Tuesday 30 April 2024

Tuesday 30th April

A second day of grey skies and fairly continuous light rain with a south and south-easterly moderate breeze.

With the weather as it is, there were no bird records coming in today, though when I passed Port Charlotte today I stopped and made a brief count of the the number of nests in the rookery there. It is very active at present and it seems there are about 35 nests. In the past 10 years or so there have been up to 40-50 nests. If anyone has rookeries near them on Islay, do count nests and let me know so I can add this useful information to the Argyll database.

Monday 29 April 2024

Monday 29th April

The weather finally changed, with overcast skies and plenty of rain all day.

The only bird notes come from john Whittle who had an impressive count of 60+ Whimbrel on a field between Port Charlotte and Portnahaven.

Peter Gill & family are regular visitors and emailed with their sightings from their stay last week. They were particularly pleased with the great number and variety of raptors seen. Birding highlights included 4 White-tailed Eagles (all adults) at Loch Skerrols on 24th; 2 Merlins at Gruinart on 17th; 9 Long-tailed Ducks off Kintra including 3 gorgeous drakes, on 21st; Great Spotted Woodpeckers at Kildalton on 17th and Port Askaig on 23rd.

Sunday 28 April 2024

Sunday 28th April

Brilliant weather again, with warmer temperatures too. But still cold overnight and one or two odd, isolated and quite heavy icy showers for a short while in the morning.

I met up with Linden in the morning to go back to Laphraoig to look for the possible goshawk. we sat atop a hill with a view over the patches of mixed, mainly coniferous woodland for an hour or two and solved the mystery. A first view was of a pair of Accipiters incredibly high in the sky, one of which displayed and eventually plummeted down quite close to us in strange undulating display flight. It was all so quick that it was difficult to gauge size or see finer details of plumage colour. About 40 minutes later we saw them again, this time a very clear male Sparrowhawk emerged from the forest and went up high to display again with its much larger female mate - problem solved: only Sparrowhawks, but still a fine sight in the sunshine. While sat there we also heard Great Spotted Woodpecker and saw a fine male Crossbill.

Elsewhere today, David D. had Whimbrel, Sandwich Tern and singing Blackcap at Seal Bay and Mary Redman found 6 Golden Plover by her house down in the Portnahaven area for much of the day.

Over on Jura, Fiona McGillivray had a Short-eared Owl and a Green Hairstreak Butterfly near Feolin.

Saturday 27 April 2024

Saturday 27th April

The fine sunny weather continues with a gentle breeze and just a very light sprinkle of rain in the morning.

Mary-Ann Featherstone reported a likely adult Little Gull seen briefly on the beach at Port Ellen yesterday.

Today's main point of interest was a Goshawk displaying over Laphroaig, reported by Linden. Jim Dickson commented that it has been many years since there has been an acceptable record of this species for Islay, so hopefully this one will be seen again and pass muster.

Other interest today has been a Great Spotted Woodpecker noted drumming near Bridgend Hotel by John Whittle and a Short-eared Owl seen by Gary T. at Finlaggan. There were two reports of decent-sized flocks of Whimbrel: 30-40 at Claddach seen by Mary R. and a further 30 at Kintra seen by David D.

James How was up beyond Gortantaoid today and had the exciting sighting of a Minke Whale with calf.

Friday 26 April 2024

Friday 26th April

The glorious sunny, but chilly weather again today, with just a light breeze, though only a couple of bird notes for you:

Gary T. had our first Whitethroat of the year up near Ballygrant on the path to Dunlossit, while visitor John Whittle found our first Tree Pipit over at Ardlussa on Jura.

Linden from RSPB recorded a couple of Orange-tip butterflies at Crosshouses.

Thursday 25 April 2024

Thursday 25th April

The pleasant sunny weather continues, though still chilly and with a very light sprinkling of rain once or twice.

Down at Currie Sands Mary Redman saw 5 Choughs and at Claddach, a big flock of Whimbrel. Cuckoos are still being reported - Mary R. saw one near Portnahaven and Elliott Bowman took a video of one singing on wires, being closely watched by a potential host.

Butterflies and moths were being seen and notes sent in. Over at Kildalton and the nether regions of Islay, Mary-Ann Featherstone was seeing Speckled Woods, Green Hairstreak, Green-veined Whites, Peacock and showy Emperor Moths. David D. also saw Green Hairstreak  down on The Oa, from where he took this lovely photo of a newly arrived Whinchat.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Wednesday 24th April

 Continuing blue skies, dry and sunny with a cold nip in the air.

David Dinsley was finding further summer migrants on The Oa: a Whinchat and Grasshopper Warblers at Kinnabus and Cuckoo at Glen Astle. At the other end of the island James How reports Cuckoo, Sedge Warble and "loads" of Sand Martins at Gruinart this morning and 31 Whimbrel at Saligo. Another group of 15 Whimbrel were flying about the fields around Bruichladdich later in the day.

John and Susan Kirkman (on holiday from Yorkshire), sent in some notes for 22nd April including a Dipper at Kilchiaran (always interesting to find one of these away from the River Sorn), 7 singing Willow Warblers just south of Port Charlotte and 4 Arctic and 2 Sandwich Terns at Portcharlotte,

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Tuesday 23rd April

Another lovely sunny day on Islay, even though still a bit of a light and chilly breeze.

A few more new migrants in today. Top of the bill was an Osprey seen by David D. on The Oa. Down at Smaull Lauren Stewart found Islay's first Whinchat of 2024. Elsewhere there were further reports of Cuckoos, Willow and Grasshopper Warblers. David W. saw 4 Manx Shearwaters on his ferry crossing and a couple of Arctic Terns in West Loch Tarbert. 

Monday 22 April 2024

Monday 22nd April

Another lovely sunny day, with a further trickle of new summer birds turning up. Ed Burrell had 10 Whimbrel pass through Cornabus and Linden had the first Sedge Warbler of the year on the floods at Gruinart. Mary-Ann Featherstone noticed a couple of Terns (presumably Arctic?) at Kildalton and a Blackcap was heard singing by David D. at Kinnabus early this morning. But spring is in full swing for some species, with James How noting the first Lapwing chicks at RSPB Gruinart. 

Visitor Joanna Dailey who had been on Islay back in February, sent in details of a colour-ringed Oystercatcher that she saw on her visit. It was a bird ringed as an adult near Dublin in July 2020 and seen in that area at times every year since. this was the first sighting away from Eire.

Sunday 21 April 2024

Sunday 21st April

 A very fine, dry day with sunshine and a good temperature - very summery.

Amongst the continuing reports of the usual and expected summer migrants such as Cuckoos, Blackcaps and Common Sandpipers, there were Grasshopper Warblers reported at Cornabus and Glen Astle on The Oa. There were a few other interesting sightings: Ed Burrell had a flock of Redwings at Cornabus and David D. noted Fieldfare on The Oa. It can't be long now before they are away for summer. Ed also had a total of 23 Black-tailed Godwits on Loch Cornabus, which is not a usual location for the species, especially in that number. More unusual still was a pair of Tree Sparrows seen by David D. at Kinnabus. This species appears very erratically on Islay, but did breed on The Oa in 2009.

Here at Bruichladdich there is Collared dove nest-building in the hedge around the garden and a small group of drake Mallards gathering on the sea, numbering 12 today. Presumably these are males that have bred and now left the females to do all the hard work. 

Saturday 20 April 2024

Saturday 20th April

A fine, dry, calm and sunny day, though not that warm.

People were reporting warblers all over the place today. Mandy h. had our first Grasshopper Warbler of the year singing at Carnduncan, with James How noting others at Sanaig. Later, Mary-Ann Featherstone had Grasshopper Warbler along with Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers over at Kildalton (she also sent in a note of Cuckoo there and at Ardbeg yesterday afternoon). 

David D. notes a report on the Islay Facebook page of Corn Crake calling at Portnahaven this morning, and 5 Common Sandpipers seen by him at Loch Kinnabus, with a first Whimbrel of the year at Ardtalla later - David wood notching up another 3 Whimbrel at Kildalton in the afternoon. 

Margaret Brooke had Cuckoos calling at Kilchoman where Swallows were back, as they were here at Bruichladdich prospecting outbuildings for nest sites.

Linden Kingston noted a flock of 23 Whooper Swans just landed in Kilnaughton Bay  at 5.20pm, and I had what is presumably the same group of 23 flying directly up Loch Indaal at 8pm this evening. I wonder if they were on their way to Iceland this evening or are going to rest up and head off tomorrow?

So, we have a good proportion of the summer migrants noted here now - just a few more species to arrive, hopefully along with some good warm weather.

Friday 19 April 2024

Thursday 18th & Friday 19th April

Yesterday's weather was awful - damp grey and rainy. So nobody went birding and there was nothing to report. Today was much nicer - dry, bright and sunny again, though still not much bird news to impart.

Mandy H. reported Willow Warbler singing at Carnduncan, Linden had a male Blackcap on the RSPB Gruinart  moorland trail and Ed Burrell had a White Wagtail at Cornabus. 

Non-avian news was another Emperor Moth on The Oa seen by David D.

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Wednesday 17th April

A bright, dry and sunny day, though the only bird news from Islay comes from Linden who counted 155+ Black-tailed Godwits from the North Hide at RSPB Gruinart. Spring peaks of this migrant on its way to breed in Iceland are almost always higher than autumn returning birds. This count is a fairly high one, though numbers do seem to have increased in the past 25 years. There have been 2-3 counts over 300 and an exceptional tally of 850 in April 2013.

Margaret Brooke noticed a Barn Owl in her nest-box via CCTV last night. The bird was ringed, and as neither of the usual nesting pair were ringed, she wonders if this might be one of last years ringed young taking a look at its old home!

Away from Islay, Fiona McGillivray heard a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker in the woods at Inver on Jura today. This species is probably a regular breeding bird on Jura nowadays, but there are very few records confirming this in the past 10-15 years.

Away from birds, Mary-Ann Featherstone saw her first Emperor Moth of the year (a male) at Kildalton today.

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Tuesday 16th April

Cool, but sunny and dry for my return to Islay after a few days away in central France where it was hot, sunny and the air full of the song of Nightingales!

Many thanks to Malcolm O. for standing in as blogger in my absence, I'm sure we'll be hearing more from him in the future.

The only report today comes from Gary Turnbull who met a birder at Whinpark this morning who reported an Osprey at the mouth of the River Sorn a little earlier. I noted 15 Brent Geese near to Blackrock as I returned home this morning.

Other than that, Jim Wells, who had been over from N. Ireland recently, sent in details of some Barnacle Goose colour rings he had read. Steve Percival had replied in detail; the birds involved being a mix of individuals ringed in S. Iceland and here on Islay. The oldest were a couple of Islay-ringed birds from 2017 who had been noted back here in all subsequent winters, while one of the Iceland-ringed birds had been seen in Donegal as well as here in later years.

Monday 15 April 2024

 Monday 15th April

On a day with strong west to north-westerly winds with fierce squalls containing hail at times, and much colder than yesterday, it looked as if there were going to be no bird sightings at all. and then, in the afternoon, Mary-Ann reported a male Blackcap at Kildalton Thank you, Mary-Ann. You've saved the day! Blackcaps have been recorded from the more mature woodlands for many years, with the first probable breeding in 1985. There have only been a handful of probable or confirmed breeding since then, though with rather more singing males each spring, plus occasional wintering birds.

Selecting a Gordon Langsbury photograph was pretty simple today.


Sunday 14 April 2024

 Sunday 14th April

I would first like to apologise to Linden Kingston for describing him yesterday as a visitor. He isn't, having come to Islay to work for the RSPB. Enjoy your time here, Linden, as I'm sure you will. It's quite difficult for birders not to.

With some of the birders who contributed so much last week having belatedly been able to leave the island, the flow of information has subsided a little, but David D saw a Common Sandpiper at Seal Bay and heard a Chiffchaff singing there at about midday, while Frank Cavanagh saw two Common Sandpipers at Loch Ballygrant later in the afternoon. Gary saw a Gannet off Bruichladdich pier, which I confess I didn't see, my excuse being that my computer monitor obscures some of my view of the sea! Finally, Linden counted no less than 64 Black-tailed Godwits (aka Blackwits) from the south hide at Gruinart. These will presumably be on their way to Iceland for the summer.

What better Gordon Langsbury photograph to post than this one of Blackwits.


Saturday 13 April 2024

Saturday 13th April 

A day of mixed weather with an increasing south-west wind, with occasional, mainly brief, but heavy squalls, and sufficient wind to persuade the Captain of the Finlaggan to cancel the last two sailings of the day. 

To start with there were a couple of refinds from yesterday, with Mary catching up with the Snow Bunting at Claddach and Ed seeing the immature Glaucous Gull just inland of Bridgend. He also saw a sky-dancing Hen Harrier a little further along, before noting two White-tailed Eagles on a carcass at Leorin on his way home. Gary saw a different WTE from the layby on the Bowmore side of Bridgend. David D saw two Sandwich Terns on the beach at Port Ellen, while visitor Linden Kingston saw four just north of the Gaelic College. These frustrating terns appear every spring, disappear for the summer, before reappearing in August, often including a juvenile or two. Their breeding location remains a mystery.

Another sighting by Linden was of 14 Light-bellied Brent at Blackrock, reminding me that Lucy saw a small number at the same place last Wednesday. The northward migration of these Brent to their arctic Canada breeding grounds continues well into May. David D also saw a Common Sandpiper (Islay's first this spring) in Laggan Bay, while Patrick Cavanagh reported a Storm Petrel in Claggain Bay together with small numbers of Manx Shearwaters. He also saw a White Wagtail in Kilnaughton Bay. Alistair rounded off the day with a Merlin just north of Portnahaven, a Sparrowhawk at Port Ban and three Red-throated Divers, one coming into summer plumage, at the mouth of Portnahaven harbour.

Because of the ferry cancellations, some of our visiting birds are having to spend an extra night here and may find time tomorrow morning to do a bit of seawatching. A welcome example of a positive side to our currently not very good ferry service.

No photographs were received today, so this one of a pair of Sandwich Terns by Gordon Langsbury seems the most appropriate one to post.

Friday 12 April 2024

 Friday 12th April

That's more like it!  Thank you very much to all the contributors today, who have been out and about, seeing good birds and sharing them on WhatsApp. Frank Cavanagh was first off, seeing an exceptionally early Storm Petrel and a few Manx Shearwaters heading west around The Oa first thing in the morning, as well as some Fulmars on the cliffs. Storm Petrels are regularly seen during autumn seawatches at Frenchman's Rocks, sometimes in low hundreds, but the previous earliest date was 21st May. Maybe the recent high winds have brought it inshore. They've never been proved to breed here, though their typical musky smell has been detected a couple of times in suitable locations at Stremnishmore and Smaull.

Alistair saw a fine male Snow Bunting at Claddach at about midday, together with a Wheatear, and, while doing a short seawatch at Frenchman's Rocks, had 30+ Gannets and 10+ Manx Shearwaters, as well as some Razorbills and Guillemots. In the early afternoon, Frank had a pair of Whimbrel, the first this spring, also at Claddach. Later on, he saw a juvenile Glaucous Gull at Bridgend, which had been seen earlier in the day by Gary Turnbull, while, in the late afternoon, Sam saw a Little Egret on the Bridgend merse opposite Whin Park, close to where I saw two earlier in the day. Little Egrets have been steadily moving north as a breeding species in Britain, but seem to take a number of years of visiting before they start to breed. There have been long-staying birds on Islay since 2008, and, since 2018, from one to three birds have been here year-round. Let's hope it isn't too long before they decide to nest. Of course, another possibility is that all the birds that are wandering north of their breeding range are of the same sex (!), but that's difficult to prove for a species with the male and female seemingly identical.

Here are three photographs submitted today. Alistair's Snow Bunting and Frank's Whimbrel and Glaucous Gull. Thanks very much for these.


Thursday 11 April 2024

 Thursday 11th April

Well! I have to say that I'm very disappointed. Not a single bird record was posted to WhatsApp today, nor has there been a single e-mail reporting something of interest. Indeed, the only post was from Hannah who saw a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins heading towards Texa. Now, I know that dolphins can "fly", after a fashion, but they aren't really birds. So, despite a much nicer day than yesterday, with even a little bit of sun, it appears that birding round the island was at a very low ebb. I will therefore add an observation from my garden, of a pair of Collared Doves which decided that the ideal place to mate was on my bird table. Good for them. I feed a lot during the winter, up to 40 around Christmas and the New Year, and am rewarded by two or three pairs nesting in the garden, together with their exceptionally boring (to me) song droning on for hour after hour, week after week, month after month.

It seems appropriate to post a photograph of a Collared Dove taken on Islay by my late and lamented friend, Gordon Langsbury. He and I collaborated on a photographic book of Islay birds back in 2006 and he generously said his photographs could be used as I felt fit.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

 Wednesday 10th April

I suppose I should have expected as much. Peter has gone swanning off to France on a jolly and asked if I would write this blog while he was away. So here I am, with my very first blog, on a day when it rained all morning and was pretty dreary in the afternoon and there were no e-mails and no WhatsApp messages, because, very obviously, no-one was out birding and, even if they had been, they wouldn't have seen anything for me to tell you about. Thank you, Peter!

Fortunately, Margaret Brooke at Kilchoman sent in this charming photograph of the Barn Owl pair in her nestbox, showing that, for them at least, love is in the air.

Also, thanks to Lucy at the RSPB, it is possible to confirm that, as expected, there was a mass exodus of both Barnacle and Greenland Whitefronts last weekend as they took advantage of the strong easterlies to get them on their way to Iceland, where they stop off for up to a month before moving on to breed in Greenland. Some of each species remain, having missed that migration opportunity, clearly hoping there will soon be others.
Tomorrow looks as if it is going to be a *much* nicer day, so please get out there and let's have some interesting birds to tell you about tomorrow. 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Tuesday 9th April

A breezy, sunny and dry day.

The potentially interesting gull (is there such a thing? I hear some of you ask) didn't show up today and various birders on our WhatsApp group sent in their thoughts, suggesting it might well be just a skinny Herring Gull - or words along those lines.

A Sandwich Tern or two has been parading up and down between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte yesterday and today - as they so often do in early spring, before vanishing for good later. Talking of vanishing, Jim Wells contacted me to say that a Red-breasted Goose has been seen, with Barnacle Geese, on N. Uist yesterday, which could well be "our" bird, now heading off, albeit in the totally wrong direction for the species, with "our" Barnies going to Iceland and on to Greenland.

Mary-Ann Featherstone reports a Blackcap at Bowmore yesterday and Angharad Ward saw a female Blackcap at Kinnabus this morning. Also at Kinnabus, David D. confirms the continued presence of the Yellowhammer, while on The Oa, American Monument trail a lone Redwing reminds us that it still isn't fully summer yet, though two Swallows there gives us hope. Alistair reports Goldcrests and Willow Warblers in the Woodland Trail at Gruinart, plus House and Sand Martins and a Little Egret on the floods, while on the other side of the loch Louise Muir had 70 Golden Plover at Killinallan. Bill Bealey saw a Hen Harrier at Duich and Hannah Stanger had dolphins at Lagavulin.

Monday 8 April 2024

Monday 8th April

 Storm Kathleen has passed by and the weather was fairly pleasant today - lighter winds and a bit of sunshine. Sadly the sunshine and clearer skies turned into thicker cloud by the evening when it would have been possible to see a partial eclipse of the sun - lets hope Texas, where the eclipse was total, had better luck.

Bird news kicked off today with David D. reporting a Yellowhammer at Kinnabus and 6 Long-tailed ducks, a Wheatear and 2 White Wagtails at Kintra. Then news turned to Swallows and Martins - 4 House Martins seen at Kildalton by Mary-Ann Featherstone, then reports of increasing numbers of Swallows. Mary Redman, lambing down at Claddach noted a couple to start with, then 5 or 6 more just minutes later followed soon after by 2 House Martins and then a passage of hirundines thereafter, with a peak count of  30 Swallows at Currie Sands.

Alistair was at Cladville sighting a lone Redwing and a White-tailed Eagle and confirming more Swallows and Martins. Not to be left out, Ed Burrell scored the year's first Blackcap - a male - down at Cornabus.

Later this afternoon, down at Loch Kinnabus, a sharp-eyed David D. noticed the gull in the photo he provided below, thinking it may well be a Caspian Gull. Jim Dickson, Argyll's "seagull specialist" confirms it is a good candidate for this species, split some years ago from Herring Gull, and potentially a first for Argyll. Hopefully David will find it again tomorrow to get further confirmation of the very subtle features that would clinch the ID.


Sunday 7 April 2024

Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th April

Two days of Storm Kathleen, that for us on Islay at times seemed more like a "storm in a teacup! There were some strong winds at times and some of the ferry crossings cancelled, but it didn't seem that bad, plus it was pleasantly mild and quite sunny at times. A bunch of summer migrants arrived. But before talking of summer arrivals there was mention from Malcolm O. about departing winter birds, a.k.a. Barnacle Geese. He sent in this weather map of Storm Kathleen suggesting that it produced ideal conditions (strong winds from a southerly direction) for Barnacle Geese to depart Islay and arrive in Iceland with barely a flap of their wings! His thoughts were confirmed by his goose contact in Sligo, Eire who noted that a lot of Barnacles departed 2-3 days ago, confirmed by a couple of satellite-tagged birds. 

But what of summer visitors? Yesterday Linden saw Sand Martins at Gruinart (plus 15 Back-tailed Godwits). David Dinsley had Swallow and WillowWarbler at Kinnabus, plus 2 Swallows at Emerivale. Gary T. posted that "a birder" was in the bar at Port Charlotte hotel saying they had heard a Corn Crake yesterday at Conisby. This would certainly be in the right place, but would be the earliest ever by 4 days according to my notes saying that there were no April arrival dates noted until the late 1990s, but these are annual since 2003, with four dates from 9 to 12 April, all since 2010. To round things off, Alistair saw 2 Sandwich Terns at Bowmore

Bill Bealey, newly arrived for a visit to the island, counted 80 Oystercatchers roosting on the long strand near the Machrie.

Today there have been more migrants - Ed Burrell had a single Swallow  at Cornabus in the morning with 8 there plus the first House Martin on Islay this year in the afternoon. David D. had 2 Swallows at Kinnabus plus the year's first Cuckoos - two of them, both quite early, but not the earliest - (photo below) and Ella Simpson had more Swallows between Beinn Dubh and loch Leathann.

Malcolm O. noted the first Linnet on his bird feeders at Bruichladdich in a long time.

Friday 5 April 2024

Friday 5th April

Not a very pleasant day, with grey skies and rain for a lot of the time with a moderately brisk breeze. This is apparently just the "warm up" for tomorrow and the weekend when Storm Kathleen arrives with gale force winds..........

Gary T. was out watching a Golden Eagle over the slopes at Carrabus and good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits and Redshank on the mud in Loch Indaal. There was also a Sandwich Tern there with the gulls. 

Jeff Duncan reported a large flock of Golden Plover in fields north of Port Ellen and a male Sparrowhawk hunting at Kilnaughton before heading off on the ferry out of Port Ellen where he saw a few Manxies en route.

Down at Potrnahaven Mary Redman watched a White-tailed Eagle scaring everything up over McKenzie island.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Thursday 4th April

 A reasonable, mostly sunny day with the odd bit of cloud and drizzle now and then.

Willow Warblers have started to pop up all over the place: Gary T. heard them singing in woods near Finlaggan and David D. had more singing at Upper Cragabus. Linden, a new arrival at RSPB Gruinart had others in the woodland at Gruinart and found the first Swallow of summer there.

Gary T. also commented on calling Snipe on the Mulreesh road, and a couple of Little Egrets at Loch Indaal near Whin Park and David D. had 4 Wheatears, a Peregrine and 4 Otters on The RSPB Oa Reserve.

Jeff Duncan went out and had a further look at the Red-breasted Goose today (photo below), still fairly faithful to the same set of fields on the south side of the road on the RSPB Gruinart Reserve. After scoring that goodie, he was at Loch Indaal near to Bridgend where a couple of White-tailed Eagles hung out and 5 Greenshank were noted. Over at Kintra Angharad Ward saw 5 Chough - they are not so abundant over that side of the island, so an interesting record.

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Wednesday 3rd April

A grey and drizzly day not inspiring anyone to spend too much time outside. David Dinsley saw a female Goosander on Loch Kinnabus that had turned up there yesterday, In the same area was a Willow Warbler. Another Wheatear popped up, seen by Mary Redman down at Claddach where she also had a White-tailed Eagle overhead, while Jeff Duncan had an adult Golden Eagle and a Hen Harrier over Foreland. Nearby, at Carnduncan Mandy H. heard a Chiffchaff that has been around that area since 26 March.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Tuesday 2nd April

Single Wheatears were seen at RSPB The Oa and at Shepherd's Cottage Kilchoman, while the first Sandwich Terns of the year were clocked - 2 of them at Port Charlotte. Also of note was a Little Egret at Gruinart.

Monday 1 April 2024

1st April

A dry start followed by grey and light showers for April Fool's Day.

Jeff Duncan was up and about early in a successful quest for the Red-breasted Goose at Gruinart.

Over on Jura, Louise reported a Cormorant on the stone pier at Craighouse.

There being very few of the earlier summer arrival species reaching us so far (a handful of Sand Martins, Wheatears and Chiffchaffs, with further single Wheatears at Kinnabus and Craigens today), But David Wood found a Willow Warbler (also at Kinnabus) today. This is a fairly early (but increasingly so) arrival date for the species on Islay. There have been six March records all since 2007 - getting earlier due to climate change? Who knows?