September 2010

On the 30th there were at least 4 Swallows over Treshnish wood and 6 Mistle Thrushes and 5 Bullfinches near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse,
a flock of about 5 Lesser Redpolls and 20 Twite by the eastern gate of Black Park field and another 2 Twite at Port Haunn and 1 Sparrowhawk at the wood just to north-west of Treshnish cow-barn.
Pam Rogerson saw 25+ Greylag Geese on road side of Calgary bay. Later they all swam across to the pier side of the bay.
There were 2 Ruby Tiger moth caterpillars in Black Park field and 1 Silver-Y moth to west of Haunn cottages.
Some Field Gentians were still flowering to west of Haunn cottages and a new spot was found on the track down to Dùn Haunn.
This week I found another Sea Pea, this time in north Mull. This is a very rare plant in Scotland.
See its distribution here.
On the 29th there were 28 Greylag Geese and 1 Grey Plover on the rocks and sand on the south side of Calgary beach burn.
Grey Plover is rare in north Mull. It is probably under-recorded but the only record I have is 2 flying over Tobermory in mist and rain on 30 August 1984 (Argyll Bird Report 2:24).
There was a Turnstone on Lainne Sgeir, Calgary, 47 Kittiwakes and 1 Red-throated Diver in the bay near Rubha nan Oirean and another near Calgary beach and 25 Twite along the sea-cliffs nearest to Ensay farmhouse.
There were at least 5 Swallows over Treshnish wood, 5+ Bullfinches along the farm road through Treshnish wood and at night a Tawny Owl was heard from Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Pam Rogerson saw approx 25 Greylag Geese in cemetery field at Calgary bay, 1 Red-throated Diver in Calgary bay, 1 summer plumaged Great Northern Diver feeding in the middle of the bay seen over 2 hours and 1 Otter hunting by pier at Calgary.
A male Common Hawker dragonfly was seen along the farm road through Treshnish wood.
On the 28th there were at least 4 Swallows over Treshnish wood. The juveniles were being fed by the adults but they were flying well in a strong wind.
There were 2 Grey Plovers (originally misidentified as Knots) on Calgary beach at 7pm (a first for me on Mull). Rainy days are a good time for birdwatching here. I also had another look this evening to see if that diver from yesterday was still around but no luck.
On the 27th there were at least 5 Swallows at Treshnish House, a Twite was heard along the cliffs to west of Lainne Sgeir and there was a raft of 50 Kittiwakes, 1 Guillemot and 1 summer plumaged Great Northern Diver out from Ensay Burn mouth. This is my earliest date for Great Northern Diver, the previous being on 5th October 2007. This bird had an upward pointing bill which is an id feature of Yellow-billed Diver. Stupidly I didn’t know this at the time and didn’t look further.
Pam Rogerson saw a House Sparrow at seed on Middle windowsill [I had asked about House Sparrows at Haunn], a female and juvenile Golden Eagle up by Cruachan Treshnish and a Yellowhammer on track down below and along from Crackaig, eating seed from dried grasses (Yellowhammer is rare at Treshnish).
Red Deer stags were heard rutting during the day on Ensay.
There were 4 Ruby Tiger moth caterpillars between Treshnish House and Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and a male Common Hawker was along the shore to west of Lainne Sgeir.
I looked for Clavaria zollingeri – Violet Coral,
a scarce fungi that I found on the cliff-tops near Lainne Sgeir on 30th September 2008. I didn’t find any but I aim to keep an eye out. I also looked for Oysterplants, which should still be in leaf at this time of the year. This is a photo from 24th September 2008.
On the 26th there were 6 Swallows at Treshnish House, the young had left the safety of the stable but were still being fed by the adults. There were also 2 Greenfinches at Treshnish House and 4-8 Bullfinches and 28+ Mistle Thrushes in Treshnish wood. There were also 108 Kittiwakes, 1 Guillemot and 1 Red-throated Diver off from Ensay Burn mouth and 2 Greylag Geese at Lainne Sgeir.
At night a Tawny Owl was heard from Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
There were 2 Ruby Tiger moth caterpillars between Treshnish House and the Old Schoolhouse. There was 1 male Common Hawker and 7+ Common Darters including this copulating pair
which was also egg laying whilst dipping into the water whilst in flight (before dipping they made the wheel), at Treshnish lochan.
I found some more Hedge Bindweed at Calgary beach
and checked again in the flora its status.
It was whilst checking the flora that I read the entry for Oysterplant on the same page.
It is very interesting. I had no idea the colony at Ensay Burn was so large nor that it was at one time so common at Iona that in 1772 it ‘makes the shores gay with its glaucous leaves and purple flowers’.
This is the only plant I have found flowering in north-west Mull on 29th of July 2008.
I checked NBN Gateway for their historic data. There is a record from Port Haunn from Oct 1966, 1968; mouth of Ensay Burn from July 1965, 1968 and 1986; Ensay Burn, nr mouth of, from 02/07/1965; Treshnish boathouse from ‘before 1986’; Treshnish Point from ‘before 1950’; Calgary bay s shore from 1973; Calgary, middle of beach from Aug 1984; Calgary Dunes from ‘before 1976’; Calgary Bay from 1939, 1956, 1965, 1973 and 1986; Calgary from June 1958 and Tostarie (sic) at NM34 ‘between 1930 and 1994’.
NBN also gives records for the Treshnish Isles which is the local stronghold; Iona, Little Colonsay; Loch na Keal, a pre 1855 record from Loch Buie and a pre 1878 record from Quinish.
On the 25th there were 3 Golden Eagles along the northern coastal strip at Treshnish at one time the male was seen to sit still on Cruachan Treshnish for 2 hours. When perched the male can be seen to have very white patches on the upper-wings. The juvenile was seen well whilst calling with a full crop. The call was much more higher pitched that the adult call. there were 8+ Bullfinches and 30 Mistle Thrushes along the edge of Treshnish wood. Twite were heard flying over Haunn cottages.
Soon after dark a Tawny Owl was heard at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Moth trapping on this clear night was very poor (4 moths of 3 species) but one is a beauty. This photo does no capture all the green dusting of this fresh Green-brindled Crescent.
On the 24th it was another good Golden Eagle day.
The pair were seen off and on all day along the northern coastal strip at one time the female sky-diving silently over Treshnish wood, performing a perfect loop. At one time they were joined by the juvenile and later one of the adults was seen flying with a rabbit over Treshnish wood, west, towards the boathouse.
There were 3 Greenfinches at Treshnish House, 1+ Bullfinches by Treshnish graveyard and in the evening about 80 geese flying south over Ensay.
On the 23rd there was a Swift over Treshnish wood,
exactly 20 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Greenfinch at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 3+ at Treshnish House and about 10 Swallows at Treshnish House and over the wood.
A Golden Eagle was over the northern coastal strip at mid-day and in the afternoon there was a pair over Treshnish wood (probably also perched in the conifers) and a flock of 23 geese flew south-east over Treshnish lochan.
I finally managed to get some shots of the dead juvenile House Martin. It may have died of a broken tail; whilst photographing the tail seemed to be dis-connected from the body.
The variegated plumage e.g. in the white feathers under the tail, is only found in juveniles.
From Pam Rogerson’s notes ‘Otters seen from raised beach down from Crackaig and along towards natural arch. 1st a large dog-otter then to its left 3 quite large Otters – mother and full grown young. Watched for 15-20 mins playing, fishing, scambling over and around rocks. After a jet flew over they moved away over the rocks in direction of Burg. The dog otter swam away in opposite direction’.
White Ramping-fumitory was again flowering in Treshnish vegetable garden. This is a rare plant on Mull.
On the 22nd there was 1 Turnstone and 1 Dunlin at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary. This is my earliest record for Turnstone on Mull although there are some earlier records from the Treshnish Isles and Loch na Keal. There was also, what I presume to be a Black-throated Diver at Lainne Sgeir but it was getting very dark. Whatever it was it was moulting its flight feathers. There were 2 Wood Pigeons in exactly the same spot as the last couple of days in the sprayed bracken near Ensay farmhouse and there were 9+ Mistle Thrushes and a t least 2 families of Swallows at Treshnish House.
These exciting notes are from Pam Rogerson:
Barn Owl on fence post caught in car headlights on road from Calgary – Treshnish farm. It flew away down the cliff. Back at Haunn I heard a strange wailing shrieking sound, a similar answering call came back from towards the farm. Then the shrieking sound again. Almost certainly the calls of Barn Owls’.
On the 21st we had 5 Greenfinches on the rose hips in Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, I think that may be a first for our garden. There were about 30 Mistle Thrushes in Treshnish wood, a Dunlin at Lainne Sgeir, 1 Redshank near Calgary beach (south end), 3 Razorbills and 1 Guillemot at Calgary beach and a Merlin or male Sparrowhawk (probably former) at the cliffs where the Ensay-Calgary road meets the shore and 2 Wood Pigeons here at the same spot as yesterday.
Pam Rogerson saw 1 Greenshank seen from road at Dervaig and 7 Brent Geese flying over sea towards Iona seen from Port Haunn
There was an Otter at Lainne Sgeir and a Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar near where the Ensay-Calgary road meets the shore.
Near Lainne Sgeir I found two new Hazel trees with Hazel Gloves fungus, one in a new woodland patch and the other in a patch I had found it previously but this time only a couple of paces from the road. Both were fresh.
I completed the BTO House Martin survey today and whilst doing so, saw the newsletter from 2009 which had this very interesting statistic.
‘Most birds (75%) built new nests, although a quarter reused nests from previous years, showing that old nests are important for breeding House Martins; we can help these birds by leaving old nests in place for them to reuse in the future.’
‘Of all the nests that were reported in 2009, artificial nests made up 9%. Just under half of buildings with artificial nests had at least one of them occupied and, in total, artificial nests supported more than 200 breeding pairs. This shows that putting up artificial nests is very beneficial for breeding House Martins.’
One letter gives a tip of putting mud around the entrance to the artificial nest and daubing spots of white paint to imitate droppings.
This newsletter it also states that ideally House Martins need mud within 250m of any potential nest site.
The 2008 Newsletter has this ‘House Martins in Scotland seem to use artificial nests less readily than those in other parts of the UK, with over 70% of the addresses that had artificial nests in Scotland reporting that none were used, compared to less than 50% of addresses in all the other regions.’
And ‘it was interesting to find that two-thirds of House Martins were using nests that had been built in previous years, with a third constructing new nests in 2008. This emphasises the importance of leaving House Martin nests intact over the winter.’
On the 20th there were 5+ Bullfinches at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse (morning and evening) and probably the same 3+ at Treshnish vegetable garden, where there were also 3+ Twite and 3+ Greenfinches. The Swallows nesting in Treshnish vegetable garden have fledged and there are still at least 5 Swallows around Treshnish House with more probably inside the out-buildings. No sign of any House Martins.
There were 30+ Mistle Thrushes along the edge of Treshnish wood all day long. 21 Rock Doves flew west across Ensay Burn mouth , presumably the same flock as yesterday and 2 Wood Pigeons flew east over Ensay Burn wood
There was a Sanderling and a juvenile Dunlin on Calgary beach with another Dunlin and 90 Kittiwakes roosting on the rocks at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
Pam Rogerson saw 9 geese seen from Treshnish Point ‘size of pinkfoot‘ and 2 Red-throated Divers seen from rocks by Tràigh na Cille (Kilninian black beach).
I saw a gull flying out from Calgary beach which has me puzzled. I didn’t see the head but the wings were a uniform medium grey across the whole wing and ‘back’ with only very slight black spot across the primary tips. The trailing edge of the inner flight feathers was white blended to the grey of the rest of the wing. tail all whiter above. It was roughly Common Gull size.
For my records I use a MapMate, a map based programme. The coastal boundaries are not accurate so close ups look way off and can even appear in the sea! A MapMate expert helped me to change the boundaries and I am very pleased with the result. Here are the before and after for Field Gentian at Treshnish headland.
On the 19th there were at least 10 Mistle Thrushes on top of conifers in Treshnish wood. There were still at least 10 Swallows around Treshnish wood and are still young Swallows roosting and I think some unfledged young in the Treshnish farm building. There was a Collared Dove at Treshnish House and a flock of 21 Rock Doves followed by another flock of 7 flying west below Treshnish House. At about 7.30pm a silent House Martin flew over Treshnish House. (I am sure I have seen another Collared Dove here within the last fortnight but forgot to record it). There were 11 Eiders flying south around Treshnish Point (also a large unidentified duck or goose).
Pam Rogerson saw a Merlin flying into Treshnish wood along the farm-road near the Old Schoolhouse and 2 Golden Eagles by cliffs at Port Haunn.
There was a male Common Hawker dragonfly by Treshnish graveyard. 
These Ruby Tiger moth caterpillars were at Ensay Burn mouth (NM3548), there were 4 in all.
On the 18th there were at least 20 Mistle Thrushes in the heather behind Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. One House Martin juvenile on Treshnish House did not look very active.
There was an Otter in the field below Treshnish House (MC&SC).
On the 17th in the evening we had some bad news. One of the House Martins young was found dead on the ground just a few feet away from the nest. We suspect it may have starved due to the bad weather but it does seem strange that it should be so close to the nest.
At night a presumably exhausted Manx Shearwater was found on the road below Calgary coffee-shop (SC&MC). Carolyne has a photo which I hope she will post on the farm blog. Hopefully it will be healthy enough to fly off in the morning (this was the last record of the summer in our area).
A pair of Golden Eagles were calling and displaying off and on all afternoon over Treshnish wood.
Notice the full crop of this one, which I think is a female.
The House Martins were not very noticeable in the morning but at 5pm one was escorted back to the nest by one of the adults. It stayed for a while but wasn’t going to put to bed so early. It was allowed to perch on the gutter of Treshnish House where it called for food and could watch both parents hunting insects. I presume the other fledglings were dotted around further afield or perhaps they were fed and silent. The young will come back to the nest for the nest couple of weeks and the whole family will roost in the nest during that time.
There were about 100 Goldfinches at Treshnish House.
On the 16th there were 6 Sanderlings and 1 juvenile Dunlin on Calgary beach and there were 3 Crossbills on the Glengorm road through Ardmore forest not far from the dump (NM4755).
I got back home at 4pm to the sound of yelping Golden Eagles (adults) diving passed Treshnish old schoolhouse to Calgary wood.
They continued yelping and did a little sky-diving. One day I will get a good photo of one with wings folded like this as it goes into free-fall.
Later one flew over our house.
At night a Tawny Owl was heard in Treshnish wood and at least 1 Barn Owl in the nest box on the Dervaig – Penmore road.
At Ardmore I looked again for Haworth’s Minor on the ragwort. This is it, a new moth for me.
There was a male Common Hawker at Ardmore forest and a probable female at Calgary coffee-shop but there were no damselflies flying at Mishnish but there was 1 Common Darter and this Black Darter.
On the 15th in the afternoon the House Martins fledged! There still appeared to be one that was taking it’s time but there were at least 2 hassling the parents in flight. They were quite good fliers. They didn’t seem to have full control in the wind but they were surprisingly agile. I saw one accompanying an adult back to the nest but another seemed to be having difficulty negotiating the door cover. At dusk they were presumably all back to roost as it was all quiet.
It’s good news that after 3 years, several failed attempts to get the mud to stick; 1 partly built nest collapsing and 1 completed nests with eggs or chicks collapsing, that they have made it. The first successful House Martins on Treshnish.
To recap:
The first nest was started on 3rd June but collapsed on the 7th of June. The mud would not stick to the painted wall.
The second nest was built at the same spot (but I had roughed up wall) and was started on the 10th of June but collapsed after a storm on the night of the 10th of July (eggs possibly hatched that day).
Nest building started on the final successful nest on the evening of the 11th of July and fledged today. That is 66 days from nest building to fledging! From first nest to fledging was 104 days but 4 young House Martins to show for it.
In the morning it was still windy but sunny and the House Martins could feed. Because they have removed the top of the nest we can see all the young. There are four.
But as you can see they are still being fed in the nest.
They have removed all the mud down to my reinforced mud-cement which I added after the first nest blew down in a storm. It would have been interesting to know how much of this nest they would dismantle if they could. Presumably the cement is too hard for them.
The Swallow nest on Treshnish vegetable shed still has chicks which are not yet showing their heads. It will be another few days before they fledge.There were at least 10 Swallows still flying around Treshnish House and Treshnish wood.
The Golden Eagle pair were calling and displaying over Treshnish wood and Treshnish House off an on, all day long today and at 7pm the juvenile was seen first the first time away from the nest area. It flew low over our house but I didn’t have my camera ready, I did manage this shot but you will just have to take my word for it that it is a juvenile with white wing patches below and a white band across the tail.
Twice today I saw a small raptor over Treshnish wood which was probably a Sparrowhawk but as it was so fleeting it may just as easily have been a Merlin.
There was an unidentified duck on Treshnish lochan (maybe just a Mallard)
There was 1 Speckled Wood butterfly and 1 Common Darter and 1 Common Hawker dragonflies by the farm road beside Treshnish wood
I am embarrassed to say that I found a new Hazel Gloves fungus which I have passed everyday waling to work. Earlier I had found one nearby which is visible from the road once you know it is there but this one sticks out like a sore thumb!
They are on the hazel at the edge of the wood about 15m after the second cattle-grid when going from Treshnish House to the main road (between a birch and a Rowan).
On the 14th the stormy weather continued and it looks as though the House Martin adults were in the nest with the ‘chicks’. Today their tails were sticking out not their heads. This is a juvenile.
There were 47 Hooded Crows in the meadow below Ensay farmhouse. Usually about 20 gather below Treshnish lochan at dusk but this is a record.
At Croig harbour there were 12 Red-breasted Mergansers and at least 2 Bullfinches including an adult male and closer to Port na Bà there were 20 Kittiwakes including 2 juveniles and 2-8 Black-headed Gulls (the latter are scarce in north Mull).
I had a quick look for the Hazel Gloves fungus which was first discovered in Europe at Croig. I had looked here briefly in the spring but didn’t find it. Now is obviously a good time to look as they are fresh rather than the mostly slug grazed remains or or shrivelled up ones which seem to be almost all that remains in the spring. I didn’t finds a lot but these were beauties.
I also found a new site further towards Port na Bà.
On the 13th, at 8pm the adult House Martins looked like they were in the nest with the ‘chicks.’ This is normal behaviour as they roost in the nest but I noticed that the entrance hole has been enlarged. I presume this was done by the adults. Perhaps this is a sign the young are really going to get chucked out of the nest. Not the best weather for it though. There were also at least 2 Swallows in the Nissen-hut at 8pm. Tawny Owls were heard at night at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
It was a wet windy day and a good time to catch up with record keeping. I went through all my dragonfly records and discovered I have seen Emerald Damselfly on 13 occasions. On the 18th of August I identified it correctly for the first time but I discovered I have 3 even older photos of it. The interesting thing is that one of my early records was from 18th of May this year. The book I have, states that they emerge in late June so this appears to be an exceptionally early record and I wonder if this has anything to do with the cold winter or whether the relatively mild winters of Mull allow this earlier emergence. I will keep an eye out next year.
On the 12th the House Martins were still being fed in the nest in the late afternoon. There were still at least 10 Swallows at Treshnish House including one that must have only just fledged as it could barely fly.
There were over 60 Swallows and 2 House Martins at the water plant beside Tobermory dump, the Swallows were very noisy in that pre-migration excitement. Insect eating birds love this site as the water churning mechanism must bring insects to the surface. There were many Pied Wagtails there today and also on the 9th.
There was at least 1 Barn Owl in the nest box on the Dervaig – Penmore road.
On the summit road from Tobermory to Glengorm a fellow moth-er has found Haworth’s Minor on the ragwort. I had been looking at that exact ragwort just the other day hoping to see Cinnabar moth caterpillars. So today I went to look for the Haworth’s Minor which would be a new moth for me and one that will need a bit of invention to find as it does not often come to light. Searching ragwort or ‘wine roping’ or ‘sugaring’ are two options. Wine roping is my chosen technique as it does not leave a mess on the trees and does not trap insects. The idea of both lies in the fact that some moths are attracted by the smell to feed on the sugar. It was raining today and I didn’t find one although although I probably gave up too soon when I thought I had found it. The moth I did find was the similar Crescent.
I found 4 of them, they are quite variable. Here is another.
I went to Glengorm to look for Marsh Fritillary butterfly caterpillars where I had found adults in the summer. I should have gone in July or August to see the communal webs of the young caterpillars. I was hoping to see the larger caterpillars but it was probably to drizzly. I did however find 2 new Thyme Broomrape plants which I had missed in the spring. Incidentally there was far LESS Devil’s-bit Scabious, the food plant for Marsh Fritillary than here in Black Park field, Treshnish! Black Park is the field half way between Treshnish and Haunn, and right now it is where you are likely to encounter large flock of Goldfinch and in June is covered in orchids. There are abundant fritillaries there in summer and we always keep an eye out for Marsh Fritillary.
On the 11th there was a flock of about 100 Goldfinches in Black park field before Haunn. There was a Twite in full song and a Linnet at Treshnish House. The House Martins were still being fed in the nest in the evening and during the rainy part of the day at at night Swallows were still using the Nissen-hut by Treshnish wood.
On the 10th the House Martins were still being fed in the nest in the evening and during the rainy part of the day Swallows were still using the Nissen-hut by Treshnish wood.
A flock of about 30 Lesser Redpoll flew west over Treshnish wood and there were at least 3 Bullfinches (including 2 brightly coloured males) and 4 Wood Pigeons in Treshnish wood.
Christine Boswell and family, guests at Toechtamhor cottage, Haunn saw a Short-eared Owl on the summit of the Ensay-Burg road. This is the first record for our area in over a year!
There was a Speckled Wood butterfly in Treshnish wood.
On the 9th the House Martins were still being fed in the nest in the evening. There was 1 Wheatear to west of Lainne Sgeir, Calgary bay.
A Willow Warbler was singing outside Tobermory dump (NM4855).
There were 2 Crossbills and what I am pretty sure was the sound of Jays (rare on Mull) near the summit of road between Tobermory and Glengorm and what I can only think were 2 juvenile Shelducks (now thought to be some kind of domestic Mallard).
On the road through Ardmore forest I found a Wood Tiger caterpillar.
This is the first time I have seen it and I have only seen the adults on two occasions but it is a beautiful moth. I saw it on Carn Mòr on 30th June last year and on east side of Spienne Mòr on 23 June last year. It flies in the daytime.
In a walk in Ardmore-Glengorm area there were many Black Darters (40+), including many pairs copulating,
a few Common Hawkers (5+) including a copulating pair, a pair of post- copulation Common Darters dipping into the water in flight, still connected.
Also there was what I think must be an Emerald Damselfly.
Also there were at least 4 Common Blue, 1 Emerald Damselfly and a female/immature Common Darter at Loch Peallach, Mishnish. It was a bit to late in the evening and so I may have missed Blue-tailed Damselfly.
There was 1 Green-veined White butterfly near Tobermory cheese factory (NM4955).
I was asked to look for Cranberry at an old site from the mull Flora. This is only one of two sites on Mull. The locality is not given accurately and it is described as a ‘small population’ and this added to the fact that this plant is tiny I was pretty sure this was a needle in a haystack job but might be fun. I was surprised to find it very quickly and I later saw it is quite common in one area.
Near the Tobermory cheese factory there was some Hedge Bindweed.
Although common in England, this is a rare plant on Mull. The Flora gives only 4 sites and Tobermory is one of them.
On the 8th I flushed a roosting Barn Owl from the Hazel just below Shian cottage! This is fantastic news as they may well take to the new owl boxes. There were 2 Twite by Duill pond, 4 Wood Pigeons in Treshnish wood, at least 20 Swallows over Treshnish wood and a Willow Warbler was heard at Treshnish boathouse (the last of the year for Treshnish).
The House Martins are still being fed in the nest. It looks like there may only be 2 chicks but perhaps the others have been fed and are out of sight.
Excuse the photographs. It is a dark shaded spot they have chosen.
There was a Mountain Hare on the shore to the east of Treshnish boathouse.
There was a Scotch Argus and 1 Speckled Wood butterfly at Treshnish boathouse.
It was whilst looking at Hazel Gloves fungus in these trees that I disturbed the owl. It is a new site here for Hazel Gloves and rather than being old and slug eaten, about half were fresh and very healthy. The best population I have seen yet.
On the 7th there was a Golden Eagle behind Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 1 Willow Warbler at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 3 Wheatears to west of Lainne Sgeir – Calgary bay, about 70 Kittiwakes and 1 Red-throated Diver in Calgary bay (NM3650), 4 Greenfinches on Calgary machair, 4 Grey Wagtails by Calgary campsite, 4 Razorbills and 4 Eiders close in to the beach, 1 Swift above Treshnish House, 1 Sanderling on Calgary beach (Andrew Mortley saw 2). Sanderling and Swift are uncommon on Mull
The House Martins adults were feeding the chicks in the nest at Treshnish House,
and Swallows were still using the Nissen-hut by Treshnish wood during the day.
There was a male and female Common Hawker beside Calgary beach campsite.
This is the male
and this is the female.
There was also a 1-2 male Common Hawkers and 1 immature male Common Darter by Ensay Burn cattle-grid.
The agrimony near Calgary which I saw flowering earlier in the summer is fruiting and looks like Fragrant Agrimony (the lower fruit bristles should point slightly backwards as shown here).
I missed a spectacle on the Calgary machair a couple of weeks ago. I counted 200 Field Gentians here last year but they were very small probably due to grazing by sheep. This year with reduced numbers of sheep there were probably over 500 and some were a good size! I could see them but they were no longer in flower.
There was 1 Speckled Wood butterfly on the Buddleja by the farm-road through Treshnish wood, 1 Scotch Argus by Ensay Burn cattle-grid.
On the 6th a possible Hobby flew east over Treshnish wood. It was brown-grey above and the wing looked too long for Merlin. At 8pm the House Martin chicks were still being fed in the nest. I was surprised to find some Swallows roosting in the Nissen-hut beside Treshnish wood on a windy evening.
On the 5th a White-tailed Eagle was seen taking off from the west of Treshnish boathouse (SC). There were still good numbers of Swallows around Treshnish and Haunn and Twite were heard at Haunn.
A poor photo I know but here are the House Martin chicks.
On the 4th the House Martins were still bringing food to chicks on the nest. A newly fledged Swallow was still using the shed beside Middle cottage, Haunn as a resting place during the day and the same was happening at the Treshnish tool-shed. There was a Greenfinch at Treshnish House and there were still at least 20 Swallows around Treshnish House and Treshnish old Schoolhouse.
Last night I caught my first Northern Deep-brown Dart of the year, a beautiful moth.
On the 3rd there were about 60 Swallows on the electric lines at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. The eggs in the Swallow nest in Treshnish vegetable-garden shed have hatched within the last week and the House Martins in the nest are sticking their heads out of the nest entrance a sure sign that they will fledge soon. A Bullfinch was heard at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse in the morning and a Greenfinch adult was feeding a juvenile at the Studio.
There was a Common Darter dragonfly by Duill pond and a Speckled Wood and Grayling by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse (8th of September is the latest date I have for the latter).
On the 2nd there were 2 Lesser Redpoll and at least 2 juvenile House Martins on the electric wires at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and flocks of about 80 Goldfinches between Treshnish and Haunn.
There was at least 1 Barn Owl in the nest box on the Dervaig – Penmore road.
The Swallows in the shed beside Middle cottage, Haunn have fledged and may have fledged today because an adult was still visiting the shed and no young were inside. This also means that we can expect the House Martins to fledge soon as their previous nests collapsed on the same day.
I checked the bird bible (Birds of the Western Palearctic) and found out that going by averages of nest building time, incubation and time until fledging, the House Martin fledges 5 days later the Swallow (52 v 47) so if the Swallows fledged today the House Martins should be fledged by Tuesday but definitely possible from Sunday onwards.
Susan and Graham, guests at East cottage, Haunn saw a small pod of dolphins heading north around Treshnish Point, there description did not rule out Minke Whale. They saw a Minke Whale on Sea Life Survey boat-trip on the 30th of August.
At Loch Peallach, Mishnish NM481527 in a 5 minute visit there were 2 Common Blue Damselflies and 2 Black Darters
and also at Loch Peallach (NM483529) in a 10 minute visit there were Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies (1&1), a probable Emerald Damselfly and Common and Black Darters (3&1) and at the small reservoir to the north (NM485544) there was Emerald Damselfly (3 incl. 2 copulating), Common and Black Darters (3&3) and Common Hawker (1). These are the latest records for Mull, Coll and Tiree of Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies and a day before the latest record for Emerald Damselfly. The latest date for Emerald Damselfly was seen by me on 3 Sept last 2007 (identified retrospectively and present yesterday at the same site). The flight season may be much later than these records show simply because most observers visit during the summer holidays. I will try and see if I can get later records when I visit next week.
There were 2 Scotch Argus butterflies at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and a Dark Marbled Carpet moth between Treshnish and Haunn.
Branched Bur-reed was found at the small reservoir to north of Loch Peallach.
Floating Bur-reed is the common Bur-reed in the ponds at Treshnish.
On the 1st there was a female Bullfinch, a Lesser Redpoll and about 40 Swallows at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
There was a Dunlin at Treshnish lochan which is a first for Treshnish and for our 10x10km square.
A a possible Glaucous Gull flew south passed Lòn Reudle, across to the coast of Ulva and north to Gometra. I was looking through a telescope and I could see no black on the wing tips.
I got close to an Emerald Damselfly on Cruachan Treshnish,
a Common Darter at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 2 at Treshnish lochan, 1 Common Hawker at Treshnish lochan and 1 on Cruachan Treshnish at (NM3447)
A a Small Wainscot moth was flying in the daytime on Cruachan Treshnish – NM3547 (I have only found this moth once before in the daytime).
and 1 Scotch Argus at Treshnish lochan, 2 on Cruachan Treshnish (NM3547).
Bog Myrtle is flowering at Treshnish lochan,
and Pale Butterwort is flowering on Cruachan Treshnish.
On the slopes below the cliffs below Crackaig I found several agrimony plants which look to me like both Fragrant Agrimony and Agrimony but I am having them checked by the vice-county recorder as they were very close together.