Thursday 31 January 2019

Thursday 31st January

Another cool kind of a day out here again...Been kept out of mischief today by recycling some of the flooring  that the builders have lifted and going to replace with floor tiles... No, I did not burn the flooring!!!

I looked at the cameras just as the darkness came in this evening, and the one covering the birdtable had been very active for most of the day, Pheasants, Jackdaws, Starlings, Blackbirds as well as many numerous wee birds all caught on camera... The "local" Sparrowhawk flew over the far side of the garden late aftenoon...

Gary and Wendy Ruffel from down South are over again at present and reported in today, a similar story to here with a lot of wee birds in the garden where they are staying at Carnain, with regular sightings of a ringtail Hen Harrier seen most days so far

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Wednesday 30th January

Another cold day out here on the edge of Islay, the council grit lorry was round before 10am today fitted with a nice big snow plough fitted on the front of the lorry... but not in use!!!

Mandy, today had a male Reed Bunting on the ground below her feeders over at Carnduncan. She also had the her usual culprits eating away at the food on offer... Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Great Tit and also 3 Goldfinch on her feeders, but no sign of any Blue Tits. 

Over here this morning, I saw a Wren scurrying along the base of one of our walls, out of the prevailing wind which was not that warm, a lazy wind going straight through you rather than round you!!!

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Tuesday 29th January

Well, a latish kind of an entry tonight, the reason being that I was at the Bird nerds post Christmas meal which was held down inthe Lochside Hotel inBowmore with 11 folk in attendance. Mind you the weather has not been that great today with quite a few dirty wintery showers moving around .. The roads comeing home this evening were not that clever... Needless to say we all had a good night out...good to see you all folks!!!

Some birds gleaned from the meeting tonight were as follows... Bob had a Jack Snipe down at Carnain. Sam, Gary's wife had a White tailed Eagle out from her new job at Ardnahoe Distillery, Gary himself saw a male Hen Harrier over close to Torabus. James had a Sparrowhawk as well as a Treecreeper at Mill cottage. Here at home , the wee birds have been busy tucking in the the food on offer, just as well more food was delivered in today!!!  Mid aftrnoon, there was a really big thud on one of the windows, Margaret went and loked out to find a rather stunned Sparrowhawk on the ground, but by the time I got my camera to hand it had flown away. Later on, another thump on another window, this time,  a dazed Chaffinch but it too recovered fine..

Monday 28 January 2019

Monday 28th January

This morning, Gary had seen a group of waders down at Bruichladich consisting of some Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Redshank and also a couple of Purple Sandpiper as well. Along on the Uiskentuie strand, he had 2 groups of around 20 Curlews. Finally, on the overhead telephone cables at Rock Mountian, Gary had a female Merlin perched up.
This morning up here,we had a Buzzard sitting on top of the big electricity transformer pole in the garden, a shorwhile afterwards, a Kestrel was there, and then just before lunch, the Sparrowhawk flew past and away across the machir... 

Sunday 27 January 2019

Sunday 27th January

Well, thank goodness for the Fulmars, yesterday when I wrote the entry for the blog, it was quite calm outside with the wind just starting to pick up... and then later on, it certainly was windy with a good few dirty showers through the night added to the mix, net result, not as much sleep as the hailstones clattered on the bedroom window.. still this morning, no slates off, thank goodness!!!

My intention today had been to carry out a count for the big garden birdwatch, but not many birds were around due to the wind still blowing away strongly... no morning ferry  today from Port Ellen and tomorrow no sailing from Oban to Colonsay either. I suppose, that it the time of year when we can expect some disruption because of the weather.

Saturday 26 January 2019

Saturday 26th January

Back being lazy again, as I am using my wee notebook to write the blog...

George Newall from Dunoon is over for the weekend and had seen some Kittiwakes from the ferry yesterday. This morning, George came up here with his friend who is over with him. While they were here in the house, we saw a couple of Fulmars soaring back and forward along the front of the crag, so no doubt, a sure sign that the wind is to pick up soon... while out in the hut, we saw 3 Buzzards and a couple of Ravens out over the crag...

Wonder how Peter, Mark, Jim Dickson, Roger Broad and David Formby are getting. They are out in Bulgaria for a week's birding along some others from Sandwich Bay... No doubt, we will hear from them once they return home to "warmer climes" next Wednesday...

Friday 25 January 2019

Friday 25th January

Another quiet day on the bird front again today... James had seen a Jack Snipe when he was on the Moorland trail at Gruinart today. Here at home, the wee birds as ever have been busy on the feders again, and I have been busy helping the builders again, honest !!!

Thursday 24 January 2019

Thursday 24th January

Not a lot going onover here today on the bird front, having said the we had seen a Kestrel as we returned back from Gruinat this morning. This afternoon, there was a Peregrine flying way out over the crag ....  The rest of the day, I have been busy being a "gofor" for the builders being asked for various bits and pieces, hopefully I was of some help to them !!!

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Wednesday 23rd January

The cooler weather continues, the wee birds were hogging the food on offer, what's new you might well ask, well not a lot. The pesky Sparrowhawk was not present here today, but Distillery Dave had seen a male Hen Harrier as he drove along between Rockside and Sunderland Farm.

Next Tuesday evening, for those of you who may be over on Islay, the Islay bird nerds will be having their annual evening out at the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore for a bar supper at 7 pm. so if you are around and would like to come, please get in touch with Ian, so he can let the Lochside Hotel know our numbers...

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Tuesday 22nd January

A true winter's day out here today, the Paps of Jura have got a good covering of snow...

Yesterday afternoon  when returning home to Islay on the ferry, James had seen 2 Slavonian Grebes and also a few Kittiwakes as well. Today up here not a lot to report , but the wee birds have been even busier at the feeders than yesterday. The pesky Sparrowhawk has been seen around the feeders at least 3 times , but did not appear to be very successful, thank goodness!!!!!

Monday 21 January 2019

Monday 21st January

A few sightings through from Peter's friends Ken and Ernie who have been up for a few days birding on Islay instead of their beloved Sandwich Bay.... Yesterday,  just the back of lunchtime, they had 12 Purple Sandpiper and also 50 Pale bellied Brent on the shore at Bruichladdich. Up at Gruinart, they had a great count of 2,000 Golden Plover.
The weather has taken a big drop in the temperature here today, and the forecasters are even talking about SNOW, so needless to say the wee birds have been in at the feeders and making a feast of themselves with the food on offer...

Sunday 20 January 2019

Sunday 20th January

Some sightings through from Peter who has had a couple of friends over from Sandwich Bay  over the past few days. Yesterday, up close to Kilnave they had seen 2 juvenile Golden Eagles and then soon afterwards they had a male Hen Harrier.  On Ardnave Loch, they had 8 Whooper Swans. Later on down on the wee pond at Easter Ellister, there were another 8 Whoopers present. Down off Orsay Island they saw 3 Gannets fly past, and finally they had a Red  Grouse on the track leading up to Bolsay, up above Port Charlotte. This morning, they had a small flock of 30 Linnet along at Uiskentuie. Down on Machir Bay, 25 Ringed Plover were seen. Up here at home, before enjoying a customary cuppa, a Kestrel was seen. Just after they left, we saw a young male Hen Harrier out from the big gable end window as it flew past and away out over the machir...

Saturday 19 January 2019

Saturday 19th January

James was a bit like Gary, in the sense with an eye on the weather forecast, he took the decision and carried out his WeBs count on the floods at Gruinart, on Thursday, so here are the scores on the doors from James...  38 Curlew, 1665 Golden Plover, 334 Lapwing,  1 Dabchick, 4 R b Merganser, 6 Shoveler, 2 Common Gull, 15 B h Gull, 9 Grey Heron, 24 Whooper Swan, 5 Snipe, 135 Mallard, 6 Mute Swan, 901 Teal, 87 Pintail and 162 Wigeon.
Forgot to mention last night that we had a Buzzard fly low along the fence line here at home  yesterday. This afternoon, we had a Kestrel in the air over the garden, and also the pesky Sparrowhawk was around "visiting" . I watched it fly over the big feeding station, spoofing the birds inside, but the Sparrowhawk did not get its' meal, as it ducked and dived through the escaping birds... Late afternoon, and we watched the Chough going in to their roost, there were 21 Chough counted in total.

Friday 18 January 2019

Friday 18th January

A big change on the weather front out here today, sorry to say that possibly just normal January weather, the mercury in the thermometer struggling to push the needle into double figures....

Gary wisely took the chance yesterday to get ahead of the game and he did his WeBS count, a change round in areas coved again with his patch now being from Blackrock back round to Bowmore. So here are his scores on the doors... 12 GND, 17 RTD, 59 R b Merganser, 1 Cormorant, 1 Shag, 38 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Dabchick, 17 Eider, 25 Scaup, 108 Mallard, 22 Goldeneye, 5 Long tailed Duck, 101 Wigeon, 32 Teal, 9 Shelduck, 25 Common Scoter, 102 Ringed Plover, 101 Dunlin, 5 Redshank, 474 Oystercatcher, 70 Curlew, 10 Grey Heron, 14 Gbb Gull, 130 H. Gull, 273 C. Gull, 70 Bh Gull, 500 Barnies, 2 Mute Swan, 9 Whoopers and also 2 Moorhen.
By the tone of Gary's email, I take that he got a bit weather beaten, say no more lad..

Oh another e mail in today from Andrew Kent saying that there was a mistake on the figures on the Goose count which he had sent me through yesterday, the number of Whitefronts should have read 6,256 not 6,364...….

Thursday 17 January 2019

Thursday 17th January

Well, here goes, and hopefully I will get this entry out before this laptop goes on the blink. I started out writing this on my big pc and lo and behold, it has stopped working... boo hoo!!!
Andrew Kent has kindly sent me through the figures from the International Goose count held on Tuesday and Wednesday. The figures were as follows 35,251 Barnies, 6,364 Whitefronts and 616 Greylags. The figures from Jan 2018 were as follows 37,487 Barnies, 5,077 Whitefronts and 597 Greylags, while count from Dec 2018 was 31,263 Barnies, 5,847 Whitefronts. Many thanks to Anrew and his team for that.

Up here at home another raptor day, some place, and I was not glued with my bins stuck to my eyes. It started off with seeing a Merlin take off from the wall and fly away down over the reedbed. Late morning, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over the game/ bird crop, down towards the bottom of the field before it turned left ad flew along the front of the cottages. Mid afternoon, we had the pesky Sparrowhawk on the wing, I went and looked at the cameras, and right enough it had carried out a flypast over the old bird table as well, but never got anything!!! While  I was out the , I saw the pair of Buzzards out on top, at  their usual spot, perched away up the hill on the Deer fence!!! In between time over at the former Kilchoman School, on the way to Gruinart, a Fieldfare was seen.
Today Gary had seen 30 Long tailed Ducks on Loch Indaal, out from Blackrock, and later on, he had seen an adult White tailed Eagle perched on a rock way up above Finlaggan. More coming from Gary tomorrow night!

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Wednesday 16th January

By the sound of things, over here today has ben an EAGLE DAY and that was only from 3 different contributors, so here goes...
Mid morning up here at home, and we saw 2 Golden Eagles high up away out over the crag and shortly afterwards, Margaret saw a Peregrine fly past ... Gary today had 2 Golden Eagles out past Bunnahabhain. James was out helping carrying out the International goose Count and over the reserve at Gruinart he saw a White tailed Eagle, a Golden Eagle, a Peregrine and also he had the Little Egret as well...

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Tuesday 15th January

Another windy day out here again but not too windy as the ferry has been sailing back and forward all day, and better still, it was not too windy for the first day of the International Goose count taking place.
James had been out today helping out with the Goose count today. Out over Borichil Mor, he had seen 2 Golden Eagles, a Sparrowhawk and also a male Hen Harrier. Down on the reserve at Gruinart, James saw a White tailed Eagle, a Merlin and also the Little Egret was spotted as well. All we can add to James ' list was the sighting a Sparrowhawk flying back and forward, at least on 3 different occasions across our garden...

Monday 14 January 2019

Monday 14th January

Sorry not many birds tonight, partly due to the fact that nobody has been in touch with any sightings and another reason is that I have got a cracker of a toothache, so just some armchair birding from here... This morning, Margaret had a ringtail Hen Harrier doing a fly past out in front of the big window... This afternoon, she the Sparrowhawk out on the wing here as well, and all I saw was 4 Whoopers fly over just before I set out for the dentist!!!

For those of you who might be over on Islay on Tuesday 29th of January, it is the date for the evening out  when the bird nerds will be having their evening bar supper in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore. All welcome, give me shout by Friday 18th, so I can confirm numbers. Another request, please check out the menu online and let me know what you want to eat, so that Archie knows what to prepare...

Sunday 13 January 2019

Sunday 13th January

I might have joked about winding the camera up in last night's entry, well today  was not exactly the day to go and use it, 2 small problems, the weather and there was not a lot of birds out there to get some happy snaps taken... may be tomorrow..

Bob was on the phone at lunch time with some birds... Yesterday, he had a couple of Mistle Thrush in Gleann Mor up beside his house. Bob too has been having Barn Owls visiting him. In his garden he has been seeing 2 pairs of Collared Doves and today he counted 50 House Sparrows in his garden.

Distillery Dave and his wife Ann were round for a natter, over a well deserved cuppa this afternoon. Round at Rockside, they saw a Kestrel and then a ringtail Hen Harrier down at their road end when they came up to here. Later on "DJ"  and Derek dropped in for a "newsie", great to see you folks..

On a footnote, the wind is still puffing away good style outside at present....

Saturday 12 January 2019

Saturday 12th January

2 sightings through from Mandy which she told me about today while in for a cuppa and catch up...

She had seen a juv Glaucous Gull down in one of  the fields below her house at Carnduncan at the tail end of last week. On Wednesday, when she was out helping with the Goose count, she had seen a Whitefront with a neck collar fitted to it. Once I hear back from the folk in charge of the Whitefronts, I will let you know of where and when it was originally fitted with the collar.
Malcolm had emailed through earlier on today to say that he had 31 Collared Doves in on his bird food, before the holidays he was only feeding 20 of them so wondered where the "extras" had come from.. Another point of interest through from Malcolm was that he counted 55 House Sparrows. SNH had published some stats earlier this week which show that the population of House Sparrows had increased by over 50% between 1994 to 2017, down in England and Wales over the same time period, the Sparrows had declined by 20%. I know our numbers are well up here at home, but do not have any base period to relate to... George E Jackson caught and fitted rings to 92 House Sparrows up here this year over a total of 11 sessions, and there are still a lot of them with no bling on yet.... So may be that could be a wee job for tomorrow, to try to count who is about, better go and wind the camera up!!

Friday 11 January 2019

Friday 11th January

A few birds again, so here goes...
This morning around 9 o'clock, when I was on the phone, I happened to look out the window and saw 2 Fulmars soaring along the front of the crag, a sure sign that the winds are due to pick up ... And now I have just read that Calmac have cancelled tomorrow's sailing from Port Askaig to Colonsay, and also the return ferry tomorrow evening back from Kennacraig, which has a knock on effect as thee will be no sailing from Port Ellen on Sunday morning either.. "Normal service due to resume on Sunday at 13.00 from Kennacraig".
Back to birds again.. Gary was up for a catch up later on this morning, and we all saw a Golden Eagle out from another of the windows. We watched it being mobbed by the 2 local Ravens and then being dive bombed by the other locals, the 2 Buzzards. Shortly afterwards that pesky Sparrowhawk skipped past low down and away on...

On a closing note, the wind has started to pick up already with a huff and a puff outside already!!!

Thursday 10 January 2019

Hursday 10th January

Today, Gary had been down on the Oa where he had a flock of Twite, numbering "several hundred birds". He had also seen 4 Choughs down there as well. Coming back along the "Low road", Gary saw a male Hen Harrier close to the Machrie. Back up at Finlaggan , and he had another male Hen Harrier seen. Here at home this morning, and Margaret had a ringtail Hen Harrier float over the garden out from the big gable end window....  Fantastic, a real garden bird, it better be here for the "Big garden bird watch" at the end of the month!!!

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Wednesday 9th January

Some sightings through from Gary seen yesterday. Between Torabus and Ardnahoe, he saw a Peregrine chasing a Rock Dove. Out on the water on Ardnahoe Loch, he had 2 Dabchick, and then Gary saw a juv. White tailed Eagle out over the surrounding hills. Down at Finlaggan, there were 4 Dabchicks present. Down between Bowmore Harbour and the Gaelic centre, Gary counted 56 Pale belied Brent Geese.
This morning in the wee sma' hours, here at home, the Barn Owl was caught on camera for less than a minute..
Mike, this morning, in near perfect, calm conditions, had counted the following birds out on Loch Indaal from Blackrock...6 Long tailed Duck, 32 Red breasted Merganser,  21 Eider, 2 Goldeneye, 16 Slavonian Grebe, 21 GND and also 3 RTD.

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Tuesday 8th January

A better day today, at least I have got some more sightings in for you all to appreciate!!!

Mid morning, and Margaret saw a ringtail Hen Harrier float along the line of the garden fence and on its way onwards..  Shortly after that, we had a dark bird of prey out of the big gable end window, but neither of us had that great a view of it to say what it was with 100% accuracy, so I went out with my bins to see if I could see it. No joy, but on scanning all around, I did seed see a couple of Buzzards mobbing a Golden Eagle away out over the hill behind Rockside. Better was still to come as the Buzzards dropped back onto their patch with the Eagle proceeding to fly along over the crag and it was joined by a second Golden Eagle before they both dropped down behind the crag, out of sight. That pesky Sparrowhawk has been close to hand again today, whether it has got the taste and mastered the knack of catching the odd wee bird, say no more...

James today had counted 9,373 Barnies on the reserve at Gruinart today, he also had a flock of 114 Dunlin as well as a large flock of Golden Plovers as well, but did not manage an accurate count of them... James also saw the Little Egret at Gruinart, out from the hide...  

Monday 7 January 2019

Monday 7th January

You can always tell when I write a lot of woffle about the weather, the ferries and soon you realise that I have few reports of birds being sent through, well tonight is one of those days .... the morning ferry diverted up to Port Askaig, the beauty of having 2 ferry terminals on Islay... Yes, I suppose it was quite windy and a lot worse up North with several ferries being cancelled.
The only bird that I can speak about is... yes, the Sparrowhawk was sitting on the wall down beside the bird crop,watching and looking for any wee birds, but they, I presume had gone in to hiding, as I certainly did not spot any... Needless to say, he too eventually took off and flew away!!!

Sunday 6 January 2019

Sunday 6th January

The weather has been gie dreich out here today, with the mist struggling to get off the top of the crag!!!
Yesterday, James had seen5 Purple Sandpiper when up at Ardnave.
This morning, I counted 15 Pheasants down in the birdseed crop, there is still plenty of food in the crop for them to root about for. Later on, I saw that pesky Sparrowhawk  having a fly past on a look and see basis, as it never deviated from its' flight path at all!!!

Saturday 5 January 2019

Saturday 5th January

Forgot last night to mention that I had a Snipe take off down in our garden.... Another thing that should have been mentioned was that we too have got snowdrops in flower, sorry James!!!
Today, another day and the Barn Owl was out and about at the back of 6 am... Lesley came up for a cuppa late morning, and we had a couple of Kestrel out on the wing over the bird crop, and then when I was checking up on something else, Lesley saw a Linnet just beyond the bird table... That was in the morning...Mid afternoon, and Mandy came for a welcome catch up... She had just seen a ringtail Hen Harrier over at Saligo, on her way to here. Better was still to come with a cracking view of a male Hen Harrier following the fence line round the edge of the garden.. To finish off Mandy's visit, there was a Sparrowhawk sitting down below the Pheasant feeder... Margaret saw a Merlin crash into the kitchen window,  it flew away none the worse for wear!!

Friday 4 January 2019

Friday 4th January

Forgot to mention that James has got his Snowdrops flowering at Mill Cottage, and yes I can verify this as we saw them back on Tuesday when we were round visiting him...
Not a lot on the bird front today... But this morning, the ringtail Hen Harrier floated past over the bird seed crop and kept going, not like the Merlin yesterday!! Down on the rocks just out of Bruichladdich, there were 2 Curlew perched up as I went down to Port Charlotte around midday.

Thursday 3 January 2019

Thursday 3rd January

Yesterday, James had seen an adult White tailed Eagle making a nuisance of itself as it was chasing the Barnies around to no real avail...
Mike today e mailed through to say that he had seen the leucistic Common Gull down on Machir Bay, and over at Gruinart the adult White tailed Eagle was harassing the Barnies again!!! Here at home, a quick glance out of the window, and I saw a Merlin zip past and then it did  a sharp turn back round the bird feeders and nobble a Dunnock. Say no more on that subject... Yes, life can be tough sometimes!!!

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Wednesday 2nd January

Good friend Marsali, sent through the figures for the rainfall in December over at Mulindry. Being closer to the hills than we are here at Kilchoman, Marsali's tally for December was 6.68 inches, while the total for the year came to 55.8 inches. Marsali also told me that the annual total was the driest since 2010, say no more, Mrs T!!!

Yesterday, Mike had seen a pair of Bullfinches eating the willow buds while he was out on the track leading to the Forest up behind Bunnahabhain. Today, he bettered yesterday figures by seeing 5 Bullfinches while on the track  to Bolsay up behind Port Charlotte... Gary today had seen 2 Golden Eagles chasing the geese over Keills. Bob, was up visiting us today and just after he left here, he saw a female Kestrel. Just after lunch, we had 3 Greenfinches out on the feeders, up here at home.

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Tuesday 1st January

Well, as promised the rainfall figures for December.... The tally for the month came to 5.1 inches with the total for 2018 coming to 48.55 inches or 1233 mm if you understand metric measurements...
The total figure was slightly drier than normal, as we usually think of a figure of around 50 inches in
total.. the tally for 2017 came to 51.75 while back in 2016 was 45.9 inches..

On the bird front, today at home, we have seen 2 different Hen Harriers up here at home, a Raven came in to take pole position up on the top of the gable end of the old church next door,  there were 3 Buzzards circling around over the crag mid afternoon. Also seen were some Goldfinches, a Great Tit and later on a Blue Tit on the feeders as well as numerous Chaffinches and House Sparrows.