Saturday 31 December 2016

Hogmany, 31st December 2016

Another year almost in, well here on Islay that is, as 2017 will already be in full swing down under... so wherever you are have a great New Year. You will have to wait until tomorrow for an update on the rainfall for December and also for a total for the year, will it be more than the previous year???
No bird reports in yet for today, but this afternoon, here at home, some Barnacle Geese flew in to the Machir out towards the War graves Cemetery, the first Barnies seen there this winter... There was big numbers of birds in at the food on offer early afternoon, I reckon that there were around 70 birds there, mainly Chaffinches and House Sparrows with the odd Dunnock, Goldfinch and yes, 3 Great Tits too. The odd Blackbird and Robin hopped in for a quick titbit as well. The Goldfinches appear to be not so common as a few weeks ago...  Depending on when the birds are fed, we can get quite a few Starlings drop in as do the Jackdaws. Because of the windy weather of late, we stopped using the bird feeders, in case they got broken, but the birds are happy to be fed directly off the ground!!! 

Friday 30 December 2016

Friday 30th december

I have heard that it was Brendon Hollands who had seen the Green winged Teal at Gruinart. The previous day he had a Golden Eagle down on the Oa. Thanks for your birds, Brendon. Yesterday afternoon,  Mike Peacock had seen a Cackling goose over in the fields amongst other Barnies while friends of Mike had seen a Golden Eagle, Peregrine and also a Hen Harrier out behind Balllinaby. Dave Nevitt returned yesterday, for another "Islay fix" and had a Golden Eagle up beyond Coullabus. On Loch Indaal, close to Bowmore, Dave had 4 Long tailed Duck and 5 Slavonian Grebe. Today, Dave saw a Glaucous Gull, out from Whin Park over Loch Indaal. He also spotted Tystie off Bruichladdich. Coming back from Gruinart around midday, we saw the Cackling Goose present amongst the Barnies again at Ballinaby. 

Thursday 29 December 2016

Thursday 29th December

Peter had counted 49 Pintail on Loch Gruinart yesterday. Gary had been out with some clients yesterday and had seen a  small Canada Goose amongst the Barnies and Whitefronts while driving along the High road between Port Ellen and Bridgend. Later on, they had 2 Otters as well as several GND out from Bunnahabhain. Finally, they saw a White tailed Eagle flying over the woodland at newton, up behind Bridgend. Today, James reported through that a visitor had spotted the drake Green winged Teal at the reserve at Gruinart. No sightings reported through of the Gyr Falcon, but it may still be around, will just need to keep an eye out for it...

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Wednesday 28th December

By the time I got in last night, I was too tired and just could not get my brain in gear to write the blog.... so here goes this evening....James had a couple of Long tailed Tits in his garden at Mill cottage on Christmas Day. On Boxing Day, Peter had seen 4 Greenshank out from the new hide at Gruinart and then later on, he counted 40 Chough up at Ardnave. Brendon, on the same day saw a female Sparrowhawk close to Carnain. Yesterday, he had a White tailed Eagle fly  up the Sound of Islay and then watched an Otter swimming in the Sound, about a couple of miles South of Feolin. Up at Ardnave yesterday, James saw a couple of GND and also 2 Grey Plover. Today, up past Killinallan, James saw a juv. Golden Eagle and then a Greenshank out on Loch Gruinart

Monday 26 December 2016

Boxing Day, 26th December

Brendon had seen a Grey Phalarope when out walking along the coast at Ardtalla yesterday afternoon. Along at Claggain Bay,  while he was having a bite to eat, a male Sparrowhawk flew in and perched up, really close. Earlier on at Bruichladdich Pier, he had GND close in and then he saw a male Hen Harrier over near to Scarabus. Not much noted down where I am staying at present, a bit cooler than Islay, with the odd scuff  of snow, not a lot...

Sunday 25 December 2016

Christmas Day, 25th December

Yesterday, visiting birder Brendan Hollands had seen a White tailed Eagle in the Finlaggan area, and then shortly afterwards, while still in at Finlaggan itself, a pair of Golden Eagles flew past. Over at Ardnave Loch, Brendan had some Goldeneye on the water and finally along at the former Kilchoman School, a large flock of Twite were present.
Peter along with his friend Alastair had this morning gone out looking for the falcon, still no joy, but from the old hide at Gruinart, they saw a drake Green winged Teal amongst  500+ Teal, also seen were over 150 Lapwing, 30 Shoveler, 2 Pintail, 10 Whooper Swan and also 130 Golden Plover. This afternoon, round at "smelly corner", they counted 30 Pale bellied Brent with another 7 had been seen at Bruichladdich as they set out earlier on. They also had a Hen Harrier harassing over 200 Teal around the merse. Over at Bowmore, they had good sightings of ducks etc sheltering from the strong winds... 6  Slavonian Grebe, 10 GND, 8 Goldeneye, 7 Common Scoter, a few Red brested Merganser and 5 Long tailed Duck, 2 of which were really close in, at the harbour.

Saturday 24 December 2016

Saturday 24th December

Peter has been in touch to say that he has been out looking for the Gyrfalcon, but no joy, see these fair weather birds... Instead, he had a Carrion Crow at Sunderland Farm, either the third or fourth that Peter has seen on Islay. Also at Sunderland Farm, a flock of over 140 Chaffinch was present. By the way, the weather is not much better out here in the Scottish Borders.
Have a great Xmas day folks wherever you are, enjoy your day.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Thursday 22nd December

A great one bird alert for you all.... George E Jackson this morning had seen a Gyr Falcon, at a close sighting of around 8 metres, fly past his son's house, down at Rockside road end...No need for the bins, George!!!!!

Monday 19 December 2016

Monday 19th December

Phil sent me through a list of birds that he had seen during a walkabout on the reserve on the Oa today. Quite a list, so he we go... 26 Teal, 6 Mallard, 5 Goldeneye, 62 Herring Gull, 1 Common Gull, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Golden Eagle, 706 Barnies, 295 Whitefronts, 134 Greylags, 43 Chaffinch, 9 Hooded Crows, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Stonechat, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Dunnocks, 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Rock Doves, 199 Starling, 2 Wren, 1 Blackbird, 1 Linnet and a Robin, thanks Phil. Looking out the widow, while he was visiting us this afternoon, Bob saw a Peregrine flying over the crag. 

The blog may be a be a bit lighter on entries over the next few days as quite a lot of us are off Islay, but if you see or hear of any sightings, send them in and I will try to write an entry, from my secret location.... So, at this point, I am taking the opportunity in wishing all our readers a very Happy Christmas.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Sunday 18th December

Those pesky Fulmars were out along the front of the crag again this morning, so just wait for the wind to pick up, come Tuesday perhaps me thinks....
This morning, Bob, David Barr, Lesley and myself carried out the WeBs count from Bowmore along the shore to Gartbreck, the visibility was not as good as we would  have liked, as it came and went, at least we have got it done! So here is what we counted 2 GND, 1 RTD, 16 Whitefronts, 1500 Barnies, 5 Greylags, 38 Shag, 2 Cormorant, 1 Long tailed Duck, 38 Mallard, 380 Wigeon, 163 Teal, 14 Shoveler, 9 R B Merganser, 5 Eider, 6 Redshank, 60 Dunlin, 5 Turnstone, 100 Lapwing, 5 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 90 Oystercatcher, 150 Curlew, 110 Barwits, 1 Snipe, 10 GBB Gull, 77 H Gull and 6 BH Gulls. We also saw 6 Twite, some Rock Pipits, and a few Pied Wagtail and also a Buzzard.

Saturday 17 December 2016

Saturday 17th December

Forgot to mention last night that Margaret had seen a Sparrowhawk perched on top of the fence posts at the edge of the garden, yesterday mid afternoon. There were 8 Fulmars in at the crag yesterday morning, with fewer there this morning. Margaret saw an Otter "trot" across the machir and on down towards the stream. Mandy today had seen 2 Long tailed Tits over  at Carnduncan.

Friday 16 December 2016

Friday 16th December

Rather an early entry this evening, but it might not be done later on, so here goes...As promised, Michal and Dave Maynard's count from their WeBS count on Loch Gruinart carried out yesterday tallied through as follows... 31 Lapwing, 2 Snipe, 100 Oystercatcher, 163 Curlew, 10 R B Merganser, 82 Shelduck, 1 Dabchick, 28 Turnstone, 152 Barwit, 310 Dunlin, 13 Pintail, 40 Sanderling, 1 Greenshank, 320 Wigeon, 35 Golden Plover and 4 Grey Plover.  Dave also saw an Otter and also a Golden Eagle. James carried out the count on the floods at Gruinart, his birds were as follows.. 192 Mallard, 4 Whooper Swan, 3 Mute Swan, 8 Redshank, 3 Heron, 18 Curlew, 478 Lapwing, 886 Teal, 61 Wigeon, 61 Pintail, 26 Shoveler, 35 Golden Plover, 1 R B Merganser and a drake Green winged Teal. Diana Lever had seen a Golden Eagle and also 2 Buzzard at the start of the week, over at Lagg on Jura.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Thursday 15th December

Mike Peacock had seen 5 Yellowhammer in the hedges along at Sunderland Farm this afternoon. Andrew Kent was in touch with the figures in from the International Goose Count, carried out on Monday and Tuesday with the tallies coming through at 45,714 Barnies, 5,585 Whitefronts and 556 Greylags. Thanks to Andrew and the team from SNH for these figures. Michal had done his WeBS count today, and on Ardnave Loch he counted 14 Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, 8 Goldeneye, 23 Whooper Swan, 19 Mute Swan, 1 Heron and 5 Mallard. I will give you the rest of Michal's figures from Loch Gruinart itself and also from James with his tally of the floods at Gruinart.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Wednesday 14th December

This morning, at first light, Mike Peacock had 55 Wigeon fly out on to Loch Indaal with Mike wondering whether they had been feeding on some of the stubbles. He also counted 142 Common Scoter on the loch, in one group, out from Shore Street in Port Charlotte, the largest group that Mike has seen so far. Down on the beach, there was a Grey Wagtail. Mandy, when she was out Goose counting this morning, had a Golden Eagle soaring up behind Ballinaby while going round Loch Gorm. James had been counting today as well, on the Uiskentuie/ Gruinart route. Apart from many geese, James had a Yellowhammer at Lyrabus, a juv Golden Eagle up at Killinallan and then he saw 2 Pinkies at Ardnave. Mid afternoon, and here at home and Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past the window.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Tuesday 13th December

The other day Mandy had seen a Merlin having an aerial tussle with a Hooded Crow, after Rockside as she was going down to Machir Bay. On Machir Bay itself, she had seen 35 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling and a Meadow Pipit, no sign of the Grey Plover that was present there last week. Up in the dunes, 6 Twite were present. Today while out carrying out the count on one of the routes during the International goose Count, Bob and Malcolm had seen 6 Pink footed Geese amongst the flock of Barnies in a grass field just out of Bridgend and before the turn off to Loch Skerrols. They also 3 different Merlin, one at Carrabus, a male along a stream near to Daill Farm and then a female in towards Skerrols. The wind this evening appears to e picking up a wee bit as I write this entry...

Monday 12 December 2016

Monday 12th December

Neil MacGillivray had a Great spotted Woodpecker yesterday, on the feeders in his garden at Woodside which is over at Gruinart. Michal had counted a small flock of 60 Golden Plover and also 70 Lapwing while he was along the flats at Gruinart yesterday. Mike and Val Peacock, also yesterday, had seen an adult Golden Eagle, a Peregrine, a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Foreland. In the alder trees, they had 31 Siskin and also saw 14 Goldfinch there as well. Early afternoon, today and coming back from Bridgend, we had a really close sighting of a male Hen Harrier down at "smelly corner", and yes the camera was at home... The Fulmars are away again after their brief visit yesterday, so we will just have to wait for the wind to pick up a bit!!!

Sunday 11 December 2016

Sunday 11th December

Looks line a one bird entry tonight folks... This morning, there were 6 Fulmars back on the crag here at home, possibly some strong winds to come in a day or two... watch this space, or watch the weather forecast and see if I am right or not!!!

Saturday 10 December 2016

Saturday 10th December

Forgot to mention last night that we saw 10 Fieldfare flitting about as they do while we were driving on the "Glen road" between Knocklearach and Storakaig. Further on, down towards Cluanach at Mulindry, there was a finch flock on a stubble fields of around 60 Chaffinch. This morning, here at home, the wee birds in the garden got a wake up call as the Sparrowhawk flew through and kept going.... We saw a Raven on one of the fence posts on the edge of the garden this afternoon.

Friday 9 December 2016

Friday 9th December

Gary had seen a Merlin being harassed by a couple of Hooded Crows as he approached Ballygrant, and then later in the trees, he had some Long tailed Tits. Down on Machir Bay itself, Mandy had the flock of Ringed Plover along with the single Turnstone and the Grey Plover was with them as well. Out over Coull, she had a distant sighting of a juv. Golden Eagle. Peter had seen a White tailed Eagle up close to Bridgend and also 28 Pale bellied Brent, near to the shore, beside "cash Kelly's" former house at Blackrock. Over at Gartmain, we saw 20 Pintail amongst a mixed flock of Wigeon, Teal and some Mallard. There was also a few Red breasted Merganser out on the water too, with over 30 Oystercatcher noted on the rocks at Bun an Uisg, on the edge of Bowmore. On Loch Skerrols,  there were a couple of family groups of Whoopers present along with 2 families of Mute Swan as well.

Thursday 8 December 2016

Thursday 8th December

While she was sitting having her "packed lunch" over at Port Ellen, Mandy saw a White tailed Eagle fly past, coming in from the skerries past The Ard, it flew over towards Kilnaughton Bay  and then inland... Later on, Mandy had seen Pale bellied Brent amongst the Barnies at Kinnabus. Late this morning, Margaret and myself headed down towards Machir Bay, and in the same field as where the Isabelline Wheatear was last week, amongst the 40 Ringed Plover present, a Grey Plover and a Turnstone were seen. James commented on the Grey Plover being in a field,rather out on the shore, but he was thee as well, to witness it!!! We had the same count of Ringed Plover that Mandy had there yesterday, so probably the same birds. Late afternoon, here at home, I saw another House Sparrow with a ring on its' leg, a different bird as yesterday was a female and today it was a male! Today, I had my camera to hand but I was still unable to read the said ring, probably some of the birds caught and rung by George E. Jackson, so must really get it caught on an image, if nothing else to satisfy my curiosity.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Wednesday 7th December

Not a lot to report tonight, but Paul Graham had see a couple of White tailed Eagles at the top  of Loch Indaal at Bridgend around midday, one flying inland over the trees, the other out over the loch. Paul wonders as to whether they had been down on the merse on prey. This afternoon, Mandy had 40 Ringed Plover down on Machir Bay. Here at home, there was a House Sparrow with a BTO ring on, but I never got a chance to read it... 

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Tuesday 6th December

Apologies to Mandy from yesterday as I had overlooked an email that she sent through... Yesterday she had seen a Snow Bunting down towards Claddach at Portnahaven. Late afternoon, yesterday I saw 3 Whoopers fly past on their way South. This morning, Mandy had 16  Whoopers down in the barley stubbles at the Coastguard's at Machir Bay. The weather today has ben rather miserable, so not a lot about, outwith our control that one, honest!!!

Monday 5 December 2016

Monday 5th December

This morning, Mandy had counted total of 28 Pale bellied Brent Geese between Gortan and Bruichladdich. Later on, she spotted a Canada Goose amongst the Barnacle Geese down at Cladville. Gary had been down on the "Big strand" below the airport where he saw a Merlin, 14 Wigeon, 6 Mallard, a Long tailed Duck, a small mixed flock of Ringed Plover and Turnstone, 150 Golden Plover and a Barwit.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Sunday 4th December

Yesterday, Gary had seen 20 Siskin in the treetops down at the mouth of the River Sorn as it enters Loch Indaal below Bridgend. Today, he had counted 14 Turnstone and 10 Ringed Plover over at Feolin on Jura. Also today, Mike and Val Peacock along with Pia had a pod of 8 bottle nosed Dolphin close in on Loch Indaal at Port Charlotte around lunchtime. Mike followed them down to Nerabus, about 3 miles or so. Here at home the birds have been making the most of the food available at the feeders, a sign of some colder weather coming in a few days time???

Saturday 3 December 2016

Saturday 3rd December

Stuart Crutchfield came over this morning on the ferry, and after a long patient wait, Stuart saw the Isabelline Wheatear down at Machir Bay. Early afternoon and Bob got the bird as well, now on his Islay list as well. There are great images of the Wheatear  on the Argyll Bird Club's webpage and look under 2016 sightings. Well done to all of you who have come and seen it. On his way to Machir Bay from the ferry, Stuart had seen a Yellowhammer  down near to Gortan, just as he turned off the "main" road. Later on along at Uiskentuie, Stuart saw a male Hen Harrier and along at Blackrock, at least 25 Scaup were present. While Bob had been down looking for the Wheatear, he saw a Merlin fly past, and earlier on up here from our house window, both Stuart and himself had spotted a female Sparrowhawk fly through. Earlier on this morning, I had a Grey Wagtail down on the burn below our house.

Friday 2 December 2016

Friday 2nd December

Good friend, Marsali sent me through her rainfall figures from her rain gauge over at Mulindry for November. Her tally, as usual was more than ours coming in at 6.48 inches. Perhaps the winds we get here does not allow the actual rain to even reach the gauge itself and gets blown past instead...
Mary yesterday had a good day with raptors. She had been working on the Gruinart route of the goose count. Up at Ardnave, she saw a male Hen Harrier, a juvenile Golden Eagle and later on a Buzzard and also a Merlin. At the top of Loch Indaal, she spotted a juvenile White tailed Eagle. On her way to Bowmore, at the start of the day, Mary had seen a Peregrine down at Octofad. Also yesterday, here at home a Raven and a Peregrine were having a bit of a tussle in flight out above the crag. Jim Dickson, Gary Mike and Peter had Merlin down at Machir Bay whilst they were watching the Wheatear, again yesterday morning.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Thursday 1st December

Another month in with the rainfall tally being 5 inches exactly, a lot must have fallen while we were away, as there has been precious little since our return!!
Yesterday, Mandy had seen an Otter and 2 cubs in Ardnave Loch. She also saw 12 Whoopers, and also some Goldeneye, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck and some Mute Swans with around 30 Whitefronts and a Stonechat on the edge of the Loch. Down below the cattle grid, she had a flock of Lapwing and then 2 Pink footed Geese at Kilnave. Later on, Mandy spotted a Stoat resplendent in its' ermine coat on, down below the Hedges approaching Rock Mountain! Louise yesterday had counted 54 Chough at Machir Bay. The Wheatear was still present again today down there, seen by Gary, Mike and Peter along with Jim Dickson, so we await to hear Jim's thoughts and images, check the Argyll Bird Club webpage and then click on their 2016 sightings for the latest news.