Monday 30 April 2018

monday 30th April

On Saturday while over on Jura, Pauline Greenhalgh had watched an Osprey fishing on the top end of Loch Tarbert where it successfully had taken a large fish out of the sea loch...also watching were a group of gulls!!!
Yesterday,Mandy had seen 5 Canada Geese along in the fields close to  Saligo. Back at Carnduncan, Mandy has ben hearing a Cuckoo calling, a Starling has started nesting with some Swallows already prospecting for nest sites.. James, yesterday had seen 2 Arctic Terns between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte. Also seen were 4 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and a GND. Today on the reserve at Gruinart, James had seen a Whitethroat and also a Whinchat

Sunday 29 April 2018

Sunday 28th April

Gary had been out for a walk down to the Lily Loch. His sightings included 2 Great spotted Woodpeckers, a Tree Pipit, a male and also a female Hen Harrier, a Whitethroat and also a Blackcap. Also some sightings from James Butcher,  a long term "vol" with the RSPB on Islay who will be with us over the summer. Today, James had seen 29 Whimbrel down at Claddach, 2 Cuckoos heard calling at Kelsay, a Grasshopper Warbler heard reeling away out of Portnahaven. Back on the reserve at Gruinart, he had a Ruff and also a count of 15 White Wagtails. Also today Distillery Dave had heard his first Cuckoo of the year this morning, up at behind Rockside...

Saturday 28 April 2018

Saturday 28th April

Around midday, Malcolm had seen 12 Whimbrel on the shoreline below the former school at Gortan, beside the coal yard on Loch Indaal. The other evening, Distillery Dave took a walk down to Machir Bay from Rockside and had seen at least 8 different Wheatears, 5 seen before he got along to the Coastguards and the others seen between the Coastguards and Machir Bay itself.

Friday 27 April 2018

Friday 27th April

Today, was the last full day of Tim and Emily Holliday's present visit. This morning, up behind their cottage they had seen 2 male Hen Harriers and at the same time but much higher up on a thermal, a Golden Eagle was spotted. As they walked along to Ardbeg Distillery for their lunch, they heard a Cuckoo calling, and saw a total of 5 Blackcaps, with a Whitethroat heard calling as they approached Ardbeg itself. On the sea lochs as they walked along, 2 Common Sandpiper were seen, as was an Arctic Tern, a GND with some Golden Plover also present. As ever, many thanks for sharing your sightings with us folks....

Thursday 26 April 2018

Thursday 26th April

Some more sightings for you, all from yesterday apart from Tim and Emily's record of hearing a Gropper calling away on Sunday out towards Ardtalla. Yesterday, they had a male Blackcap and also a pair of Treecreepers in the wood beside their cottage. Mike Peacock yesterday had heard 2 Blackcaps calling in the trees round Loch Skerrols and also a Cuckoo. He saw 2 male Bullfinch and a pair of Bullfinch and a Treecreeper there as well. On Loch Skerrols itself, 3 Tufted Duck and over 20 Shelduck were on the water. Gary had seen 11 Sanderling, a Merlin, 3 Whimbrel and also 22 Little Terns on the Big Strand. He had also seen 5 Tree Sparrows at Caol Ila

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Wednesday 25th April

Some sightings through from James from the bird nerds meeting last night...Osprey seen at Loch Gorm. Chiffchaff heard at Foreland and also a Whitethroat, Glaucous Gull at Machir Bay, 2 Grasshopper Warblers heard at Foreland House, 4 Cuckoos heard at Foreland, an Adder seen at Foreland. At Bruichladdich, both Arctic and Sandwich Tern were present. A visitor had a reported sighting of a Ring Ouzel at Port Wemyss. Finally at the meeting in the hide at Gruinart, plenty of Sand Martins were seen out hawking out in front of the hide at Gruinart.
Pia had heard a drumming Greater spotted Woodpecker at Loch Skerolls this morning

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Tuesday 24th April

Back on Sunday, Marsali Thomson had heard a Cuckoo calling, over at Ballygrant. On Sunday evening Tim and Emily had a seen a male and a female Hen Harrier out on the wing up behind their cottage. Yesterday they saw 2 Common Sandpipers on the edge of Loch an t Salein and then another at Loch a Chnuic over at Gruinart they had seen House Martins, Sand Martins and also Swallows. Down at Bruichladdich, the Purple Sandpipers were still present.

Monday 23 April 2018

Monday 23rd April

Yesterday visitors, Andrew and Anne Johnson had seen 7 Purple Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, 2 GND and a Sandwich Tern while down at Bruichladdich, Today, they had 5 Chough, 6  Wheatear, 10 Golden Plover, 2 GND and a Peregrine while walking up at Ardnave. Down at Machir Bay, they saw 20 Chough and also 8 Ringed Plover.
This morning, Mark heard a Sedge Warbler and a short time afterwards James heard a Grasshopper Warbler on the reserve at Gruinart. He had also heard a Whimbrel calling out on the estuary. Also today, Dave Wood had a Lesser Whitethroat at Upper Killeyan on the Oa

Sunday 22 April 2018

Sunday 22nd of April

Today, Peter had seen an Arctic Tern off Bruichladdich Pier. Visitors, Tim & Em had heard a Whitethroat singing up  behind the cottage where they are staying, Another returning visitor, Pauline Greenhalgh, had seen a flock of Golden Plovers on a ploughed field close to Loch Gorm.

So if you around on Tuesday evening, feel free to come along to the Bird nerds meeting at the old hide at Gruinart at 6.30pm...All welcome!!!

Saturday 21st April

Another wee cracker of a day with the weather, but for how long, well that could be a different matter

Peter had seen a pair of Little Terns at the top of Loch Indaal, round towards Bridgend.. Pia had heard her first Cuckoo calling at  Foreland on Thursday. Tim and Em Halliday are back over for another Islay fix...and saw  a pair of House Martin in the air at Ardbeg and also heard a Cuckoo calling away  up behind the cottage where they are staying in, Fairy cottage out towards Ardtalla.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Friday 20th April

While I remember, our monthly meeting of the bird nerds will be on Tuesday evening at the South (OLD) hide at Gruinart at 6.30pm, so if you are around, James will be there to meet and greet..

Spring has arrived, James this morning e mailed through to "confirm" this... a flood of Willow Warblers all singing away, a Chiffchaff as well, 2 House Martins, 8 Blackwit all seen / heard at Gruinart. James also saw 10 Whoopers flying North...
Lesley had some Sandwich Terns and also 2 Common Sandpipers, down at Kilnaughton Bay, with Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler heard calling in the Cairnmor Woods behind the bay. Lesley also heard a Cuckoo calling, and said that the Skylarks are in full song with the better weather now.
Forgot to mention that Gary had heard a Cuckoo while doing his WeBs count yesterday, out over the moor beside Gartbreck.
James , late afternoon had been out on reserve and counted 2,640 Barnies still present, 27 Blackwit, 440 Dunlin with a Peregrine out over the flats.

Thursday 19 April 2018

Thursday 19th April

Gary sent through a list of birds seen this morning while carrying out his WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck....22 GND, 17 R B Merganser, 2 Cormorant, 23 Shag, 1 Common Guillemot, 6 Tysties, 99 Eider, 48 Common Scoter, 28 Mallard, 16 Wigeon, 15 Oystercatcher, 21 Curlew, 10 Redshank,  130 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 93 Lapwing, 29 Common Snipe, 61 Golden Plover, 17 Whimbrel, 1 Osprey, 36 Shelduck, 1 Common Sandpiper, 60 Barnies, 12 Sandwich Tern, a Razorbill, 10 GBB Gull, 10 LBB Gull, 125 H Gull and 76 Common Gull. Other birds seen on shore was a small flock of 11 Twite, 7 Linnet singing on territory, 3 Yellowhammer singing, loads of Pied Wagtail, 6 White Wagtail, and 2 Sedge Warbler heard on the Moss Road.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Wednesday 18th April

Some sightings through from Kendall and Kendall Clark who are visiting Islay for a few days from the States. Along the High road they had seen some Lapwings showing off their acrobatic skills...They also had seen some Whitefronts while driving along the High road as well. Down off the pier at Bowmore, GNDs were seen, with Little Terns seen feeding along the shore towards Lagavullin. Before they arrived on Islay, they had Eider and Tufted Duck present at Kennacraig.

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Tuesday 17th April

Rather blustery, all over the country today, with a fair bit of rain thrown in for good measure...

Today, Mandy had heard a Willow Warbler at Carnduncan. Gary saw a Common Sandpiper up at Bunnahabhain and then he had seen some Swallows at Finlaggan. This morning, we had a female Blackcap out in the garden, so possibly a pair as a male has been seen here on Sunday and also yesterday. The Chiffchaff has been very vocal again outside today as well.

Monday 16 April 2018

Monday 16th April

Today, James had seen the Green winged Teal out from the north hide at Gruinart... This afternoon, I saw one at Aberlady as we were walking out over the wee creek there. There was Little Grebe seen there as well with a lot of Skylarks singing away good style. Back at the cottage, a Blackcap was on the feeders this morning, a pair of Siskins and then Margaret saw a Chiffchaff out on the bushes, late afternoon. so perhaps spring has come, at long last.....

Sunday 15 April 2018

Sunday 15th April

Peter sent through some sightings from today...
Around midday off Bruichladdich pier, there was a feeding frenzy by gulls on some tiny "sprat like fish". Gulls seen by Peter were Herring Gull, Gbb Gull, Lbb Gull and Common Gull as well as a nice adult Iceland Gull.

Saturday 14 April 2018

Saturday 14th April

Rather a bad hair day today, not that I am a bad loser but on 2 counts today it seemed that way.. Firstly I do admit to be a supporter of Aberdeen FC, and well they got knocked out of the Cup today, and then to make matters worse, the Melrose Rugby Sevens tournament was on the TV...and Melrose RFC got beaten by Watsonians RFC. In that game I suppose I should be pleased regardless of who won, say no more...
On the bird front no real news from Islay, but on the Lammermuir hills, we had really close sightings of some Red Grouse. Up near the top of the hill, there was a reported sighting of 7 Ring Ouzel back on Monday, but no joy on seeing them. Coming back we had a large flock of around 300 Fieldfare on the wing, close to Gilston.....and the weather was quite good for once, dry for the whole day and warmer than previous days, not that that would be hard to do!!!

Friday 13 April 2018

Friday 13th April

Some sightings through tonight from Mike Peacock... Yesterday, Mike had seen a Magpie along with 5 Mistle Thrush down at Easter Ellister. Out on Loch Indaal, from Easter Ellister, he saw 4 Sand Martin and also a Swallow. Today, Mike has been seeing 4 Sandwich Terns for most of the day over Loch Indaal, from Port Charlotte. Up off Loch Gorm House, Loch Indaal, the Glaucous Gull was still present. Mike had a flock of 65 Golden Plover at Rockside and then he saw a Wheatear down at Machir Bay.

Thursday 12th April

A bit a late entry, but at least better late than never..
Susan Parr and her sister are over on holiday, staying over at Kilnaughton Bay at Port Ellen. They had seen a pair of White tailed Eagles fly over and also commented on seeing some of the wild goats  and with kids down on the Oa.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Wednesday 11th April

Today, David Clugston had seen a Hawfinch down in Port Wemyss. Louise had a Bonxie out from Saligo Bay, 5 GND, 2 Tysties and also saw 7 Common Scoter there as well. All I can offer you is a Magpie here at home. I remember the last time seeing one on Islay, it turned out to be a bit of a twitch then, again here at home... a Magpie was seen last Saturday over on Texa last Saturday, and then Mark saw the one at Gruinart yesterday, so one wonders if it was the same bird that we all saw!!!
The weather has not ben too bad, so I took the chance and rotovated the ground again, in the hope that we will be trying to knock the heart out of the couch grass....

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Tuesday 10th April

Jeff Duncan is back over at present for another Islay fix...Yesterday, Jeff had seen GND, Slavonian Grebe and Sandwich Terns off Bowmore on/ over Loch Indaal. Round at Carnain, he had Sand Martins, House Martins and also Swallows. In the evening he saw a female Hen Harrier and about 30 minutes later a male Hen Harrier, both seen from the kitchen window from where they are staying! Also yesterday, Mark had seen a Glaucous Gull at Gortan.
Today, Mark had a Magpie on the reserve at Gruinart. Bob was speaking to some visiting birders at Gruinart this morning and they told him that they had heard 3 Willow Warblers earlier on, on their way down to the hide. On my way back from Bowmore at lunchtime, I saw 6 Pale belied Brent  at Blackrock. James reported though a count of 4,375 Barnies and 117 Whitefronts on the reserve at Gruinart... He also saw 2 Ruff while out in front of the hide. Visiting birders came to visit us today while I was out, but Margaret spoke with them and they saw a Redpoll, and 2 Greenfinch along with other birds around here at home. This afternoon, the Yellowhammer was still around. Later on, a Sparrowhawk zipped through, spoofing all and sundry. It flew past and returned to sit on top of a fence post for the best part of 5 minutes before flying off, still hungry!!!!

Monday 9 April 2018

Monday9th April

A mixed day with the weather out here today, it started off with fog which eventually did clear and mid afternoon it was raining, but now it is turned out quite sunny... And no snow!!!
Yesterday, Gary had seen 4 Hen Harriers while driving up to Bunnahabhain, a male and female sky dancing and shortly afterwards, another 2 out on the wing, yes, sky dancing too, great to watch... Down towards Caol Ila, he heard a singing Yellowhammer. Finally, over the pools behind Carnain, he saw 3 Sand Martins. Also yesterday, Dr Neal Vaughan-Jones, one of the our local GP team, had seen 2 Swallows on the Eastern side while down on the Oa. He also had a male Hen Harrier there as well with some GND heard out on the water of Loch Indaal. This afternoon, we watched for a wee while, a Yellowhammer out on the feeders at home, earlier on in the rain (it was dry when we started out!) while walking back home through the dunes behind Machir Bay, my sister and I saw a cracker of a Wheatear and also close range views of the local Choughs. On the edge of the large pool in the dunes, we saw an Iceland Gull along with the other gulls there. Margaret counted 46 Goldfinches on the feeders today, no wonder I am kept busy buying niger seed!!!

Sunday 8 April 2018

Sunday 8th April

A great day with the weather out here today folks, the temperature even creeped into double figures and that is on centigrade not fahrenheight scales..
Merja and Bjoern Olsen are back for another visit. Yesterday they had seen several Buzzard  at Bridgend, Port Charlotte and Kilchiaran. They also had a Peregrine out over the hill at Kilchiaran. Out from Kilchiaran, over the sea, they had several large groups of Gannets flying past. They also had a Grey Wagtail on the wee burn leading down to the bay at Kilchiaran.. Near Bridgend, they had a Sparrowhawk with 2 Barwits  seen nearby. Back on Friday, they had seen an Iceland Gull, in a field out towards Claddach. Yesterday, Pia had heard a woodpecker drumming while she was in at Loch Skerrols
Bob, this morning had a count of 400 Fieldfare between his garden and the adjacent field. Martin was over at Rockside visiting Distillery Dave this morning, and had seen several Goldcrest and some Goldfinch in the trees there. This afternoon, up towards Borichal Mor, we had  seen a Golden Eagle and a White tailed Eagle getting higher and higher on the same thermal, great to see them together for comparison, boy the White  tailed Eagle makes the Golden Eagle look so small. We also saw several small groups of Redwings as we drove around.... Peter this evening had seen 7 Pale bellied Brent on Loch Indaal out from his house in Bruichladdich
On a foot note, this evening, I went and gave a Distillery Dave a helping hand to rescue a ewe that was well and truly stuck in a muddy hole. Boy, was I glad to have a shower when I got home....the combined smell of mud and an old ewe is not too pleasant, trust me!!!!

Saturday 7 April 2018

Saturday 7th April

A not bad day with the weather out here today, and as I write this entry a nice looking sunset to finish the day off..
Martin Armstrong had seen a couple of large Canada Geese flying past the singing sands over at Port Ellen this morning. A friend who lives over close to Ballygrant was on the phone today, saying tat he has had 12 Yellowhammers in at his feeders. Gary had seen a flock of around 500 Redwing out at Finlaggan today, and I was well pleased just seeing a few passing over this morning... Possibly birds are on the move now!!!

Friday 6 April 2018

Friday 6th April

Sorry folks, no birds today as the weather has been not very great. To put it politely, rather wet, could even think of a stronger adjective to use but decided not to use it!!! The best part of an inch must have fallen, a steady fall, rather than a downpour. It did eventually fair up around 6pm. Coming back from Distillery Dave's a wee while ago, the Hares were out and about as usual, as well as a few Frogs seen in the car headlights on the road, a sure sign that it is not too cold outside...

Thursday 5 April 2018

Thursday 5th April

Yesterday, Mandy had seen 2 Wheatear close to Mulreesh and this morning she had a count of 17 Whooper Swans on Loch Gorm. Gary today, had seen a Grey Wagtail and also a singing Dipper on the burn at the back of Ballygrant, close to the small hydro dam. Later on , while out with clients, he saw a pair of Bullfinch on the hedges leading up to Persabus. Here at home, as it was dry for most of the day, I took the opportunity and planted some more willow whips, which hopefully should take... This evening, out on the crag, we saw a pair of Buzzard mating.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Wednesday 4th April

Today, the weather has not been that great for the time of year, this morning it was damp and windy with the temperature not great either.. tonight, a great sky with a beautiful sunset on the cards, the mercury on the thermometer might have moved but only a wee bit, still not Spring!!!
Al Hart, yesterday had seen 2 Sandwich Terns down at Portnahaven. Today, here at home the feeders have been busy with many birds including Yellowhammer and Siskin present. A wee run out and about this afternoon produced a Merlin at Coull, a large flock of Golden Plover on a ploughed field at Ballinaby, a ringtail Hen Harrier seen out below Culbuie, several Lapwing and Redshank on the flats at Gruinart, 2 distant Golden Eagle  were out way over Borichal Mor. Back here at home this evening, there were 5 LBB Gulls flying around, a sure sign that lambing is in progress. The Chough, around 30 in number eventually appeared and "very vocally" went to bed. Another bird seen high up over the crag was a Peregrine.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Tuesday 3rd April

Yesterday, Brendon and Charlotte had counted 16 Tysties at Port Askaig as they waited for the Jura ferry returning back from Feolin. They saw their first Wheatear of the year, just as they headed out from Feolin towards Craighouse.
Back on Islay, they saw a male Hen Harrier as they were coming back down the rod from Bunnahabhain. It appeared to be gaining height all the time before peeling off its' ascent and flying over to Jura. Then, out of the blue, from where they were parked up, a Golden Eagle appeared at a low height being mobbed by a Peregrine! Further on down the coastline, high up, a second Golden Eagle was seen, with it being mobbed by a Buzzard!!! Up past Carrabus, on their way over to Gruinart, they had  another male Hen Harrier. In the dunes at Ardnave, a mixed flock of Chough and Jackdaws were present with a small flock of Twite  there as well. Finally, back at Bruichladdich, they had 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese, opposite the mini market. Thanks folks for your sightings, much appreciated...
Here today, the weather has been rather miserable, and that is being polite about it, not a day really for outside work, and certainly not a day for lambing sheep outside...all the same "usual birds" were in at feeders, the  30+ Goldfinch, other top birds included a pair of Greenfinch as well a pair of Siskin. Along towards Sunderland, I counted 3 Pairs of Reed Bunting

Monday 2 April 2018

Monday 2nd April

Yesterday, Brendon and Charlotte had headed over to Jura... They saw a ringtail between Feolin and Craighouse and then a male was up past Lealt, beyond the end of the public road.. They also had seen an Otter close to the ferry at Feolin and from a boat trip up to the whirlpool at Corryvreckan, 2 White tailed Eagles were spotted. Before heading over to Jura, they had seen 4 Tysties at Bruichladdich and also the "usual" 4 Purple Sandpipers.
Today, we may have been lucky with our weather, windy and cold yes, and the small amount of rain we had, did not come until around 3 pm... Al Hart had seen an Iceland Gull at Blackrock, a ringtail Hen Harrier up towards the reserve at Gruinart, with a mixed Thrush flock with some Fieldfare and Redwing seen up towards Sanaigmore. Here at home, there was a Yellowhammer out below the feeders again... later on a Sparrowhawk flew through the garden, putting everything up, but to no avail!!! With this cold spell just now, the birds have been tucking into the food that we put out for them.

Sunday 1 April 2018

Sunday 1st April

Well that is another month in, and I have just realised that I forgot the rainfall tally for February as I was not here, so the combined figure that I have is for February and March comes to 5.1 inches...

Yesterday, Brendon and Charlotte had seen a pair of  Golden Eagle from the hide at Gruinart, over the hills behind Gortantaoid. From the hide, they also had a Greenshank. Charlotte had seen a Merlin as Brendon was driving their car across the flats at Gruinart. Round towards Saligo, they had a large flock of Golden Plover. Down at Bruichladdich Pier, 3 Tysties were present, and then a GND was seen over at Kilchiaran Bay.
Al Hart today had spotted a Common Lizard out sunning itself at Port Mor, out of Port Charlotte. Earlier on, he saw "plenty of Skylarks" while walking up towards Cladville, but no Wheatears.. As the weather was not that bad, I had the tractor out again, and rotovated the ground where we are going to sow the cover crop for the birds, in an attempt to knock the couch grass out of being so strong. Distillery Dave was round for a catch up this afternoon, and saw a distant male Hen Harrier away out over the crag.