Sunday 30 April 2017

Sunday 30th April

Another month almost in, and another dry month by the looks of things, can't see a downpour coming over the next few hours...
This morning David Barr and myself went along and gave Bob a hand to carry out his survey along the River Sorn from The Woollen Mill down to where it enters Loch Indaal below Bridgend. In total we saw/heard 36 species of birds. Highlights included 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Dipper, 12 Blackcap, 14 Willow Warbler, 10 Siskin, a Treecreper, a Mallard with 12 ducklings. Best bird for me was seeing a really beautiful male Bullfinch on top of one bridges in the full sunlight, but my camera was in the van, not with me... Margaret saw a male Siskin on the feeders while I was away!!!
Later on this afternoon, we went over to Gruinart and up towards Killinallan. Nothing much to report from Ballinaby, no Golden Plovers there today! We saw a 38 Blackwits and several Wheatears as we drove up past Craigens with 9 Eider at Bun anUillt. We were both surprised to see so many Meadow Pipits, they were just everywhere...

Saturday 29 April 2017

Saturday 29th April

The wind may have veered round from the North, but it still feels rather cold.... 
Bob yesterday evening had been over at Gruinart for some birding. He had counted 600 Barnies,  also present were 7 Whitefronts and a Pink footed Goose. On the flats, he had 58 Blackwits. Out from the South hide, he had a further 90 Blackwits, 30 Redshank, 20 Snipe, the drake Green winged Teal and also 14 Whoopers. While he was there Bob reckons that around half the Barnies flew off North, straight up Loch Gruinart....James yesterday had seen/ heard a Cornrake along the flats, saw the Pinkie too, counted 9 White Wagtails, counted 72 Pale bellied Brent at Blackrock and saw 4 Gadwall on the floods. Today, James had a Chiffchaff in his garden and heard another Corncrake on the reserve. This afternoon, we counted at least 180 Golden Plover at Ballinaby. Also seen there were 15 Greylags, 2 large Canada Geese, 3 Shelduck and 2 pairs of Stonechats.

Friday 28 April 2017

Friday 28th April

Forgot to mention that I had seen a Glaucous Gull down at Uiskentuie back on Wednesday... Today, no sign of any of Brent Geese that were present at Blackrock yesterday. Mid afternoon , I heard a distant Cuckoo calling away out on the hill while I was "busy" planting out some more shrubs/ trees to hopefully give the birds cover in the future... Peter Gill had heard a Willow Warbler singing in the scrub willows below Carnduncan, and he was a bit more fortunate in seeing one in the reeds behind Machir Bay. Later, Peter had seen and heard a Cuckoo down in the same place that he had seen one at bird nerds meeting on Tuesday evening. In the scrub willow at Dun Nosebridge, he heard another Cuckoo. At Blackrock, he had 30 Dunlin and along at Uiskentuie, 97 Whimbrel were present. David Barr had counted 49 Whimbrel there earlier on, on his way to his work, so more must have come in after that.

Thursday 27 April 2017

Thursday 27th April

Yesterday evening Mandy had seen a Short eared Owl on her way round Loch Gorm. Later on, Mandy had a Stonechat, heard Willow Warbler, heard Sedge Warbler , seen a Swallow, 2 Chough and a Meadow Pipit all seen close to where she lives, not bad eh???  Coming away from Foreland and the bird nerds on Tuesday evening she had a Goldcrest and yesterday afternoon she saw 20 Greylag with 5 Whitefronts on the lochan below Rockside roadend. Yesterday, James had seen Lapwing chicks on the flats on Gruinart. He also heard at least 3 calling Corncrakes  and counted 6 White Wagtail, over 200 Barnies still present and also 10 Whitefronts on the reserve, Down at Uiskentuie, he had seen a Little Tern and also 7 GND there as well. At Blackrock today James had a count of 72 Pale belied Brent Geese, on the reserve he saw a Pink footed Goose and counted 9 White Wagtails. Mark saw a Sparrowhawk up at Kilnave. Peter Gill had spotted a male Hen Harrier over close to Bun an Uillt. On his way along the road leading to Finlaggan, he saw a ringtail Hen Harrier with another seen over the forestry. He also had seen 2 Sparrowhawk in the air over the trees the too. Finally, he had a Great spotted Woodpecker as he went along the "Glen Road" just out of Ballygrant.

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Wednesday 26th April

A better day again with the weather, not so windy, so I made the most of it and got our "game crop" sown for the birds in the Autumn/ early Winter, the bees can make use of the pollen too...
Up at Ardnave, Mark had over 300 Blackwits and at least 400 Golden Plover moving through. Peter Gill had around 80 Whimbrel down on the shore at Uiskentuie. Up at Gruinart, he saw the male Garganey out from the South hide. A Sparrowhawk was seen flying high over the car park and while walking the Moorland trail, a male and also 2 ringtail Hen Harriers were present. Finally down the reed bed leading to Machir Bay, Peter heard a Sedge Warbler.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Tuesday 25th April

Yesterday, Michal had seen a male Hen Harrier close to Mulreesh and today he had a Peregrine over at Kilchiaran. Peter Gill had also seen a Peregrine yesterday, down at Easter Ellister. Peter today had seen Hen Harrier out past Ardbeg. In the trees around Kildalton, 2 Long tailed Tits and at least 3 Treecreepers were seen with Blackcap and Chiffchaff heard there as well. They had also a further 2 different Hen Harriers as they drove along the high road. Gary had 32 Whimbrel at Uiskentuie.
Earlier this evening 11 folk came along to the Bird nerds and braved the cold North wind.. We had a not too bad a walk, seeing and hearing a Cuckoo calling, some Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, Sand Martin and Swallows hawking for food, Redpolls in the scrubby trees, Meadow Pipits on the ground with some Skylarks in the air, as were some Starlings. We also heard Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch calling as we walked along through the trees and saw a Buzzard fly overhead as well.

Monday 24 April 2017

Monday 24th April

Well, the weather forecast certainly proved right, not exactly the weather we had yesterday, a cold Northerly wind blowing most of the day with some cold, raw dirty showers in the mix too...
Yesterday, Allen and Fiona Skinner had seen a Golden Eagle while out on a walk along to Granny's Rock.. Mark had noted 3 Coal Tits on the reserve at Gruinart yesterday. Here at home between showers I saw Linnets in the garden, a pair of Greenfinches, many Goldfinches, a single Robin, a Blackbird, best bird for sure was the sighting of 3 Chough on the ground, so I can now class them as a house bird, rather than a bird flying past.... The Siskins and also 3 Redpoll are visiting the food on offer still as well!!

Remember, Bird Nerds will be meeting below Foreland (NR271617) tomorrow night at 6.30, wellies advisable...

Sunday 23 April 2017

Sunday 23rd April

Mary Redman had seen a male Hen Harrier at Tormisdale on Friday evening.. Michal yesterday had 120 Golden Plover at Lossit and a short while later on, a male Hen Harrier as he approached Portnahaven. Yesterday, Botswana Dave had 32 Barnies out from the South hide along with 2 White Wagtails there as well. He had also heard a Corncrake calling there too. Today, while on the Moorland Trail, Dave had 2 male Reed Bunting and also a male Hen Harrier. Mary had heard a Grasshopper Warbler along from her house this morning, up on Claddach Loch, she saw a Canada Goose along with 8 Greylags, and in one of the fields, 6 Golden Plover were present. Mary also saw a Marsh frit caterpillar cross the road!!! This morning, Michal had heard a Cuckoo, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and also Mistle Thrush all singing at Foreland. He also saw and heard a male and a female Blackcap there as well. Michal also had another Mistle Thrush along at Rock Mountain. Also this morning, Mandy had seen 5 Sand Martin at Machir Bay, 10 male and 7 female Eiders were displaying there as well, with 4 Ringed Plover, some Curlews and around 70 Common Gull present there too. Prior to going down to the beach, Mandy had noted 20 Greenland Whitefronts at Carnduncan, but these were not seen on her return home!! Peter Gill had been up at Ardnave today where he saw a pair of sub adult Golden Eagles being mobbed by a male Hen Harrier. On the shoreline he had 30 Whimbrel, while on Ardnave Loch, 20 Blackwits were seen before being chased by a Peregrine. Over Ardnave Point in the air, Peter had over 700 Golden Plover. David Barr had seen 4 Common Sandpiper and GND at Bunnahabhain. Later, over at Bruichladdich, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Tystie, 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese and GND were present. Going out of Bruichladdich, at the Gleaner oil depot, he saw 6 Mallard ducklings cross the road and finally  in the fields between St Kiaran's church and Loch Indaal, David had 20 Whimbrel and also 2 Blackwits. James had seen the Green winged Teal also 2 Dabchick and a Orange tip Butterfly at Gruinart

Saturday 22 April 2017

Saturday 22nd April

What a glorious day it has been with wall to wall sunshine, better still, the sun is streaming in though the windows as I write the blog..
Gary yesterday had a count of around 200 Pied and White Wagtails on the sand, down at Crosshouses. Gary reckons that there were at least 15 White Wagtails present. Some sightings also yesterday from James at Gruinart. On reserve he had the Green winged Teal, a male Garganey, a Greenshank, 162 Blackits, 10 Whoopers, a Golden Eagle and also a Merlin. Peter Gill yesterday evening had seen 4 Woodcock calling and flying low over the moor up behind Port Charlotte. Today, Peter had walked round the far side of Loch Skerrols and then down past the North Lodge and along the "Strath" back to Bridgend. At Skerrols itself, a Great spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and soon afterwards, it was seen. 6 Blackcaps were heard there as well, more than down in Bridgend Woods. 2 Chiffchaff were also heard on his walk, with 2 Grey Wagtails seen on the River Sorn as he approached The Woollen Mill. Just past Uiskentuie, 10 Whimbrel were seen, while up at Gruinart, an Orange tipped Butterfly was present. 

Friday 21 April 2017

Friday 21st April

Yesterday, Michal had seen 2 Whimbrel at Easter Ellister, a Common Sandpiper was on the shore with 2 GND offshore. Michal is back over for a few days carrying out some survey work, great to see you Michal...  Peter Gill yesterday evening had seen a Red throated Diver in breeding plumage on Loch Indaal out from Port Charlotte. Over at RSPB Loch Gruinart, today Peter had seen 9 Whoopers, the Green winged Teal was present out from the South hide, a Corncrake was heard calling briefly. Up at the North hide he counted a flock of 300 Blackwits and finally on the ploughed fields down at the Coastguards between 150 - 200 Golden Plover were there. Mike Peacock had seen a Peregrine up behind Port Charlotte this afternoon. Here at home, while I was looking at the birds on the ground at the base of the niger seed feeders, I saw that one of the Redpolls had a BTO ring on, but sorry to say that all I could read was "29", never saw the letters at the start, let alone the other numbers... and we have not rung any Redpolls here, so wonder where it has come from...
Before I forget, on Tuesday evening at 6.30pm, the "Islay Bird nerds" will be meeting up at NR 271617 for a walk through the Woods at Foreland House, wellies could be advisable as I believe that it may be muddy in certain places, so if you are around, see you there...

Thursday 20 April 2017

Thursday 20th April

Visitor, Simon Cohen had heard a Blackcap singing close to the North hide at Gruinart  on Sunday, and later on the same day, he had a Merlin over close to Sanaigmore. Yesterday,  over at Kilchiaran, he saw a Common Sandpiper and 2 White Wagtails. Gary yesterday had seen a Grey Wagtail on the stream beside Ballygrant Quarry, and later on, he heard a Cuckoo calling in Ballygrant Woods. Today Sam had been out with Gary, down towards Knockangle Point on the Big Strand, below the airport, they saw 10 Sanderling and also 40 Golden Plover. While going home along the Glen road back to Ballygrant, they saw 3 different Hen Harriers, a Merlin and also a Golden Eagle. Mark this morning had a count of 19 Blackwits on Ardnave Loch. Louise had seen a pair of Merlin as she drove round Loch Gorm. Peter Gill today had seen a large Canada Goose, South of Bowmore, in the trees around Avonvoggie, he heard and then saw a Cuckoo, and finally over at Blackrock, he had a Whimbrel and also 6 Dunlin.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Wednesday 19th April

I know that this image is not a bird, but I was really surprised to see this young leveret this morning, just as well that I had my camera in my hand!
Late yesterday afternoon, Margaret had counted 22 Chough out on the Machir. Also yesterday,  visiting birder Angus Hogg had seen 2 Arctic Tern on Loch Indaal, on Monday he had a Cuckoo over at Ballygrant with a Whimbrel and a Little Tern seen at Gruinart on Sunday. Peter Roberts today had gone out to see if he could locate the Little Gull, no joy , but he had 15 Eider at Uiskentuie with a raft of 35 R b Merganser out on Loch Indaal, Peter also had seen a further 20 Eider earlier on back at Bruichladdich.  Today, Bob had seen 32 Golden Plover in summer plumage and a Whimbrel in the Octofad fields behind Port Charlotte. Peter Gill had been over at Bunnahabhain today where he had Golden Eagle flying over from Jura, 4 Common Sandpiper on the shore, heard a Chiffchaff singing there as well, back close to Ardnahoe, 3 Red legged Partridge were present. Down at Loch Allan, 2 Long tailed Tits were seen, a Cuckoo heard as was a Blackcap. Here at home, there were 4 Swallows hawking the fields looking for food. Maggie Bell was in touch with Mark Shields to say that she had seen 9 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Leodamais Bay at Port Ellen.

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Tuesday 18th April

A lot cooler over here today, in fact we have had the big fire on today...Mary Redman yesterday sent  sightings from down at Portnahaven. She had seen some Swallows back at Claddach with 6 of them hawking over the fields looking for any insects for some food. Mary had a Snipe drumming close to Portnahaven Hall, a pair of Redshank were seen busy calling and displaying down near to Currie Sands while a pair of Meadow Pipits were trying to lure Mary away from their nest site!! Mary also commented on the lack of geese around as well.. Dave Protherough had 3 Sandwich Terns in Kilnaughton Bay while he was out with his kayak.  Peter Gill, yesterday had been down on the Oa, seeing a really close Golden Eagle, a male Hen Harrier and a single Chough. At Kintra, they had seen 2 Common Sandpiper with 2 Pale bellied Brent along at Blackrock. Top birds today from Peter were Siskin, Grey Wagtail and Dipper at The Wollen Mill. Later on up past Carrabus, a flock of 20 Twite was seen and shortly afterwards 22 Golden Plover spotted, all in summer plumage. Andy and Dot had 2 Golden Eagle up at Bunnahabhain. Mark had 8 Twite and 386 Golden Plover up at Ardnave this afternoon. Carl today had a Golden Eagle at Glenegedale, a Hen Harrier at Cragabus, a large Canada Goose at Kilnaughton as well as lots of GND present in the Bay there as well. Louise had 4 GND seen on the Sound of Islay as she headed over to Islay this morning. This afternoon, I had a White tailed Eagle over Port Charlotte flying South along the coast. Here at home, with the weather being colder, the feeders have been really busy, top birds included 2 Siskin, 3 Redpoll, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Linnets and late afternoon a count of over 70 Goldfinch, 55 at the feeders here at the house and around 20 over at the garage, the largest number here so far.. Gary has had a busy day, out with some clients. At Blackrock, this morning they saw a Little Gull, later on a couple of White tailed Eagles up towards Bunnahabhain, another White tail over at Port Charlotte, possibly the same bird that I had seen as well,  5 different Hen Harriers on their travels, including a pair sky dancing, great to see... A count of 40 Goldfinch at Octofad, and many Meadow Pipits seen around. Gary reckons they also had seen at least 10 Buzzards and a Kestrel while out and about. Finally, back at Blackrock , Gary stopped to check if the Little Gull was still present, but was content with a Glaucous Gull instead.

Monday 17 April 2017

Monday 17th April

Been a bit manic out here today, possibly the reason for a late entry too..
As there was little wind this morning, George E. Jackson came up and we quickly set 3 mist nets up to see if we could catch and ring some birds, the final total was 17 birds processed, 2 House Sparrows, 6 Goldfinch, 9 Chaffinch, and a Starling. The number of time I saw birds flying directly towards the nets and then veer off at the last moment, say no more, but overall George was pleased with all our efforts....well done team!!
Before he left on Saturday, Armin had been over at Ardbeg where he saw a Heron being harassed by a couple of Gulls before the heron dropped the food out of its' crop. Gary yesterday evening had a similar experience at the top of Loch Indaal, but it was an Osprey which dropped its' food for the gulls to eat!!! Mark had a raptor day up at Ardnave seeing Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, 4 Snipe, a Lizard and Green Hairstreak. Visiting birders, Andy and Dot had flushed 3 Snipe as they came down off the crag, mid morning.

Sunday 16 April 2017

Sunday 16th April

Yesterday, James had a Redpoll on his feeders at Mill Cottage. Down from the North hide, he saw the Green winged Teal, pr of Gadwall, 6 Blackwits, 2 White Wagtail, "loads" of Sand Martins. Through the wood, James heard 2 Willow Warblers. Returning visiting birder, Peter Gill from Newcastle had seen a Bonxie fly South down Loch Indaal, past Port Charlotte. On the moor up behind Port Charlotte a male Hen Harrier while along at Bruichladdich, 3 Purple Sandpiper were present, all yesterday. Gary yesterday had 2 Snow Buntings down on the dunes behind Machir Bay, 2 Whimbrel were seen at the spit at Uiskentuie, and over at Finlaggan, a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier were seen. Today, Peter Gill had a male Hen Harrier at Gruinart, he heard a Corncrake calling as he walked down to the South hide, and a Treecreeper was seen while on the woodland trail, 2 Blackwits were seen out from the hide. Botswana Dave was reporting through re the Corncrake calling at Gruinart, but also to tell me about a Pink footed Goose seen amongst the Barnies at Gruinart. Carl today a heard a Woodpecker drumming at Loch Skerrols, on the water 2 pr of Mute Swans. Along at Eorrabus, 10 Whitefronts. In Bridgend Woods, a Blackcap was singing. A Snipe was added to Carl's list at Gortan, while Bruichladdich produced 20 Goldfinches and finally Carl had a Common Guillemot back at Port Charlotte. James from the kitchen window this afternoon, had seen a Siskin on his feeders, a male Hen Harrier flew past, a Wren bobbling along his garden wall with around 300 Barnies seen out on "Goose Hill"

Saturday 15 April 2017

Saturday 15th April

Returning visiting birder, George E Jackson is back on Islay for a few days. On Thursday evening, George has 2 Snipe drumming over the merse at Whinpark. Early yesterday afternoon around Cattadale, on the "glen road" he had a feeding flock of around 50 Meadow Pipits. Later, on Loch nan Cadhan 4 Tufted Ducks were present with around 20 Herring Gulls mulling around there as well. Oliver headed home today, but yesterday had carried out a walk part of Islay's Northwest coast where he saw a Peregrine, a distant Golden Eagle and a Raven having a tussle with 2 Hooded Crows. Later on Oliver had a Sparrowhawk skimming over the grassland close to Saligo and then saw 20 Sandwich Terns off Bruichladdich. Today was Armin's last day before heading home, but a quick glace of the window at Clachan Cottages produced a male Hen Harrier out on the wing, flying across the  moorland towards Gartbreck. Here at home, we had a pair of Redpolls, 2 male and a female Greenfinch on the feeders. Down at Whinpark there were around 15 Sand Martins hawking over the merse  around lunchtime. George had seen 2 Wheatear at Machir Bay today.

Friday 14 April 2017

Friday 14th April

Not the warmest of days outside today, with a few dirty showers thrown in.. even a shower of hailstones at one time...
Gary yesterday had seen a Grey Wagtail on the stream leading out of Ballygrant. He also heard 3 different Woodpeckers drumming in different locations in around Ballygrant. Yesterday afternoon, over the trees close to Coullabus, Gary saw a Peregrine and then a Merlin nearby. Further on, at the stream past Craigens, a Dipper was present. Back over at Keills , Gary heard a Sedge Warbler calling on a piece of rough grazing. This morning, we saw a Swallow down at the spit at Uiskentuie, 100 Golden Plover at Ballinaby, 60 Barnies in a field at Coull. Mark Shields this afternoon  at Ardnave had 60 Golden Plover, a ringtail Hen Harrier, Wheatear, 2 GND, 8 Linnet and a Swallow

Thursday 13 April 2017

Thursday 13th April

Today, I saw my first Swallow of the year, unlike some folk that have seen them already, the good thing about this was it was at home...Late afternoon, there was a large flock a large flock of around 300 Barnies flying over towards Coull to roost up for the evening. Armin had a count of 50 Oystercatcher at the mouth of the River Laggan with around 300 Barnies flying NW towards Bowmore. Wonder if Armin and myself had seen the same Geese???  On his way back up towards where his car was parked, a Heron flew past, he had also seen some Pied Wagtail, not that common a sighting down where Armin comes from, close to Reading!! Bob this morning had counted 28 Whitefronts just after Sunderland Farm. While he was up here Bob and myself had seen a male Chaffinch and also a House Sparrow with BTO rings on, could they be some George E. Jackson had rung here previously, another question to ponder on!!!Mike Peacock today carried out the WeBS count from Portnahaven back up to Port Charlotte with his tally coming through at 33 Common Scoter, 28 GND, 3 RTD, 54 Razorbill, 5 Guillemot, 8 Tystie, 8 Shag, 5 Sandwich Tern with 2 Twite spotted at Nerabus. Oliver Woodman this morning had walked round Ardnave Point, seeing plenty of Otter footprints, but  no sign of any Otter themselves! He had more success on the bird front with a Peregrine, 6 GND offshore and also 12 Chough. Along the flats at Gruinart, a male Hen Harrier was present, and then later on while driving over the hill on the "Glen road" another male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier with a distant Golden Eagle spotted over the far hills.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Wednesday 12thApril

This morning Bob counted 20 Siskins on a flock on the ash tree in his garden,  we had 2 Siskins on our feeders, the first this year, and there were 35 Goldfinches count this morning.. Some sightings from today fromvisitor Oliver Woodman.. On the flats at Gruinart, there was a single Whooper Swan. On and around the River Sorn at The Woollen Mill, he had seen Grey Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Dipper. Later on along the "Glen road", he had a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and another visitor that Oliver had spoken with had  seen a Golden Eagle out over the hills on the same stretch of road. Finally, he had another male Hen Harrier seen out from the cottage where they are staying.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Tuesday 11th April

Another bumper edition in store tonight, so here goes...
Visiting birders (returning I think!) birders from Lincolnshire, Oliver and Lynsey Woodman had seen a GND at Sanaigmore on Sunday, and back at their cottage  close  to Loch Gorm they had seen a male Hen Harrier, Raven, a pair of Buzzard, several Wheatears and finally a Peregrine! Tom and Anthony, 2 of the "vols" at Gruinart had seen several Otters as well as 400 Golden Plover, 54 Curlew, 7 GND, 7 RBM, 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Barwits while carrying out  the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart itself on Friday. Mark had a count of 10 Sand Martins over the floods in front of the hides, at the same time. Mary Redman had seen her first Swallow at Tormisdale on Sunday and also some Wheatears on the track up there. On the feeders at Tormisdale, Mary saw House Sparrows, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Siskins. Back near to Portnahaven, Mary saw a Sparrowhawk and then a ringtail Hen Harrier. Earlier on last week, Mary had seen 10 Whoopers resting up on the lochan beside Claddach. James has returned from his holidays, and on Sunday, he had seen a pair of Gadwall, a pair of Tufted Duck and also the Green winged Teal from the North hide. He had also saw 2 Blackwits, a Dabchick, "lots" of Sand Martins and a ringtail there as well. Lesley had seen a Common Sandpiper at Kilnaughton Bay yesterday and James saw a Corncrake on the flats and heard Willow Warblers along the path through the woods at Gruinart leading to the hides. Today, on the reserve at Gruinart, "vol" Mike had seen 2 Merlins, Mark had 2 Hen Harriers as well as 3 different Treecreepers. Mary had a female Peregrine today down close to Portnahaven. Here at home , we had a Redpoll on the feeders and over 25 Goldfinches present, as well as pair of Greenfinches still here.

Monday 10 April 2017

Monday 10th April

How young do you start Birdwatching?? Amelia, our daughter in law, took this image yesterday evening of Abbie and myself when the 2 of us were out in the "hut" doing a spot of bird watching. And no, young Abbie was not primed to put the bins up to look out the windows....
Malcolm was in touch to say that a visitor had seen a Magpie over at Farkin, out of Port Ellen yesterday. Our friend Armin Grewe who is over for Walkislay had seen a Sparrowhawk out of the kitchen window while waiting for us to return home this afternoon. Mark Shields had seen 2 Swallows out from the North hide at Gruinart today, his first for this year. Gary had a Dipper on the burn leading out from Ballygrant, past the Quarry. In the Ballygrant Woods, Gary had heard a Woodpecker drumming and also a Blackcap singing.

Sunday 9 April 2017

Sunday 9th April

Hope you all sitting comfortably, as there is a LOT of birds for you to read about tonight...
Today was the day that some of us help carry out the WeBS count on Islay.  Gary counted his patch from Port Charlotte to Blackrock, so his birds seen were as follows 39 GND, 11 RTD, 26 RBM, 5 Cormorant, 22 Shag, 6 Razorbill, 28 Comon Guillemot, 16 Tysties, 34 Eider, 26 Common Scoter, 114 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 31 Ringed Plover, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Gbb Gull, 83 H Gull, 219 C gull, 34 Bh Gull, 6 Sandwich Tern, 3 Greylag, 2 Shelduck and 11 Pale bellied Brent. He also saw a further 22 Pbb Geese at smelly corner and then 42 Shelduck on the sand on the estuary at the head of Loch Indaal beside the merse there. Lesley and myself carried  out the count that Bob normally leads, so here we go with our sightings, 3 GND, 1 Mute Swan, 4 Greylags, 650 Barnies, 6 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 1 Heron, 2 Goosanders, 165 Eider, 4 Mallard, 2 Wigeon, 44 Rb Merganser, 27 Shoveler,  4 Grey Plover, 5 Lapwing, 19 Ringed Plover, 58 Oystercatcher, 2 Turnstone, 7 Redshank, 13 Curlew, 1 Blackwit, 3 Gbb Gull, 65 C Gull, 60 H Gull and 37 Bh Gull. While I was away, Margaret had 3 Rock Doves and a Collared Dove in the garden on the ground, new birds to the house list!!! Dave Wood had led the first walk today for the Walkislay week down on the Oa, Dave's top birds were 2 House Martins, 1 Swallow, Golden Eagle, Chough, Redpoll, Sparrowhawk, Back at his house he had also seen 2 Siskins in his garden. Peter had also seen the same group of Brents along at smelly corner but noted that none of them had any leg rings on. Carl yesterday had seen many Willow Warblers ... spotted yesterday at Lyrabus Croft, Bruichladdich, Ballygrant Loch, Bridgend Woods and Foreland. today they were noted at An Gleann. A Mistle Thrush and 8 Tufted Duck were also present at Ballygrant Loch, and finally Carl had Greenfinch singing in his garden down in Port Charlotte. Carl also sent a email which told me about 7 Sandwich Terns at Gortan last Sunday, the 2nd of April.
Think that will do for tonight folks...

Saturday 8 April 2017

Saturday8th April

Yesterday, Mandy had seen 2 Wheatears and shortly afterwards a male Hen Harrier below Carnduncan. Phill from the Oa had seen a raft of 12 Eiders and also 3 Rb Merganser out in the harbour from his house in Port Ellen. Today, Mark Shields had seen "wave after wave" of Geese flying North, leaving Islay. There were still Golden Plovers present at Gruinart and Mark counted 170 Barwits present there as well. Peter this afternoon, had seen a "feeding frenzy" on Loch Indaal lasting around 20 minutes, probably a shoal of fish close to the surface off Bruichladdich. Peter's tally was 70 Common Gulls, 10 Gbb Gulls, 6 Lbb Gulls, 25 H Gulls, 15 Bh Gulls, 2 Gannets, 2 RTD, 6 Rb Merganser, 8 Razorbills and 2 Common Guillemots.  Phill today had a Golden Eagle over at Killinallan and later on he saw another one on the high road up from the airport. Mandy, this afternoon while waiting at Port Askaig for the ferry, had seen a great sighting of a White tailed Eagle being "escorted off Islay by a Raven". We took a short walk up the River Sorn  from Bridgend and the only bird of note was a Dipper!!

Friday 7 April 2017

Friday 7th April

I have been "off Islay" for most of the day but still have some sightings for you. The other night, I heard that a visitor had a Corncrake at Gruinart, last Sunday. On Tuesday, Richard Belter had seen a Great spotted Woodpecker in Bridgend Woods and yesterday evening Alistair Hart had a Willow Warbler between Portnahaven and Claddach.
I received an e mail today to say that the blog was in the top 80 Bird blog sites in the world, so keep the sightings coming through folk and see if we can get up the rankings, currently we are at 69, against other international blogs.... if it had been last Saturday, it might have been a prank, mind you it still could be.... 

Thursday 6 April 2017

Thursday 6th April

Some sightings through from Michal, before he heads off Islay again.. On Monday, while out surveying round the Rhinns, he had seen 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Peregrines and a Swallow. On Tuesday he had heard a Chiffchaff at Balole, seen a Kestrel at Scarrabus and then a Merlin at Balachlaven. This morning he had a Peregrine on the flats at Gruinart. Yesterday, Lesley Silcock had her first Peacock butterfly of the year at Kilnaughton wood, and also had Willow Warbler there as well. Out on Kilnaughton Bay, 4 GND were present. Peter and Pia, yesterday evening had a tight raft of 13 GND out on Loch Indaal from their house in Bruichladdich, not that common a sight to see.. Mark Shields today had seen a great tussle between a Golden Eagle, a Peregrine and a Buzzard taking place over the flats at Gruinart. Other birds through from Mark, seen on the reserve at Gruinart included a male Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, 4 Snipe and 2 Curlew. Botswana Dave had shown the folk on the guided walk at Gruinart 3 Whoopers along with plenty of Pintail, Shoveler and some Redshank. Here at home, it is that time of year again, when I am trying to think ahead for the next winter, trying to put a plan into action to get the ground worked ready for sowing in May. So I got the tractor and plough out but the plough did like the all roots from the couch grass, nettles and mint, so I swapped the plough for the rotovator and chopped all the roots up, and will do this several times in the hope that it will help kill off the rootstocks...

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Wednesday 5th April

What a cracker of a day it has been over here today, had to work outside, making the most of it...
Mandy yesterday had seen 5 Whoopers fly over Kilnave Chapel and land on Loch Gruinart. Visitor, Alistair Hart had spent some time yesterday carrying out a brief sea watch at Frenchman's Rocks, his birds included 240 Gannet, 3 Razorbill, 32 Guillemot, 24 Auk, 5 Tysties, 4 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 3 Gbb Gull, 26 H Gull, 18 Kittiwake, 2 Ringed Plover, 12 Oystercatcher, 3 Eider 2 Rock Pipit, 4 Mipit and 4 Skylark.
Mark Shields has returned to the RSPB team at Gruinart, and filling the post which Mary Redman had held previously. Welcome back Mark... Today up at Ardnave Loch, he had 11 Whoopers, others highlights were 67 Barwits, 27 Pale bellied Brents, 2 of which had colour bands on, 12 Wheatear, 2 Curlew, 4 GND, an Otter, Golden Eagle and a Peregrine. Keep up the entries for the blog Mark!!!

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Tuesday 4th May

A bit of a late entry, but I was out earlier on.
Today, Richard had seen a Sandwich Tern, Rock Pipit, 4 GND, 4 RTD, some Red breasted Merganser and the usual Tysties at Bruichladdich. On the road leading to Kilchiaran, he saw Redwing and Chough while down at Claddach / Frenchman's rocks Gannets, Guillemot, Fulmar and Shag were added to his list. He also had Wheatear present too, and finally up at Skerrols, Richard heard a Chiffchaff.

Monday 3 April 2017

Monday 3rd April

What a rain there has been out here today, at least it did fair up late afternoon, and I managed to plant out some more willows, job done, great...
"Cockney" Dennis was in touch with some sightings he has had while visiting Islay. He met in with John and Kenny the other evening in the bar in the Bridgend Hotel.... Far out on the hills, Dennis had seen a pair of Golden Eagles talon grappling and mating immediately afterwards. He had heard a pair of Willow Warblers  at Gruinart, and saw 2 Sandwich Terns at Bowmore. He had Woodcock rodding at Bridgend on Friday evening, a great visit by all accounts. As ever, many thanks to the various birders who sent me through their sightings while they have been here, much appreciated. Marsali sent through her tally for the rain at Mulindry for March which came to 6 inches, wetter than here as usual!!!  Mandy had a Greenfinch this afternoon at Conisby and here at home we counted a total of 37 Goldfinch this morning at the feeders when the rain at its' peak!!!

Sunday 2 April 2017

Sunday 2nd April

Yesterday, David Fallows, Jackie's other half had seen a Marsh Harrier at Gruinart. John and Kenny's tally for the week came to 105 species. they had a passage of Gannets at Frenchman's Rocks of 75 Gannets/ hour. Round at Kilchiaran, they saw Swallow and also House Martin. Richard today had an Otter at Bunahahabhain and also a White Wagtail. Over on Jura, he saw a Golden Eagle, Turnstone and 3 Otters. Back on Islay, Richard had a male Hen Harrier while driving along the Glen road. Malcolm, this morning had a pair of Siskins on his feeders in Bruichladdich, a year tick for his garden. Botswana Dave this morning had been up at Ardnave and on the East side of Loch Gruinart he saw 4 Greylag, pr of Wheatear, 13 Goldeneye, 2 Redshank, pr of Mallard, 2 Oystercatcher and 4 Lapwing. Coming back down from Ardnave, along the road to Bushmills he had 3 Stonechat, 5 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 1 Pied Wagtail and a flock of 70 Linnet. Margaret was out working in the garden this afternoon and counted 22 Chough as they flew around. The pair of Greenfinch were seen on the feeders again today as were the Blue Tits.

Saturday 1 April 2017

Saturday 1st April

Another great day although there could be a slight edge to air, and before I forget, the tally for the rain for March was 5 inches exactly...
Jackie Fallows told me last night that along with her husband, and friends Ian and Margaret Haigh that they had seen 86 species during their stay, and yesterday, Ian and Margaret had seen 2 ringtail Hen Harrriers seen at different locations while going round the Rhinns. John and Kenny's top birds included a Velvet Scoter, the Green winged Teal and also they spotted a Dipper building a nest! Their tally for the week came to 102 species.. Today Richard had Chough and Wheatear at Sanaigmore, at Bruichladdich he had 6 GND and also 5 RTD. At Blackrock, Richard saw 5 Slavonian Grebes and finally up at Ardnave Loch, 2 Otters were present. Bob saw a Tree Pipit at Port Charlotte today and also 3 Greenfinches in the village. Back at his house, Bob had seen another 6 Greenfinches and also 4 Siskins. A short while later, Bob had a single Greenfinch along the road at Gearach. Carl Reavey today had seen a pair of Peregrines at Sanaigmore and on the cliffs thee were 30 Kittiwakes,  at Sanaig there were lots of Wheatears, down at Gortan, Carl had 2 Sandwich Terns. Here at home before breakfast, there was a pair of Shelduck, having a look around for a nest sight at the foot of the crag, fingers crossed...