Super Red

July 25, 2021 at 6:33 pm

No trip to the Highlands is complete without searching out the Red Squirrels. The Caledonian forests are their stronghold and we were rewarded with some good views and photos.
One of my favourite Highland areas is Lochindorb which not only has Red Squirrels but Ospreys, Peregrines, Divers, Red Grouse and an abundance of butterflies. A spectacular fungi encountered was Bloody Tooth fungi whose name is a perfect description of this rare species. gallery photos

Scottish Rarity

July 17, 2021 at 5:17 pm

With less than thirty breeding pairs in Britain the Slavonian grebe is one of our rarest breeding birds. Last week, while walking on a public footpath around a reed-fringed Scottish lock, we could not believe our luck.Amongst the reeds were a pair of Slavonian grebes with two small young. They paid no attention to us and in the next few minutes we obtained all the photos in this weeks Gallery.
They fed their young on invertebrates and feathers, which help with digestion, as shown in the blog photo. It was an encounter we will never forget! For more photos in my gallery see my Facebook

An Islay Bonus

July 10, 2021 at 7:31 pm

One of the spin-offs of going to Islay in summer is the additional wild-life subjects that come along. Last month we found Herons nesting in rhododendrons, mating Red Breasted Mergansers, singing Skylarks – on the ground! Hares, fields of Buttercups, newly emerged Marsh Fritillery butterflies and delicate Banded Demoiselle Damselflies. For gallery photos see my Facebook page

Black Magic

July 4, 2021 at 5:29 pm

One of the must birds to find on Islay is the Black Guillemot. They breed all around the island and are one of the latest breeding birds in Britain only pairing off in June. As a result our recent visit was perfect timing for photo action and we even had a pair copulating – a rare event to capture on film.For gallery photos see my Facebook page


Where Eagles Fly

June 27, 2021 at 5:54 pm

If you were going to Scotland for Eagles you would probably go to Mull. However, I would ask how long will it be before Islay takes over for Eagle viewing? Whilst Islay does not have anywhere near the twenty two pairs of Sea Eagles of Mull it does have some very viewable pairs and is nowhere near as mountainous as Mull. What does happen on Islay is that in winter up to half a dozen Sea Eagles come together to catch Geese, something that Mull cannot compete with! for gallery photos click on my Facebook page on the right

A Tribute To Ian Brooke

June 20, 2021 at 5:21 pm

Ten days ago as I was sat in my hide on Islay filming this week’s Hen Harriers, less than two miles down the road, my good friend Ian unexpectedly passed away. It was a terrible shock.
I have known Ian and Margaret for more than thirty years and have lost count of all the tea and biscuits that we have been provided with on Islay. Their door was always open to all visitors. Ian started the Islay Bird blog more than fourteen years ago and provided visiting birders with a daily picture of who was on the island and what they had seen. For non-birders Ian started the “Walk Islay” weeks which were extremely popular pre-covid days.
One of the highlights of Ian’s year was the Annual Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water. Along, with others ,Ian would stand all day extolling the virtues of Islay to all visitors who would leave the stand topped up with shortbreads and Whisky!
Ian loved his extensive garden on Islay and there are not many birders who can count Hen Harrier and Merlin as daily garden visitors! My daily routine has already changed as a result of Ian’s passing – I can no longer check his daily blog to see who was on Islay and what they had seen. I already miss his monthly Wader counts, the Goose counts in Winter and even his monthly Rainfall figures – he never did beat the Ballygrant readings!!
Ian you were an absolute star. Sir.