31st: 1 Arctic Tern off shore below Treshnish House.
I am getting a bit concerned that the House Martins are not going to nest this year.
Last year they started building on the 31st May but this year is a leap year so it is the equivalent of 1st June and it is so warm I would have thought they would be breeding early. Only time will tell.
1 Common Blue by Treshnish graveyard (first of the year).
Good news with Treshnish plantlife. Last year the White Ramping Fumitory didn’t appear or at least I did not see it. I was very surprised to see it in full flower today because in 2009 and 2010 it was first found flowering in mid to late September. Perhaps I missed it last year not knowing it also flowers early or perhaps I strimmed before it flowered. Anyway this year there are at least 3 plants and it has a lot of flowers and should bare lots of seeds. It used the stone wall to climb with and many of the flowers were actually inside the wall. I might try planting some seed at our house. White-ramping Fumitory is very rare on Mull (this is only the second record for Mull). I had to send a piece to a fumitory expert to get an identification.
My first flowering Fragrant Orchid near boathouse (walkers saw an open one yesterday).
and the Sea Sandwort there looks lush.
30th: An immature Marsh Harrier was seen at Fidden by David Warden. Presumably this is the same bird I saw yesterday (www.mullbirds.com).
At 4pm an untagged adult White-tailed Eagle flew west along the farm road by Treshnish wood and exactly 54 minutes later it was returning in the opposite direction with prey.
1 Collared Dove by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
8 Wood Pigeons, Bullfinch heard, at least 1 Siskin in Treshnish wood (the first for a few weeks), 4 Greylags on Ensay side of Treshnish wood and 2 at Treshnish cow-barn.
A pair of Red-throated Divers in Calgary bay deserves a mention as it shows they are not yet sitting on eggs.
Obliging Willow Warbler
4 Mountain Hares on the Ensay side of Treshnish wood
Guelder Rose flowering along Ensay Burn.
29th: 1 immature Marsh Harrier perched in the field to east of Treshnish Point. I only saw it as a dark brown raptor and I initially thought ‘Marsh Harrier’ I took this shot and then tried to get closer but it flew without me seeing where. Then I saw a dark Buzzard flying at Treshnish Point and thought I must have got it wrong so I was pleased to get home and see this photo. There are only 4 records for Mull that I am aware of.
Arthur Brown saw 2 Sandwhich Terns in Calgary Bay, which is an excellent record .
3 House Martins at Toechtamhor cottage, 1 Spotted Flycatcher between Treshnish House and Old Schoolhouse,1 Short-eared Owl in evening on Cruachan Treshnish and above the cow-barn, at least 6 Fulmars round cliffs on southern end of Treshnish Point, 1 Oystercatcher on eggs at Port Haunn, alarmed Ringed Plovers giving distraction display at Port Haunn,
the leucistic Wheatear still at Dùn Haunn (presumably it is a male otherwise it would be nesting),
1 newly fledged Wheatear at Port Haunn.
Jamie saw a pod of at least 5 Bottle-nosed Dolphins along the shore below Treshnish House moving in Calgary direction.
Went to get better shots of the Spring Squill but it is ‘going over’ very fast with the hot weather but there were a few still fresh looking.
Found the patch of Adder’s-tongue Fern near Dùn Haunn. The plants are so tiny I couldn’t find them last year. I only found one with sporangia. These plants were originally identified as Small Adder’s-tongue, which is rare.
28th: Owl of the day today: Tawny Owl.
Walking through Treshnish wood at about 8.30pm (broad daylight) I saw a Tawny Owl perched on a small tree only 10 metres in front of me (I have never seen one in the daylight in the wood which seemed remarkable). My right hand was full so I had to drop the whale bone I was holding which of course scared the bird off. ‘If only’ scenario #302 ‘If only I wasn’t carrying whale bones’. Yes, I am always carrying whale bones around! I had a beautiful view though and I could here a young owl calling from nearby but couldn’t see it.
Then at dusk a Tawny Owl flying from fence pole to fence pole around the cow-barn.
Yesterday found a nest but there were no adults around so I wasn’t sure what it was but thought it was probably a Hooded Crow nest. Today I had a closer look and could see the young crows.
Along the shore below Treshnish House an Oystercatcher bill peaking up from a rock close by and then flying off, alerted me to the possibility of a nest. Yes it was and only a few paces from where I often walk the dogs. I moved on quickly.
White-tailed Eagle flew east in front of Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 1 Chiffchaff heard calling from Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 1 Blackcap singing in the wood above the graveyard and Heron chick sitting up in nest.
Guests at Haunn reported possible sightings of the Red-backed Shrike behind the cottages this afternoon and also yesterday evening.
1 female Otter to west of Treshnish boathouse swam to rock off the boathouse.
1 Mountain Hare at Treshnish boathouse.
My first Blue-tailed Damselflies of the year at Treshnish boathouse.
This Blue-tailed Damselfly surprised me.
I thought it was just going to lay eggs with its abdomen under the water but it submerged itself completely under the water and worked its way down the stem. I can see from my photos it spent 5 minutes submerged. This is the sequence.
and Northern March Orchid are almost out
and I noticed the Small White Orchids at Toechtamhor already have an inflorescence and should be out in a few days.
27th: I had just gone in the house, feeling the sun after an early Breeding Bird survey at Loch Frisa. As I typed what is written below the early warning sounded, ‘raptor, raptor’ made by the Common Gulls at the colony. Looking out of the window I saw an Osprey heading low down along the road straight towards Leena who was sitting on the lawn. It turned around and headed back towards Treshnish House although father away but I got a few shots.
It looks like a different bird from the one on the 21st.
About 400 Shags in mouth of Calgary bay, the Long-tailed Duck found by Arthur Brown on 25th is still present off Calgary pier, 1 Common Tern (my first of the year) on the rocks at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary, the Shelduck pair at Lainne Sgeir have 7 chicks and it was calm enough for mum and dad to take them into the deep water, an Eider female had 2 chicks near Calgary boathouse, no sign of the Red-backed Shrike.
2 Sand Martins visiting nest holes beside dirt road about 300m north of burn Allt a’ Chlogaid & 1 Spotted Flycatcher at Loch Frisa (both NM45Q).
1 Mountain Hare by road below Ensay farmhouse.
Lots of dragonflies seen at Loch Frisa and Treshnish wood, including: Four-spotted Chaser
and 1 Large Red Damselfly at Loch Frisa.
Also 3 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Loch Frisa and 1 at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse (my first of the year except prob seen on 23rd).
26th: At 2.30pm 1 Red Kite over Treshnish wood flying roughly towards southeast (ran out of the house naked to get these shots)
The tags are visible on some photos. It had a yellow 7 with a white tip on its left wing and a white 7 with a yellow tip on its right (see here). The yellow means it comes from the south of England and the white means it is from 2002 or 2011 and the number 7 is specific to this bird. I might be able to find out more later. The terminal bar to the tags is, I think, just an added confirmation of the colour of the other tag. I am pretty sure this bird is not red enough to be an adult in which case it is a juvenile from last year.
I shall try to age it by plumage later to help confirm the age. Red Kite is scarce on Mull and this is my first here.
Incredibly an hour later at 3.40pm a female Red-backed Shrike was on the fence about 300m west of the cow-barn with a bee in its bill. I had some work to finish up but when I returned at 5.25 it was still on the same fence and was in the area until at least 6.22pm.
Red-backed Shrike is a are vagrant to Argyll and a very rare breeding bird in Britain.
There have been only 13 records for Argyll including 3 for Mull (1 from 29th May to 12th June 1992 at 3 diffrent locations on Mull and 1 on 1st June 1998 at Pennyghael, 1 at Grass Point on 11 June 2007).
1 Short-eared Owl above Common Gull colony at Treshnish lochan.
25th: 1 Chiffchaff (no breeding records so far), 1 male Bullfinch, 2 Linnets, 4 House Martins (surely they will start getting interested in nest sites tomorrow), young Heron still on nest and at about 6pm a young Tawny Owl calling repeatedly, all at Treshnish wood.
3 Mountain Hares below Treshnish House and possibly 3 more at boathouse and Black Park fields and Wood Bitter-vetch is abundant along the bank on north side of the road through Black Park (half way to Haunn).
24th: Went on whale watching trip with Sea Life Surveys from Tobermory.
It was a gift from Somerset and Carolyne and what a gift!
Absolutely amazing and highly recommended, not just for the wildlife but for the great knowledgeable crew. We saw 3 or 4 Minke Whales .
This is nicknamed nobble
and I presume this one with a notch in the dorsal fin will be identifiable.
We also saw a few single Harbour Porpoises, a few rafts of Manx Shearwater (and singles moving around Ardamurchan Point),
2 Great Skuas and Common and Arctic Terns around and on the islets to north of Coll (Cairns of Coll)- pairs of Common Terns showing breeding behaviour at the islets and mostly Arctic Terns at sea,
2 Golden Eagles and 2 White-tailed Eagles.
We stopped briefly on the Cairns of Coll and we were in paradise!
This Great Northern Diver off Ardamurchan Point was unable to fly.
Ewan Miles, our bird guide told us that there was one around last summer that could not fly and that this could be the same bird. Also saw another 3 together.
23rd: 1 Spotted Flycatcher (first of the year), 1 female Blackcap and male Bullfinch beside the farm road above Treshnish wood. Dark Barn Owl at usual spot at 5.30pm.
The leucistic Wheatear is still at the same place below Haunn. I still haven’t figured out if it is a male or a female.
1 Large Red Damselfly the farm road above Treshnish wood (first damselfly of the year).
1 probable Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and 1 Green Hair-streak, both at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Found a new plant for Treshnish, Spring Squill!
I am told it is common on Iona but I have spent a lot of time looking for it at a known site in north Mull and failed and I have been twice to the Ross looking for it and DID find on the second visit.
A beautiful plant.
One of the Broad-leaved Helleborine plants is emerging (I find it amazing that a plant that flowers so late should emerge so early). I have found a couple of spots locally where Broad-leaved and Narrow-leaved Helleborine grow side by side. Perhaps they share the same fungal host.
22nd: On the way to Langamull I saw in the far distance what looked like a Basking Shark. Leena reckoned it wasn’t right for Basking Shark so looking again I realised it was a family of Otters. We rushed to get closer and met some Muileachs who had seen the mother with 2 cubs come to the rocks. Within a few minutes the mother appeared and in less than a minute caught a lobster and brought it back to the rocks.
A short while later she went fishing alone. I then went to try and get shots of a pair of Arctic Terns, exhibiting nesting behaviour (pecking at earth and flowers and ritual feeding). My first terns of the year.
There was 1 Scandinavian Rock Pipit at Langamull.
There is a story here. The first record of Scandinavian Rock Pipit for Argyll was found last year at Langamull by David Hatfield. I had some indirect contact with David because I found the second for Argyll last month at Port Haunn. Amazingly David also saw another Scandinavian Rock Pipit at Langmull earlier this month, but his description doesn’t fit mine so it look like there were at least 2 different birds. I was very surprised there were any there at all today as it is now late in the spring.
I caught a distant view of a Skua that may have been a Pomarine Skua but it was too far away to be sure.
1 Dunlin at Langamull
and this White Wagtail (turned out to be the last of the spring).
A medium size yellow dragonfly at Langamull was almost certainly Four-spotted Chaser (my first dragonfly of the year), 1 Small Tortoiseshell at Langamull house.
This cache Hazel nuts. was made by Wood Mouse.
21st: Fantastic views of an Osprey flying east over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. And equally disastrous photographic blunder to match. I had just stepped outside our house and had forgotten to reset the camera setting from last night. So these shot on a sunny day were taken at 1/30th of second. Ahhhh! It should have been about 1/800th and these shots would have been fantastic. New sign of door shall read. ‘Check camera settings’. This is my fourth record of Osprey at Treshnish so assuming I have missed some they are probably annual.
I am assuming the birds returning this late are non breeding birds returning for the first time. In which case they must be different birds each year. There is no reason (only low probability) that there couldn’t be other birds passing by. They probably use the coast as a navigational aid. Having said that, the bird today headed inland so it could be roaming around Mull looking for fishing sites. Future sightings on mullbirds.com might give us a better picture.
A pair of Collared Doves at Treshnish House (they are quite a scarce visitor to the farm).
A pair of Greylags at the boathouse.
Our neighbour Andrew Mortley came to set up his infra red camera to see what’s about at night. He saw a pair of Bullfinches along the lower edge of Treshnish wood. I haven’t seen any for a while and thought they must have moved on. Great that they are either still here or back. Haven’t heard the Blackcaps for a couple of weeks either.
2 House Martins near Treshnish House and the boathouse so presumably this is the resident pair (and at least one of the same bird or birds I have seen around for a week or so). As a pair they are late but it is great to see them again.
Heard an almighty screeching along the edge of as wall at Haunn. As I got closer and it didn’t move, I became worried it was an injured Barn Owl. It turned out to be this
The black cat that hangs around the Haunn reed-beds is the mother.
1 Short-eared Owl along the hill behind Black Park and the cow-barn and later one flew over Toechtamhor cottage to Treshnish Point.
Guests at Toechtamhor are keeping an eye on the Barn Owls and saw the dark bird fly at about 6pm. They also saw an Adder at Calgary Art in Nature Walk.
I could see a lot of alarmed birds at Haunn and caught a glimpse of what looked like a Golden Eagle but I was next to The Studio so can’t be sure but the photo looks good in profile.
Male Linnet at Toechtamhor.
My first Small Heath butterfly of the year at Old Schoolhouse and below Treshnish House and at Haunn again the large orange moth (definitely a moth not butterfly).
20th: I accidentally stumbled upon the dark Barn Owl with a damaged wing was on the cliffs to west of the boathouse.
It stayed from 7.37 until at least 10pm. I was hoping it would fly but it didn’t. Meanwhile Leena and the guests from Toechtamhor cottage were watching a dark Barn Owl at 8pm and later the pale one.
So if Leena has the time right there are 3 owls (will update this later).
1 House Martin at Treshnish boathouse, 5 Wood Pigeons around Treshnish wood, Heron chick on nest in Treshnish wood,
6 Eider ducks flew towards Calgary but later 8 flew from the Calgary direction and landed off the boathouse where they also briefly came to land,
Fulmars were still on ledges at Treshnish Point.
Whilst sitting at the boathouse a Mountain Hare came within 10 feet of me. It took it a while to realise what I was. At first it was just a bit wary as it tried to figure me out. It came around in front of me and then to my other side still about 15 feet away. Then I very slowly had to turn my head to see it and then maybe a movement of my eyes and the penny dropped it was off. But not far it had to turn around to be sure.
Intelligent animals. They don’t just run they think.
There was an orange moth or butterfly on the cliffs on east side of the ravine at Treshnish Point. It landed briefly at the top of the cliff but took off again before I could see it close up. Presumably a migrant.
One of the Broad-leaved Helleborine plants is emerging in Treshnish wood and a Bell Heather is flowering near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
19th: A three owl day today (Tawny, Short-eared and Barn). At 7.30pm 1 adult White-tailed Eagle with prey flew from below Treshnish House up to the House and then to near the summit of Cruachan Treshnish where it was dive bombed by a Short-eared Owl.
Newly arrived guests at Haunn also saw a White-tailed Eagle (presumably the same bird at 5pm at Haunn and about 8.15 flying north around Treshnish Point.
Tawny Owls calling at about 4pm in Treshnish wood and another bird was heard to answer (both giving the oooh call), the hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow still at Haunn field, 1 male Hen Harrier at Treshnish Point, 2 pairs of Fulmars still on breeding ledges at north side of Treshnish Point. The pale (presumed female) Barn Owl was seen at the usual spot and flew about 30m later to West cottage where caught a small rodent, swallowed it whole and then flew over Beinn Duill (whilst guests were having dinner on a bench at Middle cottage).
A probable White Wagtail to west of Ensay Burn mouth (but not certain).
This Wheatear to west of Ensay Burn mouth has a broken wing. I doubt it will survive long.
18th: I spent a couple of hours at Ensay Burn mouth waiting to see if there were any Barn Owls but saw none. I also looked at a couple of distant shots I took of the bird there yesterday and think it was probably a pale bird not a dark one. If this is the female from the other site it is straying much further from its core territory than I thought.
200+ Shags off from Treshnish boathouse, 4 Wood Pigeons flying at sunset into Treshnish wood, Heron flying from and to nest in Treshnish wood, Buzzard bringing prey back to nest, in Treshnish wood. For at least the last couple of days only 1 Greylag around Ensay Burn mouth.
1 Mountain Hare on Ensay side above the burn mouth.
17th: I reckon there could be a second pair of Barn Owls!
Today saw a dark one at Ensay Burn mouth at 7pm being hassled by a Common Gull and landing on the small cliffs there (near where Shags roost). I missed it fly off. Yesterday I heard a horrendous noise near the owl box in Treshnish wood and about a week ago I startled a pale one from a bush about 100m from the owl box.
Just a theory but at 8pm a dark one recently emerged from the probable nest area at Haunn so I think they could be a totally different pair.
4 Fulmars on the breeding ledges on north side of Treshnish Point and another bird flying around the cliffs (they are here to breed now), 2 White Wagtails
and 1 House Martin at Ensay Burn mouth.
1 Mountain Hare at Treshnish boathouse.
Very bad news about Hen Harriers in England. The stronghold in the Forest of Bowland has no breeding pairs this year and it looks like there is only one pair breeding in the whole country. I think conservationists were considered alarmist because the Bowland birds seemed to be doing well but the unthinkable has happened.
And nearer to home an egg collector caught on Rum.
16th: 1 Iceland Gull (2nd or 3rd summer) perched at Treshnish boathouse flew to the field just to the west but too wet and overcast for photos. No sign of any White Wagtails although one Wheatear could below Treshnish House may have been a Greenland Wheatear (large, white forehead and more buff throat), a pair of Whinchat at Toechtamhor cottage, the hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow still at Haunn field.
I heard as horrendous call in Treshnish wood. I think it was the Heron but I was a hundred yards or so from the nest and normally they have been silent. Maybe they have chicks.
2 Mountain Hares at Treshnish boathouse and presumably the same 2 in the field above on the west side of the burn and also the east. Then an hour later 1 at the gate between Black Park and the cow-barn field.
15th: An Owl Day in an Owl Year. Leena was communing with a Short-eared Owl for half an hour at 9am at the Shians behind our house when it came incredibly close. In the evening I saw it from our house and saw 2 around the Shians, Lochan and above Treshnish cow-barn.
At Reudle Schoolhouse there were at least 3 flying from 6pm onwards.
At about 7.45 F and I watched first the dark and then the pale Barn Owl emerge and hunt from their favourite spot.
This is the dark bird.
Leena and I went Dippering up Ensay Burn and came across a Great Black-backed Gull on a dead lamb but it flew off after just a few minutes. We waited for Dippers for about 20 minutes near last years nest with no Dippers appearing when suddenly we saw a Golden Eagle diving down towards the lamb. We were in a wee valley so I quickly crossed the burn and crept over the valley side. I was astonished to see a car parked 20m from the eagle. Obviously it was stressed but hungry and so when a lorry came along too much and it was off. If the car had moved off immediately the eagle may have returned but it didn’t.
This is old grey and there soon after there was also another eagle from another pair in view.
1 male Hen Harrier at Shians, at least 1 White Wagtail at Ensay Burn mouth.
Some walkers thought they may have heard the call of a Corncrake at Haunn cottages.
This is the only emerging Narrow-leaved Helleborine at Treshnish this year.
Nearby I found 6 plants (including 4 flowering)
[for my pers: 3f2v under oak, 1f by burn] but I did not spend a lot of time looking for vegetative plants so I am sure there were more.
Common Twayblade was in flower (my pc has died so I won’t be able to check if this is early or not).
14th: 1 Great Northern Diver opposite Calgary pier, 1 Whimbrel at Croig,
the pale Barn Owl over the reedbeds below Toechtamhor then passive hunting just about 200m below Haunn cottages. Sitting on a hummock or fence post is a good way of hunting whilst conserving energy.
At dusk they seem to prefer this method of hunting.
At the same time there were also 2 Short-eared Owls on Cruachan Treshnish
There appears to be only one Narrow-leaved Helleborine plant emerging on Treshnish this year but it is looking great with the first florets opening (I haven’t checked the nearby site yet as they are more vulnerable to trampling). I noticed that there were a couple of plants visible on the Calgary Art in Nature Walk but was only looking from the car so didn’t see many. Usually they have a couple of hundred!
13th: During a gale: 5 Sanderlings on Calgary beach (my first spring record. All my records in Sept except once in Oct and at Ardalanish once in July). I would have liked to get closer but they are preparing for the long journey north and need all the feeding they can get.
1 White Wagtail and 1 adult Kittiwake on Calgary beach (I am pretty sure I have never seen Kittiwakes on the beach before although I have seen them on the rocks at Lainne Sgeir). Adult Kittiwake on left and 1st summer Common Gull on right.
1st summer Common Gull
1 Whimbrel flew by Calgary beach,a pair of Eider (first for several months in the bay), 1 Red-throated Diver opposite Calgary pier (and 2 flying), 1 Great Northern Diver at Lainne Sgeir (and 1 possible Black-throated Diver there).
1 Greenland Wheatear on the rocks near Calgary campsite. I am not sure this race has been recorded on Mull before.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
12th: Guests at East cottage were welcomed by a White-tailed Eagle flying from Treshnish Point to Cruachan Treshnish. Carolyne also says that a little earlier they saw an adult flying out to sea. Presumably it was the same bird on a fishing foray. The hyrbrid Carrion x Hooded Crow in Haunn field. It is much more fluffily feathered than the Hoodies and when the wind blew the lilac colour showed under the black. Plenty of Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes off Treshnish Point but no Fulmars.
A Cuckoo taken through the glass of our bedroom window.
A Buzzard took a prey item to the nest in Treshnish wood.
Leena saw the Mountain Hare back in our garden (now the beautiful hare becomes ‘that damned rabbit’).
11th: 5 White Wagtails along Treshnish north shore below Treshnish house to Ensay Burn mouth
2 Whimbrels flew from boathouse to Ensay Burn mouth. Many Manx Shearwaters in Sound of Coll (from boathouse), at least 2 Fulmars around the cliffs at north end of Treshnish Point (none on ledges but obviously holding territory).
Fantastic views of the dark Barn Owl at 8.39pm at the reedbed below Toechtamhor cottage. It didn’t seem to recognise me as a human so came very close flying from one fence post to another. The sun was just going down behind the Point so I couldn’t use a faster shutter speed but I don’t think I will get better shots than these. Its wing is damaged hopefully not seriously.
Barn Owl Facts:
1. The female is paler that the male so the white one is probably a female and dark one a male.
2. The fledging period is extremely long for such a small raptor (70-75 days) which is double that of Tawny Owl (28-37) and Short-eared Owl (24-27). Even medium sized raptors have shorter fledging periods: Buzzard (40-60), Hen Harrier (28-38), Peregrine (35-40) and our largest raptors are not much longer: Golden Eagle (72-86), White-tailed eagle (70-84).
3. Peak egg laying period is early April to late May but can be from March to July.
4. female broods for first 10 days after hatching after which she hunts with the male
5. There only about 300 pairs in Scotland.
6. Barn Owl is a Schedule 1 species on the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 so it is illegal to disturb them whilst breeding. In Scotland the Act gives even stricter protection to schedule 1 species and includes ‘Reckless’ i.e. unintentional disturbance.
The Raptor Field Guide to Surveying and Monitoring has this highlighted warning even to Licensed Fieldworkers.
‘Caution. Barn Owls can be sensitive to disturbance at the nest site, particularly during the prelaying period and at hatching, so special care should be taken during these stages of the breeding cycle. Barn Owls should not be flushed from nest or roosts in daylight because they may be mobbed by other birds and will be reluctant to return, which may effect their survival…’
10th: Murphy’s Law strikes. Just as new broad beans emerge a Mountain Hare turns up in our garden. I hate shooing away the beautiful creature but it was half worth it too see it shoot off like a rocket. Cap the collie would have looked like a tortoise.
I am a bit slow but Alan Spellman has pointed me to this website of rare bird news, Stunning photos and interesting graphics. I depended on the free rare bird news from the weekly review from Birdguides (can’t remember how to subscribe) and text search for Argyll.
9th: A Peregrine over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse (presumably the same as yesterday), the leucistic Wheatear is still present at Dùn Haunn, 2 Whimbrels at Port Haunn, returning from Port Haunn I could see the pale Barn Owl was flying at 9.30 immediately after sunset over the reedbed below Haunn cottages. It few to Toechtamhor cottage and perched on fence post there.
It also flew around the Haunn blackhouses and the hill behind. It was not nearly as dark as these pictures show but I had to have a fast shutter speed for the flight shots.
There was also a Short-eared Owl behind Toechtamhor (at same time as Barn Owl), 1 White Wagtail on shore below Treshnish House, 2 Fulmars around the cliffs at Treshnish Point. None on the cliff ledges on the north side of treshnish Point.
A large brightly patterned day flying moth at the cliffs tops at Haunn. It could have been a male Emperor Moth which is quite a bit smaller than the less orange female. I have never seen a male before as it rarely comes to light traps. Last month I was shown a photo of a female which was found at Calgary Farmhouse. Last year I reared one from a pupae I found in the heather and hoped it was a male but I was unlucky. I probably need to collect a few to be sure.
At Tobermory I looked for Lords and Ladies a plant that is only known from 2 old records on Mull. Managed to find it.
8th: A pale Barn Owl was flushed accidentally at mid day from one of the exotic trees in Treshnish wood. It was about 250m from Treshnish House. It flew to the north but could have landed within the wood. I wonder if this is one of the pair or another bird? Then at 7.15 the dark bird flew from the same spot that I have seen it fly from for several days. It continued to hunt for at least another hour.
1 Whitethroat heard at Treshnish graveyard (first of the year for Treshnish), 1 juvenile Peregrine at Treshnish Point,
1 female Hen Harrier at Treshnish boathouse (hot on the heals of a Collared Dove) and 2½hr later at Haunn field,
at least 3 White Wagtails along Treshnish north shore (2 at Ensay Burn mouth and 2 below Treshnish House),
1 Grey Wagtail at Ensay Burn mouth,
1 Wood Pigeon flying from Treshnish wood, 3 Greylag Geese at Ensay Burn mouth, 1 Great Northern Diver off from Treshnish boathouse and both Herons returning to the nest site.
No Fulmars on ledges on the north side of Treshnish Point.
1 dolphin (presumably Bottle-nosed Dolphin) off Treshnish boathouse.
7th: 1 House Martin at Ensay Burn mouth (first of the year for Treshnish and presumably 1 of the resident birds). Still 6-8 White Wagtails along north Treshnish shore.
A pair of Great Northern Divers off Ensay Burn mouth and another pair off the boathouse.
The first time I saw this flying without take off, I thought it had got entangled in something. I soon realised it must be away to get water into its feathers in order to bathe.
3 sighting of at least 2 Mountain Hares (1 near gate of field below Treshnish House, 1 at boathouse and 1 above the boathouse). There were at least 2 because this one was more reddish than the other.
6th: 6 White Wagtails again along north shore (4 at Ensay Burn mouth and 2 below Treshnish House). I got some great shots only to discover there was no memory card in the camera! I went back with limited success.
1 female Whinchat at reeds below Toechtamhor cottage, (first of the year for Treshnish), 1 adult Peregrine above Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
It looks like I was wrong about the Greylags nesting. There were 2 flying around today. each year I am confused by their behaviour. They usually disappear by about June. Where do they go?
2 Mountain Hares at Treshnish boathouse.
5th: 1 Sedge Warbler in reeds below Toechtamhor cottage, (first of year and possibly first for Mull)
pair of Reed Buntings there and the hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow in Haunn field and later over Treshnish lochan, 1 Collared Dove flying over Haunn cottage in Dùn Haun direction, pair of Linnets beside east cottage (one singing nicely) and the usual Twite and Lesser Redpoll were heard flying around the farm.
A Barn Owl flew from same spot at 8.20 (don’t have time to stay to see which bird it was).
4th: In the morning 1 Golden Eagle on Cruachan Treshnish and in the evening 6 White Wagtails (4 at Ensay Burn mouth and 2 below Treshnish House),
1 Grey Wagtail at Ensay Burn mouth (the first since the pair seen briefly last month),1 Whimbrel & 1 Dunlin at Ensay Burn mouth.
1 Mountain Hare at Treshnish boathouse
and about 100m away this was in the willow. I think it could be a young hare (I have never seen rabbits here).
Keith and Caroline at Middle cottage saw about 3 or 4 dolphins in the Port Haunn – Dùn Haunn area (presumably the same pod of Bottle-nosed).
3rd: 1 Whimbrel at Treshnish boathouse, 1 White Wagtail at Ensay Burn mouth, 2 Twite around Treshnish House and 1 in Haunn field,
1 female Hen Harrier at Treshnish Point (and probably also a second bird at Treshnish Point and the field to the east). The hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow still at Haunn (also yesterday).
The pale Barn Owl first flew at 9.40 and from the same place as the dark bird flew from yesterday. The pale bird flew directly around Haunn cottages and then on the hill behind. With the east wind it hunted slowly eastwards into the wind and then flew quickly back and then repeated the eastward slow hunting along the ridge into the wind.
For the last 2 days only 1 Greylag goose present at Ensay Burn mouth which probably means the other is on eggs and I am pretty sure I heard a Wood Pigeon calling softly once in Treshnish wood. Both these would be new breeding records for Treshnish.
1 Mountain Hare to east of Treshnish boathouse
Wood Bitter-vetch Vicia orobus flowering in Black Park field (8 days earlier than my previous earliest). This is a Treshnish speciality.
2nd: 1 Whimbrel flying east at Ensay Burn mouth, 2 at Treshnish boathouse flew west and 3 flew south around Treshnish Point,
2 ‘White’ Wagtails at Ensay Burn mouth and another in Haunn field.
A female Hen Harrier in Haunn field and the fields to west and north and a little later an immature ring-tailed Hen Harrier over the reedbeds at Haunn.
Pair of Reed Buntings in the reedbed below Toechtamhor and a male in the lower reedbed below the other Haunn cottages.
The dark Barn Owl flew from the same place as yesterday.Our neighbour our saw a White-tailed Eagle over the Common Gull colony at Treshnish lochan (we heard the commotion but that area is hidden from view unless they fly high). She also saw 1 there yesterday. Probable Merlin near Ensay farmhouse.
1st: 2 Barn Owls (one much darker than the other). This is the pale one.
1 male Hen Harrier at Haunn field.
Went to look for a Heronry I was told about at Calgary but there was no sign of any breeding or old nests.
1 yellow tagged White-tailed Eagle at Bennan.
An adult Coal Tit at Calgary beach feeding another adult with moth caterpillar.
The hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow still at Haunn field and also yesterday (it is more nervous than the 7 Hoodies there), 4 Twite at Ensay fort, 2 Linnets at Haunn (also yesterday) and 3 on Calgary machair, Lesser Redpolls over Treshnish wood. With the wind dropping and turning from the north to the east there were at least 3 Sand Martins and 3 over Treshnish wood.
1 Speckled Wood at at Calgary Art in Nature walk and least 2 Green Hair-streaks at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse,
and Green-veined White mating.
Couldn’t see any Narrow-leaved Helleborine plants emerging at Calgary Art in Nature walk but the one near our house is still healthy.