Wild Islay Birding- December 2017 through to March 2018

BBC-Winterwatch-450Hello folks, sorry about lack of news have been trying to stay away from electronic communications of late that includes Facebook and twitter. Apparently called electronic de-clutter.
Anyways back to what we have been up to. Still been out and about with island visitors looking for wildlife and birds and we have seen some good ones.

December I was contacted by a representative of the BBC Winterwatch production team who were wanting to film otters on the coastline of Islay. So for a month I watched some of our local otters to make sure they were still about. Needless to say the week before the producer came to Islay on a scouting trip no signs of otter. On the day I took him out we watched otters for several hours at Bunnahabhain (phew).

The film makers, John & Rowan Aitcheson arrived at the beginning of January to film the island wildlife. Rowan filming the otters and John getting out and filming Eagles, Harriers, Twite and other parts of our beautiful island home. I acted as spotter for Rowan as he was down low at water level and I was up higher watching the bay at Bunnahabhain.

The production team then arrived for the last week in January with the presenter Gillian Burke. I was present of the Monday evening of the live broadcast and it was interesting to see a live broadcast go out and what is entailed behind the scenes. Great experience.

Myself and Rowan Aitcheson, wildlife film maker wrapped up against the cold at Bunnahabhain.
Whilst being out on tour with wildlife watchers we have had some great sightings of white winged gulls, including Iceland and Glaucous Gull. These are gulls that come down to Scotland during the colder northern winters and over winter here joining our local gull roosts.

There have been a plethora of small birds seen when out with Robins and Dunnock coming over to watch us. Bullfinch frequenting a planted hedge line that we drive along. But probably the star small bird have been the Common Crossbills been seen about the island at the pine plantations. We had a fantastic cone crop on Islay last year which helped them raise a good number of young.

Not to be out done the large birds, Eagle’s, Buzzard’s, Harriers, Swans and Geese have all shown well with visitors have great views.

So as we write this the winter visitors are now departing heading north again and the spring migrants have started arriving.

We have had a family of Roe Deer in the garden very early eating Sam’s crocuses. Oh yeh and the otters are still about.

So if you want to join me wildlife and birdwatching here on the Queen of the Hebrides please get in touch and let me show you the wild side of Islay.

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