Welcome to this weeks Islay Nature report. There is not much news from the Owls yet, the eggs are expected to hatch early May. What has changed however is the internet address for the Owls! They are now hosted at the Islay Natural History Trust website at: www.islaynaturalhistory.org.
The Islay Birds blog: With all the new migrants Ian had almost daily updates including breaking news last Friday: "The first Corncrake of the year was heard this morning, here at Kilchoman, and Michael Copleston had a Spotted Crake over on the Flats at Gruinart last night!" and a day later Ian reports that he had actually seen the Corncrake. This is not an easy task since these birds are very secretive. On Thursday Ian writes: "There were quite a noticable increase in the number of migrants both seen and heard whilst helping with the Thursday walk at RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve. In the woodland itself, there were more Willow Warblers, and some Bluebells to be seen, there was also a Coal Tit. There also appear to be more Sand and House Martins here on the week, but still not a large number of Swallows yet." Continue reading....Yesterday I wrote about the new blog from John Armitage called Islay Birder and from this week onwards I will try to cover some of his highlights of the week as well. On Thursday John writes about the migration: "A couple of parties of Whimbrel, unseen but heard , went through north and five were at Loch Gorm. Golden Plovers, the "northern" form in resplendent plumage, were obviously on the move with two groups being seen totalling ca. 190. Two Sedge Warblers in song and a single Grasshopper Warbler were clearly new as were four Knot arriving at Loch Indaal." Another new and interesting blog to watch!
This weeks Islay nature report by Jeremy Hastings from Islay Birding: Swallows and SandMartins eat up wee flying insects and really sound the arrival of a good Spring. Most lambs are now in the fields and the grass in now beginning to recover from the 50,000 geese that munched the winter through!
Tuesday and the wind has swung around to the South â€“ more migrants are piling in and at Bruichladdich we really enjoyed watching Turnstones in almost full summer plumage feeding with vigour. Spring flowers are everywhere and along the woodland at Bridgend Bluebells are emerging. Another colour and another shape for the ever changing road edges. New plants are beginning to show, Bluebells, Primroses, Celandine, Nettle and Ground Elder too.
Lambing has begun in earnest and we must all be careful â€“ especially when driving as lambs and ewes can be anywhere except where we expect them! The warm weather has gotten people out and about and one can appreciate how the ancients must have felt â€“ with summer just around the corner. Winter now seems a long way away however today (Sunday am) there were 27 Whitefronts and 1 Barnacle goose at Gruinart. (Did they miss the bus?). With Whimbrel over Skerrols, House Martins and other hirundines catching flies over the lochs and fields and an Arctic Tern fishing off Shorefield it certainly was a week to keep ones eyes peeled! By the weekend we also had a Little Tern at the head of Loch Indaal and two Corncrakes (picture 2) at Gruinart â€“ another had been heard at Kilchoman too! Corncrakes are very important here in the West and the isles as they used to be plentiful but due to a lot of different factors they have become few and far between. More of this next week... The grass has begun to grow and soon Islay will be full green once more. But best of all the Migration has begun!
Signs of Spring in the Woods at Bridgend