Yesterday’s wildlife trip was touch and go, as the weather was very dramatic again and ferries could have been cancelled.
However they weren’t, and I could tell that I had an enthusiast and hardy group for the day out.
I kicked off by heading toward Lochdon in the hope of seeing harriers and we saw two which I knew. One being an adult female and the other being it’s youngster.
Good start then in dodgy windy and drizzly weather with rare breaks.
Off to Glenmore for golden eagles and after a good wait, a few red deer to see and Joy’s tea or coffee with scones, we did eventually find the two adults and their youngster, soaring along the hillside and above us.
Otters hopefully next and with a little help from people I know, we saw the big male from Loch Scridain.
Just white tailed sea eagles to now try and add to everyone’s list, and though it was in none breeding plumage, we found what is considered to be Britain’s most attractive bird, the black throated diver.
Big view of golden eagles in Glen Seilesdair coming over us but no sea eagles yet. So it was a last ditch go on the way back to the ferry point, and there was one of the adults in the top of a favourite tree, which had been the spot for me since early Spring.
Another very good day then, despite very poor weather conditions. However Aquarians are optimists and so we can create our own luck !!!
Today it is now 11.30am and I was off to Tobermory for a Public Service vehicle test. The town was pretty desolate and looking very ‘end of seaon’ in the drizzly rain and few people. But here on the west coast the sunshine and veiews are immaculate and not at all ‘end of season’ !!!
On another wild day here we were ducking and diving to find breaks in the weather for my Majestic Line customers. Thank heaven they were with me and not on one of their boats in such weather
However I did my Moses thing and managed to find breaks in the right places.
On my way to collect them from Tobermory I checked the big low tide shingle expanse at Killiechronan and saw this very white out of place object 50m away and which I half thought could be the spread out tail of one of the sea eagles there, but I didn’t have time to check it, and anyway I was going to be there in an hour with my customers.
On returning again there was no sign of the white thing, but there were two adult eagles sitting 100m away and looking very good in my telescope and which eventually gave an eagle ariel display above us.
Onto the southern shoreline of the Loch where I could not find otters today, but where I had 4 on the Sunday.
Massive views it was now in Glenseilesdair, of the two adult and young sea eagles . One was sitting in a tree and hard to see without the telescope. Suddenly there was much calling and it launched out across the bay to join two more, one of which was almost certainly the young one from there. Interestingly they had a food pass of prey hallway across the loch, which is more the style of the hen harrier, as many know.
It was a big and rare moment for all I felt.
Into Glenmore and one of the golden eagles there was very high and falling and rising with the very strong wind and occasionally turning into a ball of feathers to drop even faster onto the crags above us. I feel it was repeatedly looking for their not long fledged youngster. So more top eagle encounters then. Add lots of red deer, seals and hen harriers at Lochdon on the way back to meet the Majestic Line boat anchored off the Spelve Mussel farm, and so I guess they had some for dinner !
This was a very satisfying day for all I think in such a no no of a day for eagles, when the weather was so wild.
Well otters have been tough lately but who knows why ? Except that it may be the reduced ferry rates and so lots of cars blasting around the island and seeing nothing.
However today we saw a sea eagle on the islets at Craignure, a male otter on Scarisdale rocks loch na Keal thanks to some enthusiastic friends that I see a lot of here. Going toward Gribbun Cliffs we saw a female otter with cub and further on still while having lunch, there was another otter going past us until one of our group go too excited and we lost it. So 4 otters otters then today.
In Glen Seilesdaire I found one of the adult white tailed sea eagles sitting on the branch of a tree above their old nest. 10 minutes later its mate flew over us and glided along the forestry across the loch, before disappearing over the near horizon.
Heading back to Craignure we spotted a golden eagle tangling with a sea eagle above Ardura.
Lots of gannets and gulls again today, brightly coloured yellow hammers, stonechats, lots of seals and red deer.
It was another satisfying day for all I think, where the group learned a great deal about where to look and how to look.
Well I can’t always be out with the eagles, calavanting about and so the last couple of days have been spent seeing our two grandchildren Sonny and Charlie in Glasgow and a stay at the Crown Plaza by the river. Our youngest is Rufus who isn’t quite up to wild Scotland yet and always miss’s his father.
We also felt we should look at the Mazda CX3, or the new Jeep Renegade and have test drives as we have got to think seriously about upgrading from our beloved Fiat Sedici.
It looks as though it is the Mazda after a lot of thought and though it isn’t a strictly 4 wheel drive like the Fiat it does have the modern AWD which is similar.
What an appalling run it was through the Highlands this morning with very heavy rain, to get the 2pm ferry from Oban. Needless to say that Mull came up trumps again, for as we rolled off the ferry at Craignure the weather began to brighten and here now at 7pm it is the most glorious sky again from the house and no doubt it’s going to be an equally super sunset.
Wildlife trip tomorrow then with space at the moment if you want to come up for eagle’s and sunshine. It sounds good with sunshine and showers !!
It is now Tuesday and I am remembering that early on yesterdays trip we had around 8 or 9 red throated divers together, just off Craignure golf course and I note this now because it has been a poor couple years for them here. The endless quack, quack, of these lovely birds, as they arrive or depart from a sea loch is a much missed sound. In fact I think it quite possible that all of the birds yesterday were not necessarily from Mull, but from somewhere else further north.
On todays trip we again had sea eagles above ús on Loch na keal, fleeting views of fallow deer, red deer, male, female and young golden eagles near BenTaladh. Immature male hen harrier opposite Pennyghael and adult male hen harrier just by Loch Spelve. Ravens buzzards , kestrels and seals, as always of course.
A keen and jolly group by the way today who would enjoy it even more if they came at the right time, which is April, May and early June I feel.
Yesterday turned into another big sea eagle day and even early morning a se agle flew low over the house and 10 minutes later 4 interacting sea eagles came low over us also.
On the road then amid glorious Loch na Keal to collect my 11 customers at separate locations. They were a good and keen group. If people just want something to do they are not really for me.
Heading back up the road to the National Scenic area we immediately kicked off with an adult sea eagle sitting in the top of a tree, with its youngster sitting out on the coastline clearly drying itself off with wings outstretched.
Now on loch na Keal, there was a young sea eagle sitting on the distant skyline and an adult then interacted with it and flew toward us settling on a tree whilst its partner already there called loudly as it came in.
Across the loch a sitting golden eagle was on the high skyline and gave good views in the scope
An adult female golden eagle next in mountainous Glenmore. No otters or harriers though, but Mull lived up its eagle island image yesterday.
This morning I was off to the coast at Knock to help with the Mull Otter Group beach clean up. Joy had also made some delicious looking sausage rolls for the volunteers.
Well we all met up and exchanged doggy talk, but not having one, I was stretched !
We collected bin bags, gloves etc. and headed for the rocky coastline below the Knock Fish hatchery, which smelt more like a cheese factory if I am honest.
I was bringing up the rear as we headed down there, when I spotted a pretty big figure gliding over the trees toward the hatchery. It soared a little and then turned, dropped its huge talons and swept onto the shore. As I caught everyone else up it flew very close and lifted onto a low fence pole by the sea and about 3m high where it sat looking at us from a mere 25 yards at the most.
The beach wasn’t too littered thankfully and nibbles, coffee and sausage rolls along with flapjack and crisps kept us going.
So today was fine and the adult sea eagle that landed so close was pretty unusual. It would have given super close pictures if cameras had been handy.
My next official wildlife trip is Monday when I hope for more of the recent wild life sightings.
On yesterdays wildlife trip as I saw a sea eagle winging off the sea, I knew we were going to end up spending a lot of time with it and of course I have to have some sort of schedule with ferrys in mind etc. But the sea eagle had cast its spell.
I had just arrived on the National Scenic Area when there it was being mobbed by gulls and diving in the sea to take a dead fish which had been thrown from a boat. It headed for the coast landing eventually on our shoreline about 800m away, but could we initially find it ??
Eventually we did find it in on a small blck islet among rocks, seaweed and gulls and hooded crows pestering it.
It was clearly a youngster and probably this years youngster from that area.
The views flying and in the telescope sitting, were evocative, with almost everything in the area in black and white, including the sea and the eagle. I thought it was the sort of photo opportunity that could win awards and I have always felt that these wild island’s come up really well in black and white and not just colour.
Lots of time taken up then with the sea eagle but a distant otter across the loch and another on Loch Scridain. Ravens are increasing again. Where have they all been this year ??
It was too misty to see golden eagles and harriers unfortunately, but there was much banter and lots of jokes flying around, so a good time was had by all and the ambience of ‘satisfaction’ at finding and following the young sea eagle earlier in the day clearly made up for the poor weather..
Trying to keep up with what happened on wildlife trips, doing jobs here, there and everywhere and yesterday heading to the southern tip of Mull for an Otter Group meeting. etc. etc. It’s stretching me too much !!
However on the last trip, which was Tuesday we headed for Loch na Keal and the National Scenic Area where I tested everyone’s patience by repeating that the sea eagles ‘WILL’ come. Sure enough one of the two adults came over the mountain top, dropped to tree level and slid across the trees to land and give super colourful views.
Then it was a matter of dragging everyone away, and across the loch there was the otter a couple of feet off the shoreline and then on it.
Out in the loch were mergansers, goosanders, gannets and seals hanging onto their rocky islet before the rising tide got it, and them. Above us now were the two resident golden eagles gliding along the skyline with one eventually landing to give views in the scope.
It was a good day with another otter on Loch Scridain but no hen harriers today. Maybe today, which is now Thursday ??
It was a wild weather start today and a not unreasonable chance that people might cancel because of rain and strong winds.
However they were keen !! So 3 separate otters today. The first was at Gribbun and spotted by one of my guests. It was swimming offshore but then came onto the rocks and disappeared.
Second Otter was on loch Scridain breezing along the shoreline toward Glen Seilesdair but we lost it coming ashore.
3rd otter was at Glenforsa where two of my guests were self catering and as we chatted about this I spotted an otter 40ft offshore doing its otter things.
Tough day though, entirely because of the permanently wet weather, but lots of gannets, goosanders, mergansers, wheatears, pipits, rock doves and a very good humoured group, on such a poor weather day. They learned a lot though, as I hope all of my visitors do.