Friday, 8 April 2011

Mull Rocks!

Otter on LNK

Headed back up to Mull on the 29th. Nice conditions for travelling and I called into the Red Kite centre at Argaty, Sterling while I had my packed lunch and I was surprised not to see any Kites at all so I moved on and around 30 miles north of the area I had a single Red Kite circling in the sky!
On the Corran to Lochaline road I got two Golden Eagles showing well up in the higher terrain and it was my first sighting of a Golden Eagle on the UK mainland apart from the special male bird down in Haweswater :-)

Looking east into LNK

I was off on the Friday and I started off at one of my new local patches in Ardmore. I got a distant male Hen Harrier and plenty of ravens on show but no pussy cats today. I headed round to the Ulva road and I got a nice view of a GN Diver in Eclipse and a Goldie showing well in the scope up in the hills. I also got Goldeneye and Red Breasted Maganser in Laggan Bay near the Ulva ferry crossing.

Calgary beach...great for beach cricket


On the Saturday I watched mighty Leeds beat Forest 4-1 on the BBC. Great second half performance by the lads in white. I headed down to Salen in the afternoon and got female Sparrowhawk, Yellowhammer and Cormorant but no sign of the Pied Billed Grebe which is a sneaky little bugger. Got some nice scenic photos which I was delighted with.

Redshank at Croig

On one evening the following week I did a lap of honour of the north part of the island starting at Glengorm and I went to check out the view from the huge huge satellite masts on the summit and the view is spectacular from up there looking in 3 directions onto the lower ground and out to the sound of Mull and Atlantic ocean. I was hoping for Harriers but no joy though I did get a distant eagle either an immature WT or a Goldie. I moved on but then realised I had lost my new sunglasses from Cotswold so I headed back up the masts and after scanning for 10 minutes I found them on the ground near the trig point so I was relieved to have found them again!
I made my way round to the north Loch Frisa road and watched a pair of Harriers hunting on the heather....always a joy......special birds.
Heavy rain in the afternoon and after taking pictures of the savage waves on LNK an Otter appeared showing well while I was sat in my car just about to leave. Called in to Salen on the way home but still no Grebe...the bugger!

Glengorm summit looking north west


Whist I was painting on the boat on the top deck one day I was easily distracted as there was a lot of bird activity going on with a Peregrine keking towards the main street and a Sparrowhawk circling above me. We have peregrine showing well daily in Tobermory with plenty of food for them in and around the church tower.
A hero's return on the Monday the 4th as Ruth returned for her third season.....great to have her back :-)

LNK sunset

moments later....

First trips of the season on the 6th of April. An Eco cruise to start with where 4 people on board enjoyed Golden Eagle and some Common Seals and a four hour trip afterwards rewarded WT eagles and Porpoise!

Salen where the Pied Billed Grebe i've heard

A seven hour whale watch the following day with four people on board. Nice weather and nice people as we made our way towards the Cairns of Coll. Good views of Porpoise and nesting WT Eagles at Ardmore. Cairns of Coll was as stunning as ever and on the way back in glourious sunshine we all scanned for a good couple of hours covering the whale grounds but no joy im afraid and it wasent through lack of trying. It still could be a little early for Minke whales but hopefully they will return again!

Salen looking across to the mainland

On the trips a few days later we had special views of White tailed Eagle right over the boat close up. A good number of Puffins on show and also Great Northern Diver in breeding plumage. On the evening I went down to Salen to look for the Pied Billed Grebe again but no success the crafty Bug! As I was down there minutes after I arrived I got a text beep message....7 Bottlenose Dolphins putting on a great show in Tobermory harbour...dam I had just left there 10 minutes ago! Never mind thats wildlife watching for you...right place at right time and all that!

daffodil island at Salen harbour...this photo is for my good friend Shibu!

Rainbow over SLS mothership Sulabeag

painting on boat all day sat 9th, went to salen to look for grebe but after about 7 attempts, no success! leeds lost to millwall 3-2...good days and bad days....move on

LNK in rough conditions

I was off on the Sunday so headed out to Calgary and beyond and got Merlin but nothing much else. Still no Short eared Owls seen since I have been up which I am surprised about. Made my way round to Loch Na keal and got 7 Slavonian Grebes in Breeding plumage and it is the first time I have seen them in this condition so great treat. Also 4 GN Divers and WT Eagle and single Goldie up on the mountain peaks. Went down Loch Ba with Mike Shepherd a birder from Hampshire who stays up on Mull for a good spell each year. Quiet sightings with one golden Eagle and Slav Grebe on Loch Ba. Nice to have company when i'm out as its usually just me, myself and I. There doesent seem to be a great deal of local birders on the island which is a surprise with the main interest been boats and cars and drink also of course!

GN Diver in Eclipse, love this bird

Watched the masters golf on the evening and was excited to see if Rory Mcilroy could hold onto his 4 shot lead in the final round and take the green jacket. He started badly missing a shmiggle on the first and that set the tone for the rest of the round as we continued dropping shots all over the course especially in the back 9 where he collapsed and ended up shooting 80. Golf can be horrible when that happens I have done a similar thing in Brampton monthly medals over the years! And speaking of Brampton and Golf the new web site is up and running for Brampton Golf Club with all my very own on course photography used all over the site...I must get a free membership or something for my troubles!!

Black Guilimot at Oban Harbour

I completed my first Sealife Surveys blog of the new season and I attempted to make it a bit more professional choosing my words carefully and making sure spelling and grammar is correct with a little help from my Mum! Speaking of my parents the White tailed Eagles nesting at Ardmore have been given new names of John and Thelma with Thelma having the blue wing tag. They had not been named and noticing the Loch Frisa pair on the island have well used names I made a move!

Thanks for looking :-)


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