Welcome to this weeks Islay Nature and Wildlife report. Jeremy has returned home and has some news about last weeks gathering and the latest Islay nature news.
A lot has been said about the terrible August weather, specially on the mainland. Overall August has been a dull month in Scotland and the most sunshine was for the west and far north. Glasgow and Edinburgh showed record rain figures. Glasgow had twice the normal level, Edinburgh almost three times the normal level. Ian has something to say about Islay's weather though: "Well that's another month in, and Christmas is getting closer all the time. Last month our rainfall tally came to 5.75", last year was only 4.5", so was last year dry, or was this year wet? The running total so far this year is around 2" wetter than 2007."
The Islay Birds blog: On wednesday Ian writes: "A visitor told me this evening, that they had seen the Osprey this afternoon over on the estuary at Gruinart." and later in the week he writes: "There was a light shower of rain just after tea time, enough to stop the combines from cutting any more barley today. The weather this week has not tremendous, but having said that, the combines having been working most days, mainly from later on." If you like to stay up to date on the barley cuttings have a look at the Laddie Blog. There is also a lovely picture of a stonechat on Ian's website... Continue reading.....John Armitage from Portnahaven, who runs the Islay Birder Blog reports about basking sharks near Portnahaven: "After my fruitless vigil for Basking Shark yesterday news came in that, on the Sunday evening, at least five (some reports suggested eight) came into the sound between Orsay Island and Port Weymss and were there for almost half an hour. Of four seen very well, three were judged to be full size and one significantly smaller. They finally headed out to the open sea through the gap between Orsay and Eilean Mhic Coinnich. The last three years has seen small, but increasing, numbers of these animals in our local waters where they appear to be spending most of the summer." Well done!!
This weeks Islay nature report by Jeremy Hastings from Islay Birding: Whilst bad weather hit most of Britain, as usual Islay was the exception and there has been warm and dry days as well as midgey ones too! I returned from the Wilderness gathering where we have been running the Coyote Kids camp - a four day extravanganza for 80 plus young people whilst their parents enjoyed the wilderness teachers and learning new skills. I was invited to give one of the masterclasses which I enjoyed thoroughly.
It is a long way down south to Wiltshire.... over 1000 kilometers and it is very nice to return to Islay! No wonder people like visiting this special place. Today I met up with my friend Catherine, RSPB Gruinart warden who said I had not missed much whilst I was ten days away. Although there seem to be an inordinate amount of Greylag geese and from the ferry we had plenty of Gannets too. A funny time of year with lots of cross over species. The swallows are still here and busy feeding their last brood, wagtails the same. last night A Snipe flew over our house but no drumming, the love songs are long gone. The Hen Harriers and Buzzards have had a breeding season with plenty of young birds around and opportunities for feeding too. The bats; Pipistrelles and Long Eared, are making the most of the last of the summer evenings with insects abundant! As I travelled northwards it was interesting to see the trees turning. Autumn is not far away. Roll on the new season.