It is that time again, the 29th of February, with the entry being the only one on this date for another 4years... The weather today, has, well, not been great, with smurry rain falling all day, not great for bird watching for sure, what a difference a day makes, it was almost a Spring day...Mark Holling yesterday had a Golden Eagle over at Bunnahabhain with another 2 seen up at Sanaigmore. At Sanaigmore they also had seen 90 Skylark flying past, Mark wondered could be some birds on passage.. He also had a count of 38 Chough at Machir Bay with 5 Tufties seen on the pool there as well. Ardnave Point, 900 Golden Plover were seen, and down at Bridgend, 2 Dippers were carrying nesting materials. They also had a Grey Wagtail at Kilchiaran and another in Port Charlotte. Mandy and Fiona had walked out to Knockangle Point where they saw 77 Golden Plover basking on the rocks! They also saw 10 Whoopers flying North along the strand. Other birds on the rocks included 13 Dunlin, 12 Oystercatcher, 3 Ringed Plover. 17 Wigeon were on the water on Loch Indaal while on the shore were 3 Sanderling. Finally over the dunes, 25 Lapwing and a Golden Plover were on the wing. And as it was such a great day, we took ourselves out as well. Round at Ballinaby, in one of the fields were 96 Lapwing and 116 Starlings on the ground, then a Golden Eagle appeared and then round the corner 4 Hooded Crows took off from the rushes, but no sign of what they had been up to....From Gruinart, we went over the hill towards Bridgend and at the side of the road 5 Reed Buntings were seen and then 2 Red legged Partridges were spotted as we came to the road junction at Carnain. Over at Loch Tallant, past Cruach towards Red Lodge on the high road, a Cormorant flew overhead. Ballygrant Quarry, a couple of Collared Doves were on the roadside and finally, on the sheep carcase at smelly corner, the Glaucous Gull was present.
Monday, 29 February 2016
Sunday, 28 February 2016
Saturday is day that most folk either come or leave Islay and yesterday was no exception. Pat and Angie from Yorkshire headed on to the Cairngorms while Gordon and Pauline Yates ("The Rochdale birders") headed home. David and Jenny left on the early evening ferry, but fitted in some more birdwatching, and what a day, seeing 4 Golden Eagles, On the loop round the Rhinns, they saw 2 Goldies, another was seen up past Killinallan and the final Goldie was seen over the hills out past Loch Skerrols.. Other birds seen were 8 Goldeneye on Loch Gorm, a flock of over 30 Chough at Machir Bay and some Twite at Killinallan. In fields adjacent to Loch Skerrols, they counted 66 Woodpigeons, their largest number of Woodpigeons during their stay. Thanks to you all for sharing with us your birds. Martin had taken a walk round Loch Skerrols mid week seeing Wren, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Tree creeper, Buzzard, Grey Heron, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Mute Swan and Whitefronted Geese and then he tucked into a couple of Marshmallows for his efforts....New arrivals, Mark Holling with his 2 colleagues had seen the cackling Goose over amongst the flock of 500 Barnies at Kinnabus. They also spent time looking through another flock of around 1500 Barnies in the Cornabus valley and found a pale bellied Brent amongst them. Further along the road towards Kintra, they saw 130 Chaffinches, 60 Skylarks, and 10 Mipits. While down on the Oa itself, they also saw a distant Golden Eagle and also a pair of Chough. Late afternoon, they saw 3 Scaup and a raft of 25 Common Scoter on Loch Indaal. Chris Mills and his group from Norfolk Birding also arrived over yesterday. At Kennacraig, before the ferry left, a pair of Goosander flew past, while in the water was an adult female Velvet Scoter. From the ferry during the sailing, they saw 6 RTD, 36 GND, 7 Slav Grebes, a raft of 14 BTD, 20 RB Merganser, 2 Common Scoter. As they approached Port Askaig, a Golden Eagle was seen over Jura. Coming along Loch Indaal, a Glaucous Gull was spotted and finally 2 Whooper Swan were seen flying in off the sea at Machir Bay, flying in towards Loch Gorm. On our way out Bowmore yesterday, there were 13 Eider, along at Blackrock, 4 RB Merganser were close in with 9 Pale bellied Brents on the water's edge there too.
Saturday, 27 February 2016
The Rochdale birders had yesterday had been over at Bunnahabhain where they saw 2 Otters out in the bay. They also spotted Golden Eagle in the distance carrying what they took to be "some nesting material" and then a couple of ringtails, talon gripping. Over on the "glen road", they had a Peregrine at the roadside plucking a Redwing, before the Peregrine flew off with its' prey. Finally at Carnduncan, they counted 100 Fieldfare and 10 Redwings. David and Jenny yesterday started their day seeing a Dipper on the River Sorn at Bridgend. In Ballygrant woods, they saw 10 Woodpigeon. Along at Finlaggan, a total of 8 Buzzards were present and also a ringtail. On the "distillery pond" behind Port Charlotte, they saw a Moorhen. Pat and Angie had been over on Jura, seeing a White tailed Sea Eagle, 2 Golden Eagle, several Stonechats, Long tailed Tits, a Kestrel, and GND. Felicity and David Pollard have been down from Mull for a few days... They had seen 4 Reed Buntings down on the Oa, and close views of Golden Plover. On Loch Indaal, a pair of Long tailed Ducks were off Blackrock, with 13 Pale bellied Brent further along the coast.
Friday, 26 February 2016
A not bad day out here with the weather, so much so that I took the chance to get the tractor out with the rotavator on and cultivated some of the ground which we intend to sow with a "Pheasant and Finch" seed mix later this year... watch this space! David and Jenny had a good day yesterday. Up at Sanaigmore they had a mixed flock of 10 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 50 Skylark, 30 Meadow Pipit and 12 Reed Bunting. Down on the beach there were some Ringed Plovers along with Turnstones. On Loch Indaal, close to "smelly corner" they saw 14RTD, 3 GND, 11 Slav Grebe, 6 Common Scoter and at least 6 L T Ducks. Bruichladdich held 6 Tysties, 2 GND, 3 RTD, 4 Common Scoter and 6 Purple Sandpipers. Off Portnahaven, their birds included 20 Gannets, a Fulmar, a Kittiwake, a passage of around 4,000 Auks (mainly Guillemots and a few Razorbills) in 30 minutes, all flying south. They also saw a ringtail up behind the village as well. Coming over the hill, back to Port Charlotte, they saw a Grey Wagtail at Kilchiaran and finally, a female Merlin was spotted in the Loch Gorm area. The Rochdale birders were over on Jura, first thing yesterday morning and commented on seeing so many Red Deer down close to the road, no doubt not liking the wintry weather on the hills! They also saw a distant Otter in the Sound of Islay. A ringtail was seen on the "glen road" while at the dusk, 4 Woodcock were at Foreland and also a Hen Harrier seen nearby. Mandy ad been down on the Machir Bay and found a dead Puffin.
Thursday, 25 February 2016
Down on the Oa reserve yesterday, Dave saw a juv. White tailed Eagle being chased off by the resident Golden Eagles. DHe also saw a Merlin and was saying that there is still a flock of around 100 Twite still present. David and Jenny had a flock of 15 Long tailed Tits, a few Reed Buntings and a Yellowhammer out past Ardbeg. Out on Claggain bay, they had a GND. Over Loch Kinnabus they saw a pair of Golden Eagle, also coming back from the Oa, a Kestrel and also a pair of Stonechats were seen on the Oa. Pat and Angie saw a ringtail and also a pair of White tailed Eagles out past Ballygrant. James had a Barn Owl and 3 Hen Harriers at the dusk at Gruinart. This morning, Margaret counted 39 Goldfinches out on the feeders and later on, we saw a Stonechat on a fence at the side of the road close to Coull. Not so many Stonechats have been around of late...Visitors from Mull, David and Felicity Pollard were pleased yesterday afternoon to see some of the Chough out on the wing practising their acrobatic skills out behind Machir Bay...
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
Another good day for the time of year all be it with a slight edge to the air, still it is only February.... Gary had carried out his WeBS count yesterday from Port Charlotte round to Blackrock, seeing the following, 4GND, 2 RTD, 4 RB Merganser, 8 Cormorant, 1 Slav Grebe,4 Tysties, 79 Eider, 3 Mallard, 1 Goldeneye, 78 Oystercatcher, 4 Curlew, 55 R. Plover, 51 Dunlin, 13 Turnstone, 16 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Lapwing, 2 GBB Gull, 85 H Gull, 55 C Gull, 46 Barnies and a Kittiwake. Along at "smelly corner" 37 Shelduck and 8 Long tailed Ducks were seen. David and Jenny had spotted the Glaucous Gull down at Machir Bay, later on just past Craigens, a ringtail was present and then a Greenshank was seen. A female Merlin was seen flying along the shoreline, while up near the end of the road, a 100 Barwits and also a male Hen Harrier. Finally close to Carnduncan, a Sparrowhawk was seen. James yesterday had carried out a count of the geese on the reserve at Gruinart, traditionally always the lowest count for the year, but all the same 4,765 Barnies, 266 Greenland whiefronts and 53 Greylags were there. Visitors from Liverpool had met in with the Rochdale birders yesterday and told our friends that they had seen a Short eared Owl on the reserve at Gruinart. The Rochdale birders themselves had seen 4 male Hen Harriers and 2 ringtails at different locations yesterday, with one of the ringtails on the ground at a road kill. Over close to Cruach, they saw a Golden Eagle. Back at Port Charlotte, they saw an Otter on Loch Indaal with her cub... Pat and Angie had 2 Golden Eagles up at Sanaigmore,and also a flock of Reed Buntings. Over at Machir Bay, they had Twite and close views of Chough. This morning, here at home, a new garden tick was 2 Blue Tit on the feeders. The vols at Gruinart had carried out a farmland bird survey noting 60 Skylark, 26 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing and 20 Reed Bunting
Tuesday, 23 February 2016
This good spell of weather continues, I spent a few hours out in the garden tidying things up and planting some more willows in to provide cover for some of the other bushes already planted, and some more rogosa cuttings in... Yesterday Michal had carried out his WeBs counts with his top listings at Loch Gruinart being 33 Shelduck, 203 Oystercatcher, 13 Ringed Plover, 142 Lapwing, 48 Sandrling, 206 Barwit and 25 Curlew. On the floods at Gruinart, Michal counted 58 Mallard, 44 Curlew, 11 Snipe, 347 Lapwing, 53 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 12 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 6 Red br. Merganser and a Slavonian Grebe. At Ardnave Loch, 8 Mute Swan, 13 Whoopers, 16 Tufted Duck, 2 Slav Grebe and also 2 Goldeneye were present. Gary yesterday had a male Hen Harrier out on the wing out over the moorland out in front of his house. Later on a Golden Eagle was out the back from his house being mobbed by a Raven. Down at smelly corner, he had seen a Glaucous Gull down on the remains of a sheep, with a couple of GBB Gulls close by! David and Jenny highlights' for the day yesterday included a Golden Eagle from the Glen Road and then along at Keills, a male Hen Harrier was seen. Other visitors from East Yorkshire, Pat and Angie, had spotted a ringtail on the reserve at Gruinart on Sunday, and on Monday they had seen Choughs and Ravens on theOa and then later on Long tailed Tits and Treecreeper down in the Ardilistry area.
Monday, 22 February 2016
Yesterday, David and Jenny saw 10 Scaup, a Slavonian Grebe , 25 Common Scoter and 20 Pale bellied Brent Geesee on Loch Indaal. At Gruinart, a male Hen Harrier was seen while on Ardnave Loch, 12 Whoopers were present. Finally round Loch Gorm, they counted 25 Fieldfare and 8 Redwing. Today the weather has been kinder to us all, so Bob and myself managed to carry out the WeBs count from Bowmore down to Gartbeck with the scores on the doors tallying out at 1 GND, 1 Black Guillemot, 6 Cormorant, 25 Shag, 6 Greylags, 550 Barnies, 23 Greenland Whitefronts, 13 Shelduck, 26 Mallard, 8 Teal, 30 Wigeon, 16 Rb Merganser, 13 Eider, 4 Heron, 90 Oystercatcher, 120 Curlew, 30 Barwit, 20 Redshank, 51 Dunlin, 9 Turnstone, 12 Ringed Plover, 8 Grey Plover, 65 Lapwing, 12 Gbb Gull, 120 Herring Gull, 30 C. Gull and 35 Bh Gull. On his way home, Bob spotted a White tailed Eagle heading out over Bridgend down towards the merse, possibly on the look out for a goose for lunch...
Sunday, 21 February 2016
Yesterday afternoon, over on the flats on the reserve at Gruinart, we saw a Buzzard tucking into the remnants of a goose.. there was a flock of over 80 Golden Plover in the air there at the same time. Returning visitors, David and Jenny from Staffordshire came over on the ferry yesterday seeing 2 BTD, 6 RTD, 11 GND and a Slavonian Grebe, not the best of days with the weather yesterday for being out on the deck... Up at Sanaig today, the Rochdale birders had a flock of 50 Skylarks and also 4 Fieldfares. Down close to Rock mountain, they saw a female Merlin and down at Cladville, Portnahaven a male Hen Harrier was present. Here at home this morning, the Raven dropped in to see what was on the ground for breakfast, and obviously does not like an old cheese roll, perhaps it was the home baking that was being looked for!!!
Saturday, 20 February 2016
Laurence Reeve who has been over this past week sent through some of his top birds while he was here. Back on Tuesday, he had seen 24 Chough up at Ardnave with a further 22 down at Machir Bay. Over the flats at Gruinart, Laurence had a juv. White tailed Eagle. On Wednesday he saw the Glaucous Gull at Machir Bay and also the Iceland Gull at Ardnave Point. On Thursday, he had 500 Golden Plover over the flats at Gruinart. As ever, many thanks to the various visiting birders who have sent through their sightings to the blog. The Oriole birders, I believe had seen a total of 11 Golden Eagles while they were here.
Yesterday, we went looking for the Yellowhammers over near to Kildalton, the weather was grim to put it politely, but we managed to see 10 at least. This morning, we had a new garden tick, a Raven, it had the brass neck to steal some banana cake which Margaret had put out....
Friday, 19 February 2016
The Rochdale birders yesterday got the monkey of their back and saw 5 Hen Harriers, their first this week. Over at Storakaig, they had a male and a ringtail, later on they saw a male bird on the reserve at Gruinart and then up the East side of Loch Gruinart, another 2 were seen with the ringtail carrying some prey in its' talons. Also there, a female Sparrowhawk flew from Crois Mhor across Loch Gruinart towards Kilnave Chapel, causing havoc amongst the resting waders...Also yesterday, Tom Garner had a Peregrine behind Machir Bay and also a Dipper on the Sorn at Bridgend. Peter had been down at the hide at Gruinart with Tim Cleeves where they saw 3 Greenshank. Forgot to mention last night that 7 Fulmars were along the front of the crag, possibly the reason why it is windy outside as I write this entry... Ashley and his team from Oriole birding had been out and about with their highlights included 2 L T Ducks and a Glaucous Gull off Uiskentuie, 8 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich, the "Glen road" produced 2 Golden Eagles, on the Oa another 2 Goldies, a flock of around over 30 Twite while finally out towards Ardtalla, a Peregrine, 2 more Goldies as well as 21 Yellowhammers.
Thursday, 18 February 2016
Gary yesterday had been out a walk down towards Knockangle Point on the big strand where he saw 4 Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover, 35 Golden Plover (2 going into summer plumage!), 4 Oystercatcher and also 2 different flights of Golden Plovers, over the airport and also over the golf course of 40 and 100 birds. Tom yesterday had seen 14 Mute, 5 Whooper Swan on Ardnave Loch along with 4 Tufted Duck. In the fields around the loch, 100 Lapwings were present. Out round Ardnave Point, 38 Sanderling, a Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstone, 4 Purple Sandpiper and a couple of Chough were seen Down at Saligo, a Merlin was added to their list. Ashley Saunders along with the Oriole birding group had another good day too yesterday seeing 2 Glaucous Gulls at Machir Bay. A walk round Ardnave produced 25 Chough, 3 Hen Harriers, 200 Golden Plover, at least 5 Purple Sandpiper, over 50 Sanderling and an Otter and an Iceland Gull at Ardnave Point itself. 3 Golden Eagles were seen flying out over the hills up on the Eastern side of Loch Gruinart, and back on Ardnave Loch, they had a Dabchick and 2 Pochard. Up past Craigens, they had 2 more Hen Harriers and a flock of over 250 Twite along with the odd Linnet.
Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Gary had a couple of new "house ticks" on Monday, seeing House Sparrow and also a Reed Bunting on his feeders. He also saw a male Hen Harrier out "quartering its' patch out at Finlaggan, while over the distant hills past Bunnahabhain, a couple of White tailed Eagles were on the wing. Tom Garner, like the rest of us battled with the weather yesterday, reporting in to having seen 3 GBB Gulls and a Raven up behind Portnahaven. Ashley Saunders and the team from Oriole birding, yesterday had brilliant views of a Golden Eagle from close to Red Lodge on the high road. They also saw 2 Dippers on the River Sorn at Bridgend and then a Treecreeper at the Woollen Mill. Over at Loch Gruinart, their highlights were 2 Common snipe, a Whooper Swan and then 2 Knot. James had a White tailed Eagle on the ground along the flats at Gruinart and Peter had a Sparrowhawk in his garden.
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
Bob Young and his wife had been over at the weekend, staying up in their cottage up the top end of Gruinart, towards Ardnave. Their highlights including good sightings of an Otter, Merlin and down on the reserve at Gruinart, out in front of the new hide, a Gadwall was spotted amongst the Teal and geese. Oriole Birding led by Ashley Saunders arrived yesterday for their first trip to Islay. Coming over on the ferry they had seen 70 GND in total, a BTD, 6 Slavonian Grebe with a Golden Eagle and a white tailed Eagle seen flying over Jura. Late afternoon, came in at the head of Loch Indaal, they had a distant Glaucous Gull, 150 Barwits and 20 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Finally, down close to Port Ellen, they had a count of 50 Fieldfare, a Redwing and 2 Reed Bunting, close to where they are staying. Bob yesterday had a Golden Eagle over Bolsay Moor and a Pinkfoot fly over his house along with some other geese. The weather has not been too nice today, a complete contrast to yesterday, with low cloud and swirling mist... the ferry is meant to be coming over this evening for the first time today, at least it is coming...
Monday, 15 February 2016
James yesterday had seen 7 Grey Plovers at Gruinart. Yesterday morning, I saw 5 Whoopers fly in from the sea, and than late afternoon, 8 flew back out from the Loch Gorm area. Mandy had been up at Sanaigmore and had 3 Turnstone and 20 Oystercatchers. The Rochdale birders had seen 80 Sanderling at the "lobster ponds" at Ardnave, the largest group of them, that they have ever seen on Islay! They also saw a Golden Eagle close to Storakaig, a Kingfisher at Loch Skerrols, a female Sparrowhawk at Coullabus with a flock of over 300 Golden Plovers along the flats at Gruinart. A bit overcast here this evening, so Tim Peake & Co will just have to pass over and not be seen on the ISS
Sunday, 14 February 2016
Gary had been working out in his garden the other day and while he was there, he had 4 Buzzards up in the air, one of them escorted a Golden Eagle on its' way! On Friday on Loch Indaal, close to Bowmore, Gary had 170 Barwits, 5 Knot, numerous Curlews , Oystercatchers, Dunlins and Ringed Plovers with around 230 Wigeon as well. Out from the Gaelic centre, a Slav Grebe and 20 Common Scoter were seen. Yesterday, Gary had been over at Claggain Bay seeing a flock of Golden Plover and also 2 White tailed Eagles as well a Golden Eagle. Out towards Ardtalla, a flock of 20 Twite and also another 2 Golden Eagles. Yesterday, George and Pat Jackson had seen a Treecreeper in Bridgend woods with a Cormorant flying over the woods too. Along at the Woollen Mill, the feeders there were busy with around 20 Tits and also many Chaffinches. The Rochdale birders are back again, and at Gortan yesterday had a small mumeration of around 50 or so Starlings flying in formation, only to be split by a Peregrine. As they were in traffic and they could not stop to see the outcome!!! Bob yesterday had counted 117 Lapwing at Carn, Port Charlotte, a male Hen Harrier seen at Torrabus and Peregrine over Loch Skerrols. This morning, Bob saw 6 Whoopers flying North. Here at home, Margaret spotted a Greenfinch on the feeders, the first here for some time! Just seen the ISS pass over, be round again in 90 minutes again...
Saturday, 13 February 2016
Forgot to mention that James had seen a Lesser Black backed Gull on the reserve at Gruinart on Thursday.
George and Pat Jackson had seen the Glaucous Gull down at Machir Bay and also there at the big pool alongside the car park were 9 Ringed Plover. Later on they saw a ringtail Hen Harrier on one of the roadside poles up beside their son's house. They also had 9 Reed Bunting flitting between the overhead cable and the neighbour's hen run! Peter and Mike had been over at Claggain Bay yesterday afternoon and saw an immature Golden Eagle hunting over the fields there before it flew on along the coast, it had been disturbing Oystercatchers and around 20 Golden Plover. Coming back home along the high road from Port Ellen, they had a male Hen Harrier. Colin and Alison Parnell on Thursday had a flock of 80 Twite while down on the Oa, out over the sea from the monument, 5 Guillemot, 3 Fulmar, a Kittiwake, 4 Gannet were seen, while close to the car park 2 pr of Raven and 2 Chough were present. At Coillabus as they headed back to Port Ellen, a pair of Stonechats and 27 Fieldfare were seen. Here at home yesterday, we had a new tick for the garden with 2 Ravens down at a dead Hare! In the afternoon, we had 29 Pale bellied Brent, 14 Barnies and 30 Scaup all sheltering in the bay at Blackrock, out from "Cash Kelly's" House. Just as we came into Bowmore, we had a Goldeneye close to the shore. Colin and Alison also saw the birds that we had at Cash Kelly's but they also spotted 24 Common Scoter, a Slavonian Grebe and a GND. On their way up to Bunnahabhain, they saw a White tailed Sea Eagle over the hills past Ballygrant with a Golden Eagle spotted from Bunnahabhain itself. Finally over between Gruinart and Loch Gorm, a Barn Owl was outhunting and also a Woodcock was seen as well
Friday, 12 February 2016
Earlier this week, Mandy had been over close to Port Askaig, and down close to the generator station, she heard 2 Goldcrest in the trees nearby as well as some Coal Tits chattering away and also some Robins singing as well....Down at Bridgend, Mandy heard a Mistle Thrush singing there! At home yesterday, Margaret saw a Pied Wagtail on the garden fence. George and Pat Jackson yesterday afternoon had walk along the bottom end of the Big strand seeing a Goldeneye, 40 Golden Plover, 12 Knot, 5 Sanderling, 1 Ringed Plover, a Curlew, a Dunnock in the marram grass and out on the shore, a dead metre long conger eel! Dave today had seen an Iceland Gull down on the Oa.
Thursday, 11 February 2016
What a glorious day, with the sighting of snow up on Mull and also on the hills down on Ireland as well, and then this evening, it was great to see the International Space Station cross the sky, all going well we will see the ISS as it passes by again shortly...
Yesterday, Gary had ben at Finlaggan where he saw 75 Whitefronts and 300 Barnies in the fields at the loch. On the water, 3 Dabchick, 5 Tufties, 7 Goldeneye, 12 Mallard, 22 Teal and an Otter were present! Behind Finlaggan House, a flock of 30 Lapwings took off from the fields there. There was a ringtail Hen Harrier sitting on a fence post down at the plantation, 7 Buzzards were seen in total in the air around the loch while a distant Golden Eagle was far out over the hills with a male Hen Harrier out quartering the rough grazing close to the centre. 6 Lesser Redpoll were flying between the plantation and the trees around Finlaggan House. 9 Tufties were on Loch nan Cadhan and Gary had a Fieldfare flying from the trees beside his house. Peter had noted 11 Purple Sandpipers at Bruichladdich from the comfort of his lounge...Colin and Alison had a busy day again yesterday, starting with the same Sandpipers at Bruichladdich, they also had a Redshank and 8 Ringed Plover there too. Along past Carn out of Port Charlotte they had a RB Merganser, 15 Common Scoter, 8 RTD and 20 GND out on Loch Indaal. At Portnahaven, a Sparrowhawk was seen, while off Frenchman's Rocks, 2 Gannets were flying South. They also had large numbers of Auks flying South too but the identification proved difficult. Up at Machir Bay, the Glaucous Gull was seen as were 40 Twite and 6 Chough. Along near to Coull, a Peregrine was spotted, a fantastic day by all accounts! Today, Heather Watkins, of RSPB fame, had heard a Great spotted Woodpecker drumming away close to Tallant. Heather also saw a Grey Wagtail near by and a flock of 50 Lapwings on the wing at Tallant too.
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
On Monday, Gary's neighbour had 6 Yellowhammers on his feeders. Yesterday Gary had been over at Bunahabhain and had some good sightings.. He had 3 Buzzards seen, one of which was seen "escorting" a Golden Eagle out over the bay. Gary also had a Peregrine, 11 GND, 7 Cormorant, 4 Oystercatcher, a Curlew, 3 Heron with a Dipper singing along on the Margadale River. On his way home, on Ardnahoe Loch a Little Grebe was seen, a Sparrowhawk was flying over the Loch and a Kestrel on the overhead wires at the side of the road. Visitors from Italy, Colin and Alison Parnell also had a good day yesterday with their highlights including 2 Long tailed Ducks off Blackrock as well as a Black Guillemot seen there as well. At Coullabus, a Merlin was present, up at Ardnave, a Peregrine was seen as were a flock of 28 Chough over the dunes! They had seen a Golden Eagle as well as a Buzzard at Coullabus on their way back from Gruinart, good for comparing the 2 birds together! They also saw on Loch Indaal 2 Black throated Diver, 8 GND, 1 RTD and a Slavonian Grebe, just great!!! Returning birders, George Pat Jackson are over for a few days and yesterday had seen 2 Long tailed Ducks, close in at Carnain, and then 2 BTD as well as 2 GND off Port Charlotte.
Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Peter returned at the weekend a taking a tour to the far East and thereafter spending sometime with his son and family in New Zealand.... Back here on Sunday, Peter had a new garden tick for his list at Bruichladdich, a male Hen Harrier flew over his garden. there were a couple of Fulmars out flying along the crag here at home yesterday morning, and possibly the same 2 were out again this morning! The Lapwing flock totalled 35 this morning, out towards the War graves, coming out of Bowmore at Gartmain there were over 70 Lapwing dipping their feet on the tide line early afternoon, not often that one sees them in the sea water! late afternoon, a quick run round Loch Gorm produced some Greenland Whitefronts at Coull, Ballinaby and over at Carnduncan. At Carnduncan, there was one with a neck collar on, but we could not make it out... Also mixed with these groups were a few Barnies. At Sunderland, there were Whitefronts on one side of the road while there were 15 Greylags on the other side of the road!
Sunday, 7 February 2016
The story continues with another day with weather topping the bill, it was dryish for a few moments early morning, but soon went downhill with more rain falling and the wind picking up, but this evening, I think that possibly it could be not as wet and the wind has eased a bit, so allowing the ferry to come over this evening and is due to return back to Kennacraig later on.... The weather did not deter the visiting birders too go out and sample our weather... they even managed to see a Canada Goose, hutchunisi sp amongst the flock of Barnies in the fields over behind Bridgend... I only ventured out for some logs for the fire and put some food out for the birds to eat...
Saturday, 6 February 2016
Not much of a day with the weather, rather wet with the wind behind it, not really a day for bird watching.... but on the way down to Bridgend, around midday, we did count 34 Pale bellied Brent Geese down at Blackrock. They were bobbing around in the choppy sea, rather them than me!!!
Friday, 5 February 2016
Another mixed sort of a day with the weather, only no sun, but at dusk tonight we were able to make out the shape of Ireland in the distance.... This morning, out over the crag there were a couple of Fulmars "wheeling" around, a Raven appeared out to try to chase them on. Out over the Machir towards the War graves cemetery, the Lapwings were out with around 25 counted and this afternoon 20 Chough were noted as well. Visiting birders over for a short break over the weekend had seen some Sanderling along with few Ringed Plover down on Machir Bay itself this morning.
Thursday, 4 February 2016
A mixed sort of a day with the weather, as several times I looked out I could not see the crag let alone the garden fence, the mist kept swirling around, but lifted and so allowing the plane to get in this evening... Mike yesterday during the spell of better weather, carried out his NEWS sector at Lossit. At Lossit bay itself, Mike saw a 1st winter Glaucous Gull eating a dead Gannet! He also had a male Hen Harrier, a count of 52 Curlew and 4 Chough seen while he was out. Back home at Port Charlotte, late afternoon, Mike saw 67 Common Scoter on Loch Indaal, his highest count so far, this winter.
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
I looked at the wind speed at one point today, it was not even registering 10 mph... to make the point as well, I was working outside repairing the guards around the trees and replacing some of the supporting stakes which needed sorted out!!! While I was outside, the Chough were out and about, vocal as ever, a flock of 21 Lapwing were flying out towards the War graves cemetery. Later on our way to Bridgend, there were 2 Buzzards perched on the same telegraph pole just past Rockside and at Blackrock, there was a raft of 44 Scaup. Bob, today had been over towards Claggain Bay where he saw a White Tailed Eagle on the ground, being mobbed by a Golden Eagle! Gary had been out on the Rhinns seeing 7 Buzzard, 5 Stonechat, 4 Mistle Thrush and several large flocks of Starlings on his travels. On Orsay Island, Gary counted 45 H Gull, 4 GBB Gull and an Iceland Gull. Off Claddach, he saw 25 Gannet, 21 Kittiwake, 3 Black Guillemot, 10 Guillemot, 2 Puffin, 10 Fulmar and 3GND. Coming back up to Port Charlotte by Kilchiaran, a Golden Eagle was seen and then a Merlin at Cultoon. Finally at Bruichladdich 21 Ringed Plover,7 Dunlin, 9 Purple Sandpiper and a Redshank were present
Tuesday, 2 February 2016
The wind has dropped now, not before time mind you. Having said that, late this afternoon I got caught out in a squally shower being peppered with hailstones, not nice!
Gary and Sam today had a Sparrowhawk in their garden over near to Ballygrant. This afternoon, down at the reedbed beside the Coastguard cottages, they counted 4 Reed Buntings, and on their way down to Machir Bay, the Glaucous Gull was seen over the dunes.
Gary and Sam today had a Sparrowhawk in their garden over near to Ballygrant. This afternoon, down at the reedbed beside the Coastguard cottages, they counted 4 Reed Buntings, and on their way down to Machir Bay, the Glaucous Gull was seen over the dunes.
Monday, 1 February 2016
Another month in, our rain gauge here at home tallied through at 7.4 inches for the month of January. The winds today are something else... at 3.32 this afternoon, the wind speed read 79.9mph, and just after 6pm, the wind read at 78.3mph...so far the electricity is still on...
Yesterday, Bob carried out his big garden bird watch, with a total of 17 species seen, 37 Chaffinch, 3 M. Thrush, 1 S. Thrush, 6 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 2 Dunnock, 20 Starling, 10 Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinch, 2 G. Tit, 1 B. Tit, 1 Wren, 1 Redwing, 8 Hooded Crow, 1 Jackdaw and 2 Rock Doves. Also yesterday, while walking his dogs, Bob saw a Red Grouse on Bolsay Moor up behind Port Charlotte.