Wednesday 31 August 2016

Wednesday 31st August

Yesterday afternoon, Bob had seen a Peregrine about 300 metres along the "high road"  from the junction at Springbank. He saw another Peregrine over close to the airport, down the big strand, he saw 6 Sanderling and 8 Ringed Plover were present. At the Bird nerds meeting held at the Gaelic College, the following birds were seen, 22 Wigeon, 30 Eider, a small flock of Dunlin of around 15 in total, a few Oystercatcher, some Curlew, 30 Greylag and 12 Mute Swan further out on Loch Indaal. We also saw a very inquisitive Stoat who was easily "squeaked in". Gary this morning, had seen Curlew, Whimbrel and Ringed Plover at Bruichladdich, along at Port Charlotte in the bay, there was a Great crested Grebe. This morning, Mike and Peter had done a stint down at Frenchman's Rocks, the wind was sou' westerly, 17 to 20 mph, birds flying with the wind.... the birds seen over their 2 hour stint was as follows,  2 Great Skua, 3023 Manx Shearwater, 35 Sooty Shearwater, 363 Gannets on passage with around 500 fishing around the rock itself, 193 Fulmar, 31 Shag, 23 Kittiwake, 8 Guillemot, 8 Turnstone, 2 Red Knot and 3 Tufted Duck. While out and about today, Michal had seen 4 different ringtail Hen Harriers between Bushmills and Ardnave Point. Michal also saw 11 Black tailed Godwit at Gruinart and a Whooper Swan on Loch Lageadail. All I can offer was a Wren as it hopped along in the shelter of the dyke from the wind here at home, the first I have seen for sometime.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Tuesday 30th August

Louise had seen a leucistic Wagtail, almost all white, over towards Saligo, she also had counted 30 Kittiwakes on the Sound of Islay as well. James had a Peregrine chasing a Linnet through his garden the other day and today he saw an Osprey from his house down on Loch Gruinart itself.

Monday 29 August 2016

Monday 29th August

Nothing  to report really on the birdfront here today... But, the monthly meeting of the Islay Bird nerds will be held tomorrow evening at 7pm at he Gaelic College at Bowmore, so if you are around, feel free to come along and have a look out over Loch Indaal, to see what is around...
While we were down at the Bird Fair, good friends, Ken and Karen from Bearsden came and house sat and looked after Donald Dhu, Oscar and Angus... On Tuesday 16th, they counted 14Swallows and saw a Snipe on their walk from Killinallan up to Gortantoid. The next day,  Karen had 12 Pied Wagtails out on the lawn. After a very heavy shower of rain, on Friday, 37 Jackdaws and 82 were on the lawn with Pied Wagtails peaking at 14 around 6pm.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Sunday 28th August

Some sightings through from Gary and Sam who have had no internet connection over the past few days. Back on Thursday, they saw a male Bullfinch fly across the road between the trees close to Bridgend and later the same day, they had a ringtail Hen Harrier out quartering the fields opposite their house. On Friday, they saw a smart looking male Hen Harrier out on the wing up towards Finlaggan. Today they had walked out from Bunnahabhain towards the lighthouse at Rhuvaal. They had seen loads of Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Whitethroats on their walk and then saw a Golden Eagle overhead. Yesterday evening, just after we watched the Chough flying to their roost, there were 32 in total, we had a probable Marsh Harrier fly past before it briefly landed on the crag, giving us a better view of it through the scope. Today Bob, David and myself carried out the WeBs count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, a week late I know , but as we were at Rutland last Sunday, the old saying that you cannot be in 2 places at once, comes to mind... Today's birds were as follows, 1 Gannet, 5 Heron, 12 Shag, 45 Greylag, 10 Mallard, 4 Eider, 35 Oystercatcher, 41 Curlew, 3 Arctic Tern, 78 Dunlin, 8 Redshank, 11 Knot, 1 Lapwing, 87 Ringed Plover, 1 Sanderling,6 GGB Gull, 110 H Gull, 3 C Gull, 6 BH Gull, 1 Buzzard. We also saw a Wheatear as we took one of the vehicles down to Gartbreck and another during survey as well. On my way down to Bowmore,  I had a Merlin flying along in front of me before it swerved into a field close to Sunderland Farm. Back at home a Sparrowhawk zipped through the garden at lunchtime and then early afternoon, over the crag we counted 8 Buzzards before they split into 2 groups of 4, one following the crag inland, with the others flying along the ridge towards the masts above Kilchiaran. In between times, we have been watching various liners sail past, be it from a distance...
Remember to read the blog tomorrow night as we will let you know where the monthly meeting of where the birds will be on Tuesday evening

Saturday 27 August 2016

Saturday 27th August

This morning, Peter had spent some time down at "smelly corner" at the top of Loch Indaal around 10 o'clock. His birds included around 180 Dunlin, 80 Ringed Plover, 75 Curlew, 120 Oystercatcher with smaller number of around 10- 15 Redshank and a similar number of Bar tailed Godwit. There was also an Osprey seen eating a fish on the ground, but when disturbed, it flew off with the fish in its' talons. Finally Peter saw a juv/ young Peregrine testing out its' flying skills by chasing Common Gulls all around!
Not much to report from here at home, been busy in the garden carrying out various jobs today, including planting some potatoes to eat at Xmas time! This evening, we have been watching the liner, Queen Elizabeth sail past en route to Dublin.

Friday 26 August 2016

Friday 26th August

Yesterday evening, around 10 o'clock there was a really spectacular thunderstorm with lightning to match it, for around 20 to 30 minutes out over the sea. First thing to do was to unplug the phone and the computers as well as the tv too... Earlier on, I had seen a Whitethroat and a wee while later on a Willow Warbler over the game crop.
This morning, Margaret spotted a Buzzard, a Peregrine and 2 Ravens having a tussle with each other out towards the War Graves cemetery. Then this afternoon on our way home, a Peregrine was plucking its' kill, probably a Rock Dove, just as we came up the hill to our house, out on the warren. Bob this evening had a count of 102 Teal out in front of the new hide at Gruinart, a Black tailed Godwit flew in to join the party!

Thursday 25 August 2016

Thursday 25th August

Yesterday, Ron from Islay info had seen a couple of Hen Harriers over close to Saligo, one a ringtail, the other was a male bird. This morning, Martin Armstrong had 3 Goldcrest in his garden at Glenegedale. Mary Redman had a Great Skua fly over Claddach Loch, down at Portnahaven this morning and then she saw an Osprey flying from Gortan over Loch Indaal towards Bowmore. This afternoon, Raymond at Foreland Estate had his combine out harvesting the spring barley for Bruichladdich Distillery, the start of the harvest!

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Wednesday 24th August

Paul Hathaway had seen a Magpie at lunchtime last Friday at Nerabus. On Sunday, Malcolm had spotted an Osprey perched on a tree on the wooded island  on Loch Gorm, and also a Coot, the first he has ever seen on Loch Gorm. Today, Peter had done an hour down at Frenchman's Rocks. There were over 200 Gannets, adults and sub adults, feeding actively between the rocks and Islay. There was also a constant stream of adult Gannets passing right by without stopping to fish. Peter wondered if these birds had already fed and were returning to Ailsa Craig. Manx Shearwaters were noted flying from West to East at around 10 - 20 per minute. Also seen were a few Fulmar, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Common Gulls. James had been up at Ardnave where he saw a Sparrowhawk, 42 Chough,  50 Black tailed Godwit and 2 Hen Harriers. Back down over the reserve at Gruinart, he saw a Peregrine

Wednesday 24th August

Paul Hathaway had seen a Magpie at lunchtime last Friday at Nerabus. On Sunday, Malcolm had spotted an Osprey perched on a tree on the wooded island  on Loch Gorm, and also a Coot, the first he has ever seen on Loch Gorm. Today, Peter had done an hour down at Frenchman's Rocks. There were over 200 Gannets, adults and sub adults, feeding actively between the rocks and Islay. There was also a constant stream of adult Gannets passing right by without stopping to fish. Peter wondered if these birds had already fed and were returning to Ailsa Craig. Manx Shearwaters were noted flying from West to East at around 10 - 20 per minute. Also seen were a few Fulmar, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Common Gulls. James had been up at Ardnave where he saw a Sparrowhawk, 42 Chough,  50 Black tailed Godwit and 2 Hen Harriers. Back down over the reserve at Gruinart, he saw a Peregrine

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Tuesday 23rd August

Well, we are all back to Islay now after a busy time down at the British Bird Fair. 948 folk entered the free draw to come to Islay for a week to see our geese, the cottage being kindly provided by Islay cottages here at Kilchoman with Calmac providing free ferry passage. The winner was Martin Gooch from Braughing Ware in Herts. John Aitchison kindly drew the winning ticket with his young assistant Evie Wood.  Boy, was it was hard work, but surely well worth the effort. There are over 450 exhibitors with 4 lecture venues to whet your appetite.... The weather was possibly overcast with the odd splatter of rain on Friday and Saturday which was good for us as it was more pleasant in the large marquees, plus when it rained the visitors stayed indoors....So many thanks to all our helpers, to our Distilleries and to Walkers shortbread for providing support to our cause to promote Islay as a great place to come, visit and bird watch or even chill out!!!! It was great to catch with old friends down there from all over the world and also the many folk that come to Islay.
On Sunday, Mike Peacock had seen an Osprey at Bun an Uillt. Gary had several Teal and a single Wigeon at Smelly corner and on his way home, late last night, a Barn Owl on the roadside close to Ballygrant. Coming over on the ferry yesterday evening, Bob had seen a Sooty Shearwater along with some Manx Shearwater, Auks, Razobills, Kittiwakes and Gannets. Coming up the Sound of Islay, I personally had never seen so many Red Deer feeding down on the shoreline on Jura.

Monday 22 August 2016

Monday 22nd August

Survey of Loch Gruinart was done today by RSPB volunteers and the findings are: 5 heron, 2 shelduck, 99 oystercatcher, 3 ringed plover, 12 golden plover, 2 knot, 26 dunlin, 19 curlew and about 200 mallards on the floods. A female sparrowhawk was seen last night at Lyrabus carrying blackbird. Mary saw loads of Kittiwakes today at Portnahaven.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Tuesday 16th August

Well, the Islay team have set out on our annual expedition down to the  British Bird Fair held at Rutland Water. Margaret, Bob and myself left this morning from Islay, and we met in with Andy down in Balloch mid afternoon. This evening, we are resting up in the "Herdwick Inn" at Puddlewick in the Lake District, a very nice, quiet pub with excellent food. Tomorrow morning,  we will finish off at Whissendine in Rutland and set our stand after that. Dave Wood and his sister Sarah will meet up with us there on Friday as will Carl Reavy to complete the Islay team, with a little help from Dot, Ken and Sally to give any of us some time off......   So come along to visit us in Marquee 7, stand 14, and enter our free holiday draw, come to enjoy our hospitality... 

Monday 15 August 2016

Monday 15th August

James trying to catch a lift down to Rutland, trying to be a stowaway while we were loading up the van....
This morning Margaret counted 14 Mistle Thrushes out on the lawn and this evening, there were around 20 Chough out over the crag in the blustery wind. Mind you the sun is streaming in through the windows as I write this entry.
Gary, on Saturday had been out for walk beside the airport where he saw a female Hen Harrier. Yesterday, he had walked out along the shoreline up to Killinallan Point from Killanallan and saw Linnet, Twite, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit and another ringtail. He has also started a "bathroom list". His first bird seen was, guess what, another ringtail!
Yesterday evening, George E Jackson (visiting George Jackson) had set up his mist nets here at home in difficult conditions, but managed to catch and ring a juv Goldfinch and also a juv Chaffinch. There were also a couple of Willow Warblers, but both of them wriggled their way out of the net before George was able to extricate from the net... A Whitetroat in the cover crop evaded being caught, as did the Swallows as they flew past!

Sunday 14 August 2016

Sunday 14th August

Another good day out here, not before time, as so far this month we have had the best part of 3.5 inches of rain... Today, along with Margaret, James and Eleanor, we were busy this morning getting the final touches together for our trip down to the British Bird Fair at Rutland. We are leaving on Tuesday morning and will be setting our stand up on Thursday morning, ready for visitors to come enjoy some of Islay's famous hospitality on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Islay Cottages are again helping out as well, providing a cottage for our "Geese us a brek" (give us a break) free draw. Calmac will provide ferry tickets to give somebody a chance to come and visit Islay for a week in the winter time to see the geese. So feel free to drop round, we are in Marquee 7, stand 14, a great chance to catch up with some of us who contribute  to the blog....

Saturday 13 August 2016

Saturday 13th August

A better sort of a day with the weather at least, so I have been out in the garden doing some catch up work, like cutting the grass. It has remained overcast all day with a wind, so at least there have been no midges. Late afternoon down on the seed heads on the game crop, there were at least 6 Linnets sampling some of the seeds on offer, a well as some Pheasants skulking around as well. On the Thistle heads a few Goldfinches were present at the same time.

Friday 12 August 2016

Friday 12th August

Rather a miserable sort of a day, with a cloud coming and going over the crag. The plane made it in this evening which is more than it did yesterday!!! As the visibility was poor, it has had a knock on effect on the bird watching... Bob dropped by this afternoon and he too had his first Sparrowhawk for some time as well, noting a male in his garden one day, another day a male up on Bolsay Moor and then another male in his garden yesterday. Late, last night I saw a hen Pheasant with a couple of bedraggled chicks, down on one of the "paths" down beside the game/ cover crop, sad to say that it might have been the same pheasant that Mandy saw on Monday 9 young chicks... the weather this week will have taken its' toll on the youngsters...

Thursday 11 August 2016

Thursday 11th August

Forgot to mention last night that we had also seen a couple of Red Squirrels on the feeders at Kirroughtree Forest... Yesterday evening, David Bar had a close sighting of a Merlin while he took his dog out for a walk out along "The Battery" at Bowmore. Today, here at home Margaret had seen a Sparrowhawk in the garden, the first seen here for a wee while. This evening, I just saw a single Twite on the game crop, a start at least, the word will soon get around.... A wet, miserable sort of a day for the local agricultural show, bit of a shame as so much hard work goes in to putting the event on each year, still we had no midges, a big plus !!!!

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Wednesday 10th August

Many thanks to James for writing the blog while I have been away over on the mainland this past week. The last few days were spent in Galloway. We saw the Ospreys at Threave, just out of Castle Douglas, and they have successfully reared 4 youngsters this year. Outside Newton Stewart, we visited the visitor centre at Kirroughtree Forest a couple of times, well worth it as we had really close viewings of Jays, Great spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Coal Tits, Great Tits and Blue Tits on feeders just out from a hide, hardly needed to use the bins, the birds were that close... At one time below one of the feeders, I counted 31 Chaffinches on the ground. The weather here at home today is not that great with rain and wind, as long as it fairs up for tomorrow, as it is the local Agricultural Show.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Tuesday 9th August

Mammals today not birds- been out ragwort pulling, had fantastic views of Brown Hares hiding in the grass and now as I write a Roe doe is grazing in front of the window. Also a Lizzard, all at Gruinart (I know Lizzards aren't mammals).

Monday 8 August 2016

Monday 8th August

A busy day at work - no time for birding unfortunately- But I have seen 2 male Hen Harriers as I have been driving about, both in the Gruinart area.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Sunday 7th August

Well the wind and rain arrived - to be fair more wind than rain. Lots of birds sheltering in the bushes. At Gruinart 2 Whinchats, 1 Stonechat and a Spotted Flycatcher. As well as lots of Willow Warblers.

Saturday 6 August 2016

Saturday 6th August

Had a message from Gary who has had a Crossbill over the back of his garden and a male Hen Harrier on the Glen road. At Gruinart there has been a Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Lesser Redpolls and 2 Hen Harriers, 1 brown female and 1 brown male. Looks like it is going to be a bit breezy tomorrow - maybe we will see a few birds on the move.

Thursday 4 August 2016

Thursday 4th August

A grey start to a sunny, but windy day- Unfortunately I have been stuck inside at the computer, so not much to report- I have however seen a Peregrine and a couple of Redpolls at Gruinart.

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Wednesday 3rd August

A belter of a lightening storm last night with a good wetness of rain. The rain has carried on most of the day. But lots of birds hawking for midges in the bushes - 5 Willow Warblers and a Spotted Flycatcher in one bush in the garden as well as a lizzard under the bush. An Osprey has been reported from the Loch Gorm area.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Tuesday 2nd August

A beautiful morning, with a roe buck grazing outside the house and a couple of brown hares on the cut road verge. The day clouded over and the wind and rain arrived by mid day as forecast. Best bird of the day - a singing Grasshopper Warbler in from of the Visitor Centre at Gruinart.

Monday 1 August 2016

Monday 1st August

Another day and another month, yes it is now August which means not long to the Bird Fair.  I was in touch with the organisers this morning, to double check that all was well with our stand....Oh, and before I forget, the rain last month was just over 4 inches in total.
On Saturday, Gary and Sam seen an Osprey when they were parked up at Gartmain. It was seen fishing between Gartmain and the Gaelic College in the wee bay there on Loch Indaal.  On Sunday, they walked down on to the Sound of Islay from the Lily Loch, with lots of Gannets, Tysties and Kittiwakes seen. On their way back up to their car, they heard a Great spotted Woodpecker in the trees. Helen Brown saw a Grey Wagtail on her decking outside her house at Ardnahoe today, and early afternoon, Mandy had heard a Corncrake calling down at Machir Bay.