February

I have updated the north Mull bird list which can be downloaded here or from the link on the right under section on Birds. ThinkFree is slow to load but has an easy download option.

29th: At least 13 Gannets flying north around Caliach Point were my first of the year. I am told they are seen in all months from Tiree but I have never seen one in the middle of winter. Presumably they have been around for a few days as 13 is a high initial number. Also 1 juvenile Rook at Caliach

and I think I saw it earlier flying from Cillchriosd towards Sunipol. Rook is scarce in north Mull. A call near Calgary beach car-park alerted me to a Pied Wagtail, my first in north-west Mull since the summer although I saw one on Tobermory pier in the mid winter and a couple of weeks ago 1 at Tobermory cheese farm.
At mid-day there were 2 Iceland Gulls behind lobster boat Eilean Ban (OB998) off from the coast below Treshnish House and in the late afternoon at least 4 white-winged gulls in Loch Tuath behind lobster boast Jessica Louise (BM237). At least 1 of these 4 birds was as large as a Great Black-backed Gull so it is safe to assume it must have been a Glaucous Gull. Unfortunately the boat was too far off for photographs. It headed towards Ulva ferry. At one point 2 other pale gulls flew to Ulva which would have made at least 6 but they were too far off to be sure. Towards sunset Pam and Arthur Brown joined me to watch at least 5 Short-eared Owls below Reudle Schoolhouse (Arthur saw 5 there yesterday). Presumably that spot is a favoured roosting site. After a while they could be seen above Reudle Schoolhouse too. We also saw at least 1 Golden Eagle in the distance. There was also 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier to the east of Ensay Burn mouth. Again on the way home 7 Fieldfares on the electric wires near the 2 bridges.
28th: 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier at Bennan and Dùn Mhadaidh, Langamull where there was also a Mountain Hare.
I found 13 new Hazel Gloves fungus sites on Bennan farm (area marked Crossapol on the Explorer map). For the first time I found one growing on a tree which was not Hazel. It was on the twigs of a Blackthorn.

27th: Heard at least 2 Short-eared Owls below Reudle Schoolhouse and stayed a long while hoping to see one emerge out of the mist. Eventually when the calling stopped I gave up and headed home and then one suddenly appeared. It was probably as shocked as me, as it gave a deep alarm call (deeper that the normal call).
26th: There were at least 2 Iceland Gulls behind a lobster boat in Loch Tuath off from Kilninian. Visibility was terrible but I had better views with my telescope.

Zoomed in the 2 palest birds are Icelands.

More record shots (the 2 pale birds here)

and the pale bird here.

This is Jessica Louise BM237 the boat of the brother of Michelle who used to work at Treshnish.
There was 1 Sparrowhawk at Tràigh na Cille, Kilninian.
25th: 8 Short-eared Owls in the air at the same time below Reudle Schoolhouse (unfortunately too cloudy for photographs). 6 Fieldfares near 2 stone bridges on Ensay Burn, 1 Sparrowhawk between Bennan and Cillchriosd.
I went to get grid references and photographs for most of the Hazel Gloves fungi I had found in the last couple of months. It reminded me that last week I got a shot of a fungus by the road above Lainne Sgeir, Calgary. It is one I found two years ago in Sept 2010.
This is the shot from last week

and this from September 2010.

The original growth has died back but the fungus has expanded beyond it. This fungus is right beside the road so it is easy to follow its development.
24th: 1 Merlin and 2 Fieldfares between Bennan and Cillchriosd down Sunipol rd, 2 ring-tailed Hen Harriers on ridge to west of Langamull beach, 2 Short-eared Owls seen briefly at Ensay-Burg rd summit.
A very auspicious rainbow. It doesn’t show so well in the photo but this is the most vivid rainbow I have ever witnessed.

23rd: There was a flock of 14 Skylarks near Ensay farmhouse, further up the road by the stone bridges, 6 Fieldfares and beyond the bridges at least 4 Short-eared Owl from below Reudle Schoolhouse up to the Ensay-Burg road summit. Tomorrow should have some sun so hopefully better photographic possibilities.





21st: I always get an expert to check my micro-moths. Last year I found a couple of new species for Treshnish:
Beautiful China-mark Nymphula stagnata,

Eupoecilia angustana

probable Stenoptilia bipunctidactyla

and a possible Olethreutes palustrana

19th: 27 Golden Plovers on right down Sunipol road.





and zoomed in

1 or 2 yellow tagged White-tailed Eagles along shore at Caliach Point and Port Langamull, 1 Mistle Thrush near cows along Sunipol road and 2 at Mornish Schoolhouse, where I had along distance sighting of a probable Jay.
There is a quite tame Oystercatcher at Caliach. The last shot it is having a tug of war with a Earthworm.



18th: 11 Golden Plovers on right before Cillchriosd on Sunipol road, 1 2nd winter Iceland Gull along Sunipol road between Bennan and Port Langamull mostly before Cillchriosd






and 3 sighting of White-tailed Eagle in this area but no breeding activity.
Another Buzzard sequence.

This time swallowing a vole, whole.




A possible Jack Snipe flying before Cillchriosd.
17th: No sign of the Dipper at Ensay Burn mouth, perhaps it has moved up to its breeding site.
1 Peregrine at Treshnish Point, 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier below Toechtamhor cottage flying east and presumably the same around Treshnish cow-barn, 1 Redshank at Ensay Burn mouth. Woodcocks still in Treshnish wood.
1 Mountain Hare at Treshnish graveyard.
16th: 1 Mistle Thrush in Treshnish wood, a juvenile Golden Eagle where the Ensay road meets the Calgary bay coast.

Here is sequence of a Buzzard attacking it (the 6th in the sequence shows the upperside of the eagle and the Buzzard is almost completely hidden)








and later (again showing the upperside).

This is an out of focus but interesting shot. All this is happening too fats for the eye to see. The eagle’s head is twisted around of of view.

It flew to the hills behind Haunn (Beinn Duill).
Usual suspect: Buzzard.


A good mammal day today with an Otter on east side of Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and a Bottle-nosed Dolphin where the Ensay road hots the Calgary bay coast. It was hunting so not giving great views. It swam to Lainne Sgeir and then to the reef at Rubh nan Oirean.


The wet weather in 2011 has meant that Hazel Gloves is common right now with more new growth found beside the farm road through Treshnish wood and on a new site on a very large hazel above Lainne Sgeir (beside road on seaward side).
I went back to Tràigh na Cille, Kilninian to see if the Glaucous Gull is there but the beach was not human-free so I will have to go back later. The question is, is the |glaucous gull at Tobermory the same bird as ta Kilninian. They are in a similar plumage so ‘both’ 1st winters but I think the Kilninian bird was much paler.
15th: On an overcast day, 1 Glaucous Gull,

5 Iceland Gulls,




(the 3 pale birds are Icelands)

14+ Ravens and male Hen Harrier at Cheese factory, Tobermory and another Iceland Gull at water Treatment works nearby,

pair of Goosander at Loch Meadhoin, Mishnish.
In the evening I read on http://www.mullbirds.com that there were 3 Iceland Gulls on Calgary machair. I passed that way twice but unfortunately didn’t see any. It would have been nice to have seen 9 in one day! 
14th: Pair of White-tailed Eagles at Langamull forest and 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier at Bennan.
13th: A Golden Eagle pair over Treshnish wood, the female

and raggedly old male

Both with very full crops.
1 White-tailed Eagle flying into Langamull wood to roost.
Tawny Owl giving the hoot call at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Yesterday found a new Hazel Gloves fungus near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse

and today another even closer.

It is great too have them so close as I can observe part of the life cycle. This is one I have been watching for about a year.

In the summer there was a second fresh growth around the old dead growth (some can still be seen) but mostly it is all dead now. The branch had dyed and fallen off.
12th: At least 7 Red-throated Divers (some calling) and at least 3 Great Northern Divers (also calling), in Calgary bay.
Pretty sure I heard Water Rail(s) calling at night at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. I tried to record it but by the time I had equipment set up it/they had gone quiet. I am not familiar with the call but to me it sounded half way between a Quail and a Mallard. It fit the call of the recording I have.
An Otter on east side of Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and another on west side of the pier.
11th: The yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagles were hanging around on the rocks either side of Langamull bay for at least 3 hours in the morning. The only breeding activity was some calling and head bowing.
At the summit of the Ensay-Burg rd, this Hen Harrier lost its vole to a Hooded Crow.



Pity this went out of focus.

There was a Golden Eagle at Burg. No sign of the Glaucous Gull at Kilninian but there was at least 1 Mistle Thrush near the church.
Unlike eastern England it was a warm day today and Chaffinch was heard singing at Cillchriosd and a Song Thrush singing at Kilninian.
10th: From Cillchriosd, on the Sunipol road, I saw what looked like a white-winged gull out from Croig. It was even further out than on the 6th so couldn’t be sure it wasn’t a Herring Gull. As the red lobster boat Eilean Ban (OB998) appeared to be heading toward harbour I drove around. I timed it just right because soon after arriving the boat came into Croig with the Iceland Gull in tow. It hung around the boat whilst the fishermen finished up but then disappeared. I think it hangs about further towards Port na Ba. The fisherman said it has been with them all week. This is obviously the same bird I saw on 6th, which was trailing the same boat. I am pretty sure it is in its 3rd winter.





This shows size comparison of Herring Gull (top), Iceland Gull (middle) and Great Black-backed Gull.

A pair of yellow-tagged  White-tailed Eagles were flushed as I opened the car door at Cillchriosd. I have seen them many time here but now I realise it is a favourite perch site. The flew out of site. A few hours later I returned and saw them both on the rocks at Rubha nan Àird. After a while they flew towards Bennan and passed over my car. A sun roof has one use at least!

Usual suspects: Red-breasted Mergansers at Croig. A drake

and a pair.

9th: 6 Lapwings, at least 16 Ravens and at least 3 Iceland Gulls at Tobermory cheese factory including one 1st winter,


one 2nd winter

& 1 adult.

Here are the adult and 2nd winter together (adult on left).

7th: 2 Golden Eagles behind Ensay farmhouse (a male and a female and at least 1 was a juvenile), 4 Lapwings on rocky shore to west of Langamull, 1 White-tailed Eagle flew from the cliffs to west of Sunipol to the ridge on west side of Langamull, 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Skylark near Langamull and a Bunting (prob Reed Bunting) nr Langamull dun.
2 Mountain Hares on the ridge to west of Langamull
6th: Went back to Kilninian to get the skull of the porpoise. Like a fool I forgot to change the camera setting back from the poor light of yesterday. One shot of the Glaucous Gull came out OK but not the closest ones, after which it is always wary.

There was another white winged gull at Port na Bà, Croig. It was behind the red lobster boat Eilean Ban (OB998). I think it was an Iceland Gull but I was 2km away. The pair of yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagles were at the rock of Rubha nan Àird between Langamull and Croig, one of their favourite spots. Three divers off Langamull were probably Black-throated Divers but I was too far away to be sure.
A Hen Harrier gave close views at Cillchriosd. The shots didn’t come out as well as I had hoped but these are the best.




The Buzzard was at the same perch near Calgary boathouse,


and another at Tostary.

There was a mother Otter with a nearly full grown cub at Tràigh na Cille, Kilninian.
5th: The was a white-winged gull (probably a Glaucous) off Burg which flew close to (possibly over) Ulva. 10 minutes later there was a Glaucous Gull at Tràigh na Cille, Kilninian. I think they were probably 2 different birds.



1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier near the Ensay-Burg rd summit and a pair of Golden Eagles displaying.
At Tràigh na Cille there was a whole skeleton of what I think must be a porpoise.

4th: There was 1 Redshank, 1 Turnstone and 2 Purple Sandpipers at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary where a White-tailed Eagle flew from across the bay.

When it saw me it did a sharp turn and did a small detour around me.


It is yellow E, one of the Langamull pair,


In the afternoon when the sun came out the Buzzards started displaying and fighting.


3rd: There were at least 4 Turnstones at Lainne Sgeir, Calgaryand the pair of Gadwall were still present at Caliach.



2nd: 1 Whooper Swan flew east along shore below Treshnish House.
There was 1 Purple Sandiper (far left) and 5 Turnstones at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary



along with 1 (probably 2) of the pale Rock Pipits which were seen in the autumn.


1st: Went back to Kilninian to try get mores shots of the Glaucous Gull. It was still there but a bit nervous.



Near Ensay Burn bridges i got out of the car to look at what I thought were feathers.I took a couple of steps and flushed a Short-eared Owl from just in front of me. I reached for my camera but no, it was in the car.
Eventually I did find it again (oh, and the ‘feathers’ was just rotten wood).



Sightings of 4 White-tailed Eagles in the Langamull-Sunipol-Bennan area involved at least 3 birds.
Buzzards are much more approachable at this time of year.

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