Tuesday 31 January 2023

Tuesday 31st January

 A fairly wild and windy day with quite cold, icy showers at times between bouts of sunshine.

I managed an hour or so at the two RSPB hides at Gruinart in the afternoon. The very long-staying female type Marsh Harrier was seen on a couple of occasions. An adult and later a young, White-tailed Eagle sauntered through and put up many of the Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail present, but a total of 29 Whooper Swans on the floods were not phased, there were also plenty of Snipe, a pair of Gadwall and a tally of 3 Little Egrets.

Monday 30 January 2023

Monday 30th January

 A blustery, windy and wet day, so no bird notes to tell you about, though Mary Redman had seen Barn Owls at Easter Ellister and Port Wemyss last night.

Sunday 29 January 2023

Sunday 29th January

A change in the weather with overcast, breezy drizzle. Few people ventured out, but one piece of exciting news comes from Margaret Brooke up at Kilchoman (who was not going out either - and didn't need to!):

"Just seen from kitchen table - Pallid Harrier flying across garden (confirmed by James How)"

That will look good on the RSPB's Garden Birdwatch !

Saturday 28 January 2023

Saturday 28th January

A bright, sunny, fairly calm morning, turning a tad cloudier with hints of drizzle by later afternoon. But it encouraged a few folk to go out birding:

Malcolm Ogilvie reported two flocks of Redwings seen today, 15-20 on the Oa near Mid Cragabus, and 30-40 near Laphroaig,

David Wood migrated from his home territory on The Oa this morning to check out birds in Loch Indaal off Blackrock and Bowmore with the following results: 25 Long-tailed Duck, 24 Slavonian Grebe, 28 Great Northern Diver, 12 Red-throated Diver, 13 Goldeneye, 158 Common Scoter, 55 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Tysties, and 37 Eider. That is a fairly high count of Common Scoter, but seemingly the Surf Scoter no longer with them.

Jim Wells was over from N. Ireland with a boatload of birders. They were up at Ardnave and Gruinart this morning finding 4 White-tailed Eagles, 29 Chough, groups of Twite, 4 of James's 5 Little Egrets and the very long-staying female Marsh Harrier.

I did a walk up to Ardnave Point this afternoon, but by then it was remarkably quiet. The only geese were 250 Barnacle Geese on Nave Island, where 240 Seals were hauled out. The coastline held a few small groups of common waders, but the fields and grazing seemed empty. Ardnave Loch had a group of  7 Whooper Swans in residence.

Friday 27 January 2023

Friday 27th January

Further sightings of interest from James How today, who comments "Another not too bad day to be out goose-counting"

The Glaucous Gull remains at Uiskentuie; 3 different White-tailed Eagles were about up at the Gruinart area where a flock of 43 Fieldfares were seen; a Golden Eagle soared about Killinallan while a Cackling Goose was noted at Craigens. From the hides were 2 Gadwall and 305 Lapwing. Most noteworthy was a count of 5 Little Egrets. James said he had an idea that there might be more than the 3 seen on occasions and today he got 5 all together. This is a record for Islay and makes you wonder how long before they become a resident and perhaps breeding bird here?

Thursday 26 January 2023

Thursday 26th January

James How summarises today’s weather: “A beautiful day for goose counting”

No doubt we’ll hear later how many geese were counted. Meanwhile he noted some other interesting sightings:

Glaucous Gull Uiskentuie, Surf Scoter still off Blackrock; White-tailed Eagle also around Blackrock; 3 Little Egrets, Peregrine & White-tailed Eagle at Gruinart and a further White-tailed Eagle at Ardnave..

A "mystery" ringed White-tailed Eagle noted a few days ago has been tracked down, with the help of Louise Muir, Ed Burrell and info provided by Martin Douglas.. It is G442, ringed as a chick in the nest near Loch Striven, Cowal in June 2021 by the Argyll Raptor Study Group. It apparently also has a radio tag attached and has been (in the words of Ed Burrell) “been bouncing about Islay and Jura over the past few months”. (See below the photo of the bird and the map to show how it has been bouncing about).

Margaret B. confirms the virtually daily sighting of “her” Hen Harrier up at Kilchoman.

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Wednesday 25th January

George Jackson took a look around Mulindry for the Red-breasted Goose but had no luck. He did find a couple of Pink-footed Geese in with about 30 Greenland White-fronts near Neriby.

James How reports several other birds of interest: 3 Hen Harriers, 1 Marsh Harrier and 2 Red Grouse at Gruinart plus a Glaucous Gull at Uiskentuie. 

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Tuesday 24th January

 All quiet on the birding front today, though Margaret B. wrote in to say: "Not a great morning but it was made much better with a Hen Harrier hunting over the garden before landing on the wall".

Monday 23 January 2023

Sunday 22nd & Monday 23rd January

Weather here in Scotland apparently much balmier than “down south”.

Very little bird news to report, hence a double-billing of two days today. Yesterday there were various notes coming in of ringed White-tailed Eagles that folks were trying to identify, but with no definite news as yet. Ed Burrell also reported marked birds – one of his Greenland white-fronts that he caught and marked in Hvanneyn, Iceland in April 2013 now at Ballitarsin.

Today, I noted 22 Brent Geese along the coast of Loch Indaal and a young White-tailed Eagle perched up on Blackrock – needless to say that was the first time I’ve seen those rocks with no Shags sitting on them!

Mark Shields reports a Green Sandpiper on Gruinart Flats today – an uncommon bird on Islay, with only 54 records between 1970 and 2020. Previous records have been spread between March and November, so this is the first January sighting.

Saturday 21 January 2023

Saturday 21st January

A cold, dreich day and nothing to report. 

Friday 20 January 2023

Friday 20th January

Word through from Jim Dickson that someone on Birdguides has reported the surf scoter still present at Blackrock, in amongst a group of common scoters. The juv glaucous gull is also still in the area. 

Elsewhere, Lauren and Liz from RSPB were WeBS counting at Gruinart today. With much of the floods frozen over, the duck count was well down. Some of their highlights were "Great northern diver, 49 shelduck, 216 wigeon, 9 red breasted merganser, 632 golden plover, 86 sanderling, 175 bar tailed godwits, 166 curlew, 53 redshank, 13 turnstone, 464 Dunlin, 3 little grebe, 4 greenshank, 4 white tailed eagles, a little egret"

Fiona MacGillivray had another kingfisher, this one on the shore at Caol Ila. There was a barn owl at Eresaid this evening, with Double D also seeing one at The Oa. He reports an increase in small flocks of fieldfare and redwing since the snowy spell, and 4 bullfinch at Middle Cragabus. Our own Mary had hen harriers at Octofad and Port Wemyss, 40-odd curlew at Craigfad, 2 chough at Claddach and sends us this picture from Billy Stitchell...

Thanks to all the above.

Thursday 19 January 2023

Thursday 19th January

Some actual birds to report today, which drastically improves the blogging experience for all of us. Gary had not one but two kingfishers, the first at Carnain and the second at Gartmain. The red-breasted goose is still with us, seen by Neil Hammatt a few miles SE of Bridgend, per Jim Dickson. 

Belated news that the marsh harrier was seen at Gruinart on Friday by Lauren from RSPB. Fantastic that it has hung around for so long - the first record was sometime in the first half of August 2022, I think. 

Margaret had a peregrine whilst on Machir bay. This week's scheduled Nature Scot international goose count was cancelled due to the snow and ice, and I gather has been rescheduled for late next week. 

Thanks to all the above. 

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Wednesday 18th January

A juv glaucous gull was seen at Carnain by Neil Hammatt, per Jim Dickson. Thanks Jim. Elsewhere, a barn owl on the flats at Gruinart and a golden eagle at Carnain. That's yer lot. 

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Tuesday 17th January

Nothing to report from a snowy Islay.

Monday 16 January 2023

Monday 16th January

Nothing to report today, other than some rare snow at Loch Gruinart. We did get a couple of late sightings from Mary for yesterday - grey wagtail at Port a Rheidleinn and a sparrowhawk at Portnahaven. That's yer lot.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Sunday 15th January

James got us some waders on the high tide at Gruinart - 21 grey plover, 4 greenshank, 2 knot and 395 barwits. 

Elsewhere, there were 2 PB brents in with the white-fronts at Craigens, and a young WTE at Carnain.

Saturday 14 January 2023

Saturday 14th January

It wasn't a looking-for-birds kind of day.  

Friday 13 January 2023

Friday 13th January

Mary found a little auk on the road in Port Wemyss today. More cheerfully, she had a barn owl around the village later. 

At Waterworld/Gruinart, James had 3 WTE, 1465 golden plover, a flock of 31 snipe on the floods and 2 gadwall.

pic c/o Phil Edwards

Thursday 12 January 2023

Thursday 12th January

While the rest of us were ordering rubber dinghies online, James was out and about at Gruinart, trying to unflood the floods. He saw a kingfisher, his first on reserve in the 20-odd years he has been here. Also 3 little egrets and the token WTE. 

The filthy weather was no match for Margaret, who had a golden eagle over the Gruinart Flats and a WTE over Carnain.

Mary kindly passed on some more pics from Billy Stitchell, taken at Ballygrant Loch (though it could be anywhere on the island at the minute) yesterday to play us out.

Thanks to all.  

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Wednesday 11th January

Islay is now very, very, very, very wet. 

George Jackson reports a little auk at the unusual location of Loch Skerrols. Also present were 2 long-tailed ducks, c80 teal, 6 tufties, 20 mallard and a buzzard. 

pic c/o Phil Edwards

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Tuesday 10th January

Nothing to report from another day of traditional January weather. Islay is very, very, very wet. 

pic c/o Phil Edwards

Monday 9th January

Mary keeps the show on the road today with a little grebe taking shelter in Bowmore harbour and reports from Billy Stitchell of a coot at Ballygrant Loch and a goldeneye at Lossit Loch. Thanks to her.

Sunday 8 January 2023

Sunday 8th January

Not much to report, and no sign of a change in this weather any time soon. A young golden eagle was squabbling with a ringtail hen harrier at Gruinart this morning. Mary had a couple of chough down Portnahaven way. 

Saturday 7 January 2023

Saturday 7th January

No sightings through today, just bits and pieces I saw when out and about. Near Port Askaig there were 2 white tailed eagles soaring overhead and frequently interacting. At Gruinart, a rough count of 27 ravens on the Flats. I've never seen raven numbers anywhere near this high at Gruinart, though I've also never seen so many dead geese at Gruinart. I'm told one of the small woods behind Eresaid is called Ravensroost Wood, so I presume there have been high numbers here in the past. 

A nice set of common scoter pics from Phil Edwards to finish. Tioraidh! 

Friday 6 January 2023

Friday 6th January

Phil Edwards made it back home safely today, and managed to squeeze in a final report...

"Ferry this morning was rerouted out of Port Askaig.  There were two nice Black-throated Divers, two Red-throated, and one GND in the Sound on the way out, a Black Guillemot and up to eight Kittiwakes out at sea and a single Fulmar reasonably close to the mainland.

So another visit comes to a close.  My best wishes to all Islay birders, residents and visitors alike, and I hope you all have a great 2023.

Same to you, Phil, and thanks very much again. 

pic c/o Phil Edwards

Thursday 5 January 2023

Thursday 5th January

Peter is away, but I feel he'd want me to comment on the weather - ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. 

It was Phil Edwards' last full day on the island for this trip, and it was a bit of a struggle in the conditions. He and his wife did manage 7 whoopers at the Gruinart South Hide and a couple of woodcock in the area. Thanks very much indeed to them for all their sightings.

pic c/o Phil Edwards

Not a thing on the whatsapp group, bar a late mention of a barn owl at Laphroaig yesterday from Mary-Ann. 

Malcolm emailed in to add his thoughts to Peter and Phil's skittish geese comments from yesterday. He said "In response to Phil Edwards asking if the the Barnacles are more jumpy than in the past because of the culling, and you agreeing, I think it has to be borne in mind that there is virtually no culling taking place this winter (just two farms and small numbers) and that it stopped at the end of January last winter. Geese obviously have memories, but as well as jumpiness from culling, I think that the much increased numbers (and flock sizes) in the last 30-40 years also have something to do with it. I also think it's true that using scaring and culling to reduce the time the geese can spend feeding to fatten up before they leave in April could have a detrimental effect on their subsequent breeding success, but as they have about a month in Iceland to carry on feeding, I think the effect will be fairly minimal."

Thanks very much to all the above. 

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Wednesday 4th January

An appropriately wet day with moderate southerly winds to receive some rainfall information from James How: “Just added up the 2022 rainfall from the gauge in my garden: 1,395mm which is wetter than 2021, but is not exceptional - (5 yr. average. is 1,401mm). The spring March – May was however wetter than average.”


Phil Edwards was out in the rain for much of the day and sends in his account: “We took advantage of the narrow window of diminishing winds ahead of increasing rain to take a relaxed look for the American Wigeon and Red-breasted Goose – and found neither.  We started with an imm WTE along the track at Smaull and followed it a couple of minutes later with a Golden Eagle.  Nice.  A brief search of the south side of Loch Gorm produced c. 180 Teal, c. 40 Mallard, a pair of Gadwall, a male Tufted Duck and a Buzzard, but not a single Wigeon, Eurasian or otherwise.  Driving towards Gruinart, we had the nice surprise of a male Bullfinch at the old (Kilchoman?) schoolhouse along the B8017 and five Mistle Thrushes with Fieldfares and Redwings shortly after.  We made distant checks of a number of Barnacle Geese flocks but couldn’t see the Red-breasted so decided to try the hides on the RSPB reserve for a while (North first, then South).  As we left the car park, a pair of Coal Tits was courtship feeding and a couple of Great Tits were singing – clearly spring is not that far away.  From the hides we had 656 Lapwing, 68 Pintail, 38 Shoveler, nine Whooper Swans, a pair of Gadwall, plus the usual array of waterfowl and a Little Egret.  Waders were visible distantly on the mud of the Loch including four Grey Plovers and some Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, etc.  As we walked the Woodland Trail between the hides we had a Goldcrest and two Treecreepers, and after we left South Hide and looked back over the reserve from the viewing platform a ringtail Hen Harrier landed with prey … immediately adjacent to the hide!  On the corner of the Gruinart/Killinallan road, three pale-bellied Brents were again present – something of a fixture, and today posing for photos in the rain (attached).

Then off to the Woollen Mill for my wife to view material – three Siskins were again present on the feeders with two Coal Tits.  We came back still searching the Barnacle flocks for the Red-breasted but with no joy, although we did find the Cackling Goose in with a large flock of Barnacles on the fields above West Carrabus at c.15.30 after which the rain increased and the skies darkened and we called it quits.

We note the Barnacle Geese are seriously jumpy these days.  30-40 years back, you could park close to them and they would (warily) continue to feed, much as the White-fronts do now; but the Barnacles seem to fly at distance pretty much as you stop (except on Gruinart Flats).  Is this a result of the culling?  Again, any local knowledge/views would be welcome.  If my assumption is correct, doesn’t this mean that the indirect effects of culling extend to negative effects on energy intake/expenditure and perhaps therefore to migration/breeding success?”

(I would agree with Phil's assumptions that the Barnies are more skittish these days due to culling and that that must have some (perhaps only minimal?) effect on their winter condition and thus breeding success). 

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Tuesday 3rd January

Not as windy as parts of yesterday, but breezy overnight and cloudy with a lot of light drizzly rain during the day. 

Jim Dickson hung on for a second day and did manage to catch up with the Red-breasted Goose: “Good to see the R b Goose eventually - it was over a brow & out of sight - I went through the flock 7-8 times without seeing it and then viewed from higher ground & saw it in the rain...

Jonathan Farooqi sends in this report on his last day:

We’ve had an amazing few days on the island but unfortunately today was our last full day of birding. First off, we were able to catch up with the Cackling Goose again near Lyrabus thanks to Jim’s message. From there we headed to Loch Gorm where the drake American Wigeon was a bit more cooperative as it swam along the south shore with 25 Eurasians. One drake Pochard was also still present, along with a Whooper Swan and hundreds of Greenland White-fronts.

Once the drizzle set in mid-afternoon we made our way to the Taigh Tuath Hide at Loch Gruinart RSPB. We were pleased to see the Red-breasted Goose among a flock of Barnacles in the field to the north and a couple of hours scanning also produced the Marsh Harrier, Greenshank, Little Egret and a White-tailed Eagle.

Thanks very much for maintaining the blog and allowing us to share our sightings during our visit. Hopefully the island will continue to produce rare birds for you all through the rest of the year. As usual, a few record shots are attached below.

All the best  -  Jonathan and Tariq Farooqi “

 Phil Edwards was also out and about, dodging the weather and doing at least a bit of catch-up:

“A day of seemingly unrelenting rain and drizzle meant we opted for a late start which was to our advantage since we bumped into Tariq and Jonathan between Loch Gorm and Gruinart who provided information as to the Cackling Goose’s whereabouts at Lyrabus and which we duly found.  That’s two UK ticks I owe them.  The rest of the day was pretty washed out.  We looked for the Red-breasted Goose but couldn’t find any decent-sized flocks of Barnacles, let alone it.  Walked around Loch Ballygrant and the woods there but found little – four pairs of Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe; and a ringtail Hen Harrier put in a brief appearance.  Drove across the middle of the island on the Storakaig Road hoping for a Golden Eagle but the cloud was so low we saw nothing.  Ten pairs of Teal were at Loch Tallant, and a male Hen Harrier was hunting over the adjacent moorland.  Still few geese at Gruinart as we passed through on a late visit to Sanaigmore where the bay held a single Grey Seal and the fields beyond held thousands of … Barnacle Geese; but the light was so low and the rain increasing that we simply gave up.  I didn’t even manage a single photo today.

Elsewhere, Steve & Lyn Rogers report a Carrion Crow at Port Ellen.

Monday 2 January 2023

Monday 2nd January 2023

A cold, but beautifully bright, dry and sunny day encouraging further birding and birders to be out in the field – even if it was, for some, mainly to try and catch up with all the rarities that Jonathan had found yesterday!

There was an "invasion of twitchers" in the form of  The Argyll Bird Recorder, Jim Dickson, who came over for the day and caught up with the female Surf Scoter which is still in place at Blackrock and the drake American Wigeon still playing hard to see on Loch Gorm. He also noted a substantial flock of 45+ Reed Buntings at Sunderland Farm. Jonathan still kept us all on our toes, finding a Cackling Goose amongst several thousand Barnies near Loch Skerrols. (camera-grab Photo below). (It's the one towards the middle!).

I went out in the afternoon to do the dutiful (a.k.a. stupid) thing and check a few areas that others might not be looking at to try and get a better coverage of the island. I spent the afternoon sifting through hundreds of ducks from the 2 RSPB hides, but found nothing untoward. A Little Egret and 8 Whooper Swans along with a 20-25 Ravens was the best I could do. The Ravens seem to be homing in on the corpses of the Barnies that are still dying from Avian Flu.

Jonathan Farooqi reports; “We had a slightly more relaxed day today although there was still lots to see. We watched the sunrise at Blackrock where the female Surf Scoter remained and the Long-tailed Ducks were displaying again. There were few ducks at Loch Skerrols but scanning the thousands of Barnacle Geese in a field on the east side produced a nice Richardson’s Cackling Goose. Both Loch Finlaggan and Loch Ballygrant were quite quiet. A couple of Hen Harriers were viewable from the road near Lyrabus late afternoon."

Meanwhile Phil Edwards headed off in different direction too: “Eschewing chasing the rarities on the island, we decided to use the sunniest day of our stay for a trip to Jura.  A pre-dawn start produced a Woodcock at the junction of the B8018/B8017 (as a couple of nights ago) and another further along the B8017 towards Gruinart.  Then a third near Erasaid.(Need to re-christen the B8017 the “Woodcock Highway”)

Lovely day on Jura, the best birds being a Golden Eagle and later two (separate) White-tailed Eagles. A question to those with local knowledge.  On visits 30-40 years ago we used to see more Golden Eagles than last or this year. Have the WTEs out-competed or displaced them?  Any other reason that Goldens appear to have declined? Lots of other birds, the most notable being a Grey Wagtail, five GND, nine Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks, 16 Rock Doves and 10+ Yellowhammers (a rare bird now in Somerset)”

 Phil's photos from today and earlier in his stay below:

Sunday 1 January 2023

Sunday 1st January 2023


A cool, dry and calm day to start the year. And what a start to the year! Yesterday’s rarity – the Surf Scoter did remain for others to see, but its finder, Jonathan Farooqi was on a roll and has had what must be one of the best day’s birding on Islay for rarities on record. I’ll let him tell the story:

 Here’s some of our sightings from a very special day on the island…....We started the day at Blackrock where the sea was even calmer than yesterday. The female Surf Scoter was still close inshore with the Commons and we were able to count at least 18 Slavonian Grebes, 11 Great Northern Divers and 33 Long-tailed Ducks across the bay. It was even possible to see and hear the Long-tails displaying due to the lack of wind.

Next we headed up to Gruinart where thousands of geese were on the flats. A Red-breasted Goose among the Barnacles was a very nice surprise. Other sightings included 21 Whooper Swans, 4 White-tailed Eagles and a Greenshank on the estuary. 

At Loch Gorm, the female-type Marsh Harrier was quartering the edge of the loch and a male Hen Harrier sat nearby. Viewing from the road near Ballinaby we were able to see a drake American Wigeon roosting on the near shore but finding somewhere to view it from was difficult and always through grass. Two drake Pochard were also present.

Thinking the day couldn’t get any better we decided to have a walk on the beach at Machair Bay. I picked up a harrier over the fields at the north end, and looking through scopes, we were astonished to see that it was a juvenile Pallid Harrier. We were able to watch it for about an hour as it hunted pipits in the crop at the top of the bank. To round it all off, a juvenile Glaucous Gull was sat on the rocks at the north end of the bay.

 I’ve attached a few back of camera and phone-scoped shots. Now time for a rest I think!

 Thanks Jonathan – a great account of a superb day’s birding. (There have only been 8 previous accepted records of Surf Scoter on Islay, 3-4 of Red-breasted Geese, about 10 of American Wigeon and a Pallid Harrier found by Neil McMahon on Islay this autumn was a first (and for Argyll I believe). Whether this is the same bird that has been here for months, or a different bird is up for discussion).

There were others of us out there today enjoying the good weather and the birds in other areas. Here is Phil Edward’s account of what sounds like a very enjoyable day:

Happy New Year to birders near and far … and in between.  Up (far too) early this morning to go and see the female Surf Scoter but still later than Terry and Jonathan who kindly pointed it out doing what I really felt like doing – sleeping.  It woke later and did scoter-stuff like diving and preening.  I’m not a UK lister, but it is always nice to have a new UK bird.  Loch Indaal was calm and full of birds.  I was happy to leave the exact counting to the others but I had four Red-throated Divers in the scope at one time, 20+ Long-tailed Ducks calling and displaying; over 100 Eiders with most on the far shore off Kintra Bay, GND, Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter, three male and one female Goldeneye, numerous Red-breasted Mergansers, Shags, and Cormorants.

Then up the eastern side of Loch Gruinart to Killinallan.  Thirty-odd Fieldfares and ten Redwings were in the fields near Erasaid on the way, some of which kindly posed for photos.  The Loch itself held numerous (uncounted) waders including over 1,000 Golden Plovers drifting in the air overhead, Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, a few Curlew and Ringed Plover.  Further up there were 2m 1f Goldeneye, seven Whooper Swans, a Greenshank, and a GND.  We stopped at the gate across the track below Killinallan and walked out along the beach and around the Point with that rarest of things occasionally accompanying us – sunshine!  We turned up 32 Turnstones, four Sanderlings, one Bar-tailed Godwit, 40+ Lapwings, two Rock Pipits and an adult WTE soaring overhead.  At the head of the Loch on the way back in the afternoon, there was a tight flock of at least 100 roosting Bar-tailed Godwits and two adult WTE on the edge of the marsh on the western bank.

Very best to all”

I popped out myself to see the Surf Scoter still there this afternoon amidst a fine display of ducks and divers. The Long-tailed ducks were particularly fine – calling, displaying and looking splendid. I was just a couple short of Jonathan’s count of 33 this morning – that falls just one bird short of the highest count ever of 34 in the winter of 1991/1992. After that I thought, as it was a day for rare wildfowl, I should go and check different areas to Jonathan, so took a look at Loch Skerrols where some very good rare ducks had been seen by us all last winter. Sadly, today it was fairly quiet – just a few Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and Tufties.

George Jackson sent in some notes from his home at Coultorsay:

Hi there. Within last week, had a Treecreeper in the Coultorsay garden just once; up to 18 Curlews feeding in fields above Loch Indall; Friday (30th) a large Sparrowhawk near Bruichladdich distillery; on Thursday and Friday a single, definitely morose/sick looking, imm. Whooper near Sunderland farm. Yesterday, 31st, rounding off the year at Ardnave loch, six Goldeneye (2 fem each accompanied by 2 displaying males); 4 Mallard and 1 Heron (facing away from the loch shore and didn’t move in 40+ minutes - hope that isn’t sick). Today, start of 2023!, first Tree Sparrow of the winter in the garden, then up to 1.30pm got a sight of the Surf Scoter at Blackrock. Thanks to everyone who keeps the blog going - sounds as though there’ll be plenty to hear about in 2023”

I’ll finish with the rarity photos plus some further lovely images c/o Phil Edwards.