Tuesday 30 June 2015

Tuesday 30th June

The last day of the month and not a lot of rain in the rain gauge for the month, and come to think of it not much last night at all, more a dampness rather than much rain in itself! You will just have to wait until tomorrow night for the final figure for June... Tonight, the bird nerds met and took a leisurely walk, a great time for us all to catch up, with a couple of new faces present as well... We were fortunate to see a male Hen Harrier several times, probably 2 different males, but great to see all the same. Redpolls were seen and heard, a Goldcrest heard, Stonechats seen and heard, Goldfinch seen, Chaffich, Willow Warbler heard. Several Red Deer were seen as well out on the moor, one hind was seen with a young calf. Probably the best part of the evening was that there was a slight wind and so no midges were out as we could have been easy prey for them!

Monday 29 June 2015

Monday 29th June

In case some of you may not have seen the wee note the other night about the Islay bird nerds, well it is that time of the month again, so weather permitting we are meeting at the entrance to Foreland House at 7pm (NR270638) and from there we will take a short walk out and about, not a strenuous walk I hasten to add, no dogs allowed, but humans are welcome...so come along if you are around... Yesterday, Armin had taken a walk out from behind Loch Skerrols. At the start of his walk at Eollabus, he heard a Corncrake calling and then further on at lunchtime, taken up close to Loch Drolsay, he saw a distant female Hen Harrier. There were many Skylarks seen along the way with some Whinchats sheltering from the strong winds. Today, the rain basically has been kept at bay, although there is some forecast with a band of showers to pass through tonight, and then, tomorrow and on Wednesday it is supposed to be warmer, we will just have to wait and see....

Sunday 28 June 2015

Sunday 28th June

The other day, Alistair Hutchison had seen a pair of Bullfinches down at Bridgend with their brood of 4 fledglings. Carl reported through that there is still a Corncrake calling away down at Shorefield at Bruichladdich. Armin had spent some time down at the hide at Gruinart yesterday. From the viewing platform, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down at the hide there was a Corncrake calling away, all the time he was there! The pair of Sedge Warblers were busy carrying food into their young at their nest. A Snipe was both seen and heard, along with plenty of Lapwings. Armin also saw a Linnet from the hide as well. Today, Gary and Sam had an Osprey, mid afternoon at the head of Loch Indaal where the River Sorn enters the bay. 2 Greenfinches were seen here at home this afternoon by Margaret and this evening, the young rabbits are out playing on the grass, will have to "order" the cats to rectify this matter rather than sleeping inside all day....

Saturday 27 June 2015

Saturday 27th June

Many thanks to George E. Jackson and his wife Pat for their sightings and also Ken and Karen Graham from Glasgow, both sets of folks are away back home now, but no doubt will be back over later on through the year! Before they left, the Jacksons had done a trip out to look for the Bee eaters and also the Great White Egret but to no avail! They had seen a flock of 47 Rooks close to the steading at Kilchiaran and then a couple of Choughs as they walked up to the radio masts. Later on, over at the mouth of the River Laggan where it enters Loch Indaal, they had 2 pairs of Ringed Plover "alarming", on Loch Indaal itself there were 8 immature male Eiders with around 20 Sand Martins hawking over the water there too. Back on land they counted 30 Sand Martin burrows but not sure of how many were in use this season. The Islay bird nerds will be meeting on Tuesday evening at 7pm at the bottom drive to Foreland House, the bottom drive (NR270638). If the weather is in doubt please contact Ian on 01496 850 303 by 6.30pm in case we have to cancel out! So as ever visitors made welcome, but as ever no dogs allowed.

Friday 26 June 2015

Friday 26th June

Better late than never, so here we go.. Gary and Sam today had done the loop from Port Charlotte down to Portnahaven and returned back by Kilchiaran. On the pond at Easter Ellister, they had a female Common Scoter. Whitethroats and Stonechats were seen in numbers. A male and a female Hen Harrier were present close to Ballimony, 10 Arctic Terns were seen at Claddach with Gannets noted flying South past Frenchman's Rocks. Linnets were added to their list and at Gearach, 8 Ravens were present. Finally, closer to their home, between Craigens and Coullabus, a female Marsh Harrier was seen. Back home here this afternoon, a Greenfinch was in our garden along with the ever present Goldfinches!

Thursday 25 June 2015

Thursday 25th June

No further sightings of either the Great White Egret or of the Bee eaters, but that's birdwatching for you, remember back a few years ago when we had a Frigatebird on Islay, another brief encounter... George E. Jackson sent some sightings from the start of the week. On Monday morning, round at Saligo Bay, 3 pairs of Common Sandpipers and also 2 pairs of Oystercatcher were alarm calling, no doubt with young around. They also saw 2 Peregrine in the distance. Returning past the cottage at the roadside beside the bay, there was a House Martin flying around with some Swallows. On the same patch on Tuesday am, they had the Common Sands and the Oystercatchers, there were also 3 pr of Rock Pipits, a Heron and a Mistle Thrush noted. On their way back along the road, a family of 5 Stonechats was seen. In the afternoon, a walk from Keills down to the Sound of Islay produced the usual birds including Whitethroat, Chiffchaff with a Redpoll singing. On the Sound itself, a Black Guillemot was present. Today, the Glasgow birders had a Snipe out on a post in front of the hide at Gruinart. They also saw a Sedge Warbler carrying food back to its' brood. The weather went downhill out here this afternoon, with the rain coming back again, as long as it stops sometime, can put the watering can back in to the shed for a few days!

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Wednesday 24th June

Yesterday, a visitor to Islay had seen 3 Bee eaters down at Port Charlotte, unfortunately we did not hear about this until mid morning today, and despite quite a few of us out looking for them, we could not find them, so if anyone can help us out with a better location, please get in touch. This afternoon there was a report of a Great White Egret present over on the reserve at Gruinart, Louise from RSPB had gone out and confirmed it, with Peter Roberts also seeing it as well. Back on Monday, Bob had been out birding with some visitors. They started their day off with a Stoat carrying a young Rabbit cross the road in front of them. On Loch Indaal, out from Kintra, there was a large raft of 80 Eider, on the Oa, 2 Golden Eagles were present while over at Kildalton, Common Sandpipers were everywhere! On Tuesday, Bob had been up at Killinallan with his guests. Up there, they saw a Buzzard carrying an Adder in its' talons, lots of Skylarks dust bathing in the track with several Whinchats seen there too. They also had over 100 Grey Seals "singing" away on one of the sand bars in Loch Gruinart itself! David Livingstone had heard a Corncrake calling at Kintra while he was playing a round of golf yesterday. David also had heard another calling at Portnatruan on Saturday evening, possibly the same Corncrake that we had while walking along the Distillery path. Armin is back over for his Summer visit and late last night he had a male Hen Harrier fly alongside his car for the best part of 300 yards as he returned from Saligo to Kilchoman. Our friends from Glasgow had seen 2 Eiders with 3 young at Bruichladdich yesterday, today over at Claggain Bay, they had a further 2 Eider but this time with 4 smaller ducklings. Also present there, was a pair of Dunlin along with their 3 small chicks. Gary and Sam have returned from a few days over on the mainland, and had seen a Whinchat on the fence wire at Finlaggan.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Tuesday 23rd June

A glorious day out here today with wall to wall sunshine, and better still no bitter edge to the wind for once... And yes, the sun is streaming in the window as I write blog, looking out, a large cruise liner is sailing past down the Irish channel. Today with the weather being good, I cut the grass and altered some of the tree guards and at the same time watched the choughs trying to coax their youngster out and getting to fly a bit more. Last year they had 3 fledglings but by the looks of things there only appears be one this year. Earlier this evening, there were 19 Chough in total doing their acrobatics out around the crag, and then shortly afterwards a Hooded Crow was mobbing a Buzzard good style, giving it no peace for a few minutes... Tonight, as it is so calm, might go out later on and try to listen for some Corncrakes, might be a good night for the dreaded midge too....but I promise not to count them!!!

Monday 22 June 2015

Monday 22nd June

Aye, the days are getting shorter already by 2 seconds a day... David Main along with his wife headed home after their brief stay, from the ferry, just out from Port Ellen yesterday morning, they had a GND. On the crossing, to Kennacraig, they counted a total of 24 Manx Shearwaters. Yesterday Mandy and Fiona had an Osprey over on Ardnahoe Loch, and up closer to Bunnahabhain, they saw a Buzzard and a male Hen Harrier. Tom from Cumbria had seen a Golden Eagle over Bholsa and also 2 Curlews in the young bracken, back at Killinallan, a Sedge Warbler was present. Today Tom, had gone over to Jura, and walked up towards the raised beaches, they had a Red Grouse and also 2 Yellowhammers. Fiona had an Osprey flying to Loch Gorm this morning. Friends from Glasgow had a Yellowhammer at Ardnave, and also some juv Sand Martins today.

Sunday 21 June 2015

Sunday 21st June

A mixed day with the weather, with squally showers all around... Plenty of sightings from all around too. David Main and a friend from Elgin, came late Friday and left on the 0945 ferry this morning. The stay was short, but they still managed 77 species, the advantages of a long day!!! From the ferry on their way here, they saw 6 Manx Shearwaters, down on the Oa, they had a Hen Harrier, Cuckoo, Whinchat and heard a Grasshopper Warbler, a great start... Highlights from yesterday included an Osprey at Ardnave along with Chough, Sedge Warbler, Wheatear, Twite and some Greylags. 2 Golden Eagles seen, one on the Oa, the other along the South East coast, 2 Merlins, one at Ardbeg, the other on the Oa where they also saw some Rock Doves. At Gruinart, they heard a Corncrake, saw 2 Hen Harriers and some Lesser Redpolls. Going home late last night they saw 2 Short eared Owls at Glenegedale. Speaking with them, they certainly had a great time, no doubt they are away home, well pleased with their time spent here! Tom from Cumbria yesterday had seen around 50 male Eiders off Kintra, Port Ellen on Loch Indaal, inland a Cuckoo and 5 Ravens were seen. Further on at Soldier's Rock there were large numbers of Black Guillemots, Guillemots, Razorbill, Fulmar, Kittiwake, GBB Gull and Shag on and around the stac. Walking back to their car they saw a juvenile Peregrine. Mandy from RSPB yesterday had been over at Claggain Bay where she saw 2 RT Diver, Oystercatcher on nests, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Mute Swan, a Grey Heron flypast, female Eider, Redpoll, Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant, Meadow Pipit and a Buzzard. Mandy was saying that visitors had been at Claggain Bay and they had seen Gannets fishing there as well as an Osprey. Yesterday, still not finished yet.... George E Jackson had seen a Whichat on the garden fence of his son's house, down at the Rockside road end. Down at Uiskentuie he had a Sand Martin. Coming back home, George had an Osprey flying in towards Loch Gorm. Later on, he briefly saw a distant Peregrine over Rockside farm steading itself. Last night on our way home, round the far side of Loch Gorm ,we saw several families of Stonechats out with some Sand Martins over the reedbed down at the Coastguards. A single House Martin present down there this morning, and later on we heard a Corncrake calling while we were walking along the Distillery pathway from Port Ellen out to Ardbeg. It was in the field on the right hand side of the road just before the Laphroaig Distillery bonds....

Saturday 20 June 2015

Saturday 20th June

Just in from being out for some grub with friends, so apologies for running late.. Here goes then... Back on Thursday, George E Jackson had a couple of arctic Terns and a Common Tern over Kilnaughton Bay. Where the Cragabus Bay enters the bay, 2 Dunlins were seen , both in full summer plumage. Also there, was a Mistle Thrush before it flew off. On their way home, on the low road, just North of the airport, 2 Snipe flew out of the peats and shortly afterwards, a male Hen Harrier was seen quartering its' patch. On Friday, they had walked out round Loch Skerrols, past East Lodge and through Bridgend Woods back to their car. On Loch Skerrols, they counted 23 Mute Swan, 5 Tufted Duck and a Cormorant, on the farmland they had a flock of 22 Lapwing and also 11 Greylag. In the woods, in the scrub, a family of Stonechats were noted with a Spotted Flycatcher seen beside the River Sorn. Yesterday, Maggie Birtwell, had watched an Osprey fishing at Loch Lossit, and around the Storakaig area had seen Redpoll, Whinchats and Skylarks. She also saw a male Hen Harrier out on the wing. Alistair Hutchieson yesterday, had a pair of Bullfinch in at Loch Skerrols, as well as 2 Common Sandpipers. On his way in to Loch Skerrols, Alistair had seen a Buzzard being mobbed by some crows in one of the forest rides, a real "dog fight"...

Friday 19 June 2015

Friday 19th June

This evening , well should I really say this, I am not so sure... the dreaded midges made an appearance, rather muggy outside with hardly any wind, ideal for the little blighters... This morning I went with Bob and David Formby and walked down the River Sorn from The Woollen Mill down to below Bridgend where the River enters Loch Indaal. We felt that were not so many birds around, no Dippers for sure, not so many Blackcaps or Willow Warblers, but still a good selection seen and heard. So here we go with our birds... 1 Heron, 3 Mallard, 1 Buzzard, 12 Common Gull, 20 Herring Gull, 1 LBB Gull, 1 GBB Gull, 4 Rock Dove, 25 Wood Pigeon, 1 Sand Martin, 1 House Martin, 12 Swallow, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 10 Wren, 1 Dunnock, 8 Robin, 3 Song Thrush, 7 Blackbird, 13 Willow Warbler, 15 Blackcap, 1 Sedge Warbler, 9 Goldcrest (including family of 4), 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Blue Tit, 6 Great Tit, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Treecreeper, 50 Jackdaw, 200 Rook, 4 Starling, 10 Chaffinch, 12 Goldfinch, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Greenfinch and a Siskin. While we were away, Margaret counted 14 Goldfinch on the nyger feeders here at home....

Thursday 18 June 2015

Thursday 18th June

I was glad to be wearing a jacket and a jersey today, certainly not Summer today, may be I should done some inside work instead.... George E Jackson on Tuesday had heard a Cuckoo calling up at Rockside. Down over Loch Indaal he saw a single Arctic Tern and then on the water there was a raft of 26 Eiders, 3 female and 23 males probably all non breeders. In the evening at his son's house, he heard 2 Corncrakes calling, one nearby and the other up beside Rockside. Yesterday, down at Machir Bay, there was a Whinchat along with 2 juveniles on the fence. A Pied Wagtail was also present, busy carrying food. Up the North end of Machir Bay, 4 Eiders were seen with 9 youngsters. Early evening a male Hen Harrier was out quartering close to Loch Gorm, later on a Golden Eagle was seen at Rockside. Ron Todd yesterday had seen Rock Doves close to Saligo and on his way round Loch Gorm, many Stonechats and Lapwings were present. Tom from Cumbria had walked out from Killinallan out towards Bholsa seeing a Cuckoo and Yellowhammers at Doddlemore while at Bholsa itself, lots of shags were seen with 3 chicks. James today had Ruff from the old hide with a Shelduck with young out in front of the new hide. Louise was saying that a Glaucous Gull was seen at Tarbert on Jura yesterday, and today it was up Ardlussa. Today, we had a couple of male Hen Harriers, one round the far side of Loch Gorm below the phone box, the other was down at Uisekentuie. This evening, coming home we had a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing on the South side of Loch Gorm.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Wednesday 17th June

Think that Summer has been and gone, it has not been that great a day outside with the temperature just over 12 degrees, and come to think of it the longest day is almost here, oh no, the days will start to get shorter....Back on Saturday some visitors had seen an Osprey successfully fishing on Loch Finlaggan!!! Ron Todd, another visitor, yesterday had seen Wheatears and Meadow Pipits while down on the Oa, up at Gruinart he had a pair of Teal mating. He also had some Shovelers there too. Just out of Port Charlotte towards Kilchiaran, Ron had a Cuckoo. Also on his travels, he had 3 different male Hen Harriers and also some Stonechats. Tom from Cumbria had been up at Ardnave today and saw 2 different male Hen Harriers. Over Nave island, a Bonxie was spotted with a pair of Little Terns fishing. Round at Sanaigmore, in the bay were 6 Eiders with only one youngster, a pair of Shelduck were also present there too.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Tuesday 16th June

Apologies for a late entry this evening, but I was at a meeting that was supposed to last an hour, but lasted twice as long, enough said.... Rather overcast outside tonight, still it will give the dust a chance to lie down rather than being blown around if the rain comes to anything! George E Jackson, not our resident "George Jackson", is back over visiting his son, one of our local Doctors... Last night they had an Osprey on top of a telegraph pole down alongside Loch Gorm. They watched for a few minutes before it took off and duly obliged by catching a fish out of Loch Gorm. Heading away from Loch Gorm with its' fish, the Osprey was harassed by a Heron!!! Tom from Cumbria had heard a Corncrake up at Sanaigmoore early this morning, later on at Traigh Bhan, he saw a female Cuckoo fly past while on the ledges there, 6 nesting Fulmars were present, a Shag sitting on eggs and also 6 Razorbills were seen.

Monday 15 June 2015

Monday 15th June

Think that there could be a wee change working with the weather, no blue skies, let alone sun streaming in through the windows, no sunset either!!! Tom Garner had seen 3 Arctic Terns down at Claddach and then along at Lossit, he saw 3 Ravens, 2 nesting Fulmars and many Chough. On the coast between Ellister and Octofad, Tom had a pair of Shag with 3 well grown youngsters and 3 more Fulmars on their nests. Other visitors from Dumfries who are here for a few days, were telling me that they had seen Chough at Kilchiaran. Here at home there was a young Goldfinch out on the grass. Later on, I noticed a Pheasant egg out on the grass about a couple of yards in from the rough! Down towards Foreland House, there was a Greenfinch on the fence. Bob, this evening, saw a female Merlin out on the moor beside his house. I see that there is an article about Islay in the July edition of the "Birdwatching" magazine written by John Miles, good and informative.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Sunday 14th June

Yesterday morning while starting back home on the ferry, Mark and Sally had seen 7 Manx Shearwater as they sailed over to Kennacraig. Alistair Hutchison heard a Great spotted Woodpecker in the trees over close to Kildalton. Today, visitor Tom Garner from Cumbria had heard a Corncrake down at Portnahaven, later on up past Bunnahabhain, he had heard a Cuckoo, and then saw 2 Golden Eagles. This morning, I helped Bob with his Webs count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck with the tally coming being as follows, 5 Shag, 12 Greylag, 34 Shelduck and a brood of ducklings, 24 Eider, 12 H Gull, 2 C Gull, 3 BH Gull, 8 GBB Gull, 52 Oystercatcher, 7 Curlew, 22 Dunlin, 4 Redshank, 6 Lapwing, 20 Ringed Plover and a Turnstone. Earlier on, Bob had a GND on Loch Indaal with 4 Teal seen at "smelly corner". This evening, there was a Corncrake calling down at the Coastguard's. Just past Coull were 2 Reed Buntings and further on, a Barn Owl was out!

Saturday 13 June 2015

Saturday 13th June

The spell of better weather is still here, might even get a suntan this year rather than being weather beaten!!! Visitor, Alan Robertson from Cumbria heard a Corncrake calling down at Ballivicar, along at Claggain Bay, Alan saw an immature Golden Eagle. He also saw a Merlin at Ballivicar during his stay here on Islay this past week. Bob had seen 2 Barn Owls and also 2 Tawny Owls when he was out listening for Corncrakes earlier this week. In his garden yesterday, he had a Sparrowhawk and also present was a Whitethroat. At Bruichladdich today, Bob had 2 families of Eiders. Yesterday, at Lagstoban, between Coullabus and West Carrabus, we had a Merlin. Many thanks to Mark and Sally Johnson for their sightings while they were here last week.

Friday 12 June 2015

Friday 12th June

Another great day, and just as good are the sunsets that we had over the past few evenings, tremendous... Yesterday Ron from Islay info had been on the road Sanaigmore where he saw a Peregrine. Mark and Sally had seen 12 Sanderling, one in full summer plumage down close to Uiskentuie. At Blackrock they saw 3 Blackwits. Early this morning, Margaret spotted a couple of Shelduck out in front of our cottage, on top of the wall. It reminded us of Shelduck trying to take young from their nest burrow to the water, but we could not see any sign of any young ducklings. Mary reported through to say that she had heard a report that might be a pair of Bonxies (Great Skuas) nesting on Nave island! Many thanks to the Rochdale birders, Gordon and Pauline Yates for your birds while you have been over for the past three weeks, as ever great to catch up with them while they over, and see down at Rutland, Gordon!

Thursday 11 June 2015

Thursday 11th June

Been another great day out here today... Last night, or rather earlier on this morning, we carried out the Corncrake survey on our patch. When we left the house, the temperature was only 7 degrees, but with no wind, so the sea was quite quiet, and so hopefully allowing us to hear all around. The only problem was that we only heard 4 calling males in total, we would normally have expected to hear 10 plus ... I was speaking to Bob and he had only heard 7, less than half that he had at the first round a few weeks back. The temperature later on was down to only 5 degrees, so possibly the birds do not like the cold.... neither do we!!! We also heard Greylags, a Sedge Warbler but we never saw any Owls, or any Hedgehogs... Peter had done the patch down below Port Charlotte round Portnahaven and apart from some Corncrakes, he had heard a Grasshopper Warbler and seen a couple of Barn Owls and a Tawny Owl while he was out. Mary had a pair of Redshank taking their brood of young down off the moor towards the estuary at Gruinart. There were a couple of female Eiders with a small number of ducklings on Loch Indaal as we came out of Bowmore this morning. The Rochdale birders had seen a Golden Eagle and also a Sparrowhawk on their way round the Rhinns yesterday.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Wednesday 10th June

Summer is still here, and as I write tonight's entry, I have got a great view all the way up to Mull and then turn round and views down to Donegal in the Irish Republic with a cruise liner sailing past, possibly heading to Killybegs in Donegal if the information on Marine traffic is correct! Yesterday, Mark and Sally had seen 2 male Hen Harriers while they were out, a Peregrine at Gruinart causing havoc with a GND in full summer plumage out on Loch Indaal. Up at Sanaigmore 3 Corncrakes present. This morning I saw 8 Lapwings, probably 4 pairs of Lapwings mobbing a raptor, before setting it on its' way up along the crag here at home. Later on tonight, or should it be early tomorrow morning, we are going to check out if there are any more Corncrakes around, at present there is not much wind, so hopefully we will be able to hear above the swell of the sea, fingers crossed, not an early night, might try to have 40 winks before heading out...

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Tuesday 9th July

Oh no, not another glorious day, but yes, it certainly has been just that... Alistair Hutchison had heard and then a wee while later on, saw a Great spotted Woodpecker while he was working close to Bridgend. The Rochdale birders yesterday had seen a Golden Eagle feasting itself on a sheep carcase up on the Glen road. On their travels they had a total of 7 Hen Harriers and last night at 9pm at the head of Loch Indaal, they saw an Arctic Skua harassing an Oystercatcher. They had also seen a Marsh Frit on the wing, not sure where, but their first for the year. Carl had seen a couple of Spotted Flycatchers in his garden in Port Charlotte.

Monday 8 June 2015

Monday 8th June

Another great day out here, managed in my "spare time" to cut the grass and also paint some fencing.... Yesterday, Allen and Fiona from Edinburgh had seen Choughs up at Ardnave and heard a couple of Corncrakes calling up at Sanaigmore. Other visitors Mark and Sally had seen a male Hen Harrier over at Carnduncan with another over on the reserve at Gruinart where they also saw a Peregrine. Today on the reserve, Gary ha a Chough close to the new hide. A young male Hen harrier was also nearby there as well.

Sunday 7 June 2015

Sunday 7th June

What a difference a day makes, not that I am complaining, but perhaps, summer has come, and it certainly has been worth the wait. Possibly not as hot as other places, but according to the weather forecast, we are in for a good spell through to next weekend and by then no doubt I will be looking for the watering can for the plants in the garden... as you may have gathered, not much through on the bird front when I am rambling on about the weather!!! There was a Lapwing with a young chick out at Ballinaby this afternoon, no doubt there were more than one hatched but there certainly was only one remaining there this afternoon. The House Sparrows here at home had their brood of youngsters out at the food on the bird table this morning.

Saturday 6 June 2015

Saturday 6th June

Not a good day with the weather out here today, rather windy with some rain thrown into the mix as well, now up to 1.25" of rain so far this month, having said that, the ferries have sailed through but the ferry up to Colonsay did not go...Bird sightings needless to say are a bit light! Yesterday, the Rochdale birders had seen 2 female Eiders down at Bruichladdich with 10 ducklings between them. Today, visiting birder Richard Harris from London had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle up beyond Ballygrant. Many thanks to Danny and Wanda Arnold aka the Teme valley birders and also Trevor Guy and his wife (the Pagham birders) for sharing their sightings with us while they were over, much appreciated. Just noticed some BLUE sky outside or could I be imagining things???

Friday 5 June 2015

Friday 5th June

A mixed sort of a day with the weather and now this evening the wind has started to pick, wonder what is in store for tomorrow, suppose we will just have to wait and see.... On Wednesday, Norman How (James's father) had seen a Short eared Owl down close to Glenegedale, in a similar area to where Martin had seen one also. Yesterday, James had seen 2 Spotted Flycatchers on the reserve at Gruinart. George had seen a probable Osprey over at Carnain, or "Smelly corner", unfortunately George was in traffic and could not pull over to get a better look. This morning, we had a male Hen Harrier seen at the Western end of Loch Gorm and another one, further on along the Southern edge on Loch Gorm, near to the lochans before Rockside road end. Finally, this afternoon, I heard a Cuckoo calling here at home, the first for a few days.

Thursday 4 June 2015

Thursday 4th June

Not such a good day with the weather as yesterday, but overall not too bad, but there is some more rain forecast to come in the next few days... Martin made the most of the good weather yesterday and for his efforts got a tick for his list, he saw a Corncrake over at Gruinart, his first since coming to Islay over 4 years ago. Back close to home, over at Glenegedale, he saw a Short eared Owl, the first reported sighting to the blog for a few years. The Teme valley birders yesterday had spotted a Buzzard over at Knockcrome on Jura carrying a rabbit. The Pagham birders had seen a distant Golden Eagle yesterday down on the Oa. Gary on Tuesday had seen a male Hen Harrier quartering its patch over the flats at Gruinart, over by the old hide, a Peregrine was trying to flush out some wee birds out, coming back across the flats, a Buzzard was taking some of the young Lapwing chicks. Yesterday, Gary had a ringtail Hen Harrier hunting over the gorse bushes beside his house. Later on, while walking along the new Distillery path out of Port Ellen, Gary and Sam saw a Golden Eagle overhead with an Otter out on the sea. At Laphroaig, they spotted a family of 5 Treecreepers in the trees there. George was on the phone to say that he now thinks that all the Tern nests which he reported seeing down on the shore at Bruichladdich have been destroyed by the high winds with a lot of seaweed being deposited on the shore plus movement of the stones too. Whilst out listening for Corncrakes in the early hours this morning, we saw a Barn Owl down close to Foreland on top of a fence post in the headlights! The Pagham birders had a pair of Spotted Flycatcher this morning in Bridgend Woods and this afternoon, the Teme valley birders heard 2 Corncrakes calling below Leek just after Ballinaby and before the phone box.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Wednesday 3rd June

What a cracking day, it has been with wall to wall sunshine, just need some more of the same please... Yesterday the Teme valley birders had seen a family of 5 Whooper Swans over on the reserve at Gruinart, they had also heard a couple of calling Corncrakes up at Sanaigmore. Today, they had headed over to Jura for the day. A Whitethroat was as seen in the bushes just after Coull, a Lapwing with young were present at Ballinaby, a male Hen Harrier was seen close to the road between Lyrabus and Uiskentuie, with another seen even closer to hand over on Jura just after Jura House. Coming out of Craighouse there were 24 Canada Geese, a Chiffchaff was heard singing in the trees as they approached the 3 arch bridge. Several Stonechats and also some Whinchats were also noted on their day out. A couple of Dunlin were seen on the shore along with a couple of Ringed Plovers and some Oystercatchers at Small Isles Bay on the way back. On the water were a few Eiders , 2 pairs of mute Swans and some Shelduck, but no sign of any youngsters.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Tuesday 2nd June

Yesterday the Teme valley birders had been over the "other side" , down past Port Ellen. Out in the woods as they drove towards Ardtalla, they had seen a Cuckoo. At Claggain Bay, they reckoned that there could be more than 30 pairs of Arctic Terns present as they counted over 40 terns in the air at one time alone.. They also had seen 3 Hen Harriers, one at Coullabus, another towards Sanaigmore and the other Ballinaby. The Rochdale birders yesterday had seen a Sparrowhawk at Loch Tallant with 3 Hen Harriers as they drove along the "Glen road". On the Rhinns today, they saw 4 male Hen Harriers, a Peregrine and then a Merlin being harassed by a Hooded Crow! They were also telling me that they had been speaking to one of the locals here on Islay who told them, that he had seen 2 Wheatears being killed by Jackdaws... The weather last night as forecast was wet and rather windy... Our friends over at Mulindry e mailed through to say that their rainfall for May was 6.04 inches, makes it sound that we had a not bad time here on the West...

Monday 1 June 2015

Monday 1st June

A wee cracker of a day, not full of sunshine I hasten to add... quite a lot of rain and just after 4 o 'clock this afternoon, the wind peaked at just short of 60 mph, needless to say the ferries are safely tied up at Kennacraig, rather than attempting to come and not being up to berth. The rainfall here for the month of May came through at 4.3", slightly drier than later year, and a lot drier than 2011 when we had 6 inches. Not much on the bird front, although Margaret did see one of the hen pheasants sheltering in the nettles with her 4 youngsters, and Margaret managed to give her some food. I was in touch with Bob Swann from Tain regarding the Greylag with the orange neck collar. Bob informed me that it had been fitted with the neck collar in January here on Islay back in January by Carl Mitchell, one of the WWT team members. It was also seen mid May by the RAFOS team, and again last week by the Teme valley Birders. This evening, the rain has passed through with the sun streaming in through the windows although the wind is still quite noisy...