March

31st: 1 (probable immature) White-tailed Eagle flew from Beinn Duill, Haunn towards Treshnish House, where there was a Sparrowhawk, at least 3 Short-eared Owls on the Ensay Burn plantation.
1 Painted Lady at Haunn (this is much earlier than the dates given in the Butterflies of South West Scotland atlas which shows an unusually rare record on about 10th April with the nest records in mid May!). Carolyne saw a Red Admiral on the 25th at Ballygown. This too is very early with the same atlas giving the earliest records also on about 10th April. Our neighbour also reported a Red Admiral on 20 March 2010 at Croig.
30th: 3 sightings of ring-tailed Hen Harrier and 1 Golden Eagle from near Reudle Schoolhouse.
Usual suspects: Short-eared  Owl (of at least 3)



and Hooded Crow.

29th: Saw my first Drinker caterpillar of the year at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
28th: Last night we saw Northern Lights at 2.30am!
1 Common Crossbill (the 5th record at Treshnish),

at least 2 + 1 Lesser Redpolls

and 5 Goldfinches in Treshnish wood and another Treecreeper nest was found being built there.

At least 2 Greenfinches, 3 Wood Pigeons in Treshnish wood and the 2 Greylag Geese still flying around (none of these 3 species have been proven to breed at Treshnish).
This Buzzard only took about 5 minutes to catch this vole. Presumably it is a male because gave the food to another Buzzard sitting on the ground below Treshnish wood. 

Wood Anemone was flowering (9 days earlier than previous earliest).

Barren Strawberry flowering (2 days earlier than previous earliest),

and presumed garden escape Slender Speedwell flowering at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
I am pretty sure I heard the call of a Tawny Owl in Treshnish wood in the daytime.
27th: 1 Collared Dove flying along the farm road towards Treshnish House also a Wood Pigeon in Treshnish wood and the pair of Greylags still present near Ensay Burn mouth. Last week they were on Duill cottage pond. 1 Chiffchaff in Treshnish wood beside Treshnish graveyard and 1 at Ensay Burn mouth singing briefly. 1 Redshank and 1 adult Rook at Ensay Burn mouth.

A pair of probable Linnets and a flock of possible Siskins flew over Treshnish graveyard.
A Treecreeper was building a nest in Treshnish wood beside Treshnish graveyard.

Short-eared Owls apparently flew early and were not quite so busy after 6pm.


I head a plaintive a call coming from a flying bird below Treshnish wood that I can only think was a Golden Plover.
An Otter was running down Ensay Burn at the mouth




I am pretty sure it is a female. We watched it for an hour below Treshnish house.






1 Peacock in the old Daffodil plantation beside Treshnish graveyard.

My earliest flowering Butterbur (my previous earliest was on 8th April)


and early Marsh-marigold (my previous earliest was also on 8th April) although I see from Carolyne’s blog  photographed some on 2nd March!

26th: 1 more Chiffchaff, this time at Cillchriosd, 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier at Cillchriosd, 2 Slavonian Grebes at Laggan

and at least another 4 off Killiechronan, 2 Iceland Gulls (prob 2nd winters) at Killiechronan, 4 Lapwings at Laggan and heard also at Ballygown, 8 Canada Geese at Ballygown, 1 Yellowhammer on road below Burg.
Short-eared Owls (of at least 5).


Probable Red Admiral at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and at Cillchriosd and a Small Tortoiseshell at Kellan Mill.
25th: 1 Chiffchaff at Reudle.



This is my earliest record by far and a very early for north Mull although there was 1 at Tobermory on 8th March 2007 (ABR) and there was 1 on Tiree yesterday. 1 Sand Martin (my first of the year) and 3 Fieldfares at the Ensay Burn stone bridges.
Female Golden Eagle

and the male

so she has not laid eggs yet.
At least 4 Short-eared Owls above Reudle Schoolhouse.

They may already be nesting as I heard calling from static non flying birds.
Red Grouse were heard from 2 areas near the road summit.
Raven and no the photo is not upside down.

Kestrel


My first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell (our neighbour saw an unidentified butterfly about 4 days ago)

24th: Pair of yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagles copulating on rocks near Port na Ba.
23rd: 1 male Hen Harrier above Treshnish House. Continuing the search for the perfect Short-eared Owl photo. All from at least 5 above Reudle Schoolhouse.



22nd: A pair of Wheatears where Ensay road meets Calgary coast (my first true summer migrants of the year), 6 Golden Plovers at Cillchriosd, pair of yellow tagged White-tailed Eagles at Langamull,

and 1 immature White-tailed Eagle above Calgary beach. I think it is probably approaching 3 years old. The sticking out feathers on the rear of the wing are the longer juvenile feathers.

I had to fend off a Buzzard by rolling upside down.



2 2nd winter Iceland Gulls at Knock outfalls


and 1 (possibly same) at Killiechronan, at least 23 Fieldfares and 1 Redwing at Killiechronanan, 3 Short-eared Owls and 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier nr Reudle rd summit.

Buzzard


Pied Wagtail

Our neighbours, Helen and Andy Mortley report a pair of Yellowhammers at at Frachadil, nr Calgary. Yellowhammers are very local on Mull and declining nationally so a new site would be great. The Tostary area is a breeding site for this species and I hear reports of them near Dervaig so I presume they are breeding there too.
21st: 2 Iceland Gulls behind Eilean Ban, the red lobster boat at Caliach (at least 1 of the gulls stayed with the boat as far as Sunipol but by the time the boat came into Croig they had abandoned ship), 3 Lapwings at Dùn Mhadaidh, Langamull, distant views of 2 adult White-tailed Eagles over Quinish (one appeared to fly into the east side of Langamull forest), 1 Short-eared Owl on the Sitheans behind Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 2 above Treshnish House, 3 Purple Sandpipers at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary, 1 male Hen Harrier on right side of road down to Sunipol.

20th: At least 2 Iceland Gulls around Tobermory Cheese Farm. The gulls were very active so it was hard to find an Iceland Gull but eventually I saw at least 1 probable 2nd winter and close views of an adult.



80+ Ravens and 2 Black-headed Gulls at the dump-cheese farm area, a pair of Goosander at Loch Carnain an Amaise, Mishnish.


It was great to show Leena’s mother a Golden Eagle very near the road above Reudle Schoolhouse.

The white at the base of the tail shows that it is a young adult.

The small protrusions at the inner rear edge of the wing (secondaries) are longer flight feathers which I presume are fresh.

At least 2 Short-eared Owls near Reudle Schoolhouse (as usual giving the raised wings and fast wing clapping display).

2 Redshanks and 1 Sparrowhawk at Dervaig.
Andrew Mortley saw a Sand Martin today at Frachadil, nr Calgary. The earliest date I have for north Mull is on 15th March in 2006 at Dervaig (ABR 21)and in 2009 a bird was seen at Calgary on 19th of March (John Mason, on http://www.mullbirds.com)
19th: 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (my first of the year and a welcome site) in Haunn field and 1 Short-eared Owl flushed whilst walking back through Black Park field at about 6.45pm.
18th: 3 Purple Sandpipers at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary,

1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier at Lòn Reudle, at least 5 Short-eared Owls between Reudle Schoolhouse and the road summit,




a pair of Golden Eagles. This shot with the wedged shaped tail looks more like a white-tailed eagle but it is a Golden Eagle.



Heron


6 thrushes near the 2 Ensay stone bridges were thought to be Fieldfares land also 1 possible Redwing.
Iona and Staffa from northwest Mull.

17th: A pair of Reed Buntings at Treshnish cow-barn.
14th: A good White-tailed Eagle day today. Firstly one yellow tagged juvenile (an east coast release from 2010) soaring high above Calgary beach which flew towards Frachadil.

Then I drove down towards Cillchriosd looking carefully on the hill on the left. The reason I am so careful is that often one has flown over the car as we have gotten out. I could see nothing on the hill so concentrated on the red lobster boat, just visible on the far side of Port na Ba. I was looking to see if it was going to head into Croig harbour because I think I caught a glimpse of a white-winged gull. It seemed early for the boat to be heading into port and it was out of site but I took a gamble and decided to drive to Croig. I had just finished doing the 3 point turn when I saw a White-tailed Eagle flying away from me. It must have flown right over the car as I was turning! I assumed that this was a yellow tagged but I don’t see any tags in the photo.

Then at Croig a white-tagged 5 adult flew across the mouth of the harbour towards Quinish

and twenty minutes later a juvenile flew over the harbour to Quinish. Four different eagles within an hour and a quarter (and none of them the resident Langamull pair)!

The white-winged gull around the red lobster boat turned out to be, a 3rd winter (possibly an adult) Iceland Gull.




A yawn after a long days lobster fishing.


1 Sparrowhawk nr Port na Ba and a party of 6 Bullfinches at Croig.

Great Northern Diver

swallowing a crab(?)

13th: 1 Black-headed Gull, 2 Redshanks & 2 Greenshanks at Croig (the Greenshanks did not allow close approach to see the bill and they looked small but they had yellow legs and a white ‘back’), a ring-tailed Hen Harrier at Bennan and the male yellow tagged  E White-tailed Eagle on hill just before Cillchriosd.

Buzzard


On the 4th I took this photo of Venus and Jupiter (Jupiter bottom right and Venus top left) but they have been moving closer and will be at their closest in the next couple of days.

12th: At least 4 Common Gulls giving loud calls above the breeding colony at Treshnish lochan, 1 Redshank at Ensay Burn mouth.
A nice comparison of Cormorant and Shag at Ensay Burn mouth.

1 Mountain Hare on the Ensay side of Treshnish wood.

1 Hazel Gloves fungus on far north east hazels on a strip of Hazels on Ensay side of Ensay Burn.
At night my earliest Early Grey came to our window and on the previous day my earliest Early Tooth-striped.
11th: 3 Purple Sandpipers flew from Rubh nan Oirean direction to Lainne Sgeir, Calgary where they must have joined another because there were 4 on the rocks there.





Dunnocks at Lainne Sgeir were singing and giving courting display

10th: 1 adult Iceland Gull at Laggan, 1 (prob 2nd w) at Killiechronan and, on a lightening visit, 1 or 2 (prob 2nd w) at Knock.

No sign of the Mediterranean Gull but very low tide and a helicopter flying to Knock fishery made observation difficult. It was seen by others there yesterday (www.mullbirds.com).
1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier at Fanmore, 3 Lapwings at Laggan, 1 Canada Goose by Ulva ferry school

and a flock at the usual spot near the sea eagle viewpoint at the far west end of Craignure Golfcourse where there was also 1 Turnstone and 6 Fieldfares at Ensay stone bridges.
Many new Hazel Gloves fungus sites seen whilst driving at Fanmore – Normann’s Ruh.
9th: 2 Purple Sandpipers at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary, 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier at Reudle road summit

and at least 5 Short-eared Owls below around Reudle Schoolhouse. Finally a close upshot with good light.

These were from further away.


The Hooded Crows have an easy time forcing the owls to drop their voles.




Here Short-eared Owl checking up on the Hen Harrier.

Oystercatcher.


The Treshnish Isles Auk Ringing Group (TIARG) link given earlier has changed this one should now work click here.
7th: There were 2 Mountain Hares on Beinn Reudle.I flushed the second one straight into a hidden Golden Eagle. Luckily for the hare the eagle also got spooked by me. The autofocus did not have time to lock on so an incredible shot was missed.

Too much back ground meant it never locked on and this was the best shot.

Soon after I also flushed a Short-eared Owl in mid afternoon and at 5pm 1 and then 2 started to fly (1 with wing fluttering display flight).

5th: 1 adult Mediterranean Gull off Killiechronan. Apparently this is the second record for Mull, the first being an adult at Torrans, nr Pennyghael on 15 Dec 1992 (ABR 9:35, SBR 1992:34).

1 Slavonian Grebe off just to east of Kellan Mill, Loch na Keal (originally wrongly identified as a Red-necked Grebe as it seemed so much larger),

and another 2 Slavonian Grebes off from Kellan, Loch na Keal,


2 Iceland Gulls at Knock outfalls and 2 at Killiechronan,


45 Fieldfares and 1 Redwing at Killiechronan, 3 Lapwings at Laggan,2 Golden Eagles displaying diving and calling near their breeding sites.
There were 10 Canada Geese at Killiechronan but 6 of them were much smaller.


At least 5 Short-eared Owls were flying already at 5pm at Reudle rd summit (some with wing fluttering display flight). They appear to be holding territories i.e. pairs which allow each other but not intruders. It is even possible that egg laying may start as early as the second week of March. That would be exceptional although the high vole numbers and mild weather make it a real possibility. Egg laying is normally between last week of March until end of June – exceptionally until end of July.






1 Pied Wagtail at Kellan and 1 at Ensay.

Buzzard.

4th: At least 1 Fulmar on the breeding ledges at Treshnish Point and possibly another on the sea off from Treshnish boathouse. They will not stay to breed, they breed much later on. The 6 Fieldfares were at the usual spot near the 2 Ensay stone bridges. 1 possible Iceland Gull flew west around Treshnish Point away from the lobster boat Eilean Ban off the north Treshnish coast but it was too far off to be sure. 1 Hen Harrier at Reudle rd summit and at 5pm on a sunny evening there were 3 Short-eared Owls flying already at Reudle Schoolhouse. Pretty soon there were at least 5 flying. Unfortunately the sun went behind a cloud fairly soon. I did get one close up (too close).
 
And these were further away.






3rd: 1 Short-eared Owl started flying at Reudle at 5.45 but by 6.15 there were still only 2 flying. I didn’t stay longer because it is too dark for good photos. They seem to fly later in the evening on days with more light.
The 6 thrushes near the 2 Ensay stone bridges were thought to be Fieldfares.
2nd: 1 adult Rook at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse (a different bird than the juvenile at Caliach).

Both lobster boats, Jessica Louise and Eilean Ban were seen to north of the Treshnish coast.

There were at least 3 Iceland Gulls behind Eilean Ban (the 3 lower birds here – the third bird is behind the railing)

2 in this shot

and 1 below the bow.

which sailed around Treshnish Point to Dùn Haunn where it turned around and headed back presumably to Croig. At one point Eilean Ban came very close to shore at Dùn Haunn but the Iceland Gulls had just abandoned ship probably because of the arrival of Great Black-backed Gulls. The 2 which I saw flying off headed further into Loch Tuath where Jessica Louise headed and presumably one of these birds was the one I saw half way to Lòn Reudle and later again at Lòn Reudle. I thought I also saw a Glaucous Gull behind Eilean Ban through my telescope when she was far away but photographs didn’t confirm it so I cannot be sure.
A pair of Golden Eagles soaring with Staffa and Ross of Mull in the background.

A Stonechat was singing on west side of Black Park field.

By 6pm the Reudle Short-eared Owls had still not started flying.This is too late for photography so I didn’t stay longer.
Just had some great news that the Treshnish isles Auk Ringing Group have now created a website. It is brand new and so not all the links are working yet. The recent report is not available yet but all the previous ones are! They call themselves the Auk Ringing Group but they don’t just ring auks (Puffin, Razorbill and Common and Black Guillemot) but also ring other birds too including Storm Petrels. Their work goes back as far as 1971. There is an interesting page on the Treshnish Isles’s history.
1st: 1 Iceland Gull at Kilninian but the gulls there are extremely skittish. They flew off when I was about 300m away and amongst some reasonable cover. Then a Glaucous Gull flew by quickly. Again there were at least 4 white-winged gulls behind the blue lobster boat, Jessica Louise (BM237), near Ulva.
There were 4 Short-eared Owls on the Reudle road summit plus at least another 3 down by Reudle Schoolhouse.  A pair at the summit were giving an extended mating display. One was flying high and diving whilst wing fluttering interspersed with high flying whilst giving a deep fairly rapid oo-oo-oo-oo call. The other was also giving the wing fluttering dive but interspersed with the more normal higher pitched rasping call. They also performed the exaggerated deep flicking wing beats. They appear to come out earlier when it is overcast.



2 Red Grouse at Reudle rd summit and the 7 thrushes at Ensay bridges were finally identified as Fieldfares.

Buzzard

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