The weather has vastly improved over the last two weeks with long spells of sunshine. This has made a big difference to the wildlife that can be seen around the reserve.
Both meadow pipit and rock pipit have been seen carrying food, a sure sign they are feeding young. A whitethroat has been very vocal, singing at various locations around the reserve including the walled garden and around the willow bushes. In the willows there has been blackbird and reed bunting. Stonechat have been very noticeable either in the gorse bushes or behind the visitor centre. Wheatear are mostly seen along the cliff tops between the lighthouse and the coffee house. On the feeders there have regularly been goldfinch and a female pied wagtail.
Meadow pipit - Rob Conn
Swift have been seen in small numbers over the last week whilst house martin and swallow continue to build in numbers.
Swallow - Rob Conn
The majority of shag are now sitting with chicks. Razorbill are now sitting on eggs and we expect to see eggs from kittiwake, fulmar and guillemot, which are all present on the cliffs, anytime soon. Black guillemot, herring gull, greater black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull, Manx shearwater, cormorant and gannet have all been seen feeding around the headland.
Gannet - Rob Conn
Two shelduck have been seen flying on to the cliffs near the lighthouse. Shelduck nest in old rabbit burrows, between boulders or gaps in rocks. Although it has not been possible to see where they are landing, the fact they are flying on to the cliffs strongly suggests they are nesting there. Shelduck feed on Invertebrates, small shellfish and aquatic snails and are not grazers.
Shelduck coming in for landing near the lighthouse - Gavin Chambers
A ‘ringtail’ hen harrier was seen on Friday near Gallie Craig. Unlike the mainly grey males, female and juvenile hen harriers are brown with a white rump and a long, barred tail which give them the name 'ringtail'. Kestrel and peregrine have also been seen most days around the reserve.
Wildflowers such as spring squill, bluebells, northern marsh orchid, sea campion and thrift have all began to bloom, helping to increase the number of butterflies and bumblebees. During two recent moth trapping surveys there has been emperor moth, marbled coronet, tawny shears and angle shades. The emperor moth laid eggs whilst in the trap which we have decided to keep safe in an old ice cream tub along with some heather which the caterpillars will feed on if/when they hatch. We hope to be able to feed them up and watch them grow before releasing them on the reserve.
Emperor moth - Rob Conn
Other wildlife that has been seen includes brown hare, roe deer, porpoise, grey seal and common lizard.
Brown hare - Rob Conn
If you are keen to discover more about the wildlife of the Mull of Galloway and where best to see it then why not join us on one of our guided walks that take place every Wednesday at 1pm! For more info click here.
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