Birder Phil Edwards returned yesterday to Islay after a 20 year gap. He reports the following on his crossing from Kenacraig:
"There was a nice variety of birds in West Loch Tarbet (2 Red-th diver, 4 GND, a male Goldeneye, 6 pairs of Rb Merg, 2m 1f Eider etc.) but almost nothing on the crossing save 4 GND until south of Port Ellen when a few seabirds finally appeared – 1 Gannet, 1 Fulmar, 2 Kittiwakes, 1 Razorbill, 2 Guillemots, 2 Black Guillemots, and 9 Shag."
Today he says:
"Had a fairly gentle first day back on Islay. On the way down the track at Smaull there were two Chough; five Fieldfare along the road near Ballinaby; six Redwing and two Reed Buntings near Carnduncan. An hour and three-quarters at South Hide at the RSPB reserve produced 12 ad and 8 imm Whooper Swans, 52+ Pintail, 3m 7f Shoveler, 10 snipe, a Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier which looks like a 2nd CY female given the golden feathers around the leading edge of the axillaries. Photo attached taken through the rain.
"We then moved on to the eastern shore of Loch Gruinart, largely in heavy rain. Numbers are just what we saw and don’t include the large flocks of waders on and beyond the centre of the loch – visibility too bad to identify these: Lapwing 40, Golden Plover c. 1,700, Curlew c. 20, Oystercatcher, c. 60 (inc. 39 in one field), Turnstone 7, Bar-tailed Godwit c. 30, Ringed Plover c. 5, Grey Plover c. 50, Dunlin c. 200, Redshank (just) 6, Greenshank 2, Goldeneye 2 f., Red-breasted Merganser 4 pairs, Grey Heron 1, Little Egret 1, WTE 1 ad carrying prey, and a ringtail Hen Harrier. "
Many Thanks Phil – and a very Marry Christmas to all Blog readers.