Monday, 22 May 2017

Monday 22nd May

Yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey take a fish from Loch Finlaggan and the eat it.. Later on at Finlaggan, he had seen 2 Dabchick, 15 Tufted Duck and also the Ring necked Duck. Today, Gary had a ringtail Hen Harrier there. Bob today had seen a Blackwit from the old hide at Gruinart. Out from the new hide, Bob had the male Garganey and also a Swift further out on Gruinart. Bob was speaking to a visitor while he was there, who told Bob that there was a Little Egret present out from the new hide yesterday.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sunday 21stMay


Above is the image of the Roe Deer and her calf a few moments after being born, captured by James on Friday. It certainly not only the Deer population on the increase. on Friday evening, we took a run
up to Sanaigmore, seeing a lot more Song Thrushes around. Yesterday, here at home there were many young Starlings hanging around, waiting to be fed. A male Blackbird comes in regularly and flies off with his beak full of food. One of the Pheasants showed yesterday, but with only one chick beside her, they really are poor parents... A Buzzard was over at Coull this afternoon being mobbed by 8 Lapwing, so I wondered at the time whether there is now a Lapwing chick less there now...
The "Rosssendale birders" yesterday had a walk at Kintra, Port Ellen seeing Chough, Meadow Pipit, Skylarks, 25 Oystercatcher, Hooded Crow and 2 active Sand Martin colonies. Further on Little Tern, Arctic Tern, 22 Ringed Plover and a further 17 Oystercatcher were present.. The Bowland birders returned home yesterday after seeing 116 species during their stay. Highlights for this visit were the White tailed Eagle, Ring necked Duck and also Velvet Scoter while here. See you both next visit and thanks for your birds folks.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Saturday 20th May


A fantastic image of a Red throated Diver sent through by visitor, Mike Boyes. Mike took it yesterday while out on a cruise led by Sea Adventures out of Port Ellen. There were a pair of Divers close inshore along the South east coast. Thanks for sharing your image Mike.

Gary on Thursday had a client out wishing to see a Corncrake, a difficult ask, but Gary came up with the bird, down at Machir Bay, another satisfied client... Yesterday while out with other cients, Gary had seen a White tailed Eagle and then an Osprey at Finlaggan, 30 Chough at Machir Bay, 3 Corncrake heard at Gruinart, a Greater spotted Woodpecker flew accros the road at Red Houses and finally 2 Dippers seen on the Rive Sorn close to the Woollen Mill.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Friday 19th May

Back on Wednesday, Irene Miller had a Spotted Flycatcher which was playing along with her as she was cutting her lawn. In the evening out on her fence a Magpie was present. Remember Irene had a Hawfinch in her garden last year... Other birds seen in Irene and Tony's garden include Siskin, Greenfinch and also Goldfinch. Yesterday, Bob had heard a Corncrake calling up towards Knockanbearach which is up past Loch Skerrols. Today, in his garden, he saw 2 Orange tip Buttefly. While he was  carrying out survey work, James saw a Roe deer giving birth, cleaning the calf and then watched it having its first steps and having its' first drink of colostrum. Up at Ardnave this afternoon, Mark had seen Little Tern, Bonxie and Sanderling. Here at home the Bowland birders dropped by for a catch up, and lo and behold we were fortunate enough to have a fly past by 39 Chough. Earlier on Margaret had counted 14 birds on the new niger feeder, mainly Goldfinches.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Thursday 18th May

Another day in, wonder if I will make the deadline of midnight, at present it is just by a few minutes, still the 18th... Yesterday morning, Lesley and myself gave Bob a hand to carry out the survey along the River Sorn. We were accompanied by visitors Paul and Sue Murfitt who are here for the week, Bob first met with them at the Birdfair. Our highlights were 3 Cuckoo, 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Dipper, a Long tailed Tit, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest and 2 Spotted Flycatcher. Today, Bob had been out with Paul and Sue. Over at the airport, they saw a couple of Curlew with 4 chicks and 8 Turnstone down on the shore. At Kildalton, 2 Greater spotted Woodpecker and 8 Spotted Flycatcher and a Bullfinch. Along at Claggain Bay, 2 GND were offshore and 2 Golden Eagles seen out over the hills. Finally, up behind Bridgend a distant White tailed Eagle was present. Today, the Rochdale birders had seen a juv. Golden Eagle over Octomore hill. They went up and walked in past Killinallan up to Gortantoid and back past the waterfalls and along the beach.. On their way to their starting point, they heard a Corncrake calling at Blackpark and along at Erasaid, a Blackcap was present. Birds seen on their walk were as follows, Mipit, Tree Pipit, Skylark, Robin, Twite, Barwit, Buzzard, Chough, Raven, Stonechat with young, Whinchat, Wheatear,  Whimbrel, Lapwing, Ringed Plover and 20 Golden Plover. Stephen and Mandy, other birders from the Birdfair, called in earlier on, so one thing led to another and when we went  out for some food we met in, by chance, with Paul and Sue, a really small world...Both couples had never visited Islay before, but both agreed that it will not be their only visit. Paul and Sue have seen 110 species so far... On our way home this  evening, we heard 2 different Corncrakes calling, one along at Rockside, the other down at the beach... Stephen and Mandy saw a pr of Bullfinches at Kildalton.

Job done with a minute to spare!!!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wednesday 17th May

Managed to get this wee baby Dunnock while out in the "hut" last night. Shortly afterwards, we had a flypast by a Cuckoo as it flew down to the wood being harassed by several other wee birds. Big mistake as the birds in the wood then ganged up on the Cuckoo as well...
This morning I saw 2 Cuckoos on the wing down at Foreland. Earlier on along the River Sorn I had seen 2 Spotted Flycatchers. The Rossendale birders had been down in the Bridgend Woods seeing/ hearing Grey Wagtail, Willow Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Siskin, Robin, Song Thrush and a Mallard with ducklings. Along the Claggan strip wood, they had a Greater spotted Woodpecker. Dave Wood had 3 Spotted Flycatchers on the Oa today, the first there this year. Dave and Phill had carried a "Cliff survey" and saw the following pairs of birds, 13 Fulmars, 2 Common Sandpiper, 7 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Gull, 2 Wheatear. Other birds seen were (Not pairs!) 2 Golden Eagle, 11 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Tystie,1 Lesser Redpoll, Mipits, Skylarks, Swallows, Sand Martins and a Peregrine. Mike P. sent through highlights from his WeBS count on Outer Loch Indaal... 34 GND, 23 Guillemot, 6 Razorbill, 81 Common Scoter, 4 Arctic Tern, 2 Common Sandpiper and 5 Gannets.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Tuesday 16th May

Rather a miserable sort of a morning with wet and windy showers around for most of the time... but it did calm down around midday, I even managed this image of a couple of Chough that were outside the kitchen window, around 12 feet away.

Margaret saw a pair of Shelduck with 10 ducklings at "smelly corner" mid afternoon.
The Bowland birders this afternoon had been over at Loch Finlaggan where they saw a drake Ring necked Duck in the water along with 8 Tufted Duck. Other birds seen thee were a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, a pr of Stonechat, 2 Sedge Warblers, a Reed Bunting, a Sparrowhawk, a Cuckoo,. Siskins were also present as were House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallows.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Monday 15th May

Yesterday, Phill carried out his WeBS count on the lochs down on the Oa. Birds noted were 17 Greylags with 5 Goslings,1 Curlew, 25 Lbb Gull, 42 H Gull, 1 Gbb Gull, 6 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 6 Common Sandpiper, 9 Mallard and 3 ducklings, 2 Tufted Duck and a Teal. Other birds seen were Sand Martin, Swallow, Linnet, Wheatear, Lesser Redpoll, 2 Buzzard, Twite, Skylark and Mipits. Today, as forecast, it has been rather wet, a good steady rain rather than a downpour, so it will be of some use.. Mandy had seen a male Hen Harrier carrying its' prey in talons, Mandy thought it looked  like a vole.. Today, the Bowland birders had also seen a male Hen Harrier down near to Gortan, along at the merse at Bridgend, 2 Barnies were seen, one with an injured left wing. Back at Port Charlotte through the day, have been spotting plenty of Arctic Terns flying up Loch Indaal. Today, here at home, we reverted back to the old way of feeding the birds.. as it was so windy, we put the food on the ground, rather than risk the feeders getting bashed in the wind...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sunday 14th May

Yesterday Steve and Mandy  from Rossendale arrived here on Islay, their first visit and are staying over at Kintra, Port Ellen while they are here, so here goes their sightings from yesterday.. On the beach, they saw 40 Oystercatcher, 8 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and 3 Pied Wagtail. They also heard a Cuckoo, and spotted 3 Sand Martin nest sites in use. Other birds included 6 Arctic Terns, 2 GND, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw, a Buzzard and 6 Swallow. Today, they walked in behind Kintra, out to Tokmal noting a male Hen Harrier out quartering, a Buzzard, pr of Stonechat, and a Cuckoo calling, other birds seen/ heard during their walk included a Robin, plenty of Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, many Skylarks, along the coast, they had 6 Fulmar and 3 Tysties and back at base at Kintra, 39 Oystercatcher, 2 Wheatear, 8 Lesser Redpoll, 7 Sand Martin, 2 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin and a Sanderling. The Bowland birders had watched a passage of 100+ Manx Shearwaters pass Port Wemyss.. They also had similar numbers of Gannets, Awks mainly Guillemots, Arctic Tern and Fulmar. Further on along the coast they saw 12 Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper while in the fields behind them, a pair of Golden Plover in summer plumage. Finally round at Claddach Loch, they had a male Whinchat. The weather held good for us this morning so Bob, Lesley, Distillery Dave ad myself did the WeBS  count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck.. the birds were as follows: 1 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant, 3 Shag, 3 Lbb Gull, 2 Gbb Gull, 2 BH Gull, 30 Common Gull, 20 Herring Gull, 4 Mallard, 2 Rb Merganser, 73 Eider, 9 Shelduck, 9 Curlew, 6 Whimbrel, 91 Ringed Plover, 3 Knot, 187 Dunlin, 65 Barwits, 74 Oystercatcher, 2 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 9 Lapwing, 1 Grey Plover and 2 Redshank. Other birds seen included a White Wagtail, 2 Sand Martin, 3 Sedge Warbler, 2 Wheatear and several Rock Pipits.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Saturday 13th May

Yesterday was "the Olds" last day of this visit.. At Coull they had seen 38 Whimbrel and 4 Ringed Plover. At Gruinart, a male Ruff in summer plumage was present, as were 3 possible Little Terns, a Redpoll and a Carrion Crow. Over at Bridgend they counted 210 Dunlin, 18 Blackwits, a Common Sandpiper and a Whitethroat. Finally, last night, they spotted a Merlin as it flew across the road down below Rock Mountain. The Bowland Birders yesterday took the chance to recharge their batteries and today have been out birding again... On the water at Loch Skerrols, they counted 60 Shelduck and 6 Mute Swan, one on a nest, while in the trees a Great spotted Woodpecker, Chifchaff and Willow Warblers were noted. Along at The Woollen Mill, a walk along the River Sorn produced 2 pr of Grey Wagtail feeding young, a pr Dipper feeding young, 3 male and a female Bullfinch, Coal Tit, Siskin, Red legged Partridge, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wren.
Here on Islay, it has not been as warm today, with the odd shower of rain, only saving grace is that it is the first time for around a fortnight that I have not had the watering can out for some of the plants.. The float on the rain gauge is now floating... as long as it is dry for tomorrow morning as I am meant to be helping Bob with his WeBS count!!!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Friday 12th May

An early entry tonight, as I am going out tonight...
Andrew Cockcroft had ben over to Islay last week, and saw an Osprey on Loch Gruinart. Over at Bunnahabhain he had seen a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and down at the "harbour" at Port Askaig, he saw an Otter chewing away at its' prey. Andrew said that it was great to see so many Cuckoos, Whinchats, Tysties and Chough. This Tuesday, Mandy spotted a Stoat before it dived of the road and into the vegetation at the side of the road!!! On Thursday, she had watched an Osprey up towards the mouth of Loch Gruinart for some time. "The Olds" yesterday had seen a male Hen Harrier round Loch Gorm, a possible sighting of a Baltic subspecies of a Lbb Gull, and also 3 Brent Geese there as well. At Coull, they counted 14 Whimbrel, and a further 16 down at Gortan. On the merse at Bridgend, 27 Blackwits were present , at Bruichladdich, 34 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover were seen. Port Wemyss held a family of Stonechats, a Whitethroat and a Siskin were also seen there. They also commented on so many Cuckoo and Buzzard on show on their way round the Rhinns. Last night, "Distillery Dave" had seen 4 Blackwits and 2 Ruff out from the South hide at Gruinart. Today, James and Mark had carried out the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart, highlights included a Great Skua, a Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 1471 Dunlin, 11Curlew, 47 Barwit, 179 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling, 2 Dabchick and a Grey Plover.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Thursday 1th May


I managed to catch these 3 young Chough siting out on our garage roof, earlier this evening, a Great Tit was on one feeder with a Blue Tit seen on one of the other feeders... Mid afternoon, Margaret had a count of 10 Pale bellied Brent at Blackrock.  Phill, today had been out in the field where he had a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier, Siskin, a Chaffinch (it had found a tree in an otherwise upland area), 8 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Common Sandpiper, 3 Grey Heron, 4 Whinchat, a Cuckoo, and "numerous Sedge Warblers, Willow Warblers and Whitethroats". The Bowland birders had been down on the Oa today as well, like the rest of us, making the most of the good spell of weather which we are enjoying at present.. They saw pr of Golden Eagle, a male Hen Harrier, Kittiwake on the cliffs, Fulmar over the sea, small passage of Gannets, 2 Chough, Skylarks, Mipits, Swallows, Wheatear and Stonechat.
Dave forwarded the info of the Lesser Redpoll female which has been here since the 21st of April. It was rung on Hollesley Heath in Suffolk back on 29th December 2015, and is now 662 km from there now.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wednesday 10th May

Yesterday evening, "the Olds" had seen 2 Twite out towards the War Graves Cemetery. Here at home the Repolls and Siskins were busy on the feeders along with Goldfinches all day. Gary this morning had seen an Osprey over at Finlaggan. Phill carried out an upland bird survey this morning, counting 45 Mipits, 28 Skylark, 1 Buzzard, a male Hen Harrier, 2 Swallow, 3 Stonechat, 4 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Cuckoo, 5 Sedge Warbler, 7 Willow Warbler, 3 Whinchat, 6 Wren, 2 Wheatear, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll and a Greenfinch. Dave carried out a Wader count at the same time also on the Oa, Dave figures are all in pairs, 12 Common Sandpiper, 7 Lapwing,2 Dunlin, 10 Greylag, 3 Teal, 6 Oystercatcher, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Snipe, 2 Mallard, 3 Reed Bunting, 4 Wheatear, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Whinchat, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Swallow, 1 Starling, 1 Whinchat, 4 Mipits, 2 Linnet, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Skylark and a Redshank pair. The Bowland birders had been up at Gruinart today. From the viewing platform they heard/ saw the following.... drake Garganey,  Ruff in full breeding plumage, Lapwing with chicks, Mallard with ducklings, Corncrake below the platform, 2 very pale Buzzards, 5 Pale belied Brent out on the merse, Shoveler, Teal and Little Grebe. A walk along the Moorland trail produced Whitethroats, Linnet, a juv Golden Eagle being mobbed by Hooded Crows so much so that the Eagle had to land, Raven, Willow Warblers. On the Woodland walk, they saw a Spotted Flycatcher. This afternoon, while visiting friends at Ardnahoe we saw 2 Yellowhammers, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Lesser Redpoll, Coal Tit and Siskin on their feeders with a distant Golden Eagle soaring out on the thermals. At Sunderland Farm, we saw a Canada Goose and 5 Greylags with 5 Brents seen at Blackrock. "The Olds" had seen 18 Rb Merganser, 30 Dunlin, 13 Ringed Plover, a Sandwich Tern and a Common Tern at Uiskentuie. Up at Bunahabhain, they counted 19 Tystie on the Sound of Islay and inland, behind them, 4 Bullfinch were present. Close to Ardnahoe, a Red legged Partridge was seen and down at The Woollen Mill they reckon that there are 2 pairs of Grey Wagtail present. Also on the River Sorn, a Dipper was seen there too, while on the feeders at the Mill itself, 6 Siskin were counted. Overall "the Olds", this visit they feel that they have seen more Song Thrush and Collared Doves compared to their visits at similar times of previous trips.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Tuesday 9th May

Yesterday evening Bob had spotted the male Garganey out in front of the South hide, possibly the same duck that "the Olds" had seen earlier on. Today, James had watched an Osprey for some time over on Loch Gruinart itself. "The olds" today had seen 23 Whimbrel on the emerging barley field down at the Coastguards. Along at Coull, they saw a Sedge Warbler and then shortly afterwards a Collared Dove. Over, close to the airport they saw a cracking male Hen Harrier and finally 9 Pale bellied Brent geese at Blackrock. Up at Ardnave,Mark had seen 2 Great Skuas, 8 Comic Terns, 2 Barnies, 16 Whimbrel, 95 Dunlin, 57 Ringed Plover, a Hen Harrier, 17 Barwits and an Otter. The Bowland birders had been over out past Ardbeg today. In Kildalton Woods, they had Willow Warbler, Chifchaff, 3 Blackcap, Tree creeper, Siskin, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Redpoll, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and Wren. Along at Claggain Bay, they saw 2 Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, 4 GND, 16 Arctic Terns flying towards Port Ellen, many Redpoll, Common Sandpiper and a Sparrowhawk. On their way back to their holiday cottage, at Blackrock, they had the Brent Geese, House Martin and Raven. Here at home, this evening Margaret had a count of 33 Chough out on the machir. The birds have been busy again on the feeders, might try and get a count of them tomorrow for you...

Monday, 8 May 2017

Monday 8th May

Another great set of sightings today for you to peruse...
Yesterday morning at 7am Mike had counted 79 Common Scoter, 13 GND, 4 RTD. Later on Mike walked up to Bolsay from Port Charlotte and had Grasshopper Warbler, Whinchat, Cuckoo, he also saw a juv. Golden Eagle being mobbed by Raven, Buzzard and Hooded Crows. On Kilnaughton Bay, yesterday, Dave saw 6 Whimbrel, 2 Arctic Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern and a GND. Today, Mandy had heard Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler at Carnduncan with a Reed Bunting calling nearby as well. Phill sent some highlights from Kinnabus on the Oa this morning, "lots of Skylarks and Mipits, 8 Linnets, 4 Redpoll, 4 Wheatear, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 2 Stonechat, and 5 Swallow. Phil also saw the Magpie at Upper Cragabus on his way home late afternoon. "The Olds" today had seen a male Garganey at Gruinart, heard 2 Corncrakes calling on their way to the South hide, 4 Snipe were roding, up at Ardnave they had 12 Whimbrel, and down on the River Sorn below Bridgend they saw a Grey Wagtail. Bob heard a Whitethroat in his garden and then saw a female Blackcap over at the water works. The Bowland Birders had been up round Ardnave today counting 3- 400 Dunlin, 100 Ringed Plover, 100 Whimbrel, 5 Sanderling, 2 Chough, 4 Little Tern, 20 Barwit, a BTD, 6 Swallow, 25 Sand Martin, 3 White Wagtail, and a dog Otter. Other birds seen were GND, Sedge Warbler, Turnstone with a Corncrake as well. Ardnave Loch held, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Mallard and Redshank. Here at home, last night we heard a Corncrake calling down towards the Coastguards' and today Margaret counted 4 Hares out beside the "game crop" and a further 3 on the machir at the same time. Also on the machir were 22 Chough. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Sunday 7th May

Yesterday, "Distillery Dave" (David Barr) had been down at Port Wemyss where he saw a Common Sandpiper and 2 Comic Terns. He also heard a Corncrake calling away while having a piece of cake and a cuppa.. Later on, as it was getting dark, and hardly any wind, I took a quick run round Loch Gorm  to try to locate any calling Corncrakes... Not much joy apart from one at Ballinaby!  I also heard some Lapwings, a few Grasshopper Warblers and Sedge Warblers and also a Snipe drumming. Round below Leek, a Hedgehog was on the verge with several Wheatears sitting on the road, not wanting to move out of my way. Bob, last night had a Barn Owl through the willows at the Water works opposite his house....The "Olds" from Pagham are back, great to see you again folks, rather than a voice on the phone... Today, they had seen 12 Whimbrel and a Curlew over at Coull, heard the Corncrake at Port Wemyss, saw a Siskin there too, heard Cuckoos at Rockside and down at Ellister, finally they saw 2 Little Terns along the top of Loch Indaal. The Bowland birders are back for another "Islay fix". Today, they had a raft of over 100 Common Scoter out on Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte, also seen out on the loch were Terns, Razorbill, GND, RTD and Gannets. A walk up through the Octomore trees/ hill proved productive with a Redpoll, Willow Warblers, Song Thrush, 3 Siskin, a Tree Sparrow, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Wheatear, too many Greylags, Whimbrel, Reed Bunting, Moorhen on the Distillery pond at Port Charlote. They too had a Barn Owl last night, possibly the same Owl that Bob had seen as they are staying quite close to Bob...Phill from down on the Oa had taken a walk from Ballygrant out to Beinn Dubh and then back along the "Glen road". The birds Phill saw/ heard were as follows, 2 Red Grouse, 4 Grasshopper Warblers, 3 Whitethroat, a Golden Eagle, Buzzard, 15 Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, 2 Pr of Stonechat, 3 Swallows, Mipits, Skylarks and Song Thrush.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Saturday 6th May

Another glorious day and like a lot of places, I think some of us might like a wee shower of rain, to help the garden plants especially, as long as it remembers to stop, once it starts...
Back on Thursday, Paul Graham had seen a White tailed Eagle out on the wing, out past Ballygrant. Yesterday, Bonnie Wood, Dave's wife saw a Magpie between Mid and Upper Cragabus on the Oa, Dave saw it later on as well, does he not trust his wife's id skills?  Gary had seen a Swift over Loch Indaal yesterday. Today, down at Machir Bay, Mandy had seen 9 Whimbrel, 20 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin in summer plumage, 2 Wheatear and a Linnet on the fence wires. Along at Coull, a Sparrowhawk was seen and back home at Carnduncan, Mandy heard and then saw a Chiffchaff in a bush outside her window. She was also saying that the Cuckoo there is calling away non stop...

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday 5th May

Another great day again, and last night we had a beautiful sunset. As I write tis entry, the sun is streaming in the big window, so there might be some typing errors coming  up!!
Yesterday evening, Mandy had heard a Corncrake calling behind Machir Bay. In the dunes she counted 23 Sand Martin nest holes, a Common Sandpiper was seen on the stream as it enters the bay and finally Mandy counted 60 Greylags flew in from Coull Farm... Yesterday, Bob had a Sparrowhawk fly past his house, and soon after a male Hen Harrier flew through as well. Today, Mandy heard a Chiffchaff at Carnduncan. David Wood had seen a male Redstart down on the Oa earlier this week. Phill today on the Oa had 2 Grasshopper Warbler, a Whitehroat, Wheatear, several pairs of Stonechats, a Buzzard successfully hunting an Adder. Phill commented that the only Adders he has seen lately are those being carried in a Buzzard's talons!!! This morning, Carl had a Whitethroat in his garden in Port Charlotte and later on a count of 60 Dunlin as they flew past Brichladdich. In his garden, Bob saw 3 Willow Warbler, a Sedge Warbler and also a Blackcap and while he was visiting Bob, Martin saw a Peregrine ...  Botswana Dave saw 2 "lonely" Barnies at Gruinart, and James and Joan heard a Corncrake close to the South hide. Gary had seen a Corncrake at Bun an Uillt and heard another at Ballinaby where he also saw a Whinchat.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Thursday 4th May

Visitor, Mike Curnow from Banbury sent through some highlights seen so far this week, last night. On Tuesday, he had a Greylag and 7 gosling cross the road between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte. Yesterday, Tysties at Bruichlaadich with at least 30 Eider, 10 Ringed Plover and GND all closer to hand. Down on the Oa, a Peregrine was present, 10 Whimbrel counted and a pair of Golden Eagle spotted.Yesterday, James had a Common Sandpiper and also a Golden Eagle on the reserve at Gruinart. Today, James had seen a male Marsh Harrier, 3 Whinchats, 2 Grasshopper Warbler and a Whitethroat. Today, Bob had seen 3 Willow Warblers and also a Sedge Warbler in his garden in his garden and noted some Linnets and Greenfinches across the road in the water works up behind Port Charlotte. Some other visitors had handed their sightings to Botswana Dave. Terry and Shirley from Norfolk had also seen the Golden Eagles on the Oa on Tuesday, a White tailed Eagle over on Jura yesterday and an Osprey noted on Loch Gruinart today. On the guided walk at Gruinart this morning, Botswana Dave and Joan had heard 4 Corncrake calling away. Dave was also saying that a pair of Greenfinch were getting some grief from the Goldfinches on the feeders outside the visitor Centre at Gruinart...

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Wdnesday 3rd May

I managed to get the camera out to take this image of a Wheatear, taken on Sunday when we were out up towards Killinallan. This morning, I looked out the window and at the foot of the bird table and saw a Goldfinch, a female Lesser Redpoll, a male Siskin,  a female Chaffinch and a Starling. The Goldfinch and the Redpoll both were wearing leg rings, but too far off to read them.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Tuesday 2nd May

Another great day again, was forced to work in the garden, making the most of the good weather, next thing will be that I will be wanting some rain...
Yesterday, Gary had seen a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier at Mulresesh, quartering their patch. He had also heard 3 different Grasshopper Warbler round Ballygrant. This morning, Louise had a new alarm call in the form of a Whimbrel calling out behind her house over on Jura!!! Today, while out with clients, Gary, had a glimpse of a Golden Eagle while over at Bunnahabhain, had seen 10 Whimbrel at Port Mor, from Bruichladdich Pier, out on Loch Indaal, 17 RTD and 5 Common Scoter were present. Along at Blackrock, a further 50 Whimbrel were seen while up past Craigens towards Killinallan a male and also a female Whinchat were spotted. Over at Ardtalla, the Rochdale birders had seen a Woodcock with 4 chicks and also heard 2 Chiffchaff there too. Mark, had counted 108 Dunlin, 18 Whimbrel and 25 Ringed Plover at Traigh Nostaig, up at Ardnave. He also saw Turnstone, Twite and Sand Martins while he there as well.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Monday 1st May

Well, I was correct in predicting no more rain in April last  night with the tally coming through at a mere 1.4 inches, around 6 inches less for the year  than we had at the same time in 2016, but early days yet and we could have some wet weather to come before the year ends....
On his way back to the mainland on the ferry on Saturday morning, Peter Gill had a Bonxie and also saw 2 Manx Shearwater just after the ferry left Port Ellen. The Rochdale birders are back and had seen the flock of Golden Plover round at Ballinaby yesterday evening, I had been looking the other side of the road from where they saw them... Also yesterday they had a Kestrel at Bunnahabhain, at least 20 Tysties perched up on the pier at Caol Ila and 100 Whimbrel seen at Uiskentuie. Also yesterday, David Barr had seen a Peregrine on the shore at Gartmain. Mandy had heard a Cuckoo calling over at Carduncan early this afternoon. Here at home, there has been one calling away for the past few hours, hope it shuts up before I go to bed! This evening, we headed round to Ballinaby and located the flock of Golden Plover, now only around 90 in total, resting up in a ploughed field this time!!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sunday 30th April

Another month almost in, and another dry month by the looks of things, can't see a downpour coming over the next few hours...
This morning David Barr and myself went along and gave Bob a hand to carry out his survey along the River Sorn from The Woollen Mill down to where it enters Loch Indaal below Bridgend. In total we saw/heard 36 species of birds. Highlights included 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Dipper, 12 Blackcap, 14 Willow Warbler, 10 Siskin, a Treecreper, a Mallard with 12 ducklings. Best bird for me was seeing a really beautiful male Bullfinch on top of one bridges in the full sunlight, but my camera was in the van, not with me... Margaret saw a male Siskin on the feeders while I was away!!!
Later on this afternoon, we went over to Gruinart and up towards Killinallan. Nothing much to report from Ballinaby, no Golden Plovers there today! We saw a 38 Blackwits and several Wheatears as we drove up past Craigens with 9 Eider at Bun anUillt. We were both surprised to see so many Meadow Pipits, they were just everywhere...

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Saturday 29th April

The wind may have veered round from the North, but it still feels rather cold.... 
Bob yesterday evening had been over at Gruinart for some birding. He had counted 600 Barnies,  also present were 7 Whitefronts and a Pink footed Goose. On the flats, he had 58 Blackwits. Out from the South hide, he had a further 90 Blackwits, 30 Redshank, 20 Snipe, the drake Green winged Teal and also 14 Whoopers. While he was there Bob reckons that around half the Barnies flew off North, straight up Loch Gruinart....James yesterday had seen/ heard a Cornrake along the flats, saw the Pinkie too, counted 9 White Wagtails, counted 72 Pale bellied Brent at Blackrock and saw 4 Gadwall on the floods. Today, James had a Chiffchaff in his garden and heard another Corncrake on the reserve. This afternoon, we counted at least 180 Golden Plover at Ballinaby. Also seen there were 15 Greylags, 2 large Canada Geese, 3 Shelduck and 2 pairs of Stonechats.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Friday 28th April

Forgot to mention that I had seen a Glaucous Gull down at Uiskentuie back on Wednesday... Today, no sign of any of Brent Geese that were present at Blackrock yesterday. Mid afternoon , I heard a distant Cuckoo calling away out on the hill while I was "busy" planting out some more shrubs/ trees to hopefully give the birds cover in the future... Peter Gill had heard a Willow Warbler singing in the scrub willows below Carnduncan, and he was a bit more fortunate in seeing one in the reeds behind Machir Bay. Later, Peter had seen and heard a Cuckoo down in the same place that he had seen one at bird nerds meeting on Tuesday evening. In the scrub willow at Dun Nosebridge, he heard another Cuckoo. At Blackrock, he had 30 Dunlin and along at Uiskentuie, 97 Whimbrel were present. David Barr had counted 49 Whimbrel there earlier on, on his way to his work, so more must have come in after that.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Thursday 27th April

Yesterday evening Mandy had seen a Short eared Owl on her way round Loch Gorm. Later on, Mandy had a Stonechat, heard Willow Warbler, heard Sedge Warbler , seen a Swallow, 2 Chough and a Meadow Pipit all seen close to where she lives, not bad eh???  Coming away from Foreland and the bird nerds on Tuesday evening she had a Goldcrest and yesterday afternoon she saw 20 Greylag with 5 Whitefronts on the lochan below Rockside roadend. Yesterday, James had seen Lapwing chicks on the flats on Gruinart. He also heard at least 3 calling Corncrakes  and counted 6 White Wagtail, over 200 Barnies still present and also 10 Whitefronts on the reserve, Down at Uiskentuie, he had seen a Little Tern and also 7 GND there as well. At Blackrock today James had a count of 72 Pale belied Brent Geese, on the reserve he saw a Pink footed Goose and counted 9 White Wagtails. Mark saw a Sparrowhawk up at Kilnave. Peter Gill had spotted a male Hen Harrier over close to Bun an Uillt. On his way along the road leading to Finlaggan, he saw a ringtail Hen Harrier with another seen over the forestry. He also had seen 2 Sparrowhawk in the air over the trees the too. Finally, he had a Great spotted Woodpecker as he went along the "Glen Road" just out of Ballygrant.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wednesday 26th April

A better day again with the weather, not so windy, so I made the most of it and got our "game crop" sown for the birds in the Autumn/ early Winter, the bees can make use of the pollen too...
Up at Ardnave, Mark had over 300 Blackwits and at least 400 Golden Plover moving through. Peter Gill had around 80 Whimbrel down on the shore at Uiskentuie. Up at Gruinart, he saw the male Garganey out from the South hide. A Sparrowhawk was seen flying high over the car park and while walking the Moorland trail, a male and also 2 ringtail Hen Harriers were present. Finally down the reed bed leading to Machir Bay, Peter heard a Sedge Warbler.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Tuesday 25th April

Yesterday, Michal had seen a male Hen Harrier close to Mulreesh and today he had a Peregrine over at Kilchiaran. Peter Gill had also seen a Peregrine yesterday, down at Easter Ellister. Peter today had seen Hen Harrier out past Ardbeg. In the trees around Kildalton, 2 Long tailed Tits and at least 3 Treecreepers were seen with Blackcap and Chiffchaff heard there as well. They had also a further 2 different Hen Harriers as they drove along the high road. Gary had 32 Whimbrel at Uiskentuie.
Earlier this evening 11 folk came along to the Bird nerds and braved the cold North wind.. We had a not too bad a walk, seeing and hearing a Cuckoo calling, some Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, 3 Redwing, Sand Martin and Swallows hawking for food, Redpolls in the scrubby trees, Meadow Pipits on the ground with some Skylarks in the air, as were some Starlings. We also heard Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch calling as we walked along through the trees and saw a Buzzard fly overhead as well.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Monday 24th April

Well, the weather forecast certainly proved right, not exactly the weather we had yesterday, a cold Northerly wind blowing most of the day with some cold, raw dirty showers in the mix too...
Yesterday, Allen and Fiona Skinner had seen a Golden Eagle while out on a walk along to Granny's Rock.. Mark had noted 3 Coal Tits on the reserve at Gruinart yesterday. Here at home between showers I saw Linnets in the garden, a pair of Greenfinches, many Goldfinches, a single Robin, a Blackbird, best bird for sure was the sighting of 3 Chough on the ground, so I can now class them as a house bird, rather than a bird flying past.... The Siskins and also 3 Redpoll are visiting the food on offer still as well!!

Remember, Bird Nerds will be meeting below Foreland (NR271617) tomorrow night at 6.30, wellies advisable...

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sunday 23rd April

Mary Redman had seen a male Hen Harrier at Tormisdale on Friday evening.. Michal yesterday had 120 Golden Plover at Lossit and a short while later on, a male Hen Harrier as he approached Portnahaven. Yesterday, Botswana Dave had 32 Barnies out from the South hide along with 2 White Wagtails there as well. He had also heard a Corncrake calling there too. Today, while on the Moorland Trail, Dave had 2 male Reed Bunting and also a male Hen Harrier. Mary had heard a Grasshopper Warbler along from her house this morning, up on Claddach Loch, she saw a Canada Goose along with 8 Greylags, and in one of the fields, 6 Golden Plover were present. Mary also saw a Marsh frit caterpillar cross the road!!! This morning, Michal had heard a Cuckoo, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and also Mistle Thrush all singing at Foreland. He also saw and heard a male and a female Blackcap there as well. Michal also had another Mistle Thrush along at Rock Mountain. Also this morning, Mandy had seen 5 Sand Martin at Machir Bay, 10 male and 7 female Eiders were displaying there as well, with 4 Ringed Plover, some Curlews and around 70 Common Gull present there too. Prior to going down to the beach, Mandy had noted 20 Greenland Whitefronts at Carnduncan, but these were not seen on her return home!! Peter Gill had been up at Ardnave today where he saw a pair of sub adult Golden Eagles being mobbed by a male Hen Harrier. On the shoreline he had 30 Whimbrel, while on Ardnave Loch, 20 Blackwits were seen before being chased by a Peregrine. Over Ardnave Point in the air, Peter had over 700 Golden Plover. David Barr had seen 4 Common Sandpiper and GND at Bunnahabhain. Later, over at Bruichladdich, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Tystie, 4 Pale bellied Brent Geese and GND were present. Going out of Bruichladdich, at the Gleaner oil depot, he saw 6 Mallard ducklings cross the road and finally  in the fields between St Kiaran's church and Loch Indaal, David had 20 Whimbrel and also 2 Blackwits. James had seen the Green winged Teal also 2 Dabchick and a Orange tip Butterfly at Gruinart

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Saturday 22nd April

What a glorious day it has been with wall to wall sunshine, better still, the sun is streaming in though the windows as I write the blog..
Gary yesterday had a count of around 200 Pied and White Wagtails on the sand, down at Crosshouses. Gary reckons that there were at least 15 White Wagtails present. Some sightings also yesterday from James at Gruinart. On reserve he had the Green winged Teal, a male Garganey, a Greenshank, 162 Blackits, 10 Whoopers, a Golden Eagle and also a Merlin. Peter Gill yesterday evening had seen 4 Woodcock calling and flying low over the moor up behind Port Charlotte. Today, Peter had walked round the far side of Loch Skerrols and then down past the North Lodge and along the "Strath" back to Bridgend. At Skerrols itself, a Great spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and soon afterwards, it was seen. 6 Blackcaps were heard there as well, more than down in Bridgend Woods. 2 Chiffchaff were also heard on his walk, with 2 Grey Wagtails seen on the River Sorn as he approached The Woollen Mill. Just past Uiskentuie, 10 Whimbrel were seen, while up at Gruinart, an Orange tipped Butterfly was present. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Friday 21st April

Yesterday, Michal had seen 2 Whimbrel at Easter Ellister, a Common Sandpiper was on the shore with 2 GND offshore. Michal is back over for a few days carrying out some survey work, great to see you Michal...  Peter Gill yesterday evening had seen a Red throated Diver in breeding plumage on Loch Indaal out from Port Charlotte. Over at RSPB Loch Gruinart, today Peter had seen 9 Whoopers, the Green winged Teal was present out from the South hide, a Corncrake was heard calling briefly. Up at the North hide he counted a flock of 300 Blackwits and finally on the ploughed fields down at the Coastguards between 150 - 200 Golden Plover were there. Mike Peacock had seen a Peregrine up behind Port Charlotte this afternoon. Here at home, while I was looking at the birds on the ground at the base of the niger seed feeders, I saw that one of the Redpolls had a BTO ring on, but sorry to say that all I could read was "29", never saw the letters at the start, let alone the other numbers... and we have not rung any Redpolls here, so wonder where it has come from...
Before I forget, on Tuesday evening at 6.30pm, the "Islay Bird nerds" will be meeting up at NR 271617 for a walk through the Woods at Foreland House, wellies could be advisable as I believe that it may be muddy in certain places, so if you are around, see you there...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Thursday 20th April

Visitor, Simon Cohen had heard a Blackcap singing close to the North hide at Gruinart  on Sunday, and later on the same day, he had a Merlin over close to Sanaigmore. Yesterday,  over at Kilchiaran, he saw a Common Sandpiper and 2 White Wagtails. Gary yesterday had seen a Grey Wagtail on the stream beside Ballygrant Quarry, and later on, he heard a Cuckoo calling in Ballygrant Woods. Today Sam had been out with Gary, down towards Knockangle Point on the Big Strand, below the airport, they saw 10 Sanderling and also 40 Golden Plover. While going home along the Glen road back to Ballygrant, they saw 3 different Hen Harriers, a Merlin and also a Golden Eagle. Mark this morning had a count of 19 Blackwits on Ardnave Loch. Louise had seen a pair of Merlin as she drove round Loch Gorm. Peter Gill today had seen a large Canada Goose, South of Bowmore, in the trees around Avonvoggie, he heard and then saw a Cuckoo, and finally over at Blackrock, he had a Whimbrel and also 6 Dunlin.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Wednesday 19th April


I know that this image is not a bird, but I was really surprised to see this young leveret this morning, just as well that I had my camera in my hand!
Late yesterday afternoon, Margaret had counted 22 Chough out on the Machir. Also yesterday,  visiting birder Angus Hogg had seen 2 Arctic Tern on Loch Indaal, on Monday he had a Cuckoo over at Ballygrant with a Whimbrel and a Little Tern seen at Gruinart on Sunday. Peter Roberts today had gone out to see if he could locate the Little Gull, no joy , but he had 15 Eider at Uiskentuie with a raft of 35 R b Merganser out on Loch Indaal, Peter also had seen a further 20 Eider earlier on back at Bruichladdich.  Today, Bob had seen 32 Golden Plover in summer plumage and a Whimbrel in the Octofad fields behind Port Charlotte. Peter Gill had been over at Bunnahabhain today where he had Golden Eagle flying over from Jura, 4 Common Sandpiper on the shore, heard a Chiffchaff singing there as well, back close to Ardnahoe, 3 Red legged Partridge were present. Down at Loch Allan, 2 Long tailed Tits were seen, a Cuckoo heard as was a Blackcap. Here at home, there were 4 Swallows hawking the fields looking for food. Maggie Bell was in touch with Mark Shields to say that she had seen 9 Pale bellied Brent Geese on Loch Leodamais Bay at Port Ellen.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tuesday 18th April

A lot cooler over here today, in fact we have had the big fire on today...Mary Redman yesterday sent  sightings from down at Portnahaven. She had seen some Swallows back at Claddach with 6 of them hawking over the fields looking for any insects for some food. Mary had a Snipe drumming close to Portnahaven Hall, a pair of Redshank were seen busy calling and displaying down near to Currie Sands while a pair of Meadow Pipits were trying to lure Mary away from their nest site!! Mary also commented on the lack of geese around as well.. Dave Protherough had 3 Sandwich Terns in Kilnaughton Bay while he was out with his kayak.  Peter Gill, yesterday had been down on the Oa, seeing a really close Golden Eagle, a male Hen Harrier and a single Chough. At Kintra, they had seen 2 Common Sandpiper with 2 Pale bellied Brent along at Blackrock. Top birds today from Peter were Siskin, Grey Wagtail and Dipper at The Wollen Mill. Later on up past Carrabus, a flock of 20 Twite was seen and shortly afterwards 22 Golden Plover spotted, all in summer plumage. Andy and Dot had 2 Golden Eagle up at Bunnahabhain. Mark had 8 Twite and 386 Golden Plover up at Ardnave this afternoon. Carl today had a Golden Eagle at Glenegedale, a Hen Harrier at Cragabus, a large Canada Goose at Kilnaughton as well as lots of GND present in the Bay there as well. Louise had 4 GND seen on the Sound of Islay as she headed over to Islay this morning. This afternoon, I had a White tailed Eagle over Port Charlotte flying South along the coast. Here at home, with the weather being colder, the feeders have been really busy, top birds included 2 Siskin, 3 Redpoll, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Linnets and late afternoon a count of over 70 Goldfinch, 55 at the feeders here at the house and around 20 over at the garage, the largest number here so far.. Gary has had a busy day, out with some clients. At Blackrock, this morning they saw a Little Gull, later on a couple of White tailed Eagles up towards Bunnahabhain, another White tail over at Port Charlotte, possibly the same bird that I had seen as well,  5 different Hen Harriers on their travels, including a pair sky dancing, great to see... A count of 40 Goldfinch at Octofad, and many Meadow Pipits seen around. Gary reckons they also had seen at least 10 Buzzards and a Kestrel while out and about. Finally, back at Blackrock , Gary stopped to check if the Little Gull was still present, but was content with a Glaucous Gull instead.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Monday 17th April

Been a bit manic out here today, possibly the reason for a late entry too..
As there was little wind this morning, George E. Jackson came up and we quickly set 3 mist nets up to see if we could catch and ring some birds, the final total was 17 birds processed, 2 House Sparrows, 6 Goldfinch, 9 Chaffinch, and a Starling. The number of time I saw birds flying directly towards the nets and then veer off at the last moment, say no more, but overall George was pleased with all our efforts....well done team!!
Before he left on Saturday, Armin had been over at Ardbeg where he saw a Heron being harassed by a couple of Gulls before the heron dropped the food out of its' crop. Gary yesterday evening had a similar experience at the top of Loch Indaal, but it was an Osprey which dropped its' food for the gulls to eat!!! Mark had a raptor day up at Ardnave seeing Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, 4 Snipe, a Lizard and Green Hairstreak. Visiting birders, Andy and Dot had flushed 3 Snipe as they came down off the crag, mid morning.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Sunday 16th April

Yesterday, James had a Redpoll on his feeders at Mill Cottage. Down from the North hide, he saw the Green winged Teal, pr of Gadwall, 6 Blackwits, 2 White Wagtail, "loads" of Sand Martins. Through the wood, James heard 2 Willow Warblers. Returning visiting birder, Peter Gill from Newcastle had seen a Bonxie fly South down Loch Indaal, past Port Charlotte. On the moor up behind Port Charlotte a male Hen Harrier while along at Bruichladdich, 3 Purple Sandpiper were present, all yesterday. Gary yesterday had 2 Snow Buntings down on the dunes behind Machir Bay, 2 Whimbrel were seen at the spit at Uiskentuie, and over at Finlaggan, a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier were seen. Today, Peter Gill had a male Hen Harrier at Gruinart, he heard a Corncrake calling as he walked down to the South hide, and a Treecreeper was seen while on the woodland trail, 2 Blackwits were seen out from the hide. Botswana Dave was reporting through re the Corncrake calling at Gruinart, but also to tell me about a Pink footed Goose seen amongst the Barnies at Gruinart. Carl today a heard a Woodpecker drumming at Loch Skerrols, on the water 2 pr of Mute Swans. Along at Eorrabus, 10 Whitefronts. In Bridgend Woods, a Blackcap was singing. A Snipe was added to Carl's list at Gortan, while Bruichladdich produced 20 Goldfinches and finally Carl had a Common Guillemot back at Port Charlotte. James from the kitchen window this afternoon, had seen a Siskin on his feeders, a male Hen Harrier flew past, a Wren bobbling along his garden wall with around 300 Barnies seen out on "Goose Hill"

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Saturday 15th April

Returning visiting birder, George E Jackson is back on Islay for a few days. On Thursday evening, George has 2 Snipe drumming over the merse at Whinpark. Early yesterday afternoon around Cattadale, on the "glen road" he had a feeding flock of around 50 Meadow Pipits. Later, on Loch nan Cadhan 4 Tufted Ducks were present with around 20 Herring Gulls mulling around there as well. Oliver headed home today, but yesterday had carried out a walk part of Islay's Northwest coast where he saw a Peregrine, a distant Golden Eagle and a Raven having a tussle with 2 Hooded Crows. Later on Oliver had a Sparrowhawk skimming over the grassland close to Saligo and then saw 20 Sandwich Terns off Bruichladdich. Today was Armin's last day before heading home, but a quick glace of the window at Clachan Cottages produced a male Hen Harrier out on the wing, flying across the  moorland towards Gartbreck. Here at home, we had a pair of Redpolls, 2 male and a female Greenfinch on the feeders. Down at Whinpark there were around 15 Sand Martins hawking over the merse  around lunchtime. George had seen 2 Wheatear at Machir Bay today.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Friday 14th April

Not the warmest of days outside today, with a few dirty showers thrown in.. even a shower of hailstones at one time...
Gary yesterday had seen a Grey Wagtail on the stream leading out of Ballygrant. He also heard 3 different Woodpeckers drumming in different locations in around Ballygrant. Yesterday afternoon, over the trees close to Coullabus, Gary saw a Peregrine and then a Merlin nearby. Further on, at the stream past Craigens, a Dipper was present. Back over at Keills , Gary heard a Sedge Warbler calling on a piece of rough grazing. This morning, we saw a Swallow down at the spit at Uiskentuie, 100 Golden Plover at Ballinaby, 60 Barnies in a field at Coull. Mark Shields this afternoon  at Ardnave had 60 Golden Plover, a ringtail Hen Harrier, Wheatear, 2 GND, 8 Linnet and a Swallow

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Thursday 13th April

Today, I saw my first Swallow of the year, unlike some folk that have seen them already, the good thing about this was it was at home...Late afternoon, there was a large flock a large flock of around 300 Barnies flying over towards Coull to roost up for the evening. Armin had a count of 50 Oystercatcher at the mouth of the River Laggan with around 300 Barnies flying NW towards Bowmore. Wonder if Armin and myself had seen the same Geese???  On his way back up towards where his car was parked, a Heron flew past, he had also seen some Pied Wagtail, not that common a sighting down where Armin comes from, close to Reading!! Bob this morning had counted 28 Whitefronts just after Sunderland Farm. While he was up here Bob and myself had seen a male Chaffinch and also a House Sparrow with BTO rings on, could they be some George E. Jackson had rung here previously, another question to ponder on!!!Mike Peacock today carried out the WeBS count from Portnahaven back up to Port Charlotte with his tally coming through at 33 Common Scoter, 28 GND, 3 RTD, 54 Razorbill, 5 Guillemot, 8 Tystie, 8 Shag, 5 Sandwich Tern with 2 Twite spotted at Nerabus. Oliver Woodman this morning had walked round Ardnave Point, seeing plenty of Otter footprints, but  no sign of any Otter themselves! He had more success on the bird front with a Peregrine, 6 GND offshore and also 12 Chough. Along the flats at Gruinart, a male Hen Harrier was present, and then later on while driving over the hill on the "Glen road" another male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier with a distant Golden Eagle spotted over the far hills.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Wednesday 12thApril

This morning Bob counted 20 Siskins on a flock on the ash tree in his garden,  we had 2 Siskins on our feeders, the first this year, and there were 35 Goldfinches count this morning.. Some sightings from today fromvisitor Oliver Woodman.. On the flats at Gruinart, there was a single Whooper Swan. On and around the River Sorn at The Woollen Mill, he had seen Grey Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Dipper. Later on along the "Glen road", he had a male and also a ringtail Hen Harrier, and another visitor that Oliver had spoken with had  seen a Golden Eagle out over the hills on the same stretch of road. Finally, he had another male Hen Harrier seen out from the cottage where they are staying.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Tuesday 11th April

Another bumper edition in store tonight, so here goes...
Visiting birders (returning I think!) birders from Lincolnshire, Oliver and Lynsey Woodman had seen a GND at Sanaigmore on Sunday, and back at their cottage  close  to Loch Gorm they had seen a male Hen Harrier, Raven, a pair of Buzzard, several Wheatears and finally a Peregrine! Tom and Anthony, 2 of the "vols" at Gruinart had seen several Otters as well as 400 Golden Plover, 54 Curlew, 7 GND, 7 RBM, 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Barwits while carrying out  the WeBS count on Loch Gruinart itself on Friday. Mark had a count of 10 Sand Martins over the floods in front of the hides, at the same time. Mary Redman had seen her first Swallow at Tormisdale on Sunday and also some Wheatears on the track up there. On the feeders at Tormisdale, Mary saw House Sparrows, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Siskins. Back near to Portnahaven, Mary saw a Sparrowhawk and then a ringtail Hen Harrier. Earlier on last week, Mary had seen 10 Whoopers resting up on the lochan beside Claddach. James has returned from his holidays, and on Sunday, he had seen a pair of Gadwall, a pair of Tufted Duck and also the Green winged Teal from the North hide. He had also saw 2 Blackwits, a Dabchick, "lots" of Sand Martins and a ringtail there as well. Lesley had seen a Common Sandpiper at Kilnaughton Bay yesterday and James saw a Corncrake on the flats and heard Willow Warblers along the path through the woods at Gruinart leading to the hides. Today, on the reserve at Gruinart, "vol" Mike had seen 2 Merlins, Mark had 2 Hen Harriers as well as 3 different Treecreepers. Mary had a female Peregrine today down close to Portnahaven. Here at home , we had a Redpoll on the feeders and over 25 Goldfinches present, as well as pair of Greenfinches still here.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Monday 10th April

How young do you start Birdwatching?? Amelia, our daughter in law, took this image yesterday evening of Abbie and myself when the 2 of us were out in the "hut" doing a spot of bird watching. And no, young Abbie was not primed to put the bins up to look out the windows....
Malcolm was in touch to say that a visitor had seen a Magpie over at Farkin, out of Port Ellen yesterday. Our friend Armin Grewe who is over for Walkislay had seen a Sparrowhawk out of the kitchen window while waiting for us to return home this afternoon. Mark Shields had seen 2 Swallows out from the North hide at Gruinart today, his first for this year. Gary had a Dipper on the burn leading out from Ballygrant, past the Quarry. In the Ballygrant Woods, Gary had heard a Woodpecker drumming and also a Blackcap singing.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Sunday 9th April

Hope you all sitting comfortably, as there is a LOT of birds for you to read about tonight...
Today was the day that some of us help carry out the WeBS count on Islay.  Gary counted his patch from Port Charlotte to Blackrock, so his birds seen were as follows 39 GND, 11 RTD, 26 RBM, 5 Cormorant, 22 Shag, 6 Razorbill, 28 Comon Guillemot, 16 Tysties, 34 Eider, 26 Common Scoter, 114 Oystercatcher, 2 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 31 Ringed Plover, 4 Purple Sandpiper, 4 Gbb Gull, 83 H Gull, 219 C gull, 34 Bh Gull, 6 Sandwich Tern, 3 Greylag, 2 Shelduck and 11 Pale bellied Brent. He also saw a further 22 Pbb Geese at smelly corner and then 42 Shelduck on the sand on the estuary at the head of Loch Indaal beside the merse there. Lesley and myself carried  out the count that Bob normally leads, so here we go with our sightings, 3 GND, 1 Mute Swan, 4 Greylags, 650 Barnies, 6 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 1 Heron, 2 Goosanders, 165 Eider, 4 Mallard, 2 Wigeon, 44 Rb Merganser, 27 Shoveler,  4 Grey Plover, 5 Lapwing, 19 Ringed Plover, 58 Oystercatcher, 2 Turnstone, 7 Redshank, 13 Curlew, 1 Blackwit, 3 Gbb Gull, 65 C Gull, 60 H Gull and 37 Bh Gull. While I was away, Margaret had 3 Rock Doves and a Collared Dove in the garden on the ground, new birds to the house list!!! Dave Wood had led the first walk today for the Walkislay week down on the Oa, Dave's top birds were 2 House Martins, 1 Swallow, Golden Eagle, Chough, Redpoll, Sparrowhawk, Back at his house he had also seen 2 Siskins in his garden. Peter had also seen the same group of Brents along at smelly corner but noted that none of them had any leg rings on. Carl yesterday had seen many Willow Warblers ... spotted yesterday at Lyrabus Croft, Bruichladdich, Ballygrant Loch, Bridgend Woods and Foreland. today they were noted at An Gleann. A Mistle Thrush and 8 Tufted Duck were also present at Ballygrant Loch, and finally Carl had Greenfinch singing in his garden down in Port Charlotte. Carl also sent a email which told me about 7 Sandwich Terns at Gortan last Sunday, the 2nd of April.
Think that will do for tonight folks...

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Saturday8th April

Yesterday, Mandy had seen 2 Wheatears and shortly afterwards a male Hen Harrier below Carnduncan. Phill from the Oa had seen a raft of 12 Eiders and also 3 Rb Merganser out in the harbour from his house in Port Ellen. Today, Mark Shields had seen "wave after wave" of Geese flying North, leaving Islay. There were still Golden Plovers present at Gruinart and Mark counted 170 Barwits present there as well. Peter this afternoon, had seen a "feeding frenzy" on Loch Indaal lasting around 20 minutes, probably a shoal of fish close to the surface off Bruichladdich. Peter's tally was 70 Common Gulls, 10 Gbb Gulls, 6 Lbb Gulls, 25 H Gulls, 15 Bh Gulls, 2 Gannets, 2 RTD, 6 Rb Merganser, 8 Razorbills and 2 Common Guillemots.  Phill today had a Golden Eagle over at Killinallan and later on he saw another one on the high road up from the airport. Mandy, this afternoon while waiting at Port Askaig for the ferry, had seen a great sighting of a White tailed Eagle being "escorted off Islay by a Raven". We took a short walk up the River Sorn  from Bridgend and the only bird of note was a Dipper!!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Friday 7th April

I have been "off Islay" for most of the day but still have some sightings for you. The other night, I heard that a visitor had a Corncrake at Gruinart, last Sunday. On Tuesday, Richard Belter had seen a Great spotted Woodpecker in Bridgend Woods and yesterday evening Alistair Hart had a Willow Warbler between Portnahaven and Claddach.
I received an e mail today to say that the blog was in the top 80 Bird blog sites in the world, so keep the sightings coming through folk and see if we can get up the rankings, currently we are at 69, against other international blogs.... if it had been last Saturday, it might have been a prank, mind you it still could be.... 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Thursday 6th April

Some sightings through from Michal, before he heads off Islay again.. On Monday, while out surveying round the Rhinns, he had seen 2 Golden Eagle, 2 Peregrines and a Swallow. On Tuesday he had heard a Chiffchaff at Balole, seen a Kestrel at Scarrabus and then a Merlin at Balachlaven. This morning he had a Peregrine on the flats at Gruinart. Yesterday, Lesley Silcock had her first Peacock butterfly of the year at Kilnaughton wood, and also had Willow Warbler there as well. Out on Kilnaughton Bay, 4 GND were present. Peter and Pia, yesterday evening had a tight raft of 13 GND out on Loch Indaal from their house in Bruichladdich, not that common a sight to see.. Mark Shields today had seen a great tussle between a Golden Eagle, a Peregrine and a Buzzard taking place over the flats at Gruinart. Other birds through from Mark, seen on the reserve at Gruinart included a male Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, 4 Snipe and 2 Curlew. Botswana Dave had shown the folk on the guided walk at Gruinart 3 Whoopers along with plenty of Pintail, Shoveler and some Redshank. Here at home, it is that time of year again, when I am trying to think ahead for the next winter, trying to put a plan into action to get the ground worked ready for sowing in May. So I got the tractor and plough out but the plough did like the all roots from the couch grass, nettles and mint, so I swapped the plough for the rotovator and chopped all the roots up, and will do this several times in the hope that it will help kill off the rootstocks...

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Wednesday 5th April

What a cracker of a day it has been over here today, had to work outside, making the most of it...
Mandy yesterday had seen 5 Whoopers fly over Kilnave Chapel and land on Loch Gruinart. Visitor, Alistair Hart had spent some time yesterday carrying out a brief sea watch at Frenchman's Rocks, his birds included 240 Gannet, 3 Razorbill, 32 Guillemot, 24 Auk, 5 Tysties, 4 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 3 Gbb Gull, 26 H Gull, 18 Kittiwake, 2 Ringed Plover, 12 Oystercatcher, 3 Eider 2 Rock Pipit, 4 Mipit and 4 Skylark.
Mark Shields has returned to the RSPB team at Gruinart, and filling the post which Mary Redman had held previously. Welcome back Mark... Today up at Ardnave Loch, he had 11 Whoopers, others highlights were 67 Barwits, 27 Pale bellied Brents, 2 of which had colour bands on, 12 Wheatear, 2 Curlew, 4 GND, an Otter, Golden Eagle and a Peregrine. Keep up the entries for the blog Mark!!!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Tuesday 4th May

A bit of a late entry, but I was out earlier on.
Today, Richard had seen a Sandwich Tern, Rock Pipit, 4 GND, 4 RTD, some Red breasted Merganser and the usual Tysties at Bruichladdich. On the road leading to Kilchiaran, he saw Redwing and Chough while down at Claddach / Frenchman's rocks Gannets, Guillemot, Fulmar and Shag were added to his list. He also had Wheatear present too, and finally up at Skerrols, Richard heard a Chiffchaff.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Monday 3rd April

What a rain there has been out here today, at least it did fair up late afternoon, and I managed to plant out some more willows, job done, great...
"Cockney" Dennis was in touch with some sightings he has had while visiting Islay. He met in with John and Kenny the other evening in the bar in the Bridgend Hotel.... Far out on the hills, Dennis had seen a pair of Golden Eagles talon grappling and mating immediately afterwards. He had heard a pair of Willow Warblers  at Gruinart, and saw 2 Sandwich Terns at Bowmore. He had Woodcock rodding at Bridgend on Friday evening, a great visit by all accounts. As ever, many thanks to the various birders who sent me through their sightings while they have been here, much appreciated. Marsali sent through her tally for the rain at Mulindry for March which came to 6 inches, wetter than here as usual!!!  Mandy had a Greenfinch this afternoon at Conisby and here at home we counted a total of 37 Goldfinch this morning at the feeders when the rain at its' peak!!!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Sunday 2nd April

Yesterday, David Fallows, Jackie's other half had seen a Marsh Harrier at Gruinart. John and Kenny's tally for the week came to 105 species. they had a passage of Gannets at Frenchman's Rocks of 75 Gannets/ hour. Round at Kilchiaran, they saw Swallow and also House Martin. Richard today had an Otter at Bunahahabhain and also a White Wagtail. Over on Jura, he saw a Golden Eagle, Turnstone and 3 Otters. Back on Islay, Richard had a male Hen Harrier while driving along the Glen road. Malcolm, this morning had a pair of Siskins on his feeders in Bruichladdich, a year tick for his garden. Botswana Dave this morning had been up at Ardnave and on the East side of Loch Gruinart he saw 4 Greylag, pr of Wheatear, 13 Goldeneye, 2 Redshank, pr of Mallard, 2 Oystercatcher and 4 Lapwing. Coming back down from Ardnave, along the road to Bushmills he had 3 Stonechat, 5 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 1 Pied Wagtail and a flock of 70 Linnet. Margaret was out working in the garden this afternoon and counted 22 Chough as they flew around. The pair of Greenfinch were seen on the feeders again today as were the Blue Tits.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Saturday 1st April

Another great day although there could be a slight edge to air, and before I forget, the tally for the rain for March was 5 inches exactly...
Jackie Fallows told me last night that along with her husband, and friends Ian and Margaret Haigh that they had seen 86 species during their stay, and yesterday, Ian and Margaret had seen 2 ringtail Hen Harrriers seen at different locations while going round the Rhinns. John and Kenny's top birds included a Velvet Scoter, the Green winged Teal and also they spotted a Dipper building a nest! Their tally for the week came to 102 species.. Today Richard had Chough and Wheatear at Sanaigmore, at Bruichladdich he had 6 GND and also 5 RTD. At Blackrock, Richard saw 5 Slavonian Grebes and finally up at Ardnave Loch, 2 Otters were present. Bob saw a Tree Pipit at Port Charlotte today and also 3 Greenfinches in the village. Back at his house, Bob had seen another 6 Greenfinches and also 4 Siskins. A short while later, Bob had a single Greenfinch along the road at Gearach. Carl Reavey today had seen a pair of Peregrines at Sanaigmore and on the cliffs thee were 30 Kittiwakes,  at Sanaig there were lots of Wheatears, down at Gortan, Carl had 2 Sandwich Terns. Here at home before breakfast, there was a pair of Shelduck, having a look around for a nest sight at the foot of the crag, fingers crossed...

Friday, 31 March 2017

Friday 31st March

Yesterday, Michal heard a Chiffchaff at Gruinart Farm, while Bob saw a Swallow round at Rockside. Jackie Fallows had seen some Fulmars on the cliffs on the Oa and also saw 4 Gannets flying East, low over the sea. John and Kenny's Reed Bunting flock was up at Storakaig on Wednesday. Yesterday they saw 4 Sand Martin following the river, up past the "wood chip store" above Avonvoggie. Peter saw a Gannet at Bruichladdich, his first there this year. Richard Belter had seen the drake Green winged Teal out from the new hide at Gruunart, this morning. Marc Eden had seen 3 Lapland Buntings at Ardnave while "Botswana Dave" noted a few Pale bellied Brent out from Crosshouses.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Thursday 30th March

Yesterday John and Kenny had added to their tally for the week, now over 90 species seen. They had seen Golden Plover in summer plumage, a sight they do not see back on the mainland...Whilst they were out yesterday they had a flock of around 40 Reed Bunting and they reckon that they have seen at least 30 Stonechat since Saturday. We saw a small flock of 74 Golden Plover at Ballinaby this morning and then some Whitefronts with neck collars at Carnduncan.
These geese were all caught and fitted with their collars last month by Ed Burrell and Carl Mitchell from WWT.
Richard Belter had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier as he came over the hill towards Loch Gorm from Gruinart.Over at Sanaigmore he had a male Hen Harrier and Wheatears. Over on the Glen road, Richard also had another male Hen Harrier.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Wednesday 29th March

Forgot to mention last night that Gary had a White tailed Eagle ripping into a goose at Bridgend Merse, late on Monday afternoon. Yesterday, Jackie Fallows et al had taken the walk along the Sorn, and had seen Dipper and also Grey Wagtails with Siskins present as well at The Woollen Mill. John and Kenny yesterday had a White tailed Eagle on the merse at Bridgend and heard a Chiffchaff  at  the mouth of the River Sorn. Mark Eden had seen the Great Grey Shrike over close to Avonvoggie. Another returning birder back for another Islay fix is Richard Belter, good to see you last night Richard. Down at Bruichladdich, he had 4 RTD, 4 GND, Eider, R b Merganser, Gannet and also Tystie. He also saw 3 Wheatears at Sanaigmore. At breakfast time, here at home, just over the garden fence, on the Machir, there were over 500 Barnies along with a single Canada Goose along with them. If only one of the Barnies would come on to the grass here, I could claim it on our "garden list"...While out looking for the shrike this afternoon, we saw  2 male Hen Harriers as we drove along the Glen road, great to see!!!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Tuesday 28th March

A bit of a late entry tonight, but I had been out at the Islay bird nerds monthly get together, we had 21 folk attending including 8 visitors, a great social get together, if nothing else...
Some sightings through from Gary, which went into my spam box somehow.... Late last week, he had a group of Long tailed Tits in Ballygrant Woods, and back at his house, he counted 20 Whoopers flying low in a Northerly direction and later on 60 flew North, but high up in the sky. Down on the Oa at the weekend, Gary had 200 Twite, 5 Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit and Linnet in around one of the cattle Feeders. On some buds, close to Springbank at Bridgend, he saw a pair of Bullfinches. Yesterday, Gary was out with some clients and showed them Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Tystie and Chough along with 7 Wheatears at Ardnave! David Mason, another returning birder, had seen a Peregrine and also a Merlin as he travelled round Loch Gorm this morning. John and Kenny had seen Wheatears and Stonechats at Sanaigmore, and they both feel that there re more Stonechats around this  visit. Gary had 10 Crossbills on the trees over at Avonvoggie while Jacqueline Fallows had seen 3 SandwichTerns at Bruichladdich today. Over near to Storakaig, we had over 300 Golden Plover and then a male Hen Harrier on the wing, as we approached Barr.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Monday 27th March

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

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sunday 26th March

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

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Saturday 25th March

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

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

Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday 24th March

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

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Thursday 23rd March

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

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

WEdnesday 22nd March

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

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Tuesday 21st March

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

Monday, 20 March 2017

Monday 20th March

It was meant to be the first day of Spring today, it certainly did not feel like it...and the weather does not look too promising tomorrow either !!!
Mike Peacock yesterday saw a Sand Martin and also a House Martin at RSPB Gruinart, both the first report as far as I know for Islay this year. Mike also saw a male and female Peregrine Falcon thee too, as well as a White tailed Eagle.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunday 19th March

A better kind of a day, but I believe that the wind might pick up a bit through the night... The Fulmars were back over the crag this morning!!!! Malcolm was in touch to say that he had seen a Jack Snipe down at Foreland road end yesterday, and flushed it again today! He also was saying that he has a female Blackbird in his garden which is nest building already which as Malcolm says "rather early"..
Gary had seen a White tailed Eagle on the merse at Bridgend, down from the mouth of the River Sorn. Along at Uiskentuie, at the mouth of the burn, Gary saw a Slavonian Grebe in summer plumage.
Martin Gocch who won the "Gie's a brek" free holiday draw at the Bird Fair back in August last year is over with a birding friend and their respective wives...Their first visit to Islay. Well impressed noting Chough on arrival at Kilchoman, hearing a Goldcrest in the wood and seeing so many geese, and that was only on their arrival yesterday, wonder what birds they saw today???

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Saturday 18th March

A similar story to yesterday with the weather, but not quite as bad, more dreich rather than miserable if you get my drift..
Yesterday, somehow, David and Jenny managed some birds.... Out on Loch Indaal, they had 30 Common Scoter with 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese seen at Blackrock. Closer to the shore at Blackrock they had seen a Red throated Diver. This morning, here at home over 400 Barnies flew in and landed out on the machir. Many thanks to David and Jenny for sharing their sightings while they have been over here this past week. See you both at the Bird Fair in Rutland come August!!!

Friday, 17 March 2017

Friday 17th March

A right miserable sort of a day out here today, wet and windy with the mist swirling around the crag for most of the day... Luckily, I have some sightings seen by David and Jenny from yesterday... In Bridgend woods they saw a Treecreeper, 7 Lbb Gulls were present on the ploughing at Skerrols, and over on the Sound of Islay they counted 30 Kittiwakes. Late afternoon, back over at Machir Bay they had 15 Whoopers flying inland..
From the Argyll Bird Club's web page latest sightings, some other birds are back, on Tuesday, a Chiffchaff was on Tiree, Wednesday, a House Martin was on Coll with an Osprey present close to Campbeltown yesterday....

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thursday 16th March

Yesterday, James had seen a White tailed Eagle on the floods at Gruinart, also present were  29 Whoopers. Just before that James had a Golden Eagle at Erasaid while up off Nave Island, he saw a couple of Tysties and also 3 GND. David and Jenny yesterday had been down the other end noting a male Hen Harrier and 70 Twite at Kinnabus. David commented on a lack of seabirds out from the American  monument apart from a single Gannet! Jenny had a small flock of 25 Reed Buntings at the car park while David was away walking. They saw a further 15 together near to Ardbeg. This morning, Louise had a large female Golden Eagle as she approached the ferry at Feolin and saw a single Whimbrel on the shore as well.
Andrew Kent sent through the stats for the International Goose count carried out over the past couple of days. The tally came to 41,721 Barnies, 6,141 Greenland Whitefronts and 433 Greylags, many thanks to Andrew and the team from SNH for these figures.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Wednesday 15th March

Yesterday, while out on the International Goose count, Bob had seen a couple of Hen Harriers, one at Balulive and the other at Ardnahoe. Also at Balulive, he had a couple of White tailed Eagles and he also saw another at Daill. David and Jenny yesterday had a male Hen Harrier over at Leek. Earlier on, David had counted 60 Wigeon and 40 Teal on the wee lochan up the hill beside the standing stone above Ballinaby. Along at Saligo, David had 35 Reed Bunting and he also commented on more Stonechats around this Spring. Today, we had a welcome visitor, a blast from the past in the form of Martyn Jamieson. Martyn led tours along with Robin Sutton for Field Studies Council for a number of years, and to Islay many times. It was great to catch up... This week, Martyn is leading a tour on behalf of Aigas. Martyn commented on seeing more White tailed Eagles around compared to his previous trips to Islay ...

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Tuesday 14th March

Here are the birds counted by Bob, Lesley and myself while we carried out the WeBs count from Bowmore to Gartbreck yesterday, 3 GND, 2 Shag, 10 Cormorant, 6 Pale bellied Brent, 4 Greylag, 800 Barnies, 12 Greenland Whitefronts, 20 Shelduck, 11 Mallard, 2 Teal, 186 Wigeon, 39 Eider, 24 R b Merganser, 9 Common Scoter, 50 Oystercatcher, 76 Curlew, 234 Barwit, 27 Dunlin, 5 Redshank, 14 Lapwing, 119 Golden Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 11 Ringed Plover, 5 Turnstone, 1 Tystie, 8 Gbb Gull, 10 Herring Gull, 10 Common Gull and 30 B h Gull. Also noted were a small flock of 30 Twite and also 25 Skylark at Gartbreck.  Also yesterday, David and Jenny had been over to Jura. Between Feolin and Craighouse, they saw a pair of Golden Eagle with 2 ringtail Hen Harrier present close to Craighouse. At Lagg, a Kestrel and also a male Hen Harrier were seen, with around 20 large Canada Geese noted out of Craighouse with some more present along with other geese on the new golf course at Ardfin!!!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Monday 13th March

At least it did stay dry today so we did manage to carry our WeBS count this morning... Yesterday, Gary had done his count from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock, so here is  the list of birds seen...52 GND, 34 RTD, 21 Cormorant, 26 Shag, 6 Slavonian Grebe, 8 Tystie, 82 Eider, 10 Common Scoter, 6 Mallard, 33 Oystercatcher, 4 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 24 Ringed Plover, 18 Dunlin, 8 Turnstone, 12 Gbb Gull, 95 H. Gull, 35 C. Gull, 2 B h Gull, 1 juv. Glaucous Gull, 27 Greylag and 2 Pale bellied Brent. David and Jenny yesterday had a Grey Wagtail down at Portnahaven and a wee while further along the road a large Canada Goose was amongst some Barnies in a field. Back at Bruichladich, they saw 15 Sanderling on the shore with 4 GND and a RTD out on Loch Indaal. Back from their cottage at Balinaby, the Slavonian Grebe was seen out on Loch Gorm again, also present was a female Long tailed Duck, 8 Tufted Duck, 4 Goldeneye and 4 Teal.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Sunday 12th March

I got up really early this morning, only to discover that it was raining, net result, between Bob and myself we took the executive decision, and called off our WeBS count, if only we had decided to start an hour later, the weather was better then... tomorrow might be the day...
On Friday, Gary had a count of 7 Buzzard over Finlaggan and then a Golden Eagle along at Mulreesh. Yesterday, Gary saw a male Hen Harrier on the High road close to Buildbase and then another on the low road, near to Duich. Also yesterday, David and Jenny  Goodwin had been out and about, noting 7 Song Thrushes between Ballinaby and Saligo. A Greater spotted Woodpecker was heard below the car park at Gruinart, the Green winged Teal seen out in front of the old hide, with a distant White tailed Eagle seen over the estuary. Later on, over the Glen road a couple of Golden Eagles were seen with another present close to Avonvoggie. Over Loch Tallant, 8 Buzzards were noted with another Golden Eagle there as well. From Bowmore Pier, they counted 40 Common Scoter and 2 Long tailed Duck out on Loch Indaal. Finally from Whin Park, they saw 2 very distant Golden Eagles with a White tailed Eagle, nearer to hand, on the merse.  A great day for Eagles and Buzzards by all accounts....And here at home this morning, the Fulmars, only a few were present, were soaring along in front of  the crag again...

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Saturday 11th March

A not bad day with the weather here on Islay, up to 13.6 degrees, a bit cooler than Tanzania, back to reality again...
David and Jenny Goodwin are back for another "Islay fix". At Ballinaby, the other day, they saw  a Peregrine, Chough and a Barn Owl with a Slavonian Grebe spotted out on Loch Gorm. Yesterday, on Loch Indaal, 7 Common Scoter, 9 Goldeneye and 2 GND were present, while up at Sanaigmore, they saw 4 Redwing. Here at home this morning, the Lapwing were displaying out over the machir, and a few Fulmars were present on the crag.