Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Tuesday 17th October

Visiting returning birders, Peter and Janet Rowarth from Lincolnshire sent some sightings from earlier this week. On Saturday on their way over on the ferry, coming up the Sound of Islay they saw a White tailed Sea eagle and then later on they had a Merlin over the saltmarsh at Gruinart. On Sunday, they saw a male Hen Harrier over the flats at Gruinart. Up at Ardnave Point,  a single Redwing was spotted with over 16 Chough seen there as well. Returning back from Ardnave, near to Kilnave, a flock of 28 Twite and 2 Chaffinch and a Greenfinch were seen, with a distant Otter swimming on Loch Gruinart, with 52 Brent Geese present there as well. They saw a ringtail Hen Harrier at Toranore, also seeing the large number of Whoopers reported by Wally and Jude, at Rockside. Also present were 23 Pinkies, a single Brent amongst the Barnies and Greylags there.  44 Ringed Plover were in the field behind Machir Bay. They also had 2 Redwing fly through as they drovr from Loch Gruinart over towards Loch Gorm. Gary yesterday had a single Pink footed Goose amongst the Barnies, along from Gartmain. A single Brent was present with the Barnies at Gruinart and up at Coullabus, Gary had a male Hen Harrier. Some sightings through from Phill on the reserve on the Oa. Today Phill had 2 Chough, a Snow Bunting, 50 Golden Plover, a Kestrel, 150 Twite and 3 Snipe. James sent the tally for his count at Gruinart from earlier this afternoon... 25,735 Barnies, 445 Whitefronts, 70 Greylags and 15 Brent Geese  were present.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Monday 16th October

Our reporters have been out and about with some birds today, that is before the winds started to pick up, certainly not as strong on Islay as other places, but..
On Saturday, James had seen 2 Merlin, a Dipper and 3 Snow Bunting while over at Bolsa. yesterday Bob, Distillery Dave and his son Jamie managed to carry out the WeBs count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck. Their tally came to 70 Shag, 8 Cormorant, 12 Whoopers, 242 Greylags, 62 Whitefronts, 2,000 Barnies, 6 Brent Geese, 7 Mallard, 7 Wigeon, 6 Teal, 16 Eider, 14 R b Merganser,  62 Oystercatcher, 55 Curlew, 40 Barwit, 10 Redshank, 10  Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover, 102 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 31 Lapwing,1 Snipe, 3 Turnstone, 300 Common Gull, 25 Herring Gull and 15 Gbb Gull. Also yesterday, Wally and Jude had a Kingfisher down at Bruichladdich. Today, they had counted 107 Whoopers at the Kilchoman end at Rockside. Wally reckoned that there at least 170 in total in the area. Val Peacock had counted 30 Whoopers flying down Loch Indaal, in a SE direction, hope they made to Ireland before the wind picked up...James sent through a count of  19,650 Barnies, 15 Brent Geese and 30 Whoopers from the reserve at Gruinart.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sunday 15th October

From the ferry heading back over to Kennacraig today, Clive McKay had seen 2 Storm Petrels off the South end of Jura. He also had seen 4 Porpoises from the ferry as well.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Saturday 14th October

Another big entry from visiting birders here on Islay..
John Miles has been over for the past week... Back on the 8th, John had 53 Whitefronts at Gartbreck, as well as 2 Grey Plover and 120 Golden Plover as well. The following day at Rockside he saw a Male Hen Harrier, a female merlin and 26  Whoopers at Rockside. On the 10th John had the Pinkies at Rockside that Wally and Jude had seen amongst the Barnies and Greylags present there. He also saw 4 different sightings of Merlin , all within 3 miles of Kilchoman! Later on that day 2 Wheatear were seen up at Ardnave with 2 White tailed Eagles were present over on Nave Island round the Grey Seal pups. 3 GND, 2 RTD and a BTD were present in the channel between Ardnave and Nave Island. From the old hide at Gruinart, an adult Golden Eagle was seen, with 5 Ruff, 4 Blackwits,16 Pintail and 12 Shoveler were seen out on the floods. Along at the new hide a juv. Peregrine was spotted annoying itself with the waders there!!! Down on the Oa on the 11th, a 1st yr Golden Eagle, a 1st yr male Peregrine, a Kestrel and also a flock of Twite seen at Kinnabus. An adult Golden Eagle was seen later on close to Cragabus. On Thursday,  a male Hen Harrier was spotted at Kilchiaran and an adult Golden Eagle seen, on the moor South of Loch Gruinart. Yesterday, was John's last day . he saw Long tailed Tits and a Tawny Owl in the trees at Kilchoman, and then 2 Swallows over at Ardbeg. From the ferry returning to Kennacraig, he had a count of 10 GND, a Slavonian Grebe, and over 40 Common Scoter. Thanks John for your sightings. Yesterday, Eddie and Elaine from Leighton Moss  had seen 7 Snow Buntings as they walked round Ardnave, they were seen probing in around in the sea kelp... Richard today had a GND at Kintra and also a male Hen Harrier. He had also seen a male and also ringtail Hen Harrier down on the Oa. Also seen down there were Stonechats, lots of Linnets and a Raven. At Upper Killeyan, a Redwing was spotted while over at Laphroaig, Swallows were present. Finally, Richard had 7 Pale bellied Brent Geese in the bay at Port Ellen. Gary today had seen a RTD, a Red breasted Merganser along with 30 Scaup at Blackrock and at Bruichladdich a Comic Ternnwas seen.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Friday 13th October

James today  reported through to say that more Geese have arrived. The figures of Geese at Gruinart were as follows, 17,250 Barnies, 180 Whitefronts, 86 Brent Geese, and a Pinkie. On the flats, there was a Whitefront with one of the radio tags fitted by Ed Burrell from BTO, also there, were 3 with neck collars. Out on Loch Gruinart  735 Golden Plover, 2 Knot, 4 Grey Plover and a Little Stint were present. Also out on the estuary were "a lot of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone and a few Sanderling"

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Thursday 12th October

Back on Monday, Clive McKay, (please note the correct way of Clive's surname tonight!), after the rain cleared, he had a short walk up at Ardnave, seeing a Wheatear, a Whimbrel, a Pink footed Goose coming in with 17 Barnies, and also a ringtail Hen Harrier. This morning, Bob had seen 3 Fieldfare fly over his house, and a Merlin while he was waiting down in Port Charlotte. Along at Carnain, Bob had 9 Snipe and counted 14 Brent on the shore there as well. Also this morning, Mandy had a ringtail Hen Harrier quartering over the game crop up at Kilchoman, and this afternoon she saw a Sparrowhawk sitting on a fence post, close at hand, also at the same location. James, today had managed to carry out another reserve count which tallied out at 10,195 Barnies, 125 Whitefronts, 16 Brent Geese, 57 Greylags, 560 Lapwing, 5 Blackwits, a male Merlin, a Sparrowhawk and 4 Chough. James also mentioned that "lots of Mallard have arrived".

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Wednesday 11th October

Not a lot to report tonight, but Gary had been down at Coal Ila where he saw 2 Bullfinches, a total of 7 Herons, a Tystie was there as well.  A White tailed Eagle was also seen flying over the Sound of Islay between Islay and Jura.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Tuesday 10th October

Quite a few birds for your perusal tonight, a sure sign that the weather is a bit better today...
Gary managed to do his WeBS count from Port Charlotte back round to Blackrock. His scores on the doors came through at 10 GND, 55 RTD, 6 R b Merganser, 12 Cormorant, 34 Shag, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 38 Common Guillemot, a Tystie, 36 Eider, 13 Common Scoter, 26 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 33 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 7 Gbb Gull, 52 Herring Gull, 4 Common Gull, 5 Gannet, 2 Grey Heron, and also 5 Greylag Geese. Round at Gartmain, 19 Brent Geese and 170+ Wigeon were present. There was a large Barnacle goose flock out on the estuary between the Sorn and Gartmain, but nothing of note present. Up at Skerrols, a large flock containing 1,000 Barnies and 32 Whitefronts were seen. A walk through Ballygrant Woods produced a nice mixed flock of Goldcrest and Coal Tits with a Golden Eagle was seen over the hills. Back at home, Gary had a group of 10 Long tailed Tits in the woods beside his house. James had carried out a count of the geese present on the reserve at Gruinart this morning. His tally came to 12,825 Barnies, 72 Whitefronts,56 Greylags, 12 Ruff and 905 Golden Plover. Mandy today had seen 21 whoopers amongst the large mixed flock of Barnies, Greylags and gulls down on the stubbles at Rockside. Other good friends, Wally and Jude have arrived over for their visit, and Wally had told Mandy that he had seen 20 Pinkies drop in beside the Whoopers etc late afternoon. Yesterday, Clive Mackay had a count of 125 Linnet on the game crop up towards the top end of the reserve at Gruinart, he also spotted a Long tailed Tit in in his garden.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Monday 9th October

Richard, who is over on holiday had a Wheatear as he drove up towards Ardnave. He saw numerous Barnies  and Whitefronts at Gruinart as well as a ringtail Hen Harrier, with Wigeon on the floods. He also had seen a Stonechat at Loch Gorm. Mandy this morning had seen Barnies flying in to the barley stubbles down at Rockside.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Saturday 7th October

John Miles is over for a week, and kindly sent though some sightings which he had today. Down at Frenchman's Rocks, he had 2 Bonxies, an Arctic Tern, 60 Kittiwake and an endless stream of Gannets. From the viewing platform at Gruinart John saw 2 male Peregrine, one carrying a Dunlin away. Further out on the flats/ floods 3 Blackwits, 4 Ruff, 300 Lapwing, 6 Shoveler and 4 Pintail with a few Pinkies noted amongst the Greylags there. At Port Charlotte, a female Sparrowhawk was present. On the stubbles at Rockside, there were around 30 Whoopers present late afternoon.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Friday 6th October

It is that time again for us al to ty and fit in our WeBS counts... Mike had carried out his patch, Outer Loch Indaal, his birds were as follows, 61 Common Scoter, 34 GND, 5 RTD, 8 Shag, 110 Herring Gull, 24 Common Gull, 2 Black headed Gull and a Harbour Porpoise. James had done his stint on the floods at Gruinart seeing 84 Mallard, a Moorhen, 2 Whoopers, 13 Mute Swan, 299 Teal, 14 Pintail, 97 Wigeon, 2 Curlew, 3 Blackwit, 14 Ruff, 2 Lapwing and 9 Shoveler. Late afternoon, and James had done the goose count on the reserve, with his numbers tallying at 10,650 Barnies, 104 Whitefronts, 6 Brent Geese and 5 Greylags. Phill from down the Oa has had a good day there as well. On Loch Kinnabus, he had 4 Whoopers, the first there for this Autumn. He also saw a Blue Tit and also 3 Long tailed Tit, both new ticks for Phill on the Oa reserve itself. Other birds seen by Phill were 2 Goldcrest, 2 Black headed Gull (the second sighting for 2017),  2 Golden Eagle, a Peregrine, a Hen Harrier and also 2 Grey Wagtail. Here at home, down on the lochans below Rockside, 18 Whoopers were present.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Thursday 5th october

Back on Saturday, John Stephenson had heard a Corncrake calling up behind Machir Bay. Yesterday, Mike P.  had seen 26 Ruff, 3 Blackwits and 12 Golden Plover on the grass reseed at RSPB Gruinart reserve. He also had seen a Hen Harrier out over the floods on the reserve as well. This morning, down on the stubble at Rockside,  8 Whoopers were present with a further 5 on the lochans. Mike had carried out a sea watch for a couple of hours at the middle of  the day, his birds included 2 Bonxies, 325 Kittiwake, 135 Auk sp., 4 GND, 3 Common Scoter, 3 Long tailed Duck and 137 Barnies. James had a count on the reserve at Gruinart with his tally coming to 9,307 Barnies, 68 Whitefronts, 25 Brent Geese, 8 Pinkies, 9 Whoopers and 18 Ruff. Our count of Whoopers, late afternoon at Rockside was 55, which then all flew along to the lochans.
The rainfall so far this month is up to 1.75 inches already and today it has been quite dry, honest!!!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Wednesday 4th October

Not a great day with the weather, and not much better for birdwatching either.... a low mist was here late afternoon as well.. Marsali kindly sent through her rainfall tally for September which just beat us coming in at 5.76 inches... By the way, we have had over an inch of rain so far in October, with a lot more being blown past the rain gauge rather than being collected in it!!!
James had done a morning count of birds on the reserve at Gruinart which came to 6,550 Barnies, 20 Greenland Whitefronts, 2 Pinkies, a possible Canada goose parvipes sp., 14 Pale bellied Brent, 278 Greylags and also 6 Ruff.
This morning, as the wind was not as strong and also veered round a bit, I put up some of the feeders again, not that the birds had not been fed.... Goldfinches, Chaffinches and House Sparrow never far away,  it was good to see 2 Great Tits tucking in as well, all welcome....

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Tuesday 3rd October

The wind may have dropped a little, plus it has veered round a point or two as well... Mike had attempted a seawatch yesterday, not to be beaten it was done from his pick up truck.. Top counts were 505 Kitttiwake, 32 Brents, 2 RTD, 5 Diver sp. Up at Ballymeanach, on his way home Mike had seen a Wheatear. Mary Redman yesterday saw a flock of 60+  geese battling past Orsay island in the wind and driving rain. Later on, Mary had seen a Wheatear at Claddach and also 3 Brent Geese close to the shore there. Bob yesterday had seen 3 Snipe and 38 Goldfinches down towards Port  Charlotte. A count by James at Gruinart first thing his morning produced 1440 Barnies, 14  Pinkies, 26 Brent and 5 Ruff. Down at Port Charlotte, Ron from Islay info had seen 9 Whoopers flying South down Loch Indaal at breakfast time. Mike carried out another seawatch today, his tally came though at 3 RTD, 17 GND, 12 Diver sp., a Bonxie, 5 Common Scoter, 7 Whooper Swan, and 181 Barnies. On his way back to his vehicle, Mike had a Merlin and then a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the crofts at  Portnahaven.. We saw a Grey Wagtail here on the gravel at the house at lunchtime and then a male Hen Harrier as we headed pat Saligo with another seen along at Leek. Gary had a Merlin flying along the road at Ballygrant. Down at Gartmain, 4 Turnstone and 33 Brents were at the mouth of the stream. He saw a male Hen Harrier on the merse at Bridgend while at Carnain, Gary had 600 Greylags, 350 Barnies, 100 Curlew, 150 Oystercatcher, 17 Knot, a Sanderling, 50 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 33 Rock Pipits, 18 Pied Wagtail, 6 Teal, 17 Common Scoter, 11 RB Mergansers and 10 Barwits. Bob had been over this afternoon at Gruinart with Martin seeing around 5,000 Barnies, 30 Whitefronts, a female Pintail, 30 Wigeon, 250 Teal, a Blackwit, 30 Golden Plover, a Sparrowhawk, as well as a fly past of 14 Whoopers. James carried out a final count at Gruinart at tea time which came through at 4,915 Barnies, 40 Whitefronts, 26 Brent, and 4 Pinkies as well as a Peregrine for good measure.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Monday 2nd October

The weather, what can I say apart from that it has ben rather windy out here, the wind itself has huffed and puffed all day... Mind you the ferry did come and leave again late afternoon, so fingers crossed that we may get a few more in and out tomorrow, before the wind picks up again...The birds have been few and far between... This morning I was down at Whinpark, down at Bridgend and was really fortunate to see a White tailed Eagle in the air less than 60 metres away over the merse, no need for the bins, and boy it was big !!!  In the meantime back here at home, with having taken the feeders down last night, the birds got fed on the ground today. Margaret counted 41 Goldfinches there  at one point!!!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Sunday 1st October

Well, that is another month in, but the weather out here does not look too good, the ferries are cancelled this evening, as are all the ferries until lunchtime at the earliest, but it may be Tuesday before they start to sail again.... The rainfall for September came  to 5.75 inches, the wettest month so far this year, and worse still, is that the total for this year is now more than it was at this time last year...
Bob this morning had a Siskin in his house... and he had also seen 50 Woodpigeons fly over from Octomore. James this morning had a family of 5 Stonechats on his garden fence, 2 adults and 3 youngsters. This afternoon, he spotted 2 ringtail Hen Harriers out on the wing up at Grainel. Here at home, Margaret had a great spot, seeing a Sparrowhawk being wind assisted along, a tail wind perhaps???  I have taken all the feeders down this evening as they might be on the ground in pieces tomorrow if I did not do it!!!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Saturday 30th September

This morning Gary and myself had a quick look around the in bye fields at Rockside. Highlights included a fly past by a Merlin and then nearer the end of our walk a single Ruff flew past . There were 10 Greylags close to the roadside with 12 Golden Plover seen in one of the fields adjacent to the march with Sunderland Farm. We also saw a single Red legged Partridge as well. We reckoned that there were over 100 Skylarks and a similar number of Meadow Pipits in the air. Other birds seen included Jackdaws, Hooded Crows, Starlings, Reed Bunting, Robins, Blackbirds, Chaffinches, House Sparrows with several Wrens lurking around the undergrowth as we walked around. Sam, Gary's other half, had been down walking their dog on Machir Bay where 39 Golden Plover were present. James had a Peregrine fly over the flats at Gruinart this afternoon. Down at Gortan, towards the spit, we saw a young Gannet on the water, close to the shore.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Friday 29th September

Quite a lot of birds seen again today, so here we go...
Gary had been down on the Big strand, not much around apart from 2 Turnstone and a Common Tern. Later on, Gary had a male Hen Harrier close to Mulreesh with another close to Coal Ila. Up behind Bunnahabhain a White tailed Eagle and also a Golden Eagle were present. Bob Mc Millan had a count of 200 Brent Geese at Gruinart, while on the flats Bob saw a Curlew Sandpiper, 14 Blackwits and 11 Ruff. Mike had spent a couple of hours sea watching down at Frenchman' Rocks from 10 am to midday. Top birds seen on passage were 11 RTDs, 217 Brent flying past along with 2 Golden Plovers. On his way home, Mike had a Sparrowhawk in Portnahaven. Visiting birders from Jersey, Sam and Bryony Nolan had seen a Swallow over Bowmore, with a Red breasted Merganser out from the distillery as well. Up on the Grinart estuary mid afternoon, they saw an Osprey, a Peregrine taking a Dunlin, a Sparrowhawk from the old hide, 2  pair of Stonechat with 2 Wheatears seen up towards Bun an Uillt. Today was a Richard and Kate's final day of their visit... Up at Sanaigmore, they saw  a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Chough, a Brent goose, a Snipe, 2 Raven and also a Grey Wagtail, on one of the streams there. They also had a further 2 Chough between Port Charlotte and Kilchiaran. James had done count round Gruinart late afternoon, with his tally coming to 21 Barnies, 125 Brent Geese, 12 Blackwits, 14 Ruff, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and 295 Lapwing. Late afternoon, we saw  2Wheatear over at Borichill Mor, up from Lagstoban..

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Thursday 28th September

The weather comes first, yet again... it rained last night, the story line does not finish there as the rain gauge is now recording this month as being the wettest month so far for this year, so I wonder what it will finish at, come the end of the month..
Bob McMillan had seen 2 juv Peregrines, 2 Whooper Swans, 15 Barnies, 20 Ruff, 6 Blackwits and 2 Wheatear at Gruinart this morning. Richard and Kate this morning  had been up at Ardnave where their top birds included 15 Chough and a Snipe. Back down the road and around the reserve  at Gruinart, they saw an Osprey on the ground, a Peregrine, a distant White tailed Eagle,  6 Pink footed Geese, 15 Barnies, 50+ Pale Bellied Brent and some Wigeon. Some Blackwits were seen, still in breeding plumage, along with 4 Knot, some Dunlin, Sanderling and also Oystercatcher, Curlew and Redshank present. Gary had a great day as well, while out with clients.. 2 Golden Eagles were seen out from Bunahabhain, an Otter there as well, a Grey Wagtail at Persabus, another Otter at Coal Ila, a Kestrel at Port Askaig, a White tailed Eagle out from Kilmeny, 4 Shelduck over at Gruinart and Gary late afternoon had counted 120 Brent in. This morning, we followed a Sparrowhawk as it flew along the road in front of us below Culbuie. Margaret late morning watched a Golden Eagle being mobbed by around 30 Chough out past the war graves.
For your information, it is raining AGAIN...

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Wednesday 27th September

As ever the weather is equally important to us folks that live out here... The farmers worked on last night getting more of their harvest home which is just as well as hey pesto, at midday today, the weather has gone downhill rapidly, with rain and more rain, just as well that I emptied out the rain gauge the other day I know that Monday is a few days ahead but the forecast for then does not look too good..
Bob McMillan, who I believe hails from Skye is down here for a few days. Yesterday, he had seen a Whimbrel amongst some Curlew at Machir Bay with a juv. Whinchat seen nearby. Today over at Gruinart, Bob saw 6 Blackwits and also 3 Ruff . This morning, Richard and Kate had covered Loch Indaal from Bowmore and round to Bridgend. They saw in total, 6 RTD, a BTD, a Tystie, 4 Grey Plover, 12 Golden Plover, 12 Ringed Plover, at least 180 Wigeon, 130 Barwits along with flocks of Eider, Red breasted Merganser and Twite too.  Hope the weather picks up tomorrow for you folks!!!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Tuesday 26th September

Another good day again, another day for the farmers trying to get their harvest in...
Visitors Richard and Kate have been making the most of the better weather too... On the Oa, they had seen a Chough and a couple of flocks of Twite. On their way back from the Oa, they had great sighting of a close ringtail Hen Harrier. In the afternoon, they walked from Kintra along the "Big strand" up towards the Airport. Birds seen included 5 Red throated Diver, 3 Ringed Plover, 11 Sanderling and also a Little Stint. They had also seen 3 Wheatear. Here at home, in the early evening we saw the Chough fly home to their roost. The ferry is already cancelled to Colonsay for tomorrow as the wind is picking up...

Monday, 25 September 2017

Monday 25th of September

A better sort of a day, once the mist/ fog cleared up, in fact the farmers got their combines out again.
Gary first this morning had seen a White tailed Eagle on the top of Loch Indaal, on the sand out of Bridgend. Along at Gatmain, he saw 3 Barnies amongst the Greylags. Bob and Lesley had seen a Peregrine down at the coastguards. New visitors on their first trip to Islay, Richard and Kate Hoskin had walked between Ardlistry Bay and Clagain Bay. They saw a flock of around 50 Redpoll, 2 Ravens, 2 Peregrines, a Sparrowhawk, several Buzzard, with 5 seen overhead at one time, a Golden Eagle and also 3 Red throated Divers at Claggain Bay itself. James today had seen an adult White tailed Eagle on siting on the salt marsh at Gruinart, at the office at Bushmills, a Sparrowhawk flew over while on the flats, James saw 2 Wheatears.
Before I forget, this is no bird nerds meeting tomorrow evening

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sunday 24th Septembr

A better day with the weather again, but really dry enough to allow the farmers to get their combines kittled up again...
Mike had been down at Frenchman's Rocks for a spell of sea watching, his tally came to 139 Gannets, 27 large Auks, 2 Wigeon, a Common Scoter  and a RTD. On his way back home he saw 2 Wheatears and also a male Hen Harrier. Out on Loch Indaal from his house in Port Charlotte, he saw 36 Common Scoter, 3 RTD, a BTD with over 50 Swallows hawking over the water. Mike also saw a Harbour Porpoise there as well. Here at home, there was a Wheatear on the garden wall this morning.


The above is an image of the Starlings which I took yesterday, I think my "count"  was rather low as there are the best part of 650 in this image alone, not counting the birds on the overhead wires...

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Saturday 23rd Sepember

Rather windy out here tonight, the evening ferries to and from Islay have been cancelled and the Colonsay ferry never sailed out of Port Askaig, it just returned back to Kennacraig...
This morning, Mike Peacock had seen a Sparrowhawk down at the fuel depot at Bruichladdich. Late afternoon, here at home there was a mumeration of over 500 Starlings. The "big squirrel buster" feeder was tested and  did its' job by shutting when 2 Starlings landed on it...

Friday, 22 September 2017

Friday 22nd of September

Today is the Autumn equinox, or to put it more simply, the length of daylight now is shorter than the darkness hours and will continue on that way until late December when the days will start to get longer again. Just hope the weather is not going downhill as well, as today it has been a pig of a day, although it was dry for a short time at first light this morning... Only bird sighting through is from James who saw a Peregrine fly over his house at Gruinart early this morning. On a positive note, I managed to put some bird sightings on the spreadsheet for JD and the Argyll Bird Club, mind you I do not want too many wet days...

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Thursday 21st September

James and Mark yesterday had seen 25 Snipe as well as 2 Hen Harriers up on the moor on the reserve at Gruinart and this morning, James had counted 12 Snipe in the same location. This afternoon while out for a short run down the "Glen road", on the moorland at the entrance to Avonvogie, we saw several family groups of Stonechats out and about. Here at home just after lunch, there were a pair of Buzzards flying high up on thermals above the crag.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Wednesday 20th September

One thing for sure, today I very much doubt if any of the combines were cutting any crops, perhaps they moved the machines from one location to another. The rain gauge is now over 4 inches so far this month, at one time we always used to say that September a better month for getting some decent weather, not true in 2017...
This morning Nicholas Watts from Vine House Farm sent me through an image the Tree Sparrows eating the Red Millet on his feeders, I reckon that there are over 200 sparrows in and on the actual feeders. Nicholas too is having his hands full trying to finish off his harvest as well..


Mike Peacock had been down on Machir Bay today, seeing a mixed flock of Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Dunlin. Mike also saw a Curlew Sandpiper amongst them as well. Up on the dunes, beside the bay, a Sparrowhawk was present, spooking everything all around. Wonder if it was the same bird that was having a look see, up here late afternoon???

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tuesday 19th September

The farmers will be pleased, another dry day, and another day to get some more harvest cut, but the glass is dropping, so the rain is returning, with a wet day forecast for tomorrow..
Bob Swann was in touch regarding the Greylag goose with the orange neck collar on, seen on Sunday  evening over at Ballinaby. It was first fitted with the collar as a youngster, here on Islay at Gortachuirn which is up behind Bruichladdich  on the 30th of  January 2015. It was seen up on Colonsay in June the same year with a brood of goslings. It then returned to Islay and was seen 3 times on the Oa during the winter of 2015/16. In February 2017, it was noted on Rathlin and then a few days later on Fair Head, both in Co. Antrim in Northern Ireland and has now returned to Islay, at present... Many thanks to Bob for this data...
Gary today had seen a White tailed Eagle and also a ringtail Hen Harrier at Finlaggan, he also saw a Sparrowhawk over the moorland there as well. In the trees beside his house, a lot of wee birds have been present including Coal Tits, Blue Tits and also 7 Goldcrests. Down on the merse at Bridgend, Gary had seen a Peregrine playing havoc with the waders. There were several hundred Mallard and Teal also present, with Gary witnessing a White tailed Eagle taking one of them... Also down on the trees there, Gary saw an Osprey perched up.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Monday 18th Septembr

The farmers have been making use of the delayed spell of better, drier weather.. as well as their combine out, Rockside has been baling the straw and others are catching up with delayed silage making...better late than never!!!
Back to birds, Bob had been a walk out towards the old wreck that is visible at the head of Loch Indaal when the tide is out. He saw at least 50 Barwits and also a Peregrine. He was saying back at his home up behind Port Charlotte, he has been seeing more Skylarks around of late. This evening we counted over 38 Chough heading into the roost. The count for the Greylags came through at 2,178. Thanks to Andrew Kent and his team of counters.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Sunday 17th September

A great day  out here today and yes the farmers got their combines going and managed to get a start made to the harvest. Round at Rockside, Andrew Woods was driving the combine on behalf of Kilchoman Distillery, with the moisture being 18.5%, which all things being considered was not too bad...


The Distillery have got their combine customised to advertise their machine...

Back on the bird front, not a lot happening apart from 10 Pied Wagtails on the lawn  at breakfast time, the Peregrine was watching life go by, the Swallows that are still here were hawking after insects over the game crop as were several Stonechats as they flitted about, 4 Dunnocks were also noted and this evening amongst around 300 Greylags at Ballinaby, one had a orange neck collar on, so better get in touch Bob Swann to find out its' history.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Saturday 16th September

A not bad day with the weather. Not the warmest, but it is looking like another dry day tomorrow, as I write the blog, the sun is streaming in the big window with a beautiful sunset in store...
Distillery Dave and Ann, his wife, had been up at the old hide at Gruinart where they great views of a juv. White tailed Eagle for quite some time. They also saw a ringtail and also male Hen Harrier. Up at Ardnave, over close to Traigh Nostaig, they saw 2 Greenshank and as they returned to their car, they saw 40 Black tailed Godwit and 6 Golden Plover. Down at Bruichladdich, 5 Turnstone, many Dunlin, and some Ringed Plover were present. Off Uiskentuie, they saw 2 GND and a Red breasted Merganser. Earlier this evening we watched a ringtail Hen Harrier as it flew past close to us, a Buzzard flew over the old church, low down while up on the crag a Peregrine was just sitting, watching the world go round... 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Friday 15th September

Better keep quiet as today, it has been a lot better on the weather front, so with a bit of luck, it may stay with us and allow the ground to dry up a bit... Mind you I was kept out of mischief, planting a couple of wee bags of Daffodil bulbs, so finger crossed that they do not get twisted about by the wind like the ones that we planted last year... I also spent sometime moving some plants around outside too. Yesterday afternoon I saw a ringtail Hen Harrier out quartering its' patch down behind Machir Bay. Today, we saw a single Red legged Partridge on the road below Carrabus. Jim D saw the ever present Little Egret as the ferry approached Kennacraig today on his way home. Thanks for your birds Jim!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Thursday 14th September

It is meant to September, normally a month of better weather for the farmers to get their combines out and get their harvest cut and home, not so this year, so far this month we have had over 3 inches of rain, the fields are sodden, so it will be difficult to get machinery to move around without getting bogged down...
JD had done some birding on his last day for this visit. At Frenchman's Rocks, a lot quieter today, but a Great Skua was seen, on Loch Indaal, 6 Arctic Terns, a Greenshank, 31 Common Scoter, 52 Wigeon, a Slav Grebe, a Greater Scaup, a juv BTD. At Cgaigens, Jim saw a juv Whinchat and Gruinart, 2 Peregrine, an imm White tailed Eagle, 2 adult Whoopers and a Barnacle Goose were present.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Wednesday 13th September

Mary Redman yesterday had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier close to Claddach Loch and also a Dabchick on the water itself. Today, JD has put in another days' birding...  At Frenchnan's Rocks, Jim did a sea watch for almost 1.5 hours seeing 930 Manx Shearwater, 127 Kittiwake, 11 Fulmar, 2,100 large Auk, and an Arctic Tern, he also saw 2 Ruff and 2 Golden Plover in off the sea. Later on, he had a Grey Wagtail at Kilchiaran with 6 Red Knot and a Wheatear at Carnain. Off Bruichladdich, 5 Arctic Tern and a Sandwich Tern present, with a female Greater Scaup noted at Blackrock. A Sand Martin was present at Gruinart with 7 Gadwall seen on Loch Gorm.
Here at home, many thanks to the Electricity Boys as we lost power through the night, the long and the short was that they laid a complete new cable to allow us power again, so once again thanks to Rop, Shimy, Ross and Ant..

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tuesday 12th September

Yesterday, Peter had seen a Wheatear when he was over at Glenegedale..
Today the weather improved quite a bit, no rain until after lunchtime and a few showers after that, and oh yes a power cut for almost 3 hours, power back on in time to make the tea, and better still, in time for me to write the blog, well done the local engineers who sorted the problem out..
JD has been out and about.. At Portnahaven,  he had seen 9 Turnstone, Bruichladdich held 94 Ringed Plover and a further 6 Turnstone. At Gortan, Jim had 2 Arctic Tern, 27 Common Scoter, 2 Slav. Grebes, 2 male Greater Scaup, and 4 RTDs. Along at Bridgend Merse, 2 Barnies along with the hybrid Canada Goose x white Greylag goose were present. Round at Gartnatra, 11 Blackwits were seen. At Gruinart, Jim saw 2 juv Ruff, 3 imm Pintail, 3 Wheatear and 2 Whooper Swan. Up at Coille, 2 Sparrowhawks were harassing a Buzzard and Jim saw another Sparrowhawk at Coultorsay.


Above are some of the flock of House Sparrows, Linnet and Twite that were on the game crop this afternoon, at one time I counted 131 lbjs in the air before they dropped in to the seed heads.. Earlier on, I had counted 36 Goldfinches up on the big niger feeder and around the other feeders. Oh yes, I managed to finish cutting the grass as well, another job done for the time being.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Monday 11th September

This poor spell of weather, not to beaten, I tried to cut the grass with varying amounts of success, got some cut, not a lot, but on the downside, the rain stopped play 3 times, mind you I did manage each time to stop before getting too wet!!!
JD thought otherwise and went out to carry out a spot of sea watching at first light, but the weather beat him there.... but he had seen other birds while out and about later on..  A Wheatear at Kilnave, 6 Golden Plovers at Gruinart, along at Coullabus over 50  Pied and White Wagtails were present. Down at Gortan, a Sparrowhawk was seen , off Carnain,  6 Knot with 2 Arctic Terns and a count of 22 Common Scoter between there and Bowmore. Tomorrow might be better, fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Sunday 10th September

An absolute pig of a day with heavy squally showers sweeping inform the sea, and not much improvement in the forecast for a few days ... Just as well we are not "trying" to grow barley for one of the Distilleries.
Yesterday, Mike Peacock had seen 2 Brent Geese off Port Charlotte, possibly the same birds that Carl had seen. Today Jim D's top birds were a female Sparrowhawk and a Wheatear between Claddach and Portnahaven. Here at home, we had seen a Greenfinch, the first one we have seen in almost 5 weeks. I wonder, with these high winds as to whether we may get some "different" birds dropping in, we can but hope!!!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Saturday 9th September

A drier day out here, but possibly not for long.. So some of us been making the most of it!!

Gary this morning had an Osprey out from Gartmain, Carl had seen a couple of Brent Geese down at Port Charlotte. This afternoon Jim Dickson had a couple of Brent Geese at Gruinart, but no sign of the possible Little Stints. Jim also had 2 Slavonian Grebes at Gortan, out from the coal yard on Loch Indaal. This morning, Distillery Dave and myself made use of Jim Dickson and so the 3 of us did the WeBS count in the absence of Bob and Lesley. It was raining at the start, but after a few minutes it dried up and off  we set towards Gartbreck... Our birds seen included 144 Greylags, a Red throated Diver, 2 Cormorant, 35 Shag, 22 Oystercatcher, 82 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel, 7 Redshank, 19 Ringed Plover, 21 Lapwing, 37 Dunlin, 7 Barwits, 2 Snipe, 1 Ruff, 7 Heron, 10 Black headed Gulls, 322 Herring Gulls,12 CommonGulls, 2 Lbb Guls, 9 Gbb Gulls, 5 Kittiwake, 5 Razorbill, 1 Guillemot, 2 Red breasted Merganser, 7 Mallard, 1 Long tailed  Duck, 42 Eider. We also saw a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard, a ringtail Hen Harrier . We saw many Rock Pipits on the shore, as well as some small flocks of Goldfinches and a few Linnets enjoying the shoreline seed heads!!!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Friday 8th September

Another miserable sort of the weather, yet again...Mike got the stats back from BTO relating to the Manx Shearwater which he had found dead down on Machir Bay, on the 4th of Sept. It was rung as a first year bird at Bardsey Bird Observatory on the 5th of Sept 2004, a mere 4,747 days ago!!
Gary today had been down for a walk along the River Sorn from the Woollen Mill. On the River itself, he had seen a Dipper with Goldcrests and Long tailed Tits heard calling away in the trees. Mark and Phill had joined forces today and carried out the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart with their birds counted as follows: A Pale bellied Brent Goose, 2 Barnies, 234 Greylag, 380 Ringed Plover, 238 Dunlin, 16 Barwits, 2 Blackwits, 14 Knot, 121 Curlew, 29 Sanderling, 9 Turnstone and a Peregrine. They also reported through a possible sighting of 2 Little Stint up on the shore below Kilnave.
Jim Dickson arrived over for a week's birding, so here are some of Jim's birds seen today, 30 juv. Blackwits, an adult Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 House Martin, 1 Shelduck and 4 Knot all at Gruinart. 4 Greenfinch were at Kilnave with a Merlin at Ardnave also a male Hen Harrier at Coull. Finally Jim had a Willow Warbler along at Sunderland Farm. Here at home, I saw 3 families of Stonechats on the game crop this morning as well as one of the House Sparrows caught and rung by George E Jackson in the Spring. It was up close to the house and I managed take some images of the leg ring and matched the ring numbers.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Thursday 7th September

Another mixed day with the weather again, with more rain forecast for tomorrow...
Yesterday, James had been out to help with counting Greylags, and all going well I should get the tally through from SNH for tomorrow's entry. On his trip out, James had a Sparrowhawk, a Grey Wagtail and then an Osprey seen out on Loch Gruinart. Up at Ardnave, James counted 21 Chough and saw Grey Seals with pups over on Nave Island. Today, here at home, Margaret spotted a male Chaffinch with a BTO ring on its' leg, possibly one that was caught and rung by George E Jackson here previously.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Wednesday 6th September

A similar sort of a day today with the weather, but we will not be beat, got all my jobs done, just fine, a happy bunny again.. Forgot to mention on the blog last night that I had a Snipe down below the pond, in the rushy area.. Gary had seen an Otter up at Bunnahabhain, and reported that both Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes are starting to flock up over beside here he lives.
Today, Mike and Peter had carried out a sea watch at Frenchman's Rocks. I was also glad to hear that Bob had been out with them too, no excuse now Bob, another few weeks and you will be driving again. Their birds were as follows, 997 Manx Shearwater, 23 Fulmar, 4 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 29 Auk sp., 3 Tysties, 1 Arctic/ Common Tern, 10 Gbb Gull, 339 Gannets with another 150 feeding around the Rocks, 7 Great Skua, 12 Sanderling, a Whimbrel and a Storm Petrel. Today, Phill was leading the guided walk down on the Oa where he had a pair of Golden Eagle displaying well, 4 Chough close to the American monument and also a Kestrel nearby. Here at home, on the game crop the Linnets have been joined by some Twite, possibly the ones that Mike had down at the Machir Bay the other day...

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Tuesday 5th September

Been a better sort of a day although there has been the odd shower thrown in for good measure... So in between the rain I have been out on the wee tractor topping some of the grass that has not been cut so far this year, and then after that I took the big strimmer and cut in places that the tractor would not go, and if the weather holds tomorrow, I should finish that job before lunchtime... After tea tonight, we took some time out and sat in the hut for the best part of an hour...2 top birds came by, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over the game crop and landed down on the wall and remained there for the best part of 5 minutes.... Later on a Sparrowhawk flew past and carried on up the gully. The usual wee birds were around Linnets, Goldfinches, a Robin, a Dunnock, Great Tits, Blue Tits, House Sparrows, Starlings, Jackdaws and some Pheasants as well. 3 Hooded Crows were out on the machir, and a few Greylags were flying back to their roost, with a Buzzard perched up on the crag. Earlier on a Wren was out beside the hut too with some Stonechats hopping along the wall.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Monday 4th September

Well, you will all be relieved to her that it has stopped raining, although a low swirling mist this morning caused the flight from Glasgow to Islay was delayed. This afternoon, the cloud broke and it has turned out to be a not bad day, with the sun streaming in through the window as I write this entry. Mike made the most of the afternoon, with a walk along Machir Bay producing 51 Ringed Plover, 11 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin and a dead ringed Manx Shearwater... Mike also had a flock of 30 Twite and also saw 2 nearly fledged Sand Martins at their nest hole. . On the game crop, here at home, the Linnet numbers were up to over 60 today, and this afternoon, we had a Peregrine sitting on the march fence between Coull and Ballinaby. We also had 2 charms of Goldfinches below Coulererach, one of 40 birds, the other with at least 70 in number.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Sunday 3rd September

You might want to search somewhere else tonight if you want to read about Islay's birds as today has been a total washout with wall to wall rain, not a lot but enough to keep me inside all day... I have not crossed the doorstep today. One person who might be pleased is JD, as I completed off the data base records for Islay for August and e mailed them to him...
Our good friend Marsali sent through her rainfall figures at Mulindry for August. Her tally was higher than last year for August, coming to 149 mm, or  5.96 inches, if you still think of the rainfall in imperial measurement... Thanks again Marsali.   The forecast for the week does not bode well either, with more rain forecast, say no more. Might have some birds for you tomorrow, no promises!!!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Saturday 2nd September

Not a lot to report tonight.... This morning, Mike had a Common Sandpiper down at Port Charlotte. Here at home, the Redpolls and also the Siskins that have been "resident" since the Spring have not been seen since before the Birdfair, but on a positive note the Stonechats are still around!!! Tonight, the wind has picked up and I feel that could be a wee change working in the weather with possibly some rain coming in over the next few days... Just as well that we have spent most of the day outside, working in the garden... 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Friday 1st September

Well, that is August out of the way again, the tally here for the rain came to 4.4inches, almost 2 inches less than last year at the same time, time for that to change very quickly, let's hope the farmers get a chance to get their harvest in before it gets too wet...
Yesterday, Mike and Peter had a count at Bridgend Merse and the surrounding mud flats as the tide was outish... birds seen came to 2  Sanderling, 55 Ringed Plover, 178 Dunlin, 227 Oystercatcher, 251 Curlew, 3 Knot, 29 Wigeon and 29 Barwits. Today they had done an hour down at Frenchman's Rocks where their birds were as follows : 181 Manx Shearwater, 201 Gannet, 29 Fulmar, 7 Kittiwake, 38 Shag (all perched on Frenchman's rocks),  17 Razorbill, 15 Awk sp., 1 Tystie, 1 dark phase Arctic Skua, and a Sand Martin in off the sea!! David Formby had been up round Ardnave today noting the following, 24 Chough, 4 Curlew (inland), around 40 Linnet, a pair of Ringed Plover with a very young pulli, and 2 Dunlin. Coming back down from Ardnave, he followed a Sparrowhawk along the road for around 100 yards.. Here at home, Margaret had 3 Wrens and a young Robin at the back of the garage this morning, and late afternoon, directly over the house a couple of Buzzards were wheeling around in a thermal. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Thursday 31st August

Many thanks to James for putting the entries on the blog in may absence.. Quite a few entries this evening for you to drool over in envy. Last Saturday, Gary had been out with clients and saw an Osprey out over the Sound of Islay at Bunnahabhain, a Peregrine was present at Kilchoman with good numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling  seen down on Machir Bay. Mike Peacock yesterday saw over 200 Dunlin, 150 Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, 4 Red Knot, 41 Barwit, 70 Curlew and 2 Shelduck. David Wood this afternoon had a count of over 400 Manx Shearwater loafing around out from Lower Killeyan on the Oa. Also seen were 2 Sooty Shearwater, 11 Chough and a Sparrowhawk. David Formby had seen a mixed flock of over 50 Linnet and Goldfinch on the game crop at Kilchoman along with a couple of  Stonechats. Good numbers of Swallows and the Starling flock seems to increase every day.... A male Hen Harrier was quartering  over the lochans below Rockside.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Wednesday 30th August

A good burd nurds last night with lots of records gathered up from the birders: Mike and Pete had been sea watching at Frenchmans Rocks: 341 Manx Shearwaters, 447 Gannets, 27 Fulmars, 34 Kittiwakes, 1 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Arctic Skuas all dark phase, 5 Bonxies, 3 Red Throated Divers all in 1.5 hours watching. Joan reported Goldcrests and Coal Tits on the Gruinart woodland walk. Pete and Pia had great views of 6 Golden Eagles at the Oa on Sunday and also White Tailed Eagles and a Crossbill in the Ballygrant area.
While we we bird watching from Bruichladdich pier we saw 1 Common Scoter, 2 Guillemot, 2 Razorbill and 2 Sandwich Terns.
Today at Loch Gruinart a look across the Loch revealed: 620 Dunlin, 120 Sanderling, 5 Knot, 1 Greenshank, 21 Black Tailed Godwits and an Osprey.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Tuesday 29th August

A lovely sunny afternoon and Berd Nerds to look forward to tonite at Bruichladdich. Had a quick look across Loch Gruinart this afternoon as I had noticed a few more waders building up -  200 + Dunlin and a scattering of Sanderling, also a Ruff and an Osprey.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Sunday27th August

I spent the afternoon in the South East of Islay yesterday and found one stag Fallow deer and a couple of Greenshank. Back at Gruinart the Peregrine is still hunting the Loch area and the swallow and Martins are building up on the electric wires.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Friday 25th August

There was a VERY lot of rain last night, so I have been out on the reserve letting water away to the sea, so that we can prepare the wet grassland for the Autumn/ winter. Peregrine on the mud of Loch Gruinart, also Greenshank and a Wheatear on the shore. Yesterday a Swift was reported over Ardnave Loch.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Thursday 24th August

Back on Saturday, Mike Peacock, Peter Roberts and Martin Armstrong had carried out a hours' sea watching down at Frenchman's Rocks. Their tally was as follows: 1435 Manx Shearwater, 340 Gannets, 41 Fulmar, 6 Kittiwake, 2 Whimbrel, 4 Bonxies, a dark phase Arctic Skua and 14 Shag. Yesterday, Mike saw a pod 12 Bottle nosed Dolphins off the lighthouse up at Rhuvaal.

Next Tuesday, it is time for the Islay bird nerds meeting, which will take place at the pier at Bruichladdich at 7pm. I know that several visiting birders will be around, so feel free to come along.

Earlier today Louise sent through the figures from the 2017 Corncrake survey, which came to a total of 75 calling birds, a slight decrease on the year, not sure if we had a larger or smaller fall in birds compared with other places.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Wednesday 23rd August

Boy, what a thunderstorm we had last night, and it was still rumbling away at midnight when I went to bed. Just as well that we have sandy soil as there was a lot of rain as well.
Last week while  I was away, Mike Young had seen an Osprey down at Loch Gorm. Coming back up from Rutland yesterday, Dave Wood had seen the Little Egret at Kennacraig and from the ferry as he was coming over, he saw a Storm Petrel. Today, Gary had been out with 2 clients. Over at Ballygrant, they had seen a White tailed Eagle, an Osprey was flying high over Loch Gorm, a Peregrine was seen flying past the memorial cross at Kilchoman, down below at Machir Bay, Chough were present. Up at Ardnave a Hen Harrier was seen, and also a Bonxie was seen at Loch Gorm. Gary reported that flocks of Goldfinch, Linnets and Starlings were starting to build in numbers. No Otters were seen on their travels!!!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Tuesday 22nd August

Thanks to James for holding the fort while some of us have been down at the birdfair at Rutland... a great event to attend, one year I really should make the effort and get round all the marquees , rather than looking at the plan in the brochure, and take time to hear some of the lectures..
We had an eventful trip down as the Herdwick Inn in the Lake District where we should have stayed was shut, unknown to us, nobody had told us, so fortunately, Gary was fresh to the driving seat and drove down to Rutland. We got held up with diversions, but made it down by 11.30 pm, as there were nowhere locally that could fit us all in. On the positive side of things, last Wednesday we had  an easy time out around Rutland Water before meeting in with Nicholas Watts at Vine House Farm where we  spent almost 3 hours on a conducted tour around his farming enterprise. Vine House Farm has donated over £1.25 million to Wildlife Trusts around the UK.


Gary helped Nicholas to feed the Tree Sparrows with Red Millet, watching on is Margaret. Nicholas last week  rung his 1,000th young Tree Sparrow of this season.

Monday 21st August

Sorry Missed a few blogs - I was away. It has been very showery on Islay and we have been struggling to get the silage in from the Gruinart Flats on the reserve. On Sunday the forage harvester broke down and the fields have had to be baled.
I had a few birds from the Ferry today: Lots of Guillemots still with chicks in tow, Lots of Kittiwakes plus good numbers of juveniles, 2 Red Throated Divers and 2 Porpoises.



Gruinart Flats

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Wednesday 16th August

A wild and wet day- distinct autumnal feeling

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Tuesday 15th August

Not a bad day with lots of farms out cutting and making silage, either second cut or Corncrake friendly depending on the farm. A look around the reserve at Gruinart revealed: Greylags 568 and with them 1 Canada goose (maybe from Colonsay population?) and also one white goose of mixed origin, 11 Mute Swans, 4 Herons, 15 Teal and 3 Mallards.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Monday 14th August

Well, the van is packed and ready to set in motion tomorrow morning on our trip to Rutland. All of us that are going are a right sociable, friendly lot so if your around at the Birdfair, come along. Better away and treble check there is nothing left around that should be in the van...

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sunday 13th AUgust

Well, last night I never saw any of the meteor storm that was due, Margaret did spot one but that was all. On the positive side of being out late at night, yes, the Corncrake is still calling over in the "glen". This evening, I counted at least 45 Chough flying in to the roost. Through the day, we have been kept at it by trying to double check that we have everything ready to take for our trip to Rutland... As far as we can think of, all fine ready for the off on Tuesday. Our stand at the British Birdfair will or should look completely different, mainly because we have been fortunate in being able to have a double stand rather than a single stand, so perhaps we might get a better chance to get visitors attracted in to our stance and better still, get them to come to visit Islay, so if you are going to the Birdfair, come along to Marquee 7 and we are opposite to Speyside Wildlife, enter our free holiday competition, better still enjoy some of our famous hospitality... come and meet some of the faces behind the blog as well .... Bob will not be down this year, but Lesley and Gary will be down to help out in his place, David Wood from the Oa will be present, as well as his sister Sarah, Margaret, myself, Andy Robinson and also Carl, so come along.....

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Saturday 12th August

A greatly improved day with the weather today, not much to report tonight but there seems to be more Pied Wagtails around. Earlier on this evening, we saw a Stonechat down at the Coastguards with some grubs in its' mouth, a short time later, along the road a Wheatear was sitting on the road, causing us to slow down before it flew off. Round at Ballinaby, thee was an ever so small Hedgehog on the roadside, doubt if it will make through the winter. As the weather was better today, I took the chance and cut the grass, and also put larger guards on some of the trees/ bushes, so in that department, I am well pleased...

Friday, 11 August 2017

Friday 11th August

Not a lot going on outside today due to the weather, it was rather a dreich, dreary sort of a day rather than heavy rain all the time, all the same one would probably have got wet, the only good thing was that the windy conditions kept the midges away!!! Luckily I saw this Redpoll and a Goldfinch out on the feeders..


At one time there were 10 Goldfinch on the feeder this afternoon, which is a slight increase in numbers compared to the other week when there were hardly any around.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Thursday 10th August

Well, at least it did manage to stay dry for the local Agricultural show, but the wind has started to pick up this evening, so perhaps there is a wee change working...Yesterday evening, our good friends Ken and Karen had heard a Corncrake calling at Kilchoman, and today they saw a Merlin down below at the Coastguards. Steve Wrightson saw a Hen Harrier fly overhead while he was at the show. Gary and Sam along with some friends had gone down to Portnahaven, late afternoon, seeing Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Golden Eagle.  2 Hen Harriers were present near to Kilchiaran. Back over closer to their home, out of Ballygrant, Buzzard, Hen Harrier as well as 2 White tailed Eagle were seen.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Wednesday 9th August

Today, the weather again has been kind to us, with wall to wall sunshine. and as I write this entry, the sun is still streaming in the big windows, a nice complaint...
Not a lot going on as most of the folk  here on Islay are busy getting ready for the local Agricultural show which is being held tomorrow, down at Bridgend, so fingers crossed that it stays dry, and just as important, no midges...
We saw the Golden Eagle out over the crag, again along towards the masts behind Kilchiaran. This evenin,g there were a couple of Buzzards out towards Rockside. As I write this entry, the Choughs have just flown past, noisily, on their way to the roost.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Tuesday 8th August

Another day almost in, infact in a few minutes it will Wednesday, so I had better hurry up... Gary yesterday had been out with clients and had seen an Otter over at Bunahabhain, his first sighting of one for some time. They also saw a White tailed Eagle for some time too. Just after breakfast this morning, I saw a ringtail Hen Harrier fly over the garden, and Margaret saw another one around midday , again over the garden, possibly the same bird. Late afternoon, we saw a distant Golden Eagle away out along the crag towards the radio masts above Kilchiaran. Tonight, the Corncrake was still calling away outside the house.... Made it, still on Tuesday, but only just..

Monday, 7 August 2017

Monday 7th August

Around lunchtime today we watched a Golden Eagle wheeling around above Machir Bay. It was keeping a watchful eye on a kite, no not a Red Kite, but a kite being flown by a holiday maker for at least 5 minutes!!!! Distillery Dave spotted a male Hen Harrier down beside Loch Gorm as he headed home after his work. Out on the grass beside our house, 9 Song Thrushes were present this morning along with 3 Blackbirds..

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Sunday 6th August

This past week, well for most of the week, most of the Islay team from Islay have been over on Coll. The weather according to James was not too bad... On the ferry going over there, they saw several Bottle nosed Dolphins and a Minke Whale, as well as Puffins on the water. Coming home on Friday evening at Kennacraig, James and Phill saw a Little Egret and also a Greenshank as they approached the ferry terminal. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Saturday 5th August

A glorious day with a beautiful sunset to finish the day off, just great.... Alistair Hart this morning had gone to carry out a sea watch at Frenchman's Rocks, only problem was that he managed to sit on his  pencil, so breaking it and it beyond repair.. Alistair still managed a list of birds seen... Skylark, Mipit, Wheatear, Carrion Crow, Raven, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Greater Black backed Gull, Shag, Cormorant (12 flying together at one point), Guillemot, Razorbill, Tystie, Fulmar, a pale phase Arctic Skua and 2 Bonxies. Later on, Alistair has seen a Peregrine on a kill between Port Mor and Portnahaven.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Friday 4th August

Mike Peacock and Peter Roberts had been out on Loch Indaal in their boat yesterday and off  Port Charlotte up towards the lighthouse they had heard a Corncrake calling, back around the lighthouse, not out on the loch! Before I went to bed last night, at around 11pm, I too heard a Corncrake calling over towards the wee glen leading up to here from the Coastguards, the same bird that Margaret had heard shortly before, would I ever doubt my wife's hearing??
This morning Mike and Peter had done a spot of sea watching at Frenchman's rocks, off Portnahaven for almost 2 hours with the birds flying in a South easterly direction, their count came to 503 Manx Shearwater,123 Gannets, 52 Kittiwake, 60 Fulmar, 8 Shag, 8 Razorbill, 17 Razorbill, 1 Arctic Skua, 4 Black headed Gulls, 2 Tysties, 4 Turnstone and a Whimbrel. They also saw 11 small geese, presumed to be Brent Geese, which are not not normally seen until mid to late August, earliest Scottish record were of a group of 11 Brents seen off Machrihanish (down at the tip of the Mull of Kintyre) on 19th August in 2005,  I believe.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Thursday 3rd August

Sorry about the latish entry tonight, but been one of  those days, better late than never.. we have been kept busy today, trying successfully to get some jobs completed for Rutland, almost there now, but not sure where "there" is!!!
Alistair Hart had been down in Bridgend Woods where he saw a pair of Spotted Flycatcher and he also heard at least 2 Willow Warblers singing away. This evening, after work, Distillery Dave had been  down at the Machrie for a round of golf.. He heard a pair of Peregrines and their youngster being very vocal. He also heard a Corncrake calling whilst out on his round. Just at 10 pm, here at home, Margaret heard a Corncrake calling, the first here this year!!
Our good friend, Marsali kindly sent through her tally for the rainfall for July, over at Mulindry, a mere 4.68inches, drier for once than us, and almost an inch at that!! Having said that, I believe that they had quite a lot of rain last night as did Bowmore, which we did not get!!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Wednesday 2nd August

Here at home this morning there were 4 Song Thrushes and 3 Blackbirds all having a good "howk" (dig) around out on the grass, no doubt looking for some tasty worms. Paul Graham reported through to say that he has heard 4 different Corncrakes calling over at the Machrie while he was having a round of golf today... Gary, today had been watching a pair of adult Hen Harriers along with their 2 young as they were out "practising food passes", from a vantage point off the "high road".  Rather a watery looking evening sun, so maybe the rain is not that far off again...

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Tuesday 1st August

Well, as promised, the dreaded total for the rain that fell into our rain gauge  came to 5.5 inches. Last year the figure for July was 4 inches which I thought was a lot, say no more..
Yesterday Alistair Hart had heard 2 Corncrakes still calling away up at Sanaigmore. Here at home, the flock of Linnets were still present out from the "hut". A better day again with the weather, for how long is another question... The end is in sight, with all the distilleries having given some of their finest produce for folk to sample at the Birdfair, apart from one of them, always the tail end Charlies. Islay Ales have sent through some of their beer and also Walker's Shortbread have again been really kind in helping us with some of their shortbread, and as we have a double stand this year, our stand will have a completely new look, so come along in marquee 7, in the usual place, opposite Speyside Wildlife, and meet some of the faces behind the blog...
As this is meant to be about birds, I took this picture of a Wagtail earlier this year...


Monday, 31 July 2017

Monday 31st July

Well, that is July almost over but you will just have to wait until tomorrow night when I will tell you all how much rain we heave had. The weather has been quite good today, got the rest of the grass cut and now, this evening, guess what, well it is raining again... Margaret this morning saw a hen Pheasant out with her brood of 11 newly hatched chicks. This evening, Margaret counted 23 Chough on top of the crag before heading in to the roost. on the seed heads on the cover crop down from the hut, over 40 Linnets were having their supper. On the hemlock heads, there were several Willow Warblers while the young Blue Tits and young Great Tits were still around with some Swallows swooping over the pond and along over the cover crop, good to see...

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sunday 30th July

A better sort of a day, although there were a few drops of rain this morning, not a lot, but enough to stop me cutting the grass which I eventually managed to do this evening, job done..
Back on Friday, James  saw 4 Sandwich Terns over at Kilnaughton Bay. Yesterday, James saw 15 Sanderling playing "chicken" with the waves over at Sanaigmore... This afternoon, we saw a couple of young Blue Tits out from "the hut", great to see, as it shows that they must have bred close to here. Margaret earlier on spotted a Peregrine perched away along the top of the crag. As I write this entry, Margaret has just seen 17  Chough out sitting, sunning themselves on the rock face of the crag.


 One of them had flown away by the time I got the camera out, honest....

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Saturday 29th July

Just as well that I emptied the rain gauge yesterday as more rain fell through the night and it only really stopped mid morning...Thomas Miller and his student friends sent through some sightings from Tuesday 25th. High over Gruinart they saw a young Golden Eagle being mobbed by some Gulls. Later on up at Ardnave, they saw a small flock of around 30 waders, mostly Sanderling along with some Ringed Plover and a single Turnstone feeding on grubs in the rotting kelp along with some Gulls and a few Chough. Last night we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier as we headed over towards Saligo Bay. We also saw another ringtail along the flats at Gruinart close to the turn off up to Craigens. This evening, we watched as the flock of 50+ Chough returned in to their roost. Down on the thistle heads on the edge of the game crop there was a mixed flock of around 60 finches, mainly Goldfinches and Linnets, good to see the Goldfinches back again after being posted as awol a few weeks back....

Friday, 28 July 2017

Friday 28th July

A few more days, and that is almost another month in again, time goes past a lot quicker when you get older, or so  I was told a few years ago and it may well be true!!! As the weather has not been that good today, not a lot to report on the birds front. Peter and Pia had heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling away as they walked down at Foreland this morning. I managed to take this image of some of the Siskins along with a Goldfinch this afternoon out on the niger feeder.


Almost forgot to mention that I had to empty the rain gauge today as it was full, and that is before the end of the month, say no more...Yes, it sure has been wet for July!!!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Thursday 27th July

Back on Sunday Jack Fleming saw 6 Swifts over his house at Gruinart. This morning, Jack watched a family of 4 Hen Harriers as they hopped along from one fence post to another on one of the fences along the flats at Gruinart. Today, Gary had a ringtail and also a male Hen Harrier close to island Farm This morning, below Carnduncan, we had a cracking view of a male Hen Harrier as it flew across the road. This evening in a very short space of time, less than 10 minutes, I had a family of Great Tits, Willow Warbler, female Lesser Redpoll, House Sparrow, Wren, Linnet, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Swallows, Jackdaw and Starling all seen from the "hut". To finish it all, I had a flypast of all the young Chough flying in to the roost and then when I got in to the house the heavens opened...just made it!!


Wonder if these Sparrows know their way to the "Islay stand " at Rutland???

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Wednesday 26th July

Yesterday Adam Haynes and his Dad had walked out from Ballygrant, past the lochs, through the woods and returned back to Ballygrant along the track beside the side of the road from Port Askaig. On Ballygrant Loch, they heard 2 RTD calling away and saw a Mute Swan and also a Little Grebe.  In the woods, they had lots of Siskins, Redpolls, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Long tailed Tit and Willow Warblers. On their way back along the track/ path a Whitethroat was seen. Yesterday evening the "bird nerds" met up, we had 10 folk in total, which made the washing up a bit easier...Visitor Alistair Hart had different tale to tell about his journey home to Portnahaven... He saw a Hare, a Stoat and also a Red Deer between Wester and Easter Ellister, no birds seen...
The rain came as forecast, the best part of an inch dropped in to the rain gauge in the last 24 hours!!!!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Tuesday 25th July

A new contributor  tonight, with Adam  Haynes sending some sightings through... The other day Adam had seen a female Common Scoter, 5 Sanderling and Dunlin on the Big strand beside the airport, while out on Loch Indaal RTD and Eider were seen. Yesterday down at Machir Bay, he heard 2 Corncrakes calling, 2 Peregrines seen, 2 Sanderling seen on the beach, lots of Chough milling around and also 2 Golden Plover seen in the fields behind the bay. On Loch Indaal, Adam had seen many Barwits, a Greenshank and also 2 Redshank. This evening Peter Roberts and Mike Peacock had a Grasshopper Warbler in the reed bed down at the Coastguards.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Monday 24th July

Yesterday, Distillery Dave, Lesley and myself carried out the WeBs count from Bowmore down to Gartbeck, in Bob's absence.. So here are the birds counted by us.. 5 Mute Swan, 46 Greylag Geese, 1 GND, 4 Cormorant, 7 Shag, 54 Oystercatcher, 65 Curlew, 10 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 5 Ringed Plover,  1 Turnstone,  3 Ruff, 28 Dunlin, 15 Bar tailed Godwit, 3 Grey Heron, 17 Eider, 24 Shelduck, 1 Wigeon, 23 Herring Gull, 6 Black headed Gull, 2 Lbb Gull and 2 Gbb Gull

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Sunday 23rd July

Another top  drawer day with the sun shining through all day, almost too hot to work in, a nice complaint if nothing else!!
Gary yesterday had seen 3 Little Grebes on Ballygrant Loch, later on he saw a White tailed Eagle. Helen Brown  from Ardnahoe saw an Otter run across the track as she was out for a walk at Ballygrant Loch. Today, Botswana Dave got a chance to do some quality time birding by himself for a change.. In the farm steading at Aoradh, he saw Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Sedge Warblers with the Swallows present, being kept busy feeding their young. On the flats, Dave saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. On the woodland trail Dave saw young Robins, Willow Warblers and also Treecreepers. At the North Hide , the pair of Mute Swans were seen along with their 5 cygnets. He also commented on seeing plenty of young Mipits on the fences and in the fields, until they all took for cover as a Peregrine flew through.
Mind the Islay bird nerds will be meting up here at 7pm on Tuesday evening... see you there!!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Saturday 22nd July

Yesterday, Gary had seen 3 Little Terns and counted 30 Dunlin at Carnain while over at Gartmain, he saw over 70 Barwits. James, yesterday had seen 4 Swifts while he was up at Ardnave. Today, James saw a Greenshank on the reserve at Gruinart. Also today, Alistair Hart had an excellent sighting of a Whitethroat, between Port Wemyss and Portnahaven and later on great views of a Raven up behind Claddach. Today, while out and about, mainly from here at Kilchoman and over to Gruinart, we felt that were more Wheatears and also more Pied Wagtails around. On the way home this evening there were 3 Buzzards together below Carnduncan.
The monthly Islay Bird nerds meting will be held here at Shepherd's cottage at 7pm on Tuesday evening, so if you are around, feel free to come along.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Friday 21st July

Nothing much going on outside, out here today as it has been rather wet, but late afternoon, it did stop, the wind dropped too, so possibly a perfect night for the midges come out, but come to think on it, they go to bed too, you do not really hear of folk getting bitten by midges at night?? With being "stuck" indoors today, Mr D should be pleased with me, as the Islay sightings are bang up to date again!!  A quick walk round the garden proved fruitful with a family of Willow Warblers on the hemlock heads and a family of Great Tits present in the Willows. 

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Thursday 20th July

Yesterday, James had a Peregrine over the reserve at Gruinart, he also had a Swift. Yesterday too, Gary had scanning over the sands (tide out!) between Bridgend and Bowmore seeing over 100 Oystercatchers, 65 Curlew and 17 Barwits. Gary has also been spotting some Swifts as well while he has been out and about over the past few days. This morning, we saw an Osprey perched on a post down on the side of Loch Gorm . On our way home, we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier as it flew across the road in front of us below Coulererach. At home, mid afternoon I counted 47 House Sparrows on the fence below the hut... Been a not bad day with the weather here today, although it might be a different story tomorrow, with rain forecast from midday onwards, we will just take what comes...

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wednesday 19th July

Well, as predicted last night, the weather went downhill, almost spot on at 4pm, it has rained quite heavily since, with not much let up in the near future. Possibly just as well that we live at the top of a hill/ ridge... The windows look like the windows that Fishmongers used to have with the water streaming down them, showing my age now!!
Yesterday Thomas Miler, one of the young birders who are here for 3 weeks, had seen 2 Peregrines in a stoop in to the Choughs present behind Machir Bay, possibly young birds training up, as no doubt adult birds would have had a kill... Later on, Thomas and his friends, saw a juv Golden Eagle on the wing  at Carnain. Also yesterday, Mark spotted a Swift at Gruinart and also 40 House Martins. James later on saw 2 Swifts over the reserve. It was Mark's first Swift of the year.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tuesday 18th July

Another tremendous day with the weather, warm for here and also this evening, a bit of a breeze, so I think that most of the birdwatchers must have gone to the beach today... I took the chance today and carried on weeding round the wee trees and bushes, perhaps I maybe planted too many!!!  All I have to report this evening is a Buzzard chasing after some Rock Doves at Leek and then a distant Heron flying over Coille were seen as we drove round Loch Gorm this evening.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Monday 17th July

Yesterday Distillery Dave had been up at Sanaigmore where he saw a Peregrine carrying prey in its talons. Also up there Dave reckons that there are still 2 different Corncrakes calling as well. I was told the other day of one calling down behind Machir Bay. Visitors from North Queensferry had  seen a male Hen Harrier at Kilchoman and tonight had watched the young Chough coming in to the roost this evening, and now a cracking sunset, what a place to live..
Today, I have been kept out of mischief, trying to put the final touches together with various folk to put together our "Islay" stand for the British Birdfair held next month at Rutland. This year, we have really fortunate in obtaining a double stand, so with a bit of juggling and getting some new banners too, we shall have a completely different look to our stand... and as ever a great team of folk to man the stand, more about the Birdfair another night nearer the time...

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sunday 16th July

A big change in the weather with wall to wall sunshine, so we both worked away outside for most of the day... Margaret set to and cut  most of the grass while I was kept of  mischief weeding round some of the trees/ bushes. Think my arms are tingling a bit with pulling nettles, and yes I was wearing gloves and my shirt sleeves were down rather than rolled up!!! Margaret saw 2 Peregrines  "playing about" with a Raven. One the Peregrines peeled off and chased a lbj and then returned to annoy a Fulmar, no malice intended. This afternoon we set about trying to clean around the pond, I was surprised that the water was quite warm, not that I fell in it!!! This  evening it is rather dull outside as I write this entry, so possibly a sign that we may be getting some rain through the night, but it is not forecast...

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Saturday 15th July

A miserable sort of a day out with it being damp for most of the day, and also here at home, low mist, we could not see the crag for most of the afternoon. But having said that after 6 pm the mist lifted and it dried up, so we went out to the "hut", and were able to see a juv. Golden Eagle, a Buzzard, 2 Peregrines and also 2 Ravens out over the crag.. down on the fence at the edge of the game crop, there was a small flock of around 20 Linnets, popping back and forwards between the fence and the thistle heads. On the seed heads, over on the other side of the wee field, a couple of Willow Warblers were dodging about, with the Greenfinch  with its' fledglings was present on the feeder directly in front of the "hut", as was a Great Tit when we first went out. The Siskins are still enjoying the niger seed with the 4 Hooded Crows are hopping around on the grass. Earlier on, I spotted a hen Pheasant come out of the game crop wearing a purple leg ring which indicated it was one of the birds that Margaret had reared from hatching, as the digger driver disturbed the nest when moving soil  around  before we moved up here 3 years ago....


An image of the same hen Pheasant, sporting her purple leg ring, on the garden wall next to the old graveyard, taken back in May this year on a windy day...

Friday, 14 July 2017

Friday 14th July

Yesterday, Tom G had seen 2 Peregrine with 2 young over at Kintra. Today, by chance, we met in with 2 young visiting birders, both studying at Oxford University who are over on Islay for 3 weeks, their first visit, and what a great time they have been having... On their first day, they had seen Golden Eagle, White tailed Eagle, Chough and Hen Harrier. On Tuesday, they had a Whinchat family seen on the reserve at Gruinart, with Corncrake and also Quail heard too, and yesterday, Thomas and Joe had seen 2 Grey Wagtail and also a Dipper on the River Sorn at Bridgend. Up here we were able to show them several Wrens that were popping around, the Lesser Redpolls along with the Siskins on the big niger feeder.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Thursday 13th July

Yesterday, Gary had seen a White tailed Eagle fly over Keills and then up towards Bunnahabhain, he saw a pair of Bullfinches. Yesterday We saw a Red legged Partridge on our way to Bunnahabhain just after Ardnahoe. Today, Gary had been out with clients. They saw a male Hen Harrier at Finlaggan, later on, a ringtail was seen up towards Ardnave. At Ardnave Loch, they saw 4 Black tailed Godwits in summer plumage and while going over the Glen road 2 Swifts were spotted. Here at home on the feeders, earlier on, an adult Greenfinch plus 3 youngsters, proof that they must have bred!!!


One of the House Sparrows out behind the garage yesterday morning..

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Wednesday 12th July

Another great day again, all day although there was a low hiugging mist which hid Loch Gorm at first light... I saw it at the back of 5am and got up and watched the day roll in, quite a spetacle watching the mist rolling away. They said on the weather forecast this evening that Islay was one of the coldest places in Scotland last night, down to a mere 5 degrees... so I managed to get some snaps of the morning..


Looking over to Rockside Farm and the old Pagoda on the right, with the new Pagoda surrounded by scaffold in the centre, with the mist shrouding Loch Gorm, a great sight...
Back to birds, there was a House Sparrow on the wooden fence beside the garage.. a Fulmar out on the wing, one of the few remaining Fulmars nesting here now on the crag. There were over 30 pairs nesting when we came here back in 2000, now only 3 pairs are there... Along the barbed wire fence, a Willow Warbler was out as well, with a Stonechat on a fence post. Along the march fence, a family of Linnets kept floating back and forward between the top wire and then down over on to the seed heads. Out on the Machir, a Hare was having a tidy up. And that was all seen by 6am, well worth getting up for, honest!!!


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Tuesday 11th July

What a glorious day it has been and even at 9pm as I write this entry, there is not a cloud to be seen, mind you I am not complaining...
Tom G today had been down below us here on Machir Bay that is... Out along past Granny's rock  Tom had a very vocal Peregrine mobbing a Buzzard. He also saw a family of 5 Ravens as well as 7 Chough all out on the wing. Back along Machir Bay, up towards the North end or Coull Farm, Tom heard a Corncrake calling. Later on along at Rockside, he saw a pair of Peregrines. Yesterday afternoon Mandy and myself had the monthly look at the birds round at Rockside. It was great to see some Whinchats along with their broods out and also a few Reed Bunting with young out too. The Swallows were out hawking over the barley crops growing for the Distillery


This is one of our "friendly" Blackbirds who comes to beg for food, think he has his beak full this time for sure!!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Monday 10th July

Yesterday, although the weather was not that great, I managed to take the Siskins out on the big niger feeders, only 14 birds in total including several youngsters, all being watched by an envious Goldfinch..


Back to today, a nice sunny day again...Tom G. had seen a Golden Eagle on the coastline on the Sound of Islay. Visiting RSPB members from Switzerland, Brigitte and Claude had seen a Great spotted Woodpecker up past Knocklearach, towards Storakaig on the Glen Road and then another down at Loch Allan.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Sunday 9th July

Been a bit of a pig of day here today, wall to wall dampness, or rain, coming to the best part of half an inch, but we will not that put us off.. Gary had been down at Ballygrant Loch where he saw 3 Little Grebes and 14 Tufted Duck on the water with Long tailed Tits present in the surrounding trees. Here at home, we have not ventured far but by watching out through the windows, we have had seen some "missing" birds..


The Sparrowhawk was on top of the empty drum which serves as a big feeder for the Pheasants, but not in use at present!!! Today, while I was out (in the rain!!) 2 Wrens were down dodging about, on some of the seed heads. Up nearer the house and we spotted 2 birds with BTO rings on, but could not read them. One was on a Starling, the other a male Chaffinch, wonder whether if they were some of the birds rung here by George E Jackson back in April???  Need the camera out to get some happy snaps of them, so we can look at their bling, another day...