Tuesday 31 May 2016

Tuesday 31st May

Another late entry again this evening, with tonight's excuse being that I have been out at our monthly meeting of the Islay bird nerds. We took a walk along Loch Indaal from below the airport down towards Kintra, stopping just short of the Machrie River. It was a great evening out, warm with a slight wind which was good as it kept the midges away! Gary counted 57 Eider, other birds seen were Turnstone, many Sand Martins, Dave counted 27 possible nest holes in the sand banks at one point, 50 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, several pairs of Lapwings, 16 Arctic Terns on nest sites, 5 Little Terns on nests, Ringed Plovers, Redshank, Oystercatcher,   a Knot in winter plumage, 4 Pied Wagtail, Curlew with young, single Whimbrel, single Wheatear and a difficult to spot female Wigeon

Monday 30 May 2016

Monday 30th May

Sorry about the late entry this evening, but got held up doing other work, I may be retired but life still goes on...
Back on the 22nd Mary had seen a Red Kite down at Portnahaven. On Saturday, while out walking her young daughter, Mara. Out the Port Charlotte road from Portnahaven they had Stonechat, a Song Thrush, a pair of Mistle Thrush mobbing a Cuckoo, 2 Whitethroats, Sedge Warbler, Gropper, Wren, Robin and Chaffinch. Along at the old playing field, there was a "loose flock of 7 Swifts and 8 House Martins. A short time later, and a Peregrine was added to their list, Thanks Mary. Yesterday Martin had been out kayaking from Kintra towards Soldiers' Rock. He had seen a Bonxie and was telling me of having Razorbill on the water less than a couple of metres from them! Gary had seen Swifts fly over his house out of Ballygrant, while Sam had seen a Kestrel across the road. Yesterday, Gary had seen a Barnie down on the shore along from the Kilchoman turn off on Loch Indaal. Today, Bob had a Sparrowhawk just over his garden fence. New resident to Islay, Jenny had seen a Barn Owl up beside Ballygrant. Here at home, this morning one of the Greenfinches was at the feeders, showing the brood of 3 where to come for an easy meal.... This morning too, a pair of House Martins were inspecting the house and have put some spots of mud on the gable end!

Sunday 29 May 2016

Sunday 29th May

Another day like yesterday, a bit boring this sunshine we are getting, and more of it to come this according to the weather forecast, then again once the rain returns it might forget to stop...
Top bird today, no questions about that was a pair of Golden Eagles soaring on the thermals above the crag here at home, early afternoon. A few moments later one of them re-appeared along with a Buzzard which was great being able to compare their size, especially when they are together in the eyepiece at the same time. The Rochdale birders had seen a Pipistrelle bat yesterday afternoon down over the River Sorn at Bridgend.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Saturday 28th May

What can I say but briefly, it has been an glorious day with wall to wall sunshine... on Thursday, Dave had seen his first Swift for the year down on the coast at Upper Killeyan on the Oa. This evening, Dave saw a Turtle Dove at Kinnabus a new Islay tick for Dave. Here at home, I noticed that a pair of Swallows have taken up residence in one of the "artificial swallow nests" that we had put on our garage, with a pair of House Sparrows rearing a brood of youngsters in the "sparrow terrace" a few yards away!!!!

Friday 27 May 2016

Friday 27th May

Been another good day out here, but the dreaded midge has decided to come out and spoil the party having said that the "local" Corncrake is still calling away good style. I never heard at Gruinart yesterday how the first round of the local survey went on Monday night, but will let you know, once I hear the tally.
Before I forget, on Tuesday evening (31/05/2016) at 6.30 pm, the Islay bird nerds will be meeting at
6.30pm down at "terminal 2" at the airport for a walk down along the shore of Loch Indaal towards Knockangle Point, so see you there , if you are around....

Thursday 26 May 2016

Thursday 26th May

On Tuesday, Bob had seen 15 Turnstone on Loch Indaal beside the Airport over at Glenegedale. Yesterday, James  saw 3 Whooper Swans and the pair of Mute Swans out from the old hide at Gruinart. The Mutes had 5 cygnets in tow with them. Also on the reserve at Gruinart, James had a Merlin, heard 2 Water Rails as well as 3 Grasshopper Warblers. Late afternoon, we had 25 Chough fly up past from Machir Bay, just great seeing so many of them together. Today, a Merlin flew across the road, just after Rock Mountain and coming home later on, a male Hen Harrier flew across the road, just as we came down to the lane leading to Loch Gorm used by the fisherman.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Wednesday 25th May

Becky Austin who works with the RSPB as an Assistant warden on the Loch Lomond reserve had seen a Red Kite down at Coillabus on the Oa on the 7th of May, apologies in the delay about that one.... Yesterday, the Rochdale birders had seen a Shelduck with 8 Ducklings at "Smelly corner", a Sparrowhawk at Avonvoggie. Up at Bunnahabhain, 3 Whinchats were on territory, also there was single Yellowhammer. Later on, they had 4 Cuckoos chasing after each other at Foreland. This morning, I gave Bob a hand to carry out the BTO survey along the River Sorn down from The Woollen Mill to where it enters Loch Indaal down below Bridgend. We heard and saw 31 species in total compared with 34 earlier this month. Top birds included Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher and Bullfinch.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Tuesday 24th May

After a misty start this morning, the sun came out and burnt it off,  giving us a nice sunny afternoon and now a beautiful evening.
Last night was the first night when we carried out the Corncrake counts round the island, not sure of the grand total, but we heard 6 in total on our patch, but heard no Sedge Warblers calling anywhere on our travels....  James had covered the reserve at Gruinart and heard 8 Corncrakes, a Water Rail, a Barn Owl was seen and also a Short eared Owl. Michal today had seen a male Hen Harrier mobbing a juvenile female Golden Eagle up at Ardnave. Over on Nave island, Michal had spotted 3 Barnies still present and also a pair of Great Skuas there too.

Monday 23 May 2016

Monday 23rd May

Wall to wall sunshine, although there is a slight edge to the air, at  least it has stayed dry... Later on tonight, all going well, tonight around midnight, some of us will be going out and around Islay, trying to hear any Corncrakes that may be calling, so fingers crossed and I will let you know tomorrow evening how we got on...
Here at home I saw my first Wren for some time, a Greenfinch was in at bird feeders, a Reed Bunting flew past and late afternoon, a House Martin was in the sky. Earlier on a couple of Sand Martins touched down briefly on the road outside the house. Yesterday, we saw another hen Pheasant out with young chicks, this one had 9 youngsters, wonder how this one will finish off with...

Sunday 22 May 2016

Sunday 22nd May

A better day again, it has to be with Bruichladdich Distillery having their open day today, and usually they manage to get a good day with the weather, today was no exception...
Andy and Jane, the Bowland birders left yesterday, but kindly sent their sightings seen from the ferry. At Port Ellen, they saw Arctic Terns. On passage, 7 Turnstone were seen flying towards Islay, 2 Manx Shearwater, 6 Kittiwake, Razorbills, Guilliemots, Gannets and GND. In West Loch Tarbert, some Common Terns were seen. A total of 110 species were seen during their visit. Many thanks to you both for sharing your sightings with and look forward to seeing you in the Autumn...
Today, the Rochdale birders had seen a Peregrine carrying prey over close to Coal Ila and later on they saw a Swift flying North at Foreland.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Saturday 21st May

Jim Dickson kindly sent through this image of a Spotted Flycatcher at Gruinart which he took earlier this week while he was over on Islay.
Yesterday morning, Peter had been over at Loch Finlaggan where he saw the Ring necked Duck. Later on, he had been over at the old hide at Gruinart from where he noted 7 Canada Geese. The weather has now fared up, today we saw the hen Pheasant with her brood, now down to only 3 in less than a week, they really are poor mothers.....

Friday 20 May 2016

Friday 20th May

Another miserable sort of a day with more rain, it will all help the seeds to germinate...
Down at Carn below Port Charlotte, Bob had seen 18 GND along with 12 Common Scoter out on Loch Indaal. Today had been the Bowland birders last full day before heading home tomorrow... At Islay House, in the Community Garden, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers were seen. Over at Coal Ila, a Sparrowhawk flew across the Sound to Jura and a pair of Ravens were busy feeding their 2 fledged youngsters. A walk down to the Lily Loch and also to  Loch Allan produced Willow Warblers, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, 4 Cuckoo and a pair of Coal Tit feeding young in their nest which was in the ground.... hope they are not getting too wet tonight. Earlier today, in one of the barley fields at Sunderland Farm, we saw 6 Hares in a huddle...

Thursday 19 May 2016

Thursday 19th May

A miserable sort of a day with the weather, another dreich sort of a day, the weather last week is long forgotten by now!!
At the weekend, Fiona MacGillivary had seen a Short eared Owl on the wing, at the far end of Loch Gorm. Yesterday, the Bowland birders had walked from Gartbreck back to Bowmore (the reverse way to Bob's WeBs count) with largest flocks (not totals) being 100 Dunlin, 100 Ringed Plover including 2 chicks, 3 Shelduck, 10 Eider, 3 Red br Merganser, 15 Whimbrel, Grey Plover in summer plumage, Rock Pipit on the rocks, 4 Arctic Tern, pr of Stonechats + 2 youngsters, Whitethroat, pr Redshank, 5 fishing Gannets and a Heron. Along at Gartmain, 3 Turnstone were present with a further 2 over at Gortan. Yesterday, forgot to mention that we had a Grey Wagtail at The Woollen Mill and then later on a distant White tailed Sea Eagle over towards Bunnahabhain. Louise yesterday had led a walk out from Craighouse  on Jura. She had a Grey Wagtail and alsolocated nests of Robin, Starling, Great Tit and Blue Tit. Louise had also seen a Short eared Owl down at Ardfin on Jura. Michal had been down on the Oa and had seen 2 Whinchats as well as a Peregrine yesterday. James told me today that the Spotted Flycatcher is back in his garden. Peter's house guests had seen an Osprey while waiting for the ferry at Kennacraig yesterday

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Wednesday 18th May

Irene Miller sent through some images of the Hawfinch that was on the feeders in her garden earlier last week.

Great image showing the Hawfinch and a Chaffinch

Another one of the Hawfinch, this time with a House Sparrow on the sunflower feeder this time!
The Rochdale birders are back on Islay again and early on Monday evening, they saw an Osprey on Loch Gorm

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Tuesday 17th May

Two of the images of the Subalpine Warbler images sent through to the blog by Jim Dickson

Jim commented that this was the "first record the "Western" sub species for Argyll, only the second record of this species after an "Eastern" seen on Tiree back in 2012". Thanks Jim for sharing your images. We took Jim out on our local patch to listen for any Corncrakes calling, late last night and early this morning, although there was hardly any wind, the temperature had dropped considerably (the frost warning in the car came on as we drove around!!), net result was that we did not hear as many as we had hoped for...although there was one calling in our garden here at home. We also saw a couple of Hedgehogs, 2 Hares and a Rabbit and also a Rat. Lapwings, Sedge Warblers and Snipe were all heard during our trip out and about, no Owls, sorry about that Jim.....
There was no sign of the Subalpine Warbler on the Sycamore tree in Dave's garden today, mind you it has been rather dreich here today! Visitor Kev Joynes from Mid Wales had gone down to the Oa this morning, hoping for a Golden Eagle, all that was achieved was a soaking. On his way back from the Oa, a ringtail Hen Harrier was at Risabus with a GND close to the shore in Kilnaughton Bay. Up near to Bridgend on the high road a Gropper was hear singing away. Wonder what the tune was that it was singing??

Monday 16 May 2016

Monday 16th May

Today, we have had a bit of a twitch here on Islay... Dave Wood had seen a "Western Subalpine Warbler" in his garden down at Kinnabus on the Oa, the first for Argyll I am led to believe. Those of us who went, had great sightings of it, thanks Dave.
This morning Gary had a Glaucous Gull at Gartmain and then later on, over at Port Charlotte, Gary had seen an Osprey being harassed by Gulls. This morning, here at home nothing so exciting, but I saw the hen Pheasant out with her brood, the 3 Greenfinches were present on the feeders. As I went down to feed Donald (one of our cats!) the Chough were out and about, a Corncrake was heard in the reed bed and to cap a few minutes outside of the house, a Peregrine flew along past the crag and a moment or two later a Raven appeared out, no doubt trying protect its' patch...just knew it was going be a good day for bird watching.... This morning, Bob took a quick walk in to Loch Eighinn, over beside the airport, where he saw 2 Oystercatcher, 3 Redshank, 30 Greylag, a female as well 3 drake Wigeon. Today, the Bowland birders had been over the Bunahabhain way where they distant views of the White tailed Sea Eagle, as well as a Peregrine. They also 40 Black Guillemots feeding around the old wreck of the Wyre Majestic just below Bunnabhain on the Sound of Islay

Sunday 15 May 2016

Sunday 15th May

This afternoon, we saw a hen Pheasant out proudly showing off her brood of 8 chicks, the first we have seen here this year, earlier on we had the 3 Greenfinches at the feeders. The Bowland birders today had walked along the track along the side of Loch Gorm where they saw Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, Willow Warblers, Cuckoo and Redpolls. Out  on the loch itself, Tufted Duck and RT Divers were present. Below Carnduncan, a male Hen Harrier was seen and they also had seen another male bird close to Bruichladdich, earlier on as they made their way up to Loch Gorm. The sun may have been shining, but the wind gave it a cold edge, no T shirt on today, and looked out the old jersey to wear as well...

Saturday 14 May 2016

Saturday 14th May

Yesterday, Mandy had seen a Golden Eagle while she was down on the Oa. Today Peter and Pia had walked from Laggan along the Big Strand to Kintra. At Knockangle Point, they had 35-40 Eider, 45 Dunlin, 20 Sanderling, 15 Ringed Plover with a GND in full summer plumage seen offshore. Today, the Bowland Birders had walked along the banks of the River Sorn from Bridgend up to the Laggan Strip and returned back down to their starting point. Their sightings were as follows, 4 Spotted Flycatchers, M & F Siskin, pr Grey Wagtail, pr Dipper, G S Woodpecker, Tawny Owl, 2 Sand Martin, Cuckoo, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Song Thrush with fledged young, 3 Blackcap, many Willow Warbler, Robin, Wren  & Chaffinches. On Loch Indaal on their way home to their cottage, a R B Merganser was seen on Loch Indaal. Here at home, there were 3 Greenfinches out on the feeders. This evening, a quick run round Loch Gorm produced the following birds, on the Rockside barley fields there were 2 Shelduck, 2 different groups of drake Mallards, one of 10 and then another 7 further along the same field, In the next field, a Snipe was present as was a Curlew. A count of 27 Ringed Plover seen at Ballinaby, a Cuckoo being mobbed by a Meadow Pipit below Carnduncan and finally a close sighting of a male Hen Harrier between Grulinmore and Culbuie.

Friday 13 May 2016

Friday 13th May

Jane Reid's talk on Islay's Choughs was very informative last night with a good number of questions from the floor at the end, a sure sign that Jane kept us all awake...
The Bowland birders had gone down to The Oa yesterday had had seen nesting Fulmars, GND and a Golden Eagle, no sign of any chough or even a Peregrine, Andy commented that the sea was empty, no Auks, few divers, few Gannets. This afternoon, while going round the Rhinns, they saw a Red legged Partridge and also a ringtail Hen Harrier at Claddach. Offshore from  Claddach, Manx Shearwater and also a good passage of Gannets were noted while up on Loch Indaal, off Carn just out of Port Charlotte, there were 35 Common Scoter, a BTD and 6 GND. I was speaking to Irene Miller earlier this evening, but there has been no sign today of the Hawfinch.
Today, the weather has been a bit cooler and more bearable, so the chance was taken in getting on with work in the garden, rowing up the potatoes, sowing some more wildflowers and preparing some ground for to sow the final pieces of the jigsaw tomorrow, all going well....

Thursday 12 May 2016

Thursday 12th May

A bit of an early entry  tonight as I am away out shortly to a talk by Jane Reid on Choughs... Yesterday, Peter saw the Hawfinch down in Tony and Irene Miller's garden. Also yesterday, Peter and Janet had seen 3 drake and a female Gadwall at Gruinart. Down at Frenchman's Rocks a Fulmar and 11 Whimbrel were seen. Today down on the Oa, Dave had 3 Whitethroats and also 2 Redpolls. Back on Tuesday, he had 5 Spotted Flycatcher around the Oa, as well as the Little Ringed Plover. James had a Merlin and a Little Tern up at Ardnave, today.

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Wednesday 11th May

Another glorious day out here today, earlier this morning Carol Kirkwood on the BBC weather forecast  stated that at that point Islay was hottest place in the UK, and that was before 8am... Possibly all contributors have gone sunbathing today as not a lot to report so far. Last night when we down watching the Hawfinch, there were also 3 Siskins present along with Chaffinches, Goldfinches and a couple of Greenfinches as well. Here at home today, there was a Lesser Redpoll and a couple of Greenfinches apart from our usual Goldfinches etc. This evening along at Rockside on the barley fields were 38 Greylags while at Ballinaby, 10 Golden Plover and 4 Dunlin were seen. Speaking with Bob last night, we were both of the same opinion that we thought that there were more Cuckoos around this year...  The Bowland birders today had seen the Garganey drake on the left hand flood in front of the viewing platform. Also there were 2 Whoopers. Along at the North hide/new hide/ Taigh Tuath, 3 Ruff were spotted along with a Snipe and a Mistle Thrush. A walk round Ardnave Point produced 5 Little Terns & 2 Sandwich Terns. There was also a steady movement of Arctic Terns, around 1 flew past every minute for over an hour. Other birds seen included 60 Barwits, 30 Ringed Plover, 25 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin and 6 Whimbrel. Back at the steading , 2 different Corncrakes were heard with a pair of Tufties seen on the Loch

Tuesday 10th May.. the continuation

Well after some well earned beauty sleep, I  will now try to finish Tuesday's entry...
Returning birders Peter and Janet Roworth on Sunday had a Spotted Flycatcher and also a Sedge warbler in the gorse bushes up at Ardnave, several groups of Whimbrel tallying over 50 birds while going round Ardnave Point. Out from the North hide, 3 Blackwits while from the old hide, a Water Rail was heard as were Corncrakes. An Arctic Skua was seen in the distance patrolling Lapwing territories!!! On Monday, they had seen several Hen Harriers while out and about. They had also seen a single House Martin flying around with the Sand Martins at Kilchoman, on the barley fields at Rockside they counted 74 Greylags. Round at Ballinaby, 11 Golden Plover and 11 Dunlin were present 19 Whimbrel were seen at Saligo with a further 15 near to the Coastgurds. They had counted a total of 10 male Stonechats on their way round Loch Gorm. Today, Tuesday, Peter and Jane had  3 Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit, 2 Common Sandpiper all around the Ballygrant area. Back around the old hide (Taigh Deas) at Gruinart a single Ruff was noted along with Moorhen and also Dabchick, their list for 3 days so far is a mere 82 species seen... Louise had seen an Osprey at Loch Gorm. The Bowland birders had seen 2 Ruff from the new hide, both in breeding plumage, but no sign of the Lesser Yellowlegs, from the viewing platform, they had heard 3 different Corncrakes calling away. Over at Finlaggan, they had seen the Ring  necked Duck along with the Tufted Ducks. Finally, Mandy up at Ardnave had seen 4 Chough mobbing a Buzzard and a flock of around 25 Ringed Plover in flight. Coming back, she had a male Hen Harrier skydancing, just great!!!

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Tuesday 10th May

A bit of a late entry, been a busy day, so here goes....
Yesterday, John Stephenson and his wife (residents in Bowmore) had gone over to Jura. Up at Ardlussa, down towards Inverlussa, Cuckoos were calling away good style, with with one of them flying between the tree tops. Nearby a Golden Eagle was soaring past. They also saw another Golden Eagle past Craighouse as they headed back to the ferry. This morning, Michal heard a Blackcap and also a Chiffchaff calling away in his garden at Moulin, and told me there were many Lapwing chicks out on the flats at Gruinart. Carl today heard a Corncrake calling at Coultorsay and then another up at Conisby. He had a pair of Stonechats at Conisby, Common Sandpiper at Bruichladdich, and at Shorefield a Whitethroat was present. Michal through the day today had done carried out his WeBS count with 3,000 Dunlin, 85 Ringed Plover, 91 Oystercatcher, 28 Shelduck and 73 Common Gull counted. A female Shoveler with ducklings on the flats,  a Whooper Swan was also there too. Up at Killinallan, 3 Pale belied Brent were seen. Over on Loch Kinnabus this morning, Dave Wood had a Little Ringed Plover while on the feeders at their home past Octofad, Tony and Irene Miller had a Hawfinch. As it is getting late, I will sign off and carry on tomorrow when I get up...to be continued

Monday 9 May 2016

Monday 9th May

Early this morning, Michal had a Ruff and also a single Barnacle Goose, both on the salt marsh, wonder if it was the same Barnie that we saw at Craigens last week? Mandy, this afternoon had seen 5 pr of Eider in the sea at Machir Bay. During a walk through the warren, Mandy counted 15 Chough while out at the duck pond behind the dunes, there were around 20 Sand Martin, as well as Lapwing, Skylarks and Mipits. Returning to the car park, she saw a Corncrake as it flew deeper into the reed bed! This morning round at Saligo, out over the sea, Mandy saw  a Curlew mobbing a Buzzard, also there were 20 Ringed Plover and a single Snipe. Along at Rockside she heard Snipe drumming, Sedge  Warbler and also saw a Cuckoo. The Bowland birders are back for another visit, hope they are not claiming to have brought the good weather! Yesterday, off Carn they saw Razorbills, 3 Arctic Tern, Raven and a raft of 20 Common Scoter. Whinchat at Cultoon, Cuckoo at Gearach and Fulmars on the nests at Kilchiaran were some of their highlight. They also had a small pod of around 6 B N Dolphins swimming out  of Loch Indaal. Today, in the Kildalton Woods, a pair of Bullfinches, Goldcrest, Siskin, Blackcap, Willow Warbler & Chiffchaff. Along at Claggain Bay, a Tree Pipit was carrying food, also seen there a BT Diver, M & F Hen Harrier, Grey Wagtail and Stonechat. On their way home to their accommodation, another male Hen Harrier was close to the airport and 2 Dunlin seen at Bruichladdich.

Sunday 8 May 2016

Sunday 8th May

A great day out here after a bit of a sluggish start, mind you I am not complaining... Yesterday, Peter reported through to say that he had a cracking view of a Corncrake calling away as he walked down to the South (old) hide, better still he had it in the scope for about 5 minutes. The Lesser Yellowlegs was still present out from the North (new hide) yesterday seen by Mandy. Today, Mandy had seen 13 Whimbrel at Rockside, and this evening there were 41 Greylags on the barley field there. Earlier on, Mandy heard a Corncrake in the reedbed leading to Machir Bay. Bob today carried out the WeBS count from Bowmore to Gartbreck, so here are the scores on the doors... 1 Heron, 5 Shag, 3 Cormorant, 1 Greylag, 1 RT Diver, 1 Mallard, 1 Pale bellied Brent, 2 RBM, 99 Eider, 12 Shelduck, 20 H Gull, 4 BH Gull, 6 GBB Gull, 2 LB Gull, 3 Sand Terns, 6 Arc Tern, 35 Oystercatcher, 5 Curlew, 4 Whimbrel, 5 Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 189 Dunlin, 6 Lapwing, 115 R. Plover and 3 Turnstone. Along at Gartmain, Bob counted 58 Barwits. Back at home, he had a male Merlin. Up towards Bunahabhain today, Gary and Sam had a male Hen Harrier and several Common Sandpiper were on the shore at Bunnahabhain itself.  Round at Finlaggan, they heard Whinchat singing away, spotted an Osprey over the far end (South) of the loch, with the Ring necked Duck still present amongst the Tufties at the visitor centre end.

Saturday 7 May 2016

Saturday 7th May

Hope yesterday was not a one day wonder, as the rain has now come, mind you it will possibly help the potatoes which are poking their shoots through the ground, and also help the seeds sown yesterday as well. Gary emailed through last night to say that he too has had a couple of Siskins on his feeders, and like quite a few of us, he has been hearing a Cuckoo calling, from the adjacent wood and moorland behind his house with a Gropper reeling away on the other side of Gary's house. Peter yesterday had counted 40 Whimbrel down at Bruichladdich, flying between the rocks on the shore and the fields, but none were calling. This morning on a trip round Loch Gorm, Bob had seen a Whitefronted goose at Ballinaby. Also present were 8 Whimbrel, 30 Golden Plover and 3 Dunlin. Down at the field where the geese were the other day with me, Bob saw another 2 Whitefronts, the 3 Canadas and 34 Greylags. Back at home Bob has got 4 pairs of House Martins checking out some of last years' nest sites. Up on Bolsay Moor, Bob saw a Curlew seeing a Peregrine off and later on, a male Merlin was spotted. Also, on the Moor, Bob had his first Stonechat chick out this morning, he has already had young Blackbird out in his garden for over a week. When Bob was in for a natter this morning, a Siskin was out on the feeders along with the Goldfinches.

Friday 6 May 2016

Friday 6th May

What a cracker of a day  it has been out here and for a short time, no wind, so we took the chance and got 3 large areas sown with various wildflower seed mixes, and tomorrow they are talking of some rain, fingers crossed. Louise on her way home last night had seen a Marsh Harrier over on Jura. Also yesterday, a visitor was in touch to say that they had seen a Short eared Owl, while driving round Loch Gorm. Carl today had a couple of Blackwits just out of Port Charlotte. Michal on the reserve had seen a male Hen Harrier along 2 ringtails. The Cuckoo was at Moulin (again!!!) and now joined by a calling Corncrake!!!! Along at the office at Bushmills a Whitethroat was singing away, with 5 Sedge Warblers heard by Michal as headed into work. This afternoon, Michal saw a male Sparrowhawk chasing a Meadow Pipit at Ballinaby. James today had a count of 35 Whimbrel just the Bridgend side of Bowmore. On the reserve today, James had a Peregrine, heard a Corncrake calling, 2 Whitethroats , 1 Whinchat, 1 Cuckoo, 6 Stonechats, 3 Groppers, 1 Waterrail and a Blackcap. This morning coming back up the road, no sign of the Canada Geese, but there were 6 Whimbrel across the road and a Cuckoo was seen down below Foreland entrance, towards Tynacolle. Martin today had been working a job at Ballygrant and had to put with very vocal Cuckoo, it never stopped calling while he was there for over 4 Hours!!! Back at his house, Martin had a couple of Twite on his feeders, the first he has had this year, he has also had 4 Common Redpoll there of late. A quick walk outside around 8 pm, and I heard a Corncrake calling down the reedbed just over the wall from our former house, with the "local" Cuckoo calling away up the glen, long may it stay there...

Thursday 5 May 2016

Thursday 5th May

This morning, Michal had a female Sparrowhawk in the trees out in his garden! The Gropper (Grasshopper Warbler) and the Sedge Warbler were in their usual spots. Stuart, one of the farm staff  at Gruinart had heard a Corncrake calling away, out from the Visitor Centre. Later on, Michal had seen a Woodcock as he headed home this evening. This morning, we saw 5 Dunlin and 6 Ringed Plover in a newly sown barley field at Rockside while in another barley field directly across the road, 3 Canada Geese were there along with 30 Greylag and 5 Shelduck, round at Ballinaby, there was a group of 24 Golden Plover and finally this morning, the Leigh birders had a Sedge Warbler down in the scrub willow on the march fence between Coull and Rockside. Here at home this evening, we had 6 Swallows out on the wing, possibly a sign that Summer is here now....

Wednesday 4th May

Did not manage to write the blog last night, so here goes with it. On Tuesday, Michal had heard 2 Cuckoos, a Sedge Warbler and also a Grasshopper Warbler he walked between Moulin and the Office along at Bushmills. Mandy was in touch to say that she had heard 2 Corncrakes calling down  between the road and Loch Gorm, just along from the cottages at Rockside roadend. She too has seen the Lesser Yellowlegs as has Fiona back on Monday evening. Gary had been over at the hide and saw the Yellowlegs too. On his way along he flats at Gruinart, he saw a Peregrine trying to flush a Snipe out of the reedbed at the roadside. On his way home Gary had a flock of around 100 Meadow Pipits fly across the road close to Carnain. Mary now reports that  there were a couple of calling Corncrakes, one beside the Church at Portnahaven, the other was heard along towards Port Wemyss. Peter too had seen the Yellowlegs yesterday afternoon again present at the North hide, also there 42 Dunlin and 2 White Wagtails. From the old hide/ South Hide 2 Pr of Wigeon, 1 Pr of Tufted Duck and 29 Blackwits. Louise had a count of 19 Pale bellied Brent Geese over Jura

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Tuesday 3rd May

Thanks to James for sharing his images of the Lesser Yellowlegs which he had taken yesterday evening. The bird is still around today, with the Leigh birders, Michal, Dave and Bob all spotting it today. Forgot to mention that there were 20 Greylags on a barley field which was recently sown at Rockside. We also saw a single Barnacle Goose over at Craigens. Yesterday evening, Bob had 28 Blackwits at Gruinart and a further 15 in at Port Ban, one of which had plastic leg rings on, so will send the info through to BTO and see if we can get any information back on its' history

Monday 2nd May pics

The lesser yellowlegs

Monday 2 May 2016

Monday 2nd May

Yesterday, Carl had a single Whooper on Ardnave Loch,  he counted 130 Barwits at Tayvullin. Back down close to Garra Eallabus, a Cuckoo was heard while in Bridgend Woods, Blackcaps and also Bullfinches calling. Back over at Port Bhan, 25 Whimbrel were present. This morning, Bob had 28 Blackwits opposite St Kiaran's Church and also the same number of Whimbrel present along at Port Bhan. This afternoon, we had 3 small groups of Whimbrel, 5 seen past the Coastguards towards Coull Farm, 7 at Ballinaby and then 15 over at the Killinallan gate. A couple of male Hen Harriers were over the East end of Loch Gorm. At home, the Greenfinches  were on our feeders, but no sign today of the Lesser Redpoll. Early this evening, James had seen a Lesser Yellowlegs out from the new hide at Gruinart , also present were 4 White Wagtails and 2 Gadwall. Back at Mill cottage, ( James's house) while were having a cuppa and catch up, 2 Common Redpolls were on James's feeders along with Greenfinches, a BlueTit and Goldfinches.

Sunday 1 May 2016

Sunday 1st May

Another month in, a mere 2.1" of rain fell, although it seemed a lot more!!! Today, Mary heard a Corncrake calling down in Portnahaven, close to the Church. She also heard a Grasshopper Warbler nearby. Bob this morning had seen an adult White tailed Sea Eagle flying over Carn at Port Charlotte and  saw 25 Golden Plover in the fields at Octomore. Helen Brown had a pair of Siskin on her feeders at Ardnahoe. Here at home there were 2 Greenfinches on our feeders as well as a Redpoll . Out on the sea, towards Coul Point, Margaret has seen some small groups of 4- 5 Gannets flying North and South. Malcolm had seen 5 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Gortan at midday and then around 50 flew South past Bruichladdich around 4pm.