September

You should be hearing a Golden Eagle from 21st (unless you have sound muted).
 
30th: 2 Goosanders at Croig oyster-beds, 1 yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagle over forest near Mornish Schoolhouse (had landing gear down near Dùn Mhadaidh).
1 Mink at Croig near memorial.

29th: Just as I was getting changed for work the female Golden Eagle flew by. I managed a couple of shots.

Several times during the day the male was seen patrolling the northern coastal strip (at one time coming very low and close to East cottage, Haunn). At 5pm an eagle flew from Cruachan Treshnish towards the boathouse and then towards Calgary. From the flight behaviour (lots of flapping) and direction I knew it wasn’t the local pair of Golden Eagles and even though I first thought it was a Golden Eagle I came to the conclusion it must have been a juvenile White-tailed eagle. The photo shows my first guess to be right. It is a juvenile Golden Eagle.

1 Mountain Hare by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 1 Mink under road culvert in cow-barn field.
Guests in middle cottage reported hearing a Corncrake in Haunn field on 25th and remember hearing the call at Haunn in mid September 2005.
28th: 1 Golden Eagle over Ensay farmhouse.
27th: 8 Golden Plovers at Croig (beach). I was alerted to the flock by a single bird that was behaving very strangely over the water. It looked like a Storm-petrel treading water. I had heard the call before I saw it so knew it was a Golden Plover but still its behaviour made me hope it was a phalarope.



I got quite close but the light was very poor and it was raining.

1 Mountain Hare in our garden.
About a week ago I found a cocoon on our lettuce. I put in a jar and today I found it had hatched. I was very surprised to see that it is a Silver Y (even though the Y is gold not silver). Some of the photos capture the purple and the gold. But what surprised me is that this moth is a migrant. I had always taken this to mean that they do not breed in the UK but I think it must mean that they cannot survive our winters.




Today I read about a satellite tagged Golden Eagle killed by a trap set in Glen Esk, Angus. After its legs were broken in the trap someone moved the still living bird by car 14 miles to Deeside where it took 4 more days to die! Shocking stuff. Another satellite-tagged Golden Eagle was found poisoned in Glen Esk in July 2009. No one has been charged.
This news today comes only 2 weeks after the conviction in Oban of a farm manager of Auch Estate, Bridge of Orchy for possessing illegal poisons in a follow up investigation after some hill walkers found a poisoned Golden Eagle nearby in June 2009. The fine for the possession of the poisons, £1200. No one has been charged with the killing of the eagle. Read more here.
26th: Golden Eagle pair over Treshnish Old Scholhouse.
Male (11.28 & 13.56)

and calling female (10.30 & 13.55)


and juvenile (probably 2 year old) White-tailed Eagle over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse (11.10-11.18 & 14.35) flew towards Calgary.



1 Mountain Hare on Langamull machair.
25th: The male Golden Eagle flew over Treshnish wood as I left to go to Tobermory at 9am

and on my return at 3pm flying above Ensay Burn (landed on the Sitheans).

A nice farewell and welcome and then, as I type, at 6pm over Treshnish wood (on and off for half an hour).

1 Merlin at east end of Mishnish lochs.
On the 21st I took photos of a flock of Long-tailed Tits near our house. Some of the photos showed them with 2 species of caterpillar. I am trying to get them identified.


24th: 4 Greenshanks, 4 Redshanks, 2 Lapwings, 13-14 Goosanders

and a domestic goose, all at Croig,

3 Golden Plovers

and 1 Wheatear at Port na Bà,
1 Mink at Port na Bà & 1 Mountain Hare on Langamull rocks at exactly the same spot as on the 20th.
23rd: 1 Common Scoter,


1 Greenshank at Croig, 2 juvenile White-tailed Eagles opposite the loch at Quinish.
Leena heard the Red Deer rutting at Ensay – the first of the year.
22nd: Sparrowhawk at Treshnish House and at least 2 flocks of about 60 Goldfinches, Lesser Redpolls and Linnets in Black Park and Haunn fields. 1 Redpoll in Black Park may have been a Common Redpoll.
Carolyne and I, separately, found the same beautiful caterpillar by the gate from Black Park to Haunn, I am pretty sure it is a Knot Grass.
21st: Golden Eagle pair around Treshnish wood and the lochan all afternoon and evening from 12 noon until 7.45.

At mid-day they were very excited and calling from the wood and I could see another pair at the cliffs near the coastal cliffs above the Calgary road. The female did a little skydiving. We can’t upload video clips with our satellite broadband but I could extract the audio.
I have also made some videos of Sanderlings later I will try and upload some video clips from an internet café.
Also a White-tailed Eagle flying towards Calgary at 5pm.
These are of the male






Here you can see he is calling

This is the female.




Flock of at least 6 Long-tailed Tits in Treshnish wood (my first of the season),


2 probable Yellowhammers at Treshnish House (they were in flight and I can’t be certain) and Carolyne thinks she may have seen them near Ensay Burn cattle-grid the other day.
At least 2 Swallows at Treshnish House.
20th: 1+ Greenshank, 4 Redshanks, 6 Dunlins, 1 Turnstone, 2+ Goosanders, 1 Teal, 16 Swallows at Croig, 3 Swallows at Calgary, yellow tagged E White-tailed Eagle at Langamull, 2 White-tailed Eagles at Quinish (incl 1 with white tags), 4 Mistle Thrushes at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 1 Golden Eagle at Treshnish lochan, a flock of 63 geese flying east over Cruachan Treshnish and flocks heard flying over at night.
Grey Seals calling like mad at Quinish and could be heard loudly from the road at Croig Harbour, also 1 Otter on the Quinish side of the loch entrance at Croig and 2-3 Mountain Hares at Langamull (1 was on the tidal rocks & 2 later on the machair).


Corn Mint at Croig.
19th: 1 Grey Wagtail at Treshnish boathouse (the first I have seen at Treshnish since the spring). Hopefully we will see the return of this fairly common breeding species next year after the 2 cold winters before the last. 
21 Ravens on Cruachan Treshnish, 1 Swallow over Treshnish wood, 1 eagle seen from below Treshnish House flying above the road to Calgary was, I am pretty sure, a White-tailed Eagle.
Flock of at least 60 finches in Black Park. Mostly Goldfinches but small numbers of Linnets and Lesser Redpolls.

18th: 1 small skua at mouth of Calgary bay and a possible Sooty Shearwater there too although light conditions were not good enough to be sure, 1 Turnstone at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and Malcolm ward saw a Whimrel there, 1 Golden Eagle from Treshnish Haunn farm-road (Carolyne), 1 Sanderling on Calgary beach (Carolyne).
I am afraid I will have to retract the Little Stint on Calgary beach on the 13th. It was almost certainly a very small Sanderling.
My logic was not completely mad but obviously there are small numbers of Sanderlings smaller than in the literature and mine must have been outside the normal range.
I have gone though my 30 photos of it with Ringed Plovers and even when it was surrounded by Ringed Plovers (ruling out any optical illusion) it was always smaller than the Ringed Plovers.
Bird in center

bird far left



Birds of the Western Palearctic has Ringed Plover as 18-20cm and Sanderling 20-21cm.
The bill of Sanderling is about 1cm longer so in fact their body size should be about the same and this can be seen by searching for photos on the internet. Both are fairly chunky birds. Incidentally, on the internet i came across 1 photograph incorrectly labelling a Sanderling as Little Stint.
Taking the 4 Ringed Plover which were about the same size they were probably 19cm and I would guess that with longer bill taken into account mine was probably 18-19cm (at least 1 cm smaller than given in BWP).
Malcolm Ward saw an Arctic Skua off from Port Haunn.
The Minke Whale still present.
17th: 3 Turnstones at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary, 2 Yellowhammers by Ensay farmhouse (scarce on this side of Reudle), 1 Wheatear at the Ensay boulder slope and 1+ Swallows over Treshnish wood.
The dead Minke Whale is still in the same spot although at 7pm it was floating free so it could easily move.
16th: 2 Sanderlings on Calgary beach,





3 Wheatears on the boulder slope at the Ensay coast and 2 on Calgary machair (I think that at least some were of the Greenland race),

1 juvenile White-tailed Eagle and 2  Golden Eagles along cliffs above Lainne Sgier, Calgary.

This is the largest flock of Kittiwakes I have seen on the rocks at Lainne Sgeir (about 200)

last week the highest count was about 80.
This is the dead Guillemot on Calgary beach

and a dead Pied Wagtail on the machair (it was quite near the road so could be a road rather than gale casualty)

1 Common Hawker by Calgary tea-rooms and 1 prob Common Darter at Bennan.
Very little of interest at Langamull (many man-friday footprints) but I did find my bag with camera and GPS recorder that I didn’t know I had lost!
There is a dead Minke Whale washed up to the west of Lainne Sgeir. Apparently it is thought to be a juvenile. It has been there for at least a day. Unfortunately the head is missing and looks like it has been ripped off.

15th: Martin Ward frequent Treshnish guest told me there was a small wader with tramlines on its back on Calgary beach and there was also a dead Guillemot, presumably the one from yesterday he also saw a Peregrine at Treshnish Point.
I was disappointed to find that the Swallow nest at East cottage had no chicks. I am pretty sure they must have been predated as they were tiny chicks the week before and couldn’t have fledged in that time.
Graham and Angie saw Golden Eagles and Hen Harrier at Haunn during their stay (and Golden Eagle pair on Beinn Bheidhe from Calgary) – 8-15th Sept. 
14th: 1 Turnstone on Lainne Sgeir, Calgary, 1 juvenile Sanderling at 2pm,

1 injured or exhausted Guillemot on Calgary beach,

4 Dunlins, 1 Wheatear , 1 Goosander and 1 yellow tagged adult White-tailed Eagle at Langamull.
There was a slow constant trickle of Manx Shearwaters heading west at Langamull and up to 5 of the smaller skua species, all far out but 1 Great Skua closer in. I thought I caught a glimpse of a petrel quite close in buy I could see no white rump and it was only for a second.
I am presuming that the Sanderling today is not the same bird as yesterday’s Little Stint. The reason being that the bird yesterday was definitely a lot smaller than the Ringed Plovers. If a Sanderling can be smaller than a Ringed Plover I will have to retract the Little Stint claim. Andrew Mortley looked on the beach at about 11am and couldn’t find any small waders.
Gannets



Curlew

Rock Pipit

I think this must be Corn Mint by Allt Crossapoll nr Langamull. I have being seeing it for the last week. It is new species for me.

13th: 1 Little Stint on Calgary beach.



Again I will get this confirmed but I am pretty sure I am right. This is my first for Mull and rare in north Mull; I only know of 4 other records between 1988 and 2008 (one was by the Grahams long time Treshnish guests) – 3 in autumn and 1 in the Spring.
I should point out that with a telescope I could see very little detail and like the Knots on the 6th it is only when the photographs are blow up that I could see any detail. But it was smaller than the
Ringed Plovers so I knew it was something interesting.
Just heard back from Jeroen Reneerkens leader of the Sanderling Project of the International Wader Study Group. He has even sent me a photo of exactly the same bird as the Langamull bird (see 4th and 9th below) but as a chick on 27th July this year, when it was ringed at Hochstetter Forland, Northeast Greenland.

He has just got back from Greenland and has some new videos here.
For a laugh/smile please have a look at this video clip. Obviously the words ‘she likes to brood’ need little translation.
More clips here.
12th: 1 Leach’s Petrel, about 50 Manx Shearwaters, 1 possible Black-throated Diver, 3-4 Great Skuas, 2 Dunlins, 1 Puffin at Langamull. The Leach’s is my first for Britain so I am pretty happy about that, even though I only got a brief view as it disappeared behind a wave. It was quite close in and I had a good view through my telescope so I could see the dark dividing line of the white rump. I have only seen this species in Denmark. Today I would have been happy with a Storm-petrel which I haven’t seen yet on Mull even though they breed on the Treshnish Isles so a Leach’s was especially exciting.
Leach’s Storm-petrel is rarely recorded around Mull but it is definitely under-recorded. John Bowler the RSPB warden for Tiree has recorded it once each year around Mull from the Tiree ferry in September from 2005-2011 (except 2008). I don’t know of any land based record from Mull.
I should point out that I have spent a fair amount of time looking in vain for Leach’s at Heysham harbour, Morecambe bay, Lancashire where they appear sometime after 2 or 3 days of gales from the right direction. Sooty Shearwater (see 11th and 5th) is another rarely recorded but obviously under-recorded species at Mull.
My best photograph yet of adult yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagle at Langamull.

Unidentified flock of 22 geese flew southwest over the Beinn Bhuidhe, Ensay.
11th: During a 3 hour sea-watch from Treshnish Point: 2 Sooty Shearwaters, about 20 Manx Shearwaters, 2-3 Arctic Skuas, about 8 Great Skuas

and 6 Fulmars.
About 50 Goldfinches with at least 1 Siskin & 3 Lesser Redolls in Black Park field, about 20 Linnets at Treshnish Point, pair of Golden Eagles behind Haunn cottages. The male is looking really good – almost a full tail and the wing looks fine.

It is now the turn of the female to lose some flight feathers.


Another pair of Golden Eagles flew from the cliffs behind Lainne Sgeir over Calgary bay (the much broader wings of the one on the left show it to be the female),

1 probable Knot at Lainne Sgeir (by the time I climbed down to get closer it had flown – greyish above with no prominent wing bar but a paler rump and a fairly long bill, it was losing some feathers), 1 Whimbrel at Lainne Sgeir and later presumably the same at Calgary boathouse. 
10th: 1 Manx Shearwater and at least 1 Great Skua off Caliach Point, flock of about 100 Kittiwakes at Caliach many on the rocks, 5 Dunlins, 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier, 1 Arctic Skua (my first of the season), 1 Great Skua, 1 Manx Shearwater at/off Langamull.
At least 12 Wheatears in Langamull/Port na Bà area.
A pod of at least 6 dolphins in Sound of Coll (probably closer to Coll than Mull – certainly looked close to Coll) from Caliach.
9th: 1 Greenshank, 3 Redshanks, 2 Turnstones (my first of the season),

1 juvenile Dunlin,

4 Goosanders at Croig, 1 Whimbrel at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary, 1 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 1 possible Knot, 2 Dunlins, 20 Ringed Plovers, 8 Golden Plovers

1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier and 2 Wheatears at Langamull.
1 Otter in estuary near war memorial, Croig and another in the harbour (these photos really are a lot better than in these thumbnails- try left clicking),




1 Mountain Hare on Langamull machair.
8th: Just heard back from experts who think my ‘Ruffs‘ on the 6th were actually Knots. Still a good find for Mull.
About 200 Starlings on pre-roost gathering at Treshnish cow-barn. the Swallow nest at east cottage now has small nestlings. It will be a while before they fledge. Flocks of Goldfinches, Linnets, Twite, Meadow Pipit and Skylarks plus Stonechats at Haunn.
1 Knot Grass caterpillar at West cotage, Haunn.
7th: 6 Sanderlings (the coloured ringed still present),




1-4 Whimbrels, 6 Dunlins, 20 Ringed Plovers, 1 Redshank, 1 possible Greenshank, 4 Red-throated Divers, 15 Linnets, 2 Wheatears, 2 adult yellow tagged White-tailed Eagles at Langamull.

1 Whimbrel at Calgary (boathouse and later the beach).
2 sightings of Mountain Hare (possibly same but don;t think so) and 1 Otter at Langamull.







6th: 1 Whimbrel near Calgary boathouse and at least 9 Knots at Laine Sgeir, Calgary.



I was counting the Kittiwakes on the rocks there (29) and as I watched them the Knots arrived. I tried to get closer but they flew slowly to the west. They didn’t look like they were going to go far but I couldn’t relocate them. Knots are an uncommon passage visitor to Mull. Last year I saw a single here on 24th and 9 at Calgary beach on the 13th. August is also a good month for this species; Ruth Fleming & Stuart Gibson saw 1 in the Croig/Langamull area on the 30th this year and guests at Treshnish have seen singles on 13th and 19th in previous years.
Migrants still around: 2 or 3 Wheatears at Lainne Sgeir and Swallows at Ensay and Calgary.
5th: at least 4 Sooty Shearwaters flying south with slow passage of Manx Shearwaters off Treshnish Point.


This Mountain Hare was hiding to east of Treshnish boathouse.

4th: 7 juvenile Sanderlings at Langamull

although at least one was a different bird because today 1 had coloured leg rings.



I have written to the Sanderling Project of the International Wader Study Group to let them know so hopefully we can find more about the life history of this individual. This bird is a juvenile so there will not be much information available but hopefully it was ringed on its breeding grounds in the Arctic so we will at least know that and I am hoping that I will get updates of its the future movements.
This one is moulting into winter plumage (the mostly white feathers amongst the black juvenile ‘tridents’).

2 adult Yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagles at Chillchriosd almost just a minute after getting out of the car. Yellow E

soon followed by Yellow C

1 Redshank, 2 Dunlins,

1 Peregrine

and 2 Wheatears at Langamull.
Ringed Plover

3rd: When we went on the whale-watching trip in May, Ewan Miles told us  a little about the Ardnamurchan volcano which Leena had visited with a friend last year. Today I tried to find out a bit more about it. I looked on maps and at first couldn’t find it. That was because I hadn’t realised just how massive it is. This link shows a map and satellite photograph. The volcano is virtually the whole of the western half of Ardnamurchan! There is an aerial photograph here.
2nd: Migrants still present include: Whitethroat at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 2+ Wheatears at Langamull, at least 1 Sand Martin at Calgary machair,  Lesser Black-backed Gulls and at least 1 Common Tern at Langamull.

Also 7 Sanderlings







and 5 Whimbrels at Langamull, 14 Kittiwakes on rocks at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and 3 on rocks at Langamull.


This juvenile coming in to land doesn’t have the yellow bill and black legs yet.

These photos show why sometimes there is black inside of the wing tip. It is caused by a new feather growing out.

It is more clear in these flight shots.


The Common Tern and Kittiwakes were probably eating these fish (pipe-fish?)

and so were 2 Razorbills


although this shoal of something much larger was panicking from something.

I think this crab was alive. The legs were vibrating.

There was a nice couple of Hazel Gloves fungus on the very first Hazels on the left on path from Langamull house to the beach.

There is almost no stem regeneration. This is typical of most of the Hazel groves on Mull and I think slowly slowly these woodland patches will disappear. Presumably this has been slowly happening since sheep replaced cattle or since sheep numbers increased. In the past the Hazel must have been much less grazed for there to be so much of this habitat on Mull

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