It’s been a busy couple of weeks at the Mull of Galloway with big variations in the weather. Last week we had thick fog for days with visibility down to less than 50 metres at times. Today the sky was clear, the sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze and the birds were making the most of it.
Swallow and house martin are arriving in increasing numbers, blackcap, whitethroat, willow warbler and chiffchaff have all been seen and heard recently and wheatear numbers also seem to have increased.
Whitethroat - photo credit: Rob Conn
Goldfinch are regular visitors to the bird feeders and linnet are becoming more and more present among the heather. Both meadow pipit and rock pipit can be seen frantically chasing each other around whilst pied wagtail leisurely forage around the lighthouse buildings. Blackbird have been seen most days, not a bird we see a lot of on the reserve and last week there was even a sighting of a fieldfare and a ring ouzel that must have been passing through on their way north. Having never seen a ring ouzel myself I was gutted to have missed it by mere minutes!
Ring ouzel - photo credit: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Reed bunting have been hanging around in the willow bushes and stonechat have been seen mainly among the gorse or on the heather at the back of the visitor centre. The raven continue to display around the cliffs and both carrion crow and hooded crow have also been sighted.
Kittiwake numbers are increasing and spending more time on the cliffs as are razorbill and guillemot. On our third and final black guillemot survey at the weekend we counted 25 individuals around the Mull of Galloway, a good number for us and two higher than last year’s peak count.
Black guillemot - photo credit: Ben Andrews (rspb-images.com)
There are also plenty of shag on nests around the headland with chicks expected from early May. For advice on where best to safely spot them please pop into the visitor centre and we will be happy to direct you to a safe viewing point. Gannet have been seen feeding close to the reserve on a few occasions with numbers steadily picking up. Great black-backed and lesser black-backed gull are regular sightings and herring gull have been seen gathering nesting material, a sure sign that they will be laying eggs soon.
A buzzard was seen recently between the reserve and East Tarbet. The peregrine are spotted more often on the western cliffs whereas kestrel are seen hovering all over the reserve on a daily basis.
Other wildlife sightings include brown hare, roe deer, porpoise, grey seal, buff-tailed bumblebee, honey bee, common lizard and a small tortoiseshell butterfly.
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