Welcome to this weeks Islay Nature and Wildlife report with a contribution from Jeremy Hastings and the highlights from the other Islay wildlife and birding blogs.
In last weeks report I wrote something about the Rowan tree and today I came across a really nice Islay tree picture (right) which I took in Bridgend, there where the river Sorn flows into Loch Indaal. But as much as I like everything nature has to offer, there is still so much to learn and I couldn't come up with the name of this tree... I asked a friend and she believes it's a Sycamore, a quite common tree on Islay, although it could be a variety or a whole different tree as well. If anyone has the correct answer please contact me. Thanks :-)
The Islay Birds blog: Ian must have had a busy week considering the many posts although it's getting a bit quieter: "Michal commented that bird wise, things were a bit quieter, as obviously the breeding season is now past, although he did see and hear Pipits, Skylark, Stonechats, the odd Hoodie Crow and a few Herring Gulls." On the last day of July Ian writes: "As the weather has broken down, the visible birds have gone down too. A visitor reported in to the Islay Natural History Trust, to say that they had seen a Basking Shark in the Sound of Islay at Caol Ila." The rain Ian wrote about lasted well into the night leaving almost an inch. About the rainfall he writes: "The total for July was 3.6", slightly wetter than last July, but the running total so far this year is similar to 2007."
John Armitage from Portnahaven, who runs the Islay Birder Blog, has returned from a trip to the mainland and is back to blogging about the wildlife on Islay: John was also bothered by the rain on Thursday: "Awakened early to the rain absolutely lashing the front of the house ruining all thoughts of a seawatching session." and Friday was even worse: "If yesterday was bad today detioriorated still further, with steady downpours being heavier at intervals and then, thankfully, coming to an end in late afternoon." Saturday a whole different story and luckily back to some good summer weather: "An absolutely splendid day.....yes, sunshine and warmth! A minimal wind and, altogether, a nice day for birding. The sea saw a consistent passage of Manx Shearwater south, Gannets moving north and south , presumably on feeding forays, with the odd Kittiwake and Fulmar between although no auks!!!" Continue reading.....Gordon Yates posted a new article today called Seconds before the kill. Gordon: "I couldnâ€™t resist including this last shot of a Hen Harrier from Islay. The eyes of this attacking male are the last thing that a poor Meadow Pipit will see before it is captured. What a way to go."
The following report is not from an Islay wildlife blog but someone called Dawn visited the island during the wet days of last week and, besides problems with her shelter, she had to deal with the more humidity loving, annoying wildlife on Islay. Read her blog about rain and midges.
This weeks Islay nature report by Jeremy Hastings from Islay Birding: It has been another week of catch up. Catching up with the rain that we did not have two months ago. Rivers have been in spate, good for the fishing and the hill ground has been soaking up water â€“ not so good for the walkers. Plenty of insect life emerging from flying ants to dragon flies. In fact Up to 50 Green-veined White butterflies could be seen at one time, many in mating pairs, together with a few Small Whites. Some others of note are Small Copper, Common Blue, Ringlet and Meadow Brown. Marsh Fritillary caterpillar webs have been found. On the Dragon/Damsel fly front Common, Blue, Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies have been regular this week and there were several sightings of Common Hawker Dragonfly and one of Common Darter as well as this Gold Ringed one!
We spent most of the week with a group of youngsters on their John Muir Award and watching the Hen Harriers beyond Gortantoid. Plenty of LBJâ€™s (Little brown jobs) too: Linnet, Twite, Goldfinches and pipits. We had Little Terns off the beach and Gannets continue to fish off Frenchmanâ€™s Rocks. Two Basking Sharks have been seen off the Rhinns coming very close to shore mid week. A small pod of Dolphins accompanying the ferry were great for folks to witness too! Up on the hill people have seen Golden Plover and Eagle too so it has been a good week for nature spotting despite the weather. As an aside â€“ the VCdâ€™Ardbeg Annual Ride of the Falling Rain had full sunshine - in the morning â€“ it did rain in the afternoon!
Despite the rains a lovely Islay sunset