Welcome to this weeks Islay Nature and Wildlife report. Today unfortunately without a contribution from Jeremy Hastings who has been cycling the London-Paris cycling tour. Instead another nature related item which is a fishing trip report from Brian Turner from early June (loch Kinnabus picture right). And as usual there are the highlights from the other wildlife and birding blogs on Islay. Last week finally saw some rain which was a blessing for the farmers, distilleries and nature in general. I'm not sure if this was enough to solve the drought problems but it looks as if there is more rain on it's way, which will also be welcomed by the farmers and some of the distilleries.
The Islay Birds blog: Ian has been on the mainland for some time now and after his return last weekend he wrote: "One big difference that I noticed on my return, was that everything had freshened up as we have had some rain, now almost 3" for June, just in time to bulk up some of the crops for the farmers. Some of us have made a start to clipping the sheep too, when and if one can get a window in the weather to clip the sheep when the wool is dry."
John Armitage from Portnahaven, who runs the Islay Birder Blog mentions the Corncrake count on the 23rd of June and the fact that this secretive bird with it's wonderful call is doing really well in the last years: "Not very long ago the population had reached quite perilous levels and there was very real concern about its future. Over the past three to four seasons this situation has reversed such that there is now a very healthy population with now possibly in excess of 80 birds calling. This season alone might yet demonstrate a 15-20% increase which is excellent news." Continue reading.....Brian Turner's contribution to this weeks nature report, who spent another week with three of his friends on Islay: The superb weather of May continued into June and we had a fantastic week from a weather point of view also - bright, sunny and almost windless. In the 14 years of earlier fishing trips we had not seen weather like this on such a sustained basis. Not so great though for the fishing but still we had a great week chasing the "Islay Trouts". We fished Skerrols, Gorm (3 times), Ballygrant, Finlaggan and Kinnabus. Also this year the other waters of the Port Ellen Angling Club namely Loch Ard Achadh (The School Loch) and Loch nan Gillean (The Gillie Loch). We spend a very pleasant day fishing these two lochs and Kinnabus. I posted a wee report to our new friend in Port Ellen Angling Club and they have kindly added this and a few pictures to their great new website. It was most unusual to get out on Loch Gorm on all three of our booked days as normally the wind defeats us on some days. Indeed in past years on occasion we have never been able to get afloat on this the jewel of Islay's Lochs. It is interesting to note that as the Fly Fishing World Championships are being held in mainland Scotland next year the Commonwealth Championships follow soon after and Islay has been successful in attracting this major competition. I am sure the Port Ellen Club will be heavily involved in helping organise the event.
Islay's Brown Trouts - courtesy of Brian Turner