It has been dreadful weather here over the last few days with only the shortest pauses in the wind and rain. However we have not had any snow at all this winter except on the mountains of course. This lunchtime I watched a Hen Harrier from my office gliding over the land below the house and this morning when it was dry I went to check on various things on the land and there were two Sea Eagles directly above me. If it’s a southerly or south easterly wind here and there is a break in poor weather I can guarantee seeing both species of eagle over here, particularly the White Tailed Sea Eagle. I think tommorow is a little better and maybe Thursday also. The only plus with such prolonged poor weather is that when it eventually does clear it is very good with lots of activity, as creatures are wanting to get up and do their thing just like humans do.
Little has been happening here in the last few days, or maybe it has !! My problem is that I have been doing piles of work indoors and signing numerous petitions which I assume you all do. To save the Beluga Whale or better education facilities for children In India, trying to stop BP drilling in the Arctic, trying to save the Sumatran Tiger etc etc. They seem to work a lot of the time, mainly due to the huge numbers of people that sign up. Though we have had no luck in persuading Putin to stop supporting Assad in murdering children. So make sure you try to !! The weather has been pretty good all in all, however today was wet and windy all day but we still have not seen any of this snow that’s been talked about except of course on the highest mountains which is all very normal. The days are steadily lengthening now and that is always good for us all here. Eagles and all wild creatures can hunt for longer and we get more sunshine to warm the house up for the evenings. What a win by Andy Murray though in the Australian Open against Roger Federer !
A poor start to the weather for today’s trip but it then turned lovely and clear and always looks beautiful as it does here. We saw a number of hen harriers, golden eagles were displaying, we had a young sea eagle sitting close onshore and another soaring overhead later with buzzards, red deer stags of course and seals as always. There were plenty of birds on the sea including great northern divers, slavonian grebes, goldeneye, goosanders, merganzers, godwit redshank, plovers etc and top visual effects of snow capped peaks and blue sea as the weather cleared.
It’s been another cold but lovely sunny day over here on the West Coast of Mull but it was up into the mountains to check on golden eagles for us today and unfortunately like today it is often pretty cloudy. I bumped into two previous customers of mine wandering up a track under Ben Taladh and who are on a trip with me on Tuesday. They reported seeing the male goldie in that area displaying the day before and so it is good news on that territory. They also saw a Loch na Keal pair and one eating a mountain hare which is their favourite prey. A mile up the road at the highest point there were three golden eagles interracting above us. One of which I think was the youngster of the other two from this years nest. Onwards and downwards now and 3 more golden eagles, one of which I have known for almost 30 years now and which failed to rear young last year but the good news is that she is clearly fine and flew very close to us with her mate. All 3 territories are therefore looking ok for 2013. Lete hope we dont get some of this snowy English weather now.
Despite all the snow down south it was simply wonderful here yesterday with wall to wall sunshine from morning to night, but I have to say cold and windy, however I was up checking our well and I sat up against one of the old ruined blackhouses that we are custodians of and it was really warm out of the wind and so pleasant just looking out to sea from there. I say it all the time but the BBC forecasts for our area are so often wrong and any hint of easterly winds is always good weather and of course we are in easterly winds country wide lately. Today is Saturday and also sunny and less windy also, tommorow is the same but I don’t have a wildlife trip until Tuesday when I think it is also good here. Winter is always best and at its most visually spectacular in the West of Scotland, provided you can catch the weather right.
There is little to report from the Hebrides in the last 2 days I am afraid but I am rather enjoying pottering around and getting up to date on email enquiries which are pretty good and working around the property. Wednesday was dreadful but always beautiful with very cold strong winds and snow across the sea on our main mountain range. It felt and looked like Alaska with a good chance of seeing polar bears. Thursday was still cold and windy but much more sunny and we have so much glass here that the house was really warm everywhere. Friends of ours from loch Buie, Phil and Sue Lane came around for lunch and Phil had a look at my guitar and took it away to restring it. I offered him some glass blocks that have been sitting in the shed since we built the house and he can also have my lawnmower as we are completely wild here and so no lawn or cute roses and things, though I am watching the ground for a sign of the wild daffodils to show. You can see how simple life can be here when you are not out searching the wilds for eagles !!
Where oh where do the BBC get these weird and totally inacurate weather forecasts from for our area. Today has been a crystal clear and calm day. The sail to Oban was as good as I have seen it with all of the main mountains across on the mainland all the way up to Ben Nevis topped with snow and a cloudless sky. Out of the wind but with the sun on your face it was warm as usual but in the wind cold. On the way back and just off the Lighthouse on the tip of the Island of Lismore there were two sea eagles that soared above us. There was some debate as to where they lived until the female straightened up and headed perposefully toward Loch Don and Duart Castle with her mate following her. Clearly the birds were the ones I have known so well over the years but it was a surprise to see them well out to sea today.
Another one of those ‘Wow’ winter days here, with vivid light and sweeping clouds of hail out to sea separated by a brilliant blue sky. I would have preferred this weather for yesterdays trip which was an endless round of dodging mist, wind and rain. No golden eagles but sea eagles yes and an otter, fleeting hen harrier, slavonian and little grebes and if we had counted them there must have been a hundred great northern divers scattered around the different lochs. Plenty of obvious things as usual including kestrels, buzzards, goldeneye, shags, geese, stags and a photographers paradise of snowy peaks and sun dappled landscape. If anyone leaves Mull and Iona without looking like an absolutely sensational photographer, then you are obviously useless and should take up a different hobby !!
A slightly grey day here today but very calm. Yesterday was another super sunny and windless day and the tide was right and so I went to collect some oysters, which I love. There was no one about seemingly on the entire National Scenic Area and we saw 3 separate otters, slavonian grebes, great northern divers and a sea eagle putting lots of birds up, which must be tedious all the time for the birds but it’s just safer to be flying when they are about than sitting chatting. It’s not such a good forecast in Western Scotland tomorrow for my wildlife trip but I think we may miss the worst of it. Its a time when I start getting an idea of what’s about and where things are, ready for my season. There has been talk of it having been a poor tourist season in Scotland 2012 but for heavens sake if they don’t come back this year having had the best weather in Britain here for weeks then they deserve to get wet trying to chase the sun abroad this year. Watch the jetstream and if it’s slamming into the South again in April come to The Hebrides !!
After the up and down weather of the New Year period we have had some lovely weather and today is sunny and calm. We had a brillinat red sunrise over Benmore an hour ago. Wildlife trips are rare for me in the off season but I have one on Sunday with 3 people who sound ‘keen’ and all who know me know that I like my customers to be keen, or at least pretend that they are !! This is easier to pull off if you have a pair of binoculars around your neck by the way. If you are truly keen and up for whatever you are searching for in life it’s yours for the finding in my opinion. Adopt the usual wishy washy state of so many humans and you will innevitably end up with a wishy washy life. The sun is now blazing across the entire scene here and all it needs is a school of dolphins leaping offshore and heading this way. I also know that the White Billed Diver is probably out there too and so I had better don my gear and get keen !!