Very sunny weather is not the best weather for looking for Wildlife here on Mull or Europe generally. The best is sunshine and showers but here we are in the dazzling sun and heat of the Hebridean Islands !!
Despite this we have still managed on each trip to get a number of sea eagle encounters, golden eagle, Hen Harrier and otters.
Val and Pete, two of our regular visitors to Mull treat Joy and I to a very nice lunch in Oban yesterday and I was very pleased to see my friend Martine again who had been on trips with me and now saying hello in Oban, before travelling to Edinburgh and then back to Paris.
We need more Europeans as converts to the care of wildlife cause and ideally we may eventually get the Maltese to enjoy and look at, rather than shoot wildlife.
It’s simply dazzlingly sunny from my office again and I will get the same out on the road tomorrow but I would like a little rain soon. I am sure many on Mull and in the islands hope for the same right now when we hit such spells of dry weather.
I have as they say ‘been up to the eyes in it’ for the last few days and must apologise for the lack of postings. But thank my assistants here. Joy for the lovely food and drink for each trip and Elizabeth and Martine for helping me sort it all out on the day.
However and despite the lack of help from our Marketing Group Holiday Mull, or our invisible Community Council, regarding the blocked, yet vital road on Loch na Keal, I have still been able to find lots of sightings for my customers.
Including a number of white tailed sea eagles, Golden Eagles are now on the go again in Glenmore and a male otter today at Loch Beg and female with two young the day before.
Hen Harriers, Cuckoo’s calling, Red Deer, Seals, Highland Cattle, Wheatears, Stonechats, Buzzards, Kestrel’s, Ravens and others.
I had a recent influx of Merlins in two or three different areas and hope this may be the prelude to better times for these rare and dynamic birds.
Sorry again everyone
After this weekend I hope to get back to my normal Diary Postings routine.
On todays trip I had an excellent and enthusiastic group.
I was particularly happy to see Martine Drouin again, after so many years and who was a young French girl trying to learn English, that I met when I worked as a graphic designer in North Wales.
Today we had a few sightings of White Tailed Sea Eagles both flying and sitting together on a hill top.
We were all too busy enjoying Joys lovely food and drink to spot the male Hen Harrier drifting past us head into wind. In fact just one of us spotted it.
Glenmore has now come alive with golden eagle sightings and two of them followed each other above and across the glen, while each of us almost fell over backwards as they soared in the sky above us before landing.
Stonechats, pipits, red deer, seals, cuckoo and others were there to be seen but I was running our of a chance to find otters, as we had to get back to the ferry point at Craignure.
As Scarlet famously said ”Tomorrows another day” but its a gorgeous sunset here right now.
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