Sunday, 28 September 2008

To the Capital

From tomorrow ( Monday) till Thursday we are away to Edinburgh with the homeschool.

Red Deer and Sparrowhawk

Out this afternoon birding and Red Deer watching. Plenty of Stags but not much action. A lovely flock of Golden Plover on the hill, Linnet and Mipits as well as Skylarks. In the glen near Ballygrant Loch, a cracking Sparrowhawk storming through scattering Woodpigeon.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Merlin and Cuckoo!

What a strange day. Rain in the afternoon and what with the few Barnies and Whitefronts from Craigens as well lots of Greylags we headed around Gorm. A 100+ mixed flock of Linnets and Twite were great to see and a Merlin on a post but the most amazing was a juv Cuckoo on the wire who obligingly sat for sometime on a telegraph wire at Carnduncan.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Whitefronts and Peregrine

Up around Gruinart this morning with a client from Sussex. We enjoyed wader watching; Sanderling, Bar and few Black Tailed Godwits, Lapwing, Dunlin and Redshank. 13 Greenland Whitefronts resting up and the 10 Barnies feeding busily. Wigeon, Eider, Mergansers and Mallard. A Peregrine perched watching for an opportunity....

Thursday, 25 September 2008

LATEST LATEST Migration news

Ten Barnacle seen coming into Loch Gruinart today and some Greenland Whitefronts at Gorm yesterday.

French Film Red Deer

Out early once more today - before first light - I had dropped off our visiting photographer in the hide and then picked up th eFrnech Film Crew. We were hoping to film Red Deer. By mid morning the mist on th ehill had lifeted we had had some great views and had recorded some good bellowing. We then found a very tight family with a large stag and several females. The team managed to get a good hour on film and everybody was happy! On returning to pick up our photographer he had the news that although he had got some nice images of Rock Pipits he had noticed a distinct lack of waders, it was only when he looked out of the window of the hide there was Peregrine siting ten metres away from him! Just as he had sorted out his gear to caputre it - it flew off -- grrrrrr. Poor chap!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

New Arrivals

Once again an early start before light but well worth it. We had Pintail, Scaup, masses of Wigeon, Slavonian Grebe, Pale Bellied Brent, Scoter and Red Throated Diver. Not as bright today but better viewing light. Wonderful to see and welcome our winter arrivals!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

And then...Eagles

A custom tour today to see Chough and Eagles. We headed for the highlands and spent some time watching the Red Deer Stags start their rut, bellowing and 'bumping' each other but no full on battles. In the early morning light we saw three Chough, very close and watched them for sometime. Then onto the north Rhinns - a distant Eagle was being mobbed by a Buzzard. Twite and Linnet and more Chough and then cracking views of an adult Eagle, firstly perched then flying and landing once again. What with Peregrine, Hen Harrier, Merlin taking a M'pit and Kestrel we did well for raptors. A cracking day!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Otterly Fantastic

Out before dawn with a Frnech Film crew and will be most of this week. We filmed Geese, saw Barn Owls, Hen Harrier and lots of waders around Bun an Uillt and then we had a family of three otters. Fantastic! There was also time to place a photographer from Suffolk in a hide too - (we did not leave him there all day)!

Friday, 19 September 2008

100's of Pale Bellies!

Yes that is right. Teaching a one to one Nature and Wilderness day and we started up at Killinallan to witness the arrival of large flocks of Pale Bellied Brents Geese. By the time we got down to Craigens we counted over 600 birds. A Ringtail flew over and spooked them and some headed for Strangford Loch in Northern Ireland. Others rested a wee while longer. Kestrel, Twite, Linnet and Curlew and then onto Dail Brush to Raven watch and do soem coppicing and bushcraft. Great fun. Long Tailed Tits, Goldcrest and Blue Tits accompanied us as we explored and enjoyed the magical woodland as the rain fell on th ehigh hill. Every so often a Red Deer stag bellowed. Autumn is just around the corner.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Thursday is Bushcraft Day!

Took a couple of chaps out today bushcrafting. It was driech and then it rained so we headed for our woods. Raven welcomed us and Blue and Coal Tits were constant companions. Fire husbandry, shelter building and water purifying were the orders of the day - all successfully achience although th erecent wet weather tested the fire lighting skills!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Rhinns no Rain!

Yes, there was no rain today - after yesterday's continuous downpour it was an absolute delight to be out with folks and bird dry! We headed around the southern Rhinns. Plenty of highlights including seawatching Shearwaters, Gannets, Auks and gulls. Inland; Wheatears and Hen Harriers., Chough and large flocks of Goldfinches as well as Linnets too.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Islay Dawn

Have been following the jazz festival over the past three days and this morning I was taking some Japanese folks out pre-dawn. We watched a Barn Owl hawking in the early shadows and then went onto Gruinart to witness the hundreds of Greylag Geese that have been arriving ove rthe past couple of weeks. (A report of a handful of Barnacles arriving yesterday). Against the salmon sky they were spectacular leaving for newly cut
barley fields. We then headed away down to Ardnave; Chough, waders and a single Hen Harrier. Yesterday as I was returning from a gig I walked from Foreland Road End to Port Charlotte. Scoter on the sea and two Slavonian Grebes with remnants of summer plumage.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Film on frontpage

Last year in the winter, Patrick Glotin of Canal Plus (France) made a film about DJ Macphee and myself, how our jobs were similar and how they were different. DJ is the head keeper at Dunnlosit Eatate, his daughter Rhona has been working with us this summer. Anyway, I sent a copy to Ron at and he has edited it to post on his and our here it is (scroll down to the bottom of the page) . Enjoy.

Cracking Day...

...yesterday. We headed out on the Rhinns starting in the north with a birder from Nottingham. We immediately saw a Golden Eagle and Buzzard, Corvids and Finches and Greylags on Gorm. On to Machir Bay where there were plenty of Choughs and Gullls too. A good flock of Linnets drinking in the burn was good too. Then we headed south for a bit of seawatching - Frenchman's Rocks gave us lots of Gannets, Shearwaters, Waders passing and a fine flock of Twite and another Eagle. On the eround we found 31 Marsh Fritillary nests. On our return we had a couple of White wagtails and a superb male Hen Harrier. What a day!