Geese,Geese And More Geese

October 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm

There is little doubt that one of the greatest bird spectacles in Europe in Autumn occurs on Islay as 50,000 Geese arrive from their breeding grounds in the Arctic. Added to that the sight of more than 100 Whooper Swans in one field is another spectacle not to be missed.

Autumn is a time when birds are on the move and while watching the Geese arrive from the North other birds like Swallows, Whinchat and Wheatear are starting their journeys to the South. This year the Geese have brought a very special bird with them from Russia in the form of a Red Breasted Goose. Although more than four hundred yards away at the time I managed to take a still photo which shows it to be smaller than the Barnacle Geese which it associates with.

Islay is famous for its Raptors and although we failed to see any Eagles last week many other birders on the island were successful. We did, however, see many Hen Harriers and one morning saw six different species of raptor in less than two hours.

Not many visitors to Islay come for flowers in the last week of October but during our week we have found sixty two flowering plants. Included in this total have been Autumn Gentian, Pansy and even a Bluebell!

Long Tailed Tit Record

October 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm

On the 14th October we had a record thirteen Long Tailed Tits feeding together in the garden. A Jay has fed and a Red Admiral butterfly visited us also on on the fourteenth.

Along the canal have been small numbers of Redwings feeding on the Hawthorne berries with up to ten present.

A drive over the Snake Pass for a film show in Sheffield resulted in a pair of Ravens being seen. A Pipistrille Bat was feeding around the buildings of central Sheffield at dusk.

In Littleborough on the nineteenth a Cabbage White butterfly was on the wing.

Injured Pink Footed Goose

October 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm

During the evening of the sixth Pink Footed Geese called from the darkened sky. The following morning, below some pylons, was a Pink Footed Goose with a broken leg presumably having hit the overhead wires the night before. Whilst it sat on the ground it still fed all around it and several hours later it had gone, so lets hope it flew off on its own accord and was not taken by a Fox.

On Hopwood there have been two Green Woodpeckers, Redpolls, Buzzard and plenty of Jays. Sunshine on the nineth produced late Speckled Wood and Comma butterflies.

In the garden there have been the eleven Long Tailed Tits and a record four Coal Tits. There are now two Foxes coming to next door’s garden.

Redwing Arrives

October 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

On Hopwood on the third of October one solitary Redwing was feeding in the Birch woods – the first of Winter and a week earlier than last year.Also present have been Redpolls, Greenfinches, Green Woodpecker and a Reed Bunting. On the Botanical side still in flower are Tormentil, Red Campion, Herb Robert, Foxglove and Autumn Crocus.

In the garden has been the first Goldcrest of Winter plus eleven Long Tailed Tits, Nuthatch, Wren, Coal Tit, three Carrion Crows and the usual male Sparrowhawk. Additionally a Wood Mouse feeds each day with a Fox present in next doors garden each night. Unfortunately the Grey Squirrel count is now up to three.