April Overview - Wildlife in my 'Home Range'
Well it has been another 4 weeks now and as I type this we approach the month of May! It has been very strange on Mull throughout April with a quiet island and no visitors. Although the increased peace and tranquility may be nice to experience it is sad to see deserted areas where people would normally be connecting and engaging with the natural world. I am also missing peoples company when out watching wildlife as I love sharing emotions and curiosity with my guests when enjoying nature together in the wilds of Mull.
Anyway below are some of my wildlife encounters on my 'daily dosage of exercise' during the last month...
It was fantastic to discover some new sites for Marsh Fritillary caterpillars on local grounds last week! Hopefully this individual will pupate safely and be on the wing next month!
They are a highly localised species in the UK and #Mull is a very important 'stronghold' area for them.
The larger sex...
It was great to see our first female Adder of the year this week! One way to differentiate the sexes is through size, females are larger than males as they can reach about 70cm in length. No one's quite sure why larger females occur in snakes; current thinking is it's related to clutch size. Larger females can lay more eggs. Become an Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Friend today and help give a voice to the UK's amphibians and reptiles - saving species, improving habitats and enhancing lives in the process https://www.arc-trust.org/
It was wonderful to see so many queen bumblebees feeding from the willow blossom yesterday. There was a healthy number of white-tailed bumblebees (pictured) a few honey bees (first image) and one buff-tailed bumblebee.
For advice on how to help bees in your garden see this Bumblebee Conservation Trust webpage - https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/garden-advice/
That heraldic pose...
Recently on local moors I spotted a Golden Eagle perched up at first light, so potentially at roost. Shortly afterwards I saw both adults together on the wing so unfortunately not good signs for their breeding attempts to see both birds away from known eyries at this time of the year.
Lesser Celandine photographed in local woods...
All birds are equally beautiful but some are more equally beautiful than others! 😄🤔 People often ask me on tours "What is your favourite bird?" I normally provide a top 5 and sometimes a top 10 but the Wood Warbler is always included!
The magnificent 'lemon & lime bird' is a delight to watch dancing around the canopy of a mature oak wood! There magical song sounds like a coin spinning on a marble table!
The dark side of Calgary...
Visitors to Mull may well be aware of Calgary by day with the beautiful beach, machair flower meadow, woodlands and seascapes! Here is a recent photograph of how beautiful it can be by night. Taken from the marram grass looking up to the wooded hills and starfields beyond!
A soothing sound...
We are lucky to be able to hear the wonderful 'reeling' sound of Grasshopper Warblers from our garden and local areas. I could listen to the song for hours!
Their numbers fluctuate and can be as low as around 900 pairs in Scotland some years.
The mimic masters!?
It is a privilege to sit and listen to Sedge Warblers in local areas. Their song is a mixture of fast chattering phrases and I have heard them mimic Swallows and Common Gulls this week.
Ornithologists can sometimes work out where about they have spent the winter due to their mimicry of exotic African species!
After my Sedge Warbler post I thought I would showcase some more mimic masters!
Whilst I was listening in admiration to a Song Thrush doing what it does best, two Starlings perched up alongside for a closer look/listen!
I have heard this male Song Thrush mimic the calls of Common Gull and Redshank in its repertoire during the last few weeks.
Thank you very much for viewing the nature journal for April and I look forward to sharing the wonders of Mull with you all in the near future once it is safe to do so.