Islay One Hundred

November 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Chough tony
Our 100th visit to Islay since 1976 and by far the worst October weather we have ever had. Only two dry days in eight but on Islay there is always good bird-watching to be had despite the horizontal rain!
The Geese and Whooper Swans are always impressive but what was impressive on this visit were the thousands of Redwings on the island but no Fieldfares to be found, due no doubt to the continuously strong westerly winds.Back home House Sparrows are in decline but on Islay they are everywhere – we even had 33 around one feeder in the garden where we were staying.
On the best day we crossed to Jura and found an Otter plus 15 Turnstones along the shore. As usual Red Deer were everywhere and we even found an enormous toadstool. A superb male Merlin was seen to catch a Pipit and take it onto a stump to eat. He was extremely wary but I managed to obtain a record shot of him by hand holding a large lens on the side of the car.
One of the highlights of the week was seeing a flock of 68 Chough, the largest we have ever seen on Islay. Supplementary feeding of the young Chough is helping the juvenile birds survive their first Winter and the benefits are already beginning to show.
We cant wait to return next year! For photos of our visit Click here