Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Isle of Mull, Scotland: 6th-7th March 2011.

I have found it increasingly shocking that as a UK birder of nigh on thirty years, I have never made the effort to visit so many of the Scottish islands. So, at the grand age of 43, I have decided to address this beginning with a short visit to Mull.

Above: Red-necked Grebe, Sgeirean a' Phortaire, Laggan Bay, Loch Tuath - 6th March 2011. This was bird of the day in a Mull context, an Argyll description species. Always extremely distant, my ancient, trusty Camcorder managed to secure an identifiable record image.

Above & below: Great Northern Divers. The days total was what I regarded as a modest 30 in the waters of Loch Tuath, Loch Na Keal and Loch Scridain. Given the sheer size of the likes of Loch Tuath, this total was presumably the tip of the iceberg. 4 Red-throated Diver also seen: 1 Calgary, 1 Loch Na Keal, 2 Loch Scridain.

The weather deteriorated for the larger Raptors from midday. It would be a crime to visit Mull and not post any Eagle shots, no matter how poor they are. Above: 2 White-tailed Eagle, Below: Golden Eagle, one of three seen during the day.

Much scanning of shoreline eventually produced an Otter. This one showed brilliantly at Loch Beg mid-late afternoon, in albeit poor light and weather.

Above: An impressive set of teeth!

Below: The Otter location at Loch Beg.

Above & below: A few views of Loch Na Keal.

Above: A moving Memorial at a wonderful viewpoint overlooking part of Loch Tuath to a Woman named Susan Cameron, who tragically died during the 2003 Mull Rally.

Below: The three lochs of Loch Sguabain, Loch an Eilean & Loch Airde Glais. Gone 17:30, I had long given up on another Eagle in failing light and poor weather when an adult White-tailed appeared over the road and headed down this Glen presumably to roost.

Additonal selected sightings:

Achnadrish: 2 female Crossbill, inc 1 hat was perched on the road, but flew before I could bring the DSLR into play.

Loch Na Keal: 2 Slavonian Grebe, Peregrine.

Ballygown Bay, Loch Tuath: Greenshank.

Below: Back on the mainland the next morning, up to 20 Black Guillemots gave tremendously close views in Oban. Delightful, beautiful birds!

It's easy to see why so many people fall under the spell of Mull. A tremendous place both for wildlife and scenery. Having only begun to scratch the surface of the island's wildlife, i'll certainly be revisiting.