Thursday, September 3, 2009

2nd September,2009.

Weather still unsettled but not too unkind a mix!

Down on The Oa all day , ostensibly sorting out BTO Atlas Survey data but, as always , discussion ranged over many things. Whilst this RSPB reserve is managed primarily for Chough it also has coastline on three of its boundaries and, therefore, carries various small seabird colonies besides birds like Hen Harrier and Golden Eagle in its heartland. Cropping rotations now introduced ensure stubble fields are availble for small passerines in winter, coupled with adjacent weed ridden corridors , thus providing a veritable feast upon which the birds can rely during the "leaner" months. Even now the area was alive with Linnets and Twite, a few Reed Bunting and Starling. More importantly , the stars of the show were still there in the form of several Tree Sparrows, both adults and youngsters. Arriving out of the blue in late spring two, possibly three . pairs nested and have had second broods too. Hopefully they might remain through the winter , given food is available, and be the makings of a small permanent colony. Whilst it's never been common on Islay it's certainly a most welcome addition to the island's avifauna again given it's over twenty years since they were known to breed before and virtually no known records of occurence since.

Later a few Sand Martin and Swallow were around Loch Kinnabus, including some very young looking birds. Additionally a flock of at least 96 Goldfinch was in the vicinity , the largest charm I've seen in recent years.

Not bad for a paper work day!!

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