Corncrakes and Whiskey

June 15, 2019 at 8:51 pm

We have now returned from our summer visit to Islay and once again the number of calling Corncrakes are down on previous years. Cold weather has not helped but this recent steady decline was blamed on the withdrawal of Government subsidies that paid the Islay farmers to leave their fields until after the 1st August, allowing Corncrakes to rear two broods of young. Some haymaking was already underway as we left Islay this week but is this early harvesting the real reason for the Corncrakes decline? – I fear not.
The Whiskey industry of Islay is going from strength to strength with one new distillery opened this year and another planned for next year. By then vast amounts of Barley will be required and already the once flower-rich meadows of Islay are being turned into continuous fields of Barley which are of no use to the Corncrake. I fear that we are already on a downward spiral of Corncrake numbers and serious research is now required to address this trend.Click here

Escort Duties

June 10, 2019 at 3:41 pm

The last few weeks I have spent many hours on the moors looking for Long Eared and Short Eared Owls. Whilst sat still waiting I have seen good numbers of Red Grouse. The male Red Grouse does not incubate the eggs but twice a day he escorts the female while she feeds before returning to incubate. This weeks gallery shows a few of the Grouse photos but the next four weeks promises a feast of photos of four of our special birds – Corncrake, Hen Harrier, Kingfisher and Long Eared Owl. Click here 

Bluebells and Woodpeckers

June 1, 2019 at 6:10 pm











Last week I spent a glorious couple of hours sat in a local bluebell wood whilst filming a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers feeding young that were about to fledge. The blog photo of the bluebells also shows in the top right-hand corner the Alder tree with the Woodpeckers nest-holes. Feeds of the young were at ten minute intervals and the prey comprised mainly of green caterpillars as shown in the gallery photos. click here