Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Waxwings and Homeschool

I do not normaly post when I have no clients HOWEVER toady was not normal. Twelve Whoopers over the house at dawn was followed by cracking views of a single Waxwing near the Youth Hostel, just opposite the editor of the Ileach's house. Brilliant. The girls and I loved seeing it before it headed off for Daal Terrace.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Awful weather - back for dolphins and otter

We had awful weather at the weekend but did the ride and went to the the festivities afterwards - we raised with 300 other folks £40,000 for young scottish riders! On our return there were Dolphins in the Sound of Islay and this morning whilst out with the homeschool we watched an Otter off Port Charlotte beach. Tink is away at the moment on family business so I am acting head at the homeschool!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Bad Weather Braveheart

Despite the awful weather over the past days, and a couple of Swallows still scooting around Port Charlotte,  we are hoping to get to the mainland this weekend for the Braveheart ride raising funds for young Scottish riders. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

good to be out

It has been pretty awful weather wise here over the past few days and yesterday was no exception - I was supposed to be guiding but the private cruise boat could not get in...and nobody in their
right minds would go hereby hangs a tale! Today was a different story and we headed out with some delightful seniors around the Rhinns. We had Chough overhead, Whoopers towards Ireland, Merlin, Hen Harrier and Sparrowhawk as well as geese and a great flock of Redwing at Portnahaven. It rained and the wind blew but we ad steady hands and found enough shelter in between the sunny bits! 

Monday, 20 October 2008

Harrier, Hawk and Merlin

Although it was a foul and wild day we did struggle over the OA reserve walk - we were the ONLY folks mad enough to be there. A pair of  Chough, single male Hen Harrier and Gannets out at sea. Everything else was buried to save themselves from the tempest!  Along to Ardbeg for a cracking  Sparrowhawk,  Buzzard and Merlin too. Plenty of deer 'though; Red, Roe and Fallow.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Redwing and Blackthroat

A very wet and stormy day - however we had some good birds: Scoter, Eider, Scaup and Whooper Swans as well as a cracking Black Throated Diver. Chough on the Rhinns and
plenty of Barnacles and Whitefronts. On our return to Port Ellen a wee flock of Redwing burst in front of us. A single Swallow swooped around Bruichladdich Distillery and a comic Tern - (it was too wet and windy to get a full id) off Port Weymss.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Canadian Birders Golden Eagle

Yes, a couple from Canada are out with me birding for two and a half days. Picking them up from the ferry we immediately had Buzzards and Snipe too!  Up on the Glen Road we watched Red deer and Raven as well as a cracking Merlin sitting and then flying right in front of us. Further down we watched two Golden Eagles perching on the conifers and flying off.  Towards Port Ellen there were plenty of Whitefronts, a handful of Greylag and Barnies and then three Pink feet too!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Four Birders Five Raptors

Birding in good light again - a wee bit of cloud and rain on occasions but we headed for Sanaig
and found a male Hen Harrier on the way, Merlin, Kestrel and Buzzards and then there on a post sat an Eagle and behind it ...another! We watched for an hour, the kelly kettle doing sterling service. It was superb. Later we enjoyed thousands of Barnacles and White fronts too. I found a Lesser Canada hanging around the Barnies too.  With Snipe and Buntings, Twite and Linnet it was quite a day.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

All three Divers and Long Tailed Ducks

A good day's briding and light to enable excellent views too. We worked our way around Loch Indaal from Bowmore to Bruichladdich. All three Divers- Red, Gt Northern and Black Throated, Scoter, Scaup, Wigeon, Teal, Slavonian Grebe, Whooper Swans and Long Tailed Ducks - three. Plenty of waders as well; Dunlin, Redshank, Godwits (both flavours!), Curlew, Sanderling and
a single Grey Plover. Sunshine, cold wind.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Tern and Swedish Journalists

Back to Islay and this afternoon I was out on a photo shoot with some Swedish Journalists from Svenska da Bladet - one of the national newspapers. Common Tern at Bruichladdich and a handful of Purple Sandpipers. Plenty of Geese; Barnies and Whitefronts and great light for their photographer too! Interestingly it is strange how birds affect people; whilst in London at the cycle show (I was reporting for I got talking to someone mainly about Kingfishers and their behaviour! Hey ho! The fact that they lived on the River Thames may have had quite alot to do with it. Birding and biking...there's joy!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Days of Rain

Yes it has been that today. We still have Swallows around the house and Geese flying over.
I am away till Friday reporting for
at the Bike Show. Hopefully by my return the weather will have dried up and i will definately
be out birding!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

This Week's Round-up

From the start of this year I have been sending Ron at a weekly nature report.
maybe some of you do not see it so I thought I would oblige by posting it here too!

Big news this week is that the Barnacle Geese arrived. I witnessed some arrivals on Friday with clients - 2000 plus in the morning and by today over 26,000 have touched down. This really signifies that winter has arrived. Other birds have also been seen: a couple of Lesser Canada, Whitefronts, Pale Bellied Brent, Ruff and plenty of sea duck. We also had a wee flock of Black Tailed Godwits from Craigens interspersed with Bar Tailed Godwits. The local Sparrow Hawk causing havoc. On Loch Indaal we have watched large flocks of Scaup, Scoter and Wigeon.Yesterday there were two very late Arctic Terns in Bruichladdich and Gannets fishing too.There are still plenty of Swallows, so it is strange to see the cross over of migrating birds arrivals and yet to depart. some of these barnacle records are of Geese that have come from
 the European race in North Norway and Svallbard etc..
For interest sake I know many nationalities read this so here are some translations of Barnacle Goose: Ca: Oca de galta blanca Da: Bramgås De: Weißwangengans Es: Barnacla cariblanca Fi: valkoposkihanhi Fr: Bernache nonnette It: Oca facciabianca Nl: Brandgans No: Hvitkinngås Pt: Ganso-de-faces-brancas Sv: Vitkindad gås US: Barnacle Goose Ru: Белощекая казарка thanks to I am also including latest record notes of arivals of Barnacles this season - the Argyll one was mine!
12:15 04/10/08

Barnacle Goose

N Yorks

Long Nab, Burniston

21:15 03/10/08

Barnacle Goose




20:20 03/10/08

Barnacle Goose

N Yorks

Nosterfield LNR

17:17 03/10/08

Barnacle Goose


Pilling Lane Ends

14:08 03/10/08

Barnacle Goose


Whitburn Coastal Park

11:00 03/10/08

Barnacle Goose

E Yorks

Flamborough Head

20:42 02/10/08

Barnacle Goose


Aberlady Bay

20:06 02/10/08

Barnacle Goose


Martin Mere WWT

19:51 02/10/08

Barnacle Goose


Cresswell Pond NWT


17:23 01/10/08

Barnacle Goose


Budle Bay


Most of these will have arrived from Greenland/Iceland although the east Coast birds may well have set off from Svallbard/Norway.

Of course there will be plenty of birders about looking for rareities amongst them and I know that a Snow Goose has been seen farther north...maybe it will arrive on Islay.

Let us not forget the Red Deer that have also been busy this week with the rut and Otters that have been see in several spots on the island.

With all this migration excitment though one can hardly not really recognise the importance of new arrivals and all that that entails for this wee Hebridean island right on the edge of Europe.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

What a Day!

I spent sometime with folks from the Royal Botanical Gardens and Camera Obscura and a posh hotel in Edinburgh today (on Islay!). Not a day to be out - foul weather till later. We talked and discussed many things. We watched Gannets from Port Mor and then when it brightened at Bruichladdich we saw 2 Arctic Terns fishing and 4 Purple Sandpipers. Fab.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Geese Arrival!

This morning with clients, we awoke to a continued Northerly that has been blowing for a day or two. I decided to head up to Gruinart and see what was happening. A Sparrowhawk sent up all the waders on the sand and then we noticed some Barnies and Whitefronts. We travelled to Bun an Uilt and then we saw them arriving. Small groups and steady some coming from the south of loch Indaal having run along the west coast. (They had over shot and were making their way back.) Cracking and wonderful at the sametime.
Strangely enough as I write, a Swallow has just flown over the house.......