Saturday 31 March 2018

Saturday 31st March

Yesterday was Andy and Martin's last day of their visit. They saw a House Martin over the pool at Carnain. Beside the pool on the left of the road as you head to the airport, after Duich, they saw a possible Marsh Harrier. Out below the airport on Loch Indaal, but really close to the shore they saw a pod of Bottle nosed Dolphins. Up at the Woollen Mill, they had some Long tailed Tits on the feeders and then a total of 3 Grey Wagtails were present on the River there.
Today was Richard's last full day of this visit... Up on the beach at Sanaigmore some Ringed Plover were seen and then coming back from Sanaigmore, a ringtail Hen Harrier was spotted.  Over at Finlaggan, he saw a White tailed Eagle and also a total of 7 Crossbills. At Ballygrant Hall, Richard had 2 Bullfinches and then down close to Avonvoggie, another ringtail Hen Harrier. Up on Ardnave Loch,  he saw a female Goldeneye and on his way back down to Gruinart, a male Hen Harrier. As ever, many thanks to Richard, Andy and Martin for sharing their sightings with us.
Al Hart is back over for the week with his family. This morning, on Loch Indaal, out from the Coal yard, he saw the second year Glaucous Gull. Also present were 2 Sandwich Tern and also 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese with some Skylark. Back down at Bruichladdich, the 4 Purple Sandpiper were still present. Here at home, I had our wee tractor out, making the most of the dry spell of weather, and made a start to working the area of ground where we hope to sow a crop for the birds to feed on in the Autumn. This evening we counted 31 Chough as they flew into the roost..

Friday 30 March 2018

Friday 30th March

Visiting birders, Brendon and Christine arrived on the ferry yesterday... Up at Bunnahabhain , they saw a White tailed Eagle flying South, in at Finlaggan, they saw a RTD out on the loch, and on Loch Indaal they had a Glaucous Gull. It was there again this morning, along at Bruichladdich, 4 Purple Sandpiper and they had good viewings of the Crossbills in at Finlaggan. Richard today had a Merlin on the moorland at Gruinart. Down at Bruichladdich, he had the Purple Sandpipers as well as a Ringed Plover and also a Turnstone. Out off the pier, 2 Tysties, 3 GND and also some Eider were present. Out on the trees beyond The Gearach, a pair of Crossbills, while a short distance out of the plantation, towards Kilchiaran, Richard had  a Redwing with a small flock of 8 Song Thrushes, all on the ground. After that, he saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Finally, down on Claddach Loch, he saw 2 Whooper Swans. After picking some parcels from the local carriers, we too were in at Finlaggan seeing a Slavonian Grebe on the Loch, further out on the water a large number of Barnies resting up and then 2  White tailed Eagles away out over the far hills.. coming back out a male Hen Harrier flew across the road as we approached Mulreesh. Late afternoon, we had a cracking, really colourful Yellowhammer out on the ground below the feeders, but the camera was not to hand...

Thursday 29 March 2018

Thursday 29th March

Today Bob had seen 2 different pairs of Hen Harriers while out round the Rhinns, great to watch. Here at home, we have been watching some of the local Choughs who have been regularly been seen out in the garden probing around in the newly worked ground. Margaret saw a pair of Linnets out on the fence out in the garden today as well. Richard had gone over to Jura for the day. From the ferry as he crossed across the Sound of Islay, he had 2 Tysties and 2 GND as well. He saw a ringtail Hen Harrier just after he left Feolin and then a Golden Eagle was seen just as he approached Craighouse. Further on, he saw another ringtail as he came to Evan's way, the path that leads you over to Glen Batrick and Loch Tarbert. Back on Islay, at Finlaggan, he saw some Crossbills. Finally, Richard had an Iceland Gull and also 2 Glaucous Gulls on the head of Loch Indaal. Back here at home, there are 22 Greylags out on the grass in the garden as I write this entry.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Wednesday 28th March

Can' t take much more of this, another day and another meeting,it is a bit like waiting on a bus, you wait for ages and then 2 come along together... just getting past it!!!
Last Friday, on the 22nd of March, Paul Hathaway heard a Cuckoo calling down in Port Charlotte and then the following day Cathy Woods heard one calling down close to Octofad Farm. Today Peter Roberts had seen 2 Sandwich Terns down at Bruichladdich. Richard Belter saw 2 Ruff out from the South hide at Gruinart, a quick visit at Ardnave produced 2 Goldeneye along with several Chough. At Sanaigmore Bay RTD and also GND were present while down at Machir Bay, he had seen 8 Tysties. Andy and Martin along with their wives had been in for a natter today and while they were here, there were 3 Greenfinch, 2 Siskin out on the feeders, and then who was on the garden wall for a brief showing, a Wheatear. The Fulmars were wheeling about along the front of the crag showing us how they make flying look easy... Coming home this evening we spotted a Barn Owl I the headlights as we approached Springbank.  

Yesterday evening, we had our monthly meting of the Islay bird nerds, with 21 folk coming along. It proved quite a long but interesting meeting, the main thrust being about the Barnacle Goose cull that has been taking place here on Islay over the past few years. Dave Wood also spoke of the forthcoming surveys taking place this summer, so hopefully most of our resident band of "happy helpers" will be getting some more info from Dave of what is all involved.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Tuesday 27th March

This morning out on the feeders, Margaret saw 3 Greenfinch, 30 Goldfinch with numerous Chaffinch and a short time after a male Reed Bunting was there as well. James reported through a sighting of a Pectoral Sandpiper seen out from the South Hide at Gruinart.
Philip and Helen Mugridge had been over last week. On Sunday 18th, they saw a White tailed Eagle close to the South hide at Gruinart. The next day, they had a Greenshank on Ardnave Loch, and top birds round Ardnave included a Snow Bunting, 2 Wheatear, 30 Sanderling, 7 Barwits and also 4 Purple Sandpiper. On Friday, over on Jura they saw a Merlin, a pair of displaying Hen Harriers and a Mistle Thrush. Back here on Islay they had 11 Pale bellied Brents on Loch Indaal.

Monday 26 March 2018

Monday 26th March

Back on Saturday, Peter had been over on Jura along with some visiting friends. They witnessed a "good showing of Hen Harriers" with 2 different males displaying to a total of 3 females.. They also saw 4 Canada Geese,  just out of Craighouse. Up past Lealt, at the end of the public road on Jura, a Yellowhammer was spotted. Back on Islay, they had a count of 18 Tysties at Port Askaig. Yesterday they walked round Ardnave Point with impressive numbers of Lapwing and Skylark displaying and calling away. They also had 2 Wheatear and a total of 8 Snipe. Back at Bruichladdich, they saw 2 Razorbill at the pier.
Visitor Richard had seen an Iceland Gull on Machir Bay this morning, and commented on seeing several Chough there as well. Down on the Oa, Richard had a mixed flock of Linnet and Twite. He also had Raven, a few Chough and also Fulmars. Down at Kilnaughton Bay, 2 Rock Pipits were seen with some Eider and a GND present out on the water. Over at the "Singing Sands" he saw a Stonechat. Over past Ardbeg, on Claggain Bay, he had a RTD and  2 GND. Other visitors, Andy and Graham along with their wives had seen 2 Yellowhammers and also a small mixed flock of Linnet and Twite close to their cottage at Kilchoman.
Tomorrow night, at  the Islay bird nerds will be meeting at 7pm in the Gaelic College for our monthly catch up, so if you are over on Islay at present, you will be made most wlcome. There will be a small charge to help pay for the rom hire, so hopefully see some new/ old faces along...

Sunday 25 March 2018

Sunday 25th March

A tremendous day with the weather, and really not that bad a day for some birding either.. Over at the Woollen Mill, we saw a Dipper on the water with Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit and Chaffinch seen on the feeders there. Along the road towards Keills, while having a catch up with some friends, a quick look at their feeders produced 6 Yellowhammer, 2 Reed Bunting, a female Bullfinch, Great Tit, Robin and Chaffinch. Back at home, we had 3 Greenfinch out on the feeders, and a pair of Fulmars cackling away over on the crag. Down on ground level, 7 Hares were playing around. I saw 25 Whoopers flying in from the South this morning, they landed down on the water o LochGorm to rest up before flying North again mid afternoon. Yesterday, Distillery Dave had a Yellowhammer down on some gorse bushes on the track leading to Laggan. He also saw a Barn Owl perched onto of a fence post alongside Loch Gorm. Along at Foreland, a Woodcock was seen. Lesley Silcock has now got 2 pairs of Siskin along with Goldfinches on her Niger feeders over at Kilnaugton Bay. Andy Mortimer and Martin Gooch, returning birders from last year Spring had seen a Merlin along at Rockside...Richard Belter also came back for another Islay fix. On the ferry coming over Richard saw RTD, GND, R b Merganser, Guillemot, Tystie, Razorbill, Eider and Shag. In at Finlaggan, he had a large flock of Barnies with a few Crossbills present at the big house at Finlaggan. Finally, Richard had 2  Slavonian Grebes out from Blackrock. Distillery Dave this evening saw a Glaucous Gull on the ploughing at Sunderland.

Saturday 24 March 2018

Saturday 24th March

Earlier on this week on Thursday, visitors Dave and Jean Killick had seen a Glaucous Gull down at Machir Bay. Yesterday, Mike Peacock saw an Iceland Gull on a dead Seal, also on Machir Bay....  Yesterday, also was the Horwich birders last full day for this stay... From the South hide (old hide) they saw an excellent mix of waders and ducks.. Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon and Mallard were noted along with a Snipe, a flock of around 200 Golden Plover, 4 Greenshank, Redshank, Lapwing, Mute Swan and Whooper Swan. A female Hen Harrier was seen out quartering her patch. A hen Merlin then shot past. On the path leading through the woods, they saw Treecreeper, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and also Coal Tit. Up, out in front of the new hide a drake Gadwall was present.. Over at Bun an Uillt, they saw a male and also a female Hen Harrier. Out on Loch Gruinart, 3 GNDs were seen on the water. Many thanks to our visitors and their sightings...

This afternoon, we saw a male Hen Harrier, at close range, as it flew across the road down at Foreland.

Friday 23 March 2018

Friday 23rd March

After a damp start, the weather picked up and what a beautiful sunset to end the day with. Morven kindly sent through the figures for the International goose count carried out here on Islay on Tuesday and Wednesday. The tally came to 34,750 Barnies, 4,422 Whitefronts and 483 Greylags. Many thanks to Morven and the team from SNH for these figures.
I also recently a couple of e mails through from visiting birders who have been over on Islay recently.. Derek Stanyard along with his colleagues have been coming over to Islay for a short 5 day visit normally in February/ March since 2010. This year they had seen 86 species , a few down on previous years but the weather kept them in for one of their days. By the sound of things, it was Derek et al who had seen the Sandwich Tern down on Machir Bay last week.... The other person who sent through an e mail was Philip Cohen from Dundee. Philip was over last weekend from the 16th to 19th March and saw a total of 78 species with another 3 heard but not seen. A great list for only one set of eyes to see in such a short spell, and especially as it was Philip's first visit to Islay, hopefully not your last!!!... So many thanks for your birds to you both, as ever, much appreciated.
The Horwich birders had seen a Black tailed Godwit out from the South hide today.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Thursday 22nd March

Yesterday and this afternoon, the weather out here has not been that great, especially if you are visiting to do some birdwatching...The Horwich birders had braved the elements with a wettish trip over to Ardtalla and Ardbeg before getting a good soaking... They counted 16 Ringed Plover and 7 Canada Geese feeding in a field at Ardtalla. Further along the coast, they had seen a pair of Mute Swan and shortly afterwards, a juvenile White tailed Eagle while along on the water at Claggain Bay a GND was seen. Back at Kilnaughton Bay, 4 Eider were present with a single Buzzard over the trees there. James has counted 37 Whoopers up at Ardnave yesterday. Peter, yesterday, had a 2cy Iceland Gull down on Machir Bay, along with 32 Chough. Over at Ballinaby, Peter counted a flock of 250 Golden Plover and later on he had seen 6 Purple Sandpiper at Bruichladdich. This morning before the rain set in Gary had done his WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. His count was 9 GND, 1 RTD, 31 R B Merganser, 6 Cormorants, 43 Shag, 1 Tystie, 1 Razorbill, 76 Eider, 10 Common Scoter, 17 Mallard, 35 Teal, 46 Wigeon, 1 Tufted Duck, 3 Mute Swan, 83 Oystercatcher, 3 Curlew, 4 Redshank, 70 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 48 Lapwing, 1 Grey Plover,  16 Snipe,19 Gbb Gull, 154 H Gull, 18 B h Gull, 1 Glaucous Gull, 1 Iceland Gull, 83 Whitefronts, 9 Pb Brent and 931 Barnies. Here at base camp, there have been a couple of Fulmars floating along the front of the crag, seen often over the past couple of days. The 2 Greenfinches were seen again this morning as well.
Before I forget, the next indoor meeting of the "Islay Bird nerds" will be held on Tuesday 27th March at 7pm in the Gaelic College, Bowmore. There will be a small charge to help pay for the room hire, just come along with your hard earned money....

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Wednesday 21st March

Back on Monday, Bob and myself carried out the WeBS count from Port Charlotte back to Blackrock. The birds seen and counted were as follows 7 GND, 1 RTD, 7 Shag, 16 Cormorant, 25 Barnies, a single Greylag, 14 R b Merganser, 48 Eider, 2 Shelduck, 4 Mallard, 24 Oystercatcher, 18 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew,7 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 1 Purple Sandpiper1 Snipe, 2 Tystie, 2 Gbb Gull, 4 Lbb Gull, 32 H Gull, 59 C Gull, an Iceland Gull. We also noted a Pied Wagtail, 5 Redwing, a male Stonechat and a Song Thrush , while on a field at Coultorsay with 92 Greylags were  resting up. Yesterday the Horwich birders top sightings included a pair of Crossbills at Finlaggan, a Hen Harrier seen at Ardnahoe,  a Grey Wagtail were present at the mouth of the Margadale River at Bunnahabhain with a pair of Mute Swan and a Tystie out on the Sound of Islay. On Loch Skerrols, they saw 6 Tufted Duck. Also yesterday, James had been out of the office and had some birds for us... A Wheatear was seen up at Ardnave with some Gannets also seen there offshore, on reserve at Gruinart, 14 Whoopers were present. Along at Erasaid, James counted 57 Ravens while down on the Uiskentuie strand, 2 large Canada Geese were seen.
Just the back of 6am today, there were 45 Greylags out on the Machir just over the garden wall from our house. There were a pair of Greenfinches on the feeders, a bird that is not that common nowadays here on Islay.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Tuesday 20th March

The Horwich Birders yesterday had seen a male Wheatear up at Traigh Nostaig. On their way up to Ardnave, they saw 4 Reed Buntings and a male Stonechat. On Ardnave Loch, 3 Goldeneye, 6  Tufted Duck, a Mute Swan and 2 Whoopers were present. Off Nave Island, they saw 6 GND, 20 Wigeon with 2 Gannets fishing. On Loch Gruinart, there was a pair of Merganser. Between Ardnave Point and Traigh Nostaig, they had a Sanderling, 12 Barwits, 6 Ringed Plover and 12 Chough. Finally down at Machir Bay, they had 56 Ringed Plover, 30 Chough and 2 Buzzard with a female Merlin flying past as they returned up past the Coastguards. They also had seen an adult Golden Eagle and then later on a juv Golden Eagle being mobbed by 2 Buzzards. They also commented on seeing many Lapwings displaying while out on their walk round Ardnave.
Today, Phill had seen the following birds down on the Oa, 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Chough, 2 Whooper Swan, 1 Woodcock, 2 Curlew, 5 Snipe and 8 Lapwing. Gary, today had seen a female Hen Harrier fly past as he drove up to Bunnahabhain. He had 2 White tailed Eagles displaying over the Sound of Islay. Back down round and at Finlaggan, he saw a Sparrowhawk displaying, a juvenile White tailed Eagle harassing some Hooded Crows and also the geese that were present. Gary also counted 17  Crossbills there as well.

Monday 19 March 2018

Monday 19th March

Yesterday, Gary had seen 2 White tailed Eagles up at Bunnahabhain and a Peregrine flying across the Sound of Islay to Jura. Down at Persabus, he saw 3 Bullfinches in the hedge at the roadside. The Horwich birders are back after a few years absence, good to see you back on Islay again. Yesterday, they had been in Bridgend woods noting a Dipper on the Rive Sorn, a Grey Wagtail at The Woollen Mill. Also present on the feeders there,  were large numbers of Chaffinches, Blue Tit and Great Tit along with some Robins and Blackbirds. They also had seen 30 very vocal Redwing in the tree tops. On the new weir which feeds the water for the new small hydro scheme at Ballygrant, they saw another Grey Wagtail.. finally, they saw 160 Golden Plover over at Ballinaby. Also present were a few Lapwing and some Common Gulls.
Today, round at Kilchiaran, Lesley Silcock had seen a total of 4 Wheatears. Down on the Oa, Phill had seen 5 Whooper Swan, a Curlew, 3 Lapwing, 127 Whitefronts, 6 Chough, 2 Buzzard, a Kestrel, a White tailed Eagle and a Snipe. Not the warmest of days again, at least it remained dry, some of the farmers have been out with their ploughs. I took our wee tractor out too, and rotovated the ground where we sow some crops for the birds. I will rotovate the ground again every 10 days or so in an attempt to try to kill off the "couch grass", before sowing it in late April / early May weather permitting.

Sunday 18 March 2018

Sunday 18th March

A bit of a late entry tonight folks, but better late than never. No, my brain has not frozen yet, certainly not Spring weather out here yet, but managed along with good friend Distillery Dave to put up some more nest boxes, so we both will wait in anticipation..
Yesterday Dave and Jean Killick had walked through from Ballygrant to Port Askaig ... Ballygrant Loch held a Kingfisher, 25 Tufted Duck and a Dabchick. On Loch nan Cadhan, there was a drake Goldeneye along with 2 females. Further on, around the Lily Loch, 5 Herons were present. In the fields they had seen several small flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare,  and also a pair of Stonechats. Coming over the "glen road" towards Mulindry, they saw a male Hen Harrier. This morning, Mary Redman had seen her first Wheatear of the year down at Claddach at Portnahaven. She also had a small group of 8 Golden Plovers there as well. Mary also commented on seeing "Gulls being on territory, a sure sign  that Spring is here" not quite agreeing with you on that comment, Mary!!! Last Tuesday, Mary had seen a juv. White tailed Eagle being harassed by several gulls out over the bay.
Today, here at home, there were 29 Greylags and a Barnacle Goose out on the grass around 8 am. Late afternoon, James and Margaret saw a Kestrel flying along the front of the crag, the first seen for a long time.

Saturday 17 March 2018

Saturday 17th March

An even colder day out here today, had to look out a vest to wear to keep me warm, what a big "sap" I must be turning into..
Yesterday, Mandy reported through to say that over on the feeders at her home at Carnduncan, she had a Blue Tit  plus her garden ticks of Dunnock, Wren, Blackbirds, Robin, Chaffinch and Song Thrush plus the regular pair of Great Tits. Today, Mandy had seen a Redwing in her garden, keep it up Mandy!!! Yesterday, Dave and Jean Killock had walked from along the River Sorn from Bridgend up to The Woollen Mill. On the River, they saw a Dipper and also a Grey Wagtail. Other birds of note seen were 5 Siskins and 2 Treecreepers. Over at Eollabus they had 2 Red legged Partridges and a Redwing. Coming back up to our cottage at the dusk this evening, I saw the Hares out again.

Friday 16 March 2018

Friday 16th March

Another cool day out here again, with the wind upping its' strength, Calmac have already stated that there may be some disruption with the ferry tomorrow... 
Jim Dickson was in touch  to say that there was a "reported" sighting of a Sandwich Tern down at Machir Bay today.  Here at home, the wee birds have been busy at the feeders for most of the day, and we had a Siskin today again. Out on the grass, we had 7 Greylags present in the morning, but by mid afternoon the flock was up to 11 geese, but no collars/ leg rings on...Forgot to mention last night that we saw the Iceland Gull at Ballinaby and on our way home, a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen below  Leek.

Thursday 15 March 2018

Thursday 15th March

Another day when the weather was decidedly cool..
Yesterday Louise had seen a Dipper on the River Sorn in Bridgend Woods. Later on, she saw a Common Sandpiper,  North of Loch Gorm. This morning, Phill had a count of 37 Whooper Swans on Loch Dubh which is on the Duich Moss on the "Low road" between Bowmore and Port Ellen. James had seen Woodcock on the reserve at Gruinart. Here at home this afternoon, we had 20 Greylags down beside the pond, and just before 5 pm, 3 of them browsing around up on the grass around the house..

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Wednesday 14th March

Been a bit on the cool side to call it a "Spring day", and to  cap it all the ferry came and went first thing this morning and decided to call it a day from 1300 hours, so tomorrow the boat will be busy playing catch up, if it comes...
So some catch up and also some sightings from today, so here we go. Back on Sunday evening when we arrived home 3 Hares were outside on the grass, as we drove up towards the cottage, another 4 ran in beside the game crop with a different 3 on the garden grass. I heard this morning that there was a reported sighting of a Wheatear up at Ardnave Point on Monday, if I get any more info regarding who saw it, I will keep you posted. Returning birders, Dave and Jean Killick, yesterday had seen a good number of Common Scoter, over 70 Eider, 10 GND, 2 RTD, at least 10 Slav Grebes and a drake Long tailed Duck out on Loch Indaal. At Finlaggan, they saw an Iceland Gull, 2 Dabchick and a Peregrine. In the afternoon, they walked up from Bunnahabhain in towards Loch Staoisha spotting a distant adult White tailed Eagle, an adult and also an immature  Golden Eagle plus a pair of Hen Harriers. On the trees they saw 2 Crossbills and another 5 mobile birds around as well. They also had a mixed flock of around 40 birds, mainly Chaffinches, but there was a Brambling, 6 Siskins and some  Lesser Redpolls along with them too. At breakfast time, this morning I counted 32 Rock Doves out on the grass, yes, they getting larger in number and possibly size by coming in around the feeders!!!

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Tuesday 13th March

It might have been sunny, but the temperature was not that hot, in fact there has been a cool edge to the wind this afternoon, having said that I did some tidying up work outside this morning and then late afternoon, I got the paint brush out and put some preservative on the nest boxes which we received through from good friend Wally last week, so all gong well, if the weather is kind, we should get them up this weekend.
Peter Roberts had seen 4 pale bellied Brent Geese and counted 26 GND out on Loch Indaal from his lounge window in Bruichladdich. Today, James had counted 11,660 Barnies, 169 Whitefronts and 2 Greylags on the reserve at Gruinart. He also saw an Iceland Gull down at Bruichladdich.

Mondaty 12th March

Gary had seen an immature Golden Eagle fly across the Sound of Islay from Bunnahabhain across to Jura, and later on he had a female Hen Harrier fly from Jura across to Islay... He also saw a distant Golden Eagle over the North end of Islay! Down at Finlaggan, Gary had 9 Crossbill in the trees there, with a Glaucous Gull and an Iceland Gull present amongst other Gulls seen there. Along on the short grass beside Finlaggan House, 2 Chough were present. Finally, Gary had a Yellowhammer back at his house.  Here at home, we had 4 Siskin on the feeders amongst the 20 plus clamouring Goldfinches. We also saw a Golden Eagle flying high over the hill behind Sunderland Farm and late afternoon a couple of Lesser bb Gulls flew along the crag. Just before lunchtime I spotted a Fulmar flying along the front of the crag and head on, out towards the sea.

Monday 12 March 2018

Sunday 11th March

Gary, today had seen 4 Snow Bunting down at Carnain, and he also spotted a White tailed Eagle out on the merse below Bridgend. Back at home, he had 10 Siskins on his feeders with a mewing Buzzard flying overhead. While waiting on the evening ferry to return to Islay, I saw a Redshank and also a Greenshank beside the causeway at Kennacraig. There was also a beautiful drake Teal resplendent in glorious plumage in the failing light. There were also 6 Tysties in at pier head as well.

Saturday 10 March 2018

Saturday 10th March

Quite a few sightings from yesterday which came through after I had done the entry last night...
Fiona MacGillivray had ben down on the Machitr Bay where she saw an injured goose being chased by a Glaucous Gull, then an adult White tailed Eagle joined in the fray, chasing the goose out to sea. The goose drooped down into the water, the W t Eagle cicled, and gave up and flew back towards Coull where it was joined by a second W t Eagle and also a Golden Eagle.
Yesterday was Kathy Evans last full day of her present visit. While having  her breakfast, a Peregrine flew past her window in Bowmore, out on Loch Indaal. Along at the council refuse tip at Gartbreck, Kathy had 2 juv Iceland Gull and her first Lbb Gull for 2018. Down on the Oa, top bird was another Peregrine close to Cragabus. Finaly down at Kintra, Kathy had  a group of  Greylags, 7 of  which had neck collars on them.
Yesterday was also William Earp's last full day as well before heading home. At Bun an Uisg, Bowmore he saw 7 P b Brent Geese with another 4 seen at  Gortan. Along the top of of Loch Indaal, towards Uiskentuie, William saw a BTD and also 3 Slavonian Grebe. Many thanks to William and to Kathy for sharing some of their sightings with us.
James yesterday said that it was a "lovely sunny day, almost Spring like"...  He had a count of  255 Dunlin on the flats, and was saying that the Lapwing present were displaying.

Friday 9 March 2018

Friday 9th March

An early entry tonight as I am going out shortly..
Mainly,  some sightings through from yesterday. William Earp's top birds were as follows: Off Bowmore he had 7 P B Brent Geese, Ardnahoe Loch held 8 Whoopers including 4 juveniles. Up at Bunnahabhain, a Grey Wagtail was seen while out in the Bay, north of the distillery, an Otter was present. Down at Finlaggan, he had a juv Iceland Gull. Over at Gruinart, he counted 207 Golden Plover along the flats, some of which were starting to wear their summer plumage. From the hide at Gruinart, 2 Greenshank were seen, up at Ardnave, he had a flock of around 30 Chough and finally at the dusk, he had some Woodcock, at Gruinart. Kathy had a male Hen Harrier south of Dunlossit, a pale leucistic Barnacle Goose amongst a large flock of geese North of Cluanach. Down close to Kildalton Cross, she had 3 Yellowhammers and finally along at Claggain Bay, a Long tailed Tit. Peter Roberts had a Razorbill beside the pier at Bruichladdich. This afternoon,  Mandy was in touch to say that she had seen 4 Whitefronts with neck collars fitted in a small flock of around 20 or so geese below Carnduncan.

Thursday 8 March 2018

Thursday 8th March

On his way home yesterday afternoon, Distilery Dave had seen 2 drake Goldeneye off the mouth of the "Grey River" at Uikentuie. Also yesterday, William Earp had seen a Merlin at Saligo Bay. Along towards Sunderland, William had seen the leucistic Common Gull.
Today, George E.  Jackson and his wife Pat had spent some time up at Ardnave  seeing 6 Mute Swan on Ardnave Loch itself. Up at the mouth of Loch Gruinart, they saw a RTD, a GND, a Red breasted Merganser and also a Tystie. On the shore, the usual birds were present, some Ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatchers and a single Turnstone, 4 Rock Pipit were present as well with 2 Curlews noted up in the dunes.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Wednesday 7th March

Some more sightings through from some visiting birders... Yesterday, later on once he was out and about, William Earp had seen an Iceland Gull down towards the refuse site at Gartbreck, and he also had a male Hen Harrier in the same area as well.. At the bottom end of the "high road", he saw a Merlin. Down in the bay at Port Ellen, towards the harbour, he saw 4 RTD and a GND. Over on the Oa, he saw a small flock of 30 Twite sitting on the fence wires close to Upper Killeyan. Coming back out from the Oa, he saw a pair of Golden Eagles mating.  Kathy, today had a great start for her day this morning, spotting 3 female Scaup through her scope set up in her bedroom. shortly after that she had an Iceland Gull flying past. Along at The Woollen Mill, she saw a Dipper on the River Sorn with a female siskin seen on the feeders there.  An Otter was present at Bunnahabhain. Back down at the mouth of the Grey River at Uiskentuie, Kathy had another Iceland Gull. At Bruichladdich, she saw 4 Purple Sandpiper.  Down on the Rhinns itself she saw a pair of Golden Eagle. Gary today had a pair of Chough at Mulreesh and later on a Golden Eagle out from Lagavullin. Pat Jackson saw a Glaucous Gull down on Machir Bay this morning.

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Tuesday 6th March

A bit of a late day, but been rather a busy day today. Been a busy day from the birding point of view as well, so off we go..
Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen a Golden Eagle at Sunderland Farm on his way to work. Also yesterday, David Wood watched a juv White tailed Eagle trying to unsuccessfully catch and drown a Merganser close to the shore at Kilnaughton Bay. Yesterday also, in the afternoon, visiting birder William Earp had a Golden Eagle as the ferry approached Port Askaig. This morning William saw a an Iceland Gull perched on top of the school roof in Bowmore. On the feeders in the garden of where he is staying , a female Siskin was present. Another visiting birder, Kathy had seen 5 Snow Bunting along at Carnain. Over at Gruinart, she saw 2 Ruff in a large mixed flock of Starlings, Golden Plovers and Lapwing as she was driving along the flats, after the turnoff up to Craigens.. She had also seen a juv White tailed Eagle trying to unsuccessfully nobble a goose down over the merse at Whin Park

Monday 5 March 2018

Monday 5th March

Back on Saturday, Phill had a couple of Crossbills in at Finlaggan. Later on the same day, he saw  2 Bullfinches, a Treecreeper, a Snipe, a Song Thrush and also a lovely flock of Long tailed Tits at Dunlossit. Here at the bolt hole, we had a pair of Siskins on the feeders, the first I have seen since last Autumn...a great sighting !!!

Sunday 4 March 2018

Sunday 4th March

Yesterday, George E. Jackson had commented on the amount of fresh goose droppings that he had seen down on the Machir Bay, presumably barnacle goose dropping after roosting on the bay after the full moon that we have had this week. Beside the pool at the carpark there, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Golden Plover, (1 complete with black under belly) and also 4 "alba" White Wagtails were seen. On the dunes, there were 3 Lapwing along with 20 Oystercatcher and then a group of 40/50 boisterous Chough. Finally, he managed to flush a Jack Snipe out of the marram grass. In the afternoon returning up from Port Ellen along the high road, he saw 4 Redwing and also 3 Fieldfare. Finally back at Rockside, George had a distant Golden Eagle out over the distillery. Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen a Snipe and 2 Woodcock down at Cornabus Plantation. Today, down on the "duck pond" behind Machir bay, Dave saw 6 Whooper Swan and counted 36 Chough poking and probing in the Machir itself. Gary and Sam had seen 2 Crossbills in the trees at Staoisha and when returning home, a Golden Eagle flew over Heather house beside Caol Ila.

Saturday 3 March 2018

Saturday 3rd March

Sorry folks, but I have no Islay reports through tonight.. but down here  in residence in our wee bolt  hole, I have been kept out of mischief as I have been busy clearing the snow away. It has been quite bad, and luckily there has not been much wind otherwise we could have had problems with snow drifts.. Having said that, the snow that I have been shifting was at least 16 inches of level snow, quite tiring work when all I had was an "Armstrong loader" and a shovel. On the Bird front in at the feeders, we have had 2 Yellowhamers,  5 Brambling, around a dozen Long tailed Tits, several Coal Tits, several Dunnocks, 3 Bullfinch, as well as other species, including a pair of Tree Sparrows. No sign so far of the Greater spotted Woodpecker that we had seen in previous visits. There were 16 Woodpigeon scoffing the food outside this afternoon, and this morning Margaret saw a Magpie out in the garden!

Friday 2 March 2018

Friday 2nd March

Back on Tuesday, George E. Jackson had seen a male Pheasant nosing about in the sea weed down at the water's edge along past Ardbeg. He also said there were some Oystercatchers in the same location too. Yesterday, Phill had 12 Ringed Plover down in the bay at Port Ellen. He also saw 12 Oystercatcher and 2 Common Gulls there as well. Distillery Dave saw a Merlin zip across the road in front of him on his way home from Kilchoman.  Today, Gary had a count of 11 Snipe and also 7 Snow Bunting down at Carnain. Gary on his way home had a male Hen Harrier  fly across the road at Keppols just out of Ballygrant. George E Jackson had a count of 24 Whitefronts out towards the War Graves cemetery at Kilchoman with 15 Chaffinch and 8 Goldfinch in at the feeders ..Pat and Angie had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier down towards Gartbreck

Thursday 1 March 2018

Thursday 1st March

The other day Phill had seen the Todd's Canada Goose down at Kinnabus, and then later on he saw a Lesser Black backed Gull. James had a count of geese on the reserve at Gruinart, with his tally coming to 4230 Barnies and 241 Whitefronts. He also had a Golden Eagle while he was out. Today, Phill had seen a couple of Golden Eagles  at Upper Cragabus, and along at the carpark on the Oa reserve, he saw 6 Golden Plover and also 3 Chough. Out at the American monument, he had a single Snow Bunting while on the cliffs there was a "lost" looking Lapwing. Up behind Bridgend, Pat and Angie had seen a 1st winter Golden Eagle while at Bunnahabhain, they saw an Otter.