Monday 31 May 2021

Monday 31st May

Yet another sunny day out here, but there was wind blowing away for most of the day, so the wind chill came into play, at least it has stayed dry...

Out from the crag I counted a total of 18 Chough flying atound and then the resident Ravens flew back in... there was a Lesser Black backed Gull flying over the machir looking out for any poorly lambs but there were none!!! I also watched the Wheatear hopping around on the ground and also saw a pair of Goldfinches which were also present, on one of our hazel bushes!!!  Finally, we saw the Swallows hawking around over the thistles looking for any grubs/ insects which were around.. One thing that is great about the wind blowing is that the midges are not out!!!

Sunday 30 May 2021

Sunday 30th May

Yesterday David Dinsley had seen a Spotted Flycatcher  at Kinnabus on the Oa and he told me that it was present over there all day...

Also yesterday, Margaret had seen a Peregrine Falcon, flying away from here up over the crag...

I was speaking to a visitor this morning, who said  that he had heard a Corncrake calling down towards Machir Bay and that he hd seen some Reed Buntings in the reed bed there as well both yesterday evening.

This morning he had seen a Golden Eagle soaring away high up, when he was out

Saturday 29 May 2021

Saturday 29th May

Yet another top class sort of a day, with the weather that is, mind you not a lot to complain about with the birds seen...

Up here at home, we spent some time out seeing the birds on offer out in the garden and round about as well... it was great to see a pair of Stonechats out flitting around as they do, a Wheatear was seen out on the big lawn looking for some food, a Wren came out of the "hedge", making a brief appearance. On the corvid front, we saw the Ravens out flying around, watched the acrobatic Choughs as they noisily flew around, and also a few Jackdaws present as well, more Swallows have been seen today, but still no sign of any nest building activity as of yet.

Friday 28 May 2021

Friday 28th May

Well, as predicted last night, the rain came through the night last night, not a lot, and then by the time I got up this morning, we had a low mist in for quite some time and after that it turned out a not to bad sort of a day, so I managed to finish off tidy up the tree guards and stakes away.

Margaret saw a Chough with a different colour combination on its legs, completely different to the one that we normally see up here...

Thursday 27 May 2021

Thursday 27th May

The weather over here today, well it has remained dry and I think that come tomorrow there will have been some rain around, not a lot but some...

Bob was in touch today with the "scores on the doors" from his WeBs count from Port Charlotte through to Blackrock which he carried out yesterday....

8 Gannets, 6 Shag, 2 Cormorants, 23 Common Gulls, 5 adult Greylags along with 6 goslings, 22 Oystercatchers, 18 Eider, 4 Tysties, 4 Mallard, 21 Redshank, 14 Dunlin, 14 Dunlin & 6 Herring Gulls.

Gary was in touch this morning, to say that he had just seen 2 Ospreys in fishing in at Loch Finlaggan and also 2 RTDs present there also...

Peter also reported a late sighting of a Mandarin Duck ove at Craighouse on Jura, last week on the 17th.

James had been out doing a Corncrake count, and sent me this list of birds seen/ heard when he was out last night....

"Not many Corncrakes calling at a very cold Gruinart last night, but here are a few other birds

Short eared owls 2 near Loch Gorm

Water rails 4 different birds calling around Gruinart

Peregrine Gruinart

WTE Gruinart"

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Wednesday 26th May

Another glorious day over here with some more of that "wall to wall" sunshine, so we took a daft turn and removed some of the tree guards that have been protecting some of our wee trees for a good number of years... It will certainly look a lot different now!!!

Not much to report on the bird front tonight folks, although we wacthed the Ravens out with their 3 young out trying to stake the crag as their patch.. we also saw a pair of Fulmar out flying along the front of the crag. Another good spot was seeing a few more Swallows out on the wing, so hopefully they might think of getting a clutch of eggs laid.. and there is still plenty of time left for them to get on and do something.

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Tuesday 25th May

"A not bad sort of a day", so we managed to cut the grass, what a difference it makes... 

Chris Brock had seen a GND and a couple of Tysties close by the boat off Port Ellen this morning...😉

Lauren Stewart had carried out her WeBS count on Loch Gruinart yesteday, with the tally coming through as follows...

Shelduck 11, Mallard 6, Eider 2, Oystercatcher 125, Ringed plover 529, Lapwing 2, Dunlin 922, Bar-tailed Godwit 49, Curlew 18, Redshank 4, Black headed gull 18, Common gull 63, Lesser black-backed gull 2, Herring gull 33, Canada Goose 3, Swallow 4, Whimbrel 8, Peregrine 1 & Greenshank 1

Monday 24 May 2021

Monday 24th May

Another mixed day with the weather, net result was that I did not cut the grass today, and another poor pointer was the temperature on Matt Jackson's weather gauge dropped to 2 degrees centigrade last night.... 

Martin Armstrong today was telling me of seeing an Osprey the other day being mobbed by a Hen Harrier....

Chris Brock who is sailing around Islay islay at present with the Majestic Line sent me through the following birds seen today...Today’s birds from my trip, Craighouse to Port Ellen. Sadly no WTE! 



6 Common Tern


1 distant Golden Eagle towards Islay


At sea


Guillemot close by


Shag off Kildalton 


Walk from Lagavulin to Port Ellen



Mute Swan

Thanks for your birds, appreciated as ever...

By the way, before I forget, Margaret saw a Fulmar flying along the front of the crag today...

Sunday 23 May 2021

Sunday 23rd May

Peter sent me through the following sightings...

"Yesterday (Saturday) David Dinsley had a Bonxie circling over Portnahaven.

Today, visiting birder Mark Livingston reports the  mixed pair Velvet & Common Scoter are back yet again on the loch at Easter Ellister - I think that is the first time they've been sighted this season so far."

Up at Mill Cottage yesterday, James had 2 Siskins along with 4 Redpolls on his feeders. Today, when up here, James had seen 2 Willow Warblers out in the garden dipslaying away...While outside, we had a cracking view of a male Hen Harrier as it skirted along the bottom of the crag. We were commenting to James about the lack of Swallows and even House Martins this Spring and he reckons it it is a lack of insects around this year due to this spell of colder weather we are having at present. While chattering away, we also had a Song Thrush out on the lawn howking around for some worms, so possibly it was for a clutch of young that have hatched..

A late entry through from Chris Brock who is curently sailing with the Majestic Line, and tonight they are moored up off Craighouse on Jura and Chris has just heard a Cuckoo calling....

Saturday 22 May 2021

Saturday 22nd May

Another cracker of a day over here again, so that will make up for the stormy sort of a day that we had the other day....

This afternoon, up here, while looking out of the window, we saw a Golden Eagle soaring around on a thermal way above the crag, then shortly after that we saw a Buzzard being harassed by a Raven. To finish off after that, Margarer counted 15 Chough  flying around, noisily and flying around acrobatically as ever! Oh yes, we saw 3 Hares out in the garden munching their way through some fresh grass shoots..

Friday 21 May 2021

Friday 21st May

I received an e mail this morning from Dr BobYoung who is Clive McKay's brother in law if my memory serves me correctly....  He was saying that he had heard a Corncrake calling down in the reed bed towards the Machir Bay.

Tonight, James e mailed the following to me as well...

"A male Garganey was seen in front of south hide at Gruinart on my way home this evening"

Thursday 20 May 2021

Thursday 20th May

Well the weather certainly came in this morning with rain and strong winds as forecast...  just imagine being on the ferry which left Port Askaig and headed up to Colonsay only to return with the same folk and vehicles on, as it did not berth because of the strong winds.. trust that the folk were not charged for this sailing...

Not much to report this evening , mainly because of the weather, but DJ had managed to see a Golden Eagle and also a pair of Chough battling their way in the wind... wonder if he managed to hear any Corncrakes or not???

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Wednesday 19th May

 Another "cracker" of a day with some more wall to wall sunshine, but tomorrow could be completely different, if the forecast is correct with heavy rain and wind forecast, so watch this space tomorrow...

We were having a grand catch up with George E Jackson and his wife Pat this afternoon... George was telling me that he had seen 2 fledged Stonechats being fed by their parents this morning. He has seen a pair of Blackbirds, out feeding their youngsters too. He has also got a Starling that mimics the sounds of other birds calling away as well!!!!

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Tuesday 18th May

 Another "cracker " of a day with wall to wall sun shining all day.... And I did write yesterday's entry on time but I forgot to publish it, honest..    I am human, believe it or not!!!

Today up here at Shepherd's cottage, we have been watching the solitary Fulmar floating along the front of the crag, hearing that noisy Cuckoo and watching the Chough flying around and then around lunch time I briefly saw a Wren, the first for some time, I hasten to add. Other birds seen were some Swallows, but not making any effort to build their nests yet!!!

Monday 17th May

Yesterday, David Dinsley had seen a Ring Ouzel in Glen Astle down on the Oa , George E. Jackson had seen 4 Gannets flying over Loch Indaal yesterday as well. He also managed to ring a few more birds in the morning as well, 8 Siskins, 3 Goldfinches, 2 Chaffinch and a single House Sparrow. Up here at Shepherd's cottage, late afternoon, Margaret saw 2 male Hen Harriers flying along the front of the big crag together. 

Some birds through from today included the following....

David Dinsley had 4 Tree Sparrows at Kinnabus.

James How reports lots of waders still at Gruinart: 2035 Dunlin, 525 Ringed Plover, 95 Sanderling, 1 Knot, plus a Ruff and 2 blackwits on the floods.

Peter had 4 Canada Geese fly over the house - a new "garden tick"

Sunday 16 May 2021

Sunday 16th May

 Some birds seen by Peter and also Roger Broad over on Jura the other day included "loads of Cuckoos, Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warblers, 2 Tree Pipits, the first reported Spotted Flycatcher of the year, White tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles and also Hen Harriers. Yesteday afternoon, they saw 5 Whooper Swans over at Gruinart.

On Friday, James had seen the 5 Ruff over at Gruinart with Gary spotting an Osprey flying over the merse at Bridgend.

Yesterday, David Dinsley had a Tree Pipit down at Kinnabus on the Oa with Ed Burrell's other half seeing an Osprey over at Laphroaig.

Saturday 15 May 2021

Saturday 15th May

George E. Jackson sent me through the following, sorry about the delay in posting this one, George.... 

"Grasshopper warblers (4 reeling away with one seen); Sedge warblers (at least 4 in territories); Willow warblers (of course - a lot, with at least 4 seen); Whitethroats (2 heard, 1 seen); Dunnock; Robin; Reed buntings (3 very bright males); Stonechat (1 behaving very territorially); a Treepipit ; 2 Cuckoos singing energetically; 1 Gt sp. woodpecker drumming; scattering of Redpolls; 4 Blackbirds; 2 Song thrushes; 1 Great tit; Chaffinch; several Goldfinches; Starlings; 1 Swallow; Buzzard; 1 Pheasant heard. No doubt there was more about but it was plenty to keep me distracted.

Driving up to Rockside, there were a good few Swallows (20+) feeding around the edge of Loch Gorm; also a pair of Greylags and 2/3 Common gulls probably on nests.

Back at Coultorsay, the Willow warblers are still singing away in the garden; Siskins still on the feeders, but no Redpolls today. The Starling that was pretending to be a Curlew has changed its tune the last couple of days and it's now doing a convincing Lapwing. There are 3 Starling and 1 Blackbird nests with young, also 2 families of Song thrushes in the garden. Calling Whimbrels been passing over all day."

Yvonne McCrone sent this list of birds seen by her over the past few days...

"By Machrie bay/ Big strand...peewits on nests , 4 choughs feeding plus Jackdaw, stonechat, wheatear wren, pied wagtail and what were the ‘warblers’ making such a fuss in the reeds?

Later at Craigens a Golden Eagle flew over Gruinart where 20 Peewits were resting on the mud flats. Male Hen H. at Gortantaoid.
Evening another m.Hen H. On golf course......hard to concentrate on the golf with a group of 7 whimbrel seeming to follow us around. Female H.harrier 1 mile from Port Ellen

Today same whimbrel? On golf course....geese with multi goslings.

Out the Oa 9 gannets flying round the headland and male H harrier speeding with the wind across the moor.Also wheatear and a wonderful No of skylarks everywhere......we don’t see them in Otterferry."

Friday 14 May 2021

Friday 14th May

 A better sort of a day with the weather at least...

Peter, the other evening had counted a flock of 43 GND off Bruichladdich.

Steve Wrightson had sent me through this image that he had taken out below his house of a WT Eagle as it was in the air spoofing some Greylags into the air....

This afternoon, Bob and Martin had been up at Gruinart where they saw the 4 Ruff displaying... Up here at Shepherd's cottage Margaret had heard the Cuckoo calling away and she also had counted 15 Chough flying around, noisily and acrobatically as well.

Thursday 13 May 2021

Thursday 13th May

A rather early entry for once but here goes... thanks to Peter

"On Sunday, Mark Shields and I were at the RSPB hides and noticed large

numbers of Dunlin distantly on Loch Gruinart. On Monday I'd gone up to

Killinallan and had  a brief attempt to "guesstimate" numbers and came

up with at least 2000 Dunlin and 1000 Ringed Plover. Today, with Lesley

Silcock and Roger Broad over on the island, we went up again and met

Mark who had done a "proper job" of counting and had come up with over

4000 Dunlin and 1000 Ringed Plover - a phenomenal sight with birds

flurrying around right across the upper stretches of the loch - plus a

single Little Stint and quite a few Sanderling and Knot.


We also had an Osprey with a fish going up high harried by gulls, then

eventually coming down onto the flats to eat.


James How reports 4 male Ruff today - 2 Black, one White and one Red all

from the South hide this evening."

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Wednesday 12th May

An e mail in late last night through from Michal telling me that he had seen 2 Ravens and heard a Cukoo up at Kilchoman.. Thanks for your sigtings, Michal and look forward to meeting up with you next time you are over...

Yvonne McCrone sent me this through last night...

"just arrived on the island today, walked round the Oa and enjoyed watching a WTE being mobbed by herring gulls at the cliffs right by the monument. So good to see so many birds everywhere."

Finally, some birds seen by Gary today and also yesterday 

"Osprey filmed fishing at Ballygrant Loch yesterday. Little Egret at Bridgend merse yesterday and today."

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Tuesday 11th May

 A good set of birds seen by Michal between yesterday and earlier on today...

North of Ben Cladville: 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 1Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Cuckoo

Gearach: 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whitethroat,   South of Loch Gorm: 1 Grasshopper Warbler 

Ballimony: 1 Grasshopper Warbler, a Dunnock, Goldcrest, Cuckoo, Merlin                                         

Lossit : 1 Golden Plover, 1Whimbrel

Monday 10 May 2021

Monday 10th May

I was speaking to George E. Jackson yesterday who gave some of the birds seen by himself and his wife Pat over the past few days..... They had the definate view of the Tree Pipit (not 90% sighting of it of it this time!!!) and also 2 Sedge Warblers, in their own garden, they had heard a Cuckoo while Gorge had counted 25 RBMs down off the spit at Uiskentuie and he also saw a single Gannet flying up Loch Indaal. 

Peter, yesterday, had seen 4 Ruff up at Gruinart out fomthe South hide.

Michal had seen the following birds when out and about yesterday as well....

"Had a White tailed Eagle around south Rhinns, Hen Harrier at Cattadale and a Peregrine at Kilchoman"


Sunday 9 May 2021

Sunday 9th May

Peter Gill sent me through the top birds seen by himself this week when over on Islay ...

"White-tailed Eagle. May 1st - one tucking into a Greylag in a field just north of Lyrabus and just yards from the road. Later the same day one high over Octofad,  Both adults and possibly the same bird.

Golden Eagle May 1st. One being mobbed by buzzards over Loch Gorm. May 5th - one over Foreland House area.

 Peregrine. May 1st. One flushed from fencepost at southern end of Machir Bay. May 6th - one at Laggan Point.

 Hen Harrier. May1st/2nd. Frequently from Lyrabus cottage. Also Gruinart and Loch Gorm - all males.

                    May 7th. Pairs  over moors west of Laggan Bridge and, a few miles south, over Glenegedale Lots. Two males on Oa peninsula.

 Whimbrel. May 2nd. Over a hundred birds in three flocks from just north of  Bruichladdie to Octofad Farm.

 Bonxie. May 5th. Latish evening. Two flying south off Port Charlotte.

 Whitefronts. May 4th. Two late birds at Gruinart just before dusk.

 Yellowhammer. May 4th. Two at pheasant feeder at Lily Loch.

 Bullfinch. May 4th. Two at Ballygrant Loch.

 Whinchat. May 1st. One on telegraph wires at Loch Gorm.

 Long-tailed Tit. May 4th. one at Loch Allen

Apologies to Peter, regarding the bold print appearing for his Golden Eagle.

Saturday 8 May 2021

Saturday 8th May

Yesterday, Michal had 2 Cuckoos at Conisby mid morning and then shortly afterwards he had seen 5 Golden Plovers there as well. Over at Laggan Point, he saw a single Whimbrel.

Friday 7 May 2021

Friday 7th May

 Yesterday, Michal had seen the following birds when out and about around the Portnahaven area...

"70 Dunlin, 15 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper, a Lapwing, a Redshank and also 6 Snipe were seen. Up at Easter Ellister, he had a Cuckoo while back at Gruinart Farm, Michal had heard a  Grasshopper Warbler and also a Sedge Warbler there as well."

James, today, had seen the Ruff again out from the South Hide...

Thursday 6 May 2021

Thursday 6th May

Well, another day in, not really that great a day, not exactly a Spring day for sure, with quite a frost overnight... The only good "thing" about this weather is that the birds are still coming in to our feeders, and boy they can't half scoff the food off which we have out for them... But on a negative point is one that George brought up the other night, was that recently he has found a total of 6 dead Chaffinches when he has been out and about on Islay lately, so if any of our readers have seen any other dead birds, please let me know and I will forward your birds to George. Many thanks....

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Wednesday 5th May

Peter along with Lesley had been caught out in the rain that was around yesterday, but undeterred they took refuge in the North hide....  and saw the Ruff (a male with black breeding plumage coming through) presumably the same bird as James saw at the S. Hide later? While at the hide we also watched a Great Skua fly north up the edge of Loch Gruinart.

Some birds through from James, seen today included the following...

a male Garganey, 2 Ruff, a Merlin and also 6 big Canada geese!!!! 

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Tuesday 4th May

Marsali Thomson sent me through her rainfall figures from over at Mulindry for April....

"Our rainfall for April was 15mms or 0.6”.    Last year’s was 19mms, so not too much difference.2

Michal had seen a Goldcrest over at Laggan yesterday and today he heard a Cuckoo at Aoradh and then he saw a Kestrel up at Kilchoman...

This afternoon, while sheltering from the rain down in the South hide, James had seen a male Garganey and also a Ruff.

Monday 3 May 2021

Monday 3rd May

We had a grand old natter and catch up on the phone last night with George E. Jackson who gave me quite an interesting set of birds seen by himself and also seen by his wife Pat. Back on Wednesday, Pat had heard 8 Grasshopper Warblers and also 2 Cuckoos calling at Foreland. On Thursday, George had heard aGreat spotted Woodpecker drumming on a tree there too.  He also had seen a small flock of 10 Redpolls as well.  Other birds seen by George included Whinchat, Stonechat and also a Treecreeper. He was also 90% sure of seeing a Tree Pipit, going by its' jizz when it was perched high up on a tree. Pat, the other day, had seen a Wood Warbler.  George, on Saturday evening, had counted 50 Ringed Plover, 40 Turnstone and also 25 Dunlin down on the spit at Uiskentuie, but saw not so many on Sunday evening, so probably a movement of waders... George and Pat had caught and rung 20 birds in their mist net set up at Coultorsay on Sunday morning, and they included 4 Redpolls and also 4 Siskins.

Another old buddy, who is over on Islay at present is Michal Sur, who is known to many of us as "Mchull". So I got an e mail through from the said Mchull who told me that he had seen a Golden Eagle, 3 Cuckoos, Curlews, Stonechat, Swallows, Grasshopper Warbler and also 2 Grey Herons, all noted from the South end of the Rhinns... All seen yesterday, thanks to Mchull for your birds and no doubt we will be reading some more of his birds when he is over here.

Sunday 2 May 2021

Sunday 2nd May

If memory serves me correctly, I am sure that the tally on Matt Jackson's rain guage came to a mere 0.63 of an inch for the whole of April, another topic relating to the rain that fell during April was that Matgaret was speaking to a farmer from East Lothian on Friday who told her that he is already irrigating some of his arable fields already!!!

Peter yesterday had a single flock of 42 Whimbrel on the shore this evening just north of Bruichladdich. Also, he heard his first Sedge Warbler and Grasshopper Warblers singing yestrday morning just north of Portnahaven.

Saturday 1 May 2021

Saturday 1st May

Peter e mailed some sightings seen yesterday by himself and also one  from David Dinsley

"I was at Laggan Point this morning and noticed a lot of birds on the sea, all the way down Laggan Bay. Most were too far to ID, but I counted at least 21 GND and a total of 26 Long-tailed Ducks closer to me at Laggan Point - one of the higher counts of the winter?

David Dinsley reports a Drake Goosander on Loch Kinnabus"