. Mary had been out and about on the Rhinns yesterday, and sent her birds through as follows, 2 Ravens, 4 Buzzards, a second year Golden Eagle, Otters, Sedge Warbler, Black Guillemot, 14 Shag, 8 Greylags, 2 Common Sandpiper, Fulmar and Oystercatchers. A Corncrake was heard up behind the church at Portnahaven with both Grasshopper and Sedge Warblers heard near to her house.

Saturday 9 May 2015

Saturday 9th May

Aye, it is back to the old yin again, many thanks to James, Dave and Mary for writing the blog in my absence... I have been off Islay, away on the first ever Islay Bird Nerds trip abroad, no, to the mainland but further afield.. more about that another day.... Bob yesterday, down at Loch Skerrols had a Great spotted Woodpecker, 2 Bullfinches, 23 male Shelduck and a Common Sandpiper. On Loch Indaal, he counted 20 Shelduck and 12 Whimbrel. The team from RAFOS have touched base with some sightings... a Common Tern fishing in Bowmore Harbour, a Knot in summer plumage between Bowmore and Bridgend along with 7 Whimbrel, 5 Dunlin and 4 Curlew, a Greenfinch was heard there too. Other members of the team reported hearing and seeing Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, Mipits, Ripits, Reed Buntings, many Wheatears, and also White Wagtails down towards Machir Bay.

Friday 8 May 2015

Friday 8 May

Alistair was out in Bridgend woods yesterday, his highlights were a pair of bulfinch, two singing blackcap and several willow warbler. Off bruichladdich later he had up to 6 sandwich tern and 2 great northern divers. Andrew was pit yesterday and had a whinchat on The Oa, as well as 2 chough. Gary got in touch today with some highlights from his wader watch of the Gruinart mud flats: 800+ dunlin, 150+ ringed plover, 10 sanderling, 7 turnstone, 78 curlew, 43 oystercatcher.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Thursday May 7th

Yesterday I saw an Arctic Skua (pale) over Bridgend, and on the sand there were several mixed flocks of dunlin and ringed plover; on the bird feeders at the office there was a tree sparrow and a lesser redpoll among the regulars. On our evening walk we had 4 calling corncrakes between the visitor centre and Mill Cottages. This morning at Ardnave I had 28 whimbrel on the loch, and a short eared owl out on the moorland. Gary was out walking on the reserve yesterday evening; on the flats he noted good numbers of pied wagtails, including 5 white wagtails, a female bullfinch and two great skua's overhead. From the hides and trails there were 7 black tailed godwit and a treecreeper, along with the usual suspects. Andrew had a good day too yesterday; at Ardnave he had merlin, hen harrier, chough, whimbrel, great northern diver, golden plover, ringed plover, dunlin and twite. At Gruinart reserve 4 whooper swan (still there this morning). A cuckoo flew across the road on their drive back to base at Kilchoman. Once home there had 2 whimbrel nearby, a hen harrier in flight, and a corncrake calling outside the cottage.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Wednesday 6th May

Thanks to new Islay birder Gary for this picture of a corncrake taken yesterday. While he was out on his travels he heard 'loads' of sedge warbler along the Coullabus road, and good groups of mixed Linnet and twite there too. Alistair in Portnahaven heard the Corncrake there today, as well as two cuckoos nearer Ellister. I was out this morning and heard the terns have returned along the coastline there in the past two days. Andrew staying at Kilchoman emailed some of his sightings through from the week so far; on Monday 3 chough and the dotterel at The Oa, at Black rock 5 whimbrels. On Sunday at Gruinart an otter was seen along with the cuckoo who has been actively calling lately. At Kilchoman itself an other cuckoo was heard. Thanks to all for your sightings.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Tuesday 5 May

Thanks Dave for this lovely picture of the dotterel on The Oa yesterday, posing beautifully! Alistair is back in Portnahaven for his holidays, yesterday his highlights included a peregrine, 4 common sandpipers a grasshopper warbler reeling by the church and a pair of choughs. Forgot to add yesterday that I heard a corncrake on Saturday in the fields behind the church in Portnahaven, and Paul Graham heard a corncrake at Machir Bay yesterday while an other was heard near the old hide at Gruinart.

Monday 4 May 2015

Monday 4 May

Thanks James, now my turn to help cover the blog while Ian and Margaret are on their holidays. Hope they've got more sun than we have! Roger was out and about the reserve over the weekend and had a large flock of around 2000 dunlin on the estuary on Saturday. James was out early bird surveying this morning and had 2 lesser redpoll, 3 grasshopper warbler, 5 whitethroat, 5 stonechat, one whinchat and two water rail calling. Today at the Oa a dotterel has been seen.

Sunday 3 May 2015

Sunday 3rd May

The cold east wind came on strong last night and half an inch of rain fell through this morning. All the birds were taking cover, the swallows and martins trying to catch the few insects in the lee of the woodland. A peregrine over Loch Gruinart and quite a few Lapwing chicks on the Gruinart Flats and Floods.

Saturday 2 May 2015

Saturday 2nd May

A mini invasion of Whitethroats today- I had five all singing at Gruinart this morning, plus a Corncrake hiding under the rhubarb in the garden. Loch Indaal seems to have a scattering of Sandwich terns and Carl reported some Arctic Terns yesterday. There was also a report of an Osprey flying over Gruinart.

Friday 1 May 2015

Friday 1st May

A few records from yesterday- Mary had a Great Skua over Port Wemyss and Paula and Emily saw 50 Whimbrel and 2 Little Terns at Ardnave. Today Roger reported 90+ Whimbrel at Uiskentuie Strand. I have been out on the Gruinart Reserve, where there are still 305 Barnacle geese, a Pale Bellied Brent and a White fronted goose as well as a calling Corncrake near the hide.