Yesterday, Saturday 18th, was a bit hectic with family farewells, transfers to the ferry and so on. However, the first party of five Whimbrel were seen at the head of Loch Indaal in the morning, a further fall of Northern Wheatear had obviously taken place and some Sandwich Terns were reported by Matthew as the ferry left Port Ellen. The adult Iceland Gull is still present at Bunnahabhain, which, if my memory serves me right, will now be the 5th winter season it has been visited Islay, its first time being when it was a 1st year bird!! It's now so white it seems to radiate sunlight from its plumage....magnificent!! In addition to the immature bird still around Tarbert on the mainland Matthew reported a further bird, feasting on bread, at Inverary!!
Today, Sunday, had the first Grasshopper Warbler reeling just after dawn near the house. The song was a liitle disjointed, but improved with time ,and I wondered if it had perhaps only just arrived overnight? A long seawatch saw just over 3000 Auks being counted moving north in two hours, 8 Whimbrel resting up, 5 Light bellied Brent Geese flying north and odd passerines (Goldfinch, Swallow ) moving through.
The feeders in the garden have been busy with both Lesser Redpoll and Siskin visiting and varying numbers of Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Numbers of the former are usually around 12 but, at times, have been over 20 which suggests migrating birds are being drawn down as is a "regular" male Sparrowhawk.