Sunday, 25 June 2017

Sunday 25th June

Yesterday evening as he was cycling home from the bowling at Bridgend (the secret is out now lad..), Distillery Dave had seen an Osprey at the head of Loch Indaal, carrying a fish in its talons as well, a late fish supper!!! This morning, Gary had 2 Bullfinches at Bunnahabhain. This afternoon, the Bird nerds met up, and started out on our planned walk, but needless to say we got caught in some rain showers, and we gave up.. and returned to base. We even had time for a cuppa & biscuits and a right good catch up around the table. We also managed some bird watching as well. Top bird for sure was a great view of a male Hen Harrier out on the wing less than 60 metres away. Other birds seen included a distant Golden Eagle, a Buzzard and a Peregrine as well as a close fly past by 4 Chough. So, all in all, not that bad for a dampish afternoon. Oh yes, we saw some Hares running about, out on the Machir as well.
Gary has just set through this image of the Rose coloured Starling which he took yesterday.


As ever, many thanks to visiting birders for your birds, we had sightings through from John and Jonti Wilson, Graham & Rosemary Bell and also our good friend Armin Grewe, thanks to you all.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Saturday 24th June

Earlier on in the week while down on the Oa, Graham and Rosemary had seen 20 prs of Fulmars. Yesterday, on their way  up to Sanaigmore, they had a male Reed Bunting at the roadside, and then further on, in a clump of goat willow, a family of 3 Willow Warbler. 2 Buzzards were seen over the wooded area beside Briago. Up at Sanaigmore itself, a Corncrake was heard, a group of 8 Twite , which were all feeding before flying off, a Whinchat was present with another family of 3 Willow Warbler also noted. Out on the shingle behind the bay, a colony of around 20 nesting Common Gulls were seen. Coming back round by Ballinaby,  2 Corncrakes were heard, with a male Hen Harrier out on the wing just prior to that. Another Buzzard was seen at Foreland with another 2 noted over the trees at Islay House. In the Community Gardens, a male Bullfinch was seen. Yesterday evening, Jonti Wilson had counted over 50 Chough as they flew in to the roost on the crag, the Raven came out to try to defend its' patch... This morning Mike Peacock had seen a drake Velvet Scoter along with a  female Common Scoter off Port Charlotte. Can he claim it be a house bird??? Gary, this morning had a male Hen Harrier quartering the ground behind his house. Later on Gary saw the Rose coloured Starling over at Laphroaig, while he was there a Merlin zipped past over the rocks! Here at home Margaret and her sister Liz saw a hen Pheasant with 7 newly hatched chicks alongside her this afternoon. Earlier on, we counted small flock of 14 Lapwing as they flew across the road down at Sunderland.
If you are around tomorrow afternoon, mind the bird nerds are meeting at Rockside at 2.30 for a walk. And if we have time, we may well go in for a welcome cuppa afterwards, so any visiting birders can come along and put a name to the face!!! All welcome...

Friday, 23 June 2017

Friday 23rd June

Yesterday, Graham and Rosemary had seen 3 different sightings of Hen Harriers over at Gruinart, up at Ardnave they a count of 55 flocking Lapwings. They also saw 3 different Buzzards around the reserve, while out on the estuary there was a flock of 30 Shelduck. Finally, round at Ballinaby, on the newly ploughed field, they counted 23 Lesser Black backed Gulls.  This afternoon, we went over to Laphroaig and were fortunate to see the Rosy coloured Starling.
On Sunday, we are holding the monthly meting of the Islay Bird nerds, a change from the usual Tuesday evening time. We will be meeting up at Rockside Farm, in the car park at 2.30pm for a walk around to see what is present, so mind and bring some money to get a cup of coffee and cake in the cafe afterwards....many thanks to Kilchoman Distillery for allowing us to visit.. so see you there there, if you are around...

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Wednesday 22nd June

Yesterday, Gary had been out with clients and saw 2 Bonxies at Loch Gruinart, a White tailed Eagle in the Kilmeny area and also the drake Ring necked Duck along at Loch Finlaggan. Today, John Wilson and his family were over on Jura, and they commented on how many Whinchats were present. This afternoon, Louise had a Golden Eagle over Loch Gorm, shortly afterwards a sub adult White tailed Eagle came by and then finally, a male Hen Harrier flew past. Here at home the Redpolls are still enjoying the niger seed...

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wednesday 21st June

Back on Sunday, Armin took this image of a Curlew, close to the roadside at Lossit, on the Rhinns. By its' behaviour it seemed be trying to distract Armin away, so probably on territory...


Yesterday, John Wilson had been down on The Oa, and had seen a Golden Eagle and also a Hen Harrier. Later on he had a Spotted Flycatcher  in the trees around  Kildalton and then another along towards Ardtalla. George Newall, before he left yesterday had 3 Greenfinches, over in the trees after Gearach towards Kilchiaran. Visitors Graham and Rosemary had seen several pairs of nesting Arctic Terns on the shingle in some of the bays around Portnahaven. An hour's sea watch out towards Frenchman's Rock produced 200 Gannets and a Bonxie flying South. later on they saw a Cuckoo being mobbed by a Mipit at Carn below Port Charlotte. Here at home, there were  5 Siskins on the feeders earlier this evening.
I received a reported sighting of a Rose coloured Starling seen over at Laphroaig today, but the info was a bit sketchy, but will let you know if I hear anything more on that one...
You should have been here last night as what a beautiful sunset was seen, should have got the camera out to show it to you all... another oops, sorry...

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Tuesday 20th June

Gary yesterday had managed to get some birds while out with his clients. On the South side of Loch Gorm, they saw a Golden Eagle out over the ridge. At Rockside, they saw a Whinchat, down at Coultoon, a pair of Whinchats were present and then down on Claddach Loch, they saw an Arctic Tern fishing. Returning visitors Graham and Rosemary, back for another Islay fix, had seen a Dabchick, Tufted Duck and also the Ring necked Duck on Loch Finlaggan. Round at Ballinaby, on the ploughed field, there were several Curlews and some Lapwings with chicks there too. Today on the guided walk on the Oa  today, they were  over the moon with seeing 2 Golden Eagles. Later on at Kilnaghton Bay, Common Sandpiper and Pied Wagtail were present. Late afternoon, Margaret saw a Golden Eagle up at Sanaigmore.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday 19th JUne

It is either a hunger or a burst this birding, yesterday the entry was full and full of goodies, tonight, the cupboard is bare... The mist rolled around for most of the morning and then burnt off to give us a cracker of an afternoon and evening with more sun forecast for tomorrow. This evening, outside on top of one of the old telegraph poles, a Song Thrush was singing away good style for quite some time. Earlier on, over at Gruinart, close to the road leading to Craigens there were 3 very young Lapwing chicks on the verge on the side of the road, a risky place to be, to put it politely...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Sunday 18th June

Been a bit of a dreich sort of a day here at base today with the mist in for the most of the day, not a lot of wind, net result, the midges came out..
Some sightings through from George Newall who has been over for the best part of 3 weeks. On the 31st May, he had a Spotted Flycatcher and 4 Chiffchaff in at Loch Skerrols and also heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker there as well. At Bowmore Harbour, George saw an immature Kittiwake. 3rd of June, at Claggain Bay Arctic Terns and Common Terns were seen and the following day, 4 Sanderling were at Gartbreck. On the 6th on the Big strand, below the Airport, George had 3 Little Terns, some Arctic Tern, a male Hen Harrier and also 20 Sanderling. On the 9th, he saw Reed Buntings feeding young and heard several Corncrakes as well as several Snipe drumming while at the reserve at Gruinart. On the 11th June, he had a female Blackcap at Kilnaghton. A walk from Bridgend up the River Sorn  produced Dipper, pair of Grey Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, later on the same day George heard 2 Corncrakes calling at Sanaigmore. The next day (12th) George had seen 2 Bullfinches beside wee lochan between Gearach and Kilchiaran, while at Kilchiaran itself, a Whitethroat was seen. On the 15th George saw a Corncrake up at Sanaigmore. Gary yesterday had seen 2 RTD at Claggain Bay, some Little Terns on the Big Strand, heard a Great spotted Woodpecker in the trees at Finlaggan with the drake Ring necked Duck out on the water there. Over at the  former Kilchoman School, Gary had a Spotted Flycatcher and finally a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Blackpark. Also yesterday, Carl had 2 Bonxies (Great Skuas) close to Killinallan. Coming back on the evening ferry last night Peter Roberts had  350- 400 Manx Shearwater and around 150 Gannets, closer to Islay, rather than the mainland... Peter also had a Common Porpoise from the ferry as well. Steve Wrightson yesterday had a Short eared Owl out beyond Craighouse, a Golden Eagle was seen while coming back to ferry at Feolin and today, he had a Corncrake with 2 chicks down at Machir Bay. This afternoon, we had a Golden Eagle out on Borichil Mor and then a male Hen Harrier close to Culbuie.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Saturday 17th June

Armin sent this image of a Snipe drumming, taken yesterday evening over at Gruinant..


Armin's image clearly shows the tail feathers out which cause the drumming sound, good one Armin.

Returning visiting birder, John Wilson is back again for another Islay fix. John popped in for a catch up this afternoon and told me of seeing Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers down at the reed bed leading to Machir Bay. Later on, we watched our "local" Chough pair trying to coax their 3 youngsters out from the nest. It  took them a week last year, so we will see how long it takes this year.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Friday 16th June

It may have been dry today, but think that the birds have disappeared.. Having said that the Goldfinches are still coming into the niger feeder here at home with the House Sparrows along with their young. Other long staying "now resident" Redpolls, Greenfinches and also  Siskins are still here, nice to see as usually they just appear for a brief stay and then move on... I hope that I am proved wrong, but the 2 broods of Pheasant chicks have not been seen over the last couple of days. Could they have perished with all the rain??? Coming back home this evening, the Shelduck was present at "smelly corner" with several large ducklings, not sure of how many were there... Yesterday evening, Armin had a ringtail Hen Harrier just after Leek and then a male and a ringtail up towards Culbuie. Today, Armin had another ringtail along at Rock Mountain as well as another male, but I have had a senior moment as I can't remember where...no excuse for old age!!!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thursday 15th June

Good friend of ours , and of a lot of folk on Islay, Armin is back over for his mid summer fix... yesterday evening as it was dry, he took a quick visit over to the hides at Gruinart and was pleasantly surprised to see 4 Herons, out on the floods. He also had a distant Mute Swan, some Redshank and plenty of Lapwing as he was coming back to the carpark. The Rochdale birders had seen 4 male Hen Harriers this morning at 4 different locations, all within 15 minutes of each other. Later on, "Mrs" Rochdale  had a pair of Bullfinch down below Foreland. This morning, we watched as Mark got a Mute Swan to fly away off the road across the flats at Gruinart.
The weather today has been not too good with the rain guage now measuring 3.5" so far for the month, certainly the shower that fell around 2pm added a goodly amount...

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wednesday 14th June

Well, job done, all the Distilleries have been approached regarding the Birdfair, so let's hope that they come up with the goodies.. Forgot to mention last night that Walker's Shortbread are donating us 11 cases of shortbread for folk to sample, much appreciated.
Janice and Tim Scott who were over last week sent some sightings through... Last Monday, they watched a Golden Eagle attempting to knock a feral billy goat off a cliff.. who won, the goat did as the Eagle gave up and flew off. In the trees around Kildalton on Tuesday, they heard a Wood Warbler and also a Tree Pipit singing, both first for them on Islay. On Thursday, up near the locked gate leading to Killinallan, a pair of Whinchat with young were present. Thanks folks. The Rochdale birders had seen 2 Twite over at Bunnahabhain today.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tuesday 13th JUne

The weather today has been rather dreich, and that is putting it politely. So what did I get up to, not much outside for sure. So it was some inside work that was called for. As many of you may well know, the Islay and Jura Tourism and Marketing Group share a stand down at the British Birdfair with RSPB Islay reserves. It is not just turning up on the day, with a smiley face, there is quite a lot of work involved behind the scenes that must be carried out. Our hotels were booked when we left last year... staffing the stand is all in place, some new banners advertising Islay and Jura are getting made, so tomorrow I intend to go round the other Distilleries to get some sponsorship to help us out. So by tomorrow evening that will all be done, and tomorrow while down at Port Ellen, I might as well book the ferry, and also drop by the printers and get some work dropped in to them. May be just as well we do get the odd wet day now and then. Might get another wet day, to catch up with Bird records for the Argyll Bird Club... enough said, it will happen, no panic..  Keep cool...
On the bird front, because of the weather, not a lot tonight, but visitor Angela Harrell had ventured out. she saw her first Spotted Flycatcher of the year over at Ardtalla, a Peregrine was present at Lagavulin and earlier this evening, she had a small group of GND on the edge of Loch Indaal at Port Charlotte. Thanks Angela.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Monday 12th June

Mike Peacock yesterday had carried out his WeBS count from Port Charlotte down to Portnahaven, or "Outer Loch Indaal", so here are Mike's birds... 2 Sandwich Tern, 3 Tystie, 23 Gannet, 20 GND, 2 RTD, 10 Arctic Tern, 2 Shag, 1 Cormorant and a Common Sandpiper. Gary yesterday, had been out and about, round Loch Skerols mainly,  seeing 1 Peregrine, 5 Buzzards, a juv Golden Eagle, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. He also heard 3 calling Corncrakes and also saw 3 Chough. Visiting birder, Toby Green had seen the Ring necked Duck at Loch Finlaggan this afternoon.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sunday 11th June

Bob, Lesley, Distillery Dave and myself managed to carry out our WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, before the weather deteriorated.. it sometimes does work out if you go for an early start!! Our tally came to 2 Greylag, 50 Shelduck, with 2 broods on the water, a nine and a six, 8 Mallard, 23 Eider, 2 Red breasted Merganser, 2 Gbb Gull, 20 H Gull, 10 C Gull, 2 Arctic Tern, 50 Oystercatcher, 9 Curlew, 9 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, 7 Redshank, 20 Ringed Plover, 10 Lapwing, 7 Common Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 3 Cormorant and 1 Shag.
Visitor Angela Harrell, aka the Bucks birder, had seen a Mipit along with a Cuckoo on the overhead wires down towards Easter Ellister, a male Hen Harrier in the rain at Octofad and down beside the former look out tower at Portnahaven, a Corncrake was heard calling away.
Guy Broome sent some images taken while he was over last week.. note the blue sky!!






Saturday, 10 June 2017

Saturday 10th June

Oh no, not another young Wheatear, I can hear you all groaning... I spotted this one up at Ardnave on Thursday, just look at all the flowers out, as good a year in that respect!!!


The Rochdale birders were in touch this afternoon, to say that they had seen a male Hen Harrier catch some prey and rather than take it to one of his mates for to feed their young, it flew off on to a near by post and devoured it himself. A sight they had never seen before.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Friday 9th June

Been one of those days, nonstop, on the go, just as well we do not get a lot of them...but we managed to get the grass cut, take the chance when we can as the weather is rather mixed for the next few days.

Gary had been out birding with clients today and  had a good raptor day... over at Ballygrant they saw 2 White tailed Eagles, then a ringtail Hen Harrier and also a Golden Eagle at Bunnahabhain. Later on, they saw a Glaucous Gull below Rock Mountain. Finally along at Ardnave, a male Hen Harrier was seen and then 2 Otters were present on Ardnave Loch. Early afternoon, while we were out and about we had the impression that there were more Pied Wagtails around... Over at the Woollen Mill, 2 different Grey Wagtails were present.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Thursday 8th June

I do not think we are going to have another beautiful sunset this evening as it is rather wet just now as I look outside!! Over the last couple of days, we seem to be noticing more fledged young out and about. The other day,  we saw a lot of young House Sparrows "begging" to be fed, yesterday and today we saw some young Goldfinches around and also a couple of Wheatears, so I got this young Wheatear on top of the garden wall last night...


This morning, we had a cracking view of a male Hen Harrier just after Grulinmore. Earlier on, we saw a pair of Mute Swan with their 6 youngsters up at Ardnave Loch. Gary had ben out and about with some clients today. They had a flock of 30 Chough at Kilchoman, saw several Whinchats over around Carnduncan, a male Hen Harrier up towards Ardnave. They saw a Corncrake out in the carpark at Gruinart and watched it for around 5 minutes. They also saw it along the verge side there as well. Great sightings folks..

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Wednesday 7th June

Andrew Cockcroft has been over on Islay again and sent through this image of a Red throated Diver which he had seen...



Other birds seen by Andrew were a White tailed Eagle, a pair of Golden Eagle and also a pair of Hen Harrier. Thanks Andrew.

Yesterday evening 8 hardy folk turned up for the bird nerds meeting, including a couple of visitors. The weather stayed dry but was quite windy, nevertheless we carried out our walk along the big strand down below the airport. We saw a few Terns, not as many as in previous years, some Eiders with their ducklings bobbling about on the water, 2 male Hen Harrier, a Peregrine Falcon , 15 Dunlin, a few Curlews, some Redshank as well as Skylarks and also Meadow Pipits.
On our way home, Bob and myself spotted a single Barnacle goose at "smelly corner" and some Shelduck were there too along with their youngsters.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tuesday 6th June

We took the decision late last night to carry out the corncrake survey round our patch, a good decision as it is away far too windy to even think of trying to attempt it tonight. The sea was quiet although possibly the air temperature was a bit cool, it certainly felt colder than 10.8 degrees... Long and the short was that we only heard a total of 4 calling Corncrakes, not as many compared to other years.. We also heard Snipe drumming, a Curlew calling and a Sedge Warbler as well, no Barn Owls seen though!!
This afternoon Mark Shields has counted 4 Little Tern, 15 Arctic Tern, 3 Common Tern and 28 Blackwits up on the Eat side of Ardnave Point.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Monday 5th June

Not a lot  to report through tonight, but Gary had been out with visitors from the States this morning, top bird was an Osprey seen over at Gruinart. Other visitors to Islay told me that they had seen a Peregrine along over the hill at the back of Rockside.
Remember to come along to the Bird nerds monthly meeting, a walk along the Big strand. We  will meet at the track beside the Airport at 6pm for shared transport, tomorrow evening.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Sunday 4th June

Gary had ben out birding today with a client.. Top birds seen was a GND on the Sound of Islay, out from Bunnahabhain. Up over the hills behind Ballygrant, a White tailed Eagle and then a Golden Eagle were present. They came over this side of the island and were successful in hearing 3 different Corncrakes calling, one at Ballinaby, another at Machir Bay and the third was heard at Bruichladdich. Here at home we saw the hen Pheasant out with her brood of 9 , all looking well.. Out on the niger feeder it was a full house with all 20 ports taken by the Goldfinches, my image shows 19 in use... no wonder they are scoffing the seed!!!


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Saturday 3rd June

The weather forecast was correct with some HEAVY showers coming through, with the possibility of the odd rumble of thunder, the only thing that we did not get told about was hailstones, we had a passing shower of hail, not a lot, but...
While I remember, the postponed May meeting of the Islay bird nerds will be on Tuesday 6th June. We will meet at 6pm, over at the track at the Airport, leading down on to the Big Strand and we will share transport down to the shore of Loch Indaal and then take a walk from there down towards Knockangle Point, so see you there , if you are around. Some of us are meant to helping out with the second round of the Corncrake count for this year, if we are still awake, later that night!!!


Just after the thunder around midday, this hen Pheasant came out and proudly presented her clutch of 9 youngsters, some of which are above, so she must have had them well sheltered from the rain a couple of days ago!!!!  Mandy, yesterday had heard a Grasshopper Warbler singing up at Bolsay as well as 2 Curlews close by. She has been hearing a Whitethroat calling regularly at Carnduncan and this morning she heard a Corncrake while in at Ballinaby and then a Chiffchaff at Kilchoman. This morning, down in the reed bed towards Machir Bay, the Rochdale birders had heard a Corncrake calling. It was heard in the same location, late afternoon by David and Ann Barr. Margaret counted a Shelduck with 10 young ducklings at Blackrock, late morning.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Friday 2nd June

The other day, Carol Andrew who lives down in Bruichladdich was in touch to say that she has been seeing a raft of around 18 Eiders regularly out on Loch Indaal  from her house. This morning there was a traffic jam outside of Port Charlotte, as a couple of Greylags were escorting their 6 young goslings across the road, witnessed by Liz Harthaway who works as Office manager at RSPB at Gruinart. This evening, round at Ballinaby, there were 98 Greylags in one of the fields. Through the day here at home, there has been a male Greenfinch, no wonder they are called Greenfinch, its' plumage was great to see in the light.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Thursday 1st June

Another day, another  month and the season has changed to our "Summer", off the right start with a wet and miserable day, typical.. infact over half an inch so far today, mind you the plants will jump up in size. The tally for the rainfall in May here was 2.25inches, drier than May last year!!


I managed to snap this Chough on the roof of our neighbours' cottage the other night.. The Rochdale birders had seen an Osprey round the far end of Loch Gorm the other day, Bob heard a Corncrake calling in a new location yesterday, in the rough edge in the field next to his house, the tally for the Corncrake count the other week was just short of 60 birds heard and Margaret counted 22 Goldfinches on and around the feeders here at home this morning. Wonder how the wee Pheasant chicks will have fared after the rain today, will have a look for them in the hopefully better weather tomorrow..