Friday 31 August 2018

Friday 31st August

Some sightings through from James Butcher who had seen the following waders on Loch Gruinart yesterday.. a count of over 1700 Dunlin, at least 300 Sanderling, 67 Blackwit, 5 Knot, 3 Barwit and 8 Golden Plover. He also saw a Merlin there as well.
This morning, Distillery Dave had seen a Snipe down at Machir Bay. Gary had seen a Kestrel over at Bunnahabhain, a Sparrowhawk was present at Persabus with an adult White tailed Eagle over Kilmeny. Early evening, Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past, over our garden and then shortly afterwards I counted 30 Chough ducking and diving in their acrobatic, noisy flight on their way to the roost.

Thursday 30 August 2018

Thursday 30th August

Almost forgot to give feedback on the bird nerds meting at Bun an Uillt held yesterday evening. Fortunately the weather stayed dry... We saw 10 Curlew, 12 Barwits, 2 Grey Heron, some Oystercatcher, a Greenshank, Redshank and Dunlin were the main birds present. While we were walking back to our vehicles, a hen Merlin zipped across our view. Going over to Bun an Uillt, Distillery Dave and myself saw a Stonechat on the fence just after the Sunderland quarry. Dave had seen a few Turnstone down on Machir Bay while I had the Peregrines screeching away, flying high above the big crag, here at home.
Another thing that happened yesterday, was that Andrew Jones had the combine out cutting his first barley field, over at Ballinaby, the first report of any harvest here on Islay this year. He cut another field today while Rockside were busy lifting their second crop grass silage this evening.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Wednesday 29th August

Mandy has returned from a holiday over in Sweden. Top birds seen by her were some Cranes, a Black Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Whooper Swan with young. Other birds seen including a Willow Warbler, Goldcrest as well as a Willow Warbler.
Today, Mandy along with her neighbour Irene had watched 2 Buzzard mobbing a juvenile Golden Eagle up behind Carnduncan over towards Gruinart. James this afternoon had counted 43 Blackwits and 4 White Wagtail out from the North hide at Gruinart.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tuesday 28th August

Just as well that the decision was made to postpone the bird nerds meeting from today until tomorrow evening.. The weather through the day here was not that bad, but around 5pm the weather took a downward turn and it turned rather damp, rather dreich..
On the bird front, the Swallows down below the pond here at home, well their second brood fledged today, while other pair that have a nest above our air source het pump, we will keep an eye for them fledging as well.. Late afternoon, there was a small mumeration of over 300 Starlings which tumbled and twisted about as they do... eventually they all lined up on the overhead electric cables, and all really close to each other...

Monday 27 August 2018

Monday 27th August

Yesterday, Distillery Dave along with his wife Ann, and also their faithful mate Ted were down in the South hide at Gruinart where they saw a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a juvenile Peregrine.
Today, up here at home, I saw the Sparrowhawk sitting out on one of the feeding stations, less than 4 metres away, no need for the bins...Earlier on the Peregrine was out calling away along the crag, needed the bins for that one, but not to hand.... The Buzzards were out over the lamb crag or Cnoc an Uain

Remember that the bird nerds will be held on Wednesday at 6.30pm rather than tomorrow evening, as the weather forecast does not look too promising. We are meeting at Bun an Uillt, to hopefully see some waders...

Sunday 26 August 2018

Sunday 26th August

Just as well that I cut the grass when I did yesterday, as it has rained all day, and I would not have been able to do it today...
Mid afternoon, we headed over to James's house for a cuppa and also a long blether. On the way over to Gruinart, we had flock of around 150 Greylags take off from a field of barley at Ballinaby and on the way home there was a female Sparrowhawk perched on top of a fence post at Ballinaby as well. Back at home, there was a small flock of around 30 Twite on top of the fence beside the crop grown for the bumblebees.
As the weather does not look too good for the Bird nerds  on Tuesday evening, at present we will be delaying the actual meeting for 24 hours, until Wednesday evening at 6.30pm. We shall be meeting up at the wee car park just before the sheep pens at Bun an Uillt (NR 294690) and we intend to see what waders are around on Loch Gruinart..

Saturday 25 August 2018

Saturday 25th August

A better sort of a day, once the grass had dried up I cut the grass and the net result later on, was that we had 18 Pied Wagtail on the newly mown grass.. Later on around 7.30 pm, there were over 30 Swallows hawking over the crop catching food. Out on one of our buddleia bushes, we had at least 10 different butterflies, mostly Tortoiseshell and Peacock. Mid afternoon, there were a couple of Peregrines flying above the old church with another one perched away along the crag, spotted by Margaret. Yesterday, I briefly saw a Sparrowhawk flying out of the cover crop...
Today also Distillery Dave had seen  a White tailed Eagle over behind Ballygrant. In at Finlaggan, he saw a male Hen Harrier and back home at Rockside he saw a female Sparrowhawk up behind the steading.

Friday 24 August 2018

Friday 24th August

Sorry about not writing an entry yesterday, but after a day travelling home and emptying the car out, I felt rather tired, not that I feel that much better tonight. Yesterday evening, from the ferry we saw quite a lot of Manx Shearwaters as well as some Gannets.
This morning, David Formby who is now retired after being our dentist here on Islay for a good few years popped in for a catch up with us. David was telling us that he had a flock of 150 Greylags seen over at Gruinart while walking along the moorland track, he also note seeing a Barnacle goose with them as well. While David was here, we had great delight in seeing a male Redpoll out on the feeders.
If any visitors are around, next Tuesday is the time when the Islay bird nerds will be meeting, for their monthly catch up, and hopefully I will have got it all arranged over the next couple of days, so keep an eye open for the venue and the starting time folks...

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Wednesday 22nd August

Some waders seen by James Butcher on Loch Gruinart  today included 2000+ Dunlin, 200+ Sanderling, 43 Blackwits, 23 Knot, 1 Barwit, 87 Curlew and 4 Turnstone.

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Tuesday 21st August

Yesterday up at "base camp", Bob had seen  a large female Sparrowhawk which had spooked a mixed flock of 30 Linnets and 6 Twite. Over at his home, up behind Port Charlotte, he had seen a Sparrowhawk there too..with a Peregrine spotted over Carn while on the barley fields on Octomore, he counted 80 Rock Doves and also 30 Woodpigeon.
Distillery Dave made it home from the Birdfair, and up behind Ballygrant, he saw 2 White tailed Eagles yesterday evening. This morning while out with Ted, Dave had seen a Hen Harrier over the dunes behind Machir Bay, and also 2 distant Terns seen along the shore at the Bay. This evening, he saw a single Greenfinch up at Kilchoman.

Sunday 19 August 2018

Sunday 19th August

Well that's it, the Bird fair for 2018 is past, in the history books It was the 30th event, and as ever well organised. Our accommodation was excellent as ever...We met in with good friends from previous years and made some new colleagues,. All in all a hard few days work put in by everyone that helped us on the Islay and Jura stand . On the actual bird front, Distillery Dave had seen a Marsh Harrier and there was 5 Ospreys seen flying overhead by Joe Davis, the site manager...

Saturday 18 August 2018

Saturday 18th August

Nothing to report from Islay, but down at Rutland Water there was a Marsh Harrier seen and the Red necked Phalarope was seen again. Another busy day for those us involved at the "coal face" at the Birdfair itself.. It does not help as the temperature rose somewhat, net result the heat was rather warmer in the actual marquees for us to "work  in" !!!

Friday 17 August 2018

Friday 17th August

Nothing to report from Islay, but Paul W. had a Greater spotted Woodpecker on his feeders at his house this afternoon. The rest of us have had a very busy day down here at the Bird fair, if nothing else a grand day spent doing some networking... a lot of genuine hard work put into the whole effort by all concerned.

Thursday 16 August 2018

Thursday 16th August

Yesterday, Peter and Anthony had gone down to Portnahaven for a spot of sea watching. They had seen 4 Bonxies, several hundred 100s of  Manxies, Gannets and Kittiwakes flying South past them. They also had seen 10 Fulmars flying past but no Auks.
Today,  the Rutland bhoys had seen Great crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Osprey, Peregrine as well as many Coots, Tomorrow is the start of the Birdfair, so just hope the weather holds and does not get too hot

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Wednesday 15th August

Peter and his friend Anthony from Tanzania have spent some time over the last few days carrying out
some quality birding. Their birds seen included Golden Eagle, White tailed Eagle, several Hen Harriers. Their top bird was a sighting of a Red Grouse along the track to Bolsay up behind Port Charlotte.
Today, some of us, who are away on the annual trip to Rutland, made the most of the chance to see Great white Egret, Little Egret, Red necked Phalarope down at Rutland Water. This evening while out with good friends, Paul and Avril Watchorn, who live close by at Whissendine, we had the great sighting of 14 Yellow Wagtails in one of their fields

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Tuesday 14th August

Gary yesterday had seen 3 different Kestrel round the Loch Gorm area and also a Bonxie at Machir Bay. Today off the ferry, he saw another Bonxie and also "loads of Gannets"

Monday 13 August 2018

Monday 13th August

Yesterday afternoon, Bob and Distillery Dave carried out the WeBs count from Port Charlotte to Bruichladdich counting the following birds... 10 Arctic Terns, 32 Herring Gulls, 18 Common Gulls, 3 Lesser Black backed Gulls, 6 Great Black backed Gulls, 11 Gannets, 6  Curlew, 17 Ringed Plover, 8 Oystercatcher, 4 Dunlin, 34 Eider, 17 Cormorant, 3 Shag and a Great Northern Diver.
This evening, Helen Brown was in touch to say that she had counted 14 Greylags as they came in to land on Ardnahoe Loch.

Sunday 12 August 2018

Sunday 12th August

Today, Gary had seen a male and also a female Hen Harrier and also 2 Kestrels while out along the Glen road.
The blog may be a bit light on entries over the next week or so, as some of us are off/ heading out soon to the Bird Fair at Rutland. So, if you are coming to the Bird Fair, come along to marquee 7 stand 14/15, you will be assured of a warm Islay welcome, we are across the passage from our old friends from Speyside Wildlife.

Friday 10 August 2018

Friday 10th August

Forgot to mention last night that I had an e mail through from Peter who had been speaking to Jan Reavey on Wednesday who had told him that she had been up at Ardnave with some "birding relatives" last Saturday and had seen the Rosy Starling.
Tonight, Distillery Dave had heard then seen the 3 Peregrine Falcons while walking down on Machir bay with Ted.
This evening, by chance, I watched a program on the TV with the President of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland  being interviewed. He came over very well, or so I thought, must have been well trained in his earlier life.... he is well thought of , might see you tomorrow Andy....

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Wednesday 8th August

Well, it is almost that time of year again with our local agricultural show being held tomorrow. Another important event for the birding folks on Islay is our trip down to Rutland and the British Bird Fair, an event well worth going along to if you are around that way next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This year is the 30th Bird Fair, and what an event it will be... Over the 3 day event, around 25,000 visitors attend. There are around 400 stand holders trying to promote their causes, and also 4 lecture Marquees where various speakers will give their illustrated talks over the 3 days. There are also many live demonstrations  including birds being caught and rung, the optics stands are in full cry selling their products, yes an event well worth some of your time to attend. This is the 8th year that some of us have helped out at the Islay and Jura stand, we are in our usual place in Marquee 7, stance 14/15 opposite our god friends from Speyside Wildlife, so see you are there, mind and come along and sample of the produce we have on offer and feel free to win the competition for a week's holiday for 4.

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Tuesday 7th August

This morning, at the early hour of 4.30, Mike had a seen a Whimbrel flying over Port Charlotte and also a Greenshank flew past shortly afterwards. He also saw a Common Sandpiper on the rocks at Port Charlotte.
This evening, I took the chance and managed to take some images of the lbj flock flying past, over the seed crop. I knew that there were not as many as other times, but on a closer look on the computer, I counted 60 birds. On the red feeder, of Niger seeds there were 5 Siskins and 2 Chaffinches while on the Red Millet feeder there was 14 House Sparrows on the actual feed station itself with a further 10 n the ground. On the wee "anti Starling" table another mix of a further 8 birds were counted, and that was not counting the main feeders at the house....

Monday 6 August 2018

Monday 6th August

Distillery Dave was down on Machir Bay early  this morning with his friend, Ted the dog.. Ted is a wee cracker, a bit of a nutcase too, but there again he is still a pup, young at heart...
So here are the birds that Dave had seen today, 21 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, 10 Curlew, a Greenshank and a Peregrine. Back at Rockside, the 2 Blackwits were still present.
The wee birds here at home appear to be enjoying the seed crop, joking apart, I will have a job in my hands trying to get a better count of what is there, as when they fly around, they are vey quick and mobile, and when they drop into the crop to eat, well they seem to disappear down in to the crop. The way to count them could be to possibly to try to use the camera to get an image and try to count them from it...

Sunday 5 August 2018

Sunday 5th August

Yesterday, James Butcher e mailed through to say that "waders numbers were on the up on Loch Gruinart". By the sounds of his correspondence, James had a bit of problem trying to count the waders because of the presence of a Peregrine which caused the waders to be on edge and a bit flighty... James count was as follows, over 800 Dunlin mainly adult birds with a few juveniles, 250 Ringed Plover, 200 Sanderling, 16 Barwits and also a juv. Ruff, the first Ruff he has seen so far this Autumn.
This morning, Distillery Dave had seen some Dunlin along with the Sanderling on Machir Bay, back up at Rockside he had seen 2 Blackwits. This morning, I counted 23 Whimbrel as they flew off the Machir and down towards the sea.

Saturday 4 August 2018

Saturday 4th August

Today, Distillery Dave had counted 76 Sanderling down on Machir Bay, he also had seen a Black tailed Godwit as well.
This morning, I saw 3 Wrens down below the house, the first seen for a few days. Out on the seed heads over towards the reed bed were a family of 4 Whinchats. Late afternoon, while visiting friends, we saw 2 juvenile Robins in their garden. Finally this evening, the flock of birds coming to feed on the crop has greatly increased, again mainly Linnet and Twite with a good number of Goldfinches enjoying the thistle seeds on offer. The other "locals", the Siskins, Chaffinches and House Sparrows seem to be content on the other purchased seed on offer!!!!

Friday 3 August 2018

Friday 3rd August

Rather a late entry tonight, but it has been a "busy day" , so here goes...
Distillery Dave , first thing this morning had seen over 100 waders down on Machir Bay and this evening he had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing opposite Dr Matt Jackson's house below Rockside.
Also today, Al Hart had seen Gannets flying past Frenchman's Rocks. On his  to his viewing point, he had also seen Linnets, Meadow Pipits and also Skylarks. He also watched a Buzzard take a rabbit...
This morning Mike, Peter and Mark Livingston had seen a pod of 11 Bottle nosed Dolphins on Loch Indaal while they were out in their boat fishing. Mike reckons that some of the pod were the same Dolphins that he had seen the other day as there was one with a distinctive notch out of its' dorsal fin.
This afternoon Mark and Val, Mike's wife, had walked from Ballygrant Woods towards Port Askaig where they saw a male Hen Harrier, a Spotted Flycatcher, Lesser Redpoll, and also 25 Mistle Thrush  feeding on Rowans.
This evening, here at home, we had a small mixed flock of 50+ Linnet and Twite on the seed heads of  the bird crop designed for that job. Over the fence, there were several families of Goldfinches eating on the thistle heads. Earlier on, in the afternoon, I took the chance and planted some more trees, mainly filling in a few spaces where some other trees had not  taken .. as well as some more in new sites as well, mainly Alder and some Birch, so fingers crossed that they all "take".

Thursday 2 August 2018

Thursday 2nd August

This morning down on mudflats at Bridgend, at the top of Loch Indaal, Mike had a count of over 250 Dunlin, along with 40 Sanderling. He also had a pair of RTDs flew over in from the moorland to feed out on Loch Indaal. This afternoon, at around 15.00 hrs Mike saw a pod of 7 Bottle nosed Dolphins off Port Charlotte  which then swam along the coast towards Nerabus.
Also today, Al Hart had walked from Ballygrant along to the Lily Loch. He saw a flock of 50 + Siskins, a Spotted Flycatcher. He also saw a group of 8 Mistle Thrush and wondered if they could possibly be a family together? Over on the far side of the Loch, Al saw a Dabchick feeding. He also commented on the amount of Buzzards being around as well.
Allen and Fiona Skinner saw a Merlin fly close past them as they walked up from the Coastguards to the former  Rockside school around lunch time.
This morning, first thing around 6.30am I saw a Goldfinch, a Lesser Redpoll, an adult and also a juv. Siskin on the niger feeder, and that was before filling it with any new seed...Later on, after filling the feeder up, the mix of birds on it was changed, up to 2 Goldfinches and a whopping 18 Siskins while on another small feeder there were another 4 Siskins...

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Tuesday 1st August

This morning, Peter and Mike had gone up to Ardnave to see if they could se the Rosy Starling, no joy but they did have a group of 11 Blackwits at Ardnave Loch itself. Just as well that they had gone out this morning as the weather closed in this afternoon, a "gie driech" time since then. Maybe just as well I raked some grass cuttings as well, and I put them away down on the compost heap....On his way home, earlier this evening from here, Distillery Dave had a mixed group of 50 Curlew and Oystercatcher out on the Machir. Talking about the weather, the rainfall here came to an exact 4 inches for the month, Marsali at Mulindry was saying that for once she has not had as much as us, her figures tallied up to only 3.43 inches...