Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Wednesday 26th July

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

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Tuesday 25th July

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

Monday, 24 July 2017

Monday 24th July

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

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Sunday 23rd July

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

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Saturday 22nd July

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

Friday, 21 July 2017

Friday 21st July

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

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Thursday 20th July

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

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Wednesday 19th July

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

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tuesday 18th July

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

Monday, 17 July 2017

Monday 17th July

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

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sunday 16th July

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

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Saturday 15th July

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


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

Friday, 14 July 2017

Friday 14th July

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

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Thursday 13th July

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


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

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Wednesday 12th July

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


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


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Tuesday 11th July

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


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

Monday, 10 July 2017

Monday 10th July

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


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

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Sunday 9th July

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


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

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Saturday 8th JUly

This morning, Tom G had seen a Short eared Owl out hunting as he came out of Portnahaven. Later on and over the other side of Islay, while walking from Ardtalla up to the summit of Beinn Bheigier, Tom took this image of a Buzzard carrying of an Adder in its' talons..


Tom had also seen 4 Golden Plover in breeding plumage and many droppings from Red Grouse while on his walk.
This evening, we saw 2 juv White tailed Eagles as we came over the hill from Loch Gruinart to Carnain.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Friday 7th July

Some more rain through the night last night and then low cloud, but by early morning the cloud lifted and gave us a not too bad a day.. We had a Wren hopping along the garden wall mid morning, the first I have seen here for some time. Later on there was a Whinchat down below the "game crop". Today, Tom G had walked from Bowmore round to Laggan, seeing many Dunlin on his walk along with Oystercatcher and Shelduck in good numbers too. Top bird was a juv. Golden Eagle at Laggan Point.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Thursday 6th July

Just a wee photo taken earlier this week of the cover crop that we sowed back in April for the birds to enjoy later on, at present is the bees are loving it, on the sunny days!!


This morning, here at home, the Whitethroat was present again, with a Stonechat further down, towards the pond. Earlier this evening, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew past. This morning, Mark had a Bonxie, 6 Common Sandpiper, 2 Buzzard chicks almost fully fledged. Little Terns, Arctic Terns and a GND were also present a Mark went round Ardnave. Tom G. had been out past Gortantoid, up past Killinallan, where he saw a ringtail Hen Harrier and found a Mipit's nest with 3 eggs in it.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Wednesday 5th July

Today, Tom G had spent some time over on Jura. Up past Inver, North of Feolin he saw a male Hen Harrier and also 2 Kestrel. Here at home, we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier up on a thermal above the crag, never seen that before... Later on, there was a Buzzard sitting on a rocky outcrop along the crag wtching all that was going on round about. Just before tea time, a Peregrine was flying directly over the house. This morning, I came in to the house and what was in the house but that greedy male Blackbird, so I quickly moved the cats through the house before they caught the bird before I could... It took sometime get the bird caught.. earlier on, it had followed me into the garage, unknown to me!!


I managed to get this Common Gull siting on its' nest the other day while we were over at Gruinart

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Tuesday 4th July

A miserable start to the day, in fact there must have been quite a lot of rain last night as our rain gauge is just short of 0.5" so far this month. We have had a better afternoon and yesterday evening, yet another glorious sunset. Tom G. had a ringtail Hen Harrier as he drove up to Ardnave and saw the Mute Swans present along with their 6 youngsters on Ardnave Loch itself. Here at home, there were  2 Buzzards out soaring over the crag, mid afternoon. After watching them for a wee while, one of the Buzzards peeled off and flew on. Then, out of nowhere a couple of Peregrines appeared out of nowhere and started to dive bomb and harass the remaining Buzzard that was still there. The end of the story is that the remaining Buzzard flew away unscathed..  The Whitethroats were present in the game crop again today.  

Monday, 3 July 2017

Monday 3rd July

A better day, out here and we managed to get the grass cut! Earlier on, before getting the wee tractor out to cut the grass, I saw 3 Whitehtroats, down below the garage, the first I have seen here this year!!!  Gary today had been out with clients. Over at Bunnahabhain, they saw a male Hen Harrier, a Bullfinch at Bridgend, and a Red breasted Merganser along at the spit past Uiskentuie. Gary also commented on seeing many Whinchats while they were out. Returning visiting birder, Tom Garner is back over for another "fix", almost up to 30 visits he was saying to me... Today was spent over around Bunnahabhain and over to Bolsa. At the base of Mala Bosla, he saw a Merlin chasing after a Mipit, a Buzzard was present at Bunnahabhain. Tom commented on seeing plenty of Yellowhammers on his walk. He also saw 3 Kestrels while he was out.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Sunday 2nd July

Another mixed day with the weather again, not too wet, but enough dampness on the grass so it was not cut today, fingers crossed and tomorrow is another day... heard that before somewhere!! Not much to report through on the bird front, but on a positive note, the appeared to be more Chaffinches around and a few Goldfinches present here today as well as numerous House Sparrows as well. There is a pile of feathers over beside the garden wall, so perhaps we had a Sparrowhawk visiting some time today as the locus was in a similar place to where we have seen one perched on the wall...

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Saturday 1st July

As promised, the rainfall figures for June, nothing really out of the ordinary for here, a mere 3.6 inches for the month. We have had it drier in other years and also it a lot wetter as well.... Marsali over at Mulindry had 3.9 inches and also made the same comment ,"an average sort of a month". This morning it started off looking great, but by mid morning, the dampness was on, fortunately the wind kept up, otherwise the midges might have had a field day..
Yesterday Gary been down on the Sound of Islay where he saw a White tailed Eagle perched on a rock on the foreshore. Later on, he was speaking to a visitor up at Finlaggan who had seen a couple of Golden Eagles in the air over the hills behind Finlaggan. A short time afterward Gary had an Osprey flying with a fish in its' talons over the visitor centre at Finlaggan. Old Sandy was telling me that he had seen over 50 Swallows hawking over the rye field round at Ballinaby yesterday.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Friday 30th June

Well, that is almost another month in and come to think of it half of 2017 is almost past. So come tomorrow evening, as ever I will be able to reveal as to how much rain we have had in June, wetter than last June, but by how much? As it has been dry outside today, I have been  out in the garden for most of the time. I did manage see some birds mind you... 2 Peregrine flew over the top of the crag, 2 Ravens came out and practised some acrobatic flying stunts, a nicely coloured Linnet on the garden wall, a male Redpoll was a pleasant sight along with the colourful Siskins quarrelling amongst themselves on the feeders. On the back doorstep, the "friendly" male Blackbird waited patiently for Margaret to come out with his food... and then there was the daily flypast by the neighbourly Choughs while out on the grass our 2 local Hooded crows brought their 2 youngsters to show them off to us.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Thursday 29th June

Gary had been out and about doing some birding by himself today. Down at Gartmain where the burn enters Loch Indaal, Gary noticed more Gulls around... They included 4 Gbb Gull, 6 Lbb Gull, 12 Herring Gull, 33 Common Gull, a B H gull, 16 Oystercatcher, a Redshank and 2 Sedge Warblers. Round Loch Indaal, at Carnain, Gary had the following birds, 20 Ringed Plover, 12 Pied Wagtail, 10 Rock Pipits, 20 Meadow Pipits, 40 Blackwits, 4 Knot, 11 Dunlin, 45 Oystercatcher, a Curlew, 7 Linnet, with and an Osprey flying/ gliding west towards Uiskentuie. Back  on Loch Finlaggan, Gary had 19 Tufted Duck, the drake Ring necked Duck, a Cormorant and a Red throated Diver. Here at home, the Goldfinches are not so common for sure, the Starlings are up in numbers as are the Siskins with 12 counted out on the feeders this morning at one time. In fact there has ben a constant stream of Siskins coming and going for most of the day. The big flock of Jackdaws were not seen here today, but we did notice them on a recently sown reseed field over at Rockside...

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Wednesday 28th June

Been a not bad day with the weather and possibly another beautiful sunset coming shortly..  so, I have been busy today, weeding round some of the numerous trees that we have planted since moving house, almost 3 years ago.. and more importantly I sent the last couple of months of sightings from the blog through to "JD" and the Argyll Bird Club. I was "in the mood" this afternoon/ early evening and more than half of June is now done as well... can I do it up to date on the first of July and really surprise JD, with the June birds??? I am making no promises on that front....
On the bird front, Margaret saw a Peregrine carrying prey in its talons as it flew along the front of the crag. Margaret thought it looked like a young Jackdaw. Mid afternoon, there was quite a racket of birds outside, on inspection, around 250 Jackdaws were circling around over the old church next door.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Tuesday 27th June

Yesterday, Gary had seen a couple of Red breasted Merganser off Uiskentuie at the top of Loch Indaal, the first for some time. He was also saying that the Grasshopper Warbler was still "reeling" away opposite his house. Early this morning, just after midnight, we went out to hear any calling Corncrakes were about. In total we only heard 4 calling males, not as many as in previous years. There were also quite a lot of moths out as well, no Owls, a Grasshopper Warbler was heard with a Hedgehog seen too.. Goldfinches not so common on the feeders at home, but the Siskins were present.  

Monday, 26 June 2017

Monday 26th June

It is rather calm outside at present, and surprisingly, no midges are out, better not speak too soon, as we might go out around midnight and listen for any calling Corncrakes..
Today Peter had a count of 65 Bar tailed Godwits at the head of Loch Indaal. Gary today had been out with clients and reported in this evening to say that they had seen the drake Ring necked Duck and also a Red throated Diver on Loch Finlaggan.. The Rose coloured Starling was still present over at Laphroaig. Here at home, there appeared to be not so many Goldfinches around. It was great to see some young Swallows out hawking over the game crop. Last years crop is not as good as we had hoped but the same mixture to which I added some Oilseed rape seed sown late April, looks really well, so fingers crossed for the seeds for the birds to eat later on.

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..

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

WEdnesday 31st May

Been a better day with the weather, so I took the chance and cut the grass, as tomorrow, it is forecast to be wet... and the dastardly Hare has been thwarted, a positive event, so all my efforts yesterday were not in vain!!!
Gary had seen a Black throated Diver in summer plumage off  Bruichladdich on Monday. Yesterday, down on the Big Strand he counted 10 Little Terns, 22 Arctic Terns, 40 Dunlin and 50 Sanderling. Mike and Val Peacock had walked out from Ardbeg to Solum, the "fever village". Top birds seen included were a male Yellowhammer, Spotted Flycatchers, loads of Redpolls, 4 Whinchats, a Tree Pipit, 3 Cuckoos, a pr of Buzzards and a Golden Eagle. They also saw some new emergent Marsh Fritillary. Today the Rochdale birders had seen 3 Whimbrel while up at Ardnave, a male Hen Harrier and then later on, a Peregrine carrying prey while on their way round the Rhinns.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Tuesday 30th May

The reason why I never put an entry on the blog yesterday is twofold, the weather was foul for most of the day, and therefore I had no birds to report to you...Yesterday evening, though Mandy had heard a Chiffchaff at Sunderland Farm and then shortly afterwards, she heard a Whitethroat round at Carnduncan. Today, Mark had 6 Little Terns, 32 Arctic Terns, 3 Bonxies, a "lonely" Barnacle Goose and a count of 80 Sanderling, up at Ardnave/ Nave Island. The weather has been kinder today, but at the weekend I took the guards off from round the Willows, to give them a chance to bush out rather than getting too leggy... Big mistake, as when I walked along them this morning I spotted that one of the Hares had been nibbling at some of the young tender shoots.. so today, I have been kept out of mischief making and fitting almost 50 larger guards, so fingers crossed the said Hare will just need to eat some grass again....

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Sunday 28th May

What a glorious day it has been, wall to wall sunshine, not too hot, a good day for some work in the garden, get some weeds out of the way..
Gary had seen a male Hen Harrier out on the wing, quartering the moor up behind Persabus on his way to Bunnabhain. This evening we took a trip round Loch Gorm, not a lot to tell you about.. but there was a Stonechat on top of some gorse bushes at Coull, shortly after that a Buzzard was being mobbed by a Curlew. Over at Ballinaby, 2 Whimbrel were in one field and in the next field 89 Greylags were present. We also saw several Lapwings but no chicks, so had they been predated??

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Saturday 27th May

Before I forget, there will be No meeting of the Bird nerds this coming Tuesday as the Whisky/ music festival is on... but all going well we will meet up on June 6th , more about the venue next week...

Not much to report today, here at home one of the hen Pheasants appeared out with 6 chicks which appeared to be a few days old rather than newly hatched chicks, so fingers crossed on that one. Margaret, this morning spotted a Shelduck down at "smelly corner" with 6 or 7  well grown ducklings, again larger than ducklings of a day or two in age...The heavy rain that was forecast, did not come to much today, so possibly it was just as well that I had the watering can out on some newly planted plants this morning. Quite often after having the watering can out, it rains, but not today, although the dreaded midge did show face... Both the 2 pairs of Redpolls and the 2 pairs of Siskins are still with us on the feeders.
The Rochdale birders are back over again and seeing around 50 Gannets, at eye level and really close to them, in the Sound of Islay as the ferry approached Port Askaig.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Friday 26th May

While out carrying out the Corncrake count, the other morning, in the wee small hours, James had seen 3 Barn Owls on the Gruinart run, Mike Peacock had 2 Barn Owls on his patch towards and around Portnahaven, and Mandy had 3 Tawny Owls in total, 2 in Bridgend Woods and the other over at Avonvoggie. Bob yesterday had 6 Whimbrel up at Ardnave. Today, a visitor told me that he had seen a Ruff at Gruinart, and while over on Jura he saw a Golden Eagle and also a White tailed Eagle.


Bob trying to explain something to us the other day, when we were carrying the survey in Bridgend Woods, can't remember what though...

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Thursday 25th May

Another great image through from Mike Boyes, this time of a pair of Lesser backed Gulls displaying on the water. One of them was often seen upside down as it is in Mike's image

Last night, was the first round of the Corncrake survey here on Islay when we all try to go out and hear how many Corncrakes are around. On the run that I do with Margaret, we had 5 Corncrakes in total and it will be a day or two before we get a tally up. In total we do 3 counts... We also saw a Barn Owl, heard Sedge Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler, and a Lapwing and a single ewe bleating for its "missing" lamb... So after all that we got off to bed after 1 am, oh to be young again...

Carl Reavey had seen a Swift down at Bruichladdich today


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Wednesday 24th May

The low swirling mist that came in last night prevailed until lunchtime, so just as well you can arrive and depart from Islay on the ferry as the plane did not come..
Mike Boyes sent through this image of a Snipe that he had taken a couple of days ago while over at Gruinart, thanks Mike...


Yesterday, David Wood had heard a Quail calling in Glen Astle on the RSPB reserve on the Oa. Also yesterday, Gary had seen an Osprey on Loch nan Cadhan. Here at home, we have had a Collared Dove visiting us... Today, Bob had a male Kestrel just out of Port Ellen, the first he has seen in four years.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Tuesday 23rd May



Gotcha...managed to get this Redshank on top of a fence post at the roadside over at Leek. A few moments later its' mate landed on the road and then their young chick was seen in the grass on the verge, better parents than Pheasants, I hope...

Bob today had seen a White tailed Eagle being mobbed by a Raven, over towards Ballygrant. A pair of Greylags were in the frame as well, but whether the geese were attacking the eagle, Bob was not too sure of. Later on, at the other end of Islay, Bob saw 5 Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin, down on the shore below Claddach just out of Portnahaven. Bob said the turnstone were in full summer plumage.

Several folk have commented on the big numbers of young Starlings that have been seen around over the past few days....

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.