October 2009

On the 30th BR & KR, guests at Toechtamhor cottage saw a Merlin near Haunn.
On the 29th there was a flock of about 8 Greenfinches flying passed Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 1 Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar by Treshnish House. BR & KR, guests at Toechtamhor cottage saw a Merlin near Haunn.
On the 28th there were at least 5 juvenile Kittiwakes off Lainne Sgeir, Calgary Bay and 2 Barnacle Geese circling and landing by Langamull beach. There was a pod of at least 10 Bottle-nosed Dolphins close to shore on the south side of Calgary Bay moving west passed Lainne Sgeir across Ensay Burn mouth. There was also an Otter crossing the rocks at Lainne Sgeir.
At Langamull an interesting fungus was photographed. Cordyceps militarisor Scarlet Caterpillar Club, which is parasitic on caterpillars and their pupae. I did not dig it up preferring to keep disturbance to a minimum but at these web-pages you can see examples of where the fungi attached to the caterpillar. It appears to be the first record for Mull.

I have found two other similar shaped fungi at Treshnish. Calocera viscosa (Yellow Stagshorn)was found in Treshnish wood on 11th August 2008. According to NBN Gateway it has not been recorded on Mull before yet the Mull Flora states 'Frequent on conifer stumps'. Clavaria zollingeri (Violet Coral)was found along the cliff-tops to east of Ensay Burn mouth, on 30th September 2008, it is quite rare as it has been recorded in less than 100 10x10km squares in the UK but it has been recorded previously at two other sites on Mull.
Also on the 28th there was also a Grey Pine Carpet moth in the daytime on the rocks to the west of Port na Bá to east of Langamull beach. A Fox Moth caterpillar was seen above Treshnish lochan (CC). At night 4 species of macro-moths came to the trap including Yellow-line Quaker. I only caught two of this species in 2006, 2 in 2007 and none in 2008 so this year has been good for this species and so far I have caught 10.
On the 26th a Mistle Thrush was by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and at night a Tawny Owl was heard there.
BR & KR, guests at Toechtamhor cottage saw a Golden Eagle to south of Beinn Duill. Red Deer were heard rutting from Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and a Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar was at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. A Red Admiral butterfly was at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and there were 2 more along the farm track near the cattle-grid. There were 8 species of macro-moth coming to the light-trap including Yellow-line Quaker and the first December Moth of the season.
On the 25th there were 4 Golden Eagles over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. It was hard to see which pair was from which territory. There was no aggressive interaction shown but display flight and calling was triggered in at least one of the eagles. Eventually only 1 remained and she settled in the tall conifers in Treshnish wood and was visible from Ensay. We often see a Golden Eagle displaying and diving over Treshnish wood and it seems as they must often roost here. The autumn-winter months is the only time I have seen these eagles in these trees. There were 2 Turnstones on Calgary beach and 2 Kittiwakes at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary Bay.
On the 24th there was a flock of 13 probable Redwings at Black Park field, Haunn.
BR & KR, guests at Toechtamhor cottage saw a Golden Eagle on Beinn Duill.
On the 23rd a flock, of 20+, of what were probably Whooper Swans flew south at Haunn (SC).
On the 22nd
a Tawny Owl was heard at night from Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. There was 1 Red Admiral butterfly in the morning at Haunn (SC), 1 in the afternoon at Haunn, 1 at Treshnish House, 1 at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. There was also 1 Silver Y moth at Treshnish greenhouse and 1 at Treshnish House.
On the 21st there was a male Long-tailed Duck very close to Calgary beach at 3.30pm and there was also a Greenshank by the road at Loch a´ Chumhainn, Dervaig. Leena saw 5 geese flying south above the wee pond above Treshnish lochan. A Grey Wagtail was by Ensay burn cattle-grid. There was a Red Admiral butterfly by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and another by Ensay burn cattle-grid and also a Silver Y moth on the south side of Calgary Bay (on the road near Lainne Sgeir) and another by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. Red Deer were still heard rutting on Beinn Bhuidhe, behind Ensay. The fumaria (fumitory) species found beside Treshnish vegetable garden last month, which is still flowering, was originally thought by many (from photo id.) to be F. muralis Common Ramping-fumitory but I was not fully convinced. I sent a flower head to the Scottish Plants Officer at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh who confirmed that it wasn't muralis but was either F. capreolata White Ramping-fumitory or F. purpurea Purple Ramping-fumitory but as the specimen had withered could I send more. Today I received the reply that it was most probably F. capreolata White Ramping-fumitory but had some suggestion of purpurea. She sounded pretty certain and has some seeds which she will germinate and if that proves to change the identification she will let me know. F. capreolata is rare on Mull, with as far as I know only one other record, in the Pennyghael - Carsaig 10x10km square according to NBN Gateway and BSBI.
On the 20th there was a flock of at least 30 Whooper Swans flying south, from Caliach Point, passed Treshnish Point. There was also a Sanderling at dusk on Calgary beach, a Black-throated Diver off from Lainne Sgeir, Calgary Bay and 2 adult Gannets offshore from below Treshnish House.
On the 19th there were 21 Golden Plovers flying over Treshnish lochan, 4 Greenfinches in The Studio garden, 5 Kittiwakes off Lainne Sgeir, Calgary Bay and at dusk 1 Turnstone and 1 Purple Sandpiper with the Ringed Plovers, Curlews and Oystercatchers at high tide at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary Bay. I have never seen a Purple Sandpiper in north Mull despite looking quite hard last year! Red Deer were heard rutting on Beinn Bhuidhe, behind Ensay.
On the 18th there were was the micro-moth Alucita hexadactyla or Twenty-plum Moth found inside Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 3 species of moths came to the light trap the least common being Yellow-line Quaker and the second flight period of Red Sword-grass.
On the 17th there was a Hen Harrier below Toechtamhor flying east to Skoma field. In the morning Malcolm Ward saw 5 Fieldfares by East cottage, Haunn. There was a Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar at Toechtamhor cottage, Haunn.
On the 16th there were 2 Golden Eagles diving fast out of sight over the pond at Duill cottage, towards the north. One of them appeared a second later twisting up and then down again. I looked like something exciting was happening, either a hunt or less likely I think a tussle between 2 eagles . I was a bit slow and although I saw a Golden Eagle now over Treshnish headland I had a look over the ridge to see if the second eagle had caught anything but there was no sign of anything unusual. DB & JB, guests at West cottage, Haunn, also saw a Golden Eagle over sea off from the mediaeval chapel south of the 'whisky cave'. At night a Tawny Owl was heard in Treshnish wood by Treshnish House and Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. There was a Highland Darter dragonfly on the rose bushes at The Studio. I checked my records for my last dates of the year for this species and found these: 30 Sept 2008; 7 Oct 2007; 21 Oct 2006. 1 Autumn Green Carpet moth came to a lighted window at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse plus a large moth which dis-appeared immediately. It may have been a Red Sword-grass.
On the 15th there were 22 Kittiwakes feeding off from Treshnish boathouse, 1 Golden Eagle on Cruachan Treshnish and west of Treshnish boathouse and later 2 below Treshnish wood and Treshnish House and 1 Grey Wagtail at Ensay burn mouth. Guests at Middle cottage, Haunn saw a flock of Barnacle Geese on the Treshnish Isles. At night 4 moth species, including came to the light trap, the least common being 1 Yellow-line Quaker.
On the 14th there were at least 2 juvenile Gannets offshore from Treshnish boathouse. On a perfect moth trapping night 5 species came to a lighted window including Autumn Green Carpet, Feathered Thorn and my latest date for Red-green Carpet (15 days after my previous latest).
On the 13th there were at least 2 Gannets off from Dùn Haunn and a small flock of Twite in Skoma field, Haunn.
On the 12th there was a Sparrowhawk flying from Ensay towards Treshnish wood, A dragonfly at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse was probably a Common Hawker. I checked my records for my last dates of the year for this species and found these: 7 Sept 2008; 9 Oct 2007; 17 Oct 2006.
On the 11th there were at least 20 Kittiwakes feeding close off-shore to west of Ensay burn mouth and there were 2 Puffins close by. There was 1 Golden Eagle sky-diving over Treshnish wood so presumably the other was nearby. A falcon flew over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse which was probably a Peregrine and at night a Tawny Owl was heard calling there. DB & JB, guests at West cottage, Haunn, on a walk on the north side of Calgary Bay to the pier recorded 1 probable Black-throated Diver, Golden Eagle and 3 juvenile Eider and between Treshnish and Haunn a Golden Eagle and also from West cottage, Haunn a male Hen Harrier.
On the 10th there was a flock of 21 Twite in the Black Park field just to the east of Haunn field and 27 geese flew south-west fairly low in front of Toechtamhor cottage. On this too breezy, too bright a night, no moths came to the light-trap.
On the 9th there were 2 Greenfinches feeding on the rose-hips in The Studio garden.
On the 8th DB & JB, guests at West cottage, Haunn between NM343489 and NM350489 along the coast recorded Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, a large Otter to east of boathouse at low tide and a Fox Moth caterpillar. A Silver Y moth was also at Toechtamhor cottage.
On the 7th there were 2 Golden Eagles soaring above Treshnish wood and Ensay burn. After soaring high one glided over Calgary bay and then suddenly went into a shallow stoop as it got close to the land and then after a couple of seconds went into a power-stoop. I lost track of it as the cliffs became the backdrop. I have very rarely seen a Golden Eagle attack here. Once I saw one make a failed attack on the rabbits by Treshnish wood-Ensay burn cattle-grid. I am pretty sure this attack today also failed as a few minutes later 2 Golden Eagles were back over Ensay and settled on the ridge behind Ensay farmhouse. DB & JB, guests at West cottage, Haunn also reported 1 Golden Eagle over Haunn cottages and about an hour later 2 over Ensay farmhouse. A Fox Moth caterpillar found on Cruachan Treshnish (NM3547).
On the 6th there were 2 Golden Eagles sky-diving and calling above Treshnish wood. There are still Gannets offshore from Treshnish. So far the latest date I have seen Gannets at Treshnish is 23 October in 2006. There was also 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull on the south shore of Calgary bay, this species is not generally present in the winter months although I have recorded it here once on 31st of January 2009 and one probable 6 weeks earlier.
Also on the 6th DB & JB, guests at West cottage, Haunn saw a Golden Eagle between Haunn and Crackaig, 1 Red Deer stag with 5 hinds on Beinn Duill and 1 Red Deer stag with 2 hinds on Cruachan Treshnish.
On the 5th DB & JB, guests at West cottage, Haunn saw 2 adults and 3 juvenile White-tailed Eagles with yellow wing-tags at the head of Loch na Keal.
On the 4th a male Hen Harrier flew along the edge of Treshnish wood at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. MC found a Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar at Treshnish House and at night only three species came to the light-trap, the least common being Yellow-line Quaker.
On the 2nd there were 5 Greenfinches at Treshnish House.
On the 1st 2 Golden Eagles were by flying low around Treshnish House and later on Cruachan Treshnish. There was 1 Red Admiral butterfly by Treshnish House and a Ruby Tiger moth caterpillar was by Treshnish House.

October satellite tagged White-tailed Eagle and Osprey

Mull White-tailed Eagles

1st: Raasay
4th: Southeast of Uig, Trotternish peninsula, Skye
5th: Northeast of Uig, Trotternish peninsula, Skye
8th: Southeast of Portree, Skye
Latest data from Google Earth on 18th October but undated on RSPB Blog, she was back on the Crowlin Islands south-west of the Applecross peninsula, between the Applecross peninsula and Scalpay, off Skye

This years tagged chicks. Not the Loch Frisa chicks.

Oran (male)
Extremely adventurous.

First points about 1-10: several (10+) points on south side of Ardmeanach peninsula (with 1 point near Loch Assapol on the Ross of Mull)

Point 11: Pennyghael, Mull
Point 12: Beinn Bhuidhe, east of Drimnin, Morven
Point 13: Fiunary forest, Morven
Point 14: Sandaig, north of Mallaig (57km from Fiunary forest)
Point 15 Shiel Bridge (23km from Dandaig)
Point 16 Western end of Loch Affric (22km from Shiel Bridge)

Point 17: eastern end of Glen Affric (13km north-east of western end of Loch Affric).
Point 18 Glen Affric (85km north-east of Glencripesdale)
12th: 3km east-southeast of Glencripesdale on the southern shore of Loch Sunart, Morvern.
13th: 2km east of Glencripesdale. On this date she appeared on the Google Earth data to be only 2km east of Mara at Glencripesdale.

Venus (female)
All dates in the Glen Forsa area except on 11th October at the western end of Ardmeanach peninsula.

Loch Garten Ospreys

Rothes (female)
1st: Diawling National Park, in south-west Mauritania.
2nd: passes Kayar west of Djoudj National Park in Senegal, crosses the Dakar peninsula near  Sebikotane and roosting at Mbourouk, Senegal
3rd: heads offshore, south of Dakar coming back to land 188km to the south (as crow or Osprey flies) near Abene in southern Senegal (south of The Gambia). At one time in this sea journey she was 70km from shore! She roosted near the border between Senegal and Guinea Bissau.
4th: Continues south through Guinea Bissau and made a sea crossing from about 30km west of Bissau to the Ilha das Galinhas islands within the Bijagos Islands, off the coast of Guinea Bissau.
4-15th: Present throughout on the Bijagos Islands except one 2 day round trip to the mainland where she was at one time 57km from the last known place that Nethy, one of last years satellite tagged Ospreys was located.

Mallachie (male)
1st: Still around Tejo National Park, Portugal near the Spanish border.
4th: Tejo National Park, Portugal
4-8th: Tejo National Park, Portugal
9th: At11am he was still at Tejo National Park but in the afternoon he was heading south and continuing south along the Spanish Portuguese border.
10th: He left the safety of land at Isla Critina, Spain near the Porugese border. After flying south for 300km he made land in Morocco at 5pm, 32km north of Kénitra. He continued flying in a south-easterly direction for another 30km roosting at Sidi Yahya du Rharb to the east of Kénitra.
12th: Crosses over into Algeria.
14th: Crosses the north-eastern corner of Western Sahara and then south into Mauritania crossing the earlier flight path of Rothes.