31st: 1½hrs seawatching at Dùn Haunn/Treshnish Point in the evening showed very little except the usual Gannets and small numbers of Manx Shearwaters, Kittiwakes and Fulmars, although I was there too late. 1 Golden Eagle on Cruchan Treshnish & 1 Sparrowhawk hunting at dusk at Haunn.
At least 2 Basking Sharks off Dùn Haunn. Mountain Hare is back in our garden after an absence for a couple of weeks or so.
1 Knot Grass caterpillar to north of Dùn Haunn (the best photo I could manage in a fairly strong wind).
30th: 2 hours sea watching at Dùn Haunn/Treshnish Point: c300 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Great Skuas, flying south (subtracting any heading north) and c20 of Fulmars and c20 Kittiwakes.
29th: The Spoon-billed Sandpiper recovery project has had a good season this year. They have been taking eggs from the adults in Russia and reared 16 chicks in an on-site aviary (there are only about 100 pairs left in the wild). The adults keep laying more eggs so the number of chicks gets a boost. The female migrates after incubation so the male rears the chicks (not as liberated as Dotterel and Red-necked and Grey Phalaropes, where the male incubates and rears the chicks). Read about  the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Project latest here.
1 female Yellowhammer at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Spent 2½hrs seawatching at Dùn Haunn/Treshnish Point hoping to see some Sooty Shearwaters or Pomarine Skuas. No such luck; there were about 20 Manx Shearwaters (about a third were heading north), 2 Great Skuas, 2 Fulmars, and about 10 Kittiwakes. But I was lucky in that when I got up to go a Golden Eagle flew over my head (I would definitely have missed it if I had been sea-watching). I am going to have to sticky-tape the settings on my camera. Just sticking it inside my jacket changed the settings to manual. Luckily it was on 1/320th of a second which could have been worse. I think this is the male.

The male was seen 15 minutes later on the Cruachan and I also caught the tail=end of what I think was a White-tailed Eagle at Dùn Haunn.
1 Basking Shark at Treshnish Point.
28th: There has been a flurry of Basking Shark sightings recently and guest told me there has been some newly satellite tagged sharks. They can be followed here. Last year’s tags didn’t do so well (I think only one stayed attached beyond the winter and that too failed before the return migration) so hopefully they will do better this year.
Here are some that have been near Mull, they haven’t been named yet. The first two are the only ones that have obviously been feeding off Treshnish and the first amazingly had already visited northern Ireland before heading north and feeding off Mull. 129450, 129438.
These others have visited either Caliach Point or the Treshnish Isles.
129437, 129439, 129444, 129448, 129449
I find it a bit annoying that you can’t see the dates of each dot or slow down the animation.
 27th: Pair of Golden Eagles and 1 adult White-tailed Eagle all together below Treshnish House, 1 Grey Wagtail and 6 Wood Pigeons at Ensay Burn mouth and 2 probable Collared Doves flying into Treshnish wood.
Went to check the Narrow-leaved Helleborines at the nearby site. There should have been 4 fruiting plants but I could only find one. I may have missed them but this area is unprotected from deer and has also had sheep and cattle in recently. The one I found is protected by fallen trees. The flowering Broad-leaved Helleborine there is still looking good although it has lost some flowers already. No signs yet of fruits.
Found some new fungi in Treshnish wood. I am pretty sure this is Elastic Saddle Helvella elastica.

And nearby some Chanterelles.

26th: There were 2 sleeping Herons in the nest tree which flew without any alarm calls so they are all fledged.
1 Mountain Hare in the graveyard field.
Looked in Treshnish wood for new Broad-leaved Helleborines and at a fallen tree the thought came ‘something tells me to go past it,’ followed by ‘No, it’s just me being stubborn.’ Looked anyway and immediately found a new Broad-leaved Helleborine in flower.
It was only 5 yards from the first one I found I ever found in 2007 although today that one was a few inches from the one I remember seeing this spring which was also fading last time I saw it so I am almost certain there are 2 there. In total the number of plants at Treshnish is at least 8. Two are flowering and a third one flowering at a nearby site within pollinating distance gives a chance of fertilisation.
I had my Lumix (Canon 7D doesn’t like rain) and by mistake had the image stabilizer off (ready for auroras) and so photos are all useless on this dull day.
25th: 1 Sparrowhawk around Treshnish wood (now they are being regularly sighted again, I won’t mention this species again until next spring), 2 Golden Eagles on Carn Mòr,

male 2nd summer Hen Harrier at Lochan a’ Chuirn.

1 Adder along Allt Mòr above Frachadil.
Greyling near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and on Ensay, Norther Eggar caterpillar at Cnoc a’ Chaisteil, Drinker caterpillar along Allt Mòr above Frachadil.
Black Darter at Lochan a’ Chuirn.

Found what I thought was a new aquatic plant for me in Lochan a’ Chuirn. But now Lynne Farrell has identified it for me as Alternate Water-milfoil.

Lynne pointed it out to me in 2009 when we surveyed the tetrad around the Mishnish crater but this is my first photograph. I certainly don’t remember it being this large but the Mull Flora explains ‘Very variable in size, both overall and in length of leaves and leaf segments, probably in association with rate of water flow and availability of nutrients.’
Ben More

24th: Several guest reported seeing several Basking Sharks off the north and east Treshnish shores in the last week. One family also saw a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins in Calgary bay in the last week.
23rd: Saw a Swallow going into The nissen hut at 10am. Not sure what it was up to as it wasn’t raining. Maybe there is a nest with eggs. 1 Sparrowhawk at Treshnish, the first here since the spring, 4 Wood Pigeons in Treshnish wood (presumably the pair that has been around all summer, with juveniles).
Four Scottish Red Kites can be followed on-line via satellite tracking: Moray from a 2012 nest near North Kessock, Black Isle; Ussie from a nest near Culbokie, Black Isle; and Millie a 2 year old (birth place not given); Wyvis from a nest near Muir of Ord, Black Isle is wondering treacherously close the Leadhills estate where a Red Kite was found shot 2 weeks ago.
I have added my plant records for 2013 to my database.
This is the new Bog Orchid map. The green dots are pre 2012 and red squares are new sites from 2012 & 2013. The dates beside the green dots are the last year recorded at that site. The green dots without dates (on the Cruachan) are just sites I haven’t bothered to document it. The site marked 2006 was along the old boggy track from Achnachaoil to Crackaig and was my first record of this species. It is a miracle I found it and although I have tried to re-locate it and get a proper GPS I doubt if I can re-find it. I have also looked for the 1997 record at Ensay by Lynne Farrell’s team but I haven’t been able to find it. The 2009 record is along the track opposite the Reudle turn-off. The wee pond is more overgrown now and fertilizer bags have increased the grasses. It might still be there but I have looked hard for the last few years and it is only a 1m square area so I should have found it. The only other record for Mull is near Salen/

This is the Bog Orchid map from the same time last year.

22nd: We explored the hills and lochans behind Eos Fors and saw 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier, 1 adult, 1 immature and 1 juvenile Golden Eagle.

Many pools held pairs of Common Hawkers with many females laying eggs and this pair copulating nr Caol-Lochan.

Although Black Darters and Highland Darters can be very similar, I am pretty sure this is a Black Darter nr Caol-Lochan.

Emerald Damselfly nr Caol-Lochan.

Also at least 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Greyling, 1 Green-veined White, many Scotch Argus and Fox moth larvae.
No Bog Orchids. Directly above Eos Fors the bogs have some nice patches of Great Sundew.

21st: Went Bog Orchid hunting again above Ballygown but after 4½hrs no success.
I did see there, 1 Golden Eagle, 1 immature White-tailed Eagle, 20 Ravens around a sheep carcass about 20 Ringed Plovers flying south over the hill to the coast, 1 Sparrowhawk and 4 Yellowhammers.
Also 2 Greylings 2 Chevrons and 1 Common Hawker.
20th: 7 Lapwings, 2-3 Greenshanks, 3 Redshanks, 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier at Croig.
19th: Went Bog Orchid hunting again, trying to expand its known range but, less ambitiously than yesterday, decided to try at Cruachan Odhar (north of Burg and Tostary) which is only 1 km east of a known site. Within about an hour found a good patch with at least 52 plants (including 9 non-flowering).

In the next 3 hours I found 3 more sites with a total of 13 plants. These were all further east than I have found it before and at one site it was also the highest I have recorded it at; according to the map about 210m (my GPS is inaccurate at elevation). I mention height because Lynne Farrell our vice-county recorder commented on how high up it was growing at Treshnish. The lowest I have found it is at 100m asl (above sea level) and the highest 210m. The only other area on Mull with this species is near Salen and is as low down as about 30m. There are 4 records for Coll but only 2 with detailed gridref and both only about 20m asl and 2 on Tiree which were at about 10m and 50m asl.
Guidelines for searching for this sepcies would be to search between 10-200m asl and concentrate on boggy pools within areas with some visible rock outcrops. It would be highly preferable to get acquainted with the species before searching for it, as it is would be very easy to trample this rare orchid.
Incidentally the Mull Flora (Jermy & Crabbe 1978) only has 2 records for Mull, one ‘Treshnish, towards the Point, pre-1965’ which they were unable to conform leaving their only confirmed records as ‘SW of Danaha’ (Danaha is on the south shore of Loch Spelve). As you can see they weren’t big on details.
18th: Walled from Torloisk to Cruachan Loch Tràth above Ballygown looking for new Bog Orchid sites but couldn’t find any
Found a Broom moth caterpillar (I had to rescue it as I couldn’t see how it could get out of this situation) (NM4344),

2 Northern Eggar caterpillars (NM4245) and 4 Fox moth caterpillars (NM4245).
Came across a couple of plants of Common Cow-wheat in an unusual location; in a heathery-bog.

There is one clump of Common Cow-wheat at the edge of Treshnish wood and quite a lot on the Ensay side of the wood but otherwise I have only found it at three other places on Mull.
17th: 1 Basking Shark at Caliach Point.
Last night an Anomalous came in through a window. It is quite uncommon at Treshnish but a few have come to a lit window

16th: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2-3 Greenshanks, 2-4 Redshanks, 3 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 10 Goosander

and 9 Long-tailed Tits at Croig, 4 Mistle Thrushes before Penmore Mill.
I was surprised to see a bar across the wing patch of some of the Goosanders which is a diagnostic feature of Red-breasted Merganser but I think it is being exaggerated by the photograph. Everything else fits Goosander: contrasting neck, pale grey primary coverts, pale grey flanks and white chin.

I was glad to find a lot of fresh White Ramping-fumitory seedlings just beside the one that emerged last month (which has had a flower bud for over a week) beside the wall of the Treshnish vegetable garden. There were about 30 seedlings. I had to move them as they are going to get cut by the lawn mower. I took a third to our house and put the others in a pot for now (need to find a good spot beside a stone wall) and I left a few alone as they were close to the wall. The one I moved to our house is really struggling. The first night it was almost all eaten by a mouse so I took it inside but as soon as new leaves emerge the previous ones shrivelled. I made a few mistakes; putting a cover over for one day to simulate a greenhouse, that was too hot and humid but even afterwards it kept dying back. I thought maybe it was too close to the window and maybe getting too hot but now it is outside with a net to protect it from mice and still it is struggling. I have been told they don’t like soil disturbance. This isn’t something I intend to do again but just to get more than one population away from the lawns. I tried in spring with seeds but I have been told by an expert that they are very difficult to germinate from dried seed. The positive thing I have learnt is that there are probably a lot of seedlings coming up every year and now I know what to look for I am much less likely to strim then.
Stuart Gibson sent me some photos of a Northern EmeraldSomatochlora arctica, which he took whilst leading a Mull Magic walk with Jonathan Keefe and Moira McKelvie. It was taken at Glengorm on the 13th.
Northern Emerald is rare on Mull with as far as I know only 3 other Mull records. I have never seen it. It has also been found at Morvern and around Oban. Superb photographs. I am Emerald with envy.

15th: Ruth Charles, guest at West cottage, Haunn saw a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins going around Treshnish Point and the male Golden Eagle behind the cottage.
14th: There was  a mild Aurora borealis last night at 11.00-11.45pm but because of cloud cover it was seen as a large bright patch at about 45 degrees high in the sky to the north,
13th: Took Leena to see the Herons and Broad-leaved Helleborine in Treshnish wood. One day I will get a shot off all three with their heads up.

Putting my camera inside my coat during some drizzle changed the settings accidentally to 1/80th sec so no more animal photos to show.
1 juvenile Black-headed Gull at Treshnish boathouse.
Guests at East cottage, Haunn saw a Corncrake flying from the cottage and heard several calling in the area at 9am.
1 Mink at Treshnish boathouse.
My first 2 Basking Sharks of the year from the boathouse. It has been a very poor year for Basking Shark sightings at Mull this year but last year was even worse for me when my first sighting was on 11th September with only 2 afterwards. 2009 was another bad year when I only had 5 sightings. In all other years 2006 (13 records), 2007 (14 records), 2008 (26 records of up to 10), 2010 (30+ of up to 6).
Found this plant near the boathouse. I thought it might be Corn Mint which is rare on Mull but it is just an extremely large Germander Speedwell.

12th: Yesterdays photos celebrate today as Hen Harrier day.
A northwest wind brought at least 1 of the Golden Eagles to the north of the farm.
The Heron juvenile are still at the nest in Treshnish wood. I waited for over 30 minutes but the one on the right didn’t wake up.

Later the adult returning.

The Broad-leaved Helleborine in Treshnish wood is flowering.

Found a few new Bog Orchids at the nearest site to Treshnish Old Schoolhouse in a step down just a few feet below (total 29 incl 9 flowering).  

Chaffweed behind Treshnish Old Schoolhouse

11th: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit,

9-14 Dunlins,

2 Greenshanks, about 15 Redshanks, 23 Goosanders, 2 adult Black-headed Gulls, 1 2nd winter male Hen Harrier at Croig.

Pair of Golden Eagles at Ensay coastal cliffs

and the 2 Common Gulls juveniles have left Treshnish lochan and the injured bird is dead.
10th: Bottle-nosed Dolphins were in the bay today and yesterday but I didn’t see them
Found a new moth for me and Treshnish in Middle cottage, Haunn. It has a pale orange underwing (not visible in the photograph) but its name is Straw Underwing.
9th: Found a wagtail below Ensay farmhouse which I thought could be White Wagtail but it was a yarrelli (UK subspecies) moulting into winter plumage.

This is the White Wagtail at Langamull with a juvenile.

I have been keeping an eye out for a Mediterranean Gull which has been see recently at Craignure and Langamull ( I did see a juvenile Blackheaded Gull at Calgary beach

and another at Langamull.

2-4 Dunlin at Langamull.
8th: Male White Wagtail still at Langamull. It was associating with a juvenile but I didn’t see it feed it.

1 Dunlin at Langamull and 2 Grey Wagtails at Allt Crossapol (presumably the same that I had been told were at the burn to the west). This species is now just about back to its normal level after the crash 4 years ago.
Mountain Hare at its usual spot on our lawn.

7th: We went for a walk up Cruachan Loch Tràth above Ballygown:

2 Golden Eagles, 35 Oystercatchers flying south over Cruachan Loch Tràth.

About 5 Red Grouse near Reudle Schoolhouse.

The Joneses, guests at Shian photographed what appear to be an adult and juvenile Short-eared Owl below Treshnish House (I didn’t get a good look at the photos). If so, these are presumably from the nest on the northeast side of the Cruachan.
Common Blue Damselfly at Lochan Leirg, 2 Emerald Damselflies at Loch Tràth, 1 Four-spotted Chaser at Beinn Bhuidhe (NM4346) [there are many Beinn Bhuidhes in north west Mull].
Tens if not hundreds of Scotch Argus

and Dark Green Fritillaries.
White Water-lily

and Water Lobelia at Loch Tràth

6th: All 3 juvenile Common Gulls are still at the lochan.

Bullfinch in the drizzle.

2 Mistle Thrushes on on Ard Dubh Bhurg.
A good year for Scotch Argus.

There are often 15 in the air at one time beside our house. Didn’t see any Magpie moths on Ard Dubh Bhurg.
When the Chough was around the Treshnish/Reudle coast in the spring I saw some boggy pools which looked good for Bog Orchid so I went today to see if I could find some. Within about an hour I found 11 flowering plants at two nearby spots on Ard Dubh Bhurg.

This is the furthest south I have found this species.

5th: Northwest wind brought 1 Golden Eagle on Cruachan Treshnish, 1 male Hen Harrier in Black Park field.
There were no Fulmars at all on the cliffs at Treshnish Point or offshore. I am almost certain none have bred successfully this year.
The Joneses, guests at Shian photographed a juvenile Cuckoo being fed by Meadow Pipits in the Ash tree at Crackaig.
Juvenile Wren.

I think this must be a juvenile Twite.

Juvenile male Reed Bunting

Shaded Broad-bar at Treshnish Point. One of the few moths which is more often seen in the daytime rather than in a light-trap.

I went to get the gridrefs of the Scots Lovage at Treshnish Point. Scots Lovage is present at 6 areas either side of Port Haunn and also east of the boathouse usually on ledges out of reach of the sheep but at this newly discovered site at the extreme corner of the raised beach at Treshnish Point (coming from south) it is abundant.

There are also many burrows which I think could be the nest holes of Manx Shearwater. I keep meaning to go at night to see or to set up an infra-red camera but it will have to be next year.
Purple Loosestrife in Haunn Coronation Meadow

Dogs waiting patiently for me taking photos.

Jan hassling Cap to death, again.

This gave me a scare. At first it looked like the wood was on fire. It was just our neighbour having a bonfire.

4th: Sadly one of the juvenile Common Gulls is injured. Its lower bill is hanging loose. There is no way it will survive as it won’t be able to peck food items off the surface of the water, the main feeding mechanism of this species. To have come this far and not make it to adulthood is a real shame. It was fine 2 days ago. I can only think that it was attacked by a Mink or a cat.
These are the two others which are able to fly.

Better news is that the Heron nest contains 3 chicks. This photo shows all 3 chicks. One is on the bottom right and the other is peaking out to the right side of the body of the main bird.

Last time I visited I saw a uniform grey patch low down in the nest and thought there could be a second chick. It seemed unlikely because the visible birds was so large it didn’t seem there would be anywhere to hide. The nest must be much larger than it appears. An average of about 4-5 eggs are laid (range 1-10) with an average survival rate of 2 chicks so it has been a good year in spite of the first loss of eggs.
1 adult Black-headed Gull flying west at Treshnish boathouse, family of Bullfinches in wood near the graveyard, at least 1 recenly fledged Greenfinch at Ensay Burn mouth (first proof of breeding at Treshnish since I have been recording), 1 female Blackcap in Treshnish graveyard, 1 Kittiwake on water very close in at Ensay Burn mouth.

At least 2 Small Tortoiseshell at Enasay Burn mouth and the boathouse.

The Broad-leaved Helleborine in Treshnish wood (near owl box) is not open yet.

2nd: The Common Gulls were still on the lochan, 5 or 6 waders flew over Treshnish wood were probably Dunlin.
2 fully grown Northern Eggar larva near the sitheans.

Went to get the gridref of the Bog Orchid I found  on 31st. It seems to be a good year for Bog Orchids because without really trying I found another 58 plants (25 flowering) some of which were on new sites (and all were on new micro-sites).