We kicked off at Grasspoint yesterday and soon encountered a short- eared owl scrapping with a hooded crow, before tucking itself down into the vegetation. A very white male hen harrier then joined the scene around 50m away before coasting around the area and down toward the river before disappearing over the hillside to our left..
Onward and the not often recognised Rock Doves, then a big surprise for me to find the two adult white tailed sea eagles back on their old site, before one flew off leaving the other doing who knows what ?? Along with surveying its domain.
Then red deer, seals, rumours of Merlins down at Grasspoint, black guillemots, fleeting porpoise among the small waves, plenty of calling and sitting cuckoos all day. Then an otter across from Grasspoint dragging and wrestling with a huge conger eel, before hauling it onshore, a black swan, whitethroat, perched snipe’s going to and from Croggan and then the ‘oh so colourful’ male redstart in the Ardura woodland.
Early this morning the visual effects of land , sea and mountains were absolutely captivating, with great swathes of the whole scene bathed in dazzling sun and shadows of clouds parading across it all.
As were rock doves parading, which are rare in Britain and seen by most people as just pigeons. They have just passed over the house and are favourite prey of peregrine falcons here.
So, on yesterdays trip it was very sunny and not the best for wildlife watching.
However we had glimpses of porpoise offshore from Grasspoint, along with black guillemots, geese, red deer, and the always elegant fallow deer at Loch Buie.
As time began to run out on us I gave everyone the option of looking for otters or golden eagles? Well golden eagles it was then, at a reasonably private site of mine and where one of them was sitting on the slope of a mountain across a loch before giving us a short flying display before landing again. Everyone enjoyed seeing the eagle in my telescope and they were duly impressed with my eyesight !!
We then had a really good and close sighting of an adult white tailed sea eagle gliding low 25m away over the loch, which helped our sightings total a lot.
I have been so busy on all things lately that I am having to link yesterdays trip into the day before.
We have had a young sea eagle over our heads, great northern divers, stonechats, wheatears, otters but not yesterday, cuckoos calling , sitting and flying and it seems the west coast of Britain has much higher numbers of cuckoos than the east coast again.
Stupendous weather and a sea like glass off Grass point yesterday, which as I got out of my vehicle helped me spot porpoise not far offshore. Then there was much excitement as we all chased onto the headland and watched a number of separate groups of porpoise with their fins glinting in the sun. They seemed happy to see us, as we were to see them, after such a long period away from here.
After much negativity about golden eagles in Glenmore possibly failing this year and few sightings by anyone. While my group were chatting I spotted two of them a mile away on top of a mountain, before one launched off and dropped into the glen, only to rise again 5 minutes later and glide along the cliff tops chased by a hen harrier. Are they simply nesting in another part of their big and traditional territory I wonder ??
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.
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.
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 !!
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??
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?
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
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.