Sunday 31 December 2017

Sunday 31st December

An early entry tonight while still have got power, and at least with having a satellite broadband system, we are not reliant on cable broadband as I believe that some folk on the island have not been getting any broadband lately. One of our regular correspondents who is over on the mainland on holiday, had seen a Red Kite as he was driving along, close to Doune. It was just as well that I went out in the dark last night and took the bird feeders down, as one of the big posts was blown well over in the wind through the night. The wind was rather strong with us around 7 am with our reading at 72 mph while over at Port Ellen, it was 76mph. I can verify that it was blowing rather strongly as I was outside and it almost blew me over, what was I doing outside???  The birds were fed on the ground and this afternoon, with the wind dropping a bit, we managed to put the leaning post in another position and put all the feeders back up...and the birds and ourselves were pleased with the job done. Just after we finished putting the big post back up, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew across the far corner of the garden and then around 30 minutes later, a Heron flew past on its' way "home" after being down in the stream.

Many thanks to all the folk that have contributed their sightings through the year, and to you the reader for following us through the year, so keep the blog going, send through your sightings...

All the best for 2018 wherever you are!!!!

Saturday 30 December 2017

Saturday 30th December

Yesterday, James while on his way down to Bowmore, saw a White tailed Eagle out from Whin park, over the merse at Bridgend. It managed to spoof the geese present, into the air and then proceeded to catch a goose as it was taking off  and proceed to land with the said goose and devour it... This afternoon, while James was over for a natter and a cuppa we were watching the birds on the feeders, who suddenly all took off, a quick scan round produced a  female Sparrowhawk  up in the sky. A few moments later it came back round and down into some scrub willows where it remained just waiting in hope that the wee birds would return. So after a few moments it took off and literally was pushed away in the wind, as they say "Gone but not forgotten"
By the look of the weather forecast, I might just go out and take the bird feeders down this evening, better that than picking up broken feeders in the morning!!

Friday 29 December 2017

Friday 29th December

The blog and myself have returned...
Coming down out of Inveraray, yesterday afternoon as we headed for the ferry, I counted 8 Grey Herons on the edge of the loch with another dozen or so counted along the shoreline as we headed on to Kennacraig. Here at home, well it has been rather wet, in fact the wettest place in the U.  K.  with the best part of an inch falling in the past 24 hours, with puddles seen out on the Machir as a consequence. The feeders at one point this morning over 21 Goldfinches were present with a couple of Wrens scuttling along in the lee of the stone dyke and then late afternoon, a group of 26 Chough flew over from Rockside heading along towards the Machir  and then flying in to the roost. The odd thing about observing them was that they were flying along at the same altitude all the time, rather than their usual undulating  flight, but they were certainly vocal none the less.

Saturday 23 December 2017

Saturday 23rd December

Well by the sound of things, it has been windy over on Islay today, as forecasted with the ferry going up to Colonsay cancelled today and being re scheduled for tomorrow... With weather being so windy, no bird to report tonight... Please remember that there is no meeting of the bird nerds on this coming Tuesday, with a lot of the locals being off Islay, normal service will return in January.

All the best to all our readers and followers wherever you may be over the festive period.

Friday 22 December 2017

Friday 22nd Dcember

Today, Gary had seen 6 Bullfinches up at Bunnahabhain...On his way down the road from there, Gary had seen a further 12 Bullfinches in the willows at Torrabus. He also saw some Tysties in winter plumage along the coast on the Sound of Islay. Think the wind is to pick up tomorrow with the ferry to Colonsay already cancelled...

Thursday 21 December 2017

Thursday 21st December

Yesterday, when he was out helping with the goose count, Bob had a count of 500 Wigeon on the Laundry Loch up behind Laggan. Also present there, were 7 Whooper Swans. Shortly afterwards, down the road towards Gartbreck Bob saw a large female Sparrowhawk siting on a fence post at the side of the road.. Morven Laurie kindly sent through the tally for the International Goose Count, carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, with the tally coming in at 43,351 Barnies, 5,351 Whitefronts and 837 Greylags. Thanks to Morven and the team from SNH for these figures. Phill today had seen a juv, White tailed Eagle down at Kinnabus. It moved some Hooded Crows off their prey on the ground, and then set to having some of the grub...It sat around for some time digesting its' brunch...Close by sitting a fence post was a female Sparrowhawk. Phill also saw a Golden Eagle flying over the "American monument" with a snipe seen nearby, as well as a flock of Meadow Pipits and 2 Ravens cronking away,there as well.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Wednesday 20th December

Louise had seen 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese out in the Glebe at the Manse at Craighouse over on Jura this morning. She also has ben having a count of 80 Geese regularly, coming in from over at Inver, again on Jura, on a regular basis. Not sure as to the species, ? Barnies as Lou forgot to say on her e mail to me!! This afternoon, she saw an juvenile Glaucous Gull North Loch Gorm. James had been out again helping with the International Goose. He was saying that it was rather foggy this morning, making counting the geese a bit of a problem...The count for the Barnies came to 10,500 while his tally for the Whitefronts was 700. James also saw a Sparrowhawk at Gruinart, a Hen Harrier at Craigens and also Merlin up at Ardnave.

Tuesday 19 December 2017

Tuesday 19th December

Today, James had carried out a count of geese present at Gruinart, his tally came to 15,000 Barnies and 750 Whitefronts.  He also saw 2 Sparrowhawks as well as a Hen Harrier while he was out.

Before I forget, as is our habit, there will be no bird nerds meeting next Tuesday, as with so many of us being away.. but come the end of  January,we will have our annual night out for a meal somewhere, more details of that nearer the middle of January.

Monday 18 December 2017

Monday 18th December

This morning we had 2 different Nuthatches and also a Coal Tit on our bird table down at our bolt hole, different place as well as different birds too... oh, yes, yesterday we saw a Buzzard being mobbed by 2 Rooks... Back on Islay, Phill had seen 2 Barn Owls  while driving along the High Road.

Sunday 17 December 2017

Sunday 17th December

Not a lot to report tonight as most of our contributors are off Islay at present, and it will be a similar story over the next few weeks with many of us visiting friends and families over the festive period...
I am in one of the afore mentioned categories and had a late visitor outside on the bird feeders, a Nuthatch, and it came back several times for more food. Another bird that is not that common to us is a Blue Tit, and already we have seen a couple of them, a different place altogether, no Choughs or Hen Harriers around... The weather, is different as well with frosts lately, but thankfully now away!!

Friday 15 December 2017

Friday 15th November

Martin was in touch last night to say that the Lesser Whitethroat he had been seen the Lesser Whitethroat in his garden over at Glenegedale. He has not seen  since the 19th of November... Good one Martin!!!
Also yesterday, James had seen a Short eared Owl at Bolsay, only the second one he has seen one in the winter time on Islay. Also yesterday, James had seen 5 Hen Harriers on the reserve at Gruinart, 3 female, a brown male and a grey male.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Wednesday 13th December

On our way down past Rockside this morning, on our way to Bowmore we saw a Merlin as it zipped past. Down at Bowmore at Bun an Uisg, where Islay Farmers once traded from, 21 Pale bellied Brent geese were bobbing about on the water's edge of Loch Indaal.
The weather out here has not been that warm... after all it is now the winter time I led to believe!!!

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tuesday 12th December

Mike sent some highlights from his WeBS count, carried out on Outer Indaal... 20 Lapwing, 37 Golden Plover, 40 GND, 3 RTD, 15 Common Scoter and 44 Common Gull. Mark carried the WeBS  on Loch Gruinart counting 1,340 Golden Plover, 584 Teal, 95 Wigeon, 105 Sanderling, 48 Turnstone, 154 Lapwing, 97 Barwits, 11 Snipe, 3 Greenshank and also 27 Redshank. Yesterday, Fiona  had seen a juv. Golden Eagle fly past down at Sunderland Farm. Gary today, while sitting down at Whinpark, saw a Peregrine chasing after a wee bird which attempted to dive into the water but not noting that it was ice on the top of the surface of the creek, net result the Peregrine got its prey!!!  Later on, back at home, Gary had a male Hen Harrier fly through his garden and on over the moorland behind his house. Mid morning, we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past through our garden and fly on down over the game crop, here at home

Monday 11 December 2017

Monday1th December

It has been a bit on the cool side still over here on Islay, with the snow still remaining well down on the Paps of Jura, usually the snow does not last that long...Mandy apologises to you all as it was at Carnain not Gartmain, that she saw the Long tailed Ducks yesterday...
Today, Gary had seen the juv 2 yr White tailed Eagle on the merse at Bridgend, he also saw the Kingfisher coming into its perch, close by. Along at Carnain, Gary counted 11 Snipe, over 250 Rock Pipit as well as 2 Snow Bunting there as well. At the start of the High road, at Springbank, he saw a male Hen Harrier and then another quartering its' patch over on the moorland opposite John Calderwood's former smiddy. Back up near to Ballygrant Gary saw an adult White tailed Eagle and then 2 Crossbill in the treetops of the plantation in at Finlaggan, while on the Loch  itself, there were a pair of Goldeneye

Sunday 10 December 2017

Sunday 10th December

Like the rest of the country, we all appear to be sitting pretty cool today, the temperature hardly rose above freezing point, the saving grace being that we had little wind, otherwise it might have felt a lot colder...
Back on Friday, Mandy had seen numerous Brambling in a field down close to Newton. Yesterday while out walking with a friend's dog, James almost walked on top of a Golden Eagle which was eating its' prey, a hen Pheasant in amongst some rushes. Today, James seen a male Hen Harrier out on the wing over beside the former  Kilchoman School, and then a ringtail down beside the Machrie Croft. Down on Machir Bay this morning, Peter and Pia had seen 3 Snow Bunting and also 24 Ringed Plover. This morning, Bob and myself did the WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, our birds seen were as follows, 1 GND, 43 Shag, 3 Cormorant, 80 Greylags, 8 Pbb Brent, 181 Whitefronts, 1,100 Barnies, 9 Shelduck, 91 Mallard, 430 Teal, 465 Wigeon, 30  Eider 17 R B Merganser1 Heron, 111 Curlew, 5 Barwit, 40 Knot, 10 Redshank, 11 Dunlin, 4 Turnstone, 1 Snipe, 22 Ringed Plover, 46 Golden Plover, 4 Grey Plover, 97 Lapwing, 4 Gbb Gull, 200 Herring Gull and 120 Common Gull.  Also today, Mary Redman had seen the Chifchaff in her garden again. Mandy today saw 2 Ruff at Aoradh and also a pair of Long tailed Duck at Gartmain.

Saturday 9 December 2017

Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December

The reason why that you never got an entry on the blog for Friday, last night when you should have done, well our satellite broadband system which we have went on the blink, and their engineers do not work after 6pm....say no more..
Yesterday Mary Redman had a probable Chiffchaff in her garden down at Port Wemyss/ Portnahaven. Garry had seen the Kingfisher at the mouth of the River Sorn. He also saw  2 White tailed Eagles up behind Ballygrant and then later on, another couple flying over Jura, up from Inver.
This morning, Paul Graham had a second year White tailed Eagle trying to spoof the Barnies off the merse at Bridgend. Bob came across a dead Great crested Grebe down at Carnain. Along at Bruichladdich he saw 2 Purple Sandpipers. Mike Peacock saw the 2 Bottle nosed Dolphins today at Port Charlotte. This afternoon, we saw a single Whooper Swan down on the wee lochans below Rockside as well as a Heron flying past there as well. Later on, in the gloaming, we saw a Barn Owl out on the wing, no doubt rather hungry after the windy weather over the past few days.

Thursday 7 December 2017

Thursday 7th December

Yesterday, Bob had counted a total of 48 Pale bellied Brents down after Blackrock, beside Cash Kelly's former house on Loch Indaal. Today, while coming back out of Bowmore, Margaret counted 31 P b Brents just below where Islay Fames used to trade from at Bun an Uisg. As the wind was quite strong today, I decided to take the big bird feeders down, rather than  seeing them being broken. So the birds got fed on the ground instead, no large numbers of Starlings around, just as well.

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Wednesday 6th December

Like a lot of other folk, we are just going to wait for tomorrow, to see what the weather brings in. The ferries have already been cancelled for tomorrow morning, so perhaps there might have been some panic buying by some folk down in the Co-op in Bowmore already...
I did a quick count of the birds that George E. Jackson has caught and rung with BTO rings over this past year... A total of 119 birds in all comprising of 34 House Sparrows, 18 Goldfinches, 1 Dunnock, 56 Chaffinches, 3 Starling, 1 Brambling, 1 Great Tit, 2 Robins, a Blue Tit, a Blackbird and also a ringtail Hen Harrier. He also had 5 retraps, a Goldfinch plus 4 Chaffinches, with one of the chaffinches coming from elsewhere, the other birds being "local" retraps!!
Dave Wood along with some ringers from the mainland had caught and rung 87 Twite down on the Oa over the past few days. All the birds are fitted with a BTO ring and also a Black ring with white lettering on the other leg. This project will continue for a few more years, so if you manage to see any of Dave's birds and manage to read the black ring, give us a shout and I will send through the details to Dave himself, many thanks in anticipation.
We counted 33 Chough flying in to the roost this evening. Earlier on this afternoon, there were 2 large mumerations of Starling around 800 birds in total, a few more than we one we had earlier on with just under 700 birds counted then. Just a well that they did not all come in for a feed!!!!

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Tuesday 5th December

This morning, Gary saw a Kingfisher at the mouth of the River Sorn and out on the merse a White tailed Eagle was siting there. Up at Bunnahabhain this afternoon, Gary saw 3 White tailed Eagles. Today James had carried out a goose count on the reserve at Gruinart and he also commented about seeing so many geese, "perhaps due to the full moon". His tally came to 9,685 Barnies, 589 Whitefronts and 51 Greylags. He also counted 1,925 Golden Plover and saw 2 Hen Harriers (a male and also a female) and a Golden Eagle. Here at home, the birds are busy eating the food put out for them, at one time we looked out and the big Niger feeder had 20 Goldfinches tucking in, a full house.

Monday 4 December 2017

Monday 4th December

Back on Saturday, Gary had seen 2 White tailed Eagles over at Bunnahabhain and also a male Goosander. Yesterday, Peter and Mike had been down on the Oa and at Kinnabus had helped out with the catching and ringing of some Twite with all the birds getting a colour ring as well as a BTO ring fitted. Pia yesterday afternoon, had watched a White tailed Eagle "dispatching" a Barnacle Goose over the merse at Bridgend, but she was not sure as to whether it was a freshly caught bird or possibly it might have been an injured Barnie...
Marsali sent through rainfall tally for November from Mulindry with the figure coming in at 5.4 inches, almost an inch drier than November last year, say no more....
Here at home midmorning the ringtail Hen Harrier flew over the garden, down over the game crop and then away out over the Machir. At lunchtime, a Sparrowhawk flew past but in the reverse way to the Harrier, both great to see though!!! There were 39 Goldfinches at the feeders early afternoon with over 60 Chaffinches present as well..

Sunday 3 December 2017

Sunday 3rd December

Some more sightings for you all. Back on Friday, John Nadin had a "great day" spotting rare geese. Early morning, he had 2 Cackling geese on the North shore of Loch Indaal as well as 30 Pale bellied Brents and 22 Pintail. He then saw another 2 different Cackling geese amongst the Barnies at Eorrabus. He went up to Kinnabus after that and met in with David Wood and they saw a Todd's Canada Goose feeding with the Barnies there. John has written a paper on the Canada geese along with Jimmy Steele which is in the September edition of the Scottish Birds.
Distilery Dave had 2 Goldcrests as he walked down to the North hide at Gruinart this morning, he also had a small number of Redwing out in the field s he approached the hide itself. Down on Machir Bay, he had seen an Otter, some Ringed Plover and also some Curlew. Down on the tide line at Bruichladdich, Dave spotted a few Purple Sandpipers, some Dunlin and a few Turnstone there as well. James had a fly over his house at Gruinart of a Golden Eagle early afternoon, and all that I can offer is a fly over of a helicopter mid afternoon!!! The moon outside, at present, is not that spectacular this evening with misty cloud which does not lead to great views of it..
Just hear this evening, that our good friend Dot Street was over on the island with the group from Ribble Bird Tours... Dot very generously gives us a help on the "Islay stand", down at Rutland at the Bird Fair...

Saturday 2 December 2017

Saturday 2nd December

Stuart Meredith from Ribble Bird Tours sent some sightings from their recent visit to Islay, they had also spent a few days on Mull as well. On Thursday afternoon they had a White tailed Eagle on a Barnacle goose carcass at the head of Loch Indaal. Yesterday, they saw a Golden Eagle down on the Oa, and a male Hen Harrier up at Gruinart. This morning, they had seen 2 Cackling geese at the head of Loch Indaal, a Todd's Goose down at Loch Kinnabus, as well as a count of around 180 Twite at Kinnabus itself. Finally, a male Hen Harrier was present at Gruinart, later on. On Thursday, Peter was out birding with his friends who have been over on Islay this past week. On Thursday, they had a Snow Bunting down at Machir Bay and then round at Ballinaby, a Pink footed Goose was present amongst the Greylags and Whitefronts. Yesterday, they had 7 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich, a pr of Tysties at the pier as well as a Common Guillemot there too.  Up at Gearach, behind Port Charlotte, a Crossbill was spotted with a Merlin also seen close by, with a Golden Eagle seen further out behind Kilchiaran. A Red Grouse was also seen up on Bolsay Moor. This afternoon, Bob and Distillery Dave had seen 5 Greenshank from the North hide at Gruinart.

Friday 1 December 2017

Friday 1st December

Just to put you all out of your misery, the rainfall figure for November came to exactly 5 inches, the same figure for the month as last year, but still slightly wetter than the total for 2017 compared to 2016 at the same time.
Visitor John Nadin kindly sent in some sightings to share with us... On Wednesday, John had been up the Oa, trying to see the elusive Cackling and also the Todd's geese but no joy, but had a couple of ringtail at Cornabus. He did see a Cackling goose amongst some Barnies at the top of Loch Indaal, later on. Yesterday, John saw 2 Cackling Geese along with the Barnies, one at a similar place to the previous day with the other amongst Barnies along at Eorrabus. He also saw an imm Golden Eagle at the top of the Loch as well. Over at Gruinart, he spotted 2 imm White tailed Eagles on the North shore of the loch. On Ardnave Loch, he saw 2 Mute Swan, a Whooper swan, 7 Tufted Ducks, a Dabchick as well as 39 Curlews. Back down the road at the reserve at Gruinart, a Grey Wagtail was present while between Bowmore and Bridgend, a Barn Owl was seen. Thanks John.
Today, Mike had seen the 2 Bottle nosed Dolphins off Port Charlotte again with them both leaping out of the water. Later on Mike counted 68 Curlews resting up on the rocks on Machir Bay. The ringtail Hen Harrier had a fly over the game crop this morning, here at home ...wonder, if it is still the bird that George caught and rung earlier on???