Sunday 30 June 2024

Thursday 27th, Friday 28th June, Saturday 29th June and Sunday 30th June

Given that I'm condensing four days into one blog, you can tell that there isn't much to report.  The weather has been very different day to day: wet and windy, more like winter on Thursday, then a mixed bag with drier, sunnier weather between rain showers on Friday and fairly pleasantly sunny and warm on Saturday and Sunday, though still with occasional cloud and the odd rain shower.

Bird news is typical of midsummer, with just a few reports of the resident breeding birds: Hen Harriers at Easter Ellister and Finlaggan, Common Sandpipers at Port Charlotte, broods of Whinchats at Mulreesh and Balulive, White-tailed Eagle at Bunnahabhain and a walk by Lucy A. to Rhuvaal producing 2 Whitethroats, Reed Bunting, Stonechat, Redpoll and Kestrel.

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Wednesday 26th June

A fine start to the day, but it became progressively more cloudy, misty and damp with an increasing light wind. But there have been a few birds of interest today:

David D. was on a nocturnal ramble after midnight last night and heard Water Rail calling at Carnain followed by a Long-eared Owl calling near Loch Skerrols. Records of this owl are few and far between - possibly in part because they are so elusive. 

Gary T. continued the day's notes with a good sighting of two Short-eared Owls tussling in the sky behind his house at Ballygrant.

Kate Butterworth saw a Red-throated Diver flying over the Sound this morning on her way to Jura where she had Red-breasted Merganser with young at Lussa. On her return she found a Swift flying over Bruichladdich.

There have also been reports from Steve & Lyn Rogers and Jackie Wedd of Minke Whales seen from the Islay - Kennacraig ferry yesterday and today,

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Tuesday 25th June

Another "proper" summer's day with warmth and sunshine - but not a lot of bird news to tell you about:

Mary Redman counted 6 Ravens on her croft at Portnahaven, while Gary T. noted large groups of Mistle Thrushes in woodland beside his house at Achnaclach near Ballygrant and a couple of Crossbills flying from Dunlossit towards Finlaggan. Kath Butterworth was at Kilchiaran where she noted 4 Choughs  and a couple of Sparrowhawks.

Monday 24 June 2024

Monday 24th June

A cloudy and misty start turned into a bright and warm sunny day.

Linden and James were out and about at RSPB Gruinart noting White-tailed Eagle, 3 Hen Harriers, Whinchat, Blackcap and Whitethroat. On the other side of Gruinart at Killinallan, Kath Butterworth saw Little Tern, 17 Bar-tailed Godwits, and Golden Plover in summer plumage. It was Jackie Wedd's last day until she returns in October. Venturing to Loch Skerrols she found Long-tailed Tits, Siskins and Goldcrests. Of non-avian interest were Common Hawker dragonfly and Common Lizard and Ringlet butterfly.

Sunday 23 June 2024

Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June

A substantial improvement in the weather , with bright, warm and sunny conditions for much of Sunday.

There were reports from various corners of the island yesterday including resumed 4am calling of a Cuckoo at Emerivale from Steve & Lynn Rogers. Kath Butterworth had a Golden Eagle out on The Oa, Jackie Wedd watched a Wheatear family at Currie Sands and Mary Redman got lucky with a Short-eared Owl at Claddach and a White-tailed Eagle at Easter Ellister.

Today Gary T. had further news of White-tailed eagles, with two on the sand at the water's edge at the top of Loch Indaal near Whin Park. Kath had a male Hen Harrier at Claddach and a Skua sp. chasing a tern at Frenchman's Rocks. Better still she noted three different Corn Crakes in the Portnahaven area. Jackie Wedd added a fourth Corn Crake calling up at Conisby along with reports of two Hen Harriers on the RSPB moorland trail, Golden Eagle and Buzzard at Loch Gorm and a Tree Sparrow near the Port Charlotte Hotel.

Away from Islay, Linden saw a Storm Petrel from the ferry.

Friday 21 June 2024

Thursday 20th and Friday 21st June

 It is midsummer, but it doesn't seem like it, with cool temperatures and various spells of cloud and rain at times on both days.

Yesterday Kate Butterworth reported Spotted flycatchers feeding young at Bunnahabhain on Wednesday and yesterday heard Corn Crakes calling during the day at Gruinart and Ardnave. (I've listened on a couple of nights for them up at Conisby where they have been reliable and regular in previous years, but not a squeak so far this summer).

Today Kate reported on a number of colour-ringed Choughs seen and had a family of Mistle Thrushes at Sanaigmore - always useful to get confirmed breeding records such as these!

David Dinsley scored bird of the day with a Tree Sparrow near The Oa RSPB car park.

Jackie Wedd is also visiting and noted plenty of waders - Curlew, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Oystercatchers, along with Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, Linnets and Arctic Tern on the Loch Indaal Way footpath.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Wednesday 19th June

 A fine, sunny, fairly warm day today. There were reports of 2 Crossbills at Gatehouse on Jura and a Swift over Loch Kinnabus. Up at Gruinart it was quite quiet at the two hides, but Blackcap, Sedge & Willow Warblers and Whitethroats all in song, plus a Cuckoo still calling. Around Loch Gorm Whinchats and Stonechats were also evident and singing.

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Sunday 16th - Tuesday 18th June

Three days of variable, cool weather with spells of sunshine interspersed with light rain and cloud at times - though a lovely sunny late evening tonight.

I suppose it is that time of year when spring migration is over and autumn return hasn't yet begun. A bit of the doldrums, with nothing much happening on the bird front other than the regular breeding species going about their business, so not a lot to report.

On Sunday there was a note of a male Hen Harrier at Loch Gorm and a Blackcap at the RSPB hides, Gruinart. Yesterday a White-tailed Eagle was seen at Finlaggan being mobbed by a Hen Harrier. Today further Hen Harriers noted at Ballygrant and Laggan Bridge, a Peregrine watched perched up for 10 minutes on the Glen Road and a couple of White-tailed Eagles on the High Road near Laggan. On the beach near Blackrock a gathering of c.100 Bar-tailed Godwits was counted this afternoon.

Saturday 15 June 2024

Saturday 15th June

 A quiet day for reports with only one coming in on the bird chat, but what an incredible sighting it was from Dave Wood with a few Bottlenose Dolphins, a Minke Whale and an incredible minimum estimate of 5000 Manx Shearwater seen from the ferry near Gigha!

Friday 14 June 2024

Friday 14th June

 Another fairly quiet day today, Simon had another male Hen Harrier near the airport, Gary saw a couple of young cuckoo at Finlaggan. 

In butterfly news, Mary-Ann had a Painted Lady at The Battery and I had my first Common Blue of the year on Jura.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Thursday 13th June

 After a brief break in the weather yesterday, the wind is back with a vengeance and as a result there were very few reports coming in today. Mary had a male Hen Harrier near the airport and we had a pair flying by the Gruinart offices but that's it. Hopefully a bit more activity tomorrow although I don't think the weather is looking much better!

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Wednesday 12th June

 Eagles all over the shop today, with Goldies sighted at Gruinart, Gorm and The Oa and some unsavoury White-Tail action at Claggain Bay. 

Steve had two Red Throated Divers at Kilnaughton this morning and later 2 Eider Ducks with 3 chicks.

Adding on to his sightings from yesterday, Simon had 2 Ringed Plover and 5 Sanderling at Saligo.

Our volunteers at RSPB Loch Gruinart saw a pair of Hen Harrier off the moorland trail. 

Outside of bird news, I had several Dew Moth and huge numbers of Marsh Fritillary enjoying the sun on The Oa.

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Tuesday 11th June

 Some excellent reports coming in today with Steve reporting 48 Shags at Emerivale and 70 at Kilnaughton! Lucy had a pair of Hen Harrier along the low road around the airport. 

Another day of seabird surveys for me with Peregrine, a Female Kestrel with two fledged juveniles and another handful of Auks, Fulmar, Gannets and Gulls.

On the Oa guided walk today we had a pair of Whinchat showing very well and a distant Goldie. Nothing compared to Simon however getting his first Golden Eagle sighting, and getting a real show seeing two together between Bruichladdich and Kilchoman.

Monday 10 June 2024

Monday 10th June

 An early start today with Gordon counting 42 bar-Tailed Godwits at Blackrock at 7am, which I think hung around all day as I saw a flock roughly that size driving past at around 3pm. Gordon also noted a singing Blackcap in Port Charlotte. 

David and I we're out doing seabird surveys down at the Oa with the usual suspects: Fulmar, Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills and Tysties. My highlights were a family of Wheatear with a male, female and three juveniles and a Peregrine. 

Simon added in this evening at least 5 Sand Martin, 20+ Oystercatcher, 5 Gannets and good numbers of Lapwing and Swallows at Machir Bay as well as a female Eider at Sannaigmore.

Sunday 9th June

A quiet day of reports following the influx yesterday. Linden had a Bonxie over Sanaigmore, and Simon reported hearing a Cuckoo from the woodland side of Finlaggan mid-afternoon and had 3 Black Guillemot at Caol Ila bay. 

Sunday 9 June 2024

Saturday 8th June

Reports flying in today. Whooper swans took the limelight this morning with James having 4 fly over Gruinart flats, and Louise doing a double-take after seeing 2 in Small Isles bay on Jura. 

Down at Claddach, Mary had 5 Curlew near the loch this afternoon, the first down there for a while.

This evening, Simon reports 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Shelduck on the sandy bay between Kildalton and Kildalton Church. Simon also sent in a report from Friday afternoon seeing 1 female Hen Harrier and 2 Curlew at Gruinart's north hide. 

Linden's walk to An Claddach bothy from Ballygrant saw 6 Common Sandpiper, a male Hen Harrier, a Kestrel over the water, a Common lizard, 3 Common seals and two gannets practicing for the upcoming Olympics with some synchronised diving! On the return journey over the moorland, Linden was treated to more raptors! A Peregrine, Male Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk and great view of a Golden Eagle and another Male Hen Harrier at the same time, alongside good numbers of Curlew and an Adder. 

Thanks for all of today's reports. 

Saturday 8 June 2024

Friday 7th June

 Heavy showers in the morning cleared into some beautiful sunshine, though the blustering winds continue.

Starting at Gruinart, James had a spotted flycatcher, whilst I had a male and female Bullfinch down near the south hide and Lauren had 3 Black-tailed Godwits. Gordon had 90 Bar-tailed Godwits on the bay by Blackrock. Linden, Freddie and I also spotted these three very fresh Oystercatcher chicks along Loch Gruinart.

Thanks to Malcolm who received reports of a Magpie in a garden in Port Ellen from Wednesday this week. Either the one seen a while ago is hanging around or a new one has been blown in. 

Elsewhere, Martin also had a lone Whooper swan at the reservoir up from Laphroaig distillery and Linden a Whitethroat on the high road.

Thanks for all of today's reports.

Friday 7 June 2024

Thursday 6th June

The sunshine was out between showers today on Islay.

Linden saw 10 Dunlin, 5 Ringed plover and an Arctic tern at Bruichladdich this afternoon, and a Mistle thrush south of Loch Gorm.

I started the day in Portnahaven with 2 Chough, 26 Arctic tern on McKenzie Island and a calling corncrake. Making my way around Loch Indaal, I had two Tysties off of Bruichladdich pier and 4 Chough on the Big Strand along with a group of 12 Dunlin.

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Sunday 2nd June to Wednesday 5th June


Apologies for the last few missing days of bird blogging….

Not much has been reported in-between the seemingly unseasonable wind and hail showers!

Made up for today by report from Gary of an Osprey being buffeted by the strong winds we’ve been experiencing over his house, on the Finlaggan side, towards Loch Nan Cadhan.

Saturday 1 June 2024

Saturday 1 June

Apologies for yesterdays missing entry, no excuses I was just distracted and forgot! Which is a pity as yesterday had more reports that today!

FRIDAY May 31st. Ed was first in with a report of an Arctic Skua over Cornabus, plus his American wigeon still present.  Linden noted a pair of bullfinch at Gruinart plus a blackcap.  Later when doing a tern survey looking out to Orsay and MacKenzie islands, they noticed gull chicks.

Today, SATURDAY June 1st.  I headed off to Ardbeg Distillerys Feis day, nearly as far from home as I can get on Islay.  On the drive down we saw a WTE quite low over Craigfad/Nerebus.  Later at Port a Rheidhlinn beach a shelduck pair with young ducklings, plus a common sandpiper on the bridge.  After Lindens report of gull chicks yesterday I realised the breeding gull numbers near Currie Sands is very low; normally you are mobbed by a dozen or more when you get near but this year you are lucky to draw the attention of 2.