David\

Otters

Well it was another good day today despite the occasional drizzle, with high hopes for otters, sea eagles, golden eagles and  hen harriers.

Big start then, with female and male hen harriers on the road to Glenmore after we had seen  gannets, black Guillemots, and a great northern diver in summer plumage off picturesque Grasspoint.

Off now to Ardura forest and going toward Croggan. No sign of otters so far and when we got to Croggan to finish lunch, some of my guests were drawn to the walk through the woodland there. However they then missed the golden eagle, being chased  by a buzzard as the two of them scrapped as they  glided along the hillside across the sea channel, which empties into the Firth of Lorne.

Back toward Craignure now and the optimism continued as we found the elusive female otter on top of a big boulder, with her cub playing by her side, before they both headed off following the edge of the shoreline.

Finally a  white tailed sea eagle on the way home on the National Scenic Area of the Island’s magnificent West Coast.

Drizzly Day

Yes a bit drizzly on yesterdays trip but it still went pretty well.

Early on we stopped for scones and drinks on Lochdon and a perfectly timed young White Tailed Sea Eagle came low over the trees behind us and glided across the estuary chased by gulls, before it climbed and shook them off a mile away.

Great Northern Diver in full summer plumage on Loch Buie and a Red Throated Diver in summer plumage on the freshwater of Loch Beg.

No otters, but heading back to the ferry point  a really good sighting of Mr Handsome the Male and increasingly rare, Hen Harrier.

 

Needless to say we also saw common seals, red deer, dunlins and ringed plovers, curlews, buzzards, just arrived house martins,  the underrated and rare rock doves. etc. etc. etc.

Not too bad then on a pretty wet day and today is looking a lot better already.

Good day

It was another very sunny day here and as I tell many people, sunny is not the best for wildlife, however we humans like it.

Despite the sun !! we all had a very good view of an otter at the Craignure Ferry Point as he fished offshore and eventually came in to mark his territory.

As we left Grasspoint 30 minutes later, I glimpsed a sea eagle gliding along the skyline and landing on their old nest site, which is now looking like it may be on the White Tailed Sea Eagles wish list for next year, as he sat proudly on the top branches watching us, watching him.

Hen Harriers, I couldn’t find today but never mind we did get sightings of Golden Eagles at one of their more unusual sites.

All in all though, add very good food and drink on the day and my usual humour and no one can I think grumble, unless you don’t have a sense of humour and are pessimists of course !!

More

It has been another super day here and on the Wildlife expedition we steadily got down the list of must see creatures.

We had an exceptional sighting of a White Tailed Sea Eagles sitting on a small rocky islet with seals all around it, and it was pretty close!! An otter 30 minutes later fishing just offshore on Loch Spelve and 20 minutes later after some patience, we had that very evocative and inspiring sighting of a Golden Eagle launching off some crags to soar with rapid wingbeats above our heads.

Great Northern Diver in summer plumage on the way home and two further adult White Tailed Sea Eagles sitting in trees 20ft apart.Lots of other things including willow warblers, whitethroats, male and female Goosanders, Meadow Pipits, Cuckoo’s, red deer, seals, lapwings, curlews, stonechats, rock doves, black guillemots etc. etc.

 

What will tomorrows trip deliver I wonder??

 

 

 

Majestic Line

Yesterday I had another one of my now regular land trips with the Majestic Line fleet of converted and beautiful  fishing trawlers.

I understand the food is great, as is the drink and I know first hand that the staff on board are very attentive and give great care to their customers.

Well I try to do the same when I have them on a land drip with myself of course.

Nature is nature and it can be tough to outwit our wild creatures sometimes. But the only thing we didn’t see, though it flew over the heads of my guests !! was a White Tailed Sea Eagle but today I am determined to get a good sighting

We did have super views of a female otter with a growing cub and very ‘romantic’ views of two golden eagles gliding around some low crags and landing regularly while the mist swirled around them. It would have made great footage for a wildlife camera crew.

Is there anything really to beat that moment as golden eagles in some hidden part of the Scottish Islands breaks the skyline and captures everyones imagination?

 

Started poor finished well.

Back in the swing of things and lots of bookings, todays ominous start weather wise  could have brought out the optimists but they were all converted to optimists like myself as the day unfolded, to turn dry and beautiful.

We kicked off with ringed plovers, redshank, Goosanders and Mergansers, red deer,dunlin, stonechats, rock doves, whitethroats, curlews and we quickly had a female hen harrier going over us and disappearing behind a small hill and then the

handsome male coming back the other way. There was probably a changeover at the nest but it isn’t for certain.

The male harrier proceeded to give us good close views before disappearing. Arriving at  Croggan we all had pretty good views of a male otter catching fish and on departing Croggan we had a female otter with a cub.

 

Considering the poor forecasts for the morning everyone had a super day and always I hope, my guests learned a lot about wildlife in The Hebridean Islands

Swifts

No trip yesterday and so off to Oban shopping. Mainly for food supplies as we have new people coming in to our accommodation today.

However we did see a number of swifts above the town centre which are birds that we don’t ordinarily get in the islands. From my limited experience of them, they seem to like cities rather than the majestic countryside that we have here in the Islands. I guess most humans are the same and which I have simply put down to my own species not being so free spirited  and adventurous as they once were and instead inclined toward herding together more.

Today has threatened  us with much needed rain, which gave a little  huff and puff for an hour but has now retreated back to the distant  horizon of the south of Mull and Iona, which is now clearing there also,  with a soft lemon coloured milkshake sky above Inch Kenneth and Iona beyond.

 

After the dolphins and porpoise of the last few days I am being drawn each day to the vast seascape that I see from the house and where I am now hoping to see them again out there.

 

Fact also is that Mull like many of the other Hebridean Islands, the sea is very underwatched and I am certain that we miss so much simply because we are not looking enough !! but just think we are !!  Mull probably has a need of cetacean lookout points, where visitors can in the round scan the entire ocean that lay before them..

 

After all Killer Whales were here to be seen only a couple of weeks ago.

 

 

Porpoise

It was very good to see Porpoise returning to the sea off Grass point after them not being there at all so far this year. Other people should now see them off the ferry as they sail between Mull and Oban again.

On todays trip I had my usual enthusiastic group,  with the porpoise in one eye and three White Tailed Sea Eagles  in the other, being pestered high above with a buzzard.

Also had stonechats, Whinchats, tree, meadow and rock pipits, Shell ducks, black guillemots, cuckoos, seals, red deer, great northern divers in summer plumage, rock doves and more.

 

And of course the spectacle of these magical Islands and very very sunny weather with a flat calm pink sea this evening from the house.

 

 

 

 

Dolphins !

Because we don’t see them often enough the common dolphins and possibly bottlenosed  that we had on yesterdays Wildlife Trip off Grasspoint got the the prize, but otherwise eagles were tough, as were hen harriers and today I hope for better.

However we did have a myriad of smaller birds along with great northern divers, now in their fine summer plumage and waiting for the off, to Iceland anytime now. Red deer are not at all difficult to find now and seals are their usual reliable selves. Orchids will also become abundant soon especially if they get that rain !!

The sea was very calm and is the same today which gives us a good chance of otters today, and for that matter anything else on the sea.

We are still needing rain, Though the island is getting a little greener each day.

Still more dazzling weather for yesterdays wildlife tour

Too dazzling in fact with virtually every creature including humans increasingly trying to get out of the sun. The best place to be in fact is probably now in the sea, off the south of Mull, with its myriad of white sandy beaches, now looking like The British Virgin Islands, than perhaps  the Hebridean Islands !!

There is so much still to learn about the lives of wild creatures here and elsewhere in the world and no one has yet come up with the reason why there is less activity in such intensely sunny conditions, as we have been having. Personally I think that with these lengthy periods of sunshine they behave like we humans and decide that as tomorrow is going to be the same, we can’ do it’ then. Whether it’s soaring around proclaiming territory, or chasing down prey, it must all feel like a very big effort. Or maybe with the contrast of blackness or bright sunshine on the landscape, it is so easy for hunted creatures like Mountain Hares to hide in such shadows and very easy for small creatures like the short tailed vole to hide in their small holes to avoid everything that might want to eat them.

Apart from Otters we got there in the end yesterday, with a male hen harrier, white tailed sea eagles above Ben Taladh and a golden eagle gliding along the mountainside and then sliding into a dark vertical crevice, which could possibly be their nest site this year.

Wheatears, reed bunting, stonechats, willow warblers, shell ducks, waders, rock doves, seals, red deer, sandpipers, great northern diver, cuckoos, swallows, sand martins etc. There are always small birds to see but the priority creatures have to come first on such tours.

I had another keen group for the day  and help from Val and Pete again who love Mull and should probably move here  !!!!

 

P>S Nearly forgot the Black Swan at Lochdon  !!!!!!!