Islay Magic

December 6, 2020 at 10:00 am

In the last few weeks we have seen photos of the main species that make Islay such a great place for the wildlife enthusiast. This weeks gallery highlights Islays many other attractions that a visitor will see from Seals, Deer, Hares to Waders and of course the rarest member of the Crow family – the Chough. Click here

Fallen Apples

November 28, 2020 at 9:21 pm

When you visit Islay in November and you have been more than one hundred times you do not expect to photograph a species that you have never filmed before. However, that is exactly what happened this November as I sat in my hide facing three Apple trees that had just shed their apples.Up to a dozen Blackbirds fed together and I waited in the hope of a Redwing or Fieldfare arriving but none appeared. Out of the blue a Blackcap appeared, then another and another until three males and two females were eating the apples! In summer Blackcap breed in the Islay woodlands but the Blackcap that I was filming were different, not in plumage, but where they had come from. It has recently been proved that the Blackcaps that we see in winter have come from Germany in contrast to the summer visitor Blackcaps who have now headed south to Africa. click here

Wild Swans And Geese

November 22, 2020 at 1:11 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons for going to Islay in late Autumn is to marvel at the thousands of Geese and enjoy the passage of Whooper Swans. As this was our 108th visit we have seen it all before but it was just as exciting as our first visit in 1976. In fact it is even better now because there are Sea Eagles trying to catch the Geese. One morning we encountered five Eagles and I would expect that within a couple of years Islay will be better for seeing Eagles than Mull.
Enjoy the passage of Whooper Swans in this weeks gallery. Click here

 

Octopus For Lunch

November 14, 2020 at 4:25 pm

Generally in wildlife encounters there are no second chances. Thirty years ago, in the Sound of Islay, I filmed an Otter as it came ashore with an Octopus in its mouth. Unfortunately I did not have a clear view of the feed so there was no lasting photo to remember it by. All that changed recently when I watched an Otter come ashore struggling to hold onto an Octopus which it shared with its young. Enjoy this weeks gallery as its unlikely to ever happen to me again! click here

White-Tailed Grey Wagtail

November 7, 2020 at 5:57 pm

For only the third time in the last fifty years our garden was visited last week by a Grey Wagtail. It was a female with a difference – it had a white forked tail! What produced this unusual plumage is not clear but at least it will be readily recognisable should it return. Click here

Teaspoons

October 31, 2020 at 2:19 pm

While in Yorkshire the other week filming the Hoopoe I took the opportunity to see another new bird for me in the form of the Spoonbill. Young had fledged at a nearby lake and i soon caught up with a fledged young and an adult. I was told by a passing local birdwatcher that young Spoonbills are called Teaspoons! When I got home I checked all my bird-books and could find no reference to young Spoonbills being called teaspoons. However the computer came to the rescue and confirmed that young Spoonbills, usually when they are still in the nest, are in fact called Teaspoons as their bills are not as developed as the adults! Click here