Well it was a sparkling day here and we had very good views of our top three. The only negative is that I miissed 2 killer whales on the other side of Ulva yesterday ! But today was still excellent with great views of sea eagles calling and flying. I had a close view of an otter going to get everyone for the trip but we found one eating a largish fish offshore but from then it was tough to follow in a dazzling, slightly choppy sea but at least it was giving me the impression that it would eventually end up on a small seaweedy rock. Sure enough it was soon on there eating another fish and everyone then had excellent views in the telescope and at least a couple of people today had put me under pressure regarding seeing an otter ! Just prior to this and during lunch a golden eagle broke the skyline above us but it was away quickly. But again I had a good idea where it might be. Sure enough !! it was a youngster up with an adult and soaring above us. Plenty of other things to see as usual but the big three were very good sightings for people that were keen to see them.
My customers were a bit of a handful today and it was tough to keep them focused and moving, as they seemed to want to chat a lot!! Joking apart!! we had good views of a few porpoise, sea eagles were top line again with young and adults calling and interracting. Across the loch a golden eagle was sitting on the skyline and I glimpsed an otter which eluded us after we wandered across a small headland to find it again and there it was pretty close and settling to a nap. Two red throated divers in summer plumage and a peregrine was on its territory on Gribbun cliffs again and razorbills, seals, wheatears, rock and meadow pipits, lots of kestrels and buzzards were seen. Through Glenmore I just missed a male hen harrier it seems, golden eagle again in Glenmore and red deer high in the mountains, as they are now becoming nervous about getting shot at !! Pretty good weather also today and very good for tomorrows trip.
Today could have been one for the serious pessimist as after heavy rain and wind overnight it continued into the morning. I was also out with 7 customers, two of which are huge fans of Mull, Fiona Philips and Martin Frizell and their two boys and so a bit of nice pressure to deliver sun and big sightings then. So big sighting first as me and the sea eagles got a small window in the weather and the adult male from Loch na Keal swept low over the loch and in among diving gannets shining white against a black sea and mountains. He hovered over the water and eventually took what looked like a guillemot. As he flew back to shore his two youngsters were up calling an getting very excited as he dangled the prey in front of them and landed to feed them. As the weather cleared two golden eagles were rising above a mountain and heading for the northern edge of their territory to check it out. A Hen Harrier crossed the road in front of us and another was up with buzzards and kestrels. Lots of smaller birds also considering the weather, yellowhammer, grey wagtail, wheatears, meadow and rock pipits, mergansers, lots of kittiwakes, rock doves, lapwings, seals, red and fallow deer and more.
A day of sunshine and clouds, which suits Mull as the clouds shadows reflect on the mountains. Of to a good start with the sea eagle adults and young flying calling and sitting. Across Loch na Keal to look for otters and golden eagles but couldnt find them !! However onto Loch Scridain and the perfect otter sighting after I had scanned for some time along the shoreline. There he was diving a few feet offshore on a calm bit of sunny sea. Eventually he headed for shore clearly with some bigger prey than the butterfish, which is their favourite. We ‘sneaked’ down to the shore and hid behind some tallish grasses and peaked over. There he was eating a still wriggling huge conger eel. It took some time and so all had a telscope shot full of an eating otter and they could even count his whiskers. We left him still munching away with everyone elated. Then we had longish views of a female hen harrier and in Glenmore a golden eagle belted out to chase some buzzrds and then came very low over us and perched on the top of the crags to give more great views.
Showery day today but as always atmospheric. We had good views of the Loch na Keal sea eagles, perched calling and soaring. It’s hard to get inside their heads at times but they both suddenely swept off their roost and as fast as possible raced low over the sea and landed on the shingle beach 800m away. It looked like a definite mission with prey as their target. When we got there the femle was sitting pretty close but we could not find the male and so maybe he got whatever they were after and took it back to their youngsters. No otters today but greenshank, red deer, curlews, eiders, shags and cormorants, a flock of twite, lots of kestrels and buzzards, two separate but distant golden eagles and latterly a female hen harrier feeding and training its youngster dangling a short tailed vole for it to grasp.
It was a trppical sort of day again today and just now we had a 10 minute deluge of rain just like we got in the Costa Rican Jungle. Very good views and lots of action again today of adult sea eagles with young. Across the loch a golden eagle was eventually up and circling some nearby mountain peaks. No otters today but plenty of smaller sightings such as twite, both seal species and female hen harrier. However for me today was about the golden eagle sighting that is in everyones imagination, as we drove through Glenmore. The two adult eagles from there were gliding and looking very dark against the equally dark mountainside. They repeatedly circled around each and glid along the hillside occasionally breaking the skyline and eventually landing to sit on separate rocky areas and give those romantic golden eagle views in my telescope for all to enjoy. They were both calling at times and eventually climbed above us to sail over another peak behind us and away. I think golden eagles in such a dramatic wild location soaring in the sky and bonding together is the ultimate Scottish wildlife encounter.
An atmospheric day today that only the Hebrides can deliver, with moody cloudy peaks and blasts of warm sunshine. At last the bridge repairs have been done across the sea from here and so I was back to my usual hunting patch of this year. We saw a number of porpoise, sea eagles with young doing all the things you would want them to do and pretty close, golden eagles up with male hen harrier, a top guide sighting of an otter, red throated diver, shags, eiders, cormorants, another golden eagle alighting, with their youngster calling, but could we spot it ?? On the way back another golden eagle sitting and then rushing off the mountain top to go all the way back again with feet out to land, but could we spot it sitting ? Female harrier and lots of kestrels also today and the lovely 7 year old Hannah who helped me with the catering asking loudly ”tea with milk” !! ”coffee with milk” and at lunch time she asked whether they had eaten their soup, in wich case she then gave them a cake topped with chocolate. She will go far in catering.
Its great to be back on Mull today after the usual spectacular drive from Glasgow through the Highlands and home to the huge and empty sea and mountains of Mulls West Coast ‘BUT’ it’s also good to get away too and see Timmy in York, my 92year old Mum in Sheffield and our relatives, plus our lifelong friends Margaret and Ian in Darrington. Off too for more boyhood memories in Staithes on the East Coast which is so picturesque and was very warm as we all sat against the harbour wall looking at children fishing for crabs. Living in industrial Sheffield surrounded by steelworks I dreamed of living in such a place where I could explore and do wild, free things. So here I am now, living that dream in a truly magical and romantic place and where I will one day write my book about a group of local children who saved the first returning Sea Eagles from the clutches of a mad egg collector. Steven Spielberg will love it !!
I had a feeling that today could be tough as it was very sunny, lots of smaller birds have left Mull for Africa and birds of prey are now out of their nests and also wandering. However we saw the two Grasspoint sea eagles. One was sitting on the shore while the other was eating a dead sheep. Into Glenmore and a brief male hen harrier but no golden eagles. On Loch Scridain we found an otter fishing and bringing something ashore to give good otter views !! Back to look again for golden eagles then and sure enough one came right over us as it crossed from one side of its territory to the other with powerful wing beats through blue sky and puffy white clouds. Another check then further up as during lunch earlier I thought we would get a particular pair of golden eagles with young. Time passed and there it was at last circling up and then rushing along a mountain to then go all the way back and land near their nest site to eat something. Finally very good view of a male hen harrier as we headed for the ferry point.
Another wonderful day of weather. We saw porpoise off Grasspoint, razorbills with young and two sea eagles, two hen harriers late in the day and in between golden eagles flying and sitting and a young sea eagle very close crossing into the golden eagles territory. Also pretty close views of two sitting adult sea eagles with their young back in the nest there again. Big red deer stags and seals etc also today.