January 2010

On the 31st it was another fantastic eagle day. Throughout the day there was a pair of Golden Eagles over Treshnish wood and nearby Ensay Burn (male with grey nape and raggedy tail feathers), which were displaying and calling in the morning and soaring/hunting on the afternoon. At mid-day as they were calling and displaying (female displaying and I think calling)
whilst another pair were also displaying above the cliffs where the Ensay road meets Calgary bay. Two pairs displaying at the same time.! At about 1.30 there was a pair soaring over Treshnish lochan whilst an adult White-tailed Eagle flew over Treshnish wood towards Calgary.
On the 30th there was a pair of Golden Eagles over Treshnish wood, one of them low down calling and displaying (shallow undulations) whilst the other soared high above.
On the 29th there was a pair of Golden Eagles over Treshnish wood, one of them calling and displaying whilst a White-tailed Eagle was over Cruachan Treshnish.
On the 28th there was 1 Golden Eagle over Treshnish wood and later 1 calling there.
On the 27th there were 1-2 Golden Eagles over Treshnish wood. At one time one of them was heard calling and soon after one was seen diving after a Sparrowhawk which had, what appeared to be, a Starling in it’s talons. The Sparowhawk managed to escape and flew over the line of trees beside Ensay Burn catttle-grid. It tried to land directly behind WM and I, obviously looking for some cover to eat it’s kill but as it landed saw us and flew off.
On the 24th there were 3 or 4 Wood Pigeons in Treshnish wood
On the 23rd there were 2 Golden Eagles perched on a cliffs top on north side of Cruachan Treshnish which flew off after sunset. There were also 3 Redwings perched on the high trees in Treshnish wood. After sunset there was a Tawny Owl beside Treshnish House and Mountain Hare just below Treshnish House, this time the dogs and hare just stared at each other and I could see the white underbody of it’s winter coat.
On the 22nd just before sunset there at least 7 Fulmars at Treshnish Point, 1 of which landed briefly on the cliff ledges whilst another 4 were paired up on a the ledges. It is rare to see Fulmars here in the winter but this was again after a couple of days of high winds and it could be that they sometimes rest on the cliffs after storms. The literature states that they explore nest sites in the winter and it is possible that they are both. resting and exploring nest sites at the same time. Today they looked like they were preparing to roost for the night. Nearby about 190 Starlings entered the roost-cave at Treshnish Point from just before sunset until the sun disappeared over the horizon. I may have missed some as they were first seen, soon after I arrived and some may have entered after I left (right after sunset). They came singly (very few) and in flocks from 2 or 3 up to about 60. They did not circle around much (most groups entered the cave immediately).
It has been a while since I saw a Mountain Hare (although I have not visited their favourite field recently) but when the dogs were having a run around one of the sheep-free fields Tig tracked one down and sent it running like a flash directly towards me and the other dogs. I was proud of Cap the working collie when he obediently followed the command to stay whilst the streak of brown and white shot by with Tig lagging hopelessly behind, soon to give up the game.
On the 18th new landscape photos taken in December and January were added to the photo albums. The links are to the right under Landscape Photos.
On the 14th there was 1 Lapwing near Ensay farmhouse (AM).
On the 13th there were 3 Redwings opposite the quarry car park at Ensay, more Redwings and 1 Fieldfare to west of Calgary cemetery and at Frachadil. At dusk there was a Tawny Owl perched on the electric wires above the main road between Penmore and Langamull car park.
On the 11th there were 4 Redwings near where the Ensay road meets the coast.
On the 10th there were about a dozen [Bottle-nosed] Dolphins swimming west across Ensay Burn mouth (AM & WM) and there was 1 Golden Eagle above Treshnish wood and 1 about 2 hours later.
On the 9th (or the previous day) there was a cetacean with a large fin swimming north across Calgary bay mouth near Ensay Burn mouth (WM). There were also 8 Skylarks, 1 Mistle Thrush and 1 female Reed Bunting below Treshnish House.
On the 8th I caught a glimpse of a very large bird flying below Treshnish wood which may have been a White-tailed Eagle. There were 3 Cormorants at Ensay Burn mouth, which is not unusual but they do not yet have the pre-breeding white patch under the tail but apart from the large size, thick bill and black colour, a good clue to help identification is that they flier higher above the sea than Shags. There were 4 Ravens at Ensay Burn mouth; it is unusual to see more than 2 together at this time of year but I think there may have been a carcass nearby as there were also many Hooded Crows and a Buzzard here. There were 2 Great Northern Divers at the mouth of Calgary bay but a this is a common bird at this time of year I will not mention it again until the spring nearer it’s departure time. A (fresh?) Tawny Owl pellet was found below the owl box in Treshnish wood
On the 7th there were 3 Skylarks (the first I have seen since the autumn) beside Treshnish cow-barn and 1 Fieldfare above Treshnish boathouse.
On the 6th there was 1 ‘ring-tailed’ Hen Harrier flying from Skoma to Treshnish boathouse, 1 Fieldfare below Toechtamhor cottage and 1 to west of Treshnish boathouse.
On the 5th there were a pair of Golden Eagles soaring low around Treshnish House.
On the 4th there were [4] Red Grouse near Reudle schoolhouse (SC), 2 Fieldfares, 3 Redwings and 1 Mistle Thrush below Ensay farm-house. At the north side of Calgary bay mouth there were 2 Great Northern Divers and 1 more in Calgary bay near the ‘pink’ pier. Near Calgary beach there was a male Red-breasted Merganser, the first for several months, in fact 2009 was a poor year for this species at Calgary. At Lainne Sgeir, Calgary bay there was a Merlin ‘dog-fighting’ with 2 Ravens and a few minutes later a Peregrine was higher up at the same place gliding above and behind a panicked Rock Dove. The Peregrine flew in a ‘slow’ glide from Lainne Sgeir to Beinn Duill in about a minute, a distance of about 2 miles; so about 120mph without flapping. This is very approximate as I did not time it (I must remember next time) but Golden Eagles are often seen to cover this kind of distance in an effortless shallow glide at similar speeds. A few minutes later 2 Golden Eagles were also seen at Lainne Sgeir (the female had a lot of wear to both primary feathers).
On the 3rd there were 4 Fieldfares and 1 Mistle Thrush below Ensay farm-house, 2 Teal at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary bay. Teal are regular at Dervaig but I have never seen them at Calgary or Treshnish although up to 40 were seen at Calgary between 23-28 December 1995 (Brett Richards). There were also 3 Great Northern Divers spread across the mouth of Calgary bay, 1 Kittiwake on north side of Calgary bay mouth and 1 Redshank on Calgary beach. There were 3 Porpoises swimming west where the Ensay road meets the shore (MR &JR) and 3 Otters at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary bay. Presumably this was an adult female with young although they were all fishing and not swimming very close together.
On the 2nd there were 2 Golden Eagles and 1 White-tailed Eagle and 1 dead Red Grouse near Reudle Schoolhouse (SC, CC & MC), 1 Hen Harrier at Treshnish, a flock of Bullfinches (including a male) by Treshnish House and 2 Lapwings to west of Treshnish boathouse (SC). Earlier there was also 1 Golden Eagle above Treshnish wood and later a pair (presumably the same as at Reudle Schoolhouse) on Cruachan Treshnish. There were 2 Woodcock on Cruachan Treshnish: in previous years they have been common in Treshnish wood but only occasionally met with on open moorland but this cold spell has caused them to be much more common in the open and now it is impossible to go for a walk without flushing several. These winter Woodcock are greatly supplemented by birds from Fenno-Scandinavia.
On the 1st there were at least 2 Fieldfares and 3 Redwings below Ensay farm-house and 1 Great Northern Diver between Lainne Sgeir and the ‘pink-pier’, Calgary bay.