It’s going to finish with a beautiful sunset tonight and what a glorious sparkling sunny day it has been. Calgary beach was empty and the sand dazzling on one of those days which is cold in the wind but warm out of it. You could have nestled into the marram grass and got a good tan there today. All of the glass in our house ‘manufactures’ warmth on sunny winter days like this and fortunately it retains it well into the evening. In the olden days you would have the smallest area of glass in your cottage here because it was the weakest link and let the wind and cold in. Today the secret is to have lots of modern glass which added to the clearest atmosphere now generates the opposite of those days. On a wildlife note, going to Calgary we saw a number of yellowhammers for some reason and as you know they are becoming rarer in Britain.
A full crowd and a big day with terrific sightings of sea eagles sitting and flying, goosander, twite, great northern and black throatetd divers, goldeneye, ravens, red deer and more. Highlights were a male hen harrier engaging with two females as they swooped over forestry and in and out of the clearings. Best sighting today was the perfect golden eagle encounter on our highest point of the trip. Initially one came off a high craggy cliff and then the other joined it as we jumped out of the vehicle. They soared over and then one glided across the glen to land on some rocks and while we had soup it came back again but much closer. Then the two of them were off attacking another eagle intruding on their territory. It was the esgle encounter that everyone should have when they see their first golden eagle.
Another super day for a trip with a milky sea as calm as I have ever seen it way off into the distant Atlantic. So white tailed sea eagle sitting and within 3 minutes of the ferry point !! Another sea eagle flying with buzzards and one at the nest. Common Seals and slavonian grebe, first wheatears of the year for me, pereregrine falcon up with buzzards, ravens and kestrel, great northern divers or as my American Customers would say, Loons !! Red deer of course and two soperate male hen harriers, sparrowhawk, rock and meadow pipits, skylarks, bullfinch AND golden eagles, one on a hazy cliff and the others flying off crags in Glenmore. And lots more of course. 9 people for the trip tomorrow and so things are getting going.
A truly stunning day here but shouldnt we all actually be alarmed, because it should not be like this in March !!! Anyway, I attended another meeting, this time with Forestry Commission people today as they are looking for new ideas on how to make more of Scotlands varied forests. Its all good news at last leaking out of the Scottish governments offices, as they are at last understanding the value of their green gold and not just their black gold. It was fun and a very informing meeting. They stated that Mull was considered the leader of the pack on Ecotourism/ Environmental tourism in Scotland and that others are now trying to follow us. It was all very flattering and rewarding for all the hard work that people like myself have put in against the odds to get Mull to where it is. The world now knows about ””’EAGLE ISLAND””. Robert Louis Stevenson loved it here too and would be proud of me.
Could I just please remind everyone about the important petition that you might wish to sign, as it impacts on the natural environment here and the link is http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/savestaffaarchipelago/
Stunning weather here and where could be better on such days than walking on a calm sunny evening along an empty white sand Hebridean Beach? That’s just to make you jealous of course. However it’s also very true ! I attended our Islands Tourism marketing group AGM today and there was discussion about the new parking areas, better interpretation and eco loos for visitors. Gosh they do this sort of thing so well on La Palma, with their often spectacular ‘miradores’ which are parking areas with viewpoints. The Spanish have style for sure and they don’t wreck the landscape by building a road around a mountain, they create a tunnel and go right through it !! My new Spanish right hand driving skills will serve me well when we take Sonny and Charlie to Cantabria in midsummer and where I am told all the other Rhesus Negative people live !!! I am advised by an ‘expert’ that we are all pretty flamboyant and very friendly. To think that as a young man I was so desperately shy. I think that coming to Mull made me into an individual again, like an eagle is.
Back from the must do destination of La Palma which is the most north westerly and third of the trio of unspoilt and ‘Brit free’ Canary islands which also include El Hierro and La Gomera and which we have been too in the recent past. They are all like Mull was a few million years ago with young volcanic terrain on each of the islands along with very friendly, stylish and gregarious people. The centre of the island has enormous mountains topped by canary pines and mist daily rolling over the top like snow. There is a massive crater miles wide which is probably the most spectacular natural phenomenon I have yet seen on my travels. On the southern tip is the 1971 crater of Spains last volcano to erupt and choughs were nesting inside it. In Spain stay at the government owned ‘Paradore’ hotels which are always classy, whether newish like the one we stayed in perched on a hillside, or they are a converted monastery or castle etc. Food was excellent and we looked out on a super pool from our balcony and the ocean stretching into the distance. The Hebridean Islands are however far more varied and richer in history, but then the Canary Islands have the sun! Seeing the world is a great thing for all to try and do.
Yesterday I offered to drive people to a woodland community project after a conference at the Isle of Mull Hotel in Tobermory and so I was there ready for the off at 1pm, but they were still in their meeting and then they suddenly swept out taking me with them and into lunch which I didnt really want because I had just had it at home. But I was swept off my feet I suppose! Anyway its a great project by some dedicated people in the north of Mull and on the journey we saw a male and female hen harrier and I debated with an estate manager from the Highlands about persecution of birds of prey, to no avail. It was a timely chat as Scotland announced today that it had been a good 2011 regarding the poisoning of birds of prey, after 2010 was the worst ever. Anyway I was glad to do my little bit for the community project here.
Pretty good weather today and a trip with eight people and so it was all well timed. Sea eagles were up on the ridge behind the house early morning and still there as I left to collect everyone. At the ferry point we were off to a good start with a sea eagle sitting in a tree 3 minutes from Craignure, an otter swimming and then coming ashore with a big fish another 2 minutes up the road. More sea eagles above us between Salen and Loch na Keal and sea eagles at Killiechronan. Another otter as I spotted a male goosander and another otter as we waited for peregrine falcons. Two sea eagles tidying up and sitting around their new nest and then flying toward us ! On the way home two golden eagles flying briefly and sitting on the top of a crag and a male and female hen harriers. Not totally sure we saw the male actually ?? But a very good day with very happy customers.
You know, we get a lot of rain in The Hebrides, but we also get a lot of sun ‘AND’ the rain might be some of cleanest in the world anyway. What we don’t get is this strange murky, misty weather that they can get in the Highlands and that we have been getting lately for some reason. BUT BUT how sensational it all looks on afternoons like this as it clears to sun and across the sea the mist is rolling back over the top of the huge sea cliffs on the Ardmeanach Peninsula and the sun is brightening up the entire landscape. The elements are all part of the magic and wonder of it all here for me as nature paints this ever changing wondrous picture.