Wednesday 31 July 2019

Wednesday 31st July

For some reaon, I could not manage to download some images of the butterflies seen here yesterday. Today, there have not been so many of them around as were present yesterday.

Mandy had seen a Corncrake chick up behind Bruichladdich this morning...

Up here this morning around 8 am, there were 2 Peregrines out over the crag, down here on the seed crop, over 60 Linnets were present. Later on in the morning, we counted 5 Buzzards away high up over the crag and then late afternoon, I saw a family of Stonechats...

Alistair Hart had a male Hen Harrier over at Carnduncan and also he had some Ringed Plover and Dunlin down at Bruichladdich.

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Tuesday 30th July

What a day it has been with an"explosion" of Painted Lady butterflies seen on the seed heads on the both the seed crops which we have sown here at home, great to see and watch. Will try to put some images on tomorrow's blog.
Over at the Bird nerds meeting at Bun an Uillt, we were fortunate to see 5 Little Terns fly up the loch, spotted by Distilley Dave and confirmed by Peter.

Monday 29 July 2019

Monday 29th July

More rain fell last night, quite a lot. Through the day , we have had the odd shower, but the mist shrouded the crag until late aftenoon, net result was the the morning and also the midday flight from Glasgow were cancelled. Once the mist lifted the delayed flight from Edinburgh came as did the evening flight from Glasgow...

Just as I was starting my pc up this morning, there was a thud on one of the windows, lo and behold a Sparrowhawk who then went and surveyed all around for the best part of 4 minutes. Mid morning, and a Peregrine flew past. Late morning, I heard some Buzzards calling away, and located them out over the top of the dunes, 3 in total. Late afternoon, after the mist had lifted, Margaret then saw another Peregrine flying past..  The weather looks a lot better now that the mist has disappeared, and looking out of the window, yes, Ireland could be seen...

Remember, tomorrow evening, at 6.30 pm if the weather holds, the Bird nerds will be meeting up at Bun an Uillt to try to see what is out on the estuary at Gruinart. If in doubt give me a phone on 01496 850 303 by 5.30 pm...

Sunday 28 July 2019

Sunday 28th July

Well, the rain did come through the night as forecasted, but it thankfully stopped... the mist has been rising and falling... surprisingly enough, the plane arrived through from Glasgow safely and on time...

On with the news about the birds, I can hear you all say... Bob was up with a piece of his 8oth birthday, but no candles, much appreciated pal.. yes, I sampled a piece just recently... Bob had seen a young Cuckoo fly across the road as  Pat and himself drove home. Shortly afterwards, Distillery Dave, Ann, Margaret and myself happened to look out over the crag, and there were 3 birds flying around close together.. A quick grab of the bins and the larger bird was  a Buzzard which kindly flew off by itself, leaving the other 2 chasing each other around. An Osprey being harassed by a Peregrine. We watched them fly around for at least 3 minutes at least. Almost forgot, that before Bob and Pat arrived, that the 4 of us had a Kestrel out over the crag, the first Kestrel seen here for a while... Just as Dave and Ann were setting out for home we had 4 Peregrines out on the wing, what a noisy lot they can be sometimes and boy they can fly across the sky when they want...

Saturday 27 July 2019

Saturday 27thJuly

James forgot to include on his sightings from yesterday of a Sparrowhawk and also a Golden Eagle
as well.

Today, Al Hart had seen"plenty of Willow Warblers and Stonechats seen along the road to Claadach, out from Portnahaven".

Here at home today, the Peregrines were seen out over the crag, late afternoon. Looking out over the seed crop, and I felt that there were more WillowWarblers around and a few more Linnets around as well..

This coming Tuesday evening, it is that time again, the Islay Bird nerds will be meeting again, we will meet at 6.30pm for a look at the birds over at the estuary on Loch Gruinart. So if  you are coming, we will shall see you up at the wee quarry before the sheep pens at Bun an Uillt (NR294690), roughly a mile up past Craigens on the East side of the Loch. If the weather is in doubt, please give me shout on 01496 850 303 by 5.30pm for an update ....

Friday 26 July 2019

Friday 26th July

Coming over on the ferry today, Alistair Hart had seen Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Tysties and a good number of Auks as well...

James had a quick scan on the estuary at Gruinart  today, seeing "at least 2,900 Dunlin", 100 Sanderling, 10 Barwits, a single Knot as well as  2 Peregrines.

Up here at home,  a Buzzard was flying along the top of the dunes, a single Wren was seen out in the garden, and after much searching, I saw a  Willow Warbler flitting between the seed heads.

Thursday 25 July 2019

Thursday 25th July

Yesterday, Peter and Mike had taken a walk along the track leading along to Bolsay. They had seen a Swift flying past them, heard a Grasshopper Warbler calling away, a distant Sparrowhawk was seen and at least 4 Buzzards were spotted as well...
Lesley, yesterday morning had seen a few small groups of Mistle Thrushes flying around down at McNicol's croft and then in the afternoon, she had 11 in total on the overhead wires beside her house.

Today, Allen Skinner  had seen an Osprey above the reed bed leading to Machir Bay, it continued to fly upwrds on a thermal from the dunes behind the bay before he lost sight of it.... Shortly afterwards, Allen saw a Merlin zip across one of the barley fields down at Sunderland Farm.
Up here at home, I looked down to the shed door and who was seen, yes, the 2 wee Swallows sitting on the sill, waiting to be fed, better that, than getting blown about in the strong winds I suppose..

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Wednesday 24th July

Looking out from the kitchen window this morning, Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier flying along the front of the far crag and way along towards the masts at Kilchiaran. Nearer to lunchtime, Allen Skinner had a ringtail Hen Harrier flying past towards the sanctuary slab at Kilchoman. Distillery Dave was over visiting us late morning along with his son, Jamie, who is over for a few days... Along with Margaret, they saw a couple of Peregrines flying high up above them. This evening, I had a low count of only 10 Chough out for a fly past, noisey and nosey as ever...

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Tuesday 23rd July

Last week, while out for a walk up at Sanaigmore, visitors Allen & Fiona Skinner had seen quite a few Wheatears. 

Last night, James had seen 2 Barn Owls on the reserve at Gruinart...

Today, James had spotted 6 Greenshanks out on Loch Gruinart and  he saw a Peregrine and also 2 Hen Harriers over the reserve itself. He also reported a sighting of an Adder which was out basking in the sun along the moorland trail.
This evening, I saw a Peregrine sitting on top of the crag, great to watch, as it sat there watching the world go past.. Another piece of news, the 2 young Swallows have been seen around most of the day, mostly sitting on the sill of the door, waiting for the food to brought in by their parents...

Monday 22 July 2019

Monday 22nd July

I will keep it short, about the rain... well, by the time it had stopped we had over an inch of the wet stuff. A  steady fall rather than a downpour... the rain and wind have flattened some of the flowers in the seed crop, but can't be helped!!!

James has been away for a few days holiday, a well earned break...Up in the Cairngorms he had seen Crested Tit, Ptarmigan, Wood Pipit, heard some Crossbills and he also had seen a few Red  Squirrels. This past week, James and his family had been closer to home, staying in Morvern where they saw both Golden Eagles and White tailed Eagles. Mammals seen included Pine Martens, Otters, Badgers and a few Dolphins.

Yesterday evening, in betwen some of the rain showers, we had a few Goldfinches on the feeders, today after the rain, it was the turn of some Linnets in at the feeders... Another piece of news was that early this afternoon, I went and checked the cctv cameras to notethat the 2 young Swallows were not to be seen!! Checking back on the footage, the first youngster "left" the nest at 8.30 am, looked like it was bumped away by its sibling... Then at 11.15am the second youngster flew away itself.... I thought that possibly I would not see them again... But around 15.30 they were both sitting on the door looking to be fed...

Sunday 21 July 2019

Sunday 21st July

Around midday out here today, the weather has broken down with some dirty squally showers of rain in the mix. So, to put you out of your misery, not that great a time to be outside. I would have got weather beaten rather than a sun tan if I had ventured out..

Bob was up this afternoon, and gave me some birds for the blog...
On Friday, over at Saligo, he had a Swift. Yesterday, at Laggan Point, Bob had seen a Dabchick, and a female Peregrine. He also had a Cormorant there as well as over 100 Shags flying around, many with young. He counted 40 Fulmars on nests too. Also present were 6 Red breasted Merganser and a female Eider with 2 youngsters. Bob also had seen a possible Little Gull there as well. 

Saturday 20 July 2019

Saturday 20th July

Another great day but already the fire is out of the sun, but so far no rain. Tomorrow is another day and we are due to get quite a lot of rain.. Forgot to mention that last night there was a tremendous sunset.

Yesterday afternoon, while down on Machir Bay, returning visitors Alec and Joan had watched a couple of Peregrines cavorting about, and had a distant Eagle soaring high up over the crag..

Just to annoy Alec and Joan, this morning I saw a total of 5, yes 5 Peregrines in total, 3 together and the other 2 appeared from nowhere... Shortly afterwards, I had a Fulmar out wheeling along in front of the crag. Later on, I had some Twite and quite a few Willow Warblers around as well.

Friday 19 July 2019

Friday 19th July

Once again, the weather will take top line on the blog... This morning, it was great with quite a warmth in the air but mid afternoon, there were a few spots of rain, not a lot but...

Having said that, I took some time out in "our hut" this morning with my "bins". Apart from seeing numerous House Sparrows, Siskins were seen and then out from nowhere a juvenile Goldfinch was spotted down on the edge of the bird seed crop. But equally rewarding was seeing around a dozen or so Willow Warblers on the various seed heads. Out of the kitchen window, we had a Hooded Crow strutting around beside where the wee birds are fed, you could almost hear it say "Look at Me". Also this evening, I just saw a Rock Dove in a similar mode and again in the same place, if not a bit closer to the house... Out on the grass, there have been some Pied Wagtails as well as a few Blackbirds and Song Thrushes have a good howk looking for some grubs to eat.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Thursday 18th July

An odd sort of a day with the weather, still hopefully I did "my work" in fine time, before the odd spot of rain came through...I was trying to spray off some annoying weeds out from the gravel, so I will just have to wait for a few days to see if I was successful or not, watch this space, a lot easier than trying to hand weed it all..

Mid afternoon, I was speaking to a returning visitor who had seen 2 Peregrines out along the crag last night..... I am not too sure as to where the Goldfinches have gone to, not for the want of offering them a choice of food, which is eaten away by the Siskins and many House Sparrows!!!

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Wednesday 17th July

Well, the weather broke down today, big style, enough to stop me outside for most of the day. Now this evening, until a few moments ago, the mist was well down over the crag, so the evening flight to Islay from Glasgow at present has been delayed...

So, as the weather was not up to much outside, I was looking through the current edition of the RSPB's "Nature's Home, their magazine which comes out evey quarter...I found an  article on Page 39, about the Chough, cattle dung pats and Islay..

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Tuesday 16th July

The heavy rain which I thought that might have come last night did not materialise, although there was some dampness on the gravel outside when I got up this morning...
The weather has been good again although there was not much wind, the clegs were out, better I suppose than the dreaded midge, at least a good swipe at a cleg and it is no longer a living cleg, midges are harder to get rid of... Enough on that subject!!

This afternoon, I saw a beautiful male Linnet down on the bird seed crop, and then shortly afterwards a Willow Warbler was present on one of the seed/ flower heads on the other crop.. Still that is what the seed mixes were planted for....

Monday 15 July 2019

Monday 15th July

Late on, yesterday evening, we heard a "thumping sort of a noise" outside and on looking out of the window there were around 60 Starlings perched up on top of the bird cage , built as a feeding station, for the wee birds.  A wee look outside and there were a further 160 + on the overhead cables leading to the electric transformer out in the garden and another 40 + down towards the cottages on the overhead cabling there as well. A quick scan though the groups, but no sign of a Rosy Starling here last night anyway...

The weather here has been hot today with a sultry kind of a heat with a warm air thrown in to try to cool things down, so possibly we could get a thundery shower to wet the ground a bit, to come in later on???

Sunday 14 July 2019

Sunday 14th July

A beautiful day here today, with wall to wall sunshine.... and quite warm as well

Today up here at home, I saw 4 Buzzards wheeling around out over the big crag in the morning. Later on, I heard a Peregrine calling away out towards the War graves cemetery, but did not manage to see it! Then this afternoon, I had a Golden Eagle soaring high up along towards the masts and just after tea, there were a pair of Stonechats down on the fence, great colours on the male bird.... Oh, yes another bird seen today was a Hen Pheasant out with her brood of 10 new chicks, so I wonder how many of them will survive, they all went in to the cover of the bird seed crop, so we will just have to wait and see!!! I have already seen the odd Pheasant poult from some of the earlier broods, but not that many...

Saturday 13 July 2019

Saturday 13th July

This morning, Gary had gone over to Jura and along towards the school in Craghouse he had seen the Rose coloured Starling. It has been seen there in Craighouse for the most of this week, by the sound of things. While he was there, he also had seen a Red throated Diver flying out to the Small Isles Bay.
As the weather has been a bit drier today, this morning I took the chance and cut the grass, time for a tidy up...

This afternoon, Mike and Peter were up here for a catch up, a cup of coffee and some of Margaret's delicious Lemon drizzle cake. But the main point of their visit was to tell us about a sighting that they had had down at Bruichladdich. A 1st summer Mediterrean Gull was present in a group of around 150 Common Gulls, "a bootiful bird" quote Peter, but not a house tick list, as  out of the range of his garden etc!!! We then all took a wee stroll round the birdseed crop and also the the plots with the wildflower mixtures outside as well, and I think that they were both suitably impressed.

Friday 12 July 2019

Friday 12th July

One problem which I had forgotten about was the rainfall figure for June, and as I was not here around at the 1st of the month to read and empty our rainguage out, I did it today. So the rain that was in the said guage was really for June and also July up to this morning... the tally at that time was exactly 5 inches. Not a lot really compared to Nicholas Watts from Vine House Farm in Lincs ... his tally came to 5.75 inches for June alone, not often that we are drier than Nicholas!!!

I presume that most of the birders on Islay, are on holiday at present as nothing through from anyone so far tonight. Plus the weather with a low swirling mist at times is not the best for birding, or for our service planes to land here on Islay!

Thursday 11th July

A bit of a late entry, but here goes...

Gary had a "reported" sighting through of a Rosy coloured Starling seen over at Craighouse on Jura, no images through, and the weather has not been great for someone to go check it out...

Mark had an Osprey flying over Loch Gorm, in the afternoon...

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Wednesday 10th July

Hallo there folks, the message is the same as last night with the score board  reading the same  "rain stopped play", but all going well there might be a different script to read.... here is hoping ...

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Tuesday 9th July

Well, the weather has put paid to any news on the bird front, as it has rained non stop for the past 24+ hours.... What a moan, I must sound!!!

Monday 8 July 2019

Monday 8th July

Back on Saturday, Distillery Dave and his wife Ann had gone over on the ferry to Colonsay for the day. On their walk up to Kiloran Bay, they saw a male Hen Harrier and also a close sighting of a male Linnet.
Today, James had seen an Osprey flying over Loch Gorm.

Sunday 7 July 2019

Sunday 7th July

Gary had seen a juvenile  Golden Eagle at Finlaggan yesterday. A trip along to Avenvogie later on in search of the Golden Oriole, proved fruitless, but he did have 3 Hen Harriers (2 M + 1F) . On his way home along the Glen road, Gary had another Golden Eagle. In at Finlaggan today, Gary had another 3 Hen Harriers, again 2 males and a female.

Earlier on this evening, I watched a program (a repeat...) about Fair Isle on the TV, still it was good to see it again,  it rekindled some memories, needless to say...

Saturday 6 July 2019

Saturday 6th July

The last couple of mornings, while out walking his dogs, Distillery Dave has been hearing a Corncrake calling down towards the wee lochans at the Rockside road end.
This morning over big crag up at Kilchoman, he saw 3 Peregrines out on the wing, with one of the birds being very vocal. Dave also saw a Fulmar out on the wing up there as well.

Friday 5 July 2019

Friday 5th July

Some sightings in from some folk who are over on Islay on holiday this week....

Karen, David and Daniel Wrigley from Hitchin in Hertfordshire had heard 2 Corncrakes calling when down on the Oa on Monday, but did not manage to see them. Yesterday, they watched an Osprey fishing it at Finlaggan. It had also been annoying the Oystercatchers there as well...

Yesterday afternoon, Sandra and Ian Hardy had seen a male Golden Oriole down towards Avenvogie.

Thursday 4 July 2019

Thursday 4th July

Ann Barr had heard a Corncrake calling up at Rockside the other night...

Al Hart had  a great close sighting of a pair of Whitethroats between Portnahaven and Port Wemyss today. Apologies to Al as I misunderstood his e mail relating to the number of  Arctic Terns that he had seen on MacKenzie Island, should have read 12 pairs not 24  pairs, still we can but hope...

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Wednesday 3rd July

Returning visitors from the best part of 10 years since their last visit, Sian and Bob Horn had been over on Jura yesterday, where they saw 5 R Bb Merganser, several pairs of Mute Swans and also a Heron. Over at Gruinart they had seen a Shoveler.
Al Hart is over on Islay at present for a few days. Down on Mackenzie Island, off Portnahaven, he estimated there to be at least 24 pairs of Arctic Terns present with another 2 pair seen on neighbouring Orsay Island. Al also commented on seeing a continuous passage of Gannets and also Manx Shearwaters flying past as well. He has been hearing many Sedge Warblers down around  Portnahaven.

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Tuesday 2nd July

Another possible reason for not many sightings coming through was that the weather turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag with some showers of rain in the mix..., oops!!!! (and possibly that "us birders" do not like to go birding when the weather is not so great...)

Monday 1 July 2019

Monday 1st July

Apologies folks for not having any entries on the blog since Thursday, the reason is really quite simple, and no,  it was nothing to do with my laptop but simply that nobody had sent in any sightings through....

Gary, had a reported sighting of a Spotted Flycatcher seen the other day sitting on the Kilchoman cross. Yesterday, James had seen some Red Grouse  while out for a walk when out over towards the Sound of Islay