To say it has been breezy at the Mull of Galloway recently would be an understatement. Like much of the west coast we have experienced winds of over 70 mph and more than our fair share of rain. This has not hampered the amount of wildlife that could be seen however.
Large numbers of thrushes, mainly redwing and fieldfare along with smaller numbers of song thrush and blackbird have been travelling through this week. Each year large numbers of thrushes that breed in Scandinavia and northern Europe arrive in the UK around this time in search of berries and other food. Some species, such as the redwing and fieldfare can form flocks in the hundreds or even thousands at times.
Redwing - Photo credit: Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
The thrush family is a large, diverse group of over 300 species. These can be split in to two main groups, the larger true thrushes, such as those mentioned above, and the smaller chats and wheatears. These include the robin, stonechat and Northern wheatear, all of which have been seen on the reserve this week.
Stonechat - Photo credit: Rob Conn
For more information on thrushes and help in identifying them, click here.
Goldfinch and linnet are still a common sighting, forming small mixed flocks at times as they move around the heath and grassland.
Goldfinch - Photo credit: Rob Conn
Meadow pipit and rock pipit are also regular features among the rough grassland. Goldcrest are frequently seen in the willows as are wren which can also be seen squeezing in and out of gaps in the stone walls where they like to take shelter.
Kestrel are seen regularly hovering over the heath or resting on the ruins of the old lighthouse paraffin store. Other birds of prey that have been seen this week are merlin and buzzard.
Kestrel - Photo credit: Rob Conn
Raven, hooded crow and carrion crow have all been seen, as have chaffinch and yellowhammer.
On the water there has been shag, gannet, great black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull and herring gull along with grey seal.
Fox moth caterpillars and stoat have also been recorded this week.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654