Monday, 25 July 2011

Its all about the Birds...

the Summer Season is in Full swing now as were in mid July and I cant believe how quick time flies! I see what all the older generations are on about now when they say it! A visit to Mull from Cain the Hollywell Birder and also more great marine life seen as well as Close up Eagle encounters and a quick trip back home to Glorious Gdale and the Lake District.

WT Eagle!

Another day and another Whale watch on June 30th. My eye was still causing me problems and had my eye patch on but it was doing my swede in so took it off. Also with a stunning new guide called Holly working on the boat today I didn't want to look like a moron! A great trip it was with Whale encounters, Basker Sharks and Common Dolphin Bow riding on the way back! With Holly fast asleep feeling a bit dodgy the shout of Dolphins! soon got a spring in her step and made her feel a lot better!

Lovely Colouration on upper wings....

Friday and short trips day out on the boat. Cain the Hollywell Birder was arriving later in the day for a 2 week work stint for SLS. After the trips we had a Cricket charter involving taking 40 drunken cricketers from Tobermory around to Calgary for an evening of beach Cricket. Jimbo was skippering with Holly, Tash, Abernethy and I on as crew.
We headed off in flat calm conditions around the north west part of Mull. Andy Murray was playing in the semi final of Wimbledon against Nadal and as we lost signal I could not keep upto date with the score! But was nervous for him hoping he did well!
As we landed at Calgary and anchored up we had to take all the Cricketers (if thats what you want to call them) to the beach on the RIB 10 strong at a time. It all went smoothly apart from a couple of people falling overboard! We had a few hours to kill so we landed on the beach and went for a wonder around Calgary. We first checked to see if there was any food going and got lucky with some lovely salmon and trimmings and ate it while enjoying watching all the Sand Martins and a few midgees to go with it! We had a sheep crap fight and had a nice walk around the bay where I got Whinchat and Whitethroat as well as Ravens on the higher ground.
A lovely evening on the boat trip back with the drunken rabble and just as we were loading everyone back on the boat someone told me that Murray lost in 4 sets! gutted, unlucky Andy great effort again! Great sunset as we headed back to Tob and a great game of eye spy on the top deck with Holly having the best answer being Knot! Landed back at the Pontoon at about 1am and as I found out from staying there last year the youth hostel closes its doors at 12 so had to give Holly a boost over an eight feet high wall to get in!

Me and Cainio near Lochdon


Locked! fishing on Loch Na Keal

On the Saturday it was Jimbos birthday and with no trips on we decided an SLS trip to the Cairns of Coll for BBQ and some Shark Swimming action. Cain was here also for his first day on Mull. We headed off at about lunch time and on the way over I picked up a large adult Minke whale heading east towards Ardmore. When we arrived at Coll the first Shark was spotted and we got ready for some more swimming action as a few of us jumped into the RIB and headed towards the huge animal. Just as we were getting sorted another Minke surfaced right off our stern! nuts! Anyway I got my beach body out and jumped in with this particular 4-5 meter Shark and as I looked down underwater I soon watched it head deep and it was defiantly not a player. The Minke surfaced near by again 20 -30 yards from me so you could say I shared the same area of the ocean with a whale as well! amazing.
Onto the Carins of Coll to set up BBQ. Beach wrestling, Frisbie throwing and a bit of Photography was great fun and after supposing to be landing back at Tob at 10pm we were still at it at going on 1am. We eventually headed back enjoying a disco tech on the alf deck and arrived back at the pontoon at 3ish and Holly came back to mine to watch Step brothers after we had been repeating all the film quotes non stop the last few days. "But dad its shark week!"



On the Sunday Cain and I headed down to Berg to do the 10 plus mile fossil tree coastal walk. To be honest I shouldnt of really done it as I was fricking exhausted and hungover from the night before and also a couple of miles in and my feet started killing from running bare foot on all the crushed sea shells on the Carins the day before. It was a good walk non the less but a bit quiet on the wildlife front with Whinchat, Yellowhammer a few Buzzards and Wild feral Goats. The Fossil tree is always impressive at over 60 million years old you can still see the detail in the stem. Holly left to work at knapdale for 2 weeks with the Beavers...Gutted she had gone!

Holly and I looking over Grasmere :-)

Cain on Board for his first whale watch and he also spotted the first whale winning the Mars bar. 5 Swifts out to sea and also a Barnacle Goose at the Cairns. After the trip we were heading out of the car park and Holly and Tash appeared in front of me! There back, wow! They could not be bothered with the Beavers and decided to spend an extra couple of weeks on Mull instead! Class!

Golden Ringed Dragonfly, Kilachronan on higher ground

On the 9th July it was a WW in good conditions and we started off with 3 Peregrine 2 being newly fledged chicks. White tailed Eagle showing well in the trees and a Great Skua to follow. As we arrived to Coll we picked up a small Shark. Had a nice lunch at the Cairns and sat on the Bow with Holly. On the way back it was Dynamite as we got 8 Common Dolphin bow riding and with Holly feeling ill at the time again Dolphins are the best medicine as we watched them on the bow less than a meter from us! BBQ and beach Cricket on the evening with all the SLS crew plus Cat, Paul and Chris.

Me at Fossil tree

A nice close up of a Storm Petrel on our whale watch on the 11th. Also 2 Minke whales and a Great Skua. The last evening for Holly and Tash before they headed south back to Leicester so we went to the Waterfront resteraunt for a meal with the whole SLS crew. Lyida is officially the fastest eater ive ever seen! i thought me and Lee Sturrock were fast but she is at another level!
Afterwards we went to Aros Peir and had ice creams with the highlight Lydia catching Tash with the fish hook when casting out.

in Work mode scanning on the monkey deck

Holly left in the morning as I dropped her off at the bus station :-(. I gave her a collage of wildlife I had taken on Mull this season and hopefully it will remind her of her time on the island. She is off to South Africa for a spell to work with Leopards so as I said before it will be the last time I see her for a while........

Cain and Holly focusing on the wildlife

On the Friday it was an Eagle charter trip with Cain on Loch Na Keal. We arrived at Ulva ferry and went aboard Lady Jayne with Martin skippering. We headed off round into Loch Na Keal and soon picked up 2 Golden Eagle circling on the higher ground. great start! As we moved deeper into the loch we arrived at the potential Eagle feeding area and martin threw out a Mackrel and within minutes the Male WT Eagle moved in to tag the fish. It was a great trip with added historical landmarks and stories provided by Martin. Some people dont agree with the set up of getting involved in nature but in this day and age it is vital that wildlife has its value and I dont see it any different to feeding birds in a garden. Also the pair have raised two chicks this year for the first time and could it be to do with the extra food source available.

Its all about the Mars bar, first person to spot a whale takes the prize....

On Friday evening after seeing Cain off I arranged a last minute dot com trip down to Carlisle to meet Holly half way from Leicester (could not resist!). I got the first ferry down on Saturday morning and arrived back at good old JS just after 1pm with Holly arriving only five minutes later, great timing! We had a walk right around glorious Geltsdale where we seen a good number of Buz and Kes along with Wheatear and Swifts. Geltsdale is such a beautiful place and I was so fortunate to grow up there. Went for a meal on the evening to the duke in the village. Me, Holly and the parents with good food. The only problem was the bar maid working there who served me was out in Carlisle after and told all my mates that she had seen me and as I just came down last minute for a couple of days I didn't tell them I was back home so dont think they were too happy with me!
On the Sunday it was a trip to the lakes with Holly and I decided to head to Grasmere that I know so well. Scattered showers it was and not the best weather really but it would not be the Lake district with out a bit of rain! A lovely walk on the higher ground around Rydal water. On the evening on the way back we popped into Hollywood bowl to see Lee and Scotty for a bit which was great to see them! they rock!
I was on a whale watch the next morning on Mull at half 8!! so we headed home to try and get a couple of hours sleep ready to set off at 2 in the morning in time for a seven hour whale watch trip! A great couple of days with Holly she is Ace! :-)
The journey up went smoothly and I arrived at the pontoon in Tobermory at 8:25am just in time for the trip! I was ready for another whale watch and I have to say I was a little bit tired later on in the trip but it was all great as I hit the hay and had a good 13 hour sleep when I got back to the flat!

Lunch time landing at the Carins of Coll

Thanks for reading everyone. An exciting next few weeks are in store with a couple of special trips with Gordon Buchanan on board. Also 20twenty vision a group of professional photographers are joining SLS for the week to do some environmental filming. I will also be checking up on all the Raptor breeding success for this season on the island.
Another visit to Mull from mum and dad is in store which will be great as well as another of my heroes Gary the Rowlands Gill Birder. It will be great to see him again and we will be wildlifing it up like good old times. cheers :-)

Also if you love your birds of Prey and care for their future then this web site is unbelievable and will open your eyes to possible scenarios to come effecting Britain's Raptors......