Due to popular request I have now put a new picture of Sonny and Charlie who were recently in Corsica with us. It shows them a little more grown up than the older pic of them which is also on my gallery page.
There was some respite from the rain today but the winds continued and ferry’s were cancelled for the day.
Coincidentally, as I was phoning Cal mac about the ferry a female harrier glided along in front of the house no more than 30ft away ! It had to be a good omen I hoped.
The boys and Joy and I, decided to explore the old road through Glenmore which starts a few feet past the Loch Buie and Croggan turnoff and it was dry and sheltered in there, very wooded and it follows the fast flowing and rather hidden river. A golden eagle flew high over a mountain peak above the conifers and later a young golden eagle flew down the glen above us going toward Loch Spelve.
Still plenty to see then on even poor days here.
It’s the most super start to the day here, with dozens of birds wheeling around over a very calm sea. ‘Perfect’ puffy clouds of all colours are rising with the sun above Iona in the background.
From my office I look west to this majestic oceanic view that we have, but I am prepared to bet that on the hills behind the house in such excellent conditions, the eagles are probably rising too.
Our boys have just set off to hike up there and I know they will come back extolling about the eagles they have seen. Unfortunately like joy I have lots of things to do now that the weather is so much better. I am also told that we humans need around 30 minutes a day of sun and so I better be off and do some outdoor stuff.
Like last year we are having some very poor weather. With little relief in between the strong wind and rain, but like us humans our wild creatures simply take it on the chin. There were lots of birds in the air, in between the rain, all over the Island again today.
Setting of for Tobermory this morning for some last minute shopping there must have been at least 70 ravens above our drive wheeling and tumbling, as they do. In fact I think Ravens may well be the countries most acrobatic flyers.
Despite the dramatic weather, or because of !! the Island has been producing some amazing visual effects, with the scenes changing every few minutes, which are proving to be impossible to portray via the written word. Those that know and love Mull will know what I mean !
As we returned from Tobermory it was good to watch two golden eagles following the ridge on our right along Loch na Keal toward home.
It is impossibe for me not to admire creatures such a Golden Eagles and at the same time see little to admire in most humans.
Have a lovely Christmas everyone I know and I hope to post something before the New Year breaks.
Well we have had it all in the last couple of days. Though I have to say that eagles really do enjoy it, provided it isnt torrential rain. Even they don’t like to get too wet.
I am just interrupting my own flow right now at 4.30pm because after a dark and very wild sky for most of the day, it is as close to another Turner painting as it can get, with black clouds looking like huge mountains over Iona and numerous vergions of red and golden sky peaking above the mountains.
Birds have been in the air all day, quite obviously enjoying it all and we have had numerous sea eagles, both adult and young on the hill behind the house, then above us and now out ahead of us as they swirl around above the windy coast, with gulls and ravens with the dramatic golden background I have described and which is now coming over the house.
Seems to me that when our birds are up in numbers like today, it is almost all about looking for partners and enjoying the fun of it.
The scene is getting more and more stunning as I search for words to describe the ever changing natural wonders that the Hebridean Islands can deliver for the onlooker.
But I give up trying to describe it today!!
A couple of days ago I thought I would have a look for Crossbills at a bit of a hot spot at Fishnish, which is all pine forest and I have had luck there a few times.
Not this time though, but then I was totally absorbed by these two Goldcrests as I entered the forest and found myself thinking, when was the last time that I saw a Goldcrest !!! Well it’s some time ago and it dawned on me that I spend so much time looking for bigger game, like eagles, when I am with visitors, that I just dont get the chance to look for so many other things.
The Goldcrest has this bright yellow stripe down its head and it looks quite exotic when you catch sight of that. You might understand why I was so wrapped up in the two ‘foreign’ looking tiny birds, that flitted around in short vegetation a few feet from of me.
What a joy it was and today a different joy, looking from my office with our golden and empty landscape stretching out to the deep blue sea about 400m away and then leading the eye to misty Iona a few miles across the sea.
Every single day of life here offers something captivating and new, whether its a wild creature or one of our wild places. Or maybe its just one of John Denvers romantic songs, as I drive down the coast of our National Scenic Area, to such touching and fitting, lyrics.
Today at 11.30am and via my open office door the Island is clearly going to be as wonderful as yesterday, when on the way to Loch Buie to visit friends we had sunny and clear blue sky, no wind at all and snow capped peaks.
The Island is so quiet at this itme that you feel you have it all to yourselves and it would be wonderful anywhere, whether on the beaches in the south or among our mountainous centre.
I often suggest to people that if you take any left turn in the West of Scotland you will come across somewhere wonderful. So we took one of those lefts to Croggan and Loch Buie where you are quickly into woodland at Ardura and where in summer you can see redstarts, tree pipits, wood warblers, woodpeckers and spotted flycatchers and if you are lucky, eagles overhead. Down to the shores of Loch Spelve then and after 5 minutes, there was an adult sea eagle sitting on the shore sunning himself. He was quickly up and gliding a few feet above the water, over a small islet and across the loch to rise up with legs out and land on the top of a very tall but spindly tree. Two minutes further on toward Loch Buie and I glimpsed an otter with her cub and they gave the usual ottery views onshore and in the water.
Gorgeous walk at Loch Buie toward Carsaig now after mince pies at Sue and Phils new home.
We are just back from Glasgow visiting our grandchildren and doing lots of Christmas shopping, which is great, isnt it, when you also buy nice things for yourself !
On the way back, island life and its few pitfalls came back to haunt us, having assumed that we would just get a 2pm ferry from Oban back to Mull . However mother nature was at it again and clearly cross with us humans at ignoring the climate change threats. The road from Glasgow along Loch lomond was like the Everglades, only much cold and far wilder, but still with rivers of water pouring everywhere, where it shouldnt.
We ended up racing for the 12am ferry concerned that the ferry could be cancelled. Well it was !! Next move was to book a room a the pretty nice Caledonian Hotel on the harbour in case the 2pm wasnt sailing either. Actually they do a very commendable special islanders price for such occasions, which actually is probably a better idea than catching the ferry !! However the 2pm was surprisingly sailing but it was very wild but ok for us hardy islander types.
Nice to get home though, get all the heating on, open the Glayva meant for Christmas and relax.
Now the wind has dropped and the rain has gone away leaving us with one of those big starry skys that remote islands around the world seem to attract.
Yesterday was such a beautiful day. The island was quiet and there was lots of blue sky and sun. The South of Mull on such days was the place of my dreams when I was a youngster living in Sheffield amid the steelworks and poverty of The Steel City. Of course I now actually live those boyhood dreams.
Heading down our coast it was exciting to see one of the adult sea eagles flashing its big white tail 25m away while it jostled on the shingle beach, with something that it was probably going to eat !! On the way to Southern Mull there were great northern divers the snow capped peaks of Glenmore and at least 4 seperate hen harriers. At Fidden which has that quintessential Hebridean look, with its pink grannet boulders and tropical blue sea and white sandy beaches we parked up for a warm drink and a sandwich. Suddenly I glimpsed a fast moving bird of prey 200m to our left, that turned into a Peregrine Falcon which swept very low over our car and off, after the 200 or so Barnacle Geese that were on the small Fidden Estuary, opposite the Island of Erraid. Waders were wheeling around and it was very very windy. This blew up the white sand and added even more to that super Hebridean feel that the whole area has.
Today I had a wildlife trip and on the way out the sea eagle was doing much as it did yesterday. I cursed that I did not yet have my customers with me. But coming back up to Loch na Keal 30 minutes later, we waited for flying sea eagles and after 15 minutes 3 were above us with a big female calling repeatedly. We spent lots of time here.
Its a wild spell in these magical and romantic islands but when the sun comes out it is stupendous, very colourful and empty at this time of year.
Yes its going to be a pretty wild day here soon and into the evening I believe.
Its 9.30 am and I can see it coming, like a misty Tsunami, rolling across the sea from Iona. Are there are still people out there that think all of this drama with the weather worldwide, isnt to do with our human excess’s and greed, thus causing the climate to change? Well they should be stuck on an Island in the middle of the Paciifc, or tied to a rock in the Outer Hebrides.
Lots of birds have been in the air all morning and wild weather I have to say does seem to get the gulls, in particular, very excited. Both species of eagle, ravens, hooded crows and lots of buzzards have also been up and making the most of short dryer slots in between the rain. Like us they dont like to get wet at all but eagles know that a really wild and wet day will create carrion for them, which is a big part of the diet of both the eagles.
Plenty of sightings of woodcock and a few of barn owls and tawny owls in the evenings lately. I guess I am not out enough in an evening because there could well be more to see then !
It’s 10.15 am. The rain has stopped for a moment and its a golden landscape from here to the sea, which is covered with millions of white horses, prancing on a steal coloured sea.
Today was as sublime a day as Mull can deliver.
All of the mountains across Loch na Keal including Benmore were covered in snow and the sea was as flat as a pancake, making it good otter spotting conditions.
Sure enough there were two otters enjoying this dry and very sunny day, after the wild weather we have all had to suffer. Slavonian grebes, great northern divers, teal and lots of curlews and gulls were just offshore too.
On Lochdon Joy and I called in to see an upholsterer who is looking at re covering our two chaise longue’s and looking back to the mountains and sunny peaks was simply fabulous today. Off then to Grasspoint where like everywhere else it was empty and spectacular, even way across the sea and north to Ben Nevis and more snow capped peaks. Across from the jetty at Grasspoint were basking seals and one of the adult sea eagles enjoying the sun too, before leaping off and racing across the estuary to soar above the hills. Giving me the impression that it was looking for its mate.
Today Mull was simply magical, empty, vast and as always so so colourful.