Tuesday 31 December 2019

Tuesday 31st December, Hogmany

Some sightings from yesterday & today, through from Gary...
Yesterday, 1 juv Glaucous Gull & 2 White tailed Eagle were seen at Gartbreck. Today, 1 Golden Eagle, 5 Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1Cormorant, 30+ Teal & 1 White tailed Eagle seen at Finlaggan. 9 Crossbills were present in the plantation there as well.

Up here at home, we had a close fly by of a ringtail Hen Harrier, the pesky Sparrowhawk was seen, whether it was this one or another but someone nobbled a Goldfinch in the feeding station, but on a more positive note we counted a charm of 36 Goldfinches on the overhead power cables, mid afternoon with a distant Buzzard away out on its' usual post on the deer fence out on the hill...
I notice that someone had seen an "Egret" yesterday morning down on the merse at Bridgend, on the  comments at the foot of yesterday's entry. 

Before I forget, may I take this chance to thank all our contributors who have sent sightings through of birds and wildlife seen in and around on Islay and Jura over the past year, much appreciated and look forward to meeting up with some of you again in 2020, a Happy New Year to all our readers...

Monday 30 December 2019

Monday 30th December

Malcolm was in touch earlier on today...
"I know you are used to good numbers of Goldfinches on your feeders, but here I'm usually
pleased if I have three or four. However, having not seen any this autumn until I, belatedly, put out a niger seed feeder in early December, there were four Goldfinches feeding at it within 24 hours. Who told them? And it hasn't stopped there, numbers have continued to increase, and yesterday there were no less than 22 of them, easily a record for down here at Bruichladdich. Indeed, I don't think I've ever had more than 10 before. They really make such a colourful spectacle."
So I had better try to get a better count of our Goldfinches over the next few days, up here at Shepherd's cottage for the sake of comparison...

James  saw a Merlin on the reserve at Gruinart today. This afternoon we had a fleeting glimpse of a Hen Harrier down at Loch Gorm and then later on, we had a Sparrowhawk fly past us, about 10 feet above us, as we were driving up towards Gruinart just after Erasaid.

Sunday 29 December 2019

Sunday 29th Decemb

Peter and Pia have had birding friends over to stay with them during Christmas and tried getting out between the ups and downs of the weather.
24th December:
  • A lovely group of 9 male L T Ducks off Black Rock plus a dozen or more RTD & GND plus 8-10 Slav Grebes.
  • At Killinallan a distant Golden Eagle plus 2 Greenshank, a Little Egret and an Otter in the middle of Loch Gruinart
25th December:
  • a glorious sunny morning with a walk around the Oa at the American monument. Another distant Golden Eagle and a big Twite flock (140+) in gorgeous sunlight at Upper Killeyan and a Sparrowhawk at Cornabus.
26th December:
  • My guests continued to be impressed by the large goose flocks though we didn’t find any of the rarities. A juv.  White-tailed Eagle over the S. Hide at Gruinart was much appreciated for a birder from Kent! The Little Egret seen again at the hide was more exciting to me.
28th December:
  • An impressive flock of 125+ Common Scoter close off Bowmore
29th December:
  • Two very close adult W T Eagles cruising almost at head-height a few yards from the car along the beach near Uskentuie was a fantastic send-off for them as I drove them to the ferry.
While not racing about trying to see a huge list of birds, they were impressed by about 75 species in total over a relaxed Christmas break.

Saturday 28 December 2019

Saturday 28th December

David Jardine along with Graham Ruthven today had seen a drake Green winged Teal and also a Little Egret out from the hide at Gruinart. Later on, they had counted 35 Woodpigeon in at Skerrols, and then shortly afterwards they had 23 Skylarks present along at Eollabus.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Thursday 26th December, Boxing Day

As ever, see the effect that the rain has on bird watchers, if it is too wet, we tend to stay inside and try to keep dry... but around lunchtime, once it had fared up , Clive did venture out...Round at Saligo, he had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier, and after quite along search through the large flock of Barnacle Geese over at Grainel, he was well rewarding with seeing a Cackling Goose.. Well done Clive!!!

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Yesterday, Clive had been out and about on the Rhinns and had the following birds to share with us... He had seen a female Merlin at Coull, round beside Lossit he had a ringtail Hen Harrier, and then in Gleann Mhor, he had a male Merlin.  On his way up to Sanaigmore, Clive saw another ringtail Hen Harrier at Grulinbeg,  and then finally up at Sanaigmore, another female Merlin and also a male Hen Harrier were present.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Tuesday 24th December, Christmas eve

By the sound of the reports that I received in yesterday, the weather had not been too kind for folk to go out bird watching in.... Having said that Clive Mason used his car as a hide cum mobile hide, like what we do sometimes ourselves.

On the fields behind the RSPB visitor centre, up towards  Grainel, Clive saw a Canada x Barnacle hybrid Goose along with some Barnies. Later on, over at Carrabus he had  a great, close sighting of a male Merlin sitting on a fence post along side the road...

Before I forget, have a great time tomorrow wherever you may be tomorrow, have a Merry Xmas. Not much sign of much snow around, you can always hope that the weather forecast got it wrong!!!

Monday 23 December 2019

Monday 23rdDecember

No reports of any sightings of birds seen on Islay today, but I can offer you some news on the bird front.. Gary has come out of his retirement and from the 1st of January, he will be operating Wild Islay Birding. He is something special with a great rapport with his many customers, so I for one will welcome Gary back into the line of fire again.. So go to his webpage and get some more info, straight from the big yin (not Billy Connolly!!) but Gary himself...

Sunday 22 December 2019

Sunday 22nd December

1st winter Glaucous Gull flying south towards Coul Point from Saligo Bay at 11.15 hours today, this was sent through to me by visiting birder Clive Mason. Thanks Clive for your sighting, keep them coming...

Saturday 21 December 2019

Saturday 21st December

Gary had seen a Merlin sitting on a fence post along the Moss Road out  of Bowmore. He also had 2 White tailed  Eagles flying up Loch Indaal yesterday.

Some birds from today, White tailed Eagle on a brown hare in fields at Mulreesh. A Peregrine Falcon also there, both seen by Gary.

 Also today, Distillery Dave had seen a Golden Eagle flying North up Machir Bay. He saw a Merlin round at Ballinaby and down beside the coal Yard at Gortan, he had over 15 Pale bellied Brents on Loch Indaal

Friday 20 December 2019

Friday 20th December

Lesley was out a couple of days back and there must have been approx 250 Lapwing from the North  hide at Gruinart and also watched a flock of 750-800 Golden Plover making fantastic patterns over the head of the loch. They didn't come very close but were entrancing.

Earlier on in the week, Morven and team from SNH carried out the December International Goose count  on the 17th and the 18th. Their tallies came to 32,017 Barnies, 6,325 Whitefronts and also 1,056 Greylags. The count for Dec 2018 came in at 31,623 for the Barnies (+394), 5,843 geese counted for Whitefronts ( +491) with the figure for Greylags was  1,177 (-121). Many thanks as ever to Morven and her team of counters for these figures about the geese, much appreciated...

Mark, today, had seen the following birds at Gruinart, 3 immature  White tailed Eagles creating absolute havoc around the flats and floods, a single Golden Eagle, 2 Woodcock, Barn Owl, Hen Harrier, Little Egret and a Goldcrest as well.

Thursday 19 December 2019

Thursday 19th December

Yesterday morning, Malcolm had seen the pair of Ruddy Shelduck at Cornabus, feeding close to, but not within, the large flock of Barnacle Geese present there.

Gary, today had seen an adult White tailed Eagle chasing the Whitefronted Geese over at Keills. Down on Loch Finlaggan, he had a Mute Swan, 8 Tufted Duck and also saw 3 Dabchicks.

Bob, today had been out in very windy conditions which made it rather difficult to count, let alone see the birds on Loch Indaal while counting his WeBs from Port Charlotte back round to Blackrock. His tally was as follows, 4 GND, 27 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 3 Mallard, 56 Curlew, 38 Oystercatcher, 7 Cormorant, 1 Shag and 22  Herring Gulls, with no small waders seen, must have been sheltering up, out of the wind somewhere!!!

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Wednesday 18th December

Yesterday James saw a Barn Owl when out and about...Today, he was out again and had seen the following birds...
2 White tailed Eagle,  present over Borichill Mor
male Merlin and male Hen Harrier Borichill Mor
White tailed Eagle, 2  at Gruinart
Golden Eagle at Gruinart
Black throated diver seen at Blackrock
Canada goose Hutchinsii and 3 Pale bellied Brent geese at Craigens
Little egret and 2 bullfinches on the reserve at Gruinart
27 Pale bellied Brent geese were seen at Blackrock.

Today, Gary had seen a Little Egret at Carnain/ Smelly corner, 18 Pale bellied Brent geese down beside Loch Gorm House at Bruichladdich. He also had 3 White tailed Eagles at Coultorsay as well.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Tuesday 17th December

The below is the jist of an e mail which I received through from Peter Roberts the other day, so if anyone can throw any light on his questions, if you can e mail me your comments back to me and I will forward them on to Peter. 

"On the rare occasions when it hasn’t been either windy or raining – or both – I’ve had a look offshore into Loch Indaal for birds. I’m not finding much! Where have they all gone? Usually at this time of year I can see double figures of RTD & GND along with RB Mergs, Scoters, Eiders – occasional LT Ducks, Slav Grebes. I’ve looked from here in Bruichladdich down to Port Charlotte and up towards Black Rock, but there is very little there. Yesterday Mark Shields and I saw about 6-8 RTD and a couple of Eider – TOTAL!
I wonder if anyone else is reporting more of these species somewhere else in Loch Indaal – or is something nasty happening??? "

Monday 16 December 2019

Monday 16th December

Well, after a few days of lack of birds on the blog, here are some sightings through from various folk...

Back on Friday, James had counted the following birds seen down on the floods at Gruinart, 940 Golden Plover, 1,330 Lapwing, 4 Mute Swan, 9 Whooper Swan, 2 Dabchick, 192 Mallard, 72 Wigeon, 39 Pintail, 5 Curlew,  35 Shoveler, 961 Teal, 3 Heron, 445 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 2 Blackwit, 42 Common Gull and the Green winged Teal was still present as well.

Mark had seen 3 Barn Owls and also a Woodcock on the flats at Gruinart over the weekend.

Today, Ed Burrell had seen 2 Ruddy Shelduck amongst the flock of Barnacle geese at Cornabus.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Sunday 15th December

Well another day in, a  day closer to Christmas and what else has happened today, well, by chance we had a good meeting with Jesse Wilkinson and also Rowan Aitchison as well as Phill Catton from the RSPB Oa reserve. it was not a planned catch up but what tales came from the lads. Safe onward journeys to all 3 of you tomorrow. Jesse and Rowan have been over on Islay filming some tremendous footage of the birds here on Islay, a bit of a pity is that it will be not for around another 3 years before the program will be shown on our tv screens.

This evening , I have just seen Doddie Weir receive the BBC Helen Rawlinson tv award, a tremendous honour to a great person, well done to Doddie and his family...

Saturday 14 December 2019

Saturday 14th December

The weather, oh no not that topic again, it has certainly gone awol today as we have had no ferries sailing today at all, crtainly no papers were sold intheshops today as they did not come over on the ferry, but we did get some post as it is flown in, and obviously, the plane did come this morning. The wind was  up to over 60 mph at one time, and the windows have been well washed today and are still in place...

So mainly, because of the weather, there are not many birds to report this evening... although I looked out at one point and saw a Chaffinch crabbing across the gravel, fighting its' way there in the strong wind, it then turned head on into the wind and looked a bit more relaxed. The other piece of  "news" was that the other morning, Angus, our cat, was looking at the stove... on closer examination inside the stove, there was a House Sparrow, a dirty looking wee crittar, but once caught and released it disappeared, possibly away for a wash and clean up to get rid of some of the soot from our lum...no George, it did not have any leg rings on, sorry friend!!!

Friday 13 December 2019

Friday 13th December

Well, I heard and know that our missing ferry came out of dry dock yesterday and returned to service today.. the plot thickens as that the said ferry has now sailed of up to help out up on Mull. She was tied up at Craignure a wee while ago... To make matters worse, on the service status on the Calmac website, they have just announced that the first ferry at 7 am tomorrow from Kennacraig has been cancelled, as has the return leg from Islay back to Kennacraig at 09.45. It must be that time of the year again!!

On a more positive note, if you go to the website for Kilchoman Distillery, there is quite an interesting piece on their blog about the birds, around and about at Rockside, with some points being answered by DJ...

Thursday 12 December 2019

Thursday 12th December

Another really miserable day with the weather yet again, possibly not so windy but ceratinly we have had our share of the rain on offer, the rain gauge is over 3 inches so far this month already...

Lauren, a new volunteer at Gruinart saw a Golden Eagle take and kill a corvid out from the viewing platform at Gruinart yesterday....

Donald James MacPhee had seen a Kestrel down a Machir Bay earlier on this week. 

Up at home, that pesky Sparrowhawk flew past the feeding station, but forgot to catch anything... A Buzzard was sitting on top of his usual post along the deer fence along the boundary with Rockside.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Wednesday 11th December

In between the icy showers, James managed a goose count, on the reserve at Gruinart
Barnacle geese  8,305
Whitefronts       251
Other birds seen included the following,
White tailed eagles         4 Juv/sub ad all at the same time (3 all together on salt marsh looked like juvs and 1 on Flats looked to be 2-3 calendar year)
Little egret                        1 (there is another at Bridgend)
Whooper Swans            8
Lapwing              511
Dunlin                380
Woodcock          1
Bullfinch             1

This morning, up here at home, Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier, flying low over the garden about 2 metres above the ground and only at about 25 metres away from the house. Later on, she saw a Golden Eagle soaring out over the crag. I had a Merlin fly along the road in front of me this afternoon, as I was driving down from home towards the Coastguard's cottages.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Tuesday 10th December

Well, you should never speak too soon, as the weather today has gone downhill, big style. The wind has huffed and pufffed all day, with quite a lot of rain thrown into the mix. Having said that, it would be hard to know how much of the rain made it into the rain gauge, as I am pretty sure that most of it would have been blown past the actual mouth of the funnel, pehaps it landed in Marsali's gauge over at Mulindry. Our ferry came over first thing this morning and then stayed put until mid afternoon at Port Askaig but has gone back to Kennacraig and as I write this entry has left again for a second sailing back to Kennacraig, rather them than me, I do not think that the chef will be serving many meals tonight for sure....

Monday 9 December 2019

Monday 9th December

What a diffence a day makes, the wind through the day has dropped considerably with little rain in the air either, better not get too exited as the forecast does not too good for tomorrow... We still only have a single ferry working with the old boat still in dry dock, around 3 weeks after she was due back, nobody seems to know exactly what is wrong  with her, apart from old age!!!

Mark, at Gruinart, had seen 4 Bullfinches, 4 Goldcrests, saw the Little Egret, counted 43 Twite and spotted 2 White tailed Eagles on the reserve at Gruinart. 

Just after lunch time today, I saw 2 Golden  Eagles soaring above the crag, here at home, and they were being harassed by a single Raven. Shortly afterwards, a Hooded crow flew away up the gully.

James today had  the Green winged Teal and also the Little Egret both seen out from the North hide at Gruinart. The "film crew", at the same time, had seen a total of 8 White tailed Eagles at Gruinart. They had 4 adults and also 4 juvenile birds.

Sunday 8 December 2019

Sunday 8th December

The blog is beginning to sound like me giving off about the weather, but there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it, just another terrible day with wind and rain coming down , thrown into the mix...The evening ferry did not sail from Kennacraig , the first cancellation  for some time because of the weather!!!

I heard from James this afternoon, that the Little Egret has been seen at Gruinart for the most of this past week, not just yesterday...

Saturday 7 December 2019

Saturday 7th December

Well, the weather forecast has been spot on yet again as it has been another wet and windy day out here again and by the looks of the forecast over the next few days, there is not much sign of a let up, so we will just have to hope that they are not correct for once!!!

Out on the feeders this morning, I counted 23 Goldfinches... James had a Litle Egret at onhe RSPB reserve at Gruinart today.

Friday 6 December 2019

Friday 6th December

Think that I can safely repeat my opening sentence from yesterday's entry, as it has been wet and windy  again, and Margaret saw that pesky Sparrowhawk out in the garden. The weather with the wind/ dirty showers has not lead to much birdwatching taking place. I counted a total of 13 Pheasants at one time earlier on and then this afternoon, there was a charm of over 15 Goldfinches around.

This evening, I have just been watching a program on the TV about Doddie Weir and his battle against MND.  A great program about a great man, and he was in the company of John Beattie, another great rugby player in his day as well...

Thursday 5 December 2019

Thursday 5th December

Another wet and blustery day out here again, but it did not deter Margaret from seeing a cheeky Sparrowhawk sitting on top of our bird feeding station for a few moments this morning. Coming home from Gruinart late morning, we saw a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch between Torran and Coulererach.

Marsali sent me through the figures for the rain that she has had in her gauge at Mulindry for the whole of November. Needless to say a bit wetter than here, but it came to 4.4 inches... say no more on that subject..

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Wednesday 4th December

Well I trust that all our readers have got themselves all wrapped up, as today out here on the "Western front", the wind has huffed and puffed all day with the odd dirty shower thrown in for good measure. I should know about the dirty showers as I had to dash into the garage, rather than try to make the extra few yards back to the house, net result was that I did not get too wet!!

In between times, Margaret did see a Sparrowhawk siting out in one of the bushes....it was only there for a few brief moments before flying on!!!

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Tuesday 3rd December

Yesterday afternoon, Lesley Silcock had seen 2 White tailed Eagles down past past the tip over at Gartbreck. Visitors, also yesterday, had seen a Snow Bunting down on the Oa, they also saw a Golden Eagle there as well.
Distillery Dave had 2 Golden Eagles out over Rockside yesreday as well... 

Last week was the first of this autumn/Winter count of the International Goose counts with the tally coming to 35,253 Barnies, 5,512 Whitefronts and 1,210 Greylags. The Barnies are up , while both the Whitefronts and Greylags are down on the comparable count last year....  Many thanks to Morven and the team from SNH for providing us with these figures.

Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly past the garden this morning.

Monday 2 December 2019

Monday 2nd December

Last week, when we were out on the mainland, we went to 2 very interesting talks, one was given by Doug Allan who is a well known wild life cameraman, mainly on underwater work that Doug has done over the years..especially on his work on the recent Planet Earth programs which are currently on the TV screens at present. The other talk was equally interesting, as it was given by Ann Cleeves who we had originally met while on holiday at Asa Wright centre in Trinidad a few years ago and then more recently, we were again in Tim and Ann's compay when we were in Tanzania in a small group including Mike and Val Peacock, with the tour being arranged and led very ably by Peter Roberts... say no more...

Sunday 1 December 2019

Sunday 1st December

There was a message on the phone when I got home today from a visitor who is over on Islay for a few days... he was saying that he had seen 3 different White tailed Eagles when he was out for a drive yesteday round the Rhinns .. He also found a dead Tawny Owl, which was freshly dead as it was still warm, close by there was a dead Woodcock. Brian was also telling me that the Tawny Owl only had one eye, and that the Wodcock had no head...

Obviously, now that  we are in another month, the rainfall figures here at home only came through at 3.25inches... a lot drier than other places for sure... So could we be in for dry spell in December, we will just have to wait and see???

Saturday 30 November 2019

Saturday 30th November

Yesterday, James had seen 2 White tailed Eagles in the trees at Avonvoggie on the high road. Later on while on the ferry, he saw an Otter in West Loch Tarbert. Finally, James had a Little Egret at Kennacraig.

Friday 29 November 2019

Friday 29th November

Mark, the other day, had carried out the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart...Birds seen included.. 5 Heron, 31 Shelduck, 85 Wigeon, 19 Teal, 12 Mallard, 18 R B Merganser, 170 Oystercatcher, 58 Ringed Plover, 1810 Golden Plover, 239 Lapwing, 8 Knot, 104 Sanderling, 902 Dunlin, 368 Barwits, 126  Curlew, 62 Redshank, 28 Turnstone, 3 Gbb Gull,89 H Gull, 57 C Gull, 19 B h Gull, a Greenshank, 2 Snipe, a Blackwit and also a Ruff. On the floods at Gruinart, he had the following birds noted 4 Snipe, 3 Heron, 217 Mallard, a Dabchick, 110 Wigeon, 31 Shoveler, 56 Pintail, 909 Teal, 10 Curlew, 13 Whooper Swan, 2 Mute Swan, 270 Lapwing and a Blackwit. Up on Ardnave Loch, he counted 2 Goldeneye, 3 Wigeon and also 4 Mallard.

Thursday 28 November 2019

Thursday 28th November

Happy birthday to my old mate Paul W. who today reached the heady age of the big 70... make the most of the next 70 years auld yin...

James yesterday had been out helping carrying out the first International Goose count of this season.. While he was out, he had the following birds seen by himself...At Craigens, he had seen a Todd's Canada goose , also present there was a Pink footed goose and also 2 Pale bellied Brent geese. Over at Carrabus, James had a Canada goose Hutchinsii sp.  Over Borachill Mor a Kestrel was seen while up at Killinallan, a White tailed Eagle was added to his birds seen... On the reserve at Gruinart, James had 3Grey Wagtails, a Merlin and also some Woodcocks.

Wednesday 27th November

On Monday, Gary had seen a an adult White tailed Eagle flying over Finlaggan, he also had seen a  male Hen Harrier out quartering its patch there as well. In the actual plantation, there were flocks of Siskins, Redpolls and also Goldfinches present as well.

Today he had 2 White tailed Eagles down at Bridgend and shortly afterwards he saw 3 Long tailed Ducks out from Knockangle Point on Loch Indaal

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Tuesday 26th November

Bob, the other day had carried out his WeBS count from Port Charlotte back round to Blackrock with his tally coming to as follows....    21 GND, 1 BTD, 6 RTD, 7 Slavonian Grebe, 37 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 1 Razorbill, 8 Mallard, 44 Eider, 1 Goldeneye, 5 L t Ducks, 12 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 3 Turnstone, 4 Heron, 22 Oystercatcher,  6 Gbb Gulls, 30 Herring Gulls,12 Common Gulls and also 2 Black headed Gulls.

Monday 25 November 2019

Monday 25th November

Yesterday, Armin had seen a flock of Barnies roosting up on the Machir behind Machir Bay. He also had a count of around 50 Ringed Plover down on the beach as well, but each time he got relatively close to them they took off again and flew along the beach again and again.

Sunday 24 November 2019

Sunday 24th November

This morning Distillery Dave had been down on Machir Bay with his 2 dogs and while he was going down onto the beach itself, he had counted over 60 Curlews in one of the fields beside the car park there. Later on as they were walking up the road to Kilchoman, he had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier approach them head on, flying directly towards Dave and the 2 dogs, Ted and Ella......

Saturday 23 November 2019

saturday 23rd November

Today, when he was  out for a round of golf over at the Machrie, Distillery Dave had counted 26 Snow Bunting.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Wednesday 20th November

Another gie dreich sort of a day out on Islay (again), but it did not deter Armin. Possibly that is not 100% true as it was at least dry when he set out for his walk along Machir Bay, but by the sound of things he got rather wet and not too many birds seen either. He had some Gulls and he also reckoned that there were only around 20 Ringed Plovers around today. He had a Robin pecking at the patio door of his cottage. Back on Sunday evening, he saw a Heron over at Laphroaig when he was taking some "night photography" images at the Distillery. Armin wondered if the Heron was dazzled by his headtorch, as it did not seem to be disturbed by him being around at all.

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Tuesday 19th November

Good friend Armin had been on Machir Bay for his walk out... Down around the old wreck in the Bay, he had counted over 40 Ringed Plovers. Later on, Armin had seen 10 Greenland whitefronts and then finally he had seen the geese heading in to their roost....

Monday 18 November 2019

Monday 18th November

Last Wednesday, Dave Woods had seen 3 Snow Buntings down on the RSPB Oa reserve.

Today, Dave had seen a 1st winter Glaucous Gull down at Kintra. Other birds seen included a B t Diver, 10 GND, 4 RTD, and he had seen 11 Lt Ducks  as well. In Kilnaughton Bay, he had a single BTD and also 9 GND present there too.

Some birds seen by James down on Loch Indaal today... He had seen 11 Long tailed Ducks,  2 Slavonian Grebes and  he also counted 32 Common Scoter present there as well.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Sunday 17th November

Armin arrived yesterday evening after coming across on the 20.15 ferry from Kennacraig. ..

Today, when driving down to Machir bay, Armin saw a buzzard flying over the reed bed below the Coastguard Cottages. When down at Machir bay, he witnessed a large flock of several hundred barnies fly along from loch Gorm/ Rockside. he took it to be it was the geese going in to the roost at Coull. Finally , he saw another Buzzard flying over the big crag behind Kilchoman House

Saturday 16 November 2019

Saturday 16th November

Earlier on this afternoon, I had a good natter /catch up with good friends Pat & George E Jackson. I was saying to them that we are seeing a Great spotted Woodpecker out on the feeders most days. But I was a bit deflated when they told me that they had caught and fitted rings to 3 Great spotted Woodpeckers this week, down in their garden... Other regulars to our feeders include Nuthatches, Great Tits, Blue Tits , Coal Tits, Long tailed Tits, Tree Sparrows, Dunnocks,  a Siskin, and several Blackbirds, 2 Goldfinches on the wee niger feeder, and a few House Sparrows came in to the feeders today. Other new birds today included a Lesser Redpoll and also a Greenfinch. The other day, we saw a Magpie fly across the main road as we drove home. Other birds seen here in the garden include some Pheasants, a few Rooks and also some Wood pigeons. Almost forgot, we had a Moorhen in the garden the other day as well. Also seen, yesterday, was a male Sparrowhawk as it flew past

Thursday 14 November 2019

Thursday 14th November

Some sightings seen by Gary today.. In at Finlaggan, he had seen an adult White tailed Eagle and also a male Hen Harrier was also present. Shortly afterwards, Gary saw a juv. White tailed Eagle chasing after some geese... Not sure as to the outcome as he did not say whether the geese escaped unscathed or not...

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Wednesday 13th November

Just had an email to say that John Stewart Smith had passed away on Monday. John was one of the original members of the RAFOS team that came and visited Islay. He was a true character although his health latterly was not as good as it might have been. No doubt we will remember him with some tales that he could tell us over a dram after dinner... Another thing  about John was that he could tell some hilarious jokes as well..   As I might say about John, "Gone, but not forgotten"

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Tuesday 12th November

Some sightings through from birds seen down on the reserve on the Oa today... Visitors David and Sally Morton from Herefordshire had seen 4 Snow Buntings when they walked out the American monument on the Oa. They had also seen a Golden Eagle being mobbed by some Hooded Crows. Phill had also sent some sightings on the reserve as well... He had counted 1,400 Barnies and also 480 Whitefronts. Other birds seen by himself were a Merlin , a Hen Harrier as well as a Kestrel perched up on a fence line, directly opposite was a line of 200 Twite. All seemed normal enough until the hunger pangs set in and the Kestrel decided to knobble one of the Twite which it did do.. The remaining birds just watched the whole event taking place, quite unfazed by it all...

Monday 12th November

No birds today folks mainly because of the weather with a strong wind blowing as well...

Sunday 10 November 2019

Sunday 10th November

The other day, James had seen 3 Snow Buntings and also 3 Purple Sandpipers when he was up at Ardnave. He also saw an Otter up there as well

Saturday 9 November 2019

Saturday 9th November

Yesterday was MB's last full day of this visit, so before I forget, many thanks for your sightings, and keep in touch....Mind you will have all those WeBS counts to carry out shortly, so we hope that the weather is at least dry so that you do not get too wet...

Off Laggan Point, he had seen the following birds, 4 RTD, 17 Eiders, 11 L t Ducks, 44 Shag, 7 Ringed Plover, 21 Lapwing, 13 Curlew, 10 Rock Pipits, and 2 Chough. Also present an adult W t eagle perched up on a rock, a juv Golden Eagle was seen there too, and he wondered whether it could possibly be the same bird that he had seen up at Skerrols, a Merlin and also a Hen Harrier were also seen there. On the "Laundry Loch", he had counted 24 Whoopers, 154 Whitefronts, a Pink footed Goose, 272 Greylags, 33 Barnies, 107 Wigeon, 27 Teal, 11 Mallard and a Goldeneye. Over at Blackrock, he had the 31 Pale bellied Brents but as he said "only" 16 Common Scoter were there.
At Killinallan, he had seen a male Hen Harrier, 11 Ringed Plover, 390 Golden Plover, 19 Turnstone and also 32 Twite. At Gruinart, he had a juv W t Eagle with around 500 Duck on the floods there. Finally back at Kilchoman, he had counted 18 Chough going in to the roost.

Another visitor, LT had seen a Grey Wagtail up in the bay at Sanaigmore commenting that this was quite special to him as he had up til then thought that these wagtails were only seen on fresh water. It appeared to be eating insects/  grubs out of the seaweed there.

Friday 8 November 2019

Friday 8th November

MB had been out and about again yesterday, which in his own words, the weather was "dull, and at times gloomy sort of a day". First thing yesterday, he had seen 2 White tailed Eagles at Kilchoman, along at Coull, MB saw  a male Hen Harrier. Round at Sunderland Farm, a Golden Eagle was seen flying along towards Rockside Farm. Along at Uiskentuie/ Blackrock he had 11 Slavonian Grebes, 5 L t Ducks (4M + 1F), 33 Common Scoter and he counted 135 R b Merganser all together in one raft. In Bridgend Wood/ Claggain Strip, MB saw 4 Goldcrest and also 5 Treecreeper and along at Islay House, 35 Fieldfare were present while at Bridgend, 2 drake Goosanders, 5 Goldeneye and 2 Dippers were seen. Along at Mulreesh he had counted 51 Redwing. In at Finlaggan, he watched a W T Eagle flush 52 Mallard 103 Teal and 5 Tufted Duck out from their cover... coming back over the Glen road, in around Beinn Dubh/ Storakaig, MB had 2 Golden Eagles and also a Peregrine present, he also counted at least 90 Hooded Crows and also 18 Raven in the same area.

Thursday 7 November 2019

Thursday 7th November

MB had been out in the cold and wet yesterday, a dedicated birder for the blog, well done lad... Mind you, going by the weather that was around yesterday, it was the same everywhere and not just solely on Islay in that it was cold and wet!!!

Over at Octovullin, he had seen 43 Fieldfare and also present were 14 Red legged Partridges there as well. Down below, on the water at Loch Skerrols, he had 19 Mute Swan, 39 Whoopers, 176 Wigeon, 105 Teal, a single Pintail, 28 Tufted Duck,with a Woodcock, 4 Bullfinches seen nearby and he heard some Siskins there as well. He also had seen  2 adult W t Eagles in the air . A wee while later, up past Loch Cam, over Carn nan Gillean 2 Golden Eagles. Down over the merse at Bridgend, he had a Golden Eagle flushing out 72 Mallard, 117 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 23 Knot and 76 Dunlin. Along at Blackrock, the usual 32 P b Brents were still present. In the air , up behind Craigens, he saw an adult and also a juv Golden Eagle. Up at Bun an Uillt, MB had seen 6 GND, 5 R b Merganser and also the 2 Long Tailed Duck. Down on the floods at Gruinart, he counted 470 Teal, 34 Pintail and a Hen Harrier, (no Shoveler seen). Finally, below Carnduncan, he had seen another Hen Harrier

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Wednesday 6th November

Yesterday MB had seen a  male Hen Harrier up at Kilchoman, and before I forget he had seen 8 Carrion Crows down on Machir Bay on Monday. Back to yesterday again.. MB had seen 12 Whooper Swans flying South when at Kildalton Cross. and also 2 Yellowhammer,  a single Redpoll.  Around Aros  Bay, 2 Mute Swan and also a juv Whooper Swan. Other birds present there included a Pink footed Goose, 490 Barnies, a Canada Goose (British type), 89 Wigeon, 2 Lapwing, 22 Curlews, 3 Goldcrest and 2 Long tailed Tits. Ovr Loch an-t-Sailein, he saw an adult W t Eagle,. he also counted 160 Whitefronts, 100 Greylag, 35 Wigeon, 10 R b Merganser, 27 Curlew and a Tystie there as well. Back at Port Ellen, he saw 23 Ringed Plover. Finally back at Kilchoman, he saw 16 Chough going into the roost with 84 Hooded Crows seen flying to their roost as well.

James yesterday had account of 11,715 bBarnies, 397 Whitefronts 8 P b Brent geese, 1,660 Golden Plover and a Golden Eagle, all seen on the reserve at Gruinart.

Tuesday 5th November

Yesterday for Colin Bushell along with his birders who have been over for the past few days, it was their final day. Up at Bunnahabhain, they saw a Golden Eagle and also had a count of 12 Lesser Redpolls there. Down at Ballygrant, they had 25 Fieldfares and also a Mistle Thrush present.. Loch Skerrols had 13 Mute Swan, 23 Whoopers, 57 Wigeon and also 24 Teal. At Loch Gruinart, they saw a Todd's Canada Goose, 8 Whoopers, the drake Green winged Teal was present out from the North Hide. Out over the flats they had seen 2 W t Eagles and also a Golden  Eagle with 34 Sanderling seen up on the East side of Loch Gruinart itself.

MB yesterday had counted 38 Ringed Plover and also 46 Curlew down on Machir Bay. Over at Whin park/the merse at Bridgend, he had seen 2 White tailed Eagles . 9 Shelduck, 72 Knot, 2 Grey Plover, 104 Ringed Plover, 23 Dunlin, 14 Barwits and also 31 P b Brents were present there as well. Down towards Kilchiaran, he saw an adult Golden Eagle and then shortly afterwards, he had a male Hen Harrier seen close to Tormisdale. A walk along beside Claddach, proved quite productive... He watched a flock of Barnies being spoofed by something and then he watched a W t Eagle take a Barnie out in mid flight, but the Barnie managed to break out of the eagle's grip and escape....The Eagle was not too pleased about that.. He also saw a Sparrowhawk , 6 Ringed Plover, 8 Curlew, 6 Redshank, 3 Turnstone, 191 Whitefronts, 24 Shag, 5 Cormorant and also 39 Hooded Crows. He also counted 141 adult Grey Seals along with 9 Pups . Another species of interest, was the sighting of a "Blond" Hedgehog...

Also yesterday, James had a Water Rail while walking through the Woodland Trail at Gruinart.

This afternoon, Malcolm had seen 110 Shag in a feeding frenzy out on Loch Indaal from his house. There were solely Shags seen with no gulls present, with the whole event taking around 20 minutes with Shags flying away in small groups rather than in in one large groups. Earlier on this week, I had been coming up from Port Charlotte  and I had seen Shags perched up on the rocks just North of Bruichladdich and thought that there was a large number of Shags present, "standing room only"

Monday 4 November 2019

Monday 4th November

Another glorious day with the weather out here again today, with the sun streaming in through the window as I attempt to write this entry... 

MB had a good day's birding yesterday, his birds started off with 95 Fieldfares counted in the wood down at Kilchoman. A look out over Loch Indaal bewteen 08.25 and 10.00 betwen Port Charlotte round to Carnain/ Smelly Corner produced 33 RTD, 42 GND (including a raft of 21 Divers), 39 Slav Grebe ( all seen between Gortan and Smelly Corner), 21 Scaup, 153 Eider, 113 Common Scoter, 18 L t Ducks (11 drakes), 75 R b Meganser, 3 Goldeneye, and at where the Grey River enters Loch Indaal at Uisketuie, he saw a Grey Wagtail. On a rising high tide, up at Gruinart he had 8 P b Brent Geese, 24 Shelduck, 2,120 Golden Plover, 11 Knot, 46 Sanderling, 540 Dunlin, 351 Barwits, 7 Greenshank, 62 Turnstone with 2 L t Ducks in from Bun an Uillt. Killinallan held 42 Whitefronts, 2,700 Barnies,  35 Ringed Plover, 62 Golden PLover, 253 Lapwing, 31 Sanderling, 31 Sanderling, 12 Curlew, 80 Redwing, 40 Twite and also a Mistle Thrush, an imm. Golden Eagle flew over from Ardnave and flew on Eastwards.  On the hills inland from there, he saw  a W t Eagle and another Golden Eagle. Ardnave Point held a Golden Eagle, and a Hen Harrier. On the floods at Gruinart MB counted 960 Teal, 51 Pintail and a Hen Harrier . Coming back to his cottage where he is staying when over here, he had seen another H H along below Carndunacn with a final ringtail seen  at Kilchoman.

Yesterday, Colin Bushell along with his group from Limosa Holidays had also carried out a watch on Loch Indaal, from Bowmore round to Bruichladdich. They had some birds which MB had not spotted including 2 Purple Sandpipers, 20 L Tt Ducks, a Pinkie, 19 Whoopers, 78 Wigeon, 42 Teal, 9 Goldeneye, 9 Tysties, a Bt Diver as well as a distant Golden Eagle and a W t Eagle. When driving up to Gruinart, they saw a ringtail HH and then a Brambling was seen out from the Visitor Centre. 
On Loch Gorm, they had seen 2 Pochard, 38 Tufted Duck and a Slav Grebe, they also had another W t Eagle and another ringtail and saw 20 Rock Doves. Along amongst the Barnies seen down towards Machir Bay, they had 4 Dark bellied Brent Geese, on the beach itself they had 41 Ringed Plover. Also seen there were 20 Chough, a Peregrine as well as a Merlin

The other day Gary had seen a small flock of Redpolls down towards the Lily Loch,. Today, he had a Merlin at Kilchiaran and then later on, another one seen at Foreland. This morning, we saw a Golden Eagle away out over the far crag with 2 Roe Deer on the top of another part of the crag. As per usual, the Sparrowhawk came through the garden and decided to have a wee rest for a few minutes sitting on top of one of the garden fence posts...Up at Sanaigmore today, LT had a count of 50 Fieldfare.

Marsali was in touch with her rainfall for October coming to a heady 7.12" while James told me yesterday that his figure for the month came to 6.5", so I can hear you all moaning about up here on the dry West with our tally coming in at only 6.0" exactly...

Sunday 3 November 2019

Sunday 3rd November

Back on Thursday evening when driving home, James had seen 2 Tawny Owls and also a Barn Owl, all sen on the reserve at Gruinart. He has had a "regular"  visitor of a Grey Wagtail of late in his garden.

MB had counted 29 Ringed Plover down at Machir Bay. When driving up to Ardnave, he had a Golden Eagle sitting perched up. In the garden at Ardnave House, he counted 64 Redwing present.  Over at Traigh Nostaig, he had seen 29 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plovers, 5 Sanderling, 5 Barwits, 13 Turnstone, 40 Twite and also 39 Chough. Back down on the floods at Gruinart, he had 37 Pintail and also 32 Shoveler. Out on the estuary, he had counted 22 Shelduck, 254 Barwits, a Knot, 11       Turnstone, 117 Ringed Plover, 18 Sanderling, 490 Dunlin with 1870 Golden Plover present as well. A count out on Loch Indaal from Bruichladdich back round to Bowmore provided him with some more birds... 21 RTD, 7GND,  8 Slav Grebes, 34 Common Scoter, 5 Long tailed drakes flew in, 2 Goldeneye, 67 Eider and 97 R b Merganser. Below Carnduncan, he had 2 Chough while along at Coull, he had counted 60 Curlews together.

The Rochdale birders had seen seen a total of 6 Eagles when they were out and about yesterday, they also had seen a Sparowhawk in Port Charlotte as well.

Yesterday also, Colin Bushell and his group from Limosa Holidays had a great day again, not just with the weather... But they had been on the Oa and at around Kinnabus, they had a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, with 284 Whitefronts, a L t Duck and a Tufted Duck seen on Kinnabus Loch. They also counted around 75 Twite and at least 20 Rock Doves close to the steading there as well. Along the Cornabus valley towards Kintra, they saw 351 Whitefronts, 8 Mistle Thrush, a Fieldfare, 5 Ravens and also they watched a Merlin hunting Mipits over towards the Machrie Hotel. Later on up at Ardnave, they had counted over 110 Redwings in and around the house there, with 2 Dabchick seen out on Ardnave Loch itself. They had counted 26 Ravens mainly in small groups of 3 to 4 birds flying South along the West side of Gruinart, they also saw another ringtail .. Down at the reserve at Gruinart, they had seen another male Hen Harrier, a White tailed Eagle, 6 Whoopers and also the large flock of Golden Plover.

This morning, Gary had seen the Kingfisher seen down at Carnain this morning. Up here at home, we have been seeing  both  ringtail and male Hen Harriers as well as that pesky Sparrowhawk for good measure, just enough to keep the wee birds on their toes...

Saturday 2 November 2019

Saturday 2nd November

Well I must be getting a bit forgetful in my old age/ dotage... the rainfall up here at the cottage came to 6 inches exactly for the whole of October....

Colin Bushell came over on Thursday with a group from Limosa Holidays, a good friend who we met over the past few years at the Bird Fair at Rutland... Despite the poor weather, yesterday, they still managed a great day's birding... Highlights included 30 P b Brent on Loch Indaal, a Todd's Canada Goose amongst the Barnies on the flats at Gruinart, up the side of Loch Gruinart, they had a Long tailed Duck. They had seen a total of at least 4 W T Eagles and also a Golden Eagle there as well. Also seen on Loch Indaal were the following, 21 Greater Scaup, 4 Common Scoter, Eiders, GND , RTDs and also 2 Tysties.

On Thursday, the team from RAFOS had 20 Siskins down at The Woollen Mill. Yesterday round on one of the stubble fields at Ballinaby, they counted 230 Whitefronts, 28 Greylags, 480 Barnies and 2 Pale bellied Brents. Below Carnduncan, they had  a ringtail Hen Harrier.  Over the flats at Gruinart they had seen over 1,000 Golden Plover in the air. One of their group had also seen 2 Goosanders out on the estuary at Gruinart.

Yesterday morning, the Rochdale birders had seen a Peregrine out from Ardnahoe Distillery and then shortly afterwards, they saw a Golden Eagle being mobbed by 2 Buzzards as they drove up to Bunnahabhain. In a walk through Bridgend Woods in the afternoon, they had seen a Great spotted Woodpecker.

MB yesterday had counted 31 Knot, 95 Ringed Plover and 109 Dunlin at the head of Loch Indaal at Bridgend. Ballygrant Loch held a Dabchick, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Cormorant and 2 Herons. A walk down to Loch Allen proved more productive with MB counting the following birds... 32 Scandinavian Blackbirds, a G s woodpecker, 160 Fieldfare (40 +120), 20 Redwing, a British      Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Treecreeper, 45 Siskin, a Redpoll and he heard a Bullfinch calling away.

This morning, Distillery Dave had a Little Egret round at Kilchoman Distillery, it was also seen by 2 of the members of the RAFOS team as they headed out to the ferry.

Friday 1 November 2019

Friday 1st November

Late on Wednesday afternoon, Louise Muir had seen and counted a flock of 62 Snow Bunting, between the South end of Machir bay and up along the track leading up towards Granny's Rock

Yesterday morning, Carol Andrew had seen a small flock of geese down at Bruichladdich, they were flying around over the rear of her house, and on closer inspection, Carol reckons that they succeeded in putting some waders up, moving them down the coast beyond the fuel depot towards the ponds behind Shorefield.

MB had been out and about yesterday... In the fields at Skerrols, he had seen 5 Pinkies amongst the flocks of  Barnies there. he also had 4 flocks of Fieldfare totalling 200 birds, as well as 25 Redwing and also 7 Scandinavian Blackbirds there too.  On Loch Skerrols, he counted 23 Mute Swan, 58 Whoopers, 285 Wigeon, 112 Teal, 21 Mallard and 61 Tufted Duck.  In the surrounding trees, MB had seen 9 L t Tits and a total of 12 Bullfinch (4 + 8). Along at Eallabus, he had another 50 Fieldfare, 30 Redwing, 14 Sc. Blackbirds, a male Blackcap and also 9 Siskins. In at Bowmore, he saw 23 P b Brent and  counted 142 Wigeon.  Finally, he had the following on the floods at Gruinart... 136 Wigeon, 590 Teal, 27 Shoveler, 6 Pintail, 2 White tailed Eagle and a ringtail Hen Harrier was present as well.

This morning, the Rochdale birders had seen 2 White tailed Eagles over Port Charlotte. Yesterday afternoon, they had spotted 2 Golden Eagles out on the wing above Beinn Bheigier, along at Kildalton they saw 2 Yellowhammers.. This morning they had seen 3 Turnstone and a Snipe down beside the wee burn that goes to Machir Bay. Shortly afterwards while enjoying a welcome cuppa, up here at our house, they saw the female Sparrowhawk perched up on the feeding station. Then just before lunchtime, the ringtail Hen Harrier flew through the garden, less than 15 metres away from the house. Mid afternoon, we saw another Hen Harrier out from the house, but a male bird this time!!!

Thursday 31 October 2019

Thursday 31st October

Back on Monday, James had counted 1,685 Golden Plover on the reserve at Gruinart.  (MB had counted 1,690 there last Saturday).On Tuesday, James had a count of 1,074 Teal out from the hides at Gruinart, he also saw a Dabchick and also 4 Blackwits there as well
Yesterday, MB had seen an imm White tailed Eagle down at Bridgend. On the walk between Bowmore to Gartbreck, he had counted 3 RTD, a GND, 348 Whitefronts, 5,900 Barnies, a P b Brent, 64 Wigeon, 117 Teal, 26 Mallard, 3 Pintail, 3 Goldeneye, 88 Eider, 44 R b Merganser, 41 Oystercatcher, 53 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 1 Snipe, 10 Dunlin, 3 Barwits, 21 Curlew, 17 Redshank, 11 Turnstone, 2 Lapwing, 3 W t Eagle (2 Ad + an imm), 7 Rock Pipit and also 8 Twite. Along at Octovullin, he saw an imm Golden Eagle while over the hills behind Finlaggan he had an adult Golden Eagle.

Jesse Wilkinson, one of the film cameramen who are over on Islay, well along with his colleague Nick they seen an Osprey flying South down Loch Indaal, early afternoon. He also told me that he had seen 3 W t Eagles and also 2 Golden Eagles between Loch Indaal and over at Loch Gruinart.

This morning, Distillery Dave had seen 6 Long tailed Tits fly through his garden. This morning Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier below Sue Campbell's house between Coull and Saligo. ( I never saw it, as I was driving, honest!!!) Round at Ballinaby there was a family group of 6 Whoopers present which was nice to see, close to the roadside as well.

Also today, the RAFOS team had seen a Black throated Diver on Loch Indaal out below the Gaelic College. They had also seen a 2 W t Eagles trying to wrestle some prey from an Otter, and the victor was the Otter

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Wednesday 30th October

Quite a few birds for you, as when I came back in from our Islay bird nerds meeting, I was just knackered... a right good chance for us all there to hear about some interesting news..

Coming home last night, we saw a Barn Owl out at Sunderland Farm.. Phill Catton had seen a Tawny Owl when driving up from Port Ellen along the High road to the meeting, and then on his way home after the meeting, he had a Barn Owl when going home along the High Road. Yesterday, Philll had seen the following birds on the Oa, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, 4 Chough, 39 Golden Plover, a Buzzard, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Cormorant and also 2 Snipe.

Yesterday, JD and Bob had a flock of 120 Fieldfare close to Grainel over at Gruinart. 

Also yesterday, the Rochdale birders had gone over to Jura, and they saw 4 Otters, a flock of Fieldfare, a Golden Eagle and also a Woodcock. Back on Islay, they had a White tailed Eagle in at Loch Skerrols and  Woodcock seen up at Gearach up behind Port Charlotte.

MB yesterday had a male Pochard and 6 Goldeneye (2 M+ 4 F). Off the Big Strand and up towards Laggan Point he saw 6 RTD, 8 GND, 9 Eider and also counted 23 Long tailed Duck (15M +8F). Down at the Airport, 6 Chough were present. In at Loch Skerrols, MB had a Hen Harrier, a juv Golden Eagle, a Peregrine and 3 flocks of  Fieldfare (25, 32 + 40). Up over, Carn nan Gillean, a White tailed Eagle and also 2 Golden Eagles. He had also spotted a Stoat at Erasaid. Along at the VC at RSPB Loch Gruinart, he saw 6 L T Tits, and then finally, he had a Hen Harrier along at Coull.

The team  from RAFOS had been down doing some counting of the Twite down on the Oa today with a count of 100 in the crop at Upper Killeyan and the flock at Kinnabus came to 135 Twite and also a Brambling seen among them too. On their way back up from the Oa, they had seen a White tailed Eagle seen down at Gartbreck. On the fields, there were over 2,000 Barnies, with a Grey Plover seen down on the foreshore there as well as 5 Ringed Plover, around 40 Teal, some Mallard and also 2 flocks of Herring Gulls totalling 100 birds. Back down at Machir Bay, one their members had seen 16 Chough, late afternoon.
Gary had been down on Machir Bay this morning, where he had 2 Sanderling with Reed Buntings, Twite and he heard the Snow Bunting up above in the dunes. 2 Chough flew overhead, noisey and nosey a ever. Over Coull Point, Gary saw a Golden Eagle

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Tuesday 29th October

Yesterday the RAFOS team had a Treecreeper out in front of their cottages where they are staying, Bob yesterday had seen 2 Goosanders out on Loch Indaal, in front of the Gaelic college.

This morning JD had seen some Siskins as well as some Redpolls down at Easter Ellister. Later on when he was out doing some birding wih Bob, they had seen 12 Goldcrests, 15 Wood Pigeons and also 2 Treecreepers along at Foreland. Amongst a large flock of Barnies present at Coull, they also saw 5 Pinkies and 2 P b Brent as well as a young Peregrine. Down on Machir Bay, no Snow Buntings were present, but a Med Gull was seen. After visiting us, when I was seeing them away, we saw 6 Long tailed Tits and a Song Thrush.

JW and his fellow birders had been at Kinnabus this morning where they had counted 150 Twite with 25 Rock Doves nearby. They also had 2 Hen Harriers there as well. Over at Kildaton, they had 5 Yellowhammers and shortly afterwards they saw 2 White tailed Eagles. A Slav Grebe was seen out on the water further along the coast down there. 

Monday 28 October 2019

Monday 28th October

Before I forget, please remember to come along to the Islay Bird nerds monthly catch up. We will be meeting up in the Visitor centre at RSPB LOch Gruinart at 18.30 tomorrow evening, for a cuppa and a catch up, so hopefully see you there... Please mind to bring your money to help pay our way!!!

The Rochdale birders are back again arriving yesterday... They had seen a Sparrowhawk up behind Port Charlotte yesterday. Today, they had a flock of over 50 Fieldfare up beside the former Kilchoman School as well as plenty of Redwings present on their travels around today. 

Another fellow visitor JW had been up for a visit this afternoon, and gave me some birds seen by his wife and also some seen by their fellow birders. Up at Ardnave, they had seen 3 Snow Buntings as well as a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down at Gruinart, they had 8 Whoopers and also 20 Whitefronts. On Loch Indaal, they had 22 Scaup, 40 R B Merganser with 40 Ringed Plover seen on the shore.

MB had an early start this morning ... At 7.50 am, he had counted a flock of 47 Fieldfare along with 2 Redwing out from his cottage at Kilchoman. Down at Machir Bay, he saw 2 Snow Bunting just at the car park, with 3 Pb Brent Geese, 24 Ringed Plover and 16 Curlew seen out on the tide's edge in the bay. Along at Rockside road end, he had counted another 25 Fieldfare with  48 Tufted Duck seen out on Loch Gorm. Down on the Oa, he had seen 3 Golden Eagles (2 AD + a juv)and also a male Merlin and counted 47 Hooded Crows on his way through the Oa. He saw 10 Whitefronts fly in from the South. Finally, at Kinnabus, he counted 300 Twite and 35 Redwing. Kilnaugton Bay held 3 GND, and also 2 Tysties. Up past Island House, he had a male Hen Harrier. Over at Bun an Uillt, MB had a Long tailed Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 19 R b Merganser and also 39 Knot present there as well. Down at the head of Loch Gruinart, on the floods , he had seen 44 Pintail, 25 Shoveler, 6 Blackwit, 5 Greenshank and also 1200 Golden Plover.

JD had been out and about as well, counting 42 RTD, 37 GND, 2 BTD, a Long tailed Duck and also 108 Common Scoters, all present on Loch Indaal 

Some sightings through from RAFOS for you now... They had counted over 1,000 Barnies seen at Leorin. Out past Ardbeg, they had  a Kingfisher flypast over at Loch a' Chnuich. Shortly afterwards they spotted 2 White tailed Eagles perched out on some rocks. Then a Golden Eagle was seen and almost the same place, 3 Buzzards were seen as well...Back up at Smelly corner, another Kingfisher was present with 150 Oystercatcher, some Barwits and some Knot seen along the top of Loch Indaal.

Sunday 27 October 2019

Sunday 27th October

A few more sighhtings through from Dave Pierce and his group of birders from Naturetrek, all seen yesterday... They had counted 30 Pale bellied Brent Geese between Bridgend and Bowmore., with over 100 Greenland Whitefronts up at Cruach.. Down at Leorin, they had a flock of 500 Barnies present, before they were "erupted" by a juv Golden Eagle. Also  seen there was a Merlin and also a male Hen Harrier.  Along on the Oa, they had a count of around 100 Twite. They had also seen an adult Golden Eagle making an ("unidentified") kill in a field.  It then took off with it and landed some distance away and started to pluck and eat, before taking off with its' prey again and soaring around. A juv Golden Eagle appeared and flew around with it, with the adult bird went to land again, with the youngster following it to land. The adult bird then flew off leaving the prey for the youngster.

Many thanks to Dave and other visiting birders who have sent in their sightings to share on the blog, much appreciated as ever.

Out from the big window here at home just around 8.45 am, Margaret saw a White tailed Eagle fly past, flying in along towards Loch Gorm. Other birders from RAFOS who are over this week around the same time had seen another White tailed Eagle, with it noted flying out along the ridge and on towards Rockside.
"JD" this morning had carried out a seawatch from 7.15 this morning down at Frenchman's Rocks.  Nothing much seen apart from 380 Kittiwake and 1,350 Large Auks. On the stubbles at Port Charlotte, he had 4 Pinkies and a count of 130 Rock Doves. Loch Indaal held 12 GND, 21 Scaup, 6 Slavs and a single Goldeneye. Up at Sunderland Farm, 120 Rock Doves were present. Along on Loch Gorm, he had 2 male Common Pochard, and a total count of 112 Tufted Duck, seen between 2 different flocks, and also a Slav Grebe was on the water too... Over at Coullabus, JD had a juv Golden Eagle.

MB is back over again, great to see you again... This morning, he had statrted off up at Ardnave, no joy in seeing any Snow Bunings, but at Traigh Nostaig, he had seen the following birds, 39 Chough, 43 Ringed Plover, 4 Grey Plover, 6 Sanderling and 9 Barwits. When returning to his car, he had a juv Golden Eagle and also saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down on the reserve at Gruinart, he had 2 White tailed Eagles and a  juv Golden Eagle, (he wonders whether it might possibly be the same one that was up at Ardnave and over at Coullabus). On the floods, he had 790 Teal and also 23 Shoveler. Up on the edge, he counted 4 Greenshank, 6 Blackwit and 155 Barwit. Down at Bridgend, he saw 23 Pale bellied Brent Geese and also 78 Knot. Along at Blackrock, he had a count of 21 Scaup. late afternoon he saw an adult Golden Eagle over the crag behind Kilchoman.

Saturday 26 October 2019

Saturday 26th October

Back on Thursday, Mandy had spotted a Kestrel hovering as she ws driving down from Ardnave.

Dave Pierce yesterday had arrived back on Islay with a second group of birders from Naturetrek, a shorter visit this time, and then the group are heading over to Mull.. Yesterday, they had counted 8 Common Scoter and 20 Scaup out from Blackrock on Loch Indaal. Up at Gruinart, they saw 2 juv White tailed Eagles with 6 Grey Plover noted on the estuary. At Ardnave, they had 10 Twite, around 32 Chough and also a Merlin. Also yesterday Nick Skilbeck and the group from Worcester RSPB had a Grey Wagtail seen over at Kilchiaran and they then had seen 2 different Merlins as they drove down the coast towards Portnahaven.

Today, Nick and his group had  a Cackling Goose at Sunderland, and then 4 Snow Buntings down at Machir Bay. Round Loch Gorm, they had a Golden Eagle, a ringtail HH and also 2 male HH and a flock of 20 Twite. Over at Gruinart, they had a Merlin, a flock of 1,000 Golden Plover and 6 Shelduck. Finally at Bridgend, they had seen 15 Pale bellied Brents, their tally for their stay came to 93 species seen.

Gary had seen a juv. Iceland Gull flying over the top of Loch Indaal at Bridgend today. He also saw it down on the sand between Bridgend and Bowmore shortly afterwards.

Another returning birder, JD is back over for a few days.. he had seen the drake Green winged Teal at Gruinart. Also present there, a juv White tailed Eagle, 5 Blackwits and 6 Greenshanks. He also commented on seeing quite a few Redwing around, with 4 flocks noted of over 100 birds in each one, the largest being around 160 birds  over close to Island House. 8 Slav Grebes were seen on Loch Indaal with 30 Pale bellied Brents seen at Bowmore.

Friday 25 October 2019

Friday 25th October

Well the weather forecast for today proved correct, with the air decidely on the the brassy side of things .. 
So I will start you off with some sightings that Margaret and myself seen from the warmth of our house!!! First birds seen were a couple of Golden Eagles soaring out over the big crag. Down on the ground there were around 20 Blackbirds out on the grass with at least 30 Redwings on the move through the garden. There obvoiusly more birds in at the feeders too, infact the first time this time round, that most of the feeders were empty and needing to be filled with some more food! The Blackbirds were noticed trying to munch some of the plentiful berries which we have this year.  James had carried out a count on the reserve at Gruinart late afternoon with his tallies coming to 17,295 Barnies, 582 Greenland Whitefronts, 81 Whoopers, 18 Pale bellied Brents, 13 Greylags, a single Canada Goose, parvipes sp., 595 Golden Plover (with a lot more seen off reserve over at Craigens) and also 3 Blackwits.

Before I forget on Tuesday evening, it is that time of the month again, the monthly catch up of the Islay Bird nerds, we will be meeting at the Visitor centre at Gruinart at 18.30. Please remember to bring a pound to help pay for your cuppa etc. So if you are around, feel free to come along and put a name to some of the locals who help us out etc, all will be made welcome!!!

Thursday 24 October 2019

Thursday 24th October

David Clugston had a Chiffchaff  when on the Woodland trail at Gruinart back on Monday, sorry David, forgot that one...

Another visitor that I was speaking to up at Ardnave this morning when waiting for a heavy shower to pass, Mark Cockburn had seen 10 Snow Buntings up at Ardnave Point on Monday. Yesterday, when he was down at one of the hides at Gruinart, he watched a White tailed Eagle take a Barnacle goose out in mid air. What a spectacle...

Coming back down from Ardnave, I had seen a count of 20 Reed Buntings together in a flock.
Albert Percival had counted over 200 Whoopers in various fields as he was out round the island. David Clugston, his wife Pauline and fellow birder Valerie Wilson had counted 342 Whoopers coming in and moving through today, they are now up to 97 species seen so far this week. 
Catheine Fotheringham today had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier over the moor towards Grainel.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Wednesday 23rd October

David Woods had sent through some sightings seen down on the Oa resevre... On Monday on Kinnabus Loch, a Long tailed Duck, 9 Whoopers and also a Wigeon were present. The first Whitefronts are back, with 145 at Kinnabus. Further along the road at Upper Killeyan which is also on the Oa reserve, David also saw 2 Merlin, 2 Golden Eagles and 2 Hen Harriers . Yesterday, he had seen 2 Pinkies amongst the Whitefronts at Kinnabus. He also managed to count the flock of Twite present at Kinnabus with his tally coming to 290 with a leucistic bird amongst them.

This morning, Lesley had a count of 15 Red legged Partridges in her garden.

No reports in today, so far, of the Snow Geese or of the Baird's Sandpiper seen by James yesterday.

The weather, this afternoon has gone from bad to worse, with plenty of rain bashing against the windows, glad to say that the fire is being kept in, just as well that there are plenty of dry logs inside to keep it going !!!!

Tuesday 22nd October

Another big whack of birds to report through to you all... better late than never!!!

On Monday, Dave Pierce and Naturetrek had seen the following birds.. 2 common Guillemots, 6 Tysties, a single Common Scoter, and also RTDs and also GNDs off Bruichladdich. Over at Bunnahabhain they had a White tailed Eagle, while down at Carrabus, 2 Merlin were seen. Finally at Gruinart, they saw an immature Golden Eagle as well as an adult White tailed Eagle.
Also on Monday, Nick Skilbeck and the Worcs RSPB group had hired a boat and on a trip up the sound of Islay and into Loch Tarbert on Jura and returned out had seen 9 White tailed Eagles, a Merlin, a Peregrine, 2 Golden Eagles, 15 GND, 2 RTD, c. 20 Tysties and a dog Otter as well, just fantastic!!!

Today, Nick and his fellows had 25 Twite down on the Oa, 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Chough, a Merlin, a Peregrine. Offshore they had Gannets, Kittiwakes and Fulmars feeding. At Claggain Bay, they had 3 GND, Aros bay held 30 Curlew, and along on the Pheasant feeders at Kildalton, they counted 12 Yellowhammers. At Kintra, they saw 2 RTD. Nick also said that they had seen several flocks of geese around on their travels as well.
Dave Pierce and the Naturetrek group had seen an adult White tailed Eagle over the Sound of Jura and then another at Craighouse. Back on Islay, 3 Hen Harriers were seen between Gruinart and Ardnave plus an immature Golden Eagle at Ardnave which flew cross the loch  towards Killinallan. At Ardnave they had 12 Choughs present, while over the raised beach at Gruinart, they had another immature Golden Eagle.

James had seen a Bairds Sandpiper on Loch Gruinart along with some Dunlin and also 6 Grey Plovers. The Bairds Sandpiper was also seen later on by Nick and his group as well.

David Clugston along with his wife Pauline and also Val Wilson from the Clyde branch of the SOC are over for another "Islay fix". I was really pleased to meet up with them and an e mail later on from Val told me that they had a Kingfisher seen on the shoreline below the Generator station as you go into Bowmore. Val also told me that the record of the Kingfisher was their 88th species seen since they arrived only 2 days ago....

Monday 21 October 2019

Monday 21st October

Quite a few sightings from various sources, so better try to make a start....

Dave Pierce was in touch to say that on their travels between Islay and Jura on Saturday, the Naturetrek group had seen 3 pairs of White tailed Eagles. Yesterday up at Cruach, they had counted around 84 Whitefronts (Cruach is behind Bowmore on the road leading to the High road). Further along the road down close to Leorin, they had a single Pink footed Goose. Down on the Oa, thy had a Merlin, a male Hen Harrier,  4 different Golden Eagles (3 adult +a juv)  and also a flock of over 100 Twite were present as well.

Dave Pullan who is leading a different group from Heatherlea had been over on Jura, nothing much to report from there... but they had seen a Todd's Canada goose amongst the Barnies on the flats at Gruinart.

Returning birder, Graeme Buchanan, had this morning seen an immature White tailed Eagle along at Sunderland, around 15 Snow Buntings were present at Ardnave with the G W  Teal seen at the reserve at Gruinart.. 

Straight, hot off my other wee pc, another correspondent, Distillery Dave had seen a Barn Owl ghost through the buildings as he went round last thing last night, checking that all was locked up for the night...

Another set of returning birders had seen 200 Pinkies down on Loch Indaal yesterday. Today, they had seen 2 White tailed Eagles down looking for something to eat at the head of Loch Indaal. They also saw a Cackling goose spotted there as well. Up at Gruinart, they had seen a Golden Eagle having a look at the Barnies on the mud.. They too had seen the Todd's Canada Goose, with Snow Bunting, 2 Greenshank and Sanderling up the Killallan side of Loch Gruinart also seen. 

Sunday 20 October 2019

Sunday 20th October

A dry , nice and sunny although not the warmest of days...

Mid afternoon, Malcolm had a skein of 35 Whitefronts flying over his house down in Bruichladdich. They were still flying quite high  and flying North, so one begs to ask the questin, had they overflown Islay??

Dave Pullan is over on Islay this week leading agroup from Heatherlea. Late afternon, their group had seen the Green winged Teal at Gruinart and also in the fields over at Ballinaby, a juv. Glaucous Gull was present.

Nick Silbeck is over leading a group from the Worcester RSPB group... They had 6 RTD off Bowmore, out on Loch Indaal between Bowmore and Bridgend, they had seen around 30 - 40 Greater Scaup. Also they had 6 P b Brent Geese on the loch as well. Up at the reserve at Gruinart, they had an imm. Golden Eagle, the Green winged Teal, and a ringtail Hen Harrier. Finallly, at Ardnave, they saw many Common Scoters, also R b Mergansers and also 20 + Chough there as well.

Late afternoon, when Distillery Dave was round for a cuppa, there was a group of over 20 Whoopers fly inland past the house, in off the sea. No sign of the Snow Geese today...

Saturday 19 October 2019

Saturday 19th October

Nothing much on the bird front today folks... the lady from the Dower House this morning had a Treecreeper with James noting another on the reserve at Gruinart and also a Sparrowhawk present there as well.

Possibly there was another reason for not so many sightings today, as Bob and Pat got married up at Kilnave with the reception being held in the Visitor Centre at Gruinart. The weather remained dry and sunny although there was an edge to the cool northerly wind, the actual ceremony went well and the spread of food on offer was a fitting end to the day.... So many thanks to Bob and Pat for inviting us to come and witness their happy day...

Friday 18 October 2019

Friday 18th October

Last night, around 5.30 pm , Distillery Dave had gone down to Loch Gorm where he saw the 2 Snow Geese, great to see especially as they had just taken off and were showing their black wing tips off. He then followed a Merlin along the road for some time before it veered off  and away.

Dave Pierce arrived yesterday and is leading a group from Naturetrek. When waiting on the ferry at Kennacraig, they had a White tailed Eagle as it flew overhead. This morning, they had seen a pair of White tailed Eagles sitting on a hillock, being mobbed by a Buzzard. Down on Loch Indaal, out from Bowmore they had a GND, with another seen at Blackrock where a L T Duck was present as well. Up at the reserve at Loch Gruinart, an adult Golden Eagle was seen putting the Barnies up off the flats. It then flew on and landed on a fence, up on the raised beach. Up at Leckgruinart they had 2 Chough and a small flock of 20 Twite. They had around 80 Whoopers at Sunderland. Finally they had a ringtail Hen Harrier and then the 2 Lesser Snow Geese were present on Loch na Cachie, down between Rockside road end and Loch Gorm.

Bob, late this morning, had seen a White tailed Eagle as it flew over his house up behind Port Charlote and it flew on towards Kilchiaran.

Thursday 17 October 2019

Thursday 17th October

I thought that it was going to  be a dry day for once, but just around 5.30 pm it got darker and then the rain started to fall, not a lot but if you were outside, you would have got wet....

James, this morning had a quick count round the reserve at Gruinart.  Birds counted were as follows, 18,090 Barnies, 21 Greenland whitefronts, a single parvipes Canada Goose, a single Pink footed Goose, 1,155 Golden Plover and a single Ruff.

Going over to Gruinart this morning, we felt that there were definitely appeared to be more Stonechats around. The most common  regular bird in to be fed up here at home, is a group of 13 Pheasants, getting quite tame, and better than feeding the Jackdaws...

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Wednesday 16th October

Just as well that I took a "daft turn" and cut the grass yesterday as overnight we had around an inch of rain, apart from the ground being rather wet this morning, I had to empty the rain gauge and we are only halfway through October... the gauge was only reading 5 inches, enough said..

Some sightings in through from Nick and Kath from last Saturday on their way home, (yes, I forgot about them, the other night).  Down at Whin Park they had the 2 Lesser Snow Geese, a Little Egret, a Peregrine, and also 5 Pale bellied Brent Geese. When leaving Gruinart, earlier on, they had seen a close sighting of a Golden Eagle.
On Monday , David Wood had seen mixed flock of Wagtails at Risabus on the Oa. There were 13 in total with a single Grey Wagtail, 10 Pied Wagtails and also 3 White Wagtails seen. Other birds seen on Monday by himself included a Merlin, 10 Goldcrest, along with a count of 200 Redwing all on the Oa reserve...

Gary, this morning had seen a Merlin chase after a wader out from Bowmore. Out on Loch Indaal itself, he had seen RTDs and GNDs, and then along at the head of the loch, he counted 52 Barwits and also 32 Redshank. Round at Blackrock, Gary had 22 Scaup and also 31 Common Scoter. Resting up on the edge of Loch Gorm he had located the 2 Lesser Snow Geese amongst the flock of Greylags present.
Ann and Noel had seen all the above mentioned birds as mentioned, but added seeing Turnstone, Goldeneye and also Long tailed Duck, all seen out on Loch Indaal. Down on the Oa, they had seen 2 Golden Eagles, a flock of over 200 Twite, a Kestrel, a Merlin and also 2 Chough.
Peter, today had seen a drake Green winged Teal out from the South Hide at Gruinart amongst the many Teal and Pintail present there.
Along on the barley stubbles at Sunderland I had counted 70 Whoopers and then managed to show 2 visitors the 2 Snow Geese resting up amongst the Greylags there.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Tuesday 15th October

Today, it has been dry although a bit on the cool side,the blood must have rushed to my head, yes I took a daft turn (again?) and cut the grass!!!

Ann Heads and Noel had yesterday seen 2 White tailed Eagles over at Loch Gruinart. Down off Frenchman's Rocks they had a Whimbrel . Today, they saw a late Wheatear up at Ardnave, over at Sanaigmore, 5 GND were spotted out in the bay. Along at Sanaigmore 50 Whoopers were present with the 2 Lesser Snow Geese seen there as well. Up here at home, we watched the Chough going into the roost. I really should take more atention and try to count them in, mind you they are not that easy to count, as they duck and dive, perhaps I will need to catch them in the frame on the camera!!!

Monday 14 October 2019

Monday 14th October

Peter had helped Bob with his WeBS count from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock...Their tally came to as follows...200 Barnies, 15 Gbb Gull, 66 H. Gull, 12 Common Gull, 2 Bh Gull, 49 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 63 RTD, 9 GND, 9 Slav Grebe, 1 Red necked Grebe, 87 Common Scoter, 5 Heron, 44 Razorbill, 32 Common Guillemot, 5 Auk species, 4 R b Merganser, 25 Eider, 1 Ringed Plover, 6 Curlew, 33 Oystercatcher and 4 Mallard.
Mark and Shona-Isla's tally for the reserve at Grunart came to...  5 Swallows, 5 Goldcrest, a W T Eagle, a Golden Eagle, a Sparowhawk, a Peregrine, a Hen Harrier, 1321 Golden  Plover, 531 Lapwing, 916 Teal, 55 Wigeon, 6 Whoopers, 54 Pintail, 4 Gadwall, 24 R b Merganser, 3 Knot, 171 Curlew, 56 Redshank, 66 Sanderling, 32 Ringed Plover and also 66 Dunlin.
Today was Richard Belter's last day of this visit and due to the rain had not seen a lot but he had a flock of Twite at Sanaigmore and also 2 GND out in the bay, but no sign of the White rumped Sandpipers!!! Along the road, he had seen a ringtail  Hen Harrier and on the merse at Bridgend, Richard had seen the 2 Lesser Snow Geese. Thanks to Richard for sending his sightings through.
This morning, we had a rather bedraggled Redwing on top of the garden fence. Around 20 Whoopers flew out to the Sea and flew out on towards Ireland and then later on over 30 Whoopers were noted flying in over Coull Point.

Sunday 13 October 2019

Sunday 13th October

Yesterday, early afternoon, and Mandy had seen over 40 Whoopers fly over Kindrochid. Earlier on,  in the fields at Ballinaby, she had seen a flock of Greylags along with some Barnies and Whitefronts present amongst the Greylags. Gary had seen large numbers of Redwing and Skylarks coming in from the North, and also 10 Crossbills flew past. Down at Finlaggan, he had a White tailed Eagle sitting on one of the trees there. He also saw several Crossbills flying along the tops of the trees there as well.

Richard, this morning at around 8am, had seen the 2 White rumped Sandpipers in the same location up at Sanaigmore.
The above is an image of the 2 birds taken yesterday by myself...

Down on the shore line at Sanaigmore, Richard had a Snow Bunting and also a Chough. Down at Blackrock he had counted 18 Scaup. There was also a small pasage of of around 20 Mistle Thrush and Redwing seen at Bunahabhain. At Cattadale, Richard had a male Hen Harrier while off  Bowmore, he had seen a GND and also a RTD out on Loch Indaal.
James, this morning, counted 15,545 Barnies, 36 Whitefronts, 9 Whoopers, 7 Pintail, 14 Pinkies and also 2 Pb Brent Geese. Down on the merse at Bridgend, he saw a White tailed Eagle and also the 2 Snow Geese were still present.
Late afternoon, we too saw the  2 Snow Geese at Bridgend, and then while coming home, there were 56 Whoopers along with large mixed flock of geese seen on one of the barley stubbles at Sunderland.

Saturday 12 October 2019

Saturday 12th October

As promised a round up firstly of birds seen out from Whin Park yesterday....Gary's initial list included the followig birds there from around 1pm... 2 White tailed Eagles,  2 Lesser Snow Geese, a single Greenshank, and also 20 + Curlew, 40 + Dunlin as well 50+ Red Knot, 4 Red b Merganser, 3 Buzzards, 30 Pinkies, 2 small Canada geese, 150+ Greylags, a single Pale bellied     Brent goose and a Peregrine. Late afternoon after Gary, Richard and ourselves had gone, Peter came along and after quite a patient piece of scoping found the Snow Geese. His count of the Barnies came in at 850 as they were dropping in all the time.. the small Canada was seen briefly, 15 Pinkies, a single P b Brent, 85 Greylags and also 75 Curlew. Peter did not count the duck present, mainly Teal and Wigeon, but said there were plenty around.

An image through from Gary of one of the Lesser Snow geese...

Distillery Dave had a Merlin on Thursday while out walking his dog down the road at Rockside. On Friday, he saw a Peregrine hunting over the fields there.

Nick and Kath had seen 4 Greenshank and a Barwit seen from their car as they drove up the east side of Loch Gruinart. They also counted 50+ Whoopers on the reserve.

Iain & Fiona yesterday had seen 4 GND, and also a RTD over at Claggain Bay and then they had a White  tailed Eagle seen over close to Ballygrant. Many thanks for your birds folks... and obviously to other visitors who sent in their sightings through the week, as ever much apprecated to you all...

Today started off as normal, a quiet sort of a day, then the phone rang, with Richard saying that he was convinced that he had 2 White rumped Sandpipers,  on a pool up at Sanaigmore, a quick phone to alert Peter and we all met up and yes it was as Richard thought. James was seen walking down on the Bay so adding his thoughts.. Earlier on Richad had seen a Little Egret at the mouth of the River Sorn, and also out from Black Rock he had seen Common Scoter, Scaup  and Eider. James had seen a Pale bellied Brent and also a Merlin, down close to the Bay at Sanaigmore as well. Distillery Dave had over 300 Barnies seen at Rockside this morning. Visitors had seen the Snow Geese out from Whin Park when they arrived off the ferry this afternoon, and Gary saw them again around 4.30 pm on his way to work.

Friday 11 October 2019

Friday 11th October

Yesterday Iain & Fiona Grant had managed to see some birds and sent them through...
Near to Ardbeg, they had seen 4 Swallows and also 2 Grey Wagtails. Just outside of Bowmore, 11 Redwing were seen. Up the West side of Loch Gruinart, a female Merlin was seen feeding on an "unfortunate" Mipit. They had seen the start of the Barnies arriving  back on Islay with over 1,000 counted and more ariving before leaving Gruinart. Other birds seen at Gruinart included a Merlin, a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and also 8 Greenshank. At Ballinaby, they saw 5 Whoopers, 150 Greylags, 3 Pinkies, and also 50 Barnies and then on Machir Bay, 6 Sanderling, 36 Ringed Plover and a single Dunlin were present.
This morning, James had arried out a quick count of any new arrivals on the reserve, he had a count of 5810 Barnies, 6 Greenland Whitefronts, a single Pale bellied Brent Goose and also 3 Redwing... Not to be outdone, we have had a great 2 hour stint at the head of Loch Indaal in rather trying weather this afternoon... Gary was in touch to say that he had 2 Snow Geese present down on the edge of the merse, so after a quick call round to folk, off we went hoping that we might get a sight of them..So, we met Gary and also Richard with Mark and Shona Islay coming along. After a bit of patience, Gary and Richard located the Geese for us, they were tucked up in a hollow and resting up but were seen. Gary sent an image over to Jim Dickson who said in his opinion that they were Lesser Snow Geese. More on these birds and the other birds which were seen when we were there tomorrow night. Peter had came along after we had left and managed to see them as well.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Thursday 10th October

Yesterday, Nick and Kath had seen a Merlin up towards Ardnave, and then later on they saw another Merlin sitting on top of a rock at the side of the road. They had also another Merlin dash across the road just South of Port Charlotte. The other day they had seen some Swallows around and now reckon that they could be feeding young on the nest... Robin Andrews and his wife, (another visiting birders), had seen a Pale bellied Brent and also 2 Barnies along with around 100 Greylags on their way out from The Machrie Hotel. Down on the Oa, out towards the American monument they had seen 2 Snow Buntings, and then along at the Kildalton Cross they had seen 4 House Martins and also a Swallow practising their flying skills. As Robin said, they were quite "surprised" to see them as all the Hirundines left them in North Yorkshire about 10 days ago. In around Kildalton, they also had a Yellowhammer and also a Greenfinch.

This morning, we watched a male Hen Harrier out on the wing flying over the Machir. Coming back from "Cake o'clock" at Gruinart, we had counted 52 Barnies resting up on a stubble field at Ballinaby along with over 120 Greylags. Along towards Saligo Bay, a male Hen Harrier was spotted flying quite high up and not spoofing or worrying anybody else...
Robin Andrews and his wife, Hilary today had called in for a cuppa, and Robin quickly told us that the sun would be shining by 4 pm, needless to say, we doubted him, but right enough at 15.58 the sun came out. Robin had seen 2 Curlew Sandpipers down the shore of Loch Indaal and also 6 Barwits earlier on, before coming up to visit us. They also had seen Redshank and Dunlin present there as well.
Richard Belter had seen a RTD and also a single Eider off Kintra.  Later on, while on the Oa he had seen Merlin, a Sparrowhawk, Rock Doves and also 3 Chough. At Upper Killeyan, a large flock of Twite was present. Back at Gruinart, Richard had counted 800 Barnies present and he also saw a Swallow out in front of the visitor centre there as well.