31st: Found the Chough again today.
Here is the ground after its pecking.
Pair of Golden Eagles there too.
30th: In the process of entering my bird records for this year I tried to see if anyone had counted the Starling murmmuration at Gretna which we saw on 14th November. One newspaper quoted the flock as being over 1 million birds!
This is an excellent YouTube clip of the Gretna flock and it was only 4 days after we saw it (worth watching until the end). Loads more here. There is a motorway service station nearby but somehow I always manage to pass it (we have seen the murmuration one before whilst heading south). This is a highly recommended winter event.
I counted at least 5,000 in a smaller flock I saw at Leighton Moss Lancashire last month
so I find a million entirely credible.
We get the same thing happening every sunset at Treshnish Point as they get ready to dive into their roost cave. It only involves 200-400 birds but it is, none the less, a beautiful sight.
29th: 1 male Hen Harrier at Haunn (I presume this is the same male that has been around the Treshnish - Reudle area for the past month)
28th: Woodcock flying around Treshnish Old Schoolhouse at dusk
26th: Spent a couple of hours looking for the Chough but couldn't find it. It really needs a whole day of searching to be sure it isn't further along the coast. I did see a pair of Golden Eagles and a White-tailed Eagle (probably an immature) and a Woodcock.
25th: 1 Mistle Thrush on Reudle road summit.
24th: Spent 3 hours looking for the Chough without any luck although we did have a pair of Golden Eagles flying around for most of the time and also a male Hen Harrier and 1 Woodcock.
These videos are a fraction of the quality of original videos. They approximates the originals if you click the YouTube icon and then on YouTube click the cog icon to change quality and choose the highest HD setting.
Male Golden Eagle, above Treshnish lochan, 9 Aug 2012.
Colour ringed juvenile Sanderling at Langamull on 4th Sept 2012. Ringed by Jeroen Reneerkens and his Sanderling Study Group at Hochstetter Forland, Greenland on 27th July 2012.
Sanderling, Calgary beach, 16 Sept 2012
Croig, 9 Sept 2012
Croig, 9 Sept 2012
20th: 1 Hen Harrier at Haunn.
Here is an update on the pressure being put on India to stop the killing of Amur Falcons in Nagaland, India.
A lakh is 100,000 and BNHS is the prestigious Bombay Natural History Society.
Thanks to everyone who has signed the petition above.
18th: Just got back home and realised I had seen the big three today (the two eagles and Otter). The tour guides have a high hit rate for these species but I never go out of my way to see all three.
Pair of Golden Eagles on Ensay Burg road,
immature White-tailed Eagle at Kellan
and Otter at Killiechronan eagle watch-point.
Also 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (pretty sure it was this godwit) and at least 1 Slavonian Grebe off Killiechronan, 1 Hen Harrier at Ulva ferry crossing, 1 Greenshank at Lagganulva, 1 Woodcock nr Torloisk crossroad (I could have got a good photo but I had to drive forward to let a car pass), at least 1 Redwing and 2 Fieldfares at Ballgown, about 10 Redwings on path to Kilninian black beach. Didn't see any white-winged gulls at Knock.
Ben More had an unusual cloud formation.
17th: at least 15 Blackbirds below Calgary Farmhouse.
Flight shots were less successful as it was either too close and therefore fast across the frame or the autofocus was focusing on the sea background. Frustrating as it could have made beautiful shots with the sea behind.
At one point the Chough flew out of view on a hillock and seconds later a Golden Eagle stooped at the exact spot. I needn't have worried the eagle was just displaying and it continued doing so all along the coast.
About 10 Redwings near the hair pin bends above Ensay farmhouse.
12th: Another beautiful day but couldn't find the Chough. Did see 2 Golden Eagles, 1 Woodcock on open moorland and 1 male Hen Harrier.
About 15 Redwings near first stone bridge on Ensay-Reudle road. There are quite a few Blackbirds and Song Thrushes along the coast which I presume are migrants.
11th: Beautiful sunny day again so tried to get good Chough shots but I only saw it from a long way away. I was quite impressed though as it seemed to be holding its own against 2 Ravens. Some friends were there a few minutes earlier and had closer views.
Also 1 Golden Eagle and 3 Woodcocks on the open moorland which only seems to happen in cold weather (usually only seen in Treshnish wood in winter).
Carolyne saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Treshnish House.
10th: Saw the Chough again today
plus 1 male Hen Harrier (twice) and 1 or 2 Golden Eagles.
Saw a Hooded Crow and a Raven flying several hundred yards with food (I am not sure why they would be doing this at this time of year).
9th: Pair of Golden Eagles off and on throughout the day hunting around Treshnish wood with the female calling and displaying
and 1 Sparrowhawk around Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
8th: 1 Reed Bunting at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
6th: The Golden Eagle pair were around Treshnish Old Schoolhouse off an on all day.
They were mostly hunting and only spent a small amount of time calling and skydiving.
The first calling and display by the female was closely followed by an interloper being escorted away by the female. Presumably it was the presence of the third bird that got the female excited. The only other calling and display was late in the afternoon.
The low light showed how the talons are packed away for flight.
1 Sparrowhawk over Treshnish wood
and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker seen twice flying backwards and forwards over Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
1 Greenshank flew north from Treshnish lochan (a new species for Treshnish).
5th: Saw the Chough again today at the sea cliffs
very close to where Juliet Vines and Felicity Pollard saw it on the 20th. It was very tame even coming so close I had to zoom out with my camera. It was first seen at the top of the sea cliff. Then it flew below, to the cliff face, out of view for a while. I stayed still and after a few minutes it came back to check me out and then flew up to a nest hole (of another species) on the cliff directly above the raised beach
and then up a small distance up to the cliff top. It seemed to be feeding on the small eroded soil exposed ledges. When it is feeding it is very quiet and it would be very easy to walk right by.
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker seen and heard in Treshnish wood and 1 Golden Eagle on walk to Chough.
I thought it would be good idea to write about why I am making a fuss over Choughs (proper name Red-billed Chough, to distinguish it from Yellow-billed or Alpine Chough).
Incidentally whilst the pair were trying to breed on Mull a dead bird was found in 1993 and in 1991 'Birds were seen during the breeding season at two other localities on Mull' and in 1995 'A colour-ringed bird at Loch Don Mull in late Oct was a wanderer, presumably from Islay or Colonsay' (ABR).
All these records show that birds do occur occasionally on Mull and probably more than we detect. It is hoped that a wandering bird will chance upon the bird here in north Mull right now.
I was just reading about Aberdeen University tracking of Fulmars during the breeding season. One adult male Fulmar left its nest in Orkney and travelled on a foraging trip deep into the Atlantic and returned via Galway Bay, Ireland; a round trip of over 5,000 miles! I gather he was away from the nest for 14 days. A later post shows that most foraging trips are closer in although one bird travelled quite close to Norway.