On the 30th a Swift flew around Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. There were 2 Red-throated Divers at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and a Rock Pipit trying to feed a recently fledged young on this side of Lainne Sgeir. I counted 5 female Eiders with 13 ducklings near Calgary beach.
Ingrid & Volker Carstens saw an Adder before the first gate between Treshnish and Haunn cottages.
There was a Red Admiral on Calgary beach machair (NM3750).
I went looking for Frog Orchid which used to occur at Calgary but I failed to find it. Field Madder, Hairy Rock-cress (needs checking), Harebell and Biting Stonecrop were flowering on Calgary beach machair where there were also a few patches of Lesser Meadow-rue but none of it flowering. Hemp-agrimony and Hedge Woundwort were flowering nearby (NM3751).
On the 29th there was a Golden Eagle over the common Gull colony and a beautiful male Lesser Redpoll in Treshnish wood was showing a fantastically red breast now the feathers are worn.
Malcolm Ward and family saw 6 Basking Sharks just outside the mouth of Calgary bay, the largest was huge and was there for around 2 hours (photos taken).
I found a lot of Common Cow-wheat on the Ensay side of Ensay Burn. There is only one small patch that I know of on Treshnish. The Common Twayblades in the wood are massive this year.
Tutsan was flowering along Ensay Burn wood.
On the 28th the Treshnish Corncrake was calling at 11pm below Treshnish House. Lesser Redpoll were around Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
I saw my first Highland Darter of the year near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse as well as a Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Highland darter is no longer recognised as a separate species and from now on I will refer to it as Common Darter.
At night it was a good for moth-trapping. Although I only caught 28 species one, as far as I know, was new for Mull; Archer's Dart.
Some others were good records for me include:
Common Footman (only one previous record and as far as I know the only records for Mull),
Marbled Coronet (4 records),
Rivulet (4 records),
Garden Tiger is always nice,
and so is a Beautiful Golden Y.
It would be fantastic if the camera could capture the true vivid colour of this Large Emerald.
The Treshnish Broad-leaved Helleborine does not have flowers. I went looking for Narrow-leaved Helleborine at nearby site which looked like the right habitat but instead I found 2 vegetative plants of Broad-leaved Helleborine which were about 50m apart. Although Broad-leaved Helleborine is not nationally scarce it is very rare on Mull and I cannot reveal the location on the internet.
Broad-leaved Willowherb was flowering in Treshnish wood and Red Bartsia is flowering below Treshnish House
On the 27th a day I spent in the Knockvologan-Ardalanish area with Lynne Farrell, the Mull and Coll plant recorder. We were dive bombed by a female Hen Harrier, which obviously had a nest very close by.
We also disturbed 2 Adders on the path.
The best butterflies we saw were many Graylings and Large Heaths, the latter are quite local on Mull. It can be found on Ensay only a few hundred yards from the road but so far I have not found it on Treshnish farm!
We also saw, both the male and the more orange female, Clouded Buff moths,
and my first definite Argent and Sable (at least 3) although this confirms my records on the 7th. Excuse the bad photos of this Nationally Scarce moth, I will have to go back and spend some time getting a good photograph.
There were many male Keeled Skimmers, this is a female,
possible Black Darters, Golden-ringed Dragonflies, a Common Hawker (my first of the year), and a Large Red Damselfly. Anyone who is thinking of trying to identify dragonflies could take heart from the fact that there are not many species to grapple with. There are only 15 species on the Mull list and of those 4 are uncommon to rare: Brown Hawker (one record from Treshnish Isles), Southern Hawker (2 records both from Croggan), Northern Emerald (2 records - 1 from Croggan and 1 from Aros), Emerald Damselfly (13 records) plus another species Azure Hawker from Morvern (1 record). The bad news is that the immatures and females are tricky and you probably need a camera that takes good close up photos. The British Dragonfly Society website has a good identification section.
We also re-visited the plant thought to be a Pyramidal Bugle. It appears to not have one important features of a true Pyramidal (round v square stem). It may be a hybrid but we wait for a further expert opinion. This photo shows the non rounded stem.
Most plants were dying but this was a fresh plant.
We found a new plant for me (and a rare one for Mull) at Ardalanish; a Burnet-saxifrage.
The leaves shown below separate it from the more common Wild Carrot.
Other interesting plants of the day included this large Thyme Broomrape,
and Biting Stonecrop.
Other plants flowering included, Sea Carrot, Sea Rocket, Lesser Meadow-rue, Ray's Knotgrass and Fragrant Agrimony. Harebell was flowering at Pennyghail. Corn Spurrey was flowering at Knockvologan [or Ardalanish].
Malcolm Ward saw 2 Swifts flying east-west together at 21.00 over Haunn.
On the 26th there were about 12 Swifts flying south-west over Haunn cottages with another possible earlier in the morning over Treshnish wood. Swifts are uncommon on Mull but I usually have one or two sighting per year. The nearest breeding site I know of is in Oban. The Haunn Corncrake was calling in the day in lower down from the cottages in the meadow. There are nests with young of both House Sparrow and Starling in Treshnish cow-barn, a nest with young Swallows in the shed beside Middle cottage, Haunn and Pied Wagtail fledglings were flushed from their nest in the fuchsia bush beside Middle cottage.
Meg and Stephen Davies have reported seeing Great Skuas perched at Caliach Point over the last two years. Now according to Mullbirds breeding has been confirmed there for the second year running.
Common Figwort was flowering by Haunn cottages.
On the 25th the Haunn Corncrake was calling from low down in Haunn field and after sunset the Treshnish Corncrake was calling from the usual place in meadows below Treshnish House. There were 2 Siskins in the Haunn field.
There was a huge Basking Shark below Treshnish house.
I went looking for Marsh Fritillary just past Haunn as some of our guests reported seeing it there. I failed to find it but found an adult male Keeled Skimmer (NM33784788).
This is my first adult of this species so a good find. There was also a Large Red Damselfly here and 1 Four-spotted Chaser below Haunn cottages.
There were a at least 12 Six-spot-Burnet moths (NM3347) and at least 50 Common Blues.
Common Centaury and Square-stalked St John's-wort were flowering at Treshnish Point (NM3347), Purple-loosestrife was in bud below Haunn cottages and Wood Sage was flowering near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
On the 24th there was a male Hen Harrier low down over the farm road between Treshnish and Haunn cottages (SC&MC). The Haunn Corncrake was moving around a lot during the day and was heard below the black-houses and further east near the corner of Haunn field. The Treshnish Corncrake was heard near the stream directly below Treshnish House. 4 Greylag Geese flew west over Haunn and later another flew in the same direction. 27 Rock Doves flew west over Treshnish wood.
A Basking Shark was off Ensay Burn mouth.
During the day a Poplar Hawk-moth was resting in Toechtamhor cottage garden.
Marsh Arrowgrass was flowering at Treshnish Point (NM3347) and Pyrenean Lily was flowering in Toechtamhor cottage garden.
On the 23rd there was a Collared Dove in Treshnish House garden. Near sunset guests at Duill heard the Treshnish Corncrake in the usual place near the top gate joining the two meadows below Treshnish House but around midnight guest at the studio heard it beside Treshnish vegetable garden.
Whilst out walking with Tom Prescott, Alan Skeates and the Charringtons we saw a day flying Cinnabar moth.
This is only my second record of this stunning moth at Treshnish, the first coming to the light-trap in May 2007!
On the 22nd there were a pair of Bullfinches at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse! That counts as a probable breeding record. A Common Gull nest with 1 egg
was found at Treshnish lochan and a couple of other nests were found which looked like they had been predated. There was also a female Mallard with 1 nearly full grown chick at Treshnish lochan.
At Reudle (NM34S) there were newly fledged Wrens and a Willow Warbler with food for young, Twite and singing Rock Dove at Lòn Reudle.
There were at least 10 Meadow Brown butterflies at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and one pair were flying around still mating.
There were at least 8 Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies and 2 Common Blue Damselflies
at Treshnish Lochan and a Golden-ringed Dragonfly beside Treshnish wood.
Bloody Crane's-bill was flowering at Lòn Reudle
21st. Round Midnight on Litha.
On the 21st a Golden Eagle was over Ensay farmhouse, there were about 20 Sand Martins near Ensay Burn cattle-grid, Siskins were in Treshnish wood with 1 showing well by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and Lesser Redpoll were heard over Treshnish wood. Newly fledged young of Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Robin and Pied Wagtail were near Ensay Burn cattle-grid. A Red-throated Diver was to the west of Lainne, Sgeir, Calgary bay.
There was a Mountain Hare in Treshnish Old Schoolhouse garden in the morning, a presumed Bottle-nosed Dolphin off from Caliach Point and what looked like a Porpoise off from Treshnish boathouse whilst there was a Basking Shark in Calgary bay with another off Rubh na Oirean. All within about 20 minutes sea-watching.
My first definite Meadow Brown butterfly was seen today by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and there were good dragonfly numbers along Treshnish wood edge and above Ensay Burn cattle-grid, with Golden-ringed Dragonfly (4+), Four-spotted Chaser (3),Blue-tailed Damselfly (4+),
and Large Red Damselfly (10+),
many coupled for mating. This pair have mated and the male stayed connected whilst she lays eggs in the pool. This way he guarantees the eggs he fertilised get laid.
This Knot Grass moth on lichen was much more camouflaged than this photograph shows,
on a Hazel which also had Hazel Gloves fungus (not shown).
Common Valerian, Common Ragwort, Common Cow-wheat were flowering along Treshnish wood edge and Marsh Arrowgrass
was flowering on Ensay just up from the Treshnish cattle-grid.
On the 20th a Grasshopper Warbler was heard at Bennan, Calgary.
Ingrid & Volker Carstens saw a male Merlin above Shian [I am almost sure they also mentioned seeing a female during their 3 week stay]
1 White-tailed Eagle near hide along rd between Gribun and Loch Scridain
I saw that one of our two Narrow-leaved Helleborines is setting seed!
At first I though this remarkable since only one of them flowered properly. The other unopened plant was partly eaten, the flowers drooped and after a few days the flowers fell off. Narrow-leaved Helleborine is apparently not capable of self pollinating, but this does not mean that it cannot pollinate from one flower to another on the same plant. But still, it is unusual that plants from such a small population can produce seed.
There were at least 270 Early Marsh-orchids at Bennan, Calgary and Bog Asphodel, Marsh Cinquefoil and Cross-leaved Heath were flowering there.
On the 19th old 'white head' the local male Golden Eagle was low over Toechtamhor cottage and half an hour later over the Common Gull colony and then seen making a strike by Ensay Burn cattle-grid, presumably a rabbit, which escaped. In the evening we saw a Golden Eagle fly passed our window several times. A male Lesser Redpoll was showing well at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Between 5-19th Graham Hutchinson and Angie Craft noted Swallows nesting in the eaves of East cottage, Wheatears nesting near a rock and also in a wall nearby, Wrens and Song Thrush nesting in the fuchsia by East cottage, Pied Wagtail nesting in the garden wall, Common Sandpiper adult with juvenile on the headland as well as Reed Bunting, Linnet and Twite at Haunn and a pair of Golden Eagles flying over Haunn and also 1 perched behind the cottages.
There was a Golden-ringed Dragonfly by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
On the 18th there were a pair of Golden Eagles above the Common Gull colony at Treshnish lochan and later Graham Hutchinson and Angie Craft saw 4 from the Ensay-Reudle road. Later still a male was over Treshnish wood and the Ensay-Reudle road.
Ingrid & Volker Carstens saw a Golden Eagle with a prey item, thought to be a hare, swinging from its talons, flying from Treshnish Point towards Haunn.
A Mountain Hare was in our garden at nightfall (and also 3 mornings ago and so often I forget to record it). There was also a young Red Deer stag just outside our garden. Oh dear (unintentional pun)!
This Four-spotted Chaser near Glac Gugairidh was easy to photograph at dusk (photo taken at 10.30pm!).
There was also a pair of Golden-ringed Dragonflies mating in flight at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. This Golden-ringed Dragonfly above Glac Gugairidh
was surrounded by 14 Lesser Twayblades but again I failed to get the tiny flower in focus. You can just see a pair of vegetative leaves to the right of its right wing.
A dark butterfly at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse may have been the years first Meadow Brown and 2 large orange moths near Glac Gugairidh were probably adult Drinkers there was also this Northern Eggar caterpillar near Glac Gugairidh.
On the 17th there were 2 Red-throated Divers at Ensay Burn mouth and at least 1 Basking Shark off of Treshnish boathouse. Guests reported 4-5 from the north shore and Graham Hutchinson and Angie Craft reported 5-10 on the west shore. This is a bumper years for this species!
On the 16th I found out that the nearest Golden Eagle nest to Treshnish farm has a chick! This is fantastic news because there has been no confirmed breeding success from this eyrie since 2000! I had given up on this pair as the male appears to be very old (pale plumage) but he still has it in him or he has died and she has a new mate. The second nearest pair are young birds that only started breeding in 2006. In that year the nest collapsed and last year they were disturbed but otherwise they had a chick in 2007, 2008 and also this year. So this year will certainly up the statistics for our area.
Ingrid & Volker Carstens reported a Peregrine and Lapwing between Torloisk and Dervaig.
The Treshnish Corncrake was heard below Treshnish House (SC) and today I was also sent some photos of the Haunn Corncrake taken by Clive Fletcher.
2 Basking Sharks were very close in at Port Haunnand there were at least another 7 (probably 10) between Port Haunn and Lòn Reudle. There was also an Otter at Port Haunn.
I found this moth on Yellow Rattle in the Black Park field, which is a new species for Treshnish, Grass Rivulet.
The second site for Small-white Orchidat Treshnish held 5 plants (I only saw 3 last year) and I also found the nearby Frog Orchid (2 last year but I did not look for long so it is probably there too). Fairy Flax was flowering at Haunn.
I have been trying to figure out why other botanists working on the new Mull flora had been finding Early Marsh-orchid at Treshnish whilst I was not been finding it. I was thinking that I must be missing a subspecies because the ones I found elsewhere were a lovely unmistakable rosy colour and I certainly have looked hard for those. This has turned out to be the case. Before the descent on the Reudle Schoolhouse-Crackaig path there is a wet boggy area with boards for crossing and a sign to keep walkers on the right path. Here I found at least 20 Early Marsh-orchidswhich were more purple than those I has seen before and which at first glance looked very much like the more common Northern Marsh-orchid. These are presumably the subspecies pulchella and those I have seen before at Langamull, Lochan Dearg and to the east of Loch an Torr were the more rosy coloured subspecies incarnata.
Bog Pondweed was flowering on near Reudle Schoolhouse bog.
On the 15th the first House Martin nest at Treshnish is nearly completed! Excuse the poor photo, it is a dark corner, but we just have to show it off.
The Haunn Corncrake was calling during the day and seemed to be a little lower down in Haunn field. 3 Curlews were very vocal around Treshnish lochan and behind the cow-barn (perhaps they are having to relay). The Twite were very vocal along the Haunn coast and 'spot the Twite' in Haunn meadow.Young Kestrels were heard on the cliffs just beyond Port Haunn (nest? not located) and one Kestrel was seen at Lòn Reudle. A Great Skua flew north above the upper cliffs at Port Haunn.
There was an Otter at Lòn Reudle (this is a very good spot for it ) and Graham Hutchinson and Angie Craft, guests at East cottage, Haunn saw a Bottle-nosed Dolphin off of Dùn Haunn.
A Red Admiral was again on our chives and this Drinker mothwas found south of Port Haunn (NM3446). I don't think I have seen an adult out in the daylight before. Presumably it is newly emerged.
I got very excited at this strange looking orchid at Haunn. Without a book I thought it could be Coralroot Orchid. Expert opinion is that it is probably an aborted Greater Butterfly-orchid.Oh well there has to be a limit to the number of orchids at Treshnish. On the way back home across the moorland, I was looking for Lesser Twayblade which I thought must be on the farm somewhere. It was all a question of finding rank heather. The problem is that the heather has not fully recovered from a fire over 20 years ago. As I was bashing though an old path through a good patch of heather, I thought, ah ah this looks good. Got down on my hands and knees on the sphagnum carpeted path floor and after crawling along a couple of metres found 3 plants, one of which was a a big flowering beauty all of 4 inches tall! To dark for a photo other than a token shot. That brings the number of orchid species at Treshnish up to 14 (not including subspecies and hybrids)!
Frog Orchidwas flowering at Haunn, Enchanter's-nightshade, Selfheal and Slender St. John's-wort were flowering along the farm-track beside Treshnish wood, possible Zigzag Clover was flowering beside Treshnish House, Golden-rod was flowering at the 'Whisky Cave' and this Bloody Crane's-billwas out of reach of the sheep on the path from Port Haunn to the Whisky Cave'. Wood Bitter-vetch is a nationally scarce vetch which is common at Treshnish.The dry weather has taken its toll on this plant which likes thin soil and is therefore vulnerable to drought.
On the 14th Carolyne Charrington saw the Corncrake beside the gate at East cottage, Haunn. There was a Spotted Flycatcher in Treshnish house garden and Siskins were very vocal in Treshnish wood and Treshnish House. There was a Redshank at Ensay Burn mouth.
There were many butterflies on our chives, including a Red Admiral,Small Tortoiseshell (my first definite of the year) and both Dark Green and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries which was great to see them side by side for comparison. I also added a new micro-moth to the Treshnish list. This is not a very good photo of Pyrausta cingulata,found near Ensay Burn mouth.
There were 2 Golden-ringed Dragonflies along the farm-road beside Treshnish wood as well 2 Large Red Damselflies and an immature Keeled Skimmer.This is my first definite record of this species and a new dragonfly for the Treshnish list. At the shore below Treshnish House there were 3 Blue-tailed Damselflies.
The Davies's watched 2 Otters playing and play-fighting and fishing on the south side of Calgary bay, to the east of Lainne Sgeir. This year I always recommend this area to visitors and most guests succeed in seeing them here (either side of Lainne Sgeir and to the beach).
I found the Broad-leaved Helleborine emerging in Treshnish wood.This is not rare in England but very rare on Mull. There is only plant at Treshnish but I have hopes that the first one I found is in a slightly different location, in which case there could be two. Fingers crossed.
Common Spotted-orchid and hybrids (probably Northern Marsh x Common Spotted-orchid), Lesser Spearwort, Hemlock Water-dropwort, English Stonecrop, Sea Plantain were flowering along the shore below Treshnish House, Tufted Vetch was flowering in meadows below Treshnish House, Sanicle was flowering in Treshnish wood, Common Valerian, Melancholy Thistle, Meadowsweet were about to flower at Ensay Burn mouth and Honeysuckle was about to flower beside Treshnish wood farm-track.
The dry weather has not been good for the Thyme Broomrape. I found 6 fresh plants (4 last year) but 5 of them have hardly grown in a fortnight and the other is small. I did however find an old plant from last year which I must have missed and next to it was a stem which looks like it is from the previous year but there was no new emerging plant for this year as far as I could see.
I received an e-mail from Joe Tanner who stayed at Toechtamhor cottage, Haunn on 22-29 of May. He has taken some good photos all from the cottage, except the eagles which were taken at Loch na Keal. You can see his photos here.
Hogweed was flowering at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse
Today I received a photo of one of the Wheatear chicks from the nest near Toechtamhor gate taken on the 28th of May by Lindsay and Simon Crisp.At least one used to sit outside the nest-hole presumably to get warm and to get the first food from mum and dad.
I finally got around to transcribing the Haunn Corncrake notes of Clive Fletcher, a guest at East cottage, Haunn (sorry to take so long Clive). These notes are particularly interesting because I was reading the latest data on Corncrakes and found out that they do call differently as breeding progresses. The most notable change is in the period after mating and before laying when for 3 days (sometimes 5 days) when the male and female have close contact, the day-time calling of the male increases to its maximum and its night time calling becomes very little or even not at all. If any guests noted nights when there was little or no calling please contact me here. Apparently there is also a period before this when the un-mated male has established its territory and when the day time calling is rare. This implies that if a bird is calling regularly during the day then it is newly arrived or has mated. The Haunn male has been seen with a mate so it is obviously attempting to breed and the Treshnish bird is calling regularly in the daytime and has been present for 4 weeks so is certainly not newly arrived. Presumably this means both birds have mated.
Ingrid & Volker Carstens reported seeing a pair of Golden Eagles over Treshnish farm and later on and off throughout their 3 week stay.
The Davies's guests at Duill cottage saw 3 Basking Sharks below Treshnish House.
On the way back from the Ross I saw an Otter whilst driving along between Kellan Mill and Killiemor, Loch na Keal. This must be good spot because I saw Discover Mull tours were watching one here on the 30th of May
2 (possibly 3) Basking Sharks close to shore. Bats were seen emerging from the walls of the underpass beside the café and hunting there.