Thursday 31 December 2020

Thursday 31st December, Hogmanay

 Peter sent me through the following, just after I had written the entry on the blog last night..

"Such nice calm sunny weather prompted me to take a look at Loch Indaal today for waterbirds. I took looks from Nerabus south of Port Charlotte all the way up to Black Rock. There wasn't a great deal happening! Diver and duck numbers seemed very low: circa 15 GND, 8 RTD, around 20 Eider and 10   RBM.  A couple of Black-throated Divers were a bit more interesting. Best sightings were when I met up with Gary who pointed out a family of 3 Otters he was watching on the rocks just north of Bruichladdich. This afternoon, off Port Charlotte an adult Gannet flying up into Loch Indaal was a bit odd for this time of year?"

Karen Graham from Bearsden had a comment regarding Goldfinch numbers...

"Yesterday put out a niger feeder and now watching 5 on it. Their colours are stunning and noticing that the birds are beginning to sing."

Wishing you all out there, a much better year in 2021, I am sure that the vast majority of you will agree with my thoughts on that one, and be glad to see the back of 2020!!! I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the folk who have contributed sightings for me to share with you the reader.....

Wednesday 30 December 2020

Wednesday 30th December

Perhaps last night or even earlier on in the week, I should have mentioned that there would be no Bird Nerds meeting last nigt.. so sorry about that but it might have been good if we could have met up but due to the horrible covid problems, it would have been foolish to have even been thinking about it... We can only hope that we will meet up sometime in 2021... but it will only be when we are 100% rid of the covid problem.....

Tuesday 29 December 2020

Tuesday 29th December

George E Jackson was on the telephone today and was saying to me that, the other day when we had the strong winds, gusting up to 72 mph, that Pat (his wife) had seen 7 Purple Sandpipers braving the elements on the rocks down below Coull Farm, rather you than me Pat!!!! He was also telling me that he has been seeing 3 Snipe on a regular basis down at the the spit that leads out into Loch Indaal along from Uiskentuie.

Gary today had seen a total of 17 Bullfinches between Persabus and Bunnahabhain. At Bunnahabhain itself , he counted  14 Golden Plover flew over heading southwards. Finally he had 1 WTE & 3 Golden Eagles over Sgargh Breac.

This evening, just before writing this piece for the blog, I have been watching a program on BBC1 on the TV about Penguins, a great program all round nothing too much, with the photography being first class...

Monday 28 December 2020

Monday 28th December

 Another dreich sort of a day, no snow over here yet on the West coast of Islay, so not much news through of any birds being seen here today. Having said that, it is not quite true as I counted 6 hen Pheasants and also 5 males out in the garden yesterday!!! One of the females is really a friendly sort as she runs over when I go outside, on most occasions, but as of yet it is me that is a wee bitty scared of letting her feed out of my hand, mainly because of me possibly giving a squeal out if she was to peck my hand when she was getting the food from my hand!! What a wimp!!!!

Sunday 27 December 2020

Sunday 27th December

Lesley sent me though the following earlier on this afternoon... 

"I was out this morning in cold wind, hail, snow & rain (sounds a bit like the 3 witches in the Scottish play) anyway not a lot, but had lovely views of male HH hunting over moorland with dark sky and snow on the hilltops behind."

Oddly enough, I think that I might have been outside at roughly the same time as Lesley, when I was out throwing  some scrog apples for the Pheasants and the Blackbirds to enjoy.... mind you the only piece of Lesley's weather that I had, was quite a few large hailstones clattered down when I was out in it.

This afternoon, we had a Golden Eagle being harassed by 2 cronking Ravens as it attempted to fly along the crag!!!

Saturday 26 December 2020

Saturday 26th December, Boxing Day

I really should get a wee job, mainly  because there did not appear to be many birds seen today to tell you about, because of the foul weather which we have had all day. The wind certainly was strong with the top speed at the back of lunchtime coming to 72mph recorded down at the weather station down at Matt Jackson's house, not sure about how much rain fell, but will check that one out and moan about that tomorrow on the blog..

The ferry "sensibly" has not come or gone today, but it should be putting a couple of extra sailings in tomorrow morning....

Friday 25 December 2020

Friday 25th December, Christmas Day

Not much to report through to you tonight, but if anyone knows where Santa is, then here is an image sent through from a sharp eyed birding friend to me earlier on this evening.. Oops, see this technology, a I could not upload the said image of Santa to share with you, possibly I might master it yet, give it another try tomorrow possibly...

The wind has started to growl outside, so probably we will not get any ferries sailing tomorrow, but we will just have to wait and see what happens.

Thursday 24 December 2020

Thursday 24th December

Got a few sightings for the blog from today, so here goes then..

David Dinsley, who is the warden  down on the Oa with RSPB sent through the following birds..

  • Confiding Glaucous Gull present amongst others Gulls, scavenging during Highland Cattle feed at Kinnabus this morning. No bins or camera to get any decent shots.  Golden Eagle also present near Kinnabus Farm just after 10:30.
  • Iceland Gull present at scallop dump near Kilnaughton after midday.

Today, Lesley had been up at Gruinart for a walk and she saw 2 Bullfinches and 2 Woodcock as well as the  2 Little Egrets there as well.

This afternoon, James had seen 2 Golden Eagles flying over Coull Point and shortly afterwards, he had a male Hen Harrier flying down below Coulerarach. He also told me that on the flats at Grunart that there  is a flock over 1,000 Golden Plover and also over 300 Lapwings seen there at present.

Today, Gary had seen 2 juvenile WTE over Bunnahabhain, 1 Tufted Duck at Ardnahoe Loch, he also had a Ring tailed Hen Harrier at Gartmain.

Before I forget, I wish all our  readers/ followers a HAPPY CHRISTMAS😃

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Wednesday 23rd December

On his "home patch", today, James had seen the following birds on the reserve at Gruinart, a White tailed Eagle, a Golden Eagle, 2 Hen Harriers a Merlin and also 2 Little Egrets.

This morning, I saw  another Whooper swan fly past, a Buzzard was perched up on the old church and then shortly after that I saw a Barn Owl out on the wing.

The weather again has not been that bad, a bit on the cool side but dry again!!!

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Tuesday 22nd December

Looking back on the blog for the figures for the December figures from previous  International  Goose counts and I found the entry and stats from last year were as follows

 32,017 Barnies, 6,325 Whitefronts and also 1,056 Greylags. The count for Dec 2018 came in at 31,623 for the Barnies (+394), 5,843 geese counted for Whitefronts ( +491) with the figure for Greylags was  1,177 (-121). Many thanks as ever to Morven and her team of counters for these figures about the geese, much appreciated... with the tally for Dec 2020 coming through as stated yesterday as 32,107 Barnies, 6,350 Whitrefronts and 703 Greylags.

This morning when out in the garage, I thought that I heard some Whoopers outsde, so a quick look outside and had a small group of 9 flying directly overhead. It was great to see them so close as they were only around 30 feet above me as they flew out over the Machir and out to the sea, no doubt flying on down to Ireland.

Lesley today had been in touch to say that she had "Flocks of thrushes, ie Redwing, thrushes and Blackbirds passing this morning. No Fieldfare seen so far. On telegraph wires and feeding on the fields around the cottage. Lovely. "

David Wood had seen some Iceland Gulls in the harbour at Bowmore today as well as some at Cornabus.  

James last night had  "seen the planets, a pretty good view."

The weather has been a lot better here today, hence the reason for some more birds for you to read about!!!!

Monday 21 December 2020

Monday 21st December

Peter e mailed me through.. David Dinsley saw a drake Velvet Scoter at Bruichladdich yesterday. 

Morven Laurie sent the figures through the figures from the International Goose count which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday last week... 32,107 Barnacles, 6,350 white-fronts and 703 greylags. Thanks to Morven and her team from Nature.Scot for these figures.

James sent some birds through seen at Gruinart today as follows.... 2 Hen Harrier & 1 Merlin. Then this evening while looking for the two planets- Jupiter and Saturn, 2 Woodcock   & 1 Jack Snipe were seen. 

Sunday 20 December 2020

Sunday 20th December

James, today, had 2 White tailed Eagles flying over the reserve at Gruinart both seen from the comfort of his house on the reserve!!!

This afternoon, I was having a natter with Martin Armstrong and he was teling me that he has not seen as many Siskins on his feeders lately, no Greenfinches at all, and the Goldfinches are absent as well.... not for the want of offering them food...

Saturday 19 December 2020

Saturday 19th December

Nothing much to report from here on Islay tonight (again...)😒 Still we appear to be a lot better off than a lot of places regarding the restrictions which are going to come in to effect over the next few days.. But if only some folk had had the sense earlier on, we might not be in the horrible situation which we are all in now.  That is it, the rant for tonight is over 😊

Friday 18 December 2020

Friday 18th December

Another windy day out here with the ferry leaving Kennacraig at 7 am being cancelled and because of that, we had no ferry departing Port Ellen at 09.45. To cap it all our second ferry is on "extended leave" sitting in dry dock although we are led to believe that it should back in service again on Wednesday... Yet again, I will say no more on that matter.

The only other thing I have to report tonight is that I received a reply from Morven Laurie, basically telling me that fingers crossed and we should receive through, at the start of next week, the tally figures from the Inernational Goose count carried out on Tuesday and  on Wednesday this week...

Thursday 17 December 2020

Thursday 17th December

Forgot to mention onthe blog last night that I saw a Raven landing upon the crag during the afternoon, with the odd thing about this was that the Raven landed only about 6 feet away from a Hooded Crow...

Today, out on the feeders, we had another good sighting of a few more Goldfinches  on the various feeders present, not a lot, but but just great to see them, all the same. One bird that is low on numbers, up here at home, appears to be the Chough, although I was told that there are at least a couple of new places on Islay where they have been seen, so possibly all is not lost.

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Wednesday 16th December

Mandy was on the phone today and was telling Margaret that she has been seeing a Coal Tit regularly on her feeders over at Carnduncan. She was also saying that she has another regular bird around, waiting patiently most day for Mandy to come out with her food to feed to the said Blackbird.

Another piece of news, but sorry not about Islay, but this one was about a Sparrowhawk seen up in Ellon which is north of Aberdeen. The story of the said Sparrowhawk was that it was in on somebody's Xmas tree and they had to phone to get the bird rescued. The bird flew into the house, when the folk had opened their French doors to let their dogs out, but by all accounts it was rescued and released no bother !!!

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Tuesday 15th December

 Some birds through from David Barr seen out in his garden in Lochearnhead...

"On Sunday we had 15 Long tailed Tits arrive together !!

Regular visits from 2 Mistle Thrush who seem to think they own the Rowan tree , very vocal and sometimes aggressive to any bird that comes along to feed !

Also a couple of male Bullfinches, absolutely stunning. Female shown up as well."

Today, James had been out helping to count the geese for the International goose count and sent me through the following

"Extra birds from 1st day of goose count:

Merlin - Gruinart

WT Eagle juv – Gruinart

Hen Harrier male - Gruinart

Peregrine Falcon - Gruinart

THe folowing were seen up on Ardnave Loch


Whooper swans 9

Goldeneye 6

Little Grebe 1

The weather turned out a bit better for here at least for today, it was not that bad, but already the first ferry leaving Kennacraig tomorrow has been cancelled. Today,  I even managed to take wee tractor out and top/ cut some of the places that that have not been cut for some time... enough said !!!!

Monday 14 December 2020

Monday 14th Dcember

Well the wind has huffed and puffed for most of the day, not really the best of weather to allow folks to go out and try to do their WeBS counts ... equally at doubt could be the International Goose count which should be carried out over the next 2 days ...

As you may have seen, or rather noticed that I follow the latest sightings on Fair Isle.. and recently have been watching the Great Tit which has been present since the 4th of October, so I am now wondering how long through the winter it will still be there ????

Sunday 13 December 2020

Sunday 13th December

Well, what's new, not a lot as it has been kind of wet and windy on Islay today as forecasted... Thankfully Karen Graham sent me through the following birds seen by her in garden in Bearsden...

"Today, I spotted a Nuthatch coming in to the seed feeder and fat cake regularly. Also 4 Long tailed Tits amongst group of Tits and Chaffies, a colourful male Bullfinch and 10 now regular group of Sparrows on feeders. We have not had as many House Sparrows for years in the garden."

Saturday 12 December 2020

Saturday 12th December

Sorry folks but not much to write about tonight but earlier on this week, David Dinsley had seen/ flushed 7 Jack Snipe, down at Kinnabus which is part of the  RSPB Oa reserve.

Friday 11 December 2020

Friday 11th December

 Well, the weather has been a bit better out here on Islay today... "the lull before the storm," as there is more rain forecast to come again over the next few days..

Today, James had seen 2 Little Egrets, a Peregrine Falcon and also 2 Hen Harriers over at Gruinart.

Thursday 10 December 2020

Thursday 10th December

I must sound like an old tape going round, saying the same things as last night.. The weather has not been that great out here again especially late afternoon when it started to rain coupled with the wind, not nice....

The only birds that we have been seeing today are the 6 hen Pheasants and also 3 male birds who are never that far away especially when food is on offer. On the bird feeders, the Goldfinches are around as well as the Chaffinches, some Blue Tits and a few Great Tits. The House Sparrows, Dunnocks and also around about 10 Blackbirds are often seen out on the grass, with the odd Wren skulking around in the bushes too.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Wednesday 9th December

Yet again a dreich kind of a day out here again, and to cap it all Calmac have announced this afternoon that we are down to a single ferry timetable until next Friday,as our other boat has broken down again, say no more on that topic please...

Last night I forgot to mention that we had seen a Peregrine scream across the garden and on its way out towards the machir.. This morning we had a small flock of 14 Rock Doves down on the ground, close to where we have had some "wild flower plots" in other years... 

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Tuesday 8th December

Gary was on the phone at around lunch time today and he was saying that he had just had seen 3  Canada Geese amongst the Barnacle geese over at Eorrabus.

Meanwhile James had seen 2 Little Egrets over at Gruinart, out on the loch.  

Monday 7 December 2020

Monday 7th December

 Peter sent me through the following e mail earlier on...

"A lovely day yesterday dragged me out and about....

I did a count of Loch Indaal from Bruichladdich to Blackrock in the morning here are some of the birds:

RTD - 38

GND - 13

R B Mergs - 28

Slav Grebe - 20

Eider - 51

Long-tailed Duck - 16

Common Scoter - 70

There were also 8 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich

In the afternoon Peter had a quick look at Loch Skerrols:

Tufted Duck - 45

Wigeon - 45

Teal - 25

All the Whooper Swans seem to have departed now with just Mute Swans remaining"

Gary today had seen the following birds....

"Some sightings from today, 17 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Bruichladdich, 10 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks in front of the mini market.

At Carnain 52 P b Brent Geese, 21 Long tailed Duck, 4 Scaup, 32 R b Mergs, 11 GND, 7 Red throated Diver. Numerous Meadow & Rock Pipits at Smelly Corner feeding on bugs and also 6 Pied Wagtails.

At home 7 Bullfinch in the trees and willows behind the house coming to the big bird table.

But the best was seen later on.... A Kingfisher flying along shore from Carrabus burn mouth and towards the merse. Couldn’t find it on the merse."

Sunday 6 December 2020

Sunday 6th December

Gary, e mailed the following birds... "

Some sightings from today at Finlaggan,

1 Merlin, 2 Peregrines, 2 Buzzards, 1 male Hen Harrier, 1 juvenile Golden Eagle and an adult White tailed Eagle.

At home a male Redpoll investigating the big bird table

Over at our home, it has been a bit cooler, but the birds have been glad of the food on offer. 
Earlier on this evening we were outside watching the International Space staiton, fly past. and all going well should see it again shortly as it only takes 90 minutes to orbit the world...

Saturday 5 December 2020

Saturday 5th December

Speaking to James this afternoon, and he was telling me that he has not seeen a Lapland Buntig over at Gruinart so far this year, but told me that he reckons that there is a flock of over 200 Linnets seen up on one of the cover crops up towards Ardnave, but not much sign of any Twite at Gruinart, the opposite to what is present down on the Oa... James was also telling me that there is quite often a sighting of a White tailed Eagle being seen regularly each day at Gruinart.

Another topic of conversation was birds on his feeders, so he was saying that Chaffinches, Greenfinches along with some Goldfinch are persent most days along with Blue, Great and Coal Tit as seen as well as 2 House sparrows... The number of Goldfinches seen are not as high as in previous years, but commented on more Coal Tits being in at the feeders!!!

Friday 4 December 2020

Friday 4th December

Peter kindly sent me through the following e mail last night ...

"I had a quick venture out on Thursday afternoon:

 63 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal - mostly at Smelly Corner.

 Loch Skerrols held just 5 Whooper Swans, 25 Mute Swans, 35 Tufted Duck and 65 Wigeon."


Dave Dinsley, who is warden down on the Oa reserve on Islay, had seen a Lapland Bunting with the Twite at Kinnabus also yesterday. Dave Woods managed to relocate the bird later on yesterday, but as far as I know, mainly because of the weather, it has not been seen again today. The weather was the main reason why the ferry has not sailed today at all... and around 9am today Matt Jackson's weather station recorded a wind speed of 55 mph...

Thursday 3 December 2020

Thursday 3rd December

Nothing to report (again !!) on the bird front, partly due to the simple fact that it is 11pm and I have just travelled back home to Islay, the roads coming home were not that good and then we heard that the ferry was being diverted to Port Ellen!!! Then once we got home, we had to try to empty out the van out, so eventually I have now stopped and will finish of that job tomorrow.... and get some birds looked out for you all to be envious of... I hope...

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Wednesday 2nd December

 Marsali Thomson kindly sent me through the rainfall tally for November from her weather station over Mulindry, " 199mms or 7.96”....That seems an awful lot more than at Rockside!"

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Tuesday 1st December

Well another month in, and I have figures for the rainfall in Matt Jackson's weather station, which came to 4.15 inches in all for the whole of November down at his house at Rockside roadend.

Meanwhile Karen Graham sent me through some images which she had taken of a pesky fox up a tree in her garden this morning, it was in at the nuts on offer before dropping back down to the ground...