European Storm-petrel, Black Grouse and Great Skua

Whilst researching for a list of North Mull birds some unusual records were discovered.
One of the most exciting was that of a European Storm-petrel seen flying from a burrow at Treshnish Point on 26/08/1989. The bird was seen by D & M Alcock and recorded in the Argyll Bird Report (ABR) 6:12.
European Storm-petrels are nocturnal so difficult to see. Like Puffins they breed in burrows and it is the churring from within the burrows that is a sign of breeding. They also breed amongst boulders and rocks. So the bird seen flying from a burrow in 1989 is intriguing. If it had been earlier in the summer it could have been exploring for territory but in late summer it seems less easy to explain. Realistically breeding would seem impossible at Treshnish Point where Mink predation would surely be inevitable.
Although several hundred breed on the Treshnish Isles there have been a few sightings from North-west Mull including 5 on 14/06/1991 at Caliach Point (ABR 8:25), 1 on 21/09/1990 flying south off Caliach Point (ABR 7:12), 1 on 07/08/1988 ‘picked up exhausted but soon recovered at Calgary Point, Coll’ (sic), (ABR 5:15), 30 on 27/07/1981 off Caliach Point and about 25 on 14/08/1980 off Caliach Point on a foggy day (ABR 1:14).
Birds have been known to breed on Cairn na Burgh More, Treshnish Isles (which is in the Treshnish 10x10km square) in at least 2006 when several were heard churring in burrows there (Treshnish Isles Auk Ringing Group Report 2007).

Another record of special conservational interest was of 2 male Black Grouse on 25/04/1990 at Reudle (ABR 7:25). This is probably the summer record for our 10x10km square in The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland: 1988-1991 (1993). Black Grouse is a species of national concern due to its drastic decline in recent decades and is therefore rare on Mull. The only other recent record I could find was 1 on 17/05/1993 at Glen Aros (ABR 10:39).

More recently a large bird-ring was found at the remains of a Golden Eagle kill on 23rd June 2008. There was nothing left of the dead bird to identify it but with the help and determination of several bird-ringers and numerous e-mail exchanges it was eventually traced to a Great Skua which was ringed as a chick on the north coast of Scotland in 2001!

References
GIBBONS, D.W., REID, J.B. & CHAPMAN, R.A. (1993). The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland: 1988-1991 (Poyser).

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