Saturday 31 December 2016

Hogmany, 31st December 2016

Another year almost in, well here on Islay that is, as 2017 will already be in full swing down under... so wherever you are have a great New Year. You will have to wait until tomorrow for an update on the rainfall for December and also for a total for the year, will it be more than the previous year???
No bird reports in yet for today, but this afternoon, here at home, some Barnacle Geese flew in to the Machir out towards the War graves Cemetery, the first Barnies seen there this winter... There was big numbers of birds in at the food on offer early afternoon, I reckon that there were around 70 birds there, mainly Chaffinches and House Sparrows with the odd Dunnock, Goldfinch and yes, 3 Great Tits too. The odd Blackbird and Robin hopped in for a quick titbit as well. The Goldfinches appear to be not so common as a few weeks ago...  Depending on when the birds are fed, we can get quite a few Starlings drop in as do the Jackdaws. Because of the windy weather of late, we stopped using the bird feeders, in case they got broken, but the birds are happy to be fed directly off the ground!!! 

Friday 30 December 2016

Friday 30th december

I have heard that it was Brendon Hollands who had seen the Green winged Teal at Gruinart. The previous day he had a Golden Eagle down on the Oa. Thanks for your birds, Brendon. Yesterday afternoon,  Mike Peacock had seen a Cackling goose over in the fields amongst other Barnies while friends of Mike had seen a Golden Eagle, Peregrine and also a Hen Harrier out behind Balllinaby. Dave Nevitt returned yesterday, for another "Islay fix" and had a Golden Eagle up beyond Coullabus. On Loch Indaal, close to Bowmore, Dave had 4 Long tailed Duck and 5 Slavonian Grebe. Today, Dave saw a Glaucous Gull, out from Whin Park over Loch Indaal. He also spotted Tystie off Bruichladdich. Coming back from Gruinart around midday, we saw the Cackling Goose present amongst the Barnies again at Ballinaby. 

Thursday 29 December 2016

Thursday 29th December

Peter had counted 49 Pintail on Loch Gruinart yesterday. Gary had been out with some clients yesterday and had seen a  small Canada Goose amongst the Barnies and Whitefronts while driving along the High road between Port Ellen and Bridgend. Later on, they had 2 Otters as well as several GND out from Bunnahabhain. Finally, they saw a White tailed Eagle flying over the woodland at newton, up behind Bridgend. Today, James reported through that a visitor had spotted the drake Green winged Teal at the reserve at Gruinart. No sightings reported through of the Gyr Falcon, but it may still be around, will just need to keep an eye out for it...

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Wednesday 28th December

By the time I got in last night, I was too tired and just could not get my brain in gear to write the blog.... so here goes this evening....James had a couple of Long tailed Tits in his garden at Mill cottage on Christmas Day. On Boxing Day, Peter had seen 4 Greenshank out from the new hide at Gruinart and then later on, he counted 40 Chough up at Ardnave. Brendon, on the same day saw a female Sparrowhawk close to Carnain. Yesterday, he had a White tailed Eagle fly  up the Sound of Islay and then watched an Otter swimming in the Sound, about a couple of miles South of Feolin. Up at Ardnave yesterday, James saw a couple of GND and also 2 Grey Plover. Today, up past Killinallan, James saw a juv. Golden Eagle and then a Greenshank out on Loch Gruinart

Monday 26 December 2016

Boxing Day, 26th December

Brendon had seen a Grey Phalarope when out walking along the coast at Ardtalla yesterday afternoon. Along at Claggain Bay,  while he was having a bite to eat, a male Sparrowhawk flew in and perched up, really close. Earlier on at Bruichladdich Pier, he had GND close in and then he saw a male Hen Harrier over near to Scarabus. Not much noted down where I am staying at present, a bit cooler than Islay, with the odd scuff  of snow, not a lot...

Sunday 25 December 2016

Christmas Day, 25th December

Yesterday, visiting birder Brendan Hollands had seen a White tailed Eagle in the Finlaggan area, and then shortly afterwards, while still in at Finlaggan itself, a pair of Golden Eagles flew past. Over at Ardnave Loch, Brendan had some Goldeneye on the water and finally along at the former Kilchoman School, a large flock of Twite were present.
Peter along with his friend Alastair had this morning gone out looking for the falcon, still no joy, but from the old hide at Gruinart, they saw a drake Green winged Teal amongst  500+ Teal, also seen were over 150 Lapwing, 30 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, 10 Whooper Swan and also 130 Golden Plover. This afternoon, round at "smelly corner", they counted 30 Pale bellied Brent with another 7 had been seen at Bruichladdich as they set out earlier on. They also had a Hen Harrier harassing over 200 Teal around the merse. Over at Bowmore, they had good sightings of ducks etc sheltering from the strong winds... 6  Slavonian Grebe, 10 GND, 8 Goldeneye, 7 Common Scoter, a few Red brested Merganser and 5 Long tailed Duck, 2 of which were really close in, at the harbour.

Saturday 24 December 2016

Saturday 24th December

Peter has been in touch to say that he has been out looking for the Gyrfalcon, but no joy, see these fair weather birds... Instead, he had a Carrion Crow at Sunderland Farm, either the third or fourth that Peter has seen on Islay. Also at Sunderland Farm, a flock of over 140 Chaffinch was present. By the way, the weather is not much better out here in the Scottish Borders.
Have a great Xmas day folks wherever you are, enjoy your day.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Thursday 22nd December

A great one bird alert for you all.... George E Jackson this morning had seen a Gyr Falcon, at a close sighting of around 8 metres, fly past his son's house, down at Rockside road end...No need for the bins, George!!!!!

Monday 19 December 2016

Monday 19th December

Phil sent me through a list of birds that he had seen during a walkabout on the reserve on the Oa today. Quite a list, so he we go... 26 Teal, 6 Mallard, 5 Goldeneye, 62 Herring Gull, 1 Common Gull, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Golden Eagle, 706 Barnies, 295 Whitefronts, 134 Greylags, 43 Chaffinch, 9 Hooded Crows, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Stonechat, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Dunnocks, 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Rock Doves, 199 Starling, 2 Wren, 1 Blackbird, 1 Linnet and a Robin, thanks Phil. Looking out the widow, while he was visiting us this afternoon, Bob saw a Peregrine flying over the crag. 

The blog may be a be a bit lighter on entries over the next few days as quite a lot of us are off Islay, but if you see or hear of any sightings, send them in and I will try to write an entry, from my secret location.... So, at this point, I am taking the opportunity in wishing all our readers a very Happy Christmas.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Sunday 18th December

Those pesky Fulmars were out along the front of the crag again this morning, so just wait for the wind to pick up, come Tuesday perhaps me thinks....
This morning, Bob, David Barr, Lesley and myself carried out the WeBs count from Bowmore along the shore to Gartbreck, the visibility was not as good as we would  have liked, as it came and went, at least we have got it done! So here is what we counted 2 GND, 1 RTD, 16 Whitefronts, 1500 Barnies, 5 Greylags, 38 Shag, 2 Cormorant, 1 Long tailed Duck, 38 Mallard, 380 Wigeon, 163 Teal, 14 Shoveler, 9 R B Merganser, 5 Eider, 6 Redshank, 60 Dunlin, 5 Turnstone, 100 Lapwing, 5 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 90 Oystercatcher, 150 Curlew, 110 Barwits, 1 Snipe, 10 GBB Gull, 77 H Gull and 6 BH Gulls. We also saw 6 Twite, some Rock Pipits, and a few Pied Wagtail and also a Buzzard.

Saturday 17 December 2016

Saturday 17th December

Forgot to mention last night that Margaret had seen a Sparrowhawk perched on top of the fence posts at the edge of the garden, yesterday mid afternoon. There were 8 Fulmars in at the crag yesterday morning, with fewer there this morning. Margaret saw an Otter "trot" across the machir and on down towards the stream. Mandy today had seen 2 Long tailed Tits over  at Carnduncan.

Friday 16 December 2016

Friday 16th December

Rather an early entry this evening, but it might not be done later on, so here goes...As promised, Michal and Dave Maynard's count from their WeBS count on Loch Gruinart carried out yesterday tallied through as follows... 31 Lapwing, 2 Snipe, 100 Oystercatcher, 163 Curlew, 10 R B Merganser, 82 Shelduck, 1 Dabchick, 28 Turnstone, 152 Barwit, 310 Dunlin, 13 Pintail, 40 Sanderling, 1 Greenshank, 320 Wigeon, 35 Golden Plover and 4 Grey Plover.  Dave also saw an Otter and also a Golden Eagle. James carried out the count on the floods at Gruinart, his birds were as follows.. 192 Mallard, 4 Whooper Swan, 3 Mute Swan, 8 Redshank, 3 Heron, 18 Curlew, 478 Lapwing, 886 Teal, 61 Wigeon, 61 Pintail, 26 Shoveler, 35 Golden Plover, 1 R B Merganser and a drake Green winged Teal. Diana Lever had seen a Golden Eagle and also 2 Buzzard at the start of the week, over at Lagg on Jura.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Thursday 15th December

Mike Peacock had seen 5 Yellowhammer in the hedges along at Sunderland Farm this afternoon. Andrew Kent was in touch with the figures in from the International Goose Count, carried out on Monday and Tuesday with the tallies coming through at 45,714 Barnies, 5,585 Whitefronts and 556 Greylags. Thanks to Andrew and the team from SNH for these figures. Michal had done his WeBS count today, and on Ardnave Loch he counted 14 Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, 8 Goldeneye, 23 Whooper Swan, 19 Mute Swan, 1 Heron and 5 Mallard. I will give you the rest of Michal's figures from Loch Gruinart itself and also from James with his tally of the floods at Gruinart.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Wednesday 14th December

This morning, at first light, Mike Peacock had 55 Wigeon fly out on to Loch Indaal with Mike wondering whether they had been feeding on some of the stubbles. He also counted 142 Common Scoter on the loch, in one group, out from Shore Street in Port Charlotte, the largest group that Mike has seen so far. Down on the beach, there was a Grey Wagtail. Mandy, when she was out Goose counting this morning, had a Golden Eagle soaring up behind Ballinaby while going round Loch Gorm. James had been counting today as well, on the Uiskentuie/ Gruinart route. Apart from many geese, James had a Yellowhammer at Lyrabus, a juv Golden Eagle up at Killinallan and then he saw 2 Pinkies at Ardnave. Mid afternoon, and here at home and Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past the window.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Tuesday 13th December

The other day Mandy had seen a Merlin having an aerial tussle with a Hooded Crow, after Rockside as she was going down to Machir Bay. On Machir Bay itself, she had seen 35 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling and a Meadow Pipit, no sign of the Grey Plover that was present there last week. Up in the dunes, 6 Twite were present. Today while out carrying out the count on one of the routes during the International goose Count, Bob and Malcolm had seen 6 Pink footed Geese amongst the flock of Barnies in a grass field just out of Bridgend and before the turn off to Loch Skerrols. They also 3 different Merlin, one at Carrabus, a male along a stream near to Daill Farm and then a female in towards Skerrols. The wind this evening appears to e picking up a wee bit as I write this entry...

Monday 12 December 2016

Monday 12th December

Neil MacGillivray had a Great spotted Woodpecker yesterday, on the feeders in his garden at Woodside which is over at Gruinart. Michal had counted a small flock of 60 Golden Plover and also 70 Lapwing while he was along the flats at Gruinart yesterday. Mike and Val Peacock, also yesterday, had seen an adult Golden Eagle, a Peregrine, a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Foreland. In the alder trees, they had 31 Siskin and also saw 14 Goldfinch there as well. Early afternoon, today and coming back from Bridgend, we had a really close sighting of a male Hen Harrier down at "smelly corner", and yes the camera was at home... The Fulmars are away again after their brief visit yesterday, so we will just have to wait for the wind to pick up a bit!!!

Sunday 11 December 2016

Sunday 11th December

Looks line a one bird entry tonight folks... This morning, there were 6 Fulmars back on the crag here at home, possibly some strong winds to come in a day or two... watch this space, or watch the weather forecast and see if I am right or not!!!

Saturday 10 December 2016

Saturday 10th December

Forgot to mention last night that we saw 10 Fieldfare flitting about as they do while we were driving on the "Glen road" between Knocklearach and Storakaig. Further on, down towards Cluanach at Mulindry, there was a finch flock on a stubble fields of around 60 Chaffinch. This morning, here at home, the wee birds in the garden got a wake up call as the Sparrowhawk flew through and kept going.... We saw a Raven on one of the fence posts on the edge of the garden this afternoon.

Friday 9 December 2016

Friday 9th December

Gary had seen a Merlin being harassed by a couple of Hooded Crows as he approached Ballygrant, and then later in the trees, he had some Long tailed Tits. Down on Machir Bay itself, Mandy had the flock of Ringed Plover along with the single Turnstone and the Grey Plover was with them as well. Out over Coull, she had a distant sighting of a juv. Golden Eagle. Peter had seen a White tailed Eagle up close to Bridgend and also 28 Pale bellied Brent, near to the shore, beside "cash Kelly's" former house at Blackrock. Over at Gartmain, we saw 20 Pintail amongst a mixed flock of Wigeon, Teal and some Mallard. There was also a few Red breasted Merganser out on the water too, with over 30 Oystercatcher noted on the rocks at Bun an Uisg, on the edge of Bowmore. On Loch Skerrols,  there were a couple of family groups of Whoopers present along with 2 families of Mute Swan as well.

Thursday 8 December 2016

Thursday 8th December

While she was sitting having her "packed lunch" over at Port Ellen, Mandy saw a White tailed Eagle fly past, coming in from the skerries past The Ard, it flew over towards Kilnaughton Bay  and then inland... Later on, Mandy had seen Pale bellied Brent amongst the Barnies at Kinnabus. Late this morning, Margaret and myself headed down towards Machir Bay, and in the same field as where the Isabelline Wheatear was last week, amongst the 40 Ringed Plover present, a Grey Plover and a Turnstone were seen. James commented on the Grey Plover being in a field,rather out on the shore, but he was thee as well, to witness it!!! We had the same count of Ringed Plover that Mandy had there yesterday, so probably the same birds. Late afternoon, here at home, I saw another House Sparrow with a ring on its' leg, a different bird as yesterday was a female and today it was a male! Today, I had my camera to hand but I was still unable to read the said ring, probably some of the birds caught and rung by George E. Jackson, so must really get it caught on an image, if nothing else to satisfy my curiosity.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Wednesday 7th December

Not a lot to report tonight, but Paul Graham had see a couple of White tailed Eagles at the top  of Loch Indaal at Bridgend around midday, one flying inland over the trees, the other out over the loch. Paul wonders as to whether they had been down on the merse on prey. This afternoon, Mandy had 40 Ringed Plover down on Machir Bay. Here at home, there was a House Sparrow with a BTO ring on, but I never got a chance to read it... 

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Tuesday 6th December

Apologies to Mandy from yesterday as I had overlooked an email that she sent through... Yesterday she had seen a Snow Bunting down towards Claddach at Portnahaven. Late afternoon, yesterday I saw 3 Whoopers fly past on their way South. This morning, Mandy had 16  Whoopers down in the barley stubbles at the Coastguard's at Machir Bay. The weather today has ben rather miserable, so not a lot about, outwith our control that one, honest!!!

Monday 5 December 2016

Monday 5th December

This morning, Mandy had counted total of 28 Pale bellied Brent Geese between Gortan and Bruichladdich. Later on, she spotted a Canada Goose amongst the Barnacle Geese down at Cladville. Gary had been down on the "Big strand" below the airport where he saw a Merlin, 14 Wigeon, 6 Mallard, a Long tailed Duck, a small mixed flock of Ringed Plover and Turnstone, 150 Golden Plover and a Barwit.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Sunday 4th December

Yesterday, Gary had seen 20 Siskin in the treetops down at the mouth of the River Sorn as it enters Loch Indaal below Bridgend. Today, he had counted 14 Turnstone and 10 Ringed Plover over at Feolin on Jura. Also today, Mike and Val Peacock along with Pia had a pod of 8 bottle nosed Dolphin close in on Loch Indaal at Port Charlotte around lunchtime. Mike followed them down to Nerabus, about 3 miles or so. Here at home the birds have been making the most of the food available at the feeders, a sign of some colder weather coming in a few days time???

Saturday 3 December 2016

Saturday 3rd December

Stuart Crutchfield came over this morning on the ferry, and after a long patient wait, Stuart saw the Isabelline Wheatear down at Machir Bay. Early afternoon and Bob got the bird as well, now on his Islay list as well. There are great images of the Wheatear  on the Argyll Bird Club's webpage and look under 2016 sightings. Well done to all of you who have come and seen it. On his way to Machir Bay from the ferry, Stuart had seen a Yellowhammer  down near to Gortan, just as he turned off the "main" road. Later on along at Uiskentuie, Stuart saw a male Hen Harrier and along at Blackrock, at least 25 Scaup were present. While Bob had been down looking for the Wheatear, he saw a Merlin fly past, and earlier on up here from our house window, both Stuart and himself had spotted a female Sparrowhawk fly through. Earlier on this morning, I had a Grey Wagtail down on the burn below our house.

Friday 2 December 2016

Friday 2nd December

Good friend, Marsali sent me through her rainfall figures from her rain gauge over at Mulindry for November. Her tally, as usual was more than ours coming in at 6.48 inches. Perhaps the winds we get here does not allow the actual rain to even reach the gauge itself and gets blown past instead...
Mary yesterday had a good day with raptors. She had been working on the Gruinart route of the goose count. Up at Ardnave, she saw a male Hen Harrier, a juvenile Golden Eagle and later on a Buzzard and also a Merlin. At the top of Loch Indaal, she spotted a juvenile White tailed Eagle. On her way to Bowmore, at the start of the day, Mary had seen a Peregrine down at Octofad. Also yesterday, here at home a Raven and a Peregrine were having a bit of a tussle in flight out above the crag. Jim Dickson, Gary Mike and Peter had Merlin down at Machir Bay whilst they were watching the Wheatear, again yesterday morning.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Thursday 1st December

Another month in with the rainfall tally being 5 inches exactly, a lot must have fallen while we were away, as there has been precious little since our return!!
Yesterday, Mandy had seen an Otter and 2 cubs in Ardnave Loch. She also saw 12 Whoopers, and also some Goldeneye, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck and some Mute Swans with around 30 Whitefronts and a Stonechat on the edge of the Loch. Down below the cattle grid, she had a flock of Lapwing and then 2 Pink footed Geese at Kilnave. Later on, Mandy spotted a Stoat resplendent in its' ermine coat on, down below the Hedges approaching Rock Mountain! Louise yesterday had counted 54 Chough at Machir Bay. The Wheatear was still present again today down there, seen by Gary, Mike and Peter along with Jim Dickson, so we await to hear Jim's thoughts and images, check the Argyll Bird Club webpage and then click on their 2016 sightings for the latest news.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Wednesday 30th of November

Well after a fair bit of groundwork carried by Mike and Peter, the "pale Wheatear" seen down at Machir Bay, and with images sent through to Paul French, who is chair of the British Birds rarities committee, it turns out to be an Isabelline Wheatear. It was still present mid afternoon, seen by Mike and Peter. Obviously, it will have to go to the whole committee before being accepted. To think that it has been around for over a week, and less than a mile away from here....
Bob, yesterday had an Iceland Gull just as he drove past the car park for the hides at Gruinart. Down behind the Machir Bay where the Wheatear has been seen, this morning Gary had counted 40 Curlew and 31 Ringed Plover. Late afternoon, I had a count of at least 40 Chough as thy headed into the roost, boy are they difficult to count when they duck and dive as they fly past!!!

Monday 28 November 2016

Monday 28th November

Yesterday morning, Mike Peacock had seen a "rather pale looking Wheatear" down at Machir Bay, Peter came down to see the bird but it had flown off. Mike had managed to take some images but none to prove which species it might be. Undeterred, Mike and Peter managed to obtain clearer images mid afternoon and consulted with Jim Dickson, the upshot was a probable pale Northern Wheatear. It was still present in the same location this morning, with a strong possibility of it being same bird that Gary saw early last week.
Phil Catton, had seen 4 Red breasted Merganser out in Port Ellen Bay from his window. Out towards the American Monument, Phil had over 150 Golden Plover as well as a single Lapwing which was showing more interest in the Highland cows there! Gary, late afternoon, had seen 5 Common Scoter and also 4 Wigeon at Uiskentuie where the burn enters Loch Indaal.
Remember to watch the TV on BBC1 at 9pm for the program bout fair Isle, and also if you are around, come along to the bird nerds tomorrow evening at 7.30 in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Sunday 27th November

Yesterday was Ciaran and Bex's last day on their first visit to Islay and there was no let up on their part... On Kilnaughton Bay, 5 GND, 4 RTD and a Slavonian Grebe were present. Out on Loch Indaal, from Blackrock, 4 Whoopers, 16 Eider, 2 Long tailed Duck, a drake Common Scoter, 36 Scaup, 6 R B Merganser, 16 GND, 5 RTD and 8 Slavonian Grebe were seen. Up on Ardnave Loch, 16 Whoopers, 24 Mute, 18 Wigeon, 22 Teal, 9 Goldeneye, a Pochard, and 9 R b Merganser while round Ardnave Point and out towards Nave Island, the following were present, a Razorbill, 21 Cormorant, 38 GND, 3 RTD, 4 Slavonian Grebe, a juv. Golden Eagle, a female Merlin, 28 Chough, 12 Snipe, a Jack Snipe, 26 Lapwing, 6 Ringed Plover, 8 Turnstone, 8 Pied Wagtail and also an Otter with 2 cubs! Back down on Loch Indaal in from Whin Park they saw 22 Pale bellied Brent, 12 Shelduck, 23 Dunlin, 174 Barwits, 78 Curlew and 69 Oystercatcher with a Chiffchaff heard in the trees behind the lay by. Many thanks to both Ciaran and Bex for all their sightings seen this week, much appreciated.
This morning, there was a small flock of 30 Ringed Plover in the field adjacent to the carpark at Machir Bay. Later on here at home, mid morning, the Peregrine was on the hunt, this time it stooped twice into the Chough, both times no joy, possibly a youngster out learning!!! It certainly made the said Chough waken up a bit!!!

Saturday 26 November 2016

Saturday 26th November

Yesterday, Gary had been out at Loch Ballygrant where he saw "loads of Blackbirds and Song Thrush" in the berry bushes as well as some Long tailed Tits in the trees. On the loch itself, Gary had  counted 8 Mute Swan, a Wigeon, 20 Tufted Duck, 11 Mallard and 9 Dabchick. Ciaran and Bex had 197 Whitefronts and a Crossbill at Laphroaig with 16 Redwing seen in the trees there as well. Along at Ardbeg, they saw 3 Grey Wagtail.
Before I forget, there is 2 part documentary about Fair Isle on BBC 1 on Monday at 9pm for the first episode.

Friday 25 November 2016

Friday 25th November

Yesterday morning, Ciaran and Bex had been up at Bunnahabhain Distillery. Their morning started well with spotting 2 Otters out in the bay, well almost actually only 1 as the other Otter was almost nobbled by a White tailed Eagle!!! Birds seen at Bunnahabhain included 23 Wigeon, 5 R b Merganser, 9 GND, 5 RTD, 4 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Tystie, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 1 Mistle Thrush, 12 Twite and also 2 Redpoll. Down on Loch Indaal, out from Whin Park, they saw 29 Pale bellied Brent, 38 Scaup, 14 Long tailed Duck, 1 Common Scoter, 14 Shelduck, 18 GND, 4 RTD, 19 Slav Grebe, 72 Barwit, 133 Curlew, 82 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, back on the land they counted 12 Red legged Partridge. Yesterday as well, Gary from Islay Wild Birding had been over on Jura where he saw a Golden Eagle, a White tailed Eagle, a Turnstone, a Ringed Plover, at least 20 Cormorant and Shag and also 28 GND. This morning, James had seen 7 Woodcock, 4 Goldcrest, a Sparrowhawk and a Chiffchaff as he walked through the woodland trail at Gruinart.
Andrew Kent from SNH sent me through the tally for the International Goose count carried out last week... the tally came to 52,363 Barnies, 4,777 Whitefronts and 1,067 Greylag Geese.  Many thanks to Andrew and the team from SNH for theses figures.
Before I forget, on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm, the Islay bird nerds will be holding their monthly meeting in the Lochside in Bowmore, the last meeting for 2016 I hasten to add!!! So if you are around, feel free to come along.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Thursday 24th November

Yesterday, Louise had a count of 200 Golden Plover over at Ballinaby, but had no luck in trying to spot any "rarer" plovers amongst them! Eric Bignall had counted 54 Chough still present on the reseeds at Kilchoman. Yesterday as well, Ciaran and Bex had gone down on the Oa again, with the weather being so settled for time of year. On their way along the road their highlights included 15 Lapwing, a Water rail heard calling , a Sparrowhawk, 4 Goldcrest and 3 Linnets. At Kinnabus, they saw 10 Whitefronts with collars on, amongst the total flock of 228. In the afternoon from Blackrock, their birds included 36 Scaup, 7 Slavonian Grebe, 6 GND, 3 RTD and 10 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Up at Gruinart, they saw 10 Whoopers, 424 Golden Plover, a female Bullfinch and also a Mistle Thrush. This evening, as the sunset was spectacular as they have over the past few evenings as well. 

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Wednesday 23rd November

Gary had carried out his WeBS count from Bruichladdich round to Blackrock earlier this week, a great variety of birds seen, so here goes... 53 GND, 37 RTD, 21 R b Merganser, 48 Cormorant, 35 Shag, 40 Slav Grebe, 20 Guillemot, 22 Tystie, 164 Eider, 6 Common Scoter, 53 Oystercatcher, 15 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 1 Barwit, 105 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 30 Turnstone, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 9 Snipe, 14 GBB Gull, 195 H Gull, 152 C Gull, 52 BH Gull, 150 Barnies, 70 Greylag, 4 Heron & 19 Pale bellied Brent. Gary had gone to Machir Bay to look for the Little Egret, but no joy, instead he made do with 32 Ringed Plover, 30 Oystercatcher, 20 Twite, with 3 Snow Bunting in the dunes and then a Northern Wheatear in the field next to the car park!
Ciarin and his girlfriend Bex who works on the Isle of May, had seen a flock of 74 Whitefronts at Kilnaughton and then a further 340 at Cornabus valley. A juv. White tailed Eagle was spoofing the 64 Greylags closeby! From Blackrock, they counted 18 Scaup, 4 Long tailed Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 13 R b Merganser, 8 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 6 Sanderling, 1 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover, 124 Barwit, 164 Oystercatcher and 2 Curlew. Down at Bruichladdich,  4 Pale bellied Brent, 6 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank & 25 Curlew were present.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Tuesday 22nd October

Many thanks to Michal and James for writing the blog over the last 10 days or so while I have been away on the mainland.
Carl Reavey had  heard a Great spotted Woodpecker calling in Port Charlotte on Sunday, yesterday, Carl had seen the Little Egret flying low out over Loch Indaal, from his office window in Bruichladdich. Visiting birder, Ciaran Hatsell, one the team from Fair Isle Bird Obs, yesterday had 2 GND, 1 RTD, 3 R B Merganser and 2 Goldeneye in Port Ellen Bay. over the  cottage where he is staying in, a flyover of a mixed flock of Thrushes including 2 Song Thrush, 8 Redwing, 28 Fieldfare, and 3 Blackbird. Also seen were 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Goldfinch and 2 Reed Bunting.  A walk round the Oa produced a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Peregrine with kill, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel. A mixed flock of finches there included 37 Twite, 3 Linnet, 3 Goldfinch, 4 Chaffinch and 3 Reed Bunting. Michal had been up at Ardnave yesterday, on Ardnave Loch he counted 38 Whoopers, 21 Mute, 53 Greylag, 38 Teal, 1 Pochard, 7 Tufted Duck and 7 Goldeneye. Also up on Ardnave, Michal had 136 Whitefronts, 57 Golden Plover, 200 Starling, a Buzzard, and also 39 Lapwing. Out on Nave Island, 37 Oystercatcher and 35 Shag were present. Today, on the floods at Gruinart, Toby Green saw a Green winged Teal amongst the flock of around 150 Teal. Toby was the visitor who saw the Little Egret earlier this week at Machir Bay.

Monday 21 November 2016

Monday 21st November

Dave saw 2 treecreepers and 2 goldcrests today on the Woodland Trail at Gruinart. He also saw a pink-footed goose in a field. Yesterday Gary saw a juvenile white tailed eagle at Bridgend Woods, 5 long tailed ducks at Bowmore Pier. At Gartmain he had 400 barnacle geese, 7 brent geese, 45 mallard, 40 scaup, 21 long tailed ducks, 7 slavonian grebe, 8 goldeneye, and later on a golden eagle over Loch Ballygrant. Bob reported his sightings from his WeBS between Bowmore and Gartbreack. He saw 90 oystercatcher, 142 curlew, 65 barwit, 5 knot, 102 dunlin, 10 long tailed duck, 2 goldeneye, 25 common scoter, 250 wigeon, 480 teal, 2 shelduck, 2 great northern diver, 8 redshank, 1 purple sandpiper, 4 grey plover, 35 lapwing and 3 snipe. Jim Dickson reported a little egret at Machair Bay yesterday. Yesterday Mandy saw turnstone, dunlin, 2 sanderling, 25 oystercatcher, 36 ringed plover, 13 + 25 whooper swans. At Blackrock she had 2 long-tailed ducks, 2 slavonian grebes, loads of great-northern divers, few red throated divers and loads of scoters and eiders.

Sunday 20 November 2016

Sunday 20th November

Today Mary saw 3 great spotted woodpeckers in her garden in Portnahaven. In Ardnave there was 29 turnstone, 2 great northern divers, 45 twite, 280 starlings. On Ardnave Loch there was 15 mute swans, 15 whoopers, 30 wigeon, 45 whitefronts, 47 teal and couple lapwings.

Friday 18 November 2016

Friday 18th November

Yesterday Bob had 22 whooper swans and few wigeons on Jura. Today he saw a blackcap in his garden. Looks like whoopers are moving through. Mandy saw 15 this morning over Kilchoman flying south, about 40 were seen over Gruinart Flats this morning heading for Loch Indaal plus another 7 in the afternoon.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Thursday 17th November

James saw 16 whooper swans, peregrine and a water rail on the reserve and pochard on Ardnave Loch. 7 whooper swans were seen flying over Loch Indaal heading south. Yesterday Mandy saw 7 red-legged partridges at Carrabus, male hen harrier at Ballimartin, dubchick at Loch Skerrols and 5 whooper swans at Gartmain.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Wednesday 16th November

Yesterday Mandy saw 2 pairs of goldeneye at Loch Skerrols, 2 golden eagles at Scarrabus, 2 red legged partridges at Knockdon and a white-tailed eagle near Balulive. Today there was a dozen whooper swans on the Floods at Gruinart, loads of assorted ducks and a pied and grey wagtail...

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Tuesday 15th November

A sparrowhawk was seen at Gruinart chasing after chaffinches. Few redwings seen at the office. Louise saw a lesser black-backed gull at Saligo, also 6 whooper swans at Loch Indaal. Dave saw a snipe few hoodies and ravens on the Oa today. International goose count was done today and we should bring you the results in the next few days.

Monday 14 November 2016

Monday 14th November

Greyness, wetness, doomines and gloomines and general winter miserability all day today. Birds hiding under a leaf somewhere. But here is at least a photo of part of the twite flock taken last week by Dave Wood on the Oa.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Unday 13th November

Couple dozen of redwings, two ring tail hen harriers were seen at Gruinart today. James saw two tree creepers in his garden. Two golden eagles at Kilinallan. 18 mute swans and 10 whooper swans on Ardnave Loch.

Saturday 12 November 2016

Saturday 12th November

Dave counted incredible 948 twite on the Oa couple days ago! Some results from survey of Floods at Loch Gruinart: 305 whitefronts, 101 mallards, 546 teal, 18 pintails, 24 shovelers, 115 lapwings. Couple ringtail hen harriers were also seen at Gruinart

Friday 11 November 2016

Friday 11th November

Survey of Loch Gruinart was done today by volunteers and here are some of the notable numbers: shelduck 89, wigeon 455, red-breasted merganser 10, oystercatcher 252, ringed plover 67, golden plover 702, lapwing 85, sanderling 81, dunlin 120, bar-tailed godwit 57, curlew 91, turnstone 31.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Thursday 10th November

Yesterday, visitors Mark and Sally had seen a Merlin in Bowmore, they were in their car in the car park/ lay by down below where Islay Farmers used to trade from at Bun an Uisg. The Merlin was flying along above the road from Shore Street and then it veered off inland once it came along towards them...Along the flats at Gruinart, they saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Up from the viewing platform, they saw a Woodcock and then later on  top of a telegraph pole  between Woodside and and Gruinart Farm, a Great spotted Woodpecker was sitting!!! On a run round the Rhinns, they had a mixed flock of Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing and a Mistle Thrush. This morning they saw a Merlin coming inland at Gartmain and just past the Gaelic College, 49 Pale bellied Brent were present. Over on the shore at Bruichladdich, Mark and Sally saw 4 Purple Sandpiper and also 4 Barwits. This afternoon, Bob saw 7 Greenfinches over at Kilchoman

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Wednesday 9th November

Right enough, the rain gauge is more than  last month already...and up by 50%!!! At least, we did not have any snow!!!
Today, Michal had 8 Long tailed Tits at Gruinart around the viewing platform as well as 12 Blackbirds. At the office at Bushmills, Michal saw a Sparrowhawk. Coming back from Bridgend around midday, Margaret counted 53 Scaup and also 12 Pale bellied Brent at Blackrock. A couple of Curlew, around 10 Oystercatcher and 6 Wigeon were present there as well. Mandy had been on Machir Bay and saw 7 Hooded Crows and also 5 Carrion Crows in the burn up the North end. On the sand, 17 Ringed Plover, 18 Common Gull and a Gbb Gull were noted. On the lochan in the dunes around 50 Wigeon were noted. Coming away from the bay, Mandy saw a male Hen Harrier spoofing the many Starling present on the overhead wires. Here at home, I watched a Buzzard being mobbed by a couple of Hoodies, helped on by 2 Jackdaws. Mid afternoon, looking out the kitchen window, a Golden Eagle was having a go at a Buzzard, right place, right time... just great to see!!! 

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Tuesday 8th November

I think that with the rain we have had today, (and still raining yet at 7pm), that the total rainfall so far this month, well it is more than October's total for the month, mind you it was only a mere inch, so possibly catch up time now!!
It might have been wet, but we still have some birds for you, mainly raptors... Mandy this morning had seen a Golden Eagle being mobbed by corvids over at Ballinaby. Gary saw an Iceland Gull at Gartmain. Here at home, the grass was covered with Starlings for a few moments this morning, there were over 300, glad they were nowhere near the bird food!!! Mark and Sally Johnson are back over this week, good to see you again!!! They are staying up at Sanaigmore this time and since coming over on Saturday their birds seen here include a Golden Eagle, White tailed Eagle, a Peregrine, a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a couple of Buzzards.

Monday 7 November 2016

Monday 7th November

Mike Bell was in touch with his birds seen as he headed over to the ferry on Saturday morning. At Redhouses, Mike saw a male Hen Harrier, along at Eorrabus, 5 Pink footed Geese were present with another male Hen Harrier seen at the road end leading to Finlaggan. Thanks Mike for all your sightings over the past week. This afternoon, I spotted a Buzzard on top of a telegraph pole down close to Sunderland and then on the wires just past the next post was a wee Merlin perched up! Last week I commented about James having a count of 48 Whoopers at Gruinart, well Richard Potts who had been up on Mull, saw the same Swans fly overhead the previous day, a small world???
Mandy yesterday had a female Merlin on a fence post close to the phone box at the far end of Loch Gorm. Today, Fiona had counted 14 RTD, and at least 4 GND out on Loch Indaal seen from Bruichladdich Pier. Mandy had a count of 32 Rock Doves on the pier. On the rocks there were 3 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Barwits, 3 Oystercatcher, 3 Ringed Plover and a Redshank. Out on the Loch, 24 Eider, 16 R B Merganser, and 5 Common Scoter (2male + 3 female) were present. Along at Blackrock, 54 Scaup, 2 Goldeneye, 26 Pale bellied Brent and 2 Greylag were seen.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Sunday 6th November

Returning home on the ferry on Friday afternoon, James counted 56 GND while on the crossing.   First thing on Friday morning, Mike Bell had seen 40 Chough on the reseeds at Kilchoman and a Peregrine over the crag. Late morning, he counted 40 RTD, 27 GND, 15 Slavonian Grebe, a drake Long tailed Duck, a Razorbill, 2 Tystie and 50 Scaup between Bruichladdich and Blackrock, all out on Loch Indaal. In the afternoon, Mike had 2 Snow Bunting & 38 Chough at Ardnave with 22 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone and 4 Bar tailed Godwits over at Traigh Nostaig. Down on the "floods" on the reserve at Gruinart, Mike saw 570 Teal, 46 Pintail, 17 Shoveler, and a family of 6 Whoopers. Back at his cottage, Mike saw 11 Pied Wagtails heading in to their roost.  Finally, Mike saw a Sparrowhawk and 11 Fieldfare before heading off to catch the ferry on Saturday morning. As ever, many thanks to all the visitors who have kindly sent through their sightings for me to share with you all. Late afternoon, yesterday Mandy had been down on Machir Bay. Up the North end, towards Coull, Mandy saw 38 Ringed Plover on the shore with 45 Curlew, 50 Common Gull and 5 Oystercatcher on the rocks there as well. This afternoon, we saw a nice male Hen Harrier fly past as we approached Culbuie.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Saturday 5th November

On Monday, James had a Brambling in his garden, Fiona MacGillivray had seen a pair of Bullfinches at "the hedges" below Sunderland Farm. Earlier this week, Mandy had 2 adult Whoopers and a cygnet in Bowmore Harbour, later on she saw 3 Pintail along at Gartmain. On Thursday, Mike had braved the elements and saw a male Hen Harrier at Saligo and then a ringtail further on at Carnduncan. Amongst the alder trees past The Woollen Mill, Mike counted a flock of 102 Siskin. On Friday, Mike had a much better day, the weather was a lot kinder!!! High, over the crag at Kilchoman, he saw 2 Peregrines, a ringtail and a distant Golden Eagle. 44 Chough came out from the roost, while down on the track leading to Machir bay, he saw 3 Song Thrush with a Redwing present there as well. Along at Sunderland, Mike counted 400 Rock Doves. Also seen there was a mixed flock of Thrushes consisting of Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird and also a single Mistle Thrush. Up on Ardnave Loch, there was a Dabchick, 5 Whoopers, 5 Tufted Duck and 5 Goldeneye. Over the dunes there, a Peregrine and a Merlin were spotted.

Friday 4 November 2016

Friday 4th November

Some birds through from Mike Bell, seen on Wednesday. Initially, Mike had 12 Whoopers flying South past Machir Bay .Down close to Foreland House, 7 Long tailed Tits flew across the road. A count from Bruichladdich to Blackrock produced 34 RTD, 10 GND, 33 Slav. Grebe, 65 Pbb Brent, 690 Wigeon, 49 Scaup, 154 Eider, 109 Common Scoter, 4 Long tailed Duck (3 males +1 female), 4 Goldeneye, 102 R B Merganser, 6 Guillemot and a Tystie. Over at Port Askaig Mike had 4 flocks of Fieldfare totalling 460 birds, 30 Redwing and a Waxwing. Over the low hills behind Kilmeny, a juv and an adult Golden Eagle were present, with another adult seen up out from Storakaig as was a White tailed Eagle and also a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down at Cluanach, Mike counted 25 Siskin and finally, he had a Sparrowhawk and also a Peregrine out over the crag behind Kilchoman. Yesterday Carl Reavey had seen 12 Whoopers fly South down Loch Indaal and this morning, 19 Common Scoter were present off Bruichladdich.

Thursday 3 November 2016

Thursday 3rd November

Should not have been mentioning the other night on how dry October was, as I think that we have had a day of catch up, with dirty, squally showers coming and going for most of the day...
Yesterday, Bob saw the Brambling back in his garden. Today, we have seen 3 groups of Whoopers fly past, totalling 28 in all. Gary today saw a Merlin chasing the wee birds in the barley stubbles over at Newton, up from Bridgend as one heads towards Port Askaig.

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Wednesday 2nd November

Adrian from the RAFOS team yesterday had a Moorhen and also Water Rail on the wee pond beside Cross Houses at Carnain. He also had a walk through Bridgend Woods producing Long tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Treecreeper and Goldcrest. Up towards Bunnahabhain he saw 4 Red legged Partridge and then, late afternoon, a juv. Golden Eagle at the Woollen Mill. Other team members had  seen the same Golden Plover flock that Mike Bell had counted at 650, the only difference being that they counted only 647, not bad going , really impressed that the figures were so close. Over at Finlaggan, they saw a White tailed Eagle and also a Golden Eagle nearby. Back at Blackrock, a raft of 50 Scaup was present.  Today, Mike Peacock had counted 48 GND, 9 RTD and 87 Common Scoter between Port Charlotte and Gartmain. Today, Mandy and Malcolm had flushed a Jack Snipe as they drove along the rough track leading to Avinlussa above Laggan Bridge on the high road.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Tuesday 1st November

Another month in, the rainfall, well the driest month so far of the year, we only had a mere inch, our friends over at Mulindry had almost double that, not that either of us are complaining...
Yesterday the team over from RAFOS had seen a couple of Cackling Geese on their travels around Islay. On Loch Indaal, a couple of male R b Merganser were having a difference of opinion. Also on the Loch were RTD, BTD and also some GND. They also noted numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare on the increase and also Stonechat seen all around...Carl Reavey has been watching the display of Bottle nosed dolphins from his office window at Bruichladdich distillery over the past few days... Also yesterday, Carl watched a Merlin chasing a Rock Pipit, with the Barwits on the shore not even giving a whit!!! Dave Pierce and the Naturetrek group yesterday had seen a Merlin on their way to Ardnave and then a Peregrine over the crag at Kilchoman. Today, down off Gartbreck, the pod of B n Dolphins were seen as well. Gordon and Pauline Yates had a count of 200 Fieldfare at Tallant, 4 Yellowhammer at Keills and a Golden Eagle up at Bunahabhain. Over on Jura, they saw a Sparrowhawk, another Golden Eagle as well a  Hen Harrier. Mike Bell had a ringtail Hen Harrier at Gruinart. Up along the East side of Loch Gruinart, he saw 2 pale bellied Brent, 42 Shelduck, 9 Heron (sheltering!), 7 Grey Plover, 85 Knot, 78 Sanderling, 5 Greenshank, 138 Barwits and 13 Turnstone. A walk out towards Killinallan produced a male Hen Harrier, 1 Golden Eagle, 2 distant White tailed Eagle, 280 Lapwing, 550 Golden Plover, 14 Snipe (7 flushed up by the Harrier!), 6 Raven, 40 Twite and 3 Chough. Down at Lyrabus, 5 Fieldfare. A single Carrion Crow was seen with 55 Hoodies over close to Storakaig, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen on the Glen road and another at Finlaggan. At Whin Park/ Bridgend merse 530 Golden Plover were counted. Finally Mike saw a couple of Golden Eagle soar away inland at Kilchoman with 2 Peregrine also seen there a short time afterwards, late afternoon. 

Monday 31 October 2016

Monday 31st October

This morning, Mike took the right decision and headed over to the Oa. At Killeyan he had a small flock of 40 Twite and then down at Kinnabus on the wires, Mike counted 630 Twite. Out on Kinnabus Loch, 171 Greenland Whitefronts and a Goldeneye were present. Heading back towards, Port Ellen, Mike saw a Golden Eagle on a rocky outcrop. On Kilnaughton Bay, a GND was seen. Out from Bowmore, on Loch Indaal, 22 Whoopers and 91 Pale bellied Brent were present. From Blackrock, Mike counted 670 Wigeon, 23 Pintail, 650 Golden Plover, 103 Barwits, 28 Knot, 57 Scaup. Uiskentuie held 2 Slavonian Grebe and also 16 Common Scoter. At Gruinart, he had a Dabchick, 64 Pintail, a Hen Harrier and 220 Teal. Dave Pierce along with his clients from Naturetrek had seen a Purple Sandpiper at Blackrock and also the Scaup there as well. They also had 2 good sightings of Chough flocks, one at Ardnave, the other at Kilchoman. On Naturetrek's previous visit, one of their members, Andrew Kingston, had seen the Kingfisher on the Sorn on the 23rd of October, and the next day over at Inver on Jura, a Dipper was seen. Today, Michal had a count of 338 Whitefronts on the reserve at Gruinart and also saw 395 Lapwing.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Sunday 30th October

Bob was round here yesterday afternoon and had count of over 40 Chough out on the grass reseeds. Back at his house, in his garden, the recent influx of Blackbirds have stripped all the berries from Bob's cotoneaster bushes!! Other birds present included a Goldcrest and also a Willow Warbler. On his way home from here, Bob had seen 2 large Canada Geese along at Sunderland. Also yesterday, James had seen 48 Whoopers on the reserve at Gruinart. Late evening, along the flats, James had a Barn Owl. Michal saw a Grey Wagtail and then a Sparrowhawk close to Gruinart Farm. Mike Bell this morning had counted 42 Chough out on the reseeds and had seen 2 small groups of Whoopers totalling 14 fly South. Up on Ardnave there were a further 11 resting up along with a Goldeneye there as well. A further 27 arrived in from the North, just after the original  party had departed. At Traigh Nostaig, 42 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone and 2 Grey Plover were present. Out towards Nave Island, a GND was on the water while 7 Carrion Crows were seen as Mike carried on with his walk. 38 Chough and also a flock of 24 Twite were seen too. Mike also had 4 Snow Bunting further on. Coming back down the road from Ardnave, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen mobbing a Peregrine which was sitting on a rock! On the cover crop at Creag Mhor, 160 Linnets were counted. On the floods at Gruinart, Mike had seen 55 Pintail, 18 Shoveler,  570 Teal, over 40 Wigeon, a Peregrine and also ringtail Hen Harrier, no sign of the American Wigeon though!!! Over the flats, 660 Golden Plover present with 95 Twite seen at Craigens. Over the far hills, 2 distant Golden Eagle were present. Finally, a female Peregrine was on top of a fence post close to Saligo. Returning visitors, Gordon & Pauline Yates had seen a distant Golden Eagle out over the hills behind Bunnahabhain. Below Rock Mountain, a female Merlin noted. Around lunchtime at Port Charlotte, they had seen the pod of 8 Bottle nosed Dolphins out on Loch Indaal. They also saw 10 Whoopers flying out towards Ireland. On Loch Gorm, this afternoon, Mandy and Fiona had 3 Dabchick, 27 Tufted Duck, 188 Barnies, 68 Whitefronts, 6 Cormorant, 1 GBB Gull and also 5 Mallard. Here at home, late afternoon, we had 2 flocks of Fieldfare flying high, one around 150 birds the other 80+,  both moving South

Saturday 29 October 2016

Friday 29th October

Yesterday, James had counted 62 Whoopers on the reserve at Gruinart and he has still got the Chiffchaff in his garden. Today James only saw 23 Whoopers. Adrian, one of the RAFOS group who have arrived today, had been on Jura last week . Top sightings included Siskin, loads of Fieldfare, Redwing, White tailed Sea Eagle, Merlin, Golden Eagle, Barn Owl, a Kestrel close to Craighouse. Also on Jura, he had Greylags, a large Canada Goose and a Pink footed Goose too. Today on Loch Indaal, out of Bowmore he had around 200 Pale bellied Brent and then 2 male Yellowhammers beside the stream close to where he is staying this week. Fiona McGillvray had seen an American Wigeon  on the floods at Gruinart this morning. Gary, mid afternoon had seen a Waxwing amongst some Blackbirds at Kilmeny. Earlier on while out with some clients, they too had seen the large flock of Brent geese and many Barnies. Along towards the Smiddy, a Canada Goose was spotted and then 3 flocks of Golden Plover , each of around 100 birds were seen. Up at Bunnahabhain, they had seen an Otter. A great day out for Gary and his guests. Malcolm had 14 adult Whoopers fly South down Loch Indaal, really low down , not even 30 feet above the water...

Friday 28 October 2016

Friday 28th October

Returning visitor to Islay, Robin Sutton dropped in for a quick catch up this morning. Yesterday, Robin had seen 3 Grey Plover and a male Snow Bunting on the East side of Loch Gruinart. This morning, he saw a Long tailed Duck on Loch Indaal as well as 8 Slavonian Grebes and also 4 GND. Back on Tuesday, Robin had a juv. White tailed Eagle out from Blackrock and the next day up towards Killinallan, an exhausted juv. Golden Eagle on the ground recharging its' batteries after being mobbed by Jackdaws and also a couple of Ravens... Lee Thickett had a Goldcrest in the trees around the cottage where he has been staying. As he prepared to pack his car up late this morning, a group of 12 Chough were watching him from the apex of the roof on the cottage next door!!! John Wilson today had been down on the Oa where he had a large mixed flock of around 50 Linnet and around 320 Twite. Also seen on the Oa were 3 Greenfinch and also a Merlin. Over at Ardbeg, John had seen a Treecreeper and also 2 Bullfinch. On Loch Indaal, John counted 58 Scaup. Yesterday, on a run round the Rhinns, he had seen an imm Golden Eagle, less than 30 metres away from the car!!!! Mandy this afternoon had seen a group of 7 Whoopers flying South past Machir Bay, 8 Greenland Whitefronts dropping down in to Kilchiaran. At the top (North) end of Machir Bay, Mandy had 41 Common Gull, 2 GBB Gull, 7 Herring Gull and a single Oystercatcher. We had 2 sets of Whoopers fly South today as well, a 9 and also another group of 14 later on.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Thursday 27th October

Yesterday, John Wilson had seen the Dolphins as well off Port Charlotte and reckons there were at least 8 in the pod... Later on, John had gone down to Portnahaven  and while watching the seals there, about 40 Gannets flew past in a Southerly direction. Today at the Woollen Mill, he had seen a Greenfinch on the feeders with a BTO leg ring on, along at Finlaggan in the reeds, there were some Goldfinches and then up past Ardnahoe, a few Red legged Partridges were present, possibly released birds John wondered... Today at Gruinart, James had seen 8 Pale bellied Brents and 2 Pink footed Geese. Also counted was a flock of 270 Golden Plover.
Some more news relating to the cull of the Barnacle geese, the number of geese to be culled is at present 1,800 and this figure will be reviewed once the December International goose count has been carried out.  Apparently the scheme is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by SNH. If you have any queries about the scheme, please contact your local Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) or write to the local SNH office at Main Street, Bowmore, PA43 7JJ.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Wednesday 26th October

Some sightings gleaned at bird nerds last night... At the weekend, David Barr had seen 10 Turnstone on the shoreline at Bowmore. Mandy had taken a walk through the dunes at the back of Machir bay seeing a small flock of 16 Twite, 12 Oysercatcher and also 9 Hooded Crow. On Machir Bay itself, Julia ( a volunteer with RSPB) had seen 2 Turnstone and 3 Sanderling. Earlier on, over at Bunnahabhain, Julia had a Peregrine flying across the Sound of Islay to Jura. Bob yesterday had a Merlin at Octomre with a male Hen Harrier seen over Bolsay Moor. Phill Catton reported seeing 3 Golden Eagles together on the Oa, a male and 2 females! He also had a Peregrine as well as a Hen Harrier. The Chifffchaff was still present in James's garden yesterday. This afternoon, we saw at least 8 Bottle nosed Dolphins off Port Charlotte, very impressive, boy they were active...
Jeff Duncan had sent through a couple of images of the buntings that he had seen last week up at Ardnave which proved to be Lapland Buntings. Phil Knott from Heatherlea told me last night of seeing a Carrion Crow while he was down round the Rhinns with his visitors.
I have been hearing "reports" of the proposed cull of our Barnacle geese this year to be 2,900. I tried yesterday to get confirmation from SNH about the scheme and the actual number proposed, but nobody was available to comment as they were not in the office, either still on holiday or just not in... Once I hear any more information, I will let you know! The actual scheme is funded by SNH.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Tuesday 25th October

Dave  Protherough last Friday had seen 20 Whoopers fly through Cornabus valley down at Port Ellen. Yesterday visitor, David Sanderson had a flock of around 100 Chaffinches along at Sunderland Farm. Here at home, we saw a Sparrowhawk fly past and today, the Hooded Crows were making the most of a rabbit in the edge of the garden.....Later on, we had between 250 - 300 Fieldfare drop in out of the sky as they moved through. Bob had heard the Willow Warbler in his garden again and also noted seeing more Blackbirds around too. John Wilson had seen 120 Greylags down on the stubbles at Rockside. Along the road, he had a mixed flock of Linnet and Twite. The group who have been over from Heatherlea had seen a  Snow Bunting at Sanaigmore and also a male Kingfisher at the mouth of the River Sorn at Bridgend.. Visitor Phil Hampson today had seen a raft of 49 Scaup at Blackrock. At Ardnave, he saw 25 Chough and also 30 Twite, and at Craigens a ringtail Hen Harrier while out on Loch Gruinart, 3 Greenshank were present.

Monday 24 October 2016

Monday 24th October

Over the past few days Gary has been seeing groups of Long tailed Tit, Goldcrest and also Treecreeper in his garden. Yesterday, Lee and Aileen Thickett had seen a Peregrine spoofing the geese at the top of Loch Indaal, but with no success. Back out in the trees at their cottage, they saw a Treecreeper. Michal, along with James and his family had made the most of the great spell of weather and climbed up Bheinn Bheigier yesterday, they saw a Dipper on the stream close to where they parked their car, and other birds seen included 2 Peregrine, 12 Golden Plover and 3 Raven. Yesterday also, Mandy had seen a Pink footed Goose amongst the mixed flock of 800 Barnies and 75 Greenland Whitefronts at Rockside. In the early evening, at Rockside as well, Mandy spotted a Barn Owl perched on top of the stone wall beside the road. Bob was in touch today to say an increase in numbers of wee birds in his garden this morning. More House Sparrows, Chaffinches and Goldfinches with 6 Greenfinch, 12 Great Tit, Blue Tits all seen on his sunflower heads! Other birds present were Goldcrest and also a Willow Warbler. Phil Hampson saw the Long tailed Duck out on Loch Gruinart this morning again, a Greenshank too with a "tired looking" Wheatear on the shore.  While Phil was visiting here this afternoon, 30 Chough graced us with a flypast! Today, John Wilson had gone over to Jura. He had between 250 - 300 Fieldfare helping themselves to the plentiful Rowan berries present. Back on Loch Indaal, at Bowmore, John had 17 Pale bellied Brent Geese, and yesterday evening down on Machir Bay, he counted 39 Ringed Plover.

Sunday 23 October 2016

Sunday 23rd October

Many thanks to the visitors who have sent their sightings through for me to share their sightings with  you, makes the job all the more worthwhile!!!
Returning visitor, John Wilson who used work with the RSPB at Leighton Moss, came over on the ferry yesterday seeing several GND and some rafts of Tysties, and then 2 Golden Eagles as the ferry came up the Sound of Islay towards Port Askaig. Past Bridgend, John saw 5 Whoopers and also a flock of Twite. Another visitor who used to live here for around 4 years or so, had seen 5 Buzzards as he drove up towards Ardnave, and then another 2 on a dead pigeon on the road close to Rockside. A Merlin was seen near to Carnduncan, a Wheatear up towards Killinallan and also a raft of 34 Scaup at Blackrock, all seen yesterday. Today, Phil Hampson had a Long tailed Duck along with a pair of Goldeneye out on Loch Gruinart from Bun an Uillt. Phil told me that he had never seen a long tailed duck there when he lived here. Later on, Phil had 2 ringtail Hen Harriers up towards Ardnave.
This morning, Bob had seen a juv. White tailed Eagle trying to spoof the geese in the fields below his house at Port Charlotte.

Saturday 22 October 2016

Saturday 22nd October

Jeff Wilson from Glasgow yesterday had the possible sighting of 3 Lapland Buntings. Also seen there by Jeff were 5 Sanderling, 12 Chough and a female Sparrowhawk. I was in touch with James earlier on, and he believes that there at least 10 different Canada Geese around, possibly even more....Around 10 pm yesterday, a Barn Owl flew past the window, the first that I have seen up here at home! This morning, 3 Buzzards were close to hand, low down just over the garden fence, so I wonder if they had been out looking for a myxie rabbit for breakfast!!! Later on close to midday, we saw a Yellowhammer at Blackrock as we came home from Bridgend. Dave Wood today had seen a Yellow browed Warbler at Kinnabus on the Oa and also present were 5 Long tailed Tits. The Long tailed Tits were the first that Dave has seen on the Oa!  Visitor, Lee Thickett had seen a Merlin round at Saligo, late afternoon.
This Tuesday, 25th October, the Islay Bird nerds are holding their monthly catch up. We will be meeting in the Lochside Hotel at 7.30pm, so feel free to come along if you are around....

Friday 21 October 2016

Friday 21st October

James sent though the tally of the geese present at Gruinart, counted yesterday as follows, 32,065 Barnies, 1 leucistic Bary, 2 Pinkies, 2 Pale bellied Brent, 3 Canadas, all hutchinsii sp., one parvipes sp and a Todd's sp (5 in total). No figure was given for Whitefronts.  Out over the salt marsh James saw a Peregrine and later on, a Chiffchaff was seen in his garden. Doreen and James Main yesterday had seen 4 Redwing at Springbank, 15 Fieldfare on a tree a mile out of Bowmore. Further on  while heading down towards the Oa, close to Lower Cragabus, they saw a pair of Bullfinches. On the Oa itself, 2 Merlin were present, one of them flushed the flock of Twite up!!! Also there, were 2 Chough. Richard Scott and Alan Lewin had 2 Swallows at Gartmain, a Merlin on the Oa, and in Port Ellen bay, 20 Ringed Plover, a RTD and a GND, all yesterday. They are now up to 82 species so far this week.... Mary Redman had 2 Snow Bunting at Claddach, Portnahaven and also a Wheatear present there this morning. There were 6 Whoopers on one of the lochans beside Loch Gorm this morning as well. No sign of the Brambling today!!!

Thursday 20 October 2016

Thursday 20th October

The jersey got put aside this afternoon, not that I was working that hard.... what a difference in the temperature, and it was nice and dry from dawn to dusk, no complaints at all!!!
Forgot to mention last night that we had 5 groups of Whoopers fly past, totalling 33 in all. Yesterday, Doreen and James Main had seen a couple of Chough tumbling in air beside the cliffs behind Machir Bay. Later on, up at Ardnave Loch, they counted 27 Whoopers with 5 Chough noted out over the dunes there also. Out on Loch Indaal, on their way back to Port Charlotte, they had a raft of 15 Scaup, a Slavonian Grebe, 2 RTD, 4 BTD and 9 RB Merganser.  Bob, this morning, had a Jack Snipe on Bolsay Moor and commented that there had been a steady movement over the moor of low flying Redwing. Louise commented this morning of seeing more Blackbirds around. Round between Saligo and Ballinaby this morning, we had a close viewing of a Merlin as it flew along the fence line before it peeled away across the fields!

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Wednesday 19th October

Doreen and James Main from East Lothian yesterday had seen 2 GND in summer plumage, 9 BTD & 12 RTD all off Bruichladdich. Also out on Loch Indaal, 2 rafts of Scaup, one of 18, the other with 15 Scaup. Up at Gruinart, they saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Steve Percival yesterday had a Wheatear  at Craigens. His colleague, Keith Langdon had done a spot off seawatching at Frenchman's Rocks yesterday. Keith saw a Southerly passage of 1500 Kittiwakes /hr past, with 7 GND, 200 Gannet and 20 Pale bellied Brent all flying North. Yesterday off Port Charlotte, Richard Scott and Alan Lewin from Chesterfield had seen Guillemot, 3 GND, 2RTD, Scaup, Common Scoter and Tystie. Out of Portnahaven they spotted 2 Golden Eagles, 2 Buzzards and also 2 Ravens. At lunchtime today, James was in touch with an update of arrivals, 30,230 Barnies, 119 Greenland Whitefronts, a Canada goose, parvipes sp, another Canada, hutchinsii sp., 2 Pinkies, 2 Pale bellied Brent and 10 Whoopers as well as 290 Golden Plover. Michal later updated the Golden Plover figure to 550, just before 5 pm... Today Bob, Ivan (Bob's son), Lesley and myself carried out our WeBS count as the weather was a lot better for the job.. our birds were 2 Heron, 16 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 900 Barnies , 40 Greylag, 21 Green Whitefronts, 2 Whoopers, 53 Mallard, 6 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 4 Eider, 27 RB Merganser, 26 Oystercatcher, 120 Curlew, 64 Barwits, 3 Blackwit, 9 Dunlin, 2 Knot, 5 Redshank, 1 Razorbill, 1 Snipe, 90 Lapwing, 9 Grey Plover, 350 Golden Plover, 12 GBB Gull, 90 H Gull, 3 C Gull and 10 BH Gull. We also had a Swallow at the start in Bowmore, some Rock Pipits along the way and finally 12 Twite close to Gartbreck itself. The Brambling was still present here at home today and Bob had a male Brambling at his house this afternoon.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Tuesday 18th October

Some sightings in from Richard Scott from Chesterfield... On Friday he saw a Peregrine out from Whin Park, over at Bowmore a total of 6 Swallows were there. From Whin Park on Saturday, 4 Grey Plover were present. On Sunday , over behind Ballygrant he watched a Golden Eagle, 2 Raven and 2 Buzzards soaring around in the wind. Yesterday at Gruinart, he had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier, 80 Twite with a Goldcrest while on the Woodland trail. From the hides many duck around including Pintail, Teal & Wigeon seen, as were 4 Buzzards up in the windy conditions. Yesterday, we saw 9 Fieldfare over at Coull Farm, Michal had seen 4 at Gruinart Farm as well as a Grey Wagtail. Martin Armstrong had seen a Marsh Harrier as he watched the geese yesterday afternoon. Steve Percival had counted 2750 Barnies at Gruinart this morning with a further 800 counted at  Loch Indaal. Steve also had a Wheatear out on the dunes at Ardnave with a Common Scoter seen on Ardnave Loch. Peter Donaldson had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier close to Ballymeanach on the Rhinns. Peter Duncan arrived the other day from Glasgow, seeing 2 Peregrine at Port Askaig, a Merlin in the dunes behind Machir Bay and then a White tailed Eagle over at Ardbeg, a great start to his visit!! The tally for the geese, this evening through from James, was 6,500 Barnies, 2 Pinkies, 2 Pale bellied Brent, and 16 Greenland Whitefronts. A small Canada Goose, hutchinsii sp was seen by Bob late afternoon, James had also seen it as well. The Brambling was still present here at home, along with 31 House Sparrows and over 60 Goldfinches along with the Linnets and a Grey Wagtail noted down beside the stream.

Monday 17 October 2016

Monday 17th October

Yesterday, visitor Jesse Wilkinson had a good time down on the Oa seeing no less than 3 Merlin, 2 ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 juv White tailed Eagles and 2 Golden Eagles. Today, he had seen a male Pergerine close to Kinnabus with a Lapland Bunting  spotted near to the burn that takes the water away from Loch Kinabus. Down fields close to the Machrie, he saw a male Hen Harrier flushing out 2 Lapland Bunting and then a male Merlin flushing Starlings! Jesse also saw a "mobile group" of over 100 Skylarks along with some Reed Buntings also there. James was in touch to say that the Barnacle Geese had started to arrive in larger numbers today, at close of play over 3,500 Barnies had arrived today with 15 Whitefronts and 3 Pinkies as well. On the floods, James saw a Peregrine and back at his house, in his garden, 3 Blackcaps were present. Peter Donaldson had gone up to Sanaigmore, but nothing much of note apart from a Wren, round close to Craigmhor, on a fence line, 24 Twite were spotted. Peter also witnessed the continual arrivals of the geese at Gruinart. Some birds through from Phill on the Oa, 5 Chough were seen out towards the American Monument, with the Snow Bunting noted, being seen on the way to the monument. 2 Hen Harriers seen with the Twite count now 250 and at Upper Killeyan, 120 Starling were counted. Doreen and James Main today had seen 2 BTD and 6 Black Guillemots off Bruichladdich, on the merse at Bridgend over 300 Barnies and 60 Greylags were present. Down on the Oa, highlights included seeing a total of 12 Stonechat, a Buzzard, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Peregrine, a male and an imm. bird, the Snow Bunting and 2 Raven. In the afternoon, back at Bridgend, 500 Barnies, 100+ Greylags were counted with 4 Whoopers flying past and a flock of 70 Golden Plover in the air too. Back at home, there was a Brambling amongst the finches at breakfast time, and better still, it was still present, late afternoon. Bob, had commented on seeing more Great Tits and Greenfinches on his garden feeders.

Sunday 16 October 2016

Sunday 16th October

Yes, there is no doubt that Autumn is here, a drop in temperature with heavy squally showers in the mix and also a few beautiful rainbows as well...
Doreen Main is over for a few days along with from some friends from the Lothian branch of the SOC. Yesterday evening at Bruichladdich Pier, they saw a murmeration of around 200 Starlings. This morning at Gruinart, they saw a 18 Greenland Whitefronts. Later on, at the head of Loch Indaal  25 Whoopers, at least 30 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 2 Shelduck, 300 Wigeon, 15 Eider, 6 Common Scoter, 7 Golden Plover, 25 Curlew  and 45 Common Gull were present early afternoon, and with the tide coming in, most of the birds had moved on when Doreen and her friends came back out of Bowmore less than 30 minutes later...Returning visitor Peter Donaldson had a single Pale bellied Brent Goose in the harbour down at Portnahaven, We saw a ringtail Hen Harrier this afternoon, over beside Culbuie. James and Michal had a male Hen Harrier below Moulin at Gruinart. They were both saying that they have been hearing and seeing a few Redwings there as well. The small group of 4 Whoopers down at Rockside appear to have moved on as we have not noticed them today.
Many thanks to all the visiting birders who have been sending through their sightings, much appreciated as ever.

Saturday 15 October 2016

Saturday 15th October

Yesterday, Michal had carried out his WeBS counts and here are his tallies... Ardnave Loch, 13 Mute Swan, 12 Mallard, 3 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck and 9 Wigeon. The tally for Loch Gruinart came to 27 Shelduck, 32 Teal, 8 Red breasted Merganser, 133 Oystercatcher, 30 Ringed Plover, 152 Lapwing, 39 Sanderling, 123 Dunlin, 110 Barwits, 117 Curlew, 23 Redshank, 62 Turnstone, 3 Greenshank, 6 Pale bellied Brent, 30 Black headed Gull, 176 Common Gull, 18 Herring Gull and 6 Great Black backed Gull. The birds on the floods were 1 Moorhen, 3 Gadwall, 2 Heron, 679 Teal, 21 Shoveler,134 Mallard, 190 Wigeon, 32 Pintail, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Mute Swan, 2 Whoopers, 6 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, 2 Snipe, 20 Greenland Whitefronts and also 115 Barnies.

Friday 14 October 2016

Friday 14th October

Louise Muir phoned over from Jura this morning to say that she had counted 120 Fieldfare flying to the Rowans outside her home at Gatehouse, no doubt looking to strip the crop of berries... Nicholas Watts had seen 4 Swallows at Bowmore yesterday. The Hampshire birders today had taken a walk out past Daill behind Bridgend in towards Scouller seeing Raven, 3 Buzzards and Skylarks. Back down at Carnain they saw Curlew and also a flock of Teal. Gary had been up at Sanaigmore, but no joy with the Red backed Shrike today. He had a Pale bellied Brent and a small flock of 10 Twite with 4 Snow Buntings flying overhead. Here at home we had a visit from a brief flying visit from the Sparrowhawk.

Thursday 13 October 2016

Thursday 13th October

Gerry Dopler had also seen the Red backed Shrike on Tuesday afternoon over past the Coille roadend. Richard Belter had gone over to Colonsay yesterday and saw a Greenland Wheatear there, and this morning he saw a Northern Wheatear up at Sanaigmore. James saw a Jack Snipe on the reserve at Gruinart this morning. At Carnain, the Hampshire birders had seen 2 Greenfinch, 2 Wrens on the wall, Goldfinches and Stonechats as well. Along at Blackrock, Scaup were spotted out on Loch Indaal with a ringtail Hen Harrier over the raised beach past Uiskentuie. The Bowland Birders had been up at Sanaigmore, no Snow Buntings or Shrike, but saw a Golden Eagle soar past lazily. On Loch Gorm 12 Tufted Duck were present with 4 Whoopers still on the stubbles at Rockside. At Gruinart, a Merlin and 12 Whitefronts were seen. Here at home, late afternoon, 17 Chough graced us with a flypast!!!

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Wenesday 12th October

Robin Harvey from Benderloch, out of Oban has spent 3 days over here on Islay, a very productive visit by the sound of things according to Robin's correspondence to Jim Dickson and myself. His highlights included a female Goldeneye on Ardnave Loch, 38 Barwits and 18 Dunlin at Gartmain, 70 Rock Doves at Carn, Port Charlotte. He noted seeing "lots of Stonechats " on his way round the Rhinns, more than he has ever seen before! On the walk on the Oa with Dave Maynard, 3 Wheatear were seen together, on the way back to Port Ellen, more Stonechats were seen as was a fine male Blackcap. Finally up the East side of Gruinart, Robin saw 40 Barwit, 66 Curlew, 6 Redshank, 17 Ringed Plover, 6 Grey Plover, at least 20 Dunlin, around 80 Oystercatcher, 23 Turnstone. A great list of sightings, thanks Robin. Ian Mears from Hampshire also headed off home yesterday but had a couple of Golden Eagle out over Bunnahabhain and finally 50 Redwing down at the Lily Loch out of Port Askaig. Back on Monday Rob McNab from Linlithgow had seen Chough, a large flock of Twite and also a Golden Eagle while down on the Oa. Yesterday, Nicholas Watts from Vine House Farm in Lincolnshire had seen a Red backed Shrike as he drove up towards Sanaigmore, the bird being seen just after Coille.. Nicholas is a farmer himself and has diversified into selling bird foods, and since doing this, has now donated over £1 million to the causes of the  Wildlife Trust projects over the years. Gary and Wendy, the original Hampshire Birders, today had taken a run round the Rhinns, seeing Snipe, Merlin, Wheatear and also lots of Stonechats. Over Octomore Hill, they saw 2 Golden Eagle out soaring on the thermals. Today Gary and Bob went out to see if they could find Nicholas's Shrike, no joy, but they did see a juv Golden Eagle and also a juv White tailed Eagle and again lots of Stonechats! Earlier on Gary himself had seen Dunlin, Ringed Plover, 10 Grey Plover out from Whin Park with the Peregrine making a pest of itself again!!! Today Rob McNab had a female Snow Bunting on the machir up at Sanaigmore. Today, the Bowland birders had seen 11 Pale bellied Brent  beside Blackrock with 15 Scaup and 4 Pintail out on Loch Indaal. Loch Tallant held 12 Teal and also 2 Mallard while a walk up the River Sorn produced Grey Wagtail, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Great spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Goldcrest.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Tuesday 11th October

Gerry Dopler from Germany had seen an Otter on the Sound of Islay and then later on, while on the Glen road, Gerry saw a Golden Eagle on Sunday.. Yesterday out on Loch Indaal, he saw 10 RTD and a raft of 10 Common Scoter and another raft with 8. Also yesterday, the Hampshire birders had seen a flock of Golden Plover, some Snipe, Pintail on the floods at Gruinart with ringtail Hen Harrier also present all at Gruinart . In the morning off Carnain they saw 2 RTD, a GND and a small flock of Common Scoter. Another visitor from Hampshire, Ian Mears had also seen the RTD out on Loch Indaal and also 4 Slavonian Grebe. Yesterday afternoon, on the big beach past Killinallan, Ian saw 20 Sanderling, over 40 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin and also 3 Greenshank. He also saw 4 Redwing as he drove up past Gruinart towards Ardnave. The Bowland birders had today been up at Ardnave where they saw the pair of Mute Swan and their cygnets on the loch, along with a female Tufted Duck and pair of Shoveller also present. 2 Wheatear were seen out on the dunes. They also saw some White Wagtails were noted as they walked round the Point, and at the Lobster pond, 6 Snipe were seen. Finally up there was a sighting of a ringtail Hen Harrier over the moorland. Back down on Loch Gruinart, 9 Pale bellied Brent and a Sanderling were spotted. This morning up at Sanaigmore, Richard had seen some Chough, and also a Peregrine, as he drove up the road. From the old hide at Gruinart, he had 12 Barnies present along with some Wigeon, Teal, Pintail and also a ringtail. Over on the trees at Avonvoggie Richard spotted a Crossbill and finally at the top of Loch Indaal at 5pm, he saw a Greenshank and a Barwit . there were 4 Whoopers down on the barley stubbles at Rockside this afternoon.

Monday 10 October 2016

Monday 10th October

Another good day with the weather, so good it was that I gave the grass another trim, could that be the last one for 2016? I went daft out in the sun and pruned back all the willows, better than letting them take a battering in the winter storms which will come over the next few months...
Up at Sanaigmore, Richard had seen a mixed flock of Linnet and Twite. Off Bruichladdich, 2 RTD were present and a quick scan over Loch Gorm produced a pair of Goldeneye, a pair of Dabchick, some Mallard and also some Tufted Duck.

Sunday 9 October 2016

Sunday 9th October

The Yellow browed Warbler was seen again today down at Port Charlotte, but across the road from  Port Mor this time. Bob, Gary, Richard Belter saw it.
Phill Catton had done some birding in his back yard in Port Ellen yesterday. In between his house and the harbour, Phill saw 10 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 8 Ringed Plover, 1 Heron, 2 Shag, 2 Pied Wagtail, C. Gull, H.Gull, Wren, flock of Starling and a Hooded Crow. Along at Kintra and the Big Strand, Phill had 3 Shag, 3 RTD, 1 GND (still in summer plumage), 5 Curlew, 6 Chaffinch, a Linnet, 2 Wheatear, 3 Mipits and a Robin. This morning Bob had been in touch to say he had more Goldcrests in has garden than of late, 2 Blue Tits, the first there for some time, Robins too, as well as Snipe flying overhead, birds on the move...Richard today had a Golden Eagle soaring over the hills behind Claggain Bay.. Off Bruichladdich, Guillemots, Black Guillemots and a RTD were seen with 3 RTD and a GND up at Gortan. The Hampshire birders made the most the good weather walking out past Scarrabus up to Loch Cam. Main birds seen were 7 Red legged Partridge, a large mixed flock of House Sparrows, Goldfinch and Chaffinch. Also seen were,  Chough, a Grey Wagtail and also distant Golden Eagle. Here at home, I counted 30 Goldfinch on the road with further 20 on the feeders. The Linnet flock is getting larger in numbers as well. There was a Golden Eagle out on a thermal high over the crag, early afternoon. 2 Stonechats were on the seedheads of the game crop.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Saturday 8th October

I received a call mid afternoon from Jim Dickson to say that a Yellow browed Warbler had been seen down at Port Mor, the campsite down at Port Charlotte. It was initially seen by visitor, Jonathan Platt and after a quick call round the Islay nerds, Mike Peacock was fortunate to see it as well, Andrew Greenwood of the Bowland birders fame saw it also. Great start to Andrew's week long stay... The Hampshire birders today had seen Barnies, 4 Shelduck, Pale bellied Brent, Greylags, 2 Heron, 4 Red breasted Merganser, 20 Barwit, 12 Ringed Plover, Wigeon, Teal, Eider and Pintail all on Bridgend Merse/ head of Loch Indaal. At Carnain, the ringtail was present again with 3 Song Thrush noted too. Off Bruichladdich, 2 RTD, 5 Slavonian Grebe and a Great crested Grebe were seen on Loch Indaal. Finally, over Carrabus 2 ringtail and a Buzzard were spotted.

Friday 7 October 2016

Friday 7th October

Yesterday, the Hampshire birders had seen 11 Greenland Whitefronts,  2Whoopers, 2 Wheatear, 2 Snipe, a mixed flock of Linnet and Twite and also some Lapwing, all seen from the Visitor centre at Loch Gruinart. Later on they saw around 80 Barnies fly in to the roost at the top of Loch Indaal. Gary yesterday had seen 7 Wheatear whilst on the strand at Uiskentuie, he also saw 30 Golden Plover and 7 Grey Plover there as well. At the head of Loch Indaal, in from Whin Park, over 200 Dunlin were present, along with 2 Peregrines trying to flush out the waders ...This morning at around 8 o'clock, the Hampshire birders had a ringtail Hen Harrier along the beach at Carnain. Gary had been over at Machir Bay and had seen 6 Pale bellied Brent, ( possibly the same geese that Mandy saw yesterday lunchtime), a Redwing flew over his house, a Golden Eagle over the Woollen Mill around 5pm, a Peregrine was chasing after Starlings just out of Bowmore, with a large number of duck seen offshore, out from the former smiddy. Late afternoon, Richard Belter had 20 Ringed Plover along with 2 Sanderling down on Machir Bay, earlier on off, Bruichladdich pier he had 2 RTD & 8 Common Scoter. Richard had also seen 2 Whoopers over on the flats at Gruinart, possibly the same Swans seen by the Hampshire birders. This afternoon, we saw 4 Whoopers down on the fields at Rockside amongst the Greylags.

Thursday 6 October 2016

Thursday 6th October

Yesterday Richard Belter had gone over to Jura where he saw 2 Golden Eagles and a male Hen Harrier. On the shoreline, just after Craighouse, he had a few Turnstone and some Dunlin. Today at the top of Loch Indaal, Richard had Eider, Red breasted Merganser, Wigeon, 12 Pale bellied Brent, 2 Blackwits and 2 Barwits. Down at Kintra, Port Ellen, he saw 2 RTD and a GND out on the sea. Down on the Oa, a mixed flock of 40 Linnet and Twite, and also a Raven were present. This morning Dave Wood had a Yellowhammer in the finch flock on the Oa reserve. Phill had 3 Chough over the monument and then a pair further on towards Glen Astle. He also saw a Raven and a Hooded Crow in synchronised flight for a few minutes!!!  Mandy, at lunchtime had seen 6 Pale bellied Brent on Machir Bay taking a drink from the burn at the Coull end (North end). She also saw a Peregrine hunting in the lee of the dunes.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Wednesday 5th October

Back on Saturday, Louise had seen 3 Pomarine Skua off Scarba which is an island North of Jura. Yesterday, on the guided walk on the Oa, Phil Catton had seen a Golden Eagle, with a Merlin also noted out towards the American Monument. Earlier on, Phil had seen a Sparrowhawk at Lower Cragabus and just as he was heading home last night, he had a Short eared Owl, on top of a fence post close to Kinnabus. Gary yesterday, had been over at the reserve at Gruinart where he saw a juv Golden Eagle fly over the Visitor centre! From the new hide he had a male Sparrowhawk and then a ringtail Hen Harrier while he was on the moorland trail. From the  old hide yesterday, Bob saw 2 Blackwits. Today, on Bolsay Moor, Bob saw a Redwing, the first report of one on Islay this Autumn.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Tuesday 4th October

Malcolm Ogilvie had seen 15 Goldfinches in the bushes/ whins down beside the former lime kiln close to Tynacoille around midday. Bob Swann sent some details of the Greylag goose that we saw at Rockside back on Friday past. It was first rung on the 31st of Jan 2015 at Gortan Chuirn, behind Bruichladdich and has been seen a few times since then, but all here on Islay.. The Hampshire birders had seen 6 Turnstone at Carnain and later on along towards Bridgend, 4 Whoopers were present. Returning birder, Richard Belter is back for a another "Islay fix". Up at Sanaigmore, Richard had a juv Golden Eagle fly past with Rock Pipit and Twite also there. At Gruinart, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier, 6 Barnies and 3 Greenland Whitefronts. Whilst driving round the Rhinns, he saw a Mistle Thrush. Today, Gary from Wild Islay birding, had seen 150 Barnies at Whinpark at the head of Loch Indaal, along at Carnain 2 RTD, 7 Slavonian Grebe, 10 Scaup and also 21 Common Scoter. On his way up the east side of Loch Gruinart, Gary saw a Wheatear, 8 Whooper Swan, 36 Pale bellied Brent and a Merlin. Back at Gartmain, just out of Bowmore, he had 40 Golden Plover, 7 Pintail and 47 Pale bellied Brent, 2 of which had 2 red darvic leg rings but were just too far away to read! Here at home, a Reed Bunting was on the wire above the bottom of the game crop beside the wee pond and at around 6pm, 30 Twite were on the overhead power line.

Monday 3 October 2016

Monday 3rd October

Sorry folks about the lack of the blog over the weekend, but fingers crossed the problem has been identified and hopefully should not arise again, see these computers....
Back on Friday, Mary was bringing the sheep in at Claddach at Portnahaven when she saw a tight flock of 13 Snipe fly overhead. On Saturday, along with some friends we walked round Ardnave Point. We had 5 Barnies out on Nave Island, 4 Greenland  Wheatear, a close sighting of a Merlin chasing a Meadow Pipit, 35 Chough, and  a Ruff were our top birds, we had around 35 species on our walk, great company, the craic was good too... not forgetting our sandwiches either!!! Mandy counted 160 Pale bellied Brent up at Bun an Uillt on Loch Gruinart. Mike Peacock returned home on Saturday, and saw a pod of 8 Bottle nosed Dolphins in the bay at Port Charlotte below his house. On Sunday morning, Mike counted 34 Common Scoter out on Loch Indaal. Around midday on Sunday, Mandy had seen 60 Barnies on Loch Gorm, and then 44 Pale bellied Brent at the head of Loch Indaal later on that afternoon. We saw a Wheatear on the road at Ballinaby on Sunday morning with Dave Maynard from RSPB spotting 2 Golden Eagles soaring out behind Ballinaby. This morning, Bob had seen an adult White tailed Sea Eagle on the wing, between his house and Port Charlotte. He also saw a couple of Hen Harriers and several Golden Plover. This morning at Gruinart, James saw 12 Barnies, 15 Greenland whitefronts, 5 Whooper Swans, 965 Teal and a Peregrine. Yesterday out from the North Hide (new hide) we saw a flock of several hundred Golden Plover. Finally some sightings from Gary and Wendy, "the Hampshire birders". At their holiday cottage at Carnain they had 30 Pied Wagtail coming in to  roost in their garden, today they had a ringtail Hen Harrier fly over the cottage and they saw a Dabchick at Loch Skerrols. We had been over the The Woollen Mill and saw several Coal Tits and Great Tits on the feeders there, well worth a visit...
Almost forgot, the rain gauge was emptied out here the other day, and it had a mere 4 inches in it.. our good friends who live at Mulindry had a lot more rain than us, with their tally coming to 6.68 inches for the month....

Friday 30 September 2016

Friday 30th September

Quite a few sighting in from various folk tonight, so here goes, mainly Geese and Swans plus some other sightings as well...
Back on Wednesday, Gary had seen 3 RTD, a GND and a Common Scoter off Carnain, with Pied Wagtails, Rock and Meadow Pipits working along the tide line. Yesterday Gary had 3 Sanderling along with groups of GBB Gulls, Herring Gulls and Common Gulls along the Big Strand towards Knockangle Point. Gary has just started a new venture here on Islay called " Wild Islay Birding ", so if you fancy a day out birding on Islay, contact Gary, and "all the best, Gary"..  Phill Cotton, the warden down on the RSPB Oa reserve sent some sightings in. On Thursday, Dave had 8 Whoopers resting up on Loch Kinnabus, this morning, 16 were present before flying onwards to Ireland. Yesterday, Phill had seen 17 Pink footed Geese fly South past The Oa whilst doing a sea watch. This afternoon, Pill saw a Snow Bunting on the path leading to the American Monument. He also had a mixed flock of over 200 birds, mainly Twite with some Linnets and Goldfinches. Martin today had 6 Pale bellied Brents in the bay below the Maltings at Port Ellen. Over at Gruinart, James had counted a total of 57 Whoopers on the reserve, 78 Pale bellied Brent out on Loch Gruinart, with a Ruff, 16 Barwits and 5 Blackwits noted on the floods. Out on Loch Indaal from Gartmain, around midday, we had around 30 Brents amongst a large flock of Greylags on the water, with the Greylags being quite aggressive to the Brent Geese!!! There was a mixed Swan count of 19 Whoopers/ Mutes there as well in the distance. Coull had 2 newly arrived Whoopers at lunchtime, 5 at Sunderland and a further 15 on Loch Gorm. This evening there were 15 at Coull, possibly the Loch Gorm birds going to rest up on land for the night!!! Jim Dickson (out on Tiree at present) was on the phone asking about sightings of some American waders seen at Gruinart today, so probably, we will go on the search tomorrow, weather watch this space (yet again!!!)

Thursday 29 September 2016

Thursday 29th September

Yesterday, James had 14 Blackwits and a Ruff on the floods at Gruinart and a count of 230 Pale bellied Brent out on Loch Gruinart itself. This morning, on the floods, James counted 798 Greylags (1 with a neck collar on), 3 Barnies and also 4 Pintails. Bob counted a total of 185 Pale bellied Brent out from the new hide at Gruinart. Late morning, we saw 7 Herons sheltering up from the wind in some rushes between Bun an Uillt and Craigens. This afternoon, we had 8 Whoopers flying South out over the machir out towards the War graves cemetery.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Wednesday 28th September

This morning at breakfast time Lesley had seen 3 Dolphins in Kilnaughton Bay over at Port Ellen. Bob, this morning had seen 30 Woodpigeon, around 500 Rooks & Jackdaws along with about 150 Rock Doves with some Common Gulls and Herring Gulls also present on the barley stubbles at Octofad outside of Port Charlotte. Here at home this afternoon, a Merlin zipped through the garden putting up the Linnets and Goldfinches off the cover crop. The weather has gone downhill quickly this evening with it now raining and the wind picking up now as well....

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Tuesday 27th September

Today, Bob had seen both Whinchats and Stonechats on Bolsay Moor, James had 7 Blackwits on the floods at Gruinart with Phil down on the Oa seeing a Wheatear, a male Hen Harrier and a Merlin.

Monday 26 September 2016

Monday 26th September

Back on Saturday, Lesley had a passage of between 60 - 70 Swallows fly past her house close to Carraig Fhada over at Port Ellen. She also saw 30 Pied Wagtail including 2 White Wagtails, a small number of Sanderling and Dunlin and a female Merlin. Today, Lesley had 2 Ruff at Kilnaughton Bay. She was also saying that someone had a pod of 12 Dolphins in the bay just before miday. James this morning, over on Loch Gruinart had 3 Barnacle Geese, 9 Grey Plover, 1 Little Stint, a Curlew Sandpiper and also a Merlin.
Remember the Islay Bird nerds meeting tomorrow evening at 7.30 pm at the visitor centre at RSPB Loch Gruinart, so see you there, if you are around...