Friday, 18 October 2013

Ptarmigan country...

Follow the movements of the fledged Hen Harriers satellite tagged on Langholm this year...
http://langholmmoorland.blogspot.co.uk/

An amazing article regarding Peregrines in Cumbria, a huge amount of information from over the years...

Icelandic whaling ends for season, 134 Fin Whales killed http://uk.whales.org/news/2013/10/bloody-icelandic-whaling-season-ends

Comet ISON is getting closer...
http://www.space.com/22960-comet-ison-solar-system-facts.html

Follow the Treshnish nature blog here with a frequent update of Mull wildlife sightings, some amazing photos of Golden Eagles included in recent posts
http://www.treshnishbirdlog.blogspot.co.uk/

On Saturday 12th the weather was fantastic so an early start just after sun break to cover the river Aros to monitor/photograph the Dippers there. I have spent a few mornings down there and enjoyed good views of the birds along with Grey Wagtails showing well. Territorial behaviour seen between two Dippers and interactions between the Grey Wags. I always struggle to get good shots of the Dippers as there constant movement along with them been black and white which makes the correct exposure difficult. I got a nice shot of a Grey Wag which can be seen further down.


Grey Wagtail river Aros...


Peacock, Ardmore

In the afternoon I headed north to cover my old local patch of Ardmore, and what a place it is. A pair of WTE overhead when on route down the forestry track. Two species of Butterflies enjoying the sunshine with a Peacock and Red Admiral seen. 8-10 Crossbills overhead along with GS Woodpeckers and Siskin. I had a rest in the woods as I was tired from a long night shift with the stars and when I woke up there was a Common green grasshopper sat on me and as I looked up a lovely Red Deer stag was watching me from near by as I managed a few shots before it moved on.



Red Deer stag...

I headed to the west across to Glengorm estate for the golden hour, sunset and blue hour at dusk when sky is a nice dark blue for photography. I got down the the flat rock on the shoreline and the sunset progressed very nicely with wispy cirrocumulus/altocumulus clouds moving into  soak up the colour. It ended up being potentially the best sunset I have ever seen and I managed to capture a few shots of it...just stunning. While I was admiring the spectacle a dog Otter swam right past me before doing there classic disappearance act. 
As the sunset eased off I headed up to the stone circle to get a time lapse going for my MULL@NIGHT project. 5 Mountain Hares were seen on route and a Barn Owl calling later on. The sound of the nearby bellowing Red Deer was incredible on a windless night! Snipe were also calling in the vicinity. Look out for my latest post on my night time happenings.



Sunset from Glengorm on Saturday...


Another shot slightly earlier as sun as dropping...
Harbour Seals with a Grey Heron in the back drop...


WT Eagle...a good size comparison...

On the Sunday I was invited to go on a walk with Start and Ruth from Mull Magic with the main focus been looking for Ptarmigan around the Ben More mountain range. While driving along the south side of Loch Na Keal Stuart spotted Otters on the shoreline which ended up being a bitch and two clubs interacting with each other. We started the ascent through the boggy lowlands and up to the bracken and heather lines. Meadow Pipits and Wrens and also a Red Deer stag on the skyline. As we reached the scree line we started the search for clues and as Stuart pointed out Club Fir Moss in abundance (food source for Ptarmigan) that was a good start.
Next Ruth found feathers from a Ptarmigan and Start found droppings which were fantastic signs. Golden Eagles hunting low over the summits was another sign that they were looking for something. 8-10 Twite were seen and three immature WTEs riding the thermals together. We did not see any Ptarmigan on the day but some great signs of the birds and an amazing experiecne been up in their harsh environment. Thanks very much to Stuart and Ruth from Mull Magic for a great day. 



On the summit of Beinn a'Ghraig looking over Loch Na Keal...


Adult Goldie...


Looking across to Loch Ba...


Searching for Ptarmigan...

The season has just about come to a close here on Mull...here is a Sea Life Surveys team photo of 2013...


SLS team for 2013 - back row - Andy t, Ruth Mcgee (volunteer), Ruth Abernethy, Ruth Molloy, Richie, Jayne, front - myself, popz, maggie and Jimbo plus kids.


Thanks for looking. 

Ewan

4 comments: