After the glorious weather of the last few weeks this morning felt ominous, with heavy drizzle and no sign of it abating soon.
However along came lunchtime and I could see the sunshine rolling over Iona and heading this way. We duly had a lovely day and now have a pink sunset over the Island of Ulva.
Once the sun arrived lapwings were very happy, as were the curlews with both species tumbling and turning, out over the grassland below the house. I felt happy for them !
Lots of paperwork to get through though today and preparations for collecting and having Sonny, Charlie and Rufus here for the next week.They love it here as any child, or grown up would !! I think we may take them to The Ardnamurchan Peninsular which is an interesting short sail, over to the most westerly place on the British mainland with its beautiful beaches, such as the one at Sanna and which will probably be empty.
Like me they also love the swimming pool at The Isle of Mull Hotel at Craignure which is also often pretty empty, yet really nice with views out across the sea to Oban and distant ferries heading this way.
So all in all a quietish day with much done around the house but super views as always looking from here toward the south of Mull and its low lying landscape, just like the outer Hebridean Islands.
What a wonderful and inspiring place tMull is, to live and work with nature.
On yesterdays Wildlife Expedition I had some keen people who learned a lot about where and how to look for different species. How the weather was a factor in their behaviour and perhaps most of all they learned about patience and optimism and how both attributes can deliver.
This all helped in giving us early sightings of White Tailed Sea Eagles, both flying and sitting. Everyone also had really exciting encounters with increasingly rare male and female hen harriers.
Mull as usual was spectacular and pretty empty at this time of year. But the few that were out and about on the Island were driving like they were on the M25 and far far too fast, when our valuable wildlife is so sensitive.
I ran out of time to look for otters but we got the big sighting we all wanted to see, as Golden Eagles broke the skyline in Glenmore with one of them alighting on the top of a mountain peak and leaned into the wind. I am sure the event stirrred the imagination of everyone.
We also had a cloud of hundreds of gulls and geese taking flight at Pennyghael and making a racket. Which in my language meant hunting Sea Eagle and sure enough there was an immature bird in among them causing great panic.
On my way home I saw a number of Great Northern Divers which will soon be in their summer breeding plumage and heading for the far north.
This amazing sunny and calm weather just keeps on coming and tonight we have yet another new sunset. I have been dangling from the gable end of the house, as I try to repair a section of timber before painting it and it is so far so good !
Sparrow hawks have been patrolling the trees around us with the bird feeders on them and I think they may have got one of our very colourful Great Spotted Woodpeckers, as they have not been around lately. Gruesome maybe but it’s simply nature and at least the Sparrowhawks don’t battery farm woodpeckers, like we do chickens!
Plenty of Great Northern Divers around, rock doves, seals, curlews calling, with that wonderful bubbling call that they have. Lapwings have been courting each other and occasionally scrapping with the curlew’s. I am pretty pleased with myself regarding newly planted fruit trees and see lots of delicious rhubarb pies being the end result. With Custard of course. Well I am hoping.
How long will this weather last? Well its not untypical early season for us to have a long dry and sunny spell.
We are expecting Sonny, Charlie and Rufus to come here on Friday for a week . They will enjoy christening our new road surface which is being worked on this Thursday. They will each have fond memories of helping me put loads of gravel onto the current one only to see it flying off as people drive down our road far too quickly.
What a simply wonderful day it has been here with cloudless skies and being very very sunny and warm.
Here I am now early evening doing this posting. But how do I describe the scene out over the landscape and the sea?? I can’t do it justice, simple as that.
The landscape is losing its golden colour but out to sea the entire ocean is a milky pink colour and very calm. It is interspersed by streaks of soft pale blue and Iona distant is a dark pink with a pink and pale blue sky above. The entire scene has a softness that I haven’t seen here until now.
The sky at night is also impossible to ignore, being full of stars wherever you look.
I have been doing repairs around the house, planting fruit trees and then watching the football !!! But work beckons on Tuesday when I have another Wildlife Expedition and enquiries are now warming up for accommodation and the tours.
Meanwhile I am looking at Heaven for certain from my office right now.
On todays posting of yesterdays trip I missed out a pretty significant thing and that was the large numbers of Great Northern Divers as I set off for the trip and when I returned.
Its that time of year again when everywhere in coastal Europe Great Northern Divers are heading north to gather here off The Hebridean Islands, acquiring their stunning summer plumage as they go, before the last big push to Iceland, where they will spend the summer before coming south again around October time.
So if you are heading this way also, try and get here before mid May because after then it may be too late . Though occasionally you might get a straggler who thinks he is already in Iceland !!!
Well its Friday here with a very calm sea and the sun rising again over Benmore.
It is still pretty quiet visitor wise but these special islands need ‘quality rather than quantity’ and so six people it was for yesterdays trip and they were each very keen, which helped me and them find things on what could have been a difficult very sunny day.
White Tailed Sea Eagles then, flying and sitting pretty close, to kick off our day. Lots of red deer stags, females and young and hen harriers in Glenmore. I was unsure about a possible eagle by Ben Taladh but it was confirmed as we had good views of it on the way back through the Glen as it glided along the face of the mountain. Good to see those little but tough summer and wintering Stonechats a few times also, along with flashes of Grey Wagtail, which might be on the up again on Mull. Kestrels, lots of Buzzards as always and glimpses of an otter on Loch Spelve which was just disappearing around a nearby headland. Seals of course but not the killer whales I am afraid seen off northern Mull a few days ago !!
As expected the majesty and colours in among the mountains stole the show, as we looked for golden eagles. Dripping with snow and its golden landscape and emptiness, Glenmore was simply gorgeous. So where were the photographers today? Like so many people, they think its always Inhospitable in the off season but it is often like yesterday and awesome.
I wake up this simply glorious morning for my Wildlife Expedition, yet knowing what appalling things have happened in London and which are regrettably becoming commonplace these days.
Hopefully people on my trip can for today blank out what has happened and be thankful that they will be out with me, as safe as can be on Mull. Which of course sees little of the turmoil’s which happen on the mainland.
Its good for all of us to get away sometimes and just refresh our senses, don’t you think ? ?.
The last couple of weeks have been like that, with trips to see our children down south and their partners, as well as grandchildren in Glasgow. We had great weather as it has been here and as we arrived back around lunchtime.
It’s now one of those peachy skies and the sunset no doubt to follow shortly.
Whilst down south a close friend of ours, Andy Bayes, took us out on one of their wildlife reserves and it was good for me to see green woodpeckers which are not on these islands yet. Andy also provided a very good feast of drink and food as well and I hope to go back in summer when the Hobby’s return to Britain.
Anyway, I have a trip with 6 people tomorrow here on Mull and I hope I haven’t got rusty whilst away because of the relative flatness that Southern England has. Of course I miss the mountains !!
So I am back in action and if anyone wants advice about a holiday on our magical Islands do let me know and I will happily advise you.
I am afraid that I have to apologise as I will be unable to do any further diary postings until the 23rd of March.
Great day today out with our guests Sally and Martin, as I spotted a sitting adult White Tailed Sea Eagle not far from the house
However the big sightings today were of an adult male Merlin sitting on a fence post at Lochdon and another bright blue male racing in to sit on the remains of a tree just before Loch Spelve before he raced off having given lovely views in the telescope.
We also had two brilliant white male Hen Harriers in the same area plus a distant female.
No otters today but a golden eagle gliding along the hills at Croggan before climbing way above us chasing a buzzard and coming across the loch and over our heads.
Rock Doves today, goosanders, stonechats, great northern divers, Male yellow hammer and lots of the more obvious things including seals and red deer stags and females.
Add the fact that it was another very colourful and atmospheric day.