The weather at Mull of Galloway has been glorious this past while, with gentle, cooling breezes coming of the sea, clear skies and wall to wall sunshine. This has had an impact on the insects that we have been seeing, with a big increase in the number and variety of species buzzing and fluttering around the reserve. Butterflies such as common blue, red admiral, wall brown, meadow brown, painted lady and grayling have all being seen.

Grayling butterfly landing on the foot of one of our volunteers - Photo by Michelle Craig

Rose chafer beetles have also been out in abundance and can usually be found lazily feeding on flowers near the RSPB visitor centre. Day flying moths, including hummingbird hawk-moth and cinnabar have also been recorded and grasshoppers can easily be heard in the long grass.

 

Rose chafer beetle - Rob Conn

During a recent moth trapping session we recorded garden tiger, burnished brass, dark arches, brown-line bright-eye, bright-line brown-eye, square-spot rustic, true lovers knot, broom moth, marbled minor, map-winged swift, ingrailed clay, white-line dart and pod lover.

 

Garden tiger moth - Rob Conn

On the cliffs we have seen the arrival of guillemot and razorbill chicks but are still waiting on the kittiwake eggs to hatch. We expect the first chicks from them this week. The majority of shag chicks have now fledged and groups of youngsters can often be seen hanging around on the rocks. Fledgling gannet have been spotted flying with others and Manx shearwater can sometimes be found flying in or out of Luce bay from Lagvag viewpoint. Puffin continue to be seen in small numbers, mainly from the foghorn or Lagvag, as are black guillemot. Fulmar are regularly found on the cliffs just off the reserve and herring gull and greater black-backed gull are common sightings around the cliffs.


Razorbill chick - Rob Conn

After what seemed to be a slow start, swift numbers have been rising and flocks of around 10-15 are regularly seen, with one flock of over 30 being recorded on Monday. Fledgling wheatear, rock pipit, meadow pipit, goldfinch, pied wagtail and swallow can all be found around the reserve at present and house martin are often seen flying near Foxes Rattle. Stonechat have been very vocal and visible to the east of the visitor centre and linnet numbers have increased with the majority of the marsh thistle that can be found all around the reserve going to seed. Both blackbird and song thrush have been seen in the walled garden recently as has a great spotted woodpecker. Raven and kestrel have been seen most days. A female chaffinch was seen visiting the bird feeders and a flock of 16 starling paid us a brief visit late last week before heading back up the Rhinns.

Brown hare have been seen most mornings in the walled garden while roe deer are more often seen to the east of the reserve. In the water, harbour porpoise and grey seal have been spotted most days and common lizard can sometimes be found basking in the sunshine.

Brown hare - Rob Conn

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