Welcome to this weeks Islay Nature report. Jeremy submitted his report already yesterday, he spends seven days and nights on Texa with a group of 14 people, a small island south of Port Ellen. Texa was once an inhabited island with 29 people in 1625 but inhabited since the late 19th century. The island measures 48ha and has ruins of a chapel which was built in the late 14th century by Reginald, son of John of Islay. Next week Jeremy will write a lengthy report of his whereabouts on Texa and I will write more about the island itself before that.
Owl TV started a few days ago which means you can watch live video images of nesting Barn Owls, which are resident guests on Islay. There are an estimated 3,000-5,000 pairs in the UK and the biggest chance of finding them is on the open fields and preferrably at dusk. More information on Barn Owls can be found on the Barn Owl Trust Website. The Barn Owl Picture courtesy of the Barn Owl Trust. Later next week or thereafter the images will also be available from the Islay Natural History Trust Website and will include written reports.
The Islay Birds blog: Reports are coming in every day and following are a few of the highlights of this week: On Tuesday: "George phoned in to say that he had seen a Green Sandpiper down at Bruichladdich, the first for this year, while off the pier at Bruichladdich on Loch Indaal he had 3 Razorbill and on the shoreline a pair of Shelduck." and on Friday: "Michal had a good couple of hours out bird watching today, a pair of Hen Harrier, 3 Buzzard, a female Peregrine Falcon, and at end of his stint, a male Merlin. While trying to out do Michal, all we could do was to offer 5 Buzzard soaring all at the same time and then later on a single Golden Eagle." Must have been a great day last friday! Continue reading.....This weeks Islay nature report by Jeremy Hastings from Islay Birding: Monday, and the wind was so very cold. We were out with the Young Adventurers, doing their Wildwood Wisdom programme which is supported by the Mactaggart Third Fund enabling Islay children to experience some of this wonderful wilderness that we have, and to learn to respect and value it! We were based at Carnain Beach doing day one of a three day 'Wildwood Wisdom' camp. The children were brilliant. They had lots to do over the three days including being busy with beach cleans, burn cleans and building habitat piles for Woodcock and insects too. We had lots of fun making and creating including this wonderful sculpture (pictured) done ENTIRELY by the children, there was time to breathe, play and of course make hot chocolate over an open fire! The other days were at Dail and Ardtalla so plenty for them to experience and very different places too. 54 children attended over the three days!
We have seen two Otters this week and what with a very calm Loch Indaal on Tuesday and calm-ish on Wednesday we had great views from Port Charlotte pier and Shorefield too. Unfortunately we had a Landrover full of wee people on the way to the bush camps so no chance for photography!
Mick Durham was over photographing wildlife â€“ mainly Otters and Hares - and he gave a good talk at the Field Centre Thursday evening about a photographic expedition to Norway. Everybody enjoyed it and was enchanted by the range of images he had captured.
The evenings are now getting much longer and on Thursday at 2100hrs the Barnacles flew over the house on their way to their roost. Dusk is certainly later! The sun had gone but the sky still held light. On Friday I had a count of the Rooks at the Rookery at Port Charlotte next to the bridge again there were 74 on the nests and bringing material in however there were many more in the field behind. Two Grey Wagtails passed overhead. On the loch were Red and Great Northern Divers, Razorbills and Guillemots and Eider duck displaying. Migrants are piling in and plenty of people seem to be enjoying them. Flat calm on Saturday with a hail and rain drifting form the north. I am seeing more Harriers arrive, Whinchat and Swallow too! A strange time of year with the winter visitors yet to leave and the summer ones arrivingâ€¦yippee!
Kids going to visit the wreck of the Gleaner off the river Sorn.