Tuesday 31 July 2018

Tuesday 31st July

Yesterday James had seen the Rosy Starling up at Ardnave while down on the reserve at Gruinart, he spotted a Swift flying past.
Today, Mike  had seen a Green Sandpiper on a pool up towards Bolsay. Here at home, at the bird nerds meeting, we were graced with a ringtail Hen Harrier fly through the garden, really close in, just fantastic... There were 16 folk attending, including 4 visitors, good of folk to come along. We never got outside, but had good craik with Peter and also James and Dave ably answering many points that were raised.

Monday 30 July 2018

Monday 30th July

Yesterday, while on his way up from Portnahaven, Al Hart had seen a Buzzard carrying an Adder in its' talons. Up at Bruichladdich, he saw 2 Arctic Terns and also a Sandwich Tern.
This afternoon, late on, Distillery Dave heard and then saw 3 Peregrines along at Rockside. Here at home, there was a Willow Warbler on the seed heads on the border alongside of our house. This evening, we saw 2 Collared Doves close to the grain intake point at Bowmore Distillery.

Remember, tomorrow night, the bird nerds will be meeting at 7pm at Shepherd's cottage.

Sunday 29 July 2018

Sunday 29th July

Apologies for not putting an entry on last night.. Firstly, with the weather being what it was when I "normally" go to press, the computer was a definite no go area as we were in the middle of a thunderstorm, so I had even pulled the plug on the wall as a safety precaution.. It  did not seem to be much rain, but I reckon we had around 2.25 inches. It sounds a lot of rain, which it was, but rather than  a downpour, it was a steady fall and will gone into the ground rather than a flash flood.. Second reason was because of the rain, not many birds were around.
The Beardsen birders are up North for a few days and had counted over 200 Curlew on Loch Fleet. Down closer to Portmahomack, they saw 2 Osprey and a Red Kite.
Yesterday, Al Hart had a male Hen Harrier close to Foreland. We had a Wren scuttling about below the feeders, and then a Great Tit on one of the nut feeders.
This morning, first thing, Distillery Dave had a Merlin as he went down to Machir Bay with his faithful friend "Ted". On Machir Bay he saw Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Redshank. This afternoon, up at Sanaigmore, he saw 5 Wheatear, 8 Common Sandpiper and a ringtail Hen Harrier. This evening round Loch Gorm, he had a Reed Bunting, a ringtail and also a male Hen Harrier and great sighting of 2 Golden Eagles out behind Sunderland. What a difference a day can make with the wearther and also the birds seen around.
Here at home, we had 50+ Chaffinches this morning, with Margaret counting 36 Goldfinches on the thistle heads on an adjoining field this evening. Late afternoon, we heard and then saw 3 Peregrines out over the big crag with the Buzzard soaring around a wee while earlier on

Before I forget, the bird nerds will be meeting up at 7pm on Tuesday evening, up here at Shepherd's cottage, so if you are around, feel free to come along, and put a name to various folks' faces..

Friday 27 July 2018

Friday 27th July

Rachel and Mary, the 2 birders from Edinburgh had seen Chough while on the RSPB guided walk on Tuesday on the Oa, they also had seen some more while on Colonsay on Wednesday. Yesterday, in the gardens of Bridgend Hotel, they saw a Chiffchaff.
This morning, Mike had counted 37 Curlew down on Machir Bay, Mike also saw a Greenshank on the stream as it enters the Bay as well. Mid morning, we had 16 Oystercatcher fly over the machir. Mid afternoon, Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing as it followed the dyke below our house. Finally, Gary watched and followed an Osprey as it flew along between Red Houses and Esknish, following the River Sorn, earlier on this evening.

Thursday 26 July 2018

Thursday 26th July

Another nice dry day out here again, but the forecast for the next few days, could possibly be going downhill with rain forecast.. it has been quite windy outside all day.
This morning Mike Peacock had heard a Grasshopper Warbler calling, along the track leading up to Bolsay. He also saw a juv Cuckoo being fed by a Meadow Pipit. Al Hart had seen a Grey Wagtail and also Spotted Flycatcher along the River Sorn while walking through Bridgend Woods. This evening, he had seen a Peregrine flying over Portnahaven and had a Corncrake in its usual plot...

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Wednesday 25th July

Got the correct date on for tonight's entry... and in a moment will amend yesterday's date!!!
Yesterday evening, Al Hart had heard Grasshopper Warblers and Sedge Warblers calling away round Portnahaven. He also had heard a Corncrake calling as well. Today, he managed to carry out a short sea watch towards Frenchman's Rocks. He had seen 3 Terns, a Bonxie which was chased away by the Terns...He also noted a strong passage Gannets and Manx Shearwaters flying South. Kittiwakes were present on the rocks, with Auks and Tysties flying close in. He also saw Turnstone flying past as well. Whilst waling in to where carried out his sea watch from Alistair, he saw Wheatear, Skylarks, Goldfinches, lots of Linnets and Mipits as well.
This afternoon Kathy, his wife had heard Corncrake calling round Port Mor and also at Octofad as well

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Tuesday 24th July

Another great day with the weather, like a lot of other places...

I took this image of a young Siskin, earlier on this evening, and it was not until I had downloaded the memory card on to my computer that I realised that it had a leg ring on... so I hope that is one of George E Jackson's birds..
Not a lot to report tonight, Gary had counted 5 Barn Owls on his way home last night from Port Charlotte with the last Owl in Gary's own garden!!! Through the day back here at home we have seen 2 Peregrines, a Buzzard, many birds seen on the feeders, possibly not as many as other days with that pesky Sparrowhawk possibly spoofing some of the regulars away...

Monday 23 July 2018

Monday 23rd July

Another day with the mist rolling in from the sea quite often, but late afternoon, the weather improved with a nice quiet evening outside at present..
Earlier on, with better visibility at one time, I counted 38 House Sparrows on the barbed wire fence just in from the Millet seed feeder.. Later on while sitting out in the hut with 2 visiting birders from Edinburgh,  all of a sudden all the birds took off and there were no birds to be heard singing away, the reason?? A Sparrowhawk was flying past.. Earlier on the 2 birders had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier fly along the front of the crag. Yesterday, while walking along the 3 Distilleries path, between Port Ellen and Ardbeg, at one point, they had seen 2 Goldcrest.
Before I forget, the feathers that were on the blog the other night were from a juvenile Cuckoo, or rather what remained of it... Thanks to Bob for sharing the feathers with us!!!

Sunday 22 July 2018

Sunday 22nd July

Yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey over Loch Gorm. Later on, up at Sanaigmore,  he watched 2 Otters out in the bay for over 30 minutes.. Birds seen at Sanaigmore included 7 Common Sandpiper and a flock of 30 Twite.
Today down on the beach at Portnahaven, Al Hart had seen a "smart looking Common Gull". Here at home, we had a young Lesser Redpoll and also a young Greenfinch out on the feeders, great to see them,  a fair chance that they were born local to here...

Saturday 21 July 2018

Saturday 21st July

The weather today turned out a total reversal of yesterday, as through the day, visibility was good and not until around 6pm the mist/ haar rolled in off the sea..
Al  Hart is back over on holiday. While walking out towards Claddach from Portnahaven, he heard 2 Corncrakes calling. He also saw Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Pied Wagtails and heard Sedge Warblers. While we came back home this afternoon, we had a close sighting of a male Hen Harrier along past Sunderland Farm.

Friday 20 July 2018

Friday 20th July

Today, the mist was in for most of the day, it eventually lifted after tea time, so not many birds to tell you about this evening. Out at the wee bird cage, I counted 12 birds in it all one time, 7 Siskins, 3 Chaffinches and also 2 House Sparrows, so I am well pleased so far...
Relating to the image of the feathers last night which I posted on the blog last night, well so far, all the folk that have sent their thoughts of which bird they were from, well they are all correct, 3 from Islay and one from the mainland in Argyll. I will tell you what the correct bird was in a day or two..

Thursday 19 July 2018

Thursday 19th July

Remember a couple of night's ago, I mentioned that Bob had shown us some feathers that he and Pat had found up on Bolsay Moor the other day while out on a walk. So now I am doing a "Bob" on you the reader, what are the feathers from? Bob told me that the carcass had no head or legs, but thought they were off a young bird.. so feel free to contribute your thoughts as to what they were from...

Good luck, no prizes.. just remember that I am Scottish..

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Wednesday 18th July

As promised last night, an image of the new " experimental" bird table, designed by Bob's  Pat and a few alterations done by myself..

The 2 Starlings on the roof are puzzling if they can get in or not, while the Chaffinch, along with the Siskins did not take too long to realise that there is only one set of mesh big enough for to allow them access. A House Sparrow is now a regular with the Great Tit spotted inside this morning as was the young Blue Tit, at one time I counted 6 different birds inside... Many thanks to Pat for listening to me...

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Tuesday 17th July

Another not bad day with the weather, must sound like a recording repeating myself yet again... Today, has been spent watching the birds going in to our "new experimental" bird table. The main feeders are sited inside a cage  which has mesh sides to it. The idea  is that the Starlings do  not eat the good food. It is early days yet, but what size of mesh do we need, as a good friend said, "a matter of trail and error". I will try to take some images of the "table" tomorrow...
Whilst  we were out, we spotted a Whinchat out on the fence. Bob was round this evening, and had ben seeing some Stonechats with their young, close to his house and when he was here, we saw 2 Lesser Redpolls outside. Bob also showed us some feathers from a corpse that he had found up on Bolsay Moor earlier on, and I will try to take some images of them too, for you to guess what they came from....

Monday 16 July 2018

Monday 16th July

Thankfully the rain remembered to stop, over the past 2 nights, we have had the best part of an inch of rain, not a lot, but a good amount to keep things going in the right direction... and today, it has not been that bad a day, honest...
Today, here at home, we were watching some youngsters being fed by their parents... We had seen the odd Greenfinch around earlier on in the year, but today, one was feeding its' young, a Willow Warbler feeding a grub to its young, Linnets on the bird seed crop, then they flited over the fence on to some thistle heads and awaiting them were their young. Also seen amongst the thistle heads were a few Goldfinches along with young. On the feeders today we had a Great Tit and then a Blue Tit was on the scare fence along the top of the wall, both birds which we do not see here that often!!!

Sunday 15 July 2018

Sunday 15th July

Yesterday, Lesley and myself gave Bob a help to carry out the WeBS count from Blackrock round to Port Charlotte with our total tally coming to 10 Cormorant, 1 Arctic Tern,  1 Sandwich Tern, 71 Eider, 10 Herring Gull, 45 Common Gull, 31 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 4 Curlew, 27 Greylag, 6 Mallard, 3 L BB Gull, 2 Gbb Gull, 1 Common Sandpiper, 6 Shelduck, and 4 Tysties.
This morning, Mike had a pair of Sandwich Tern feeding newly fledged young at Port Charlotte.
Round midday Peter brought up Roger Broad for a long awaited catch up with us here at home, great to see you Roger. While we were outside, Roger was looking at the bumblebees while we bird watched, seeing a distant Kestrel away out over the crag, noted many Siskins on the feeders, some Linnets and Lesser Redpolls were around as well. This afternoon, the noisy, nosey locals, the Chough came along for a visit. Earlier on, we had a young leveret out in the garden, good to watch its' antics, as it went through  its' repertoire.

Saturday 14 July 2018

Saturday 14th July

This morning, as the Beardsen birders headed out to the Ferry at Port Ellen, they saw a male Hen Harrier, as the started to drive along the High road after Springbank. Earlier on at Rockside, there was a large number of Rooks and Jackdaws on the road and then a big flock of Starlings appeared as well, but still no sign of the Rosy bird!! From the ferry, little of note seen apart from some Gannets. Thanks for your birds folks.
Peter, Mike and Roger Broad went up to Ardnave and saw 3 flocks of very mobile Starlings of around 400 birds in each group, and yes, they managed to see the Rosy Starling. They also counted 43 Chough there as well.
Here at home, I think the large flock of Starlings from Rockside had paid a visit this morning, you should see the roof on the wee cottage next door where a lot of them have left their mark !!!

Friday 13 July 2018

Friday 13th July

I managed to take this image, the other evening at  around 9pm, just too good a chance to miss...

This afternoon, Margaret spotted a hen Pheasant with a brood of 4 young chicks before they disappeared into some undergrowth. Margaret also got a handed on message, passed on a few times about a Corncrake seen down at Conisby with 5 chicks, when they were seen we do not know... No news today, as of yet relating to the Rose coloured Starling.

Thursday 12 July 2018

Thursday 12th July

Yesterday, Gary was out with some clients seeing an Osprey at Loch Gorm and later on, they saw 3 Peregrine Falcons out from Coal Ila as well as 2 young Cuckoos seen. The Beardsen birders had taken the chance yesterday and took the ferry over to Colonsay where they saw a juv. Golden Eagle up out of Scalascaig and then close to Colonsay House, a Corncrake was heard.
Here at home, this afternoon, we watched 2 Peregrines mob a Golden Eagle away out over the crag. The Eagle took the hint and did not waste much time in moving on... Jack Fleming was in touch late this evening , a reported sighting seen up at Ardnave of a Rose coloured Starling this afternoon.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Wednesday 11th July

Some sightings though from George E Jackson and his wife Pat. Back on Saturday, while out on their son's rib, while en route to Gigha, there was not to much to report apart from some Auks and the occasional Gannet. At one point, while they were traveling along at around 30 mph, a line of half a dozen Auks came from behind and overtook them. They increased their speed to 50mph for a few minutes and even at that sped the Awks were still faster than they were... On Monday down below Rockside, they heard a Sedge Warbler and then shortly afterwards, an adult Whinchat was seen out on the garden fence.. Early afternoon, they saw a Grey Wagtail over at The Woollen Mill and also 5 Siskins plus a vey young Siskin on the feeders there. Later on, out on the rib with their son Matthew on a short trip out round the Oa proved quite a success with around 50 Kittiwakes and 200 Razorbills were seen on their nesting ledges, with 2 Puffins and more Razorbills and some Tysties were seen out on the water.
Yesterday, George and Pat carried another hard, but productive  session here with their mist nets, with a total of 53 birds being rung and 8 retraps. The most interesting bird was a retrapped male Siskin wearing a ring from Holland, so once we hear back from Holland we will let you know more history of the bird. So all in all a total of 143 birds rung with 20 retraps over the 3 sessions.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Tuesday 10th July

Tom Garner from Cumbria arrived over the other day for another visit. On Sunday, they saw a male Hen Harrier  over beside the Airport. Yesterday, over, up beside Bolsa, they had seen a Golden Eagle  being mobbed by a Hooded Crow along with plenty of Wheatears and they also heard a couple of Yellowhammers calling in the gullies there. Yesterday, David Wood had heard a Quail calling over at Kinnabus on the Oa.
Marsali sent through her figures for the rainfall for June over at Mulindry, with the rain gauge showing 1.8 inches. not much use for the tatties.
This evening, we were out with Distillery Dave and his wife, and were watching a Kestrel and also 2 Peregrines away out over the crag.

Monday 9 July 2018

Monday 9th July

Yesterday afternoon, Peter took his friend Ian up to Ardnave. On the loch, they saw another single Whooper Swan, probably the same swan that Peter had seen there 10 days ago. Out towards Ardnave, they saw a single Whimbrel and also 4 pair of Chough with young, a total of 17 Chough in all. The Bearsden birders are back over, and during a short walk in Bridgend Woods yesterday afternoon, they saw 2 Great Tit and also 2 Wrens.
Today, the single Whooper Swan was in the same field where Peter had seen it yesterday down at Rockside. Also here at home, I saw the ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing over the same patch of ground as yesterday, but this time it dropped down amongst the rushes before flying off with its' prey.

Sunday 8 July 2018

Sunday 8th July

Back on Friday, Gary had been out on the Islay lifeboat of which he is one of the crew. Well after the shout and while returning to Port Askaig, he had seen 5 RTD flying North up the Sound of Islay. Yesterday, while out with some clients, Gary had seen 5 Swifts flying over Machir Bay. Yesterday, Peter had a Greater spotted Woodpecker in the trees over beside Red Lodge on the High road. This morning Peter, Mike and Ian, Peter's friend who is over for a few days birding, had seen a Whooper Swan resting up on one of the silage aftermaths at Rockside. Also this morning James had a Spotted Flycatcher in his garden. This afternoon, we had a female Hen Harrier out along the base of the crag.
Reading back the blog, I have just realised that I forgot to tell you our rainfall figure for June, well it only came to a mere 1.1 of an inch, not a lot.... I know it is early days for July, bit the rain gauge has got nothing in it yet apart from a heavy mist last night, nothing much else in it so far.

Saturday 7 July 2018

Saturday 7th July

After a couple of busy couple of days setting the mist nets and ringing, Gorge and Pat took a well earned rest.. Earlier on this evening, I counted a group of 30 Curlew fly past our house.

Friday 6 July 2018

Friday 6th July

Another great day with the weather out here on the far West. Mind you it has been another busy day with some more birds being caught and rung by George and Pat Jackson. Their tally today came to 35 birds caught and fitted with a  BTO ring and also 8 retraps. Today they caught 12 House Sparrows, 14 Chaffinches, 3 Willow Warblers, 1 Redpoll and 5 Siskins.. One line of thought is that the Siskins must have bred locally to here as  there was a total of  5 juv birds amongst the 11 caught over the past 2 days. The Willow Warblers had 5 juv birds out of the 6 processed on yesterday and today, so again had bred close to here as well..

Thursday 5 July 2018

Thursday 5th July

George E Jackson and his wife Pat are back over to enjoy our great weather again... Shortly after their arrival on Sunday, they had a male Hen harrier out hunting at Rockside, and then around 5 minutes later they had a ringtail, as George commented " probably a pair hunting separately",  out over the same stretch along the burn. Later on on Sunday and on Monday, they had a scene out of Hitchcock's The Birds with a large number of starlings< Jackdaws and Rooks swirling around in the air, net result, their car, their son's house, decking and windows all plastered with their droppings...They had a single young Whinchat and also 2 young Pied Wagtail seen on the garden fence for a while too.  Pat had seen 4 young Wheatear at Machir Bay on Tuesday am while a walk there in the evening gave George counted 18 Oystercatcher on the beach with another 22 up behind the beach.  9 Curlew, 2 Dunlin and 5 Chough flew over. On the field beside the car park, 2 Lapwing and 3 Linnet were present with a Sedge Warbler heard calling up on the reed bed. On Wednesday, the Starlings had reappeared , so all the cleaning from their previous visit had been a bit of a waste of time!!!A walk down at The Machrie Hotel along the Big Strand produced a small mixed flock of Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover with also 25 eider loafing on the shore. 
This morning we saw a male Hen Harrier at Ballinaby, George counted 41 Chough down at Machir Bay. He came up for a catch up around midday and so we quickly set the mist nets  to see if we could catch anything... the obvious answer was yes, no trouble at all. Net result, after a short session of around 5  hours, we or rather George and Pat had rung 55 birds and also 4 retraps from previous sessions. We had 37 House Sparrows, a Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 10 Chaffinch, a Starling a Redpoll, and also 6 Siskin. Not bad going??? While we were almost finishing off, we saw 3 Peregrine screaming around, high up over the big crag, and we had also seen 3 Fulmars gliding along the front of the crag earlier on, mid afternoon.

A great time enjoyed by us all, thanks to George and Pat, sharing their knowledge and being very patient too...

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Wednesday 4th July

Gary had seen an Osprey taking a fish out of Loch Finlaggan, and yesterday he had a Corncrake flying alongside his van at Skerrols. Mike Peacock had spotted an Arctic Skua as he came back over on the evening ferry last night. Distillery Dave saw 2 Fulmars flying along the front of the crag at Kilchoman. He also had been hearing a corncrake calling up at Rockside with Gary hearing one calling over beside his house. This morning, here at home, it was great to see 6 Siskin on the feeders along with 2 Lesser Redpolls.

Sunday 1 July 2018

Sunday 1st July

I am not sure if you have been keeping in touch with the news of the horrific fire that has been going for the past few days just out of Bolton in Lancashire. Earlier this evening, I spoke with Chris and Tony Johnson whose house is around a mile away from the fire front. Chris was telling me about the strong smell from the smoke of the actual fire. During our short conversation, I heard 3 helicopters' ferrying water out... The annoying aspect is to think of the devastation caused by a few mindless idiots...The bulk off the area is in a SSI, and only designated as such fairly recently....