Jun 042018

30th: Studio guests saw 2 Barn Owls leaving the nest box in the evening.
1 Corncrake calling at 11am on east side of Haunn field and at same time 1 Barn Owl perched at south entrance to box in Black Park.

Pretty sure this is Eristalis tenax, a new hoverfly for me, in our garden.
The top shot shows the dark vertical stripe on the eye

At least 1 Painted Lady at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and 1 at Haunn.

29th: Cuckoo calling around Treshnish wood and 1 House Martin around Treshnish House.
At 3.30pm the Barn Owl was seen at the north entrance to the box in Black Park.

1-3 Painted Ladies at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.

A couple of hours in Black Park didn’t show much in the way of bees. I think the first brood of mining bees must be coming to an end.
I did find a beautiful insect. It is a scorpionfly, a Panorpa species (not a true fly). There are 3 UK species; Panorpa germanica is the most common and Panorpa communis less so. There are unconfirmed records of germanica for Mull and a confirmed record of communis for Taynuilt. Panorpa cognata appears to be very rare in Scotland and apparently has a red head. Some websites point to the lack of a clear black band in germanica and so if that is the case this is more likely communis.

28th: Guests in East cottage heard the Corncrake in the evening.
Went to see what the nearest pair of Golden Eagles are doing. At the site where they appeared to be showing the most attention in the spring, there were no signs of breeding. Will explore other areas soon but I don’t hold out much hope, as that female is still very young.
On the way, the known Kestrel site had young that must have only recently fledged. They could fly but there landings were comical.
In the area of the eagle site, 1-5 Painted Ladies.
I had to go back to Calgary to get grdrefs for the Pyramidal Orchid and in a very short time found two more orchids.

27th: Corncrake still calling at Haunn this morning (East cottage guest) and passing cyclists are sure they heard 2.
Wood Pigeon calling in Treshnish wood and Sparrowhawk flying over the area.

Willow Warbler

Song Thrush

There are a few bee species which have only been recorded on Coll and Tiree. I am hoping that I can find some of them on Calgary or Langamull machair, especially since Calgary has been fenced off. Those species include: Heather Colletes, Barbut’s Cuckoo Bee, Great Yellow Bumblebee, Red-shanked Carder Bee and Bloomed Furrow Bee. So I went to Calgary machair and dunes to see what I could find, with an outside chance of Frog Orchid (which used to be seen here) and Pyramidal Orchid (which a Treshnish guest found there 2 years ago).
The machair really looks fantastic, even though there was a gate open.
I found a Tree Bumblebee, a new species for me. I can’t find any definite records for Mull on BWARS and NBN Atlas but the book I use (Falk), says it was first found on Mull in 2014. This is an incredible spread of a species which was only found in the UK for the first time in 2001.

Other bees on the machair: Red-tailed Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Early Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee agg., a probable Broken-belted Bumblebee and near the wood 1 Common Carder.

Hoverflies include a first for me, Merodon equestris

Others saw a Painted Lady on the machair.
I checked the dunes for Pyramidal Orchid which was found, as far as I can gather, outside the fenced area, but had no luck. I did however find some Opium Poppies.

Then walking along the edge of the machair hoping to find Northern Colletes stumbled across what looked like a Pyramidal Orchid. When I got back home and checked, yes my first self-found, definite Pyramidal Orchid. It is very rare on Mull. I think I re-found a dead one at Ardalanish on the Ross a few years ago but this fresh individual was a real treat.

Thyme ring

Common Cornsalad (usually I’m too late to catch it as fresh as this)

Hairy Rock-cress

: Cuckoo calling around Treshnish wood.

Went back to waterfall and managed to get shots of the bee which was entering burrows that the blood bee was so interested in.
It is a furrow bee and I think because of the blood bee association it is probably Common Furrow Bee

this shot shows the ‘furrow’ at the tip of the abdomen

This is its blood bee parasite, which was also present today. If the identification of the furrow bee is correct it is most likely to be  Box-headed Blood Bee.

Not sure I can get them certainly verified but will submit them both.

This mining bee on our kale looks like it could be a faded Ashy Mining Bee

New hoverfly for me Chrysotoxum bicinctum at the waterfall

I think this is the hoverfly Neoascia podagrica also at waterfall

Incredibly my first Speckled Wood of the year at the burn cattlegrid. Because of the cold spring there must have been so few of the first brood that I totally missed them.

25th: Went back to the waterfall to see if I could get more shots of the bee from yesterday. I am not sure I saw the same species but over 4 hours got 6 sequences of shots. I am leaning towards at least some of them being Common Furrow Bee which is the host of Box-headed Blood Bee

another sequence

and another (2 other shots of this sequence show the ‘furrow)

This looks like some illustrations of Common Furrow Bee

I also saw bees entering at least 2 different nest burrows several times at the same spot but they were too fast to get photos. I didn’t get any decent shots but as they are nesting there should be more photographic opportunities. I saw what looked like bands so I think they are all the same species.

It was this blood bee that alerted me to the nest holes.

At Treshnish Old Schoolhouse a largish wasp possibly Field Digger Wasp Argogorytes mystaceus

At the waterfall my first Common Hawker of the year.

There was a Golden-ringed Dragonfly there too. Usually I don’t get an overlap of the two species.

Sericomyia silentis at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and beside road through Treshnish wood

1 Painted Lady at Ensay Burn waterfall.

24th: Cuckoo calling in Treshnish wood.
Went to the cliffs to west of Ensay Burn to see if there were any bee activity. I didn’t see one bee including bumblebees. At Ensay Burn waterfall had a fleeting glimpse of an interesting bee. It could be a Small Flecked Mining Bee.

Scaeva pyrastri at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse

and although the book says that pale yellow bands (not white) should make it Scaeva selenitica. I am pretty sure this one, on Ensay side of Ensay Burn mouth, is also Scaeva pyrastri

No Thyme Broomrapes at all on the usual cliff.

22nd: Corncrake heard last night by guests and possibly 2 calling.

: 1 Sparrowhawk at Treshnish House and 1 probable over Treshnish wood about 3 weeks ago. They could be breeding in the wood again.

Guests in East cottage think they heard 2 Corncrakes calling at Haunn (not sure what date).
First Meadow Brown of the year in Black Park.

20th: A new hoverfly for me beside Treshnish wood. I think it is Criorhina berberina.

nearby a Sericomyia silentis (my first of the year)

: Corncrake heard last night at Haunn (Rick Hayward).

Not a very satisfactory way to add a new hoverfly to the Mull list but here it is, my only view of Leucozona lucorum.

There were quite a few mining bees on the wild raspberries beside our garden.
They look slightly different from others photographed this year so hopefully I can get some identified to species level.
This one is very hairy.

and this could be same. It has a black hairy abdomen and a hairy face. It has been verified as a Plausible Painted Mining Bee.

This has been verified as a Plausible Orange-tailed Mining Bee

This has been verified as a Plausible Painted Mining Bee

This may be a Orange-tailed Mining Bee

and this

This is my first definite Helophilus hybridus of the year (although I haven’t been trying to separate all the males as I am concentrating on bees). At first I thought it might be something special because the last segments are so dark but the yellow is there, just very feint. Helophilus groenlandicus is a species to look out for on Mull because although it is rare it has been recorded in the inner Hebrides.

A red moth flying in the daytime, presumably Ruby Tiger or Cinnabar Moth. I didn’t disturb it it just flew by.

Went to check the lower and upper sections of the other helleborine site. Not very good, only found one orchid. [Note to self: Total: 1 Narrow-leaved and 1 Broad-leaved in upper section. 9 Narrow-leaved at the middle section under oaks (only 1 flowering and browsed) and none at all at the lowest section].

: At least 2 of the presumed Broken-belted Bumblebees in out garden. I only got shots of one.

also 1 Early Bumblebee worker.

: Male Bullfinch at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.

A large horse-fly on our wood pile. I have identified it incorrectly in the past as Tabanus bovinus It is in fact Tabanus sudeticus

I still haven’t had any answer for my Broken-belted Bumblebee records but today there was one in our garden.

16th: Tried to find out what the Panzer’s Nomad Bee is using as a host in Black Park quarry. I had to wait a long time for the sun to come out but then immediately the Panzer’s Nomad Bee appeared but then just as soon vanished possibly down a nest burrow. In the next 90 minutes there was an almost continuous showing of mining bees at this spot, two of them at nest burrows. I am hoping that one of them is a Painted Mining Bee, a known host of Panzer’s. I’m not confident of identifying any of the mining bees I saw and have sent them for verification.

15th: Corncrake still calling at Haunn in afternoon (Leena).
My first Early Bumblebee male. I saw this bee for the first time this year and have seen queens, workers and now this male. Haven’t seen a queen for weeks.

12th: Bullfinch heard in Treshnish wood and Barn Owl heard at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse last night.
Not sure what this almost hairless bee is, possibly a mini-miner but I think it is too big. It may be just a worn Ashy Mining Bee.

I had two Orange-tailed Mining Bees accepted (both from 3rd) so I feel pretty confident this is another on wild Raspberries.

11th: Corncrake still calling in the morning (guests). That will be a day short of 3 weeks now, that it has been present

Willow Warbler


At Treshnish Old Schoolhouse there was at least 1 worker Early Bumblebee. Strange that I didn’t see any last year. I think it must be a good bee year. Butterflies are a different matter at least with some species. I still haven’t seen a Speckled Wood!

Saw more possible Broken-belted Bumblebees. This one look possible as the yellow extends onto the first segment of the abdomen. I don’t see definite black hairs in the ‘break’ as on yesterday’s but still I have submitted for verification.

This one I am even less sure of, as the yellow band doesn’t extend to the first segment but it has the yellow crescent shaped central split band.

Not sure what this is. It looks like Large Garden Bumblebee but that doesn’t occur in Scotland. I had i checked and it is a dark Garden Bumblebee.

another normal Garden Bumblebee

At Black Park quarry saw a Panzer’s Nomad Bee immediately. Saw a few other unidentified mining bees in Black Park.
If Panzer’s is present there inspecting nest burrows then the borrows should be of Painted Mining Bee. I haven’t seen that species yet so must look more carefully.

Moss Carder Bee, my first confirmed although I haven’t been trying too hard after initially only getting Plausible This one at the cliffs at Treshnish Point looks very orange.

There were 4 Green Hairstreaks at the wet ‘ford’ to the far side of Treshnish Point and first Dark Green Fritillary of the year at Haunn.
This is I think is the hoverfly Sphegina sibirica at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse

and I think this is another at the sea cliffs at Treshnish Point.

Went to check up on a possible new site for Spring Squill at Treshnish Point but it has been so dry they may have dried up because I couldn’t find any. The description fits and Leena has just looked at some of my photos and is confident it is the same species.

: The White-tailed Bumblebee complex on Mull includes, Cryptic Bumblebee, Northern White-tailed Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee and Broken-belted Bumblebee [I don’t think White-tailed Bumblebee occurs]. This has features of Broken-bellted Bumblebee but I have seen something similar twice last year which was Buff-tailed Bumblebee. The broken central yellow belt is not the diagnostic feature as faded white-tails can look similar but the break should have actual black hairs which I think this has. Also the yellow band extends forward onto the next segment (tergite) which this does. Still, I’m not optimistic. I should find it eventually though. I was very busy and so was I gardening so photos are poor quality.

9th: Corncrake still calling at Haunn in early afternoon (Leena)

: Corncrake still calling last night (guests at West cottage) and this afternoon (walkers).

Carolyne saw a Bullfinch at the east gate to Black Park, an unusual place to see them. The Barn Owl has been seen around the box a couple of times in last few days.
I had a very quick response to yesterdays nomad bee. It is only ‘plausible’ Early Nomad Bee and ‘not verifiable without microscopic study. It could be N. panzeri I suppose….’.
Did I mention, bees are difficult.
The good news is that the nomad bee on the 2nd is confirmed as Panzer’s Nomad Bee. I managed to get a pretty good shot of the mandibles and it ruled out Fork-jawed Nomad Bee, which as the name suggests, has a small fork at the tip of the mandible. According to the data available, this is a new species for Mull.
I am finding Little Nomad Bee to be common at Treshnish. Today I found it beside the road in the cowbarn field, to the east of the burn

as well as the bank running parallel to the road.

Found another Blood Bee, this time in Black Park near the east gate.

At least 3 Panzer’s Nomad Bees in Black Park

and one was definite as I got two shot showing the non-forked tip of the mandible.

1 Red-tailed Bumblebee queen at Black Park quarry.

and a Garden Bumblebee queen in Black Park on Wood Bitter-vetch

Grass Rivulet is common in the meadows at Treshnish but apparently scarce elsewhere on Mull

10 Small-white Orchids in Black Park site. They are big this year.

6th: I’ve been looking for the Nomad Bee near Ensay Burn cattle-grid that I only got 2 shots of on the 29th and which experts say is not identifiable. Finally at about 100m to the north, I found what I think is the same species. I think it is Early Nomad Bee. If so it is a new bee for Mull.

Suddenly worker bumblebees have started appearing and today I saw my first Early Bumblebee worker. It was on the Blackberries around our garden and was very flighty.

Near the concrete ramp found a hoverfly that I have only seen once before, in September 2015, one of my first hoverflies. It is one of 5 difficult species but for Mull it is easy, only one is likely, Chrysotoxum arcuatum. It is more of a coniferous woodland species.

5th: I had some of last months bees checked by experts. They haven’t done all of them but the good news is that my Marsham’s Nomad Bee and Little Nomad Bees are correct and so is at least 1 of my Northern White-tailed Bumblebees. That leaves only Broken-belted, of the expected White-tailed complex, to find on Mull. No news yet on the Fork-jawed Nomad Bee, which doesn’t seem hopeful. I was disappointed that my Box-headed Blood Bee was only given a ‘plausible’ and that the nomad bee on the 29th at the cattle-grid could not be identified as it the only sighting of anything similar that I have had. I had a look in that area to try and relocate it but no such luck.
By the bridge I did find another Microdon hoverfly and I am now convinced that we have two species at Treshnish. This one doesn’t look nearly as red on the scutellum as yesterday’s. I think this is Microdon analis

Another fly-by dark Bumblebee at the cattle-grid which I presume was Red-tailed Bumblebee. I haven’t seen any of the dark Buff-tailed Bumblebee queens for a few weeks.

4th: Corncrake still calling (Meg and Stephen Davies)
2 Bullfinches in Treshnish wood.
New dragonfly for me (and Treshnish) on south side of the sitheans, Northern Emerald.

There are only a handful of records for Mull (unless there has been a spate of recent records). Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good shot but it does rule out any confusion species. I haven’t seen a new dragonfly species since 2009.

Just a few steps from the dragonfly found a Microdon hoverfly. I am pretty sure it is Microdon mutabilis. M. mutabilis and myrmicae cannot be separated as adults but myrmicae is not known from Scotland whilst mutabilis is known only from Mull and near Inverness.
M. mutabilis is rare.
Perhaps I was wrong about the identification of Microdon analis in Black Park last month but this one clearly shows the reddish brown scutellum (the plate at the rear of the thorax) of Microdon mutabilis.

and later saw 2 more in the area.

Sericomyia lappona in our garden, first seen on 27th of last month in wet area by shore below Treshnish wood.

Fleeting view of Red-tailed Bumblebee on south side of sitheans but without a photo to rule out mimics I will have to let that one pass.

No sign of any Wood Tigers so I think it must be too early. There was a Magpie moth caterpillar

My first Common Blue Damselfly of the year by our water supply

3 Lesser Twayblade at new spot but not flowering

and another vegetative plant at the old site on a path through the heather.

The Narrow-leaved Helleborine that Carolyne found a couple of years ago has at least 3 fruits forming. Last year it also had fruit but the protective cage got knocked over and they got eaten.
The Broad-leaved Helleborine next to it has 2 plants not 1 as I reported earlier. There are 3 Narrow-leaved and 3 Broad-leaved Helleborine in this 50m stretch of road.

Cross-leaved Heath flowering.

3rd: 6 Buzzards over Black Park, 1 Mealy Redpoll at Treshnish House.

Meadow Pipit

Went back to Black Park quarry to see what it was like in the daytime. Very quickly saw the same Nomad Bees thought to be Fork-jawed Nomad Bee or Panzers’s Nomad Bee

Also what I think is Orange-tailed Mining Bee.

At the quarry saw a new moth (for me), Beautiful Yellow Underwing. Unfortunately it flew before I could get a good angle.
[By the way the new pug I saw last month was not Valerian Pug, that was me reading the wrong caption in the book. It was actually Netted Pug]. Both these are good records for Mull.

Near the boggy pools on way to Treshnish Point got the normal fleeting view of a Red-tailed Bumblebee (my first of the year).

At the ford on way to the back side of Treshnish headland there were a few butterflies, my first Common Blues of the year, a Green Hairstreak and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (my first of the year).

On the hillside there on south side of headland I saw a larger nomad bee as soon as I got onto the hill but it flew off before I could get a photo and I didn’t see it again.
I did see a Little Nomad Bee.

Where there are Little Nomad Bees there must also be mini-mining bees.

Several small bees. This is possibly Orange-tailed Mining Bee

This one looks interesting

Strangely enough found a new Moonwort plant with fruiting body at Black Park quarry! These are the only two plants I’ve found at Treshnish although no doubt there are more to be found.

2nd: Corncrake still calling at noon. Starling bringing food to nest in Studio roof. 1 Mealy Redpoll at Treshnish House.
The Moonwort at Toechtamhor has been eaten, probably by a rabbit or sheep. Shame it wont be able to spore this year.
In the evening had a look around different areas of Black Park for bees. It was perhaps too late because I didn’t see any until I got to the quarry but then I immediately saw 3 nomad bees which are either Fork-jawed Nomad Bee or Panzer’s Nomad Bee the same ones as by the east gate. There is a great bee bank here.

I am hoping this shot of the mandibles will give an id.

 June 4, 2018

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