Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wednesday 26th April

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

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Tuesday 25th April

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

Monday, 24 April 2017

Monday 24th April

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

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

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sunday 23rd April

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

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Saturday 22nd April

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

Friday, 21 April 2017

Friday 21st April

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

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Thursday 20th April

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

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Wednesday 19th April


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

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tuesday 18th April

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

Monday, 17 April 2017

Monday 17th April

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

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Sunday 16th April

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

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Saturday 15th April

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

Friday, 14 April 2017

Friday 14th April

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

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Thursday 13th April

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

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Wednesday 12thApril

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

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Tuesday 11th April

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

Monday, 10 April 2017

Monday 10th April

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

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Sunday 9th April

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

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Saturday8th April

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

Friday, 7 April 2017

Friday 7th April

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

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Thursday 6th April

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

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Wednesday 5th April

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

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Tuesday 4th May

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

Monday, 3 April 2017

Monday 3rd April

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

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Sunday 2nd April

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

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Saturday 1st April

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

Friday, 31 March 2017

Friday 31st March

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

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Thursday 30th March

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

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Wednesday 29th March

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

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Tuesday 28th March

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

Monday, 27 March 2017

Monday 27th March

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

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sunday 26th March

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

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Saturday 25th March

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

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

Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday 24th March

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

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Thursday 23rd March

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

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

WEdnesday 22nd March

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

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Tuesday 21st March

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

Monday, 20 March 2017

Monday 20th March

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

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunday 19th March

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

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Saturday 18th March

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

Friday, 17 March 2017

Friday 17th March

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

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Thursday 16th March

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

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Wednesday 15th March

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

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Tuesday 14th March

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

Monday, 13 March 2017

Monday 13th March

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

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Sunday 12th March

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

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Saturday 11th March

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

Friday, 10 March 2017

Friday 10th March

Many thanks to James for compiling the blog in my absence over the past 3 weeks while we were away on holiday to Tanzania, ably led by Peter Roberts. Mike and Val Peacock, Tim and Ann Cleeves, Margaret and myself made the UK contingent with Alice from Seattle and Caroline from Florida made up our small, select group up...  I am not 100% sure of the final figures, but over 440 species of birds were seen, with many animals seen as well, including a pack of 15 wild dogs, the first that Peter has seen in Tanzania, in over 25 visits... A trip of a lifetime, great sightings shared with great friends along with 3 excellent guides/ drivers, Moses, Vincent and Martin from Tanzania Birding, words are hard to find to explain the trip, so many thanks to Peter for organising it for us all...

Back here on Islay, the rainfall figure came to 4.3 inches for February, so there must have been a few wet days in our absence. James reported through late afternoon, to say that the Green winged Teal was seen out in front of the hide at Gruinart today.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Thursday 9th March

Another beautiful day on Islay, apart from one sneaky shower. A bird count around the reserve at Gruinart - on the Loch: 1 Great Norther Diver, 158 Shelduck, 198 Wigeon, 232 Oystercatcher, 48 Knot, 106 Bar Tailed Godwits, 102 Curlew, 216 Common Gulls, and a Lesser Black Backed Gull. And on the Floods: 187 Lapwing, 229 Teal, 15 Whooper Swans, 27 Pintail, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Greenshank, 2 Gadwall, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Merlin.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Tuesday 7th March

A beautiful start to the day, but windy and wet now. Not too much to report today. Best birds for me being a brief view of a Woodcock over the woods on the reserve, 21 Shoveler and a male Gadwall from the North hide.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Monday 6th March

Some good weather over the weekend with a real feel of Spring in the air. The honey bees were flying and Skylarks singing.
Garry had some good birdwatching over the weekend - including re-finding the Great Grey Shrike at Carnain (see pic), 4 White Tailed Eagles at Bridgend as well as 2 calling Water Rails. On the Rhinns he had 2 male Hen Harriers  and in Ballygrant woods area 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers on Friday.
Mandy saw a Small Canada in front of the Kilchoman memorial looks like a parvipes type bird from photos.
Over the weekend at Gruinart, I had a White Tailed Eagle, 2 Merlins, 7 Long Tailed Tits and a male Gadwall.


Friday, 3 March 2017

Friday 3rd March

Chris and Norfolk birders came to the reserve at Gruinart today and whilst I was talking to them out side the visitor centre they found 4 White Tailed Eagles together! on the salt Marsh (all in the same scope view). It looked like 2 adults and 2 juveniles. And on the reserve at the Oa Dave found a Cackling Goose see pic.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Thursday 2nd March

Chris Mills from Norfolk Birders has been in touch with some good records - 3 White Tailed Eagles on Bridgend Merse and at the Oa among 120 Twite and some Skylarks was a Snow Bunting and a Lapland Bunting

Spot the bird!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Wednesday 1st March

Records from Ken and Burbage birders from Monday: 9 Purple Sandpipers, 4 Rock Pipits and 5 Red Throated Divers at Bruichladdich. At Bunahabhain 2 Otters gave great view - seen by Chrs Mills as well, a Merlin at Scarrabus. At Gruinart 2 Golden Eagles, 1 White Tailed Eagle, a Merlin and the Green Winged Teal. On Loch Indaal from Bowmore: 11 Great Northern Divers, 100 + Common Scoter, 5 Slavonian Grebes, 9 Long Tailed Ducks, 13 Scaup, 1 Black Throated Divers and 3 Red Throated Divers. Garry reported 3 Drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers in Ballygrant Woods.
Yesterday afternoon Neil reported the Great Grey Shrike at Bridgend on the shore below the War Memmorial towards Bowmore - this was last seen last week.
Julie reported the Glaucous Gull again on Loch Indaal and got some good photos it appears to be a different Gull to the one reported by Tom Lowe as a Viking Gull last week.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Monday 27th February

Lots of records for yesterday, Sunday: Gary re-found the 1stWinter Ring Billed Gull at Craigens. Ken and gang had some good birding from the ferry - 14 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black Throated Diver, 7 Red Throated Divers, 54 Red Breasted Mergansers, 2 Kittiwakes, 47 Black Guillemots and 2 White Tailed Eagles on Islay.
A report from Kilchoman over the weekend reports a Golden Eagle, a Goldcrest singing and Frog spawn in the pond.

Don't forget Bird Nerds at the Lochside, Bowmore 7:30pm tomorrow

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Sunday 26th February

A bit of a catch up of the weekends birds: I have found a report of the 1st Winter Ringed Billed Gull at Craigens again. Also on Friday 8 Purple Sandpipers on the shore at Bruichladdich, a White Tailed Eagle chasing a barnacle goose Loch Indaal and a Golden Eagle at Gruinart.
Saturdays birds included: a whitish Rock Pipit (leucistic?) on the East side of Loch Gruinart, a Peregrine at Gruinart and 7 Whooper Swans on the Gruinart Floods. The Glaucous (Viking Gull) was again on the shore of Loch Indaal and at Bridgend Merse with the Barnacle Geese - a single Pink Footed Goose and 2 Pale Bellied Brents.
Today at Gruinart 2 Merlins both female flying and hunting a chaffinch together.
On Tues 28th Feburay Bird Nerds will meet at the Lochside Hotel, Bowmore at 7:30pm.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Friday 24th February

Not the best of weather the last couple of days, lots of rain on Thursday morning and a wee bit blustery. A few things around the reserve including 4 different ringtail Hen Harriers and an Otter playing in one of the ditches on the Flats (Gruinart), also Frog spawn in the ponds.

The Viking Gull - Tom Lowe has been in touch, explaining that a Viking gull is not a gull with a little horned helmet on, but is a cross of some form between a Glaucous Gull and a Herring gull. The bird in question, is the one reported on the Blog as a Glaucous gull outside Bowmore. In pictures the gull exhibits some darkness on the wings and a solid tail band. Thanks for the info Tom.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Wednesday 22nd February

An early start today - straight out to help Steve Percival with a catch of 30 Barnies on the Bridgend Merse. Then back to the reserve for a goose count - a few birds while counting the geese - 9 Whooper Swans and a Greenshank on the Floods, a Grey Plover on the Loch and 2 Hen Harriers and a Sparrowhawk around the reserve.
A couple of birds the blog seems to have missed both I think spotted by Tom Lowe, A Ring Billied Gull 2ndCY on Craigens  and a Viking gull 1st winter outside Bowmore and around the Bowmore tip both records from around 15th Feb - but they could still be about. Have to admit don't know much about viking gulls so I better do some research.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Tuesday 21st February

WWT Larry and Ed, caught another 9 White fronts to apply collars, 2 getting fancy tracking collars, just off the reserve at Gruinart on Craigens farm. Whilst processing the geese a Merlin flew over. Gary had 3 Lesser Black Backed Gulls at Machir Bay, are these the first reported of the Spring on Islay. Today Tom Garner had been at the hide at Loch Gruinart - had no sign of the Green Winged Teal, but had seen plenty of Teal, Pintail and 3 Red Breasted Mergansers as well as great views of a female Hen Harrier catching a Teal. Yesterday Tom had seen 20 Pale Bellied Brent Geese just West of Bowmore.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Monday 20th February

Sorry no posts over the weekend, I was busy and the computers wouldn't work. A few records, Tom Garner had been out at Ardnave yesterday - 20 Tufted ducks on Ardnave Loch, 30 Sanderling along with Ringed Plovers and Turnstone, a pair of Ravens, 6 Chough, 4 Shelduck and 2 Great Northern Divers all around the coast. At Gruinart Tom volunteers Dad re found the Green Winged Teal on the Floods and Michal Had a Barn Owl at Smelly Corner. I had a Barn Owl at Erasaid and a 1st winter Glaucous Gull outside Bowmore.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Friday 17th February

A few reports from the Loch Gorm area - Up at Kilchoman 8 Fulmars were on the cliffs and 15 lapwing displaying in the fields. Around Loch Gorm a report of a possible Gyr Falcon- keep a look out for this and let me know if anyone see it.

Thursday 16th February

A sunny day on Islay with the Skaylarks and Lapwing starting to display on the Gruinart Flats. A quick count of Ardnave Loch by Tom - 10 Whooper Swans, 7 Mute Swans, 17 Goldeneye, 26 Tufted Ducks, 34 Wigeon, 16 Teal, 6 Mallard, 2 Pochard, 37 Oystercatchers, 2 Lapwing, 1 Greater Black Back and 2 herring Gulls. No further reports of the Shrike at Bridgend.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Wednesday 15th February

On the blog last night, I should have said that Steve Percival's image was a Cackling goose and then later on, on the blog, and I omitted to say that it was 13 small Canada Geese reported by Fiona and Mandy which were with some Whitefronts and Greylags out of Port Ellen.
Today, James had a Water Rail on the flats at Gruinart, while visitors reported through Gary that they had seen a Great Grey Shrike on the bushes opposite the entrance  to Islay House Hotel at Bridgend.
I shall be off Islay until the 10th of March, so if you have any sightings, please can you send them in to James on 01496 850 505, or email him on James.How@rspb.org.uk  Many thanks to James for keeping the blog going in my absence...

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Tuesday 14th February

Steve Percival sent through this image of a Canada Goose taken yesterday amongst the Barnies present at the top of Loch Indaal yesterday. Further along Loch Indaal, Steve had a Glaucous Gull as he approached Bowmore. Later on, he had a count of around 500 Golden Plover at Craigens. Kevin yesterday had spotted 4 Long tailed Ducks, making heavy weather trying to fly into a head wind at Carnain. Round, off the Gaelic College, he saw 2 small rafts of Common Scoter totalling 16 in all, a Slavonian Grebe, 4 Goldeneye and also 7 Pale bellied Brent Geese, all seen yesterday. Today down on the Oa, around Coillabus, Kevin had a small flock of 50 Starlings, and on closer examination, 6 Redwing and 12 Fieldfare were present as well and then a pair of Stonechats seen on the roadside, soon afterwards... This morning over the trees at Whinpark, Paul Graham saw a White tailed Eagle, soaring in the wind. The Rochdale birders today had seen 2 different pairs of Ravens, one at Carn beyond Port Charlotte, the other over at Caol Ila. Mandy had been out on the goose counts today, on the route taking in the South end of Islay... They had noted 13 Canadas just out of Port Ellen with 7 Redwing along at Ardbeg. There were also 7 Whoopers present on the lochan between Kilbride and Laphroaig. Out on the route towards the Oa, a Sparrowhawk was present at Mid Cragabus, a male Hen Harrier at Risabus and a Merlin was seen chasing a flock of around 100 Twite.  At  Kinnabus, a Pink footed Goose and also a small Canada were present amongst the Barnies. Also at Kinnabus were some Fieldfares. Late afternoon, Fiona had a male Hen Harrier and also a Peregrine between the former Kilchoman School and Culbuie.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Monday 13th February

Another dry day again, but with a cold Easterly wind blowing, no boats today, and none until a possible departure time of midday at the earliest, think there will certainly be a big backlog of traffic to move sometime...
Yesterday, David Barr and myself helped Bob carry out the WeBS count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, so here are the birds counted by us... 4 Shag, 5 Cormorant, 1 Heron, 2 Greylags, 3000 Barnies, 20 Pale bellied Brent, 60 Whitefronts, 15 Shelduck, 4 Mallard, 67 Teal, 60 Wigeon, 14 R b Merganser, 66 Oystercatcher, 53 Curlew, 127 Barwits, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Turnstone, 130 Lapwing, 1 Ringed Plover, 4 Grey Plover, 73 Golden Plover, 3 Gbb Gull, 200 H. Gull, 120 Common Gull & 30 Bh Gull. Michal and the vols at Gruiart had counted 320 Golden Plover on the flats back on Friday, my mistake, I forgot to tell you... The  Rochdale birders are back over again, seeing a Golden Eagle down on the Rhinns yesterday, a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Wester Elister and a male Hen Harrier over at Avonvogie

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Sunday 12th February

Another dry day, but not so warm... The ferry is cancelled this evening and all day tomorrow already..
Forgot to mention that yesterday afternoon, I saw a Golden Eagle and then 3 Buzzard soaring high up, over the crag. This morning down at smelly corner, I had a close sighting of a male Hen Harrier,further round towards the old smiddy out of Bowmore, out on the estuary, a White tailed Eagle eating a goose. This afternoon, on our way to Ballygrant,  a Merlin zipped across the road in front of us and finally a ringtail Hen Harrier flew across the garden at home late afternoon.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Saturday 11th February

Another great day, what a tremendous view wasseen of the moon last night and this evening, a wee cracker of a sunset to finish the day off... Yesterday Michal and the "vols" had carried out the WeBs count on the Floods and also out on Loch Gruinart itself. The tally for the "floods" was 304 Lapwing, 77 Mallard, 336 Teal, 12 Mute Swan, 42 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, with the count out on the Loch being 121 Shelduck, 40 Mallard, 10 Rb Merganser, 193 Wigeon, 219 Oystercatcher, 82 Ringed Plover, 60 Lapwing, 72 Sanderling, 91 Dunlin, 142 Barwits, 117 Curlew, 53 Redshank, 30 Turnstone and 30 Common Gull. Yesterday afternoon while  coming over on the ferry, in the Sound of Islay visitor Kevin McCormick had a white winged Gull, but too far to make a positive id. This morning, Martin Armstrong had been down in the woods below Bridgend  where he saw a pr of Bullfinches and a Treecreeper as well as a Kingfisher at the mouth of the River Sorn. Today, visitor Kevin had 4 Goldeneye, a raft of 24 Eider with 12 Wigeon close to the shore as he came out of Bowmore. Along past the Gaelic College, he had 6 Shelduck, lots of Barnies out resting up, more Wigeon, some Mallard, some Oystercatcher and 8 Curlew. A distant male Hen Harrier was seen over Bridgend and another seen back at Glenegedale where Kevin is staying. here at home, late afternoon, there was a Blue Tit on the nut feeder which had only been erected, a bird that is not that common to us.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Friday 10th February

Yesterday, Mike Peacock's wife Val had seen 2 Dippers on the River Sorn, just up from the Woollen Mill. Today, Michal and the "vols" had carried out the WeBS counts, On Ardnave Loch they counted 2 Whooper Swan, 9 Mute Swan, 40 Wigeon, 11 Goldeneye, 19 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 7 Teal, 5 Mallard and 2 Oystercatcher

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Thursday 9th February

Earlier this week, after one of her "evening" classes, Mandy had heard a Tawny Owl calling at Sunderland Farm and when she got home to Rockside, Mandy heard another Tawny Owl calling. Sam, Gary's other half, has been seeing a Treecreeper at her work at The Woollen Mill, often spotted at the shop window!!! Gary himself had 3 different White tailed Eagles, today at the top of Loch Indaal, possibly out looking at the geese out on the estuary with the tide being out.. Along at Gartmain, he counted 21 Pintail. At the Gaelic College he saw a Glaucous Gull fly past yesterday and today as he headed home a ringtail Hen Harrier up at Gartness/ Ballygrant. Here at home, just before the light went this afternoon, I counted 43 Chough along with 11 Jackdaws out on the machir. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Wednesday 8th February

A not bad day out here, although the swell is still quite big out on the sea... Yesterday, Phill Catton had a Snow Bunting while on the circular walk on the Oa. Also there, Phill had seen a small flock of Twite along the cliff face, regulars there now. This morning, here at home, there were 6 Fulmars soaring around, along the front of the crag, surely not another windy spell to come.. Phill this morning had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Snipe, 11 Teal, 114 Greenland Whitefronts and 7 Greylags. This afternoon, he watched a couple of Golden Eagles stooping and soaring in the wind, probably territorial displays. Back at Kilchoman, the Ravens were out from the crag, cronking away at the Fulmars, no doubt trying to defend their patch...

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Tuesday 7th February

Back on Sunday afternoon, we saw a pair of Stonechats on top of some clumps of heather between Coull and Saligo Bay, and below is an image of the male bird taken by Margaret


The weather today has calmed down a lot, but the sea can still be heard rumbling/ grumbling away in the background. We took a quick run over to The Woollen Mill, at the back of lunch time today and on the feeders, there were many Blue Tits, Coal Tits and Great Tits. Well worth a trip over to see them, and to see the actual Mill itself and their shop... A wee treasure. Coming home on Loch Skerrols, a pair of Mute Swan with 2 young from last year, Mallard, Tufted Duck and a pair of Goldeneye, with a Heron perched on a bough of a tree as well.  The best was still to come, as we saw a Grey Wagtail on top of a dyke as we came out.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Monday 6th February

Not exactly a day for bird watching out here today...Fortunately Michal had been out with his camera and took this image of these waders on the wing over Loch Gruinart..
By the looks of the image, I think that you can see the farm steading at Killanallan, as well the former farmhouse there as well.
Mike Peacock yesterday had 41 Pale bellied Brent geese at Carnain, one of them had darvic rings on, so hopefully Mike should be able to obtain some history on the goose. This morning, at Bushmills, Michal had a Barn Owl.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Sunday 5th February

This image of some Sanderling was kindly sent through to me by Ron from Islayinfo.com  Ron had taken it earlier today up at Ardnave where he also had seen a close sighting of a juv. White tailed Eagle. This afternoon Peter was taking Jim Dickson back to the afternoon ferry when they saw a "cackling goose" over towards Ballygrant. Carl was in touch to say that he had the Glaucous Gull at Bruichladdich today and also a count of 50 Curlew at Coultorsay. This morning, the wee birds out in the garden were spoofed by something a quick look proved it to be a fly past by a Sparrowhawk!!!  Late afternoon, we had a Merlin, close to the hut circles at Culbuie on the edge of the reserve at Gruinart, further along the road a  Buzzard on the ground and then a Peregrine near to the Steading at Aoradh itself. The weather today has been great, although a bit cold with the frost alarm coming on in the car as we came home...

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Saturday 4th February

Over at Caol Ila today, Gary had seen 2 Gbb Gull, 21 Tysties and 9 Shag. His other half, Sam had seen a Dipper down on the stream below Kilmeny. Down at Bruichladdich, Carl had a Glaucous Gull, and he saw another white winged gull further out on the water, but too far away to make a positive id possible.  Just before lunchtime, we saw a ringtail Hen Harrier down at Sunderland Farm as it flew along the roadside looking for some prey.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Friday 3rd February

Today James had seen 3 Greenshank, a Sparrowhawk and counted a flock of 850 Golden Plover on the RSPB reserve at Gruinart. He also counted 6990 Barnacle Geese and 149 Whitefronts on the reserve as well... Over close to Glenmachrie around midday, Margaret spotted a Peregrine on top of a fence post. It must have seen us too, as it was off before I could get the camera on it.... Mike Peacock was in touch today to say that he had seen a couple of Ravens nest building in the trees at Foreland. Down on Machir Bay, Mike had a count of 79 Oystercatcher and as he headed home, he spotted a Merlin at Rockside. Finally mid afternoon, he had a pod of 8 Bottle nosed Dolphins feeding on Loch Indaal out from the pier at Port Charlotte, and also Mike's house...

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Thursday 2nd February

As I write tonight's entry, the wind is picking up, so probably the correct decision was made in cancelling the ferry this evening...
Bob on his way home from the bird nerds meal on Tuesday evening, had seen a Barn Owl in a similar place to where he saw one last week, along close to the entrance to Whin Park. Earlier in the evening, he had a count of 40 Woodcock going into their roost. Yesterday while on the Goose count down on the Oa run, Bob saw a Golden Eagle on the ground down on the Oa, and then after Lower Cragabus, on their way down to Port Ellen, he had a Kestrel on an overhead cable. Mandy had been on the Rhinns run and she saw a ringtail Hen Harrier between Ellister and Octofad. Today, Gary had an adult Iceland Gull flying down the Sound of Islay amongst other gulls. Back at his home, Gary had a Sparrowhawk fly past in his garden, no doubt having a look at Gary's feeders.. Louise this morning had a male Bullfinch, as she drove through Bridgend to her work.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Wednesday 1st February

Another day, another month, and another set of figures about the rain here at base... The tally was a mere 3.5 inches, less than half we had in January 2016!!!
Last night, at the bird nerds meal,  I was told that a visitor, Dan Brown, had seen a small Canada Goose over close to Emeraconart which is just after Esknish as you head towards Ballygrant. Over at Lussa Bay up the top end of Jura, Dan spotted a Whimbrel.  Today, Gary had seen a flock of 700 Golden Plover over the flats at Gruinart. Up the top of the hill, past Grainel, heading towards Loch Gorm, Gary had 10 Reed Buntings in around the silage trailers and finally down close to Leek, a Kestrel was present. The only bird of note that we had today, was a low flying Buzzard as it flew past, almost hugging the ground, battling against the wind!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Tuesday 31st January

A bit of an early entry tonight, but as I am going out to the bird nerds "Dinner", I thought is might be a good move to put the blog first... Yesterday, Gary had seen a White tailed Eagle over at Caol Ila. Out on the Sound of Islay, he counted 11 Shag with 3 Otters present as well. Later on, on his way up towards Bunnahabhain, Gary saw a male Kestrel and finally, up towards Scarrabus he had a male Hen Harrier. After the windy day yesterday, it has been a lot calmer here today, but better keep quiet as the wind is due to pick up again come Thursday...so the lull before the storm??? Oh, yes I did do some work in the garden in my shirtsleeves, not bad for January, watching 40+ Chough flying past as well!!!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Monday 30th January

Yesterday was the "Big Garden Birdwatch", so James came over and helped out.. so here are our birds, 10 Pheasant, 1 Robin, 3 Dunnock, 47 Starling, 2 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Great Tit,9 Goldfinch, 3 Wren, 14 House Sparrow, 125 Chaffinch, 41 Jackdaw and a Buzzard. Down in Bruichladdich, Malcolm had 52 House Sparrows, 24 Collared Doves but only 18 Chaffinches. Bob up behind Port Charlotte had more Chaffinches, some Greenfinches, a Coal Tit, 2 Blue Tit as well as other birds too, so quite a change in birds seen, all in a relatively small area. Jim Dickson counted 160 Chaffinch in his garden, Jim lives over at Cairnbaan while friends out in Bearsden on the outskirts of Glasgow has different birds again, with Blackcap, Greater spotted Woodpecker and the neighbourhood fox as well... Michal had counted 1,610 Golden Plover over above the reserve at Gruinart on Saturday. he saw them there yesterday with Dave Maynard saw them again present there today.
Tomorrow evening, it is the bird nerds annual meal, again to be held in the Lochside hotel. So far there are 21 folk coming, so if you are around and wish to come, please let me know so the staff at the hotel are ready for us...

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sunday 29th January

Back on Thursday evening, Bob had seen a Barn Owl out between the Cattle market and Blue Houses. The following evening, Ivan, Bob's son, had a Tawny Owl just along the road at Carnain. Earlier on while "beating", Ivan had a count of 40 Woodcock as they came out of the trees over close to Ballyvicar. He had also seen a Water Rail there as well. Over the last couple of days, Ivan reckons that he has seen around 170 Woodcock on various "drives". The other morning Bob and Ivan had a close sighting of a really close male Hen Harrier as it took off a few feet ahead of them, carrying a small bird in its talons.  David Jardine has been over from the mainland this weekend, and yesterday he had seen the Green winged Teal  at Gruinart and at Gartbreck a Knot, 4 Grey Plover, and 9 Snipe. Highlights seen from Blackrock included 5 BT Divers and 23 Slav Grebes while 7 Moorhens were on the pools at Carnain.  Today at West Carrabus, David saw a Pink footed Goose and then on Loch Ballygrant, a Coot was seen. This afternoon, David Barr had been down on Machir Bay and seen Snipe, a Heron, Pied Wagtail, Rock Pipits, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and saw the Chough going in to their roost just as the light was starting to fail.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Saturday 28th January

Not a lot to report tonight, but there were 43 Lapwing present, on the water's edge at Gartmain late morning, a place that I was not aware of them being seen there before. Round at Blackrock, where the Brent Geese are often seen, there were 73 Scaup counted by Dave Wood. Here at home I was amazed at the number of geese present on the reseeds early afternoon, there were 534 Barnies and 101 Whitefronts.  I cheated a bit, in the sense that I took some images and then counted the geese on the computer screen, a lot easier and a bit warmer than sitting around in the van... Might even try the same method tomorrow when carrying out the "Big garden birdwatch".

Friday, 27 January 2017

Friday 27th January

Down at "smelly corner"  around midday, 26 Shelduck were present. Here at home, on one of the grass reseeds, I counted 104 Whitefronts and 4 Greylags, in other years they were certainly not so numerous and usually only in that field poaching around in the rushes... The other day when it was quite windy, I watched the local Choughs of around 40+ in number, tossing and turning in flight in the wind, almost like a mumeration of Starlings, quite a sight to see in its' own rights...

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Thursday 26th January

Oops, almost forgot... Back  on Tuesday, Margaret and myself went out for a quick run... Over at Ballinaby we counted a flock of 69 Lapwing, and just along the road, a pair of Stonechats with a male Hen Harrier along at Leek. Loch Skerrols had 21 Tufted Duck, a Dabchick, a Goldeneye and 2 Mute Swan. At smelly corner, 2 Whoopers were present with a 2 Mutes noted on the pools at carnain. Finally, there were some Redwings and Blackbirds seen just after Sunderland, in the scrub leading down to Loch Gorm. Today, Gary of Wild Islay Birding, had seen 10 Goldeneye, 6 Common Scoter, 2 Slavonian Grebe and a Long tailed Duck from Bowmore Pier. Back over at Caol Ila, Gary had watched 2 Otters and then, back at home, Gary had an imm. Golden Eagle over the garden and wood.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wednesday 25th january

The wind has been huffing and puffing for most of the day, with the odd wee shower of rain from midday onwards...Yesterday, Mandy had counted 50 Ringed Plover and also 5 Turnstone down in the field beside the car park at Machir Bay. Today, we saw 39 Pale bellied Brent geese bobbing about on Loch Indaal, close in at Blackrock. Gary had a fly past over his garden, between Ballygrant and Kiells, of a male Hen Harrier. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Tuesday 24th January

Down on the Oa yesterday, Phill had managed bit of birding along with the "vols"... they saw 2 small flocks of Twite, with 110 in one flock and 150 in the other, a Peregrine was seen out along the cliffs at the monument, the "2 resident Ravens" at the monument were out "barrel rolling and doing some acrobatics", a Jack Snipe was spotted at the roadside leading to the carpark at Killeyan, a Golden Eagle was seen being mobbed by a Hooded Crow at Kinnabus. In total, they had 41 Hooded Crows, a flock of 60 Rock Doves and also 35 Starlings. Gary saw a male Hen Harrier behind St Kiaran's church yesterday afternoon. Louise this morning on her travel down Jura had seen 11 Herons,  32 Greylags and 4 Canada Geese in a field beside the manse just North of Craighouse.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Monday 23rd January

Some sightings through from yesterday... Bob and his son Ivan had a couple of Goldeneye over at Bun an Uillt. From the old hide at Gruinart, they saw the drake Green winged Teal amongst the other Teal present. There were also 2 R B Merganser as well as 8 Greenshank. Up from the "platform", where the original hide once stood, a Goldcrest was seen. At Bruichladdich, they saw 6 Purple Sandpiper. Gary yesterday had been down at the Lily Loch where he had 7 Heron, 2 Goldeneye and also a total of 24 Mallard.
Andrew Kent was in touch today with the tally for the International Goose Count carried out on the 17th & 18th January. The count was as follows  45,056 Barnies, 4,694 Whitefronts and 581 Greylags. Many thanks to Andrew and the team from SNH for these figures.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sunday 22nd January

Yesterday Gary had a juv. White tailed Eagle, close to Caol Ila. Today, Mandy had a count of 48 Ringed Plover down on Machir Bay, the largest count of them she has had there. She also had over 50 Common Gull, 30 Oystercatcher with a count of 58 Curlew on the rocks up the North end of the bay. Phill Catton this afternoon had seen the following birds from Blackrock, 20 Common Scoter, 4 Long tailed duck, 1 Red throated Diver, 8 R b Merganser, 7 Slavonian Grebe, 3 Goldeneye, a G b b Gull, some B h Gull and some  Herring Gulls, 3 Shag, a Buzzard and 2 Raven.  This afternoon, we counted mixed group of 103 Chaffinches/ House Sparrows in readiness for the big garden birdwatch... There were also 16 Starlings seen too, but the Goldfinches are not so numerous as a month or so ago...

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Saturday 21st January

Forgot last night to report through a couple of sightings of Glaucous Gulls both down on Loch Indaal near to Uiskentuie, Mary had a 2yr bird down on the shore on Thursday, and James saw an adult in the fields there on Friday. This afternoon, we went out to try to find the Yellowhammers along at Sunderland, no joy, but managed to log some larger birds instead. At Ballinaby, we counted 128 Greylags, a single Barnacle Goose and 21 Whitefronts, but none with collars fitted! On our way up to Sanaigmore, there was a cracker of a male Hen Harrier over the reeds below Braigo, and then by pure chance, a distant sighting of 2 Golden Eagles on the heather, really far away... Finally, on the fields at Rockside, we counted 146 Whitefronts, again no collars on them either...much easier counting and spotting the big birds, honest....


Friday, 20 January 2017

Friday 20th January

Nothing much to report tonight, but Gary of Wild Islay Birding saw a male and a ringtail Hen Harrier over at Finlaggan today. Here at home,  I counted 103 Whitefronts, the usual 10 Greylags and then late afternoon, there were 43 Chough poking away in the ground.
If any folk are around, here on Islay, on the evening of Tuesday 31st of January, well it is the bird nerds evening out to the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore and we are intending to go to enjoy their cuisine, so if you are around, feel free to come along, starting at 7pm. So if you would like to join us, please let me know by Wednesday evening, so that I can confirm numbers to the Hotel. Might see some of you there then....