A dull, damp, but apparently an almost record-breakingly mild finish to 2021.
And Phil Edwards who commented “Had 250 White-fronted Geese at Ballinaby with 100 Barnacles, 20 Greylags, c. 60 Fieldfares and c. 20 Redwings. From the Gaelic Centre there were 3 Long-tailed Duck, 9 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Goldeneye and 1 Great Northern Diver. Then to the Oa where we saw a male Sparrowhawk near Kinnabus, and had a magical lunch in the RSPB car park with c. 50 Twite (photo), a pair of Hen Harriers hunting (photos) close to the car, and an immature White-tailed Eagle flying nearby. Then 5 Golden Plover on the path to the American Monument. A Happy New Year to you and all who take time to make the blog happen – for me it’s a lovely new addition to a visit; thank you”.
I’ve no idea how many species of birds have been seen on Islay in 2021, but there has certainly been a good variety. Rarities in spring and summer were indeed rare, with the only truly unusual species as far as I can recollect being Rose-coloured Starling. Late autumn produced the goods this year with Long-billed Dowitcher, Red-breasted Goose and long-staying Cackling Goose, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck and a British record 5 Lesser Scaup together. But there have been plenty of other birds of note and interest – at least to us resident birders. Red Kite, Sooty Shearwater, Little Auk, Grey Phalarope, Turtle Dove, Spotted Crake, Mediterranean, Iceland & Glaucous Gulls – even Magpie and Tree Sparrow are noteworthy for us. And nowadays of course we are blessed with ever regular sightings of such disparate species as White-tailed Eagles, Ospreys, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Little Egrets, while all too easily taking for-granted the wonderful Hen Harriers, Golden Eagles, Corncrakes and Choughs that nest with us and the spectacle of thousands of geese and other wildfowl that winter here. All-in-all a great place to go birding as witnessed by a bumper number of visiting birdwatchers over the year.
SO:: thanks to all the birders, living here or visiting, during 2021 for all the records that keep the blog going. They are more than just of passing interest as they contribute to the Argyll Bird Club database and “further up the chain”.
Finally: Despite a great year of birding, 2021 will be remembered for the passing of our good friend Ian Brooke. Thanks always to him for having the inspiration to start the blog back in 2007. Those of us who’ve taken on keeping the blog up and running hope he’d be happy to see it still thriving.