Jeremy Hastings: Spring comes goes and then..... It seems to have stayed! as I write the sun is setting in a calm western sky. Campers enjoy the still midgeless air at Port Mor and Gannets dive into a bright blue loch. If you are very lucky and look even more carefully you may even see the Otter heading for Port Charlotte.
New growth is everywhere, Celandine, Daffodils, Whin/Gorse and Primroses. It is a place full of joy and expectation. The geese are gathering in groups and soon they will be gone. We will need to get used to the silence until our ears become accustomed to Skylark, tern and lapwing. Curlew display beyond our house on the hill accompanied by Pipits and even, this week, a Chiffchaff warming to the summer call. Today there was a green tinge and fringe to the woodland edges. Great!
Continue reading......We have seen Swallow and Martins hawking for insects over wee ponds and lochs. Sea duck such as Scoter, Scaup and Eider swim about, display and chase females. The divers; Great Northern and Red Throated, are floating numerously on Loch Indaal. The Golden Eagle leaves it's nest to hunt for food and then return and Harriers do the same too. This week we were witness to buzzards mating - not a particularly romantic sight and happened all too quickly but it did signal that changes were afoot! The Gyr Falcon has been seen again this week, in several different locations which is nice to witness for these lucky to be in the environs. Being aware of such hunting birds means that be aware of such predators means that one may well be able to see Merlin ( a blue/male if lady luck is on your side!) storm about field margins causing havoc - or a peregrine high in the the sky preparing to stoop and attack a flock of Golden Plover. On the shore line Turnstones and Dunlin feed busily and Oystercatchers stomp about with great self importance.
Oystercatchers at the Sound of Islay
So the light changes, the temperature is on the rise and as some birds depart whilst other arrive. The season is definitely on the change and we are happy with it. It has been a long winter, let us hope that the summer, which is in the wings brings equal joy and as always fascination.
Beautiful evening sky over Loch Indaal and the Rhinns of Islay
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