The Iceland Gull posing for the camera today up at Bunnahabhain, taken by the Argyll birder. Today on Loch Indaal, he had 186 Common Scoter, 12 Long tailed Duck, 6 Scaup, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 11 GND, 41 Pale bellied Brent and 2 Goldeneye. At Ballinaby, there were only 172 Golden Plover and at Gruinart only around 500 Blackwits were present, the others could possibly have moved on. At Nerabus, 14 Whimbrel were counted, and at the top of Loch Indaal, 64 Barwits were seen. James was saying that the bulk of the Barnies had headed off today. Paul and Sue from Wales who were with us at the Bird nerds this evening have been visitors to Islay for the past 3 years and this is the first time they have seen the Barnies in April. Another visitor tonight was Chris who had 3 lifers today, a Corncrake seen at Portnahaven, a Purple Sandpiper at Bruichladdich and also the 3 Lapland Buntings at Rockside. David Formby, our local dentist heard a Cuckoo over at Craighouse on Jura today. Peter had some facts back on the Pale bellied Brent Geese that he had seen the other day, basicaly they had been all caught and rung in Ireland, in the Dublin and Strangfrord Lough areas, 2 of them had only been rung recently in March of this year!
Monday, April 29, 2013
Just some of the Black tailed Godwits in flight taken over at Gruinart by the "Argyll birder"! James this morning had a count between the floods and the flats of 891 Blackwits and also 90 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Later on he carried out a Goose count with Emily and had 5205 Barnies, 6 Greenland Whitefronts, 10 Greylags and 75 Pale bellied Brent Geese. Today the "Argyll birder" had 3 Lapland Bunting down in a newly germinated barley field at Rockside. Round at Ballinaby, he had a count of 710 Golden Plover. At Toronmore, there was a flock of 25 Linnets present and also 16 Ringed Plover. A total of 14 White wagtails were round Loch Gorm. Later on at Bun an Uillt, 69 Pale bellied Brent were present and a Peregrine at the reserve at Gruinart. A single Redwing was at Gruinart and another down at Portnahaven. Just to spoil Islay's figures, John Bowler on Tiree had 1520 Blackwits and 11,320 Golden Plover, so that has blown away the previous Argyll record for Blackwits! Just after lunchtime, we had a striking male Hen Harrier fly across the road in front of us down close to Foreland House and then another past Sunderland, but this one was further out over the moor.
Remember to come along to the Bird nerds get together at 7pm at the "old hide" at Gruinart on Tuesday, if you are around.
Remember to come along to the Bird nerds get together at 7pm at the "old hide" at Gruinart on Tuesday, if you are around.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Emily from RSPB took this image of the Little Egret yesterday just after Ardbeg. Along at Kildalton Cross, she heard a Cuckoo calling, and later at the Singing sands, Emily had seen a Greenland Wheatear. Yesterday David and Jane Griffiths had heard a Cuckoo calling up towards Solum, it was calling for some time! They also had a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Raven. The Argyll birder is back over for the week. He had a great start today with a count of 620 Blackwits over at Gruinart, a possible new record for Argyll, also at Gruinart he had a pr of Gadwall, pr Pintail and 12 Shoveler, along at Lyrabus a female Merlin was added to his list. In Port Ellen Bay, 4 GND were seen and Loch Indaal had 2 GND and 2 Common Scoter. At Bruichladdich, 4 Turnstone, 2 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper,4 Sandwich Tern,1 Arctic Tern and a Whimbrel. A further 19 Whimbrel were seen at Nerabus. Martin has been busy this weekend. On his feeders and in his garden, the tally was 6 Siskin, 5 Redpoll, 22 Goldfinch, 8 Greenfinch, 28 Chaffinch, 14 House Sparrows, 4 Dunnocks, 2 Collared Doves, 5 Rock Doves, 5 Coal Tit, 4 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 2 Rooks, 2 Ravens (new garden tick for Martin) and a Willow Warbler. From the bridge over the River Laggan on the High road, Martin had seen 2 Heron, 1 Willow Warbler and 5 Common Sandpiper. Peter and Pia just returned earlier this evening from a short break in the Highlands with Pia getting a new lifer, a male and also a female Capercallie. Back here on Islay, they had a count of 76 Pale bellied Brent Geese down at Gortan, 5 had coloured rings on.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Spot the deliberate mistake last night then? Well the TV program is being screened next Monday, not this coming Monday, even had a letter through from John Aitchison telling us about it, in the post, better mind and watch it! The bird nerds is on Tuesday coming, right enough, at 7pm at the "old hide" at Gruinart.... Back to birds then... Anna on Tuesday had 3 Gannets fishing off the Port Charlotte lighthouse, on Wednesday over on Jura along with her mother, they had a seen 4 different Golden Eagles. Later on, back on Islay, down below Nerabus they had counted 30 Whimbrel and also on the Rhinns they had seen 2 White tailed Sea Eagles. Yesterday, James had counted 970 Barnies on the reserve at Gruinart. The Canada Goose, hutchinsii sp was seen as was a Pink footed Goose. On the floods, 54 Blackwits were present, 5 House Martins flew past and a Cuckoo was heard along the flats. Today James had 2 Otters along the flats, a Cuckoo was heard and Merlin was present. The Rochdale birders headed home today, but had seen 2 Treecreepers in the woods at Bridgend before they left. Many thanks to Gordon and Pauline for their sightings while they were here. This morning, Mary had 2 Corncrakes calling at Portnahaven, in competition with a cement mixer! I know that they often compete against the strimmer going and also the "farm bike" as well, but a cement mixer is a new one to me! Michal had a male Hen Harrier on reserve and also a Buzzard. Also today, Bob had Sparrowhawk fly past his house as well as a RTD later on. Up over the moor behind his house, he heard 3 Cuckoos and saw a male Hen Harrier and then later on a ringtail. Here at home, while we were doing some work outside, the ever inquisitive Choughs had to do a fly past just checking out what we were doing...The 4 Siskins are still here on the feeders and the male Redpoll was present this morning too.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Been a busy day yesterday, I wrote yesterday's entry early and when I came home there were several more sightings that had come through while I was out! The Rochdale birders had seen 3 Redwing at Coullabus, 3 large Canada Geese on Ardnave Loch, ringtail Hen Harrier, a Kestrel, a Cuckoo being chased by 3 Meadow Pipits, all at Storakaig. An Otter was seen in the Sound of Islay and at Bunnahabhain, the Iceland Gull was still present. A further 2 Redwing were noted at Keills and a male Redpoll was on a feeder at Keills too. At Bruichladdich, 3 Sandwich Terns were seen (the Sandwich Tern in Thursday's entry managed to outwit the Black headed Gull!) Today they had a male Hen Harrier on the reserve at Gruinart and another over towards Bunnahabhain, with 15 Black Guillemots counted on the Sound of Islay. Yesterday evening, Liz Hathaway heard a Corncrake down at Portnahaven and this morning Liz had a House Martin at Nerabus. Last night coming home, we had a Tawny Owl just after Foreland and then a Barn Owl closer to Rockside road end. This morning, we had 2 small group of Pale bellied Brents, 22 just after Gortan and a further 5 close to Blackrock. Finally David and Jane Griffiths had a male Hen Harrier down at Whinpark and also a Wheatear there too.
Before I forget, on Monday evening on BBC1 Scotland at 9pm there is the showing of "Hebrides" with the first program featuring Islay, Jura and Colonsay, should be worth watching... On Tuesday, it's that time again for the Bird nerds meeting, we will be in the "old hide" at Gruinart from 7pm, so if any of you are over, feel free to come along and put a face to a name as well as looking for some birds from the hide too, perhaps hear a Corncrake...
Thursday, April 25, 2013
A great image sent through by the Rochdale birders. They managed to snap this Black headed Gull chasing a Sandwich Tern with a fish in its' mouth down over Loch Indaal the other day. Not sure of the outcome, did the gull succeed in getting the tern to drop its' food parcel??? Today, the weather has turned a wee bit colder again, the bird feeders have been busy with 14 Goldfinches counted at one time, along with some Greenfinches, Siskins still present and plenty of Chaffinches around too, not so many Blue or Great Tits compared with through the winter. At Rockside, the large flock of Golden Plover was still present and 8 Greenland Whitefronts were at Sunderland, some Barnies were still seen at Gruinart. The geese appear to be late in leaving this year, they are usually well gone by now, but everything appears to be late this year!
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Yesterday, Carl had a count of around 500 Barnies down at Octofad, at home he has had his first Goldfinches and Siskins of the year on his feeders. Mary yesterday had a Canada Goose over on Nave Island, wonder if it has a mate over there too? Offshore there were 4 GND all in different stages of plumage and several Fulmars in flight around Nave Island itself. Back on Ardnave Point around the dunes, Mary counted a total of 12 Wheatear present and also 4 Sand Martin and a couple of Swallows. Today, Carl had some small groups of Whimbrel down between Craigfad and Octomore on the Rhinns, at An Gleann there were several hundred Barnies and on Loch Indaal, just outside of Bruichladdich Distillery, 9 Eiders were seen. The Rochdale Birders had 11 Whimbrel at Nerabus on the Rhinns, a male and then later a female Sparrowhawk down at Portnahaven, at Bruichladdich a count of 11 Purple Sandpiper. Over a Gruinart, on the reserve there was a Mallard proudly showing off her new brood of 5 young ducklings. They also counted over 300 Barnies on the reserve. Along at Sunderland Farm, late afternoon, we had 52 Greylags in one field alone, earlier on we had seen 4 Buzzards together on a thermal. Coming home, towards Rockside, there was a Raven seeing a Buzzard off... A male Stonechat was along on the fence wire at the side of the road, looked tremendous in the light, but as ever no camera to hand...
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A great image of a Black tailed Godwit taken over at Gruinart last week by Armin Grewe while he was here for Walkislay... Yesterday, Carl had a count of 150 Barnies down at Port Charlotte. Today the Rochdale birders counted 1300 Barnies at Gruinart, but no sign of the Red breasted Goose! Along at Sunderland, they had 20 Whitefronts. On Loch Indaal, they had 8 Purple Sandpipers and 5 Whimbrel. Today at Gruinart, James reported that there were lots of Willow Warblers on the reserve, including 5 in the scrub up beside Gruinart farm itself. James had 12 Whimbrel fly over the reserve today and also heard his first Grasshopper Warbler of the year. Here at home , there were 4 Siskins on the feeders, 2 male and 2 female.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The weather this evening, well the temperature has dropped quite a bit, think someone should speak to the folk that "arrange" that we can get some warmer weather again, the sooner the better! Carl yesterday had a small flock of 45 Golden Plover all in summer plumage round at Ballinaby. Today, visiting birders from Rochdale had a flock of over 530 Golden Plover down at Rockside, and also another 160 over close to Storakaig. Along at Sunderland Farm, they had counted 1200 Barnies, at Bruichladdich 3 Pale bellied Brent were present and past Ballygrant 10 Whitefronts were noted. 4 Chiffchaff were seen, 2 in at Loch Skerrols, 1 at Bridgend and the other in Port Charlotte. 2 Sandwich Terns were at Port Charlotte and another at "smelly corner"
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Today, Peter and Pia had been over at Loch Allan and had seen an Osprey fishing there. There were also around 20 Swallows in flight there too. They also heard 5 Willow Warblers as well as a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the woods. Today James had 17 Barwits over at Loch Grinart with "lots of Swallows and Sand Martins" present there as well. Here at home, the Siskins were busy on the feeders again, with the Willow Warblers out in the back garden. Yesterday, Carl had a White Wagtail at Gortan and reported in to say that he had "lots of Willow Warblers in Bridgend woods and also more along at Springbank". On Thursday James had carried out a count on the floods at Gruinart with the tally as follows, 321 Teal, 4 Moorhen, 38 Mallard, 21 Wigeon, 7 Heron, 9 Pintail, 27 Redshank, 90 Lapwing, 3 Curlew, 2 Whooper Swan, 10 Mute Swan, 3 Red breasted Merganser and 7 Gadwall.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
A distant image of an Arctic Redpoll taken on the reserve at Gruinart by Michal. Today, he saw a Chiffchaff at Moulin on the reserve. Malcolm today heard a Cuckoo down at Foreland. Yesterday, Mary had a Sedge Warbler out catching prey down at Portnahaven. She also had seen some Marsh Frit larvae on the heather. Also yesterday, over on Jura, while coming down the Paps, Armin had a Short eared Owl. Been a good day here at home too, starting of with 2 prs of returning Swallows, one up in the shed and another in the back porch! Out on the willows at the back of the garden wall, a Willow Warbler was present this morning. The feeders this afternoon have been busy, up to 12 Goldfinches at one time, a pr of Siskin seen, the best one was a Lesser Repoll present too. Over at Gruinart, a visitor reported a Redstart, and James had 7 Wheatear and counted 5 Sand Martins on the reserve. All we need now is for the Corncrakes to return...think positive
Friday, April 19, 2013
Carl sent this image of a Little Egret which he took earlier today while he was out past Ardbeg. Later on he had a Swallow back home in Port Charlotte. Margaret had another one at Lagavullin Distillery and Mary saw 3 down at Portnahaven. Wheatears have fairly in come in over the past few days, we had seen some at Claggain Bay, and at other points on our way over there, and Mary had seen them at Claddach down at Portnahaven. Michal had a pr of Red Grouse on the reserve at Gruinart today, and yesterday James had a leucistic Barwit on Loch Gruinart. A visitor reported in to RSPB saying that they had seen the Red breasted Goose amongst the Barnies that were resting up at the head of Loch Indaal today. Bob had seen a Whimbrel today, up behind Port Charlotte. Yesterday Bob had seen a Wheatear, 6 Sand Martins, a Common Sandpiper and 3 male Reed Bunting carrying nesting material all over at Kilchiaran
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Another busy day in with walkislay, apart from the odd shower here and there, the weather held out for the 4 walks that took place today. Last walk is tomorrow, over to Jura for an assualt on one of the Paps. On Wednesday, James had seen a Canada Goose huthinsii sp on the flats at Gruinart. Karen had a Wheatear along at Rockside yesterday, we had one there tonight and another down close to Gortan. On the walk out from Laphroaig this morning, Armin had 4 Swallows! Today Malcolm had a pr of Siskins on his feeders, not having seen any at all this winter there. He also had 2 pr of Greenfinches 2 pr of Chaffinches and a pair of Goldfinch. There still appear to be quite a few flocks of Barnies around, coming home this evening at the top of Loch Indaal, there was a large number present with the tide being out. Earlier on we had seen flocks of Barnies at Rockside, Gartmain, Gartbreck and Rannochmore as well.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Another day in for walkislay. We should have gone to Colonsay but the ferry was on "amber alert" which means that the ferry might go in to Colonsay but not pick us up on the return leg from Oban, so rather than risking 35 folk getting marooned on Colonsay, we had a circular walk out through the woods at Ballygrant. Boy, it was windy and wet too but job done, Forgot to mention that Anna had a Long tailed Duck yesterday on Loch Indaal. Nat sent through some sightings from Gruinart today, but will include them tomorrow once I have decoded her shorthand, plenty time tomorrow!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
With walkislay being on this week, rather a late entry, and also because of the winds today, a light entry tonight, late too...Anna's parents are over for a few days. Her Mum had a Swallow down at Nerabus, at Port Charlotte Razorbill and Red breasted Merganser were seen, still some Geese around, Arctic Terns seen off Bruichladdich and a GND about 20 feet away in Bowmore Harbour.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Just after I wrote last night's entry, Karen from over in the cottages had a Peregrine annoying 4 Buzzards good style, it initially split the Buzzards into 2 groups of 2, one of which flew off... A moment or so later, Karen then had a Swallow fly past. This morning, Becky had a GND on Loch Indaal, directly in front of her house on the edge of Bowmore. On the walk down from Port Ellen today, Karen had a Gannet close to the shore at the Singing Sands, and then later on a Swallow at the Port Ellen maltings. Bob, this morning had seen a lot of Redwings on the move with 20 beside his house and then 150 between Knockdon and Loch Skerrols. On Loch Skerrols itself, a male Pochard was seen as were 7 Tufted Duck. Along at "smelly corner" there were 60 Shelduck, 12 Wigeon, pr of Shoveler, and a female Pintail. Back home, Bob had a Golden Eagle over his house, early afternoon, then a male Hen Harrier.There was a flock of 65 Redwing present there this afternoon which were spoofed by a female Kestrel, closely followed by a male Kestrel. Down on the Oa, Dave has had a good day, with 4 Willow Warbler, 12 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 3 Sand Martin, 11 Goldcrest, a Siskin and a singing Redwing, Back on Friday Dave had a Chiffchaff. David and Jill Mason had seen a Pink footed Goose amongst the Greenland Whitefronted Geese over at Ballinaby today and also had a Wheatear singing further on. This evening there was an Arctic Tern down at Bruichladdich. James was saying this evening that most of the Barnies have flown on, although he reckons that there were still around 5,000 present at Gruinart today. This evening the rain has started, so tomorrow's walk for Walkislay may have to be plan "B" with a low level walk taking place...
Sunday, April 14, 2013
The rain has kept away, although there has been the odd spot off and on, nothing much really. The wind has caused the ferries to divert to Port Askaig all day, so at least we have not been disrupted that much. Yesterday, Bob had carried out the count from Bowmore down to Gartbreck, with the scores on the doors being as follows, 2 GND, 7 juv Shag, 15 Greylag, 10 Greenland Whitefront, 8 Mute, 12 Shelduck, 20 male Mallards, 18 Teal (all pairs), 54 Eider (mainly males in breeding plumage), 14 Red breasted Merganser, 58 Oystercatcher (mainly paired up), 12 Curlew, 63 Barwits, 1 Dunlin, 15 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 4 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 37 Ringed Plover (mainly paired up), 1 Grey Plover, 2 GBB Gull, 3 LBB Gull, 20 Herring Gull, 32 Common Gull, 6pr Black headed Gull and 1 Sandwich Tern. On his way down to the shore, Bob had a Sedge Warbler as well. Also yesterday, Jack Fleming had a Swallow at Gruinart. Today, Peter had a Little Tern fly past his house down at Bruichladdich. Also today was the first day of walkislay for this year, with over 50 folk on the walk from Bunnahabhain. After seeing them on their way, on our way home we had an Osprey with a fish in its talons just as we came away, earlier on we had seen 2 Golden Eagles out on the wing further up from Bunnahabhain itself. Before we came to Ardnahoe, a male Hen Harrier flew low across the road in front of us. On Ardnahoe Loch, a Heron was seen and also a male Goldeneye. Further down the road after Keills, there was a small group of 15 Fieldfare in the fields there.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Yes, it had to happen, it has started to rain. Oh yes, and the wind has picked up, the evening ferry has been diverted to Port Askaig, and already the Islay ferries are on amber alert for tomorrow. The Fulmars can't be that bad at predicting the weather after all!! Right then, on to the bird blog....Bob had been out round the his home patch yesterday on the Rhinns and heard a Sedge Warbler, saw 2 Red Grouse, a Short eared Owl and male Hen Harriers at 2 different locations. Also yesterday afternoon, Liz Hathaway and Emily from RSPB had seen an adult White tailed Sea Eagle down on the Rhinns, a good chance of being the same bird that Bob had yesterday morning. This morning, I heard and then saw a Goldcrest in the wood here at home.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Yesterday Bob had seen 2 Short eared Owl out while was down the Rhinns. Later on, he had a male Hen Harrier. Another male Hen Harrier was also seen yesterday over at Gearach on the Rhinns too by John & Anne from Galashiels. This morning, from his house, Bob had seen an adult White tailed Sea Eagle. It came from behind Bob's house, down to Port Charlotte and then followed the coastline up towards Bruichladdich. Wonder if it was the same bird that Jeff had at Foreland earlier this week??? Yesterday, Peter had gone over to Bunnahabhain and the Iceland Gull was still present there. On Wednesday on Colonsay, Peter heard the Starlings were mimicking Snipe calling and also Corncrakes too!!! Today Peter had 2 Sandwich Terns down on Loch Indaal at Bruichladdich. Here this morning, the Fulmars were back in for a short time soaring along the front of the crags....
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Yesterday Peter had taken the ferry up to Colonsay. From the ferry he noted seeing Gannets following a fishing boat, also some Kittiwakes too, but no Fulmars. In total, he also had 12 Razorbill, 4 Guillemot and 4 GND as well as a single Manx shearwater. He also managed over to Oransay and commented on the lack of cover for any returning Corncrakes, quite simply, bare with these cold winds just like Islay! Jeff from Glasgow had 2 Wheatear and also a dead Glaucous Gull at Saligo yesterday. Today, Jeff had a White tailed Sea Eagle fly over his car down close to Foreland. On Loch Indaal, there was a female Goldeneye. Later on, a walk in Bridgend Woods produced a Willow Warbler, Treecreeper, a Hedgehog with the 2 Grey Wagtail on the River Sorn. There were a few Fulmars wheeling about in front of the crag the other day, a wee change coming for the weekend, hope it's not too drastic as Walkislay starts on Sunday!!!
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
If you are over on Islay this week, come along to the Islay Natural History Trust's visitor centre tomorrow night at 7.30pm. David Mason will be giving an illustrated talk on Wild Breckland. This is an area of heathland on the Norfolk / Suffolk border, well known for Stone Curlews.
Back to Islay's birds and James had a Wheatear while up at Ardnave today. As I write this entry, there are around half a dozen Fieldfares atop the trees in the wood here at home, basking in the evening sun. Almost forgot, the temperature was just into double figures again this afternoon....although there is still that cold wind blowing in from the East.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Yesterday, Carl saw a Sandwich Tern in the bay down at Port Charlotte. Bob had 34 Ringed Plover in the field up behind the dunes at Machir Bay. Yesterday and today there have been some Redwings and Fieldfares being seen. Today Johnathan & Keith had counted 50 Skylark, 2 Twite, and 70 Chaffinch in a field on their way up to Sanaigmore. On the River Sorn, they had seen 2 Grey Wagtail and heard 3 Treecreepers in the trees. Over the market at Bridgend, a Peregrine was seen. Over the crags behind Kilchoman they had 2 different Golden Eagles come out, one of which was being mobbed by Buzzards. Later on they saw a Yellowhammer fly past. Another visitor, Richard had an Osprey with a fish in its' talons at the top of Loch Gorm with a Short eared Owl nearby. George has been seeing a pair of Mute Swans on his ponds over the last few days and wonders whether they could thinking of nesting there. Bob has a pair of Blackbirds building a nest in a crate in his garden. Emily who is over taking the walks with RSPB this summer had a Red Kite close to Coillabus on the Oa. It had red wing tags which Emily says are from Central Scotland, probably a 2012 bird. On the guided walk on the Oa, today a Wheatear was seen, a brief sighting of a Golden Eagle and close to the American monument, 2 Peregrine were spotted. Down close to the airport on the "low road" between Port Ellen and Bowmore, Emily had a great sighting of a male Hen Harrier. Late this afternoon, I was watching a Pipestrelle Bat flying back and forward along in front of the trees and around the cottages for the best part of 5 minutes.
Monday, April 8, 2013
An image sent through by Dave Wood down on the Oa of a couple of Greenland Whitefronts, the goose on the left is fitted with a neck collar while the other goose has a satellite tag. These geese were rung on the RSPB Oa reserve over a fortnight ago. In total 10 were caught, 6 were fitted with "sat tags" and the other 4 had neck collars fitted. There were still 8 around at the end of last week. While Wally and Jude were over, they had seen 6 over at Ballinaby, these were some that were fitted with neck collars earlier on this year over at Ballinaby. Today, visiting birder Johnathan had seen a juv White tailed Sea Eagle over at Gruinart, and later on an adult bird over towards Port Askaig. Over on Jura, Johnathan had 5 male Hen Harriers and 3 ringtail Hen Harriers, a Merlin and 3 large Canada Geese. There are a few resident Canada Geese on jura, so perhaps some of them.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Almost a week away in April and it is not getting much warmer, at least it is staying dry! Quite a few sightings for you tonight, so here we go.... On Friday, Mary had 2 Wheatears up at Ardnave. Yesterday, down at Portnahaven, there were 2 large Canada Geese in the Bay. Today they had moved up to Claddach Loch. The Chough down at Portnahaven have been active of late flying around over the village. Peter on Thursday had a pr of Grey Wagtail and also a Dipper on the River Sorn. In the trees there, a Treecreeper was seen and also several Goldcrest. Yesterday, between Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte, Peter had 9 GND, but all none in summer plumage. Today over at Loch Allan, the birds were out singing good style, Wrens everywhere, plenty of singing Chaffinches, Dunnocks, Robins, Tits in general including several Coal Tit as well as 6 Goldcrest and 3 Treecreepers. Overhead a Sparrowhawk flew past. Later on a Bullfinch was seen. Peter also had a Greater spotted Woodpecker, his first on Islay. On Loch Allan itself, 2 separate Little Grebes were heard calling and a pr of Tufted Duck were present. Martin has had no Goldfinches for some time at his feeders, but today he put out some Nyger seed and within 15 minutes had his first one! Martin now reckons that he has had 9 today plus a Siskin, eating on either the Nyger seed or on the other food which has been on offer all of this time! Visitors had seen Chough up at Ardnave and also a Golden Eagle, a Merlin and Peregrine up there too. Earlier this morning, they had 3 Sandwich Terns down at Machir Bay. This evening along at Sunderland Farm, we saw a mixed flock of Geese, mainly Greenland Whitefronts, some Greylags, a few Barnies as well as 8 large Canada Geese. For the last few Springs, we seem to have had the appearance of a few large Canadas, but fortunately for us, they move on!
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Today, Malcolm saw a European Whitefronted Goose amongst some Greenland Whitefronts while over at Kilchiaran, only the 8th record for Argyll and the 5th for Islay. Dave, on Thursday had a Goldcrest on the Oa. Today on Loch Indaal from Bowmore, Dave had 3 Slavonian Grebe, all in summer plumage, 7 GND, 8 Goldeneye and 25 Eider. Thanks to Clive Hancock for some sightings over the past week. Clive was over on holiday for the week having won the "Geese a break" free draw organised by the Islay and Jura Tourism and Marketing Group along with Calmac at the Bird Fair last August. Other contributors of late have been Mick Durham and also Edmund Fellowes. Thanks to you all, much appreciated.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Anna sent through this image of a Skylark which she took today down at Gartbreck. There were several up in the air, but Anna caught this one for us. Also there were several pairs of Lapwing displaying away on territory, must be that time of year again! Yesterday, George had 3 Wigeon, 5 Whitefronts, 15 Greylags, 2 Teal, 4 Mallards on his ponds with a Buzzard nearby. Today, George had seen 2 Otters, one directly below his house, the other along at Port Bhan. A short while later, the Otter below George's house was up on the shore eating away at a fish for some time! Yesterday, Dave had his first Wheatear of the year on the RSPB reserve on the Oa reserve. He also had 2 Otters, a Golden Eagle, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 3 Peregrines and an adult Glaucous Gull. The Hen Harrier and the Merlin were mobbing one of the Peregrines, and then the Harrier peeled off and flew directly off over Loch Indaal towards the North side of Portnahaven. This is about the widest part of Loch Indaal! Here at home, there was great excitement as a pair of Shelduck had a look at the burrow where the Shelduck of Springwatch brought their brood from. The pair flew in and landed close to the entrance and were seen doing exactly the same a short time afterwards. There have not been any Shelduck there for the past 2- 3 years, so fingers crossed for 2013.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
With the weather holding out, some of the farmers are getting itchy feet and thinking of sowing their barley, at least making a start to the initial groundwork. Mick yesterday had 6 GND in Kilnaughton Bay and then along the road out past the distilleries he had a total of 3 Golden Eagles! Out at Proaig Bay, he had 10 Turnstone and on his way home, he had a male Hen Harrier at Glenegedale. Yesterday too, Bob had a Sandwich Tern also down at Kilnaughton Bay. Back in the fields beside his house, Bob had a mixed flock of 32 Fieldfare, 7 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush and 3 Blackbird. This morning, on our way over to Gruinart, there was a male Hen Harrier, and at lunchtime, looking out of the kitchen window, a Golden Eagle soared lazily out from the crag. Late afternoon, there was a flock of 14 Chough out above the crag.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Going into Bowmore, I happened to look at the temperature, I had to look again, yep, it was in double figures up to 10 degrees. Later on, while coming home, over the other side of Loch Gorm at Ballinaby, the temperature had dropped back to only 9 degrees. On the Weather forecast this evening, they announced that some parts of the Scottish Highlands had only had 46% of the seasonal rainfall for March. Think they should be quiet, look what happened in other areas when they brought in the hose pipe ban last Spring! Clive had a Golden Eagle while he was over at Bunnahabhain yesterday. Later on, down close to the Auction Market at Bridgend , he had a Barn Owl out on the wing. Today coming over the hill from Carnain to Gruinart, we saw several small groups of Fieldfares. At Craigens roadend, there was a flock of Golden Plover present, most of which were in summer plumage. Today Peter had been up at Ardnave and commented on how dry the ground was there. Top bird was a Jack Snipe close to the steading. Over on Nave Island, Peter had over 60 Barnies with around 30 Eiders present there too. On the shore, there were about 30 Oystercather seen with 10 - 12 GBB Gulls appearing to be on territory. Coming home, down close to the coalyard at Gortan 11 Pale bellied Brent Geese were counted.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Another sunny day over here again, but we do with a bit more warmth coming through as well, please... Mary saw her first Wheatear of the year down at Claddach at Portnahaven yesterday. Today, Bob had some great sightings of a male Hen Harrier from his house up behind Port Charlotte. Here at home, the birds on the feeders are still as numerous as ever. Think there have been a few more Goldfinches around, the colour on the Greenfinches is something else, and definitely more Blackbirds to be seen. The combined chorus of the various birds out in the trees is tremendous too. Even late on, the Jackdaws are very vocal!
Monday, April 1, 2013
No, it's no April fool joke being played, but the rainfall was more for March this year than it was back in 2012. This year, we have had 1.75" compared with 1.5" last year, and back in 2011 it was 3", still it has been dry again today with no sign of any rain as of yet! Yesterday Mick had a Wheatear over on the Sound of Islay. Today, up at Ardnave Point, he had a Sandwich Tern. Over towards Nave Island, 2 GND and a Black Guillemot were seen and at Traigh Nostaig, there were 25 Sanderling on the shore while inland there were over 25 Chough in the air. Clive Hancock had a pair of Red breasted Merganser at Sanaigmore today.