Weatherwise, today was pretty poor I guess but our dramatic weather changes are all part of life here. But how sensational it was up to around a week ago and felt like it would go on forever.
No trip today then thankfully and so a good clean of my vehicle for its Public Service Vehicle MOT Test tomorrow at Craignure, where the bus company are kind enough to allow the inspector to check my vehicle as well as all their buses.
In between the rain I have been out trying to tame our entirely native landscape around the house, and fighting nature is tough at times but of course rewarding if you get somewhere. Yet again I was also wading through our LOST WORLD like deep vegetation to get a cow off our land, which same cow has again bashed through our fencing and waded through our reed bed and caused me and Joy to chase it all over the place, using some cunning, but more importantly a big stick !!!
I need electric fencing, or a cow trap !! Is there such a thing does anyone know ?
Anyway, despite the weather and cow challenges there was still lots of activity on and above the hill behind the house. With plenty of birds up and about including both eagle species and lots of ravens doing their displays. I can’t watch the skyline all the time of course, but I know that I must be missing lots of things, because I’m not !
Its quiet now with visitors thinning out as the season ends but I have a trip on Tuesday and unless the cow plans another attack I am going to enjoy it.
Well we were back to wind and rain for yesterdays trip but the Island as always, was still full of drama and colour.
Tough though to know what the weather was going to do, unlike right now with the misty weather clearing and the sun blazing in through my office door.
Yesterday I thought I might get the hen harriers in the slightly better weather around the Lochdon area, but no, except for a slight glimpse just below the hills across the glen. Plenty of buzzards and lots of kestrels here this year. Stags are looking happy with their girls around them now. Of course some stags have lost out and look forlorn standing on an empty hillside. Unfortunately like humans some just don’t have it !!
Off to Garmony to have a look for mum and her two otter cubs and we saw them straight away wandering around on a small rocky point before Mum headed out to sea while the youngsters scrapped and played together. My people were pretty excited about the otters !
Fom then on we had more mist and drizzly rain but all of us were out in it as we watched lots of turnstones, ringed plover, teal, mergansers and goosanders, curlews aplenty, seals and even more herons standing motionless like cardinals in the Vatican.
Today is better and we must not complain about the drizzly rain because we are all needing it now after the long spell of sunny, dry and windless days.
We have been in the most sensational weather for weeks, with surely some people now worrying about water in the Islands. But in OCTOBER !!!! Not May or June which were very poor here this year. Is mother nature making up for it now?
We have had the most stunning sunrises, and sunsets such as we got in the remote and equally wonderful Cook Islands. The Hebrides are noted for wind and very strong ones at times but the last few months have been virtually windless, with mirror calm seas. Tonight is no exception with various shades of blue to silver flat, flat, sea, stretching to the black silhouettes of the South of Mull and Iona, then pink and red in all its shades above that.
A friend has just sent me an email listing numerous otter sightings around the lsland and the numbers are high, almost certainly because it is so calm that they are hard to miss.
I feel happy for all of our wildlife right now, when they all suffered so much from last winter into early summer this year, with one of the worst periods we have ever had on Mull . No doubt it will turn but I am sure that like humans here they are making the very most of what we have had for weeks now.
We are in glorious sunny and calm weather here and it will continue I think and Eagles seem everywhere right now.
We were off to Grasspoint with Sonny, Charlie and Rufus yesterday. Loch na Keal was like a tropical island again with a sea so flat it was easy to see the male otter just offshore.
Down to Killiechronan and the two adult sea eagles there shone in the strong sunlight, with their big yellow bills giving their presence away as they perched in the conifers.
At Grasspoint itself a golden eagle soared above the hills across the glen, Porpoise were offshore and at the very tip of the old pier a young female sea eagle took off and coasted across to a rocky point chased by noisy gulls.
Looking down into the Firth of Lorne and a glassy sea I had around 8 black shapes repeatedly rising and occasionally lunging, which I think must have been dolphins rather than porpoise this time.
Back to eagles and coming back to the house from Salen this morning our two resident golden eagles were very very close at the top of our hill 500m from the house. Off with the children now to follow a ‘not so full of water waterfall’ up a mountain !
It was a terrific sunny start today, although I did not have a Wildlife Trip. However, as I came back from Salen about 10am there was a really close adult sea eagle above my vehicle being attacked by kestrels and buzzards at the high point above our house. What a backdrop it was with Loch na Keal below us and Gribbun Cliffs across the Loch, as the eagle came right over me.” Wild and wondrous things in wild places” .
I was full for the trip yesterday and had more glorious weather. Back toward Salen from Craignure, which paid off again, as I spotted 3 otters in a very dappled and sun spangled sea. Difficult conditions then, but we went back down the road a quarter mile and there was mum and her two cubs out training and splashing and throwing themselves and their tails about ! At Grasspoint we just missed a male and female harrier but got a red throated diver, goosanders and two seperate stags with their harems. Ten minutes later, as good as it gets sighting of a male hen harrier quartering the ground and then landing to give us all top views for around 20 minutes as it ate its prey. Into the mountains of Glenmore and a golden eagle on high, which was chased by a kestrel and a buzzard back to the heart of its territory across the glen.
A number of people had been out with me the previous year and all of them were elated at the end of the day.
I have such a rewarding job. How could any guide not be thrilled that their customers might be seeing their very first golden eagle?
Its been very sunny and dry here but rain about 1pm was forecast for the trip today.
So go and try to find hen harriers while it’s dry. Lochdon was the place then and we had around 3 separate harriers a red deer stag with his harem, greenshanks and lots of kestrels as usual this year and the inevitable buzzards. What I didn’t expect while we had scones and drinks was the young golden eagle over our heads and so low down, like last time here.
Back up to Craignure and onto Loch na Keal where as the rain came on a sea eagle flew from well back, head into wind but disappeared among the trees, no doubt getting sheltered before the rain. We also had goosanders and red breasted mergansers there.
No sign of otters yet in a pretty choppy sea but I glimpsed something quite well out, which in the flash I had, I thought it could be an early great northern diver. However on checking again, up came a male otter ploughing through the waves and eventually, with a large enough fish, to have to take it to shore where we couldnt find him !! But no matter it was an exciting encounter, here on Wild Mull.
it’s not a good idea for me to do my posting the day after the event like now because I know I miss a lot, but an interesting part of the day was on the way home after dropping others off at the ferry point.
As I came past Garmony still looking with the 3 customers I was dropping off, another ‘glimpse’ from me and there was the otter on a small islet with a great black backed gull. Good for my last 3 but not good for everyone else back at the ferry point, but that’s nature for you.. Rubbing salt into the wounds we were above our house which has the most stupendous views and there coming out of the mist and from the sea was an adult sea eagle which soared above us and then wandered along the hillside flashing his big white tail.
Yes its been like July in the Mediterranean here with the most amazing visual effects morning and night that I have ever seen on Mull.
On the way to a meeting at Salen the tide was so low that you could walk acraoss Loch na Keal from Killiechronan to Knoch on the other shore. For a few days now the Island has looked like a tsunami is on the way. As I drove down the coast low white clouds and mist were at sea level and made for a totally new planet, with sun capped peaks rising above this now alien place, with seaweed covered islands and islets in the middle of the loch that are not normally seen.
This evening we are in for another major sunset and completely flat golden sea all the way across to Iona in the distance.
I am convinced that there is nowhere else in the world that can deliver such amazing visual effects that are different every single day and eighty degrees in October.
Words have failed me today both at the meeeting and right now.