Down on the Oa yesterday, Phill had managed bit of birding along with the "vols"... they saw 2 small flocks of Twite, with 110 in one flock and 150 in the other, a Peregrine was seen out along the cliffs at the monument, the "2 resident Ravens" at the monument were out "barrel rolling and doing some acrobatics", a Jack Snipe was spotted at the roadside leading to the carpark at Killeyan, a Golden Eagle was seen being mobbed by a Hooded Crow at Kinnabus. In total, they had 41 Hooded Crows, a flock of 60 Rock Doves and also 35 Starlings. Gary saw a male Hen Harrier behind St Kiaran's church yesterday afternoon. Louise this morning on her travel down Jura had seen 11 Herons, 32 Greylags and 4 Canada Geese in a field beside the manse just North of Craighouse.
Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Monday, 23 January 2017
Some sightings through from yesterday... Bob and his son Ivan had a couple of Goldeneye over at Bun an Uillt. From the old hide at Gruinart, they saw the drake Green winged Teal amongst the other Teal present. There were also 2 R B Merganser as well as 8 Greenshank. Up from the "platform", where the original hide once stood, a Goldcrest was seen. At Bruichladdich, they saw 6 Purple Sandpiper. Gary yesterday had been down at the Lily Loch where he had 7 Heron, 2 Goldeneye and also a total of 24 Mallard.
Andrew Kent was in touch today with the tally for the International Goose Count carried out on the 17th & 18th January. The count was as follows 45,056 Barnies, 4,694 Whitefronts and 581 Greylags. Many thanks to Andrew and the team from SNH for these figures.
Sunday, 22 January 2017
Yesterday Gary had a juv. White tailed Eagle, close to Caol Ila. Today, Mandy had a count of 48 Ringed Plover down on Machir Bay, the largest count of them she has had there. She also had over 50 Common Gull, 30 Oystercatcher with a count of 58 Curlew on the rocks up the North end of the bay. Phill Catton this afternoon had seen the following birds from Blackrock, 20 Common Scoter, 4 Long tailed duck, 1 Red throated Diver, 8 R b Merganser, 7 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Goldeneye, a G b b Gull, some B h Gull and some Herring Gulls, 3 Shag, a Buzzard and 2 Raven. This afternoon, we counted mixed group of 103 Chaffinches/ House Sparrows in readiness for the big garden birdwatch... There were also 16 Starlings seen too, but the Goldfinches are not so numerous as a month or so ago...
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Forgot last night to report through a couple of sightings of Glaucous Gulls both down on Loch Indaal near to Uiskentuie, Mary had a 2yr bird down on the shore on Thursday, and James saw an adult in the fields there on Friday. This afternoon, we went out to try to find the Yellowhammers along at Sunderland, no joy, but managed to log some larger birds instead. At Ballinaby, we counted 128 Greylags, a single Barnacle Goose and 21 Whitefronts, but none with collars fitted! On our way up to Sanaigmore, there was a cracker of a male Hen Harrier over the reeds below Braigo, and then by pure chance, a distant sighting of 2 Golden Eagles on the heather, really far away... Finally, on the fields at Rockside, we counted 146 Whitefronts, again no collars on them either...much easier counting and spotting the big birds, honest....
Friday, 20 January 2017
Nothing much to report tonight, but Gary of Wild Islay Birding saw a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier over at Finlaggan today. Here at home, I counted 103 Whitefronts, the usual 10 Greylags and then late afternoon, there were 43 Chough poking away in the ground.
If any folk are around, here on Islay, on the evening of Tuesday 31st of January, well it is the bird nerds evening out to the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore and we are intending to go to enjoy their cuisine, so if you are around, feel free to come along, starting at 7pm. So if you would like to join us, please let me know by Wednesday evening, so that I can confirm numbers to the Hotel. Might see some of you there then....
Thursday, 19 January 2017
Gary sent me through some sightings seen earlier this week, but unfortunately his email went into my spam box, and I did not see it until earlier this evening!!! On Tuesday, Gary had 2 Kestrel on the wing, both hunting, a flypast by 11 Lapwing and also a male Hen Harrier out quartering, all seen around Finlaggan. While out on the International goose counts this week James had been out on the Gruinart/ Ardnave route, and had seen a Golden Eagle, a Water Rail and a Peregrine on his travels. Over on Nave Island, he had counted 281 Grey Seal with a small flock of 37 Twite noted at Ardnave. Mandy had seen the leucistic Barnacle goose fly past at Daill, behind Kilmeny Church, amongst some whitefronts, 2 Pinkies were present, and at Eorrabus, the small Canada was seen with the flock of Barnies there. Finally, she had 9 Whitefronts fitted with collars together at Newton. After some detective work, I found out that these geese had been rung in November 2015 in the sugar beet field at Octovullin, thanks to Ed Burrell for the info, Tony Fox was out of office... Back on Tuesday, Phill Catton and the "vols" had been working on the boardwalk on the Oa, when a juv White tailed Eagle flew over, about 40 feet above them... Today down past Uiskentuie, there were 16 Pale bellied Brent along the top of Loch Indaal, probably the same geese that we saw yesterday at Blackrock when 16 were also present. Out on the machir yesterday, we had 70 Whitefronts and 10 Greylag Geese in the rushes. Today, there were only 39 Whitefronts noted. We had a small flock of 6 Yellowhammer along at Sunderland early this afternoon.
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Here are the WeBs counts on Loch Gruinart through from Michal and the "vols" who carried it out...9 Heron, 112 Shelduck, 109 Wigeon, 7 Red B Merganser, 154 Oystercatcher, 40 Ringed Plover, 500 Lapwing, 340 Dunlin, 9 Barnies, 106 Curlew, 500 Golden Plover and 91 Common Gull. Mike, a returning "vol" had done the survey on Ardnave Loch, with the tally being, 23 Wigeon, 4 Mallard, 10 Goldeneye, 18 Mute Swan,13 Whooper, 9 Tufted Duck, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Greylag and 20 Lapwing. Today Gary from Wild Islay Birding had done some counts of gulls on Loch Indaal. At Gartmain, Gary counted 33 Herring Gull, 20 Common Gull, 19 Black headed Gull and a Glaucous Gull. Over at Carnain, Gary saw 5 Gbb Gull, 47 Herring Gull, 30 Common Gull and 24 Black headed Gull.