Thursday 31 October 2019

Thursday 31st October

Back on Monday, James had counted 1,685 Golden Plover on the reserve at Gruinart.  (MB had counted 1,690 there last Saturday).On Tuesday, James had a count of 1,074 Teal out from the hides at Gruinart, he also saw a Dabchick and also 4 Blackwits there as well
Yesterday, MB had seen an imm White tailed Eagle down at Bridgend. On the walk between Bowmore to Gartbreck, he had counted 3 RTD, a GND, 348 Whitefronts, 5,900 Barnies, a P b Brent, 64 Wigeon, 117 Teal, 26 Mallard, 3 Pintail, 3 Goldeneye, 88 Eider, 44 R b Merganser, 41 Oystercatcher, 53 Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 1 Snipe, 10 Dunlin, 3 Barwits, 21 Curlew, 17 Redshank, 11 Turnstone, 2 Lapwing, 3 W t Eagle (2 Ad + an imm), 7 Rock Pipit and also 8 Twite. Along at Octovullin, he saw an imm Golden Eagle while over the hills behind Finlaggan he had an adult Golden Eagle.

Jesse Wilkinson, one of the film cameramen who are over on Islay, well along with his colleague Nick they seen an Osprey flying South down Loch Indaal, early afternoon. He also told me that he had seen 3 W t Eagles and also 2 Golden Eagles between Loch Indaal and over at Loch Gruinart.

This morning, Distillery Dave had seen 6 Long tailed Tits fly through his garden. This morning Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier below Sue Campbell's house between Coull and Saligo. ( I never saw it, as I was driving, honest!!!) Round at Ballinaby there was a family group of 6 Whoopers present which was nice to see, close to the roadside as well.

Also today, the RAFOS team had seen a Black throated Diver on Loch Indaal out below the Gaelic College. They had also seen a 2 W t Eagles trying to wrestle some prey from an Otter, and the victor was the Otter

Wednesday 30 October 2019

Wednesday 30th October

Quite a few birds for you, as when I came back in from our Islay bird nerds meeting, I was just knackered... a right good chance for us all there to hear about some interesting news..

Coming home last night, we saw a Barn Owl out at Sunderland Farm.. Phill Catton had seen a Tawny Owl when driving up from Port Ellen along the High road to the meeting, and then on his way home after the meeting, he had a Barn Owl when going home along the High Road. Yesterday, Philll had seen the following birds on the Oa, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, 4 Chough, 39 Golden Plover, a Buzzard, 2 Hen Harriers, 2 Cormorant and also 2 Snipe.

Yesterday, JD and Bob had a flock of 120 Fieldfare close to Grainel over at Gruinart. 

Also yesterday, the Rochdale birders had gone over to Jura, and they saw 4 Otters, a flock of Fieldfare, a Golden Eagle and also a Woodcock. Back on Islay, they had a White tailed Eagle in at Loch Skerrols and  Woodcock seen up at Gearach up behind Port Charlotte.

MB yesterday had a male Pochard and 6 Goldeneye (2 M+ 4 F). Off the Big Strand and up towards Laggan Point he saw 6 RTD, 8 GND, 9 Eider and also counted 23 Long tailed Duck (15M +8F). Down at the Airport, 6 Chough were present. In at Loch Skerrols, MB had a Hen Harrier, a juv Golden Eagle, a Peregrine and 3 flocks of  Fieldfare (25, 32 + 40). Up over, Carn nan Gillean, a White tailed Eagle and also 2 Golden Eagles. He had also spotted a Stoat at Erasaid. Along at the VC at RSPB Loch Gruinart, he saw 6 L T Tits, and then finally, he had a Hen Harrier along at Coull.

The team  from RAFOS had been down doing some counting of the Twite down on the Oa today with a count of 100 in the crop at Upper Killeyan and the flock at Kinnabus came to 135 Twite and also a Brambling seen among them too. On their way back up from the Oa, they had seen a White tailed Eagle seen down at Gartbreck. On the fields, there were over 2,000 Barnies, with a Grey Plover seen down on the foreshore there as well as 5 Ringed Plover, around 40 Teal, some Mallard and also 2 flocks of Herring Gulls totalling 100 birds. Back down at Machir Bay, one their members had seen 16 Chough, late afternoon.
Gary had been down on Machir Bay this morning, where he had 2 Sanderling with Reed Buntings, Twite and he heard the Snow Bunting up above in the dunes. 2 Chough flew overhead, noisey and nosey a ever. Over Coull Point, Gary saw a Golden Eagle

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Tuesday 29th October

Yesterday the RAFOS team had a Treecreeper out in front of their cottages where they are staying, Bob yesterday had seen 2 Goosanders out on Loch Indaal, in front of the Gaelic college.

This morning JD had seen some Siskins as well as some Redpolls down at Easter Ellister. Later on when he was out doing some birding wih Bob, they had seen 12 Goldcrests, 15 Wood Pigeons and also 2 Treecreepers along at Foreland. Amongst a large flock of Barnies present at Coull, they also saw 5 Pinkies and 2 P b Brent as well as a young Peregrine. Down on Machir Bay, no Snow Buntings were present, but a Med Gull was seen. After visiting us, when I was seeing them away, we saw 6 Long tailed Tits and a Song Thrush.

JW and his fellow birders had been at Kinnabus this morning where they had counted 150 Twite with 25 Rock Doves nearby. They also had 2 Hen Harriers there as well. Over at Kildaton, they had 5 Yellowhammers and shortly afterwards they saw 2 White tailed Eagles. A Slav Grebe was seen out on the water further along the coast down there. 

Monday 28 October 2019

Monday 28th October

Before I forget, please remember to come along to the Islay Bird nerds monthly catch up. We will be meeting up in the Visitor centre at RSPB LOch Gruinart at 18.30 tomorrow evening, for a cuppa and a catch up, so hopefully see you there... Please mind to bring your money to help pay our way!!!

The Rochdale birders are back again arriving yesterday... They had seen a Sparrowhawk up behind Port Charlotte yesterday. Today, they had a flock of over 50 Fieldfare up beside the former Kilchoman School as well as plenty of Redwings present on their travels around today. 

Another fellow visitor JW had been up for a visit this afternoon, and gave me some birds seen by his wife and also some seen by their fellow birders. Up at Ardnave, they had seen 3 Snow Buntings as well as a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down at Gruinart, they had 8 Whoopers and also 20 Whitefronts. On Loch Indaal, they had 22 Scaup, 40 R B Merganser with 40 Ringed Plover seen on the shore.

MB had an early start this morning ... At 7.50 am, he had counted a flock of 47 Fieldfare along with 2 Redwing out from his cottage at Kilchoman. Down at Machir Bay, he saw 2 Snow Bunting just at the car park, with 3 Pb Brent Geese, 24 Ringed Plover and 16 Curlew seen out on the tide's edge in the bay. Along at Rockside road end, he had counted another 25 Fieldfare with  48 Tufted Duck seen out on Loch Gorm. Down on the Oa, he had seen 3 Golden Eagles (2 AD + a juv)and also a male Merlin and counted 47 Hooded Crows on his way through the Oa. He saw 10 Whitefronts fly in from the South. Finally, at Kinnabus, he counted 300 Twite and 35 Redwing. Kilnaugton Bay held 3 GND, and also 2 Tysties. Up past Island House, he had a male Hen Harrier. Over at Bun an Uillt, MB had a Long tailed Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 19 R b Merganser and also 39 Knot present there as well. Down at the head of Loch Gruinart, on the floods , he had seen 44 Pintail, 25 Shoveler, 6 Blackwit, 5 Greenshank and also 1200 Golden Plover.

JD had been out and about as well, counting 42 RTD, 37 GND, 2 BTD, a Long tailed Duck and also 108 Common Scoters, all present on Loch Indaal 

Some sightings through from RAFOS for you now... They had counted over 1,000 Barnies seen at Leorin. Out past Ardbeg, they had  a Kingfisher flypast over at Loch a' Chnuich. Shortly afterwards they spotted 2 White tailed Eagles perched out on some rocks. Then a Golden Eagle was seen and almost the same place, 3 Buzzards were seen as well...Back up at Smelly corner, another Kingfisher was present with 150 Oystercatcher, some Barwits and some Knot seen along the top of Loch Indaal.

Sunday 27 October 2019

Sunday 27th October

A few more sighhtings through from Dave Pierce and his group of birders from Naturetrek, all seen yesterday... They had counted 30 Pale bellied Brent Geese between Bridgend and Bowmore., with over 100 Greenland Whitefronts up at Cruach.. Down at Leorin, they had a flock of 500 Barnies present, before they were "erupted" by a juv Golden Eagle. Also  seen there was a Merlin and also a male Hen Harrier.  Along on the Oa, they had a count of around 100 Twite. They had also seen an adult Golden Eagle making an ("unidentified") kill in a field.  It then took off with it and landed some distance away and started to pluck and eat, before taking off with its' prey again and soaring around. A juv Golden Eagle appeared and flew around with it, with the adult bird went to land again, with the youngster following it to land. The adult bird then flew off leaving the prey for the youngster.

Many thanks to Dave and other visiting birders who have sent in their sightings to share on the blog, much appreciated as ever.

Out from the big window here at home just around 8.45 am, Margaret saw a White tailed Eagle fly past, flying in along towards Loch Gorm. Other birders from RAFOS who are over this week around the same time had seen another White tailed Eagle, with it noted flying out along the ridge and on towards Rockside.
"JD" this morning had carried out a seawatch from 7.15 this morning down at Frenchman's Rocks.  Nothing much seen apart from 380 Kittiwake and 1,350 Large Auks. On the stubbles at Port Charlotte, he had 4 Pinkies and a count of 130 Rock Doves. Loch Indaal held 12 GND, 21 Scaup, 6 Slavs and a single Goldeneye. Up at Sunderland Farm, 120 Rock Doves were present. Along on Loch Gorm, he had 2 male Common Pochard, and a total count of 112 Tufted Duck, seen between 2 different flocks, and also a Slav Grebe was on the water too... Over at Coullabus, JD had a juv Golden Eagle.

MB is back over again, great to see you again... This morning, he had statrted off up at Ardnave, no joy in seeing any Snow Bunings, but at Traigh Nostaig, he had seen the following birds, 39 Chough, 43 Ringed Plover, 4 Grey Plover, 6 Sanderling and 9 Barwits. When returning to his car, he had a juv Golden Eagle and also saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Down on the reserve at Gruinart, he had 2 White tailed Eagles and a  juv Golden Eagle, (he wonders whether it might possibly be the same one that was up at Ardnave and over at Coullabus). On the floods, he had 790 Teal and also 23 Shoveler. Up on the edge, he counted 4 Greenshank, 6 Blackwit and 155 Barwit. Down at Bridgend, he saw 23 Pale bellied Brent Geese and also 78 Knot. Along at Blackrock, he had a count of 21 Scaup. late afternoon he saw an adult Golden Eagle over the crag behind Kilchoman.

Saturday 26 October 2019

Saturday 26th October

Back on Thursday, Mandy had spotted a Kestrel hovering as she ws driving down from Ardnave.

Dave Pierce yesterday had arrived back on Islay with a second group of birders from Naturetrek, a shorter visit this time, and then the group are heading over to Mull.. Yesterday, they had counted 8 Common Scoter and 20 Scaup out from Blackrock on Loch Indaal. Up at Gruinart, they saw 2 juv White tailed Eagles with 6 Grey Plover noted on the estuary. At Ardnave, they had 10 Twite, around 32 Chough and also a Merlin. Also yesterday Nick Skilbeck and the group from Worcester RSPB had a Grey Wagtail seen over at Kilchiaran and they then had seen 2 different Merlins as they drove down the coast towards Portnahaven.

Today, Nick and his group had  a Cackling Goose at Sunderland, and then 4 Snow Buntings down at Machir Bay. Round Loch Gorm, they had a Golden Eagle, a ringtail HH and also 2 male HH and a flock of 20 Twite. Over at Gruinart, they had a Merlin, a flock of 1,000 Golden Plover and 6 Shelduck. Finally at Bridgend, they had seen 15 Pale bellied Brents, their tally for their stay came to 93 species seen.

Gary had seen a juv. Iceland Gull flying over the top of Loch Indaal at Bridgend today. He also saw it down on the sand between Bridgend and Bowmore shortly afterwards.

Another returning birder, JD is back over for a few days.. he had seen the drake Green winged Teal at Gruinart. Also present there, a juv White tailed Eagle, 5 Blackwits and 6 Greenshanks. He also commented on seeing quite a few Redwing around, with 4 flocks noted of over 100 birds in each one, the largest being around 160 birds  over close to Island House. 8 Slav Grebes were seen on Loch Indaal with 30 Pale bellied Brents seen at Bowmore.

Friday 25 October 2019

Friday 25th October

Well the weather forecast for today proved correct, with the air decidely on the the brassy side of things .. 
So I will start you off with some sightings that Margaret and myself seen from the warmth of our house!!! First birds seen were a couple of Golden Eagles soaring out over the big crag. Down on the ground there were around 20 Blackbirds out on the grass with at least 30 Redwings on the move through the garden. There obvoiusly more birds in at the feeders too, infact the first time this time round, that most of the feeders were empty and needing to be filled with some more food! The Blackbirds were noticed trying to munch some of the plentiful berries which we have this year.  James had carried out a count on the reserve at Gruinart late afternoon with his tallies coming to 17,295 Barnies, 582 Greenland Whitefronts, 81 Whoopers, 18 Pale bellied Brents, 13 Greylags, a single Canada Goose, parvipes sp., 595 Golden Plover (with a lot more seen off reserve over at Craigens) and also 3 Blackwits.

Before I forget on Tuesday evening, it is that time of the month again, the monthly catch up of the Islay Bird nerds, we will be meeting at the Visitor centre at Gruinart at 18.30. Please remember to bring a pound to help pay for your cuppa etc. So if you are around, feel free to come along and put a name to some of the locals who help us out etc, all will be made welcome!!!

Thursday 24 October 2019

Thursday 24th October

David Clugston had a Chiffchaff  when on the Woodland trail at Gruinart back on Monday, sorry David, forgot that one...

Another visitor that I was speaking to up at Ardnave this morning when waiting for a heavy shower to pass, Mark Cockburn had seen 10 Snow Buntings up at Ardnave Point on Monday. Yesterday, when he was down at one of the hides at Gruinart, he watched a White tailed Eagle take a Barnacle goose out in mid air. What a spectacle...

Coming back down from Ardnave, I had seen a count of 20 Reed Buntings together in a flock.
Albert Percival had counted over 200 Whoopers in various fields as he was out round the island. David Clugston, his wife Pauline and fellow birder Valerie Wilson had counted 342 Whoopers coming in and moving through today, they are now up to 97 species seen so far this week. 
Catheine Fotheringham today had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier over the moor towards Grainel.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Wednesday 23rd October

David Woods had sent through some sightings seen down on the Oa resevre... On Monday on Kinnabus Loch, a Long tailed Duck, 9 Whoopers and also a Wigeon were present. The first Whitefronts are back, with 145 at Kinnabus. Further along the road at Upper Killeyan which is also on the Oa reserve, David also saw 2 Merlin, 2 Golden Eagles and 2 Hen Harriers . Yesterday, he had seen 2 Pinkies amongst the Whitefronts at Kinnabus. He also managed to count the flock of Twite present at Kinnabus with his tally coming to 290 with a leucistic bird amongst them.

This morning, Lesley had a count of 15 Red legged Partridges in her garden.

No reports in today, so far, of the Snow Geese or of the Baird's Sandpiper seen by James yesterday.

The weather, this afternoon has gone from bad to worse, with plenty of rain bashing against the windows, glad to say that the fire is being kept in, just as well that there are plenty of dry logs inside to keep it going !!!!

Tuesday 22nd October

Another big whack of birds to report through to you all... better late than never!!!

On Monday, Dave Pierce and Naturetrek had seen the following birds.. 2 common Guillemots, 6 Tysties, a single Common Scoter, and also RTDs and also GNDs off Bruichladdich. Over at Bunnahabhain they had a White tailed Eagle, while down at Carrabus, 2 Merlin were seen. Finally at Gruinart, they saw an immature Golden Eagle as well as an adult White tailed Eagle.
Also on Monday, Nick Skilbeck and the Worcs RSPB group had hired a boat and on a trip up the sound of Islay and into Loch Tarbert on Jura and returned out had seen 9 White tailed Eagles, a Merlin, a Peregrine, 2 Golden Eagles, 15 GND, 2 RTD, c. 20 Tysties and a dog Otter as well, just fantastic!!!

Today, Nick and his fellows had 25 Twite down on the Oa, 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Chough, a Merlin, a Peregrine. Offshore they had Gannets, Kittiwakes and Fulmars feeding. At Claggain Bay, they had 3 GND, Aros bay held 30 Curlew, and along on the Pheasant feeders at Kildalton, they counted 12 Yellowhammers. At Kintra, they saw 2 RTD. Nick also said that they had seen several flocks of geese around on their travels as well.
Dave Pierce and the Naturetrek group had seen an adult White tailed Eagle over the Sound of Jura and then another at Craighouse. Back on Islay, 3 Hen Harriers were seen between Gruinart and Ardnave plus an immature Golden Eagle at Ardnave which flew cross the loch  towards Killinallan. At Ardnave they had 12 Choughs present, while over the raised beach at Gruinart, they had another immature Golden Eagle.

James had seen a Bairds Sandpiper on Loch Gruinart along with some Dunlin and also 6 Grey Plovers. The Bairds Sandpiper was also seen later on by Nick and his group as well.

David Clugston along with his wife Pauline and also Val Wilson from the Clyde branch of the SOC are over for another "Islay fix". I was really pleased to meet up with them and an e mail later on from Val told me that they had a Kingfisher seen on the shoreline below the Generator station as you go into Bowmore. Val also told me that the record of the Kingfisher was their 88th species seen since they arrived only 2 days ago....

Monday 21 October 2019

Monday 21st October

Quite a few sightings from various sources, so better try to make a start....

Dave Pierce was in touch to say that on their travels between Islay and Jura on Saturday, the Naturetrek group had seen 3 pairs of White tailed Eagles. Yesterday up at Cruach, they had counted around 84 Whitefronts (Cruach is behind Bowmore on the road leading to the High road). Further along the road down close to Leorin, they had a single Pink footed Goose. Down on the Oa, thy had a Merlin, a male Hen Harrier,  4 different Golden Eagles (3 adult +a juv)  and also a flock of over 100 Twite were present as well.

Dave Pullan who is leading a different group from Heatherlea had been over on Jura, nothing much to report from there... but they had seen a Todd's Canada goose amongst the Barnies on the flats at Gruinart.

Returning birder, Graeme Buchanan, had this morning seen an immature White tailed Eagle along at Sunderland, around 15 Snow Buntings were present at Ardnave with the G W  Teal seen at the reserve at Gruinart.. 

Straight, hot off my other wee pc, another correspondent, Distillery Dave had seen a Barn Owl ghost through the buildings as he went round last thing last night, checking that all was locked up for the night...

Another set of returning birders had seen 200 Pinkies down on Loch Indaal yesterday. Today, they had seen 2 White tailed Eagles down looking for something to eat at the head of Loch Indaal. They also saw a Cackling goose spotted there as well. Up at Gruinart, they had seen a Golden Eagle having a look at the Barnies on the mud.. They too had seen the Todd's Canada Goose, with Snow Bunting, 2 Greenshank and Sanderling up the Killallan side of Loch Gruinart also seen. 

Sunday 20 October 2019

Sunday 20th October

A dry , nice and sunny although not the warmest of days...

Mid afternoon, Malcolm had a skein of 35 Whitefronts flying over his house down in Bruichladdich. They were still flying quite high  and flying North, so one begs to ask the questin, had they overflown Islay??

Dave Pullan is over on Islay this week leading agroup from Heatherlea. Late afternon, their group had seen the Green winged Teal at Gruinart and also in the fields over at Ballinaby, a juv. Glaucous Gull was present.

Nick Silbeck is over leading a group from the Worcester RSPB group... They had 6 RTD off Bowmore, out on Loch Indaal between Bowmore and Bridgend, they had seen around 30 - 40 Greater Scaup. Also they had 6 P b Brent Geese on the loch as well. Up at the reserve at Gruinart, they had an imm. Golden Eagle, the Green winged Teal, and a ringtail Hen Harrier. Finallly, at Ardnave, they saw many Common Scoters, also R b Mergansers and also 20 + Chough there as well.

Late afternoon, when Distillery Dave was round for a cuppa, there was a group of over 20 Whoopers fly inland past the house, in off the sea. No sign of the Snow Geese today...

Saturday 19 October 2019

Saturday 19th October

Nothing much on the bird front today folks... the lady from the Dower House this morning had a Treecreeper with James noting another on the reserve at Gruinart and also a Sparrowhawk present there as well.

Possibly there was another reason for not so many sightings today, as Bob and Pat got married up at Kilnave with the reception being held in the Visitor Centre at Gruinart. The weather remained dry and sunny although there was an edge to the cool northerly wind, the actual ceremony went well and the spread of food on offer was a fitting end to the day.... So many thanks to Bob and Pat for inviting us to come and witness their happy day...

Friday 18 October 2019

Friday 18th October

Last night, around 5.30 pm , Distillery Dave had gone down to Loch Gorm where he saw the 2 Snow Geese, great to see especially as they had just taken off and were showing their black wing tips off. He then followed a Merlin along the road for some time before it veered off  and away.

Dave Pierce arrived yesterday and is leading a group from Naturetrek. When waiting on the ferry at Kennacraig, they had a White tailed Eagle as it flew overhead. This morning, they had seen a pair of White tailed Eagles sitting on a hillock, being mobbed by a Buzzard. Down on Loch Indaal, out from Bowmore they had a GND, with another seen at Blackrock where a L T Duck was present as well. Up at the reserve at Loch Gruinart, an adult Golden Eagle was seen putting the Barnies up off the flats. It then flew on and landed on a fence, up on the raised beach. Up at Leckgruinart they had 2 Chough and a small flock of 20 Twite. They had around 80 Whoopers at Sunderland. Finally they had a ringtail Hen Harrier and then the 2 Lesser Snow Geese were present on Loch na Cachie, down between Rockside road end and Loch Gorm.

Bob, late this morning, had seen a White tailed Eagle as it flew over his house up behind Port Charlote and it flew on towards Kilchiaran.

Thursday 17 October 2019

Thursday 17th October

I thought that it was going to  be a dry day for once, but just around 5.30 pm it got darker and then the rain started to fall, not a lot but if you were outside, you would have got wet....

James, this morning had a quick count round the reserve at Gruinart.  Birds counted were as follows, 18,090 Barnies, 21 Greenland whitefronts, a single parvipes Canada Goose, a single Pink footed Goose, 1,155 Golden Plover and a single Ruff.

Going over to Gruinart this morning, we felt that there were definitely appeared to be more Stonechats around. The most common  regular bird in to be fed up here at home, is a group of 13 Pheasants, getting quite tame, and better than feeding the Jackdaws...

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Wednesday 16th October

Just as well that I took a "daft turn" and cut the grass yesterday as overnight we had around an inch of rain, apart from the ground being rather wet this morning, I had to empty the rain gauge and we are only halfway through October... the gauge was only reading 5 inches, enough said..

Some sightings in through from Nick and Kath from last Saturday on their way home, (yes, I forgot about them, the other night).  Down at Whin Park they had the 2 Lesser Snow Geese, a Little Egret, a Peregrine, and also 5 Pale bellied Brent Geese. When leaving Gruinart, earlier on, they had seen a close sighting of a Golden Eagle.
On Monday , David Wood had seen mixed flock of Wagtails at Risabus on the Oa. There were 13 in total with a single Grey Wagtail, 10 Pied Wagtails and also 3 White Wagtails seen. Other birds seen on Monday by himself included a Merlin, 10 Goldcrest, along with a count of 200 Redwing all on the Oa reserve...

Gary, this morning had seen a Merlin chase after a wader out from Bowmore. Out on Loch Indaal itself, he had seen RTDs and GNDs, and then along at the head of the loch, he counted 52 Barwits and also 32 Redshank. Round at Blackrock, Gary had 22 Scaup and also 31 Common Scoter. Resting up on the edge of Loch Gorm he had located the 2 Lesser Snow Geese amongst the flock of Greylags present.
Ann and Noel had seen all the above mentioned birds as mentioned, but added seeing Turnstone, Goldeneye and also Long tailed Duck, all seen out on Loch Indaal. Down on the Oa, they had seen 2 Golden Eagles, a flock of over 200 Twite, a Kestrel, a Merlin and also 2 Chough.
Peter, today had seen a drake Green winged Teal out from the South Hide at Gruinart amongst the many Teal and Pintail present there.
Along on the barley stubbles at Sunderland I had counted 70 Whoopers and then managed to show 2 visitors the 2 Snow Geese resting up amongst the Greylags there.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Tuesday 15th October

Today, it has been dry although a bit on the cool side,the blood must have rushed to my head, yes I took a daft turn (again?) and cut the grass!!!

Ann Heads and Noel had yesterday seen 2 White tailed Eagles over at Loch Gruinart. Down off Frenchman's Rocks they had a Whimbrel . Today, they saw a late Wheatear up at Ardnave, over at Sanaigmore, 5 GND were spotted out in the bay. Along at Sanaigmore 50 Whoopers were present with the 2 Lesser Snow Geese seen there as well. Up here at home, we watched the Chough going into the roost. I really should take more atention and try to count them in, mind you they are not that easy to count, as they duck and dive, perhaps I will need to catch them in the frame on the camera!!!

Monday 14 October 2019

Monday 14th October

Peter had helped Bob with his WeBS count from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock...Their tally came to as follows...200 Barnies, 15 Gbb Gull, 66 H. Gull, 12 Common Gull, 2 Bh Gull, 49 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 63 RTD, 9 GND, 9 Slav Grebe, 1 Red necked Grebe, 87 Common Scoter, 5 Heron, 44 Razorbill, 32 Common Guillemot, 5 Auk species, 4 R b Merganser, 25 Eider, 1 Ringed Plover, 6 Curlew, 33 Oystercatcher and 4 Mallard.
Mark and Shona-Isla's tally for the reserve at Grunart came to...  5 Swallows, 5 Goldcrest, a W T Eagle, a Golden Eagle, a Sparowhawk, a Peregrine, a Hen Harrier, 1321 Golden  Plover, 531 Lapwing, 916 Teal, 55 Wigeon, 6 Whoopers, 54 Pintail, 4 Gadwall, 24 R b Merganser, 3 Knot, 171 Curlew, 56 Redshank, 66 Sanderling, 32 Ringed Plover and also 66 Dunlin.
Today was Richard Belter's last day of this visit and due to the rain had not seen a lot but he had a flock of Twite at Sanaigmore and also 2 GND out in the bay, but no sign of the White rumped Sandpipers!!! Along the road, he had seen a ringtail  Hen Harrier and on the merse at Bridgend, Richard had seen the 2 Lesser Snow Geese. Thanks to Richard for sending his sightings through.
This morning, we had a rather bedraggled Redwing on top of the garden fence. Around 20 Whoopers flew out to the Sea and flew out on towards Ireland and then later on over 30 Whoopers were noted flying in over Coull Point.

Sunday 13 October 2019

Sunday 13th October

Yesterday, early afternoon, and Mandy had seen over 40 Whoopers fly over Kindrochid. Earlier on,  in the fields at Ballinaby, she had seen a flock of Greylags along with some Barnies and Whitefronts present amongst the Greylags. Gary had seen large numbers of Redwing and Skylarks coming in from the North, and also 10 Crossbills flew past. Down at Finlaggan, he had a White tailed Eagle sitting on one of the trees there. He also saw several Crossbills flying along the tops of the trees there as well.

Richard, this morning at around 8am, had seen the 2 White rumped Sandpipers in the same location up at Sanaigmore.
The above is an image of the 2 birds taken yesterday by myself...

Down on the shore line at Sanaigmore, Richard had a Snow Bunting and also a Chough. Down at Blackrock he had counted 18 Scaup. There was also a small pasage of of around 20 Mistle Thrush and Redwing seen at Bunahabhain. At Cattadale, Richard had a male Hen Harrier while off  Bowmore, he had seen a GND and also a RTD out on Loch Indaal.
James, this morning, counted 15,545 Barnies, 36 Whitefronts, 9 Whoopers, 7 Pintail, 14 Pinkies and also 2 Pb Brent Geese. Down on the merse at Bridgend, he saw a White tailed Eagle and also the 2 Snow Geese were still present.
Late afternoon, we too saw the  2 Snow Geese at Bridgend, and then while coming home, there were 56 Whoopers along with large mixed flock of geese seen on one of the barley stubbles at Sunderland.

Saturday 12 October 2019

Saturday 12th October

As promised a round up firstly of birds seen out from Whin Park yesterday....Gary's initial list included the followig birds there from around 1pm... 2 White tailed Eagles,  2 Lesser Snow Geese, a single Greenshank, and also 20 + Curlew, 40 + Dunlin as well 50+ Red Knot, 4 Red b Merganser, 3 Buzzards, 30 Pinkies, 2 small Canada geese, 150+ Greylags, a single Pale bellied     Brent goose and a Peregrine. Late afternoon after Gary, Richard and ourselves had gone, Peter came along and after quite a patient piece of scoping found the Snow Geese. His count of the Barnies came in at 850 as they were dropping in all the time.. the small Canada was seen briefly, 15 Pinkies, a single P b Brent, 85 Greylags and also 75 Curlew. Peter did not count the duck present, mainly Teal and Wigeon, but said there were plenty around.

An image through from Gary of one of the Lesser Snow geese...

Distillery Dave had a Merlin on Thursday while out walking his dog down the road at Rockside. On Friday, he saw a Peregrine hunting over the fields there.

Nick and Kath had seen 4 Greenshank and a Barwit seen from their car as they drove up the east side of Loch Gruinart. They also counted 50+ Whoopers on the reserve.

Iain & Fiona yesterday had seen 4 GND, and also a RTD over at Claggain Bay and then they had a White  tailed Eagle seen over close to Ballygrant. Many thanks for your birds folks... and obviously to other visitors who sent in their sightings through the week, as ever much apprecated to you all...

Today started off as normal, a quiet sort of a day, then the phone rang, with Richard saying that he was convinced that he had 2 White rumped Sandpipers,  on a pool up at Sanaigmore, a quick phone to alert Peter and we all met up and yes it was as Richard thought. James was seen walking down on the Bay so adding his thoughts.. Earlier on Richad had seen a Little Egret at the mouth of the River Sorn, and also out from Black Rock he had seen Common Scoter, Scaup  and Eider. James had seen a Pale bellied Brent and also a Merlin, down close to the Bay at Sanaigmore as well. Distillery Dave had over 300 Barnies seen at Rockside this morning. Visitors had seen the Snow Geese out from Whin Park when they arrived off the ferry this afternoon, and Gary saw them again around 4.30 pm on his way to work.

Friday 11 October 2019

Friday 11th October

Yesterday Iain & Fiona Grant had managed to see some birds and sent them through...
Near to Ardbeg, they had seen 4 Swallows and also 2 Grey Wagtails. Just outside of Bowmore, 11 Redwing were seen. Up the West side of Loch Gruinart, a female Merlin was seen feeding on an "unfortunate" Mipit. They had seen the start of the Barnies arriving  back on Islay with over 1,000 counted and more ariving before leaving Gruinart. Other birds seen at Gruinart included a Merlin, a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and also 8 Greenshank. At Ballinaby, they saw 5 Whoopers, 150 Greylags, 3 Pinkies, and also 50 Barnies and then on Machir Bay, 6 Sanderling, 36 Ringed Plover and a single Dunlin were present.
This morning, James had arried out a quick count of any new arrivals on the reserve, he had a count of 5810 Barnies, 6 Greenland Whitefronts, a single Pale bellied Brent Goose and also 3 Redwing... Not to be outdone, we have had a great 2 hour stint at the head of Loch Indaal in rather trying weather this afternoon... Gary was in touch to say that he had 2 Snow Geese present down on the edge of the merse, so after a quick call round to folk, off we went hoping that we might get a sight of them..So, we met Gary and also Richard with Mark and Shona Islay coming along. After a bit of patience, Gary and Richard located the Geese for us, they were tucked up in a hollow and resting up but were seen. Gary sent an image over to Jim Dickson who said in his opinion that they were Lesser Snow Geese. More on these birds and the other birds which were seen when we were there tomorrow night. Peter had came along after we had left and managed to see them as well.

Thursday 10 October 2019

Thursday 10th October

Yesterday, Nick and Kath had seen a Merlin up towards Ardnave, and then later on they saw another Merlin sitting on top of a rock at the side of the road. They had also another Merlin dash across the road just South of Port Charlotte. The other day they had seen some Swallows around and now reckon that they could be feeding young on the nest... Robin Andrews and his wife, (another visiting birders), had seen a Pale bellied Brent and also 2 Barnies along with around 100 Greylags on their way out from The Machrie Hotel. Down on the Oa, out towards the American monument they had seen 2 Snow Buntings, and then along at the Kildalton Cross they had seen 4 House Martins and also a Swallow practising their flying skills. As Robin said, they were quite "surprised" to see them as all the Hirundines left them in North Yorkshire about 10 days ago. In around Kildalton, they also had a Yellowhammer and also a Greenfinch.

This morning, we watched a male Hen Harrier out on the wing flying over the Machir. Coming back from "Cake o'clock" at Gruinart, we had counted 52 Barnies resting up on a stubble field at Ballinaby along with over 120 Greylags. Along towards Saligo Bay, a male Hen Harrier was spotted flying quite high up and not spoofing or worrying anybody else...
Robin Andrews and his wife, Hilary today had called in for a cuppa, and Robin quickly told us that the sun would be shining by 4 pm, needless to say, we doubted him, but right enough at 15.58 the sun came out. Robin had seen 2 Curlew Sandpipers down the shore of Loch Indaal and also 6 Barwits earlier on, before coming up to visit us. They also had seen Redshank and Dunlin present there as well.
Richard Belter had seen a RTD and also a single Eider off Kintra.  Later on, while on the Oa he had seen Merlin, a Sparrowhawk, Rock Doves and also 3 Chough. At Upper Killeyan, a large flock of Twite was present. Back at Gruinart, Richard had counted 800 Barnies present and he also saw a Swallow out in front of the visitor centre there as well.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Wednesday 9th October

Another mixed bag with the weather here again today, possibly not so many heavy dirty showers around, but certainly the wind has huffed and puffed for most of the day. On a really positive note, we have not had any of our ferries cancelled, with Port Askaig being the preferred port of arrival and departure, the advantage of having 2 ferry ports on Islay...

Some sightings from yesterday came through to me after I had written the blog last night....Top birds seen by Iain and Fiona from the North hide at Gruinart during a 2 hour stint in the afternoon included a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Ruff, 2 Redshank, over 250 Redshank, 100+ Wigeon, 30 Twite, 15 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 150+ Golden Plover, 50+ Lapwing, 4 Herons, 15 Curlew, a juv. Gannet, 50 + Mallard, 15 Mipits, 10 Pied Wagtails, 2 Buzzard, 2 Song Thrush & 6 Snipe. They also had  seen some Rooks, Jackdaws, Starlings, Hooded Crows as well. They also commented on the "lack of geese" but put it down to the weather..  Also yesterday, Nick and Kath had seen 2 GNDs, and a RTD plus 19 Curlew and also 3 R b Merganser, all at Claggain Bay.
Today, Richard Belter had seen 16 Whoopers  over at Gruinart, down on the dunes at Machir Bay he had 4 Choughs. Along the road from here, at Sunderland, he had  30/40 Pinkies and also a further 20 Whoopers. To finish off his day he has spotted 2 Barnies back over at Gruinart. 
Here at home, the kettle has been whistling away good style, at first we had George E. Jackson and his wife Pat before they headed out to the ferry and just as they left here, Richard came in for a catch up, great to see you all folks, all made very welcome....

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Tuesday 8th October

A miserable sort of a day with the weather out here today, with plenty of dirty squally showers appearing out of nowhere, thankfully I was never caught in any of them!!!   Needless to say, we have had the big fire burning away for most of the day... bring a bit of cheer, into one's day!!!

Yesterday morning, at Machir Bay, George E. Jackson had seen a female Goldeneye in the newly formed pool beside the car park down there!!!. George also had the usual Whoopers present at Rockside. Early afternoon, he saw over 150 Greylags come to land on the wee lochans at the SE end of Loch Gorm, and then later on, George counted a further 100 Greylags in the fields over at Saligo. Nick Brown and Kath Patrick had seen a male Hen Harrier and also a Merlin down on the Oa and then up at Gruinart, late afternoon, they saw another male and also 3 ringtails. James How, late  yesterday afternoon, had counted 7 Canada Geese and a total of 11 Grey Plovers on the reserve at Gruinart.

Today, returning birder Richard Belter braved the weather on the ferry to get here for a week's birdfix. He ventured out from where he is staying and had a male and then a ringtail Hen Harrier.

Monday 7 October 2019

Monday 7th October

Yesterday, another pair returning visiting birders, Nick Brown and Kath Patrick, were in touch with some sightings.. while driving up to Ardnave, they had seen a flock of around 100 Linnets as well as  2 Swallows. Up at Ardnave,  in one of the fields adjacent to the Loch, they had 100 Golden Plover.  Later on, they saw a Merlin chase after a Mipit on their way coming back out from Machir Bay, below Leek on the N W corner of Loch Gorm, they had a male Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch. He also had a small group of Barnies fly overhead there as well. At Sunderland, 19 Whoopers and over 50 Pinkies seen there as well.

Speaking to my good friend Marsali this afternoon, on the phone, and Marsali's rain tally for Mulindry was 140 mm, (or 5.5 inches in old money) for September. Her figure for Saturday/ Sunday was 50 mm, just short of 2 inches... Marsali was saying, like up here at home, that the birds appear not to be interested in the food on offer and there are plenty of birds around...

This morning, Lesley had counted 17 Whoopers along at Sunderland. When Lesley was in for a cuppa with us, we had Buzzard on the garden fence....Late afternoon, Mike Young had seen a White tailed Eagle spoofing the sheep in the field beside his house at Rockside road end, better than watching the TV???

Sunday 6 October 2019

Sunday 6th October

Yesterday, James had seen over 50 Redwing while over at the Lily Loch at Port Askaig and then shortly afterwards, he had a Golden Eagle in the air over at Dun Nosebridge. George E.  Jackson in the morning, before the weather closed in had 65 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, 10 Oystercatcher and also 12 Barwits down on the shore at Uiskentuie. Along at Rockside, George had 6 Whoopers in the stubble fields, 3 adults and a small family group of another 2 adult plus their youngster.

Today, Iain and Fiona had been over at the South hide at Gruinart with their top birds seen included a ringtail Hen Harrier, a female Peregrine, 4 Barnies, 2 Buzzard, 15 Redwing, 2 Snipe, 100 Pinkies flew overhead, 75 Teal, 30 Wigeon and over 20 Lapwing. Also today, James had seen 14 Whoopers at Sunderland with a further 10 along at Rockside. Up here at home, George E. Jackson came round and set up his mist nets. Boy, the birds did not oblige with only 3 Stonechats and a Linnet being caught and fitted with BTO rings. There were certainly more Linnets seen but when they took off, they fly away at 45 degrees and not fly along following the ground contours, so avoiding being caught...

Overnight, we had around 35 mm of rain, not a lot compared to other places....

Saturday 5 October 2019

Saturday 5th October

A right miserable sort of a day out here, especially from midday onwards, and by the look of things outside,it will be dark a bit quicker tonight...

Returning birders, Iain and Fiona came over on the ferry this afternoon.. They saw Kittiwakes, Gannets, Eiders and Razorbills. Top sighting  was, as they were coming up the Sound of Islay when a juv. White tailed Eagle was seen harassing a Gannet, until the Gannet gave up the fish from its' gullet. They also saw another juv. White tailed Eagle present there as well.

Up here at home, Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier flying past, out over the Machir. Late afternoon, I counted 18 Choughs floating about noisily and then they were joined by 2 more, so making 20 in total. We have also been watching a small flock of around 50 Linnets when they were in for a nosh up on the flower seed heads which are still present here. 

Friday 4 October 2019

Friday 4th October

Nothing much to report this evening, but Bob was on the phone to say that he had seen 7 Redwings on the wing up beside his house up behind Port Charlotte earlier this week.

Thursday 3 October 2019

Thursday 3rd October

This morning, Gary had seen 8 Pale bellied Brent geese down at the mouth of the wee stream  which leads into Loch Indaal as you drive into Bowmore. Round at Ballinaby, we had seen 6 Barnies resting up in the middle of a large number of Greylags. We also saw 3 different Stonechats while driving along. We saw a Hen Harrier out on the wing below Carnduncan. Coming back, we had a Heron take off close to us below Leek, it took off  out from the roadside ditch. Margaret , this afternoon up here at home, watched as 3 Buzzards were getting mobbed by a large group of Hooded Crows on the ground. they did  manage to take off and headed up to the crag, only to be joined, sitting up there by a Peregrine. Mandy today had seen 20 Whoopers along below Sunderland with some young cygnets, amongst them. There were also 2 of the adults having a sleep after their flight down...

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Wednesday 2nd October

Keith Brockie was in for a cuppa this morning, great to catch up with you and also his wife, and their 2 dogs... They were telling us that on Monday, over on Jura, they had seen a Kingfisher at the mouth of the Lussa River.

Along at Sunderland Farm, yesterday evening,, Margaret counted 14 Whoopers on the stubbles there.

Distillery Dave had a Grey wagtail at Rockside .... he also had 2 Pinkies on the stubbles there and also a family group  of  3  Whoopers, 2 adults and a cygnet.
Phill had e mailed through to say that between the bird crops sown at Upper Killeyan and Kinnabus , both on the RSPB Oa reserve, 300 Twite have been present there.
Margaret this morning, had seen 6 Whoopers flying in from the West in off  the sea......

Another job, done here as the weather has remained dry and fine, was to cut the grass.... the wildflower crop is still got some flowers in bloom, while the crop sown for the birds to munch away at, well possibly has done its's job, so possibly just as well we brought some more bird food over from the mainland when we returned home last night!!!!!

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Tuesday 1st Octobr

Well that is another month in with the tally for the rain coming to 4.1 inches....

Phill was in touch today to tell me that there has been no further sightings either yesterday or today of the Red backed Shrike. But on a positive note, a  Red Kite was seen by Shona- Isla when she was leading the guided walk on the Oa reserve today...