and the other was a sub-adult,
I didn't get decent views of the other 2.
I don't quite understand how the wing tag of this yellow E can suddenly disappear?
I have been told they can flip around to the underside but then the small 'tag' on the other side should still be visible. I am almost certain that another bird didn't come into view without me noticing. It proves that many of my records of 'untagged adult' may not be correct.
There was still 1 juvenile Common Gull by the dam at Treshnish lochan but later I saw it flying north over Treshnish wood so it must be OK.
Alarmed male Stonechat so obviously had a nest nearby.
2 Basking Sharks south of Port Haunn (visible with bare eye from the summit of Cruachan Treshnish)!
Went back to try and get decent Lesser Twayblade photos.
On the way I looked under the heather for nearer flowering plants and so found 2 new sites of 6 and 21 plants (but they were all vegetative and in between 2 other close by known sites, so not that exciting).
I did find a new site for Bog Orchid above Treshnish lochan. I found a pool with at least 20 plants (11 of which were flowering).
I have looked many times at these pools hoping to find some but they must have been absent or in a vegetative state so I missed them. This is a great site for photographs because it is easy to re-find, not too boggy and there are a few stones to stand on.
Looking for Lesser Twayblades revealed lots of Magpie moths.
There are still plenty of Meadow Browns around even on this dull afternoon and this must be the best year I have seen for Scotch Argus (yesterday there were 10 just by out gate).
30th: 2 White-tailed Eagles at Treshnish Point (again I only caught the them as they were flying away, 2 adult and at least 1 juvenile Bullfinches at Treshnish House
(the female is feeding the fledgling). The seeds are just visible.
Not so many terns off the north coast in the last 3 visits although still plenty of photo opportunities.
All photo I took were of Common Tern.
There was a flock of about 20 Kittiwakes at the rocks at Port Haunn. I couldn't tell if they were roosting on the rocks or feeding on the water. They were too close (i.e. fast) for a decent shot
but later at the boathouse some came close by. Some were showing various stages of moult (but photos were poor) but this one was sharp and it still has some juvenile plumage.
Reed Bunting before the gate into Haunn field.
1 Basking Shark off Treshnish north coast.
The Kittiwake is interested in something it has disturbed.
Went back to try and get shots of the Emerald Damselflies on the pond on top of the sitheans. Last time I had no card in the camera and on subsequent days they must have been hidden in the vegetation.
This 1 was too far off for a sharp photograph but these 2 shots are of the same damselfly in exactly the same spot but one with the sun and one against.
Field Gentian by Toechtamhor cottage.
Exciting news today. I went to check that I hadn't forgotten to put the tree-guards back on the Bird's nest Orchid and found a new Broad-leaved Helleborine plant, but best of all it is flowering and the only flowering plant I know of in the area (hopefully there is another undiscovered flowering plant nearby that will cross pollinate).
That brings the number of known plants on Treshnish to 5 (there were another 3 vegetative plants this year but 2 of them have been eaten by invertebrates). I am sure I wouldn't have gone back into the wood again this summer as I get eaten alive by ticks, so it was a very lucky find.
1 probable Palmate Newt to north of Reudle Schoolhouse bog.
Still a couple of Small Heaths on the wing.
Found my first Lesser Twayblade of the year. I have looked for it at new sites but this is a known site. That is my 16th orchid at Treshnish this year.
I should have spent more time trying to get the flower in focus but it is difficult with my zoom lens as it won't focus under about 2m and I have to press down the heather with my feet whilst taking the shot. I will try later with other cameras but it it is extremely difficult with any of my cameras trying to get a decent shot of such a tiny plant.
29th: at least 2 White-tailed Eagles (1 adult & 1 non-adult) continued criss-crossing the Ensay-Reudle Schoolhouse road. I tried driving to where they were going to cross the road but they are flying very fast even when they look like they are cruising, 1 Hen Harrier on Beinne Reudle, Bullfinches heard at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Willow Warbler on our Gooseberries.
28th: 2 Golden Eagles in evening between Treshnish lochan and Beinne Dhuill, so all the Haunn guests managed to see them. The male is on the left and only appears larger because he is closer. The poor photos are entirely my fault (slow shutter speed), at times they were very close.
This is the female showing the white 'landing lights' on either side of the neck.
I have only just started to notice this and I am not sure it is a feature of all Golden eagles but in India I found it an easy way to identify Booted Eagles (another aquila eagle) which are very small and easy to miss amongst all the Black Kites.
I was reading the Breeding Bird Survey report for 2011. I noticed that Twite was recorded in only 17 surveyed 1x1km squares (0.5% of total squares). To put this into context, Golden Eagle was recorded in 9 squares, Hen Harrier in 14 and Red-throated diver in 10. I have stopped recording it at Treshnish because it is fairly common. Haunn field is a good place to see them and they were around the cottages today.
I also stopped recording Great Skua because it was usually seen off the coastline on every sea-watch but strangely enough I have not seen one for weeks. Perhaps I have not been looking enough off the west coast but there have been gannets every day off the north shore and usually the skuas piratise them. I know the Great Skuas are breeding at their usual spot in northwest Mull so I wonder if the numbers are down on the Treshnish Isles.
2 Basking Sharks off Treshnish north shore (below TH and off Ensay Burn mouth), 1 Wood Pigeon in Treshnish wood
26th: Willow Warbler through the window glass of our house
Wheatears still around today.
A day of introduced/escaped species: First, 1 or 2 Mink to east of Ensay Burn mouth,
then a feral cat
with a kitten below Treshnish House. Even though the kitten was quite large, when the mum saw me and ran off, the kitten didn't follow but hid in the grass. The mum won't have gone far and will return,
Then 3 Mountain Hares in Black Park field.
This Red Deer stag in Black park field is on the wrong side of the deer fence, notice the new velvety antlers. I think this is the loon who dropped his antlers on our lawn, he is turning into a big stag.
1 Basking Shark off Ensay Burn mouth.
Field Gentian (1 of 2) that we found at a new site at Ensay Burn mouth yesterday
Also went to get the gridref of the Geater Sea Spurrey and at first couldn't find it. Then I saw why. Like Field Gentian, it seems to close its petals at night (the darker green leaves are of Sea Milkwort).
25th: 1 hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow at Treshnish lochan.
There were 3 juvenile Common Gulls at Treshnish lochan (although 1 was dead) and no adults. One flew off but another allowed very close approach and I wondered if it and the dead one, for some reason, had been abandoned by the parents but when I returned a couple of hours later I heard an alarmed adult and saw it flying around and no sign of the juvenile so it seems like it was being looked after.
In the evening a Short-eared Owl flew straight at me but it took me so much by surprise and it was too fast for auto-focus. I caught it as it flew north towards the sitheans.
There were 2 familes of Greylag Geese at Ensay Burn mouth, 1 with 3 goslings and the other with 5.
Lots of Scotch Argus around today even in the morning when it was overcast.
Leena found a Common Footman to the west of Treshnish Burn mouth. I have only ever seen it twice before at my light trap.
There was a Grayling there too and this one was showing more underwing than usual.
1 Basking Shark off Treshnish boathouse and later I heard that guests watched a Otter there for an hour. Sea Urchins exposed at low tide on the rocks below Treshnish House.
I think these may be Pipefish in a pool below Treshnish House.
I went back to get better shots of Greater Sea Spurrey along shore below Treshnish House.
24th: 2 Bullfinches by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse (too quick to see see details), 2 Common Gulls alone at Treshnish lochan
I got a new camera today, a Canon D7 (replacing my D40). The Common Gull and Blackbird were my first shots with it (on this overcast day).
2 Scotch Argus butterflies today around Treshnish wood, so I am sure the one on the 20th was correct.
23rd: Last month we had a visit from distinguished moth experts, Roy Leverton, Mark Young and Tom Prescott. It was an informal visit as they were hoping to see the Grey, the rarest moth at Treshnish (which I have only caught twice). Not a very exciting name to be sure but a fresh moth is very pretty in a subtle way. They trapped for 2 nights with several moth traps but failed to catch one probably because it was too cold and windy. However they did collect some Sea Campion flower-heads which they hoped would hold some caterpillars.
I have just heard now, that this last strategy worked. Most of the larvae had either been parasitised or were Marbled Coronet (a closely related and more flashy looking moth) but they found 3 Grey larvae and reared them to the pupal stage so they should see adults next year. The larvae were reared on Sea Campion that Roy had grown several years previously for this express purpose (yes, it IS that special). Here is a photo of Roy's larvae
and here is my adult from July 2009.
You can see that it would be perfectly camouflaged on the rocks along the shore.
Interestingly the moth that I first caught in 2007 was not the first from Treshnish. The British Museum Cockayne Collection has only 2 specimens of the Grey and guess where they are from?
See here for details of male and here for female
and here are the same moths without the details
Thankfully the wind has died down. For the last 3 years, at Swallow (and previous years House Martin) fledging time, I have been worried about high winds. Global warming is on everyone's lips but it is these small differences in weather from climate change that can make a difference for insect eating species. The environmental press always highlights wet weather that can be so detrimental to breeding success and wind rarely gets a mention but along the west coast wind must be about as important as rain. On the 21st there was a nest of Swallows with chicks on the eves of West cottage. I watched 3 young flying around but there was always 2 in the nest (although not certainly the same 2). Then later on I saw one of the chicks fly out of the nest so that could have been its maiden flight. Then 2 days later we had strong winds. The adults are very smart. Sometimes when the winds are high I find them hawking inches above the ground along the road through Treshnish wood or if the wind has any south in it along the rocks along the north shore. Ensay Burn is very steep so they also hunt there where there is some protection from the wind. I am sure they have a lot of strategies that I haven't even noticed for example if the wind is really bad do they go further afield to Calgary? I wouldn't be surprised because Sand Martins from Calgary come here sometimes at this time of year although much more so, before and after breeding. Still, I am glad the wind has died down, they can probably cope with one days wind. Incidentally there was 1 dead chick/fledgling beside Middle cottage the other day but I couldn't see what could have killed it except for the torrential rain we had on about the 18th. It sounds like we have been having terrible weather but that couldn't be further from the truth. Although the last week has not been great this is the best spring and summer I have experienced in 7 seasons on Mull.
22nd: During strong winds a recently fledged Common Gull landed on the road in front of our house. Every time I see this I twitch a bit thinking it might be a Turtle Dove. I wonder if this could be the Cuckoo a guest saw on the 18th on the farm track?
Shot through the glass of our window.
20th: 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker in Treshnish wood. This is the first record during the summer months. I have only seen it 5 times here (all in winter). I did hear a possible call a few weeks back but I convinced myself it was the alarm call of a Blackbird. I am pretty sure I would have heard it drumming if it had bred so I presume this is one of the birds from Calgary or Kilninian.
Common and Arctic Terns are still common on the north Treshnish shore. This is a Common Tern.
2 (possibly 3) Basking Sharks off shore below Treshnish House and 1 Mountain Hare by Treshnish graveyard.
Almost certainly saw first Scotch Argus of the year on our lawn but flew off before I could be sure (this is the same date as my previous earliest so entirely probable).
But the most exciting find was Bird's-nest Orchid. A new orchid for Treshnish and an extremely rare orchid on Mull known from only two other sites on Mull near Tobermory and Carsaig. It has taken me 7 years to find this plant so I think there is no danger of an internet browsing orchid collectors finding it.
I have looked for it in previous years mostly on the muddy bank of Ensay Burn near the mouth under the Hazel and Blackthorns. It is a beautiful specimen and there even looks like there are two old stalks from last year.
That brings the total orchid species for Treshnish to 16 (not counting sub-species and hybrids)! This is also another Red Data plant for Treshnish (classified as Near Threatened).
Another exciting find today was finding Greater Sea-spurrey along the shore below Treshnish House. I have seen it at Calgary and Croig but must have missed it here.
I was actually looking for Oysterplant. Our vice-county recorder has told me that it has turned up at new sites on Mull this year and to look out for it. It used to be abundant at Ensay Burn mouth and is given special mention in the Mull Flora. I have not been able to find it at the most recent known sites this year so I am hoping to find new sites to make up for an apparent loss. In 1995 the Averis's on their Mull survey found it near the boathouse. It has disappeared from Port Haunn where it was last seen in 2010. It is thought to be seeding from the colony on Lunga, Treshnish Isles.
19th: The Golden Eagle pair were seen several times from the Ensay-Burg road on a sunny windy day. The male and female were both sky-diving so he has no doubt about his prowess
and judging by her display afterwards, she was equally impressed.
Soon after, the male came over the road.
and this is the female later on.
Carolyne saw a White-tailed Eagle flying below Treshnish House.
My first Painted Lady of the year (I claimed one in the spring but it may have been a Small Tortoiseshell) near Reudle turn-off.
I also saw at least 1 large moth at the summit of the Ensay-Burg road. I think it may have been a Wood Tiger (I have seen them in other years on these and nearby hill tops but always between 27-30th of June).
This is a typical Bog Orchid site (although they can also be found on tiny pools)
I heard today that Scottish Natural Heritage has satellite tagged some Basking Sharks. The have been tagged off the coast of Coll and Tiree, some were only tagged 2 days ago and information is already being posted on the internet. You can read about it and see some fantastic photos here and here and watch their movements here.
18th: At about 7pm I saw what looked like a juvenile Short-eared Owl on a fence post near to last years nest site. I had to go home to get a memory card (ironically). When I returned about 20 minutes later it had gone. I waited and at 8.15pm some Hooded Crows alerted me to a young Short-eared Owl on the ground about 15m from where I has seen one on the post. The Hooded Crows were around for about half an hour but eventually put up an adult from the same fence post area. I thought maybe I had made a mistake and it had been an adult I had seen earlier but as events unfolded I became pretty sure I was right the first time. The adult flew off with the crows and an adult returned half an hour later but flew off almost immediately. I thought I would wait and see the adult bring back food to the young on the ground and maybe get an idea how many there were but after an hour and a half nothing happened. Eventually at about 10.30 the young bird started to get restless, I din;t see it but somehow got onto on to the rock beside it and preened. At 10.40 it flew short distances from rock to rock and then fence-post to fence-post and then it started to fly properly going higher ans higher directly above the nest area. The flight was inexperienced in that it was made up of fast continuous wing beats not at all like the graceful flicks of the adult. Still gaining height it moved slowly to the west into the mist. I presume it was searching for the adult to find food. There was no calling at all by adult or young during this whole period. So the adults at this nest site have reared young two years in a row (at least).
Again went to look for Bladder Sedge Carex vesicaria at Reudle but don't think I found it. To make up for it I checked a Bog Orchid site I found in 2008. There were at least 17 plants (all but 2 flowering).
At least 3 were completely submerged from the heavy rain last night including a flowering plant. I have never seen them submerged before.
17th: Spotted Flycatcher with young at Ensay Burn cattle-grid.
Went to look for a Bladder Sedge Carex vesicaria at Reudle. It has been seen there by surveys on Mull by Averis and Averis in 1995 and by the British Museum Survey 1966-70 for the Mull Flora and is only known from 3 other sites on Mull that I know of. I am way out of my depth with sedges but I did take a few samples which I am looking at. Stopped off to check out a nearby Bog Orchid from 2008 & 2009 which I couldn't find but we did find this. I think it is a Palmate Newt in the terrestrial stage. I wish I had taken a photo of its underside because the way to tell Smooth Newt from Palmate Newt is by the lack of spotting on the throat on the former. I think I would have noticed the spotting as I did see the orange belly so I think it is Palmate.
16th: 4 Red Grouse (NM3547), 1 Short-eared Owl on Cruachan Treshnish, there were 7 recently fledged Common Gulls on Treshnish lochan (unfortunately I got home to find there was no card in my Canon). The Swallows which had left their nest in the nissen nut have finally flown outside (they have been perched outside the nest more than a week).
4-5 Greylings butterflies on the summit of Cruachan Treshnish, and many Magpie moths at various spots
(one small patch had at least 10).
There were 2-3 Four-spotted Chasers, 2 Blue-tailed Damselflies, 2 Emerald Damselflies (my first of the year and earliest record by 10 days) and 1 Large Red Damselfly, all on the wee pond at the sitheans plus 1 probable Common Hawker nearby (too fast to be sure). This pond is only about 2x5m! Also 1 Grayling on the rocks there (again missing photos from Canon).
Went to photograph Bog Orchids and found 2 flowering plants at a new spot.
The flowers are upside down compared to other orchids with the lip at the top and hood at the bottom.
The balls like structures on the edge of the leaf are bulbils for vegetative reproduction.
15th: 1 male Hen Harrier at Haunn, the same high number of Common/Arctic Terns off north Treshnish coast. This Common Gull fledgling was on the farm road beside Treshnish wood. Last year one of the fledglings used to land on the road. Maybe they are gritting?
1 Mountain Hare in Treshnish boathouse field.
14th: female Golden Eagle on Cruachan Treshnish.
13th: 1 untagged adult White-tailed Eagle over Treshnish House, 1 female Hen Harrier over Ensay farmhouse, still 6-11 Common and Arctic Terns almost constantly in view off north Treshnish coast (from my photograph, appeared to be more Arctic Terns today),
flock of 15 Greylag Geese (5 adults & 10 goslings) just off shore below Treshnish House (best evidence of breeding so far although the goslings are already large).
12th: Both male and female Golden Eagles on Cruachan Treshnish.
This is the old male fending off a Buzzard.
The terns along the north Treshnish coast were as numerous as yesterday.
This is an Arctic Tern.
Recently fledged Willow Warblers.
A mystery as to what the dogs were chasing into a hole last week was revealed. This time I saw what Jan was after. I called her back and saw it was a Mink. It climbed down from a rock
and Cap tracked it to under a boulder. It made a tremendously loud noise and an almighty smell and Cap, the sensible coward, got the message. The Mink, still under the rock, kept a look-out.
My first Common Hawker of the year along wee burn beyond the cow-barn near the deer fence. It was a beautiful male but was too busy hawking to stop for a photo.
11th: Female Golden Eagle on Cruachan Treshnish.
2 Wood Pigeons flew out of Treshnish wood, Rock Pipit fledgling at the boathouse.
More Common and Arctic Terns off the north Treshnish coast than ever. There was almost always 6-10 terns in view during a 3 hour visit. Obviously this are good numbers breeding on the Treshnish Isles this year. Common and Arctic terns are very erratic at choosing colonies. In some years on the Treshnish Isles the breeding numbers can be almost nil (e.g. 2007, 1999 & 1998) but can be as high as 300 pairs (e.g. 2006 & 2003).
These are Common Terns.
I was quite please with this shot as the bird is diving very fast
Great Black-backed Gull
Grey Seal at the boathouse.
Jan in the boathouse meadow
Still trying to get the hang of the Lumix close up lens but this Green-veined White allowed me to get very close.
10th: I went to look to see how the old male Golden Eagle is doing. I didn't have to walk further than the cow-barn before seeing the pair flying into the north wind on Cruachan Treshnish. The male made a stoop out of sight and the female flew over to the sitheans behind our house and twenty minutes later she flew back to the Cruachan. Just over an hour later the pair were flying into the wind above the Common Gull colony and the male made a stoop out of my view. I got above the brow of the hill and saw the gulls swooping on the white head of the male. Strangely enough a flock of Hooded Crows didn't hassle him but he flew off anyway with a Common Gull chick in his talons.
I was glad to see that on a windy day he is absolutely fine.
This is one of the Common Gull fledglings a little earlier.
I male Hen Harrier above Treshnish cow-barn. The Common and Arctic Terns are definitely coming from the Treshnish isles. I could see them coming out from Calgary bay around Treshnish Point to the Treshnish Isles.
Reed Bunting preening below Haunn cottages (male still singing there)
Grayling at Treshnish Point.
Incredibly well camouflaged Dark Marbled Carpet (don't think it is Common Marbled Carpet) above Treshnish cow-barn.
I was happy to find a new site with Small-white Orchid at Haunn.
It is close to the other sites there but still an apparent expansion. I found this spot in the spring when the whole bank was full of Wood Bitter-vetch., which has now all gone to seed.
but there was 1 flowering Field Gentian (6 days before previous earliest).
Three threatened species within a few feet of each other, not bad!
Common Centaury nearby (first found this year on 17th June at Treshnish Point).
I have just heard that guests at Treshnish have apparently seen a family group of Quail this week in northwest Mull (site withheld for web publication).
The other day I was reading a review in the BTO News magazine on the re-written Puffin by Mike Harris and Sarah Wanless, (Poyser). This book was first published in 1984 but so much has changed since then that it is virtually a new book. The review alone points out some amazing facts. An adult Puffin has to exert so much energy to feed its chicks that 90% of the fish it catches are used just to fuel its own activity. It follows that a reduction in food reserves will effect its ability to provide that extra 10% needed for the chicks. Presumably this is what has happened on places like the Isle of May where chick productivity has fallen so dramatically. Read more about the latter in the full review here (under the combined review on the book Kittiwake which is also recommended reading)
9th: The female Golden eagle on Cruachan Treshnish (being hassled by a Raven)
Still lots of terns off the north Treshnish coast, both Arctic and Common.
These are all Common Terns.
An adult White-tailed Eagle flew over Treshshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Several Red Deer fawns.
Our neighbour brought around an insect which I think (without looking it up) is a horse fly.
Took a friend to see the nearest Bog Orchids but they still haven't fully flowered.
but we did see a beautiful large Adder
8th: A day of oddities.
First of all this adult Whitehthroat with a black chin.
This is its fledgling.
Then an unfledged Razorbill. I wouldn't have expected to this at Treshnish boathouse. The chick has swam all the way from the Treshnish Isles.
and this Common Tern with a white cap at this time of year is strange. I don't think it is a photographic effect even though it is out of focus.
Still a constant movement of Common and Arctic Terns along the north coast of Treshnish.
and Mountain Hare at Treshnish boathouse.
Devil's-bit Scabious flowering in Black Park (my earliest date)
Ling just showing a hint of the first flowers at Treshnish boathouse (first of the year).
7th: Wood Pigeon heard at Treshnish House.
3 Bottle-nosed Dolphins at Calgary bay - Caliach Point, Ruth Fleming (www.mullbirds.com).
5th: Still a constant movement of terns along the north coast of Treshnish into Calgary bay. Probably over two-thirds were Common Terns
with smaller numbers of Arctic Terns.
Alarmed Meadow Pipit (which looks very much like a Tree Pipit) by Treshnish House.
Heard the Wood Pigeon again today this time near the Old Schoolhouse and whilst it was calling another flew out from the area from which it was calling, so a pair, and at this time of year is best evidence so far of breeding. Swallow fledglings were flying around the farm buildings (saw first one yesterday), Bullfinch heard by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse. There have been parties of Siskins in the wood for the last month as well as a pair of Linnets which I presume is a different pair than the one at Haunn. Buzzard young still calling hungrily from Treshnish wood,
4th: Still a constant movement of Common Terns along the north coast of Treshnish into Calgary bay. I have never seen them so often here. I have seen them carrying away fish in their bills and I presume they are from the colony on the Treshnish Isles.
I only saw 1 or 2 Arctic Tern.
Pair of Greenfinch on north side of Treshnish Point (rare at Treshnish at this time of year) and at least 2 Fulmars on south side of Treshnish point (near Starling roost) but no sign of the pair that were on the ledges last week. There may only be about one breeding pair this year (now the Barn Owls have gone I can check the area).
At night Tawny Owl young heard in woodland below the cow-barn.
1 dolphin in Sound of Coll, in outer mouth of Calgary bay. It surfaced about 3 times and then I didn't see it again.
2 or 3 Basking Sharks off Treshnish boathouse (my first of the year, which is quite late).
Male Keeled Skimmer just beyond East cottage, Haunn.
This was the highlight of the day because I have only seen it once before at this site on 25th June 2010. I've looked for it many times here although today was the perfect weather. I have seen it one other time at Treshnish (beside road through Treshnish wood - also in June 2010).
More Magpie moths seen again (e.g. at Treshnish Point). I have seen large numbers in previous year but usually in one spot obviously after hatching but not so many over a large area in the daytime.
3rd: 1 female Hen Harrier in the afternoon and 1 male in the evening by Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
At least 1 of the Common Gull's young is able to fly.
This other one is not quite ready.
At night Tawny Owl young heard in woodland below the cow-barn.
3 Magpie moths at different places on Cruachan Treshnish
as well as 3 Yellow Shells and a Northern Eggar caterpillar.
Tried experimenting with my Lumix with close up lens but couldn't find the close up setting whilst in the field so limited success photographing the 3 smallest orchids. I also realised how great the swivel viewfinder is on my Nikon Coolpix which reduces the amount of bog crawling.
and Bog Orchid.
vegetative Bog Orchids
I found out the identity of the strange plant that I found on the cliff tops on 5th June (photo repeated below).
I came to the conclusion it was Wild Thyme in bud, which was only part right. Lynne Farrell our county recorder has just returned from a field trip to Mull (which has enabled her to finish all the tetrad fieldwork next year for the new book on Mull Flora which she is writing). She e-mails to say that the strange furry coating is a result of a gall. I do a quick internet search 'gall Thymus polytrichus' and 3rd from top is my favourite botanical website by Carl Farmer from Skye (and now Argyll) which tell me the gall is produced by a mite Aceria thomasi.
2nd: 2+ Common Terns off Treshnish boathouse. Photographs are a great aid to identification.
This recently fledged Chaffinch is taking advantage of the chicken food.
At dusk saw a Cuckoo near Treshnish House.
This is an unusually marked Six-spot Burnet.
the pattern is pretty consistent on both of the outer wings.
I was asked by Mark Young to collect Barn Owl pellets for some research project at Aberdeen University (to examine for moth caterpillars). The only safe way for me to be sure I was collecting Barn Owls pellets and not Short-eared Owl's (I don't know the difference although I would imagine there is one) was to pick them up from the main roost or nest site. I was pretty certain the owls have moved on and this was confirmed when nothing flew from the crevice. I did find over a dozen pellets and could see that the site where I had presumed they were nesting is a perfect little crevice in the rocks. Hopefully they will be back next year. Presumably one of them was too young to breed. Although they can breed after one year not all of them do.
1st: At least 2 recently fledged Buzzards and singing Blackcap in Treshnish wood. 2+ Common/Arctic Terns off Treshnish boathouse (at least 2 were Common Terns).
Common Tern with Cairns of Coll behind
A Wood Pigeon seen twice around Treshnish wood and heard in the woodland below the cow-barn. This is the first time I have heard the call repeated so I am absolutely sure it was this species. Other times I have heard the call once and with the sounds of walking boots and rustling clothes never been 100% sure. This is the first evidence of Wood Pigeons breeding on the farm.
No Fulmars on the cliffs on the north side of Treshnish Point and none seen there at sea during a brief visit.
A pod of at least 4 Bottle-nosed Dolphins swimming south around Treshnish point at 8.45pm.
(I have just heard that our diving guests saw a pod of about 10 in Calgary bay, near the pier, on the 24th and a pod was also seen on the 26th also deep in the bay), 2 or 3 Mountain Hares in Black Park field.