30th: male Golden Eagle and female Hen Harrier on Cruachan Treshnish.
Migrants still present include: Wheatear on Cruachan Treshnish and Whitethroat at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Female Common Hawker (laying eggs), Common Darters, Black Darter (my first of year),
Blue-tailed Damselfly and Emerald Damselflies,
all at Treshnish lochan.
The only butterflies seen today were a few Scotch Argus (2 around Treshnish Old Schoolhouse), 1 Peacock by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 2 Graylings nr Cruachan Treshnish summit.
Found another new patch of 8 vegetative Bog Orchids on Cruachan Treshnish.
Felt a bit more confident about finding Chaffweed behind our house. I found at least 6 plants quite quickly.
The trick is to look beside muddy puddles on tracks. It can’t be that rare just under-recorded. Lynne Farrell, out vice-county recorderm pointed it out to me. We were walking along the track from Loch Frisa car park to Glengorm when she said ‘this looks good for Chaffweed’ and found it within seconds. The first time I tried looking for it behind our house I found it within minutes. The only problem is the size, this species is the smallest flowering plant that I have seen. Chaffweed is in the same family as Scarlet Pimpernel and Bog Pimpernel.
29th: Migrants still present include: Whitethroat (heard) at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, Sedge Warbler at upper and lower reedbed, Haunn & Whinchat at upper reedbed, Haunn.
Lone Greylag at Treshnish Point
Found a big patch of Marsh Woundwort along wall between upper and lower reedbeds, Haunn.
28th: Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars, Great Skuas, Kittiwakes and Gannets at Treshnish Point. At dusk 2 Swallows in the nissen hut by Treshnish wood (also yesterday). I am still not sure if they are adults or juveniles, I will have to have a look with a torch.
I have updated my plant records for this year. This is the new map for Bog Orchid. Red squares are 2012 records, green dots are pre-2012 records. Some have both red and green which means I have added data for both. Only a green dot doesn’t mean a site has been lost just that either I didn’t visit or (as I can see from at least one site) I didn’t record it. This is the first time I have played around with date banding so I am pleased with the results.
This is for Field Gentian.
27th: Female Golden Eagle and 1 probable Merlin photographed on Cruachan Treshnish.
26th: Went to where I saw the Golden Eagle pair soaring above a carcass yesterday. I planned to wait until an eagle visited but before I got into position the male appeared on Cruachan Treshnish. Knowing he must have seen me I hid behind a rocky outcrop anyway (not before dropping my camera after climbing the cliff). After about 15 minutes the male was joined by the female and after about another 10 minutes the male took off and dropped like a bullet down towards the carcass. I was surprised, I thought if he came, he would soar down casually. Perhaps it was a way of scaring off other predators although I didn’t see any there at this time, he wouldn’t have been able to see the carcass from where he took off from. These fast dives are a normal way to approach roost sites near the nest and as he landed close by (out of my sight) at one of his favourite roost sites he could have been just showing off. I was impressed at least but it was too fast for photographs. About 10 minutes later he flew down to the carcass.
The tail is looking good.
and so is the wing (see also underwing shots below).
The greyish feathers are the most recent.
He took another 20 minutes of walking around near it before he started eating. After 40 minutes of eating hew flew up to a nearby outcrop.
I waited for a while debating on whether to try and get closer and risk losing a flight shot depending on what direction he flew. I decide to try and get closer as there was some good cover but by the time I got close he had disappeared.
Had a look to see if the Chaffweed I found behind Treshnish Old Schoolhouse a couple of years ago was just a fluke. I found some after only a few seconds. The problem with looking for such a tiny plant is that there are only 3 options, getting belly down in the mud with a lens, picking it or taking a photo and hoping. I don’t like picking anything so I plumped for the 3rd method and looking through the viewfinder I thought I found it. When I got home I found I had been lucky. I will try and get a better shot later.
Found a new patch of 13 Bog Orchids (incl 1 faded flowering stalk) above Treshnish lochan about 25m from the other new site there.
25th: 1 juvenile Hen Harrier around Toechtamhor cottage, about 200 Starlings at the pre-roost meeting place at Treshnish cow-barn. This is a flock of about 130 (a flock of about 70 had just separated off and left for the cave a minute earlier)
Swallow visiting nest with eggs at East cottage, Haunn, pair of Golden Eagles on Cnoc an t-Sidhein: the old male’s new tail feathers are looking good and a new flight feather is also coming through.
and here is the female.
24th: Flock of about 20 Linnets at Dùn Haunn,
1 Fulmar off Dùn Haunn, 1 White-tailed Eagle flying across Calgary bay mouth to Treshnish Point.
Migrants still around: 1 Wheatear at Dùn Haunn, 1 juvenile Whinchat in upper reedbed, Haunn field, Swallows in nest in Treshnish tool-shed. The Whinchat was only a couple of yards away from an adult Stonechat!
I realised the way to get shots of the Grayling is to find a mating pair. I lost this pair before I could get a better shot. Thus is the first time I have seen the upperparts except in flight.
23rd: Migrants still present include: Willow Warbler at both sides of Treshnish boathouse and at Ensay Burn mouth, Wheatear at Treshnish Point, juvenile Whitethroat at Toechtamhor cottage.
Bullfinch heard in Treshnish wood, 12 Greylags in boathouse field, 1 White-tailed Eagle seen briefly flying south towards Dùn Haunn, juvenile Reed Bunting in reedbed below Toechtamhor cottage
some were eating insects (aphids?)
Otter along shore below Treshnish House (and a possible at the boathouse).
Butterflies still on the wing: Scotch Argus and Green-veined White common, Meadow Brown at at cliffs beyond Haunn, Grayling at boathouse. Day flying moths: Dark Marbled Carpet to west of boathouse and Shaded Broad-bar in Haunn field nr lower reedbed.
New Field Gentian site at impassable gorge to east of Treshnish Point.
22nd: Migrants still present include: 1 juvenile Whitethroat at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse
Willow Warbler heard in reedbed below Toechtamhor cottage, Haunn and 20+ Swallows including these at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Bullfinch heard at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, pair of Golden Eagles on ridge behind Haunn cottages, juvenile Reed Buntings below Toechtamhor.
this one was food begging.
Tawny Owl heard at night and also about 3 days before.
21st: 1 Sparrowhawk attacking Swallows at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
I saw a mystery bird on the 18th. Today I had a reply from one of members of the Argyll rarity committee who tells me that he has sent it to others and no one knows what it is except that it looks interesting. The bird was taken from about 100m away and was taken by mistake with shutter speed of 1/30 sec.
20th: Saw from a long way away but got a distance photograph of what I am pretty sure was a Rook by the cow-barn.
19th: 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker (heard) and at least 1 male Bullfinch in Treshnish wood.
1 Fulmar at Treshnish Point so perhaps some have bred this year after all.
The first of the newly found Broad-leaved Helleborine is also flowering now so there should be some cross fertilisation.
18th: Migrants still around include: Willow Warbler, Wheatear (2 at cowbarn), Spotted Flycatcher (2 at Old Schoolhouse) and Swallow (including flock of about 30 in morning at Haunn).
2 Bullfinches and possible mystery bunting type bird at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
17th: Migrants still around include: Wheatear near the cowbarn, Willow Warbler in lower reedbed at Haunn, Sedge Warbler in upper reedbed at Haunn,
Manx Shearwater from Treshnish Point and families of Swallows around farm buildings.
A family of Reed Buntings in upper reedbed at Haunn. These are the juveniles
and family of Linnets beyond Haunn cottages.
1 Mountain Hare in our garden in the early morning.
15th: 1 Northern Eggar larva above Treshnish lochan.
The reason I suspected our Fox moth identification was that I had recently seen a larva. Now it seems my logic was wrong. Northern Eggar larva and adults are out at the same time. The reason is that in Scotland the larvae can take 2 years to pupate. I think this is one of the reasons why Northern Eggar was considered a subspecies of Oak Eggar but I don’t think it is accepted by all.
Found a new patch of 35 Bog Orchids incl. 4 flowering stalks. This is the first time I have found any on the north of Cruachan Treshnish even though there are many suitable pools and I have looked a few times before.
Devil’s-bit Scabious in Haunn field.
14th: 1 Peregrine at Treshnish Point,
3 Redshanks at Treshnish boathouse. Still Common Sandpipers near boathouse and Ensay Burn mouth.
Guests at Haunn saw 6 Basking Sharks off Dùn Haunn (highest count so far this year at Treshnish).
13th: Loose flock of many Lesser Redpoll
around Treshnish House (present for last few days).
Rock Pipits didn’t seem bothered by the Mink below (I think they are juveniles).
A Mink came right up to my feet and walked passed me at Ensay Burn mouth. I am seeing them at about every second visit.
Knot Grass larva at Ensay Burn mouth (not to be confused with Light Knot Grass of yesterday).
Found a new patch of Field Gentians to west of Treshnish boathouse.
This is the Broad-leaved Helleborine we saw yesterday.
12th: 1 female Golden Eagle on Cruachan Treshnish. In the late evening there was a Swallow in the Nissen hut by Treshnish wood. I didn’t want to disturb it so I wasn’t sure if it was a juvenile (which fledged weeks ago) or an adult going for a second brood.
Showed enthusiastic locals some of the Treshnish late flowering orchids. First stop was the nearly flowering Broad-leaved Helleborine and as I spoke the words ‘There may be others around’, Sue [nee Thompson] pointed out a new flowering plant right beside it! A treat.
Sue also found what we originally thought was a Fox moth on the moorland which was still there in the evening. But looking at books later I realise it was a Northern Eggar. I have never found the adult out in the open before (and only once in my light-trap) so it was a good find. Thanks Sue!
Realising it was a photographic opportunity too good to lose, I went back a third time late in the evening. It was windy and beginning to rain but I got some shots.
and also found a Light Knot Grass larva nearby.
11th: I startled a Sparrowhawk in the fuchsia bushes beside East cottage, Haunn and later saw another (probably same) at Treshnish boathouse. A Swallow nest at East cottage has eggs.
Scots Lovage to east of the boathouse.
10th: Bullfinches heard in Treshnish wood. Again no terns along the north shore.
Migrants still around today: Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher, Swallow, House Martin, Whitethroat, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Willow Warbler.
Sylark (presumed juvenile)
1 Basking Shark far out in Sound of Coll.
At the boathouse a Mink popped its head out of the sea just beside me (almost certain it was a Mink and not an otter although at that distance the head looked huge – it was all to fast to be sure). Then about half an hour later saw a Mink 200m to the west.
Today it was me that saw them not the dogs but they could smell them and Cap who had just been for a swim had to rub his nice clean fur in its skat.
Found a new small patch of Field Gentians by the boathouse beach.
9th: At noon the male Golden Eagle appeared on the hillock behind our house, overlooking the lochan. I tried to sneak up on it but he didn’t stay long. There were 3 Mallards on the lochan so maybe he was after them but I doubt he can catch them without a high, fast, stoop. I saw he had landed a few hundred yards away and slowly slowly I managed to get within 30m. He must have seen me but didn’t seem bothered. We waited together for ages and at one time a yellow tagged adult White-tailed Eagle flew by but we took no notice.
(I don’t know what on earth is going on with my camera – it seems to be getting worse and worse – but you get the picture – no pun intended).
After 90 minutes from when I first saw him, he decided to move on.
First he landed at a favourite perch above the deer fence up the gorge beyond the cow-barn. Later still, he was at Haunn above the cottages presumably hunting the rabbits there. There was only a gentle breeze today and he was able to fly perfectly well so whatever the problem was a few weeks ago, he seems to be over it. His two central tail feather have been replaced and are already the longest feathers (and I can see another new feather – the dark one under the broken one on the right – growing out)
so with his wedge shaped tail and white head he can easily be mistaken for a White-tailed Eagle.
4 Bullfinches flew over Treshnish wood and flocks of 50+ Twite (probably also with some Siskins) at Haunn. Migrants still around today: Willow Warbler, Blackcap (male), Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher all by Treshnish wood, Swallow young in nests at Treshnish House, at least 1 House Martin at Toechtamhor, Haunn and a Wheatear near the cow-barn.
A very strange noise heard from out garden. It was loud but it could have been coming from close by (possibly a Common Toad).
A Basking Shark was off Ensay Burn mouth and moving much faster on the surface than I have seen before.
8th: I White-tailed Eagle flew from Treshnish point across the mouth of Calgary bay whilst another sat on the rocks to west of Ensay Burn mouth. I was to west of the boathouse so I rushed as fast as I could to photograph the perched bird but by the time I got there it had gone. It may have followed the other bird across the bay.
Whitethroat and Swallow (latter will be around for a while as some are going for a second brood).
Brief glimpse of an adult Ruby Tiger moth in front of our garden but after getting the camera I couldn’t find it. I only saw the scarlet body with stripes so don’t think it could have been anything else.
Went back to get better shots of the Cinnabar moth larva but couldn’t find it or any others.
7th: Aurora Borealis tonight from 2-2.30am (8th) with light green rainbow on the horizon and search light beams reaching up 45° into sky moving from the north of Coll to over Ensay. Lucky I looked because none of the prediction websites were correct!
1 female Hen Harrier in Haunn field and above Black Park field, at mid day 2 White-tailed Eagles flew across Calgary bay to Treshnish Point and in the evening an adult flew along the shore below Treshnish House with a gull in its talons,
It seems that Leena saw another one at almost the same time (presumably a little earlier) flying in same direction but just slightly inland.
Flock of about 50 Twite in field to west of boathouse.
Twite having a stretch.
At least 3 House Martins above Treshnish wood, no terns along the north shore but there was a Great Skua harassing the larger gulls.Still Willow Warblers and Whitethroat around Treshnish wood.
We were watching a Basking Shark off from the boathouse
We lost if for a couple of minutes suddenly a massive animal leapt vertically half out of the water. I was sure at first it was a whale as it was further out than the basking shark but nothing else was seen except a few minutes later the Basking Shark re-appeared. I think I must have seen the breaching of the Basking Shark. It was the shape of the outline of a rowing boat but it only leapt half way out of the water so it like a half a boat. It was white and I thought I saw ribbed lines but it was too quick to be sure. Leena only saw the splash. I have heard of them breaching in deeper water but I think it must be rarely seen close offshore. Long time guest Malcolm Ward saw one breaching 2 miles off from Port Haunn on 01/07/2010.
We noticed it held its nose much further out of the water than normal.
It looked like a seal.
Scotch Argus abundant in the in-by fields and around the wood and still a few (c5) Meadow Browns and Dark Green Fritillary (2) in Black Park and Grayling on rocks to west of boathouse (I have never seen so many Graylings as this year). Found my first single Cinnabar moth of the year on the ragwort near the gate into Haunn field.
I have looked a few times and was surprised before. I am sure there must be more but last year there were several together.
6th: old male Golden Eagle on the sitheans and later the pair on Beinne Duill.
1 Sparrowhawk at Cruachan Treshnish (my first at Treshnish since 12 April),
1 adult White-tailed Eagle flying over Cruachan Treshnish towards Port Haunn and 1 hour and 5 minutes later presumably the same bird flew the opposite direction over Cruachan Tteshnish, this time with prey. I presume it is one of the Loch Frisa pair.
3 Wood Pigeons in Treshnish wood.
First Fox moth larvae of the season above Treshnish lochan
5th: male Golden Eagle above Treshnish wood. I wonder if there was enough breeze for him to get lift. I have a feeling he may spend the night in the wood.
and female at Cnoc an t-Sidhein. She was really attacking a Buzzard not just defending herself and yesterday I also saw one of the Golden Eagles attacking something at this same spot (which looks like an excellent vantage point for hunting the rabbits around the cow-barn).
Great Spotted Woodpecker flew from over our house from the lochan direction over Treshnish wood and 2 Wood Pigeons flew from exactly the same tree as yesterday (either they are eating the Rowan berries or it a roost/nest).
Spent along time trying to get Emerald Damselfly photos (I need a raft). I did get a shot of attached pair but they are not yet in the mating wheel as the female has not brought the tip of her abdomen underneath herself to connect with the male. He is just grabbing her. I may have missed the actual mating. I .don’t know why the photo looks so bad here, if you click on it and zoom in, you will see it is quite good
4th: pair of Golden Eagles on Cruachan Treshnish, 15 Twite on Middle cottage, Haunn, 50+ Siskins in Haunn field, 1 Wood Pigeon and 1 Bullfinch in Treshnish wood, 180 Starlings at pre-roost gathering at Treshnish cow-barn.
1-2 Mountain Hares on summit of Cruachan Treshnish,
Hundreds of Scotch Argus on Cruachan Treshnish.
3rd: 1 hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow at the sitheans, 80 Swallows on the wires and house at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 1 White-tailed Eagle flying east over Treshnish lochan, Willow Warbler (singing) and Whitethroat still at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and Bullfinch heard in Treshnish wood.
Emerald Damselfly at sithean pond but too midgey to stay long and it was not as close as yesterday.
2nd: 1 Swift over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker over Treshnish wood and 1 male Bullfinch and another heard in Treshnish wood. Still Whitethroats, Willow Warblers and Wheatears around.
Spent some time photographing Emerald Damselflies. The Lumix was the best
I am not sure what setting or lens I was using for this but it is the best (although missing the tail tip) so more experimentation necessary.
I am still trying to get better shots of Bog Orchids. Whilst doing so I found 2 more vegetative plants so this pool holds 33 plants including 18 flowering stalks.
1st: Went to show Leena the nearby Bog Orchids and found a few more but it was too windy for photographs. There was 1 Northern Eggar caterpillar in the same boggy pool.