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.

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