Tuesday 30 June 2020

Tuesday 30th June

Well apart from there being no Islay bird nerds tonight, and another thing to think about is how much rain has fallen in June, well yet again I should be able tell you all about it tomorrow night. Come to think about it, last Friday there was a flash flood in Shore Street in Bowmore, yet no rain at either Rockside or up at Shepherd's cottage....

Monday 29 June 2020

Monday 29th June

Well, another month has almost past, please remember that there will be no meeting of the Islay bird nerds tomorrow night.

James yesterday had a Spotted Flycatcher as well as 5 Redpolls in his garden at Mill Cottage. 

This morning I received an e mail through from Matt Jackson....
"The Corncrake is still calling overnight on calm nights, haven't heard it during the day for a while and there only seems to have been one calling recently - for a while in late May there were two calling nearby.  After the initial interest, here the House Martins didn’t come back to the box sadly."

Sunday 28 June 2020

Sunday 28th June

Well like everywhere else it has been a pig of a day, with heavy squally showers appearing out of nowhere... So just another day spent watching the bird from the comforts of the house...

Karen Graham from Bearsden was in touch with similar thoughts to me...

"Well then, I was working away at the kitchen sink and the Sparrowhawk tore past between house and garage, missing the Willow and the birds in at the feeders. Juv Woodpecker  a regular now and red colour on head turning black but as yet no sign of red at back of neck so probably a female.
 Looks like a few more days of rain ahead. Very heavy just now so not going past door today."

Saturday 27 June 2020

Saturday 27th June

Before I forget, just a wee update about the meeting of the Islay bird nerds which should have been held this coming Tuesday evening, well there will no meeting then due the present lockdown under which, we are all due to obey the advice given, out with my control..

Perhaps, come the end of July, we will be back, able to meet up again, here's hoping.

Friday 26 June 2020

Friday 26th June

Not a lot to report tonight mainly because of the weather today and as I write there is another thunderstorm rolling around, not nice...
James was in touch to say that the Corncrake area surveyed the other night was The Rhinns and the Oa, leaving Bridgend, Bowmore and the Ballygrant areas to be counted.

Better go and press the publish button and turn off the pc before it gets fried..

Thursday 25 June 2020

Thursday 25th June

James was  in touch earlier on this evening... He was telling me that there were only 24 calling Corncrakes heard last night. Not sure whether this was a total for the whole of Islay , or which part was surveyed, I am not too sure, but hopefully I will speak to James again soon. He was also telling me that he had a Tawny Owl and also a Barn Owl on his patch.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Wednesday 24th June

Earlier on tonight, Mandy was in touch to say that she had heard a Corncrake calling away down at Machir Bay this morning.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Tuesday 23rd June

Some news through from BTO relating to the House Sparrow which I had written about on Friday's entry on the blog

"This record was deleted as it was flagged as an inputting error by the other ringer. You should have received an email explaining the situation, apologies that this was not the case. It would indeed be a very unlikely movement for a House Sparrow!"
The "other ringer", I hasten to add was not George but it refers to the person in Somerset who caught and sent the detail into the BTO...

Monday 22 June 2020

Monday 22nd June

Yesterday, Peter and Mark had been out and about looking for any nesting Terns, but sad to say that they did  not have much joy ..."We saw none on McKenzie Island or Orsay off Portnahaven, though there were 2-3 pairs by the old Wave-Gen plant near Portnahaven.  Most notable sighting was a pair of Great Skuas (Bonxies) on McKenzie Island"

Sunday 21 June 2020

Sunday 21st June

James was in touch this afternoon with some birds and a general natter as well...
The other day up at Ardnave, James had counted 80 Barwits and also an Otter was present there as well. James was saying to me that along the Woodland trail at Gruinart, he had heard 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff calling away as well as  3 Goldcrests seen there.

Malcom e mailed me part of an article that was in today's edition of The Times, relating to the recent series screened on the TV of Springwatch..
" Now that Springwatch has been forced to abandon its distracting and cringe-inducing campfire repartee, it has evolved into the fascinating programme that it always ought to have been. Great to see that Chris Packham has been transformed into an adult. Please keep this format".

Saturday 20 June 2020

Saturday 20th June

The last few days, Margaret and myself have been watching a couple of hen Pheasants and their respective broods.. The first  brood of young chicks were 6 in total  with the second brood consists of 10 smaller, younger chicks. The really great news is that so far both broods have not been predated, so we really must try to keep an  eye on them, not just for our curiosity, but we always thought the maternal instinct in Pheasants was really poor... But we will try to keep an eye on them....

Friday 19 June 2020

Friday 19th June

Gary was in touch earlier on this evening to say that the Rose coloured Starling was still present in the same garden in Bowmore today again. He has also been seeing a small group of 6 Chough flying past his house most days recently.

George E. Jackson e mailed some interesting news regarding a House Sparrow which was caught and rung up at Shepherd's cottage on the 6th of August last year as a pulli from one of the nest boxes. It was caught down in Somerset on the 2nd of April, so quite a distance for the wee bird to fly, and better still it was still alive..

Thursday 18 June 2020

Thursday 18th June

Gary earlier on this evening sent through this cracking image of a Rose coloured Starling seen in a garden in Bowmore today....

David Wood had seen a Puffin and also a Bonxie  down on the Oa, also today.

Armin was in touch to say that he had seen a Little Egret  in some trees as he was out on his walk first thing this morning along the canal down beside where he lives in Berkshire. Shortly afterwards he saw a Red Kite , but as it was raining quite heavily, he was unable to take any images of either bird!!

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Wednesday 17th June

Mary Redman e mailed through this morning....

"This week, the Corncrake at Claddach has been calling day and night, and on Monday I saw one near the calling Male, slip into the grass off the road.

Tuesday, a male Hen Harrier hunting near Wester Ellister.  Another yesterday just behind the village.

Snipe have been active drumming at Claddach Loch, but the Lapwing that were so active earlier in spring have disappeared.

And at the weekend, my mum had a close encounter with a Golden Eagle above a sheltered bay on the Croft!

Its dry as a bone here, the grass isn't so lush as last year at this time. This week has been thick fog, apart from blue skies on Sunday where we happily got our sheep sheared! Happy granny too."

Thanks Mary and great to hear from you...

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Tuesday 16th JUne

Louise was in touch earlier on today, to tell me that an Osprey had been seen over on Jura.

Monday 15 June 2020

Monday 15th June

Two e mails in with some birds for you to enjoy....

Peter wrote the following comment..

"Mark Shields reports seeing the “usual” mixed Velvet / Common Scoter pair on the loch at Easter Ellister last Monday (8th). Assuming the Velvet is one of the remnants of the previous wildfowl collection there, it makes the bird apparently well into its twenties!"

David Wood had seen a  "migrant spotted flycatcher and blackcap on the Oa today"

Sunday 14 June 2020

Sunday 14th June

A couple of birds seen by James yesterday.. He saw a Peregrine carrying some prey home to its' young. Back at Mill cottage, he saw his first Siskin of the year.

Saturday 13 June 2020

SAturay 13th June

David Barr this morning had seen a Magpie, a new house bird for his list over at Lochearnhead. Mean while we have been watching a family of Blue Tits, a family of Great Tits and also a family group of Chaffinches all in around the feeders. The other day and ever since then, a family group of Tree Sparrows are regular visitors here now as well. Margaret counted a hen Pheasant out with her brood of 10 chicks, so must keep an eye on the group of them to see how many come through at the end...

Friday 12 June 2020

Friday 12th June

Gary was in touch earlier on to say that he had seen 4 Crossbills on the overhead lines behind his house. They then took off and flew to the wooded area along the road beside the Ballygrant Inn. This evening Gary had a Heron fly over his house...

Thursday 11 June 2020

Thursday 11th June

David Barr was on the phone for a catch up last night, good of you to phone David.. He was telling me that he had seen the Green Woodpecker again yesterday, 2 Jays and also pair of Bullfinches. He had seen them in around his house and garden where now lives in Lochearnhead.

Karen Graham had e mailed though later on last night from Bearsden, and was saying that she has been having a family of Great spotted Woodpeckers on one of the feeders in their garden, but yesterday evening one of the youngsters flew directly to strike one of the windows.. On checking up on the young bird which appeared to be stunned on the ground, when it saw someone coming to check on it, it flew off, none the worse for the experience!!!

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Wednesday 10th June

Lesley was in touch by  e mail last night with the birds seen by her when she carried out her patch from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. Birds seen were as follows...2 Cormorant, 10 Shag, 65 Eider, 10 Mallard, 3 Redshank, 3 Shelduck, 4 Curlew, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Mute Swan, 18 Ringed PLover, 1 Snipe, 4 Dunlin, 21 Oystercatcher and 9 Greylags. She also made the following comments as well....

"The count was very low both in overall numbers and number of species.

There was a fledged youngster in the Ringed Plovers and a pair of Mallard had 5 small ducklings and the pair of Shelducks with 6 small ducklings. I found an Oystercatchers nest above high tide mark with 2 eggs. A pair and a single Redshank both had a nest or young nearby by the way they were alarming until I moved on."
She also saw a pair of Spotted Flycatcher down in the plantation between Island Farm and the top end of the Big Strand and the dunes there...

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Tuesday 9th June

Sarah Bedford yesterday had carried out the WeBS at Gruinart, so here are her "scores on the doors"

Ardnave Loch
Loch Gruinart
Great-northern diver





Tufted duck






Red-breasted merganser

Ringed plover






Bar-tailed godwit



Common gull


Herring gull


Lesser black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull


Common Tern


Arctic Tern





Mute swan
Whooper swan


Little egret


Black-headed gull





Thanks to Sarah for this information.

Karen Graham was in touch with the birds seen by her in her garden yesterday...
This morning an adult GS Woodpecker was on the fat cake and then feeding a youngster sitting onthe willow. The youngster had that light red head feathers which was a subject on BTO email this week end. A first for us as adults in almost daily but never have seen a young one before. Families of blue tits also gathering on willow to be fed by adults. Unfortunately have not good enough camera on phone to get close up. Any movement and the Woodpeckers take off. 

Monday 8 June 2020

Monday 8th June

Bob was on the phone earlier on this evening, and like many others, he managed to carry out his WeBS count today from Port Charlotte back round to Blackrock. So here is the tally for his birds...
4 GND, 3 Gannets, 5 Razorbill, 3 Tysties, 4 Shag, 2 Cormorant, 2 Gbb Gull, 25 H Gull, 30 C Gull,
35 Greylags, 3 Shelduck, 38 Eider plus 13 ducklings, 6 RBM, 1 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper,  2 Ringed Plover, 30 Oystercatcher and 4 Grey Heron. Great speaking to you Bob...

Matt Jackson, on his way to work this morning saw an Osprey carrying a trout perched on top of a telegraph pole on the side of Loch Gorm..

Sunday 7 June 2020

Sunday 7th June

Margaret saw this image taken by Armin, and he was reminiscing about it. It was taken back in June 2013....taken down on Machir Bay...

"They were the exact same that Paul Graham rescued, back in June 2013. I can't remember the exact sequence of events, but I spotted them during my morning walk/run and took a few pictures. As I was on my own I couldn't really do anything about them. I'm not sure if I saw you straight away when I got back to the cottages and mentioned them or not. I know that later in the day you showed them to me and told me that Paul and some friends/family had spotted and rescued them. Imke, my sister, was also there that year (she arrived a few days later) and followed their progress from Germany after seeing them while on Islay."

I remember trying to coax the little blighters to feed and better still we managed to release them all over at Gruinart at the Bird Nerds at the end of July, so all I have to do now is to have a rummage around and see if I took any images of the ducklings being released... watch this space...

Saturday 6 June 2020

Saturday 6th June

Armin sent through the following birds seen down South, not on Islay....

"Interesting sighting this morning: At the wooden footbridge crossing the canal during my daily morning walk I spotted three Grey Wagtails. Usually I only see one or two at that spot. An invader from somewhere else? Will there be a fight over the territory?

In other news:

Yesterday morning, a Heron stayed put on the other side of the canal when I walked past, usually they fly away when I approach.

Today, a Heron flew past me quite close along the canal. It was coming the other way, flying along the canal. When it spotted me it seemed like it was briefly pondering, should I turn off to get away from the human or just continue along the canal? It decided to continue along the canal, giving me a nice view of it flying along."
Thanks Armin...

Friday 5 June 2020

Friday 5th June

Alistair Hutchison e mailed through last night with some sightings seen by himself on the Sorn

"Have come upon pairs of Bullfinches or the same pair over the past couple or three months ( either side of the site of the former Dry Bridge, initially )

Yesterday a pair halfway between East Lodge and the bridge above the Woollen Mill ... but today, at least one parent with at least 2 fledglings .... below the White Bridge heading to the bend above the last Sorn weir.

One dead bird trackside in winter.

Have also seen many more Treecreepers than hitherto ...."

Many thanks to Alistair for your birds, keep them coming through.....

Thursday 4 June 2020

Thursday 4th June

Peter e mailed some sightings ....

"There has been a recent unconfirmed report of a Nuthatch at Bunnahabhain, This would be a first for Islay, so I popped down there to look for it – no luck. There were 8 Black Guillemots in the bay and a lovely Otter fishing just off the pier. Grey Wagtails, Spotted Flycatchers and Goldcrests all present and looking as if they are breeding. I went for a walk to Lily Loch and the deciduous woodland there to see if the nuthatch may have moved to thicker cover, but couldn’t find anything. However, there was a lovely Great Spotted Woodpecker on dead trees around the loch – interesting that the species still seems to be here as it was the first site for suspected breeding on Islay a few years back."

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Wednesday 3rd June

On Monday evening, Sarah Bedford had an Osprey sitting on a telegraph pole over at Loch Gorm, with very close views. Wonderful bird. And I had a Grasshopper Warbler calling outside the former school at Portnahaven. 

James was in touch saying that his rain gauge at Mill cottage came to 1.4 inches for May, more or less the same as up at Shepherd's cottage...  

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Tuesday 2nd June

Well not so much news about our birds on Islay, but seeing that May has been and gone, II have managed to get some rainfall figures for you... Marsali who lives over at Mulindry had a total of 1.9 inches for the month with Dr Matt Jackson's  figure was only 1.34 of an inch  recorded in his weather station, at Rockside road end...So all going well, I will get in touch with some more of our weather watchers for their figures. A wee job for tomorrow to do!!!!!

Monday 1 June 2020

Monday 1st June

Lesley e mailed some more information for me to share with you...

"Not much for today but I was speaking to James this morning and he gave me the heads up that the reserves are now open. The Oa and Gruinart trails open - one way with numbers restrictions etc in place. Gruinart VC, loos and all hides still closed. Anyway I thought I would stop off on the way to Coop and have a walk around. Not a lot to see - it was around midday . I had a Chiffchaff in the Gruinart visitor carpark, Whitethroat singing in a gorse bush and orchids (? early purple - I’m not good on orchids) and Ragged Robins blooming. Plenty of blossom on the Rowan ready to produce food for the migrating Redwings and Fieldfares in the autumn. Life continues."

Lesley was also saying that she walked through the woodland trail under the rookery, and luckily for her the birds did not poo on her as walked past them!!

So, it is good news that the RSPB reserves on Islay are opening up again, even although they are not 100% open as such.

James, himself was speaking to Margaret around tea time confirming about the reserves opening up again. He also was telling Margaret about watching a food pass between a couple of Hen Harriers being seen by himself. Shortly afterwards he saw a Cuckoo.