Saturday 31 August 2019

Saturday 31st August

Well, in some ways it turned out a better day than I expected, in the aspect that it did stop raining and has so far remained dry since then.. Wait for the monthly figure which I will have for you tomorrow...

Old friend "JD" is back over for another "Islay bird fix".. Coming over to where he is staying on the Rhinns early afternoon, he had a count of 89 Red Knot at the head of Loch Indaal. Later on in the afternoon, a visit to Gruinart provided him with the following birds seen and counted...112 Red Knot , 96 Blackwit, 4 Ruff, 3 Greenshank, 16 Turnstone, 12 Pintail, a juvenile Peregrine,   a ringtail Hen Harrier. Up the East side of Loch Gruinart, he had 6 Greenland Wheatears as well as plenty of Dunlin, Sanderling, Barwits, and also Ringed Plover all seen but not counted. As he drove around "JD" had seen another 6 Greenland Wheatears.

Friday 30 August 2019

Friday 30th August

I know that we are not quite at the end of August, but all the same I took the precaution of emptying out the rain gauge.. It certainly has been wet of late, and I am going to stick my neck out and say that it will be the wettest month so far in 2019, but there is still tomorrow to come into the equation, not that a heat wave is forecast for Saturday... Like myself, you will just have to wait and see what happens...

On the bird front, nothing much to report.. top birds (in numbers) seen in the rain up here today were the Jackdaws, Starlings, House Sparrows and Linnets. The last 2 species we are really pleased with as they are making the most of the seed crop sown grown especialy for them. All we need now, is for  some Twite to come and join them...

Thursday 29 August 2019

Thursday 29th August

Rather a mixed day, as in a poor day with the weather, not much sun shining between some lively, squally showers.. Last night, just after writing the entry for the blog, boy it was black outside, and then shortly afterwards there was a flash of lightning and then after quite a pause, a very distant rumble of thunder was heard... but only the one flash, along with some heavy rain !!!!

Yesterday, James had seen an Osprey flying over Lyrabus, also yesterday Shona Isla had counted 17  Black  tailed Godwits on the flats at Gruinart as she was driving over to her work at Gruinart.

Up here at home, there do not appear to be as many Swallows around, so perhaps some did fly away last night. The birds, in on our feeders, certainly have polished the food which I put out for them this morning.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Wednesday 28th August

Forgot to mention last night on the blog, that we had 8 Sand Martins seen as we drove home last night, at Duich Farm over the bridge there. Margaret had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the machir, here at home yesterday afternoon. 

This morning, just before breakfast, there was a Sparrowhawk seen outside flying down towards Kilchoman House. Yes, the rain came through the night, not a lot but enough to stop the combines working and it was still damp for some time this morning, so I doubt if any harvesting was carried out today, certainly no baling of the straw would have been done... This evening there appears to be a gathering of the Swallows, so perhaps there might be not so many around tomorrow...

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Tuesday 27th August

A good meeting down on the Oa this evening with 8 folk coming along to the Islay bird Nerds, monthly catch up... We had great views of  a Golden Eagle which was sitting on the ground when we first saw it.. It then took off and soared around for 10 - 15 minutes and came back to perch up where we had been watching it initially...We also saw a pair of Kestrels and also 2 Ravens flew past. We then moved along a bit and had seen some Fulmars on their nests. We also had some Gannets flying past the Oa, the odd Shag  was present on the rocks too.
On the drive down the Oa, we had a Whinchat on the fence and then on our way back out from Killeyan, we had a Wheatear. A good night seeing as many different birds.

Monday 26 August 2019

Monday 26th August

Sorry folks, no news in for tonight's entry, but I received through the post the other day the annual report from Fair Isle Bird Observatory for 2018. I have looked through it several times already and read some of the articles which were of interest to me. Simlilarly, you can read the 2018 annual report through from the Argyll bird Club online, when you follow through on the links. A tremendous amount of time has been spent producing these reports as well... Well done to David Parnaby and also to Jim Dickson for putting both reports to bed for another year..

Remember, tomorrow evening at 6 pm, the Islay bird Nerds will be meeting at the car park at Killeyan on the Oa. If there is a doubt regarding the weather, contact David Wood for an alternative, on 01496 300118 by 5 pm.

Sunday 25 August 2019

Sunday 25th August

A better sort of a day out here with the weather today, and yes, I believe that some of the farmers had their combines out cutting their Spring barley...

Today, James was over this afternoon, and he was saying that he had seen 4 Wheatears and also a couple of Whinchats as he drove over here from Gruinart. He had seen 3 White Wagtails this morning, on the reserve at Gruinart. Here at home, I feel that we have been seeing more Stonechats around this summer. James was telling me that he also feels that there appear to be more around over at Gruinart as well... This evening, after tea, we have been watching a Buzzard sitting on top of the crag, with nothing else to do.. a Peregrine flying around with a couple of Ravens and also  3 Chough seen flying around too. Almost forgot to say that, we had a Blue Tit on the cctv system around midday.

Saturday 24 August 2019

Saturday 24th August

Mandy had seen a male Hen Harrier down below Carnduncan. Shortly afterwards, she saw a Sparrowhawk fly across the road betwen Coull and the Coastguards and to finish her sightings off Mandy had a Grey Wagtail down at Kilchoman House... This morning I had a White Wagtail down on the grass beside our wee pond...

Friday 23 August 2019

Friday 23rd August

This afternoon, Dave Wood had seen an Osprey flying over the Oa, it then headed out over the sea and flew on towards Northern Ireland...

Mind the Islay bird nerds are meeting on Tuesday at 6 pm, so hopefully we shall see some folk there. We will  meet up at the carpark at Killeyan.

Thursday 22 August 2019

Thursday 22nd August

Yesterday, James had seen a Ruff and also 34 Black tailed Godwits on the reserve at Gruinart. This morning, before the weather broke down (big style...), James had the following birds seen again at Gruinart.... 43 Bar tailed Godwits, 20 Knot, 2 Osprey, a Merlin and a Peregrine.

While I remember, the monthly meeting/ catch up of the Islay bird nerds will be held on Tuesday 27th, at 6 pm. We shall be meeting at the car park at Killeyan on the Oa. If the meeting is in doubt, please contact David Wood on 01496 300118 by 5 pm for an update if there is a change in venue. Pleae note the earlier start....

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Wednesday 21st August

This cheeky Sparrowhawk was caught on camera by myself at breakfast time this morning, it was there for the best part of 20 minutes trying to get a Starling out from the feeding cage here at home. The Starling was sensible to remain in the middle of the cage, well out of range of the Sparrowhawk!

Mid morning, the wind picked up and it started to rain around the same time, but now early evening, normal servivce has resumed, little wind and no rain...

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Tuesday 20th August

A kinder sort of a day with the weather, I even managed to dig and lift our tatties today....  we only grew 2 varieties, Charlotte and Rooster, so all going well I might get them stored away tomorrow, for use later in the year, fingers crossed. Both varieties seemed to have done well...

Coming back along the high road from Port Ellen, late afternoon, we had a ringtail Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of us, just as we approached Torra. This evening, up here at home, we had a fly past by a Buzzard, high up over the house. There was also a large number of Jackdaws all perched on the overhead power cables.

Monday 19 August 2019

Monday 19th August

The weather out here, well in a few short words, not very nice...  mind you the poor weather certainly helpd to attract numerous birds today to our feeders, just as well that we ordered some more the other week...

The high number of House Sparrows that are around here is something else at present, no Tree Sparrows, still a lot of Linnets around, but mainly on the areas specially sown for the birds to munch through... another bird in short numbers is the Goldfinch, but be patient, they will return..

Sunday 18 August 2019

Sunday 18th August

On Friday morning, George E. Jackson had seen a juv. Stonechat on the garden fence at "Horizons", one the bungalows at Rockside road end.. Shortly afterwards, between the Coastguard's cottages and  Machir Bay, George had a male Stonechat, carrying a beakfull of food, so probably for its' young close at hand.... Early evening back along at "Horizons", there were around 10 Swallows  and in with them a couple of House Martins, which had a good inspection  of the nest box which son Matthew has put up... Time yet, possibly to get a late brood away???

Malcolm yesterday had seen 6 Turnstones, the first seen by him this Summer/Autumn. They were down close to Gortan, along from the coal yard.

Over at Gruinart, James had seen 37 Knot, 12 Blackwits, 3 Greenshank and a Peregrine, all yesterday.

Saturday 17 August 2019

Saturday 17th August

On Thursday, David Livingstone had seen a group of 4 Choughs over on the Big strand down beside Kintra. One of the Choughs had coloured leg rings on, and on checking with Eric Bignal, the bird was a youngster born down on the Oa this year. 

The weather out here has been quite windy with the odd shower of rain in the mix, not as wet as other places. I was hearing from folk down in Bolton who told me that so far they have had almost 6 inches of rain so far this month, up here have had just over  2 inches !!!!

Friday 16 August 2019

Friday 16th August

George E Jackson sent some sightings from through the week...
Coming back home on Tuesday evening, they had seen a Barn Owl between Sunderland Farm and Rockside. On Wednesday morning down on Machir bay, 7 Greylags were seen, but George also commented on the amount of Goose footprints seen up the Coull end (North end) seen there over the past few days.. Other birds seen there included 5 Chough, as well as 15 Ringed Plovers. On the fence along the edge of the dunes around 40 Linnets were counted with 15 Sand Martins out feeding. A Stonechat was seen there as well. Up in the reed bed, a Sedge Warbler was present. In the afternoon, over at Finlaggan, they had a family group of 4 Stonechats and then separately, another 2 Stonechats. Also, sitting on a fence post in at Finlaggan was a Buzzard. Yesterday, they had gone over to Jura, up from Craighouse and before Ardlussa, they had 5 pair of Mute Swans seen, none of which appeared to have any youngsters... From the ferry coming back from Feolin they had seen an Otter, in the middle of the Sound of Islay.

Today, Richard Williams and his wife came and visited for a well earned cuppa and catch up, great when visitors throw their sightings at me for to use on the blog... It has been their first visit to Islay and by the way they both spoke, it will not be their last, just spread the words around folks...

Thursday 15 August 2019

Thursday 15th August

Well late morning/ early afternoon I managed to cut the grass which is just as well as the weather has gone downhill since with a few showers of rain falling since then, and by the sound of the forecast, more heavy rain is coming in later on tonight and tomorrow...

Peter and Mike had spent a couple of hours doing a 2 hour stint of sea watching down at Frenchman's Rocks this morning. During a 30 minute spell, they had a passage of 70 Manx Shearwater going past.. They also had seen plenty of Gannets, with a smaller number of Kittiwakes and Fulmars on passage but no Auks were seen at all. Top birds were 2 Arctic Skuas (1 Dark and also a light phased bird) as well as a Great Skua.

Richard Williams had seen a Wheatear down at Kintra today, also seen was a Rock Pipit  and also a Buzzard on top of a fence post with many Greylags seen in the fields in the same area.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Wednesday 14th August

A mixed  sort of a day with the weather, no shorts being worn!!! Having said that I managed to lift some of our tatties today... As I write this entry, there is a rather watery looking sky outside!!!

This morning on his way to work, Phill had seen 2 Sandwich Terns on the "North beach" at Port Ellen which were present along with 5 Common gulls and also 12 Mallard.

Richard Williams had been over at Claggain Bay where he saw 6 Red throated Divers close in to the shore. Also in the bay, Richard had seen 3 Eider and a Guillemot. On shore, he had a Goldcrest and also several groups of Coal Tits and Long tailed Tits. Earlier on, close to KildaltonCross Richard had seen 2 Common Whitethroats.

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Tuesday 13th August

Another glorious day, warm enough for me to be wearing shorts, proud to be showing my lily white legs off...
Richard Williams, today, had been on the guided walk on the Oa, and got caught in a shower of rain... Top birds seen by Richard was a male Hen Harrier, just befor the actual walk started. On the walk itself, they had seen some Chough, a mixed flock of Linnet and Twite and as they were finishing off the walk, a distant Golden Eagle was spotted. Returning back from the Oa,  a female Whinchat was on top of a fence post beside the road. At Caraig Fhada, a Sparrowhawk was present with a Guillemot seen there as well.
Gary had seen 3 White tailed Eagles close together on the ground, up near to Ballygrant today. This evening, there were 3 Peregrines cavorting around up here at home, if they would not call, perhaps I would not see them as often. Last night at around 9 pm, in one of the grass fields down at Rockside, I counted over 60 Greylags roosting up for the night.

Monday 12 August 2019

Monday 12th August

A long day out here today, hence a sort of late entry for you to read...

Yesterday, George E. Jackson had counted 6 Dunlin and also 20 Oystercatchers up at Sanaigmore. In the evening on Machir Bay, he had seen 42 Common Gulls, 2 Dunlin and also 19 Sanderling.

Today, Richard Williams had seen a Barwit and also 2 Arctic Terns on Loch Indaal between Bowmore and Bridgend. Later on over at Portnahaven, Richard had seen 8 Painted Lady butterflies.

Sunday 11 August 2019

Sunday 11th August

Another day with weather similar to yesterday, dry and possibly not so windy.

Yesterday was Al Hart's last full day on Islay for this visit... His daughter, Eleanor had seen a Lizard as she was walking along to Claddach. Out past MacKenzie Island, Al reported on seeing a strong paasage of Gannets and also Manx Shearwaters. He also was saying that there appears to be a pair of Fulmars nesting on the island itself.

Yesterday, Richard Williams and his wife arived on Islay for a week's stay. Coming over on the ferry they had 2 groups of Manxies and also 12 Gannets as they sailed up the Sound of Islay.
Also yesterday, George E. Jackson had been out on the water around Texa, only birds seen were some Shags and a couple of Gannets. In the evening, down on Machir Bay, George had counted 16 Greylags and also 53 waders, which consisted of 4 Ringed Plover, 10 Sanderling, mostly in summer plumage, and the rest being Dunlin, these were mostly all adult birds again in summer plumage, but there were some juvenile birds along with them as well.

This morning, at around 7 o'clock I was lucky to see a couple of Peregrines out way above the crag, it was them calling which gave them away... Shortly afterwards, 2 Choughs flew past and landed on one of  the chimney stacks on the former manse, down below here.
Richard Williams had seen 8 Eider at the head of Loch Indaal this morning and then up at Bun an Uilt, he saw 12 Rock Doves and also a young Buzzard close by. In the afternoon, when up at Ardnave, he saw a Golden Eagle being harassed by some Greylag Geese, a Bonxie was present, 10 Choughs noted and also Wheatears, and some Stonechats were seen as well.

This evening, Distillery Dave saw a Peregrine and a Raven having a tussle together, high up  over the big crag here at home, good spotting by  Dave...

Saturday 10 August 2019

Saturday 10th August

Through the day out here it has surpisingly kept dry, but now early evening, the wind has picked up quite a bit, bit still remaining dry...

George E. Jackson is back over visiting for another Islay fix. Yesterday, in Bowmore he saw a Sparrowhawk fly over the distillery, it then proceeded to fly out along the village, much to the annoyance of the Swallows, before causing havoc with the Starlings. In the afternoon, up at Killinallan, he had several Dunlin in summer plumage, and he also saw a few Ringed Plover. Up close to the locked gate, a juv. Stonechat was seen.

Early this morning, I saw that pesky Sparrowhawk flying through the Linnet flock, it flew up the top beside our house, resting up on the fence for a few moments and it then flew away... Later on, I saw a Grey Wagtail

This afternoon, Sheila Sim had walked down to the Lily Loch up behind Port Askaig. She had seen the following birds ... Raven, Twite, Siskin, Treecreeper, Wren, Coal Tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Osprey, Hen Harrier and a Robin. A great selection , well done Sheila.

Friday 9 August 2019

Friday 9th August

Quite a lot of rain through the night, and quite windy as well...

This afternoon, James had seen an Osprey flying over Loch Gorm. Later on, while visiting up here with his father, they saw a Sparrowhawk flying through the Linnet flock. This evening, I was watching 3 Buzzards out flying together over and around the crag, as well as the Peregrine out on the wing as well.

Thursday 8 August 2019

Thursday 8th August

A great day for the local Agricultural Show which was held today. I thought that with little air up here, that the midges could have been out, but not so according to James How.

Today Peter had taken his friends down for a walk on the Oa. Birds seen included a family of 4 Chough with a Golden Eagle out soaring around. They had seen several small groups of around 15 birds in total of mixed Twite along with some Linnets. They also had a single Whinchat and then in a field at Upper Killeyan, they heard a late calling Corncrake.

Wednesday 7th August

Well, because of a power cut last night, I did not manage an entry, but here goes, as ever, better late than never...

Alistair Hart yesterday had seen a Hen Harrier being mobbed by House Martins down beside Octofad.
James had seen a Sparrowhawk on the reserve at Gruinart.
Up here at home, we had the pesky Sparrowhawk sitting out on top of one of the feeding cages, less than 10 feet away. It flew off and thankfully did not "bother" anybody else. I saw a Wheatear on top of the garden wall, the first seen here for a wee while.
Phill Catton had seen a White tailed Eagle being chased by some angry Gulls, all flying low over the harbour in Port Ellen yesterday evening

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Tuesday 6th August

Another very late entry, but here goes anyway.. On Monday, Peter and some of his old friends with whom he used to work with had been out and about.. Over at Finlaggan, they saw 4 Crossbills, and then down at the Bowling Green at Bridgend, they saw a Spotted Flycatcher. Today, while they were up here, they had seen a ringtail Hen Harier out over the Machir.

Louise was in touch with the figures from the Corncrake surveys carried out this year. The tally came to 53 calling males, down from last year, but at least a lot more than in the early 2000s when we only had single figures in calling birds heard...

James last night had seen a Barn Owl and today he had a Green Sandpiper both on the reserve at Gruinart.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Monday 5th August

Meant to put these pearls of wisdom down for you last night, but did not because it had been a long day, so here goes...Bob and Lesley had carried out their WeBS count from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock on Sunday. Their birds were as follows... 2 Herons, 5 Cormorants, 4 Tysties, 44 Greylags, 2 Shelduck, 16 Eider, 1 Curlew, 18 Oystecatcher, 45 Dunlin, 75 Ringed Plover, 2 Gbb Gulls, 34 Herring Gull, 14 Common Gulls and 1 Black headed Gull.

Back on Saturday morning, Islay Heads, on his way to his work at Kilchoman Distillery, had seen an Osprey carrying a large fish "torpedo style" at less than 30 metres away down above Loch Gorm.
Up here, the Linnet flock appears to be getting larger in number each day, perhaps the birds themselves are getting larger themselves as well!!! I saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the Machir on Sunday afternoon. The Peregrine is being heard more regularly of late as well, and the Sparrowhawk has been here annoying the wee birds, but I suppose one should expect the large spectrum of raptors with so many small birds around as well...

On Sunday, Kathy Hart, Al's other half had seen a  common Lizard out sunning itself beside the War Memorial between Port Wemyss and Portnahaven. Yesterday, they had seen some Ravens out flying around Easter Ellister,  and shortly afterward, they had great viewing of a Stoat close to Port Bhan.

Sunday 4 August 2019

Sunday 4th August

A cooler but mostly a dry day...

The Jackdaws were around again, so I took some pity on them and threw a little food but not a lot on the ground, they did not waste much time in devouring the food on offer..

Good  friend, Marsali sent me through her rainfall figures for June and July read over at her rain guage at Mulindry. The  June tally was 1.64 of an inch while the  July figure was 6.24 inches , the wettest month so far in 2019.

Earlier in the week, Marsali had counted over 100 Starlings on the overhead cables leading to their house, no signs of any Rose coloured Starlings though...

Saturday 3 August 2019

Saturday 3rd August

Oops, almost forgot to put an entry on the blog tonight, just been one of those busy sort of days, but thakfully it is almost over...

It all started of with a major hiccup on the old pc, but beyond my confidence level to sort out, but an old friend came to my rescue the situation for me, easy when you know how, no it was not James How, and surprise surprise I do have more than one friend in my life..

Enough of the ramblings, just spill the beans on the birds seen today... Not much, I am sorry to say, change over day in the holiday accomodation so tomorrow might bring some new birders on board.
There were 14 young Swallows on the overhead wires later on last evening. This evening the old ruin of a church had a good number of Jackdaws, at least 200, perched there. As long as the Jackdaws do not expect me to feed them.

Friday 2 August 2019

Friday 2nd August

May be not as warm as yesterday, but up here certainly was great drying day with a  warm wind around as well, possibly some of the farmers might try to make some hay rather than silage in big bales...

Louise had seen a male Pied Flycatcher at lunch time, today at her house over on Jura.

Returning visitor, Martin Hughes and his family are over on holiday at present. He e mailed through to say that they had seen a Red throated Diver out on Kilnaghton Bay this afternoon. He also had an Otter  then too. Better still, he had 2 Otters there yesterday in the morning with another seen out from Port Charlotte Hotel in the evening...

Just thought I could include another image of  2 more Painted Ladies, seen on the Ragwort in the grave yard next door to us. We appear to be noticing more Red Admirals around now..

Thursday 1 August 2019

Thursday 1st August

What a brilliant day, I almost turned to  greasy spot...

Hopfully, this image willl be online for you to see a couple of Painted lady butterflies taken the other day. still quite a few of them around again today...

The rainfall for June and July came to exactly 8 inches, not sure how much fell in which month but the overall tally is correct.

Not a lot on the bird front today, only 3 Buzzards and a single Peregrine were seen out over the crag, late morning. with the Linnets up to around 80 birds on the seed crop...