Wednesday 13 August 2014

Isle of Islay - Birding Day 1

At the start of the month, Mum, Dad and I all visited the Isle of Islay for a weeks birding holiday. As you may know, we usually go to the Isle of Mull, but we fancied a different vacation.

On the way up to Tarbert, I managed to get 4 year ticks, them being Gannet, Black Guillemot, Hooded Crow and Eider.

The first day on Islay was in the afternoon, where it was chucking it down. No birding on this day even if it was sunny though because we had to get some food, and get toured around our cottage, which was absolutely fantastic! I did get however get Stonechat and Raven onto the year list, making my 2014 total 196. We did also get about 20 Golden Plover in a field, which was a nice surprise.

Technically, Day 3 on Islay was actually Day 1, where our birding holiday now started!

We thought we would head up to the RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve, to get some advice about where to head for a week of birding. We were advised to go up to Ardnave Point, just off the RSPB reserve, and walk round the point, so that's what we did!

We parked the car, and immediately I heard the nazal call of the Chough, as one passed over our heads. We got further up, and there were about 20 Chough feeding on the grassy banks. An incredible LIFER for me!

Soon after Dad spotted a ringtail Hen Harrier flying low over the grassy fields smothered in breeds of Cow and Sheep...

Past the fields and onto the muddy tracks, I heard a twittering I wasn't familiar with in East Anglia, but was on Mull. These were a flock of Twite. Cracking fella's!

There were plenty of Skylarks up on the fields too, as well as a Silver Y moth too...

We then made it up to the point, and looked out across Nave Island, a small Island about 500 yards offshore. The Oystercatchers weren't happy by our presence...

Looking out to Nave Island, I saw 3 bulky brown birds flying over the hills, with white flashes on the wing tips. They had to be Great Skua's!

Plenty of Gannets moving offshore too, mainly going west...

On the way back, a Raven was kicking about, harassing the local Choughs...

On the way back to the cottage we called into Saligo Bay, on the west coast of Islay. Plenty of Gannets were moving offshore, as well as Manx Shearwaters which was really nice to see.

At the end of Day 1 (Day 3), my year list was on 200!

Happy Birding!!!

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