Friday 31 May 2019

Friday 31st May

Well, after a day of continuous rain, it has faired up, the sun is streaming in through the big gable end windows and warm. Possibly is it warm because we have the fire on, whatever it is just fine by me!!!

The Bolton birders had a ringtail Hen Harrier round at Leek the other day and later on an Osprey was seen up behind Bowmore.
Yesterday, Mark had 3 Bonxies, 2 GND and a count of 15 Comic Terns up at Ardnave. Down on the reserve at Gruinart, a Spotted Flycatcher was present. Late yesterday afternoon, Gary had seen 4       Pale bellied Brent Geese down at Smelly corner.
This morning, Karen and her partner John had spotted a pair of Wheatears feeding 3 youngsters out in the dunes at Kintra, from their camper van. Late afternon, Mandy had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier
glide past her kitchen window up at Carnduncan and now poses the question, does it qualify as a garden bird???

Before I forget, as promised, the Bird nerds will be meeting on Tuesday evening at 6.30 pm at Foreland (NR271636) for a walk through the policies there to see what we can see and hear.

Just before I started to write this entry, I checked out some stats about the blog, and noticed that since last night, that someone, somewhere was the 1,000,000 person to read the blog since it was started away back on  1st May 2007!!!

Thursday 30 May 2019

Thursday 30th May

Certainly not all to wall sunshine, more like wall to wall blanket of mist, I have not seen the crag since yesterday sometime... and there has been the odd dollop of rain  thrown in for good measure.

James saw a few birds for us, up at Ardnave, he had 2 Golden Eagles, a Peregrine and also 3 Hen Harriers as well.

Late afternoon, up here at home and we counted over 30 Goldfinches and even more House Sparrows in at the feeders. The numbers of the Sparrows being swelled by some youngsters begging to be fed. Just after that, I went out down round the "garden" and saw a hen Pheasant out with her brood of 7 chicks and then a different hen with her 4 young chicks....

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Wednesday 29th May

Yesterday afternoon, Martin Armstrong took his daughter Belle out for a stroll along the Laggan where they saw 3 Common Sandpipers and also a Grey Wagtail. On the plantaton, Martin spotted a male Crossbill.

Up here at home, early afternoon we saw a hen Pheasant, out proudly presenting her brood of 7 young chicks, wonder what happened to the 2 dark chicks that we saw last week? 

The weather forecast was almost spot on, with a light dampness coming on around 4 pm, enough to make me stop working out in the garden!!!

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Tuesday 28th May

Yesterday evening, after writing the entry for the blog, I took a wee walk down along the burn from here towards the Coatguards and on towards Machir bay and the sea... I was not disappointed as a Heron took off from the burn, and there are at least 40 active nest sites being occupied by Sand Martins. Finally when sitting down for a breather, I heard a distant Corncrake calling over on Rockside.

Jamie Barr, Distillery Dave's son who has been over for a few days visiting his folks, had seen a male Hen Harrier yesterday, down close to Foreland.

By the way another glorious day with the weather again, so we managed out in the garden, all going well, we might get the borders finished tomorrow...

Monday 27 May 2019

Monday 27th May

Back to the drier weather again, having said that the little rain that we did have will no doubt have been of some use to the gardeners rather than to the Distilleries..

Up here at home, we have had  great sightings of Stonechats and also Whinchats. This afternoon, we were in the right place, at the right time, and happened to see 3 Buzzards flying high up above us.

The Bolton birders areback for another Islay fix. Today, they had seen a Great spotted Woodpecker on a nest site, and on their travels round Islay yesterday, a total of 4 different male Hen Harriers were seen.

Please remember that there is no meeting of the Bird nerds tomorrow evening, but we shall be meeting next Tuesday evening, venue and time to be confirmed...

Sunday 26 May 2019

Sunday 26th May

Well, the rain certainly came as forecasted, but not as much as what was expected !!! From the Bruichladdich Distillery's point of view, it stopped raining just before they opened up around midday and it stayed dry though their event, or that is what we had. now the sun is shining again with the wind picking up as well, the evening ferry being diverted from Port Ellen to Port Askaig.

On the bird front, I have just heard that earlier on this week that a visitor had seen a pair of breeding GNDs, on a wee lochan up behind Port Ellen. 
With the damp / wet weather we have had, I noticed that the Swallows were not seen so often going back and forward to their nest sites and wondered where they have been sheltering up...

Saturday 25 May 2019

Saturday 25th May

Yesterday, Christine Menzies who now lives on Islay, at Emiravale just on the edge of Port Ellen, had seen a mixed group of 8 waders made up of Sanderling and Dunlin down at Kilnaugton Bay. She had also heard a Cuckoo calling out behind her house...
David Wood was telling me that he had heard 3 calling Corncrakes, the other night at Upper Killeyan down on the Oa. Must try and find out the total heard... 
Distillery Dave had seen 5 Sanderling down on Machir Bay first thing this morning, that was before the weather went awol.. it has "been gie damp", not wet, more or less all day, and as I look the window out the crag has been shrouded in mist since midday. Not exactly a day for bird watching for sure!!!

Before, I forget because of the local Feis being held here this week, the Bird nerds will not be meeting this coming Tuesday, but we will meet up on Tuesday 5th June, with a place and time to be finalised yet, watch this space for more information nearer the time...

Friday 24 May 2019

Friday 24th May

An e mail through from Garry saying that he had seen an Osprey over at Bun an Uillt which is on the East side of Loch Gruinart and shortly afterwards he had another Water rail cross the road down at Coullabus, possibly the same bird that he saw at Erasaid.

Marcus Covell, down at The Woollen Mill, was telling me that he has been hearing a Great spotted Woodpecker on a regular basis lately. The birds present on the feeders are worth a visit themselves!

Up here at home, we counted 17 Choughs, sitting on the garage roof, needless to say, they were being nosey and very vocal, especially when they flew off...

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.