29th: 1 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Red-throated Diver off Calgary beach and at least 2 Kittiwakes near road to east of Ensay Burn mouth. A Jay was reported at West Ardhu, Dervaig (JA).
Usual suspect: Kestrel

1 female Otter on east side of Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
23rd: This Buzzard at Bennan, Calgary allowed unusually close approach.

It wasn't until it flew that the reason became clear, it has a prey item in its right claw.

There was 1 or 2 yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagles in the Port Langamull-Langamull area,

1 Reed Bunting to the southeast of Cillchriosd Standing Stone and 3 waders at Lainne Sgeir, were probably Turnstones (or possibly Purple Sandpiper). There was 1 Red-throated Diver off Calgary beach and 3 Golden Eagles above Lainne Sgeir (it was late and the sky was dark but they were calling so take it from me, these are Golden Eagles). 

Usual suspects Common Gulls.

22nd: As it wasn't enough that Maltese hunters shoot everything that flies over their country, some are even coming here to do it.
21st: I came across this video clip of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. I was surprised that they show chicks being fed by human hand but I presume that is because they are building up a breeding population first and so human imprinting is unimportant. I know there is some controversy surrounding captive breeding in the birding world (there always is,whatever the subject!) but I don't think there is any choice. Although, releasing into the wild will not help unless the habitats, particularly on migration, are protected. The South Korean coastal wetland destruction at Saemangeum is a major problem as it an essential staging post; that topic is utterly depressing reading. More positive news is the recent discovery of one of their major wintering grounds in Mynamar
The clip doesn't mention that the captive breeding is going to happen at Slimbridge. What I found most amazing, after reading articles about this in the birding literature, is that the chicks are able to migrate without wild parents. They haven't done it yet with Spoon-billed Sandpipers but they have with Corncrakes which successfully migrated after at least 10 generations of breeding in captivity. Not so surprising really when may of our migrants also manage their journeys without parents but still, the mind boggles.
20th: A warm night brought a moth (and many flies) to our window. It was very worn but still I thought it must be Scarce Umber (in spite of the name not a scarce moth but one I have only caught twice - both last year). Scottish expert, Roy Leverton was also not sure because it was too worn

but at the same time as checking he looked through my web album and came across a couple of surprises.
The good news is that we have a new moth to add to the Treshnish list. I am only confident about identifying a couple of the pug species so they all go to experts for identifying. This moth was identified by another expert as Golden-rod Pug. This is not to discredit the first expert but just that he is better at moths in the hand and Roy must be one of the best photograph experts in the UK.
This is the new moth, Larch Pug from June 2008, which has not been recorded on Mull for many years so a good find.

On the down side Roy found another error, this time mine. I identified it as Grey Birch which is wrong so that deletes that species from the Treshnish list (although Tom Prescott and I recorded it at Croig in June 2007). The moth in question is actually a 'very dark' Brussels Lace (which I have only recorded once before)

18th: The Dipper was still at Ensay Burn mouth.
17th: A pair of Golden Eagles was over Treshnish lochan (soaring low over Leena) and also reported at Haunn; 1 Hen Harrier on Ensay Burn plantation; 2 Redwings at Treshnish farm entrance and 2 near the hair pin bends up the road.
Our neighbour saw a Jay on the Langamull side of Penmore Mill and yesterday 1 on the Croig road nearer to Croig than Penmore.
Hazel Gloves fungus at the hair pin bend above Ensay are doing really well this year and are visible from the road (last trees beside road).

16th: Again 1 Purple Sandpiper at Lainne Sgeir during low tide.

At least 1 Redwing and 1 Fieldfare by Ensay farmhouse.

This Shag was fishing in a pool at Lainne Sgeir.

Usual suspect: Ringed Plover.

Leena saw a Mountain Hare above treshnish boathouse.
I found this photo of these Short-eared Owls fighting. One is trying to drive the other to the ground.
The English Hen Harrier population is down to 4 pairs, the lowest in 50 years.
A beautiful day today. Previous days especially yesterday have been beautiful in a different way as recent guest Janet Mary Robinson reminds us.
Treshnish Point from Lainne Sgeir.

15th: 1 Purple Sandpiper at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary (unusually it was roosting at low tide). Fieldfares heard where Ensay road meets Calgary bay and as usual Tawny Owls heard at night in Treshnish wood.
1 Otter (I think a female) at the rocks about half way between Lainne Sgeir to Calgary beach swimming and fishing to the rocky shore on east side of Lainne Sgeir.
14th: 2 adult White-tailed Eagles and 1 Sparrowhawk at Langamull.
12th: At least 1 Turnstone at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary (there could have been more there but absorbed by below).
Saw an Otter clambering east over the rocks at Lainne Sgeir carrying a big salmon. It swam to a small rocky islet where I realised there was a bundle of fur, another otter. As the bundle unravelled it turned into 2 young otters. Mum returning to her 2 cubs! I watched for about an hour as the mother ate most of the salmon herself whilst the cubs seemed to find bits and pieces to eat under the seaweed along the shore. A Hooded Crow which had been beside the cubs since I first saw them, at one time tried pulling the tail of the mother, she paid no attention. Eventually she let one of the cubs have about 6" of what was left but even after about 15 minutes the youngster hadn't made much progress. A couple of times the mother came back and chewed it for a minute or 2 (perhaps to tenderise it). Eventually the fish was all eaten. I think it was just the 1 cub that fed but when the mum finished chewing she could have allowed the other cub to tuck in but I don't think so as it didn't seem to be pestering her or the other cub. Whilst the cub was trying to finish off the salmon the mum and other cub rubbed on the rocks and groomed with a very small amount of play. When they had all finished they headed to waters edge and disappeared behind a rock and I lost track of them. All in all probably my best views of an otter family. Too far off and dark for photos. 
11th: 1 Long-tailed Tit by farm track by Ensay Burn; up to 40 Fieldfares and Redwings moving between Treshnish wood, Ensay and Reudle Schoolhouse attracting the attention of 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 probable Merlin; 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier at upper Ensay Burn.
9th: An immature White-tailed Eagle flew over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and the Sitheans behind. I think it is a 2 or 3 year old judging by the spotted breast.

At about the same time Leena also saw a pair of Golden Eagles on Crauchan Treshnish. About 2 hours later I saw an unidentified eagle perched on the sitheans.
There was 1 Red-throated Diver off Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and another off from where the road turns inland towards Treshnish entrance.
There were 5 Turnstones and 1 Purple Sandpiper at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
Usual suspects: Great Northern Diver.

7th: 5 Fieldfares and 1 Redwing where Ensay road meets the Calgary bay coast. Again no sign of the Common Scoters.
6th: 1 Golden Eagle eagle flew west along the shore at Ensay Burn mouth (I think it was an immature).
No sign of the Common Scoters in Calgary bay but the drake Red-breasted Merganser is still present.
Flocks of at least 10+10 Whooper Swans were reported flying low over the sea at Treshnish Point.
5th: Only 2 Common Scoters off from Calgary boathouse; about 8 Long-tailed Tits by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse; our neighbour reported 1 Jay beside the road through Langamull (I went to look for it but no luck - I have never seen a Jay on Mull).
4th: No sign of the Common Scoters in Calgary bay but hale and poor visibility may have hidden them.
3rd: A pair of Golden Eagles were calling very loudly and excitedly in and below Treshnish wood. I couldn't get a clear photograph through the trees but looking up I saw what was causing the excitement. Another Golden eagle sky diving high up above.

1st: 20 Whooper Swans flew from Calgary direction over Lainne Sgeir to Treshnish Point, from where they headed south,

only 8 Common Scoters today at pier and later near the beach,

1 Red-throated Diver near the beach, 1 immature Golden Eagle flew north over over the bay from Lainne Sgeir

where there was a lone Buzzard calling and flying with deep wing beats. After a couple of minutes another Buzzard appeared from the west and after soaring to meet the first bird they both started displaying with shallow undulations and mutual soaring.
At least 2 Redwings and 1 Fieldfare at Ensay farmhouse.
Usual suspect: Heron.


29th: 1 ring-tailed Hen Harrier behind Treshnish Old Schoolhouse, at least 2 Redwings at Treshnish farm entrance and at least 8 probably 9 Common Scoters close to Calgary beach.
27th: 9 Common Scoters at Calgary pier and at least 3 Turnstones at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary.
25th: 1 female Hen Harrier at Loch Carnain an Amais, Mishnish, 1 yellow-tagged White-tailed Eagle at Langamull flew over Mornish Schoolhouse and another flew west over Cillchriosd, 9 Common Scoters at Calgary pier.

24th: at least 2 Black-headed Gulls at Lagganulva.
23rd: 1 Purple Sandpiper, 4-5 Turnstones, 1 Redshank at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary; at least 8 (probably 9) Common Scoters near Calgary pier; at least 3 Long-tailed Tits at Calgary boathouse and 1 Red-throated Diver in the inner bay. 1 owl (probably Short-eared) at dusk on the Ensay side of Ensay Burn cattle-grid and a dead Short-eared Owl under the electric lines there.
A Drinker caterpillar where Ensay road hits the Calgary bay coast was my first November record.
22nd: About 40 Fieldfares at Treshnish wood and presumably the same flock around Ensay in the afternoon,3 Purple Sandpipers at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary (on rocky islets so impossible to get closer).

This Greylay Goose there seems to have a large amount of white at the base of the bill but I am sure the id is correct.

I think this is the same bird later at Calgary beach

Usual suspects: Heron

and Buzzard.

21st: Tawny Owl calling at night in Treshnish wood.
A fresh Hazel Gloves fungus was found about three trees to west of the rhododendron log pile.
At night it was unusual (this year only) to have moths coming to a window. One was a migrant, the Silver Y (my only November record) and the other Juniper Carpet ssp. scotica is a new species for Treshnish!

20th: 9 Common Scoters at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and 2 or 3 Redwings nearer to the beach.
19th: Tawny Owl calling in Treshnish wood.
15th: 1 male Bullfinch calling at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 1 Black-headed Gull over Treshnish wood.
The Blackbird invasion continues with hundreds reported along the Dervaig-Salen road (Dave Sexton pers. comm.)
14th: I went to look for the Short-eared Owls but sheep gathering on the hill may have moved them on temporarily but whilst gathering, Jamie flushed 2 above Toechtamhor cottage, Haunn.
There were still plenty of Blackbirds around.This is one of a flock of at least 12 along with 2 Redwings by the cattlegrid at Ensay Burn. Although this is a female most of them are males.

For about the last fortnight Jamie has also been seeing hundreds of Blackbirds lining the roads, early morning between Dervaig at Achnacroig.
The Treshnish wood Buzzards are getting a bit less wary. The gradual narrowing of the tail bars shows this to be a juvenile

Usual suspect: Goldcrest.

13th: 2-5 Short-eared Owls after sunset, around Treshnish cow-barn and Black Park field (possibly only 2 circling back around me but I don't think so).

A small flock of 4+ Long-tailed Tits in Treshnish wood,

1 possible Jack Snipe at Treshnish boathouse and still more than normal numbers of Blackbirds around the farm. Woodcock in Black Park (will not be mentioned until spring unless high numbers occur).
12th: The 5 Common Scoters still between Calgary pier and the beach.

There were aboout 10 Redwings below Ensay farmhouse and further towards the Calgary coast, 6 Fieldfares and 1-2 Woodcocks. Tawny Owl calling in the evening in Treshnish wood.
Usual suspects: Buzzards.

One day I will catch this Buzzard defensive roll in focus

Don't look behind but...

11th: 5 Common Scoters off Calgary pier,

1 Turnstone and 1 possible Bar-tailed Godwit at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary, about 20 Redwings and later at least 12 Blackbirds below Ensay farmhouse.
Usual suspect: Shags.

An Otter on east side of Lainne Sgeir.
10th: I got back from a walk below Treshnish House where I saw a flock of at least 18 Blackbirds in the graveyard field and at least 12 in Black Park field, to see that a visitor from Ardnamurchan had seen c300 Blackbirds between Calgary and Ulva on the morning of the 8th (Alan Spellman in litt.). There were also at least 5 each of Redwing and Fieldfare around Treshnish wood and about 400 Starlings at the pre-roost gathering by Treshnish cow-barn. I don't think I have seen such a large flock there before.
This Sparrowhawk was hunting the Blackbirds (a second bird in the attack was either a Sparrowhawk or Kestrel).

A Dipper is back at Ensay Burn mouth

where I saw my first Woodcock of the season. This was my earliest record at Treshnish (my previous earliest was on 18th November last year).
A snipe flushed at Treshnish boathouse may have been a Jack Snipe (it flew fairly straight and landed only 30m away, twice). In the evening a Tawny Owl was heard in Treshnish wood.
Usual suspect: Buzzard.

Moonrise over Ensay.

9th: 1 adult and 1 immature Gannet

and 4 Turnstones at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary where there was also another pale Rock Pipit.

I am pretty sure this is a 3rd winter Great Black-backed Gull. It could be confused with a Lesser but the legs would be yellow and the bill less thick.

Treshnish Point.

8th: At least 3 Fieldfares around Treshnish wood, at least 7 Redwings near Ensay and 5 Greenland White-fronted Geese flying south over Treshnish.
There was 1 Bar-tailed Godwit at Croig, presumably the same bird present on the 30th of October. A juvenile Cormorant was showing well with white belly but photos were poor.
Usual suspect: Heron.

and a Rock Pipit with prominent supercilium but not, I think, a Scandinavian Rock Pipit (which is thought by some authors to be almost impossible to identify in the autumn).

7th: About 50 Fieldfares and at least 10 Redwings around Ensay again being hassled by a Kestrel.

There were also about 40 Chaffinches at Ensay farmhouse.
6th: 5 Slavonian Grebes off Killiechronan

where there was a wing-tagged, black dot on yellow, White-tailed Eagle.

The first winter Iceland Gull was at Knock, fish-farm out-falls

where there were about 100 Black-headed Gulls (the Iceland Gull is in the centre with spread wings)

and by the bridge, 1 Dipper.

At Laggan the 2 Rooks were still present and there were about 200 Fieldfares and at least 2 Redwings.

Usual suspects at Knock: Teal

and Goldeneye

5th: A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard in Treshnish wood. The Fieldfare influx continues with at least 2 near Calgary Farmhouse

and over 50 below Bennan farm.
Many divers passing south around Caliach Point. Several Great Northern, at least 5 Red-throated were identified and 2 possible Black-throated. 4 sightings of Black-headed Gull (all heading south around the point). 24 Whooper Swans flew from the north and landed at sea

and slowly slowly came towards Port na Caillich (the OS map has 2 different spelling for features in this area both different from 'Cailaich' the name of the farm on sign and phone-book). There were also 9 Wigeon here.
4th: There were at least 6 Fieldares at Ensay farmhouse along with 2 Redwings and a large flock of at least 50 flew south although they could have been Starlings. 2 Fieldfares were at the road summit.
Still looking for a good Fieldfare photo opportunity but they are proving very shy.

In the afternoon there was a loose flock of about 200 Fieldares

and Redwings at Ensay farmhouse (some were also in Treshnish wood)

which were attracting the attention of a Kestrel.

23 Greenland White-fronted Geese flew south over Treshnish wood.

There was 1 Purple Sandpiper at Lainne Sgeir, Calgary (my first of the season)

with the regular Ringed Plovers.

It was a good Buzzard day.

This one caught a vole or mole.

This shows the eyelid.

After breakfast naturally ...

Flock of 23 and 7 Whooper Swans and 3 Barnacle Geese flew south over Quinish (Mike Shepherd).
3rd: A pair of Golden Eagles between Burg and Tostary. This is the female.

Here I think it is trying to cough up a pellet.

There were at least 20 Fieldfares between Reudle Schoolhouse and Burg and at least 2 Redwings below Reudle Schoolhouse.
Usual suspect: Heron.

1 dog Otter on east side of Lainne Sgeir, Calgary and a smaller Otter about 300m towards Calgary.

2nd: About 12 Fieldfares near the Ensay Burg summit (Carolyne), 15 Redwings around Treshnish wood and 1 Gannet off Caliach Point.
1 Iceland Gull at Knock fish-farm outfalls (Mike Shepherd), where was it yestrday when i went to look!.
Whilst out with Andy Mortley at Croig last week he showed me a scent marking of an Otter. He has seen Otters making these secretions so there was no doubt what it was. If it is still there I will go back and get a photo meanwhile here is a photo of this anal jelly.
I have been doing a bit of research on Otter and Mink spraints. Years ago someone pointed out that the black oily droppings with a pointed end were from Otters. But last year I was told by a long term visitor that if there were no bones visible it wasn't an Otter's and often the ones described above have no bones showing so it appears that they are from Mink. The site above describes what to look for but states that Mink skats are smaller than 1cm diameter across and I am sure I have seen larger pointed droppings so now I need to keep an eye out and nose out because Otters spraint smell is not unpleasant.
Browsing similar sites allowed me to have a stab at some tracks I photographed on Ulva in 2009. At the time I presumed they were too small for Otter and therefore Mink. I didn't know until recently that there are Stoats on Mull and Ulva and I think that this is what these tracks are (the four toes on one side looks right).

I did some research on the Hen Harrier which appeared to be hunting over the sea yesterday.
I came across this Note from British Birds
'Hen Harriers hunting over the sea
While counting gulls from the southern tip of the island [Copinsay] on the afternoon of 28th October, I noticed two female or immature Hen Harriers C. cyaneus circling over the sea some hundreds of metres to the southeast of the island. Numbers of Fieldfares Turdus pilaris and Redwings T. iliacus were flying low over the sea towards Copinsay and the adjacent part of Mainland and the harriers made repeated dives and low-level chases in pursuit of those which came close. After about 20 minutes, one of the harriers seemed to strike a thrush with either its wings or its talons; the victim dropped into the sea, only to rise again before the harrier was able to pick it up. The two harriers continued to chase thrushes repeatedly—but unsuccessfully—for a further 35 minutes and then flew back to Copinsay, where they spent the remainder of the day hunting in the conventional manner. Hunting over the sea by Hen Harriers seems likely to be even rarer than hunting over open water by Marsh Harriers. MARK BEAMAN'
I think this second Note fits the behaviour I saw yesterday better.
'Hen Harrier apparently attempting to catch fish

At 09.50 GMT on 26th December 1978, I watched a near-adult male Hen Harrier C. cyaneus passing along the eastern edge of a Pennine reservoir which is flanked by a narrow conifer belt and surrounded by open hill pasture..... On five occasions, while flying at a height of 1-2 m, it lost flight speed, almost hovered, and plunged feet-first quite slowly into the water, immersing its legs and thighs completely, with tail lying on water surface while keeping its wings clear of the water and beat­ing steadily. It lifted cleanly out of the water after each immersion without any prey and eventually reached the south bank, where it landed. It subsequently flew out over the water three more times, but did not enter the water again. R. W. RHODES
Donald Watson has commented as follows: 'I have not myself seen Hen Harriers fishing or attempting to take fish, but the following observations are relevant:
...There are several old accounts of Hen Harriers taking dead fish, and migrating harriers, probably Pallid Harriers C. macrourus, have been observed pursuing and catching flying-fish over the Red Sea, which I quoted in my book The Hen Harrier (1977, pages 105 & 27).
'I cannot cite proof of Hen Harriers capturing live fish. Mr Rhodes's account certainly suggests an attempt to lift something from below the surface. I do not doubt that fish put back from keep-nets by anglers, such fish sometimes being dead, could be an attraction to a harrier; and one might even try for a live fish below the surface, as is suggested by Mr Rhodes's note.' EDS 

1st: 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Whooper Swan at Killiechronan,

c80 Canada Geese , c50 Redwings and 4 Turnstones by Craignure Golfcourse, 40+ Black-headed Gull at Knock, 5+ at Killiechronan and at least 1 at Lagganulva.

2 Rooks near Ulva school.

About 8 Fieldares below Reudle Schoolhouse.
A ring-tailed Hen Harrier was hunting over the water and 1 juvenile Gannet both between Laggan and Ulva.
I found out today from Raymond Duncan more details of the colour-ringed Twite I saw at Treshnish Point on 20/09/2011. It was ringed on 30/01/11 at Foveran Links, Newburgh, 10 miles north of Aberdeen. This is now the 5th Mull bird.
On 16/05/2009 Tony Gibson photographed a ringed Twite at Haunn which was traced to one of 417 Twite ringed at Raggra, near Wick, Caithness between November and March 2000/2001. A colour ringed bird I found at Haunn on the 11/04/2010 was ringed at Melrose in the winter of 2008/2009 and another bird ringed in the same year at Melrose (same ring colours) was found by Alan Spellman on 12/05/2010 (a month after mine)at Loch na Keal. The 5th bird was ringed in NW England but I have no details except it looks as though it was found in between Treshnish and Loch na Keal. I am trying to find out more.
A paper on Twite rings and their movements is to be published soon in Scottish Birds.
1 Otter at Killiechronan. I think there is a cub on the left.

A Red Admiral flew at Craignure golfcourse or Salen bay (can't remember which).