Sunday 31 May 2020

Sunday 31st May

Lesley kindly sent an e mail through with some sightings seen by her yesterday...

"Just briefly - this morning’s walk round Foreland - Loads of Small Heaths on the wing, plus a Small Copper and both male and female Orange tips- then at last I had good views of a pair of Whinchats, a Whitethroat singing from the top of a bush - followed by the Osprey flying over towards Loch Gorm, carrying a very large fish (salmon?) and coming from the direction of Loch Gruinart. Then a Green Hairstreak and a smallish ? Fritillary to finish off. Not bad when I wasn’t expecting anything new."

At present I am watching a program on the TV, called  "Highlands, Scotland's wild heart" I realise that the program has just started, but so far it has certainly got some great photography.

Saturday 30 May 2020

Saturday 30th May

Looking back a couple of days ago,  I commented on having seen a Yellowhammer out below the feeders in our garden, well last night there were 2 present, actually a pair of them. So I managed to get this image for you see them together..

So, I managed another one of the male bird as well

Friday 29 May 2020

Friday 29th May

Well I suppose that another month is almost in now, but do not worry about the rainfall as I do not think that there has been much, more information will  be "announced" at the start of June....

Unfortunately, mainly because of the coronavirus, the blog has been light of sightings as we are all supposed to be "stay at home" people, which can and has been difficult to quite a few of us. Luckily yesterday, I had the camera to hand and managed to take of a male Pheasant which was out under the feeders.. It was obviously enjoying the sunny weather like the rest of us, as well!!!

Thursday 28 May 2020

Thursday 28th May

David Barr was out today walking his canine friends, Ted and Ella, just before midday...

"Blackbirds making a bit of a racket caught my attention. With a bit of scanning I came across a Tawny Owl roosting on a branch close to the trunk staring me in the face .
Also watched a pair Bullfinches and Blackcaps." 

All I can offer you, is that we saw a Yellowhammer out in our garden, late afternoon....the first seen here for some time...

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Wednesday 27th May

Karen was watching a family of Dunnocks hopping around in her garden in Bearsden this morning.

Gary was in touch today and had seen 3 Goosanders, a juv Golden Eagle, an adult White tailed Eagle and also 2 Crossbills.

Just after the end of Spring watch, James was in touch and I gleaned from him, some of his sightings on the reserve seen by him at Gruinart today... He had an adult White tailed Eagle, on the woodland trail at Gruinart, 2 Blackcaps, some Chiffchaffs noted as well as many Whitethroats.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Tuesday 26th May

Good friend, Karen Graham from Bearsden was in touch earlier on this evening...

"Making tea and tiny male Goldcrest on back door harling. Looking back it was early April when last spotted one in exactly same place. Must still be a nest around.

Very warm this afternoon and more to come. Family of Starlings including 4 youngsters enjoying a bath too."

Just been watching "Springwatch" on the TV, the first program of the current series, and personally, I thought that it was a lot better program than some seen in other series... no stupidity between the presenters!!!!

Monday 25 May 2020

Monday 25th May

Gary emailed some sightings seen by himself today...

"Down at Carnain, 9 Whimbrel on the grass, 1 Moorhen in the ponds & a Water Rail flying across the pond from muddy area to thick vegetation."

Sunday 24 May 2020

Sunday 24th May

Before I forget there will be no meeting (again!!!) of the Bird Nerds  this coming Tuesday due to the dreaded Coronavirus and the lock down regulations in place...

I was speaking to David Barr earlier on this evening, and he has been seeing some tremendous sightings of a Green Woodpecker close to where he now lives close to Lochearnhead.

Peter e mailed me that he has had another new bird on his garden list, an Oystercatcher...
"While I see Oystercatchers passing by on the shore beyond the garden every day, yesterday and today were the first time I’ve actually had an Oystercatcher come into the garden. There was one yesterday feeding on the lawn, and two together today. They stayed quite a while and seemed to be finding plenty of food. Whether they are finding feeding elsewhere more difficult and are driven into the garden in desperation – or whether they’ve just realised that there is plenty of food in this new place, I’ve no idea – but it is fun to watch them plodding about with the Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Starlings on the grass."

Saturday 23 May 2020

Saturday 23rd May

Well the weather has not been that great out on Islay today, wet and very windy to put it mildly. I believe that Dr Matt Jackson had a top wind speed of 60 mph recorded earlier on today!!!

No word, as of yet, as to whether anyone else saw the Hoopoe over in the Ballygrant area today...

Friday 22 May 2020

Friday 22nd May

James today had seen an adult White tailed Eagle on the floods at Gruinart. The weather  has not been that great today as forecasted mainly wet and windy...  Dr Matt Jackson's weather station recorded a wind speed of 59mph just around 6 pm this evening!!!  No wonder Calmac changed the ferry times for returning back to Kennacraig...
Armin kindly sent through this image of a grass snake swimming in the canal seen when he went out on his morning walk on Wednesday.

Another piece of news was that, this morning there was a reported sighting of a Hoopoe over close to Ballygrant.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Thursday 21st May

Speaking to Peter earlier on, and he saw an Osprey overfly his garden in Bruichladdich yesterday while sitting outside having a cup of coffee. It was being mobbed by a bunch of Common Gulls. Peter, like me, wonders how long will it be before we have a pair of Ospreys breeding on Islay???Another interesting piece of information that came out during the conversation was that Peter reckons that the Dave Wood's Common Rosefinch was only the fourth recorded sighting of one on Islay...

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Wednesday 20th May

Good friend Armin was in touch earlier on this evening...
"Not sure if you can see it in the picture, but plenty of insects in the air here at the moment. "  No doubt it will provide some great food for the birds.

This afternoon when loafing around, I saw a Grey Heron, a Kestrel, a Swallow and also 2 House Martins flying over our garden...

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Tuesday 19th May

Gary was in touch late last night/ early this morning.....
"Some birds up at Finlaggan, juvenile Golden Eagle, adult White tailed Eagle and male Hen Harrier doing a food run."

Dave Wood had a young male Common Rosefinch singing away down the Oa at Kinnabus this morning, great image sent through...

Monday 18 May 2020

Monday 18th May

I really must pay a bit more attention when looking for some saved images, as I found the missing image taken by Morag Sinclair and sent to me yesterday by Karen Graham.

I only noticed tonight that apart from the Blackbird in the bath having a wash/ bath that there is also a House Sparrow ? possibly waiting patiently for its turn in the bird bath....

Sunday 17 May 2020

Sunday 17th May

Karen Graham sent an e mail through to me today and had attached an image taken by her friend Morag Sinclair which hopefully I am going to share with you...
Apologies, you will just have to wait until tomorrow to see Morag's image folks as I have gone and put it somewhere that is so safe I can't find it!!!!

Gary was in touch to say that this morning he went through to his kitchen to make a cuppa, and what did he see out of his kitchen window, an Osprey flying overhead.

While carrying out my hour's stint doing a garden birdwatch, I too was well pleased, a new bird noted a Magpie, now 35 species seen in the garden. Today's total for the hour was a grand total of 215 different birds seen in the garden. I am becoming quite hooked on this idea now, say no more.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Saturday 16th May

Dave Wood sent through a couple of sightings seen by himself down on the Oa

"8 Whimbrel and a Spotted Flycatcher on reserve today."

Friday 15 May 2020

Friday 15th May

Lesley was in touch by e mail today...

"A walk along Loch Gorm today as the Osprey wasn’t around. I was not expecting anything new as I think most avian summer visitors have arrived however I did see 2 beautiful female golden/ rich brown Common Adders sunning themselves on the track. They both were at least 18-22 inches long and were socially aware being about 6 feet apart!!! Also there must be some plump Song Thrushes around as there were loads of anvil stones and broken snail shells. A few waders on the shore, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover and about 10 Dunlin."

James also sent through an e mail with his top birds seen today..
" A couple of birds – little and large

A Spotted Flycatcher and White tailed Eagle, both seen from the garden at Mill Cottage."

Thursday 14 May 2020

Thursday 14th May

David Barr was on the phone later on last night and in conversation with him, he told me that earlier on yesterday, he had seen a Whitethroat and also a pair of Stonechats.

Oddly enough, Margaret looked through the window around tea time, and what was sitting on top of the roof of our bird table, surveying all around, almost as if it was the owner of all it could see around, but the pesky Sparrowhawk. It sat there for 2 to 3 minutes before flying off, needless to say it never caught any prey....

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Wednesday 13th May

Oops, I reckon that I should have checked my list of garden birds seen by ourselves, as on checking out our list, we now have amassed a GRAND total of 34 species seen in the garden even including the odd over flying species... really must go and give Gordon a phone...

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Tuesday 12th May

Just like the rest of you out there, we have been holed up since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown... but not to be outdone, I have been doing a daily bird watch in our garden, and surprisingly enough , so far the total number of species seen is 28. Another person who has been doing a similar watch is Gordon Yates with his tally coming to 24, so I must get in touch with him to compare my list against his. I already know that he has had a Reed Bunting in his garden, a bird that I have not seen here...

Monday 11 May 2020

Monday 11th May

Mandy was in touch by e mail earlier on today...
Finally, I have seen the Osprey this morning, on it was on its usual perch in Loch Gorm, preening. 👍 Then later on I watched a male Hen Harrier quartering.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Sunday 10th May

Peter was in touch by e mail earlier on this evening...

"Here are a couple of records from yesterday (Saturday) from Pia as she was walking the dogs at Loch Skerrols:

  • Adult White tailed Eagle low overhead
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming loudly.  Looking back through this spring’s records, it really does look as if this species has now become properly established on Islay. Looking back through the blog for March and April and up till now, there have been records from Ballygrant/Lily loch; Ardbeg; Laphroaig; Foreland and now Loch Skerrols – so there seem to be a few pairs now spread across suitable woodland habitat over the island."

Saturday 9 May 2020

Saturday 9th May

James was in touch by e mail..

"Probably 5 Corncrakes calling at Gruinart. Lots of whitethroats and whinchats about now and I had an Osprey fly over the loch on Thursday."

Mandy e mailed the following to me last night.. 
"Yesterday, I saw a Whitethroat, lots of Sedge Warblers and heard Groppers. This morning, I saw 2 Snipe drumming, and this evening I'm listening to 2 Cuckoos."

Friday 8 May 2020

Friday 8th May

The Corncrakes are back... oh no, sleepless nights. Sorry folks, almost as bad as the other noisy summer visitor the Cuckoo...
Louise was in touch saying the she had head 2 different Corncrakes on Jura, and David Wood has heard one calling down on the Oa, while Ed Burrell heard one at Cornabus, at that is not counting up the other "usual" sites on Islay.

Earlier on this evening, Margaret and myself found 2 Pheasant eggs which appeared to have been predated as there was still a lot of colouring of the egg yolk inside the remnants of the said eggs...  

Thursday 7 May 2020

Thursday 7th May

Matt Jackson sent me through this e mail, earlier on this evening....

"I had 2 Corncrakes calling all night at Rockside. Also a Peregrine at Foreland on my commute to work this morning."

This morning Gary e mailed some sightings through
" A couple of days ago had an Osprey flying south bound over house.

Yesterday had several different warblers through the garden, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat & Blackcap. Golden Eagle overhead when we were having lunch outside.

Red throated Divers still flying overhead moving between lochs."

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Wednesday 6th May

Some more details regarding the Barnacle Goose found by Bob in a field close to his house up behind port Charlotte... It was originally rung as a young bird on the nest on the 19th of July last year, and Bob had found it on the 25th of March this year.. It had travelled/ flown 1071 km over 250 days...

When I was speaking to Bob earlier this evening, he was telling me that he had heard a Lesser Whitethroat singing in his garden this morning as well as 2 Sedge Warblers joining in as well.

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Tuesday 5th May

This morning I received an e mail through from Steve Percival about a Barnacle Goose which Bob had found dead out in a field close to his house up behind Port Charlotte, it had been initially caught and rung last year in Iceland.

More about the  goose tomorrow on the blog, watch this space...

Monday 4 May 2020

Monday 4th May

Lesley tonight sent me through the following sightings of some birds

" Rather late but on Saturday, I saw my first (4) House Martins for the year also a pair of Gannets close into the shore doing a fly past. Plus Common  Sandpiper again, I always forget just how wee they are.

Today my walk was very noisy. Warblers competing with Sedge coming in first, Willow close behind and Grasshopper a poor third. Then there were the Stonechats, dapper Reed Buntings, Skylarks and even Redpoll. All with the ubiquitous Cuckoos and cronking Ravens."


I was Speaking to Distillery Dave this evening, and he was telling me about seeing an Osprey on Loch Earn the other day. Today, he had seen the Green woodpecker as well as 4 different Jays and also a striking male Bullfinch as well as a pair of Greenfinch....

Sunday 3 May 2020

Sunday 3rd May

Good friend Armin Grewe sent me through the following e mail last night... Armin often visits Islay, but not so far this year...

"This morning I noticed a pair of Tufted Ducks during my walk along the canal. While I've seen them on some lakes around here regularly they're fairly uncommon on the canal, where it's mostly Mallards.

Yesterday morning I watched a horse chasing three pairs of Canada Geese on its paddock. When I passed again half an hour later on the return leg the geese were gone, so seems the horse was the winner.

Last Saturday I saw two Pigeons chase a Magpie, first time I think I've seen that happening. Not sure what the Magpie did to cause the chase, they suddenly flew across the path as I was approaching home.

On Easter Monday I saw the first duck with its ducklings for this season, unfortunately haven't seen it since. A few days ago I saw a lone duckling in small stream next to the canal, not sure where mother was or if it was the same family as this was about a mile up the canal.

A few weeks ago on my way to my weekly shop I noticed some roadkill (couldn't make out what it was) on the A4. More interestingly on my way back an hour later I watched a Red Kite unsuccessfully trying to pick it up, it got disturbed by an approaching car. May be it was more successful on a later attempt? (I had to drive on, so couldn't watch if it made another attempt)

Most mornings during my walk I say good morning to the rare Roof Duck (see picture). It's keeping a watchful eye over the canal below the roof where it lives. Sometimes the female comes out as well, but most of the time it's just the male.

Also a few weeks ago a pair of Long Tailed Tits visited me at my fake balcony, I think only the third or fourth time since I live here that I've seen some at my flat. I usually only see Blue Tits and Great Tits from the flat, so that was a welcome change. One even seemed to want to come in, it landed on the railing and then lightly flew against the door.

Other than the birds I've seen a Muntjac and a Roe Deer on the "fenced off" section of the towpath (some old gravel pits on the other side, fence was put in for safety reasons a few years back). 

Saturday 2 May 2020

Saturday 2nd May

 God friend Marsali fromov at Mulindry sent me through her tally from her rain gauge...The rainfall for April here was 19mms or 0.76 inch, the driest for many years but still damper than Kilchoman. See these folk that live up in the rain shadow of the hills....

Oops, I almost forgot our rainfall figures from up here at Shepherd's cottage  to just below 0.5  of an inch. James's tally for the month came to a mere 12mm, so very similar to us at Shepherd's cottage. 

Birds seen today by James included a Whitethroat, Gropper, Cuckoo, Whinchat, and male HH all from between office and Mill cottage.

Mandy e mailed through last night,
"Just found this light blue egg shell on the track - Starling I think. Lots of Linnet on my walk just now, ie a flock of 9 and others along the road. Also Sedge Warbler, Willow Warblers, Mipits etc and a stunning male Stonechat with the female nearby."

Friday 1 May 2020

Friday 1st May

Well, I managed to  find the rainfall for April down at Matt Jackson's weather station  where it came to only 0.45 of an inch.... say no more...a rather dry April for sure...

Speaking to Louise the other day, and she was saying that there have been a few pods of Dolphins seen in the Sound of Islay and also in Loch Indaal as well, being seen of late...