Wednesday 31 May 2017

WEdnesday 31st May

Been a better day with the weather, so I took the chance and cut the grass, as tomorrow, it is forecast to be wet... and the dastardly Hare has been thwarted, a positive event, so all my efforts yesterday were not in vain!!!
Gary had seen a Black throated Diver in summer plumage off  Bruichladdich on Monday. Yesterday, down on the Big Strand he counted 10 Little Terns, 22 Arctic Terns, 40 Dunlin and 50 Sanderling. Mike and Val Peacock had walked out from Ardbeg to Solum, the "fever village". Top birds seen included were a male Yellowhammer, Spotted Flycatchers, loads of Redpolls, 4 Whinchats, a Tree Pipit, 3 Cuckoos, a pr of Buzzards and a Golden Eagle. They also saw some new emergent Marsh Fritillary. Today the Rochdale birders had seen 3 Whimbrel while up at Ardnave, a male Hen Harrier and then later on, a Peregrine carrying prey while on their way round the Rhinns.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Tuesday 30th May

The reason why I never put an entry on the blog yesterday is twofold, the weather was foul for most of the day, and therefore I had no birds to report to you...Yesterday evening, though Mandy had heard a Chiffchaff at Sunderland Farm and then shortly afterwards, she heard a Whitethroat round at Carnduncan. Today, Mark had 6 Little Terns, 32 Arctic Terns, 3 Bonxies, a "lonely" Barnacle Goose and a count of 80 Sanderling, up at Ardnave/ Nave Island. The weather has been kinder today, but at the weekend I took the guards off from round the Willows, to give them a chance to bush out rather than getting too leggy... Big mistake, as when I walked along them this morning I spotted that one of the Hares had been nibbling at some of the young tender shoots.. so today, I have been kept out of mischief making and fitting almost 50 larger guards, so fingers crossed the said Hare will just need to eat some grass again....

Sunday 28 May 2017

Sunday 28th May

What a glorious day it has been, wall to wall sunshine, not too hot, a good day for some work in the garden, get some weeds out of the way..
Gary had seen a male Hen Harrier out on the wing, quartering the moor up behind Persabus on his way to Bunnabhain. This evening we took a trip round Loch Gorm, not a lot to tell you about.. but there was a Stonechat on top of some gorse bushes at Coull, shortly after that a Buzzard was being mobbed by a Curlew. Over at Ballinaby, 2 Whimbrel were in one field and in the next field 89 Greylags were present. We also saw several Lapwings but no chicks, so had they been predated??

Saturday 27 May 2017

Saturday 27th May

Before I forget, there will be No meeting of the Bird nerds this coming Tuesday as the Whisky/ music festival is on... but all going well we will meet up on June 6th , more about the venue next week...

Not much to report today, here at home one of the hen Pheasants appeared out with 6 chicks which appeared to be a few days old rather than newly hatched chicks, so fingers crossed on that one. Margaret, this morning spotted a Shelduck down at "smelly corner" with 6 or 7  well grown ducklings, again larger than ducklings of a day or two in age...The heavy rain that was forecast, did not come to much today, so possibly it was just as well that I had the watering can out on some newly planted plants this morning. Quite often after having the watering can out, it rains, but not today, although the dreaded midge did show face... Both the 2 pairs of Redpolls and the 2 pairs of Siskins are still with us on the feeders.
The Rochdale birders are back over again and seeing around 50 Gannets, at eye level and really close to them, in the Sound of Islay as the ferry approached Port Askaig.

Friday 26 May 2017

Friday 26th May

While out carrying out the Corncrake count, the other morning, in the wee small hours, James had seen 3 Barn Owls on the Gruinart run, Mike Peacock had 2 Barn Owls on his patch towards and around Portnahaven, and Mandy had 3 Tawny Owls in total, 2 in Bridgend Woods and the other over at Avonvoggie. Bob yesterday had 6 Whimbrel up at Ardnave. Today, a visitor told me that he had seen a Ruff at Gruinart, and while over on Jura he saw a Golden Eagle and also a White tailed Eagle.

Bob trying to explain something to us the other day, when we were carrying the survey in Bridgend Woods, can't remember what though...

Thursday 25 May 2017

Thursday 25th May

Another great image through from Mike Boyes, this time of a pair of Lesser backed Gulls displaying on the water. One of them was often seen upside down as it is in Mike's image

Last night, was the first round of the Corncrake survey here on Islay when we all try to go out and hear how many Corncrakes are around. On the run that I do with Margaret, we had 5 Corncrakes in total and it will be a day or two before we get a tally up. In total we do 3 counts... We also saw a Barn Owl, heard Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler, and a Lapwing and a single ewe bleating for its "missing" lamb... So after all that we got off to bed after 1 am, oh to be young again...

Carl Reavey had seen a Swift down at Bruichladdich today

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Wednesday 24th May

The low swirling mist that came in last night prevailed until lunchtime, so just as well you can arrive and depart from Islay on the ferry as the plane did not come..
Mike Boyes sent through this image of a Snipe that he had taken a couple of days ago while over at Gruinart, thanks Mike...

Yesterday, David Wood had heard a Quail calling in Glen Astle on the RSPB reserve on the Oa. Also yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey on Loch nan Cadhan. Here at home, we have had a Collared Dove visiting us... Today, Bob had a male Kestrel just out of Port Ellen, the first he has seen in four years.

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Tuesday 23rd May

Gotcha...managed to get this Redshank on top of a fence post at the roadside over at Leek. A few moments later its' mate landed on the road and then their young chick was seen in the grass on the verge, better parents than Pheasants, I hope...

Bob today had seen a White tailed Eagle being mobbed by a Raven, over towards Ballygrant. A pair of Greylags were in the frame as well, but whether the geese were attacking the eagle, Bob was not too sure of. Later on, at the other end of Islay, Bob saw 5 Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin, down on the shore below Claddach just out of Portnahaven. Bob said the turnstone were in full summer plumage.

Several folk have commented on the big numbers of young Starlings that have been seen around over the past few days....

Monday 22 May 2017

Monday 22nd May

Yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey take a fish from Loch Finlaggan and the eat it.. Later on at Finlaggan, he had seen 2 Dabchick, 15 Tufted Duck and also the Ring necked Duck. Today, Gary had a ringtail Hen Harrier there. Bob today had seen a Blackwit from the old hide at Gruinart. Out from the new hide, Bob had the male Garganey and also a Swift further out on Gruinart. Bob was speaking to a visitor while he was there, who told Bob that there was a Little Egret present out from the new hide yesterday.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Sunday 21stMay

Above is the image of the Roe Deer and her calf a few moments after being born, captured by James on Friday. It certainly not only the Deer population on the increase. on Friday evening, we took a run
up to Sanaigmore, seeing a lot more Song Thrushes around. Yesterday, here at home there were many young Starlings hanging around, waiting to be fed. A male Blackbird comes in regularly and flies off with his beak full of food. One of the Pheasants showed yesterday, but with only one chick beside her, they really are poor parents... A Buzzard was over at Coull this afternoon being mobbed by 8 Lapwing, so I wondered at the time whether there is now a Lapwing chick less there now...
The "Rosssendale birders" yesterday had a walk at Kintra, Port Ellen seeing Chough, Meadow Pipit, Skylarks, 25 Oystercatcher, Hooded Crow and 2 active Sand Martin colonies. Further on Little Tern, Arctic Tern, 22 Ringed Plover and a further 17 Oystercatcher were present.. The Bowland birders returned home yesterday after seeing 116 species during their stay. Highlights for this visit were the White tailed Eagle, Ring necked Duck and also Velvet Scoter while here. See you both next visit and thanks for your birds folks.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Saturday 20th May

A fantastic image of a Red throated Diver sent through by visitor, Mike Boyes. Mike took it yesterday while out on a cruise led by Sea Adventures out of Port Ellen. There were a pair of Divers close inshore along the South east coast. Thanks for sharing your image Mike.

Gary on Thursday had a client out wishing to see a Corncrake, a difficult ask, but Gary came up with the bird, down at Machir Bay, another satisfied client... Yesterday while out with other cients, Gary had seen a White tailed Eagle and then an Osprey at Finlaggan, 30 Chough at Machir Bay, 3 Corncrake heard at Gruinart, a Greater spotted Woodpecker flew accros the road at Red Houses and finally 2 Dippers seen on the Rive Sorn close to the Woollen Mill.

Friday 19 May 2017

Friday 19th May

Back on Wednesday, Irene Miller had a Spotted Flycatcher which was playing along with her as she was cutting her lawn. In the evening out on her fence a Magpie was present. Remember Irene had a Hawfinch in her garden last year... Other birds seen in Irene and Tony's garden include Siskin, Greenfinch and also Goldfinch. Yesterday, Bob had heard a Corncrake calling up towards Knockanbearach which is up past Loch Skerrols. Today, in his garden, he saw 2 Orange tip Buttefly. While he was  carrying out survey work, James saw a Roe deer giving birth, cleaning the calf and then watched it having its first steps and having its' first drink of colostrum. Up at Ardnave this afternoon, Mark had seen Little Tern, Bonxie and Sanderling. Here at home the Bowland birders dropped by for a catch up, and lo and behold we were fortunate enough to have a fly past by 39 Chough. Earlier on Margaret had counted 14 birds on the new niger feeder, mainly Goldfinches.

Thursday 18 May 2017

Thursday 18th May

Another day in, wonder if I will make the deadline of midnight, at present it is just by a few minutes, still the 18th... Yesterday morning, Lesley and myself gave Bob a hand to carry out the survey along the River Sorn. We were accompanied by visitors Paul and Sue Murfitt who are here for the week, Bob first met with them at the Birdfair. Our highlights were 3 Cuckoo, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Dipper, a Long tailed Tit, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. Today, Bob had been out with Paul and Sue. Over at the airport, they saw a couple of Curlew with 4 chicks and 8 Turnstone down on the shore. At Kildalton, 2 Greater spotted Woodpecker and 8 Spotted Flycatcher and a Bullfinch. Along at Claggain Bay, 2 GND were offshore and 2 Golden Eagles seen out over the hills. Finally, up behind Bridgend a distant White tailed Eagle was present. Today, the Rochdale birders had seen a juv. Golden Eagle over Octomore hill. They went up and walked in past Killinallan up to Gortantoid and back past the waterfalls and along the beach.. On their way to their starting point, they heard a Corncrake calling at Blackpark and along at Erasaid, a Blackcap was present. Birds seen on their walk were as follows, Mipit, Tree Pipit, Skylark, Robin, Twite, Barwit, Buzzard, Chough, Raven, Stonechat with young, Whinchat, Wheatear,  Whimbrel, Lapwing, Ringed Plover and 20 Golden Plover. Stephen and Mandy, other birders from the Birdfair, called in earlier on, so one thing led to another and when we went  out for some food we met in, by chance, with Paul and Sue, a really small world...Both couples had never visited Islay before, but both agreed that it will not be their only visit. Paul and Sue have seen 110 species so far... On our way home this  evening, we heard 2 different Corncrakes calling, one along at Rockside, the other down at the beach... Stephen and Mandy saw a pr of Bullfinches at Kildalton.

Job done with a minute to spare!!!

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Wednesday 17th May

Managed to get this wee baby Dunnock while out in the "hut" last night. Shortly afterwards, we had a flypast by a Cuckoo as it flew down to the wood being harassed by several other wee birds. Big mistake as the birds in the wood then ganged up on the Cuckoo as well...
This morning I saw 2 Cuckoos on the wing down at Foreland. Earlier on along the River Sorn I had seen 2 Spotted Flycatchers. The Rossendale birders had been down in the Bridgend Woods seeing/ hearing Grey Wagtail, Willow Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Siskin, Robin, Song Thrush and a Mallard with ducklings. Along the Claggan strip wood, they had a Greater spotted Woodpecker. Dave Wood had 3 Spotted Flycatchers on the Oa today, the first there this year. Dave and Phill had carried a "Cliff survey" and saw the following pairs of birds, 13 Fulmars, 2 Common Sandpiper, 7 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Gull, 2 Wheatear. Other birds seen were (Not pairs!) 2 Golden Eagle, 11 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Tystie,1 Lesser Redpoll, Mipits, Skylarks, Swallows, Sand Martins and a Peregrine. Mike P. sent through highlights from his WeBS count on Outer Loch Indaal... 34 GND, 23 Guillemot, 6 Razorbill, 81 Common Scoter, 4 Arctic Tern, 2 Common Sandpiper and 5 Gannets.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Tuesday 16th May

Rather a miserable sort of a morning with wet and windy showers around for most of the time... but it did calm down around midday, I even managed this image of a couple of Chough that were outside the kitchen window, around 12 feet away.

Margaret saw a pair of Shelduck with 10 ducklings at "smelly corner" mid afternoon.
The Bowland birders this afternoon had been over at Loch Finlaggan where they saw a drake Ring necked Duck in the water along with 8 Tufted Duck. Other birds seen thee were a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, a pr of Stonechat, 2 Sedge Warblers, a Reed Bunting, a Sparrowhawk, a Cuckoo,. Siskins were also present as were House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallows.

Monday 15 May 2017

Monday 15th May

Yesterday, Phill carried out his WeBS count on the lochs down on the Oa. Birds noted were 17 Greylags with 5 Goslings,1 Curlew, 25 Lbb Gull, 42 H Gull, 1 Gbb Gull, 6 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 6 Common Sandpiper, 9 Mallard and 3 ducklings, 2 Tufted Duck and a Teal. Other birds seen were Sand Martin, Swallow, Linnet, Wheatear, Lesser Redpoll, 2 Buzzard, Twite, Skylark and Mipits. Today, as forecast, it has been rather wet, a good steady rain rather than a downpour, so it will be of some use.. Mandy had seen a male Hen Harrier carrying its' prey in talons, Mandy thought it looked  like a vole.. Today, the Bowland birders had also seen a male Hen Harrier down near to Gortan, along at the merse at Bridgend, 2 Barnies were seen, one with an injured left wing. Back at Port Charlotte through the day, have been spotting plenty of Arctic Terns flying up Loch Indaal. Today, here at home, we reverted back to the old way of feeding the birds.. as it was so windy, we put the food on the ground, rather than risk the feeders getting bashed in the wind...

Sunday 14 May 2017

Sunday 14th May

Yesterday Steve and Mandy  from Rossendale arrived here on Islay, their first visit and are staying over at Kintra, Port Ellen while they are here, so here goes their sightings from yesterday.. On the beach, they saw 40 Oystercatcher, 8 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and 3 Pied Wagtail. They also heard a Cuckoo, and spotted 3 Sand Martin nest sites in use. Other birds included 6 Arctic Terns, 2 GND, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw, a Buzzard and 6 Swallow. Today, they walked in behind Kintra, out to Tokmal noting a male Hen Harrier out quartering, a Buzzard, pr of Stonechat, and a Cuckoo calling, other birds seen/ heard during their walk included a Robin, plenty of Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, many Skylarks, along the coast, they had 6 Fulmar and 3 Tysties and back at base at Kintra, 39 Oystercatcher, 2 Wheatear, 8 Lesser Redpoll, 7 Sand Martin, 2 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin and a Sanderling. The Bowland birders had watched a passage of 100+ Manx Shearwaters pass Port Wemyss.. They also had similar numbers of Gannets, Awks mainly Guillemots, Arctic Tern and Fulmar. Further on along the coast they saw 12 Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper while in the fields behind them, a pair of Golden Plover in summer plumage. Finally round at Claddach Loch, they had a male Whinchat. The weather held good for us this morning so Bob, Lesley, Distillery Dave ad myself did the WeBS  count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck.. the birds were as follows: 1 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant, 3 Shag, 3 Lbb Gull, 2 Gbb Gull, 2 BH Gull, 30 Common Gull, 20 Herring Gull, 4 Mallard, 2 Rb Merganser, 73 Eider, 9 Shelduck, 9 Curlew, 6 Whimbrel, 91 Ringed Plover, 3 Knot, 187 Dunlin, 65 Barwits, 74 Oystercatcher, 2 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 9 Lapwing, 1 Grey Plover and 2 Redshank. Other birds seen included a White Wagtail, 2 Sand Martin, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Wheatear and several Rock Pipits.

Saturday 13 May 2017

Saturday 13th May

Yesterday was "the Olds" last day of this visit.. At Coull they had seen 38 Whimbrel and 4 Ringed Plover. At Gruinart, a male Ruff in summer plumage was present, as were 3 possible Little Terns, a Redpoll and a Carrion Crow. Over at Bridgend they counted 210 Dunlin, 18 Blackwits, a Common Sandpiper and a Whitethroat. Finally, last night, they spotted a Merlin as it flew across the road down below Rock Mountain. The Bowland Birders yesterday took the chance to recharge their batteries and today have been out birding again... On the water at Loch Skerrols, they counted 60 Shelduck and 6 Mute Swan, one on a nest, while in the trees a Great spotted Woodpecker, Chifchaff and Willow Warblers were noted. Along at The Woollen Mill, a walk along the River Sorn produced 2 pr of Grey Wagtail feeding young, a pr Dipper feeding young, 3 male and a female Bullfinch, Coal Tit, Siskin, Red legged Partridge, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wren.
Here on Islay, it has not been as warm today, with the odd shower of rain, only saving grace is that it is the first time for around a fortnight that I have not had the watering can out for some of the plants.. The float on the rain gauge is now floating... as long as it is dry for tomorrow morning as I am meant to be helping Bob with his WeBS count!!!

Friday 12 May 2017

Friday 12th May

An early entry tonight, as I am going out tonight...
Andrew Cockcroft had ben over to Islay last week, and saw an Osprey on Loch Gruinart. Over at Bunnahabhain he had seen a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and down at the "harbour" at Port Askaig, he saw an Otter chewing away at its' prey. Andrew said that it was great to see so many Cuckoos, Whinchats, Tysties and Chough. This Tuesday, Mandy spotted a Stoat before it dived of the road and into the vegetation at the side of the road!!! On Thursday, she had watched an Osprey up towards the mouth of Loch Gruinart for some time. "The Olds" yesterday had seen a male Hen Harrier round Loch Gorm, a possible sighting of a Baltic subspecies of a Lbb Gull, and also 3 Brent Geese there as well. At Coull, they counted 14 Whimbrel, and a further 16 down at Gortan. On the merse at Bridgend, 27 Blackwits were present , at Bruichladdich, 34 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover were seen. Port Wemyss held a family of Stonechats, a Whitethroat and a Siskin were also seen there. They also commented on so many Cuckoo and Buzzard on show on their way round the Rhinns. Last night, "Distillery Dave" had seen 4 Blackwits and 2 Ruff out from the South hide at Gruinart. Today, James and Mark had carried out the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart, highlights included a Great Skua, a Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 1471 Dunlin, 11Curlew, 47 Barwit, 179 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling, 2 Dabchick and a Grey Plover.

Thursday 11 May 2017

Thursday 1th May

I managed to catch these 3 young Chough siting out on our garage roof, earlier this evening, a Great Tit was on one feeder with a Blue Tit seen on one of the other feeders... Mid afternoon, Margaret had a count of 10 Pale bellied Brent at Blackrock.  Phill, today had been out in the field where he had a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, Siskin, a Chaffinch (it had found a tree in an otherwise upland area), 8 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Grey Heron, 4 Whinchat, a Cuckoo, and "numerous Sedge Warblers, Willow Warblers and Whitethroats". The Bowland birders had been down on the Oa today as well, like the rest of us, making the most of the good spell of weather which we are enjoying at present.. They saw pr of Golden Eagle, a male Hen Harrier, Kittiwake on the cliffs, Fulmar over the sea, small passage of Gannets, 2 Chough, Skylarks, Mipits, Swallows, Wheatear and Stonechat.
Dave forwarded the info of the Lesser Redpoll female which has been here since the 21st of April. It was rung on Hollesley Heath in Suffolk back on 29th December 2015, and is now 662 km from there now.

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Wednesday 10th May

Yesterday evening, "the Olds" had seen 2 Twite out towards the War Graves Cemetery. Here at home the Repolls and Siskins were busy on the feeders along with Goldfinches all day. Gary this morning had seen an Osprey over at Finlaggan. Phill carried out an upland bird survey this morning, counting 45 Mipits, 28 Skylark, 1 Buzzard, a male Hen Harrier, 2 Swallow, 3 Stonechat, 4 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Cuckoo, 5 Sedge Warbler, 7 Willow Warbler, 3 Whinchat, 6 Wren, 2 Wheatear, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll and a Greenfinch. Dave carried out a Wader count at the same time also on the Oa, Dave figures are all in pairs, 12 Common Sandpiper, 7 Lapwing,2 Dunlin, 10 Greylag, 3 Teal, 6 Oystercatcher, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Snipe, 2 Mallard, 3 Reed Bunting, 4 Wheatear, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Whinchat, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Swallow, 1 Starling, 1 Whinchat, 4 Mipits, 2 Linnet, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Skylark and a Redshank pair. The Bowland birders had been up at Gruinart today. From the viewing platform they heard/ saw the following.... drake Garganey,  Ruff in full breeding plumage, Lapwing with chicks, Mallard with ducklings, Corncrake below the platform, 2 very pale Buzzards, 5 Pale belied Brent out on the merse, Shoveler, Teal and Little Grebe. A walk along the Moorland trail produced Whitethroats, Linnet, a juv Golden Eagle being mobbed by Hooded Crows so much so that the Eagle had to land, Raven, Willow Warblers. On the Woodland walk, they saw a Spotted Flycatcher. This afternoon, while visiting friends at Ardnahoe we saw 2 Yellowhammers, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Lesser Redpoll, Coal Tit and Siskin on their feeders with a distant Golden Eagle soaring out on the thermals. At Sunderland Farm, we saw a Canada Goose and 5 Greylags with 5 Brents seen at Blackrock. "The Olds" had seen 18 Rb Merganser, 30 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover, a Sandwich Tern and a Common Tern at Uiskentuie. Up at Bunahabhain, they counted 19 Tystie on the Sound of Islay and inland, behind them, 4 Bullfinch were present. Close to Ardnahoe, a Red legged Partridge was seen and down at The Woollen Mill they reckon that there are 2 pairs of Grey Wagtail present. Also on the River Sorn, a Dipper was seen there too, while on the feeders at the Mill itself, 6 Siskin were counted. Overall "the Olds", this visit they feel that they have seen more Song Thrush and Collared Doves compared to their visits at similar times of previous trips.

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Tuesday 9th May

Yesterday evening Bob had spotted the male Garganey out in front of the South hide, possibly the same duck that "the Olds" had seen earlier on. Today, James had watched an Osprey for some time over on Loch Gruinart itself. "The olds" today had seen 23 Whimbrel on the emerging barley field down at the Coastguards. Along at Coull, they saw a Sedge Warbler and then shortly afterwards a Collared Dove. Over, close to the airport they saw a cracking male Hen Harrier and finally 9 Pale bellied Brent geese at Blackrock. Up at Ardnave,Mark had seen 2 Great Skuas, 8 Comic Terns, 2 Barnies, 16 Whimbrel, 95 Dunlin, 57 Ringed Plover, a Hen Harrier, 17 Barwits and an Otter. The Bowland birders had been over out past Ardbeg today. In Kildalton Woods, they had Willow Warbler, Chifchaff, 3 Blackcap, Tree creeper, Siskin, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Redpoll, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and Wren. Along at Claggain Bay, they saw 2 Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, 4 GND, 16 Arctic Terns flying towards Port Ellen, many Redpoll, Common Sandpiper and a Sparrowhawk. On their way back to their holiday cottage, at Blackrock, they had the Brent Geese, House Martin and Raven. Here at home, this evening Margaret had a count of 33 Chough out on the machir. The birds have been busy again on the feeders, might try and get a count of them tomorrow for you...

Monday 8 May 2017

Monday 8th May

Another great set of sightings today for you to peruse...
Yesterday morning at 7am Mike had counted 79 Common Scoter, 13 GND, 4 RTD. Later on Mike walked up to Bolsay from Port Charlotte and had Grasshopper Warbler, Whinchat, Cuckoo, he also saw a juv. Golden Eagle being mobbed by Raven, Buzzard and Hooded Crows. On Kilnaughton Bay, yesterday, Dave saw 6 Whimbrel, 2 Arctic Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern and a GND. Today, Mandy had heard Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler at Carnduncan with a Reed Bunting calling nearby as well. Phill sent some highlights from Kinnabus on the Oa this morning, "lots of Skylarks and Mipits, 8 Linnets, 4 Redpoll, 4 Wheatear, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 2 Stonechat, and 5 Swallow. Phil also saw the Magpie at Upper Cragabus on his way home late afternoon. "The Olds" today had seen a male Garganey at Gruinart, heard 2 Corncrakes calling on their way to the South hide, 4 Snipe were roding, up at Ardnave they had 12 Whimbrel, and down on the River Sorn below Bridgend they saw a Grey Wagtail. Bob heard a Whitethroat in his garden and then saw a female Blackcap over at the water works. The Bowland Birders had been up round Ardnave today counting 3- 400 Dunlin, 100 Ringed Plover, 100 Whimbrel, 5 Sanderling, 2 Chough, 4 Little Tern, 20 Barwit, a BTD, 6 Swallow, 25 Sand Martin, 3 White Wagtail, and a dog Otter. Other birds seen were GND, Sedge Warbler, Turnstone with a Corncrake as well. Ardnave Loch held, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Mallard and Redshank. Here at home, last night we heard a Corncrake calling down towards the Coastguards' and today Margaret counted 4 Hares out beside the "game crop" and a further 3 on the machir at the same time. Also on the machir were 22 Chough. 

Sunday 7 May 2017

Sunday 7th May

Yesterday, "Distillery Dave" (David Barr) had been down at Port Wemyss where he saw a Common Sandpiper and 2 Comic Terns. He also heard a Corncrake calling away while having a piece of cake and a cuppa.. Later on, as it was getting dark, and hardly any wind, I took a quick run round Loch Gorm  to try to locate any calling Corncrakes... Not much joy apart from one at Ballinaby!  I also heard some Lapwings, a few Grasshopper Warblers and Sedge Warblers and also a Snipe drumming. Round below Leek, a Hedgehog was on the verge with several Wheatears sitting on the road, not wanting to move out of my way. Bob, last night had a Barn Owl through the willows at the Water works opposite his house....The "Olds" from Pagham are back, great to see you again folks, rather than a voice on the phone... Today, they had seen 12 Whimbrel and a Curlew over at Coull, heard the Corncrake at Port Wemyss, saw a Siskin there too, heard Cuckoos at Rockside and down at Ellister, finally they saw 2 Little Terns along the top of Loch Indaal. The Bowland birders are back for another "Islay fix". Today, they had a raft of over 100 Common Scoter out on Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte, also seen out on the loch were Terns, Razorbill, GND, RTD and Gannets. A walk up through the Octomore trees/ hill proved productive with a Redpoll, Willow Warblers, Song Thrush, 3 Siskin, a Tree Sparrow, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Wheatear, too many Greylags, Whimbrel, Reed Bunting, Moorhen on the Distillery pond at Port Charlote. They too had a Barn Owl last night, possibly the same Owl that Bob had seen as they are staying quite close to Bob...Phill from down on the Oa had taken a walk from Ballygrant out to Beinn Dubh and then back along the "Glen road". The birds Phill saw/ heard were as follows, 2 Red Grouse, 4 Grasshopper Warblers, 3 Whitethroat, a Golden Eagle, Buzzard, 15 Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, 2 Pr of Stonechat, 3 Swallows, Mipits, Skylarks and Song Thrush.

Saturday 6 May 2017

Saturday 6th May

Another glorious day and like a lot of places, I think some of us might like a wee shower of rain, to help the garden plants especially, as long as it remembers to stop, once it starts...
Back on Thursday, Paul Graham had seen a White tailed Eagle out on the wing, out past Ballygrant. Yesterday, Bonnie Wood, Dave's wife saw a Magpie between Mid and Upper Cragabus on the Oa, Dave saw it later on as well, does he not trust his wife's id skills?  Gary had seen a Swift over Loch Indaal yesterday. Today, down at Machir Bay, Mandy had seen 9 Whimbrel, 20 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin in summer plumage, 2 Wheatear and a Linnet on the fence wires. Along at Coull, a Sparrowhawk was seen and back home at Carnduncan, Mandy heard and then saw a Chiffchaff in a bush outside her window. She was also saying that the Cuckoo there is calling away non stop...

Friday 5 May 2017

Friday 5th May

Another great day again, and last night we had a beautiful sunset. As I write tis entry, the sun is streaming in the big window, so there might be some typing errors coming  up!!
Yesterday evening, Mandy had heard a Corncrake calling behind Machir Bay. In the dunes she counted 23 Sand Martin nest holes, a Common Sandpiper was seen on the stream as it enters the bay and finally Mandy counted 60 Greylags flew in from Coull Farm... Yesterday, Bob had a Sparrowhawk fly past his house, and soon after a male Hen Harrier flew through as well. Today, Mandy heard a Chiffchaff at Carnduncan. David Wood had seen a male Redstart down on the Oa earlier this week. Phill today on the Oa had 2 Grasshopper Warbler, a Whitehroat, Wheatear, several pairs of Stonechats, a Buzzard successfully hunting an Adder. Phill commented that the only Adders he has seen lately are those being carried in a Buzzard's talons!!! This morning, Carl had a Whitethroat in his garden in Port Charlotte and later on a count of 60 Dunlin as they flew past Brichladdich. In his garden, Bob saw 3 Willow Warbler, a Sedge Warbler and also a Blackcap and while he was visiting Bob, Martin saw a Peregrine ...  Botswana Dave saw 2 "lonely" Barnies at Gruinart, and James and Joan heard a Corncrake close to the South hide. Gary had seen a Corncrake at Bun an Uillt and heard another at Ballinaby where he also saw a Whinchat.

Thursday 4 May 2017

Thursday 4th May

Visitor, Mike Curnow from Banbury sent through some highlights seen so far this week, last night. On Tuesday, he had a Greylag and 7 gosling cross the road between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte. Yesterday, Tysties at Bruichlaadich with at least 30 Eider, 10 Ringed Plover and GND all closer to hand. Down on the Oa, a Peregrine was present, 10 Whimbrel counted and a pair of Golden Eagle spotted.Yesterday, James had a Common Sandpiper and also a Golden Eagle on the reserve at Gruinart. Today, James had seen a male Marsh Harrier, 3 Whinchats, 2 Grasshopper Warbler and a Whitethroat. Today, Bob had seen 3 Willow Warblers and also a Sedge Warbler in his garden in his garden and noted some Linnets and Greenfinches across the road in the water works up behind Port Charlotte. Some other visitors had handed their sightings to Botswana Dave. Terry and Shirley from Norfolk had also seen the Golden Eagles on the Oa on Tuesday, a White tailed Eagle over on Jura yesterday and an Osprey noted on Loch Gruinart today. On the guided walk at Gruinart this morning, Botswana Dave and Joan had heard 4 Corncrake calling away. Dave was also saying that a pair of Greenfinch were getting some grief from the Goldfinches on the feeders outside the visitor Centre at Gruinart...

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Wdnesday 3rd May

I managed to get the camera out to take this image of a Wheatear, taken on Sunday when we were out up towards Killinallan. This morning, I looked out the window and at the foot of the bird table and saw a Goldfinch, a female Lesser Redpoll, a male Siskin,  a female Chaffinch and a Starling. The Goldfinch and the Redpoll both were wearing leg rings, but too far off to read them.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Tuesday 2nd May

Another great day again, was forced to work in the garden, making the most of the good weather, next thing will be that I will be wanting some rain...
Yesterday, Gary had seen a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier at Mulresesh, quartering their patch. He had also heard 3 different Grasshopper Warbler round Ballygrant. This morning, Louise had a new alarm call in the form of a Whimbrel calling out behind her house over on Jura!!! Today, while out with clients, Gary, had a glimpse of a Golden Eagle while over at Bunnahabhain, had seen 10 Whimbrel at Port Mor, from Bruichladdich Pier, out on Loch Indaal, 17 RTD and 5 Common Scoter were present. Along at Blackrock, a further 50 Whimbrel were seen while up past Craigens towards Killinallan a male and also a female Whinchat were spotted. Over at Ardtalla, the Rochdale birders had seen a Woodcock with 4 chicks and also heard 2 Chiffchaff there too. Mark, had counted 108 Dunlin, 18 Whimbrel and 25 Ringed Plover at Traigh Nostaig, up at Ardnave. He also saw Turnstone, Twite and Sand Martins while he there as well.

Monday 1 May 2017

Monday 1st May

Well, I was correct in predicting no more rain in April last  night with the tally coming through at a mere 1.4 inches, around 6 inches less for the year  than we had at the same time in 2016, but early days yet and we could have some wet weather to come before the year ends....
On his way back to the mainland on the ferry on Saturday morning, Peter Gill had a Bonxie and also saw 2 Manx Shearwater just after the ferry left Port Ellen. The Rochdale birders are back and had seen the flock of Golden Plover round at Ballinaby yesterday evening, I had been looking the other side of the road from where they saw them... Also yesterday they had a Kestrel at Bunnahabhain, at least 20 Tysties perched up on the pier at Caol Ila and 100 Whimbrel seen at Uiskentuie. Also yesterday, David Barr had seen a Peregrine on the shore at Gartmain. Mandy had heard a Cuckoo calling over at Carduncan early this afternoon. Here at home, there has been one calling away for the past few hours, hope it shuts up before I go to bed! This evening, we headed round to Ballinaby and located the flock of Golden Plover, now only around 90 in total, resting up in a ploughed field this time!!