September

30th: Apparently I just missed some Sanderlings on Calgary beach at sunset and I have been told there have been a flock of Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Croig (Andy Mortley pers. comm.). There were still at least 7 Swallows around Treshnish House.
29th: There was a Rook on Calgary beach. I saw one on the 25th but as I only had a quick glimpse of it flying, I started to doubt myself. Rooks are scarce in north Mull.


A Hooded Crow was not accepting it.


There was also a Sanderling and 1 Dunlin and at least 11 Black-headed Gulls on the beach.

At Port Langamull there was 1 male Common Scoter

and at Langamull 2 adult yellow tagged C and E White-tailed Eagles.



There was 1 Sparrowhawk at Calgary beach and 1 beside the road by Ensay farmhouse and 1 Wheatear at Calgary beach and 1 by the road near the Dun where the Ensay road meets the sea.
and 1 Otter to the west of Calgary boathouse.
28th: On Ulva, 1 Speckled Wood and another probable Peacock butterfly and at least 2 Common Hawkers and 1 Common Darter, dragonflies.
The Renkin family saw Whinchat near the pink pier, Calgary.
27th: There was still at least 1 family of Swallows hawking out of the wind on the north side of Treshnish wood, There were 15 Black-headed Gulls at Calgary beach and 1 Wheatear.

Whilst photographing it a Sparrowhawk attacked it right in front of me. This is the bird as the Sparrowhawk attacked.

It avoided the hawk with a short flight, landed in almost the same spot and then sat still for at least 5 minutes. It was not bothered by the fly at all.

There was also a Red-throated Diver near the pink-pier, Calgary and 1 Ruddy Turnstone at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
Usual Suspects: Red-breasted Merganser

and Stonechats, male

and female

There was an Otter on the east side of Lainne Sgeir.

26th: A Lesser Redpoll/’Mealy’ Redpoll was in Treshnish wood. Lesser Redpolls haven’t been around for a few weeks so this must be passing through from elsewhere.


The Linnet was a still around Treshnish Old Schoolhouse

There were 11 Black-headed Gulls on Calgary beach and 2 Ruddy Turnstone at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
1 Common Hawker and 1 Common Darter by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
25th: There were at least 8 Black-headed Gulls at various spots in Calgary bay including adults


and immatures

a flock of 30+ Greenfinches and another pale presumably leucistic Rock Pipit at Calgary beach


and a mixed flock of about 60 Twite and a few Goldfinches in Black Park field.

A Linnet landed briefly at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, this species hasn’t been seen here for weeks.
24th: There were hundreds of Kittiwakes in Calgary bay. They were spread out and often moving and I didn’t have time to count them all but there were at least 400. A Great Skua was also in the mouth of the bay.

There was 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Ruddy Turnstone and 1 Red Knot on Lainne Sgeir, Calgary


and 1 Wheatear by the road to the west.
A Golden Plover was heard around Haunn cottages and in Black Park there was a mixed flock of about 40 Goldfinches and 40 Twite, sometimes the flock separated into 2 same species flocks.
At twilight Red Deer stags were bellowing above Ensay.

23rd: 70 Kittiwakes off Lainne Sgeir Calgary and 1 Ruddy Turnstone on the rocks there and a Black-headed Gull flushed by walkers off Calgary beach. A Tawny Owl was hooting at dusk in Calgary wood.
22nd: There were 20 Swallows over Treshnish wood, 2 Ruddy Turnstones at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and from where the Ensay road hits the coast: 2 Red-throated Divers, 1 tern probably a Common Tern, 2 Manx Shearwaters, 100 Kittiwakes, 1 Golden Eagle

and 2 Basking Sharks, this is one of them.

21st: There were 2 Sanderlings



and 3 Ruddy Turnstones

and a flock of at least 30 Greenfinches on Calgary beach.
This Rock Pipit is very pale. I though it could be the Scandinavian race littoralis but experts have told me it is probably leucistic, i.e. the normal UK subspecies but with a pigment abnormality.

This is a more typical bird.

There was 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Red-breasted Merganser in Calgary bay and several Red-breasted Mergansers at Salen bay.

Usual suspect, Common Gull.

20th: There was a flock of about 60 Twite on the cliffs at Treshnish Point. One had coloured rings, silver above yellow on the right leg and yellow above yellow on the left, which I later found out means it was ringed on 30 Jan 2011 at Foveran Links, Newburgh, 10 miles north of Aberdeen. There was 1 Reed Bunting below Haunn cottages.
There were at least 2 Arctic Terns on the mouth of Calgary bay and a possible Little Tern (flew more like a butterfly than the shearing of the Arctic Terns and the black and white markings around the eye and forehead were more noticeable than on any of the Arctic Terns I have seen recently). I only saw 1 Manx Shearwater.
Swallows are still feeding their young.


A Basking Shark was in the mouth of Calgary bay.
19th: There were 5 Sandwich Terns (scarce in north mull and a first for me on Mull),





1 Arctic Skua

and several Wigeon in Salen bay, 2 Teal at Dervaig,  and 1 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Black-headed Gull on Calgary beach.

There was 1 Golden Eagle and 1 probable White-tailed Eagle on Cruachan Druim na Croise.
Other firsts for me were Sea Aster

and Common Glasswort in Salen bay.

18th: A Sparrowhawk flew over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.

There was 1 immature Golden Eagle to east of Lochan na h-Earba.

and 2 male


and 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier north of Torloisk,
3 eagles (including at least 1 White-tailed Eagle) fighting to north of Beinne na Cille.
A male Common Hawker landed long enough to get a shot.

and there were several Speckled Woods beside Treshnish wood.
17th: There was an eagle flying south around Haunn cottages but it was too far to see what kind. A Sparrowhawk flew over Treshnish wood.
A Green-veined White was at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse (by far my latest date).
15th: On the north side of Calgary bay there was 1 Whitethroat and 1 Wheatear

and 1 Merlin chasing and being chased by a Swallow.




Usual suspects: Heron.

And there was an Otter on the east side of Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
13th: There was 1 Ruff (rare on north Mull)

(it flew off towards Calgary at 8.30am) and 1 Ruddy Turnstone at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
There were also  9 Red Knots on Calgary beach




(I was wrong about the Red Knots yesterday they were too brown. It was very poor light and now I am convinced they were Ruffs).
Again on Calgary beach, 5 Dunlins (I am told this one on the right is the arctic race alpina),

3 Ruddy Turnstones

and 1 Arctic Tern






which was joined by a Common Tern in the bay.

Towards sunset 2 terns came to roost on the rocks at Lainne Sgeir, which I presume were these 2 birds.
There were 38 Greenfinches on Calgary beach, 1 Red-throated Diver and 1 Eider Duck in the inner bay, 1 Arctic Skua, a handful of Manx Shearwaters and Gannets in the outer bay and a Wheatear below Ensay.
In the evening 2 Arctic Skuas, 1 diver, 5+ Manx Shearwaters and 20+ Gannets flew south across the mouth of Calgary bay during about 30 minutes sea-watching and there were about 30 Kittiwakes on the water just off Lainne Sgeir. 
Finally a young Buzzard allowed me to get close.

There was an Otter by Calgary boathouse.
12th: In Calgary bay during a storm there were 3 Arctic Skuas together, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Eider and only about 10 Kittiwakes, no Manx Shearwaters and amazingly no Gannets. On Calgary beach there was 1 Ruddy Turnstone (my first of the season),

1 Arctic Tern

and 4 Dunlins, 1 Redshank and on Lainne Sgeir there were 3 probable Ruffs (a scarce bird for north Mull). Last year Arthur brown found 1 on Calgary beach one day earlier on the 11th!
You can see the flowering Sea Rocket on the top of the beach.

This is considered a rare plant on Mull according to the Mull flora but a couple of years ago it got a foothold at Calgary and now it is abundant.
11th: During a 2 hour sea-watch at Treshnish Point, 5 Pale-bellied Brent Geese flew south.

There were also 5-10 Manx Shearwater, 1 Great Skua, 1 Fulmar and several Kittiwakes.

At dusk Tawny Owls called as usual in Treshnish wood.
Usual suspects: Buzzard

and Kestrel.


10th: There was a juvenile Yellowhammer by Treshnish cow-barn. This is a scarce bird at Treshnish.We haven’t seen one since last September.

There were about 60 Goldfinches in Black Park field and a Wheatear at Treshnish Point.
At Treshnish Point the Manx Shearwaters were all heading north with the southerly winds today.
There were 2 Great Skuas


this one was chasing the Kittiwakes at Treshnish Point.

Juvenile Kittiwake

and adult.

Also seen: 2 Fulmars and 1 Basking Shark.
9th: There were at least 50 Kittiwakes in Calgary bay (mostly adults) and a few landed on the rocks at Lainne Sgeir. Mostly adults

and a few immatures.

A couple of times all the birds came up together as a whole flock.

The culprit was a Great Skua.



At Treshnish wood there was 1 Lesser Redpoll (the first for at least a fortnight) and usual suspect: a Buzzard.

8th: There were 2 Wheatears where the Ensay road hits the coast. I shall indulge in what could be my last of the season.




At Lainne Sgeir, Calgary there were at least 49 Kittiwakes perched on the rocks

and 1 tern which looked like a Common Tern.
There were many Speckled Woods, a few Scotch Argus,  2-3 Green-veined Whites and 1 Peacock flying beside Treshnish wood.
These Common Darters are in the classic wheel pose.

It looks more complicated than it is. The only important thing happening sexually is the female (the yellowish one) touching the male with the tip of her abdomen.
He is only holding her on the head with claspers on the end of his abdomen to lock on to her. Before making the wheel he has already transferred his sperm from the tip of his abdomen to his secondary genitalia where she is now touching.
7th: With about 3 hours sea-watching from near Haunn:, 1 Sooty Shearwater (my first on Mull and almost certainly an under-recorded species on Mull), 1 Black-throated Diver, at least 2 Great Skuas, 4 Fulmars, 4 terns of which I think at least 3 were Arctic Terns, only 6 Manx Shearwaters that looked like they were on migration, and about 50 going in both directions. Then afterwards on the Calgary side of Treshnish point there was an Arctic Skua chasing Kittiwakes and another Fulmar. Most of the Kittiwakes today were adults.
At mid-day there was a Golden Eagle over Cruachan Treshnish and in the evening 1 below Treshnish House and wood. There was a ring-tailed Hen Harrier on Treshnish Point, which I think was a female and a Reed Bunting below Haunn cottages.
A dog Otter was in the field on the Calgary side of Treshnish point. It would have made a nice photo rolling on its back in a field but my battery was dead.
A Basking Shark was off Treshnish Point. It has been rare this year and this is my first! 
6th: In the evening after the storm had died down and the rain had stopped, I went sea-watching from near Haunn. Within 5 minutes I saw 3 Arctic Skuas, 2 probable Red-throated Divers and several Manx Shearwaters flying south which looked promising. In the next 90 minutes, I also saw 4 Great Skuas, 1 Pomarine Skua chasing an adult Kittiwake, at least 10 Manx Shearwaters (they were flying both north and south), 1-2 Fulmars, 50 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 1 tern which was probably an Arctic Tern and many Kittiwakes (all but one or two were immatures).
Whilst tidying up my photos on a rainy day I was drawn yet again to look at a raptor taken on the 30th of August over lower Ensay Burn. I was taking photos of a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel fighting and took a photo of a distant raptor. I forgot about it until a couple of days later and couldn’t figure out what it was. Today after paying more attention I realised that it was probably an Osprey. I sent it off to an id expert who has confirmed it.

I see from Mullbirds website that 1 was also seen at Loch Spelve, Mull on the following day. My 2 previous records at Treshnish were both in the spring, 1 on 17th of May 2010 and 1 on the the 13th of May 2007.
Incidentally the last time I wrote about the satellite tracked Osprey named Rothes, it was heading towards its stop over place during its only southern migration in 2009, 50lm north of Bordeaux,. It was very late to be heading north and there was a lot of speculation as to whether it would make it back to Scotland. To finish that story, it did stop off at that favoured spot and it is still there and is now, as far as I am aware, the first proof of a partial northern migration of an Osprey. Another chapter in the story, is that whilst at this site a birdwatcher unknowingly took a photo of an Osprey, posted it on the internet and it has now been realised that it was of Rothes and stranger still that its is a male not a female as it was thought when the transmitter was fitted (females and juveniles have a dark band across the upper breast). Unfortunately this means that he will not make it back to Scotland until next year and the collars that hold the transmitter are only supposed to last for 3 years. Hopefully it will last until then so we can see where he breeds.
On the subject of satellite collars, this spring the collar fell off Breagha, one of the 2008 Mull satellite tagged White-tailed Eagles. It is a shame because Breagha was the most adventurous of the 2 satellite tagged sea eagles of that year and she moved throughout the west coast as far north as Thurso, over to Lewis for a day but spent a lot of time on Skye. The other bird from that year, Mara is still transmitting but he has been much more sedentary preferring the Morven and Ardnamurchan peninsulas (mostly former) with only one-off trips to Syke, Rum ans Coll. Last year 2 more Mull White-tailed Eagles were fitted with satellite tags: Shelly has taken up residence on Harris and Lewis and Midge has taken up residence on Skye. The 2 birds from 2009, Venus and Oran only transmitted for a short while. I for one suspect foul play and as far as I am aware, no birds were tagged (satellite or wing-tagged) in 2011.
5th: A Willow Warbler was heard singing briefly in Treshnish wood. I got some terrible shots of a warbler which I can only presume is a Willow Warbler but it appears to have a dark crown. I have been in formed that it is probably a juvenile Willow Warbler with fresh crown feathers still in sheath and/or freshly bathed. My latest date here so far was on 8th September last year with another the following day near Tobermory.


A Sparrowhawk flew over Treshnish wood. I presume that it has a full crop.

I was surprised to see a Green-veined White flying I thought they were finished for the year.My latest date is 7th September here and 9th September near Tobermory.
A beautiful Peacock was also on the wing.

4th: A Sparrowhawk landed for a few seconds on our gate.

I took the shot from 5 yards behind and through a window. It flew before I could get closer to the window, 
A Bullfinch was seen and heard along the road through Treshnish wood and there were at least 5 Twite at the cow-barn. A thrush behind the cow-barn was probably a Mistle Thrush. The first I have seen at Treshnish since the spring.
At Haunn there was a Sedge Warbler,

a Whitethroat (my latest dates for both warblers) and a family of Stonechats below the blackhouses.
Usual suspects: Buzzard

The Devil’s-bit Scabious in Black Park is looking spectacular right now.

3rd: a flock of about 100 Golden Plovers flew south, high over Treshnish Point. They disappeared into a cloud before I could count them more carefully. They could have been Grey Plover but Golden Plovers are more likely. There was also a mixed flock of about 60 Goldfinches with a smaller number of Meadow Pipits in Haunn field and 1 Twite by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Mullbirds has just pointed out that Birdwatching magazine photograph of the year, in the urban category, was of one of our Tobermory Peregrines, click on the image on this page. It is better than my photos on the right but maybe my action shot would have pulled some weight.

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