Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Isle of Mull - Day 4

Every year we have come to the Isle of Mull, we have always gone on Bryan's Wild About Mull tour, (see link http://begbits.blogspot.com) and his tours have never failed us with a good day of birdwatching, and once again, it didn't this time. 7 of us went on his tour, and while collecting the rest of the visitors, Siskin, Buzzard and the regular White-tailed Eagle chicks were all visible. We started actually waiting for one of the adult Eagles to come into the nest with some food for their young, and after an hour of waiting, we were rewarded. Another good bird at a regular stopping point were Golden Eagle, showing well in the mountainside hills. All of the commoner species were available, like Stonechat, Wheatear, Hooded Crows and Wader species. Being close to Pennyghael - where we stayed - were regular points to view the Short-eared Owls, with also the occasional Hen Harrier. 

Plenty of "Hoodies" were sitting on rocks and posts.

Also, Short-eared Owls were on the hunt during the morning

Getting towards lunch time, we headed to Beak. With all the great sightings we'd seen, it was time to view a reptile which is not easy to locate in some parts of the UK, the Adder. Bryan and I had our sandwiches, and he knows where their bathing areas are amongst the heather, and I had a rough idea where they were from the previous years, so we went looking. Only steping into the heather about 10 meters, already a couple of Adders were slithering out from under my shoes, incredible. After everyone finished eating, we grouped everyone up to show them, and with some luck everyone saw them, but not as close as they may have liked to of been. Well, walking out of the heather, you couldn't get much closer than this.....

This is actually a younger Adder, but if you look closely to the bottom left, you may be able to see that it is eating a newt, fantastic.

Going back to some of the birds at Beak, about 3 Hen Harriers were flying about, a Golden Eagle, and a couple of Cuckoos. Driving out of Beak, this caught the corner of Bryans eye..... 

An adult Adder
Another incredible day, only one thing left to find for this week is an Otter!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Isle of Mull - Day 3

Hours away, the boat trip out to Lunga and Staffa lingered in our heads, as our excitement couldn't stay beneath my teeth. Driving down to the Ulva Ferry, the regular birds such as Stonechat, Wheatear in double figures, and the local Buzzards all out hunting amongst the midges. Also, all the common wader species all out and about, getting food for their young. A nice sight was about 20 Eider Duck swimming along the fishing area on Loch Na Keal, but no fish was seen caught. Our first trip was to Staffa, but the only things that were active were some first Twite of the year and also some numbers of Fulmar flying around their territories.  On the boat, plenty of Black Guilemots, Common Guilemots and Razorbills lined the sea in numbers. Arriving Lunga, these are what greeted us;

Very Tame Puffins

A Few Twite were showing Well

Nesting Fulmar were smiling for the camera

An Extremely Tame Puffin

The glowing yellow inside mouth of a Razorbill

Nesting Kittiwakes

A Fantastic day not over yet, as Ravens in their numbers were snorting above the mountain ridges, the White-tailed Eagle pair were collecting their food for their young at Loch Na Keal, and a elegant Red-breasted Merganser pair were swimming the beautiful colours of Loch Scridain, a first for the year too.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Isle of Mull 2012 - Day 2

We headed for Croggan today, a small track running down by Loch Spelve in the south-east of the island. Target birds today were Wood Warbler and Redstart. Unfortunately, one of these birds was not seen by our human eyes, but one to show for us, and pictures were taken.

Normal sightings were Loch Scridain's White-tailed Eagle family, Stonechat, Common Sandpiper and 4 Golden Plover. Please enjoy watching and looking at the following pictures and more will be explained further along this blog post.

Stonechat on heather at Glen More 

Common Sandpiper near Croggan

And the unexpected ones too!

Moving on to some more exciting, but regular birds sightings on the island were Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier, and Great-Northern Diver with Cuckoo's, Common Waders and Lesser Redpoll. Once again, enjoy!

White-tailed Eagle nest at Loch Scridain

Short-eared Owl hunting near Pennyghael

Turning right down the track signaled Croggan, Dad took the foot of the gas, and we started to dawdle through the old Oak Woodlands, ideal habitat for Wood Warbler and Redstart. Stopping and listening at every passing place, the spinning song of a male Wood Warbler echoed through the woodland. Even better than that, it didn't take long for us to locate it hopping from tree to tree, incredible. Unfortunately, only a very distant Redstart was singing on the other side of a field, but the pictures, I think are good enough to identify this as a Wood Warbler. 

Wood Warbler at Croggan


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Isle Of Mull 2012 - Day 1

Our 3rd consecutive year on this wildlife spectacled, Isle of Mull. This place is literally a dream come true, especially in the south of the Island. Based on the Western Isles of Scotland, it gets its rarities, as well as its beautiful scenery, incredible. You don't need to be a bird or nature lover to come here, its just incredible! Anyway, enough of the persuading, lets got on with the actual holiday.

First trip on the first day was down to Grasspoint, and it was a great couple of hours to spend the day after getting off form the ferry crossing. Plenty of Auks were visible from the ferry, all that was missing was a Puffin. Guilemot, Black Guilemot, Razorbill and Rock Dove were all visible. Grasspoint is a bit isolated on the island in the south-east corner, so its a bit of a drive. on the way through Glen More mountain range, a pair of Golden Eagle were on the lookout. A Wheatear in Pennyghael was an intriguing site, but they definitely breed here. Also on the list were plenty of Hooded Crows (Hoodys), a brief Redstart, Stonechat, Willow Warbler in good numbers, Lesser Redpoll and Common Sandpiper. A great number of Short-tailed Voles bring back breeding Hen Harriers, and Short-eared Owls. Only Hen Harrier were seen today, but Shorties were seen most other days. Another nice sighting was a male Whinchat, which are also breeding here in good numbers. Back in Pennyghael, a male Cuckoo was singing from a fence post, and remained settled for a while, and allowed photographs to be taken. All three resident Pipits here were present at Grasspoint, and not surprisingly, Water Pipit is not seen here.

Wheatear in Pennyghael.

Golden Eagle at Glen More