Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Pic of the day

A good place to find Common Snipe in winter is on the shores of loch Cuin where they can find food even when it's cold and frosty on land.

Great northern Diver in Winter plumage. In the Sound of Mull 27th Jan, up to 5 birds between Craignure and Salen today plus a pair of Goosander drakes.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Glaucous Gull

The " Lucky Glaucous Gull" that escaped the Sea Eagle, and not an Iceland Gull as I first thought ! ........silly me doesn't know his gulls. Alan

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

RSPB Bird count this weekend 24th-25th January

RSPB bird count this weekend. (24th-25th Jan) http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/
Take part in the RSPB survey this weekend. You can submit the results online at their website.
The survey is very simple. All you need to do is watch your garden or local park for an hour on either Saturday 24th or Sunday 25th January, note down the birds you see and tell us the highest number of each species you see at any one time in the hour (this avoids counting the same birds twice.)
If you put food out every day you will get a regular amount of birds even in a small garden .

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Rare bird visitors to Mull

Visitors to Mull are surprised when they discover that some 'common' birds found on the mainland are not here on Mull. For example there are no Moorhens or Coots and locals get quite excited when occasionally one is found. There are no Magpies on Mull and occasionally one flies across from the mainland only to be harassed by the Hoodies and Ravens to beat a hasty retreat back over the water. We don't have Green Woodpeckers, our only Woodpecker being the Great Spotted Woodpecker.
However we do occasionally get 'rare birds' visit our island and in 2007 there was: Black Redstart at Fionnphort (24th March) White billed Diver off Staffa (3rd May) a Sabines Gull off Iona (19th May) and Red backed Shhrike along the Grasspoint road (11th June) In 2008 we had our first ever Nuthatch at Calgary (10th April) and again at Craignure and Lochdon, (presumed to be the same bird), Lapland Bunting at Fionnphort (13th April) and Rose Coloured Starling at Dervaig (30th July) and again later at Bunessan, presumed to be the same bird. One never knows what might turn up at anytime and that's part of the joy of birdwatching I think.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Leucistic birds

29th Jan 2009
Paul Langhorn from Tobermory kindly sent this image of a Leucistic Blackbird that regularly visits gardens in Tobermory.

This little bird is a Leucistic Willow Warbler which visited mull in 2003, nested successfully and raised young, (along the Grasspoint road) and to our suprise, the same bird returned the following year to nest again successfully. (2004). It was a beautiful bird, locally named the "Mull Canary" and caused quite a sensation. For those interested, there are more images of this bird and a full explaination of Leucism, on my web site in the photo gallery. It's an interesting genetic fault and also appears in mammals. http://www.mullbirds.com/Leucistuc%20Warbler.html

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Mull Winter weather

Today we have battened down in preparation for the storm coming in from the north west later tonight. We are already getting strong winds which are expected to reach gusts of 80 mph. So everything is tied down, there will be a high tide this evening. The garden birds have been very active on the feeders, funny how they seem to know that we are in for a spell of bad weather.
We had a great Bird Club meeting last night which included a light hearted photograph competition. Some brave members of the bird club have been on a field trip round Loch na Keal today.
After this weather pattern has moved through will be a good time to look out for any rarities that might have been storm bound and are taking refuge on the island. Caliach Point will be a good place to check out as the strong winds blow the gulls and other birds close inshore.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Mull Bird Club members - Annual Bird Race 10th January 2009

A report from Arthur & Pam Brown: (Arthur is the chairman of the club)

Weather gale force winds and lashing rain with occasional hail - Not the best day for the bird club annual January bird race but 12 hardy souls set off at 9 30am in 4 vehicles to find as many birds as they could in 6 hours. All together 72 species were seen in the day, a very creditable amount giver the conditions, only 17 down on last year when 28 people took part in 8 vehicles. The highlights in our vehicle were Snipe and Goosander at Dervaig, a Ring billed Gull on Loch Na Keal, White Tailed Eagle at Gruline and a single Barnacle Goose on the Rugby pitch at Garmony. Good sightings of winter thrushes, Pied and Grey Wagtail and a female Hen Harrier.

The highlight from the other vehicles was Common Scoter on Loch Scridain.

Friday, 9 January 2009


A cloudy day, but with some nice sunshine here at Lochdon. A trip to Grasspoint and I watched a Sea Eagle fly over the loch. The Lochdon/Grasspoint Sea Eagles are two of the original birds which were released from Rhum and they arrrived here around 1984. Since then they have produced many offspring of which some have paired up and are now breeding birds here on Mull. At Grasspoint in the Firth of Lorn were 2 Red throated and 1 Great northern Diver. On the road to Grasspoint a ringtail Harrier was hunting. I hear that there are a few Bramblings about.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

January 2009

A cold, frosty and grey day today, not really bright enough for any photography. A trip to Dervaig and Loch Cuin in the afternoon, on the frozen shores of the loch were 12 Ringed Plover a Redshank and a Whimbrel, about a dozen Teal, not a lot else moving. Nice to get home to a log fire and a dram (perhaps)

Friday, 2 January 2009

Latest reports page

I was wondering what visitors to my site thought about replacing my 'latest reports page' with this mullbirds blog, as there may be some duplication, and I would appreciate any comments either by e-mail or through this blog.

Thursday, 1 January 2009


Welcome mull birders, For 2009 I am introducing this blog page to my web site to encourage some informal blogging between fellow birders. Interesting sightings will be taken from the blog to go on the latest reports page.

Alan (mullbirds) Spellman