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What a sunset it is again right now

Sunsets are tough to behold on the mainland I remember, because there are always buildings, etc. in the way. But here with totally open vistas, this huge orange ball takes over the entire horizon for miles and miles.

This morning wasn’t so optimistic for a ferry  trip to Oban with a lot of drizzle and overcast sky but it cleared and has ended up a lovely afternoon and now evening.

Frankly I am running out of superlatives to describe these wondrous skies each day and star filled skies at night, but I feel obligated to pass on such natural wonders.

When I first found Mull I remember vividly similar scenes from our cottage near Calgary and this huge endless sea and no matter what time of day, a pervading silence was there, that you felt you could reach out and touch.

 

 

Super sunrise

Daylight is coming a bit earlier now and sunsets will be coming later. The huge streaks of different colours along the Benmore mountain range were simply gorgeous this morning.

Yesterday I finally got to Specsavers to add an annual eye test to the rest of the VOSA documents and then into the post in Oban. See what I put myself through to be a fully qualified Public Service Driver for my customers ??

Glad to report that the senior optician knew a bit about wildlife too and so we got on well !!

I have been doing lots of stuff around our land today. Cutting brambles down, checking on my rhubarb and gooseberry’s, of which there is no sign of course yet. Collecting cow dung off our road to add to compost, which I guess the gooseberry’s and rhubarb think is delicious and healthy !!!

Never tried it myself !! Have you ?

Back to business and another contract with the Majestic Line Cruise Company just set up. Whereby I annually take 11 of their people on a wildlife trip about 6 or 7 times in a season. Collecting them in Tobermory  and sometimes Ulva Ferry, depending on the weather and the skippers wishes. The guests eat and drink very well and their transport is via beautifully converted trawlers which all the Majestic Line guests speak very highly of.

So it has been a lovely day here, sunny but with a cold wind and our daffodils delaying their entrance for maybe a few more days.

 

 

 

 

Am I being stalked by one of my best friends ?

One of my best friends of course is the male hen harrier and there he was again today, this time on the Duart Castle road, as he swept off a fence post and out across the grassland. Am I now being spotted by the hen harirers rather than me spotting them I wonder?

Anyway another glorious day here as the misty peaks in Glenmore cleared and a sunset right now with a pale  green sky over the south of the island.

On the way out from here we saw a number of great northern divers. All in their winter plumage just yet though, slavonian grebes, scoters, with them now becoming more likely on Loch Scridain. Two otters were in the shallows opposite the Kinloch Hotel also. Heading for Glenmore and I had a golden eagle drifting around the hills above Croggan, golden eagles near Ben Taladh and another crossing high from one side of the glen to the other.  Lots of red deer of course , seals, Goosanders and Mergansers and reckoned to be Britains most attractive bird, the black throated diver which was on Scridain also.

Yesterday

I hope to be out on my Wildlife Expeditions soon, but at the moment it is very quiet and maybe that’s a good idea, when the weather has been so turbulent in the last week. But maybe not because if you catch it right in winter when there are few visitors about, it can feel positively magical, with such vast empty areas of land, islands. woodland and ocean.

For anyone who has the desire,  the time off, and the money, could have a great time in the west of Scotland and islands in midwinter. The Scottish wildcat is not on Mull, we don’t think !! But is now probably the biggest UK prize for any wildlife enthusiast and of course their tracks are going to be more easily seen at this time.

 

As it was yesterday I needed some bits and pieces for my office and it felt strange on an almost empty ferry, as people on Mull had decided to go on another day. But again beautiful scenery and white crested waves which in another few weeks will have seabirds wheeling among them heading for their breeding grounds further north.

Of tomorrow next for me and  an opticians test to complete and post  my Public Service Vehicle document, which has all sorts of hoops to get through. But I can spot an eagle sitting on a mountain 3 miles away and so all should be ok.

 

 

Me and Mr handsome

Most on my friends know that it was a male hen harrier that turned me into a wildlife expert, as this ghostly figure drifted over the bonnet of our sports car in the North Wales mist, near Llangollen in the Berwyn mountains.

I was captured from that moment, as it looked like a ghost. I had to know what it really was.

The hen harrier is now very rare on the British mainland but fortunately The island of Mull has no grouse shooting estates and so it is a virtual sanctuary for these beautiful creatures.

So here was Mr Handsome again today al Lochdon, rising from deep grassland about 20m away from our car, as he quartered the ground looking for his favourite food, which is the short tailed vole and there 50m away was his female companion not white with black wing tips like him but browner and always with a very white rump.

Kicking off the day all the birds were up on Loch na Keal and to me that almost always means White Tailed Sea  Eagle and so it was, as it circled above the gulls looking for a meal. Great moments these !  Goosanders, Mergansers and Great Northern Divers on the way down to Craignure.

At Grasspoint the sea was suitably wild and exciting to be among as the elements always seem to be here in the Hebridean Islands. Cancel that holiday in the sun I say and find your soul again and true roots, away from it all, in these magical islands. After all you once weren’t a herding city species at all, but once upon a time free as a dolphin or a golden eagle.

 

Complicated day

I forgot that today was my annual [ PSV ]  Public Service Vehicle Drivers health check. But at least I got it done at Salen surgery. Problem now is that I was told by the doctor that they can no longer do the eye test section, as their equipment isn’t up to todays more advanced standards  !! This now means a ferry trip to Oban Specsavers and not that I don’t have excellent eyesight, as all of my customers know, but its just one of those little irritations of living on an Island.

Making up for all of it though was the drive back to the house, along the shores of Loch na Keal and another increasingly beautiful sunset with a green sky.

Tomorrow should be a better day for whatever I want to do

Stunning again

It is going to be yet another wonderful sunset from the house and it is now 4.18 pm so a long way to go yet !

Streaks of orange sky of different shades fill the horizon of the south of the island and Iona  and I am learning !!! Because what I have to come to grasp is that it isn’t just the miles long display of orange and red with the eventual ball of sun bursting through, that makes the scene so impressive. But in fact the dozens of other things that are going on in the foreground,  that bring life to the actual sunset itself.

For instance the two birds soaring together with the orange sky behind them, as if in slow motion. Then there is the little fishing boat looking black on the sea between the island’s of Ulva and Inch Kenneth. Then there is the foreground itself in different shades of green, which before the sun drops to the sea, a number of weather beaten small trees will break the near horizon with a dark blue sea behind them.

Charcoal grey clouds now appear to be rising off the south of Mull and look like a new range of mountains climbing up to the orange sky which is getting squashed from above by the heavens which are now a gigantic blue grey sky.

We are needing a little rain but Mother Nature may not want to unleash it, to spoil these evening wonders that we have been getting.

Bit Gutted

I have a link to trip advisor.  Please see ‘Links’ on my website. Frankly I only joined with Trip Advisor because I felt I had to, with so many people now copying me and urging their own customers to put a comment on the site. Trouble is I realise that what Trip Advisor does is happily put out a negative comment but not highlight the numerous positive ones.

Most of my customers fortunately have nothing but praise during and after their day out, but I know also that I have had people who are clearly out of their depth with somewhere wild such as the Island is and seem to think that a tiger should come and sit on the bonnet of my vehicle for their entertainment. In fact  with occasional guests I think they would be happy if I trapped an otter for them to stroke !

The idea of actually looking for wildlife isn’t  in their psyche and if they could see a golden eagle in a cage it would make their day.

I am pretty upset about the negative comments when I am so committed to giving visitors the best possible day out,  but I know there is no cure, when people are really ‘just looking for something to do’ but do not actually look and instead expect wild creatures and even the weather, to perform for them.

 

 

Lots of sightings

Out on a trip today to suss out what’s happening generally and what is around today, as it has been yet another colourful and serene scene here. With an intensely blue sea right now and a low pink sky behind Iona and the south of the island, with another super sunset coming up for sure !

My love for Mull makes we want to say that it is quite poetic to behold.

Anyway at 12.15pm Joy and I set off to record sightings and first off we had a big one, with the two adult sea eagles from a local territory sitting together just below the skyline, before one launched of and landed on a favourite tree.

Next was a group of fallow deer, which I believe were reintroduced to Britain by the Romans. Then the fascinating  Dipper which is the only bird that walks on the bottom of the river to feed. Then a distant golden eagle sitting on the top of a mountain. Our first otter sighting was about 800m before the parking area for the climb up Benmore. lots of great northern divers, slavonian grebes, mergansers, seals and shags as usual. Another otter now under Gibbon cliffs and spectacularly from range an adult white tailed sea eagle sillhoueted on the low skyline of the Island of Inch Kenneth, before the bigger adult female flew in and sat with her mate.

Finally a mile from the house we had a big male otter.

Lots of lesser sightings in between of course but now this gorgeous orange sunset looking like southern Mull is on fire.

 

 

Today has been visually stunning with lots of sun all day but a bit cold in the wind.

I knew when I sat down in my office telling myself you have to write about this, that I cannot possibly capture the scene from the house which has to be the most spectacular on the Island today. Ben More is rising into light charcoal clouds with streaks of red sunlight covering some of its slopes. The sea is empty all the way to Iiona which is fabulous but with too much to capture in words here right now.

I will try though. Halfway across sea the Island of Erraid which has many stories to tell looks serene and behind it rise the huge sea cliffs on the Ardmeanach Peninsula, often called the wilderness. It has 1,000ft sea cliffs and behind is the south of mull and a pink sky horizon above the dark silhouette of the south all the way to Iona where a very bright golden sun is pushing its way through the clouds and soon to be in a bigger hurry as it wants to set.

Numerous beams of red sun are splaying themselves out over Iona and its waters like the bottom of a landing spacecraft.

The sea now looks white, which is just the powerful sun reflecting off the sea.

Minutes later now and the low sky is red over Iona, where I think we will get the sunset.

A last look out from our decking before the big event, as gold, red, charcoal grey and blue sky, rise into the heavens with more red splays of colour beginning to hide behind the southern tip of The Island of Ulva a quarter of a mile from here.

Leaving my office I now see a very red sky at the main entrance to the house and a dozen Red Deer silhouetted black as they wander along the hilly skyline looking like a Nature of Scotland award winning photograph !!

I did say I wouldn’t be able to capture the scene today but as I came back to my office, across the sea just behind Iona there is a new red land, for all the world looking like Ayers rock in Australia  Only our new Ayers rock has some sort of strange intense red light on top of it  !!!!!!!

Turns  out that our intense light is the now the brilliant red sun which like so many things here in these magical island’s look very Alien.