Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Wednesday 24th August

Paul Hathaway had seen a Magpie at lunchtime last Friday at Nerabus. On Sunday, Malcolm had spotted an Osprey perched on a tree on the wooded island  on Loch Gorm, and also a Coot, the first he has ever seen on Loch Gorm. Today, Peter had done an hour down at Frenchman's Rocks. There were over 200 Gannets, adults and sub adults, feeding actively between the rocks and Islay. There was also a constant stream of adult Gannets passing right by without stopping to fish. Peter wondered if these birds had already fed and were returning to Ailsa Craig. Manx Shearwaters were noted flying from West to East at around 10 - 20 per minute. Also seen were a few Fulmar, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Common Gulls. James had been up at Ardnave where he saw a Sparrowhawk, 42 Chough,  50 Black tailed Godwit and 2 Hen Harriers. Back down over the reserve at Gruinart, he saw a Peregrine

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Tuesday 23rd August

Well, we are all back to Islay now after a busy time down at the British Bird Fair. 948 folk entered the free draw to come to Islay for a week to see our geese, the cottage being kindly provided by Islay cottages here at Kilchoman with Calmac providing free ferry passage. The winner was Martin Gooch from Braughing Ware in Herts. John Aitchison kindly drew the winning ticket with his young assistant Evie Wood.  Boy, was it was hard work, but surely well worth the effort. There are over 450 exhibitors with 4 lecture venues to whet your appetite.... The weather was possibly overcast with the odd splatter of rain on Friday and Saturday which was good for us as it was more pleasant in the large marquees, plus when it rained the visitors stayed indoors....So many thanks to all our helpers, to our Distilleries and to Walkers shortbread for providing support to our cause to promote Islay as a great place to come, visit and bird watch or even chill out!!!! It was great to catch with old friends down there from all over the world and also the many folk that come to Islay.
On Sunday, Mike Peacock had seen an Osprey at Bun an Uillt. Gary had several Teal and a single Wigeon at Smelly corner and on his way home, late last night, a Barn Owl on the roadside close to Ballygrant. Coming over on the ferry yesterday evening, Bob had seen a Sooty Shearwater along with some Manx Shearwater, Auks, Razobills, Kittiwakes and Gannets. Coming up the Sound of Islay, I personally had never seen so many Red Deer feeding down on the shoreline on Jura.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Monday 22nd August

Survey of Loch Gruinart was done today by RSPB volunteers and the findings are: 5 heron, 2 shelduck, 99 oystercatcher, 3 ringed plover, 12 golden plover, 2 knot, 26 dunlin, 19 curlew and about 200 mallards on the floods. A female sparrowhawk was seen last night at Lyrabus carrying blackbird. Mary saw loads of Kittiwakes today at Portnahaven.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Tuesday 16th August

Well, the Islay team have set out on our annual expedition down to the  British Bird Fair held at Rutland Water. Margaret, Bob and myself left this morning from Islay, and we met in with Andy down in Balloch mid afternoon. This evening, we are resting up in the "Herdwick Inn" at Puddlewick in the Lake District, a very nice, quiet pub with excellent food. Tomorrow morning,  we will finish off at Whissendine in Rutland and set our stand after that. Dave Wood and his sister Sarah will meet up with us there on Friday as will Carl Reavy to complete the Islay team, with a little help from Dot, Ken and Sally to give any of us some time off......   So come along to visit us in Marquee 7, stand 14, and enter our free holiday draw, come to enjoy our hospitality... 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Monday 15th August

James trying to catch a lift down to Rutland, trying to be a stowaway while we were loading up the van....
This morning Margaret counted 14 Mistle Thrushes out on the lawn and this evening, there were around 20 Chough out over the crag in the blustery wind. Mind you the sun is streaming in through the windows as I write this entry.
Gary, on Saturday had been out for walk beside the airport where he saw a female Hen Harrier. Yesterday, he had walked out along the shoreline up to Killinallan Point from Killanallan and saw Linnet, Twite, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit and another ringtail. He has also started a "bathroom list". His first bird seen was, guess what, another ringtail!
Yesterday evening, George E Jackson (visiting George Jackson) had set up his mist nets here at home in difficult conditions, but managed to catch and ring a juv Goldfinch and also a juv Chaffinch. There were also a couple of Willow Warblers, but both of them wriggled their way out of the net before George was able to extricate from the net... A Whitetroat in the cover crop evaded being caught, as did the Swallows as they flew past!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sunday 14th August

Another good day out here, not before time, as so far this month we have had the best part of 3.5 inches of rain... Today, along with Margaret, James and Eleanor, we were busy this morning getting the final touches together for our trip down to the British Bird Fair at Rutland. We are leaving on Tuesday morning and will be setting our stand up on Thursday morning, ready for visitors to come enjoy some of Islay's famous hospitality on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Islay Cottages are again helping out as well, providing a cottage for our "Geese us a brek" (give us a break) free draw. Calmac will provide ferry tickets to give somebody a chance to come and visit Islay for a week in the winter time to see the geese. So feel free to drop round, we are in Marquee 7, stand 14, a great chance to catch up with some of us who contribute  to the blog....

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Saturday 13th August

A better sort of a day with the weather at least, so I have been out in the garden doing some catch up work, like cutting the grass. It has remained overcast all day with a wind, so at least there have been no midges. Late afternoon down on the seed heads on the game crop, there were at least 6 Linnets sampling some of the seeds on offer, a well as some Pheasants skulking around as well. On the Thistle heads a few Goldfinches were present at the same time.