Monday 31 October 2016

Monday 31st October

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

Sunday 30 October 2016

Sunday 30th October

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

Saturday 29 October 2016

Friday 29th October

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

Friday 28 October 2016

Friday 28th October

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

Thursday 27 October 2016

Thursday 27th October

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

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Wednesday 26th October

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

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Tuesday 25th October

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

Monday 24 October 2016

Monday 24th October

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

Sunday 23 October 2016

Sunday 23rd October

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

Saturday 22 October 2016

Saturday 22nd October

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

Friday 21 October 2016

Friday 21st October

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

Thursday 20 October 2016

Thursday 20th October

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

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Wednesday 19th October

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

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Tuesday 18th October

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

Monday 17 October 2016

Monday 17th October

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

Sunday 16 October 2016

Sunday 16th October

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

Saturday 15 October 2016

Saturday 15th October

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

Friday 14 October 2016

Friday 14th October

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

Thursday 13 October 2016

Thursday 13th October

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

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Wenesday 12th October

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

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Tuesday 11th October

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

Monday 10 October 2016

Monday 10th October

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

Sunday 9 October 2016

Sunday 9th October

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

Saturday 8 October 2016

Saturday 8th October

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

Friday 7 October 2016

Friday 7th October

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

Thursday 6 October 2016

Thursday 6th October

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

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Wednesday 5th October

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

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Tuesday 4th October

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

Monday 3 October 2016

Monday 3rd October

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