Wednesday 31 January 2018

Wednesday 31st January

Yesterday, Mike Peacock had seen a 2CY Glaucous Gull and then round at Ballinaby, the Iceland Gull was still present. Also yesterday, Chris from Norfolk Birding along with his clients saw 9 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich. Out on Loch Indaal they had over 200 Common Scoter and 12+ Slavonian Grebes. Back round the top of Loch Indaal and at Blackrock, 2 Golden Eagle were spotted and then finally as the light was stating to fail at dusk, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen at Gruinart. Today, Val Peacock had seen a Merlin out below Bob's house up behind Port Charlotte. Here today, the pesky Sparrowhawk was siting on the top of a fence post watching al1 the world go past. The pair of Ravens out along the crag have been quite vocal today. Wonder how much rain has fallen here in January, only a few hours to go, the suspense is killing me, possibly more than last January, you will just have to patient and wait until you read the blog tomorrow night...

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Tuesday 30th January

Yesterday morning, Chris Mills had seen a couple of Fulmars in, soaring along the front of the crag, this evening the wind has picked up a bit and swirling around, the wind is not too clever tomorrow either ... Bob had 10 Greenfinch in his garden the other day. Yesterday, Bob had 49 Scaup along at Cash Kelly's/ Blackrock on Loch Indaal.
Here at home, on the big bench this afternoon where the wee birds normally feed, well the Sparrowhawk was sitting as if it owned the said bench and on the ground on the other side, a male Pheasant quite oblivious to the Sparrowhawk less than 6 feet away, just as well that the Pheasant was busy looking for seeds on the ground.. and they were there for over a couple of minutes with my camera away out of the way!!! It was the Sparrowhawk who moved away first...and no there were no wee birds around watching!!!

Monday 29 January 2018

Monday 29th January

Gary today had a Snow Bunting down at Carnain and later on had an adult White tailed Eagle over at Bunnahabhain. Chris Mills along with his clients had a great day as well... Up at Sanaigmore , a pr of Golden Eagles, then in the fields at Carrabus, 2 first winter Iceland Gulls. They saw a juv. White tailed Eagle and also a Golden Eagle up behind Ballygrant, great to see them for showing a comparison in size between them. Shortly afterwards, they saw 10 Crossbills in at Finlaggan.   On their way up to Bunnahabhain they saw  another 3 Goldies as well as a pair of Peregrines and then down at Bunnahabhain, the White tailed Eagle, possibly the same bird that Gary saw. Coming back they saw a Cackling Goose amongst around 1,500 Barnies, close to Eorrabus. The weather has been a lot better here today, Margaret had 3 Dunnocks hopping around under the feeders today and I saw 2 Buzzards being "blown" along the top of the crag in a strong gust at another time!!! Yesterday, Chris had seen a Raven carrying in towards its' nest up on the crag 

Sunday 28 January 2018

Sunday 28th January

Nothing much to report tonight, the weather certainly has not ben kind to us, not much use really for trying to count the birds for Gardenwatch...Chris Mills from Norfolk birding is over this week with a group of  7 clients. They did venture out today seeing both the Iceland and also the Glaucous gull in the field at Ballinaby. They also saw the  Greenshank and Ruff out from the South hide at Gruinart and then up at Ardnave they counted 31 Chough. Here at home, the  Sparrowhawk flew through the garden, earlier on I had spoofed 11 Pheasant out from one corner of the garden, they only flew over 100 metres or so, landing in the game crop a bit further on!!!!

Mind and watch BBC "Winterwatch" with some footage from Islay, not sure what is being screened on which nights....

Saturday 27 January 2018

Saturday 27th January

Yesterday, Gary had seen 4 Glaucous Gulls and 2 Iceland Gulls amongst other gulls in the fields on the high road, close to the junction that leads to Cruach and Bowmore. He also saw a Bullfinch flying across the road nearby from the plantation over to the scrubby trees beside the River Laggan. Today Distillery Dave had been up for a fix at Gruinart where he had large numbers of Dunlin and Golden Plover as well. Out from the South hide, Dave had 4 Greenshank and also 2 Ruff. On his way home, along the flats at Gruinart, Dave saw a Glaucous Gull. Mid afternoon, we had a Glaucous Gull flying towards us, as we approached Cash Kelly's former house and Blackrock.

As some of the BBC "Winterwatch" is being screened with footage from Islay, we have decided not to hold the "Islay bird nerds" evening out in the Lochside. We will be having it there, the following Tuesday, the 6th of February at 7.30pm when we will put a few pounds on eating some of Archie's finest food... a grand way to spend an evening and catch up with some friends....

Friday 26 January 2018

Friday 26th January

This morning, I gave Bob a hand to carry out his WeBs count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, so here are the birds which we saw.... 1 Slavonian Grebe, 1 GND, 3 Grey Heron, 15 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 4 Greylag, 999 Barnies, 60 Whitefronts, 9 Shelduck, 12 Mallard, 39 Teal, 80 Wigeon, 5 Goldeneye, 2 Eider, 4 R b Merganser, 25 Turnstone, 85 Oystercatcher, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 202 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel, 148 Barwit, 3 Knot, 32 Dunlin, 13 Redshank, 23 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 40 Golden Plover, 82 Lapwing, 12 Gbb Gull, 12 C Gull, 220 H Gull and 3 B h Gull. Great to see so many Turnstone. It was a great time this morning in flat calm conditions....
Here at home, just after lunchtime, a quick squint out the window and a scan round the air space above the Machir produced a Golden Eagle. Earlier on, just after my return from helping Bob, a Sparrowhawk flew past and through the garden...

Thursday 25 January 2018

Thursday 25th January

Ed Burrell has returned to continue on with his studies into the Whitefronts. Yesterday, Ed had seen a 1st winter Iceland Gull between Claddach and Portnahaven. He also had seen the Todd's Canada Goose down at Cornabus. Today, Ed had a Glaucous Gull over close to Laphroaig and also some Crossbills at Cornabus. Gary, today had seen 2 Glaucous Gull and an Iceland Gull amongst the large numbers of Gbb Gull, H Gull, C Gull and B h Gull between Bowmore harbour and Bun an Uisg. From the Auction Market at Bridgend down to the mouth of the River Sorn Gary had 18 Long tailed Tits, a Great spotted Woodpecker and also a male Goosander. Late afternoon, here at home, I managed a quick count of the Choughs as they flew into the roost, 34 in all... being very vocal as usual.... Louise, this morning, had an Iceland Gull and also a Glaucous Gull in what was a field of stubble turnips round at Ballinaby, now just a muddy mess...

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Wednesday 24th January

Forgot to mention last night, that we had a ringtail fly past, over the garden, great to watch..
Yesterday evening, Malcom gave an illustrated talk on his recent visit to Tanzania, needless to say it brought some great memories back ...
Today, Mike had been down at Carnain where he saw 5 Snow Bunting, 5 Pbb Brent Geese, 100 + Dunlin, 7 Turnstone, 50+ Ringed Plover, 33 Shelduck and at Blackrock, Mike had a count of 43 Greater Scaup. Gary had been out today as well, spotting the same birds as Mike at Carnain, along at the wee lay by/ carpark beside Blackrock, a Glaucous Gull was picking at a dead Tystie.. From Whin Park, Gary had 150+ Lapwing, 300+ Teal, 2 Dabchick, and another Glaucous Gull amongst the Gbb Gulls. Up at Newton, Gary saw 2 Brambling amongst the Chaffinch flock, and at the Skerrols road end, a ringtail as present.
By the way, today the weather reverted back to a rather miserable day with some dirty hail showers coming through amongst the heavy, windy rain showers

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Tuesday 23rd January

Yesterday, Gary had seen a Glaucous Gull at Bun an Uisg, Bowmore and then shortly afterwards Gary saw another one which was scavenging on a dead Barnie over at smelly corner. This morning, Dave Protherough had another Glaucous Gull, he saw it over at Ballinaby. Here at home, we counted 25 Rock Doves out on the grass in the garden. Mike Peacock did his WeBS count on outer Loch Indaal today, and he saw the following... 26 GND, 13 Shag, 3 Cormorant, 2 R b Merganser, 24 Common Gull, 20 Herring Gull. He also saw a Sparrowhawk as well as a pair of Ravens displaying.

Monday 22 January 2018

Monday 22nd January

Today Gary had carried out his WeBs count from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock with his tally coming through at 15 GND, 2 RTD, 14 R b Merganser, 9 Cormorant, 18 Shag, 34 Eider, 6 Common Scoter, 62 Oystercatcher, 54 Curlew, 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 7 Lapwing, 3 Gbb Gull, 38 H Gull, 5 C Gull, 34 Greylags, 1 Pbb Brent, 357 Barnies & 46 Whitefronts.
Bob today down at Carnain had a close fly by of a Glaucous Gull. Along the shoreline, he saw 4 Snow Bunting and a mixed flock of around 100 waders there as well, comprising of Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Turnstone. Along past Uiskentuie, Bob had the spectacular sighting of 200+ Oystercatcher as they flew from the Machir across the road to the top of Loch Indaal.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Sunday 21st January

On Friday, Bob had seen a White tailed Eagle down on the merse at Bridgend and yesterday he counted 7 Snow Bunting at Carnain. Also yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen a Merlin up near to Rockside. Today, here at home, we had a brief sighting of a Glaucous Gull out on the Machir and then out below the feeders a small group of 14 Rock Doves were present.

Friday 19 January 2018

Friday 19th January

Today, Gary had seen some Snipe down on the seaweed below Carnain. Further round Loch Indaal, he had over 300 Gulls between Gartmain and Bun an Uisg, mainly Common Gulls, Black headed Gulls and Herring Gulls, with a Glaucous Gull seen on the rocks below the Gaelic College. Also today, James had carried out his WeBs count on the flats and floods at Gruinart, with his count being as follows, 1 Ruff, 226 Lapwing, 1 Dabchick, 4 R b Merganser, 15 Shoveler, 115 Mallard, 5 Mute Swan, a Grey Heron, 12 Whooper Swan, 50 Curlew, 5 Redshank, 590 Teal, 99 Wigeon, 9 Pintail, a Tufted Duck. He also saw a Glaucous Gull today on the reserve, as well as a male Hen Harrier and also a Merlin.
Forgot to mention that James had a Water Rail, seen along the flats at Gruinart yesterday

Thursday 18 January 2018

Thursday 18th January

Malcolm had been out on the Ardtalla and the Oa runs for the International Goose count which has been taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The weather had not been that great with dirty squally showers of hail, sleet and the odd snow shower in the mix as well... Apart from the geese, Malcolm had seen a small Canada Goose at Laphroaig yesterday and a flock of around 40 Golden Plover at Ardtalla, seen on Tuesday and again yesterday... Andrew Kent from SNH sent through the totals of geese counted during the International Goose Count and they came in at 37,487 Barnies, 5,077 Whitefronts and 597 Greylags. Thanks to Andrew and all the team involved.
Today, James had seen a 1st winter glaucous Gull at Blackrock.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Wednesday 17th January

Today, James had ben out helping on the International Goose Count and his patch was the Gruinart stint, with his tally coming through at 12,352 Barnies,974 Whitefronts and 71 Greylags. Other birds seen included a 1st winter Iceland Gull and also 5 GND up at Ardnave. At Gruinart, over the reserve, James saw a Sparrowhawk while at Killinallan, he saw a Golden Eagle. Gary has ben out of sorts with a devilish cold which has proved difficult to shift, but got out for a spot of birding today ... Along Uiskentuie strand he heard Snow Bunting calling and on the merse at Bridgend, a White tailed Eagle was present. Finally Gary saw a Merlin up at Mulreesh

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Tuesday 16th January

Sorry folks, nothing much to report through to you tonight, as I have not received any bird sightings, the weather out here on the mainland has been spectacular in itself with quite a lot of snow falling today. So, it was just as well that we took delivery of some more bird food yesterday, as  I was out in the snow several times topping up the feeders.

Sunday 14 January 2018

Sunday 14th January

By the sound of things, the weather is going to be going downhill for the next few days....Today Distillery Dave had seen a group of 20 Ringed Plover and 8 Turnstone and also some Curlews in the field beside the car park at Machir Bay, up beside the old ruin of the former Kilchoman Church, in the surrounding fields there was a small flock of 12 Fieldfare seen.

Saturday 13 January 2018

Saturday 13th January

By the sound of things, the weather over on Islay today has ben rather miserable, but Distillery Dave braved the elements and from the South hide ( old hide) his top birds seen were 3 Greenshank and a Shoveler was present there as well

Friday 12 January 2018

Friday 12th January

Yesterday afternoon, Distillery Dave had seen a male Hen Harrier perched on the ground as drove round Loch Gorm, close to Saligo bay. By the sounds of Dave's description it was a young bird coming out of moult.
The ferry has been disrupted again because of the weather, at least it made a sailing and the return trip to Kennacraig before the winds picked up... tomorrow is another day!!!!

Thursday 11 January 2018

Thursday 11th January

Yesterday Bob had a Brambling in his garden, his first this time round, as he did not get to see one in the Autumn... Also yesterday, Bob had been out Goose counting with Catherine, up the River Laggan, past Mulindry on the "Glen road" they saw a pair of Goosander while on Tuesday while out on the Loch Gorm run, with Fiona, they had seen an Iceland Gull over at Ballinaby, a different gull to the one that is down at Machir Bay.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Wednesday 10th January

Today on the reserve at Gruinart, James's top birds were as follows, a Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Long tailed Tit, 1525 Golden Plover and 3 Greenshank.

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Tuesday 9th January

There are no birds on the go tonight folks, as our minds and thoughts are elsewhere... This is because of the sad news which I only heard earlier on today, of the sudden death of our close friend Carl Reavey. Carl was a great supporter all things big and small on the island, and also a great person to run ideas past for a different take on an important  matter. He was a great supporter of the blog and  also of our forays down to the Bird fair at Rutland. Although, he did work for Bruichladdich Distillery, down at Rutland, Carl was one of the team selling Islay as a destination for birders to come and visit. Yes, for sure he will be missed by us all, as the saying goes "Gone, but not forgotten." Our thoughts at this sad time are with Jan, his wife and their son, Alastair.

Monday 8 January 2018

Monday 8th January

Back on Saturday, Phill had a walk round Loch Allan where he saw 2 Yellowhammer, a Grey Wagtail, with 2 Buzzards loafing around as usual. He also had an impressive sighting of a flock of around 2,000 Barnies as  they flew past the Paps of Jura.
Yesterday, Mike Peacock, fresh back from his trip to Antarctica etc has been down on Machir Bay, where he saw an Iceland Gull amongst the large flock of Herring Gulls. Along on the rocks, there were 3 Purple Sandpipers present

Sunday 7 January 2018

Sunday 7th January

Sam, Gary's other half had walked back home from Bunnahabhain, though the forestry at Staoisha and then on towards their home. A great walk by all accounts with Sam spotting a flock of Long tailed Tits flitting from bush to bush, a pair of Bullfinch, 2 Buzzards, a Wren, a Robin, a Thrush  and also a lovely Great spotted Woodpecker. Dave Wood had the Waxwing in his garden again today.

Saturday 6 January 2018

Saturday 6th January

A much better day with the weather, it was dry, and has been dry for around 26 hours now, but a bit on the cold side, not easy pleased!!!! The Paps of Jura and the hills on Mull have all got a good covering of snow...
Today has been good for birds here as well. David Wood returned, with a great start to his year seeing a Waxwing seen in the next door neighbours' garden down on the Oa. While he was there Dave saw a Glossy Ibis fly over towards Kinnabus, and at Loch Kinnabus, Dave reported that the Todd's Canada Goose was still present.
Yesterday was Dave and Sian Nevitt's last day of this visit. Down between Blackrock and Carnain, they saw 5 Snow Buntings. With the sea being lot calmer, with good visibility, they had 19 GND, 2 RTD, a Long tailed Duck and 2 Slavonian Grebe out on Loch Indaal. The other day, along at Bruichladdich, they had 6 Purple Sandpiper on the foreshore with a Lesser Redpoll on the feeders at the pier head, with a Tystie and then an Otter spotted out on Loch Indaal. Thanks for your sightings folks and get a catch come August at the Birdfair.

Friday 5 January 2018

Friday 5th January

Here we go again with the normal starting line for 2018, the weather... It may be a shade drier tonight, but late afternoon, I checked the rainfall and there was 3.1 inches in the gauge!!!

Yesterday was David and Janet Franklin's last stay of their short trip to Islay, but they have had a good trip with 84 species recorded....they saw 2 Merlin from the Glen road, with 3 Long tailed Duck (2 male and a female), over 10 Slavonian Grebe on Loch Indaal and a pair of Shoveler present at Gruinart. A fantastic list of birds folks...Gary today had been up at Bunnahabhain where his top birds included 3 different Golden Eagle, a White tailed Eagle, a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Dipper and also a Grey Wagtail.
The weather has not been that gre, but certainly the birds have been top class, what a place to do some birdwatching!!!

Thursday 4 January 2018

Thursday 4th January

Guess what, yes you have at your first attempt, it has been wet again.. I forgot to look outside earlier on, but it could well be up to over 2.5 inches by now!!!
Dave 7 Sian Nevitt, returning birders to Islay and regular visitors to the Islay stand at the Birdfair each year are back over for another fix. Last Saturday, they saw a White tailed Eagle as they approached Tarbet, and then another one, this one was down at Whin Park. They have seen several Golden Eagles as well, up behind Bridgend, Over after Mulindry and 2 seen very close down on the Oa, where they had a small flock of 26 Twite as well yesterday. While over close to Mulindry, 2 Red Grouse were seen, with a Merlin seen in at Finlaggan on last Saturday. Out on Loch Indaal,7 Long tailed Duck, 11 Slavonian Grebe and also 12 GND were seen. Here at home today, the wee birds have been really busy at the feeders, just the usual culprits, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Starling, Jackdaw, Pheasant. Nothing really special, but in numbers!!!

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Wednesday 3rd January

Well, believe it or not, that is almost 2 inches of rain fallen this year with another wet day forecast for tomorrow.. and it is only the 3rd of January.....
Yesterday James had seen a second year Iceland Gull down on the Rhinns. Today at Gruinart, James had a White tailed Eagle, 2 Greenshank, 11 Whooper Swans, a Hen Harrier and also an Otter with her cub... Some highlights through from visiting birders, David and Jane Franklin... Today, they had seen the Iceland Gull down close to Claddach on the Rhinns, as well as another Iceland Gull, this one was up at Blackrock. Along at Whin Park, a Hen Harrier was present, 2 Dabchick seen nearby at the mouth of the River Sorn with 2 Slavonian Grebe seen out on Loch Indaal. Up at Ardnave, they saw 5 GND, 3 Tysties, a Gannet and also a Little Auk flying between Nave Island and Ardnave itself. They also saw a small flock of 20 Twite as they headed back towards their car. Finally, on Ardnave Loch, 10 Tufted Duck, 3 Goldeneye and 10 Mallard were present.

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Tuesday 2nd January

Another dreich, miserable sort of a day outside but it did not deter visitors Janet and David Franklin from doing some birding while over here for a few days. At Gruinart, they saw the Green winged Teal and a Sparrowhawk. Round close to Loch Gorm, another Sparrowhawk was seen as was an imm. Iceland Gull. Down on Loch Indaal, they saw 5 GND and a RTD with a ringtail spotted down on the Oa. We had the usual flypast of the ringtail, as well as the many wee birds making the most of the food on the feeders. Almost forgot, we saw 6 Rock Doves here today out beside the Pheasants and Jackdaws.

Monday 1 January 2018

Monday 1st January

That's another month in, in fact another year in, if the truth be told!! The rain last month here at home came to a mere 5.2inches, exactly the same that Marsali had over at Mulindry, our total for the year came to 51.75 inches whereas Marsali's total came to around over 56 inches, our rainfall tally came was only 5.85 inches more than last year, say no more!!!
Yesterday, James and his family climbed up Beinn Bheigier, Islay's tallest trig point at 491 metres and saw 2 Red Grouse while on their climb. Today, the Sparrowhawk spoofed all the wee birds off the feeders, here at home, and then took a rest on top of the Willows before flying away, still hungry.. James today, had seen a couple of Sparrowhawks over on the reserve at Gruinart as well.