Saturday 30 June 2018

Saturday 30th June

Some sightings through from Peter Roberts who has recently returned from leading a tour to Japan. Before I forget, I heard today that the weather or rather the temperature in Japan is lower at present this year, than it is here in Scotland.
Yesterday evening, Peter had heard 4 GNDs calling away out from Bruichladdich on Loch Indaal, 2 in full breeding plumage with the others in non breeding plumage.Back on Wednesday, Peter had seen another GND over at Claggain Bay., so we are definitely seeing some GNDs summering here on Islay...Back down at the pier at Bruichladdich, Peter had seen at least 8 Tysties, and wondered whether they were actually 4 pairs breeding there.

Friday 29 June 2018

Friday 29th June

Another scorcher of a day, and not much let up expected over the next few days, and little sign of any rain as of yet..
This evening I found a nest in the undergrowth out in the garden, a Pheasant nest I think with 7 eggs in it...

Thursday 28 June 2018

Thursday 28th June

Another wee cracker of a day... James said it was s hot a day on Islay that he can remember, his thermometer reached 24 degrees at one time this afternoon.
On the bird front some sightings through from James as well.. Today, he had seen 3 Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, a Willow Warbler, a Sedge Warbler a Reed Bunting and also 2 Lesser Redpoll, all on one bush on the reserve at Gruinart.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Tuesday 26th June

Yesterday afternoon, Martin had seen a pair of White tailed Eagles on the Low road to Port Ellen from Bowmore around the road leading to the Machrie Hotel.
Today, Gary had  seen 2 male Hen Harrier, and an Osprey and also the Ring necked Duck in at Finlaggan.

Monday 25 June 2018

Monday 25th June

This morning while waiting for his clients at Islay House Hotel, Garry had seen an Osprey Flying south from Bowmore towards Gartbreck along the shore of Loch Indaal. Earlier on he had heard many Blackcaps and Willow Warblers calling in and around Whin Park.
If you want to see some cracking images of Hen Harriers, click on the link to Gordon Yates  blog on the right hand side of our blog.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Sunday 24th June

Just realised that yesterday was the Mallard Way birder last day of his June fortnight visit. Nothing much to report through from him apart from seeing some Gannets in the Sound of Islay out from McArthur's Head. Thanks for your birds and good to hear that you are home safe to Mallard Way. This evening the Coullabus crowd e mailed through to say that they had seen an Otter from the ferry just after leaving Port Ellen. This was the first Otter they had seen on/ around Islay on either of their visits here and they were beginning to think that it was rather elusive to spot.

Saturday 23 June 2018

Saturday 23rd July

Well another set of visiting birders, "the Coullabus crowd" headed home today. Back on Wednesday evening they had a RTD in summer plumage off Bruichladdich. A walk out around Coullabus the next morning , a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen and then a Roe Deer with her 2 twin calves were . Finally, a short walk in Bridgend Woods provided Siskin and also Grey Wagtail. Many thanks for your birds while you were over and see you at Rutland, at the Birdfair, not long now, less than 7 weeks away!!
This evening, Distillery Dave had been round at Kilchoman, where he had a Greenfinch on the feeders,  a Fulmar gliding along the front of the crag, the customary, noisy Chough as well as a Kestrel and also a Buzzard.

Friday 22 June 2018

Friday 22nd June

Another week almost in and almost the end of Peter Donaldson's second visit to Islay and not his last either, a great time was had and the weather was great too...Yesterday, Peter had a Whitethroat singing away down at Port Wemyss. He also had seen the Velvet Scoter at Eater Ellister. Over at Coull, he had seen a male Hen Harrier. Today on the Glen road, he had a male Hen Harrier at Cattadale with a ringtail seen as they approached Knocklearach.

Thursday 21 June 2018

Thursday 21st June

Gary today had been out with a client. Down at Claggain Bay they saw Red Throated Diver with Little Tern seen along the big strand. They also saw 3 male Hen Harriers while on their travels.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Wednesday 20th June

Yesterday, the Coullabus crowd had been out and on a walk between Carnmore Woods and the Singing Sands over at Port Ellen had seen/ heard the following birds...Willow Warbler, Song Thrush, Blackbird, GND, Ringed Plover, Shag, R b Merganser, Oystercatcher, Gbb Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Meadow Pipits, a male Hen Harrier, Tystie, Common Guillemot and Hooded Crow. The others in the group had been down on the Rhinns and had heard a Corncrake calling at the cemetery  at Nerabus.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Tuesday 19th June

The Coullabus crowd had gone over on the ferry to Colonsay on Saturday. Top bird was hearing a Corncrake calling away close to the car park up at Kiloran Bay. At the far end of the beach,  there  was a well decomposed carcase of a whale, on which there was a Hooded Crow. 6 Chough were over the dunes with some Kittiwakes, a single Razorbill with the gulls out on the water there. From the ferry going up to Colonsay, they had a distant sighting of  6 Cory's Shearwater and then at Scascaig while waiting on the ferry to return back to Islay, they had a Great Skua. On Sunday, they had a possible sighting of a Great Grey Shrike being seen of by some Wheatear while up at Ardnave. In the drizzly conditions in the afternoon, at Gruinart, they heard Snipe drumming with Reed bunting seen there as well. They also saw a Heron being mobbed by Redshank and Lapwing. Up at Finlaggan, on Monday they had a Sedge Warbler and a male Reed Bunting. A walk through from Balulive to Bunnahabhain produced 2 male Hen Harrier and also 2 Buzzards. Yesterday,  the Mallard way birder had a male Hen Harrier fly across the road about 15 metres away, down towards the old lime kiln below Foreland. Returning home in the evening, he had the Curlew on the same gate post as before, defending its' territory and wondered if it was the same bird...
Lesley was in touch to say that she has been having up to 12 Siskins on her feeders, and said that there were some family groups present within their numbers.

Monday 18 June 2018

Monday 18th June

Yesterday, Bob, Lesley and Distillery Dave had carried out the WeBS count from Blackrock to Port Charlotte.   Their tally came to: 8 GND, 1 Heron, 3 Cormorant, 8 Greylag, 2 Mallard, 25 Eider, 23 Common Scoter, 18 Herring Gull, 40 Common Gull, 7 Gbb Gull, 1 Arctic Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern, 1 Curlew, 1 Sanderling, 15 Dunlin, 3 Turnstone, 37 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Sandpiper, 18 Ringed Plover, 1Tystie and 3 Gannets.

Sunday 17 June 2018

Sunday 17th June

The "Mallard way birder" yesterday had seen a Curlew defending its' territory as he drove round Loch Gorm. This morning, he went for his walk along Machir Bay, but went a bit further by walking on, up past Granny's rock and up to the Radar masts above Kilchiaran!! Along the Machir Bay, he was surprised as to how low the Sand Martins were skimming along just above the sand on the Bay. Up at the masts, he was amazed at the numbers of skylarks flying around. Coming back down past Granny's rock, he saw a six spotted Burnett moth. further on, he saw a lot of Snails out, possibly a sign of some rain coming in, my friend???

Saturday 16 June 2018

Saturday 16th June

Yesterday was the Barnsley birders last full day of their visit... Over on Jura, they had seen 3 male Hen Harriers and also 3 different ringtail Hen Harriers. Near to Craighouse, they had seen a Spotted Flycatcher and back in the Sound of Islay, an Otter was spotted. Back on Islay, close to Port Askaig, they saw another male Hen Harrier. Finally 2 of their group had seen a "possible Iceland Gull" down on Machir Bay. They had seen 101 species on Islay and Jura while they have been visiting here. Many thanks folks for sharing your birds with us all, and hopefully meet up with some of you down at the Bird Fair in Rutland in August.

Friday 15 June 2018

Friday 15th June

Some sightings from the "Mallard Way birder". On Monday 11th, he had heard a Corncrake calling away while he was in the old chapel at Kilchiaran. When he came out of the chapel, he saw a Kestrel hovering over the hillside beside the chapel. He also saw several Sand Martins  flying up the burn, from the sea to the nest sites in the sand bank . On Wednesday, he heard a Corncrake calling in the field opposite to Port Mor campsite., and watched some Gannets fishing off Laggan Point. Yesterday morning, he had seen a pair of Stonechat while walking along to Nerabus. In the afternoon, he had a distant male Hen Harrier over Loch Gruinart, seen from the hide  and also a pair of 5 Mute Swan along with their 5 young cygnets. Shortly afterwards, he seen a Heron being chased by some Redshank and also some Lapwing, and he took it to be that the said Heron had stolen a young chick...He also had some Shoveler with young, one pair proudly showing their 5 ducklings.
The Barnsley birders had ventured out yesterday, seeing a Little Tern, a Whimbrel also a Peregrine as they drove up the road on the East side of Loch Gruinart. Over beside Cnoc Fada, a male Hen Harrier was seen.
Distillery Dave was commenting on how low, and close to the ground that the Swallows and House Martins were hawking to get their food with the wind being so strong yesterday morning.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Thursday 14th June

Yesterday, the Barnsley birders had heard a Corncrake calling up at Kilchoman House around 11am. Down at Machir Bay, they saw some Chough. Round at Ballinaby, they had some Dunlin, all in summer plumage and also a Whinchat nearby. Over in front of the Visitor centre at Gruinart, 2 Whooper Swan were present. The Coullabus crowd yesterday had the Ring necked Duck over at Finlaggan as well as a Sedge Warbler there too. Earlier on in the morning they had seen 2 Chough between Coullabus and over the hill towards Carnain and also saw a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch. They also noted seeing a Cuckoo and a Meadow Pipit together on the overhead phone wires on their travels. Over on the reserve at Gruinart, they saw Snipe, Shoveler, Redshank, Moorhen and also some very bedraggled Herons during yesterday afternoon....

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Wednesday 13th June

Returning visitors/ birders, the Coullabus crowd (their choice of name, not mine for once!!!) are back on Islay again. A walk along the Big strand proved quite fruitful with a pair of Gannets, pair of Guillemot, a pair of Common Tern and a Common Sandpiper, all seen either out on the water / or over the water. Inland, they saw a par of Hen Harrier, a Linnet, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and they also heard a cuckoo calling. Yesterday, over on Jura they had a total of 44 species seen/ heard, but no Eagles or even an Otter were seen. Top bird for the day was an Osprey up at Inverlussa. Also yesterday the top birds seen by the Barnsley birders were as follows... Down on the Oa, they saw 2 Golden Eagles and a Merlin, on Aros Bay they had 2 Black throated Diver and 2 Red Throated Diver were sen at Claggain Bay. Finally back up at loch Finlaggan, they saw the Ring necked Duck.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Tuesday 12th June

Back on Sunday, Distillery Dave had seen 2 Canada Geese down on Machir Bay.
The Barnsley birders yesterday had seen the White tailed Eagle and also a sub adult Golden Eagle while in at Finlaggan. Later on, at Loch nan Cadhan, 2 Golden ringed dragonflies and also 3 Marsh Fritillaries. Finally, in Ballygrant Woods they saw a Garden Warbler and also a Treecreeper.
Around midday, we saw a male Hen Harrier out on the wing, flying close to the lochans below Rockside, and this evening Margaret spotted another skirting along the trees below Creag Mhor. This morning, we saw a single Fulmar flying along the front of the big crag. When we first came to Islay there were around 35 pairs of Fulmar nesting, and now down to possibly only a single pair nesting.

Monday 11 June 2018

Monday 11th May

Yesterday, after leaving us, the Mallard Way birder  had heard a Corncrake calling down at Machir Bay. On his way back over to Port Charlotte, he was "overtaken" by a pair of Curlew who were in hot pursuit of a raptor. The raptor landed on a telephone pole, only to be zapped several times by the Curlews.
Bob had carried out t BBS survey down from the Woollen Mill along o the mouth of the river Sorn. He h a total of 27 Species seen/ heard. These included a Greater spotted Woodpecker, 9 Grey Wagtail, 15 Wren, 4 Collared Dove, 5 Siskin, 7 Willow Warbler, 11 Blackcap and a Lesser Redpoll
Mike P had taken a walk up to Gortantoid woodland, seeing a pair of Lesser Redpoll, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Willow Warbler feeding brood, and 2 Linnet.  Close to Killinallan Mike had a flock of 47 Lapwing seen there. Along the shore at Bun an Uillt, there was a female Eider present along with 6 ducklings.
This afternoon, Mike had been over  at Loch Finlaggan where he had seen a White tailed Eagle being pursued by an Osprey and also a Buzzard. Mike also saw the male  Ring necked Duck on Loch Finlaggan itself. Garry today had seen a male Hen Harrier out on the wing up behind Bunnahabhain

Sunday 10 June 2018

Sunday 10th June

Some sightings through from visitors tonight.  Jake McMahon who has been staying over at the campsite at Kintra, out of Port Ellen. He had seen 5 Eiders out on the water at Kintra, and 9 Gbb Gulls on the shore. Up on the woods to the NW of Kintra he has heard 2 separate Cuckoos calling. He also had seen Hen Harriers along the Cornabus valley along towards Kilnaughton Bay. Each morning he has been woken to a dawn  chorus of Meadow Pipits
Colin and Linda Graham are over with a group of birders from Barnsley. Yesterday, they counted 26 Chough on the roof of Kilchoman House, and also saw a Peregrine and 2 Ravens overhead. Today, they had a Grasshopper Warbler and 2 male Hen Harriers seen on the reserve as well. Up on Nave Island, they saw 10 Little Terns, with the Velvet Scoter seen at Easter Ellister and also a Whinchat close to Loch Gorm. Back here at home we saw 2 different Golden Eagles, one soaring high up on a thermal with  the other away far out, just as well that we had the bins with us and also verified from the "Mallard way birdman"...

Saturday 9 June 2018

Saturday 9th June

Yesterday, Ailidh Reed had been down at the Currie Sands below Claddach, out of Portnahaven and had some great views of a Golden Eagle flying past.  Gordon Hewitt had seen a pair of Shelduck below the campsite at Pot Mor, South of Port Charlotte. The Shelduck had 7 ducklings alongside them out on the water. Along the road a little, Gordon had seen a Stonechat on top of some gorse bushes. He also saw a Heron and also a pair of Lapwings out on the wing..

Friday 8 June 2018

Friday 8th June

Some sightings from yesterday sent in by Mark. up at Ardnave he had seen 14 Arctic Tern, 2 Little Tern, 52 Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper, 62 Greylag and 9 Gbb Gull.
Today, the Bolton birders had been up at Ardnave where their birds seen included 12 Bar tailed Godwit, 12 Sanderling and 12 Dunlin. Here at home, I have had a day of pottering around, mainly a day with the paint brush, it was just the right temperature for me, not to hot along with a bit of a breeze to keep the dreaded midge away... This evening,  Distillery Dave and young Ted came round and gave us a hand doing some remedial work, many hands male light work, much appreciated Dave (and Ted!)... Later on  when outside the noisy, nosey neighbours, the Chough flew past on their way to the roost.

Thursday 7 June 2018

Thursday 7th June

Yesterday, James had seen a sub adult White tailed Eagle, out past Ardbeg. Also yesterday, visiting cyclist Graham Hewitt had pedalled out from Port Charlotte, up to Kilchiaran and then up over past Granny's Rock and on to Machir Bay and then along the road back to Port Charlotte. Above Kilchiaran, Graham had a Cuckoo,  with a pair of Goldfinches seen down close to the farm steading. Up at Granny's Rock he had 3 Ravens. Back at Port Charlotte, down below Octomore he saw a Stonechat.
Today, the Bolton birders had seen a pair of Shelduck down at Bruichladdich with 13 youngsters in tow. Over at Ballygrant, they saw a Peregrine, with a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier up close to Storakaig. Round Loch Gorm they saw another male Hen Harrier. This afternoon,  while we were speaking to a couple from Derbyshire, we saw a distant Golden Eagle out over the crag with some Choughs milling around, closer to hand. Just great to show to visitors. This evening we had another Golden Eagle but much further out and shortly after that the local hooligans appeared, 26 Choughs out on the wing....

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Wenesday 6th June

Distillery Dave has a new alarm clock, a regular wake up call at 5am by the Cuckoo!!! This afternoon, there were a pair of Peregrine screeching away out over the crag.

This an image of the Birdseed mix which we had sown for the birds at the start of May and looking really well.. even although it has hardly seen any rain yet... The image below is of the Bumblebee mix which we have sown in an another patch of ground, but sown 2 days later.

As they said in the brochure, it should produce a "colourful mixture designed for bees, producing copious amounts of pollen  producing flowers."  Will take some more images as the year follows on...

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Tuesday 5th June

Nothing to report through on the bird front tonight, but the other day I received through an e mail to say that the "Islay birds" blog was in the top 10 bird blogs in the UK, and it was not an April Fool's day trick either!!

Monday 4 June 2018

Monday 4th June

Another day of mixed, muggy weather with plenty of midges around, the sea haar here at home has come and gone several times today, all the same I did manage to cut the grass and not get eaten alive!

Yesterday, the Bolton birders had watched an Otter eating a crab down below Easter Ellister. Today, they had 4 GND below Carn and also a Golden Eagle over behind Ardbeg. This morning, Mike P. had counted 19 Common Scoter off Port Charlotte. Later on, down the road at Easter Ellister, 3 Scoter came in off the sea and landed on the wee lochans. Mike managed to id them as 2 female Common Scoter and a drake Velvet Scoter, possibly the same drake as last year.. Early evening, Mike counted 16 Common Scoter off Port Charlotte.  Gary had been out with 4 clients today and top birds seen included a Golden Eagle at Dunlossit, with a Black throated Diver on Ardnahoe Loch. 

Sunday 3 June 2018

Sunday 3rd June

Yesterday, Paul Graham had seen a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch out from his house,between Ballygrant and Keills. This afternoon, he saw a White tailed Eagle fly past his house. Visitors to Islay, Ian and Pauline had seen a pair of GND and also a pair of Red breasted Merganser and an Otter, all around Carraig Fhada. The Bolton birders this morning had a count of 16 Common Scoter off Port Charlotte with a GND and an Otter seen nearby. Distillery Dave along with his daughter Jessica had been down on Machir Bay seeing the following birds, 10 Common Sandpiper, a Turnstone, 10 Eider drakes, 6 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. This afternoon, Margaret saw a distant Peregrine sitting out along the crag and this morning we had the 2 Redpolls, along with the 3 Siskins on the feeders. The Tree sparrows may have moved on but the number of House Sparrows appears  to be a lot more than in other years.

Saturday 2 June 2018

Saturday 2nd June

A big change in the weather today, with a low mist/ sea haar  in for most of the day. From here at home, we could not see the crag in one direction or the Cross out at the War Graves cemetery. James How had seen a Swift over the Reserve at Gruinart, yesterday. This evening, the low mist/ haar has lifted a bit, and lo and behold the midges came out... the first we have here this year at Kilchoman, so needless to say I did not stay outside for very long!!!

Friday 1 June 2018

Friday 1st June

Yesterday, James Butcher, the long term "vol" at Gruinart had seen the Green winged Teal out in front of the South Hide. Today, James B. had seen 2 Swifts while he was up at Ardnave, the first Swifts that he has had this year. Just before lunch time today, Donald Jones had seen a Glaucous Gull when he was out checking the stock at Coull. Here at home, the House Sparrows have had some of their young out on the feeders, "begging" to be fed.
As we are now in another month, I emptied out the rain out of the rain gauge, with he tally for May coming to a mere 1.1". Come to think of it I forgot to mention that the figure for April was 3.1".