This terrific weather has enabled me to get on with so much outdoor work, from pianting, chopping logs, to fixing slates, to planting gooseberry’s etc etc. The Golden Eagles have been above me and colours of land and sea have again been luxuriant. By the way on a trip to Oban yesterday I had a Glaucous Gull and an Iceland Gull in Oban Harbour.
Curlews and Lapwings are wheeling and calling over the landscape below the house but hooded crows are also around and as the grassland has been so overgrazed by sheep over the years lapwings and curlews just don’t have the ground cover to hide in and rear their young.
On the subject of sheep. We passed what looked like a dead one on the wildlife trip the other day, but it then twitched its head slightly. It was upside down in a shallow ditch by the road and I think being pregnant it had fallen over and could not get back up again. If you find this yourselves, it is often enough to just hold it up by its woolly back and let its feet dangle and touch the ground and it will sooner or later regain its balance and wander off, or provided kept upright, even left on its stomach, it will eventually re balance itself and wander off. i.e. never assume a very still sheep is dead.
Sunshine and showers. Why? Well its like we humans, we get a shower and we take cover, it stops and we are on the move, another shower and we shelter, it stops and like wild creatures we are all on the move again etc etc.
It was like this on a wildlife trip yesterday and so we had a lot of golden eagle and white tailed sea eagle sightings, sitting, flying and interracting with each other, wheatears are here now, skylarks, stonechats, and lots of buzzards and corvids as usual.
Ttype of weather for wildllife on the sea is another matter, as they dont mind getting wet of course ! Lots of great northern divers, slavonian grebes, goosanders and red breasted mergansers, various gulls and the other day we had guillemots and my first Gannet so far. No otters on the trip yesterday though !!!! Needless to say that Mull has looked stupendous in the last week and today is the same and very calm everywhere.
Well I have my first ‘proper’ wildlife trip of the season on Monday and not just a good time for my guests but a good time for me to suss out where things are this year.
It’s been a really super spell for all of us lately with a tropical feel to the Island particularly in the calmness of the sea and been so impressive early morning with this golden landscape that we have at this time.
I have been doing lots of work on the house in getting it looking good for our season. Last year we were awarded 4 Star Gold accreditation by Visit Scotland. In fact they wanted to give us 5 star !! However who really wants 5 star clientelle !?!
Off to the wilds of Treshnish Haun shortly to join our Mull Otter Group on another beach clean. Have you tried it in a really rugged place, instead of a posh flat beach in the South of England, because it is so much more tiring !!
From the house in the last few days Mull has felt like a huge becalmed ship, stuck in the Sargasso Sea with no way of moving on. There’s this sultry misty glow everywhere and I am personally finding the sun almost too dazzling, particularly out there washing the salt from the previous storms off the house timbers and today fixing roof slates and painting the exterior.
We had a wonderful time with the grandchildren in Glasgow again and I only just beat them in the Bowling Alley this time. Fact is Joy and Sonny are getting better and that means possible future problems for the alpha male, of course !
Lapwings and curlews are out over the grassland in front of the house doing their diplays and my guess is that the great northern divers down here for the winter from Iceland and Greenland, possibly think they have overshot the Hebrides and are in the South Pacific and not the West of Scotland !!
Bookings are looking good and again this year lots of enquiries from abroad and why wouldnt the whole world want to live or holiday in somewhere as vast, visually beautiful and as unspoilt as these Islands are ?? I like Whitby, the east nuke of fife, cornwall, the peak district etc but come on, come on !! The Hebridean Islands have got it all scenically and wildlife wise, but we do need more up market accommodation and top quality eateries. Or put another way, I am always telling my customers that this is the land of opportunity.
I guess this weather must break soon and maybe it will, but it didnt last year and eventually went on and on.
At last it looks like we are back to normal here for this time of year, with easterly winds and when I check, the jetstream will also be in our favour in the West of Scotland.
Hopefully we could end up like last year with another poor winter and it then turned sunny around this time and was sunny more or less until September !!
We have had a few wonderful days with no wind clear sky and colours galore from landscape and sea. It feels more like May than March and humans and wildlife are picking up the pieces of their lives after the storms. Problem is that it might now turn into one of those very long dry periods where water shortages have been a serious issue in the Islands. Who knows? mother nature is in charge and I think is currently all around the World, slapping our wrists because some humans still do not believe that our excesses are causing our climate to change.
I have liitle on wildlife trips at the moment but it is historically quiet at this time to be honest.Though I miss being out in the wilds of Mull and am reduced instead to painting the house !!
After Mondays dreadful weather, yesterday was as lovely as it could get here, with a calm sea, clear blue sky and a keen group for the trip.
On our list we had Peregrine Falcons, Sea Eagles sitting and flying, thousands of Common Gulls, Goldeneye’s, Great Northern Divers, a female Otter with Cub on a seaweed covered boulder, Reed Buntings, Curlews, Ravens, Redshank, Black Guillemots, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks, Rock Doves, Rock Pipits, a few very colourful Stonechats, lots of Red Deer with stags still having antlers, Seals and lots of Buzzards, Hooded Crows and Herons, as always.
But yesterday the scenery, with red and gold climbing up the mountain sides to reach black peaks dappled with snow and the vast emptiness of the Island, was just inspirational.
Today is diabolical again with driving wind and rain until about 1pm !!! So what are we going to get tomorrow ?
I think we have had the wildest weather sice we moved to Mull in 1979. I have never seen driving rain and such ferocious winds like yesterday. Day before was pretty good in fact and for todays wildlife trip it is absolutely gorgeous with and entirely red and gold landscape stretching out from the house to a now calm sea. The entire exterior of the house which has a lot of glass, is covered in salt from the raging sea. Going down Loch na Keal yesterday to pick my car up from the garage, the sea was almost entirely white with crashing waves and spray covering the whole sea.
After such dramatic and confing weather for all wildlife, except gulls, I know we are in for a very good wildlife trip today as like we humans all other creatures will be picking up the pieces and checking their territory’s out.
On Tuesday I had my promised freeby for the Mull Otter Group [MOG] needless to say, to find otters ! I was confident and always am where nature is concerned I suppose, but a ‘safer’ trip for me personally is to also look for all our other big creatures to fill in when it’s quiet and I can’t find otters !!
Anyway.. we met up on Loch na Keal and within 10 minutes we had a golden eagle above us with two buzzards, five minutes further on and we spotted a mum and two otter cubs which were clinging to mum as they swam and repeatedly came ashore, calling and wandering around on the rocks etc to eat bigger fish. So this was a good early sighting of these otters with young. Back down Loch na Keal now and the sea eagles were up in a dry slot in the weather. We followed one down until it set off for Loch Ba. We then stopped for drinks and scones [ nearly as good as Joys !! ] provided today by Ruth. Toward Loch Ba and where we had lost the sea eagle, we had at least 5 golden eagles together and two sea eagles. Another otter now opposite Scarisdale rocks, which meandered past us toward an area where I repeatedly lose them, but now know exactly where they go ! Under Gribbun Cliffs there were over a hundred barnacle geese grazing the grassland. Onto Loch Scridain and another glimpse of an otter and great northern diver. Into Glenmore where my two golden eagle friends came right over us going west.
Lots of smaller things today also but a terrific otter day for MOG who have all sent big thankyou,s for the trip and Joy, Janes and Ruths delicious food.
Today we have had every sort of weather uou could think of. A still greyish morning, pouring rain, clear blue sky and dazzling sunshine, Hail showers and a little snow, no wind or very strong winds and no doubt like last night we will now have a starry and innocent looking sky.
I hear that Britain had the longest hours of sunshine last year since records began and I think it was Aberdeen on our east coast that took first prize ! Well Mull also had yet another exceptional Spring and Summer, but this whole Winter has been very poor here and tomorrow I am taking our Mull Otter Group [MOG] out on a freeby, to of course find otters and I don’t want the weather that we had today for it. Ideally it will be calm, an incoming tide, rain would be fine as it flattens the sea but no strong winds please, because whilst otters don’t mind extreme weather, we humans do and it is so much easier to spot them on a calm grey day.
Great thing is that we and the otters will have the Island to ourselves. So its going to be me against them. A bit like Sheffield United against Peterborough tomorrow evening.
Watch this space.