Sunday 31 July 2016

Sunday 31st July

I must sound like an "old gramophone record" as I keep saying that we have had another glorious day, with the sun streaming in through the windows...
Yes, another great day, I have been out in the garden "working away" at my own pace, creating a border, edging it and then finally putting some plants in, and to finish off, give the said plants a good watering. While I was out there this morning, I was speaking with a couple from Holland who were admiring the cover crop that we sown for the birds etc. He was very impressed and of a similar mind set to ourselves and said that we need some beehives for next year... James was over this afternoon, so the beehives are coming, as James has bees. James had not seen the crop himself for over 5 weeks and was pleasantly surprised. We saw several Willow Warblers on the seed heads, the Hooded Crows out on the lawn where earlier this morning, I had counted a mixed "flock" of 16 Song Thrush and Blackbirds. Also present were a few Pied Wagtail as well as around 20 Starlings

Saturday 30 July 2016

Saturday 30th July

This morning, Bob and David Barr had spent a couple of hours doing a sea watch down at Frenchman's Rocks where they had "lots of Gannets flying overhead, hundreds of Manx Shearwater passing by, Cormorants, Shags, Kittiwakes and Fulmars flew past as well. 8 Common Scoter were seen close in, an eider, a Tystie, a Peregrine, 25 Oystercatcher and a Greenshank".  Back up here at home this afternoon, we saw a total of 5 Buzzards wheeling over the Machir, yes 5 in all, I did a double check, honest....
Many thanks to David Formby for his sightings while he was over here on holiday, great to catch up with you David, Margaret and their son John.

Friday 29 July 2016

Friday 29th July

Another, not bad day with the weather, although there has been a few little smurry showers of rain, nothing to worry about!!
Gary had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch over at Mulreesh which is between Bridgend and Ballygrant. Through the nights lately, he has been hearing a Tawny Owl out in the trees beside his house. Today, Gary had seen a White tailed Sea Eagle fly past beside his house. This evening while out birding from the house here with David Formby, we had 14 species seen in around an hour. We saw a Heron, not that common a bird here at home, although more common in other locations on Islay. On the oil seed rape seed heads this evening, we saw some Linnets and also a pair of Greenfinch. Out over the crag, 3 Buzzards were out on the wing as the 16 Chough came in to the roost with a Roe deer buck moving along the foot of the crag. Earlier this afternoon, 2 Peregrines were flying around, high over the crag.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Thursday 28th July

A not bad day with the weather today, and the sun is streaming in through the big gable end window, so I will try to write tonight's entry before getting blinded out...
Bob, yesterday had seen several Stonechats with fledglings as he took a walk up Bolsay Moor. Here at home yesterday, it is not only the "wee birds" that are enjoying the cover crop, as I have been seeing a more frequent visit of a  male Hen Harrier quartering over the crop, no doubt looking for some of the wee birds to prey upon.... I also had seen the Whitethroats and also Willow Warblers on the seed heads again. David Formby had a spell looking out over the crop this morning, and had seen 16 species in just over an hour including a total of 7 Linnets feeding on the crop, 2 Sand Martins flew past with  6 Swallows hawking over the pond. This morning, we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier close to Saligo, another at Culbuie, and then a third one as we came up to Rock Mountain.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Wednesday 27th July

Many thanks to James for writing the blog in my absence, so it is back to yours truly for a few days again...
Back on Monday, a visitor had reported to say that he had seen a Short eared Owl at the Sanaigmore turn off on a fence post. Some Manx Shearwaters and also Bonxies were seen off Portnahaven by a visitor on Monday as well, not sure if the visitors were the same folk or 2 different folk... The later visitor today had seen a Golden Eagle on the Rhinns.  Today, Gary had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier up at Sanaigmore, out quartering over the moorland. Gary also noted seeing several Wheatears on the moor as well as Gannets flying past both ways out on the sea. Down at Machir Bay, a Greenshank flew up off the bay, after being spoofed by a young Peregrine. Back in Gary's garden, he has had a good number of Warblers present today in his shrubbery. Last night, when we arrived home, there were 11 Song Thrushes probing around on the lawn....

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Tuesday 26th July

A count from Loch Gruinart : 16 Eider, 95 Oystercatchers, 22 Curlew, 10 Ringed Plovers, 2 Grey Plover, 7 Lapwing, 4 Bar Tailed Godwits, 23 Redshank, 44 Black Headed Gulls, 52, Common Gulls, 12 Herring Gulls, 6 Greater Black Back Gulls and 89 Greylag geese. Else- where on the reserve 2 Hen Harriers and the Grasshopper Warbler is still singing at Gruinart Farm.

Monday 25 July 2016

Monday 25th July

Its Blog time and I have lots of birds for you all tonight. Bob has been out at Gartbreck - 3 Gannets, 7 Cormorants, 5 Shags, 1 Great Northern Diver, 72 Greylags, 18 Eiders, 38 Oystercatchers, 38 Curlew, 10 Redshank, 239 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank. At Gruinart he had a Peregrine and 20 Wheatears on the Killinallan road. Dave at The Oa has seen a Short Eared Owl and 3 Red Throated Divers - the divers were being very noisey on Loch Kinabus.

Sunday 24 July 2016

Sunday 24th July

Not too much to report today. 6 Arctic terns at Kilnaughton, 2 Hen Harriers and a Peregrine over Gruinart.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Saturday 23rd July

A good start to the day with cloud sinking down to drizzle in the afternoon. A few records from Ardnave - 9 Sanderling, a few flocks of Dunlin, a scattering of Wheatears and approx 60 Chough. Michal had a singing Grasshopper Warbler at Gruinart Farm.

Friday 22 July 2016

Friday 22nd July

Not any sightings to give you tonight. The only other piece of news is that due to unforeseen set of events off Islay, there will be no bird nerds meeting this Tuesday coming, sorry about that folks... If you have any sightings that you wish to share with us for the blog, please get in touch with either James or Michal at RSPB Gruinart, on 01496 850 505 as they are writing the blog in my absence.

Thursday 21 July 2016

Thursday 21st July

Peter and Pia returned home on Tuesday from their trip to Alaska. A great trip by the sound of things. On the ferry coming over from Kennacraig to Islay they had seen many rafts of Guillemots of adults and juveniles totalling several hundred birds. They also had seen Kittiwakes, a few Razorbills, Manx Shearwaters and Gannets but no Fulmars! David Formby had seen a Tufted Duck along with a pr of Mute Swan with 4 cygnets on Loch Skerrols. Out of nowhere, a Daubenton's bat appeared. Today when Bob was up visiting us, he saw a Redpoll at the feeders, with 20 species while he was here. Just great....

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Wednesday 20th July

The temperature today is a lot more bearable, possibly the thunderstorm last night helped "clear the air". It appeared to be further away, but I still took the precaution to unplug the phone, the computer and also the tv, better safe than sorry..
Back on Monday, while walking out round Coull Point, David Formby had seen a Common Blue butterfly. Yesterday, over the crag at Kilchoman, David had seen a Hen Harrier, a Buzzard and also 30 Chough. This afternoon, Margaret had seen one of the House Sparrows with a leg ring on, at the feeders.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Tuesday 19th July

Like a lot of places here in the UK, it has been a hot and sticky day, the only thing on a positive note, is there is some air moving, a cool 22 degrees at 10pm, hot for us, I just might be a greasy spot tomorrow morning...
Not much to report on the bird front, but there were a couple of Buzzards on the wing out over the crag early afternoon, and then later on, a Linnet was feeding on the seed heads down at the edge of the game crop. No sign today of any House Sparrows with bto rings on their legs, no doubt to hot for them as well....

Monday 18 July 2016

Monday 18th July

After a dull start to the day, it has turned out to be a wee cracker late afternoon. It may only be 24 degrees, not as warm as other places, but it suits me fine...
On the bird front, David Formby who was our dentist on Islay before he retired, is back on here for a holiday along with his family. Yesterday afternoon while walking through the dunes behind Machir Bay, they heard a Corncrake calling  This afternoon, Mandy and Fiona had seen a Red throated Diver on Ballygrant Loch. also seen there were a 2 Dabchick and a pair of Mute Swan with 3 well grown cygnets, out on the island, a Heron was resting up. In the trees in the woods, juvenile Goldfinches, Willow Warblers and Robin were noted. Further on, at Loch nan Cadhan, a Dabchick and a Mute Swan were present. Lots of Common Blue Damselflies were seen mating, plus a Common Darter female and also Speckled Wood and Ringlet butterflies. This afternoon I saw 2 male House Sparrows with leg rings on. I spoke with George Jackson, a few minutes ago who told me that he had caught and rung 6 female and 5 male House Sparrows, as well as a Dunnock and a Goldfinch here last year, so short of catching the birds up, I suppose that the 4 House Sparrows with rings seen over the past 24 hours were some of George's...

Sunday 17 July 2016

Sunday 17th July

Due to the poor weather yesterday, there were not many birds around, hence no entry for Saturday...
Today, it has mainly been dry with the odd spot of rain from time to time, the sky is overcast, it is past mid July already, so can we have some warmer, better weather again please, I am surely not asking for too much... vote for the "sunshine party" on your next voting sheet!!
This evening, I watched a male Hen Harrier as it hawked back and forward over the trees down beside our old house before  veering away over towards Rockside. There was a Linnet on one of the thistle heads this morning, a Wren was hopping along the dyke and then a Willow Warbler appeared soon after. Just after spotting the Hen Harrier this evening, when scanning through the wee birds on the feeders, there was House Sparrow with a ring on its leg and then another was there as well, a different bird as the "new" bird had a stumpy tail. Mid afternoon, the 2 Ravens were having a tussle with a Peregrine out over the crag, no winners there, as they all flew away unscathed!!!

Friday 15 July 2016

Friday 15th July

Think that I should get a job as a weather forecaster, as the weather today has not been very nice at all, the plane from Glasgow came this morning, but this evening's flight was cancelled. As I look out the window, I cannot see the crag because of the low cloud, or could it be swirling mist, not great whatever.... This morning during a "window" of better weather there were 9 Song Thrushes out on the lawn, and now we have 6 Hooded Crows visiting at every opportunity! Bob is still getting the Rock Doves coming into his garden when he feeds his birds. The day has not been entirely lost as I managed to get some wee jobs done, getting some things done for the British Bird Fair and our trip down there, not long now, only 5 weeks to the start of the 3 day event. So if  you are coming, feel free to drop by the Islay stand, we are in Marquee 7, stand 14, just across from Speyside Wildlife. We can guarantee you a warm Islay welcome, and there is also a free draw for a holiday cottage for week to see the geese when they are here.

Thursday 14 July 2016

Thursday 14th July

A not bad day with the weather, but there could be a change working, possibly the rain is not that far away there is not even a puff of air with the seed heads are not even moving when I look outside...
Yesterday, David Barr had seen an Osprey over Loch Indaal. Martin, yesterday evening had taken a walk out past Castlehill out toward some of the hill lochs. He saw a Red throated Diver on one of the lochs, 10 Golden Plover close to the wind turbine, some Meadow Pipits, Wheatears and also a Snipe perched on top of a fence post! Further out on the hill, Martin also saw a few Red Grouse. Here at home this morning, Margaret spotted a Red Damselfly down on the pond.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Wednesday 13th July

Another image taken yesterday, just along the wall from where the Corncrake was seen a few weeks ago. The birds are certainly making the most of the seed heads that are on offer at present, and also the abundant supply of insects around too... The Whitethroats and also the Willow Warblers are just great to see along with more Bumblebees around as well ...
Today over on the feeders at The Woollen Mill, we saw Siskins, Great Tits, young fledged Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, a fledgling Robin hopping around on the ground with a watchful parent on the fence nearby. On the treetops, 3 Collared Doves were present.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Tuesday 12th July

It has been another good day out here with the weather, so after getting the grass cut along with other wee jobs, I got the camera out and hey presto one for the blog tonight... Margaret this morning had seen 3 Buzzards out over the crag this morning. This afternoon, the Whitetroats were out feeding young, a Great Tit was seen as well, the first for some time, a House Sparrow with a ring on its' leg, possibly one that visiting George Jackson caught and rung here last year. Out over the crag, a Raven was  ducking and diving with a Peregrine late afternoon. Over 20 Chough were counted in the air out towards the War Graves cemetery. Bob was saying that he has been having  at least 19 Rock Doves each time when he feeds their hens in the morning...

Monday 11 July 2016

Monday 11th July

Gary yesterday had walked down to through Ballygrant Woods to Loch Ballygrant itself. He had heard a Great spotted Woodpecker calling  in the trees, with its' young calling back!  Also, on the treetops, he heard Goldfinch and Siskin. In a clearing, Gary saw a Spotted Flycatcher and then 2 Wood Warblers. Blackcaps were still heard calling. On Loch Ballygrant itself, Dabchick and Tufted Duck were present with  couple of Buzzard flying overhead. Mary had a Corncrake cross over the road at Portnahaven, close to the church. She is still hearing a bird calling just out of the village each morning.  Here at home this morning, there were 3 Peregrines out on the wing, what a noise they were making... Later on, after lunch, we watched as a Raven was harassing 2 Peregrines, no doubt trying to get them to move on...

Sunday 10 July 2016

Sunday 10th July

Yesterday evening a quick run round Loch Gorm provided not a lot but there were some  young Stonechats along the way, and round at Leek, a Hen Harrier was seen, and while we approached Loch Skerrols,  a Sparrowhawk flew across in front of us and on Loch Skerrols a pair of Mute Swans were present with their 4 cygnets. Here at home, late afternoon today the sun was shining so a wee look over the game crop was quite productive, with young Stonechats spotted, young fledged Garden Warblers seen on the hemlock, fledged Goldfinches feeding on thistle heads, some Whitethroats were seen too with Barn Swallows swooping down over the pond, a great sight to see, especially seeing as many fledged youngsters, all the effort has been worthwhile!!!!

Saturday 9 July 2016

Saturday 9th July

A better sort of a day after last night's rain. Yesterday, David Barr had seen a Golden Eagle while down on the Oa, a new Islay tick for David.  Yesterday evening, Martin had seen a Short eared Owl along the high road. Late last night/ early this morning we did our stint on the Corncrake survey, and believe it or not, we had heard more than we thought we might have done considering the weather recently. We did not hear some where we heard them calling on earlier surveys. In all, we had heard 7 in total, our best count for the year... I will keep you up to date once the figures are complete, but overall, I think the tally will not be as high as last year....

Friday 8 July 2016

Friday 8th July

Well, just as I thought, the rain came on and the wind picked up a little as well last night , net result was that we called off doing the proposed Corncrake count, but it certainly looks a lot better at present, so fingers crossed and we should get the job done later on tonight. Having said that the weather over the last fortnight will not have helped matters... Remember the Pheasant with the her new brood from earlier this week, well not good news on that front either, as we have found 2 of her brood dead so far, plus she was a sorry sight herself last night too. This afternoon there were 10 Mute Swans between the Gaelic College and Gartmain out on Loch Indaal.

Thursday 7 July 2016

Thursday 7th July

Forgot to mention the other night, the rainfall figure for June came to a nice round 3.00 inches, very similar to June last year. Think quite a lot of that total must have fallen while we were away! Not much to report on the bird front tonight, it may have been dry today, but looks as if there could be a wee change coming our way plus the wind could be picking up a little, does not bode well for a proposed Corncrake count later on  tonight, might not get done. There may have been a few Greenfinches seen here at home recently, while there have not been as many Chaffinches around...

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Wednesday 6th July

Not a day for cutting grass, let alone bird watching, a rather dreich day to put it politely, could think of other words to describe it, probably not printable....
But on a positive note, before the rain front came in, I saw a Whitethroat down at the game crop... and then shortly afterwards a couple of Wheatear out on the fields. The hen Pheasant appeared out mid afternoon with her clutch of 6 + young chicks looking rather wet and bedraggled... The other set of 4 older Pheasant chicks were looking good this morning, they know where the feeders are and also skulk around in the cover in the game crop, that is what we planted the cover for, the birds......

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Tuesday 5th July

Today, Nigel and Helen Brown had seen a White tailed Eagle from their home, which is up towards Bunnahabhain, can they call it a house bird?  Here at home, there were some of this years first Swallow brood out on the wing, swooping low over the game crop. In the garden 12 Jackdaws, 5 Hooded Crows, a few Pied Wagtails and then down on the burn at the coastguards, a Heron was present.

Monday 4 July 2016

Monday 4th July

Gary and Sam had been out over the weekend. On a walk down from Ballygrant Hall to Ballygrant Wood, they noted seeing many Robins, Wrens and Blackbirds in the trees, several Song Thrushes were seen, as were several fledged broods of Willow Warblers with Blackcaps calling away in the trees. On Loch Ballygrant itself, a pair of Tufted Duck with a duckling, 2 Mutes with 5 cygnets a single adult Little Grebe with 3 young were present. A distant diver proved to be too distant to get a positive on. on Loch nan Cadhan, the Mute Swans were seen with 3 cygnets, 2 Little Grebe were present as were many Sand Martins, hawking over the water surface searching for food. Sam, herself, had a Barn Owl float through their garden while she was out there with their dog the other evening.

Sunday 3 July 2016

Sunday 3rd July

An image of 3 Northern Fulmars which we found beside a small iceberg last week when we were out on the "ribs". The experts told us that the further North the Fulmars are, the more noticeable is the blue phase is evident. The species of birds seen were not so numerous in species, but were made up in numbers, get my drift??? Actually, we have seen more species back home in a matter of a few hours, but we knew that would be the case before we set out!!!!

Saturday 2 July 2016

Saturday 2nd July

Many thanks to Michal for writing the blog in my absence, I even forgot to write an entry last night, mind you I was rather tired out after our trip away to Svalbard, a great time was had by all and yes, we saw Polar bears, including one with 3 cubs, a rare sight indeed, never seen in 25 years by the ship's captain!!! Blue Whales, King Eiders, Walrus, the list goes on, might get some images for you yet!!! Thoroughly recommend the trip
Back on Islay, Gary yesterday, had seen an Osprey take a trout out of Loch Gorm before flying off with it....Peter Donaldson had an Otter in Tarbert Bay on Jura on Friday and this morning had seen had seen  Chough  and also some Ravens while walking between Kilchiaran and Machir Bay past Granny's Rocks.