September 2009

On the 30th there was a flock of c70 Twite to the west of Treshnish boathouse (NM3448), where there was also a Fox Moth caterpillar and a Drinker moth caterpillar and 2 new sites for Field Gentian were found along the cliffs towards the impassable gully there. One of these sites had at least 26 plants.
On the 29th a Feathered Thorn moth came to a lighted window at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
On the 27th there was a Fox Moth caterpillar to west of Treshnish boathouse and on the cliffs there, 3 new sites for Field Gentian were found. Most of the plants had finished fruiting but 1 or 2 were still in flower.
On the 26th Tawny Owls were heard at night in around Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 6 species of macro-moths came to the light-trap, one being the migrant Silver Y. Red Deer were heard rutting beyond Ensay.
On the 25th there were 10 Twite to west of Treshnish boathouse, 1 Drinker moth caterpillar at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and another to west of Treshnish boathouse where there was also a large Fox Moth caterpillar (as big as my index finger) and there was also 1 Red Admiral butterfly resting at Treshnish House. A Mountain Hare was found to west of Treshnish boathouse and another/same later in Skoma field but the highlight of the day was an Otter trotting right in front of Shian and Duill cottages! It did not see me or Cap the working sheepdog who luckily did not see it either. It head directly for the pond next to Duill cottage, which was enlarged last year and where  it made several dives before emerging at the far end of the pond and continuing on it's way. Although I often come across Otter signs inland and also found a road-kill on the Calgary-Dervaig road (at West Ardhu) in the winter of 2007/2008, this is the first time I have seen one inland.
On the 24th there were 11 Golden Plovers in Skoma field, c40 Goldfinches below Treshnish House and another or same flock at Haunn, 2 Pied Wagtails at Treshnish House and 1 Grey Wagtail at Treshnish boathouse.
On the 20th there was a Knot Grass moth caterpillar by Treshnish House (MC).
On the 19th there were 2 Golden Eagles on Beinn Duill. It was National Moth Night so even though conditions were far from ideal light-trapping was carried out. 10 species came to the trap, the least common being Lunar Underwing.
On the 18th there were 7 Greenfinches feeding on the rose hips in The Studio garden and there was a Pied Wagtail nearby.
On the 17th there was a Golden Eagle on Beinn Duilll and a White-tailed Eagle on Beinn Reudle and a Highland Darter dragonfly by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and a Common Hawker dragonfly by Treshnish House. There was a Silver Y moth to the south of Port Haunn. A new site for Dwarf Juniper was found inland by the blackhouse ruins between Crackaig and Haunn, which was unusually in that most of the Dwarf Juniper at Treshnish is on the coastal cliffs.
On the 16th a Golden Eagle was seen on Beinn Duill and Cruachan Treshnish and a Buzzard was sky-diving behind Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. There were 2 Highland Darter dragonflies between Treshnish House and Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and a Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. At night a new micro-moth came to a window at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. Most micro-moths do not have common names but this one Alucita hexadactyla has the common name 'Twenty-plume Moth'.

This flower was found in Treshnish garden which is almost certainly White Ramping-fumitory

Fumaria capreolata, samples have been checked by an expert. It is rare on Mull, with as far as I know only one other record on Mull in the Pennyghael - Carsaig 10x10km square. It is an arable 'weed' but has become uncommon in the west of the country due to a decrease in arable farming. Treshnish vegetable garden has made up for this nicely. Another Treshnish 'weed' is the threatened Corn Spurrey Spergula arvensis, which also likes the vegetable garden at Treshnish as well as the disturbed ground around the farm building and the farm track. Northern Dead-nettle Lamium confertum also flourishes in the vegetable garden and around the farm buildings, if permitted.

On the 15th two Golden Eagles were sky-diving over Treshnish wood.
On the 14th there was a Knot Grass moth caterpillar at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and a Fox Moth caterpillar was found on Cruachan Treshnish (NM3547).
On the 13th a Sparrowhawk and later a Peregrineflew low over Treshnish wood and a Golden Eagle was between Larach Mhor and the wee pond above Treshnish lochan. There were 2 Pied Wagtails beside Treshnish House and a flock of at least 30 Goldfinches was at Treshnish House at dusk. 2 Common Hawkers and 1 Highland Darter dragonflies, 4 Speckled Wood and 2 Scotch Argus butterflies and 1 day-flying Ruby Tiger moth were all along the farm road beside Treshnish wood. A Mountain Hare was below Treshnish House.
On the 12th there were 3 Swallows by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 2 Golden Eagles all day from Haunn cottages, between Cruachan Treshnish, Beinn Duill and Treshnish Point, about 40 Goldfinches at Haunn, 1 Common Hawker dragonfly at Haunn and a small black hairy caterpillar which looked similar to a Ruby Tiger in size and hairiness except black not orangey. 15 macro-moth species came to the light-trap including, Autumn Green Carpet, Anomalous and Small Wainscot.
On the 11th there were 3 Pied Wagtails beside Treshnish House and a Speckled Wood butterfly and a Knot Grass moth larva
near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. At Ensay Burn cattle-grid, as the last rays of sun became confined to this spot, there were 2 Common Hawker, 1 Black Darter and 2 Highland Darter dragonflies resting on or near the fence posts and there was a probable Scotch Argus butterfly here too.
In another search in Treshnish wood for the Broad-leaved Helleborine which I found flowering on 6th September 2007 I finally found one non-flowering or post-flowering plant. This was not exactly the same spot as in 2007 but was within 50 metres. The one in 2007 was flowering but it was too dark to get a good photograph.This plant is extremely rare on Mull although one of the more common orchids elsewhere in Britain.
On the 10th there were 7 Swallows by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, 1 Speckled Wood butterfly by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 1 Highland Darter and 1 possible Black Darter, dragonflies near Treshnish House.
On the 9th there were 4 Swallows by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, about 40 Goldfinches and 1 Linnet near Treshnish cow-barn and a female Pheasant with chicks just to the west of Haunn cottages. In a one-hour sea-watch, there were 9 Manx Shearwater (including 1 close in), 3 Kittiwakes and about 20 Fulmars on the sea off Treshnish Point and 1-2 by the cliffs. At night a (juvenile?) Tawny Owl was heard at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. There was also 1 Red Admiral, 1 Grayling, 9 Scotch Argus butterflies, 1 Common Hawker and 2 Highland Darter dragonflies near Ensay Burn cattle-grid and also 1 Fox Moth, 1 Ruby Tiger caterpillars between Treshnish and Haunn cottages and 1 Common Blue butterfly at Haunn NM3347. 15 species of macro-moth came to the light-trap including Small Autumnal Moth and the Anomalous.
On the hillocks to the west of West cottage, Haunn, I found four patches (totalling 221 plants) of Field Gentian at a known site which I had surveyed last year but failed to find any. The plants were mostly very small and I may have missed them or I may have looked to early last year on 28th of July!
On the 8th there was a flock of at least 30 Kittiwakes off Ensay burn mouth and within only a couple of minutes of scanning Calgary bay, 5 Manx Shearwaters were seen flying south across the mouth of the bay
On the 7th there were at least 5 Swallows hunting low along the farm road through Treshnish wood during the storm.
On the 6th there was 1 Sand Martin by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. In 2 hours of moth-trapping before the wind became to strong 11 moths of 5 species came to the light-trap of these the least common was Anomalous.
On the 5th there were 3 Swallows at Treshnish House, a newly fledged Swallow flew out of the shed and a Fox Moth caterpillar was at Middle cottage, Haunn.
On the 4th there were 2 Sand Martins, by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and a Fox Moth caterpillar by Duill cottage.
On the 3rd there was Golden Eagle flying west over Treshnish wood, 5 Sand Martins, 5 Swallows and a Common Whitethroat by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
On the 2nd there were 5 Swallows by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
On the 1st there were 3 Swallows Treshnish Old schoolhouse and at above Treshnish lochan where there were also 2 Wheatears. There was a Fox Moth caterpillar on Cruachan Treshnish at NM3547 and another at NM3447.
Chaffweed was found on the track behind Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. This is a new plant for our 10x10km square.

From Plants of Treshnish
As you can see it is very small

From Plants of Treshnish
and therefore probably under-recorded.

September satellite tagged White-tailed Eagle & Osprey news

White-tailed Eagles update 31st: Between the 7th and 23rd Brèagha was in the Loch Maree area, spending the last of these days on the hill lochs to the northwest of Torridon and before that to east of Lochdrum, and Strathmore valley south of Ullapool . On the 23rd Brèagha was on the Crowlin Islands southwest of the Applecross peninsula, between the Applecross peninsula and Scalpay, off Skye. On the 30th she was on Raasay, where she stayed until the 1st of October. Mara coninues to stay in the Ardamurchan amd Morvern peninsulas favouring the Glencripesdale area on the southern shore of Loch Sunart, Morvern and on Ardamurchan the more general area of Loch Mudle and the adjacent lochs to the east.

White-tailed Eagles update 14th: On the 3rd Brèagha was at Loch Maree, by the 7th she had flown to Dundonell, at the head of Little Loch Broom, (the same area where she had been on 30th and 31st of August and the 1st of September), on the 9th she was about 7km to the east near Ardcharnich (spelt Ardchamich on the RSPB blog Googlemaps), on Loch Broom.
Mara has been on Morvern, along the south shores of Loch Sunart, from the 3rd to the 9th except on the 4th when she was on the souteast corner of Morvern and the 7th when she was across Loch Sunart on Ardamurcan.

White-tailed Eagles update 2nd: the female Brèagha in the same area at Loch Maree and Mara in about the same area on Morvern.


Osprey update 31stMallachie still in the same area in Portugal near the Spanish border.

Osprey update 30th: The RSPB blog is a bit unclear here regading times but flying off the Morocan shore Rothes reaches land near Tidergit in Morocco at 9am on the 28th a distance of 944km as the crow flies. She continued due south passing over Western Sahara and into Mauritania by 2pm, where she was slowing down but still heading south in Mauritania crossing the southeast corner of Western Sahara at 4pm the next day on the 29th and arriving at 10pm on the 30th near the coast, south of Nouakchott, the capital. On the 30th she was still in the vicinity of Nouakchott.

Osprey update 28th: On the morning of  24th, Rothes finally left the Sturgeon farm north of Bordeaux where she has been since the 14th of August. She was near the Spanish border on the morning of 25th, and by the evening was roosting near Toledo. On the evening of the 26th she spent ther night 7km southwest of Oliva de la Frontera by the Potugese border where she was about 160km south of Mallachie, who was still in the same area around Tejo National Park in Portugal by the Spanish border. The next day on the 27th, Rothes continued flying along the Spanish-Portugese border for about 56km and then continued flying south-southwest in a straight line until heading out to sea just south of Olhão in Portugal at 1pm.

Osprey update 10th: Now is must be about the most exciting time for the young ospreys. They have both made it safely to the continent but still have to make it to Africa. Mallachie has been travelling virtually non-stop since the 31st of August and has navigated safely around the coast of the Bay of Biscay and is now according to the RSPB blog on the Portugese/Spanish border in the 'Rio Tajo area between Parque Nacional de Monfrague in Spain and Parque Natural do Tejo Internacional in Portugal'. Whilst I said in an earlier post that Rothes was approaching Spain she actually stopped near Fontaine north of Bordeaux and has been there since the 14th of August, perhaps she is going to stay there!. Interestingly the data shows that the paths of Rothes, Mallachie and last years Nethy came very close together in the Bordeaux region but perhaps this is natural as they all had to negotiate around the Bay of Biscay.

Osprey update 4th: Mallachie overtakes her sister Rothes and crosses into Spain

update 3rd: Mallachie crosses the channel from the Isle of White to Normandy.

update 1st: On Sunday 30th these were the positions of Mallachie according to RSBP blog

'5am just north of Acklington,
6am she flew over a huge quarry at West Chevington,
7am near Ulgham, south of Widdrington Station,
8am she flew over A19 near Seaton Burn roundabout,
9am West Pelton near Chester-le-Street,
10am Proudfoot Drive, Bishop Auckland

11am just west of Scotch Corner on A1,
1pm near Whitwell, east of Catterick,
3pm just west of Northallerton, and between 3pm and 8pm she seems to have been fishing along the River Swale, presumably roosted nearby and continued to quarter the river again early next morning when her last fix was at 5am 31st August.'

That overnight spot is only three quarters of a mile from the RAF base at Leeming where my father was stationed for many years. The idea of looking out from the control tower and seeing an Osprey hunting over the river Swale, would have been inconceivable at that time (mid-late 1960's).