Sunday 31 January 2021

Sunday 31st January

I think that yesterday must have been an "Eagle watching" day as James had seen 3 White tailed Eagles and also 3 Golden Eagles when out on the reserve at Gruinart... 

Saturday 30 January 2021

Saturday 30th January

I realise that it is not the end of the month yet, but today I emptied out our rain guage as it was needing to be emptied out with it reading over 5 inches but like me, you will have to wait until Monday's entry here on the blog when I can give the exact figure for the whole month...

Today, David Livingstone had seen 3 White tailed Eagles soaring above Kilnaughton Bay. Dave Protherough had also seen 3 White tails spoofing the geese along the Cornabus valley later on, so presumably they were out causing some mischief... Mid afternoon, Peter had 2 White tailed Eagles flying North over his house at Bruichladdich. I also heard that DJ had seen a couple of Eagles out from his house around breakfast time, today....

Friday 29 January 2021

Friday 29th January

I hope that seeing the group of 16 Chough flying into the roost last night was not a "one off "event, as tonight we saw less than half that number flying in, but we will try to keep an eye on the situation and we try to keep you posted on what numbers that are around... 

James e mailed through this morning to say that he had seen the 2 Little Egrets on the reserve at Gruinart yesterday. 

Thursday 28 January 2021

Thursday 28th January

Well, what's new? The rain is tipping it down outside with it clattering down on the conservatory roof... what a racket!!!!

Yesterday, James had seen a Glaucous Gull down at Uiskentuie.

Peter yesterday afternoon, had ben out a stroll down at Smelly corner, but had not seen many birds but he saw a bat flying around. "It was feeding actively, low over the water - presumably plenty of emerged flying insects for it to feed on in the suddenly mild conditions"

Late afternoon, we counted 16 Chough flying into the roost, the largest number of Chough seen for some time.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Wednesday 27th January

Almost fotgot to mention that Margaret had seen a probable White tailed Eagle out on the wing, seen over the radar masts along at Kilchiaran yesteray.

Today, she had seen 2 Song Thrushes out in the garden as well as the usual 6 Blackbirds.

The weather has been a bit on the odd side today, up here at least, it was dry and there was a low mist around for most of the time, but I took the chance and took my tractor out with its mower on it and cut the grass down, where I was in the habit in other years of growing the bird seed crop for the birds to feed on.

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Tuesday 26th January

Mark yesterday sent me through the tally count of birds seen the other day when he carried out the WeBS count at Gruinart...

"Dunlin 220, Golden plover 820, Mute swan 2, Teal 582, Mallard 115, Pintail 118, Wigeon 154, Shoveler 57, Whooper swan 21, Lapwing 472, Curlew 106, Little egret 3, Heron 4, Snipe 4, Little grebe 1"

Also yesterday, Margaret was watching a couple of Golden Eagles spoofing all the geese over at Coull...

Monday 25 January 2021

Monday 25th January

 Well, got the rest of the birds that Peter saw yesterday when out... 

"Another lovely bright day! Did a count of some of the birds on Loch Indaal from Bruichladdich round to Bowmore - so just the top half and not all species counted. Was looking for white-winged gulls but no luck...

GND - 9, RTD - 17, Slav Grebe - 7, Goldeneye - 13, Long-tailed Duck - 4, Common Scoter - 32

Eider - 60, Red-breasted Merg - 26, Teal - 30, Mallard - 105, Wigeon - 230, Pintail - 5, Shelduck - 12

Brent Goose - 6, Oystercatcher - 120. "


Paul Graham was telling me earlier on today, that he had seen 2 White tailed Eagles soaring overhead over at Ardnahoe, ealier on at the start of the month.

Meanwhile, Margaret saw a male Hen Harrier out from our house, so wonder where it has been as it is the first one seen up here for a long time...

Sunday 24 January 2021

Sunday 24th January

 James gave me some birds seen by himself over the past few days...

On Friday, he saw 2 White tailed Eagles and also a Golden Eagle when he was over at Bunnahabhain. 

Yesterday, over at Gruinart, he had counted 13 Whooper Swans, another W t Eagle, a Sparrowhawk, a male Hen Harrier and also he had a Little Egret.

This morning, James had a Woodcock up at Ardnave, a Sparrowhawk at Gruinart and finally he saw a Merlin along at Sunderland.

Peter had been out and about today and his top bird was a Kingfisher seen down close to Bridgend.

Before I forget, there will be no meeting on Tuesday evening of the Islay Bird Nerds because of the continual lock down still in place due to the coronavirus.  

Saturday 23 January 2021

Saturday 23rd January

Yesterday morning, Christine Menzies had seen 2 White tailed Eagles perched on some trees between Port Ellen and Bowmore. 

This morning up here, we watched the "local" Buzzard perched on top of one of the electric poles out in front of the house. After a wee while, it took off and I saw it fly behind the old church and then it perched up on the electrity pole down beside the cottages.

Friday 22 January 2021

Friday 22nd January

Last night after writing the blog, I hasten to add, I had a right good natter with George E. Jackson, a great time to have a catch up under these  tough conditions that we are all being put through at present.... A couple of birds that crossed through our mutual conservesation was the lack of Chough and also the fewer number of Hen Harriers seen around here of late... The Chough are very noticable by their absence in that we do not see as many as in other years, and it is a lot quieter as well!!!! The Hen Harriers are down in numbers, I am sure, but who am I to say for sure ???

Thursday 21 January 2021

Thursday 21st January

 George E. Jackson e mailed, last night, the following birds seen by him....

"Yesterday evening, driving back from Bowmore, a Barn Owl flew across the road and into the Islay House trees then, few hundred yards further on, just before the Coulabus junction another one flew into the Whin Park trees. Possible pair if they are/get together?

This morning in the frosty sunshine, a pair of Starlings investigating a potential nesting hole in a shed wall. Later, a RTD and a GND just offshore at Blackrock."

This morning, up here at home, Margaret saw a Golden Eagle flying along the front of the big crag, and then it was being "escorted" out of there by a Raven, boy it was not amused by the Eagle flying past in its territory....

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Wednesday 20th January

Back on Monday, Val Peacock had seen a Little Egret fly past Port Charlotte, the second one that she has seen from her house down in Port Charlotte this season. 

Today, Peter saw a group of 15 Pale bellied Brents fly up Loch Indaal and land on the water directly out from his house down in Bruichladdich.

Bob and Pat today had carried out their WeBS count from Port Charlotte back round to Blackrock, so here are the birds that they saw... 1 Grey Heron, 8 Cormorant, 5 Shag, 5 RTD, 10 GND, 1 BTD, 13 Eider, 2 Mallard, 4 L t Duck, 1 Gbb Gull, 29 H Gull, 13 Common Gull, 10 R B M, 19 Oystecatcher, 11 Ringed Plover, 7 Dunlin, 19 Oystercatcher, 1 Razorbill, 5 Greylags and a single Barnacle Goose seen together, and they also saw the 15 P b Brents seen by Peter as above.

Late afternoon, we had 2 different groups of White fronted Geese each of around 50 birds seen over at Coull.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Tuesday 19th January


Morven Laurie and her team carried out the International count last week on 12th and 13th January. Weather on 13th was very poor but we’ve adopted the following totals: (This only applies to 2021)

 Jan 2021                    Jan 2020                 Jan 2019               Jan 2018

37,364 barnacles             37,495                      35,251                 37,487

5,493 whitefronts              5,588                       6,256                    5,077

637 greylags                        730                           616                       597


As ever thanks to Morven and her team for sharing the figures with us.

Monday 18 January 2021

Monday 18th January

Well, yet another dreich miserable sort of a day here again, at least we seem to have not got any snow, as of yet...

No birds to tell you about today, but I have just been on my first ever "Zoom meeting", all about geese hosted by my old mate, Ken Reeves. The only problem was, as I was a bit late in trying to set my computer, they all heard me but could not see me !!!! Probably a blessing in disguise... Apart from that  we all seemed to enjoy Ken's presentation.

Sunday 17 January 2021

Sunday 17th January

Well another wet and windy day over here again.. but on the positive side of things, we managed to get the emails working yet again...

So, Peter had sent me through some sightings on Frday evening, seen by David Dinsley 

"3 White tailed Eagles  at Gruinart, plus 3 Little Egrets, 2 on Loch Gruinart and 1 in field below Visitor Centre."

Saturday 16 January 2021

Saturday 16th January

Another rather windy day over here again, what's new???  I can hear you all muttering.... Just as I came over to write the entry for the blog, the wind really got up, with the rain clattering against the big windows on the gable end, what a noise and then I looked out the kitchen window to see and hear that the wind had set the alarms off on the Mitsibushi...

George E. Jackson was telling me over the phone this morning that his son, Matthew had been out for walk along the North coast of Islay, when the weather was a lot better the other week and had seen a total of "at least 9 Eagles" devouring into a goat carcase, 3 White tails and 6 Golden Eagles. George was also saying that he had seen 7 Scaup down at Blackrock on loch Indaal earlier on this week.

Friday 15 January 2021

Friday 15th January

Well the weather forecast was correct this evening especially as the wind has picked up considerably  and not just huffing and puffing, more a growling sort of a wind with the odd blatter of rain clattering into the windows. The evening ferry from Kennacraig was cancelled and tomorrow already the ferry coming to Port Ellen has been diverted to Port Askaig.

Yesterday, I received an e mail through from John Miles who told me that the group which should have been coming over to Islay at the end of the month have cancelled their trip to here because of this dreaded Covid disease. So, no doubt there will plenty of others not coming to do some birding when visiting Islay.

Thursday 14 January 2021

Thursday 14th January

 A much better day with the weather again, with not a lot of rain falling compared to yesterday.. having said that it has just started to rain outside again, spoke too soon....

Some birds through from James, all from yesterday included the following.... 2 Goosanders seen down on the burn at Uiskentuie, 2 Merlins seen over the flats at Gruinart with the Little Egret and also a Greenshank present out on the estuary at Gruinart.

This afternoon, Margaret and myself went down on to Machir Bay for a constitutional walk as the weather was up for it.... the only bird spotted was a Hooded Crow

Wednesday 13 January 2021

Wednesday 13th January

Well, many thanks are due to Peter who came to my rescue earlier on today, a simple tweak on various bits and bobs on the pc and once again all going well it  has enabled me to access my emails again. I should say that it was Pia that actually solved the problem not Peter, many thanks...

Back on Monday, I should have got this e mail through from Karen Graham, but because of my pc I only received it through late this afternoon, apologies to Karen, my fault...

"Watching a Treecreeper earlier and the Nuthatch. Wet and sometimes windy day. Such a change from the sun and snow."

Yesterday, Peter had walked up past Killinallan to Gortantoid, a round trip of around 6 mles or so, but he at least had seen a Greenshank while out.... This morning, just before lunchtime he saw a pesky Sparrowhawk up here.

 I spoke to James, just after 9pm last night, and he gave some birds for the blog...

"2 Slavonian Grebes seen down on Loch Indaal, a Little Egret, a Peregrine Falcon, a White tailed Eagle and also a Sparrowhawk all seen on/over the reserve at Gruinart." 

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Tuesday 12th January

Another "light day" on the bird front as I am unable to get my emails to work, not receiving any, nor am I able to send out any to folk either, so if you have any birds seen, feel free to give us a shout on the phone...

Looking out mid afternoon, and we had a Buzzard perched upon one of the poles that bring us our electricity to us here. Then just after 4 pm, Margaret saw a juv. Golden Eagle flying along the front of the crag, great to see it before it veered up one of the gullies...

Monday 11 January 2021

Monday 11th January

 Not much on the bird front on the blog at least, and I have to put it down to 2 completely diffrent reasons... Firstly, the weather has not been that great out here today, not leading to many birds being seen and the second possible reason is that the old pc  could be starting to play up as I have not reeived any e mails through from anybody since lunchtime...

But one peson, Peter was in touch before "lockdown" to say that David Dinsdale had a Snow Bunting seen down at Kinnabus, on the Oa, today...

Sunday 10 January 2021

Sunday 10th January

James was in touch with some birds seen over at Gruinart... 

Yesrerday, he had seen the Little Egret and then today James had a White tailed Eagle seen out on the wing over the reserve. In his garden he saw a couple of Long tailed Tits on his feeders and shortly afterwards he saw a Treecreeper on one of his trees in his garden.

Saturday 9 January 2021

Saturday 9th January

 Peter kindly sent me through some sightings, so here we go...

  • Thursday: found a female Velvet Scoter dead on the beach towards Uiskentuie
  • Friday: did a cycle ride around Loch Gorm and noticed 220 Golden Plover in a field at Ballinaby
  • Saturday: Fiona McGillivray saw a Red Kite over Conisby this morning & Dave Dinsley reports seeing  a Snow Bunting in Kinnabus farmyard, down on the Oa, this afternoon.

Friday 8 January 2021

Friday 8th January

Well, the bitterly cold weather is still here, but thankfully no snow here as of yet, out on the West coast of Islay, with the pond still with a skin of ice on it yet, not sure how thick it is, but I am not going to test it out, no comments please!!!

This morning, we had a Buzzard sitting on top of the old church next door to us, makes a change from the noisy Ravens!!!! This evening, we had a Barn Owl sitting down outside in the garden for a couple of minutes before flying off to look for something for it to eat. Around midday, I saw a Woodcock on the road between Rockside and Sunderland Farm, and no I did not hit it, as it was reluctant to move off the road... Old story, right place, right time, me driving too!!!

Thursday 7 January 2021

Thursday 7th January

Good friend, Karen Graham from Bearsden sent me through this e mail first thing this morning ...       

"Just cleared some snow as Blackbirds were waiting all round for some breakfast."

Over here on Islay, at Shepherd's cottage, we have had no snow but we certainly have had a snell or cold wind around for the most of the day. I am not sure of exact numbers of birds around, but ceratainly not the number of finches present at present. Having said that, I read earlier on this evening that the long staying Great Tit is still present on Fair Isle!!! 

I forgot to mention on the blog about James having Snowdrops out flowering in his garden over at Gruinart, think that was about a week ago or so when he told me that, sorry James!!! 

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Wednesday 6th January

 Karen Graham from Bearsden e mailed the following to me today...

"Looking out this afternoon to see male Goldcrest with his orange "streak" and a female Goldcrest both on fat cakes on bush close to  the dining room window. 

So an exciting addition to the garden bird sightings.  Just hope they are here for RSPB garden bird watch at the end of the month."

Today, Peter had been out and he had walked the length of the Big Strand from Kintra to Laggan today. Not much to report - 10+ Long-tailed ducks (mostly bright males) were offshore with 20+ Eider and 2-3 each of GND & RTD. A single Razorbill was also offshore.

Up here at home today, I saw the local pair of Chough with them both looking a picture of health with nice shiny coats. I saw them both together, one time before Xmas and they were looking a bit under the weather, so it was good to see them in the condition they were in today.

Tuesday 5 January 2021

Tuesday 5th January

Well, another day in lockdown, as long as folk would follow the guidelines set out by the powers that are in charge...

James was back at "work" again today and was out doing some surveys on the reseve at Gruinart, and he 

sent the following birds that he had seen....

"White tailed eagle Juv – 1 caught a Barnie over the Flats

Golden eagle juv – 1 chasing a Merlin back of Flats

Merlins a total of 2 over whole of Flats

Hen Harrier 1 F over Flats

Floods are pretty much frozen"

First thing this morning around about 9am, we were fortunate to see a Golden Eagle sitting on top of the crag, what a start to the day!!! The wee pond is frozen here as well...

Monday 4 January 2021

Monday 4th January

Karen Graham e mailed me later on last night to tell me that a friend of hers, Morag Sinclair who lives near to Paisley, well Morag also had seen a Goldcrest in her garden yesterday as well...

This afternoon, we had a Buzzard perched on top of the electric transformer pole out in our garden!!!

Sunday 3 January 2021

Sunday 3rd January

 A better day out here again with the weather at least, hardly any wind to speak of, no rain, and sunny but still not very warm... the Council gritter lorry drove past  here at 8 am this morning...

James gave me the following information regarding the rainfall over at his house  which came to 1532mm or 60.3 inches for the year. Today James had a White tailed Eagle at Gruinart and then later on, this afternoon he saw a Golden Eagle over at Sanaigmore... No such joy for us up here at Kilchoman...

Karen Graham from Bearsden sent this e mail through this afternoon...

"First sighting this year of Male Goldcrest with his bright orange stripe on head. Nuthatch now a regular on feeders. Trying to count blue, great and coal tits on feeders but they flit around so quickly. 15+ at least, 8 blackbirds, the house sparrow gang, few chaffies and wood and feral pigeons plus 7 starlings who have today found the feeders. GS  Woodpecker also making daily raid on fat cake. "

A wee while later on, Karen sent this interesting e mail through

"It has just been like the New Year looney dip here in bird bath with the starlings in and water everywhere but about 5 sparrows on rim waiting their turn. Forecast is for sleet and snow later. Certainly greying over and not so cold but noticibly brighter for longer this last few days. After I sent the email had magpies, jackdaws and a crow in and goldfinches. Looking back first sighting of Goldcrest last year was 4th April." 


Saturday 2 January 2021

Saturday 2nd January

Margaret this morning had a juv White tailed Eagle, 2 Golden Eagles which were in turn being mobbed by a couple of Ravens, all seeen out over the crag from the warmth of our house... I can vouch for her sightings as I saw them as well.... later on I saw a Buzzard fly past, a different bird completely, especially the size of it!!!

Marsali had a Sparrowhawk fly through her garden at Mulindry the other day.

Lesley, this afternoon had seen some RBMs off Backrock and she also counted 7 Long tailed Ducks there as well.

Friday 1 January 2021

Friday 1st January, New Year's Day

A few birds through from James today, yesterday he had seen  2 White tailed Eagle, a Golden Eagle and also a Little Egret all on/over the reserve at Gruinart. Today, James hed seen another White tailed Eagle over at Gruinart.

Meanwhile Margaret had seen a Golden Eagle soaring around when looking out towards Coull from here at home, great to watch...

Marsali kindly sent me through her figures for the rain that has fallen in her rain gauge over at Mulindry.

"The rainfall for December was 195mms or 7.8”  and the total for the year was 1711mms or 68.4” and it was the wettest since 2014 – so much for the weather being drier!"

The figure down on Dr Matt Jackson's weather station came to 4.2" for the montth and his tally for the year came too only 42". The figure for December up here came to 5.2" so must get my brain in gear and add up the total for the year...