Thursday, 23 May 2019

Thursday 23rd May

Another beautiful day here yet again... I am getting a "farmers' tan" for sure...

The Corncrake survey last night, well on our patch, the tally only came to 3 birds heard calling, whether it was the temperature was rather low, a mere 3 degrees at one time... or possibly not so many Corncrakes around anyway....

Gary had seen a Water rail cross the road up past Erasaid, the other day.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Wednesday 22nd May

I know it is rather boring, but yet again another beautiful day with wall to wall sunshine, and more to come tomorrow, will I tell you about the wet weather when it returns???
Rather an early entry tonight as we are due to go out on the first run of the Corncrake survey for 2019 later on tonight, so fingers crossed on that side of things.. 
This morning, Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing, out over the rushes below the crag. It definately upset a Pheasant, who chased it on its way, so here is hoping that the Pheasant still has got her brood intact.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Tuesday 21st May

Another glorious day, but only after a wee dampness, enough to chase me inside!!

Distillery Dave had seen a pair of Goldeneye on Loch Gorm, and he also had a Hen Harrier on a food pass when he was out as well!

At the head of Loch Indaal, we saw Redshank and Oystercatcher and at smelly corner, a pair of Shelduck out with their brood of ducklings in tow. Later on, we had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier ... Christopher McLellan was saying to Margaret earlier on today that he had seen a White tailed Eagle mobbing some Shelduck down on Loch Indaal.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Monday 20th May

Another glorious day, so another day spent in the garden...

Over at the old Kilchoman school, this evening, we saw a Cuckoo flying around, and earlier on, we saw a Buzzard sitting on top of one of the deer fence posts, up here at home, the first one seen up there for sometime...

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Sunday 19th May

What a difference a day makes, especially with the weather, by mid morning today and all afternoon, we have been kept out of mischief by working out in the garden...
Apart from being out in the garden, we were fortunate to spot an Osprey out along the front of the crag, that was before it got chased away by a Raven.. A Fulmar was seen out on the wing this evening...
This morning, Distillery Dave had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier as he walked down to the road end at Rockside. He also saw 3 Canada geese on the fields.
Mike Peacock today had seen 19 Common Scoter and also a Velvet Scoter, all together out on Loch Indaal. Earlier on this morning Mike had heard 6 Cuckoos calling away up towards Bolsay.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Saturday 18th May

A bit cooler out here today, glad to have a jersey on.. another piece on the weather is that we have had a slight dampness, off and on, for most of the day, still it was better than none at all, or equally as  bad, a downpour !!!
Bob was in touch this morning with some news from Steve Batchelor from Kent who left yesterday for home. His total species came to a good tally of 95. Top birds on Steve's list included a White tailed Eagle seen just after his arrival at the airport, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Chough, Garganey, Gadwall, Tysties and Rock Doves.
Up here at home today, we a saw another hen Pheasant out with her brood of 5 chicks, which had 2 dark coloured chicks along with 3 normal coloured chicks...

Friday, 17 May 2019

Friday 17th May

Yesterday, Distillery Dave had counted 8 Whimbrel and also 26 Rock Doves on the fields at Rockside. In the morning, he had seen an Osprey fly overhead when he was down at the road end, and in the evening, he had seen another one, as he drove home from his evening class, this one was perched on top of a telegragh pole about 500 yards before the turn off up to the Distillery. The second Osprey was also seen by Dr Matt Jackson  on his way home as well. Dave was also telling me that he has now been hearing another Corncrake calling at Rockside now as well...

Today, James and his team from Gruinart had carried out the WeBs count today...   On the Loch, the tally was 3 GND, 141 Oystercatcher, 239 Ringed Plover, 37 Sanderling, 3628 Dunlin, 45 Barwits and 2 Little Terns. The tally on the floods came to 78 Mallard, 6 Shoveler, 4 Moorhen, 1 Wigeon and a Greenshank. Also seen was a sub adult Marsh Harrier on the Floods, and on the Flats, 3 Blackwits and also a Whitefronted Goose. 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Thursday 16th May

This morning, James had seen 9 Barnacle Geese, 13 Canada Geese, 3 Whooper Swans, a Blackcap and also a Spotted Flycatcher.
Up here at home, this evening we saw 2 Peregrines, the usual gang of Chough flying into the roost as  well as a fly past by a male Hen Harrier.

The weather has given us another beautiful day, yet again....

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Wednesday 15th May

Another great day with the weather, but I succumbed to using the watering can on the newly sown vegetables that I planted the other day...

Yesterday, when were over at The Woollen Mill, we saw 4 Collared Doves and Gordon, the stalwart there, was telling me that they have been seeing a Great spotted Woodpecker recently on the feeders.

Today, Mandy had heard a Whitethoat singing over at Carnduncan, and here at home, I saw the hen Pheasant again with her 2 youngsters, wonder how many she started out with ???

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Tuesday 14th May

A glorious sunset again out here on the West of Islay, as I write this entry. I heard today that some of the Distilleries here on Islay are a bit concerned with the lack of water, with one or two of them have stop distilling any new spirit...

Today, down on the Oa reserve, David Wood had seen House Martins and also Swifts. David also told me that he has heard a Corncrake calling at Kinnabus as well.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Monday 13th May

Yesterday,  Steve Batchelor from Kent had been down on Machir Bay seeing 3 Whimbrel, 6 Sanderling, 7 Dunlin and also 20 Ringed Plover. He also had seen an immature Glaucous Gull there as well.
Today, at lunchtime, Malcolm had counted around 55 Dunlin on the spit on the strand along from Uiskentuie. He also had spotted 2 Turnstone, on the shoreline, back towards the turn off leading up to Foreland.
James today on the reserve at Gruinart had seen the following birds, a male Garganey out from South hide, a Reeve out from the North Hide, a Gadwall out from the North hide,  a scattering of Dunlin in front of both hides, 2  pr of Wigeon and a few Shoveler.
Up here at home when "working " out in the garden, we saw our first hen Pheasant  of the year out  with her brood of 2 young chicks. Got the tatties rowed up and the weeds from around from the onion sets and planted some brocolli plants, some Cauliflowers and some Brussel Sprouts as well, all hopefully sheltered from the wind! Might have to water them some time as the ground is rather dry!
This evening, we counted 21 Greylags on a grass field down at Rockside.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Sunday 12th May

Yesterday James had seen some Yellowhammers over at Ardnahoe, and told me that he has now got 3 corncrakes calling on the reserve at Gruinart. Mandy was saying friends of hers from the mainland had seen a single Whooper Swan  on the "Laundry Loch" which is over, beside Laggan Point.

This afternoon, Distillery Dave had been down on Machir Bay where he saw 5 Sanderling some Ringed Plover and also some Dunlin

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Saturday 11th May

Bob Mitchell or Derbyshire Bob to use his pen name was in touch last night to tell me that the bird which I could not make out on his video was in fact a Little Stint which he had seen along with some Dunlin over close to Killinallan, not bad for his 100th Islay bird of this visit and also his 200th tick on his year list...
Many thanks for your sightings Bob, trust you are wending your way home now!!!

Today, Distillery Dave had seen the Corncrake on 2 separate occasions at Rockside had also seen the Cuckoos in flight as well... So if you want to see either of theses birds , head round to Rockside and enjoy a cuppa and a piece of cake at the Kilchoman Distillery visitor centre and possibly see either the Corncrake or a Cuckoo...

Friday, 10 May 2019

Friday 10th May

Yesterday, Distillery Dave had seen 2 pairs of Reed Buntings in the ditch leading up to the Kilchoman Distillery at Rockside. Most days  this week, he has also been seeing a solitary Whimbrel in the barley fields there as well. He also told me that the Cuckoos and also the Corncrake have both been very vocal, calling away close to the farmhouse!!!  
Gary from Wild Islay Birding, today had a pair of Cuckoos displaying over close to Coal Ila Distillery. He had also seen the Hen Harrier "sky dancing" up behind his house.
Derbyshire Bob had seen his 100th bird of this present visit and oddly enough it was his 200th tick for the year, unfortunately I could not open his video clip, so I do not know what it was...May email Bob back and ask him what it was...

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Thursday 9th May

Yesterday, Derbyshire Bob had seen a White tailed Eagle out over the hills behind Ballygrant. Later on, while walking through Bridgend Woods, Bob had seen a Dipper on the River Sorn and a Bullfinch and some Siskins in the trees.
Louise was in touch to say that over the weekend and earlier on this week she has been seeing a Fieldfare close to her home at Gatehouse over on Jura, but she said that it is no longer present!!!

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Wednesday 8th May

Yesterday, Derbyshire Bob had been down on the Oa, where he had seen a Golden Eagle perched up on a crag. He also saw Twite on the feeders , a Peregrine flying along the cliffs, Shags were present on their nests. He also had seen some Rock Pipits. Below Ballinaby, he had a male Hen Harrier out quartering its patch.
Mandy returned back to Islay yesterday, and as the ferry approached Islay she had seen a White tailed Eagle. Back home at Carnduncan, she had heard Groppers reeling away below her house and also a Cuckoo calling as well.
James had seen a Merlin on the reserve at Gruinart, the other day.
Yesterday, Mike had a count of 30 Whimbrel at Blackrock.
Today, Mike had a productive walk down at Foreland hearing a Wood Warbler, 2 Groppers reeling away, a Blackcap, Whitethroats, "loads of Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers"
Around 6am this morning, Derbyshire Bob had a corncrake calling at Balinaby, close to where is staying...

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Tuesday 7th May

Yesterday, Derbyshire Bob, (Bob Mitchell) had heard a Cuckoo calling close to Ballinaby, shortly afterwards, he had heard another one calling over towards Lagstoban. Over at Gruinart, a Corncrake was heard by Bob. He also saw 2 Snipe and 2 Whooper Swans there as well. Up at Ardnave, Bob had seen some Little Terns and also present were Blackwits and Whimbrel.

Bob said that he has now seen 80 species of birds in 2 days, not bad going

Monday, 6 May 2019

Monday 6th May

Yesterday Distillery Dave had been down over at Claggain bay where he counted 13 Red breasted Merganser and he also saw Eiders and a few GND out on the water. As he returned into Port Ellen, Dave had seen some Stonechats and Wheatears. Round at the Singing sands, he had Common Sandpipers, Razorbills and also 5 Common Terns. Over at Blackrock, he had a "good number" of Dunlin along with a few Whimbrel. Finally just after 10 pm when out with her dogs, Ann Barr had heard the Corncrake calling up at Rockside

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Sunday 5th May

Helen Brown had been watching 2 Tufted Ducks as they were swimming around and also diving on Ardnahoe Loch today, the first time she has seen any Tufted Ducks on the loch there.
James today had seen a Dotterel up on Borichill Mor, later on he saw a Yellowhammer over at Persabus.
Derbyshire Bob is back over for his annual visit to Islay. He scoped a Golden Eagle high up over Jura, from where he is staying. In field in front of his cottage he had a Whimbrel, a pair of Wheatears and also 2 Pairs of Stonechats present. Between Ballinaby and Saligo Bay, he had several Wheatears and at Saligo Bay itself, 6 Ringed Plover, 5 Sanderling, 4 pair of Eiders as well as some Oystercatcher and Common Gulls present as well. He also commented on how quickly some of the locals returned to his feeders, the locals being Goldfinches, House Sparrows and Chaffinches.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Saturday 4th May

This morning, David Livingstone had counted over 60 Curlews on the 10th fairway down on the Machrie Golf course.
Today, James was in touch to say that the Coot as well as the Little Egret were both present, great to hear that they are both still around. James also had seen 5 Blackwits , a pair of Gadwall and also 2 Peregrines, all on the reserve at Gruinart.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Friday 3rd May

I think that like a lot of other places that the temperature is not what we would expect for this time of year...just glad to have the fire on!!!

David Wood had counted a flock of 52 Whimbrel which were in a field beside the road leading to the council dump down towards Gartbreck, just out of Bowmore. Distillery Dave has been hearing the
Corncrake calling at Rockside again, trust it is not keeping you awake at night, Dave !!!!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Thursday 2nd May

Nothing much in for the blog apart from some folk hearing Corncrakes calling around Islay. Yesterday evening, Distillery Dave had heard probably the same corncrake calling round at Rockside as he returned home from the "dog training" class. Gary had heard  2  Corncrakes calling away down at Bruichladdich with another heard up towards Skerrols al heard as Gary returned home after his evening shift at Port Charlotte hotel.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Wednesday 1st May

Well, as promised the rainfall figure for April, it only came to a heady ONE INCH, the driest April since we  bought the rainguage back in 2015... Marsali had only 1.7 inches of rain over at Mulindry...

Distillery Dave had heard a Cuckoo calling at Rockside and then this morning, he heard a Corncrake calling over there as well. The Blackwits were still present resplendant in their summer plumage. Gordon Graham had heard a  Corncrake calling down in the reedbed at the Coastguards along with some noisy Sedge Warblers, both yesterday evening. I heard a Cuckoo calling up the gully behind Kilchoman House around 7 am today. Domald Jones had heard a Corncrake calling over at Coull today as well.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Tuesday 30th April

Well, another month is almost finished, but as ever I will keep the "official" rainfall figure close to my chest, so make sure and read the blog tomorrow when all will be revealed. In the meantime rememebr to go and wash your face in the May dew in the morning...
Nothing much to report through today as the weather has not been that great here ... There were 25 Barnies counted at Ballinaby around about lunchtine today along some Greylags. At the bird nerds meeting at Gruinart this evening, we had 6 locals and also visitor Angus Miler from Granton on Spey, for once we could relax and enjoy what was to be seen out of the hide rather than being "crammed in like sardines in a tin"!!!

Monday, 29 April 2019

Monday 29th April

Some birds through from James seen when out of the office...
On the Flats this morning: 1 Grasshopper warbler, 1 Merlin, 1 Hen Harrier & 8 Canada geese 
On the Floods this afternoon: 1 Coot , 2 Gadwall, 2 Blackwit  & 3 Canada geese 

Gary sent through his top birds  from yesterday afternoon's tour.
7 Great Northern Divers, 11 Red throated Diver, 10 Common Guillemot, 21 Razorbill, 20 Red breasted Merganser at Claggain Bay. White tailed and Golden Eagle flying over coast line below Kildalton Cross.

George E. Jackson added to Distillery Dave's (yesterday) Rockside records as folows: a Whinchat on the garden fence, a mipit nest with 4 eggs near the parking area. Then driving down the High road towards Pt Ellen, Pat and son Matthew had a Water Rail cross the road in front of them.

Distillery Dave reported in to say that the Geese are still at Rockside, but now in a different field!!! He had a count of 70 Golden Plover present as well

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Sunday 28th April

The day started off with being a bit warmer and dry, but by lunchtime, we had a spot or two of rain, not a lot but... and then the temperature fell as well, another jumper day...

Round at Rockside today, there were  9 Canada Geese, a solitary Barnacle goose and also 25 Greylags on the Barley fields. Up behind the steading, Distillery Dave had counted 146 Golden Plover, all in in summer plumage, great to see...
Up here at home, I watched a Hare hop along the edge of the bird seed crop, in effect chasing off some Linnets in the process. Out on the crag there are now 3 pairs of Fulmars sitting, for how long, we will have to wait and see if the Jackdaws move them on...

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Sunday 27th April

Yesrterday, Gary had been out with some clients and when scanning along the crag at Kilchoman, he had seen 5 Fulmars .

This morning Mike had seen 4 Whimbrel, 2 Blackwits andhe had a count of 113 Golden Plover down on the fields at Rockside. Distillery Dave had seen 9 Canada Geese on the barley fields there this morning. Bob had a new "garden bird" this afternoon. A Heron flew in to his garden and started to eat some tadpoles out from his pond!!! Also this afternoon, up here at home there were 4 Twite along with the Wheatears and the Linnets having a "nosey" at the bird seed crop which has just germinated, and looking good at this stage, early days yet!!!

Many thanks to the visitors  Peter Gill, and family, Armin Grewe and also, last but not least to George E. Jackson for sharing their sightings with us.

Before I forget, the first outdoor meeting of the Islay bird nerds for 2019 will be on Tuesday evening at 6.30 pm at the car park at Gruinart for a look see what is out from the South hide. So hopefully see some of you there then, all welcome, come and put a name to the face...
armer here today, plus there have been some dirty squally showers in the mix.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Friday 26th April

A bit colder out here today, glad to have a jersey to wear...

Distillery Dave had seen 4 Canada Geese, a Barnacle goose and 10 Greylags on the newly germinated Barley fields at Rockside this morning. An early morning walk by Mike along the track to Bolsay gave him his first Whinchat for the year. He also had 5 Sedge Warblers and 2 Groppers while out on his walk. James had a Ruff on the reserve at Gruinart. Also seen were 24 Barnies, 4 Whitefronts and a Greylag with a neck collar fitted. On one of the grass fields at Rockside, George E Jackson had seen 34 Golden Plover and 7 Barwits and also a count of 13 Whimbrel. Mark Shields had seen a few Whinchats when he was carrying out his survey work today. Peter Gill had a count of 80 Golden Plover in a field down at the Coastguard cottages early afternoon, earlier on he had seen a male Hen Harrier and at the visitor centre at Gruinart he had 6 House Martins. Mike this afternoon when along at smelly corner had a Greenland Wheatear and also a Northern Wheatear which was great for being able to compare them. Back at home in Port Charlotte, Mike had seen 2 White Wagtails, he also commented on the Common Sandpipers being back as well.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Thursday 25th April

Yesterday, Malcolm had a flock of 20 Whimbrel, on the shore, close to the Foreland road end. Mandy had seen an Orange tipped Butterfly on the path beside the River Sorn, below the Auction mart at Bridgend on Sunday.  Some sightings through from George E Jackson.. At Rockside, he has been seeing a mixed Finch Flock of around 150 Birds, mainly Linnets, Goldfinches, along with some Reed Buntings and House Sparrows there too. The flock was disturbed by a ringtail Hen Harrier on Monday and followed yesterday by a cracking male. The newly sown Barley fields have had 47 Greylags, 7 Whitefronts  and also a few Mallards. Down on one of the wee lochans, 3 Tufted Duck were seen. Yesterday, George and Pat had walked down to the Lily Loch where they heard "loads of Willow Warblers" and also a Sedge Warbler calling away. They also had seen a few Orange tipped Butterflies, Speckled Woods displaying and also a single Green Hairstreak.
On Tuesday, Martin Armstrong had a White tailed Eagle fly over the maltings at Port Ellen. 
Today,  he seen Wheaters at Kilnaughton and heard his first Cuckoo of the year at Glenegedale.
This morning, Louise had 5 Curlew, 3 Snipe, heard several Willow Warblers, 2 Redpolls, a Cuckoo heard and also a male Hen Harrier sky dancing, all up behind Port Charlotte. Bob, this morning had a Whitethroat, close to his house. James today had 2 Lesser Redpolls, 2 Siskins, a Golden Eagle, all on the reserve at Gruinart, he also had seen 2 Adders out on the moorland trail. Gary today had a juv. Golden Eagle at Torrabus. Along on Bunnahabhain Bay, he had 14 Tysties, 5 GND & a RTD. Out over Sgarbh Breac he saw a juv. Golden Eagle and also an adult bird. Down at Ardnahoe Distillery, he had 7 Yellowhammers.
Mike and Peter Roberts had gone to see the Dotterel on the Oa, no joy, but had seen 20 Whimbrel flying out over Loch Indaal from close to Bruichladdich. He also had seen one from his house, a new bird for the "Shore Street window list"!!! Val had seen a male Crossbill on the pine trees, close to the Lily Loch.
Also today, Peter Gill had an Osprey at Loch Skerols and shortly afterwards a Peregrine flew past.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Some more sightings in for Wed 24th April

This morning David Wood e mailed through to tell me about a sighting seen by his friends who were over about a fortnight ago. They had seen a Redshank with coloured leg rings fitted, down on the edge of Loch Indaal at Bowmore. On checking about the bird, it had been fitted with the rings in North west Spain in February 2011 as an adult. David also said that the bird has been seen every autumn/ winter in the same location, but never reported being seen away from its' wintering grounds.

Today, David had seen the 3 Dotterel down on the Oa again, and also a flock of around 100 Golden Plover present there as well.  Peter Gill had seen around about 80 Dunlin down at Gartbeck. Along at the Council tip, Peter had heard 3 Sedge warblers calling and then as he came back along the road to Bowmore, he had seen 70 Barnies landing on one of the fields there. Peter's grandson had seen a Bonxie flying over Loch Indaal.

Wednesday 24th April

A grand chance to clear out the sightings sent through over the past few days, so off we jolly well go!!
Gary on Saturday had seen a "nice mixed flock of Linnet and Twite" at Rockside, 3 Hen Harrier above Gruinart, a juv. Golden Eagle on the wing above the moorland trail being mobbed by a Buzzard, and then a further 3 juv. Golden Eagles noted over Killinallan. Finally down at Bruichladdich, Gary had seen 4 Purple Sandpipers there.
James and Sally had gone out for a walk on Sunday, seeing 2 Golden Eagles, a Peregrine, a Merlin, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Yellowhammers and a Common Sandpiper up and around Gortantoid.
There were several reports of folk hearing a Cuckoo, Dave P. had one over at Ardtalla, Lesley had heard one while on the walk up to Beinn Dubh and Steve Wrightson had heard one close to his house at Bolsay.
On Monday, Dave P had heard a Corncrake calling when he was down at Portnahaven.
Louise Muir had some sightings through from Jura.. All seen on Monday, a juv Whitetailed Eagle seen at the mouth of Loch Tarbert, a Yellowhammer present at Tarbert, 4 Short eared Owls on the Ardmenish flats  and also 2 Hen Harriers.
Down on the Oa yesterday, David Wood had seen 3 Dotterel. He also had Sedge Warblers, Groppers and a few Whinchats, all ticks for the year list!!!
Good friend, Armin sent  through a list of top birds seen so far on the Walkislay program so far... On Sunday, they had seen a Golden Eagle, a male Hen Harrier, Shags, Gannets, Sand Martins and an Emperor Moth. Monday's walk produced another Golden Eagle flying out over the sound of Islay. Yesterday, up at Loch Cam they had seen an Otter. Thanks to Armin!!
Also yesterday on the reserve at Gruinart, James reported through that there were SedgeWarblers around....
Yesterday, Peter Gill had seen a Whinchat on top of a fence while down on the Oa, also seen were some Chough there too  and a small flock of 50 - 60 Twite. Coming back up from the Oa, at Gartmain out of Bowmore, he had 70 Barwits and 20 Dunlin.
Yesterday, down at Rockside I saw 6 Whimbrel.
Another good friend was saying that she had seen a Bonxie  (Great Skua) yesterday, up beside Tain, not here on Islay!!

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Tuesday 23rd April

A bit of catch up so here goes... mainly from some of the Webs count carried by folk over the past few days..
James and Shona-Isla has done the count on Loch Gruinart seing the following  1 GND, 52 Shelduck, 368 Ringed Plover, 425 Dunlin, 105 Curlew, 35 Lbb Gul, 24 Knot, 22 Bh Gull, 116 Teal, 4 Pintail, 43 Wigeon and 2 Whooper Swans. Highlights from Mike's count on Outer Loch Indaal included 147 Common Scoter, 91 Pale Bellied Brent Geese, 375 Auk sp., 11 Gannet, 33 GND, 3 Whimbrel & 2 Sandwich Tern. Later on, off Port Charlotte, Mike had 3 B N Dolphins while up at Foreland, Val saw an Orange tipped Butterfly. Bob had done his patch over the weekend as well, counting 48 Ringed Plover, 42 Oystercatcher, 45 R b Meganser, 8 Eider,  4 Shag, 2 Tysties, 188 Common Gulls, 56 Herring Gulls and 6 Gbb Gulls.
Peter and Mike, the other day, had 2 Groppers (Grasshopper  Warblers!!!) between Ellister and Port Wemyss, with Lesser Redpolls heard calling around Octofad and later on up at Bruichladdich.
Yesterday afternoon, Peter had a small group of 8 Sandwich Terns off  Bruichladdich.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Monday 22nd April

Got the e mails through folks, thanks for being patient..

Arjun van Egmond who had been over last week on Islay, spending some time birding, as well as visiting  and possibly sampling some of the produce from the distilleries.. Coming over on the ferry the other day, he had counted 17 GNDs. He was well pleased to see the choughs at various places around Islay. When down at Ardbeg, he saw an adult White tailed Eagle fly over head.
David Wood had a flyover  by a Tree Pipit, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Goldcrest,  5 Sand Martin, 2 Swallows all on the Oa last Thursday,. Dave also commented on a noticeable influx of Wheatears and Willow Warblers.
Yesterday evening, Peter Gill had seen a male Hen Harrier, just out of Bruichladdich. Today, Peter had seen 4 Crossbills on the trees at Ballygrant. He also had heard a Cuckoo calling close by. 2 Dabchick were on Loch Ballygrant, with a Chiffchaff calling over at Port Askaig. On the feeders at The Woollen Mill, he saw Lesser Redpolls and Siskins, with a Grey Wagtail seen down on the River Sorn. He also saw a Dipper flying upstream there too.
Down close to Rockside road end, I saw a a male Hen Harrier, just after lunchtime.
Hopefully tomorrow, I will manage to get the sightings in from the others for you to read about!!!!

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Sunday 21st April

Yesterday, Peter Gill had seen the Litle Egret on the reserve at Gruinart,  and he counted  30 GND on Loch Indaal off Bruichladdich.
This morning, Bob had heard 2 different Cuckoos calling, one at Gearach, the other along the track that leads to Bolsay. In his garden, Bob now has 3 pair of Greenfinches as well as many Willow Warblers around as well. He also had seen 2 Swallows back yesterday and then at lunchtime today, a Peregrine flew over. He too has also got a Stoat in his garden, but it was carrying its youngster in its mouth rather than some prey...
Peter Gill today had seen a Sparrowhawk in a garden in Port Charlotte, tucking into its' newly caught meal... Later on, while walking along the track between Octofad and Lossit, he had 2 male Hen Harriers and also a ringtail. Down towards Portnahaven, he had a further 2 male Hen Harriers. Finally round at Kilchiaran, he had 2 Common Sandpipers.
Just as well that I worked away yesterday, sowing the wild flowers as today, although a much warmer day, it would have been too windy to allow me to even attempt to sow the seeds... This morning, I saw a male Siskin with a leg ring on when it was on the feeders...

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Saturday 20th April

Another day finished and despite some valiant attempts, no e mails as of yet..

It started of a misty sort of a morning, with mist lifting and then shortly afterwards dropping again, the only good thing about was that there was no wind, so I pressed ahead and got the wild flowers sown which needs to be sown when there is no wind, so for once I was pleased with the sort of dreich conditions, as some other places,the temperature has been a lot warmer...

Peter Gill from Sunderland came over for another visit to Islay, arriving yesterday. Where they were staying last night at Lyrabus, once it was dark, they saw a Barn Owl perched on a fence post along the road. Today at Gruinart, on the flats they counted 15 Whitefronts. On the Woodland trail, they heard several Blackcaps calling and they also saw a couple of Treecreepers there as well. From the North Hide, they had a Golden Eagle which was then joined and mobbed by a Raven as well as a Peregrine. Up on Ardnave Loch,  60 Barnies were counted with 10 Whimbrel seen on the shoreline they headed down to Bruichladdich.
Mike had counted 91 Pale bellied Brent as well as 147 Common Scoter flying North up Loch Indaal. Today, up here at home there was a Collared Dove present, with Mandy hearing a lot of Willow Warblers singing down below at Kilchoman House.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Friday 19th April

A day for cutting the grass, and it took some time to complete, but the job is now off the "must do" list...Still no emails coming through, peaceful in some ways but...
Mike today had seen a Jack Snipe this morning down at Ellister when he was doing his stint on the Tystie survey. He said that on his stint, he had counted 26 Tysties. Out on the bay out from his house in Port Charlotte, he had spotted 3 Sandwich Terns, and he also heard a Whitethoat calling away while he was up at his allotment. Also seen there by Mike were 2 Lesser Redpolls, the first seen there this Spring. 
This evening, I saw a pair of Siskin out on the feeders, wonder whether they were here last year??? Out on the newly worked piece of ground there was a small flock of around 40 Linnets. Earlier on, mid afternoon, next door I found a head off a male Chaffinch on the ground, and then shortly afterwards when to speaking to a friend, we saw the cuplrit carrying another male Chaffinch in its' mouth, a Stoat. Just before tea time I found the  remains of third male Chaffinch, so I willl have to find a way of catching the said Stoat!!!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Thursday 18th April

Sorry folks, a late entry tonight, been a long day and for some reason I can't check my e mails...

Speaking to Distillery Dave earlier on this evening, and he had seen a flock of 40- 50 Golden Plover and also a few pairs of Wheatears round at Rockside...
Up here at home, we just have had the local agricultural contractor in with his big tractor and his one pass seed drill sowing the birdseed crop, so at least that is one job off the list, a real bonus, and at present it looks really good with a fine tilth to finish it off, fingers crossd and hope it germinates!!
A job now for me is to sow the wild flower crops, with 3 diferent mixs to be tried this year... not tonight though!!!!

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Wednesday 17th April

Alistair Hutchison from Bowmore was in touch today with a couple of sightings. The other day, he had  seen a Blackcap in the woods at Bridgend, between Islay House and Blue Houses . Earlier on in the week, he had seen a Dipper on the River Sorn, just above the Woollen Mill.
James, today had a male Brambling in his garden at Mill cottage. On the floods at Gruinart,  20 Blackwit were present with 10 Barnies seen on the flats. This evening, Mike saw 6 Sandwich Terns and also 2 Commic Terns out on Loch Indaal. Up at Foreland House, there were Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff seen and heard everywhere. Also present were plenty of Swallows with some returning Lesser Redpolls displaying there as well.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Tuesday 16th April

Mandy e mailed through today, saying that she had seen a flock of around 80 Barnacle Geese  at Ballinaby this morning. Some birds seen by Gary today, down at Gartmain, he had 17 Barwits, 20 Knot, 11 Dunlin and 4 Redshank. He also told me that the Willow Warblers have returned last night, to the trees adjacent to his house, with them all singing/ calling away, could be worse, a Corncrake makes a fair old racket when it wants too...
Hopefully, the ferries are back to the normal timetable after the disruption at the weekend because of the weather!!!

Monday, 15 April 2019

Monday 15th April

Think I should repeat the opening comment on yesterday's entry, the only difference being that there were no ferries sailing today at all, yesteday they did sail...
Speaking with James, late afternoon, he confirmed that it has been rather windy with a cold wind at that, the only bird of note was that the Little Egret was present at Gruinart again today. 

I heard today of the sudden death of Andy Greenwood which occured last Thursday. Andy, proir to his retirement was the ranger in the Forest of Bowland. I met Andy and his other half Jane on Islay on numerous ocasions and Andy was something special. My thoughts are with Jane at this sad time. As the saying goes "Gone, but not forgottten."

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Sunday 14th April

Going to a rather short entry tonight as / because it has been blowing  a "Hooley" (strong winds) coming from the South East. Mind you it did not deter Distillery Dave walking down with his dogs to the Rockside road end. He did manage to see a few Wheatears while he was out, but no mention seeing an Osprey yet!!! James also e mailed some birds seen by him on the reserve at Gruinart... He had the following birds, a White tailed Eagle on the flats, a Merlin, M & F Hen Harrier, a Brambling and also 2 Siskins.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Saturday 13th April

Yesterday was Jeff Hunter's last full day of this present visit. In the morning, he headed up towards Ardnave, and on his way there, he had spotted 2 different Merlin and also a male Hen Harrier all out on the wing looking for some food. He also saw a small flock of Barnies still present at Ardnave. Down in front of the South hide, on the "floods", he had a few Whoopers " courting" some Red breasted Merganser. On his way back to his car, Jeff noted plenty of Willow Warblers in the woods at Gruinart. going back to Port Charlotte by Carnain, he had seen a Sparrowhawk, his 8th different raptor species seen since he came over at the start of the week, and still no Osprey in that tally!!! In the afternoon, Jeff saw another male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch as he walked up towards Bolsay. Many thanks for your sightings to David and also to Jeff, much appreciated as ever..
Yesterday, James had a Corncrake calling down at Portnahaven and today, on the reserve at Gruinart, 2 Golden Eagles were present...

Friday, 12 April 2019

Friday 12th April

On Wednesday David Wood had seen 2 Sandwich Terns down at Kilnaughton Bay

Yesterday, the "vols" while out carrying out  a survey on the Oa, had seen a Ring Ouzel close to Port Alsaig down close to Kintra . Later on yesterday afternoon, Bonnie, Dave's wife had seen a Ring Ouzel at Risabus also on the Oa, but as Dave said, the big question was it the same bird or was it a different bird was seen? The survey in which the"vols" had been helping out with was a survey on numbers of Tysties  around the coastline of the reserve , their tally was 318. David Hunter who has been over for the past week with some friends had seen 2 female Snow Buntings while down on the Oa, and they also had a male Hen Harrier eating some prey which it had killed.
James had counted 5 Sandwich Terns at Bruichladdich,. He also reported on seeing "loads of Willow Warblers" now present on the reserve at Gruinart. James was also saying that the majority of the geese have now left Islay...

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Thursday 11th April

An right early entry for once, not even had an afternoon cupa yet, but here goes.. 'cos I am away out shortly for an evening meal with the family and friends!!!
Yesterday, Peter did a quick count of the Tysties seen at Bruichladdich Pier noting 8 birds in all. In the afternoon, Peter noted another feeding frenzy out on Loch Indaal with mainly Gulls seen , 5 RTD, and a Common Guillemot with 23 GNDs present there at the same time. Also yesterday, Mike had counted 4 Sandwich Terns between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte. Phill had the folowing birds down on the Oa, again yesterday, Sand Martin, Canada Goose, GND, Kestrel, Golden Eagle, 3 Eider, 43 Tysties and also 25 Twite. 
This morning, Mike had heard 3 Willow Warblers calling away, when he was walking along  the track leading out to Bolsay. Phill this morning had 25 Lapwing, a male Hen Harrier, 3 Sand Martin, 2 Curlew and also 9 Snipe, all down on the Oa reserve.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Wednesday 10th April

Yesterday, Jeff  Duncan had seen a Golden Eagle on a carcass less than 30 metres from the road as he was driving down to Machir bay, no need for the bins for that one, Jeff... Also yesterday, Ed Burrell , an old chum from a few years back, and now an Islay resident, had seen 2 Swallows as he was out rolling some fields. Ed was also saying that he has been seen a lot of Wheatears around and also a Blackcap as well.
Today, Mandy has making the most of the weather sitting out in her garden up at Carnduncan where she has been hearing a Chiffchaff calling away.  James e mailed through to say that there  have been "loads of reports" of sightings of Sand Martins and Swallows seen at Gruinart,  Ardnave and also at Loch Skerrols. There was a House Martin present up at Ardnave. James was also telling me that the geese are slowly moving North, with geese seen around Islay "noticeably less" in numbers now.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Tuesday 9th April

Gary had seen 2 juvenile White tailed Eagles, talon clasping and also tumbling along from Blackrock. James reported through to say that the Lapwings on the flats on the reserve at Gruinart are sitting on their nests. Mike P had seen a Brambling yesterday in his garden. Down at Easter Ellister, he had counted a flock of 30 Redwing when he was out that way with Peter. This morning, the Brambling was still present in his garden. Returning birder, Jeff  Duncan, who is staying up beyond Bob & Pat's house up behind Port Charlotte had seen the following birds during a "golden hour", all seen from the cottage, 3 Chough, a Peregrine Falcon, a male Hen Harrier and also 2 White tailed Eagles all in the air. In the garden, Jeff had seen 3 Redwing and a Stonechat. Later on in the afternoon, Jeff saw a Golden Eagle flying over Octomore hill. Another visiting birder, David Hunter is also staying in Port Charlotte for the week along with some friends... yesterday from the North hide at Gruinart, they saw a Golden Eagle causing havoc. On the water in front of  the hide, they saw  a male Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and also Mallard Ducks. Later on, they had seen a Chiffchaff on a gorse bush when they were driving up the East side of Loch Gruinart

Monday, 8 April 2019

Monday 8th April

Some sightings in from various sources, mainly through from yesterday.. Mandy on Saturday evening had heard a Snipe calling up at her house at Carnduncan. Later on , Mandy had heard more than one Snipe drumming away. She also comented on hearing some Great Tits and also several Blackbirds singing away in her garden with great gusto...
Yesterday, visitor Iain Matthews from St Andrews had seen a Little Egret down in one of the many wee creeks at the head of Loch Indaal at Bridgend. James on his way home yesterday afternoon had seen a Merlin and a Hen Harrier as he drove across the flats at Gruinart both present over the reserve.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Sumday 7th April

Yesterday, Mike Peacock had seen a Sandwich Tern flying up Loch Indaal, out from Port Charlotte. Later on, Peter had seen 2 Sandwich Terns flying offshore out from Bruichladdich for the most of the day. Bob had seen a single Sandwich Tern out from Loch Gorm House, just North of Bruichladdich and then shortly afterwards Bob had an Arctic Tern up at Gortan. Jenni Minto and Jan Reavey had seen an Osprey at Loch Gorm.
This morning, at 7 am Mike had seen 5 Bottle nosed Dolphins swimming past the pier below his house at Port Charlotte.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Saturday 6th April

Alistair Hart e mailed through to say that he had heard a possible Corncrake calling down in Portnahaven, this bird was not seen, as not a Starling was present in the location, so possibly an early Corncrake.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Friday 5th April

James has been down on holiday in the Lake District, climbing a few hills, and one day spent some time on his bike... While wearing his other hat, James had seen a pair of Ring Ouzels and had seen a Swallow, the first he has seen this summer... Last Saturday, after going on the ferry to Kennacraig, on West loch Tarbert, James had 2 Black throated Divers both in summer plumage.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Thursday 4th April

Yesterday, David Wood had seen 7 Whoopers on Loch Kinnabus, with a count of 260 Whitefronts still present.
Today, David  saw an immature White tailed Eagle seen on the reserve on the Oa. Over on the other side of Islay, Mike Peacock had seen 4 Wheatears in the dunes behind Machir Bay, with the Leucistic Common Gull present there down in the Bay itself. Alistair Hart was also out braving the elements again today. He saw the Leucistic Common Gull as well as the Wheatears. Alistair also saw  a male Merlin was seen up at Kilchoman with a female present over at Gruinart. Al was saying that there is a Starling mimicking a Corncrake down in Portnahaven, calling away in fine voice this morning...

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Wednesday 3rd April

Quite a bit of catching up with some sightings, so here we go, all seen yesterday
Alistair Hart had done a sea watch down at Frenchman's Rocks, a  "blisteringly cold watch".... A walk along Currie sands produced Skylarks singing with Mipits, some Linnets and a charm of Goldfinches noted there as well. Out to sea, the passage of Gannets was from South to North. Other birds seen included Fulmar, Kitiwake, a small groupof 4 Manx Shearwaters, Tysties, Guillemots and also Razorbills. On the rocks there, Alistair had a group of 20 Purple Sandpipers, a species usually seen at Bruichladdich. Another interesting piece of news was that he had sun, sleet and also a rainbow while he was out!!! In the afternoon, Al had a pair of Dippers and also a pair of GreyWagtatils onthe River Sorn in Bridgend Woods. Down at Buichladdich, he had 2 Ringed Plover and another 3 Purple Sandpipers.
Mike e mailed his sightings through to say that the Bait fish were back in Loch Indaal with Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls and Common Gulls all feeding on the surface. They were joined by 64 Razorbills, 91 Common Scoters, 6 RTD, 3 GND and also 27 R b Mergansers. Along at Foreland , Mike had seen a Peacock butterfly out on the wing.
Gill Gooch was in touch to remind me that her husband is Martin, not Graham of "The Goodies" fame....Oops, sorry another howler from me AGAIN!!! They had spent a very productive day in at Finlaggan, especially as this was their first visit when the visitor centre was open, enjoying much appreciated cups of coffee and gleaned a lot of information from the helpful, friendly staff there as well.... Birds seen included 2 White tailed Eagles soaring together, a Golden Eagle, Merlin, a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, numerous Buzzards, a lovely Grey Wagtail and then they saw a House Martin, and  also a pair of displaying Ravens. Later on, they had watched a  male Hen Harrier out quartering its patch over beside the Airport.
Phill, down on the RSPB reserve on the Oa, had seen 4 Chough and a Carrion Crow. David Wood saw a Blackcap on the track leading up to Kinnabus.

Think that will do for tonight folks...

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Tuesday 2nd April

Good friend Marsali sent through her rainfall figures for March, her tally was 5.7inches , only a mere 1.1 of an inch more than we had up at home...
Yesterday, Distillery Dave along with his sister Shirley had seen 3 different male Hen Harriers, one close to the  Coastguard cottages, another near to the former Kilchoman School and the third bird seen down at Foreland House. Over at Gruinart, they saw a Snipe from the North hide, with 6 GND seen on the Sound of Islay at Bunnahabhain. They also had seen a White tailed Eagle on their travels as well.
Graham Gooch who won the competition for to visit Islay,  a few years ago, has returned for his 3rd Islay fix along with his wife Gill and also their good friends Chris and Andy Mortimer. We usually meet up at Rutland at the Bird Fair, bit of an "old boys' re union"... Back on Sunday, they had a flock of over 300 Golden Plover down over Laggan Point. Yesterday, they had great views of some Redwing on their way up to Ardnave, with some Fieldfares close at hand as they drove round Loch Gorm. A ringtail was seen close to Coillabus, and they too had a Snipe at Gruinart and also a Moorhen.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Monday 1st April

Well another month in with the rainfall tally up hee at home for the month of March coming to 4.6 inches in total.

Yesterday with the better , nicer, warmer weather around, Lesley had seen several small Tortoiseshells and also a couple of Peacock Butterflies in her garden. She also spotted a Thrush sitting on a nest in the hedge. Lesley was also saying that she has been hearing and also seeing both Redwing and Fieldfare flying overhead through the week...
Also yesterday Peter had been out for a spot of birding with some guests, after returning from leading a tour to Borneo, and then visiting family in New Zealand. Out on Loch Indaal, from Bruichladdich Pier, they had seen 5 GND, 25 RTD, and a single BTD all in non breeding plumage. At the Pier, they also had spotted a Tystie. Later on, up at Gruinart, they had a flock of 175 Golden Plover out in the fields below the visitor centre with some now in breeding plumage. Finally up at Ardnave, they had seen 2 Wheatear and also 2 Sand Martins..

This morning Phill had counted a raft of 16 Eider in the bay at Port Ellen. The weather out here was not as good as yesterday, just as well we took a daft turn and did some time working outside when we did.  I am not complaining, as long as the weather improves and stays for some time in a fortnight so we can sow the seeds!!!

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Sunday 31st march

Yesterday Alastair Hart had seen a Raven as it flew past, while Al was down at Portnahaven.
Today, Alastair had seen an Otter down at Port Bhan and also some Pale belied Brent Geese. 20 Curlews were seen flying out from Coultorsay. Out on Loch Indaal , he saw some RTD and GND on the water.
Visiting birders from Fife, Bill and Margaret had seen a male Hen Harrier out quartering its patch below Leek. Later on they had seen some Chough, job done folks, the 2 bird species that they had come to see, both seen on the first day of their present visit..
Yesterday and today, Margaret has been busy cutting the grass, here at home, I have busy as well sitting on our wee tractor , rotovating the ground, getting the ground ready for sowing the bird seed crop and also 3 areas which we are going to sow with different wild flower mixtures... Mind you we were both bird watching when driving around, Margaret had a distant Golden Eagle, way out over the crag, There were 16 Jackdaws and also 6 Pied Wagtails following me on the newly worked ground. After tea, when we looked on the newly worked ground, there was a mixed flock of around 45 Twite and a few Linnets having a good howk on the ground!!!

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Saturday 30th March

Down on the Oa reserve on Thursday, David Wood had a count of 15 Whooper Swans and he also saw a Wheatear. Yesterday Dave had 2 Sand Martins and also a total of 8 Chough, all seen down on the Oa. Yesterday, Malcolm had counted 28 Turnstone on the strand along from Uiskentuie. Along at where the road leads up to Kintra, he had a female Peregrine fly across the road and away...
Up here at home, we saw the Red legged Partridge again, where it has come from is a bit of a mystery, as I do not know where it has come from, as none are released locally...

Friday, 29 March 2019

Friday 29th March

Yesterday, James had seen a pod 7 Bottle nosed Dolphins as the ferry left Port Askaig. Later on  at the head of West Loch Tarbert, James saw a Sandwich Tern and a Little Egret.  Up here at home, Margaret saw a Red legged Partridge in at the ground below the feeders, a new house tick...

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Thursday 28th March

The other day, Lesley had seeen a male Bullfinch fly across the road close to her house. Today, as she was driving home with  the car windows open, Lesley heard the Bullfinch  calling away in the same location.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Wednesday 27th March

Some birds through from Distillery Dave, seen over the weekend. Round over below Carnduncan, he had seen a male Hen Harrier, while close to Coull, a Merlin zipped across the road in front of him. On Loch Gorm, he had seen some Goldeneye, 16 Tufted Duck, 6 Whooper Swans and also 2 Cormorants. On Sunday morning, he watched 30 Whoopers fly in and land on Loch Gorm.
Yesterday, Margaret had a male Sparrowhawk on the garden fence, here at home.
David Wood e mailed in to say that they had counted the number of feral goats while they were out on the survey yesterday, with the tally being more or less the same as in previous years.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Tuesday 26 th March

I am at it again... James told me that he had a Siskin on his feeders at Mill cottage yesterday, mind you not entirely my fault, as James told me about that today!!!  On the Deer count yesteday ,the number was up on last year, and even more were counted as they counted over a larger area this year...
Today, was the walk out around the coastline on the Oa reserve. Top birds from David Wod and his team included 7 Wheatear, 4 Eider, 5 Canada Geese, 9 GND, 2 Peregrine and also 3 Kestrel. Yesterday, David had seen a juv White tailed Eagle chasing the geese downat Kinnabus, with 3 Golen Eagles flying high above, keeping an eye on what was hapening.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Monday 25th March

Thanks to James for putting on some sightings while I had problems with my pc... so better get a move on when it is working again..
Bob was on the phone last night to say that he has now got some Siskins and as a few Redpolls on his feeders as well as 8 Greenfinches.
This afternoon, Bob and Lesley ha carried out the WeBS count from Port Charlotte back round to Blackrock. Birds present were as follows, 7 GND, 5 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 20 Barnacle Geese, 2 Shelduck, 4 Mallard, 2 Long tailed Duck, 35 Common Scoter, 40 Eider, 3 Curlew, 3 Woodcock, 44 Oystercatcher, 8 Ringed Plover,4 Gbb Gull, 12 Lbb Gull, 42 H Gull, 53 Common Gull. Thanks to Bob and Lesley for their birds.
Today James along with his team of counters had carried out the annual count of the Red Deer on the reserve at Gruinart. When they were out, they saw 2 Golden Eagles, a total of 5 male Hen Harriers, a Peregrine, an Adder and also a Lizard...

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Sunday 24th March

Wheatears at last! Spring must be here - even if that north wind is a bit nippy.
A Wheatear at Sanaig yesterday ands 2 at Ardnave today.
Mean while at Gruinat 14 Knot, 33 Linnets and a male Hen Harrier.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Friday 22nd March 2019

A count of the Floods at Gruinart this afternoon:
Lapwing 180
Little egret 1
Heron 4
Redshank 45
Snipe 4
Teal 601
Little grebe 3
Wigeon 198
Mallard 86
Shoveler 40
Pintail 63
Whooper swan 10
Black headed gull 4
Mute swan 6
Curlew 11
Common gull 2
Golden plover 1385
Dunlin 14

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Thursday 21st March

A misty murky day - but the birds are singing, lots of redshank and Lapwing displaying on the Gruinart Flats and some drumming snipe today. The mist and murk has attacked Ians computer, hence the short updates from me (james).

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Wednesday 20th March

The spring equinox and it has certainly warmed up today with a couple of bumble bees out at Gruinart.
Mike had a Great Crested Grebe in a bay nr the Dower House beyond Ardbeg on the 16/03 and the Green Winged Teal was still at the Distillery pond Port Charlotte on the 17/03.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Monday 18th March

Could Spring be here now as the wind has dropped quite a bit, with the birds singing away as well? 
This morning, I saw my first Linnet up here for quite some time, all the birds on the feeders appeared more settled as well, giving some notes in their vocal chords a bit try too, rather than just polishing all the food off! There was a Buzzard soaring high ove the big crag, while on the deer fence along above the cave, another 2 Buzzards were perched up about 100 metres apart, just watching what was going on all around. Out towards the War Graves, I counted 43 Greylags out on the machir. The Choughs were noisey and nosey as ever!!!
This evening, Christopher McLellan told me that he had seen 4 birders down at Pennycraig this afternoon. They were out of their car with their cameras with big lenses fitted, trying to get images of the White tailed Eagle which was out over the top of Loch Indaal causing havoc with the Barnies present.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Sunday 17th March

James was over for a cuppa this afternoon, and over a cuppa , I gleaned some sightings from him... Yesterday, James had seen a Merlin, a Peregrine and also a Kittiwake at Gruinart. Today, he had seen 2 White tailed Eagles over at Loch Skerrols.
A quck e mail in from from Chris Mills this morning, saying that he got home at 10.30 last night, a long drive for him from Kennacraig to Norfolk...

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Saturday 16th March

Back on Thursday, Stewart and Cath, (the couple of visiting birders who I did not know their names, the other day) had seen 2 White tailed Eagles up the far side of Keppols. Chris Mills and the group from Norfolk Birding had seen 15 Chough fly into the roost up here on Thursday, late afternoon. Last night while coming back through Bruichladdich, they saw a Barn Owl carrying a vole. Then to finish their trip off, a Woodcock was seen as they approached they have been staying. If my memory serves me right, I think their tally for the week came to 95 species seen, a great tally considering the weather..  Many thanks for all your sightings folks, as ever much appreciated!!!

Kevin Morrison who lives in Port Ellen and is working down at Foreland House at present, had seen a Greater spotted Woodpecker on the bird table at Shuna's house where Woodie now lives. He also had seen 3 White tailed Eagles along from Uiskentuie, as he drove along the road towards the road junction leading up to Foreland.

Today, Mike along with 2 of his friends, Guy and Mark had seen an immature Golden Eagle and a White tailed Eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard, all in from Keppols. While coming along the Glen road, they saw an adult Golden Eagle, a Kestrel, as well as a Hen Harrier. Down on the merse at Bridgend, they saw a Little Egret. While walking down to the South hide at Gruinart, they heard a Chiffchaff calling away. Distillery Dave had seen 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal, in from Gortan this morning. Late afternoon, while in for a cuppa and a catch up, Dave spotted a Golden Eagle far out, away over the crag being mobbed by a couple of Ravens initially and then a Buzzard came and joined in the fray.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Friday 15th March

Today was the last full day of Chris Mills' group from Norfolk Birding for this visit.  Down on the Oa they had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier, with a flock of 50 Skylarks seen at Kinnabus. Also on the Oa, they counted flocks of over 250 Twite and 80 Linnets. A Peregrine was seen out from Arbeg Distillery as well as a Grey Wagtail seen nearby. Along at Kildalton, they saw 3 Yellowhammers. Further along the road, they had  2 White tailed Eagles. Finally at Leorin, they had spotted the Todd's Canada Goose amongst the flock of Barnacle geese there. 

An interesting footnote.. Yesterday's post to the blog was the 3,900th  post on the blog, so keep the birds sightings coming through folks and I will try to keep you informed as and when I get any sightings through. As I keep saying, there are lies, damned lies and then there is the bird blog...

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Thursday 14th March

James had managed to get out from beind his desk over the past few days to do a spot of birding.... better than being desk bound!!! On Tuesday, he had seen a Golden Eagle up at Borichill Mor and also 3 Lbb Gulls, a sure sign that lambing is not that far away!!! Yesterday, James had 3 Greenshank and also a Peregrine on the reserve at Gruinart and also a Merlin was seen over at Kilinallan.
Today, Chris Mills had been out and about leading his group from Norfolk Birding. They had seen 2 juv. Golden Eagles over towards Ballimartin, a flock of over 3,000 Barnies beside Esknish. Later on, they had a Moorhen on the Distillery pond behind Port Charlotte, but no sign today of the Green winged Teal seen there by Mike earlier on this month. Along at Bruichladdich, the 8 Purple Sandpiper were still present.
Andrew Kent e mailed through the figures from the International Goose Count which was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The totals came to 31,058 Barnies,  6,771 Whitefronts and 775 Greylags. Many thanks to Andrew and his team from SNH for these stats.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Wednesday 13th March

Chris and his group forgot to tell me last night that they had also seen 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal yesterday.

Today, they saw a juv. Golden Eagle flying while they were driving along the road between Saligo and Leek. Along at Leek, they had a ringtail Hen Harrier. At the reserve at Gruinart, the Green winged Teal was present. Down at Bruichladdich, 8 Purple Sandpipers were seen on the shore.
Another 2 returning visiting birders, not sure of your names folks, had a Merlin as well as a male Hen Harrier close to Leek this morning.

The wind down on Mike's weather station down at the road end at Rockside, had a recorded wind speed of 69mph at 8pm last night, and he is sheltered compared to up here.. The ferries did not sail until lunchtime today, but managed to fit in 3 double crossings, with some extra ferries being fitted in as well, catch up time, I presume!!!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Tuesday 12th March

Today, the weather has been something else.. rather windy and blowing strongly for most of the time, a constant wearying wind rather than one that huffs and puffs. Eventually our power went off but give the boys from the Hydro Board top marks ( to Rop and his lads!!).. the power is back on again!!!

Chris Mills and his group from Norfolk Birding, made it out and managed some birds for us... At Sanaigmore, they had 6 Chough close at hand, on their way back out they had a Golden Eagle . A Peregrine was hunting over the merse at the top of Loch Indaal. Finally, at the Woollen Mill, a pair of Grey Wagtail were seen on the River Sorn with a few Siskins seen on the feeders and also a Long tailed Tit there as well.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Monday 11th March

Yesterday, Chris Mills along with the group of birders from Norfolk Birding had seen a Fulmar out along the front of the crag, so watch this space again for the weather to deteriorate..
Today, they had seen a male Merlin, just after the road leading to Rockside, a male Hen Harrier flew across the road, at the road leading to Finlaggan. Over at Bunnahabhain, the group had 2 White tailed Eagles fly over to Jura with a Golden Eagle displaying there as well ... Down from the pier at Bowmore, they had counted 45 Common Scoter, 9 Slav. Grebe, a Tystie and over 300 Common Gulls. Finally, at the mouth of Loch Indaal, they had 120 Barwits and at least 40 Knot.
Up here at home, we had 3 Pied Wagtails out on the grass.

The news from Fair Isle is not too good, as by the sound of the snippets of information coming through so far, is that the Observatory will be out of commission for this season ... Our thoughts are with the team there.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Sunday 10th March

Chris Mills is over this week leading a group from Norfolk Birding. Last night they had a Barn Owl and on their way round Loch Gorm this morning, they had seen 2 Golden Eagles out over Ballinaby. At Gruinart, they saw the Little Egret.
James had counted 52 Knot out on Loch Gruinart itself, a Merlin on the flats, the Little Egret was noted out below the visitor centre and finally he had a Sparrowhawk also on the reserve at Gruinart. James said that the count for the Knot was a high count for here as we do not normally have that many...

Finally, some sad breaking news ... There was a fire this morning at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory, not sure of the exact details, but not sounding too good.. Fire crews from Shetland were flown in to help. Will try to keep you posted tomorrow should I get some more information.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Saturday 9th March

The wind has continued to blow again, fotunately it did not deter the ferries from sailing today which is possibly a blessing as the local farmers had around 900 cattle entered for the sale at Bridgend. So with the ferries sailing all the cattle should now be on the way to their new homes on the mainland..

Margaret saw a Raven out over the crag this afternoon, while I saw a couple of Buzzards earlier on along the other crag towards Rockside.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Friday 8th March

Last night as we drove home from Bridgend, and we had a good sighting of a Barn Owl hunting along  beside the road as we approached Blackrock. I wonder if it was the same Owl which we saw after the last bird nerds meeting, a few weeks back, it too was seen close to there.
This morning, when I was outside down close to where the edge of the pond is and the edge of the bird seed crop is to be sown, I counted 12 hen Pheasants having a good root around, so all should be good for some young  chicks later on this Spring.  
The wind has picked up strongly this evening, with it blowing away steadily rather than some gusts... Both the ferries are tied up for the evening already...

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Thursday 7th March

Today over at Gruinart, James had sen his first Lesser Black backed Gull of this "Spring". Also on the reserve, he had 2 good flocks of Skylarks, one with 98 birds and the other with 64.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Wednesday 6th March

Late afternoon, and Mike Peacock sent an e mail through to say that he has now seen the Green winged Teal on the 3rd, the 4th and again today as well, all seen on the distillery pond up behind  Port Charlotte. The long and the short is that Toby Green and the group from Heatherlea had also seen one on the 3rd as well, so Mike seems to believe (like myself..) that there is a strong possibility of 2 Green winged Teal drakes present now on Islay...

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Tuesday 5th March

Gary today has sent a list of birds that he had seen on his local patch. In at Loch Finlaggan he had the following birds... 19 Common Gulls, 3 Herring Gulls, a Gbb Gull, 6 Dabchick, 26 Mallard, 24 Tufted Duck, 11 Goldeneye, 300 Barnacle Geese, 18 Oystercatcher, 14 Curlew, 1 Kittiwake, a juv. White tailed Eagle, 7 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.
Today, we took delivery of a special mix of seeds for the Birds to munch through in the Autumn and in the Winter too. I have asked the merchant to change the mix slightly with the Wheat being dropped and Reed Millet and also some Linseed added instead, so I will keep you up to speed of how it does. I am also going to sow 3 strips of different wildflowers , so another ongoing interest to follow up through the year...

Monday, 4 March 2019

Monday 4th March

Toby Green is over on Islay for a few days leading a group from Heatherlea. Yesterday, they had seen thousands of Geese, both the Eagles (Golden and also White tailed) were seen. The Little Egret, Chough and also a distant Green winged Teal were present a well. A great start to their visit...

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Sunday 3rd March

Bob had ventured out in atrocious wet weather this morning, down to the distillery pond behind Port Charlotte, to look for the Green winged Teal, but no birds were seen there at all...
Pat, Bob's other half had seen a Barn Owl out hunting over the fields below their house. Bob told me that he has been noticing the Curlews starting to take up territory up on the moors

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Saturday 2nd March

The rainfall for February here at home came to almost 3.4inches. with the total figure for this year less than half of what it was for the same time last year...
This morning, Mike Peacock had seen a drake Green winged Teal down on the Distillery Pond at Port Charlotte. He was in touch with Bob who went down to see if he could locate it  but as Bob approached, all the birds on the pond took off. But (the new word in use now!) Gary had gone down and found the drake present there late afternoon. The big question now has arisen, is this the same bird from Gruinart, or another drake present as well now???

Friday, 1 March 2019

Friday 1st March

Malcolm was in touch to say that Jean Reid and Ian Turner had seen a Sand Martin flying around at Portnahaven on Wednesday, the earliest and only February record for a Sand Martin on Malcolm's data base. The earliest sighting of one, prior to Jane and Ian's sighting was of a Sand Martin seen back on the 1st of March 2000.

I also had heard that there was a Wheatear seen over on mainland Argyll as well as a sighting of  an Osprey, both earlier on this week..

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Thursday 28th February

Well, that is almost another month in again, so we will all have to wait in suspense to learn how much rain there has been, not a lot on Islay, I am sure. Having said that, it might be a lot more than some other places.
Yesterday, Peter had a phone call through from Pia , his wife who was in for a walk at Loch Skerrols. Peter heard Pia talking,  but in the background he heard a Great spotted Woodpecker drumming away in the background as well. Peter also told me that he too has had his lawn mower out cutting their grass.
The temperature has dropped quite a bit today, more inline of where it should be, net result is that the birds are back enjoying any food on offer.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Wednesday 27th February

Some sightings through from Gary... On Monday, he had seen a male Great spotted Woodpecker over at Kildalton. Along the road he saw a White tailed Eagle out over the skerries out from the Dower House. Over on the Oa, Gary had a Golden Eagle, and at Cornabus,the Todd's Canada Goose was still present.
Yesterday, Gary had a Greenshank as well as the Green winged Teal, both out from the  North hide at Gruinart. Over the hills behind the East side of Loch Gruinart, Gary spotted 3 Golden Eagles and also a White tailed Eagle.
Late this afternoon in flat calm conditions, Mike had a count of 97 GND, 24 RTD and 60 Guillemots going into the roost on Loch Indaal. Earlier on around 4pm, Mike 151 Common Scoter, out from Port Charlotte, feeding and displaying. Mike this morning had seen his first Siskin of the Spring in his garden in Port Charlotte. This balmy weather continues, I was out in the garden in my shirt sleeves, gardening, not the case a year ago. To think that I cut the grass over a week ago and it is still only February!!!!

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Tuesday 26th February

My good friend Armin sent me through an e mail the other day about a couple of Barnacle geese that are overwintering on Berneray this winter. "Normally" these birds should have been down on Islay. Steve Percival caught and fitted darvic leg rings to the 2 geese back in 2017 here on Islay, their leg codes are as follows, ZLN and ZLV.
At the weekend, my son Andrew who lives down in the Scottish Borders had a Sparrowhawk down in  his garden, eating a digestive biscuit, a plain biscuit with no chocolate for this bird....
Yesterday and also today at Gruinart, James had seen a White tailed Eagle harassing the geese. Today, with this great spell of weather, Skylarks have been heard singing away and also James had Lapwings displaying.
In the garden today, there were bees out flying around, butterflies seen out and also some Ladybirds as well.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Monday 25th February

Back on Saturday, as he was driving past Cash Kelly's old house just at Blackrock, Distillery Dave saw a Stoat resplendent in an ermine coat as it ran across the road at the stream that leads to the sea. I always thought that the Stoat only changed its coat when we had a cold winter!!!
Yesterday was the final day of the group from Sandwich Bay Bird obs which Peter has ben leading. Up on the track leading to Bolsay, they had a  Red Grouse, over behind Claggain Bay, they had a Golden Eagle. On the merse at Bridgend, a White tailed Eagle was present as well as a Todd's Canada Goose along with the other geese there too. They also had seen several Hen Harriers and some Sparrowhawks on their travels around Islay yesterday as well. Many thanks for your sightings to Peter and the Sandwich Bay birders.
Yesterday afternoon, Steve Wrightson had 2 White tailed Eagles sitting on the end of the spit that stretches out in to Loch Indaal along the strand at Uiskentuie. After a few moments, they flew on to meet up with another 2 White tailed Eagles, giving a spectacular flying display over the trig point and raised beach just across the road... David Wood had also seen the 4 White tails out on the wing at the same time as well. David also had a male at Cornabus on the Oa.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Sunday 24th February

On Friday, Peter and the group from Sandwich Bay Bird Obs had seen an adult White tailed Eagle in at Finlaggan with a juv one seen shortly afterwards, down at Port Askaig. A Golden Eagle was also seen when they were in at Finlaggan. Also present were a pair of Buzzards and also a pair of Sparrowhawks, all displaying. 2 Crossbill were there as well. A Grey Wagtail was  seen on the River Sorn down at Bridgend.Up on the flats at Gruinart a flock of over 300 Golden Plover along with many Lapwing were counted. 4 Hen Harriers were seen on the reserve at Gruinart with the Green winged teal and also the Little Egret noted out from the south  hide. Up at Ardnave, in the afternoon, 35 Chough were counted.
Yesterday, they had a pair of Dippers seen on the River Sorn above The Woollen Mill and also the 9 Scaup and the 2 Slavonian Grebe were still present off Bowmore. The leucistic Common Gull was at Machir Bay, a Greenshank seen out from the South Hide at Gruinart and 4 Pale bellied Brent geese were present at Uiskentuie.
Also yesterday, Mandy had heard a Skylark singing above Carnduncan.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Saturday 23rd February

Peter has a group of 12 folk over on Islay from Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory in Kent. Back on Thursday, They had seen a White tailed Eagle down on the Oa, the flock of over 200 Twite at Kinnabus, with the Todd's Canada Goose seen at Lyrabus on the Oa as well. They had also seen 5 Fulmars on the nesting ledges on the Oa as well. Between Bruichladdich and the Oa, they had 4 different Golden Eagles. Finally, they had seen 9 Scaup of out on Loch Indaal from Bowmore. Yesterday had been Chris Corrigan's last full day here on Islay. Out from Bowmore, in choppy conditions, he had seen 4 Scaup, a Slavonian Grebe, and 12 Common Scoter. Up at Sanaigmore 2 Chough were present. While going across the road from Loch Gorm to Loch Gruinart, a male Merlin was present, and a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen taking a teal from Loch Gruinart. Finally, down at Kintra, Chris had seen a Peregrine. many thanks for your sightings, Chris.
Yesterday, Gary had seen 2 Crossbills in at Finlaggan, 2 Chough at Mulreesh, and flying way out over Giur  Bheinn, 2 juv White tailed Eagles and also a Juv. Golden Eagle was there as well

Friday, 22 February 2019

Friday 22nd February

Yesterday, Chris Corrigan had seen a Slavonian Grebe close in to the shore while  he was at Bowmore. Later on, Chris had seen a male Hen Harrier out over the moorland at Foreland, and then along at Sunderland, he had a female Merlin. Down at Machir Bay, Chris had counted a flock of 35 Chough and then out on Loch Indaal past Port Charlotte, he had a small pod of 5 Bottle nosed Dolphins.
Today, James had seen a Peregrine while out on the reserve at Gruinart. He also had counted 6,805 barnies  and also 91 Greenland whitefronts on the reserve

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Thursday 21st February

Some sightings though from Ken Reeves and the Burbage birders. The other day they had seen a total of 4 Golden Eagles. Yesterday down on the Oa, at Kinnabus, they had a flock of over 200 Twite. Up on the head of Loch Indaal amongst the large flock of barnies present, they had seen a Pink footed Goose and also a Pale bellied Brent Goose. Over at Gruinart they managed to read the leg rings on 11 Barnies along with neck collars that were on 20 White fronted Geese.
This morning Chris Corrigan missed out on a great chance to add a new tick on his house list... Chris was down in Bowmore when a White tailed Eagle flew over the cottage where he is staying in this week.
Also this morning, James had seen a Woodcock while he was out along the woodland trail at Gruinart.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Wednesday 20th February

Yesterday, up here (Getting forgetful???) we had 3 Fulmars soaring along the front of the crag, net result today the wind has been blowing away strongly and a good few dirty showers in the mix as well...Mind you there was no disruption with the ferry!!!
This morning out on the patch of ground where we sow the bird seed crop, there were a couple of Hares running around, boy they were covering the ground really fast. There has been no sign of the Sparrowhawk at the feeders today, but it was down on the wall beside the ditch. A ringtail Hen Harrier flew past looking out for anything to eat!!! The Rochdale birders had a Hooded Crow carrying a frog away to eat later on.. 
Chris Corrigan had seen a Barn Owl at 8.15 am, between Uiskentuie and Blackpark. From the South hide at Gruinart, Chris had the Green winged Teal and also saw the Little Egret. Back up at the car park at Gruinart, he had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier. Up towards Keppols, 2 Chough were present and then at Bunnahabhain, Chris had seen an Otter. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tuesday 19th February

Forgot to mention that last night Margaret had seen a Barn Owl as she was driving along the road towards Blackrock back from the meeting in Bowmore. Yesterday afternoon, I saw a Raven flying up to its nest site carrying materials for its' nest...
This morning Chris Corrigan had seen a White tailed Eagle out from Bridgend on the mud flats there when the tide was out.. Round off Bowmore, he had 8 Scaup, 15 Common Scoter, 22 Eiders, 5 GND and a RTD. Also today, Ken Reeves along with 4 members from Burbage bird club had been down at Bowmore in the morning where they saw 9 Scaup, 50 Eider, 17 Common Scoter, 3 Slavonian Grebes, 8 GND,  70 Ringed Plover, 60 Dunlin, a Pale bellied Brent Goose, 160 Wigeon and out on the estuary over 10,000 Barnies. Up at Gruinart, from the South hide, the Green winged Teal was present as were 15 Whooper Swans and finally they had 4 Tysties down at Bruichladdich. The weather out here this afternoon has not been good for birdwatching...

Monday, 18 February 2019

Monday 18th February

Ken Reeves along some members of the Burbage birders are over on Islay for a few days to catch up on the birds that we have...Great to see you all earlier on this evening... Yesterday, when they came over on the ferry, they had seen 10 GND, 1 RTD, 7 BTD, over 30 Guillemots, 10 Black Guillemots, 9  R b Merganser, 40 Kittiwake, 4 Goldeneye, 12 Eider and 3 Fulmar. On Islay, at Bruichladdich they had 2 Ringed Plover.
Another visitor who is over for a few days is Chris Corrigan who has kindly sent some sightings through... Yesterday, he had 8 Scaup and 7 Common Scoter off Bowmore out on Loch Indaal. From the South hide at Gruinart, Chris had a Greenshank, 5 Whoopers and also the Little Egret present there as well. Ardnave Loch held 22 Whoopers with 6 Choughs close by.
Today, Chris had 7 Common Scoter and a RTD off Bowmore.  Down on the Oa, in horrible weather, he had a Golden Eagle, and a male Hen Harrier. At Upper Killeyan he had a count of at least 100 Twite. Coming back along the low road from Port Ellen, he saw another male Hen Harrier close to the airport.
Up here, similar weather to Chris, a pig of a day, but that did not deter the Sparrowhawk from causing havoc with the wee birds, still as I said in an earlier entry, not to worry it has to be a bit better at catching the wee birds, all it is good at present, is  as  a "bird scarer".
This evening, The Islay bird nerds had a meeting with Bill Dundas who is the chair person on the Islay Goose Scheme. He kindly  gave us an outline about the scheme in general and was able  to answer most of our questions. "A right good meeting", thanks to James for chairing it!!!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sunday 17th February

Yesterday when leaving Port Ellen on the ferry Richard and Hilary had seen a Razorbill, so their tally for their stay  came to 107 birds seen when they were here..
This morning, Martin had seen 5 male Bullfinches just down from his house over at Glenegedale. He has also seen Frog spawn, and also mating frogs in the marsh there as well. This afternoon, Bob and Lesley had carried out the WeBS count from Port Charlotte, back round to Blackrock.. Their tally for birds seen were as follows...43 Herring Gulls,  GND, 3 GBB Gulls, 10 Cormorant, 7 RTD, 2 Snipe, 1 B h Gull, 16 Common Gulls, 1 Slavonian Grebe,1 Purple Sandpiper, 4 R b Merganser, 14 Ringed Plover, 4 P b b Geese, 43 Oystercatcher and also 12 Eider. Gary and Sam saw a male Hen Harrier up flying, behind their house over at Ballygrant.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Saturday 16th February

Yesterday was Richard and Hilary's final day of their 10 day trip to Islay. Their day started off  with seeing a ringtail Hen Harrier as they drove from Uiskentuie  up to Gruinart. From the North hide at Gruinart, they were fortunate in watching the birds getting moved on by the incoming tide.. Birds seen there were as follows... Sanderling, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Barwit, Shelduck, R b Mersganser, Barnacle Geese, Mipits, Pied Wagtails, Common Gull and also B h Gull. From the hide, they saw 2 new ticks for their stay, a Blackwit and also a Grey Plover. Over at Finlaggan, they had seen a male Hen Harrier as they approached, several Buzzards, a Golden Eagle as well as another tick for their list, a Red Grouse, making it a total of 106 different species when over here, a great total for the time of the year...
Speaking to Mandy today over a welcome cuppa, she had seen an Otter just opposite the Ramsay Hall in Port Ellen the other day with a Golden Eagle was out on the wing over close to Balole, later on in the week.
Distillery Dave had counted 8 Turnstone down on Machir Bay this morning. Shortly afterwards, he had a Merlin in his garden up at Rockside, then this afternoon, he saw a juv. White tailed Eagle down at the road end/ entrance to Rockside.
Late afternoon up here, the hen Sparrowhawk visited us again, with a fly past the big gable end windows, no cameras needed !!! Earlier on, we saw a male Sparrowhawk fly through the gardens down at the Coastguard cottages.
Forgot to mention last night that I took a daft turn and cut the grass up here at home in the afternoon, it does look a lot tidier now!!!  It is the earliest thatI have ever cut grass .. global warming???

Friday, 15 February 2019

Friday 15th February

Regular contributors this week, Richard and Hilary had been out and about yesterday .. Down on the Oa, they had seen a Golden Eagle, 4 Buzzards, a large flock of Twite seen on a stubble field behind Upper Killeyan. A walk out to the American monument produced Fulmars and a Gannet both seen well out to sea. Up at Bowmore, looking across Loch Indaal towards Bruichladdich, they saw 4 Long tailed Ducks. A female Hen Harrier was seen as they drove up the road towards Mulindry, while at Knocklearach they had had a Merlin fly across the road.
Some sightings through from Mandy, the other day she had seen a pair of Ravens displaying.  Later on the same day, she had a pair of  Hooded Crows displaying as well. Mandy's only comment was that she felt that the male Hoodie was not so good as the male Raven in its' display flying antics. Yesterday, as she was walking up the track to Carnduncan, a Sparrowhawk flew across the track, just ahead of her, almost too close!!! She wondered whether it had been hiding by the bank at the side of the track.
Today, The Rochdale birders had seen a male Hen Harrier over at Gruinart with a ringtail seen at Sunderland. On Ardnave Loch, 9 Whoopers were present. Down at Carnain, they had 2 Golden Eagles with  another one seen away out from Storakaig.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Thurdsay 14th February

Richard and Hilary had seen Teal, Wigeon, and Mallard and also close sightings of 2  Golden Eagles while in at Loch Skerrols yesterday. Later on, they had Whooper Swans, Teal, Wigeon, R b Merganser, Skylarks and a ringtail Hen Harrier at Ardnave Loch, while a walk round Ardnave produced Ringed Plover, Dunlin, 2 Barwits, 4 Purple Sandpipers, Rock Pipits, Mipits, Tysties, Bh Gull, Redshank, Wigeon, GND and also Chough.
Yesterday, on checking out our cameras late evening, the footage showed the Sparrowhawk up to its' antics 4 times yesterday with another 3 shows again today, but with no kills at all!!!

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Wednsday 13th February

Yesetrday was  John Matthews and team PE4 last full day here on Islay for this present visit.... By the sound of their sightings sent they made the most of it... so here goes with their top birds... Off Bowmore Pier, they had Slav Grebes, RTD, GND, Eider, Common Scoter, Ringed Plover and also Dunlin. They also saw P B Brent geese among some Barnies up towards Mulindry. Down at The Woollen Mill, they saw Goldfinch, Siskin, Coal Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow and Collared Doves. At Coal Ila , birds seen included Shag, Gbb Gull, Tysties and also Buzzards a plenty on their travels...Their highlight for the day was on the return leg to Port Ellen, about 2 miles down the road from Springbank they had 2 different Merlin sitting on the road side fences, but were only able to stop the car safely for a better view of one of them...  safety first!!!

Peter has had Alan Heavisides staying with him  for a few days.... Yesterday when up at Gruinart they saw a female Hen Harrier take a Teal out of the floods there. It then flew off with its' prey, sitting on it for some time before eating at it for  while, before an attendant Buzzard chased it away from the dead Teal which the Buzard then flew off with and seemed to cache it away in a bush. As Peter pointed out 4 interesting apects to this were, 1, the initial hunting of the Teal did not appear to spoof any of the other duck present on the floods, 2, A Teal is quite a large prey for a Harrier, 3, The Harrier gave its' prey up to the Buzzard without any fight, finally, 4, The Buzzard had no inteest in eating the prey, more interested in hiding it for another meal in the future. 
They also saw 4 Greenshank out from the South hide as well. 

Today, Gary had been out with  couple of clients. Up at Kilchoman, they had seen a juv. Golden Eagle out over the crag. They also saw another juv Goldie being chased by 2  White tailed Eagles close to Ballygrant. Back on Monday, Gary had seen 31 Long tailed Duck sitting in the rocks at Blackrock. He also saw 17 Slav Grebes out on the Loch around Blackrock as well. He is now already hearing Song Thrushes singing in the trees next to his house.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Tuesday 12th February

Yesterday, the "Port Ellen 4" along with team leam leader John Matthews, had seen a large flock of Twite along with over 20 Skylarks close to Kinnabus on the Oa, but sadly no Golden Eagles or Hen Harriers were seen, but they had counted at least 7 Buzzards on their way out to the Oa and on the return leg. While travelling up along the High road and then the Glen road over the top to Ballygrant, they had seen another 7 Buzzards, a Kestrel, Partridge, and Raven, while at Knocklearach, a Merlin was sitting on a fence post, at the side of the road. Up at Bunahabhain, an Otter, GND, Tysties, and also some Shags were present.
Yeterday, Hilary and Richard had seen the Todd's Canada Goose over at Leorin. Over at Claggain Bay they had RTD, BTD, GND, Tysties, Grey Wagtail, and some Shags as well as a small pod of Porpoises. Birds seen while returning back from Claggain Bay to Port Ellen included Yellowhammers, Brambling, Treecreeper, Reed Bunting, Long tailed Tits with a Greater spotted Woodpecker heard druming away. Up at Bowmore on Loch Indaal, they had Barwits, Eider, Common Scoter, Common Gull, GND and also BTD
Up here today, we saw a Merlin fly past out of the wee kitchen window, fly on over the bird cage then wheel down and over the bird seed crop and on its' way. After lunchtime, coming out of Bowmore, just after Pennycraig, another wee Merlin flew off the fence at the side of the road. On the way home, down below the lime kiln, we spoke with the Rochdale Birders who are over for another visit, their first for 2019 , great to meet up you folks... Over at Kildalton, this morning they had 4 Yellowhammers and the close to the airport, a male Hen Harrier was present quartering its' patch.