Saturday 31 October 2015

Saturday 31st October

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

Friday 30 October 2015

Friday 30th October

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

Thursday 29 October 2015

Friday 29th October

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

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Wednesday 28th October

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

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Tuesday 27th October

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

Monday 26 October 2015

Monday 26th October

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

Sunday 25 October 2015

Sunday 25th October

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

Saturday 24 October 2015

Sarturday 24th October

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

Friday 23 October 2015

Friday 23rd October

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

Thursday 22 October 2015

Thursday 22nd October

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

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Wednesday 21st October

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

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Tuesday 20th October

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

Monday 19 October 2015

Monday 19th October

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

Sunday 18 October 2015

Sunday 18th October

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

Friday 16 October 2015

Friday 16th October

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

Thursday 15 October 2015

Thursday 15th October

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

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Wednesday 14th October

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

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Tuesday 13th October

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

Monday 12 October 2015

Monday 12th October

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

Sunday 11 October 2015

Sunday 11th October

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

Saturday 10 October 2015

Saturday 10th October

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

Friday 9 October 2015

Friday 9th October

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

Thursday 8 October 2015

Thursday 8th October

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

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Wednesday 7th September

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

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Tuesday 6th October

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

Monday 5 October 2015

Monday 5th October

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

Sunday 4 October 2015

Sunday 4th October

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

Saturday 3 October 2015

Saturday 3rd October

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

Friday 2 October 2015

Friday 2nd October

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

Thursday 1 October 2015

Thursday 1st October

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