No otter yesterday but porpoise, sea and golden eagles but the highlight on both days for me has been two seperate groups of delightful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable children, all under 11 years of age. They reminded me of our own three growing up here. The Hebridean Islands are truly a paradise for such youngsters I feel, as it was and still is for our own. I dont think there could be a better, safer place to live, work and rear youngsters. Where they can grow up as the free spirirts they should all be, but increasingly are not in the suburban jungles that most live.
We are also in a prolonged spell of very calm and like tday glorious weather. Off to Oban though for a haircut and normal things like paint, sealant and ink cartdges and ideally a seafood lunch !
More very enthusiastic people today, some of whom had been out with me in the past. The day panned out like this… An otter on a seaweed point 5 minutes from Craignure, which then went fishing for more. 15 minutes later two sea eagles sitting and flying to sit on the hillside. 10 minutes gone now and various exciting views of a golden eagle regularly flying and landing and giving big eagle views. Off to find a female otter with cub but no sign, but lots of seals now in very warm weather indeed. Drinks and scones and then off again and rock and meadow pipits with cuckoos calling, great northern divers, terns, ringed plovers, common sandpipers, wheatears. Start of lunch and then off to find Peregrine falcons and as we approached one was gliding along the skyline and then we had one flying and then another with much calling. Off then to majestic ocean and island views at the end of the National Scenic Area in stupendous weather and the flattest possible seas and then two golden eagles over our heads with one crossing to more sea cliffs with ravens chasing. Into Glenmore and lots of people waiting for the golden eagles, but they were on the other side of the mountain with red deer and we again had marvellous views as they glid backwards and forwards along the hillside bombarded by a very keen hooded crow. On the way out of the glen we saw another pair of golden eagles and 10 minutes out of Craignure two more.
It is now a beautifful red sunset here on the west coast.
I have missed a few postings in the last few days and been doing a lot of jobs around the building over the weekend, but Friday was so Exotic here with gorgeous warm weather and calm seas. So sun room doors have been opened a lot and the colours of sea, landscape and sky have been intoxicating. Trips have been equally exotic I suppose with golden eagles soaring and sitting on the skyline, sea eagles doing similar things, my regular mountain hare friend on the way out and coming home, peregrines flying calling and today Tuesday sitting on high and then dropping down the sea cliffs and into the nest area. Lots of great northern divers in summer plumage still around, very nice and keen people like today when I suggested checking mountains behind me as I drove along and there was the golden eagle tackling a large immature sea eagle with red deer on the skyline looking on. Big sightings of hen harriers and tips about short eared owls being around now. The male hen harrier came gliding over us and across the road today and of course its wait for it, wait for it, wait for it and then Wow ! as he passes prey to the female. I have to thank Sue and Noel, Marylin and Andy and Natalie for being out there in the wilds of Mull and helping me spot things. They should all get on with it and move here !!
It’s that time of year when so many are keen and bookings are hectic, weather is excellent and so we are all happy but I have less time to do other things like this diary but I know there are lots of people that keep in touch with Mull this way and so I will always do my best to update you.
Great weather here now and what a dazzling evening it was over here in the west. It will last for a week I think.
We had a pretty fullsome trip yesterday and as usual at this time of year enthusiastic people. Waiting at the ferry point at Craignure we had at least 3 sea eagles overhead and then a school of dolphins right inshore among the waves but showing no more than their tall fins and as the ferry came in we lost them, possibly to bow ride with the ferry back to Oban. 10 minutes later and a mile up the coast an otter was just coming ashore with a lobster and so we walked along the shore and got verfy good views in the scopes as it spent an age eating it before climbing on top of the rocks to mark its territory and then off on its travels again. On the west coast we had sea eagles flying and sitting, common sandpipers, shellducks, mergansers, great northern divers and golden eagles soaring and displaying at distance but a little further on one of them tumbled out of the sky onto a flimsy tree and eventually dropped onto the nest while its mate high in sky was off across the glen. Another quarter mile and seals were basking on the islets as was another otter at a site which is producing regular otter sightings now if I can catch the tide right !! Another 400m and yet another otter eating a big eel and gving super telescope views for all. No sign of the peregrines today but we had a sea eagle sweeping across the road and another golden eagle in Glenmore, eiders, whinchat, stonechat, skylarks, rock pipits, cuckoos calling and one zipping past us chased inevitably by a meadow pipit. I had my mountain hare friend on the way home again. Soon activity will increase here as young birds start to grow and can be left by Mum and Dad and then it’s simply down to the weather of each day for me. So fingers crossed for the perfect wildlife day, which is sunshine and showers.
More of the same today for me with a around 10 porpoise early on, sea eagles flying and sitting, golden eagles at rest and soaring, stonechats, golden plover, mergansers, eiders, seals, red and fallow deer, a distant male hen harrier, skylarks, wheatears, shellducks, lots of great northern divers still, lapwings. curlews, black guillemot amd highlight for me the peregerine falcons calling and racing along the cliffs having a go at a gull and then posing on a rocky ledge on the sea cliffs. The fastest creature on the planet of course and in its truly natural habitat, free and as inspiring as a golden eagle as it breaks the skyline.
I got the mountain hare again on the way home !!
Another very good day today, again with very nice people who all learned a lot I think. Straight off we had a sea eagle over us going toward Loch na Keal. Once there I found the two resident adults sitting and occasionally flying as was a youngster not too far away. Below we found an otter asleep on a small islet and which I had seen on my way to collect people from Craignure. Lots of great northern divers here still and across the loch a golden eagle at a nest with the other adult soaring away from us. Rock doves were by the shore along with wheatears and seals offshore with an otter rolling around on a favourite sliver of and islet. We then had golden plover and more wheatears, ravens and buzzards. Off to Loch Scridain and on the way we found one of the sea eagles that has caused logistical problems for the RSPB hide now sitting at its new site. Into Glenmore and a really terrific view of the golden eagles there sitting and regularly flying and sitting again. These were excellent views of golden eagles doing their thing and super in the telescope sitting. On my way home I found the now regular mountain hares which I never seem able to get in the daytime !! They go all white in the winter of course and are never easy to see because they keep their heads down because they are the golden eagles favourite prey.
After a couple of days in Glasgow with Sonny, Charlie and Rufus gokarting and bowling and fun generally, it is back to Mull and the sunny West Coast after mizzly weather all the way home yesterday.
Today was glorious and calm everywhere and so we had a number of porpoise in the Sound of Mull, regular mountain hares now, sea eagles sitting and flying on Loch na Keal, lots of great northern divers, very good views of golden eagles flying and landing, wheatears, otter, common seals, rock doves, another very close male otter under Gribbun cliffs, two seperate male hen harriers at Pennyghael with one romping off at speed almost certainly with prey but too far away to see it eventually pass to the female. Into mountainous Glenmore now and two sea eagles, one eventually way over our heads with a male hen harrier escorting it away and then red deer on the mountainside.
So a really good trip with very nice people and lots of help from friends dotted around our route today..
I think I have done pretty well on the last few trips to find most of the wildlife that people come here to see, with always pretty good views of the White Tailed Sea Eagles and sightings are usually dramatic. Golden eagles have been equally good, though today was tougher on this species mainly due to a lack of time as an otter was giving very interesting views while we had lunch as it came closer and closer. Earlier we had seen an otter at Garmony which then lead us a dance. A female with her cub was on a mission under Gribbun cliffs and so a good otter day. Some sightings of male hen harrier have been very good and others as he danced through our binoculars were very teasing but like eagles always exciting particularly as they are now very rare on the mainland. In between all of the above, shellducks, eiders, whinchats, stonechats, common sandpipers, great northern divers in summer plumage, twites, golden plovers etc. and very nice people as always at this time of year with many of my tourist friends on the roads offering sightings information and warm handshakes. I am also now getting a regular encounter with a single mountain hare on the way to collect people for the trips and on the way back again. He is very bright and has cute white legs and underbelly and mountain hares go all white in winter as usual here. I hope to see him then, looking equally dashing.
Its early morning and our guests are sitting out on the decked area enjoying a truly tropical scene before breakfast. What a vista it is with each day different at all times of year but lately we have been enjoying excellent weather and wildlife sightings. Yesterday I guess we had as many as 9 otters within 30 minutes including a female with at least 3 cubs. The golden eagle was distant but did it matter as it soared and raced along the peaks and did its undulating diving up and down display. The sea eagles as always were very striking sitting and flying. I give people plenty of tips of course on how to spot wildlife here and as I explained that it is safer for birds to be in the air than on the ground if the sea eagle was airborne, they were suddenely up and panicking as an adult glided above them.
Lots of summer plumage great northern divers still here, whinchats, stonechats, wheatears, skylarks, common sandpipers, ringed plovers, fallow deer, red deer, common seals, peregrine falcon, always buzzards, ravens, hooded crows of course, rock doves, shellducks, common gulls, mergansers etc etc and lots of very nice and appreciative people on the trips.
Of course I shouldn’t stick my neck out but it feels like that time of year when the customers are good and the wildlife is a bit easier to see. On the last few trips we have had super views of golden eagles, breaking the skyline in their drmatic fashion and clinging to a small tussock of grass on an equally small cliff. Sitting below a nest on a fallen tree branch, preening and surrounded by yellow primroses and seeming to anjoy flashing his viking coloured hair-do at we mere mortals below. Equally exciting have been the white tailed sea eagles which are less predictable than golden eagles. One for instance gave us all really good views in the scope and in the air. Then for no apparent reason launched off across the bay with intent in its body language. It then circled low for a moment and raced back again to land more or less in the same place, giving no indication of why it swept off, which frankly wastes valuable energy and isnt a good idea unless there is lots of food about and carrion is of course abundant right now. Otters are giving their usual enchanting views but hen harriers are not as obliging as they could be. You are in Ecotourism or not I say and I fear the hen harrier knowing his rarity in Britain could now be getting too big for his yellow boots !!! A bit like our Island leaders who dont even support National Parks for Scotland, despite the fact that we have the worst record on National Park creation in the whole of Europe !!