Monday, 27 March 2017

Monday 27th March

John and Kenny (visiting birders) had walked yesterday from Ballygrant past Loch Ballygrant onto Port Askaig returning along the path past Keills. They saw 30 species of birds, including 3 Bullfinches, Greenfinches and Goldcrest. They had seen 10 Yellowhammers on the feeders towards Scarrabus on Saturday. Botswana Dave, aka Dave Maynard had seen a Wheatear, a White tailed Eagle and a couple of Chough as he returned from Bridgend to Gruinart  by the "hill road" past Lagstoban. Late afternoon today, Dave had a ringtail fly past the South (old) hide. Jacqueline Fallows (another visiting birder) had enjoyed the great weather yesterday, and along with friends had taken in the walk from Coullabus where they are staying along to the hide at Gruinart, net result 39 species seen. Different birds to John and Kenny as they had Waders and also different species of Ducks noted.
Peter today had a Sandwich Tern off Bruichladdich, the pair of Greenfinch were present on the feeders again here at home with a couple of Fulmars on the crag...There was a reported sighting of a Great Grey Shrike seen over in the trees close to the slaughter house at Avonvoggie this afternoon. Some highlights through from David Woods down on the Oa, top birds seen while carrying out a survey along the Oa coast were 11 Wheatear, 3 Goldcrest, Siskin and 8 Chough.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sunday 26th March

Yesterday, Peter had a count of 32 Pale bellied Brent down at Bruichladdich, but no signs of any with rings on...Returning birders, John Dawson and Kenny Buchan are back for another Islay fix.. On the road leading up to Scarrabus they saw several Stonechats, a flock of Yellowhammers, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, displaying Lapwing, Raven, Siskin, and many Geese.
Here at home today, I saw our first Wheatear hopping along the ground with a male Stonechat perched on top of the fence. A pair of Greenfinches were on the feeders along with Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Great Tit, Blue Tit, House Sparrow and the odd Dunnock making numbers up. Great to see... Out on top of the crag, a Buzzard was sitting, watching everything on the move and then early evening a Peregrine flew along the front of the crag, what a day...
Remember, the Islay Bird nerds will be meeting at 6pm on Tuesday evening at the old hide, out from the viewing platform at Gruinart...so feel free to come along , if you are around.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Saturday 25th March

Another great day with the weather again and another cracker of a sunset to finish the day with.

Lesley yesterday saw her first Gannets of the year, with 3 diving into Kilnaughton Bay. She also had 6 Whoopers fly in off the sea and fly on towards the Oa. There were some Whitefronts fitted with new neck collars over below Carnduncan today, but reading them proved impossible as the moved over the brow of the hillock, might look round again tomorrow and they might be easier to read, fingers crossed...

Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday 24th March

Another great day with the weather and to end it all, a beautiful sunset.... Martin Gooch, the winner of the free holiday draw at the Bird Fair, courtesy of Islay cottages, has had a tremendous stay here this week. On Wednesday, he had seen a male Hen Harrier out quartering his patch along at Rockside. Shortly afterwards he saw a Golden Eagle being chased off by a determined Raven. Over at The Woollen Mill, a walk along the River Sorn produced a Dipper, and also a Grey Wagtail. In the trees, a Bullfinch and a Treecreeper spotted. Yesterday, they saw 2 White tailed Eagles up past Ballygrant and then a ringtail Hen Harrier out on the wing. This morning they saw 9 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Indaal. Bob, today had a Gannet up at Ardnave. Also seen there by Bob were 4 Wheatears,12 Barwits, 15 Sanderling a few Redshank and some Snipe as well.
Before I forget, on Tuesday evening, the bird nerds will be meeting at 6 pm at the old hide at Gruinart, so if you are around, see you there.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Thursday 23rd March

A big difference with the weather today, so much so that I was out working in the garden in my shirt sleeves cutting the grass...
David Wood had seen little and large down on the Oa, David had seen 2 Goldcrest and 2 White tailed Eagles as well today. Late afternoon, here at home 15 Whoopers flew in from Ireland and kept on going. David Barr had 2 White tailed Eagles sitting out on Loch Indaal as he headed to work this morning. At the weekend David had counted 29 Chough down on dunes at Machir Bay.
Last night, I mentioned about the Blue Tit on Fair Isle, it seems that it was the fourth sighting by David Parnaby since he became Warden a few years back.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

WEdnesday 22nd March

Got a bit of a shock when I looked out the bedroom window this morning, not snow but the grass was white with frost which we do not get here that often...
This morning on the bird table we saw 3 Greenfinches, the first for a long time, in fact the first this winter...A Sparrowhawk zipped through the garden just after lunch. Later on, coming home a male Bullfinch flew into the trees beside Foreland House and a short while later on, a pair of Golden Eagles were added to the list. Over at The Woollen Mill, many Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Chaffinches were present on the feeders there, a great sight to see... I read last night that a Blue Tit was seen on Fair Isle, only the FOURTH ever record of one present there!!!
Gary today had 2 Siskin on his feeders at his house along the road from the turn off to Finlaggan. Along at Emeraconart, he had seen a Sparrowhawk. A visitor had been telling Gary of seeing a Wheatear at Machir Bay while Tom and Mike, the 2 longterm vols at Gruinart, had spotted 2 more Wheatears along at Saligo today as well.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Tuesday 21st March

A bit cooler out here today with the Paps of Jura wearing a white dusting of snow. I looked out of the window at one point this morning, just after a dirty hail shower to see some of the birds trying to eat some of the hailstones...
Nothing much to report tonight, so you will have to make do with this image of Cape Teal, taken recently when we were out in Tanzania