Thursday 27 June 2019

Thursday 27th June

Another class one day with the weather, but do not expect me to "spout lyrically" about it once we get the rain and it refuses to stop.

Yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey out over Loch Gorm. Later on, he saw another one at Loch Finlaggan.

Today, James had a Swift over at Gruinart.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Wednesday 26th June

Another beautiful day with end to end blue skies all around, honest it means that I am running out of adjectives to try to describe the spell of weather that we are having out here at present...

This morning, Gary from Wild Islay Birding was out with some clients had heard a Corncrake calling up towards Kilchoman, but failed to see the elusive bird...

Later on when Bob was up for a wee visit, we saw 4 Ravens out on the wing, what we all thought to be 2 adults along with 2 young.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Tuesday 25th June

Another glorious day with the weather, not a bad complaint though!!

Gary, today had seen an Osprey fishing on Loch Finlaggan. While he was there he also had a White tailed Eagle fly over and shortly after that he saw 2 Red throated Divers (RTDs) 

This morning, visitors Andrew and Karen Evans had a RTD out over Kilnaugton Bay. This afternoon, along on the Oa, they had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a mixed flock of Twite and Redpolls.

This evening, at the Bird nerds meeting down at Foreland, we had seen Whitethroat, Longtailed   Tits, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Goldcrest, Willow Warblers, Blackbird, Song Thrush and also heard a Bullfinch. Margaret spotted a Peregrine sitting on top of the crag this evening,  up here at home.

Monday 24 June 2019

Monday 24th June

Visitors, Andy and Karen Evans from Perthshire are over on Islay for this week on holiday. Yesterday, they had seen 2 Hen Harriers on the high road, with  another one present just out of Bowmore. On the mud flats out from Bowmore, at the head of Loch Indaal, they had a Greenshank amongst some Oystercatchers and Curlews.

Late yesterday evening, we had looked outside to spot that Angus (our cat) had just killed a Stoat, so he was praised for his efforts!!!

This afternoon, Margaret saw a Golden Eagle soaring high above the crag, here at home..

Before I forget, if  you are around tomorrow night, the bird nerds will be meeting up down at Foreland at 6.30 pm.

Another piece of news, tonight is the 4,000th entry on the blog....

Sunday 23 June 2019

Sunday 23rd June

Not a bad day with the weather out here today, but tonight the wind has dropped with no air moving at all, the result, the midges are out and I am inside, thank goodness...

Back on Thursday, Armin had seen a male Hen Harrier as he was driving down past Foreland, it flew across the road in front of him!! Mid afternoon, up at Ardnave, he saw a Heron being chased by a Bonxie, no doubt attempting to get the Heron to drop any food which it might have been flying past with. Finally, down past the Lobster ponds at Ardnave, he saw another male Hen Harrier. Yesterday, on the ferry going back to Kennacraig, Armin had been watching many Gannets as there were in a feeding frenzy diving in to a shoal of fish. Thanks to Armin and also to John Wilson for their input and to other contributors recently as well.

This coming Tuesday evening, the Bird nerds will be meeting at Foreland at 6.30pm, if in doubt, give me a shout, please phone for an update for "plan no 2", betwen 4.30 and 5.30 on 01496 850 303

Saturday 22 June 2019

Saturday 22nd June

What a great sunset we had out here last night, needless to say I did not take an image of it, so you will just have to believe me...

Earlier on this week, Distillery Dave had a White tailed Eagle flying over the Distillery where he works, the Kilchoman Distillery which is along the road from here at Rockside.

Gary had seen a Whooper Swan and also he had an Osprey fishing on Loch Finlaggan yesterday.

Christine Menzies had seen a couple of Barn Owls as she was coming home to Port Ellen , both around the Machrie yesterday evening.

This afternoon, I was speaking with Kevin Hand who is leading a tour  for Ace Cultural Tours over on Islay, Jura and Colonsay at present. Some top birds have been seen by their group... A White tailed Eagle on Jura, a Cuckoo heard on Jura, Hen Harriers seen on all 3 islands and some Redpolls on Jura, Sedge Warblers seen and heard  on Islay, and also some Chough here. Hopefully, Kevin will send some more sightings for us before they leave on Tuesday. 

Friday 21 June 2019

Friday 21st June

This morning, on his way into the Machrie, for a round of golf, David Livingstone had seen a male Hen Harrier on the ground eating its' prey. 

This afternoon, while we were oustside doing a spot of birdwatching, Margaret saw a Buzzard swoop down onto the ground. It was being annoyed by a hen Pheasant and shortly afterwards the Buzzard flew off, carrying the hapless Pheasant chick away in its' talons... We were pleasantly surprised watching around 25 to 30 Sand Martins flying low over the meadow next door, great to watch them hawking for some food.

Today, was John Wilson's last full day of this present visit... Down on the Oa, they had seen some Twite and heard 2 Corncrakes calling away...Out past Ardbeg, they had a Great spotted Woodpecker and out on the water on Claggain Bay, 19 Red breasted Merganser were present. Finally John saw a ringtail Hen Harrier along at Rockside.

Thursday 20 June 2019

Thursday 20th June

Yesterday, Malcolm had found a dead adult Manx Shearwater around lunchtime on the strand close to the Foreland road end. It was not thin and unmarked. As Malcolm put it, "odd to find an adult at this time of year, most records are of young birds after storms in the Autumn. He also said that he has seen them feeding offshore in June, but not in Loch Indaal."

Yesterday afternoon, we had seen a  Golden Eagle soaring high above Borichil Mor, and then later on 2 cracking close views of male Hen Harriers, one was over at up at Bunnahabhain, the other was on the ground about 15 metres away from us over below Coull.

This morning, John Wilson had seen a Corncrake, as it flew across the road into some longer vegetation in the sand pit at Kilchoman.

James had seen some Marsh Fritillaries on the verge side on the road leading to Ardnave. On the reserve at Gruinart, he had an Adder, seen some Blackcaps, and back at Mill Cottage, he had counted 70 Pipistrelle Bats. This morning, James had a Sparrowhawk, out over the flats at Gruinart.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Wednesday 19th June

I was speaking with my old chum, Ken Reeves on the phone this morning, and he told me that he had seen a couple of Minke Whales from the ferry, just off Gigha, as his family returned home from their recent visit to Islay.

The other day, Armin had seen 2 Whooper Swans along the flats at Gruinart. Immediately after seeing the swans, a male Hen Harrier flew across the road in front of him, it swooped down on the ground, only to be chased off by an agitated hen Pheasant trying to protect her brood of chicks. From the hide at Gruinart, Armin had seen and heard Snipe drumming, seen 2 Mute Swans with 5 cygnets with  a Hare really close at hand as well.

John Wilson had seen a pair of Dippers feeding their brood of youngsters at the side of the River Sorn over at The Woollen Mill. Today, when over on Jura,  John had a great viewing of a White tailed Eagle, "closer and much better" (John's words, not mine..) than ever seen by him on Mull!!  He also had seen a good, close sighting of a male Hen Harrier.  Further on, they had seen a Grey Wagtail

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Tuesday 18th June

Armin had seen a Heron when he was packing his car up, over on Jura before coming to here on Islay for his second week of this present visit. When he was about to set off the said Heron was seen returning, flying along the shore.. The other day, Armin had been down on Machir Bay where he had seen quite a few Sand Martins battling into a headwind.

John Wilson is over this week, great to see you this morning John... Some birds seen by himself included 6 Blackwits, 2 Wigeon, some Shovelers at Gruinart, he had heard a Corncrake calling away down close to the church at Portnahaven. On the feeders at The Woollen Mill, he counted 10 Siskins with another 5 present at Ballygrant Inn yesterday evening. This morning, John had 2 different male Hen Harriers seen as he drove round Loch Gorm. Finally, he had seen 3 Buzzards out flying out over the crag at Kilchoman.

Bob had carried out his WeBS count from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock yesterday afternoon, when his scores on the doors came to 2 Gbb Gull, 1 Lbb Gull, 76 C Gull, 49 H Gull, 41 Oystercatcher, 2 Kittiwake, 13 Arctic Terns, 20 Greylags, 4 Shelduck, 35 Eider, 4 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover and 4 Tysties. Lesley had helped Bob on his count.

Monday 17 June 2019

Monday 17th June

Apologies for not putting an entry on last night, but it had been a long day, say no more...

This afternoon, there was a Rose coloured Starling seen over at Keppols.

Gary from Wild Islay birding, today, had been out with clients... Over at Bunahabhain, they had a Golden Eagle, at Torrabus a male Hen Harrier was seen out quartering its' patch. Then along the road, a White tailed Eagle was seen out on the wing well, and then finally they had an Osprey out over the water in at Finlaggan.

Saturday 15 June 2019

Saturday 15th June

Breaking news today is that the dreaded midge was out in numbers today... I believe that Peter Bartlett who lives over at Glenegedale had a fan blowing in his polytunnel trying to keep the midges away while he was trying to sell plants today. I remember being told by a good friend several years ago that if the wind is blowing at more than 4 mph then you get rid of the midge, so perhaps that is what Peter was trying to "stimulate" by using a fan blowing, and it was not that Peter was feeling cold...

Friday 14 June 2019

Friday 14th June

Another day, in fact another week is now in.... The weather, today,  has taken a down turn on Islay with some rain showers coming through, but nothing like what some areas have had...

Still I suppose we have been fortunate, especially any visitors will have appreciated the dry days, although, possibly,not the warm weather that one would expect in June...

Distillery Dave had heard 2 Cuckoos calling over at Rockside today

Thursday 13 June 2019

Thursday 13th June

This morning, Gary from Wild Islay Birding had seen a male Hen Harrier out over the moorland behind his house. This evening, while out walking his dog, Gary had seen an Osprey fishing on the loch at Finlaggan.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Wednesday 12th June

A rather early entry, just before 11am .. the reason is for some breaking news.. Bonnie  Wood, Dave's better half, had seen a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW earlier on this morning down on the Oa. It is a first for Islay and Argyll, and fewer than 10 have been seen on the UK. More details later on.

Dave was in touch to me later on to say that the bird had not been seen again at that point. It had been seen by Bonnie around 8am out through her kitchen window, needless to say poor Dave was out carrying out some survey work and Bonnie was unable to raise him on his mobile phone as where he was, well no reception, hence no signal....

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Tuesday 11th June

Some sightings through from my old mate Armin who has contributed many sightings to the blog when over here on holiday... This visit,  a bit of a change to Armin's "normal" visit as he is over on Jura for his first week.. Back on Sunday, he had watched an Otter out hunting/playing around in the middle of Small Isles Bay. On the beach just in front of the cottage where Armin is staying, he saw a Ringed Plover running along the beach, kicking the sand as it ran along.. He also saw a Starling looking for something in the seaweed.

Yesterday, Armin had the long trek over to Loch Tarbert walking along Evan's walk. When he was stopped for some lunch, taken over at Loch Tarbert, he spotted a pair of Shelducks with their 8 young ducklings.

Today, Armin had taken the boat trip to the Corryvreckan whirlpool, and on the trip, he had seen at least 4 Golden Eagles and also a White tailed Eagle. He also saw several Gannets as the boat approached the whirlpool... Back on dry land again after his trip, down at the pier at Craighouse, he had seen 3 Mute Swans. Shortly afterwards while walking back to his cottage, the swans flew past, and they landed in the water close to the cottage. He also spotted a Heron standing on the shore.

Monday 10 June 2019

Monday10th June

Not a lot for the blog tonight, but James had counted 39 Canada Geese on the islands in the Sound of Islay as he returned home to Islay this afternoon.

Sunday 9 June 2019

Sunday 9th June

Yesterday, Roger and Hazel Ferris had been over on Jura where they had seen 2 male Hen Harriers as well as a Short eared Owl
Today, James had heard a Wood Warbler singing away when he was out on his bike and then shortly afterwards he saw a Swift flying over the river... No, not on Islay as James had been over on the mainland entering an "enduro cycling competition" which was based down in Innerleithen in the Scottish borders. The forest in which James was in was at Traquhair, with the river being the River Tweed!!!

Saturday 8 June 2019

Saturday 8th June

Yesterday Roger and Hazel Ferris had seen 4 different  Cuckoos sitting on top of the telegraph wires as they drove up from Portnahaven, they also had seen the 2 Velvet Scoter on the pond at Easter Ellister.

Peter had been helping out David Wood who had organised a boat trip to carry out the Sea bird Breeding survey along the coastline of Islay and Jura. Highlights included seeing some Canada geese along with 10 goslings over at Proaig., this was the first definite sighting of Canada geese breeding since 1984 which was at Gearach. Mark Shields saw a Cormorant with 3 young amongst some Shags, again the first confirmed breeding. They had also seen a GND in summer plumage. Down towards Ardbeg,  a pod of 12 Bottle nosed Dolphins was present. They had also seen several Golden Eagles and White tailed Eagles. Up Loch Tarbert on Jura, Hen Harrier and Peregrines were present.

Earlier on today, Distillery Dave, had seen a Blue Tit entering one of his net boxes, the second pair to breed if successful this year with Dave..

This evening, at Kennacraig, while waiting on the ferry, Armin had seen an Osprey. Initially it was being mobbed by some gulls who were trying to get the fish from the Osprey, but no joy with that, as the Osprey flew off with its' prey in its' talons.

Friday 7 June 2019

Friday 7th June

Yesterday morning, Ken Reeves had seen  2 Otters while over on Jura. Later on back on Islay, he had seen a Golden Eagle when driving along the "glen road", a Hen Harrier seen down close to Mulindry. in Bridgend woods, a Great spotted Woodpecker was present and then down at Claddach , a Whinchat was seen.

David Livingstone had seen a White tailed Eagle soaring high in the sky, late yesterday evening down between Cornabus and Kintra, over out from Port Ellen

Thursday 6 June 2019

Thursday 6th June

Yesterday was Karen and John's last day of their present visit to Islay...They had seen at least 5 different Hen Harriers as they worked their way down to Port Ellen for an early start this morning on the ferry.... On the Oa they had heard several Corncrakes calling and they also saw a distant Golden Eagle there as well. They also had seen Twite and Whinchat on the Oa. Other birds seen include Whinchats at Bunnahabhain, and Gary kindly showed them a White tailed Eagle on their way up to Bunnahabhain. Many thanks to Karen and John for their sightings and all going well, we look forward to catching up with you down at the Birdfair in August.

Gary himself had been out with clients including Morag Rae and her husband who are both stalwarts of the Argyll Bird Club... They had seen 5 Hen Harriers on their day out with Gary. Down at Rockside, they had an Osprey on top of a telegraph pole. As well as the shared White tailed Eagle that Gary had shown to Karen and John, the said bird was sitting in a field over close to Keills.

James, this morning, had seen a Peregrine and also a Black tailed Godwit on the flats at Gruinart.

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Wednesday 5th June

Gary spotted in the diary at Gruinart, that somebody had seen a Red backed Shrike over at Kilchiaran on Monday, needless to say they did not say who they were, so any further information regarding this sighting would be greatly appreciated, please e mail me..

Yesterday, Ken Reeves along with his family group had seen a female Golden Eagle on the Oa, and over at Claggain Bay they counted 22 R b Merganser, 5 RTD, a BTD and also a Dipper. 

Today,  David  Scott had heard 3 Corncrakes calling in and around Portnhaven. Along the road, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of them and then up on the pond at Easter Ellister, they saw 2 drake Velvet Scoter and also a single female Common Scoter was present aslong with them.

This afternoon, we saw a large hen Sparrowhawk ducking and diving through the whin bushes over below Leek.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Tuesday 4th June

Marsali e mailed her rainfall figures for May over at Mulindry and her figure was exactly the same as May last year at 2.48 inches... Thanks Marsali
Ken Reeves, yesterday, had a male Hen Harrier at Gruinart, 2 GND at Bunnahabhain, 2 Chough up behind Port Charlotte and also a White tailed Eagle further along the road from where the Chough were seen.
Chris and Wendy had seen 2 pair of Ringed Plover with young down at Machir Bay yesterday, and the adult birds were trying to distract them away... This afternoon, they had 3 Golden Eagles flying high over the cottages where they are staying.
John and Karen yesterday had 2 R b Merganser at Clagain Bay. Garry, today had 4 RTDs there at Claggain Bay.
The Bowland Birders had seen some Lapwing flying around in a "distressed manner" up towards Storakaig, but when they stopped to have a better look, a hen Peregrine was on top of its' prey, an Oystercatcher.
David Scott had seen a couple of Crossbills and heard a few more down in Bridgend Woods and he also heard a Chiffchaff singing away there as well this morning. This afternoon, he had a GND in summer plumage off Carraig Fhada.
Up here at home, late morning I watched a Hooded Crow being chased away off the bird seed crop by some Jackdaws, away on to the wee crag, and on closer examination with my bins, it was sitting close to its' 4 youngsters....
This evening, there were 12 folk who came along to the Bird nerds meeting which was held down at the South hide at Gruinart, rather than us getting a soaking walking down at Foreland... On our way to the meeting, Distillery Dave spotted an Osprey on top of a telegraph pole down beside Loch Gorm, it took off showing its prey, a fish. Chris and Wendy also saw it on their way out as well and on their way home, it was sitting again in the same location, but with no fish...

Monday 3 June 2019

Monday 3rd June

Coming over on the ferry on Saturday to Islay on Saturday, David and Catherine Scott had seen 3 Puffins and also an Arctic Tern. Yesterday, they had found another nest site of a Great spotted         Woodpecker, this one was in the woods up from Bridgend. It is David and Catherine's first visit to Islay, and had met up with a few of us at the British Birdfair at Rutland over the past few years.

John and Karen loked up today for a cuppa and catch up, they too have been visiting Islay and also us at Rutland and were telling me that they had seen a White tailed Eagle the other day up behind Port Charlotte, earlier on during their present visit. Great to see you both!!!

Ken Reeves e mailed to say that he too is over this week, and from the ferry he had seen 2 BTD and then a Golden Eagle flying low over Jura as the ferry sailed up the Sound of Islay towards Port Askaig yesterday.  Below where Ken and his family group are staying, they heard 2 different Corncrakes calling. Down towards Portnahaven, at Easter Ellister, they saw the Velvet Scoter on the pond ....  Ken is another returning visiting birder and good friend from his numerous visits both to Islay and also to us at Rutland. 

Sunday 2 June 2019

Sunday 2nd June

A not bad sort of a day, after quite a lot of rain that fell though the night... the wind has just started to pick up in its speed and noise as well!!

Yesterday, Lesley had carried out a recce down at Foreland where the Bird nerds are meeting up on   Tuesday at 6.30 pm. The birds seen by her included 2 Cuckoos, 2 Common Whitethroats, many Stonechats, Willow Warbler and also a Spotted Flycatcher. 

Up here at home this afternoon, we saw a Hooded Crow on top of the wall, with a Pheasant chick, we tried to get it to stop, but too late as the corvid flew off  with the chick in its' beak, so I suppose that's the way it goes sometimes...

Saturday 1 June 2019

Saturday 1st June

Well, another month has gone, so it is time to tell you how much rain that we had in our rain gauge. It came to 2.3 inches which is more than May last year when we had only an inch. On the other side of  the coin, the tally for the year so far is a lot drier at 14.2 inches compared to 17.15 last year. Today, the weather has remained dry and a little bit more heat....
With it staying dry, the Swallows have been busy down on their nest sites, and also the 2 broods of Pheasants appear not to have lost any of their chicks yet !!!  This morning, we watched a couple of Buzzards being mobbed by some Jackdaws out over the machir, and then late afternon, another light coloured Buzzard was being by a couple of Jackdaws, this time out towards the crag.