Thursday 31 August 2017

Thursday 31st August

Many thanks to James for putting the entries on the blog in may absence.. Quite a few entries this evening for you to drool over in envy. Last Saturday, Gary had been out with clients and saw an Osprey out over the Sound of Islay at Bunnahabhain, a Peregrine was present at Kilchoman with good numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling  seen down on Machir Bay. Mike Peacock yesterday saw over 200 Dunlin, 150 Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, 4 Red Knot, 41 Barwit, 70 Curlew and 2 Shelduck. David Wood this afternoon had a count of over 400 Manx Shearwater loafing around out from Lower Killeyan on the Oa. Also seen were 2 Sooty Shearwater, 11 Chough and a Sparrowhawk. David Formby had seen a mixed flock of over 50 Linnet and Goldfinch on the game crop at Kilchoman along with a couple of  Stonechats. Good numbers of Swallows and the Starling flock seems to increase every day.... A male Hen Harrier was quartering  over the lochans below Rockside.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Wednesday 30th August

A good burd nurds last night with lots of records gathered up from the birders: Mike and Pete had been sea watching at Frenchmans Rocks: 341 Manx Shearwaters, 447 Gannets, 27 Fulmars, 34 Kittiwakes, 1 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Arctic Skuas all dark phase, 5 Bonxies, 3 Red Throated Divers all in 1.5 hours watching. Joan reported Goldcrests and Coal Tits on the Gruinart woodland walk. Pete and Pia had great views of 6 Golden Eagles at the Oa on Sunday and also White Tailed Eagles and a Crossbill in the Ballygrant area.
While we we bird watching from Bruichladdich pier we saw 1 Common Scoter, 2 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill and 2 Sandwich Terns.
Today at Loch Gruinart a look across the Loch revealed: 620 Dunlin, 120 Sanderling, 5 Knot, 1 Greenshank, 21 Black Tailed Godwits and an Osprey.

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Tuesday 29th August

A lovely sunny afternoon and Berd Nerds to look forward to tonite at Bruichladdich. Had a quick look across Loch Gruinart this afternoon as I had noticed a few more waders building up -  200 + Dunlin and a scattering of Sanderling, also a Ruff and an Osprey.

Sunday 27 August 2017

Sunday27th August

I spent the afternoon in the South East of Islay yesterday and found one stag Fallow deer and a couple of Greenshank. Back at Gruinart the Peregrine is still hunting the Loch area and the swallow and Martins are building up on the electric wires.

Friday 25 August 2017

Friday 25th August

There was a VERY lot of rain last night, so I have been out on the reserve letting water away to the sea, so that we can prepare the wet grassland for the Autumn/ winter. Peregrine on the mud of Loch Gruinart, also Greenshank and a Wheatear on the shore. Yesterday a Swift was reported over Ardnave Loch.

Thursday 24 August 2017

Thursday 24th August

Back on Saturday, Mike Peacock, Peter Roberts and Martin Armstrong had carried out a hours' sea watching down at Frenchman's Rocks. Their tally was as follows: 1435 Manx Shearwater, 340 Gannets, 41 Fulmar, 6 Kittiwake, 2 Whimbrel, 4 Bonxies, a dark phase Arctic Skua and 14 Shag. Yesterday, Mike saw a pod 12 Bottle nosed Dolphins off the lighthouse up at Rhuvaal.

Next Tuesday, it is time for the Islay bird nerds meeting, which will take place at the pier at Bruichladdich at 7pm. I know that several visiting birders will be around, so feel free to come along.

Earlier today Louise sent through the figures from the 2017 Corncrake survey, which came to a total of 75 calling birds, a slight decrease on the year, not sure if we had a larger or smaller fall in birds compared with other places.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Wednesday 23rd August

Boy, what a thunderstorm we had last night, and it was still rumbling away at midnight when I went to bed. Just as well that we have sandy soil as there was a lot of rain as well.
Last week while  I was away, Mike Young had seen an Osprey down at Loch Gorm. Coming back up from Rutland yesterday, Dave Wood had seen the Little Egret at Kennacraig and from the ferry as he was coming over, he saw a Storm Petrel. Today, Gary had been out with 2 clients. Over at Ballygrant, they had seen a White tailed Eagle, an Osprey was flying high over Loch Gorm, a Peregrine was seen flying past the memorial cross at Kilchoman, down below at Machir Bay, Chough were present. Up at Ardnave a Hen Harrier was seen, and also a Bonxie was seen at Loch Gorm. Gary reported that flocks of Goldfinch, Linnets and Starlings were starting to build in numbers. No Otters were seen on their travels!!!

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Tuesday 22nd August

Thanks to James for holding the fort while some of us have been down at the birdfair at Rutland... a great event to attend, one year I really should make the effort and get round all the marquees , rather than looking at the plan in the brochure, and take time to hear some of the lectures..
We had an eventful trip down as the Herdwick Inn in the Lake District where we should have stayed was shut, unknown to us, nobody had told us, so fortunately, Gary was fresh to the driving seat and drove down to Rutland. We got held up with diversions, but made it down by 11.30 pm, as there were nowhere locally that could fit us all in. On the positive side of things, last Wednesday we had  an easy time out around Rutland Water before meeting in with Nicholas Watts at Vine House Farm where we  spent almost 3 hours on a conducted tour around his farming enterprise. Vine House Farm has donated over £1.25 million to Wildlife Trusts around the UK.

Gary helped Nicholas to feed the Tree Sparrows with Red Millet, watching on is Margaret. Nicholas last week  rung his 1,000th young Tree Sparrow of this season.

Monday 21st August

Sorry Missed a few blogs - I was away. It has been very showery on Islay and we have been struggling to get the silage in from the Gruinart Flats on the reserve. On Sunday the forage harvester broke down and the fields have had to be baled.
I had a few birds from the Ferry today: Lots of Guillemots still with chicks in tow, Lots of Kittiwakes plus good numbers of juveniles, 2 Red Throated Divers and 2 Porpoises.

Gruinart Flats

Thursday 17 August 2017

Wednesday 16th August

A wild and wet day- distinct autumnal feeling

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Tuesday 15th August

Not a bad day with lots of farms out cutting and making silage, either second cut or Corncrake friendly depending on the farm. A look around the reserve at Gruinart revealed: Greylags 568 and with them 1 Canada goose (maybe from Colonsay population?) and also one white goose of mixed origin, 11 Mute Swans, 4 Herons, 15 Teal and 3 Mallards.

Monday 14 August 2017

Monday 14th August

Well, the van is packed and ready to set in motion tomorrow morning on our trip to Rutland. All of us that are going are a right sociable, friendly lot so if your around at the Birdfair, come along. Better away and treble check there is nothing left around that should be in the van...

Sunday 13 August 2017

Sunday 13th AUgust

Well, last night I never saw any of the meteor storm that was due, Margaret did spot one but that was all. On the positive side of being out late at night, yes, the Corncrake is still calling over in the "glen". This evening, I counted at least 45 Chough flying in to the roost. Through the day, we have been kept at it by trying to double check that we have everything ready to take for our trip to Rutland... As far as we can think of, all fine ready for the off on Tuesday. Our stand at the British Birdfair will or should look completely different, mainly because we have been fortunate in being able to have a double stand rather than a single stand, so perhaps we might get a better chance to get visitors attracted in to our stance and better still, get them to come to visit Islay, so if you are going to the Birdfair, come along to Marquee 7 and we are opposite to Speyside Wildlife, enter our free holiday competition, better still enjoy some of our famous hospitality... come and meet some of the faces behind the blog as well .... Bob will not be down this year, but Lesley and Gary will be down to help out in his place, David Wood from the Oa will be present, as well as his sister Sarah, Margaret, myself, Andy Robinson and also Carl, so come along.....

Saturday 12 August 2017

Saturday 12th August

A greatly improved day with the weather today, not much to report tonight but there seems to be more Pied Wagtails around. Earlier on this evening, we saw a Stonechat down at the Coastguards with some grubs in its' mouth, a short time later, along the road a Wheatear was sitting on the road, causing us to slow down before it flew off. Round at Ballinaby, thee was an ever so small Hedgehog on the roadside, doubt if it will make through the winter. As the weather was better today, I took the chance and cut the grass, and also put larger guards on some of the trees/ bushes, so in that department, I am well pleased...

Friday 11 August 2017

Friday 11th August

Not a lot going on outside today due to the weather, it was rather a dreich, dreary sort of a day rather than heavy rain all the time, all the same one would probably have got wet, the only good thing was that the windy conditions kept the midges away!!! Luckily I saw this Redpoll and a Goldfinch out on the feeders..

At one time there were 10 Goldfinch on the feeder this afternoon, which is a slight increase in numbers compared to the other week when there were hardly any around.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Thursday 10th August

Well, at least it did manage to stay dry for the local Agricultural show, but the wind has started to pick up this evening, so perhaps there is a wee change working...Yesterday evening, our good friends Ken and Karen had heard a Corncrake calling at Kilchoman, and today they saw a Merlin down below at the Coastguards. Steve Wrightson saw a Hen Harrier fly overhead while he was at the show. Gary and Sam along with some friends had gone down to Portnahaven, late afternoon, seeing Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Golden Eagle.  2 Hen Harriers were present near to Kilchiaran. Back over closer to their home, out of Ballygrant, Buzzard, Hen Harrier as well as 2 White tailed Eagle were seen.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Wednesday 9th August

Today, the weather again has been kind to us, with wall to wall sunshine. and as I write this entry, the sun is still streaming in the big windows, a nice complaint...
Not a lot going on as most of the folk  here on Islay are busy getting ready for the local Agricultural show which is being held tomorrow, down at Bridgend, so fingers crossed that it stays dry, and just as important, no midges...
We saw the Golden Eagle out over the crag, again along towards the masts behind Kilchiaran. This evenin,g there were a couple of Buzzards out towards Rockside. As I write this entry, the Choughs have just flown past, noisily, on their way to the roost.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Tuesday 8th August

Another day almost in, infact in a few minutes it will Wednesday, so I had better hurry up... Gary yesterday had been out with clients and had seen an Otter over at Bunahabhain, his first sighting of one for some time. They also saw a White tailed Eagle for some time too. Just after breakfast this morning, I saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly over the garden, and Margaret saw another one around midday , again over the garden, possibly the same bird. Late afternoon, we saw a distant Golden Eagle away out along the crag towards the radio masts above Kilchiaran. Tonight, the Corncrake was still calling away outside the house.... Made it, still on Tuesday, but only just..

Monday 7 August 2017

Monday 7th August

Around lunchtime today we watched a Golden Eagle wheeling around above Machir Bay. It was keeping a watchful eye on a kite, no not a Red Kite, but a kite being flown by a holiday maker for at least 5 minutes!!!! Distillery Dave spotted a male Hen Harrier down beside Loch Gorm as he headed home after his work. Out on the grass beside our house, 9 Song Thrushes were present this morning along with 3 Blackbirds..

Sunday 6 August 2017

Sunday 6th August

This past week, well for most of the week, most of the Islay team from Islay have been over on Coll. The weather according to James was not too bad... On the ferry going over there, they saw several Bottle nosed Dolphins and a Minke Whale, as well as Puffins on the water. Coming home on Friday evening at Kennacraig, James and Phill saw a Little Egret and also a Greenshank as they approached the ferry terminal. 

Saturday 5 August 2017

Saturday 5th August

A glorious day with a beautiful sunset to finish the day off, just great.... Alistair Hart this morning had gone to carry out a sea watch at Frenchman's Rocks, only problem was that he managed to sit on his  pencil, so breaking it and it beyond repair.. Alistair still managed a list of birds seen... Skylark, Mipit, Wheatear, Carrion Crow, Raven, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Greater Black backed Gull, Shag, Cormorant (12 flying together at one point), Guillemot, Razorbill, Tystie, Fulmar, a pale phase Arctic Skua and 2 Bonxies. Later on, Alistair has seen a Peregrine on a kill between Port Mor and Portnahaven.

Friday 4 August 2017

Friday 4th August

Mike Peacock and Peter Roberts had been out on Loch Indaal in their boat yesterday and off  Port Charlotte up towards the lighthouse they had heard a Corncrake calling, back around the lighthouse, not out on the loch! Before I went to bed last night, at around 11pm, I too heard a Corncrake calling over towards the wee glen leading up to here from the Coastguards, the same bird that Margaret had heard shortly before, would I ever doubt my wife's hearing??
This morning Mike and Peter had done a spot of sea watching at Frenchman's rocks, off Portnahaven for almost 2 hours with the birds flying in a South easterly direction, their count came to 503 Manx Shearwater,123 Gannets, 52 Kittiwake, 60 Fulmar, 8 Shag, 8 Razorbill, 17 Razorbill, 1 Arctic Skua, 4 Black headed Gulls, 2 Tysties, 4 Turnstone and a Whimbrel. They also saw 11 small geese, presumed to be Brent Geese, which are not not normally seen until mid to late August, earliest Scottish record were of a group of 11 Brents seen off Machrihanish (down at the tip of the Mull of Kintyre) on 19th August in 2005,  I believe.

Thursday 3 August 2017

Thursday 3rd August

Sorry about the latish entry tonight, but been one of  those days, better late than never.. we have been kept busy today, trying successfully to get some jobs completed for Rutland, almost there now, but not sure where "there" is!!!
Alistair Hart had been down in Bridgend Woods where he saw a pair of Spotted Flycatcher and he also heard at least 2 Willow Warblers singing away. This evening, after work, Distillery Dave had been  down at the Machrie for a round of golf.. He heard a pair of Peregrines and their youngster being very vocal. He also heard a Corncrake calling whilst out on his round. Just at 10 pm, here at home, Margaret heard a Corncrake calling, the first here this year!!
Our good friend, Marsali kindly sent through her tally for the rainfall for July, over at Mulindry, a mere 4.68inches, drier for once than us, and almost an inch at that!! Having said that, I believe that they had quite a lot of rain last night as did Bowmore, which we did not get!!

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Wednesday 2nd August

Here at home this morning there were 4 Song Thrushes and 3 Blackbirds all having a good "howk" (dig) around out on the grass, no doubt looking for some tasty worms. Paul Graham reported through to say that he has heard 4 different Corncrakes calling over at the Machrie while he was having a round of golf today... Gary, today had been watching a pair of adult Hen Harriers along with their 2 young as they were out "practising food passes", from a vantage point off the "high road".  Rather a watery looking evening sun, so maybe the rain is not that far off again...

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Tuesday 1st August

Well, as promised, the dreaded total for the rain that fell into our rain gauge  came to 5.5 inches. Last year the figure for July was 4 inches which I thought was a lot, say no more..
Yesterday Alistair Hart had heard 2 Corncrakes still calling away up at Sanaigmore. Here at home, the flock of Linnets were still present out from the "hut". A better day again with the weather, for how long is another question... The end is in sight, with all the distilleries having given some of their finest produce for folk to sample at the Birdfair, apart from one of them, always the tail end Charlies. Islay Ales have sent through some of their beer and also Walker's Shortbread have again been really kind in helping us with some of their shortbread, and as we have a double stand this year, our stand will have a completely new look, so come along in marquee 7, in the usual place, opposite Speyside Wildlife, and meet some of the faces behind the blog...
As this is meant to be about birds, I took this picture of a Wagtail earlier this year...