On yesterdays trip I had a family out with me staying near us, but I was up and down looking for them but it all turned out to be my fault. Well I will take the rap as they say.
The lady of the family did not know it be she had terrific eyesight and I was very impressed with her. The weather was pretty good and we had plenty of sightings including a mother and her two otters cubs. 30 minutes later on Loch na Keal, the lady spotted a a female otter with a cub. So a good otter day but no sign of golden eagles but big sighting of white tailed sea eagles.
Common Seals and red deer were pretty easy to find and we had very good views of a male hen harrier as we also did on todays trip but with rather poor weather also. However, another sighting of a sitting white tailed sea eagle and another adult bird on a rock leaning into the wind by the shore on loch na Keal before launching off and gliding along the shoreline 100m from the road, with us following.
I had another report of a male merlin today which, added to my own sightings of the last few weeks, which seems to indicate that they may be on the up after years of decline in numbers.
Today though was pretty good considering the strong, cold wind, and pretty wet weather.
We love to have our three grandchildren here and they love it too. However it is very tiring driving all the way to Glasgow to collect them and take them back, especially when we have ferries to meet both ways also. However today we got off to a good start with an Exec room at the Holiday Inn at Theatre Land in Glasgow Centre. Dinner the night before was really good and the best Hake dish I have ever had.
Saturdays weather forecast for today, Sunday, didn’t help either but not unusually the BBC got it wrong again here. Instead of rain it was dry and eventually sunny all the way.
I increasingly get the feeling that the BBC don’t really look in depth at the West of Scotland because it is so remote, but we think, beautifully remote !!
This evening now at 7.45, it is another glorious sunset with very bright sun over the entire and ever changing landscape and as serene as it can be.
Seems I am right on the button this season with my 3rd Male Merlin in the last Month. Who also happens to be my favourite bird, small but fiery, dynamic and with his blue coat, very good looking indeed.
So out with Joy and the grandchildren to Duart Castle tearoom we had set off back and just 2 minutes out of the car park there he was, sitting on a fence post by the road and after a couple of minutes he launched off in the dynamic way that they do and swept to the grassland 100m below before racing between the trees.
This one was a bit paler than my previous two and even four, if we add last season !! If you don’t know, the Icelandic Merlin is quite a lot brighter and a bit larger than the UK Birds.
Well, added to the Merlin sighting, and great northern divers I found my old friends the sea eagles from nearby and what a view that was also.
I encountered my first male Merlin in North Wales, near Llangollen, where I worked as a graphic designer and I was very lucky as this bird with a fierce call shot over my open topped sports car and met up with his mate and then both of them swept into nearby deep heather.
Another super moment in North Wales was my first male hen harrier and here on Mull they are on the go again after last years record breeding year for hen harriers on the Island.
I started my trip yesterday with a nice group of people who were, as so often is the case wanting to see otters.
Toward the end of the day we did get close views of a male otter rolling around in the seaweed on Loch na Keal.
We started the day with a bang and an adult sea eagle sitting on its nest.
Into Glenmore and a whole series of golden eagle and sea eagle sightings but I felt the male harrier sightings were the best of the day when two tangled on the hillside over a female harrier.
Harriers again 2 miles further on and big shots of golden and sea eagles.
Also today Red Deer Stag, seals, great northern divers and peregrines before the super otter sighting.
I have a trip tomorrow but yesterday was very much a day out with Joy and the grandchildren and a check on where wildlife is at the moment.
So on the way down Loch na Keal there was a male otter happily diving for butterfish and then diving again for another.
Not far past this point I had a big nod from a White Tailed Sea Eagle coming from on high with legs outstretched and landing on a tree, which is probably significant, as to where they are going to be this year. A golden eagle was also gliding around the same area, which is not too unusual there. On the other side of the loch Great Northern Divers, seals and peregrine falcons that I know well and which have just arrived on their breeding cliffs, with a sea eagle patrolling the same cliffs.
So Sundays scouting trip has given me some focus for that area, when my tours get a little more serious !!
Big day today seemingly with a big drive o meet up with Jeff who is Sonnie and Charlie’s Dad, who met us at Tarbet with Rufus, Ian’s son, who was also also on the train from Glasgow. Then we were promptly off back to Mull having come via Inverary which sits prettily on Loch Fyne. But now back another route with the children via Tarbet and the long road to Oban and a ferry.
Magnificent scenery and colours all the way and along the side of Loch Awe which is the largest Loch in Scotland I believe. The deepest being Lochness.
Seafood in Oban, shopping and fuel at Tesco’s and a dash for the ferry now, which was packed with people who must have enjoyed the very calm sail to The Island.
Once home we all enjoyed a good dinner and heard about Bolton only drawing at Chesterfield. Which means we are big favourites for the 1st Division Championship. Yipee !!
Will we all have the time to get down for the celebrations in a few weeks time? Maybe not ? when I have a living to earn here. But great news for my team Sheffield United, after years of suffering when we are such a big club.
This evening we have a soft green sky which is going to be full of stars again and it’s very calm yet again.
Maybe take the children to The Ardnamurchan Peninsular tomorrow where there is an outside chance but that’s all, of us getting in the sea !!
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.