Welcome to this weeks Islay Nature and Wildlife report with, as usual, news from the Birds Blogs on Islay, a Nature report from Jeremy Hastings, pictures from Teresa Morris of Islay Wildscapes and news from the thousands of geese that have been arriving in the last couple of days.
The Geese at Gruinart Flats on Sunday 5 October
With the arrival of autumn and corresponding colours the geese found Islay as well, just. It seems that they almost missed the island on their first attempt. From what I have read on the several blogs the geese passed the island at first and then turned back for a new approach, this time from the south over Loch Indaal. Usually the geese arrive from the north and enter Islay at Loch Gruinart. Earlier I posted a picture from Teresa Morris who witnessed the arrival of thousands of geese. Teresa was kind enough to send some more stunning pictures which you can find in this post. Here is what she wrote me this evening: "I have spent the day on Gruinart flats and had a wonderful time. This morning a very cold grey start with a strong northerly wind blowing. I sat at the head of Loch Gruinart all day and was watching the geese pouring in from the north heading down Loch Gruinart and witnessed them landing on the mudflats. They looked happy to be back on Islay, I know the feeling! They have been grouping up all day on the mudflats at the head of Loch Gruinart. Just resting and greeting their companions as they arrived to join them. As the day progressed the sun came out and the geese basked in the sunshine catching up on some well earnt rest. Some geese which had arrived earlier were having a good feed on the reseeded fields on the flats. However most of the geese spent the day on the mudflats as the tide was out for most of the day." The images can be seen in full size at the Islay Geese Album. Let's see what the bird blogs on Islay write about the geese:
More Geese at Gruinart Flats
The Islay Birds blog: Ian writes about the geese on Tuesday: "The small groups of Pale bellied Brent Geese are still coming through, James had 38 at Gruinart yesterday." On Friday the number of Geese was as follows: 1185 Barnacle Geese and 33 Brent Geese but only one day later on Saturday the following count was done: James has been busy counting the Geese, this morning at 10.30am, there were only 2425 Barnacle Geese and 32 Whitefronts, but by 5.30 this afternoon it was a different story. The figures had shot up to 26,625 Barnies, 205 Whitefronts, 8 Pinkfoots, 21 Pale bellied Brent and 2 Canada. Ian: "James also said that these figures were a record for the reserve. The vast majority of the birds that came in were coming up from the South, similar to yesterday, and certainly here at home (Kilchoman), there were a lot flying up the West coast of Islay. George also had seen a lot of the Geese flying up Loch Indaal. So can we presume that all these birds had overshot Islay with the strong winds of late?" Continue reading.....John Armitage from Portnahaven, who runs the Islay Birder Blog had the geese as main topic as well as he writes today: "A goose day with the first Barnacle Geese heard in the half light passing over the house whilst I was still in bed!!! Later small groups continued to go north, including Greenland White-fronted Geese too, as a lot of the geese had obviously overshot the island as a consequence of the strong northerly winds. It's almost an emotional occasion when the geese arrive!! Normally, or eventually like now, they congregate at the top of Loch Gruinart for a period until dispersing over the island. The sight of birds arriving high from the north and wiffling down to fly just above the surface of the water to the head of the loch is absolutely marvellous."
Geese at Loch Gruinart
This weeks Islay nature report by Jeremy Hastings from Islay Birding: Big news this week is that the Barnacle Geese arrived. I witnessed some arrivals on Friday with clients - 2000 plus in the morning and by today over 26,000 have touched down. This really signifies that winter has arrived. Other birds have also been seen: a couple of Lesser Canada, Whitefronts, Pale Bellied Brent, Ruff and plenty of sea duck. We also had a wee flock of Black Tailed Godwits from Craigens interspersed with bar tailed Godwits. The local Sparrow Hawk causing havoc. On Loch Indaal we have watched large flocks of Scaup, Scoter and Wigeon. Yesterday there were two very late Arctic Terns in Bruichladdich and Gannets fishing too. There are still plenty of Swallows, so it is strange to see the cross over of migrating birds arrivals and yet to depart.
For interest sake I know many nationalities read this so here are some translations of Barnacle Goose: Ca: Oca de galta blanca Da: BramgÃ¥s De: WeiÃŸwangengans Es: Barnacla cariblanca Fi: valkoposkihanhi Fr: Bernache nonnette It: Oca facciabianca Nl: Brandgans No: HvitkinngÃ¥s Pt: Ganso-de-faces-brancas Sv: Vitkindad gÃ¥s US: Barnacle Goose Ru: Ð‘ÐµÐ»Ð¾Ñ‰ÐµÐºÐ°Ñ ÐºÐ°Ð·Ð°Ñ€ÐºÐ° thanks to www.birdguides.com
I am also including latest record notes of arivals of Barnacles this season - the Argyll one was mine!
12:15 04/10/08, Barnacle Goose, N Yorks, Long Nab, Burniston
21:15 03/10/08, Barnacle Goose, Argyll, Islay 10:30
20:20 03/10/08, Barnacle Goose, N Yorks, Nosterfield LNR
17:17 03/10/08, Barnacle Goose, Lancs, Pilling Lane Ends
14:08 03/10/08, Barnacle Goose, Durham, Whitburn Coastal Park
11:00 03/10/08, Barnacle Goose, E Yorks, Flamborough Head
20:42 02/10/08, Barnacle Goose, Lothian, Aberlady Bay
20:06 02/10/08, Barnacle Goose, Lancs, Martin Mere WWT
19:51 02/10/08, Barnacle Goose, Northumbs, Cresswell Pond NWT 18:40
17:23 01/10/08, Barnacle Goose, Northumbs, Budle Bay 15:30
Geese resting at Loch Gruinart