Thursday 31 March 2016

Thursday 31st March

Another good day here with the weather, but better still some more birds and new birds at that...James this morning had heard a Chiffchaff on the reserve at Gruinart. At lunchtime I received a message through from Richard Belcher to saw that he had a drake Mandarin over on the River Sorn at The Woollen Mill, so managed to get in touch with Peter and Gary as the other were out working and not contactable. Boy, did that duck give us the run around, but it was seen by us all eventually... a new tick for Islay, as far a we know, it has not ben recorded here before.....Yesterday, Richard had ben over on Jura and had seen 2 GND as he crossed over to Jura, seen from the ferry, Up at Tarbet, he had a Short eared Owl and also a Peregrine there too. Just out of Craighouse, a male Hen Harrier was seen and then a distant Golden Eagle. Along on Small Isles Bay, 30 pale bellied Brent Geese were spotted. Dave Protherough's guests had a Golden Eagle spoofing the Barnies and Whitefronts along the "Cornabus" valley. Later on they had a couple of Chough and then 2 Buzzard. Michal had seen a Redshank up at Ardnave with some colour rings on its' legs. Bob today had seen a 1st winter Iceland Gull at Ardnave Loch, and also 8 Goldeneye and 22 Tufted Duck. Bob also had a Peregrine along at Coillabus.. . Think the weather is downhill tomorrow with rain and rain and wind forecast!!!

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Wednesday 30th March

What a cracker of a day it has been, the old solar panel appreciated it, better go and look out some sun cream to rub on it...Yesterday, Peter Gill had seen a Slavonian Grebe off Port Charlotte, a Sparrowhawk was close to Bridgend, with another seen up beside Dun Nosebridge, a pair of Hen Harriers were seen further on and returning to their cottage, 7 Pale bellied Brent were along at Blackrock. Forgot to mention that the bird nerds had a Blackwit in summer plumage on the floods at Gruinart. Today, there was a report of around 50 Wheatears seen here on the West of Islay. Michal had seen 2 Red Grouse up at Ardnave this afternoon. Peter Gill today had seen 2 Red legged Partridge as he approached Bunnahabhain, a Peregrine over Staoisha Forestry plantation and then a Golden Eagle high up, flying from Islay over to Jura. Down at the Lily Loch, a Treecreeper and also a Goldcrest were present.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Tuesday 29th March

Yesterday, Dave Protherough and his friend Keith had seen a flock of 20 Chough down on Machir Bay. This morning, we had seen a male Siskin on the feeders here at home, a new tick for the house for 2016! Down at Uiskentuie, earlier this evening, Margaret managed to read a couple of neck collars on  Greylags. It was the third attempt at reading the collars, but job done and the info is away to my old friend Bob Swann.... 23 folk came along to the hide at Gruinart for the monthly meeting of the bird nerds, so cornered some of them for sightings.... Dave from down on the Oa had seen 2 Wheatear at Lower Killeyan with 3 GND in the bay there. Dave also has seen a pr of Dipper nesting on the Oa as well. Richard had seen an Iceland Gull at Machir Bay and then a probable Goshawk on the Rhinns. Another of visitors told me of seeing 3 Snow Buntings along the shoreline at the top of Loch Indaal. Ian Greenwood had seen 2 Gannets off Ardnave,  some Eider, a Wheatear there also while over the reserve at Gruinart, he saw a Golden Eagle, 2 Buzzard and a Merlin at various points. Coming back home this evening just as the light was fading, we saw 5 Red Deer stags close to the side of the road, no need for a big lens to capture them on the camera...

Monday 28 March 2016

Monday 28th March

The weather has not been that great here today, but it certainly has not deterred our contributors who have had a great mix of birds for you... James, yesterday, had  the first recorded sighting of a Sand Martin  over his house at Gruinart. Peter Gill had seen the first Swallow of the year this morning at Blackrock. At the head of Loch Gorm, Peter saw a ringtail Hen Harrier, further on a Golden Eagle and also 2 Buzzard were seen. Finally at Sanaigmore, a Wheatear was present. Gary this afternoon, saw an Osprey over Loch nan Cadhan, between Ballygrant and Keills. Another returning birder, Richard Belter had seen a Golden Eagle, Raven, Chough and a flock of around 50 Twite on the Oa. Out at the mouth of Loch Indaal, at Kintra, Richard saw 4 Long tailed Duck while down on the shore while at Carraig Fhada, a Rock Pipit was seen. Over at Claggain Bay, Richard saw GND, R B Merganser along some Ringed Plover.
Remember at 6.15pm "The Islay bird nerds"are meeting at the car park at RSPB Gruinart and then we shall be going down to the hides, so hopefully we will see some of  you there...

Sunday 27 March 2016

Sunday 27th March

Peter Gill returned to Islay for his "fix" yesterday. Peter had seen a Dipper at The Woollen Mill and then in the surrounding trees, 4 Bullfinches were present. Today, Peter had Kestrel over at Loch Ballygrant, a pair of Dabchick on Loch nan Cadhan, on Loch Finlaggan 2 Whoopers. Opposite North Lodge, Bridgend a mixed flock of 200 mainly Redwings and Fieldfare in the fields there, along the road at the road leading to Scarabus/ Octovullin 20 Twite were seen. Peter finally had a female Scaup off  Blackrock. This morning, Bob saw a pair of Siskin in his garden, the first he has had this year. There was a short sharp lightning storm through the night, and yet again it took our phone out, just as well we keep a spare phone to plug in. Today, the weather has been mixed with squally showers appearing out of nowhere, but this evening, the sun is streaming in the windows, well worth waiting for...

Saturday 26 March 2016

Saturday 26th March

Visiting birder, Alastair Stevenson has sent some more sightings through for the blog... He had seen a male Hen Harrier over Duim Seasg, 11 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Blackrock,  Snipe down at Rubha na Faing at Portnahaven and then a mixed flock of 40 Twite and Linnet down below the car park at Upper Killeyan on the RSPB reserve on the Oa. Today, we saw a couple of Greylags amongst some other Greylags fitted with orange neck collars along the strand at Uiskentuie, but we were in a line of traffic and could not stop, on the way home, they were not there, apologies to Bob Swann.... At Blackrock, there were 2 groups of 4 Brent geese while on the pool beside Carnain, 5 Whoopers were present along with 2 Mute Swans.

Friday 25 March 2016

Friday 25th March

Wally and Jude yesterday had a mixed flock of 100 Linnet and Twite seen in the field opposite the school in Keills. Later on, on a ploughed field on the Glen road, 15 LBB Gulls were present. When we were coming home yesterday afternoon, below Carnduncan a ringtail Hen Harrier was spoofing around 20 Fieldfare out of the bushes/ scrub willow. Also yesterday, John Stephenson had a ringtail at Stanalane on the edge of Bowmore, a new urban bird asked John... This morning, Bob had a male Wheatear at Kilchairan, he also counted 45 Fulmars on nests there. Dave also had a Wheatear, down on the Oa at Risabus.
Tuesday, (29th March) is the next meeting of the bird nerds here on Islay. We are meeting at the car park on the Gruinart reserve at 6.15pm and we shall be going down to the hides to see what is around, so if you around we look forward to meeting you there.

Thursday 24 March 2016

Thursday 24th March

James and the team from Gruinart carried out a count of the Red Deer on the reserve on Tuesday and while they were out, James saw a Peregrine, 2 ringtail Hen Harriers, 4 Red Grouse and up closer  to Ardnave, a White tailed Eagle was seen. Visitor Alistair (sorry do not know your surname....) had seen 2 imm White tailed Eagles on Sunday when he was over on Jura and then on Tuesday over close to  Ardtalla another 2 were seen, but possibly the same 2 over from Jura. On Tuesday he had a count of 400 Golden Plover at Gruinart. On a walk out to Proaig he had seen 2 Snipe and yesterday had seen the Greater spotted Woodpecker at Kildalton. On his travels around Islay and Jura, 5 Hen Harriers and a Merlin have also been seen.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Wednesday 23rd March

This morning, Bob and myself went over to the Oa reserve to give the team there a help with the birds seen along the coastline there and also a count of  any wild goats seen on our walk. Bob and myself did the stretch from Port nan Gallan (below Upper Killeyan) round past the American monument and along the coast to Lower Killeyan, so here are birds we saw...2 Chough, 7 Hooded Crows, 9 Raven, 6 Rock Dove, 187 Fulmar, 9 Oystercatcher, 35 Herring Gull, 8 GBB Gull, 23 Gannets, 4 Skylark, 6 Rock Pipit and 4 Meadow Pipit. We also counted 3 groups of goats, tallying 57 in all... Dave saw a Water Rail on his stretch.  Possibly it is just as well we carried the survey out today, as the weather is to go downhill with some rain forecast!!!

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Tuesday 22nd March

David Livingstone had heard a Woodpecker drumming away at the trees at the Dower House, Kildalton on Sunday morning. Today Mandy spotted that the Fulmars were back on nests at the crag at Kilchoman while Alistair Hutchison head a Cuckoo at Springbank, between Bridgend and Bowmore. Wally and Jude told me that the Skylarks that they had last week up past Avonvoggie had dropped to around only 20 seen at the weekend, but this morning numbers were back up to 100 there.

Monday 21 March 2016

Monday 21st March

Yes, it was an earth tremor last night that was heard here on Islay, some folk heard it, while others did not... Tracey sent through the figure from the International Goose count that was carried outlast week. The tally was 37,166 Barnies and 5,183 Whitefronts. No figure was given for the Greylags, but I will see if we can find these out. Thanks  to Tracey and the team from SNH for these figures

Sunday 20 March 2016

Sunday 20th March

Forgot to mention that when Malcolm and Bob were on Jura on Thursday, that they has heard a Great spotted Woodpecker at Forest Lodge , just out of Craighouse. Yesterday evening, Lesley had a pod of 9 Bottle nosed Dolphins in Kilnaughton Bay and this morning around 7am, Mike had seen a pod of at least 22 BnD off Port Charlotte. This morning, we had a count of 14 Chough out flying around the crag with 4 Buzzards soaring away much higher than them. Peter today had seen his first Gannet in Loch Indaal for the year, and it was actively fishing. This afternoon, Mandy and Fiona heard and saw the Great spotted Woodpecker down near to Loch Skerrols. On Loch Skerrols itself, 2 Dabchicks, 2 Tufted Ducks, a male Goldeneye and 5 Mute Swan were present. They also heard 2 Greenfinch and plenty of Goldcrests. On the flood/ pond at Saligo/ Ballinaby where Peter had the Dabchick the other day, this afternoon a pair of Shelduck were seen, still no Wheatears yet...
This evening, just before 6 o'clock, we heard a deep rumble and wondered if it was an earth tremor?? I spoke to Malcolm, and he had heard it as well, but so far no mention of it on the British Geological Society's website, but will keep you posted if any further info comes through....We live around 4 miles from Malcolm.

Saturday 19 March 2016

Saturday 19th March

Yesterday had been the last full day for the group from Island Holidays who have been over for the past few days. At Bruichladdich, they had a small group of 5 Pale bellied Brents as well as 5 Purple Sandpipers. Later on down at Frenchman's Rocks/ Claddach they had a few Fulmars, Kittiwake and Razorbill and also 20 Gannets, Another immature Glaucous Gull was also seen there, with Peter saying that this was another gull to the one that has been lingering around at Machir Bay. A Merlin was added to their list close to Lossit Bay. Finally last night, they heard Woodcock roding in Bridgend Woods and heard a Tawny Owl calling along at Whin Park. Yeserday, Wally and Jude saw a Dipper on the River Laggan at Red Lodge on the high road. Up past Avonvoggie, Wally had a count of over 200 Skylark in a field there. James had a Yellowhammer in his garden at Mill cottage while Michal had heard 2 different Goldcrest singing. Down between Bridgend and the junction leading to Mulindry, there have been 2 Collared Doves often seen there recently. 

Friday 18 March 2016

Friday 18th March

Another dry day, although the temperature has dropped quite a bit, I even had to go and look the jersey out, lucky it was not in the washing machine... Some highlights through from Peter and his group. Yesterday they had seen a Dipper and a pair of Grey Wagtail at The Woollen Mill with at least 8 GND off  Bunnahabhain, the Glaucous Gull was present at Machir Bay while round at Saligo/ Ballinaby, a Dabchick was on one of the flooded "ponds". Malcolm and Bob had been over on Jura  yesterday and had 25 Whitefronts at Inver and a further 4 up at Lowlandman's Bay, the best figures there this winter. They also saw the same flock of Brents as seen by Louise, but commented that they are not that common on Jura. They also saw 26 large Canada Geese and a total of 45 Greylag between Craighouse and Lowlandman's Bay. No Wheatears were seen on their travels but an Otter was at Feolin as they were waiting for the ferry back over to Islay!!! Earlier on this week, the "vols" at RSPB Gruinart had carried out the WeBS counts... The tally on Loch Gruinart was 126 Shelduck, 187 Wigeon, 271 Oystercatcher, 117 Dunlin, 109 Barwits, 91 Redshank, 17 Turnstone, 109 Golden Plover, 51 BH Gull, 194 C Gull, 2 GND, 122 Lapwing, 127 Teal, 9 Shoveler, 34 Pintail, 7 Mute Swan and 2 Whooper Swan. The tally for Ardnave was 15 Tufted Duck, 9 Goldeneye, 5 Mute, 9 Whooper, 2 Pochard and 35 Whitefronts.

Thursday 17 March 2016

Thursday 17th March

Another great day again folks, although there has been a slight edge to the air, mind you I am not complaining.... Some sightings from earlier this week for you... Gordon Muir, (Louise's husband) and the deer counters on Jura had seen Red Grouse and also Golden Plover while they progressed down through  Jura. Louise herself had counted 39 Pale bellied Brent below the manse past Craighouse on Jura. Later on down near  to Ardfin, Louise had a White tailed Eagle. James had seen a bumble bee on the reserve while he was out on the goose count. Over on Nave Island, James counted 171 Grey Seals! Today, James ad seen 39 Skylarks on the reserve at Gruinart, back on Tuesday, James had counted a flock of 780 Golden Plover over the flats and Michal saw a Woodcock on the moorland trail. Visitors, Wally and Jude had seen 10 Whoopers resting up on Claddach Loch, a male Hen Harrier at Cultoon, 2 pairs of Red legged Partridge on the track from Bunnahabhain leading  to Staoisha. At Coal Ila, they saw 12 Tysties while Bruichladdich held a further 8 Tysties. Peter and the Island Holidays group had 4 Greenshank and 16 Pintail out from the hides at Gruinart and a flock of 470 Golden Plover behind Loch Gruinart House.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Wednesday 16th March

Another great day here, so for an hour or so, I spent the time moving stones which I had unearthed yesterday, very therapeutic, better still no aches or pains to show for efforts!! Peter is leading a tour for Island Holidays here on Islay this week. Yesterday they were down on the Oa, seeing a pair of Golden Eagle, and then a Peregrine close to the American monument. Later on, Peter showed his guests the Red necked Grebe out on Loch Indaal, they also saw 6 Slavonian Grebe closer to the shore. Mandy had been out again on the second day of the International Goose count and had heard a woodpecker drumming in the trees while she was at East Carrabus. Malcolm had see a pair of Golden Eagle on the Oa and then 4 Whoopers were at Laphroaig with a further 10 seen at Loch Eighinn, which is situated South of the airport. We had seen 10 resting up on Loch Gorm. More stonechats were noted around Loch Gorm as well, but still no sighting of any Wheatears... Finally, John Wilson had seen 30 Dunlin down on Machir Bay when he was down there late afternoon. 

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Tuesday 15th March

Another great day, long may it last... Today, had been the first day of the International goose Count, so we have got some sightings from round Islay from some of the counters involved, contributors to the blog at other times too... Malcolm had been on the Oa run today, and at Mid Cragabus, 2 immature White tailed Eagles were perched on top of fence posts, close to the road. Malcolm also saw a Pinkfooted Goose amongst some Whitefronts at Risabus. Bob had been on the Laggan/ Tallant run.  On the "Laundry Loch" up behind Laggan Farm, 5 Whoopers were present while down at Laggan Farm itself, a male Hen Harrier was seen. At Gartmain, a male Sparrowhawk was spotted while over at Cruach, 3 Pinkfooted Geese were there amongst the Whitefronts. Mandy and Fiona had been on the Kilmeny/ Bunnahabhain route. At Ardnahoe, they saw a Golden Eagle flying over towards Jura, and then a male Hen Harrier and shortly after a ringtail as they headed on to Bunnahabhain. Lesley yesterday had seen an Adder out basking in the sun as she walked out to the "Singing sands" out past Kilnaughton Bay. With the weather staying good again today, I took the chance to get the tractor out and made a start to preparing the 2 pieces of ground in readiness for sowing a  cover crop for the birds next winter. The big downside was the number of stones, one of the areas had very few stones, but the other piece certainly made up for it for sure....

Monday 14 March 2016

Monday 14th March

Spring has sprung, what a great day it has been here, well worth the wait... Peter had 32 Whoopers flying North over Bruichladdich this morning, and later on over Loch Gorm, another 19 were seen by Peter, again flying North. Lesley Silcock had seen 5 Long tailed Ducks on Loch Indaal out from Kintra over at Port Ellen. Dave Wood saw the Red necked Grebe on Loch Indaal up at Bowmore at the back of the Lochside Hotel... John Wilson is back over for another Islay fix, great to see you John. He had seen a Golden Eagle, 2 Hen Harrier, 2 Chough and a flock of 63 Twite all on the Oa . To cap it all, we were able to show John 2 Peregrines through the scope, late afternoon,  not a bad day John! We took a quick trip round Loch Gorm and up to Ardnave. There were 12 Stonechats seen in total, with 8 seen by the time we got round to Ballinaby alone! On our way to Ardnave, there were a couple of Golden Eagle out on the wing soaring around. On Ardnave Loch itself, both Mute and a few Whooper Swans were present , 4 Goldeneye and some Tufted Ducks were present.  

Sunday 13 March 2016

Sunday 13th March

The weather here yesterday was rather miserable to put it mildly, hence no entry. I had heard a Song Thrush singing in a bush while I was doing old Len's peats and saw around 50 Fieldfare flying North down there too. Today, a different day, so Bob and myself carried out the WeBs count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, so here are the birds that we saw, 11 GND, 10 Shag, 3 Cormorant, 5 Mute Swan, 99 Barnies, 28 Whitefronts, 45 Shelduck, 20 Mallard, 39 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 12 Common Scoter, 2 Goldeneye, 9 Eider, 40 R B Merganser, 74 Oystercatcher, 4 Curlew, 10 Barwits, 8 Redshank, 16 Knot, 150 Dunlin, 1 Tystie, 44 Lapwing, 4 Grey Plover, 2 Golden Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 50 Turnstone, 6 Snipe, 8 GBB Gull, 6 LBB Gull, 20 H. Gull, 20 C. Gull and 48 BH Gull. On the actual gravel where the old farm steading at Gartbreck once stood were 20 Twite.

Friday 11 March 2016

Friday 11th March

As predicted last night, the weather certainly did go downhill here today, turning out to be rather a dreich sort of a day, with a "wetting rain" for most of the day. The fields are just a muddy mess, yet again... In the hope of seeing something, we took our bins with us as we headed down to the shops in Bowmore for some retail therapy. Not much was bought in the shops and birding fared little better, but at Gartmain there were 12 Barwits, the odd Curlew and 35 Oystercatcher. Further round Loch Indaal, as we approached Blackrock, 14 Pale bellied Brents were present. The birds waiting to be fed at home looked rather bedraggled with the wet weather, but there again I suppose that you and I would look rather sorry if we had been out in the weather today!!!

Thursday 10 March 2016

Thursday 10th March

Think there is a change coming in with the weather, it has been a day or two since we had some rain... But before the rain  comes, we took a run round Loch Gorm and up to Sanaigmore... At Coull, there were 2 groups of  Curlews totalling 32 in all. Round at Ballinaby, in the fields, 12 Ringed Plover, 15 Lapwing and also 46 Skylark were present. Up in the sky, in the distance a Golden Eagle was being mobbed by 2 Buzzards. Coming back from Sanaigmore, a distant Golden Eagle was seen way out up towards Ardnave, a while later on, on the overhead wires, a small flock of 14 Fieldfare were. Bob last night had a Woodcock in his garden, infact it almost flew into him as it took off... This morning, he had 2 Dabchicks and 4 male Goldeneye on Loch Skerrols. 

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Wednesday 9th March

Yesterday, Peter had gone over to Jura, but had not seen a lot there, but close to Craighouse, he had a Hen Harrier and then a count of 16 Canada Geese, presumably feral geese as Peter commented! Later on and back on Islay, the juv Glaucous Gull was picking over the last remains of a goose carcase! Further out on the Loch, around 60 Common Scoter and also 5 Long tailed Duck were present. Gary yesterday afternoon had a scan over Loch Indaal, from the pier at Bowmore. His birds were as follows 21 RB Merganser, 7 GND, 37 Eider, 8 Goldeneye, 2 male Scaup, 31 Common Scoter, 3 Cormorant and 7 Slavonian Grebe.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Tuesday 8th March

This afternoon from the pier at Bowmore, out on Loch Indaal, Gary saw 21 R B Merganser,7 GND, 37 Eider, 8 Goldeneye, 2 male Scaup, 31 Common Scoter, 3 Cormorant and also 7 Slavonian Grebe.

Monday 7 March 2016

Monday 7th March

Some rain through the night, but it soon turned to be a be a not bad day, and no, I never saw the "Northern Lights" last night, mind you the stars were twinkling away, a great sight none the less!!! Peter had been down on the Oa yesterday, seeing a pair of Golden Eagles mating. On one of the stubble fields, there were 70 Twite present. Gary yesterday had a Song Thrush singing in the trees at the side of his house. Over the hills behind his house, Gary had a White tailed Eagle fly past, 3 Buzzards and also a Sparrowhawk. In the fields around Finlaggan, over 300 Common Gulls were counted with 12 Yellowhammers, "loads" of Coal Tits and plenty of calling Great Tits in the actual plantation. Also yesterday, we had a Merlin at Gruinart farm, a ringtail Hen Harrier just at the car park leading down to the hides at Gruinart, and then another ringtail along at the gravel track leading to Culbuie. Today over at Kildalton, Mandy had a distant pair of Golden Eagle over the far hills. A Tystie was at Claggain Bay. Round at Ballinaby she had a male Stonechat. Her friend Jo, who had been over for a few days , had 2 new ticks while she was here, Chough and also Hen Harriers.  Finally today Fiona McGillivary had seen a White tailed Eagle down at Blackrock. The said Eagle spoofed  the resting geese from the shoreline..

Sunday 6 March 2016

Sunday 6th March

Another great day here folks, but there is a slight edge to the air yet, can't have it all ways... Another sighting/ hearing from earlier this week, Chris Mills had heard a Water Rail calling down at the reed bed down beside the Coastguard's. Peter yesterday had seen a White tailed Eagle up past Ballygrant. On the fields round on the far side (?North side) of Loch Gorm, 80 Skylarks were counted, also present were 12 Ringed Plover. Later on, in the afternoon, Peter saw a Red Grouse up behind Port Charlotte on the moor there. Today, under ideal weather conditions, Mike carried out a count on "inner" Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte round to Gartbreck and on to Laggan Point. his tally came through at 13 GND, 12 RTD, 45  Eider, 2 rafts of Common Scoter totalling 76, 2 Tysties and a Razorbill. James today had Skylark singing on the reserve at Gruinart with the Lapwings displaying there as well.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Saturday 5th March

Around midday, as we were returning home from Bridgend, we had a great sighting of a juvenile Golden Eagle after McNicoll's croft and before Rock Mountain. This evening coming back in, just after we had seen the Eagle earlier in the day, a Barn Owl was out hunting, great.. Round the corner, a Red Deer hind was looking over the dyke, watching us drive past.... Back at home, as came up to the house, 4 Hares were seen and then out in front of the house, 4 Rabbits were  on the lawn, just as well that most of the trees that I have planted have got guards on them!! Almost forgot to mention that we went down to our pond this afternoon, and Margaret saw 6 different "clumps" of Frog spawn

Friday 4 March 2016

Friday 4th March

A not bad day out here today, the air might have had a slight edge to it, but at least it remained dry, the snow on the tops of the distant hills was a reminder that Spring has not really come yet....Chris Mills along with Norfolk birding group had a count of 100 Redwing in a hedge, close to Islay House earlier this week. Today they had seen a total of 5 Hen Harrier, the first was a cracking male was down at Sunderland Farm, with others seen as they went over to Bunnahabhain. They also spotted 3 Golden Eagle, one was perched less than 20 metres away as they came over the hill from Gruinart down to Carnain, the other 2 were seen over the hills, South of Port Askaig. At Blackrock, there were 16 Pale belied Brent, close into the shore and we drove to Bowmore, there were some small groups of Wigeon tucked into the edge of the shoreline there. Back at home, the Lapwings were displaying away this morning, and late afternoon, 20 Greylag were out on the Machir, another  yard or two and I could have classed them as "garden birds"!!!

Thursday 3 March 2016

Thursday 3rd March

It started off a not bad day with the weather, but as predicted it started to rain at 3pm exactly...This morning, we saw 3 Whoopers coming in from the sea, 68 Lapwing and 20 Curlew over at Coull Farm, on our way home there was a Golden Eagle soaring on thermals way above Rockside Farm. Chris Mills along with the team from Norfolk birding, also had a good day as well. They started off seeing 3 Fulmars along the Kilchoman crag. Down towards Machir Bay, close to the stock feeders, 40 Twite were seen. On their way down there, a group of around 20 Whitefronts were spotted and along with them were 3 Pink footed Geese. On their travels today, round Islay, they saw 3 Golden Eagles. Down in the Cornabus valley, outside Port Ellen while scanning through around 2,000 Barnies, Chris found the Cackling Goose for his clients and also a single Pale bellied Brent goose amongst them as well... Below the Car park at the Oa, 100 Twite and a couple of Linnets were present. Finally they had seen 2 LBB Gulls over Loch Indaal, we saw a couple of GBB Gulls along the front of the Kilchoman crag yesterday.. another sign that Spring is on the way...

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Wednesday 2nd March

Forgot to mention last night that on our way out, we counted 10 Hares between our house and the road end leading to Rockside, coming home not so many were seen, there were some dirty hail showers kicking in, but all the same there were 4 Hares out  beside the house! Today, not been that great a day with the weather, windy with the odd dirty shower in the mix. All the same Mandy had heard a Skylark singing at Coullabus, and then she saw an Iceland Gull in the dunes behind Traig Nostaig up on Ardnave

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Tuesday 1st March

As we are in a new month,(and now "Spring") the first thing I usually try to keep you up to date was the rainfall tally for the previous month, and here we had 4.75 inches. Today has not been that great with the wind picking up tonight. The Norfolk birding team had seen some Fulmars in from the sea yesterday...They also saw a Yellowhammer as they went in towards Loch Skerrols. Mark Holling had a Glaucous Gull on Loch Indaal before he headed for home. Carl today, had a Sparrowhawk at Port Charlotte. Mandy had been carrying out one of the goose counts with Malcolm today, at the edge of Bowmore, they also had seen a Sparrowhawk and then further on at the Laundry Loch, 8 Whoopers were present. The Norfolk team had a Glaucous Gull at Machir Bay today. Here at home, late this morning, a Peregrine was after some Rock Doves, the first Peregrine that we have seen for some time now! Tonight the "bird nerds" had their annual meal/get together, usually we hold  it in January, but time flew past and it was delayed until now, 23 folk attended including the 8 visitors from Norfolk birding, a great time enjoyed by all and food was just great as well...