Islay - Blog


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Islay - Blog

  • Moths and Egrets

    An exciting week last week with a Great White Egret at Loch Gruinart hide on Wednesday. The magnificent bird stayed for the whole afternoon - much to the annoyance of all the taunting lapwings!!

    There were also reports of beeaters at Port Charlotte on the same day so must have a good wind to bring all this excitement to the Island!

    Great White Egret - Richard Brooks (RSPB-images)

    What with 'summer' we are now in full swing of moth trapping as well. Below are just some of the amazing moths we've found...

    Buff Tip and White Ermine moths

    Poplar Hawkmoth

    Ghost moth

    A very old Cinnabar moth

    Elephant Hawkmoth

    Our moth of the month was definitely the Buff Tip with its amazing colouring just like a broken silver birch twig. This is a very common garden/ woodland moth throughout the whole of the UK but every time I see one I'm still amazed with the way they've adapted.

    Stay tuned for next months moths!

    Buff Tip moth

  • Summer time...

    What a gorgeous week at Loch Gruinart.

    To celebrate I quickly grabbed my clipboard and did a butterfly survey… mainly green-veined white butterflies to be seen but one or two peacocks as well.

    Peacock butterfly - Heather Watkin

    There’s plenty else to see on the woodland trail - especially the spectacular wildflowers and ferns!


    Woodland trail - Heather Watkin

    Golden-Scaley Fern vortex - Heather Watkin

    Bluebell - Heather Watkin

    The bees are certainly making the most of them, like this Moss Carder bumblebee

    Moss carder bee about to land on a Bugle wildflower - Heather Watkin

    Sedge warbler, redpoll, willow warbler, whitethroat and blackcap can all be spotted around the first hide and along the Woodland trail.

    Sedge Warbler - Heather Watkin

    Lapwing chicks, redshank chicks and a whole host of new fledging’s have started appearing… including this unfortunately positioned robin!

    Up for a scratch


    And a clean

    Quick check no-one saw and good to go!

    Listen out for corncrakes they are now at the height of their calling period and we are in full swing of surveying for them.

    All this and summer’s only just started. I can’t wait!

    Lovely view - Heather Watkin

  • 'Oa' what news...

    Well the day of "summer" we had this week brought some exciting visitors to the Oa... Mark the return of the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly!

    Marsh Fritillery Butterfly - David Kjaer (RSPB images)

    Lets hope it's a good a year for them as it was last year!

    I also managed to spot a Heath Spotted Orchid just the other day. Here on the western Isles we don't get the very similar Common Spotted orchid which is less paler in appearance. The orchid does best on acidic moorland habitats... perfect for the Oa!

    Heath Spotted Orchid - Heather Watkin


    We've been having a busy time of it at the Whisky festival too.

    With plenty of whisky/ wildlife fanatics to chat to and walks seeing great numbers of people attending - thanks to all who came!

    Our Whisky stall at Caol Ia - Heather Watkin