Saturday, 1 October 2022

Saturday 1st October

After more heavy rain overnight, today was squally with heavy showers between sunshine and a good SW breeze.

A look around the Loch Gorm area this morning located the small number of Barnacle Geese that have already arrived. There were 30 with 5 Pink-footed Geese tucked in with a flock of Greylags on stubble at Sunderland and another 15 with Greylags on stubble between Machir and Coull. At Ballinaby there was a single Whooper Swan with another bunch of Greylags.

This afternoon a check of the two hides at RSPB Gruinart was quite productive. The heavy rain has nicely topped up water levels and the wildfowl are coming in. The combined total for both hides was 94 Mallard, 48 Pintail, 277 Teal, 24 Wigeon and 4 Shoveler. There were now 4 Black-tailed Godwits at the N. Hide and the star attraction was a female / immature Marsh Harrier at the S. Hide.

Friday, 30 September 2022

Friday 30th September

Very different weather today. Strong westerlies and heavy rain overnight and into the  morning, gradually eased off into a slightly sunnier, blustery afternoon, but deteriorated again into squalls by evening.

A visit to the N. Hide in late afternoon was fairly uneventful, though after the heavy rain there was a lot more standing water. This had attracted more birds in: Teal had increased to 138 and brought with them 7 Wigeon and 8 Mallard. There were 45 Lapwings and a lone Golden Plover actively feeding along with hundreds of Starlings that weren’t there yesterday. The 3 Black-tailed Godwits that were there yesterday were still there today. 14 Curlews was an increase over recent numbers. Other than that there were 2 Carrion Crows with the Hoodies and a lost Gannet flew right up to the end of the Loch and sensibly turned round and went back out towards the sea again.

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Thursday 29th September

A change for the better in the weather today - sunny, dry, warm and fairly calm - a real treat to be out.

Some records in from Steve & Lyn Rogers who are very welcome new resident birders on Islay: on Monday 26th they saw an Osprey from the S. Hide and had a count of 140 Shags in Kilnaughton Bay, where they saw 4 Red-throated Divers the next day along with 2 White-tailed Eagles over their garden at Emerivale, Port Ellen. Today they had 3 Redwing in their garden. 

Ed Burrel down at Cornabus on The Oa also had a small flock of Redwings today - both sightings being the first of autumn. Ed also notes a single Twite at Cornabus today.

I was out this morning, first on the Kilinallan side of Gruinart where I counted 254 Curlew. Then on to Loch Gruinart where they were another 102, so a total of 356 birds. At Blackrock on a calm sea there were 62 Common Scoter, 67 Red-breasted Mergansers and 4 Red-throated Divers. Further up towards Gartmain a further 24 Red-breasted Mergansers made the grand total 91, plus single Greenshank and 421 Wigeon.

A mid-afternoon check of Loch Skerrols was less interesting: 49 Teal and 22 Mallard being about it.

On the way home I noticed 3 Whooper Swans on Gruinart and Lucy RSPB had a group 0f 40 Barnacle Geese there later on.


Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Wednesday 28th September

A sunnier, dry day, but the NW winds keep blowing. The Barnacle Goose "trickle" has dried up - no birds at all today. I wandered down to the N. Hide this afternoon and it was a case of "same old - same old" . But the sun was shining and I reflected that I could be 10 storeys up in a city tower-block somewhere. Here I was watching a wonderfully close adult White-tailed Eagle pass by. Then an immature Golden Eagle wandered through, followed by another hunting. A female Hen Harrier and a couple of Buzzards spooked the "same old" 50 Teal and a Peregrine zoomed by. Meanwhile 6 Whooper Swans were catching up on their sleep on the flats after presumably flying all the way from Iceland. Closer to hand in front of the hide a steady stream of Meadow Pipits passed overhead and a trio of Black-tailed Godwits fed with half a dozen Curlew and 5 Roe Deer and several Brown Hares: not such a bad day on reflection!

Added to that Mark reports 2 more WTE, single Grey Wagtail and Whimbrel and 38 Golden Plover. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Tuesday 27th September

 Another chilly, blustery day with squally showers from a fairly brisk NW wind. 

The Barnacle Geese continue to trickle in, with 52 in a flock on Loch Gruinart this afternoon. Gary T. had been watching on Loch Indaal and reports 6 Brent Geese with the Greylags at the Gaelic College, 2 adult White-tailed Eagles scavenging from the gulls near Bridgend where a Peregrine was chasing the waders.

Monday, 26 September 2022

Monday 26th September

Yesterday's lone Barnacle Goose was indeed a harbinger of winter as a further 18 were seen in Loch Gruinart at lunchtime by James How. Other indicators of summer being over were a couple of Scaup at Uiskentuie this afternoon and 6 Whooper Swans noted by James (along with a dark phase Arctic Skua) at Loch Gruinart later, capped off by 250 Pink-footed Geese seen flying over by Ed Burrell this evening.

With continuing quite blustery, showery weather with winds from the north and west forecast for the next few days we may see more northerly migrants coming our way with a good tail wind?

Sunday, 25 September 2022

Sunday 25th September

I forgot to mention for yesterday that Gary had seen an adult and young Red-throated Diver close inshore at Uiskentuie .

Today it was cool, grey, cloudy, blustery, with quite strong winds from the north and west with drizzle and rain. Not very nice and not much to report from the bird front. However, Mark did see a single Barnacle Goose with a handful of Greylags at Loch Gruinart - possible/probably the first arrival of the impending winter? Otherwise the "usual" couple of Hen Harriers and a White-tailed Eagle from the North Hide this afternoon.


Saturday, 24 September 2022

Saturday 24th September

Some rain overnight, but a mostly bright, sunny day with moderate northerly winds.

Following my mention yesterday of over 800 Greylags at Gruinart, Louise Muir sent in a note to say she'd had 1,500 at Bridgend today.

The only other bird news came from David Dinsley who saw a Corncrake near Kildalton. He comments that it is an odd location - flushed from dense bracken. It is also an odd date - a quick look at the records, spanning back to the 1970s and there are just ten September records for the species on Islay, the latest on 29th and this equal to the other latest September sighting. (There have also been three October records up to the 5th). But who knows how long such a secretive species may linger here after they've stopped breeding and calling?  

Friday 23rd September

An hour in the North Hide this afternoon produced a few interesting sights. Thee was a huge gathering of Greylag Geese that I started to count. Shortly after reaching 800, with more to go, an immature White-tailed Eagle flew in and put the whole lot up. After that, about 50 Greylags walked very cautiously back down the tideline on a rising tide towards the eagle sat on the water's edge. They got to within about 4-5 metres of it at which point the eagle was getting its feet wet, flew off and scared the whole Greylag flock again.

Apart from that there were 3 Black-tailed Godwits on the floods along with 58 Teal and a Carrion Crow. On the opposite side of the loch there was a flock of 180 Lapwings plus 2 Hen Harriers cruising by. Coming in from the north and  mostly passing straight through was a total of 70 Brent Geese - a single Whimbrel accompanying one of the larger flocks.

Elsewhere, David Wood reports a single Whimbrel on The Oa this morning.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Thursday 22nd September

George Jackson had a cacophony of birds in his garden at Coultorsay with 12-15 Song thrush, 6 Blackbirds and 3 Bullfinches among other finches visiting. Down at north hide at Loch Gruinart Peter Roberts saw 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel flying over.

On the morning's guided walk at Loch Gruinart we witnessed a Pied Wagtail making a close escape from a speedy Sparrowhawk!

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Wednesday 21st September

Wednesday seems to be the day for eagles! Mary-Ann Featherstone had two White-tailed Eagles at Cnoc Bay and Liam Price had two flying low past Carraig Fhada lighthouse whilst he was buttering his morning toast! 

Nigel and Nikki visiting from Chesterfield saw two Golden Eagles over Nave Island after a quiet morning at Gruinart. Up at Ardnave they also spotted 12 Chough, a male Hen Harrier and a mix of waders including Sanderlings scuttling along the tide lines, as well as a number of Snipe on their walk back to the farm. 

Mary-Ann also had 16 Red-breasted Merganser at Cnoc Bay and Liam had his first sighting of 3 Slavonian Grebes in their winter plumage by Carraig Fhada lighthouse on Monday evening.

Thanks all

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Tuesday 20th September

 Some late reportings from yesterday with Patrick Cavannagh flushing a green sandpiper from a pool by a track to Mulindry.

Down at the Oa, I had an adult white-tailed eagle and a sparrowhawk near the car park, with five chough and five ravens flying by the American Monument. Not sure whether to take that as a good or bad omen!

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Monday 19th September

Mary-Ann Featherstone had a redshank down at Cnoc Bay mid-morning. Down at Port Wemyss Mary Redman spotted an immature white-tailed eagle, as well as two chough at Currie sands which she's been seeing regularly, and a wheatear at Claddach. There was a very large flock of 1155 greylags and a peregrine on the low tide mud at Loch Gruinart.

And Paula and Will who have been regular visitors to Islay for the last 20 years, saw a pair of golden eagles and a merlin down at the Oa, and had a great northern diver at Claggain Bay.


Monday, 19 September 2022

Sunday 18th September

No sightings for today, but word of 3 dead gannets at Machir Bay, and a sick young one on the Flats at Gruinart is a reminder to continue to be mindful of bird flu, not to touch sick or dead birds and to report to DEFRA on 03459 33 55 77

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Saturday 17th September

Dave Wood had 10 brent geese on Loch Indaal at Bowmore, the first I've heard of on Islay this autumn. Certainly it was a quieter day for pink-feet, the constant skeins of the past few days were absent at Gruinart, anyway. There were 6 knot on the loch itself. 

Mary-Ann had 15+ long-tailed tits at Kildalton, and Glen Morrison reported a male hen harrier near Kintra. 

Thanks to all for your sightings

Saturday, 17 September 2022

Friday 16th September

The main news for Friday is David Wood's extraordinary sighting of a corncrake at Kinnabus at The Oa. 

Elsewhere, the pink-feet continued to move, with at least 240 heading SE high over Loch Gruinart, most in groups of 20-30. David Dinsley also had 27 going over Kinnabus.


Friday, 16 September 2022

Thursday 15th September

Pink-footed geese sightings were coming in thick and fast today. At Gruinart, James saw 54 land on the loch, and Fiona was watching a skein of 60 fly over Port Charlotte. The pink-footed pilgrimage was not only observed on Islay, but at locations all along the west coast: "hundreds" of the birds were sighted over Ardnamurchan and the South Lakes (reported by Neil McMahon and Teresa Morris, respectively), while 705 were reported by Peter over North Uist. Autumn has most definitely arrived. 

Other sightings today include 14 black-tailed godwits on Loch Gruinart seen by James, and two white-tailed eagles over Easter Ellister seen by Fiona.

(Blog edited to remove a zero from Peter's goose sighting!)

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Wednesday 14th September

 More pink-footed geese were on the move today: Louise reported 65 flying over Craighouse on Jura, and at Gruinart Mark spotted a skein of 29 making their way south-east.

In other news, James was watching an osprey at Loch Gruinart.



Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Tuesday 13th September

Yesterday was another busy day on the birding front at Loch Gruinart, with James reporting eight curlew sandpipers, two little stints, ten knot, 12 black-tailed godwits and two peregrines, and Mark reporting a flock of 20 snipe. 25 pink-footed geese were also sighted flying over Loch Gruinart from the north-west.

Down at Port Wemyss, Mary spotted a whitethroat and a male hen harrier, as well as two chough on Currie Sands (on Monday).

Over at Ballivicar, Ed saw a marsh harrier, while down at The Oa, David D was watching no fewer than 31 twite on the feeders in the RSPB car park.

But yesterday's most unusual - and most enigmatic - sighting has got to be that of a Sabine's Gull glimpsed from the Kennacraig-Islay ferry by an unnamed source.



Monday, 12 September 2022

Monday 12th September

 A day of changeable weather: dry and fairly sunny in the morning gradually giving way to cloud and occasional light rain in the evening.

Not much bird news, though James has been watching on Loch Gruinart this evening and found 5 Curlew Sandpipers and a Peregrine.

Jim kindly sent in some information on a colour-ringed Dunlin he'd seen on his visit last week. It had been ringed in late August 2018 as a juvenile at Ynyslas National Nature Reserve in Wales.

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Sunday 11th September

A distinct change in the weather today, becoming progressively cooler, windier, breezier and wetter as the day progressed.

The weather (and it being Sunday - a day of rest) has resulted in there being no bird sightings to report. However, David Livingstone kindly forwarded this great photo of a Buzzard sat on a telegraph pole taken yesterday evening to brighten the day's blog.



Saturday, 10 September 2022

Saturday 10th September

 A quite hot, calm, sunny and dry day.

Jim Dickson managed a bit of birding before heading for home on the afternoon ferry. A wander at Foreland produced a couple of Bullfinches, plus Goldcrests, Treecreeper, Blue, Great & Coal Tits. Nearby at Sunderland was a flock of 220 Linnets. Loch Gorm held 56 Mallard and down at the floods by the Parking area at Machair Bay he found a Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruff and 2 Black-tailed Godwits (see photo below). Finishing up with a look at Loch Skerrols he noted a single  Moorhen and Tufted Duck.. Many thanks Jim for all your observations this past week - Haste Ye Back..............


Elsewhere, David Livingstone was out on the golf course at the Machrie and took this photo of a Hen Harrier passing by.


Friday, 9 September 2022

Friday 9th September

Dry, mostly sunny, quite warm and continuing southerly / easterly light winds.

Jim Dickson’s final full day on Islay produced further good sightings: 2 White-tailed Eagles and a Little Egret on Loch Indaal near Bridgend in the morning (also seen by Gary T. a couple of hours later) and a single Barnacle Goose at the top of Loch Gruinart – presumably the lone bird that has been popping up occasionally all summer? Further searching on Gruinart in the morning produced 10 Curlew Sandpipers, 4 Greenshank, a Grey Plover and another White-tailed Eagle at a similar time to another eagle being watched at Ballygrant by Gary. Back at Gruinart this afternoon, I joined Jim to watch the waders as the tide rose. There were masses of Curlews, Dunlin, Br-tailed Godwits and Oystercatchers and hidden away within the flocks a couple of Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Little Stint and 2 Black-tailed Godwits. Out on the flats were 45 Wigeon and 6 Pintail. 2 Peregrines (one young bird and an adult) were causing mayhem, but catching nothing. Around the edges of the saltmarsh alba Wagtails were still much in evidence, with about 30 counted at the head of the loch.

(Yesterday there was a complete island count of Greylag Geese which produced a very high total of over 3,200 – plenty for the Eagles to eat this winter!)

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Thursday 8th September

 A much cloudier, muggy sort of warm day with lighter winds and very little rain. There were a number of folks out birding - Jim Dickson, Graham Cundall, Mary Redman, James How, Gary Turnbull, Hannah Stanger and David Dinsley all contributing some interesting sightings:

Wheatears were again much in evidence: 6 @ Port Wemyss, 8 @ Carabus including large Greenland birds (see photo below).

In Loch Indaal Jim found the first of the autumn's Slavonian Grebes - 3 including a summer-plumaged bird along with 43 Eiders, 164 Wigeon, a Little Egret, a summer-plumaged Grey Plover, 2 Greenshanks, 131 Bar-tailed Godwits, 41 Knot, a Pintail and 38 Red-breasted Mergansers. (I had a summer-plumaged Red-throated Diver there later in the day).

White-tailed Eagles were popping up all over the place: 2 at Carrabus and one heading off with a rabbit in its talons (see photo below). Hannah saw another two young birds on Texa (photo below) and Graham saw another at Machair Bay..

Loch Gruinart produced a good variety: Jim had 12 Curlew Sandpipers, a Little Stint and 5 Golden Plovers, a Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Siskins,




160 Linnet and a Lesser Redpoll on the Craigens side. Later he counted 130 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Pintail and the 2 White-tailed Eagles again. James upped the autumn Black-tailed Godwit tally to 30 seen from the viewing platform.

Elsewhere, Jim counted  63 Tufted Duck on Loch Gorm; Gary saw an Osprey passing the ferry by Gigha and Mary had a Grey Wagtail at Nerabus. Graham reporting from Machair Bay had the 2 Ruff again on the flood along with 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and then 23 Sanderling, 5 Ringed Plover, a Kestrel and Sparrowhawk plus a few Choughs on the beach and towards the radar station on the hill.



Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Wednesday 7th September

Another day of ever-changing weather. Stormy, rainy with rainbows for brief periods followed by sunshine after. winds still in a generally southerly/easterly direction.

There were several birders dashing around the island today:

Visitor Graham Cundall had seen 2 White-tailed Eagles and 2 Buzzards at Traig an Luig (where the road goes up to Foreland from the coast north of Bruichladdich) this morning. one of the eagles had a white wing-tag, If anybody knows its origin please let the blog know. Later, Graham was at The Oa and saw 6 Twite on the seed feeders at the RSPB car park.

Jim was active again today, and I joined him for some of the time. He was at Bun-an-Uilt (Killinalan on Loch Gruinart) this morning finding 5 Greenshank, 3 Golden Plovers and a comment that there seemed to be more Wheatears about today - several looking like the larger Greenland race. James How also reckoned there were more Wheatears present today as he was out with others doing an island-wide Greylag Goose census.

Louise Muir was also up at Gruinart and found a Swift. We don't see many on Islay and this could well be the last of the year?

Later in the morning Jim found an Osprey at Bridgend - possibly/presumably the same bird that has been on the island for a few days? Graham Cundall saw it later, back hunting over Loch Gruinart.

Back down on the Oa at Port Nan Galen, David Dinsley had a couple of Choughs, single Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Merlin, 12 Twite, 14 White Wagtails and a couple of Wheatears. 

This afternoon Jim & I paid a visit to Margaret Brooke up at Kilchoman, calling in at a few birding spots along the way. The washed away track to Machir Bay seems to have been repaired now and allowed us to go down to the car park where the floods produced a couple of Ruff, another Wheatear and c.25 alba (mostly Pied) Wagtails. Sanaigmore held 4 more Wheatears seen flying in off the sea, another Sparrowhawk, 6 Chough a further c.30 Pied Wagtails, 10 Twite and a Great Northern Diver offshore. Nearby at Ballinaby there was a single Whinchat. Tufted Duck were building up in numbers on Loch Gorm with c.75 this afternoon along with 5 Wigeon and a family of Mute Swans.

We returned to the north hide in late afternoon, but it was much quieter than yesterday. c.70 Wigeon, a single Ruff and big numbers of Snipe were notable - small flocks coming and going totalling c. 80 birds.

Finally! Late this evening, Jim watched c. 890, mostly juvenile, Kittiwakes in 20 minutes between Port Charlotte and The Oa in the mouth of Loch Indaal and Laggan Bay. All seemed to be feeding. Good to know that some Kittiwakes are still breeding and producing young that aren't being hammered by bird flu...............


Tuesday, 6 September 2022

6th September

Another day of changeable weather - a bit of rain to start with and occasionally cloudy during the day, but mainly dry, warm and sunny with a moderate breeze still coming from an easterly direction.

Yesterday's good run of birds continued. Jim was out this morning on Loch Gruinart finding a minimum of 16 juv Curlew Sandpipers, 4 juv. Little Stints plus an Osprey, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and White-tailed Eagle. Down at Claddach, Mary Redman had two Peregrines and Jim had another sighting of White-tailed Eagle close overhead at Bruichladdich later in the morning and a flock of 41 Common Scoter in Loch Indaal..

I joined Jim for an afternoon session at the North Hide in mid-afternoon as it had been so productive yesterday. It didn't disappoint. Although often difficult to see in fairly thick vegetation, and quite far away, we managed to pick out not one, but 2 Pectoral Sandpipers. We also relocated the Spotted Redshank, which, much later on, was joined by a second bird. At various times we were joined by Louise Muir and friends, and James How and between us also saw the Osprey fishing on the loch, the female type Marsh Harrier come past, a couple of passes by a hunting Peregrine and occasional sightings of a Little Egret and single Ruff. Also on the floods were at least 25 Snipe and a flock of 45 Wigeon 

Jim provides some back-of-camera screen shots of some of today's goodies: From top to bottom: a fishing Osprey; Curlew Sandpiper; a colour-ringed Dunlin; one of the Spotted Redshanks






Monday, 5 September 2022

Monday 5th September

Heavy rain and easterly winds again in the morning, giving way to a bright sunny day with winds dropping by the afternoon.

A bit more of interest on the birding front today:

James, returning to Islay on the 7am ferry from Kennacraig saw 7 Sooty Shearwaters and then an Osprey at Bridgend on the way home.

A WhatsApp note from Mary this morning alerted us to an odd/unidentified passerine at Claddach that Jim and I went in search of. We couldn’t relocate it, but it was thought to be an immature Pied Flycatcher. On the way down there Jim had seen the first Pale-bellied Brent geese of the autumn – 2 birds at Carnain and single Whitethroat and Whinchat at Cladville.

In the afternoon Jim made his way up to Gruinart finding another 3 Whinchats at Craigens and a colour-ringed Knot at Carnain bearing an orange flag UXV over a yellow ring on the left leg. We’ll be trying to find out where it originates from and let you know.

I joined Jim on the road between the hides in mid-afternoon and thence to the north Hide. Despite maintenance work going on on the reserve, we managed to find a good selection of waders on the floods (which are now quite full due to the heavy recent rain. There was a total of 4 Ruff, 2 Greenshank, a Spotted Redshank and 6-8 Black-tailed Godwits – all allowing good size- comparisons to a smaller wader in their midst which proved to be a Pectoral Sandpiper. There was also a Curlew Sandpiper out on the flats.

(We met up with Graham Cundall and his wife in the North Hide who had seen a Hen Harrier pass by and corrected his record of yesterday, confirming that the geese seen at Kilchiaran weren't Pink-footed - many thanks for letting us know)..

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Sunday 4th September

Heavy rain with strong easterly winds this morning gave way to bright sunshine this afternoon, but the winds persist.

Visitor Graham Cundall reports 31 Pink Footed Geese feeding on stubble at Kilchiaran this morning – an early arrival of a predominantly winter visitor.

Jim Dickson has been out and about again today despite the awful weather this morning. Up at Gruinart he noted 11 Pintail - again a first autumn/winter arrival. Further up towards Ardnave were 2 Whinchats, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, a Ruff and 45 Sand Martins. Later, at Gortan he found a juv. Curlew Sandpiper with roosting waders.

I wandered out to the North Hide at Gruinart later in the afternoon and found Jim’s 11 Pintails with about 25 Wigeon, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel, a single Greenshank and a very fine immature White-tailed Eagle sat on the bank in glorious afternoon sunlight, being harassed by a mix of Ravens, Rooks and Hoodies.

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Saturday 3rd September

 A day of light easterly winds bringing with it fairly constant rain - quite heavy at times. Not nice, but it didn't deter Jim Dickson who arrived today on the early ferry from Kennacraig. His journey across was extremely productive with counts of at least 71 Sooty, 1 Balearic and 1200 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Storm Petrels, 2 Fulmars, an Arctic tern and 300-400 Kittiwakes.

Once here he seems to have wasted no time before reporting a summer-plumaged Grey Plover and 75 Wigeon at Bridgend, then on to Loch Gruinart. Here he found an Osprey fishing and at least 3 juvenile Curlew Sandpipers and a Greenshank. Later, down at Port Charlotte he watched a pod of 8 Dolphins, possibly/probably Common.

Friday, 2 September 2022

Wednesday 31st August – Friday 2nd September.

A bit of a catch-up with the few sightings that have been made over the past few days. The weather has been fine, dry, warm and sunny until today when it has turned overcast and drizzly, with the threat of heavier rain tomorrow – though with easterly winds perhaps some autumn migrants may be blown in??

On Wednesday 31st August, Mary-Ann Featherstone counted 8 Buzzards over Kildalton.

Yesterday (Thursday 1st September) David Dinsley saw a dark-phase Arctic Skua from the ferry off Ardmore.

Today Mary Redman reports 2 White-tailed Eagles over Easter Ellister while Gary Turnbull had another couple of Ospreys over Skerrols.

Andrew Scott sent in the following account: “A quiet week for birds on Islay, the only real highlight being a Golden Eagle at Port Bhan on the Sound of Islay on Tuesday. On the ferry back from Port Ellen this morning two dark phase Arctic Skuas were harassing the Kittiwakes."

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Monday 29th & Tuesday 30th August

 No idea what the weather is like on Islay as I'm not there, but close by on the mainland it is warm and sunny, so hope it is good back on the island.

A catch-up post for Sunday 28th was a sighting of 2 Ospreys over Loch Gruinart seen by Laura Nicoll.

On Monday David Wood had a Quail near The Oa car park - not many of these ever recorded on Islay.

Margaret Brooke reports the usual Hen Harrier and Sparrowhawk from her place at Kilchoman. The Sparrowhawk apparently taking a couple of her local Swallows and being generally "pesky" as Ian Brooke would have called it!

On Tuesday Gary Turnbull noted the first return of Great Northern Divers to the island with 3 out on Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Sunday 28th August

 I've been in Northern Ireland this weekend at Ballycastle, so am not sure what the weather was like on Islay. However, ?I visited Rathlin Island today and peered across at Islay and it looked much the same as here: warm, dry and sunny - a gorgeous summer's day.

Fiona McGillivray had seen a fine, summer-plumaged Black-throated Diver off Caol Ila. Here on Rathlin  we saw a Thresher Shark and a IY Med. Gull in Ballycastle Harbour..

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Friday and Saturday 26th & 27th August

 David Wood reports a flock of 23 Ravens and 3 Sparrowhawks on The Oa on Friday, Visitor Al Kitching staying at Kintra Farm saw a couple of Little Terns on the beach  there today (Saturday) and also a Marsh Harrier catch and eat a Moorhen while watching from the RSPB hides at Gruinart..

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Thursday 25th August

 Quiet day on the reporting front, though judging from the increasing flocks of small waders there is plenty of movement around our coasts.

Only my own sightings from today to contribute - 2 chough on Currie Sands. One Barn owl just outside Portnahaven this evening,  and one snipe at Ballameanach cottages.

As ever, the blog is dependent on folk contributing sightings, whatever they are. From robins to rarities, it all contributes to Islay records and serves to continue the work of the blog as a recording place for sightings and a source of informations for any visitors.  So don't be shy folks!


Mary

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Tuesday 23 & Weds 24 August

 


Billys photo of the day taken on the sound of shags drying off.

Tuesday Peter was out and noted big numbers of greylag geese: 175 off Port Charlotte and an additional 240 from the North Hide at RSPB Loch Gruinart.  I haven't noticed their number go down at all at Claddach Loch. The WTE usually spook them but they must be elsewhere at the moment!

Today, Margaret at "Kilchoman Reserve" could see at least someone appreciated the mass thistles on the Machir, with a lot of birds feeding on the seed heads, and a ring-tailed hen harrier hunting over them.  The sparrow hawk remains a regular in the garden.

Mary

Monday, 22 August 2022

Monday 22nd August

 



With no sighting reported today I have brought some of Jim's fabulous photos taken off the ferry the other day  of sooty and Manx shearwaters.  I like the changed colour of the sea in both, presumably inland water vs out in the sound.

Up at Claddach yesterday there were 2 chough on Currie Sands, 3 whimbrel near Windy Edge croft house (a favourite spot of theirs) and a wheatear along the track.

Mary


Sunday, 21 August 2022

Sunday 21st August

Despite a dry, mild day with light winds and a good bit of sunshine, it appears that nobody (other than David Dinsley who saw two Black-tailed Godwits over at Loch Kinnabus) had been out birding and found anything to write home about.

I ventured to the North Hide at Gruinart this afternoon and saw another portend of autumn and winter in the shape of a White-tailed Eagle sat on the flats far out at low tide. This is the first I believe to be out here after the breeding season, and we can expect more sightings as the adults and young birds wander to where they can find food most easily - if I were a Greylag Goose I'd be looking over my shoulder these days to see what might be watching me!

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Saturday 20th August

A moderate, blustery, westerly/south-westerly breeze with sunshine until late afternoon when it clouded up.

The Argyll Bird Club had a Field Trip today led by Jim Dickson et al  which involved sailing from Kennacraig to Islay and then back again – a sort of moving 4+ hour sea-watch. They got lucky with choosing the date as their tally of sightings illustrates:

The journey out to Islay included 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 7 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Arctic Terns.

The journey back from Islay included: 5 Sooty shearwaters, 2,000+ Manxies, 1,650 Kittiwakes, 100+ Gannets, 1 Bonxie, 8 Arctic Terns, 2 Commic Terns, 3 Sandwich Terns, 350+ Guillemots, 2 Red-throated Divers,

Jim sent us this camera-back shot of one of the Sooties:


Here on
Terra Firma Mary Redman watched an Osprey fly over Portnahaven village hall in the morning. I did a check on the hides at Gruinart in the afternoon and found a Little Egret. More interesting (to me at least) was a group of 6 crows – 3 Hoodies and 3 Carrions. On closer scrutiny the Carrion Crows appeared to have a very few duller, slightly paler feathers on their upper flanks. I wonder if they were hybrids?


Friday, 19 August 2022

Friday 19th August

 Very changeable weather today - sometimes bright and sunny, at other times cloud and heavy rain showers. With a moderate SW breeze a couple of like-minded souls resorted to sea-watching. I took off with Roger Broad to Frenchman's Rocks and did an hour from 9.20 this morning. A count of 608 Manxies streamed by along with a couple of Sooty Shearwaters. Two Bonxies, 12 Whimbrel, a handful of Gannets, Kittiwakes,  and Fulmars plus possibly the first 4 Purple Sandpipers of the autumn were recorded. Out on The Oa, David Wood was also watching and had a much better total of Sooty Shearwaters - minimum 18 - amidst "thousands" of Manxies, plus an Arctic Skua.

Eslewhere Merlins were seen at Kinnabus c/o David Dinsley and Craigens this afternoon c/o Roger Broad. James How had  few goodies on Loch Gruinart during the day including 3 Ruff and an Osprey along with lots of Pied and one White Wagtail, several Sanderling, a Golden Plover and plenty of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

Roger Broad was delighted to finish his visit on Islay with a sighting of lots of  what I believe are Heather Solitary Bees - Coletes succinctus  - always good to have other wildlife interests if the birding fizzles out!

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Thursday 16th August

 A weird day with all the weather happening at some point throughout.  Weren't sure whether to be in jackets, tshirts or wooly jumpers!

Peter today had 2 sandwich terns near Port Charlotte. Myself; 2 chough near Craigfad, a wheatear just outside Port Charlotte, 3 raven just outside Portnahaven and a flock of 11 snipe near Claddach.

Over at Kilchoman reserve Margaret had a golden eagle out on the crag,  while near Saligo a ring-tailed hen harrier and a merlin near  Balinaby. 

On Monday, Lucy over at RSPB sent in the highlights of the WeBS there.

Some highlights from the WEBS today at Loch Gruinart.

 

1 Sandwich Tern

161 Oystercatcher

244 Ringed Plover

49 Lapwing

481 Dunlin

103 Curlew

83 Redshank

49 Common Gull

76 Herring Gull

7 Arctic Terns

2 Greenshank

5 Black-tailed godwits


Thanks to all for your sightings!


Mary

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Weds 17th August

 


Mixed day today, very Autumnal as Billy's photo of the day shows! Autumn berries of rowan, bramble and wild raspberries are underway adding plenty colour as the flowers begin to die back.

Putting up an early blog yesterday appears to have backfired with the following submitted by Peter after I posted:

"Roger is over for a few days and saw a couple of Sooty Shearwaters amidst about 300 Manxies on the ferry crossing yesterday (15th) evening - somewhere between Gigha and Islay.

This afternoon Roger, Val and I walked out to Ardnave Point. 
Main birds of interest were 2 Bonxies over Nave Island, a flock of 45 
Twite up towards the top of Loch Gruinart, 9 Black-tailed Godwits in 
Loch Gruinart and a flock of c.350 Linnets near Ardnave Loch - I'm sure 
that's the largest flock I've seen on Islay.

Today, Gary had the marsh harrier again, but this time located near Cross House. Peter stopped off at Loch Gorm counting 35 tufted duck.  Near Claddach, a raven was tucking into a meal atop the small hill on the turnoff.  

Mary

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th August

A bit of rain but no bad thing after the intense sun last week.  Though the farm nearby that took a chance to cut hay ran out of time; silage it is!

Yesterday Lucy reported the marsh harrier at Loch Gruinart, while I noted a wheatear at Claddach and noticed a few more solitary swallows about. 

Mark noted 2 whimbrel near Saligo today.

Mary

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Sunday 14th August

A distinct change in the weather today with thunder and heavy rain showers this morning giving way to slightly brighter, conditions with lighter clouds in the afternoon.

Margaret Brooke has been enjoying fly-bys of a female Hen Harrier up at Kilchoman today.

Down at The Oa David Dinsley saw the juv. Little Grebe again on Loch Kinnabus along with a juv. Cormorant, while visitor Andy Harris reports a Peregrine perched up on a telegraph pole near Loch Gorm. I wandered down to the RSPB hides this afternoon and found the first Black-tailed Godwits of the autumn – 4 of them feeding in the damp vegetation from the North Hide. From the overlook at the South Hide there was a group of 6 juvenile Bullfinches perched up on the wires – always a good place to find this species.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Saturday 13th August

 It has been another bright, sunny, dry and quite hot day with little wind to cool things down.

A note was received today from visiting birder Jo Hossell who is touring Islay by bike:

"We have been staying at Arichalloch cottage at Balimony since Sunday. We saw a female hen harrier quartering the rough grassland between the cottage and the conifers on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings and we have seen a white-tailed eagle twice, again by the cottage - the first time on Tuesday late afternoon and the second this morning being mobbed by a buzzard!  We also saw 9 chough by Lossit Bay on Thursday and a dozen oystercatchers flying past the beach at Kilchoman today."

George Jackson has also sent in a few observations for yesterday:  "A juv. Redpoll in Coultorsay garden - my first for this season; an hour later, a Whimbrel heard over towards Loch Indall. About 8.00pm at Uiskentuie strand there were ca. 30 mostly young alba Wagtails and c.50 Ringed Plover and Dunlin + 2 Turnstones."

The only bird news for today comes from the two RSPB Oa Davids: a Whimbrel at Kildalton and a Little Grebe on Loch Kinnabus.

Presumably George’s Whimbrel yesterday and David Wood’s today are the beginning of an autumn return.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Friday 12th August

 Another wonderfully warm, sunny day, but mercifully not as hot as in the south of England.

A couple of interesting, less common species were seen today – Louise Muir reports a Kingfisher at Kinuachdrachd, right up in the northern tip of Jura. Down on The Oa at Kinnabus David Dinsley had seen a couple of Swifts.

Elsewhere, Andy Harris reports a Sandwich Tern over Gruinart this evening. I wandered out to the RSPB hides at Gruinart this afternoon, but it was quiet. A total of 6 Buzzards and a flock of 45 Oystercatchers was all I could muster. But in amongst the thick growth of vegetation that is currently being munched down by the cattle there were 1-2 small patches of visible open water, so maybe something of interest will show up?

Rather less quiet today will be the heather moorlands of the Scottish highlands, Yorkshire dales and elsewhere as it is the "(In)Glorious 12th ", when the guns start blasting away at as many Red Grouse as they can shoot. There is a very good opinion piece in The Scotsman about grouse shooting that tells the grisly story far more eloquently than I can – do check it out:

tps://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/grouse-shooting-if-it-was-a-new-idea-would-you-support-it-max-wiszniewski-3801728

Below is a screen capture of David's Marsh Harrier from yesterday.




Thursday, 11 August 2022

Thursday 11 August

 Show day today, so not surprisingly nothing much in the way of sightings!  David D. on the Oa did report a female marsh harrier this afternoon though, no way of knowing if it's the same bird that has been seen at Gruinart.

Below a series of photos of an adult WTE taken by Billy yesterday. 





Weds 10th August



Todays images from Billy from a walk around the Scarrabus area. 

Margaret reports of a male hen harrier hunting below the crag at Kilchoman reserve, and a sparrow hawk hunting in the garden.

At Port Wemyss, 2 chough flew over the house towards Portnahaven, and later a peregrine followed sa similar route.  A visitor here reported a possible hobby out towards Claddach.

Mary  

 

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Tuesday 9 August



Photos from Billy of the 'Caol Ila wagtails'.  He counted 14 feeding in the bushes in front of the still house.
Andy found an Osprey over Loch Gorm while out birding and Margaret a golden eagle above the crag at Kilchoman reserve. It was a hot day, so no doubt they were enjoying the thermals.  
Tuesday before the Islay Show is traditionally the day the volunteers come together at the show ground to erect the main event marquees, it was a very busy place in the hot sun! It's a chance for folk to meet before the hectic day itself, but also to make sure nothing needs repaired or replaced.  How nice to see the show back again after 2 long, strange years:  the field is taking shape nicely.  For those of you visiting the island this week please note "everything shuts for the show", so worth checking your plans to see what might be open that day.

Mary


Monday, 8 August 2022

Monday 8th August

 A reasonable dose of sunshine, warmth and dry conditions today. Margaret Brooke reports a Golden Eagle over the crags up at Kilchoman, while George Jackson had a low-flying White-tailed Eagle heading south along the edge of Loch Indaal at Bruichladdich. He also saw a Gadwall on Loch Skerrols later in the day. Visiting birder Andy Harris found the best of the bunch with a Marsh Harrier from the South Hide  at Gruinart this evening - presumably the same bird that has been seen a couple times in the past week or 10 days?

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th August

 It is "more reliable" Pete back after a month away birding in Australia and unreliably forgetting to do my first blog yesterday! Apologies..........................

Yesterday the weather was fairly dry and sunny. James reported that the Marsh Harrier was still present at Gruinart from the North Hide. Mary had seen a couple of White-tailed Eagles at Currie Sands - an adult and immature, possibly 2nd year bird.

Today the weather was much less pleasant with drizzle, rain and overcast conditions until at least lunchtime, drying out a little thereafter. Presumably the grotty weather has kept everyone indoors as there are no bird sightings to report other than a Greenshank and a male Hen Harrier at Killinallan..

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Friday 5 August

 Better late than never post for Friday!



Billys photos today from the Finlaggan area.

Mark reported an Osprey heading south over Loch Gruinart. Meanwhile James headed north to Ardnave and counted 325 grey seals on Nave Island. Must be a record?  While there he noted one bonxie, over 25 kittiwakes, several gannets and a few Arctic terns. 

Over to the more reliable Peter for the weekend after a month away.

Mary





Thursday, 4 August 2022

Thursday 4 August

 A nice breeze today with some cracking heavy showers! The island is heavy with visitors: Portnahaven and Port Wemyss is lit up this evening for a change.  There was a young piper in the bay this evening making the most of the acoustics of the village.

James reported a flock of 94 oystercatchers coming in to land on Loch Gruinart at lunchtime, the start of the waders gathering to move.

Mark noted a barn owl at Loch Gruinart this evening, while I only managed to record a small sparrowhawk here at Claddach. 


Mary

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Weds 3rd August

 





Couple of nice photos of a young wagtail by Billy today, taken on the new 'Loch Indaal Way' path connecting Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte.

I'm back after lovely week on Kerrera with family, enjoying views of 3 juvenile cuckoo being fed by tireless meadow pipit from the garden, and tawny owl in the evening.  

Back on Islay we set off for a short walk at Bridgend woods near the Woollen Mill where I was treated to the sighting of a dipper, doing its 'thing' on the River Sorn. 

Mary


Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Tuesday 2nd August

Dave Wood had 3 bonxies and an arctic skua from the ferry today, and an osprey catching a fish at Kennacraig. 

Margaret's run of form continues with 5 ringtail HH sightings in her garden. 

A beautiful pic of a marsh helleborine from Gordon Yates to finish with - thanks to all



Monday, 1 August 2022

Monday 1st August

David Dinsley wins today with a fantastic find - a small pod of Risso's dolphins off the coast of The Oa. I'd guess there aren't many sightings of them in Islay waters, and even fewer photos, so well done Double D. 





The only other news today is from Margaret, who had a golden eagle over the crag at Kilchoman. 


Sunday 31st July

Saturday 30th July - James had a female marsh harrier and the barnacle goose still hanging on at the North Hide. There was an arctic tern at Carnain and a WTE at Duich Moss. Margaret had 32 thrushes and blackbirds plus a wheatear in her garden at Kilchoman. 

Sunday 31st July - Gary had an osprey getting chased by gulls at Uiskentuie. Gordon was in touch with some great photos which we will share with you this week, including this otter, one of 5 different sightings he had on Loch Indaal this week. Thanks to all





Friday, 29 July 2022

Friday 29th July

Sightings still very few and far between, but there are definite signs of the seasons changing. A heavy dew around the moth traps this morning, the hazelnuts are growing, and flocks of greylags are starting to assemble in the in-bye fields. Winter starts after the Islay Show, according to the local legend. So we have two weeks to go then!

Lauren had 2 greenshanks at Loch Gorm yesterday, whilst Laura had a WTE, a hen harrier and several buzzards on the weekly guided walk at RSPB Loch Gruinart.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Tuesday 26th July

James reports 630 dunlin on Loch Gruinart yesterday (Monday 25th). This tired looking Tachina grossa was on the moorland trail at the reserve today. 



Thursday, 21 July 2022

Thursday 21 July

 An other pleasant day here on Islay, not too hot so won't complain!  I've been busy topping thistles most evenings, a job I've put off until the waders left the fields. It appeared that the lapwing, redshank and oystercatcher used the thistles as safe cover so I was loath to tackle them too soon.  However this backfired slightly as it was quite a task! Especially without a tractor. 

This morning at Claddach Loch there was a pair of white-tailed eagles.  This evening I went to check on them again, and this time spotted a fledgling with them! Only one as far as I could see but I will keep an eye out for them tomorrow.

Going into late summer, bird sightings always quieten down.  As such many a birder then turns to their back up hobby of moth trapping. Below is a photo which will appeal to some readers!



A clouded magpie, found by Billy who is proof that it pays to take your camera everywhere!  Malcolm says "fairly widespread in England and Wales, but only occurs in the SW of Scotland, with Argyll being its furthest North."  A first record for Islay. Well done Billy!

Mary

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Mon 18/Tues 19/Wed 20

 Bit of a catch up blog today! Series of events coupled with my bad memory.

Monday was a hot day here at last, everyone was out enjoying the summer.  Karen Graham spotted 2 hen harrier, one at Ardnave and the other near Kilchoman.  

On Tuesday, Karen noted an Osprey over the Lily Loch, while Gary had a great spotted woodpecker in the woods beside his house at Ballygrant. 

Over the weekend at Tormisdale there were a total of 11 chough between the croft and Carn Farm.

Dead Sea birds continue to be collected by the local beach rangers in their hundreds, sadly.  


Todays photo of a happily alive black guillemot taken off Caol Ila at the weekend by Billy.


Mary

Friday, 15 July 2022

Friday 15 July

 Half way through July already, where is the summer going? 

Yet more reports of dead and dying birds on Islays beaches.  Very sad to encounter, lets hope it doesn't last too long.  

Advice copied from the Machrihanish Bird Observatory FB page:

gov.scot/avianinfluenza

* Keep to footpaths

* Keep dogs on leads

* Do not pick up or tough dead or sick wild birds

* Do not touch wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with wild bird droppings.

* If you keep poultry or other birds, wash your hands and lean and disinfect your footwear beef  tending to your birds.

* Please report dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks or other wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey) to DEFRA's GB helpline 03459 335577


Thursday, 14 July 2022

Thursday 14 July

 


David D took this photo of a juvenile cuckoo near the Oa carpark. Instinct is an incredible thing, to be raised by meadow pipits but to 'know' they are cuckoo; to migrate and go onto lay their eggs in other birds nest without any of it learned from a parent...amazing!  When I was young, my parents hatched some ducklings from under a hen. She was most distressed when they leapt into water every chance they got, the instinct too strong to ignore. The same cannot be said for the chickens hatched out under a duck. 

 This evening at Claddach, a peregrine was being seen off by resident gulls. Similarly this morning a buzzard was being mobbed by a pair of herring gulls. A pair of lapwing were in the fields near the house.  out at the gulls, wheatear, rock pipit, meadow pipit, greylag geese, and gannet off shore. 

The unavoidable subject of avian flu is on everyones minds. The local charity 'Islay Development Initiative' among many things, clean the beaches. Today from just around a quarter of the The Big Strand they collected 168 birds (mainly guilliemots).  As ever the advice is do not touch or intervene. Report any suspected cases to DEFRA 03459 335577.

Mary

Weds 13 July

 

David Livingstone sent in this lovely photo of a pair of blackheaded gulls.  

There have been more dead and dying birds around Islay over the past few days, Machir Bay appears the worst but Kintra (The Big Strand) hasn't been spared.  The advice remains the same, do not touch.  SSPCA have released a press release to say they will not take in any bird casualties for the time being to avoid bringing bird flu into their centres.

Mary

Monday, 11 July 2022

Monday 11 July

 Today on Islay we enjoyed more cloud cover, mild temperatures and a good wind all day. I would complain, being July, however after watching the news with 'extreme hot weather warnings' across parts of the UK, I'll count my blessings.  


Not much in the way of sightings submitted today, though Michal reported swifts at both Kilchoman and Kilchiaran.  Sadly there have been further reports locally of more dead seabirds washing ashore on Jura and Islay.  

Todays photos of the active gannets in the Sound of Islay (Billy Stitchell) taken yesterday.


Mary

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Sunday 10th July

Thank goodness for David Dinsley, who keeps us going today with a minke whale seen from The Oa footpath, 2 swifts at Upper Killeyan and then 3 more swifts over Kinnabus a few hours later. Everyone else was too busy eating ice creams on what was probably one of the hottest days of the year so far on Islay.

Here's the adult that was with the young curlew at the Machrie yesterday, courtesy of David Livingstone. Thanks to the two Davids. 



Saturday, 9 July 2022

Saturday 9th July

The awful news today is that AI/bird flu has been confirmed on Rathlin Island, off the NE coast of Northern Ireland. It seems probable that some or all of the birds appearing on Kintyre and Islay west-facing beaches recently have come from Rathlin, though we still await the results of the AI testing carried out by Nature Scot staff here earlier this week. A reminder to anyone not already aware to please report any dead birds to DEFRA on 03459 335577, and not to touch any you find sick or dead.

Mary had a family of wagtails and lots of apparently healthy gannets flying past at Claddach.

A great pic of a young curlew on the Machrie road today from David Livingstone to finish with. Thanks David.



Thursday, 7 July 2022

Thursday 7 July

 Cant speak for the whole island but certainly here on the south of the Rhinns, the heavy mist didn't lift all day.  Though it was warm.

Reports continue from Kintyre and Islay of several sick or dead birds along the coastline.  Nature Scot have gathered some to be sent away for confirmation of avian flu.


It does seem to be mainly guillemot at this stage. Difficult though it is to walk away, the advise is to not touch dying or dead seabirds but to report them to APHA.  See the government guidance by copying the following link into your browser:

http://www.gov.scot/publications/avian-influenza-bird-flu

At Claddach today whilst I was moving my cows, I heard chough through the mist in the direction of the beach.  The ringed Oystercatcher adult was in the field with its youngster. Sadly the adult has wool wrapped between its two legs, hopefully this will work itself loose as it didn't look tight.  The lapwing chick lives! And is finding good cover among the thistles it seems.  Down in Portnahaven this evening 2 grasshopper warblers were reeling.


Mary


Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Weds 6 July


Ring-tailed hen harrier over Keills yesterday, clinging tightly to its lunch! Thanks Billy as always for the photo.

An other autumns day in summer today, although it was warmer for sure the wind just didn't let up all day. Just beyond the lighthouse island Orsay over a dozen gannet were flying close to the waves.  The Arctic terns are still very active and noisy and a smaller group of 8 or so came over the 'wee beach' in Port Wemyss to check us out. Something else I have noticed at Claddach is the resident gull colony are more frantic in their morning hunt for scraps. A tradition at the croft that has gone on for decades, I still throw them a couple heels of bread when I have it. Often it is just a couple of herring gulls and maybe 4 common gull at most. But the gulls are waiting for me lately and 'begging' for the food.  I've not known them so hungry before.

Alan kindly added their highlights from yesterday: On the RSPB guided walk on The Oa, 2 golden eagle, 5+twite, 2 wheatear, 2 black guillemot.  Dunyveig Castle, 2 rock pipit. Bruichladdich from the cottage window one curlew, one common sandpiper, one ringed plover and 3 black guillemot.

hkjh