Jeremy Hastings: It is winter, storm bound and holed up on this wild yet amazing place. Thank goodness we have a warm stove heating our wee house. I ventured outside at midday and found myself down at Port Charlotte's pier. It was cold but bright and remnants of large wave still batter the ancient stone jetty. I looked out and along. Two Herring gulls sat squarking on the shoreline and then, with my nine year old son we looked once more. Three Purple Sandpipers stood in the lee of a rock. The birds having very carefully found a place that was completely sheltered. It was stunning to witness. To watch their steadiness in the squally battering that the sea and wind gave to the naked and steel grey shoreline. They just had to sit it out. Unlike us, who although dressed appropriately in our tweed coats and welly boots, knew we would be heading indoors. Here, these wee migrants had to exist and wait for a better time. It was extra-ordinary.
I have discovered twittering and have my own twitter page. Have a look at www.twitter.com/islaybirding and I will try to post regularly of my sightings. On the web, my blog records what I have seen with clients so, at this time of year, it has entered hibernation - coming out occasionally - whereas the twitter site has no hibernation option. Continue reading...
On my local patch (for those who are not in the know a local patch is a birding term for an area that one regularly birds, usually on foot, and can be covered within a rough time of a wee walk- in other words not a day's traipse around a reserve or hill - although it does depend, I guess on wether one has seven league boots or not!) Anyway back to the patch - we have House Sparrows, Hen Harriers, Merlin, Corvids, Chough, Snipe and Buzzard as well as numerous geese and Thrushes at this time of year. This list is not exhaustive and I have not even added in the sea birds! the new year brings lots of hopes and promises and my hope is to spend more time on my patch and with the twitter I would like to record this in a proactive way. In the meantime... enjoy.
Below a video of a French tv crew from the winter on Islay a couple of years ago featuring Jeremy, his family and the warm stove!
Other relevant Islay Wildlife and Birding Information Resources:
- Jeremy's News Blog
- Previous Islay nature reports By Jeremy Hastings
- Islay Seasonwatch by Teresa Morris
- Islay Birds blog by Ian Brook
- Islay Birder blog by John Armitage