Sunday, 15 April 2012

I could watch Hen Harriers all day long...

The sun is making a great appearance hear on Mull just like the islands raptors who are into the breeding season. The Easter holidays provided some great weather as the tourists flocked to the wildlife hotspot to see the superstars in action. The Sea Life Surveys trips have got going with some good early sightings of Porpoise, sea birds, seals and Eagles. I still haven't encountered many returning migrants with just Wheatear of note. You can follow all Mulls latest reports here.

A positive wildlife headline regarding Englands Hen Harrier hopes. The seven thousand plus acre RSPB reserve at Haweswater is now under their management after water company's concern over the quality of water which arrives at their resivoirs from upland areas. Mardale valley was flooded early in the 20th century to create Haweswater resivoir to provide a water supply to greater Manchester. The uplands will be managed to reduce stock and re-planting to provide potential new Hen Harrier habitat. Link.

Another headline of interest created a lot of publicity on The One Show with the convicted Gamekeeper who was superbly caught trying to lure in Birds of Prey using illegal live prey in crow traps. The criminal based in Derbyshire was heavily fined and ordered to do 1000 hours community service. A powerful message displayed to anyone thinking of illegally killing our protected raptors. Link.

Police, Camera...No Action The headline says it all regarding the possible shooting of a WT Eagle in Skye last Autumn which has been a well kept secret for almost a year. Click the link to go to the article on the raptor persecution Scotland web site.

An interesting article on focusing on Wildlife regarding Wind turbines and there effect on North Americas iconic Eagles...More dead Eagles from Wind Energy Projects

Here is my latest Focusing on Wildlife article regarding the possible introduction of WT Eagle to Cumbria...Cumbria Could Soon be a Sight for Soar Eyes

Click on photos for larger scale...

Male Hen Harrier, the greatest animal on the planet...full stop

Just a pleasure to watch....flushing Pipits in the rough grass

Tobermory at night B & W, Church highlighted 
Does this photo get your creel of approval?

I Spent a few evenings at a new view point looking out to vast open moorland getting more views of SEO with calling and male birds signing. Hen Harriers hunting and interacting with SEO was also a real treat. Stonechat and Skylark signing was other notes of interest.

Me scanning the sound...Ben Hiant of Ardnamurchan in the back drop
On the 7th we had a seven hour trip with Popz as skipper and also Andy Tait joining us. The trip started with some great Porpoise action with up to 13 counted around the boat including some superb underwater views. The WT Eagle was also showing in its usual location. We headed south towards the Treshnish Isles to see if we could pick up an early whale. Puffins, Manxies, Gannets and  a couple of Bonxies were seen on the sea bird front. A nice lunch stop with the seal colonies but no whales unfortunately but its still very early days! 6 Minute video of the trip filmed by Andy Tait can be seen at the bottom of the post.
Watched the Masters on the evening but was disappointing to see a few of the Europeans drop away but my favourite Lee Westwood was still in the hunting pack so fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Easter Sunday was mostly spent sheltering in the car with Ruth  in a lay-by playing iphone games. We headed out after lunch down to the LNK area but the showers came in so we loaded up Trivial Pursuit on the iphone and let the games begin. Even though the weather was savage we still managed to see a Golden Eagle appearing above the skyline. Couldn't wait for the golf to start on the evening and it started with a bang with Lois Ouzie getting an albatross to get right into contention and Westwood on the birdie hunt giving himself a chance. Unfortunately there is always one prick of an American up there and Bubba Watson went on a back 9 charge to beat Lois in a play off.

Grey Seal 1st year pub on Cairns of Coll
Raven in crisp light
Beautiful Young Lamb
Evening light to the east down Loch sunart, faint rainbow showing
On the 10th the weather continued to be glorious sunshine and on the evening Ruth and I headed out to Bloody bay to check on Ravens and Peregrines. We started with 5 Mountain Hares as we made our way west. The Ravens were in good number tumbling and circling in the winds and watching their playful behaviour was fantastic. Amazing crisp evening light shining down Loch Sunart with a faint rainbow showing.

Low flying Goldie, dont often see that!
Short boat trips on the 11th starting with a four hour with 16 on board. Porpoise, Golden Eagles and a Peregrine. A two hour eco trip on the evening with an incredible close encounter with a WT Eagle sat on the rocks 20 meters from the boat. Went out on evening to do a bit of star gazing and night time photography around Tobermory.
Short trips again on the 13th with Popz and Nick. More WTE and Porpoise action and some very positive feeding of Gulls and Shearwater right down a tide line made for good early season progression. The highlight of the trip was when a passenger asked me 'is there a bird called an Auk?' and I said Little Auk and there was a Great Auk and then Nick responded 'There is also the sparrow-auk!' Aurora reports on the evening so I headed out and picked up faint Northern Lights from Glengorm. The strong winds blew my tripod over during a long exposure and it produced a lot of dead pixels on following images so I was not best pleased. Camera seems to be working better now so I will keep check on it.

Puffin taking flight away from Sula Beag...

What a bird, Manx Shearwater

Manxie taking flight...
A 7 hour trip on the 14th in again stunning sunshine with the moderate north winds been the only problem. Skipper Jimbo decided to head north towards the small isles and Muck. We arrived at a small amount of feeding in the middle ground consisting of Shearwater, Puffins and Kitiwakes where I managed to capture some action shots. We landed on Muck for lunch and headed straight for the famous tea room where we caught up with the famous Muck Ducks (mallards) half way down the track. Greenfinch, Dunnocks and Chaffinch calling outside the tea room with a few Pheasants which get reared on the island. Amazing Scottish landscapes all around with a covering of snow on the peaks towards the western highlands.
Today was 100 years since the Titanic sank in the middle grounds of the Atlantic ocean so it was quite nice to be out in the ocean on this day.

Kitiwake, voice of the toon!

Clowns of the sea...

what bird is always out of breath?....Puffin

Manxie with Muck in the back drop...

Sula Beag tied up on the ferry birth on isle of Muck...

SLS cheif guide ruth after landing on Muck

Kilchoan ferry heading to the mainland with Ben Hiant behind...

Andy Taits footage of early season trip to Treshnish isles...

I hope you like the new blog layout, thought it was time for a change and needed a fresh professional presentation...dont worry the content in the blog will still be as unprofessional as always!

Thanks for Looking 8-) ....that is my new birdwatching face symbol, me looking through binoculars smiling!


  1. like the new layout mate, quality blogging ! 415 not far behind 8-)

  2. Im catching HB haha! cheers cainio, might be down for a spell end of month so will give u a shout!