David\

CUCKOO’S !!!

Anyone on my trip who wants a giggle, or to hear me and themselves going Cuckoo with Radio Scotland last Tuesday, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05wz5b2 and then use the time slider and set it at 01.09.58.

Definitely a good listen !

Two Ospreys !!

Well it has  been a pretty poor May this year and that’s very unusual for man and beast here, which have all been thrown off course by it.

However today looks like the Cook Islands from my office and the white sand beaches on Iona are shining again.

My trips have been tough with mist and drizzle making it hard to find windows in the weather. Misty peaks have also made it difficult and even harder for Golden Eagles that need clear peaks to fly and do their thing.

But the pieces of a difficult jigsaw have fitted well for the now ‘two’ Ospreys at Lochdon, which have given the searching bird watchers lots of entertainment and even disappointment at not finding them.

Yesterday we were at the gate of the Gorten track and one of the birds was going over and away from us with a small fish and then it clmbed high, which seems to be the norm before heading east. Exciting always having new birds on Mull and we walked a few yards after this sighting and there was another Osprey sitting on a small fence post eating a fish and despite the mist, views in the scope were good. We are still getting otters which are an all weather creature of course short eared owls and harriers most days but not the last two !!

We nature watchers now look forward to the perfect weather for wildlife watching, which is of course sunshine and showers. If only my customers would beg steal or borrow binoculars when cocming to the West of Scotland and stop breaking mine. Their holiday would be so much richer !  and I would be less poor !!

 

 

Osprey

I am feeling quite excited about repeated sightings of the Osprey at Lochdon now. On todays wildlife trip we kept bumping into someone who had seen it, on a telgraph post, sitting and flying etc etc but it eluded us. Until we camped on the Grasspoint road and as we watched sea eagles overhead the osprey was suddenly close and behind us rising with a fish, to dizzy heights, when we lost it, probably going to somewhere significant with its fish !!

The only thing we didnt see today was shorteared owls but we saw male hen harriers, a female harrier doing her skydance, golden eagles were super and a big male otter I know was on Loch Beg asleep.

We also had snipe, redshank, wheatears, stonechats, whinchat, woodpeckers, lots of red deer, fallow deer on the way home and by the way an early sighting of an adult sea eagle carrying a dead lamb, almost certainly as carrion. A great northern diver, whitethroat, kestrel, sparrowhawk and a few cuckoos with meadow pipits.

Nice group today.

A bit of a blip !

I have had a problem with my diary entries in the last few days but it is now solved or being solved by my trusted  IT expert Tim Dawson. We have also been away in Glasgow to celebrate Charlies birthday which is actually tomorrow and he is 9 years old.

Thursdays trip was misty, occasionally wet but very good under the circumstances and we had something of an aotter fest with an otter on shore with prey and off it opposite Inch Kenneth, a mum and cub onshire and off under gribbun cliffs and a  further otter but I cannot remember where !! Lots great northern divers in summer plumage still, stonechats, wheatears etc. Short eared owls again on the grasspoint road tussling with buzzards and hooded crows and short eared owls up the road toward Glenmore, where we saw a female harrier and eventually a male arriving to dive at the short eared owl on its territory.

All in all and considering a dubious weather forecast we all did very well.

 

 

Another top day

More good sightings today and super weather.

Down to Lochdon first then to see more of the osprey or osprey’s there. First we had a distant white tailed sea eagle being mobbed by buzzards. We then set off toward Glenmore and bumped into two birdwatchers who asked if we had ospreys here, as they were not sure what they were looking at in their scope !! Well it was the osprey sitting on a timber fence post and so went back down the road, pulled over and had a scone, tea or coffee, while we watched and waited. Off it went after about 15 minutes and headed toward Lochdon, stopping and hovering over the river just over Grasspoint bridge, before heading out over the estuary.

Back toward Glenmore again and two separate female hen harriers low and soaring high also. Watching the seals just offshore we nearly missed the male harrier coming in to pass food to the female before they both landed. Whilst watching this 3 cuckoos came racing through my binocular lens’s chasing each other. I have not seen this behaviour before with cuckoos. Into Glenmore itself now and lunch, after which we saw two or three separate sea eagles and then down Glenmore and another exciting encounter with the two resident golden eagles which I know so well, but are not I believe breeding this year. Great views of them now, sitting, soaring and racing along the cliff face and peaks. Finally with a short time to maybe see the otters on Scridain I had to head back, but no sooner set off than a short eared owl launched itself across the road in front of us, flew around and landed a couple of times.

Along with wheatears, tree pipit, whinchats, stonechats, seals and red deer, another good day I think.

BIG DAY yesterday

Glorious weather, a good crowd and so straight to the chase !

After everyone saw an otter at the ferry point, we just missed a sitting Osprey at Lochdon [ I blame the otter !! ] but great northern divers in summer plumage off Grasspoint and black guillemot. The scene off the point was glorious with snow topped mountains across the sea. Up the road toward Glenmore and two female hen harriers chasing each other until the resident bird soared high which a male also did 10 minutes later.

Now set up to look for golden eagles from the high point in the glen I picked up a bird pretty high over the three lochs there. I wasn’t expecting an osprey so high and so for a time I was flumuxed about the jiz of this bird until I realised that it was indeed an osprey. All had good views before it lclimbed again and headed back toward Lochdon and as we passed that area later some people told us an osprey had been sitting just over the Grasspoint bridge. Almost certainly our osprey which had been in the spectacular environment of Glenmore. Down toward Pennyghael now and I was so pleased to see the two golden eagles that I have known for around 30 years, soaring above with cronking ravens by their usual site. The colourful whinchat, stonechat, wheatears, lots of red deer etc and then back on Glenmore’s high point and a female harrier 50m to our left with buzzards, ravens and a very close and dramatic golden eagle.

A really top day with very warm handshakes then.

Life goes on

Each wildlife trip is rolling into the next now, as I get regular customers as well as new ones at this time of year and encounter many visitors out on our roads that I have known for years.

However the weather has been very very challenging for man and beast, with strong cold winds and rain, though today is glorious and will be tomorrow. Maybe we have turned the corner now!

We have had shorteared owls, male and female hen harriers, whimbrel, whinchat, stonechat, reed bunting, eiders with young ! golden eagles have been tough but a break in the weather usually delivers, sea eagles have been their over the top selves and one launched right over us yesterday and we watched it head across the sea. It looked and felt like some arctic encounter, all in black and white. Lots of wheatears here this year, skylarks, pipits, snipe etc etc etc.

I can see the white sand beaches on Iona and the South of Mull now, steadily drying out, which will look beautiful for our own guests and people visiting there today. I guess corncrakes will be making a racket on such a sunny and windless day too. However I see that Benmore is still kissed by a little snow still.

Top sightings

Last Thursdays trip was excellent in sunny weather with occasional big showers.

At Lochdon we had sea eagles soaring, lots of dunlin, a male hen harrier gliding unknowingly past our RSPB officer and also a female harrier in the same area.

Toward Glenmore now and another female hen harrier doing her undulating sky dance, up and down on the left of the road and then the same on the right, before landing, where we had a male harrier later, on the way back to the ferry point. After she landed a big shower came and so out came the cake and tea and coffe while we waited. No sooner had we set off again than a short eared owl glid across the road and we all had views as it quartered the grassland before landing on a fence post.

I guess the highlight of the day was from the Glenmore roads high point where we had waited with the RSPB officer for a golden eagle but didnt get it . But we did an hour later as we headed home, when one came from Ben Taladh area a mile out and put up the golden eagle we were hoping to see. We proceeded to have top views of a golden eagle rushing and swooping around the mountain and soaring and eventually with legs out, landing on the top of the mountain. BIG encounter made better because we had waited some time for it.

Also whinchats, stonechats, pipits, ravens, seals, golden plovers mating, red  deer and more.

Great Day

Sunny but pretty cold still here but none the less a very good trip today.

Down to Lochdon today to check on the Ospreys seen there but no sign. However scanning the trees on the left of the Gorten Road, it looked like a sea eagle slightly hidden the foliage there 500m away. Then we found two there and I felt it was the two Grasspoint birds possibly not breeding this year but still a good view for anyone who has not seen a white tailed sea eagle ! We then had lots of summer plumaged dunlin, bartailed godwit in red breeding plumage, kestrel and a distant hen harrier, as well as close one racing over us and across the estuary. On the other side male and female goosanders and the same with Mergansers. Up the Glenmore road and red deer, another hen harrier, young sea eagle going over us, seals and chap who had just seen 3 short eared owls and two hen harriers 45 minutes earlier, stonechat and whinchat both looking very colourful, two or three sparrowhawks, calling cuckoo and then  a meeting and info from the RSPB representative and then a most welcome sight for me, as the two golden eagles I have known for about 30 years  in Glenmore came from a couple of miles out along the skyline to sail and swoop along a cliff face and then land on a grassy ledge, as if saying ”missed you David’ and then take off again to soar around and race away after proclaiming territory to their neighbours. I think a golden eagle breaking the dark and rugged skyline of Glemore mountains is one of the top sightings in nature, along with the food pass between the male and female hen harrier.

In fact we all glimpsed a very white male harrier on our way back to the ferry point at Craignure.

I have not counted lots more in this posting so forgive me for that but my eyes ache today after the very bright sun piercing through the very clear atmosphere that we can get here.

 

 

 

Wet Wet Wet

Today looks lovely for the trip but yesterday was awful all day and not much better the previous couple of days.

I had the ‘Majsetc Line’ cruise group yesterday but no otters for them but lots of great northern divers, black Guillemots, Gannet, wheatears, eiders, seals, red deer, ravens, twite, dozens of common sandpipers, rock and meadow pipits, yellowhammer dippers, mountain hare !! and lots of more obvious things.

There was a high though, even in this weather, as I bumped into the RSP ranger and was told that a pair of sea eagles, not far away, had just hatched their eggs. We were no sooner in that area when the adult male was above the trees and giving top views before gliding away. I also had a tip that two ospreys had been seen on Lochdon where they have been showing occasional interest for a few years now. So I am off today to have a look around there. Hopefully in far better weather.