Thursday 31 March 2022

Thursday 31st March

The weather remains dry, sunny, fairly calm, but cool - much better than "down south" as I'm told by friends it was snowing and windy in Kent today!

Derek Coleman sent regarding yesterday's mega-count of White-tailed Eagles, saying that he was watching another immature near Loch Cam yesterday morning at the same time, so there maybe potentially 15.young birds on the island.

Derek's sightings for today include more White-tailed Eagles - "only one immature seen at once but may be three present at Gruinart. Also there were one Black-tailed Godwit and a male Gadwall". He also saw a a large flock of 500 Golden Plover at Ardnave.

Callum McGregor of the BTO left Islay today after two weeks seeking out colour-marked Greenland White-fronted Geese. He managed to find 33 marked birds, but none of the BTO radio-tagged individuals. 

Over on The Oa, Ed Burrell watched 6 White-tailed and a Golden Eagle chasing geese over Cornabus this afternoon - there are still plenty of Barnacle Geese hanging on for them to hunt.

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Wednesday 30th March

Another bright, sunny and dry day, but distinctly colder - just as the weathermen have warned us it will become over the next few days.

George Jackson sent in some records from yesterday: "From Gruinart S. Hide (midday) - 2 Little Egrets; all the usual ducks, including at least 40 Pintail; not many waders at all. In the garden at Coultorsay finches have built up steadily over the last week or so with 30+ Goldfinches and 20+ Chaffinches at any one time on the feeders: also now joined by up to 6 Siskins and, today, a brilliant coloured Redpoll. The 2 Tree Sparrows are still around - one was ‘singing’ on the roof ridge yesterday."

Mark Shields now holds the prize for “Most White-tailed Eagles Seen Together On Islay” with a staggering count of 12 young/sub-adult birds at the head of Loch Gruinart this morning. At the same time Dave Wood was watching 2 young birds on The Oa - so at least 14 non-breeding birds! Mark also reports a Canada Goose at Saligo. 

Visiting birder Derek Coleman gets the prize for today’s best bird, but he doesn’t sound too impressed: “All the way from London and what is the rarest bird I see, a Magpie! One in garden just outside Bridgend. Also 40 Golden Plover near Loch Tallant”.

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Tuesday 29th March

The glorious weather continues unabated. Various reports come in of Chiffchaffs singing around the island, but Gary Turnbull seems to have been the only active birder today. He first reported a juvenile Iceland Gull near the power station at Bowmore. Back closer to home he noted 5 White-tailed Eagles high above Ballygrant being "escorted" by an Osprey. which eventually headed south over Dunlossit Estate.

Mary Redman sent in a lovely photo of a Wren making use of a stash of rope in one of her outbuildings to set up home for the season. I hope she wasn't planning to use the rope any time soon!

Monday 28 March 2022

Monday 28th March

Bright, dry, calm and sunny but slightly cooler today. Despite the lovely weather there was little being reported on the bird front, though there were of course eagles and harriers flying about and the common species of ducks looking resplendent in the sunshine at Loch Gruinart. A flock of 18 Whooper Swans sat on the flats for much of the afternoon and a Gadwall and Little Egret were seen from the north hide where I was surrounded by large groups of Barnacle Geese still chomping at the grass to fatten up before their presumed imminent departure north.

Sunday 27 March 2022

Sunday 27th March

Yet more brilliant weather – warm, sunny, dry, calm on the day that the clocks went forward an hour into Summer Time.  

Late news from yesterday: Mary Redman saw a flock of 50 Golden Plover down near Cladville.  

Today Mary reports a Wheatear at Claddach and a Brindled Ochre moth on her shed wall this evening – an uncommon species apparently. (Photo below).

Callum McGregor was watching Barnies at the head of Loch Indaal and noted a couple of Pale-bellied Brents with them plus a trio of “odd” geese (photo below) – possibly the same odd hybrids that were perplexing people last month.

Visiting birder Derek Coleman sent in an email:  “I have been on the Island since Wednesday but today was the first that I had something that might be of interest. At least 26 Slavonian Grebes and 8 Great Northern Divers on Loch Indaal off Uisgeantsuidhe. Also Canada Goose and 120 Golden Plover at Ardnave Loch”. The high count of Slav. Grebes is certainly noteworthy and of interest – thanks Derek.


Saturday 26 March 2022

Saturday 26th March

 Another glorious, sunny, dry day - warm in the sunshine too.  However, very little coming in on the birding hotline. Best of the bunch was another sighting of Osprey which Mark Shields saw on the flats at Gruinart this late afternoon. He also had a couple of Chiffchaffs and two young White-tailed Eagles in the Gruinart area earlier on. A flock of about 40 Twite were nipping about where some of the cattle are being fed on the reserve behind Bushmills. Birding from the North Hide this evening was delightful - nothing rare, but the sunlight on the masses of Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail was splendid.

Friday 25 March 2022

Friday 25th March

Another superb day's weather – sunny, fairly calm, quite warm and not a bit like a "normal" March. Summer birds continue to appear quite early. Gary Turnbull had our first Osprey of the year high over Ballygrant heading towards Jura and Ed Burrell was seeing Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff on The Oa. The breeding season appears to be in full swing with Callum McGrgeor reporting a pair of sky-dancing Hen Harriers near Loch Tallant and Ed Burrell reporting Lapwings on eggs on The Oa. Ed also witnessed a White-tailed Eagle in a long aerial pursuit of a goose over his way, with 3 eagles ending up in the chase.

Thursday 24 March 2022

Thursday 24th March

A quiet day today, with barely a puff of wind and not much more in the way of sightings. Fortunately the suddenly prolific David Wood had our first willow warbler of 2022 at Kinnabus, and Mary had this WTE down at Claddach loch.

And that was about it, though Laura from RSPB did see a group of 12 chough and 2 wheatears near Saligo and 2 little egrets at Gruinart.

Back tomorrow - thanks for reading and to everyone above for their sightings. 

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Wednesday 23rd March

Another beautifully warm and hazy Spring day on Islay. Dave Wood and his RSPB team surveyed the entire Oa coastline, working in sections all the way from Kintra to Kilnaughton. Notable sightings were 10 chough, 3 golden eagles, 1 WTE, 5 wheatears, 1 chiffchaff and a merlin, with many other records too numerous to list here. They also counted the feral goat population - 320, a remarkably stable number over the years.

Yesterday, Michal had around 50 small clusters of marsh fritillary caterpillars near Claddach, another sign of the warming weather. 

The only other sightings sent to us today were from David Livingstone, who photographed this pair of canada geese on the Big Strand. Thanks David. 

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Tuesday 22nd March

Easily the warmest day of 2022 so far, with hazy blue skies all day and a good SE breeze. As predicted, this brought a flood of migrant sightings, with, erm, 2 chiffchaffs heard at Gruinart this morning by James. 

Gruinart was a great place to be today, with 2 peacock butterflies on the wing and either 3 or 4 adders freshly emerged from their hibernaculum (I had to google that one) and basking in the sun in a slowly writhing ball. The gentle sound of bees as they buzzed around the willow and hazel catkins was a joy after a long Islay winter of gales and rain. 

A male and ringtail hen harrier were interacting around some deep heather areas, but no skydancing yet. An immature golden eagle briefly circled overhead, before the now standard sight of a young WTE appearing to spook the geese. 

Elsewhere around the island the notorious RBG was re-located by Larry Griffin in a barnie flock at Octomore. 

Monday 21 March 2022

Monday 21st March

We're fairly galloping through March, with the place looking more Spring-like by the day. 

At Gruinart, there were 2 imm WTE and c40 fieldfare this morning, with James also spotting a blackwit on the floods, a merlin and a flock of 54 twite. Lauren, Lucy and Laura from RSPB were down in the SW Rhinns and had 3 WTE (2 ad, 1 imm) near where Michal was watching a group of 5 chough. Back at the hides at Gruinart Lucy later saw a moorhen. 

The SE winds are forecast to continue all week, so there should be more migrants to report very soon. 

Sunday 20 March 2022

Sunday 20th March

The weather continues bright and sunny with a stiff southerly breeze. James How was at Coull Point and found 3 Wheatears. Val Peacock was walking The Oa Reserve and had a Goldcrest that looked like it had just been blown in, plus Twite still at the feeders in the Car Park. Back at Loch Indaal she found a Little Egret. Gary Turnbull was out birding up at Finlaggan where he noted a Crossbill flying over, 5 Buzzards in the air together and a pair of Hen Harriers over the adjacent moorland. On the loch with the Tufties was a Goldeneye.

Billy Stitchell had been wandering Islay's woodlands at Lily Loch and noted more Chiffchaffs - here are a couple of his photos.

Steve Murray sent us this photo of a couple of young White-tailed Eagles seen on Loch Indaal a couple of days back.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Saturday 19th March

 Another bright and sunny day - all day - still with a chilly south wind. Despite the pleasant weather there was little on the bird front to report. Louise Muir had a Wheatear at Feolin Ferry on Jura. Michal Sur counted a total of 50 Fieldfares at Scanistle up near Keills. Callum McGregor had two white-winged gulls on Loch Skerrols which he thought were an adult Glaucous and a 2nd winter Iceland.

Friday 18 March 2022

Friday 18th March

 It was a lovely bright sunny day with a cool breeze from the south. Steve Murray on his last day here was delighted with his views of Golden Eagle near Machir Bay and found us the first Sand Martin of the year at Gruinart. At Carrabus Ed Burrell had the first Chiffchaff of summer.

Mark Shields sent in the following report:Hello Birdy Folk, WeBS today. A few highlights:  

On Loch Gruinart itself, 5 WTE, 4 greenshank, 224 wigeon, 78 shelduck, 123 dunlin, 122 barwit, 385 golden plover, 4 GBBG, 122 common gull, 171 oystercatcher, 87 curlew


On the Floods, James had a gadwall, 725 teal, 253 wigeon, 65 shoveler, 73 pintail, 78 redshank, 10 whoopers, 7 snipe and 2 little egret.

Michal Sur (back on Islay for a while doing some Chough work, heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Avonvogie.

At Coultorsay George Jackson reports 2 Tree Sparrows on his garden bird feeders.

Meanwhile I took a look this afternoon on Loch Skerrols confirming that the 3 Lesser Scaup are still present - a male in good plumage and two females.


Thursday 17 March 2022

Thursday 17 March


St Patricks day was indeed the day for a Wheatear, but just not for me! David D. on the Oa found 

this male and was also skilled enough to catch it on camera.

Jeff's highlights from today at - one chough at Sanaigmore and off the coast a great northern diver and 2 black guilliemots. At Ardnave Loch he had a count of 18 whooper swans, while at Loch Gruinart he only counted 1, plus 2 greenshank.

At Octofad this morning I saw a lesser black-backed gull among the regular gulls.  I forgot to add to yesterday that I saw the Iceland gull by the burn at Uiskentui farmhouse, glowing white on the shoreline.
Billy also had 2 lesser black-backs on Kilchoman this morning and a black headed gull in its summer plumage.  I think I have uploaded the photo below but my internet is being a bit dippy this evening!

Thank you everyone again.

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Weds 16 March

A gift of a day today, lovely sunshine and the welcome feeling of spring. At Claddach this morning a pair of pied wagtail near the shed were calling and feeding together.  More insects were visible as the sun grew stronger, a welcome feed for the wee birds about.  A pair of chough flew in late morning towards the coast for their share.  There was also a brown hare mooching about in the heather near where I feed the sheep, and an other 2 at Craigfad.  None were showing the 'mad-march hare' behaviour, but we're only half way through the month!

Steve has gotten in touch via email after a good day out and about.  A ring-tailed hen harrier seen off the high road near Bowmore, and a WTE flying over the low road to Port Ellen.  On their walk round the Oa they counted around 25 twite with skylark in the stubble fields.  In the bay near Ardbeg they counted 8 merganser.  Lastly near Cross Houses, a little egret.

James How has been in contact with a high count of 17 snipe in a flock in front of the south hide. 

Jeff reported his highlights as 7 fulmar around Islay's coastline, an adult WTE on the road to Port Ellen (same bird as Steve perhaps?), then at Gruinart Farm just after sunset, a woodcock.

Mark reported 6 WTE at RSPB Loch Gruinart today.  And, on a sadder note, 3 dead barnacle geese sent off to be tested have been confirmed as having bird flu.

Lastly, from my reliable photographer Billy who was at Ballygrant Loch where he saw both tufted and goldeneye, a little grebe, and a great tit pulling at moss from the trees nearby.

Thanks as ever to all who contributed today.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Tuesday 15 March


Couple of images of the residents of Loch Skerrols, taken today by Billy.

Nature Scot has been in touch with the last goose count of the season, carried out on the 8th and 9th March.  28,759 barnacles, 5435 white-fronts and 631 greylags.

James was in touch today with his highlights being a gadwall drake from the North Hide, Loch Gruinart, 2 bullfinch on the Woodland Trail and a siskin.  He noted the lesser black backed gulls have been slow to return this year but managed to find 5 at Machir Bay and 1 at Gruinart.  Mark also spotted one near Sanaig, plus a Canada goose.

Steve has been in touch via email. He too was at Gruinart and was treated to a nice view of a hunting ring-tailed hen harrier very close to the hide, and then on their drive back towards Bridgend, a WTE in flight.

Thank you to all for your contributions.

Not much more to add from down the Rhinns.  An other sign of spring with toads spotted out on the roads. A neighbour in Portnahaven even found one in her toilet this morning! It was obviously saved from the flush, but you can't help wondering how on earth it got there in the first place!  I haven't been out to look for wheatear yet, I always think St Patricks day is the day to start looking so hopefully I'll find one then.

Monday 14 March 2022

Monday 14 March

 We have Islay's first Wheatear of 2022! Located by Lucy Atkinson (RSPB volunteer) in the Sanaig area.  I'm sure there are more out there to be found. Always nice to hear their return.

Jeff was at Sanaigmore today where he added 2 chough, a ring-tailed hen harrier and one lesser black-backed gull to the days tally. At Gruinart he spotted the little egret.

A wild and wet morning was followed by a sunny afternoon here on the Rhinns, and the week ahead looks pleasant at last. Here's hoping for a some warmth and dry weather to dry out the soil.

Sunday 13 March 2022

Sunday 13th March

 A fairly dry, sunny day of strong southerly winds easing off towards the afternoon/evening.

Jeff Price reported 8 Whooper Swans at Loch Gruinart, the orange staining on their heads suggesting different birds to those seen yesterday. He also saw a Woodcock at dusk along the edge of the RSPB Woodland Trail.

Mark Holling had also been out, checking goose flocks but failing to find the rarities in their midst. Whilst searching he saw a pair of Carrion Crows at Wester Ellister is a noteworthy find, but I;m sure he would rather have found a Red-breasted Goose! Up at Gruinart he laso came across Whooper Swans - 13 in total, plus a couple of Greenshanks - one either side of the loch where he counted 560 Golden Plover. The 2CY Iceland Gull was at roost at the head of Loch Indaal along with 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Saturday 12th March

Good morning bird fans. Apologies for the late entry - technical issues. Saturday's birds looked something like this...

Chris Corrigan managed to get off the island, thanks very much to him for all his records. Our own Mary had 4 gannets at Frenchman's Rocks. Jeff and Rachel were at Gruinart, noting many small flocks of redshank in summer plumage, and lots of curlew bubbling the day before. At Loch Skerrols they had 4 lesser scaup, and a dipper and a grey wagtail upstream of the Woollen Mill. 

Recently arrived visitor Mark Holling had a decent first day of his Islay trip, with a 2CY Iceland gull at Uiskentuie, a WTE at the head of Loch Indaal, 3 lesser scaup (2mm, 1f) at Skerrols, and a (greater) scaup near Bowmore with c30 common scoter also present. Down at Claggain Bay Mark had 7 GND, with 12 others near Bruichladdich. 

Lots of activity at Gruinart, much of it precipitated by the 4 sub-ad WTE that seemed to be around most of the day. In the afternoon, the eldest of the group took a barnacle goose that was either recently dead or very sick from the Flats, despite the heroic efforts of one lapwing in particular, who unbelievably managed to delay the inevitable for a couple of passes. 14 whoopers were still present at the South Hide in the morning. A tawny owl and a pair of treecreepers were present in the Big Wood, with the rookery there growing and getting noisier by the day. 

That's yer lot. Thanks very much to everyone for their sightings. Keep them coming!

Friday 11 March 2022

Friday 11 March


Well its a feast or a famine with submitted bird sightings: currently we're in lean times!  I'm using an other of Billy's lovely photos from today at Lily loch, where he also had the pair of mute swan and the young whooper.

Chris was out between Sanaigmore and Gruinart where he located 2 ring-tailed hen harrier, plus chough and a little egret.

From my own sightings, 17 common gull and 3 herring gull were waiting to mop up the leftovers while I was feeding my sheep.  A pair of ravens later joined in.  On the shore/coast, 14 oystercatcher, 2 turnstone and great black back gull.  Driving 'up country' my views from the car window included a reed bunting near Craigfad, plus a redshank and 4 wigeon just outside Bowmore.

Yesterday friends walking at the top of Loch Indaal had a close encounter with a young WTE. She sent me this photo taken on her mobile of it just above them.

Thursday 10 March 2022

Thursday 10 March

 Back on track now with todays sightings.

Jeff got in touch via email with a sighting of 5 white-tailed eagles at Loch Gruinart and a male hen harrier at Ardnave. No chough seen though, better luck tomorrow Jeff!

Chris via WhatsApp found the Iceland gull on the rocks near Loch Gorm house, Bruichladdich.  Later today had good sightings of  2 ring-tailed hen harriers on the Carnain-Coullabus road and near Grainel, Gruinart.  At Sanaigmore he spotted a golden eagle, plus some chough (sorry Jeff!), and at the head of Loch Indaal an immature WTE.  He also noted a lot of displaying lapwing today, lovely signs of spring.

Yesterday I saw my first gannet of the year off Claddach. Today the lapwing were displaying in the cold wind, or despite the cold wind.  Photo to cheer up todays blog of one of the local roe deer near Claddach Loch, taken by me for a change.  The birds are a bit too quick for my photography skills!

Weds 9 March

Apologies for any confusion with todays posts but I was late last night and only getting down to Wednesdays sightings now.

Chris had 9 common scoters sighted off a very choppy Bowmore with 'the usual' divers and a Slavonian grebe.  He returned later in the day and had a count of 4 long tailed duck and 9 common scoter.  Later at Loch Skerrols 10 whooper swan and at least one of the lesser scaup was visible in the heavy rain.

It was Johns last day yesterday:

 "Today was my last, as I leave on the early ferry Thursday morning, all being well. The weather put a damper on the birding but I saw a few things and explored some different parts of the island. Best birds were a 2 cy Iceland gull at Uiskentuie this morning, a subadult male hen harrier at Loch Gruinart at midday, likely the same bird I saw at Lyrabus yesterday, along with 28 whooper swans, and finally a black-throated diver along with several great northern and red-throated divers in Claggain Bay this afternoon. I’ve had a fantastic visit, blessed with at least a few days of glorious weather, and some truly remarkable bird spectacles."

Many thanks John for all your contributions while you were here, and glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Lastly, sightings from James How with a count of 39 whooper swan on the Gruinart floods.  He watched a WTE take a rook in the morning.  After a look over Nave Island, he found 7 Cormorants.

Many thanks to everyone for your sightings.

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Tuesday 8 March

Blue tit by Lossit Loch 6/3/22, Billy Stitchell

A late entry from yesterday of a kestrel on the Oa from Chris, not realising they are a relatively uncommon bird here. Sean also sent in a video of one hunting. Always worth reporting everything for our records. Magpies, for example, don't breed here.  

Today Chris spotted 2 long-tailed ducks in the distance off Bowmore, the female scaup again and a Slavonian grebe close by the pump station.

John emailed in with his sightings from today: "In spite of the gale, I still managed to see some interesting birds. First off was a nice subadult male hen harrier at Lyrabus, then a very bedraggled looking pink footed goose with barnacles up near Killinallan dunes. Later that morning I saw 8 chough briefly around the ruined buildings at Sanaigmore. Then I spent this afternoon at Loch Gruinart where two immature WTE were sitting out on the mudflats, while 38 whooper swans were trying to ignore the wind and a lone little egret flew by."

Malcolm was out with the International Goose Count today where he enjoyed a nice sighting of a jack snipe while on The Oa.  It was a difficult days count with the wind shaking the cars and the telescopes! 

Mark at Loch Gruinart got in touch to say there were no more sightings as yet of the great white egret, however a sighting came through from a visiting camera crew of a whopping 10 WTE in the treeline near Loch Gruinart at the weekend, so really it is a case of being in the right place at the right time!

Thanks to all for your sightings.


Monday 7 March 2022

Monday 7 March


Well we made nearly a week without a gale.  Tomorrow looks a bit snotty and there is a fierce wind chill.  Today I popped up the Oa and that extra height compared to Claddach was keenly felt. Wish I'd brought a bigger jacket! Easy to see why the hairy highland 'coos' are the breed of choice for the conservation grazing there.

Today has been quite a busy day on the island with a few reports to get through.  

Whooper swan had some nice counts today - Mandy counted 14 on Loch Gorm, Billy found the juv still on the Lily Loch being tolerated by the resident mute pair (Photos above). Chris Corrigan counted 13 on Ardnave Loch.

Chris went on to count c.20 chough at Ardnave and an immature WTE.  Driving back from the Oa this afternoon I noticed an adult above the road in the Carraig Fada area.

John got in touch via email.  "Another very productive day for me. A few nice birds on Loch Indaal included 5 pale-bellied brent geese briefly near Carnain and the female scaup dozing close in still off Bowmore wastewater pump, then later the second year Iceland Gull at Blackrock. I went over the back road to Ballygrant hoping to see some eagles, but I didn’t strike lucky. I had some recompense though in a sky dancing male hen harrier, with a female seen later on in the same general area."

Jim has also been busy today locating the cackling goose among the barnacles east of Easter Ellister.  A count of 16 great northern diver off Port Ellen, 50 fieldfare and 4 WTE at Guinart. At Loch Skerrols the lesser scaup were still present, as was the hybrid tufted 'thingy'. 60 redwing near Eorrabus. At Caol Ila he located a nice flock of 10 yellowhammer.  Later on Jura a count of 12 Canada and 18 pale bellied Brent geese at Glas Eilean. 

Barbara sent in a sighting of a great white egret seen from the first hide at RSPB Loch Gruinart yesterday.

Thanks to everyone for their sightings and to Billy as ever for the photos.


                                                    Great black-backs at Caol Ila, Billy Stitchell

Sunday 6 March 2022

Sunday 6th March

Another glorious day of bright sunshine and blue skies with not too much wind.

My assessment that nobody had been out birding yesterday was wrong. A large flotilla of 26 birders sailed across from Northern Ireland for the day in two boats. They caught up with the 3 Lesser Scaup at Loch Skerrols and generally reported a good day out was had by all.

Also, visitor John Sharpe had his first day on the islandyesterday and reported a fantastic first day, going to the Oa after arriving in Port Ellen. Highlights were a flock of around 80 Twite by the path to the American monument, a brown Merlin near the monument and Golden Eagle and Peregrine soaring around the cliffs to the east. Then two adult White-tailed Eagles over the wet fields at Gruinart rounded off a good first day.

John was out again today in the continuing fine weather saying “it couldn't help but be another fantastic day. The highlight for me was tracking down the Cackling Goose near Easter Ellister this morning”.  His other noteworthy sightings were: 5 Long-tailed Ducks off Uiskentuie, immature White-tailed Eagle spooking a large flock of White-fronts at Kilchiaran, 2 male and female Lesser Scaup at Loch Skerrols, and c50 Chough and 13 Twite at Ardnave.

Chris Corrigan is another newly arrived birder and he too saw a couple of the Lesser Scaup along with Twite and White-tailed Eagle at the Oa. On Loch Indaal were 6 Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Blackrock and a female Greater Scaup from the waste pumping station viewpoint at Bowmore.

More reports of White-tailed Eagles came from Mary Redman who saw an immature bird down at Claddach and from Mark Shields up at Gruinart with 5 sub-adult White-tailed Eagles talon grappling and generally “larking around”.

 Mary-Ann Featherstone reports the Great Spotted Woodpeckers are now active at Kildalton and Shona Isla saw 6 dolphins at Port Ellen in the bay towards the lighthouse.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Saturday 5th March

 Isn't it strange? Despite a glorious day's weather with a high pressure system producing bright blue sunny skies all day (even if it was a bit chilly), there are no bird sightings today. I assume that most/all of the bird groups and visitors who were here before, braving that awful weather of the past couple of weeks to send in their sightings have all departed. This leaves just us battle-hardened "been there, done that" local birders who had other/better things to do outdoors today than go birding.

So I'll leave you with an update on an "Old Faithful" Oystercatcher that has been showing up on the rocks just outside Val Peacock's house in Port Charlotte for several years now. It didn't show last year, but there it was again two days ago with its 7U on blue colour ring, proving it was the returning bird from Dawlish Warren in Devon. You can read its full history of comings and goings here:

This isn't the bird - but they all look the same don't they? (Thanks to Armin Grewe for the image)

Friday 4 March 2022

Friday 4 March


Hooded crow

Great Northern diver

Pied wagtail

Rock pipit

Reed bunting

Great Northern Diver

Photos from Billys walk out and around the coastline at Bunnahabhain.  Not a lot of reportings today despite the sunshine, or perhaps it is because of the sunshine! 

Dave W. spotted a purple sandpiper at Knockangle point, while Rob Hughes reported the 3 cackling x barnacle hybrids were still present at Loch nan Gabher. 

Thursday 3 March 2022

thurs 3 March

A very pleasant day today, especially the as at the afternoon went on. Todays photo of the sunset at Kilchoman by Amy Hannett. 

Over at the Cornabus "Very Nice Puddle", Ed spotted a pair of Gadwall among the mixed flock of 70 or so teal, wigeon, and mallard. Nearby, 16 curlew and lapwing returning to breeding sites.

While Mark was off reserve today he spotted the Iceland gull still at Blackrock, while back on the reserve 2 sub-adult WTE were seen.

At Claddach, the pied wagtail was still present and busy feeding. Overhead the optimistic skylark were still calling. 

Over on Kerrera my sister found a female pale Brindled-beauty moth in her garden.  Linking onto my comment yesterday on the importance of a messy garden! The females are flightless.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

weds 2nd March

 Yesterdays sunshine gave way to a cold and overcast day.  Bitter SE winds really put a bit of a downer on the mood after the delight of yesterday! However there looks a settled spell ahead. Yesterday at Ardnave, Chris and co spotted a peacock butterfly on the wing. In my garden at Port Wemyss a neighbours honey bee visited the daisys.  Hope today they have both returned to shelter! A reminder though of the importance of the early flowers for some brave insects.  I am also reminded not to be tempted to tidy the gardens and flower beds of the dead grass and plant matter too early as many will be sheltering within. 

Rob Hughs located the cackling goose at Ellister. Chris and his group were today at the Woollen Mill where they saw a pair of dipper on the river there.  Later, 12 chough at Sanaigmor.  I counted a larger flock of around 30 curlew at Craigfad. By the house at Claddach, a pied wagtail.  There was one in the village last week, first I've seen for a while.

Local hobby-photographer and the source of all my photos, Billy, was at Foreland today and took the following photos of a group of 7 whooper swan resting up on the wee lochan there - Loch an Raoin.

I managed to look back to last years February rainfall from James to compare. February 2021 gave 102mm or 4 inches, compared with 188mm or 7.5 inches of 2022! What a difference!

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Tuesday 1 March

 Pinch and a punch for the first of the month! And what a lovely start of the month it was - blue skys and sun all day. As I drove 'up country' this afternoon, at Craigfad I stopped in a passing place where there were mixed flocks of geese both sides of the road.  On one side 2 white-fronts were stood, one leg tucked up facing the sun with their eyes shut. It seems the sunshine was appreciated all round!

The white-tailed eagles also appear to have enjoyed the warm weather - over Portnahaven this morning a WTE flew over above the bay, causing all the gulls to rise up in a noise! 2 immature birds were perched on MacKenzie Island, with an other 2 adults on a hillock by Claddach Loch.  Over at Loch Gruinart, Chris reported an other 3 WTE on the mud at the head of the Loch.

Chris also counted 250 knot on the loch, a greenshank and a ring-tailed hen harrier. At Ardnave 25 twite, 14 whooper and 25 chough.  On the loch there was a little grebe.

James has been in touch with the rainfall figures for the month: "My rainfall figures for you – Feb was every bit as bad as you thought 188mm or 7.4inches".  

Billy Stitchell at the Lily Loch this morning enjoyed a busy male great spotted woodpecker doing what woodpeckers do best, and some long tailed tits. He kindly shared his photos, again. Thanks Billy!