Thursday 30 September 2021

Thursday 30 September

A lot of rain today, which is welcome on the one had after a very long dry spell, it might be nicer if it was spread out over a few weeks.

Exciting news from Tiree:  a rose-breasted grosbeak. A North American species and a first record for Argyll.  Though there is a lot more ground to cover, I'm sure everyone will be searching for any rarities on Islay.

Hannah found 2 whooper swan at Loch Skerrols. At RSPB Loch Gruinart, James counted 172 barnacle geese, 130 pale bellied Brent geese, 245 golden plover, 75 wigeon and 2 pintail.

Just in from walking the dog round Portnahaven and Port Wemyss. The seals are fairly howling tonight! I spotted my first seal pup of the season earlier at Claddach. Soon McKenzie Island will be speckled with the white pups high up on the grass, always amazing how high up some of the mothers will go for safety. If the past few years are anything to go by, the sea eagles will return to mooch for any losses.

As we see off the end of September, there is still time to tap into your artistic side or recall a summer adventure from your photos and enter the Islay Natural History Trust Community Peatland Project.  Poster below.

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Wednesday 29 September


Thank to Dave Wood for sending the above photo of a pair of young white-tailed eagles squabbling over scraps at the head of Loch Indaal not far from the road.  A peregrine was nearby also.

At the Kilchoman reserve this morning, Margaret spotted a sparrowhawk sheltering on a post by the willow.

At Claddach this morning, a chaffinch and a robin nipped into the shrubs by the house.  Makes you realise the importance of garden shrubs and willow plantation on blowy days like today on Islay.  While 9 golden plover flew overhead at the bay. 

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Tuesday 28 September

 Windy day with showers in the afternoon, but bright and sunny for the most part.  First real nip in the air I've felt this season, time to dig the gloves out!

It was the day for the pale bellied Brent geese - Gary counted 5 at Gartmain; Peter and Mark had a high count of 191 at Loch Gruinart with 5 barnacle geese. By the evening they had nearly doubled with James counting 355 Brent there. 

Peter also counted further barnacle geese - 14 at Gartmain and 11 towards Bridgend.   Plus a nice count of 140 skylark feeding in the barley stubble at Craigens.  

Golden plover numbers are rising too - 109 at Loch Gruinart and 19 on the Oa.  Dave also noted at the Oa 1 backcap, one goldcrest and one wheatear.

Visiting birders Mick and Lorraine Highfield sent in their sightings from today - one white-tailed eagle to eat west of Loch Gruinart, then an other 2 on Nave Island. Their walk round Ardnave was rewarded with twite at various points, with their highlight being 40 sanderling and 3 ring plover at the point.  Back at the RSPB reserve walking to the Hide rewarded them with both male and ring-railed hen harrier. 

Monday 27 September 2021

Monday 27 September

 Thunder and lightening with lashing rain as I write tonight!  Fierce weather as we approach the end of the month.

This morning at Claddach, on the south-west tip of the island, a nicely marked wheatear was on the track when I arrived.  Driving out of Portnahaven a sparrowhawk was hunting on the road near the mast.  When I was driving home I counted 7 swallows at Easter Ellister and a further 12 at Wester Ellister.

Mary-Ann counted 16 red-breasted mergansers at Kildalton. Over on Jura at Gatehouse, Louise had close encounter with 2 white-tailed eagles overhead casting shadows over her!

Mark was out an evening walk near the head of Loch Gruinart this evening and counted 106 pale bellied Brents. 

Sunday 26 September 2021

Sunday 26th September

Mark Shields and I managed an hour checking for birds at the top of Loch Indaal this afternoon before the heavens opened and the rest of the day continued with a fairly continual downpour of rain.

The main species of interest were a good number of 78 Pale-bellied Brent Geese mixed in with the first large arrival of Wigeon this autumn/winter - 191 in total. These were all feeding in the shallows, whilst further out into open water there was a quite high count of 66 Red-breasted Mergansers. Other species noted were 29 Mallard, 200 Oystercatchers, 56 Curlew, 17 Bar-tailed Godwits, 14 Black-headed Gulls and 166 Greylags.

James How has also been out and about and saw a White-tailed Eagle over Nave Island.

Saturday 25 September 2021

Saturday 25th September

 It was not too bad a day for mid/late September, with little or no rain, light/moderate winds and a bit of sunshine here and there.

The only birds recorded today were from Mark Shields, relayed to me in secret code (aka British Trust for Ornithology species names). He either did it because he assumed I knew what he meant (I didn't), or simply to annoy me. Having now deciphered his message, he reports from a brief look on Loch Gruinart the following:

33 BY (Barnacle Geese); 27 GJ (Greylags); 18 GV (Grey Plovers); 14 BW (Black-tailed Godwits); 86 L (Lapwings) plus plenty of DN, SS, RP and RK. I'll let you ponder what the last 4 are and tell you tomorrow.

Just for the record I counted about 500 SG on the wires by the coastguard cottages at Machir Bay yesterday late afternoon - I'll let you work that one out from the picture below!

Friday 24 September 2021

Friday 24 September

An other blowy day here today, though dry for the most part.  Still very mild too so a lot of late grass yet -  the mower can be stashed away just yet.

Margaret enjoyed watching a stoat jumping around the garden at Kilchoman, but was disappointed it didn't put the same energy into catching the rabbits there! We only get stoats on Islay, no weasels so there is no confusion. Although if you do want an easy way to tell them apart, weasels are weasel-y recognised and stoats are stoat-ily different. (Sorry).

George had a tawny owl last night just north of Erasaid on the Uskenui-Gruinart road.  First he had a good sighting of it flying from open fields into the shelter-belt of trees, then later he heard it calling from the same area.

David reported a merlin at Kinnabus on The Oa. 

Thursday 23 September 2021

Thursday 23 September

Nice westerly blast today which brought some activity with it.  Round the village here I watched a merlin harass the starlings, but flew away unsuccessful. Later in the afternoon c.20 pale bellied Brent flew south over the house Port Wemyss towards Ireland.

Ed had a green sandpiper at Cornabus, accidentally flushed from a small pond when walking the dogs. 

Dave had a successful sea watch from The Oa - 1 Arctic Skua, 2 great northern divers, 2 red throated divers, 10 Manx shearwaters, plus razorbills, kittiwakes and gannets. Generally quieter than expected. The highlight was 32 pink feet heading south. 

Gutton for punishment, Pete returned to an other sea watch at Frenchmans Rocks:

" I did another hour crouched in the mist, wind and rain. A total of 110 Auk sp. went by - today the weather was too poor to identify many of them to species, but quite a few were Razorbills. 22 Kittiwakes also wandered eastwards along with 3 Manxies, a single Bonxie, a flock of 12 Turnstones and 2 Curlews. A flock of 22 Barnacle Geese passed overhead. The main interest was a small passage of divers: 26 in all - 5 unidentified, 3 Great Northern, the rest (18) Red-throated. The bulk of the latter came by in two flocks of 9 & 6. The most impressive sight was the continuing presence of 100+ Gannets close offshore, somehow managing to see fish and dive after them in turbulent sea conditions of high, breaking waves, spume and white-horses."

Wednesday 22 September 2021

Wednesday 22 September

As I was putting my daughter on the school bus this morning, a wee snipe flew overhead.  Later up at Claddach, a sparrowhawk followed the wall along the fields near the loch.

Peter braved an hours sea watch at Frenchmans Rocks - 200 gannets feeding, 75 razorbills and singles of manx shearwaters, bonxie, kittiwake and red throated diver. The best sighting was of 2 purple sandpiper passing by.

Mark spied a peregrine at Loch Gruinart along with 31 blacktailed godwits.

The wind dropped away to nothing this afternoon, but it is to pick up again overnight. 

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Tuesday 21 September

 The local birders are obviously resting ahead of the bad weather coming this week - no reports given into me today! Luckily, though, every corner of Islay has plenty to see when you stand up and look, and round Portnahaven and Port Wemyss is no exception.

Looking out the window today, a ringtail hen harrier flew into sight. The fields opposite the house are fairly overgrown, but there are pasture fields around as well as a wide burn with heavy brambles growing either side of it. It provides good cover for lots of wee birds hiding from the likes of the hen harriers and sparrowhawk that hunt along the route. 

At Claddach by the loch there are plenty of thistle seed heads to feed the large goldfinch flock of around 20 birds, and an other flock of 10 or so linnet.  At the house I could hear a curlew calling from the beach, and watched 4 hooded crows hopping around on the sandy soil in the fields above.  2 herring gull watched me from the shed roof, hoping for a slice of bread.

Bit of wind and heavy rain ahead, so any new arrivals will have to oblige by sitting out in front the kitchen window!

Monday 20 September 2021

Monday 20th September

There were no reports of birds today - another day when the weather forecast didn't quite match up with the actuality of sunny spells mixed with heavy, low cloud and odd rain showers. 

For anyone reading the blog who is not a member of the Argyll Bird Club (ABC), you will probably not have seen the short note in the ABC publication "The Eider" about the colonisation of Islay by Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Below is an edited summary that might be of interest: 

From the first definite record of a bird shot in 1887 to the sporadic occurrences with long gaps, of wandering Argyll mainland and possibly continental migrant birds (almost all out of the breeding season) from the 1980s right up to the early 2000s, Great Spotted Woodpeckers have clearly now established themselves as a regular breeding bird on Islay. Breeding may have first occurred from 2013 and certainly since 2019. The present situation suggests a continued increase in the numbers of resident pairs in the woodlands of Islay and I estimate that there are currently between 9-12 pairs now breeding at 5-7 locations right across the island. All but one of the sites now colonised are predominantly deciduous woodland, some with a scattering of exotic conifers. There are also extensive areas of non-native coniferous plantation forestry of varying ages across Islay. Only one of these is so far recorded as being a likely breeding site, though there are a few other records from coniferous plantations. This may be an indication of the species preferences for deciduous woodland as nesting habitat, or simply that few people on Islay venture into dense coniferous plantations, so additional territories go unrecorded.

An Islay Great Spotted Woodpecker making itself at home (Mary-Ann Featherstone)

Sunday 19 September 2021

Sunday 19th September

Another sunny, quite warm and pleasant day, but not a lot of birds to report. Mark & Peter took a quick look on Loch Indaal this afternoon before turning their attentions onto Loch Gruinart. The tide was fairly high on Loch Indaal making observations tricky, but there were c.670 Greylags present. Over on Loch Gruinart, the tide was still quite low and waders were dispersed across a large area of flats – making observation equally tricky. However, we did note a group of 5 Barnacle Geese present with a group of 7 pale-bellied Brent Geese more or less associating with them. Amidst the many Curlew, Dunlin, Ringed Plovers and Sanderling were 15 Black-tailed Godwits and 8 Grey Plovers.

Saturday 18 September 2021

Saturday 18th September

 Better weather than forecast today – mostly dry, warm and quite sunny with light winds.

The main birding event of the day was a rather early first arrival of a small group of Barnacle Geese, with James noting a flock 13 flying over Gruinart. Odd to be thinking of the first signs of winter arriving on such a nice day!

Otherwise there were reports of single Curlew Sandpiper and Golden Plover from James at Gruinart and Chiffchaff and Whitethroat from Clive McKay up towards Ardnave, plus a high tide roost of c.135 Bar-tailed Godwits on Loch Gruinart being watched over by one of the resident Peregrines. On the other side of Islay Willow Warbler, Merlin and Greenshank noted at Loch Kinnabus from David Dinsley. Clive also sent in an account of a particularly voracious Stoat tucking into a dead Hare in his garden on Friday, and a Rabbit today. Malcolm reports lots of eagle activity over at Fairy Hill/Kildalton, including at least 3 White-tailed Eagles. Mary-Ann Featherstone saw probably the same 3 birds (an adult and two young) all perched together in a tree this afternoon in the same area.

James How's Curlew Sandpiper

Friday 17 September 2021

Thursday 16 and Friday 17 September

 Apologies for missing yesterday, I completely forgot about it! Thought I'd best do a '2-for-1' earlier today so I didn't miss an other! I've also had my wrists slapped for not checking emails so I've a wee bit to catch up on.

On Tuesday Mark had 9 blacktailed godwits and 10 golden plover at Ardnave Loch.  Shona-Isla on Wednesday saw 24 pale-bellied Brent geese at Port Ellen. Steve Norman, a visiting birder, reported yesterday of an adult white-tailed eagle just north of Ardbeg being mobbed by buzzards and corvids.

Yesterday from my window in Port Wemyss I saw 8 pied wagtail, (3 at least were white wagtails) in the garden. On the telegraph wires opposite, 8 hooded crows and around 200 starlings.

Today, Clive was visiting Laggan Bay near the airport and reported a little stint among a large mixed wader flock of dunlin, ring plover and sanderling.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Wednesday 15 September

Bit quite on the birding front today. Just the usual customers about the village and croft down this south-west corner of the island. 

Gary had 2 white tailed eagles on the wreck at the head of Loch Indaal, while at Loch Gruinart James spotted the regular osprey as well as noting ruff present.

Ed reported hearing red deer stags roaring for the first time this autumn, in the forestry at Cornabus. 

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Tuesday 14 September

 Bit of a blowy day here today, but still mild. A huge swell off the west coast which stopped local fisherman getting a good day in.  There was a cruise ships passing the west coast this evening, lit up like a floating city. Hope the swell had died down a bit for the passengers! The 'Anthem of the Seas' was heading up to Kirkwall. It could take all of the Ileachs on board with room to spare - 4,180 passengers over 16 decks, and cost $940million to build, apparently on the worlds most expensive cruise ships....makes me feel a bit small... and bewildered! Having a swimming pool on a boat (or 3 in this case) feels a bit like having a treadmill on the roof of the car.

Anyway, birds!  There is still a few wheatear about - 2 at the old school in Portnahaven, 1 up at Claddach loch, and 2 off the coastal path at Port Wemyss. 

Ed noted some fresh pale bellied Brent in the bay at Port Ellen last night and they were still there this morning. Gary had a male merlin on the road at the Ardnahoe pump house. David Dinsley spotted 2 osprey and a peregrine at Bridgend merse.  He watched as the osprey "drifted off towards Bowmore" where David Wood was at the right place at the right time! He watched as one of the osprey caught a fish, just in front of the Gaelic college. 

At Loch Gruinart, James spotted a white-tailed eagle.

Monday 13 September 2021

Monday 13 September

Mark and Lauren carried out the monthly WeBS count on Loch Gruinart. Walking each side of the loch at the same time, trying to keep opposite one an other to avoid double counting.  Once they got back to the office and changed their socks, they can compare notes and tally up the overall count:

6 red breasted merganser, 230 oystercatcher, 266 ringed plover, 10 Knot, 201 sanderling, 741 dunlin, 89 bar tailed godwit, 195 curlew, 27 redshank, 5 turnstone, 61 common gull, 2 osprey, 3 whimbrel, 1 black tailed godwit, 22 pale bellied brent geese and 1 greenshank.

At Claddach yesterday there was a great norther diver off the beach, a wheatear on the wall there. Up at the loch a small flock of around 12 meadow pipits plus one rock pipit (that I could see) which one meadow pipit seemed to take a real dislike to! Busy chasing it along the length of a nearby wall in the field. Driving towards Kilchiaran this morning from Portnahaven, I saw a pair of chough sat hunched in the wind, back to sea.  It was a wet morning but dried up this afternoon, though the wind didn't drop much. 

Mary-Ann spotted 20 eider off Port Ellen.

David (not sure which one!) had a great northern diver and a juvenile white-tailed eagle off Kintra.

Ed caught a sighting of 2 osprey on the sand at Bridgend.

Sunday 12 September 2021

Sunday 12th September 2021

 Fairly calm with light northerly winds for much of the day, but with periods of sunshine and showers.

Clive McKay had seen two Ospreys together, perched on fence-posts at Bun an Uillt on the east side of Loch Gruinart yesterday evening and noticed a Whitethroat in the garden at Creag Mhor on the Ardnave side of the loch today. Also in the Loch Gruinart area, James How found Jim Dickson’s Curlew Sandpiper still present along with 5 Knot, a flock of 25 Pale-bellied Brent Geese and a Peregrine in residence.

On the other side of the island, David Dinsley noted a Merlin and Sparrowhawk hunting close together over Loch Kinnabus, while Mary-Ann Featherstone had a couple of Whooper Swans over Loch Fada up on the Mulindry Road.

Saturday 11 September 2021

Saturday 11th September

 A mostly bright, sunny, slightly breezy day. Jim Dickson sent in some last records before heading back to the mainland – many thanks Jim for all your observations and searching over the past two weeks – a shame you didn’t find anything too unusual, but some great birding nonetheless.

At Carnain on Loch Indaal Jim noted singles of Ruff and Brent Goose plus 55 Knot. A little later Gary doubled the Ruff tally in the same area.

On Loch Gruinart Jim had counted 35 White Wagtails, 70 Linnets, 33 Brent Geese, 60 House Martins, 12 Sand Martins, 37 Redshanks and possibly the same juv. Curlew Sandpiper that has been around for a good few days now. James How checked Loch Gruinart later and upped the Brent Goose count to 43 birds (same flock or different - who knows?) along with 2 Wheatears and a Peregrine. Not to be outdone, Clive McKay had an Osprey with fish in talons flying up towards Ardnave, plus a Merlin and a couple of Wood Pigeons.

Although not strictly Islay, Jim had just about the best bird of his fortnight here while sailing back to Kennacraig, with a sighting of a 1st year Little Gull along with huge flocks (1000+) of Kittiwakes off Gigha.

Friday 10 September

 Better late than never! Mobile network was down on the island most of yesterday and through the night. Appears to be better for now although I can't seem to upload photos. Perhaps Pete will have more luck today.

Yesterday was quite a still day with rolling fog but there was some activity with 11 wheatears feeding on the track near Claddach Loch. Jim had a count of 18 on there drive round Loch Gorm.

More pale-bellied brents appeared: a flock of 57 on Loch Gruinart with potentially an other 53, a further count today will confirm. The curlew sandpiper was still present, and the osprey still in attendance. Must be getting plenty fish! James had peregrine as well as 33 meadow pipits in the fields about his home. 

Jim had some lovely views of the Octofad carrion crow, showing a "touch of grey hybrid features".  Louise then reported a carrion crow in Port Ellen.

Thursday 9 September 2021

Thursday 9 September

 I was up in Bowmore today ('up country') and every farm en route was buzzing with activity ahead of tomorrows sheep and lamb sale.  Over 5000 animals are expected to be sold - the island will sit slightly higher in the water on Saturday!  Happily, as restrictions have eased, there ought to be tea and home baking at the sales again. The highlight of the day. 

Back to birds.

Clive was scanning through over 750 small waders at the western side of Loch Gruinart when a peregrine disturbed the lot.  He also spotted 6 pale-bellied brents on one of the high tide islands on Loch Gruinart.  Their arrival is always exciting to me, they are real heralds of the changing seasons:  It isn't officially summer until the swallow is seen, and it isn't officially autumn until the pale-bellied brents arrive.  Somebody needs to tell the swallows to get a wiggle on.

Back home in Port Wemyss a robin was singing loudly outside the house this evening. It is still very mild here so plenty insects active for the birds to feed on.

Wednesday 8 September 2021

Wednesday 8 September

 Very muggy and hot all day here, at least for me, I'm a bit too Celtic for anything above 14c. It certainly isn't autumn yet! The birds will be pleased with the rowan and brambles when they arrive soon.

Visitor Andrew has been in touch during his stay on Islay - He and his wife were walking at Saligo bay this morning and saw an egret there, we presume little! Many thanks Andrew, alway nice to hear from visitors.

The local WhatsApp group was a bit busy today, had to put it on silent! Here goes:

Jim was watching over the high tide roost at Loch Gruinart yesterday as the waders just got settled, when suddenly 2 peregrine started their attack! The osprey was still present, he has spotted it has a leg ring. Too far away for ID however a good thing to look for if we want to know if it is the same bird being spotted each day.

More from Jim: at Coullobus - 95 linnet, 60 swallow, 15 house Martin, 8 sand Martin. Craigens- 2 juv whinchat. Head of Loch Gruinart 1 ruff, 8 blackwits, 15 teal, a sparrowhawk (between 10 and 12 seen this week alone by Jim) and over 60 alba wagtails. At Carnain the juvenile curlew sandpiper (pictured). 

On Loch Indaal, watched from Uiskentui Jim counted 49 common scoter and one summer plumage slavonian grebe;]. At Gartmain, Loch Indaal 2 juv greenshank and71 wigeon. Off Bowmore 87 barwits, 10 blackwits, 3 shelduck. At Bridgend merse the little egret was present, and an adult white-tailed eagle casually perched on the wreck at the head of Loch Indaal watching around 300 greylag geese overhead.

Clive was out and about today too, encountering an osprey with a fish on a telegraph pole out towards Loch Gorm. Also a whopping 650 linnet on a winter bird crop on RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve.  An other nice count of 155 curlew on the western side of Loch Gruinart. On Machir bay, 11 twite.

Tuesday 7 September

Odd day with cold fog/mist in the morning but blue sky and sunshine for a couple hours in the afternoon!

Mary-Ann had over 50 twite and 10 swallows when out at the Battery, Bowmore.

Jims highlight was 122 redshank at the head of Loch Gruinart. At Octofad a carrion crow (for those that don't know, the carrion crow is not native north of the fault line in Scotland, I believe). This crow appeared to be possibly a hybrid, and was paired with a hoodie.  There has been a 'black hoodie' at Octofad as long as I've been here on Islay, over 11 years now.

Jim continued with 'good numbers' of swallows around, also 18 house martin counted at Bridgend with a further 14 over Port Charlotte.  At the head of Loch Indaal he counted 2050 greylags there, highest count all week.  A fabulous all-you-can-eat buffet for the eagles. 

Monday 6 September 2021

Monday 6 September

 Malcolm reported today that the "annual occurrence of the miles-long bird table" (spilt grain from barley harvest being transported to the grain dryer at Octofad) has attracted rooks, jackdaws, collared dove, common gulls, starlings and house sparrows on the stretch between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte.  

Jim found the little egret at Bridgend, as well as an osprey on the wreck at the top of Loch Indaal, 10 common snipe overhead.  At Gruinart the curlew sandpiper is still present and 5 ruff.  On the eastern side of the loch he found a juvenile greenshank.

Dave Wood had word that an Oa winter ringed twice was recorded on Ardnamurchan last week.

At Kilchoman, Margaret had a young sparrowhawk on the bird feeding cage and a male hen harrier over the garden!

At Claddach yesterday there was a wheatear out in the fields over the gullies.  A huge mature raven by the loch this morning, spectacular birds to see (if a little ominous!). 

Sunday 5 September 2021

Sunday 5th September

After 2 or 3 weeks of dry and settled weather, we had something a bit more Islay today, with a breezy morning and persistent rain for much of the afternoon. It's currently wetter than an otter's pocket. As a result, fewer sightings to pass on tonight. 

As usual, Jim has been out and about - on the mud flats near Bridgend he had 2 juvenile white-tailed eagles, an osprey and a peregrine, with a minimum of 45 sand martins also present. Near Gartmain there were 43 wigeon newly arrived. The juvenile curlew sandpiper Jim found the other day is still at Loch Gruinart. This location is generally best viewed from a sensible place on the road on the east side of the loch. 

David Dinsley was also up at Bridgend merse today and picked up our first reported little egret of the autumn. 

We finish with a goodnight pic courtesy of Alex Mangan...

Saturday 4th September

Technical problems on the blog last night, the main problem being that Mary is having a weekend off. Anyway, lots of sightings from yesterday, so here we go. Jim had a carrion crow down on The Oa, a half decent record for Islay. Back up at Carnain, he had an osprey, a peregrine, 67 knot, 89 barwits and 3 wigeon. 25 house martins at Gruinart finished off his day. 

Lauren also had an osprey, but this one was over Loch Gruinart. There was a male hen harrier at the South Hide and a dipper on the Sorn. 

Down on the Rhinns, Paul Hathaway saw a WTE over Octofad, and Mary had 2 swallows at Tormisdale, a male hen harrier and a single kestrel at Lossit and 2 more at Cladville.

RSPB residential volunteer Alex Mangan leaves tomorrow, he very kindly left us some of his pictures from his month on Islay. Here's some chough enjoying the sun at The Oa. 

Saturday 4 September 2021

Friday 3 September

 A nice surprise for Lauren yesterday when a looking at Loch Gorm she spotted 9 common scoter an a single whooper swan.

George had a juvenile willow warbler in the garden at Coultorsay.  A lovely time of year when the spring/summer migrants meet the autumn/winter birds. 

James had 3 white-tailed eagles over Bridgend, while Jim spotted a young curlew sandpiper in the dunlin flock at Loch Gruinart.

Mary-Ann reported 4 buzzards circling and calling at Kildalton, and a flock of 25 pied wagtails at Tigh Cargaman, Port Ellen.

Not much from my own corner of the Island to report this time as was busy most of the day. In the garden at Port Wemyss there were 3 wagtails most of the afternoon.  It was a much cooler day, I didnt see many swallows active.

Thursday 2 September 2021

Thursday 2nd September

Catherine and Larry have been in touch from Rockmountain with their fabulous sighting of an osprey today - watched first from a distance over Loch Gorm, then later after a walk at Ardnave they had a great view of it hunting over Ardnave Loch for several minutes before it flew south. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Thank you for the report.

Jim spotted 3 wigeon and 1 gadwall among the rabble at Loch Gruinart this morning. From the Coalyard looking out to Loch Indaal later, a summer plumage Slavonian grebe.

Claddach highlights today were 2 ravens flying over the fields towards the shore.  

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Wednesday 1 September

 Pinch and a punch for the first of the month!

Andrew Scott has been in touch with some sightings during his visit to Islay this week; a whimbrel a Port Mor on Sunday, and this morning a sea eagle circling near Cluanach.  This afternoon at 3pm, an osprey at Loch Skerrols. The discovery of a rotted fish skeleton on the path by the loch suggesting it has perhaps been there sometime.

From myself, 2 chough flying past Port Wemyss yesterday afternoon.  Today, a few more gannets about off the shore.  An other sparrowhawk (plenty about!) by Windy Edge croft house at Claddach.  Plenty midges about just now to feed the swallows that are feeding around the villages. (I didn't stop to count.)

Jim's reports for today was a single greenshank at Gruinart, noting too that there seems to be more sanderling and redshank among the waders.  At Saligo he discovered a swallow on 3 eggs. 

James was in touch briefly to let me know there was 60mm of rainfall at Gruinart for August.   A look back at the blog this time last year, James had 3.5inches (88.9mm).