Islay - Blog


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Islay - Blog

  • Showing off at the Islay show!

    Well the sun shone and so did our livestock for the show last Thursday. We walked away with quite a few rosettes including some Firsts for our beef calves at Loch Gruinart.

    Eion our farm manager said he would name the cows/ calves that won so I'm looking out for some well named cattle now!

    RSPB calves on show - Heather Watkin

    We also had a great stall up at the show and loads of great volunteers to help with activities such as pebble painting, butterfly hunting, bumblebee challenges and making pipe-cleaner dragonflies. Thank you to Tom, Fraser, Beki, Mandy and Becca for your help!

    Great stall and hand-working volunteers at the Islay show - Heather Watkin.

    Nothing like admiring highland cows! - Heather Watkin

    A terrific Island show and good job RSPB!

  • Two Swifts on our Tuesday walk!

    A rare sighting on Islay on Tuesday's walk on the Oa was a swift, or to be more precise, two swifts! As the weather at the start of the walk was so wet and windy, we and our intrepid band of 9 decided to do a more sheltered walk down towards Lower Killeyan.

    It was a great decision as we wouldn't have seen the swifts otherwise, as well as a female blackcap which popped out of some scrub next to the stream there. And these weren't the only swift sightings, as the day before a swift had been seen at Gruinart, and later on Tuesday afternoon one was seen at Kintra, near Port Ellen. Islay is right at the north of the swift's range, so perhaps this and the fact that there aren't any suitable buildings for them to nest here means that we rarely see them on the island (unlike for instance Glasgow, which isn't so far away).

    As well as scanning the skies, we were looking out for wildflowers which are still in abundance here, and we weren't disappointed - Grass of Parnassus was a beauty, as well as Bog Pimpernel, Bog Asphodel, Wild Thyme and Lesser Butterfly Orchid to name but a few.

    Then we headed down to the seacliffs to scan the seas, with a few grey seals to be seen as well as shags, greater black-backed gull and chough. Thanks Heather for leading a great walk!


  • In with the new

    A moth trap on Saturday night on the Oa produced this little moth.

    This is a pinion-streaked snout and is the first record for islay and the surrounding vice county.

    Below is a small rivulet, from the same trap, and this was a new record for the reserve.