January

The link to the updated annotated bird list for North Mull has been added on the column to the right or here. The list gives the status of birds both at Treshnish and north Mull, and also shows detailed records of all uncommon birds in North Mull (roughly a line from Salen to Knock). Once you have opened the document you can save it by clicking the ‘Download’ button on the top left. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this list.

The Treshnish butterfly and moth list has also been updated and can be downloaded here or or from the list of links in the right column. The list includes 255 macro-moths, 94 micro-moths and 18 butterflies. There are a couple of moths and butterflies which have been only recorded elsewhere in north Mull and these are indicated and a couple of the micro-moths are not 100% certain.

On the 31st there was 1 Pink-footed Goose with the Greylags in the field by the Calgary cemetery (Pam & Arthur Brown on www.mullbirds.com).
I looked up another scarce wader in north Mull, Sanderling. The best place to see it is Calgary beach with 13 of the 19 records for north Mull coming from there. The best month is September which has 11 of the 19 records. Almost all the September records are from the second half so late September at Calgary gives the best chance of seeing this species.
Other months where it has been recorded in north Mull are May (1), June (1), July (1), Aug (4), Oct (1) but it if you want to see it at Calgary beach in the summer, early morning, before the walkers arrive, is probably the best time. Calgary beach has the only records for May, June, July & October so at other sites it has been recorded only in August and September. The only other 2 sites are Aros estuary-Salen (4 records) and Loch na Keal (1 record) but also with flocks passing over Tobermory in the mist and rain on 30th August.
On the 30th there was 1 Turnstone at Lainne Sgeir and a female Sparrowhawk perched at Calgary boathouse.
An Otter swam south across Calgary bay to the rocks by mooring buoys.
I looked at Purple Sandpiper records for north Mull. The terms scarce or uncommon are subjective, so here are the statistics. The gap in records between 1986 – 2008 may be due to poor recorder effort at Calgary and Caliach.

Breakdown by year:
2011: so far 1 record of 5 birds
2010: 3 records totalling 5 birds
2009: 4 records totalling 4 birds
2008: 1 record of ‘small party’
1986: small party ‘wintering’
1985: 1 record of 20 birds
1983: 3 records totalling 15+ birds
1982: 2 records totalling c22 birds
1981: 2 records totalling7 birds
1980: 1 record of 2 birds
Winters of 1981/1984: present

by month:
Jan: 3 records totalling at least 7 birds
May: 4 records totalling 3 birds & ‘small party’
July: 1 records of 1 bird (Treshnish isles)
Aug: 1 records of 2 birds (Treshnish isles)
Oct: 1 records of 1 bird (Calgary)
Dec: 2 records totalling 21 birds
Nov: 6 records totalling c45 birds

and by site:

Treshnish Isles: 7 records totalling c13-20 birds
Caliach Point: 5 records totalling 36 birds & ‘small population’
Calgary bay: 4 records totalling 9 birds
Loch Tuath: 3 records totalling c27 birds
Treshnish: 1 record of 1 bird

A more detailed list with recorders and references can be found on the north Mull bird list in the right hand column.
On the 29th there was a C yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagle on the cliff top above Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.

It flew across the bay and landed not far from the Art in Nature woodland. You can see the C tag in this photo.

or in this, zoomed in.

Just before sunset at least 5 Purple Sandpipers and 2 Turnstones and 3 Greylag Geese landed on Lainne Sgeir. Purple Sandpiper is scarce on Mull and I haven’t seen a Turnstone for weeks.
There was 1 possibly 2 Fieldfares at Ensay farmhouse (the second bird may have been a Mistle Thrush).
It was too dark to get good shots of this Otter on the east side of Lainne Sgeir.



On the 28th it was a very disappointing bird day for me. The best bird was a possible Sparrowhawk to the west of Lainne Sgeir, Calgary. However our neighbour saw a White-tailed Eagle near Beinn an Lochain.
On the 27th the Dipper was seen again in Ensay burn near the mouth. I haven’t seen it for a few days so presumably it also spends time further up the burn where it is impossible to find it without disturbing it first.
It is very hard to photograph, at one time I got quite close but there were branches in the way.

There was a Redshank also at Ensay Burn mouth and this Shag which caught something?



There was a Wood Pigeon over Treshnish wood, the first of the year.
I found a nice patch of the uncommon lichen Yellow Specklebelly Pseudocyphellaria crocata near where Andy Acton first showed me it.

Here are some other lichens found this week. Perhaps they are all the rare Norwegian Specklebelly Pseudocyphellaria norvegica (I am pretty sure the first two are) but I am hoping the last may be the rare Pseudocyphellaria intricata.





On the 26th a yellow tagged White-tailed Eagle flew west over Ensay Burn mouth towards Treshnish Point. there were at least 5 Long-tailed Tits at Ensay Burn mouth. Just because they are tame it doesn’t mean they haven’t got their eye on you.


Usual suspects included this Wren which I shot slightly too slowly.

3 Great Northern Divers sometimes come together to fish over the last few days. They are also very vocal.

There was also 1 Red-throated Diver to west of Lainne Sgeir, Calgary which is presumably the same one seen a little later flying towards the beach and a Buzzard was chasing a Great Black-backed Gull over Calgary bay.
There was an Otter to the east of Lainne Sgeir.
I found a few more Hazels with the rare lichen Norwegian Specklebelly Pseudocyphellaria norvegica, close to where Andy Acton showed me it for the first time. Obviously it is not uncommon here.
On the 25th there was a Golden Eagle over the cliffs inland from Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
An Otter was seen briefly at the usual site on the east side of Lainne Sgeir and about 45 minutes later possibly the same at the same place. On this second sighting it passed about 4 ft from a Curlew without the Curlew appearing at all disturbed and then a minute later passing very close to 2 Oystercatchers.
A Primrose was about to flower beside the farm road in Treshnish wood. Primroses can sometimes be found flowering in winter but this is the first I have seen this winter.
On the 24th there was a pair of Golden Eagles soaring from Ensay farmhouse to Treshnish House and lochan.
On the 23rd there was 1 Golden Eagle on Cruachan Treshnish (Leena), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker in Treshnish wood and 2 Fieldlfares at Ensay farmhouse. There was a flock of 24 Greylag Geese off Rubha nan Oirean, Calgary (one of which was smaller and presumably the Pink-foot). The flock settled at Rubha nan Oirean except 2 Greylags which swam to land at Lainne Sgeir. later the flock at Rubha nan Oirean flew north towards Caliach Point.
There was a Red-throated Diver in Calgary bay and another preumably this species off Treshnish boathouse.
The Usual Suspects included this Heron

and a Great Northen Diver with a crab or lobster.

There was an Otter at the usual spot on east side of Lainne Sgeir.
The sun came out for a couple of minutes near sunset enough to catch our neighbours tups.

On the 22nd 3 Greylag Geese flew west over Ensay Burn mouth and landed on Ensay (my first winter atlas records for this 10x10km sq). There were at least 5 Long-tailed Tits near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
I was a little bit more happy with my photographs even though it was cloudy.

These molluscs were on the seaweed at low tide

There was a Greenfinch either today or yesterday at Ensay farmhouse (AM).
Hazel was flowering and since at least yesterday.

Hazel was also flowering in late October 2010 and I was reading somewhere recently that this was possibly a result of the previous cold winter.
On the 21st Tawny Owls were heard at night in Treshnish wood.
On the 20th there was 1 Pink-footed Goose with 21 Greylags at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
I left it too late in the day again, these I am afraid were my best shots.
That is it sleeping on second from left.


The male eclipse Goosander was again at Ensay Burn mouth and then it flew up the burn over Treshnish wood. There were also 2 Redshanks at Ensay Burn mouth

but no sign of the Dipper today although I may have heard it briefly.
I spent some time playing with the camera, this Cormorant shows the white patch well.


I found a small new healthy Hazel Gloves fungus at a new site near Treshnish graveyard and an old stroma on the next tree.
This is the small healthy one.

In the next tree was the rare lichen Norwegian Specklebelly Pseudocyphellaria norvegica (pretty sure it is this and not the equally rare Pseudocyphellaria intricata).

On the 19th there was 1 Pink-footed Goose with 13 Greylags at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.

This bird was digi-scoped from 100m away and just after sunset. Even so please excuse me whilst I try to figure out why the birds are in focus in the viewfinder but not in the final result. [P.S. I think i have figured out why. The diopter adjustment was not set right for my eyes. Hopefully I should now be getting better shots.]
There was a male Goosander in eclipse plumage at Ensay Burn mouth which is only the second time I have seen this species here. The first time was in the summer but before the present atlas work. This one makes it into the winter atlas.

The Dipper was also at Ensay Burn mouth and it was heard singing. I haven’t heard one singing before and at first couldn’t figure out where the song was coming from, only when it sang later did I see where.

It was at the mouth of Ensay Burn proper, not the smaller burn immediately to the west and it was actually swimming in the small waves in the sea! After a couple of hours it flew up stream and whilst trying to re-locate it, I saw an Otter or Mink crossing the burn. I made the mistake of reaching for the camera so can’t be sure which it was but I think it was an Otter.
There were at least 5 Long-tailed Tits by Ensay Burn cattle-grid.



At night there was a Mountain Hare at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
On the 18th there were 28 Greylag Geese on Calgary beach in the morning. They were sleeping and I had no time to check for the Pink-footed Goose. There was a ‘ring-tailed’ Hen Harrier near the head of the loch at Dervaig. At midday there were 2 Shelduck near Calgary boathouse, I haven’t seen this species here since the summer.
There were at least 3 Long-tailed Tits beside the farm road near Treshnish wood/Ensay Burn.
On the 17th the Dipper was again at Ensay Burn mouth and for a brief moment at the wee burn to the west and then back again to Ensay Burn. There were at least 5 Long-tailed Tits by the wee burn. I looks as though this same flock has been around for a few weeks. Usually they just pass through.
The moon is nearly full.

On the 16th there were 2+ Fulmars north of Treshnish Point. They are rare in winter but sometimes they come to the cliffs after a storm. There were about 80 Herring Gulls long the coast near Treshnish boathouse. This juvenile is gaining some adult feathers in the axil of the wing.


There was a Mountain Hare near Ensay Burn mouth.
On the 15th there was a Mountain Hare on the road below Ensay farmhouse. It was white on the belly and back of the legs and overall more pale grey than in the summer.
On the 14th the Dipper was seen briefly at the same spot as yesterday and later it was seen flying west across the the small bay. The next stream to the west is at Treshnish boathouse so I went to see if I could find it and sure enough it was there again near the shore but above the high tide mark this time.
This Cormorant does not have such a developed white patch as the one I saw yesterday but it is visible in the bird in the foreground. The smaller Shag is on the left.

Whilst trying to get shots of the dipper I discovered a new Hazel Gloves site and this healthy fungus was only 6″ from the ground. I have only ever seen them at waste to head height.
On the 13th there was a Peregrine over Treshnish wood. A flock of about 10, of what I thought were Redwings flew over the wood. Leena saw a flock of about 12 Greylag Geese at Calgary beach but we don’t know if the Pinkfoot was amongst them.
A Cormorant flew past the mouth of Ensay Burn with the white pre-breeding patch on its flanks. A Dipper was also seen again there, at the mouth of the wee burn which passes Treshnish House. It was feeding in fresh water but below the high tide line and also in salt water amongst the seaweed at the seashore itself.


If you think this does not look like your Dippers you might be right. Birds in Western Scotland and Ireland are of the race hibernicus which according to the Birds of The Western Palearctic are ‘darker above than any other west Palearctic race; crown and nape dark chocolate-brown; rufous of breast duller, darker, and more restricted, belly more extensively brownish-black.’ See here for a comparison.
On the 12th there were 2 Greylag Geese at Calgary beach but no sign of the Pink-foot. I had a brief glimpse of the presumed Lesser Black-backed Gull again flying towards Calgary beach. A Tawny Owl was at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse at dusk and another was calling from the wood.

I finished checking and having verified the micro-moths of 2010.
This is Ancylis subarcuana a new moth for Mull list.

New ones for Treshnish were:
Bramble Shoot Moth Epiblema uddmanniana,

Trachycera advenella.

probable Crambus lathoniellus

possible Epinotia caprana,

which would be an addition to the Mull list
and Epiblema cynosbatella, which was found at Ensay by our neighbour.

On the 11th there was at least 1 Long-tailed Tit in Treshnish wood and confirmation that I have been hearing Great Spotted Woodpecker again this week.

I found signs of its feeding right in front of our house so hopefully it will stay to breed.

Near Calgary beach I got a bit closer to Heron.

At the beach I got better shots of Ringed Plover.


There was what I am pretty sure was a Lesser Black-backed Gull off the beach. This species is rare in Argyll in winter. It has been around for since Sunday so hopefully I can get better views.
At Lainne Sgeir there was 1 male Teal

and on the right side an Otter.

Here it is going home for a fish supper.

On the 10th there were at least 7 Greenfinches at Treshnish House.
On the 9th, in the process of identifying last years micro-moths I found that the first one was a new moth for Mull, Udea olivalis.

Micro-moths are difficult and what makes them more so for a beginner is that there are no field guides for the whole group. A recent book British Moths and Butterflies by Chris Manley does cover some of them and I was lucky enough to find this one there but the only other way is to trawl though every photograph on the UK Moths website and then you need expert help on the more difficult ones.
On the 8th there was a pair of Teal and a Redshank at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
I tried to get close to a Heron but they are very wary and the snow did not help.

Ringed Plovers were more trusting.


On the east side of Lainne Sgeir there was an Otter which came to the holt there whilst there was another below Calgary boathouse.
On the 7th there was a male and female of Teal and 1 Redshank at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and a male Red-breasted Merganser off the beach. With patience I managed to get close to a confiding first winter Oystercatcher


and a Ringed Plover.


There was an Otter on the east side of Lainne Sgeir.
On the 6th it was a Golden Eagle day. Two pairs were displaying, one over the Treshnish wood area and another over the coast to the east.
These are of the female over Treshnish wood. In the first photo she is calling because they were both excited by the displaying of the other pair.








This could be a different female.

This is the male. He is very old and so more grey.




The both landed in the conifers in Treshnish wood for a while resting and no doubt keeping an eye out for rabbits. They may even have made a kill below Ensay, as there was an almighty commotion there, with ravens and crows calling aggressively. Some photos of the female showed she had a full crop later on the afternoon so she had been eating somewhere.
These are of the male.


My goal is to get a shot of them display diving like this but in focus!

This was the male during a snow flurry.

There were also at least 2 Long-tailed Tits along the farm road through the wood.

On the 5th there was an adult White-tailed Eagle with yellow wing-tags over Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.




I am no ageing expert but the dark tip to one of the tail feathers is presumably the last of its sub-adult plumage. In other words, I think it is about 5 years old.

There was also 1 Eider, 1 male & 1 female Teal at Lainne Sgeir and 1 Pink-footed Goose with with 8 Greylag Geese opposite Calgary pier.
Also an Otter on the east side of Lainne Sgeir.
On the 4th a Pink-footed Goose flew with 3 Greylags from Calgary beach area to Leinne Sgeir. The Pink-foot in the middle, is smaller and there is less orange in the bill.

There were 2 Teal, 1 Turnstone and 1 Redshank at Leinne Sgeir and a Golden Eagle overhead. Earlier there was also a Golden Eagle over Ensay farmhouse.
On the 3rd a Tawny Owl was calling at night in Treshnish wood and a Winter Moth came to our window.

I had confirmation by an expert who examined a fungi specimen I had sent him, that the fungi I found on Tobermory golfcourse in November was, as he thought, Lactarius quieticolor, a new species for the Hebrides. It is quite rare (see distribution here) and also on the Red Data list, under the category of Vulnerable. My photos of it are in the fungi photos folder or for thumbnails in the diary entry for 5th November.
On the 2nd there was an Otter to the west of Treshnish boathouse.
On the 1st I took my first photos with Carolyne’s DSLR Nikon and my old 170-500mm Sigma zoom. The first shots from our back door were of what I was sure, with the naked eye, was a Buzzard about 100m away. From the photos I am pretty sure it is a Golden Eagle. Not great shots but on such a dull day not a bad start. The blue sky is an artefact from me playing around with the colour of the photo to show the colour of the birds.


A little later the pair were around Treshnish Schoolhouse and could be seen on and off throughout the day.





There was a Redshank at Ensay Burn mouth and Tawny Owls calling at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse in the evening.

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