A lovely day today with an enthusiastic group for the trip. At Grasspoint we had a sea eagle, porpoise, red throated divers flying and calling, shearwaters, razorbills, guillemots, arctic skua, gannets, twite, goldfinches, rock pipit, spotted flycatcher and common seal. 30 minutes later we had a female hen harrier, more seals and an otter for some time [till spooked by fish farm staff] with goosanders. In Glenmore we had red deer stags and tracked a golden eagle for some time until it was above us. Two young sea eagles at the nest later with an adult sitting and again big views as it flew pestered by a buzzard. On the way back a male hen harrier.
It was a really satisfying trip today in beautiful weather but I only had 3 people on the trip. Crazy really that visitors can see so many of Britians top creatures in a wonderful setting and learn so much from me, yet they would sooner spend the money at the pub. What chance do wild creatures have when people are so pathetic. Anyway !! Seen today…female hen harrier buzzed by kestrels, golden eagle soaring above, two more golden eagles pretty close with an adult sea eagle, young sea eagles at the nest and a male hen harrier. Then a fascinating encounter with an otter that was suddenly there below me shining wet in the sun and when I least expected it. He was hauling a large lobster ashore and proceeded to eat the best of it then suddenly leapt into the sea as one of the lobsters claws seemed to be locked ontto his face. He shook it off in the sea and was off. We went down to the shore and I got the other untouched claw and had it for starter this evening !! I am 100% certain that ancient people would have similarly observed otters like sea eagles do and then chased it off its bigger fish as it came ashore.
After the very wet day a few days ago it looked like it was downhill for us after a great few months but it has continued to be really good and super today for my trip. Sam and Heather are up for a few days from Cambridge and we went to Callaich Point yesterday as it was so calm and of course it has a massive ocean view with many of the west coasts significant islands in view. On the way it was pretty busy at Calgary Beach. Anyway it paid off with three separate basking sharks and lots of seabirds including great skua, shearwaters, guillemots, razorbills, gannets, kittiwakes etc. The interesting bit was that one of the sharks was about 200m offshore when an otter set off from the shore to head purposefully for the shark. As it arrived there it dived almost under the shark and came up with some prey and headed back to shore where it ate it !! Silly as it seems it looked as if the otter was making some sort of bravado point to the shark, as there was really no point in heading well out to sea and wasting energy just to come all the way back again with food that it could quite easily have got inshore.
Today looked tough with misty drizzly weather not due to clear until later ! So a slow start with a lot of knowledge imparted rather than wildlife spotted. Almost nothing was likely to move until the rain abaited a little. However we saw goosanders, common seals, mergansers, common sandpiper, wheatears, stonechats and red deer females with small spotted young and buzzards of course. Then it kicked off with a white tailed sea eagle sitting high in a tree and looking wet with one of its two youngsters still in the nest. Up to loch na Keal with kestrels, ravens and two peregrines rushing above a ridge, better views of the sea eagles later as one landed pestered by gulls and flew to another tree. With a customer keen to see his first golden eagle we had big views as I found one sitting on the skyline with black mountains behind and mist swirling all around. Suddenly it was off and up with its mate and from then we had big views of them flying and landing, then a female hen harrier carrying prey and one below the golden eagles and finally a close short eared owl.
Well even better than yesterdays wildlife trip its another brilliant day here and 90 degrees on the terrace. Problem is that it has meant more painting and DIY for me, but at least its in my shorts ! On the trip it was tough really because UK wildlife doesnt like sun. Add that all birds have their youngsters out of the their nests now and so are no longer territorial but on the move, mostly back to Africa. Timed so well this year as it’s rubbish weather on Sunday but the Outer Hebridean Islands are over the moon about because they are more or less all out of water after weeks and weeks of sunshine. Still a ‘tough day’ is relative I suppose because we saw a few eagles up together, a female hen harrier gliding toward us off a mountain peak, sea eagles, fleeting porpoise, red throated divers flying in and landing, manx shearwaters, kittiwakes, gannets, seals and red deer of course and a lovely family from France all speaking English with the little girl speaking other languages as well, including Japanese !!??!!
Well England should be pleased now as the jetstream is behaving normally and by this Sunday it will move to Western Scotland where we have had a remarkable few months of glorious weather. So enjoy the sun England before it decides to move south again !! We had a really successful trip yesterday looking at proposed new parking areas, viewpoints and interpretation for visitors. Hopefully Mull will inform visitors a lot better with the new plans and maybe improve the loo situation ! On the trip we had a very good view of a Stoat as it romped along the roadside. For a creature that is not uncommon here I see them very rarely in fact. Not sure why to be honest.
Another excellent trip today with misty weather clearing to give sunshine and very atmospheric conditions. I saw an otter on the way to get everyone at Craignure and another distant one behind a seal colony as we began the trip, female hen harrier in Glenmore and red deer stags with growing atlers, two golden eagles which have not bred this year sitting and flying pretty close, another otter which gave excellent long term views till it brought a fish ashore behind a small islet, male hen harrier, adult sea eagle soaring over its two young still in the nest and on the way back another golden eagle sitting on the slope of a mountain, usual seals and smaller birds of course today and now a beautiful calm evening.
Seemingly now ‘inevitable’ it has been another glorious, colourful and sunny day and now a golden evening. I had no trip today because I had a scheduled Public Service Vehicle check to undergo in Tobermory which has definitely gone more upmarket over the last couple of years. It certainly has more style than in the past and visitors have come to expect such things as they travel so much now. Back here after lunch it was onto the painting again and which I have come to strangely enjoy. I think it could be about achieving and feeling good about doing something worthwhile. What do you think. I got the same but better buzz as a graphic designer knowing I had produced something top notch and original. Of course I also get that buzz on my trips and fascinate myself that I get to know more and more about wild creatures and what they might do or not do. Personally I find humans too predictable by far and uninspiring, unlike a golden eagle as he races off the skyline in some wild part of Mull.
Super weather and super trip. I felt a little conscious of whether I was trying to do too much on the trips this year because I do feel sometimes that people would just like a sort of RSPB trip and potter around. But surely you would want a guide to show you an areas big species wouldn’t you, wherever you are in the world? Or am I too ambitous and excited about life and most people simply arent? Anyway !! Otters have been tough lately and so I started north of Craignure at Garmony and straight off found a mother with two cubs. They gave super views swimming and fishing for some time and then having lots of fun on a small islet. In Glenmore I found a godlen eagle sitting on top of high craggy peak, female hen harrier, really good short eared owl, more harriers, owl and sea eagle, another golden eagle sitting on high, unusual otter swimming from the sea up a small shallow stream and heading inland. I have seen this before when I think the otters are hoovering up fish spawn, peregrine falcon dashing around us on Gribbun and finally a race with a male hen harrier up the Glenmore road.
Lovely serene evening again here and another good trip but only 3 people to enjoy it today. There has always been something about early July and a lack of visitors. We should all go on holiday ourselves at this time of year ! Anyway tomorrow it’s 9 people. But still, today we followed a young sea eagle for miles till he glid along the side of Ben Taladh and away. Then short eared owl flying and sitting close on a short post, young golden eagle and female hen harrier, male hen harrier and another young golden eagle and its parent gliding along a ridge to land but then be attacked by kestrels. Of course seals, red deer stags and females etc. Sunny again tomorrow and for a while I am told. You know I feel I am living in the Seychelles at times this year only its more varied and verdant here.