Sunday 30 September 2018

Sunday 30th September

Just as well that some of the farmers took the option yesterday and got some combining done, as today the weather was not so good, especially as the wind has picked up again...say no more..
Today, Distillery Dave had headed over Gruinart for a spot of birding.. On his way there, he had seen 3 Golden Plover round at Ballinaby, a Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Sparrowhawk and also a Snipe. He met in with Bob, and out from the South hide they saw a good number of Barnacle Geese in and more arriving, 10 Pintail (all in eclipse plumage), 2 Drake Gadwall, a  single Greenland white fronted Goose3 Curlew and a ringtail Hen Harrier and the best part of 800 Teal. Bob, on his way home has a Sparrowhawk as he approached his house up behind Port Charlotte. This afternoon James had counted 685 Barnies on the reserve at Gruinart, 125 Golden Plover, 7 Blackwit, 8 Pale bellied Brent and a Pink footed Goose there as well.
Forgot to mention last night that on our way back from Gruinart yesterday afternoon, Distillery Dave and myself had seen 6 Redwing just as we approached the Hedges below Sunderland, and this afternoon , Margaret spotted a single Redwing on top of one of the headstones next door in the cemetery.

Saturday 29 September 2018

Saturday 29th September

Back on Wednesday, the really windy day which we had, well Ron from Islay info had seen 25 Whoopers fly South down Loch Indaal and on to Ireland.
This morning, Distillery Dave had a Sparrowhawk among the trees at Rockside with a Merlin seen at the road end there shortly afterwards. This afternoon, I went over for a short spell to Gruinart with Distillery Dave to see if there were any more Barnies in. We were well pleased as when we came over the hill, there was indeed a small group of geese flying in, high up. We waited and saw them land on the estuary and counted 42 in total. Later on from the South hide, we saw many Ducks with around 220 Lapwing and a similar number of Golden Plover flying around.  We also saw a handful of Swallows in the air there as well.  We also had a Coal Tit seen in the undergrowth up beside the viewing platform.

Friday 28 September 2018

Friday 28th September

Yesterday, Pat, Bob's other half, had seen a Peregrine up beside their house behind Port Charlotte.

Today, Bob had seen a Kestrel over towards Octomore and in the gull flock there, he saw 2 second winter Med. Gulls along with the Common and Herring Gulls present. Kenneth had found a dead juvenile  Common Tern as he came off Machir Bay and late morning, he had seen 2 small groups of Pale bellied Brent  Geese at the top of Loch Indaal. Late afternoon and Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier skirting along the front of the crag. Around 6pm, Distillery Dave had seen another male Hen Harrier flying over the  road down at Rockside road end. Margaret and myself took a quick drive over to Gruinart once we had finished our tea and were rewarded with a count of 87 Barnacle Geese coming down the loch and landing on the mud flats.... Wonder what tomorrow will bring???

The weather has been dry today although there had been a slight dampness through the night, but the combines and balers have been out trying to make the most of it, not a good harvest for sure!!!!!

Thursday 27 September 2018

Thursday 27th September

Late yesterday afternoon, Mandy had seen a Kestrel down close to McNicol's croft.
This morning, Gary had seen 6 Barnacle Geese down at the top of Loch Indaal while he was having a look see while parked at the entrance to Whin Park. Louise had a Starling on her feeders this morning, a first for the Gatehouse list.. At the manse at Craighouse, Louise had seen a Sparrowhawk. Later on, she saw a Merlin and then a Hen Harrier up behind Ballinaby. Bob, this afternoon, saw a Little Gull among some Black headed Gulls at Carnain. The BTO sent more details about the Greylag goose that Bob had been handed in to him. It was initially caught and rung back on 12th of December in 2012 over at Ballinaby.
Here at home, a quick bird watch after tea produced 2 Buzzards, a Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Raven and around 30 Chough.

Yet another image of our very local Sparrowhawk, taken in the evening sun, through the kitchen window, earlier this evening...

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Wednesday 26th September

Sorry folks that I never put an entry on for yesterday, but by the time I got home after the Bird nerds meeting, I was really feeling rather whacked, and I am sticking  to that story!!!!
On Monday, Gary had seen an Osprey fly from Jura over to Bunnahabhain, over Finlaggan, he saw 3 White tailed Eagles along with 2 Golden Eagles seen there as well. Up at Torrabus, Gary had a Kestrel and finally on Monday, Gary had seen a male Hen Harrier over the moor  behind his house. Yesterday, he had a Kestrel at Coal Ila as well as a ringtail Hen Harrier seen there too. Gary commented on seeing large numbers of Goldfinches, Redpolls and also Siskin mainly in Alder thickets. He also spotted Chough over the moorland at Keills.
James was telling us all last night that the Corncrake numbers heard of calling male birds on Islay had fallen to only 60 calling birds compared 74 last year.. Bob gave me a ring of a dead Greylag which had BTO ring on which he had been given the other day, so I was in touch with Bob Swann and through time we will get the history about it.
Other news from  yesterday, well up here at Shepherd's cottage, I emptied our rain gauge out as it was full, a mere 127 mm meanwhile down in Lincolnshire, Nicholas Watts has only had 19 mm in total.. No pleasing some folk!!! And, oh yes, there has been some rain more since I emptied the rain gauge.
Today, late afternoon, there was a knock at the door, it was Kenneth with a juvenile Gannet under his arm. It appeared to be uninjured, so I took it down and released it down at Bruichladdich, out over Loch Indaal. Kenneth had found it down on the side of the road, on the grass verge below Rockside.

Monday 24 September 2018

Monday 24th September

Just a wee reminder as tomorrow is the last Tuesday of the month, time for the monthly meet of the Bird nerds here on Islay... So , we shall meet up at the Gaelic college, outside of Bowmore at 7pm, so if you are around and at a lose end, come and meet up with us, as ever visitors are made welcome...
George E. Jackson along with his wife Pat arrived over yesterday for a few days, and had seen 5 Swallows at their son's house  as well as a flock of around 250 Starlings. earlier on this evening Distillery Dave had a female Sparrowhawk on top of the fence around the wood beside his house at Rockside.

As promised, an image of the Big bird feeding station which Distillery Dave helped us build....

Sunday 23 September 2018

Sunday 23rd September

Yesterday, Distillery Dave had been over at Gruinart and from the South hide he had seen plenty of Mipits, Wagtails as well as Curlew and Lapwing present there as well. He also had a pair of Dabchick and also a Sparrowhawk. James, had seen loads of Sanderling up at Ardnave and also a Merlin there too. Down on the reserve at Gruinart, James saw another Merlin and also a Golden Eagle.
Sandy MacTaggart, this morning had seen a large number geese flying South past Machir Bay, around 1,000 geese in all, probably Brent geese flying to Ireland according to James. Today at Gruinart, James had seen a Kestrel. Here at home in the new big bird cage, we had a count of at least 44 birds in sampling the food on offer at one time this morning... Later on, we saw a Great Tit in on the nuts and then mid afternoon, there was a Greenfinch in.. out on the garden fence, a Sparrowhawk was watching all that was happening round about. This evening, as we watched the antics of the Chough, a Peregrine zipped past.
Good friend Armin Grewe who lives down close to Reading had some Blue Tits and Great Tits on his feeders today, neither bird is that common to him..

Saturday 22 September 2018

Saturday 22nd September

Last night while driving up towards his house at Rockside, Distillery Dave spotted a Barn Owl on top of a straining post.
Today, returning visiting birder, Kenneth from Norway had seen 2 White tailed Eagles  past Kildalton, probably the same Eagles that Gary had seen yesterday, out from the Dower House.
Distillery Dave gave me a hand (again..) and we finished off making a new big bird cage to allow us to feed our wee birds in and hopefully keep the Starlings and Jackdaws at bay. It will also be of benefit to me as I will not have go in bent double when I go into fill the feeders !!! Some of the birds must have known what we were up to, as it not long before some Siskins were in having some of the treats available. Goldfinches were on the niger feeder with Chaffinches and House Sparrows all in for a snack too.. Will try to get an image for  you to see tomorrow... by the way there is also a feeder outside for the bigger birds and also a pheasant feeder for anyone to eat at, that wishes it...

Friday 21 September 2018

Friday 21st September

The other day, Ron McNab had a count of 50 Manx Shearwater while spending some time doing a sea watch down at Frenchman's Rocks. He also saw 2 Sooty Shearwater and then 2 Arctic Skuas harassing some Kittiwakes. Over at Gruinart, Ron had seen 2 Whooper Swans, possibly the Swans that did not fly away in the Spring. Coming over the hill from Gruinart, Ron had a White tailed Eagle and then a Kestrel while he was driving around Loch Gorm.
Yesterday, as we watched out the windows the Sparrowhawk flew through and over the crop spoofing all the wee birds up, but to no avail, maybe they are all too fat for it...
Today, Gary had seen large numbers of Goldfinch and Redpolls flocking while he was down on the Oa, with a pesky Merlin hunting through the flock. Later on, Gary had seen 2 White tailed Eagles siting on the skerries out from the Dower House.

Thursday 20 September 2018

Thursday 20th September

Yesterday evening, Distillery Dave had seen a female Wheatear fliting along the road in the car headlights over at Saligo Bay.
Today, David Wood had seen a Leach's Petrel off Lower Killeyan on the Oa. James How had seen a Peregrine on the reserve at Gruinart with Louise spotting her "regular" Peregrine on top of a telegraph pole below her house on Jura. Back on Gruinart, James Butcher had 9 Pintail, possibly the first sighting of the Autumn. Bob, this morning, had seen a large charm of over 300 Goldfinch round at Ballinaby. He also saw 10 Mipits there as well. Also seen at Ballinaby, 50 Skylarks as well as 4 Stonechats.
Obviously a much better day for birdwatching, with an "almost" dry day, and yes the wind had dropped considerably as well!!!

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Wednesday 19th September

James sent through a couple of sightings which he had yesterday, sent through too late for the deadline for yesterday's blog ....
On Loch Gruinart itself, James counted a total of 84 Pale bellied Brent Geese while on the reserve he saw 2 Ruff. Today, well the wind certainly picked up with plenty of rain in the mix too... It certainly has not helped my hairstyle, say no more !!!
Stop the press.. Just been watching the small cruise liner the "Black Watch" sailing past Coull Point, heading south, a bit close in for my liking... The other liner which sailed past night was the same vessel which broke its moorings earlier on today, over at Gourock ...

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Tuesday 18th September

Another day like yesterday, but this evening the wind has started to pick as per the weather forecast, around 6pm there was also a brief thunderstorm along with lightening as well, which is not that common here.
Mandy, this morning at 9 o ' clock had seen an Osprey down at Blackrock. Also at Blackrock, on the water, she had 9 Pale bellied Brent. Later on this afternoon, Mandy had an Eagle while over at the Dower House. She was not100% sure as to whether it was a Goldie or a White tail as she had not got her bins with her...
Returning visiting birder Ron McNab had seen 2 Peregrines mobbing a Buzzard while he was driving round Loch Gorm. Later on, he saw a female Wheatear while up at Kilchoman.

Monday 17 September 2018

Monday 17th September

Not exactly the best day with the weather, with heavy showers coming in from the sea, coupled with strong winds. Another reason why tonight's entry is light in content!!
Yesterday Gary had a ringtail Hen Harrier over the moorland as drove down to Claggain Bay. At Claggain Bay itself, he saw an Arctic Skua harassing some Kittiwakes. He also had a male Wheatear there as well.

Sunday 16 September 2018

Sunday 16th September

Yesterday, Bob saw his second Goldcrest of this Autumn in his garden. Later on, in the adjoining field, he saw a Kestrel, the first that he has seen there for 4 years...
James was up for a natter and a cuppa this afternoon.. Back on Thursday, 21 Pale bellied Brent flew over the reserve and onwards. On Friday he counted a further 29 fly onwards .... Today on the reserve at Gruinart, James had 2 Goldcrest and also 4 Blackwits.
Up here, while having the famous cuppa with James, a female Sparrowhawk came and landed just outside the window, less than 20 feet away, no need for the bins, but the camera might have been handy ...
Talking about Geese starting to be seen, I read this morning that there had been 30 Barnies counted on Fair Isle yesterday..Svalbard geese rather than the ones that come down from Greenland to here !!!

Saturday 15 September 2018

Saturday 15th September

Some sightings trough from visitor Steve Willis who had a brief visit from Wednesday to yesterday.... Down at Kintra, he had seen 2 White tailed Eagles fly overhead, on the shore, there was a small group of 10 Curlew and he also a great sighting of a big hen Peregrine at Kintra as well. While driving up towards Kilchoman, he had a Sparrowhawk fly across the road. Down at Machir Bay, he saw Raven, Buzzard and then a Merlin mobbing the Buzzard. Finally at the top of Loch Indaal, Steve watched an Osprey fishing. Many thanks Steve, much appreciated.
This morning, here at home, around breakfast time, the ringtail Hen Harrier was out over the bumble bee crop, no doubt looking for a snack for its' breakfast, but no joy as it just kept on flying away from me!!

Friday 14 September 2018

Friday 14th September

The other day, Bob had seen around 2,000 Meadow Pipit fly over his house, heading West towards Kilchiaran in a 2 hour watch. Louise, yesterday, had a charm of over 100 Goldfinch round at Ballinaby in the morning. Distillery Dave had seen a small group of Pale bellied Brent at Bun an UIsg, just as he was coming out of Bowmore, but could not get a right count as he was in a line of traffic, in the early evening.
This morning, on my way home from Bowmore, a Merlin flew across the road down at McNichol's croft. This afternoon, Martin Armstrong had seen around 95 Twite up here on the bird seed crop and then later on, I had  another flock of around a further 65 Twite.

Thursday 13 September 2018

Thursday 13th September

Forgot the other night to put some sightings in from Peter.. On Tuesday, while out in the rain, and in between showers, he had managed to spot 10 Blackwits and also a flock of over 30 Chough when he was up at Ardnave.
Earlier on today, Gary sent through his WeBS count which he carried out yesterday from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. His tally was as follows, 1 GND, 1 R b Merganser, 6 Cormorant, 4 Shag, 19 Eider, 15 Mallard, 4 Teal, 10 Wigeon, 83 Oystercatcher, 47 Curlew, 23 Redshank, 30 Barwit, 10 Blackwit, 99 Ringed Plover, 49 Dunlin, 6 Turnstone, 16 Gbb Gull, 104 H Gull, 12 C Gull, 6 B h Gull, 37 Knot,  1 Golden Plover, 14 Pbb Brent Geese, 102 Greylag, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Osprey and 1 Peregrine Falcon.
Today, as usual, the wind blew quite strongly, but on a positive note, some of the farmers did manage to get their combines out and cut for a couple of hours before the rain came on yet again. Another note on the positive side of things was that I took the chance and cut the grass, just before it started to rain..

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Wednesday 12th September

The wind kept on huffing and puffing again today, with the odd occasional dirty shower of rain thrown into the mix... It did not deter Gary from being out, and his reward was seeing 14 Pale bellied Brent Geese fling south down Loch Indaal this morning, the first here on Islay this Autumn, as far as I know... Mid to late afternoon, here at home there were 2 Peregrines heard calling away somewhere along the front of the big crag....

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Tuesday 11th September

No entry yesterday and almost a repeat, no show again today, as the weather has been not exactly A1 with many heavy showers of rain along with strong winds, not very nice at all...
But Gary had been out and saw some birds for the blog... A Grey Wagtail and also 3 Kestrel over at Bunnahabhain, an Osprey carrying a fish flew over the road at Red Houses, just out of Bridgend and back close to his home, he had a Redpoll at the Finlaggan road end. This evening, just as it was getting dark Distillery Dave had a Barn Owl between Coull and the cattle grid as he went round to Saligo. He also had 2 Snipe while out as well.

Sunday 9 September 2018

Sunday 9th September

Yesterday afternoon, Peter had seen a Sandwich Tern sitting on the rocks on the edge of Loch Indaal, out from Loch Gorm House at the edge of Bruichladdich.
This afternoon I gave Bob a hand to carry out his WeBS count from Blackrock back round to Port Charlotte, with the tally coming in as follows, 23 Cormorant,1 Grey Heron, 73 Eider, 30 R B Merganser, 5 Oystercatcher, 4 Rock Dove, 16 Ringed Plover, 61 Dunlin, 1 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 2 Med Gull, 4 Bh Gull, 265 C Gull,  2 Sandwich Tern, 9 Herring Gull, 1 Gbb Gull, 1 Kittiwake.
Both the Sandwich Terns seen were in the same location as to where Peter had his Tern yesterday.
Needless to add, but with a  lot of dirty squally showers around for most of the day, we were fortunate in being able to actually do the count....

Saturday 8 September 2018

Saturday 8th September

Yesterday evening, Distillery Dave had seen a Kestrel away along the crag towards the masts above Kilchiaran as he walked along Machir Bay. Today, he had a raft of 47 Red breasted Merganser out from Uiskentuie on Loch Indaal. New birder contributing today, Gordon Pollinger had seen a Whimbrel feeding along with 9 Curlew out in a field below Easter Ellister. He also saw a couple of Chough at Ellister as well.
George E. Jackson was in touch this evening to say that he has just received some information on the Siskin which he caught up here in his mist nets back on the 10th of July this year with a Dutch leg ring fitted.... It was originally rung in Lippenhuizen, Friesland, Holland back on 27th of March this year. The other piece of information is that it is 867 km in a WNW from Holland to here..

Many thanks to "JD" for your birds while you were here..

Friday 7 September 2018

Friday 7th September

A better sort of a day, having said that I doubt if much combining would be carried out today as the dampness never really got off the crops, certainly no baling of any straw should have occurred.
On the bird front, Bob had a Merlin through his garden today. Up here at home, we had a Sparrowhawk over the Bee crop this morning and it reappeared again this afternoon, this time through past the willows beside the big electric transformer pole, no joy either time, a juvenile bird wearing the "L" plates me thinks..
"JD" today had a Grey Wagtail at Carnain and also had 55 Barwits, a Blackwit and 41 Knot. Round toward Bruichladdich out from Loch Gorm House he had 9 juv. Kittiwakes feeding close off shore.  Up at Craig Mhor on the west side of Loch Gruinart, he saw a juv. female Merlin zip past.

Thursday 6 September 2018

Thursday 6th September

Another mixed day with the weather again today..
Here at home, this morning before my breakfast, I had a flock of around 200 Twite out on the bird seed crop, mind you that is what we planted it for!!! On the feeders, well the other birds have been busy there as well. The last couple of days, we have had a Great Tit and then a Blue Tit seen here, neither of which are that common here.. Late afternoon, Margaret counted 16 Pheasants, a good number for here, and not for to be shot at!!!
"JD" had seen the 2 second year Med. Gulls at Carnain this morning and then this evening along with Peter and Mike had the juv. Med. Gull at Blackrock and then along at Carnain, they saw an Arctic Tern, on the estuary. At Blackpark, "JD" had a count of 220 Linnet in the flock there. Up at Loch Finlaggan, he saw 10 Tufted Duck and also 2 Dabchicks.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Wednesday 5th September

A pig of a day, dull and dreich for most of the morning with some heavy rain coming in late afternoon in and around tea time, but a nice evening outside at 8pm.. so, one way or another not a great day for birding, or for the farmers either..
Bob had ben out with "JD" this morning and they saw a second winter Med. Gull just out of Bowmore. They had a flock of 70 Goldfinch at Carnain and saw the Reeve up at Gruinart. This evening, "JD" at Carnain saw 3 Med. Gulls, 2 second winter and a first winter and also a count of 23 Knot.
Up here, just as it was drying up 2 Peregrine flew along the crag and then flew on towards Rockside all at quite a high altitude. Shortly afterwards, the pesky Sparrowhawk had the cheek to be sitting on the picnic bench beside the bird feeders, but no wee birds were around for it to have for its' supper...

The Bearsden birders reported through to say that they had seen their first Siskin of the Autumn the other day, along with a couple of Goldfinch and also a Great spotted Woodpecker on their feeders in their garden, Earlier, last week they had a count of over 1,000 Common Scoter up on the Dornoch Firth.

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Tuesday 4th September

Marsali sent through the rainfall figure for August up at Mulindry, it came to 4.8 inches, so that is the second month that it has been drier at Mulindry rather than here at Kilchoman...
The weather turned out not too bad today, although it was later on before the combines started up as the dampness took a bit longer to lift ... so as well as the combines working away, some of the farmers had the balers out, making the most of this spell of weather.
"JD" today was in touch to say that he has now seen 4 Med. Gulls, the 2 seen today are second winter birds according to himself... At Blackpark, he had a count of 140 Linnet and up at Bun an Uillt, he had 31 Barwit, 14 Knot and also the female Ruff , or Reeve as some folk call them..Over at Ardnave, he saw 25 Twite, 80 Linnet, 40 "Alba" Wagtail, and 120 Mipits.   Out on Loch Indaal, 11 RTD and 55 Common Scoter were present. Up close to Bob's house, behind Port Charlotte, he saw a juv. Sparrowhawk and counted a flock of 80 Woodpigeon.

Monday 3 September 2018

Monday 3rd September

A better sort of a day with a glorious sunset coming in shortly, so here is hoping for another good day tomorrow, mainly to allow the farmers another crack at cutting their barley...Distillery Dave was telling me earlier this evening that he had a count of around 400 Greylags early this morning, on the silage aftermaths down at Rockside. This evening, a few moments ago, the geese were in the air, but appeared to "drop" in to the barley crop...
"JD" had a flock of 160 Linnet and also 55 Goldfinch at Carnain this morning. Up at Gruinart, the female Ruff was still present as were 2 Whooper Swans, presumably the 2 that have been summering there... Craigens held a flock of 120 Linnet and then between Craigens and Coullabus, a Whitethroat and 4 juvenile Whinchat were present. Up at Braigo, he saw 12 Lesser Redpoll and 2 House Martin. Along at the road end leading to Coull, a Sparrowhawk was sitting on a fence post. Down on Machir Bay, he had 30 Ringed Plover and 4 Turnstone. This afternoon, he saw 22 Knot, 6 Barwit, a Blackwit and also 41 Wigeon down at Loch Indaal.
A 10 minute spot of bird watching mid afternoon, here at home proved to be quite productive, with 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Peregrine, 3 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk all seen out along and over the crag. The Peregrines chased the Eagles away with the Sparrowhawk  being mobbed by many lbjs and Swallows..

Sunday 2 September 2018

Sunday 2nd September

Yesterday afternoon, James Butcher had a flock of 145 Twite up at Killinallan, "JD" had seen a flock of 120 Linnet over Blackpark along with several groups of 10 - 20 Lesser Redpoll and many groups of up to 40 Goldfinch in the same area at Blackpark. Remember also it was also "JD" who had seen the Med. Gull at Blackrock, well also yesterday later on, he also saw a second Med. Gull there as well.
Today, along past Uiskentuie, he saw the 2 Med. Gulls close together along towards the spit that projects out into Loch Indaal. Up at Gruinart, he saw 11 Blackwits and also 14 Barwits, a female Ruff, a juv. Sparrowhawk, a juv. Peregrine and also a female Hen Harrier. Over at Bun an Uillt, "JD" saw 3 Shoveler.  On Loch Gorm, he counted 41 Tufted Duck, a Greater Scaup and a Gadwall. This morning before breakfast time, Distillery Dave had 4 Turnstone down at Machir Bay.

Saturday 1 September 2018

Saturday 1st September

Well, another month has passed, and the rainfall figure for August was 4.9 inches.. There was a dampness last night, with the net result being that I doubt if any of the farmers cut any harvest today. 
"JD" is over for the week and had a great spot, seeing a Mediterrean Gull down at Blackrock this morning. Out on Loch Indaal from the same viewing point, he saw  3 GND, a Slavonian Grebe, 2 Great Scaup and also 48 Common Scoter. Up at Gruinart, he saw 18 Knot and also a Greenshank. Gary had been down and saw the Med. Gull as well as 2 Chough just inshore. Distillery Dave saw a Peregrine round at Saligo this morning, and up here at home, mid afternoon the Sparrowhawk flew over the bird crop and then around 15 minutes later, it returned and dropped down into the crop, but when it reappeared, it was not carrying anything. A moment or so later it dropped back into the crop again, and when it reappeared it was not carrying anything the second time either.