I didn’t have a wildlife trip today and my next one is Sunday. But it was the most beautiful day here and still is I suppose, before the sun sinks below the horizon out over the distant islands of Coll and Tiree.
A day too good to miss then with wild flowers everywhere, particularly purple loosestrife and meadow sweet, which has such a sweet smell that I believe they used to cover the floor of the old drovers inn at Grasspoint to reduce the smell of the drovers who gathered there to swim their cattle to the mainland !!
So colour everywhere and a warm sun with little wind.
I did find two separate adult white tailed sea eagles, the second looking as bright as a pin, sitting across the water from Grasspoint.
Lots of butterflies too today but again not a lot offshore, but common and black guillemots, shags and various other seabirds.
Sightings didn’t matter today though, it was beautiful to look at and just soak up, with the sea everywhere as always here.
It was a reasonably misty day today for the wildlife trip but it still delivered just about everything that I could get on such a day.
Eagle young are now fledging around the island and having seen one youngster but no adults the other day, I thought it might be much the same today. As it was there was a big female atop a favoured tree and 10 minutes later the adult male came gliding in and landed a short distance from his mate. No sign though of their youngster in that area today.
Off to look for hen harriers and the osprey that had been seen in the area yesterday. No sign of the osprey though but steady sightings of hen harriers and then a short eared owl that alighted in a small dead tree.
Plenty of red deer from then on and through the mist in Glenmore a young golden eagle was calling away, but having had pretty good views of it we had to go as the mist came rolling back in again.
Down to Loch Beg now and a big male otter and a female otter with one youngster gave everyone good views in the telescope. As did a seal nearby.
So a good day then in difficult circumstances but white tailed sea eagles, golden eagles, otters, hen harriers and short eared owl is pretty good, don’t you think?
In my 37 years of living on Mull July has always been a weird time regarding customers. They just aren’t interested in wildlife once we hit July and August and so again it was a good time to take a break and find beautiful, unspoilt Galicia in North West Spain. I would do this again.
Back to here though.
A big problem that our visionless Community Council didn’t pick up on, was the new and very cheap ferry fares that have been introduced. What has happened is that we are now attracting day trippers who simply come on one ferry from Oban and depart a couple of hours later, having ‘done’ Mull. When of course they haven’t and understand nothing about the essence of these magical islands. They also drive so fast because of the pressure of having to ‘do it’ and not miss the ferry back. What our Community Council also did not spot, is that cheapness very quickly takes a quality destination down market and why would Mull want to go that way?
I have helped forge our ‘Eagle Island’ image and all are prospering here because of that, but still our community council don’t get the fact that the more environmentally aware image that we present to the world at large, the better it is for man and beast here.
I have spent years never knowing the answer to why our elders are so devoid of ideas and vision regarding promoting and protecting Mull in the right way, because these islands are going to deteriorate when there is no one in charge here.
The little bit of good news was that I kept casually checking these two figures sitting on top of the hill behind our house and I usually say to visitor’s when I see something like it Look it’s two tourists, two red deer, or two white tailed sea eagles. So I got my telescope out and it was indeed two adult moulting sea eagles who must be as dismayed as I am about the Islands neglect.
Sorry about the out of character ramble above, but its plain frustration at my lazy, uncaring and selfish species.
Yesterdays wildlife trip was a generally misty day, but does it matter, I had a group of really keen people and we had lots of success.
Off south then to try and get that good early sighting of sea eagles.
Well the adults weren’t around, but we could hear calling from not far away and so we went round to Lochdon and found the newly fledged white tailed sea eagle chick waiting patiently on a fence post for mum or dad to arrive with breakfast.
We pretty quickly started getting sighting’s of hen harriers both male and female and this proceeded to be the case into Glenmore where we saw more. Definitely a big year for hen harriers on Mull.
Golden eagles to find next and more calling from one of my favourite sites. Through the mist we could see the young golden eagle moving around and doing its ablutions, politely out of the nest area. Mum and Dad eventually turned up on high and a young sea eagle flew close across the glen which caused the young golden eagle to call some more, thinking it might be one of its parents.
An otter then eventually but fleetingly on Loch na Keal.
There is always lots of things to see in between the big sighting’s but my days are inevitably trying to show visitors our top drawer creatures.
It was a tropical day here as I met my people for a trip at Craignure. They had already seen a dolphin leaping as they came in with the ferry. They had also seen a sea eagle above the ferry as they crossed from Oban.
I thought we might get good views from the great lookout point of Duart Castle, but no sign, save for a beautiful big old sailing ship and perhaps the same ‘at sea’ eagle gliding behind the castle. We checked back toward where it was going and there it was a quarter mile away sitting on top of a favourite tree, so off now to get better views.
Into Glenmore and male and female hen harriers and a young golden eagle doing its ablutions with its backside sticking out of the nest area. Mum and Dad were soon on high and checking on it and then both flew off toward Benmore.
On Loch Beg I gave a family a lift and we spotted an otter on a pretty low tide weaving between seaweed islets. Another otter on Loch na Keal.
My people were very enthusiastic and thrilled by the day out.
Well here I am back on Mull and clearly in the groove straight away.
It started very misty with a forecast to clear later and sure enough the afternoon cleared to blue sky and to be very sunny and warm.
I felt I could kick off with views of my now favoured white tailed sea eagles, but no they weren’t where I hoped they would be.
So off to Lochdon and good views of a male hen harrier which danced its way full circle around us.
Onto Loch na Keal and fallow deer, golden eagles sitting and flying. On to Loch Scridain and a short eared owl glided across the estuary 50m away from us and after sitting on the rocks for 5 minutes it was off as a female hen harrier chased it and both of them disappeared behind us.
Into Glenmore and another female harrier, and dropping out of the glen it was good spotting of mine that found another short eared owl sitting on top of thick vegetation and which gave us very good views.
Down to Lochdon area for another go at the missing sea eagles from the morning. This time both adults were tidying themselves up and looking superb in the telescope.
So all in all a a really top day despite the early ominous weather.
The only thing missing today were otters !!
Joy, myself , Timmy, David, Sonny and Charlie have all just returned from the far north west of Spain, which was such a treasure to see and enjoy.
Visiting Santiago de Compostela was a highlight and as many know it is one the top three pilgrimage routes [ ways ] in Europe. In fact I believe that true believer’s often walk barefoot for long distances to suffer, pay their respects and meet old friends there.
Our Island of Iona is not dissimilar regarding its followers but of course they are tiny in number compared with Santiago.
The entire coastline of Galicia is incredible with rocky wild headland’s and outcrops and islands hiding the most beautiful white sand beaches that one could ever imagine. Again rather like southern Mull, but again they are far more plentiful in Galicia.
After driving on the other side of the road again after so many years, driving back on the left yesterday took some learning again.
I have to say that the people of Galicia were some of the most friendly, happy and vibrant people I have ever encountered.
However, back home now and the spectacle of these Hebridean Islands again. I understand from the RSPB that young eagles have now fledged their nests and so off on a wildlife trip on Monday to see how they are finding the big wide world !!