The weather here has been very up and down in the last few days, but I have had some lovely children on the trips. None more so than yesterdays youngster of 8 years of age, wide eyed, bushy tailed, full of enthusiasm and keen to please.
Needless to say she helped me with the catering !!
On the trip we had hen harriers and a big and exciting encounter with golden eagles being chased by ravens and then a sea eagle above it also. It was a real dogfight as they jostled for position on the golden eagles territory. Super evocative views of eagles then and their competitors.
Today was another iffy weather day but we still had a golden eagle in Glenmore gliding in and out of the mountain ridges. Also a hen harrier gliding along the mountainside. Latterly we eventually saw ‘mister handsome’ the male hen harrier and another 30 minutes on two sitting white tailed sea eagles sheltering from the wind.
Today was a good day despite the challenging weather.
My postings have been a bit thin on the ground in the last few days, mainly because demand for trips has been low, but I also have had lots to do and repair around the house and land. We have also been to Glasgow to see the grandchildren and we all had a good time trying out different vehicles as I think we should consider buying a new car soon.
Anyway here I am looking out toward another inspiring sunset from the house and it is very warm.
I have trips this week, for tomorrow and Tuesday and I think Wednesday and so I am hoping for sunshine and showers and not this wall to wall sunshine which visitors enjoy but so does our wildlife, which is inclined to just sit around at such times.
Anyway, I hope to get back to form tomorrow and back to diary postings for those that tell me they follow them and think of beautiful Mull.
Well we certainly got down the list today with lots of the right sort of sightings in fantastic weather.
Today I had one of my more or less monthly tours, taking out visitors from the Majestic Line Cruise Company and which I collected from the Ulva Ferry point.
Down the coast then by 10 minutes and a female golden eagle flying above and along a high ridge chased by buzzards. A Good start to the day! Further down Loch na Keal and checking for the white tailed sea eagles, we spotted their newly fledged youngster cruising in front of the high forest line before encountering its Mum, which then sat happily in some trees watching the youngster learning about life.
Across Loch na Keal now and checking for otters among the seals, one my people shouted ”otter” as it ran across the road from the trees and danced along the rocks and into the water where it then swam offshore.
Off to the other side of the island and Glenmore where the young golden eagle there had also fledged recently. Initially there was no sign of adults or young but then the adult male rose above the mountain top carrying some prey which tends to be mountain hare at this time of year ! It circled in the glen for some time, as if looking for the youngster to give it some food. It landed just behind the slope of a mountain where we heard some calling and where it probably dropped what it had caught for the young one.
Down toward Grasspoint and a top view of a female hen harrier and an Osprey sitting by the small river there and looking very smart.
Well it seems that last Friday we had a small earthquake on Mull.
Frankly I can only recall losing electricity power for a few minutes at the time of the quake, but it’s nice to get in the news !!
Beautiful weather continues here and most of us are dressing like we live in Rio, not the North West of Scotland.
Nothing much birdy happening, except that they have been in the air a lot today. In fact a buzzard was on high above the house fighting with a sparrow hawk, which suddenly swept downward and took a small bird right by our bird feeders. Even the woodpecker was off lickety split to evade it.
As usual, on what should be a day off for me I have been repairing timber things and strimming big areas of bracken, which pervades these islands. Surely some bright spark studying agriculture could design a mower like machine that could cut bracken and compress it into handy blocks for our fires in the winter??
I hate being full of ideas like most Aquarians !!! but then not having the free time to pursue them. I can hear young buzzards newly fledged, making a racket outside, which usually means, I am hungry Mum.
It’s another tranquil evening, with a pastel blue sky and a very flat sea from here again. No sign of a Tsunami to follow the earthhquake though !
Well I don’t have any wildlife tours until Wednesday, when I have one of my now regular tours out with the Majestic Line Cruise Ship Company.
Outside the house it has been positively hot today and having no trips meant I was fated to end up painting or fixing this or that. You know what I mean, the sort of things that normal people often do at a weekend.
It has been absolutely gorgeous, looking in any direction from the house today and at this very moment a huge rainbow is powering its way out of the sky and into the middle of the sea. The sky is varied shades of blue, with scattered clouds of every colour. The sea is again like glass. It’s going to be a sensational sunset looking out toward The South of Mull and Iona, but right now off to our left and across the sea our mountain range including Benmore is black as soot and over there it might be teeming with rain now. I have taken pot plants out, in the expectation of them getting some lovely water from the heavens, but who knows, when the Island is in one of it’s dizzy moods again?
It looks altogether gorgeous as I look miles out to sea with my office door open and it is very serene looking again. Which many know isn’t that usual in these wild Islands.
I need to get outside right now and soak up another one of the islands environmental masterpieces. Why more artists don’t live in these magical islands is a bit beyond me to be honest. Could any artist possibly get a more varied pallet than what I am seeing right now and which is actually even better than it was an hour ago, with its red sky and the sun threatening to hide itself until tomorrow, as it sets below the horizon.
One day I will get back to my painting but when you live amid such sumptuous nature there always seems to be other distractions and when its like it is now, do I need to capture what I see onto canvass, when every day delivers a different Painting.
On Yesterdays wildlife trip I had a really nice family from Belgium and thankfully they spoke some English, whereas my French and other languages is not great.
Myself and actually the whole region of western Scotland and its islands, have had a lot of visitors from mainland Europe this summer, and they are still coming !! I hope that it’s because they are getting more wildlife friendly, though it could just be the lower cost of coming here right now !!
Anyway, as I set off for my trip from here yesterday a slow worm wandered along the steps to our car park and on the actual trip the young French boy nearly stood on a lizard basking on a rock, which I hope tells you that it has been very warm here. We had a couple of harrier sightings around Lochdon area but I was positively excited at stopping near where a young golden eagle I have been following had fledged a few days ago and there it was, with Mum and Dad, gliding along the cliffs and soaring high above us while we had lunch.
I believe that your first Golden Eagle as it breaks the skyline of Mull is one of natures most magical and dramatic moments in Nature.
My heart was with the young golden eagle and its mum and dad yesterday. He was rushing around the sky full of the joys of life and mum and dad know very well that rearing happy youngsters is one of the most important things that we can do in our lives. I know that this particular pair of eagles are going to be terrific role models.
This is a historically quiet time for visitors and particularly wildlife visitors, as they tend to know that the best time here is March until end of July.
However we had sea eagle, hen harriers, seals and an increasingly difficult creature at this time, the otter.
It was not a bad weather day and recording the male otter on Loch Beg will be good for Mull Otter Groups sightings records.
Today, which is now Wednesday, is very warm and sultry with I am sure most creatures including humans doing very little. Personally I have been on the roof with Andrew who knows a bit about water leaks. I have also been painting lots of timber which the house is constructed of. I think we have sorted the leak !!
Next trip is now tomorrow in more very good weather I believe.
Yesterdays wildlife trip was not a day for the pessimist and I had small children and grown ups, most from other parts of Europe, where they are not so familiar with wildlife watching.
Good job that I am an optimist !!
Off then as the optimist I am to have a go at finding the white tailed sea eagles. They were good to me, as one of them was waiting patiently on top of its favourite perch, ready like us, to get out of the drizzly weather. Anyway a good view in the telescope for everyone. Thank you my friend the sea eagle.
Now it was no good heading for the mountains and golden eagles because it would have been worse up there. Instead it was off to the West Coast and the National Scenic Area to focus on seals and otters. before this I took a short detour to show my customers the Salen show which was also wet but teaming with people.
Onto the tranquillity of Loch na Keal and lunch and where I found three or even four separate otters.
The first one was the best sighting about 40m offshore in choppy water and heading left, feeding as it went. I managed to get everyone including the children quiet and very still as it turned toward us and the pebble beach in front of us . It then climbed up onto the rocks and proceeded to sniff and meander around on the shore, perfectly showing its gait and cuteness before going back into the sea and heading left again.
It was the perfect otter sighting, made more rewarding because we were all wetter than the otter, but very satisfied on such a challenging day.
Getting a lot of people from overseas now, which is typical of this time of year. The keen wildlife crowd know its not the best time of year and people from the south of Britain and further afield, think, well its summer and so it must be a good time to visit Scotland.
Not so and like yesterday I have been ducking and diving and chasing the weather. So brief encounters they were yesterday but the sea eagle coming our way early on we did see but briefly, as it disappeared behind some trees. We had a couple of female hen harriers but only I saw the male early morning drifting past my open office door but unfortunately no sign of one on the actual wildlife trip yesterday.
I have been following the life of two adult golden eagles and their youngster in Glenmore and knew it was ready to fly, but when I got to the area yesterday and where it has been looking longingly from its nest at the big wide world below, it wasn’t there, and so I had two options. One was good news and it had left the nest and the other was that a mishap had befallen it and it was to be bad news.
I was therefore very pleased when it was mum or dad, that suddenly broke the skyline above the nest and glided along the cliff face and someone else then told me that the youngster was fine and still in the area. I hope to see it on tomorrows trip then, but will we be chasing the weather again ?
Of course I am not always on wildlife trips and focused entirely on delivering big sightings for my customers.
Two days ago I was in fact on the other side of Mull at Glenseilesdair hoping that a friend can repair my strimmer, as the wild land around us here is advancing on the house !
So it was by chance that I checked on a young golden eagle in glenmore, which was calling again from its lofty nest site. This time though, whilst I was watching the skyline the adult male came blazing like a rocket off the top of the peaks above the youngster and with wings folded in like a tight ball of power. He stalled a little and then swept upwards and swung around a few times seemingly checking on his precious youngster.
After the above the young golden eagle went very quiet, as if dad had some special body language that said ‘be quiet danger may not be far away’.
I am always telling my people that their first sighting of a golden eagle is usually as it breaks the skyline and does what eagles should do and that is be dramatic, inspiring and powerful.
How can anyone live in suburbia when there are such spectacular and wild things to see in the natural world.