I think it was an exciting and challenging day yesterday, where each of our target species could have been easier to find.
So, Great Northern Divers in summer plumage off Grasspoint and at lochdon, two sitting white tailed sea eagles, lots of waders, wheatears and stonechats. Across the estuary we had more sea eagles above us and on the way to Glenmore even more sea eagles with male and female hen harriers chasing them off.
Glenmore now and plenty of red deer on the mountainsides but no action yesterday from golden eagles there YET !!! Down at Loch Beg I found mum otter with her two cubs swimming and diving just offshore and repeatedly coming onto shore and rolling about in the seaweed covered rocks.
Needed to head home now and in 20 minutes that glorious encounter with Golden Eagles as the resident birds swept off the mountain peak chasing an intruding pair, possibly from Carsaig and with a male hen harrier gliding along the hill tops beneath them.
Todays Wildlife Expedition was comprised entirely of Majestic Line customers. These are tours that I do around 6 times in a season and its a pleasure to take them out as they are always keen and focused. As they were today when we had Adult Sea Eagles above us while we had a break with tea/coffee and Joys delicious scones.
I took my group down to Grasspoint which was an early crossing point for The island and where cattle had to swim across the sea to eventually arrive in Oban. Not good then, if you were a cow a few hundred years ago !!
Off to look for hen harriers now and we found a male across the grassland as we headed for Glenmore where we also had good views of a male and female hen harrier while we enjoyed soup and sandwiches. Tea or coffee and cake to follow next while we were looking for Golden Eagles, which took some time to find until one launched off the crags above us and swept across the glen to fly very fast along the mountains where we lost it.
Otters next but I was running out of time, unlike my retired friends and helpers Pam and Joy who are extremely good at finding otters.
Great Northern Divers in summer plumage today, plenty of gulls, Goosanders, greenshanks, wheatear ,buzzards and red deer.
Much of today was taken up by my having to head in the morning to Loch Spelve to meet the Majestic Line boat at anchor there and then end of the day take people back to Tobermory to rendezvous with the boat around 5pm.
I am very tired this evening but I know they really enjoyed today and learned a lot. So I am happy. As are my wild friends who also enjoy doing their bit for the Islands economy and our Eagle Island image..
It’s been pretty hectic in the last couple of days.
Off to Glasgow to give the grandchildren a good time on Saturday, with an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Theatre Land, which is in the city centre. From there we ate out and we booked Sonny into a session of Go Karting, which he simply loves and actually gives most of the other boys a good run for their money, as they say. At the same venue Charlie had an hour on the Laser gun game.
Anyway!! A gorgeous run for us back through the Highland’s to Oban yesterday.
The colours were sensational driving back home along Loch na Keal and passing a large group of Whimbrel feeding on the lush grassland at Killiechronan. I also had a similar group today in roughly the same area. I had keen people again with me on a trip and we had a number of different WhiteTailed Sea Eagle sightings, from close to high up and doing various things including touching talon’s which can mean aggression or affection.
We had a male hen harrier gliding through the landscape at Lochdon and so off now to look for Golden Eagles next in Glenmore where we saw the two resident adults racing and twisting and turning in the sky above us.
Then the Pennyghael area turned into Arctic Russia with sleet and snow showers making it very difficult and very cold to look for otters there.
All in all though a very good day, with one or two Great Northern Divers in full summer plumage as I drove along Loch na Keal.
Tomorrow then I am taking out a group from the Majestic Line Cruise company which is a regular contract for me and I hope for a nice mix of weather for the day.
Joy has just pointed out that Benmore and its adjoining mountains are all covered in snow right now and which is unusual for us at this time of year.
I was a bit rushed with the diary posting yesterday evening. So no there was no otter up with a sea eagle yesterday but a male hen harrier !!! So thankyou Pam for bringing this to my attention.
I did forget though that on the way home we had a large group of Whimbrel at killiechronan, along with lots of Sand Martins.
Lovely morning right now and my next trip out is Monday.
I had a pretty good Wildlife Expedition today with interested people.
Most great northern divers are now in summer plumage and looking very smart. We had female Goosander, Mergansers, Sea eagle on a nest with its partner standing by, female hen harrier, common seals, red deer, rock doves, skylark, oystercatchers, terrific encounter with another White Tailed Sea Eagle in Glenmore, as it came from distance to sail low over us, eventually chased by hooded crows, a fleeting merlin which rushed past us at great speed.
No otters today but I had a chat on the road with two of our Mull Otter group, Nigel and Marie. Toward end of the day another male otter up with another sea eagle before we lost it landing on a distant hill.
Right now we are losing our very sunny day, which is turning into a very calm evening with a pink sea.
Sorry about the absence of postings in the last couple of days. I am pleased to say that our email system is now back on top form.
So, I look forward to lots of enquiries, questions about travelling to the Hebrides and plenty of bookings please !!
Yesterday was very busy in Oban with lots of foreigners, just like last season. It’s good to see them coming north and interested in our natural wonders, instead of so many previously just heading south.
The seafood hut by the Caledonian MacBrayne ticket office was as usual thronging with seafood fans and even I shared shrimps and mussels with two Canadians there. I told them about Calgary beach in Northern Mull and they were intrigued to learn that it was where they got ‘Calgary’ in Alberta from !
Today began with misty weather but it has now cleared to be bright enough for me to see Iona from my office. Maybe it will even turn sunny !
It is also pretty calm again and good for spotting otters. Great Northern divers are now in summer plumage and getting ready to head to the far north and their summer homes. We are lucky here to have such large numbers in the winter months when they seem to see Mull as a northern Seychelles, after their very cold winter in Iceland !
It was off to Oban and the dentist for Joy and I yesterday, as we were due our annual check. It was a lovely sail over and back and like today sunny and very calm.
However I have come back to a problem with my emails, which I hope will be solved this evening at the latest, as my very clever son Sam is going to sort it out for me.
If anyone has sent an email in the last 24 hours or intends sending an email on whatever matter, please do so if you wish, but until I get things sorted I may not be able to reply just yet.
So !!! It’s back to ‘normal’ human life and a telephone call please, if I can help with anything at all, or you wish to make a booking etc.
Meanwhile I can only apologise for the inconvenience at the moment and
thank you for your patience with this problem
Today has all been about the stillness of the whole region and the incredible colours of the landscape and sea, which are wonderful again from here this evening. Add the lengthening daylight hours from today and it is all very positive for man and beast.
We did enjoy the site of an adult white tailed sea eagle, along with other people at Kiliechronan this afternoon and a female otter with her cub on a seaweed covered rocky outcrop on the opposite side of Loch an Keal. But this evening and like last nights ball of blazing red setting sun, the atmospherics were and are again sensational.
I have just given up on watching the big Chelsea and Manchester United game to capture what I see from my office and sunroom.
Today began as a rather misty morning but with a weather forecast to clear. Sure enough at around lunchtime it had done so and now at 5pm the entire sweep of beautiful ocean and islands is amazing.
Benmore is lightly dappled with snow, The sea for miles is flat as a pancake and has been all day for that matter. Iona is looking dark way across the sea but historic Inch Kenneth looks really good standing alone and out toward Gribbun cliffs, which with a low sun, are all blue and green. The stillness of the landscape is magical and beckons you to walk across to the low sea cliffs 800m from the house. It’s all simply ‘poetic’ but without the words.
The sea is now going golden and reflecting the sky above it.
My home as a child in Sheffield looked out on steelworks and dirt and now we must have the cleanest air of anywhere in Britain.
I love The Island of Mull and I think it loves me. If only others here felt the same and nurtured its beauty and protected its immense value to the human spirit.
The sun is heading down now over Iona and we have a lemon, orange, dark blue and grey sky above and with the rest of the sky misty blue.
I had a really nice and very focused family with a bright and knowledgeable youngster with me on the trip yesterday.
The weather again started a bit iffy but turned into a really nice day. Like today !!
Two White Tailed Sea Eagles then straight off and a female Hen Harrier as well as a dancing white male, gliding in and out of the landscape looking for voles.
Beneath Ben Taladh in Glenmore we had more Harriers and two Golden Eagles soaring high over our heads before they headed further south into the glen.
I was personally very pleased to see activity, above a well known site in the glen, as a single golden Eagle slid off the top of the hills and crossed over, to glide along the craggy peaks on the opposite side.
Seals, Red Deer, Stonechats, Ravens, Great Northern Divers, were also seen but I am starting to expect the male Merlin, but not today. However one was seen by two birders at Grasspoint.
However as Scarlet famously said ”Tomorrow is another day”.