An unusual posting for me but I had a family by the name of Murray on one of my trips on July 19th. This was two adults and a child.
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Yes one of those trips yesterday where I had to work really hard to find the things that visitors would like to see. This sultry weather does not suit our wildlife and they just want to sit around. A joyous moment though today as I glimpsed an eagle possibly eating prey on a mountain top. Could it be the missing newly fledged youngster from that territory?? It slipped over the back of the hill as I got my scope out and as we were due for lunch I encamped us where we might see it again. Sure enough in the middle of lunch he was up and showing his white patches and making a lot of noise. He flew confidently across the glen and landed on a large boulder. I was so pleased for the adults after last years last minute failure on the same territory. Lots of red deer now and stags looking in very good condition. Manx shearwaters were off Grasspoint with guillemots and the odd gannet diving. There were distant views of porpoise on another very flat sea all the way to Jura. Another thrill was to see the young sea eagle from there who has also just fledged and was sitting in the middle of the marshland. We later saw one of the adults as we came back through the area. We also got the elusive male hen harrier looking very good 50m away. Earlier we had seen a female harrier and an unusual looking, what I took to be male harrier, but with quite a lot of black on the upper body like an exagerated montagues harrier or the darker northern marsh harrier.
We have just had a couple of lovely days with Sonny, Charlie and Rufus in Glasgow. The Crown Plaza was excellent with a super suite for us all. Everyone enjoyed the pool, Sonny who is nine did his regular gokarting and gave some mature adults a good run for their money. We took them to see David Livingstone’s home in Blantyre and of course from our house we look to Ulva where his ancestors lived before the Highland clearances. We all ate well, slept well [even Rufus] and Lucy treated Joy and I to a super dinner out as it was Joy’s birthday.
Today began misty and turned hot and tropical again. I couldnt resist Calliach Point. The sea was silver and flat calm there but no Whales there this time but a Great Skua flew by, an otter was below us catching fish and a yellow tagged sea eagle sat sillhouetted on top of a sea cliff with a vast ocean and islands behind it. Evocative and even poetic it seemed to me.
I keep wanting to say what fabulous weather it has been but don’t forget we also had a sensational year last year and best ever many on Mull say. February and March were also very sunny, dry but with a very cold easterly wind when we also had forest fires and water shortages. April was not good from what I remember but May onwards has been just great but at the same time worrying, as it is all so abnormal of course. However most people only think of today and maybe that’s been our downfall through history, in having such little vision as a species. Given more of that we could be ahead of the deadly and dangerous situations we often find ourselves in. Are we now on a steadily heating planet for instance and shouldnt more of us be listening to the climate experts and at least be erring on the side of caution instead of this gung ho way so many people live. I guess a lot of the problem is that most people now live in cities where you can’t even see the weather coming like we can in places like this. From my pespective I can assure everyone that things are not right up there in the sky.
There are so many hidden and beautiful places on the West Coast of Scotland. In fact I heard about a cave behind a white sand beach on the Southern tip of Mull with neolithic markings on the walls, much as we saw in the Canary Island of la Palma which is like Mull was a few thousand years ago and so off to the site next week. But today it was Reudle and designer clouds, blue sky and big vistas out to sea, with Staffa, Iona and all of the Treshnish Isles shimmering on a flat sea. My love of Mull was first found in that area when we stayed in a little cottage called Burg Beag and I remember a trillion tufts of cotton grass blowing in the wind and the sheer emptiness and magnificence of the scenery. There is also an old fort stuck on the side of a hill which I had to explore and in a ruined cottage I found a number of small pottery jars and jugs which I left there and returned some years later to find them smashed, probably by cows sheltering. Today we wandered down to Reudle and saw the very pretty and idyllic cottage nestled against the hillside looking out to sea and the young owner came over and had a chat about it and lots of the other ruins dotting the area. Mull seems stuffed full of archeology that still remains to be explored. The last serious time at Reudle myself and our 3 very small adorable children found a dead Sperm Whale and insisted on me carrying a massive vertebrae back to the car !!
Yes we may have found the missing newly fledged young golden eagle from Glenmore yesterday. The two adults were soaring above one of their mountains and the youngster was possibly heard calling nearby. Phew !! Today has been even more tropical, creating memories of rainforests and the huge deluges of rain that they can have. Here on Mull we have temperate rainforests that look just like tropical ones to me this year !! It’s a serene evening here now and we have just received guests from Australia. Out to Iona it is clearing beautifully after the huge rain shower and looking dream like. If this weather continues or does it again regularly I am afraid that we are all doomed and all the predictions of global warming were innacurate because its even worse than we thought.
A pretty international crowd for the trip yesterday and all were keen to see and learn. At Grasspoint we quickly encountered the male hen harrier from there and lots of questions as to why they are rare on the mainland. At Grasspoint I found one of the adult sea eagles flying from islet to islet until they both came together on a small islet in the center of the bay. Meanwhile we had seen porpoise, seals and lots of manx shearwataers and black guillemot. Orchids are passing their best there now but we were still able to smell the fragrant orchid. In Glenmore I am a bit worried about the young golden eagle that was not to be seen. The RSPB and SNH are as usual not excactly on tap to help either. Down to Loch Scridain to find the otters and yes it was a good spot by me and eventually really close views of the two cubs from there. The young sea eagle at glen seilesdair was still in the nest and pobably being encouraged by the adults to go to Uni or get no food. !! On the way back red deer stags and a sea eagle and buzzards were right over our heads. Hope you all saw ‘The Hebrides, Islands on the Edge’ on BBC 2 which was more or less all filmed on Mull. Thankyou to my friends Noel and Sue on holiday here who always offer help to find things and also gave me two new carriages for the grandchildrens trainset.
Well today started pretty poorly with lots of mist, which continued until after lunch but we still had really good views of a male hen harrier covering some ground and eventually crossing the road in front of us and dashing back toward his mate and the nest. Plenty of smaller birds to be seen today as the young of most species are now out of their nest and travelling around. Down to Loch Scridain to look for otters as it was too misty to see golden eagles in Glenmore. As I stopped I saw the otters on a small seaweed islet wandering around and swimming and then onto more rocks. It was a very good view of two otter cubs for everyone. Now up the coast to see the young sea eagle at its nest and one of the adults sitting in a tree a few hundred metres away. When suddenly it was off and tearing across the loch. Back now into Glenmore and a wait as the weather cleared and then up came an eagle soaring along the craggs and we eventually had a really good views as it sat on the skyline. The day finished with blazing sun and flat fat seas. I have just also watched the second of the BBC2 series ‘The Hebrides, Islands on the edge’ and mainly from Mull this week. Great, watch it next week!
When I first moved to Mull in 1979 within a few months it was painfully clear to me that there was no one in charge here at all !! Yes Community Council Offices, an MP but to this day absolutely no force or body responsible for protecting or promoting these simply wonderful Islands in the right way. There has only ever been one plan A for the region in my very considered opinion and that is National Park status for The Hebridean Islands. In all of my articles and conversations I liken the Islands to a fleet of beautiful ships bobbing in the Hebridean Sea with willing crews on board, but no one seems to have noticed but myself that there are no captains steering the ships and certainly no admiral of the fleet to offer any direction at all and so we bob in the ocean going round in circles. Hopefully today because of my own efforts and that of our wildlife, particularly the Sea Eagle Mull has become a premier wildlife destination. However it is increasingly threatened now by inappropriate development and exploitation which will innevitably increase when we humans have greed in our genes. I am urging all who have a fondness for the area to please support the new call for National Park status by going to www.scnp.org.uk then to their ‘News’ link and then to ‘Unfinished Business’ where the story will unfold. If you agree with the content please lobby our MSP via Michael.Russell.MSP@scottish.parliament.uk and ask why we are not a National Park, which would benefit every single man. woman and beast here, etc. You might also consider joining the Scottish Council for National Parks via the ‘join us’ link on their site please. Thankyou.
A bit like normal July weather today with drizzly rain overnight and a misty morning but pretty sunny and hot in Oban. From the ferry coming back there was lots of activity on the sea, with shearwaters, gannets diving in numbers, porpoise, seals, terns and lots of foreign tourists up here this year by the way.
We loved having Lucys children here for the week and we know that Mulls wonderful natural environment is giving them lots of experiences that they just dont get in Glasgow. Having grandparents for me as a child that might have lived in such a wild place, among mountains and ocean with fabulous beaches to play on would have been beyond my wildest dreams. It was a famous five life for our own children and now the same for Sonnie, Charlie and Rufus and I am so happy for them.