Saturday, May 12, 2012

12th May,2012.

This site is no longer in use. Please see     for all entries and sign up as a Follower..

Many thanks,
John Armitage.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

14th February, 2012.

I have to say that I feel I'm missing something! Reading the access stats there are people looking at this site who don't then appear to be taking any interest in its replacement Birding Odyssey. No further entries are to be made on this site so please make the move across to its permanent version mentioned above!

Take a look, enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Transfer of entries!

Having noticed that there is still an amount of "traffic" linked to this site may I advise that , for the foreseeable future , I shall be using my new Blog title given below.

I hope that this assists in avoiding unnecessary visits to this site and may I encourage to visit the above "new" address. Enjoy!

John Armitage.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A time for change!

Way back in late October I made a temporary halt to entries on this Blog as I was inundated with work, and other commitments, and needed to free up some time besides getting some computer problems sorted out.
The solution worked well and I'm currently within reach of being up to date   ( that is, well, almost! ).
Given my future plans in various birding and lobbying issues I'm changing the name of the Blog to better reflect that approach and to give it a bit of a facelift. It will provide a basis for wider coverage , both in the UK and abroad, as opposed to entries mostly being linked to Islay and Jura.  At least that's the plan.
Hopefully you'll enjoy  " A Birding Odyssey " and enjoy the direction that the journey takes! The new site reference is  so, hopefully, you'll bookmark the site and enjoy regular visits. In a couple of days I'll  essentially  be  "closing down" the Islay Birder site with all entries being on the new Blog above.

All best wishes to everyone and many thanks for reading Islay Birder over the years. May I take the opportunity of wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and good birding in 2012 and beyond.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quick update!

Hi everyone!  After some consideration on what might be the potentially negative implications I've taken a decision to close this site down, temporarily, until the end of 2011.  I'm overburdened at the moment with a whole variety of commitments and have decided to get all such "out of the way" to allow an unfettered entry into 2012. Whilst birding goes on I've simply not the time to write about it at present. It's sad in a way as there's plenty to write about with American Wigeon and Lesser Canada Geese present on the island and the usual array of "good" wintering species around. Something had to go, and rather than do a half hearted job I'm taking the risk of setting things aside for a couple of months and clearing up things before the onset of the New Year.

Bear with me and watch out for 1.1.2012!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Throwing light on a couple of things! 27th September. 2011.

Out early with the dogs I was intrigued how quiet it was on the outward leg of the walk. An odd Robin "ticked" and the Yellowhammers remained in roost and consoled themselves with very quiet "chic" calls , as opposed to erupting as they normally do when we're slightly later. On the return leg, and with the first rays of sunlight appearing, all was different and calls and activity were as expected. Whilst we're used to the "dawn chorus" in the breeding season, when birds are declaring their territoriality at the onset of light, it seems outside of this period things may be a bit more relaxed and linked to increasing light intensity. Something to check on further.

Included in the upsurge of activity was a tit party from which came a couple of phrases of song of a Chiffchaff. Despite best efforts on my part it refused to show itself!

Later, in the evening, and whilst I was waiting to give my daughter a lift,I was fascinated by the behaviour of a Common Buzzard. It appeared out of a small plantation and commenced to slowly "hover" over a nearby stubble field, first at around 60 feet , and then at half that height. It changed location a few times. The interesting fact was that daylight was drawing to a close, cars on the nearby A9 were all using headlights and distant hedgerow lines with standard trees were all in silhouette. To all intents and purposes it was dark!! Casting my mind back I don't believe I've ever noticed crepuscular activity before by Buzzards. It looked like some great owl as it circled around and returned to cover over the car!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A bit of variety. 26th September,2011

Decided I'd have a trip out to Munlochy Bay and see what was in the offing. Unfortunately the bright sunlight wasn't too kind and the sheltered bay was bathed in bright light throwing everything into silhouette on the surface of the dappled waters. All very atmospheric and contextual, but not much good for viewing birds. I'll have to remember to visit in the afternoon or evening in future!! Small parties of Wigeon were flighting in to join numbers of birds already present, together with Mallard and Teal. A few Oystercatcher, Curlew and Redshank roosted and fed on the adjacent margins and odd Grey Herons stood patiently on vantage points.

I then moved on to Chanonry Point, although I didn't expect any particular movement to be occurring given the wind direction. A few Gannets circled around and then headed back out to the sea, odd Cormorant were in evidence, a Red-breasted Merganser and a couple of Razorbill were all that was on offer. Travelling back I noticed some good "accumulations " of Black-headed Gulls on stubble fields already being put to the plough, which perhaps accounts for the absence of birds the other day! Nowadays the turn around time associated with arable fields is so short in places where planting of spring crops can occur, contrasted against the stubble fields being left in situ on Islay where the practice is not followed. Such rapid usage of the land and the absence of stubble habitat for birds must have had a profound effect on various populations over the years, coupled with the use of much more efficient harvesting machinery and less grain spillage. The price of progress!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Slow progression into autumn. 25th September, 2011.

Circumstances dictate that the majority of time I'm "out" is within either woodland or open countryside at the moment. However, some time down on the nearby Firth showed few waterbirds about, the odd Grey Heron and an extraordinary absence of gull numbers. In fact it was pretty quiet all round!

The only real indicator of autumn at the moment appears to be the numbers of presumed "continental! Robins which are around. Early morning has calling birds seemingly everywhere, with few showing themselves. Presumably these are those within the initial phase of what will prove to be numbers of birds arriving to winter with us.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Autumn cometh! 23.9.2011.

According to my diary the 23rd September is the "official" date on which autumn commences. Up here near Inverness conditions are certainly quintessential from the point of view of weather.....some misty mornings, mellow, sunny with odd showers and breezy conditions aiding the commencement of leaf-fall. Some cereal fields have not yet been cut, but others are finished already, with straw bales now awaiting collection. As yet I've seen none of the usual wintering goose flocks in evidence, but I suspect their arrival is imminent. Many of the fields demand a second look, as with extremely short stemmed crop varieties being used nowadays it's difficult to determine whether odd fields are stubble or remain uncut. The days of "waving fields of corn" are now despatched to history it seems, but with the memory of those circumstances being depicted in some of the great landscape paintings of the past.

As might be expected finch numbers are evident with the calls of Chaffinch ever present, mostly from unseen birds, as autumn movements proceed coupled, contrastingly, with the absence now of the few hirundines which were present earlier in the week. The usual complement of hedgerow and woodland birds abound locally, including a nice flock of Yellowhammer, but the Tree Sparrows usually present in the immediate vicinity are obviously using a different area altogether as none are in evidence.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Enforced downtime!

On the mainland at the moment, but coming across little of particular interest from a birding point of view. Much involved in putting together ideas etc relating to a possible future "campaign" relating to birds of prey, which is proving more demanding than first thought! In the meantime, the reportage of persecution incidents carries on as ever before!

Amidst reports of reducing numbers of birds in the US of A, the disease affecting birds like Greenfinches in this country now being detected in Europe, increasing costs affecting the attendance of birders on the Scilly Isles, a sense of doom and gloom appears to surround the resource we all hold dear! Still, we could live in Greece.......