Saturday 31 December 2022

Saturday 31st December

The last day of 2022 and the weather was a bit kinder. I'm writing the blog earlier tonight prior to celebrating Hogmanay, so may miss a few notes emailed in that I'll catch up with tomorrow. 

Phil Edwards faithfully reports thus: "A quiet day.  We had two Greenfinches by the ruined buildings across Gruinart Flats (our first on the island this trip) and 5 WTE on Loch Gruinart (one sub-adult caught a fish) with large (uncounted) numbers of waders on the rising tide – Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwits, Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, Oystercatchers, but only a few Curlew.  Then drove to the Oa which proved very disappointing with ne’er a Twite to be seen.  Best was a flock of 16 Rock Doves over the cliffs.  Coming back to Smaull at dusk, a Woodcock flew across the road at the junction of the B8017/B8018 (south of Carnduncan); and we flushed 18 Snipe along the track to Smaull in the dark."

Jonathan Farooqi, just arrived, "hit the jackpot" and sent in the following:

"I arrived on the island yesterday evening and thought I would share a few sightings from my first full day (today, 31 December)…Spent this morning making the most of the calm conditions on Loch Indaal. A female Surf Scoter with 17 Commons off Blackrock was the standout highlight (phonescoped record shot attached). Also 10+ Slavonian Grebes, 20+ Great Northern Divers, 9 Long-tailed Ducks and 4 Black Guillemots on Loch Indaal, as well as an Otter and 4 immature White-tailed Eagles.

2 Little Egrets, 8 Whooper Swans, 60 Pintail and a ringtail Hen Harrier were at Loch Gruinart this afternoon as well as two more Hen Harriers (a male and ringtail) at Ardnave. Finished the day at Bridgend where thousands of Barnacle Geese started arriving onto the mudflats from 16:20."

Many Thanks Jonathan - a great end to the year - and hopefully a great start to 2023 for Islay's birders if the Surf Scoter is still there tomorrow!

I'll finish the year with some further brilliant photos from Phil Edwards during his stay here this past week:

Thanks to everyone who has contributed in 2022 - Wishing you Good Birding in 2023

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