Of course I see my task as trying to get people good views of White Tailed Sea Eagle, Otter, Golden Eagle and Hen Harriers with most of our other creatures wrapping around those top species and if I am given a break in the weather and tides that make finding Otters a little easier, then I will deliver. I hope that all of my guests are encouraged to ask me any questions they wish during the day and I am always happy to pass my on my knowledge of how to see Scotland’s wildlife because there are many obvious things that they just don’t know. The same can be said of many so called experts who don’t live in the wild and so arent out there with wild creatures as I am almost every day. In the last few days we have had pretty big views of all of our top species and I am aware with each day that passes how much experience counts wherever you are being guided in the world. Whether it’s looking for Blue Whales in the Pacific or Eagles in the Hebrides. I simply love learning more and more about Mulls widlife and its wild places and it will be the same for guides all over the world I guess.
Correction to my posting of yesterday, in that the film Damian Lewis is starring in and being filmed on Mull is not ‘Violent Storm’ but ‘Perfect Storm’.
A glorious day and so off entertaining Sam with a trip to Carsaig, which as I often say ”if you were given a blank canvas and asked to design the almost perfect place , it would be Carsaig”. Today there was a film crew there doing all manner of things including building a mock chapel just back from the beach. We bumped into a young reporter from the up market newspapers looking for the star Damian Lewis of the hit American series ‘Homeland’ who is making a new film here called Violent Storm. Along the big grey sand beach the sea had retreated to a very low tide and the wet sand was shimmering and dazzling us. Behind the beach I found fossils and thousands of orchids with the wild goats there sitting among the fragrant orchids. Taking a walk toward Loch Buie from the beach the woodland was verdant and glimpsing the sea and sun bleached headlands through the Temperate Rainforest was like similar glimpses through Tropical Rainforest in Costa Rica, without the Scarlet Macaws !!
A hectic day today and up really to get Sam and his girlfriend Heather from Glasgow Airport and back. On the way I saw a Jay near Fishnish which caught my eye because I dont see them here. On the way back on the ferry which was delayed because of strong winds we saw manx shearwaters and fulmars and a lovely evening here when we got back after yet another one of Joys delicious meals. The weather looks good here for the week by the way.
Good day and good crowd of people including one youngster with great eyesight. Sea eagles out over our heads at Grasspoint and sailing out over the sea. On the ground we were looking at fragrant, Lesser and broad leaved marsh orchids etc. Up the road and we got the male and female hen harrier passing prey and then the male sitting on the very top of a high very skinny leafless tree like a buzzard !!! Up ahead and over the road two golden eagles that are the remotest pair on the Island, in a dog fight with two buzzards and then two more sea eagles in a tree on a headland. Red deer, common seals, sandpipers, skylarks, whinchats meadow and tree pipits. Off for more golden eagles and terrific views sitting and soaring with the yougster rapidly growing and another male harrier 100m behind us. Bumped into lots of people I know before finding the otters asleep and then wandering up to where the rising tide could not get their backsides ! Chatted about green matters going back and why arent Mull and the other Hebridean Islands a National Park. Why arent they?? I may flee like John Muir to Yosemite if it doesnt happen soon. Joy is just back from Boston where she and Sam saw humpbacks. Damn it !
There isn’t quite as much wildlife around this year in my opinion but what there is seems determined to deliver higher quality sightings because of it. In a way the situation means that a local guide is even more important because wild creatures are harder to find. Today there were more good views of sea eagles, now hunting more at sea level as the carrion thing is passing. Offshore at Grasspoint we also saw a large group of manx shearwaters going south, guillemots, gannet and razorbills distant, a male and female hen harrier passing prey and this has been tough to track down this year. Golden Eagles were spectacular today as we scanned crags looking for them sitting or breaking the skyline. We should have checked behind us !! For coming very low and 25m away was the male followed by his mate. On Scridain it was wetter today and colder and mum and the otter cubs had clearly changed their routine because of this and so we were some time finding otters today but then a glimpse on the other side of the loch by my people from Holland and off we went with big views and another male harrier in the background. Unfortunately one of my party sat on mmy Raybans today. Painfull !!!
Another excellent day and with Dutch people who are always are very well informed, love Scotland and speak perfect English ! The sea eagles are definitely in their coastal mood now and yet again I found them on one of their favourite islands. Very distant porpoise in that area also, a few more orchids now and tomorrow I reckon my next lot will get the chance to smell fragrant orchid. Big views yet again of golden eagles and a yougster that is now dark with only a little white down left. I might have had a unique sighting of mum and the two otter cubs today because dad was with them most of the time but she gave him a bite on the neck to show who is boss. He looked massive at the side of the cubs and he eventually slept a little way from them. They all gave fabulous and perfect views swimming and wandering around together. Why the female otters dont want the support of the male is not clear to me but I am learning all the time even as a very experienced guide. A Male hen harrier danced past us as we left the otters.
Maybe overly sunny today but I was bang on with my judgements, as on the way down to collect everyone we saw a number of porpoise in the Sound of Mull. Off to try and see the sea eagles and good views straight off with the birds now in their more coastal mood and dislodging a pair of shags from their islet to sit their themselves, before gliding off to another islet to check things out there. From here we saw distant porpoise and varioos auks and my first glimpse this year of fragrant orchids which will be in flower tommorrow and everyone can have a smell !! Further on l left everyone on a small hillock by the road waiting for harriers while I went back to get the vehicle and sure enough they had the food pass pretty close between the two birds. Into Glenmore now and big big views of the golden eagles as they both shot out to chase a gull off and were almost certainly showing the youngster what it does when it leaves the nest. Now off for otters and we saw Mum and one cub and later two. The adult sea eagle from that area came swooping down to the nest to feed their youngster and so a very good day with happy people.
We had a lovely weekend with Lucy and our grandchildren in Glasgow. Sonnie has taken to Gokarting. He loves it and had a go with us in northern Spain last summer. Charlie is playing football and is improving ! Rufus is just 2yrs and a handful. Typically we were walking hand in hand past another pool of water and I said ”Don’t walk in this one Rufus” and he promptly slammed his foot down in the middle of it and drenched all of us ! I also dropped Joy off at Glasgow airport as she is flying to London and on to Boston USA for a few days to meet up with our youngest son Sam who is at a conference there. His thing is stem cells in connection with muscle. Or I could have got that wrong ! I am jealous to death that on the Whale Watch they have booked they will see lots and they are also going to see the Boston Redsocks baseball team which his brother Timmy is sick about. It was the most glorious run back through the Highlands which looked really busy and tonight I am tapping away here and looking on a pinkish flat sea. It’s heaven here and when I get National Park status for these magical islands it will be official.
The weather forecast for today was very poor but as it turned out we had no rain at all. The White Tailed Sea Eagles at Grasspoint were in their summer mood and out on the islets offshore checking things out. An otter was fishing 100m out and so it was a good choice by me to start todays trip there. Looking for hen harriers I had the most fleeting of glimpses of a male below two buzzards and common seals were on a small islet in the same area. In the mountains of Glenmore the poor forecast had made me apprehensive about seeing golden eagles there but no sooner had we arrived to look when one broke the skyline and eventually hung like a buzzard way above the youngster in the nest for about 20 minutes before getting upset about two sea eagles in the area which needed chasing off. Down to Loch Scridain and just missed the otter it seems and a low tide did not help, but inland we had big views of an adult sea eagle coming in low to land on its nest and join the youngster. So today turned into a really good day where people shook my hand vigorously and told me they had learned a lot.