Stormy Weather

February 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Pied Billed Grebe

A wild week on Islay, with snow in the Rest And Be Thankful on the way up. An otter was fishing off Jura as we sailed up the sound.

Islay did not escape the severe weather in December and we have seen only one Stonechat and two Hen Harriers. There are no Snipe or Woodcock around and we have encountered only two flocks of Twite and Chaffinches, comprising of one hundred plus birds in each flock.

Along the West coast fourteen goats and four kids were feeding on the sea cliffs with wild waves in the background. The highlight has been watching a female Crossbill feeding her three young that had just left their nest. She would take a pine cone, work her way around it extracting the seeds, then fly over to one of the young to regurgitate the food to it. The young would flick its wings in excitement as it was being fed . This is the first time we have ever experienced this activity from a bird that must have laid its eggs in all the severe weather of last December. Perhaps this weather brought the cones to seed thus enabling the Crossbills to breed?