Monday 27 February 2017

Monday 27th February

Lots of records for yesterday, Sunday: Gary re-found the 1stWinter Ring Billed Gull at Craigens. Ken and gang had some good birding from the ferry - 14 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black Throated Diver, 7 Red Throated Divers, 54 Red Breasted Mergansers, 2 Kittiwakes, 47 Black Guillemots and 2 White Tailed Eagles on Islay.
A report from Kilchoman over the weekend reports a Golden Eagle, a Goldcrest singing and Frog spawn in the pond.

Don't forget Bird Nerds at the Lochside, Bowmore 7:30pm tomorrow

Sunday 26 February 2017

Sunday 26th February

A bit of a catch up of the weekends birds: I have found a report of the 1st Winter Ringed Billed Gull at Craigens again. Also on Friday 8 Purple Sandpipers on the shore at Bruichladdich, a White Tailed Eagle chasing a barnacle goose Loch Indaal and a Golden Eagle at Gruinart.
Saturdays birds included: a whitish Rock Pipit (leucistic?) on the East side of Loch Gruinart, a Peregrine at Gruinart and 7 Whooper Swans on the Gruinart Floods. The Glaucous (Viking Gull) was again on the shore of Loch Indaal and at Bridgend Merse with the Barnacle Geese - a single Pink Footed Goose and 2 Pale Bellied Brents.
Today at Gruinart 2 Merlins both female flying and hunting a chaffinch together.
On Tues 28th Feburay Bird Nerds will meet at the Lochside Hotel, Bowmore at 7:30pm.

Friday 24 February 2017

Friday 24th February

Not the best of weather the last couple of days, lots of rain on Thursday morning and a wee bit blustery. A few things around the reserve including 4 different ringtail Hen Harriers and an Otter playing in one of the ditches on the Flats (Gruinart), also Frog spawn in the ponds.

The Viking Gull - Tom Lowe has been in touch, explaining that a Viking gull is not a gull with a little horned helmet on, but is a cross of some form between a Glaucous Gull and a Herring gull. The bird in question, is the one reported on the Blog as a Glaucous gull outside Bowmore. In pictures the gull exhibits some darkness on the wings and a solid tail band. Thanks for the info Tom.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Wednesday 22nd February

An early start today - straight out to help Steve Percival with a catch of 30 Barnies on the Bridgend Merse. Then back to the reserve for a goose count - a few birds while counting the geese - 9 Whooper Swans and a Greenshank on the Floods, a Grey Plover on the Loch and 2 Hen Harriers and a Sparrowhawk around the reserve.
A couple of birds the blog seems to have missed both I think spotted by Tom Lowe, A Ring Billied Gull 2ndCY on Craigens  and a Viking gull 1st winter outside Bowmore and around the Bowmore tip both records from around 15th Feb - but they could still be about. Have to admit don't know much about viking gulls so I better do some research.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Tuesday 21st February

WWT Larry and Ed, caught another 9 White fronts to apply collars, 2 getting fancy tracking collars, just off the reserve at Gruinart on Craigens farm. Whilst processing the geese a Merlin flew over. Gary had 3 Lesser Black Backed Gulls at Machir Bay, are these the first reported of the Spring on Islay. Today Tom Garner had been at the hide at Loch Gruinart - had no sign of the Green Winged Teal, but had seen plenty of Teal, Pintail and 3 Red Breasted Mergansers as well as great views of a female Hen Harrier catching a Teal. Yesterday Tom had seen 20 Pale Bellied Brent Geese just West of Bowmore.

Monday 20 February 2017

Monday 20th February

Sorry no posts over the weekend, I was busy and the computers wouldn't work. A few records, Tom Garner had been out at Ardnave yesterday - 20 Tufted ducks on Ardnave Loch, 30 Sanderling along with Ringed Plovers and Turnstone, a pair of Ravens, 6 Chough, 4 Shelduck and 2 Great Northern Divers all around the coast. At Gruinart Tom volunteers Dad re found the Green Winged Teal on the Floods and Michal Had a Barn Owl at Smelly Corner. I had a Barn Owl at Erasaid and a 1st winter Glaucous Gull outside Bowmore.

Friday 17 February 2017

Friday 17th February

A few reports from the Loch Gorm area - Up at Kilchoman 8 Fulmars were on the cliffs and 15 lapwing displaying in the fields. Around Loch Gorm a report of a possible Gyr Falcon- keep a look out for this and let me know if anyone see it.

Thursday 16th February

A sunny day on Islay with the Skaylarks and Lapwing starting to display on the Gruinart Flats. A quick count of Ardnave Loch by Tom - 10 Whooper Swans, 7 Mute Swans, 17 Goldeneye, 26 Tufted Ducks, 34 Wigeon, 16 Teal, 6 Mallard, 2 Pochard, 37 Oystercatchers, 2 Lapwing, 1 Greater Black Back and 2 herring Gulls. No further reports of the Shrike at Bridgend.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Wednesday 15th February

On the blog last night, I should have said that Steve Percival's image was a Cackling goose and then later on, on the blog, and I omitted to say that it was 13 small Canada Geese reported by Fiona and Mandy which were with some Whitefronts and Greylags out of Port Ellen.
Today, James had a Water Rail on the flats at Gruinart, while visitors reported through Gary that they had seen a Great Grey Shrike on the bushes opposite the entrance  to Islay House Hotel at Bridgend.
I shall be off Islay until the 10th of March, so if you have any sightings, please can you send them in to James on 01496 850 505, or email him on  Many thanks to James for keeping the blog going in my absence...

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Tuesday 14th February

Steve Percival sent through this image of a Canada Goose taken yesterday amongst the Barnies present at the top of Loch Indaal yesterday. Further along Loch Indaal, Steve had a Glaucous Gull as he approached Bowmore. Later on, he had a count of around 500 Golden Plover at Craigens. Kevin yesterday had spotted 4 Long tailed Ducks, making heavy weather trying to fly into a head wind at Carnain. Round, off the Gaelic College, he saw 2 small rafts of Common Scoter totalling 16 in all, a Slavonian Grebe, 4 Goldeneye and also 7 Pale bellied Brent Geese, all seen yesterday. Today down on the Oa, around Coillabus, Kevin had a small flock of 50 Starlings, and on closer examination, 6 Redwing and 12 Fieldfare were present as well and then a pair of Stonechats seen on the roadside, soon afterwards... This morning over the trees at Whinpark, Paul Graham saw a White tailed Eagle, soaring in the wind. The Rochdale birders today had seen 2 different pairs of Ravens, one at Carn beyond Port Charlotte, the other over at Caol Ila. Mandy had been out on the goose counts today, on the route taking in the South end of Islay... They had noted 13 Canadas just out of Port Ellen with 7 Redwing along at Ardbeg. There were also 7 Whoopers present on the lochan between Kilbride and Laphroaig. Out on the route towards the Oa, a Sparrowhawk was present at Mid Cragabus, a male Hen Harrier at Risabus and a Merlin was seen chasing a flock of around 100 Twite.  At  Kinnabus, a Pink footed Goose and also a small Canada were present amongst the Barnies. Also at Kinnabus were some Fieldfares. Late afternoon, Fiona had a male Hen Harrier and also a Peregrine between the former Kilchoman School and Culbuie.

Monday 13 February 2017

Monday 13th February

Another dry day again, but with a cold Easterly wind blowing, no boats today, and none until a possible departure time of midday at the earliest, think there will certainly be a big backlog of traffic to move sometime...
Yesterday, David Barr and myself helped Bob carry out the WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, so here are the birds counted by us... 4 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 1 Heron, 2 Greylags, 3000 Barnies, 20 Pale bellied Brent, 60 Whitefronts, 15 Shelduck, 4 Mallard, 67 Teal, 60 Wigeon, 14 R b Merganser, 66 Oystercatcher, 53 Curlew, 127 Barwits, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Turnstone, 130 Lapwing, 1 Ringed Plover, 4 Grey Plover, 73 Golden Plover, 3 Gbb Gull, 200 H. Gull, 120 Common Gull & 30 Bh Gull. Michal and the vols at Gruiart had counted 320 Golden Plover on the flats back on Friday, my mistake, I forgot to tell you... The  Rochdale birders are back over again, seeing a Golden Eagle down on the Rhinns yesterday, a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Wester Elister and a male Hen Harrier over at Avonvogie

Sunday 12 February 2017

Sunday 12th February

Another dry day, but not so warm... The ferry is cancelled this evening and all day tomorrow already..
Forgot to mention that yesterday afternoon, I saw a Golden Eagle and then 3 Buzzard soaring high up, over the crag. This morning down at smelly corner, I had a close sighting of a male Hen Harrier,further round towards the old smiddy out of Bowmore, out on the estuary, a White tailed Eagle eating a goose. This afternoon, on our way to Ballygrant,  a Merlin zipped across the road in front of us and finally a ringtail Hen Harrier flew across the garden at home late afternoon.

Saturday 11 February 2017

Saturday 11th February

Another great day, what a tremendous view wasseen of the moon last night and this evening, a wee cracker of a sunset to finish the day off... Yesterday Michal and the "vols" had carried out the WeBs count on the Floods and also out on Loch Gruinart itself. The tally for the "floods" was 304 Lapwing, 77 Mallard, 336 Teal, 12 Mute Swan, 42 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, with the count out on the Loch being 121 Shelduck, 40 Mallard, 10 Rb Merganser, 193 Wigeon, 219 Oystercatcher, 82 Ringed Plover, 60 Lapwing, 72 Sanderling, 91 Dunlin, 142 Barwits, 117 Curlew, 53 Redshank, 30 Turnstone and 30 Common Gull. Yesterday afternoon while  coming over on the ferry, in the Sound of Islay visitor Kevin McCormick had a white winged Gull, but too far to make a positive id. This morning, Martin Armstrong had been down in the woods below Bridgend  where he saw a pr of Bullfinches and a Treecreeper as well as a Kingfisher at the mouth of the River Sorn. Today, visitor Kevin had 4 Goldeneye, a raft of 24 Eider with 12 Wigeon close to the shore as he came out of Bowmore. Along past the Gaelic College, he had 6 Shelduck, lots of Barnies out resting up, more Wigeon, some Mallard, some Oystercatcher and 8 Curlew. A distant male Hen Harrier was seen over Bridgend and another seen back at Glenegedale where Kevin is staying. here at home, late afternoon, there was a Blue Tit on the nut feeder which had only been erected, a bird that is not that common to us.

Friday 10 February 2017

Friday 10th February

Yesterday, Mike Peacock's wife Val had seen 2 Dippers on the River Sorn, just up from the Woollen Mill. Today, Michal and the "vols" had carried out the WeBS counts, On Ardnave Loch they counted 2 Whooper Swan, 9 Mute Swan, 40 Wigeon, 11 Goldeneye, 19 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 7 Teal, 5 Mallard and 2 Oystercatcher

Thursday 9 February 2017

Thursday 9th February

Earlier this week, after one of her "evening" classes, Mandy had heard a Tawny Owl calling at Sunderland Farm and when she got home to Rockside, Mandy heard another Tawny Owl calling. Sam, Gary's other half, has been seeing a Treecreeper at her work at The Woollen Mill, often spotted at the shop window!!! Gary himself had 3 different White tailed Eagles, today at the top of Loch Indaal, possibly out looking at the geese out on the estuary with the tide being out.. Along at Gartmain, he counted 21 Pintail. At the Gaelic College he saw a Glaucous Gull fly past yesterday and today as he headed home a ringtail Hen Harrier up at Gartness/ Ballygrant. Here at home, just before the light went this afternoon, I counted 43 Chough along with 11 Jackdaws out on the machir. 

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Wednesday 8th February

A not bad day out here, although the swell is still quite big out on the sea... Yesterday, Phill Catton had a Snow Bunting while on the circular walk on the Oa. Also there, Phill had seen a small flock of Twite along the cliff face, regulars there now. This morning, here at home, there were 6 Fulmars soaring around, along the front of the crag, surely not another windy spell to come.. Phill this morning had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Snipe, 11 Teal, 114 Greenland Whitefronts and 7 Greylags. This afternoon, he watched a couple of Golden Eagles stooping and soaring in the wind, probably territorial displays. Back at Kilchoman, the Ravens were out from the crag, cronking away at the Fulmars, no doubt trying to defend their patch...

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Tuesday 7th February

Back on Sunday afternoon, we saw a pair of Stonechats on top of some clumps of heather between Coull and Saligo Bay, and below is an image of the male bird taken by Margaret

The weather today has calmed down a lot, but the sea can still be heard rumbling/ grumbling away in the background. We took a quick run over to The Woollen Mill, at the back of lunch time today and on the feeders, there were many Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Great Tits. Well worth a trip over to see them, and to see the actual Mill itself and their shop... A wee treasure. Coming home on Loch Skerrols, a pair of Mute Swan with 2 young from last year, Mallard, Tufted Duck and a pair of Goldeneye, with a Heron perched on a bough of a tree as well.  The best was still to come, as we saw a Grey Wagtail on top of a dyke as we came out.

Monday 6 February 2017

Monday 6th February

Not exactly a day for bird watching out here today...Fortunately Michal had been out with his camera and took this image of these waders on the wing over Loch Gruinart..
By the looks of the image, I think that you can see the farm steading at Killanallan, as well the former farmhouse there as well.
Mike Peacock yesterday had 41 Pale bellied Brent geese at Carnain, one of them had darvic rings on, so hopefully Mike should be able to obtain some history on the goose. This morning, at Bushmills, Michal had a Barn Owl.

Sunday 5 February 2017

Sunday 5th February

This image of some Sanderling was kindly sent through to me by Ron from  Ron had taken it earlier today up at Ardnave where he also had seen a close sighting of a juv. White tailed Eagle. This afternoon Peter was taking Jim Dickson back to the afternoon ferry when they saw a "cackling goose" over towards Ballygrant. Carl was in touch to say that he had the Glaucous Gull at Bruichladdich today and also a count of 50 Curlew at Coultorsay. This morning, the wee birds out in the garden were spoofed by something a quick look proved it to be a fly past by a Sparrowhawk!!!  Late afternoon, we had a Merlin, close to the hut circles at Culbuie on the edge of the reserve at Gruinart, further along the road a  Buzzard on the ground and then a Peregrine near to the Steading at Aoradh itself. The weather today has been great, although a bit cold with the frost alarm coming on in the car as we came home...

Saturday 4 February 2017

Saturday 4th February

Over at Caol Ila today, Gary had seen 2 Gbb Gull, 21 Tysties and 9 Shag. His other half, Sam had seen a Dipper down on the stream below Kilmeny. Down at Bruichladdich, Carl had a Glaucous Gull, and he saw another white winged gull further out on the water, but too far away to make a positive id possible.  Just before lunchtime, we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Sunderland Farm as it flew along the roadside looking for some prey.

Friday 3 February 2017

Friday 3rd February

Today James had seen 3 Greenshank, a Sparrowhawk and counted a flock of 850 Golden Plover on the RSPB reserve at Gruinart. He also counted 6990 Barnacle Geese and 149 Whitefronts on the reserve as well... Over close to Glenmachrie around midday, Margaret spotted a Peregrine on top of a fence post. It must have seen us too, as it was off before I could get the camera on it.... Mike Peacock was in touch today to say that he had seen a couple of Ravens nest building in the trees at Foreland. Down on Machir Bay, Mike had a count of 79 Oystercatcher and as he headed home, he spotted a Merlin at Rockside. Finally mid afternoon, he had a pod of 8 Bottle nosed Dolphins feeding on Loch Indaal out from the pier at Port Charlotte, and also Mike's house...

Thursday 2 February 2017

Thursday 2nd February

As I write tonight's entry, the wind is picking up, so probably the correct decision was made in cancelling the ferry this evening...
Bob on his way home from the bird nerds meal on Tuesday evening, had seen a Barn Owl in a similar place to where he saw one last week, along close to the entrance to Whin Park. Earlier in the evening, he had a count of 40 Woodcock going into their roost. Yesterday while on the Goose count down on the Oa run, Bob saw a Golden Eagle on the ground down on the Oa, and then after Lower Cragabus, on their way down to Port Ellen, he had a Kestrel on an overhead cable. Mandy had been on the Rhinns run and she saw a ringtail Hen Harrier between Ellister and Octofad. Today, Gary had an adult Iceland Gull flying down the Sound of Islay amongst other gulls. Back at his home, Gary had a Sparrowhawk fly past in his garden, no doubt having a look at Gary's feeders.. Louise this morning had a male Bullfinch, as she drove through Bridgend to her work.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Wednesday 1st February

Another day, another month, and another set of figures about the rain here at base... The tally was a mere 3.5 inches, less than half we had in January 2016!!!
Last night, at the bird nerds meal,  I was told that a visitor, Dan Brown, had seen a small Canada Goose over close to Emeraconart which is just after Esknish as you head towards Ballygrant. Over at Lussa Bay up the top end of Jura, Dan spotted a Whimbrel.  Today, Gary had seen a flock of 700 Golden Plover over the flats at Gruinart. Up the top of the hill, past Grainel, heading towards Loch Gorm, Gary had 10 Reed Buntings in around the silage trailers and finally down close to Leek, a Kestrel was present. The only bird of note that we had today, was a low flying Buzzard as it flew past, almost hugging the ground, battling against the wind!