Friday 30 November 2018

Friday 30th November

Another rather windy day, but today there have been some showers of hailstones in the mix, which causes quite a racket in noise when clattering against the windows etc....
Not much on the bird front today, but we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier quartering its patch over below Carnduncan, down towards Loch Gorm. Coming round past Ballinaby, there were only a handful of geese present, certainly not the larger numbers present as seen yesterday!! Back at home, here all the wee birds have been busy eating on the feeders, including the 2 Brambling.

Thursday 29 November 2018

Thursday 29th November

On the weather front for starters, the ferry has sailed back and forward all day, with the 3 scheduled return trips sailing, although they started out 2 hours ahead of the timetable which has turned out to be a wise decision as the wind is picking up already again. I believe that the first return sailings tomorrow are already cancelled !!!
Bob along with Derek had carried out the goose count on the Rhinns today on the Farm counts. Apart from the geese counted, they also had seen  a Peregrine, a Merlin and 3 different Kestrels. Up at the mast above Kilchiaran, they saw a female Snow Bunting. This morning, on our way over to Gruinart, we saw a Stonechat  on the gorse bushes  at the roadside below Sue Campbell's croft. There were quite a few geese seen at Ballinaby and just after Leek we had a male Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of us. As we returned from Gruinart , just before "Canada" ( a field!!) at Sunderland a ringtail was out on the wing as well. Back at home, this morning a Goldfinch struck one of our house windows, so I went out and lifted the  bird and put up in the shelter beside the house out of the wind, and shortly afterwards it flew off none the worse. Later on, this afternoon we had 2 different ringtail Hen Harriers fly past while 2 Bramblings were present amongst the ever increasing Chaffinch flock down eating the food on offer.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Wednesday 28th November

Well, if I thought that the weather over here was not the best, today it has not been that great, the wind has blown consistently strong all day, no ferries came or went and I am not sure as too whether the service planes came or not.
The net result is that not much news on the bird front. Today, with the weather being poor, I fed the birds on the ground rather than in the feeders..

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Tuesday 27th November

Yesterday, while out past Ardbeg towards Claggain Bay, visiting birders from Bury in Lancashire, Diane and David Wright had seen a White tailed Eagle fly overhead in a clear blue sky.
Today, is a different day with 4 of the 6 ferries cancelled out, but both the flights came through from Glasgow fine....A rather windy day to be polite on that front... On the way home from the Bird nerds meeting in Bowmore this evening, David Barr spotted a Barn Owl watch us as he drove home. It was on top of the fence at Pennycraig. David Wood's talk on his recent trip to Mauritius was well received by 20 folk who came along to the monthly catch up of the Bird nerds. As normal there is no meeting in December but we will meet again in January for our annual Dinner, so watch this space....

Monday 26 November 2018

Monday 26th November

Armin took this image taken yesterday of a couple of Whooper Swans from one of the hides at Gruinart. There were another 4 Whoopers there as well, but they took off and all 6 flew onwards... He also had a ringtail Hen Harrier which flew past him several times. Also present were a couple of
Roe Deer away out grazing on the floods with the ducks and the geese.
Bob was up today, and last week while out on the goose counts had seen an Iceland Gull in the middle of over 200 Herring Gulls over at Coull. Up at Sanaigmore, the same day, he had a Merlin and also a Kestrel. Mandy lately has been seeing a Kestrel, on a regular basis over below her house at Carnduncan. 

Sunday 25 November 2018

Sunday 25th November

David Livingstone had been down on the driving range on the golf course over at The Machrie today and had to share the facilities there with the 4 cheeky Choughs which seemed to be unfazed by David's presence.... David also commented on how close the Choughs were to the actual Hotel complex itself!!!
James had a Sparrowhawk over at Kilchiaran today and he also told me that the Little Egret is still to be seen on the reserve at Gruinart. The female Brambling was still present in the highly mobile flock of Chaffinches up at home. Mobile, yes, who can blame them with Hen Harriers that float past quite often or equally common a visitor, the Sparrowhawk!!!

Saturday 24 November 2018

Saturday 24th November

This morning, a quick scan through the Chaffinch flock outside here at home, and I saw a female Reed Bunting and also a female Brambling. The day got better and this afternoon, we saw a male Hen Harrier quarter over the garden on 4 different occasions, and fortunately the bird never did drop down on any prey. The weather has ben a bit on the cool side but when you see these birds, just wrap up and keep warm. Oh yes, it was dry too...
If you are over on Islay, please remember to come along to David Wood's illustrated talk on his recent trip to Mauritius. The bird nerds will be meeting on Tuesday at 7 pm and David's talk will be the main thrust of our meeting which will be held at the Gaelic College, on the outskirts of Bowmore. There will be an admission charge of £1 per person to help pay for the room hire...

Friday 23 November 2018

Friday 23rd November

Above is an image sent through by Armin. He took it while down for a walk on Machir Bay, please note the geese starting to take off, as well as a blue sky with not a cloud in sight... This afternoon, just past Rockside, Armin had seen a Kestrel. Further along the road, a Buzzard took off from its' telegraph pole on which it had sitting on, with another one doing exactly the same before Armin got much further down the road as well.
Yesterday, just after lunch time, Mark and Sally Johnson had seen 3 White tailed Eagles over the top of Beinn Bheigier from where they were at Claggain Bay. This morning, they had seen a Brambling among the Finches down beside Loch Gorm.
Andrew Kent sent through the results from the International Goose count which was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The totals were as follows... 30,438 Barnacle Geese, 6,696 Whitefronts and 823 Greylags. Many thanks to Andrew and his team from SNH for these figures.

Thursday 22 November 2018

Thursday 22nd November

An early entry, but here goes anyway...
Yesterday, Mark and Sally Johnson had seen a Pink footed Goose amongst some Whitefronts in a field up towards Red Houses, past Newton out of Bridgend. Shortly afterwards, a Merlin flew across the road  and then round at Mulindry they saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Over at Rockside, amongst the Barnacle Geese, a Dark belied Brent Goose was present.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Wednesday 21st November

Yesterday, Mark and Sally Johnson had seen another 4 Whitefronts with collars fitted round at Ballinaby, the details of which I sent to Tony who e mailed me back their details. 2 were fitted at Ballinaby in the winter of 2012/13 at Ballinaby with the other 2 fitted with collars along the road a bit in 2016/17. On Monday, Mark and Sally had seen a Merlin as well as a Peregrine between Coullabus and West Carrabus. and top bird for them yesterday was a White tailed Eagle seen at Bunnahabhain, on their way back to the cottage where they are staying, they had Woodcock fly across the road in front of them along close to Rock Mountain. Alan Leitch along with his wife Emily along with 2 colleagues, fresh from the Scottish Bird ringing conference at the weekend have been over on Islay, for the past 2 days. Gruinart was something else according to Alan with the spectacle of seeing so many Barnies there... Up at Ardnave they had seen the Chough howking about in the fresh dung pats, and also they had a pair of Hen Harriers seen there as well. Today, Alan and his "team" had seen another different Whitefront with a collar fitted around its' neck in a flock of around 2 to 300 Whitefronts down at Sunderland. They also saw a Peregrine nearby, as well as a flock of 200 Rock Doves there as well. Later on, out of Bowmore they had seen 9 Pale belied Brent Geese. James had carried out the second day's count for the International Goose count on the reserve at Gruinart, his figures came to 10,010 Barnies, 340 Whitefronts, 2 Greylags, a Pink footed Goose and also a male Merlin, a Little Egret as well as 3 Hen Harriers noted down. Armin on Monday had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier as he left Machir Bay. Yesterday, he had a Little Egret fly over from the East at Machir Bay and fly on South Easterly.. Today at Gruinart, from the hide, Armin had a Buzzard spoofing all the geese about, finally before he left the hide, a Robin dropped by for a nosey at one of the windows.
Oh, almost forgot, the top bird today was a Great White Egret seen by David Wood down flying around Loch Kinnabus today

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Tuesday 20th November

Yesterday, Gary from Wild Islay Birding had been out with some clients.. They had seen 4 Pink footed Geese amongst some Whitefronts over at Coull. On the other side of Islay, the Eastern side, 5 Brambling along with at least 10 Yellowhammers and a few Reed Buntings were sitting on a fence at the end of the road leading to Bunnahabhain below Persabus. Driving up Bunnahabhain, 2 Kestrel and also 2 Sparrowhawk were spotted. Up at Bunnahabhain itself, 2 adult White tailed Eagles flew past.
James had been out counting the geese on the reserve at Gruinart, as part of the International Goose count taking place today and tomorrow. James's  tally came to 11,115 Barnies, 406 Whitefronts and 5 Greylags. He also saw a Sparrowhawk while he was out as well. He has also been spotting a Brambling on a regular basis in his garden. Catherine Fotheringham had seen a Bean goose while counting on the Kilmeny run during the count today.

Monday 19 November 2018

Monday 19th November

An amazing form of contact, the internet is. When I got my first computer back in the last century, my sister was out working in Mongolia for a year teaching the kids. One night, back all those years ago, she sent me an e mail requesting a recipe for her to do some baking.. Margaret quickly looked through her recipe books and selected one which I duly sent to her that evening. The next morning, I had a reply from my sister thanking me for the prompt reply to her. To think that prior to that when everything was written by hand and posted out a quick turn round would have taken a good fortnight, and I was never too quick to reply to letters!! The long and the short of this story is that I sent the email to himself in Denmark last night about the 5 Greenland Whitefronts that Mark and Sally Johnson  had seen together over at Gruinart. The message back from Tony, this morning, was to say that they were all rung during the winter of 2016/ 17  at Gruinart, and like the most of the geese, have been faithful to that particular area, on their return to Islay each winter.
Before I forget, next Tuesday evening, the Bird nerds will be meeting up for their monthly catch up at 7pm in the Gaelic College which is situated on the outside of Bowmore. David Wood will be giving us a short illustrated talk on his recent trip to Mauritius. So if you are around, see you there, mind and bring your money to help to pay for the room hire...  so please pass the message on to anyone that may be interested...

Sunday 18 November 2018

Sunday 18th November

Paul and Jill Harris before they left yesterday on the ferry had seen 3 White tailed Eagles, out to the East of Port Ellen. Mark and Sally Johnson have returned back over for another week on Islay. On the way to their holiday cottage, they had seen 4 Whitefronts with orange neck collars fitted and another fitted with what I believe to be a radio transponder fitted. They were all in a group together over at Gruinart on the reserve. I have sent the details, and once I hear back from Tony I will let you know their history.
Armin had been up until the wee small hours trying to get some images of the meteors over Islay, but commented on hearing the geese taking off from Machir Bay around 4 am.... He was down there later on for a walk and saw the large amount of goose droppings on the shore... This afternoon, just after he got up to the North hide (new hide) at Gruinart, there was a bit of a very brief encounter, a small raptor flew past the hide, and a moment later Armin had another visitor in the hide beside him, a Wren, so Armin wondered whether the Wren came in though the open window to evade being caught by the said bird of prey...
Another piece of news is that I read in today's edition of "Scotland on Sunday" newspaper, an interesting 4 page article about "Islay's battle of the Barnacle geese". There are several mistakes in it, but all the same, it makes some interesting reading... Just wish these journalists would get somebody to proof read their articles before going to press. I know that I can and often make blunders often enough, but that is me, a blundering old idiot!!!

Saturday 17 November 2018

Saturday 17th November

The above image was sent through to me by Armin who had seen these 2 ringtail hen Harriers in the air from the South hide at Gruinart on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier on, when Armin first arrived at the hide, there was a ringtail sitting less than 10 metres away from the hide, but his camera was not to hand, still in his bag...  Earlier, on Tuesday morning, there was a large commotion outside of Armin's cottage by all the wee birds, a quick look around by himself, and he saw the reason behind all the troubles, a Sparrowhawk was sitting on top of a fence post near by!!!
Yesterday was Paul and Jill Harris's last day of their stay. They saw a ringtail Hen Harrier as they drove round Loch Gorm and over on the reserve  at Gruinart they had another ringtail as well as a male Hen Harrier there as well. A great time enjoyed by Paul and Jill , especially seeing the tremendous sunset the other night, a real bonus!!!
This morning, Ron from Islay info had seen the geese chasing after an Eagle at Port Ban.
Armin had 4 Pied Wagtail down at the car park at Machir Bay as he went there for a walk. He also noticed that the Geese up at Coull appeared to be very unsettled for quite some time. I wonder whether the Eagle which Ron had seen at Port Ban was causing the trouble at Coull??? Later on, after his walk, Armin had a  Hen Harrier fly past really close, up at the field gate leading to the War graves Cemetery at Kilchoman

Friday 16 November 2018

Friday 16th November

Yesterday, a 2CY Iceland Gull  had been seen briefly by David Wood. Distillery Dave,  last night had seen a Barn Owl down at Carnain, Gary from Wild Islay Birding has been seeing a small flock of birds flying between the stubbles fields at Skerrols road end, in the flock there have been 3 Brambling present on a regular basis of late.

Thursday 15 November 2018

Thursday 15th November

Today I received the figures from the Farm Goose count which took place last week, and next week I believe that it will be an International count taking place. The tally came to 36,133 Barnacle Geese, 5,495 Greenland Whitefronts and also 1,419 Greylags. Many thanks to Andrew Kent and the team from SNH for giving these figures to share with you.
The winds today have been up a bit again with a little ferry disruption, so I managed to clean out some of our nest boxes . It has been interesting to note that some of the boxes which were put up for this season, that were not occupied, that it is these boxes that are being examined by the birds at present, so we will just have to wait and see next spring to se who decided to use which boxes...

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Wednesday 14th November

The other week, Ivan & Jenny Harding from Lyme Regis were over on Islay on holiday when they saw 3 barnacle Geese with fitted darvic leg rings on which they managed to read. They sent the info through to me and the other day I forwarded it through to Steve Percival . Steve e mailed through to say that 2 of the birds had been rung in the same field at Gruinart back in October 2013 with other goose being rung by Steve and his family the previous day to Ivan and Jenny seeing it...
Yesterday, Paul and Jill Harris from Yorkshire had seen the Chough coming out from the roost up in the crag, close to here they are staying and counted 25 birds in total. Later on, down on the Oa they had seen a flock of almost 500 Twite at Upper Killeyan. Along at the car park, they had a male Hen Harrier, with another seen at Risabus with a third present at Claggain Bay. Coming back up along the low road and they counted 320 Whoopers at the north end of the airport. Finally at Blackrock, 29 Scaup were present.
Today, Mike P. had seen a 1st winter White tailed Eagle over the raised beach at Gortan. Along at Sunderland Farm, Mike had seen a flock of 200 Chaffinch and also a Brambling was there with them. At Machir Bay, Mike counted 22 Chough and he also saw a Sparrowhawk.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Tuesday 13th November

Bob and Lesley had carried out WeBS count from Blackrock along to Port Charlotte, the scores on the doors coming to... 29 Cormorant, 4 Shag, 13 GND, 4 RTD, 3 Eider, 9 R b Merganser, 21 Oystercatcher, 10 Snipe, 3 Turnstone, 20 Herring Gull and a Gbb Gull. Returning visiting birders with whom I met in with last night had seen 4 Merlin on their travels around Islay as well as 5 Hen Harriers. They were well pleased seeing the Hen Harriers especially as they are not seen very often where they live on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors...Their previous visit to Islay was 15 years ago....Armin is back on Islay for his Autumn fix and also the Islay sessions, a trad music weekend held mainly in Port Charlotte. The other morning, he had seen 10 Oystercatchers and also 100 Herring Gulls down on Machir Bay and then a Buzzard down at the Coastguards. Yesterday afternoon, down on the merse at Bridgend, Armin was armed with his camera, hoping to get some images of the geese on the mudflats , but the tide was in , net result, not many, if any images were taken. By the time he got over to Gruinart, the light was poor... Just as the light was starting to fade, at home we counted 25 Chough going in to the roost....
Today, Mike Peacock had seen 39 Tufted Duck , 149 Teal and 4 Whoopers on Loch Gorm along with a Merlin close by. Val, his wife had been taking a walk down through the trees below Foreland and seen a Greater spotted Woodpecker , a Treecreeper and a Woodcock.

Monday 12 November 2018

Monday 12th November

The other day James and Shonaisla had carried the WeBS count on the floods at Gruinart, their tally came as follows.... 282 Teal, 1,900 Teal, 254 Mallard, 62 Pintail, 7 Whoopers, 4 Mutes, 2 Dabchick, 39 Shoveler, 11 Blackwits, 31 Snipe, a R b Merganser, 5 Heron, 332 Lapwing, 14 Curlew and 1085 Golden Plover. Later the same day, James had seen a Little Egret and also a White tailed Eagle up the east side of Loch Gruinart. ShonaIsla and Mark had seen a Golden Eagle and a Ringtail Hen Harrier, not far from Craigens the same day.
Today, James had seen 2 male Hen Harriers and also 2 ringtails on the reserve at Gruinart. The Little Egret was  on the flats and a Merlin present out in front of the North hide. Mike P. had been in at Loch Skerrols this afternoon where he saw a Coot, a new Islay tick in recent times for Mike. The pair of Pochard were still present along with 125 Whoopers, 19 Tufted Duck who were all duly spoofed by an immature White tailed Eagle which flew past.

Not exactly the best of images of one of the Brambling seen outside up here at home today, there were 2 of them in amongst the flock of at least 60 Chaffinches...

Sunday 11 November 2018

Sunday 11th November

Back on Friday, Mark and ShonaIsla Macintyre had carried the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart, the following were their birds counted. 2 Cormorant, 3 Heron, 18 Shelduck,  84 Wigeon, 43 Mallard, 18 R B Merganser, 177 Oystercatcher, 161 Lapwing, 14 Ringed Plover, 114 Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 114 Barwits, 60 Curlew, 46 Redshank, 53 Turnstone, 3 Snipe and 2 Little Egret. They also saw 3 Common Seals as well. 
Yesterday, James had counted 93 Whoopers, a male Hen Harrier and a Kestrel on the reserve at Gruinart.
Today, Peter Roberts had counted 175 Whoopers in a field,out on the low road out of Bowmore. Distillery Dave was saying that the pond has returned down at where you can park your car up when visiting Machir Bay, not surprising when you know that we have had 3.4 inches (86.4mm...) so far this month, with the last 30 hours being dry!!! Down there this morning, Dave had seen 9 Turnstone, a Sanderling and some Ringed Plovers as well. Along at the Rockside road end, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier, with a Sparrowhawk up at Rockside itself. Also this morning, up here at home, Margaret had the Sparrowhawk on top of the willows less than 4 meters away...This afternoon, Dave's wife Ann had a Peregrine at the Coastguards.

Saturday 10 November 2018

Saturday 10th November

Yesterday was the last full day on Islay for this visit for Mike Bell and also the Bolton birders... Many thanks for all your birds folks... Not to be outdone, no, I have not gone without their sightings from Friday... the Bolton birders had seen 200 Whoopers on the merse at Bridgend and a juv. White tailed Eagle was also present there as well. Over at Keills, they counted 6 Brambling among the Chaffinch flock there. They also saw the 2 Golden Eagles out from Storakaig. Over at Bun an Uisg, at the edge of Bowmore, 34 Scaup were sheltering up from the wind, as were 16 Pale bellied Brent at Carnain. Mike made the most of the windy day as well, a bonus as he should have gone back home yesterday, but had to delay his trip on the ferry as it had ben cancelled... On Loch Skerrols, Mike counted 32 Mute Swans, 4 Whoopers, 98 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 29 Mallard, 2 Pochard, 19 Tufted Duck, a Moorhen, a Heron, a Grey Wagtail with 20 Siskins seen in the Alders there as well. He saw an imm. White tailed Eagle up towards Octovullin with an adult Golden Eagle seen over Scarrabus. Close to Skerrols House, Mike saw a male Merlin. Up the East side of Loch Gruinart, he had 400 Dunlin, while on the fields at Craigens, 1,550 Golden Plover and also 350 Lapwing seen. Along the flats at Gruinart, he had a flock of 220 Linnets. Along the road, his "friend" the ringtail Hen Harrier was seen again!!! On the barley stubbles at Coull, the Whoopers were up to 120 in total while the Starling mumeration came to 1,500 birds. Down on Machir Bay, he saw 42 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling, 3 Turnstone and 10 Chough. Coming back up from Machir Bay, down at the Coastguards' a female Merlin zipped across the road in front of his car!!   Thanks again for your birds folks....
This morning, Martin had walked from Bridgend down along the River Sorn to where it joins Loch Indaal. Martin saw the following birds, a pair of Bullfinch, 12 Siskins,  a pair of Goldeneye, a Peregrine Falcon, 26 Wigeon and also 2 Whoopers. Back home at Glenegedale, Martin had a Sparrowhawk and a Treecreeper along with the usual Blue Tits and Coal Tits in his garden. Up here today in our garden, the Sparrowhawk was perched up on the fence while the Brambling was still along with our "wee" flock of 47 Chaffinches!!

Friday 9 November 2018

Friday 9th November

Just as well that I have got some sightings up my sleeve from yesterday. The weather has not been that great here today, ferries cancelled with heavy, dirty squally showers in the mix as well as the wind huffing and puffing as well...
Back on Wednesday, the Bolton birders had seen 6 Snipe, a Jack Snipe, 2 Turnstone and they also counted 30 Dunlin at "smelly corner". Yesterday, they had seen a female Merlin as they drove up towards Rockside, and also 2 distant Golden Eagle were seen out over Gleann Osamail.. Over the moorland they saw 2 different ringtail Hen Harriers. Over behind Kilmeny, they had a Sparrowhawk, and past Storakaig 3 Golden Eagles. Down at Mulindry and towards Ballytarsin, 400 Whoopers were present. Mike Peacock had seen a male and a female Pochard on Loch Skerrols. Also yesterday,  James  had 2 Brambling, as well as a Golden Eagle on the reserve at Gruinart while up at Sanaigmore, he saw a Merlin. Mike Bell yesterday,  had counted 104 Whoopers at Rockside with a further 117 at Sunderland. He also had counted 240 Rock Doves at Sunderland. A walk from the car park at Bridgend up to wards Octovullin was quite productive...a total of 140 Redwing seen, 26 Fieldfare, 65 Skylarks, 450 Chaffinch along with 2 Brambling noted up close to Octovullin. Raptors/ birds of prey seen included an imm. White tailed Eagle and a Raven picking a carcass, a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, an adult and also a imm. Golden Eagle, Mike also counted 180 Woodpigeons and he also saw the 2 Pochard on Loch Skerrols as well. On a drive from Ballygrant along the Glen road, he saw another adult and an imm. Golden Eagle in the air up past Knocklearoch while out past Storakaig another Golden Eagle away out over the hills. He also saw 65 Redwing and 3 Fieldfare at Barr Farm with 45 Redwing and 5 Fieldfare down at Cattadale. At Gruinart, on the floods, Mike counted  2,150Teal, 165 Wigeon, 65 Pintail, 20 Shoveler, 9 Blackwits, 1,500 Golden Plover and a ringtail. On his way back to his cottage, Mike had a male Hen Harrier at Carnduncan and then another seen past Ballinaby and then a ringtail just before Coull road end. Up at Coull, in at the farm steading, Mike had a Starling mumeration of around 1,000 birds in all

Thursday 8 November 2018

Thursday 8th November

Bob, yesterday had been on the "Gruinart run" while helping out with the goose count. On the reserve at Gruinart, he saw the Little Egret as well as a Pale bellied Brent goose. Up at Killinallan, he had a flock of 300 Redwings and also 2 male Merlin seen together close by. Over at Ardnave, a flock of 800 Golden Plover was seen with a smaller flock of 150 present at Grainel. Mike Bell yesterday had 88 Whoopers at Rockside, with another 110 along at Sunderland. Later on, he had seen the imm. Golden Eagle  between Carrabus and Coullabus. Over at Gruinart, Mike had the sighting of the Little Egret in full view, not like the other day when it had been lurking in one of the muddy creeks!!! On the floods, Mike counted 1,900 Teal with 1,550 Golden Plover in the air. A Buzzard flushed 65 Snipe. Also seen there were 4 Greenshank, 141 Curlew and 40 Redshank while on the flats, on the fields which have been cut really short recently, 100 Barwit and 6 Knot kept dropping in and out.
This morning, Louise, on her way to work this morning, had seen 3 White tailed Eagles, 3 Buzzards, a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk, between Gatehouse and the ferry at Feolin on Jura. Here at home the wee birds have been busy on the feeders for most of the day and the Brambling was evident in the mix this afternoon.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Wednesday 7th November

The weather as predicted by the forecasters has been not very good, in fact the rain gauge outside is almost on 2.75 inches, (70mm in metric terms) so far this month, say no more.... Still, the blog is always here for more than the rain/ weather reports...
Yesterday, Mike had seen 218 Whoopers at Sunderland and a further 313 along at Gartloist. Down at Kildalton, he had seen a flock of 60 Redwing and also 2 Fieldfare were with them. He also had a Woodcock on the verge side at Ardilistry. Coming back up this way, over towards Scarrabus he saw an adult Golden Eagle out on the wing and then a Peregrine chasing after some Ravens. The Rochdale birders, yesterday, had a Merlin over close to Glenegedale. At Kildalton, they saw 2 Yellowhammers. Bob had been out helping with the goose count on the Rhinns yesterday and had seen 2 Peregrines while he was out.
Some sightings in from good friend Lee Thickett who has been over for the past few weeks. As well as commenting on seeing so many Whoopers around this visit, Lee had seen a Sparrowhawk about 8 feet away through his kitchen window, White tailed Eagles and also Hen Harriers. He had seen a late Wheatear seen on the 28th of October, up at Sanaigmore. He was well pleased in seeing a Grey Wagtail over at Bunnahabhain. Another highlight was seeing 3 different Merlin during one afternoon alone.
Today, here at home while having a welcome cuppa with Mike Bell and The Rochdale birders, all the wee birds took off in a panic away from the feeders, but a Sparrowhawk appeared and took one of the birds, no doubt it appreciated a well fed bird for once... Mike Bell, late afternoon had a probable Golden Eagle being harassed by 3 Buzzards over the crag, it flew round the corner on the crag, but managed to spoof all the Chough which were already in the roost...

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Tuesday 6th November

Yesterday, down on Machir Bay, Mike Bell had seen 43 Ringed Plover, and on Loch Gorm 6 Goldeneye were present. Along at Sunderland , he had counted 206 Whoopers at the back of 9 am. On the floods at Gruinart he counted 1,350 Teal, 43 Pintail, 13 Shoveler, and at least 4Blackwits there as well. On his way up to Ardnave, Mike saw a Peregrine harassing 2 Golden Eagles that were siting on the ground, with the Peregrine being watched by 2 Hen Harriers who were in the sky, much higher up...Ardnave Loch was relatively quiet with a single Goldeneye on the water, also at the loch was a Merlin, and a flock of 115 Redwing. Up on the East side of  Ardnave he had seen a GND, 12   R b Merganser, 2Greenshank, 21 Chough and a flock of 50 Twite at the mouth of Loch Gruinart. Off Ardnave Point itself, 5 GND and a "Comic Tern" were seen. An imm. White tailed Eagle was present over Nave Island. At Traigh Nostaig Mike had counted 53 Ringed Plover, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Turnstone, 33 Curlew, a Merlin and 11Chough. Down at Bridgend, Mike counted 186 Whoopers flying off the merse in the Mulindry direction. Finally, he saw a male Merlin at Uiskentuie.
Also yesterday, the Rochdale Birders had seen a Grey Plover over at Bun an Uillt. Out from Port Charlottte, on Loch Indaal they had 4 GND and they also saw a Kestrel on  their way round the Rhinns.

Monday 5 November 2018

Monday 5th November

Yesterday, Mike Bell had made the most of a rather windy day, the remnants of the winds  from Saturday were still around...At Rockside, he saw a ringtail Hen Harrier, while along at Sunderland, he had a large flock of 260 Chaffinches along with at least 3 Brambling present there as well. Over at Loch Tallant, he saw an imm. Golden Eagle. Then down on the Oa, Mike had seen an adult Golden Eagle as well as another imm. Golden Eagle and then a Merlin just zipped past. Along at Upper Killeyan, Mike counted a flock of 470 Twite. He also saw 48 Hooded Crows. At Cornabus, he counted a flock of 97 Whitefronts, 16 were fitted with neck collars  and a further 3 fitted with transmitters. Up behind Port Ellen, he saw a male Hen Harrier. Over East Cragabus, he saw an imm. White tailed Eagle. Along at the former Kilchoman School, 60 Redwing were seen. Finally , up at Sanaigmore, Mike saw a ringtail, an adult Golden Eagle and also a flock of 55 Redwing. The Rochdale Birders had been out and about yesterday seeing 3 Sparrowhawks scrapping over a place to roost upon... They had also seen 3 different Hen Harriers and also 2 Merlin.
This morning, we had 4 Greenfinch on top of the hip hedge, making the most of the rose hips on offer. These were the first Greenfinch that we have seen here for some time!!! Shortly afterwards, the ringtail came through the garden, down quietly over the bird crop, spoofing all the wee birds, it then wheeled round to its' right and cruised away along the front of the crag.... forgot to mention last night that Margaret had counted 24 Pheasants fly away down to roost down in the reeds just as the light was starting to fade..

Sunday 4 November 2018

Sunday 4th November

Yesterday morning before he set out from Kilchoman, Mike had seen 2 Sparrowhawks. Later on, during a walk through Bridgend Woods, he saw 4 Long tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper. Up on Borichill Mor, he saw a juv Golden Eagle with an adult seen shortly afterwards down behind Coullabus. On the floods at Gruinart, Mike saw 5 Blackwits, and a Greenshank. He also saw a total of 3 Hen Harriers on the reserve at Gruinart and finally an adult Golden Eagle behind Ballinaby. The Rochdale birders had a count of 350 Whoopers at Mulindry with a further 286 counted along at Sunderland Farm
This morning, Bob had seen 6 Snipe, a Jack Snipe and a Merlin out on the barley stubbles at Octomore. Up here at home, the Brambling was in at our feeders again, and Bob had one visiting his feeders at lunchtime as well.

Saturday 3 November 2018

Saturday 3rd November

Yesterday, Mike Bell had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier round the Western end of Loch Gorm. Along between Sunderland and Rock Mountain he had a total of 180 Whoopers counted in the morning. Over on Loch Skerrols, he saw 28 Mute Swan, 62 Wigeon, 186 Teal, 5 Mallard, 16 Tufted  Duck with 18 Red legged Partridge and a flock of 40 Chaffinches and a Brambling noted in the surrounding fields. Up at Kilmeny, Mike saw 278 Redwing which had been flushed by a Sparrowhawk. Loch Lossit held 3 Dabchicks, 2 Mallard, 3 Tufted Duck, a Goldeneye and also 2 Grey Wagtails. He also saw a Bullfinch and a flock of 35 Redwing there as well. On Loch Ballygrant, he saw a further 4 Dabchicks while in the surrounding trees Mike had a Woodcock, a Greater spotted Woodpecker, 6 Long tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper. At Storakaig, he saw 2 Golden Eagles while along at Mulindry, 438 Whoopers and also numerous Geese were present there. Out on the merse from Whinpark, he had seen 45 Ringed Plover, 79 Dunlin and also 2 Knot. Up at West Carrabus there were 60 Skylark and 150 Redwing were seen.  On the floods at Gruinart,  Teal counted came to 1,630 in total. Up behind Carnduncan, Mike saw an imm. White tailed Eagle with 2 Golden Eagles seen in the air above Ballinaby.
The Rochdale birders returned for another visit yesterday, and had seen 3 White tailed Eagles as they came over on the ferry, 2 were seen on Jura with the other seen on Islay as they sailed up the Sound of Islay.
This morning, Bob had a Sparrowhawk crashing to his conservatory,  no damage to the property but, no such joy to the bird, as it is no longer ... over at Octomore, Bob had seen at least 500 Whitefronts on the stubbles.
 Also this morning, here at home, there was a Brambling out below the feeders along with the Chaffinches,  the first we have had so far this Autumn.

Friday 2 November 2018

Friday 2nd November

Yesterday morning, Bob had seen a Woodcock and then a small flock of  20 Fieldfare were present along the track to Bolsay.
Mike Bell yesterday had a another good day's birding. Just after breakfast, he had a count of 50 Whoopers along at Sunderland. On the floods at Gruinart, he counted a further 52 Whoopers before they flew off in the direction of Sunderland Farm.. He also had 1,490 Teal, 7 Blackwits and  40 Redwing. While driving up the East side of Loch Gruinart, he had seen the Little Egret in one of the creeks. He had 550 Golden Plover near by with 119 Barwits, 345 Dunlin, 57 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and also seen were 2 different Ringtails. On the flats at Gruinart he had a count of 240 Linnets all feeding on the ground. On the barley stubbles at West Carrabus, there were 11 Whoopers. Over at Coal Ila, he saw 2 imm. White tailed Eagles and 3 distant Golden Eagles seen way over on Jura. Mike saw 3 Tysties flying North up the Sound of Islay with 32 Eider, 2 Common Scoter and 3 GND seen  on the water. He also saw 2 Goldcrest in the trees there as well. Up past Dunlossit, Mike saw a further 2 Golden Eagles, shortly afterwards he had 17 Fieldfare and as he approached Storakaig, 65 Hooded Crows were counted and then along the road, a flypast 38 Fieldfare flying South. Down on the stubbles beside Mulindry, he saw 394 Whoopers, 3 Pink footed Geese, 230 Whitefronts, 480 Greylags and also a flock of 70 Chaffinch
Here at home, this morning the Ringtail flew past following the garden fence .... Lunchtime the Sparrowhawk spoofed the wee birds from the feeders and then mid afternoon, a Merlin zipped past.

Thursday 1 November 2018

Thursday 1st November

Well, that is another month in and the rainfall was in line with the last few months, the reading was a mere 5.2inches in all.
Not sure where our 2 Blackcaps have gone but got another image taken this afternoon, of somebody else eating our apples, the reason why they were nailed onto a log was that yesterday the other apples were being taken away by the Jackdaws... Thanks to Hugh Harrop for this great idea!!!

Also this afternoon, we saw a juvenile White tailed Eagle being chased along from Rockside  and away along the crag, boy was it big, compared the 2 Buzzards who were in pursuit... We had seen 4 different ringtail Hen Harriers between here and Gruinart as we drove over for cake o'clock this morning...
Yesterday morning, Mike Bell had a large flock of 230 Chaffinch down at the track leading down to Loch Gorm, and had seen a Brambling with them as well. Later on yesterday, Mike had done the "Croft walk" over at Port Ellen. He saw a Black tailed Godwit and 2 Curlew down close to the shore. He also counted 53 Redwing and 21 Hooded Crows. Down on the wee lochan below Kilbride he had a family of 5 Whoopers, 11 Greylag, 9 Teal and 2 Wigeon present. At Gruinart, on the floods, Mike counted 1,200 Teal, 20 Shoveler, 3 Blackwits, 25 Snipe, 49 Whoopers and also 34 Redwing present there as well. Mike had seen a report of a Little Egret seen at Gruinart written in the diary at Gruinart, but did not see it... Along at Sunderland, on his way home, he saw 197 Whoopers.
Yesterday, Mark had a count on the reserve at Gruinart, top birds included 8,484 Barnies, 128 Whitefronts, 6 Brambling, 14 Redwing and also 19 Whoopers.