Wednesday 31 October 2018

Wednesday 31st October

Yesterday,  Mike Bell had been out birding, but after the meeting last , I was too tired to write up a list of Mike birds, better late than never.. Yesterday at dawn, he had 30 Chough fly out from the roost at Kilchoman. Along the West end of Loch Gorm, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier. At Blackrock, he had seen 34 Scaup. He carried out his "own" WeBs count from Bowmore along to Gartbreck with his tally coming to a RTD, a GND, 68 Whitefronts, 90 Greylags, 9,400 Barnies, 46 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 36 Mallard, 27 Eider, 30 R B Merganser, 57 Oystercatcher, 42 Ringed Plover, 210 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 32 Lapwing, 4 Knot, 16 Dunlin, 17 Barwits, 30 Curlew, 21 Snipe, 5 Redshank, 9 Turnstone with 21 Ravens seen at the Refuse tip.  Over at Mulindry, Mike had seen 192 Whooper Swans. Now on his return leg to where he is staying, Mike saw a Golden Eagle and also a Peregrine as he drove from Carnain over the hill towards Coullabus. Up the East side of Loch Gruinart, he had 1,200 Golden Plover, 22 Knot, 86 Barwits, 3 Greenshank, 27 Turnstone, and 90 Redwing. On the floods at Gruinart, he saw 16 Whoopers, 1100 Teal, 64 Pintail, 15 Shoveler a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Blackwit. Up at Sanaigmore, Mike saw a Golden Eagle, a Merlin, a Peregrine, 7 Ringed Plover, 3 Turnstone, and 35  Redwing. Ballinaby held 3 Chough and finally 102 Redwing were counted at Saligo. A good day's work Mike, many thanks!!!

This morning, out on the grass we had a female Blackcap munching its' way into the apples on the ground...
Earlier on the ringtail flew through the garden, and just kept going. We had another fly through this afternoon, the same bird no doubt... There was another female Blackcap seen further down in the garden, this one was enjoying the Rose hips as was a male Blackbird. The other Blackcap was up at the apples at the same time. Margaret came through to say that the Blackbird was now enjoying the berries on the Cotoneasters.. please leave some berries/ hips for any Waxwings that may come and visit us... 

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Tuesday 30th October

Louise Hughes is over leading a group of birders on behalf of "The Travelling Naturalist". Yesterday when they came off the ferry at Port Askaig, they went up to Finlaggan where they saw a White tailed Eagle spoof around 200 Geese and then a short while after that a ringtail Hen Harrier on the wing over the moorland. Today, Louise had taken the group up to Gruinart, where they had a Golden Eagle and up at Ardnave, they saw 20 Chough.
Dave Wood had 8 Brambling and also 2 Merlin at Kinnabus on the Oa. Martin had a Peregrine at Lossit Farm on the Rhinns as well as a Hen Harrier. Back over at Glenegedale where Martin lives, he had seen a group of 10 Long tailed Tits in his garden this morning. Bob, this morning had 2 female Merlin zip through his garden.

Monday 29 October 2018

Monday 29th October

Yesterday, Eric Bignall had seen 2 Red Kites in the afternoon flying past over Kindrochaid. Also yesterday, John Wilson had seen a Brambling along with some Chaffinches at Rockside. At Ardnave, he counted 20 Chough and down at Blackrock, he had seen 33 Scaup along with 22 Common Scoter.
Today, well the weather has not been as good as yesterday, and that is me trying to be polite... all the same Mike Bell did venture out and discover some birds for us...Down at the Coastguards, Mike counted 55 Hooded Crows. At Neriby, he saw a White tailed Eagle and along at Mulindry he saw 34 Whoopers. Down at Machir Bay before getting soaked, he counted 38 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone and 31 Redwing. This afternoon, he had a 20 minute golden spot while walking out along the road leading up to Scarrabus.. In this short time he saw a Hen Harrier, a Golden Eagle, a male Merlin, a Sparrowhawk , 4 Buzzard and a Kestrel. He also counted 95 Redwing and a Fieldfare when out on his walk, it had stopped raining over there by then!!!!  On his way back to his cottage, he saw 296 Whoopers, 480 Whitefronts and 1270 Greylags at Sunderland Farm.

Remember to come to the Bird Nerds meeting at 7.30pm in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore tomorrow, if you are around on Islay..

Sunday 28 October 2018

Sunday 28th October

James headed over on the ferry from Port Ellen to Kennacraig this morning and from the ferry he saw a total  of 52 GND,  6 RTD and also 2 BTD.
Mike Bell is back over on Islay this week and we met in with him earlier this evening...So here  are his birds seen today. Down on Machir Bay, he had 1500 roosting Barnies, 14 Whoopers flying West out to the sea, 79 Curlew, 24 Ringed Plover with 11 Reed Bunting spotted in the reed bed there. On Loch Gorm, Mike counted 81 Tufted Duck and 2 Goldeneye. Sunderland Farm held 110 Whoopers. Up at Ardnave, there were 19 Whoopers, 173 Redwing, and 15 Fieldfare, over at Traigh Nostaig, Mike saw 27 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 5 Turnstone and also 27 Rock Pipit. Off Nave Point he saw 2 GND, and then coming back down from the top of Nave back to his car he had a Snow Bunting, 9 Sanderling with 25 Chough seen as well. Over the Gruinart reserve he saw over 1,000 Golden Plover in the air with 840 Teal, 21 Pintail and 8 Shoveler present as well. From Gruinart, he also saw a ringtail Hen Harrier with a distant White tailed Eagle and then a distant Golden Eagle seen. Highlights from a drive round Loch Indaal, from Port Charlotte round to Bowmore produced the following, 67 RTD, 17 GND, a single BTD and also 34 Slav Grebes, including a raft of 19 seen off Blackrock, 140 Eider, 63 Common Scoter, 7  Lt Ducks (including 6 drakes), 33 Scaup at Blackrock, 93 R b Merganser with 8 Goldeneye seen off Bowmore. On the flats at Bridgend, Mike counted 25 Ringed Plover, 24 Dunlin, 38 Barwits, 6 Pb Brent Geese and also 24 Whoopers.
Up here at home, we have had several pairs of Stonechats , a pair of Reed Bunting, and also 20 Redwings as well. Mind you, the weather has ben a lot kinder to us all today..

If you are around on Islay, the monthly meeting of the Islay Bird nerds will be on Tuesday evening, in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore at 7.30 pm. See you there then, no excuses accepted!!!

Saturday 27 October 2018

Saturday 27th October

Yesterday, while canon netting some Barnacle Geese, Steve Percival had a retrapped Goose wearing a darvic leg ring , LBL was the code on the goose's ring which Steve had originally  rung here on Islay by Steve, 24 years ago..
This morning, Mike Peacock had done a dawn watch from the hide at Gruinart... Apart from all the geese, swans and ducks present, Mike also had seen 3 Greenshank with large flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare moving through. On the way over to Loch Gorm, he had a Peregrine sitting on top of a dyke and back  in Port Charlotte, he saw a different Brambling in his garden. This afternoon, over at Loch Skerrols, Mike had a Golden Eagle, a Sparrowhawk and also large flock  of around 50 Chaffinch.
Saturday is normally change over day with the accommodation providers here on Islay, so some of our contributors of late are now away home with hopefully some others arriving. So, yet again, thanks to those of you who sent me their sightings and here is now looking into another set of birders in today with their sightings, watch this space ...

Friday 26 October 2018

Friday 26th October

Some birds in from John Wilson and his son Jonti. Yesterday, they counted  30 Scaup, and 20  Common Scoter and a GND off Blackrock. Over at Persabus, they saw 2 Yellowhammers. Down at Bowmore, 6 Pb Brents were present and on their travels they had 3 different Merlin, one at Port Charlotte, another at Bruichladdich with the final one seen over at Bunnahabhain.
Today, the Bowland Birders had a day of dodging the many dirty showers that were around, apart from the numerous heavy squally showers of rain we had some long prolonged hail showers late afternoon... They had an estimated count of at least 100 Redwing down at Octomore. On a trip round the Rhinns, they had a single Fieldfare, a male Hen Harrier and a single Mistle Thrush as well. At Gruinart, they had another male Harrier with a Dabchick up on Ardnave Loch. They also had seen, 6 Gbb Gull and a Buzzard feeding on a carcass of a young seal, opposite Nave Island. This morning, Bob had counted 390 Whoopers on the stubble field at Sunderland. Mike P. had a Greenfinch on his feeders and Gary saw a Glaucous Gull on the spit on the strand towards Uiskentuie.
Dave Woods reported through to say that with wind switching round to the North, that there has been a big fall of birds down on the Oa... There were only 50 Whitefronts present yesterday, but now up to 360 earlier this evening. Also counted were a minimum of 800 Redwing and 200 Fieldfare, all freshly arrived. Dave also had 6 Brambling and a Chiffchaff at Kinnabus today. John Wilson and Jonti counted 26 Chough going in to the roost here in between some really dirty showers.

Thursday 25 October 2018

Thursday 25th October

Some sightings through from Gary who had ben out with some clients over the past couple of days. 3 groups of Bullfinches were seen, one over at Persabus, the other along the road up at Ardnahoe, with final group seen just as they approached Bunnahabhain itself. Over down below Bun an Uillt, they saw 2 adult Golden Eagles harassing the geese at Gruinart. At Sunderland Farm, they counted around 300 Whooper Swans on a stubble field.  Just along the road on the track leading down to Loch Gorm, they saw 2 Yellowhammers. Finally off Bruichladdich Pier, 2 Comic Terns were present.
Today, a "thin day" for the Bowland birders, top bird for them was a female Merlin siting on a gate post up past the waterworks behind Port Charlotte. Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly through our garden earlier on this  afternoon, she also had a Sparrowhawk sitting on the garden fence later on. Up here at home is where have our Siskins gone? They appeared in the Spring and remained here all the time until recently.. perhaps we might get an answer as George E. Jackson did ring a total of  22 with BTO rings on plus the Dutch rung bird as well... so look out for any Siskins with leg rings on....please!!!!

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Wednesday 24th October

The other day, Ian and Susan Pettman who are annual visitors to Islay had seen a male Stonechat and also a male Hen Harrier when they were over at the reserve at Gruinart. Both these birds are not that common where they come from.
This morning, Mike Peacock had a new garden tick in his garden down in Port Charlotte, a Brambling.. James this morning had a count of 267 Whitefronts on the reserve at Gruinart. He also had 99 Whoopers moving through the reserve this morning as well. this afternoon, The Bowland birders dropped in for a catch up, as did John Wilson from Leighton Moss along with his son Jonti. It was great to have a catch up folks, and great to see that I have not forgotten on how to put the kettle on...They all commented on seeing flocks of up to 150 Redwings as they came along the road to here as well as seeing so many Whoopers  around, just fantastic... Down on Machir Bay, The Bowland Birders had seen 7 Sanderling, 28 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone.
Other visitors, earlier this week, Jane and Nigel Clark had seen 2 Otters down at Port Mor, out of Port Charlotte, eating some flat fish...They also had a GND, along with several Cormorants out on the water , and on the stubbles there was a count of around 1,000 Barnies. Today, at the head of Loch Indaal, they reckoned that there were over 1,000 Barnies and also 7 Whoopers resting up. Up at Bunnahabhain, they saw another Otter.
Another pair of visitors Richard Houtman from Amsterdam, along with his father, today had seen some Redwing over at Lagavullin. Along at Ardbeg, they had seen 2 Swallows on the wing looking  for food, with another Swallow seen at Lagavullin.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Tuesday 23rd October

Yesterday, I was given a copy to read of the current edition of  "British Wildlife", and found a very interesting article written by Steve Percival and Eric Bignal about the current "Islay Barnacle Goose management strategy". A very well written article, well done to Steve and Eric..

This is an annual cull that takes place on Islay of the Barnacle Geese. Last year a total of 3,321 geese were culled by marksmen employed by SNH  under licence . I believe that the overall scheme costs around £900,000 each year, allowing for compensation payments to farmers, administration costs..

So here is a link to Steve and Eric's paper

Monday 22 October 2018

Monday 22nd October

The wind this evening has certainly picked up....although somehow it has remained dry...
On Saturday, returning visiting birders,  Richard and Pat Howells had taken the ferry up to Colonsay. On approaching Scalascaig, they had 8 GND and a single RTD. Over at the airfield, they had seen some Chough, while round at Loch Fada, they heard a Water Rail calling. As the light started to fail at the dusk, 2 Golden Eagles flew overhead. Yesterday they had seen a "near albino" Greylag amongst the Greylags on the barley stubbles at Cruach. Later on up towards Killinallan, they had a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, several Barwits and also a single Shelduck. Over at Kilchoman, they had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the crag. Down at Bruichladdich, they had a single RTD and also 3 GND. Also seen, yesterday evening, was a single Barn Owl  down on the high road towards the Duich Lots. Today, down at Claggain Bay they had seen a Long tailed Duck as well as 13 GND. At Cruach, they had seen 60 Golden Plover and then a Grey Wagtail down at Glenegedale.
On the Saturday, "The Bowland birders" returned for another "Islay fix". They had a relatively quiet trip over on the ferry seeing Guillemots, Tysties Kittiwakes, GND and also some RTD.  Yesterday, a trip round the Rhinns was quiet as well, with a male Hen Harrier seen around Portnahaven before flying over to Orsay where they noted 8 Roe Deer!!! There was a very sparse passage of Gannets.
Today, down at Bruichladdich they had Ringed Plover, Curlew, Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch as well as 3 Ravens. Further along the road, out on Loch Indaal from Loch Gorm House, 2 Little Terns were present with 6 Turnstone noted out on the big spit. At Blackrock, Common Gull, 24 Common Scoter and a small group of 6 Slav Grebes seen. They saw 12 Scaup out on the Loch from there and also a further 40 in the bay out from Cash Kelly's house.
Yesterday from the North hide at Gruinart, Distillery Dave had seen 12 Snipe along with several Barwits present as well. Steve Percival had told me this morning that the large number of Whoopers seen yesterday at Craigens had not been present this morning, so probably had been some of the Swans which we had seen heading out last night. Here at home this morning, I flushed a Snipe out from down beside the pond. Bob, this morning had a count of 700 Greylags on the stubbles at Octomore this morning, they appeared to be all vey quiet, and did not fly away as he was quite close to them. He wondered as to whether they had arrived in through the night and were resting up...
Another piece of news is that John Picton who is leading a tour here this week with Heatherlea had seen a Little Egret over at Loch an t Sailein which is over past Ardbeg Distillery, this morning.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Sunday 21st October

Back to normal for a wee while, back to great expanses of Islay with little light pollution, with a coolish wind picking up speed through the day here. Some sightings through on the messages from folk in my absence. Back on the 4th, Bob had seen 15 Whoopers on the stubbles down at Port Charlotte. George Newall from Dunoon had seen 3 ? greylags with Red neck collars fitted to them at Rockside but they were too far away to be able to read the codes on the geese. I missed "old" correspondent Richard Belter who was over here while we were away... And also the Horwich Birders as well.. So, many thanks to you all for your birds, in my absence!!!!
Back on Friday, Eddie and Elaine Prince from Leighton Moss had the privilege to witness the arrival of 303 Whoopers at Gruinart in the space of around 90 minutes along with many skeins of Barnies arriving as well... Up at Ardnave, they had a count of 42 Chough as well as counting over 100 Twite up there as well... Bob yesterday, had seen 15 Fieldfare and then shortly afterwards 6 Redwing.
This morning, Steve Percival had a count of around 1,000 Whoopers, with 500  at Craigens, 300 along at Sunderland and over 200 next door at Rockside. Mike  Peacock was on the phone earlier to say he saw an Otter on Loch Indaal out from his house at Port Charlotte. This evening, we have seen numerous Swans heading out, but the light is now failing and so making it hard to get an exact count. We had a count of 36 Goldfinches on the feeders this morning, just as well that I remembered to bring another big bag home for them... No sign of the Siskins....

Thursday 18 October 2018

Thursday 18thb October

Some birds in Gary from yesterday, at Killinallan, he saw a juv Golden Eagle and than a male Hen Harrier. Further on he saw a further 2 juv Golden Eagles and than round at Kilchoman, he saw a male Hen Harrier.
Some birds in from returning birders, Richard and Pat Howells, all seen yesterday. At Dha Urlar, they counted 12 Whoopers while after Cruach, they saw 20 whitefronts and a Pinkfooted Goose flying South-easterly. In the fields nearby, they had a flock  of  40 Twite, some Meadow Pipits, a female Stonechat and some Skylarks there as well. Down at Gartnatra, they had 11 Pale belied Brent which flew off to the middle of Loch Indaal. Round at Nerabus, a Sparrowhawk flew alongside their car as they drove along the road!!! Frenchman's Rocks, some GND and a few RTD were flying South along with a steady but thin passage of Kittiwakes.Returning back to Port Charlotte, they saw 2 Golden Eagles hanging in the wind. Finally at Gruinart, they had a distant Hen Harrier.

By the sound of the above a day for seeing Golden Eagles and Hen Harriers...

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Wednesday 17th October

An early entry for today, but got Phill and Shona Isla's list of birds seen on Monday at Gruinart, plus have got a moment or two spare at present, so here goes..  Over 11,000 Barnies, 1 Cormorant, 11 Grey Heron, 5 Shelduck, 349 Wigeon, 7 Mallard, 174 Oystercatcher, 31 R b Merganser, 47 Ringed Plover, 477 Lapwing, 771 Golden Plover, 90 Sanderling, 37 Turnstone, 233 Dunlin, 104 Barwit, 15 Blackwit, 196 Curlew, 44 Redshank, 9 Greenshank, 18 B H Gull, 78 H Gull, 13 Gbb Gull, 8 Greylag, 47 Whitefront, 9 Snipe, 52 Whooper Swan, 4 Gannet, 1350 Teal, 11 Gadwall, 24 Pintail and also 30 Shoveler.
Down on Machir Bay yesterday, Distillery Dave had 35 Ringed Plover and 4 Turnstone.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Tuesday 16th October

As promised the highlights from Noel and Ann Hands visit to Islay last week. Coming over on the ferry on Saturday 6th they had a Common Scoter, on Monday 8/10 they had the Little Egret on the merse at Bridgend,and down at Machir Bay, the Little Stint was seen along with a male Hen Harrier, Chough, 35 Ringed Plover with 6 Stonechat seen close by. The following day they counted 19 Whoopers at  Craigens, On the 10th, over at Lagavullin, a Swallow was there, a Redwing and also a Red Admiral butterfly. At Finlaggan, they had a flock of over 100 Twite, a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Golden Eagle.Up at Bunnahabhain, they saw 4 Gannets out on the Sound of Islay as well as 2 Kestrels together. Finally that day they had a juv Peregrine on prey at Coullabus and then a Merlin whizzed through.The following day they had a small fall of 19 Mistle Thrush along at the hedges, below Sunderland, and along at Rockside, they spotted a Pink footed Goose among the Greylags. At Machir Bay on Thursday the Little Stint was present along with 36 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone, 6 Chough,and a Grey Wagtail. On Loch Gorm, they saw 12  Whitefronts then at Bruichladdich they saw a Common Tern struggling in the wind and rain!!!Finally on Friday  they had 14 Whitefronts, 15 Curlew and a ringtail as well as a small family group of 2 adult and 3 juv Whoopers. Thanks for sharing your sightings with us.
Today Mike P had been down at Loch Skerrols where he counted 55 Adult and 4 Juv Whoopers, 18 adult and 4 juv Mute Swan and a count of 81 Wigeon.
I have got a tremendous list of birds through from Mark at Gruinart, seen by Phill Catton & Shona Isla but will give you it all tomorrow night....

Monday 15 October 2018

Monday 15th October

Mike Peacock had carried out his WeBS count this afternoon from Port Charlotte down to Portnahaven. Mike had 32 GND swimming out of Loch Indaal. Also seen by Mike were 6 RTD, 2 Tysties, 9 Eider, plus a Little Egret flying down Loch Indaal towards Nerabus. Mike also had a mixed flock of over 500 Gulls on the stubble behind the Port Mor Campsite, just out of Port Charlotte. This morning Mike had seen 2 Fieldfare up the track to Bolsay.
This morning up at Gruinart, visiting birders Andrew and Kirsty Lamb had a Little Egret around 9.30am. They also saw a total of 6 Hen Harriers on their travels today.. what will they have tomorrow??? I wonder if their Egret was the other Egret from Whinpark the other week, as 2 had been seen there, or was it just the same bird that Mike had seen????
Got some sightings from returning birders Noel and Ann Hands from Warwickshire, but will save them for tomorrow nights blog. It was their 5th visit to Islay, with the worst weather encountered last week, but still a good lot of birds seen...

Sunday 14 October 2018

Sunday 14th October

Today, with the weather being a lot calmer than of late, Bob and Distillery Dave had carried out the WeBs count from Blackrock to Bruichladdich and on to Port Charlotte. Their list of birds seen was as follows.. 3 Heron, 17 GND, 7 RTD, 3 Cormorant, 36 Shag, 8 Slavonian Grebe, 500 Barnacle Geese, 80 Greylags, 19 Eiders, 30 Common Scoter, 11 Gbb Gull, 82 Herring Gull, 54 Common Gull, 20 Bh Gull, 8 Razorbill, 7 Oystercatcher, 6 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 7 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone.

Saturday 13 October 2018

Saturday 13th October

Some birds sent through from Eddie and Elaine, "the Leighton Moss migrants". They are over on Islay for a fortnight, with the first week of this trip past, birding has not been that great because of the weather. Yesterday, they had braved the elements down at Frenchman's Rocks, but found it rather hard to remain upright...Yesterday evening, when returning back to where they are staying from the reserve at Gruinart, they had "one of their best ever sightings on Islay". A juv Golden Eagle flew along the road in front of them, before alighting on top of the wall about 30 yards ahead. Its' wingspan was wider than the single track road!!! It then took off and floated down over the moorland, being mobbed instantly by a male Hen Harrier,a ringtail and also Buzzard, talk about being not being made welcome!!! They have often seen the same at Leighton Moss where Sparrowhawks are chased out of the airspace by Swallows and Martins... But yesterdays' event was something else!!!
This morning by 8.15 am, they had counted several groups of Whoopers flying South from Gruinart, totalling 76 Swans in all. Round at Rockside,  Distillery Dave had counted 16 Whoopers on the stubbles this morning and then late this afternoon, he counted 25 Whooper Swans present there.

Friday 12 October 2018

Friday 12th October

Well, the weather certainly has been wild with the ferries all cancelled until mid afternoon, at least they did come... all we need now is for the main roads on the mainland to be sorted out which are prone to land slips around the "Rest and be Thankful" section of the A83....
Back to the main thrust of the blog, the birds seen on Islay . This morning, Mike Peacock had spent an hour doing some sea watching from Port Charlotte out on to Loch Indaal. Mike had seen a lot of Common Gulls, Black headed Gulls and Herring Gulls. Also sen in the mix, a definite top bird, an adult Iceland Gull, good one Mike....
 The Horwich birders had been out and about today, at Loch Skerrols where they counted 35 Whoopers with 2 young, 16 Mutes with 4 young as well as  62 Wigeon. The River Sorn was in spate with all the recent rain, but at The Woollen Mill, they had seen a pair of Siskin, 3 Long tailed Tits and a Goldcrest. Yesterday, on the garden fence of the cottage they have been staying this week, they had seen 3 male and a female Stonechat while over the moorland a female Hen Harrier floated past.
James today, managed to carry out the WeBS count on the floods at Gruinart, it was too windy to do the count out on the Loch!!! His tally for the birds seen was as follows...505  Golden Plover, 4 Snipe, 73 Mallard, 2 Heron, 11 Gadwall, 30 Shoveler, 349 Wigeon, 5 Mute Swan, 14 Whoopers, 1,350 Teal, 24 Pintail, 5 Curlew, 12 Blackwit and 185 Lapwing. James also had 12 Redwing while he was out as well.

Thursday 11 October 2018

Thursday 11th October

This morning, the Horwich birders set out down to the "other end" of Islay and made the most of the better weather while it lasted… At Claggain Bay, they saw 5 GND and 2 RTD out on the water… Back along the road at Callum Sharp's house at Kildalton, they had a Yellowhammer along with some Chaffinches and some House Sparrows on the feeders there...
I was looking at the entry from Fair Isle for yesterday, and noted that they had a count of 10 Goldfinches there, their 3 largest count of Goldfinches on Fair Isle, old saying as ever, different place, different birds...

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Wednesday 10th October

Other returning birders, Nigel and Nikki Gilbert from Sheffield kindly sent through some birds which they had seen yesterday. Down on Machir Bay yesterday afternoon, they saw 14 Chough, 31 Ringed Plover, and a single Sanderling. Out from Machir Bay, they had a strong passage of Gannets flying past. They also had seen plenty of Gulls flying around with a single Common Scoter bobbing around on the water. They were also well pleased in witnessing the arrival of the geese too. Also yesterday, Distillery Dave had a Sparrowhawk down towards Machir bay.
This morning James had counted 4,305 Barnies and 4 Greenshank on the reserve at Gruinart. Late afternoon, James had a count of 10,125 Barnies and also a Parvipes Canada Goose at Gruinart, all arriving in a S E wind... Gary today had a Merlin down at Gartmain, while down at Machir Bay, he counted 150 Herring Gull, 130 Common Gull, 38 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling and a juvenile Little Stint. The Little Egret were present up on the merse at Bridgend again...

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Tuesday 9th October

A few "returning birders" arrived over the past few days... Yesterday, the Horwich birders came over for a few days. As they were approaching Port Askaig on the ferry yesterday, afternoon, they saw a White tailed Eagle. Later on over at Port Charlotte, they saw a Little Tern.This morning down at Machir Bay, they had 40 Ringed Plover on the pond beside the car park there. Along at the wee lochans beside Loch Gorm/ below Rockside, they saw11 Whooper Swan. Over on Loch Skerrols, they had 12 Mute Swan and then a family group of an adult and 4 young arrived in. Also seen there, were 54 Wigeon. On the merse out from Bridgend, the 2 Little Egrets were present  and at Ballygrant, on the Loch, 2 Dabchick were seen. Finally at Gruinart they saw a Peregrine and a female Hen Harrier both hunting along the banks...
James today reported through with his sightings seen at Gruinart today, 1735 Barnies, 12 Whitefronts, 6 Whooper Swans, 615 Golden Plover, 9 Blackwits, 2 male and  female Hen Harrier. James was saying why there were not so Barnies seen today, as most of the earlier arriving geese have now spread round Islay already...

Sunday 7 October 2018

Sunday 7th October

Gary was in touch to say that the 2 Little Egrets were still present on Friday and again yesterday, down on the merse at Bridgend. Gary also had a count of 45 Golden Plover together in one of the fields towards The Machrie Hotel.
Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen a Sparrowhawk while he was up at Kilchoman.
Think the weather today has not helped our birders today... the afternoon and evening ferries were both cancelled.

Saturday 6th October

Rather a late entry, but the wee box of tricks, the laptop was not wanting to work, so as Margaret has resolved my problem, here goes, as the saying goes, "better late than never2...
James on the reserve on Gruinart had counted the following birds..3,560 Barnies, 60 Whitefronts, 4 Pale bellied Brents, 1,215 Teal, 265 Golden Plover, 9 Blackwits and 17 Pintail, also 20 Whooper Swans were seen as well. James commented that he had possibly expected a few more Barnies in by now, but early dates yet...

Friday 5 October 2018

Friday 5th October

As James wrote through today, the geese are still "dribbling in". on the reserve at Gruinart his tally of geese present early afternoon was as follows, 2905 Barnies, 4 Pale belied Brent Geese and 32 Whitefronts. Just thinking aloud here, come to think about it, I cannot recall seeing any Swallows around , so as the new visitors (geese) are arriving , others are/ have moving on the warmer climes...

Thursday 4 October 2018

Thursday 4th October

James had a count on the reserve at Gruinart today, his top birds were as follows... 1610 Barnies, 1245 Greylags, 12 Whooper Swans, 4 Blackwits and also 20 Pintails.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Wednesday 3rd October

This morning, out on the Machir I counted 16 Hooded Crows hopping around on the ground, as large a group of them that I have seen together up here. Distillery Dave had seen 2 sets of Whoopers flying overhead as he was strimming the grass at Rockside, one lot consisted of 4 adults and also 3 youngsters, the other lot were just 6 adults, no young seen with them.
Looking down at the trees and the bushes that I have planted here over the past wee while, on a positive note, the vast majority have taken well and with the stormy weather of late, they certainly have shown a dislike to the salt laden winds, bit come next Spring, they should be fine and ready to put some fresh shoots out... fingers crossed!!!

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Tuesday 2nd October

Marsali kindly sent through the rainfall figures from over Mulindry for September, her gauge registered 135 mm or 5.4 inches in old money...  thanks Marsali...
James had a count of 1365 Barnies on the reserve at Gruinart as well as 17 Whitefronts present there this morning. Mandy had seen the large flock of around 500 Greylags and also 90 Barnies at Rockside. Gary this morning had seen 2 Little Egrets out from Whin Park at the top of Loch Indaal. Distillery Dave had seen a distant Golden Eagle way over the moorland on Rockside, late afternoon. Earlier on this evening, on my way back from Rockside I took a quick scan through the Greylags, the Barnies had headed back to the roost at Gruinart, but there were 15 Whitefronts mixed in through the Greylags on the stubble. James had quick look round Gruinart, late afternoon, spotting 34 Whitefronts, 12 Whooper Swan, 15 Pintail, 2 Dabchick, a Sparrowhawk and a ringtail Hen Harrier. Up here at home we had a Blue Tit yesterday and then this morning, a Robin was seen, both birds that are not that common to here...

Monday 1 October 2018

Monday 1st October

Well that is another month in, and the rain gauge had 5.1 inches (129.5 mm) in it here at home.... Today or rather this morning, the weather was not too bad as I managed to cut some grass and a few more outside jobs, that was before the wind picked up and the rain started to fall again....
Yesterday, just after midday, Mandy had seen a Kestrel out hunting down at Springbank at Bridgend. This morning she counted 26 Barnies fly past down at Sunderland. This morning we had 3 Whoopers on the wee lochans below Rockside along with some Greylags. Sam had seen 6 Whoopers as drove to her work at The Woollen Mill from Ballygrant. Coming back home, we took the long road, round the other side of Loch Gorm and were rewarded by seeing 4 Mistle Thrush on the overhead cables below Sunderland, as one approaches "Canada" (one of the fields!!!). Just before Carnduncan, we had a Kestrel on top of a telegraph pole and a Stonechat on the verge side , just after Saligo. Finally , just before the Coastguards, we had a Merlin on top of a fence post, it took off across the field to return to another post as we approached. It did this a second time as we crept along, but this time it was quite content to sit and watch us drive past...Margaret this afternoon, saw a Merlin fly through our garden. Gary today had ben out with 2 American clients and had seen Scaup, Common Scoter and 5 Slavonian Grebe at Blackrock. Off Bruichladdich pier, they saw RTDs and also GNDs out on Loch Indaal with some Tysties back on the pier itself. Over at Machir Bay, they saw a distant Kestrel out over the crag, up behind the bay. At Gruinart, apart from the Barnies , they had 20 Whitefronts, with a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier along the flats. James had a count of 725 Barnies, 15 Whoopers and 4 Pintail on the reserve at Gruinart today.