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..