This week saw the return of one of the nation’s favourite birds to the Mull of Galloway. Although they do not breed here, puffin are often seen on the water in small numbers between now and the end of June.
Puffin - Photo credit: Rob Conn
Puffin are members of the Auk family which also includes guillemot, razorbill and black guillemot, all of which can be seen at the Mull of Galloway.
This week has also seen Kittiwake begin their nest building around the cliffs. Adult breeding kittiwake can be seen plucking beakfull’s of grass and soil which they will pat together with their feet to form a sort of rough clay shaped bowl in to which they will lay their eggs. They normally lay two, sometimes three eggs during the last week of May which both adults will incubate for around 30 days. The chicks will then remain in the nest for around 40 days until fledging.
The shag chicks are growing well and adult shag are easily sighted as they fly to and from the cliffs. Other seabirds that have been seen this week include fulmar, Manx shearwater, great black-backed gull, herring gull and of course, gannet.
Meadow pipit have been seen carrying food this week, a strong indication that they are feeding young and rock pipit have been seen gathering nesting material at Lagvag point. Rock and meadow pipit both look very similar, however the rock pipit is darker in colour and with dark legs compared to the meadow pipit which has a much paler underside and paler legs.
Rock pipit - Photo credit: Rob Conn
Whitethroat have been seen, and heard, displaying at various locations around the reserve. Swallow and house martin can be seen all over as can wheatear.
Goldfinch and linnet have been seen around the heathland and twite have been seen east of the reserve entrance amongst the heather and down past the Gallie Craig.
On Sunday (May 14th) an osprey was seen passing over the reserve. This was most likely an immature non-breeding bird. Osprey first breed at three to five years of age, however, ‘adolescent’ birds will often arrive later in the year than breeding birds and roam around inspecting potential sites for future years.
Results from this week’s moth trapping included a female emperor moth, two female fox moth, and several ingrailed clay, marbled coronet and pod lover moths.
Emperor moth - Photo credit: Rob Conn
Other wildlife sightings include green-veined white, peacock and wall brown butterflies, roe deer and the first sightings of a rose chafer beetle this year.
Rose chafer beetle - Photo credit: Rob Conn
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