Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Cull of the Eagle?

The main focus has to be on the latest talk of obtaining a licence to shoot Eagles if there is evidence they are taking stock. And the proposals are coming from an island where the eagles are huge to the economy through a big tourism drive and the birds continue to put Mull on the map in a positive way. You can more about this insanity here.

great article regarding the effect people power can have on saving our threatened wildlife and habitats. Clear examples in the last couple of years are us helping to stop the sale of our public woodlands and also the insane Buzzard control scheme which quite rightly by strong public outcry got put to bed. Link.

An interesting piece on the importance of the wild areas along train lines in Great Britain Link

How important are trees in this day and age?...producing our Oxygen, trapping Carbon, dramatically reduce flooding and soil erosion, absorb chemicals and dangerous pollutants, provide a huge array of habitats for wildlife, control noise pollution in urban areas, act as an essential windbreak in cold and breezy conditions, you could go on and on...Just think of their HUGE VALUE in terms of our overall mental and physical health??
Please sign this important government petition to help prevent any sell-off of our public forests...

Oh yeah and here is my routine poisoning of the week...another iconic Goldie illegally killed. Link.

The residents of Coll are applying to be Scotland's first 'dark sky' island to boost their tourism. If successful the isle will join Galloway forest park in the south of Scotland as an official dark sky site. The low lying island has ideal star gazing conditions as it is very remote out to the west of the inner Hebrides with a population of around 200 meaning very little light pollution. Also no higher terrain so less cloud produced giving viewers an increased opportunity of clear skies. Again no light pollution to the north gives a great chance of one of natures top spectacles, Aurora Borealis. All the ingredients are their to boost tourism for night sky viewing and the best thing about enjoying star gazing is that no one can take it away from you! Link.

Click on photos for a larger scale...

Crisp light breaking through the rain clouds on Mull

Bottlenose Dolphin breaching in front of Tobermory harbour

Bottlenose riding our Bow

BND at 6am on route to Coll

Minke just after getting 6 Bottlenose Dolphins, what a start!

6am at the pontoon on Sunday ready to head off to Coll to pick up some of the lovely locals for a charter trip to the Treshnish isles. Lewis as skipper and Ruth and I as crew and as released the mooring line and within 30 seconds of heading out of the harbour...Bottlenose Dolphins! A group of 6 were making their way towards Tobermory and we stopped and enjoyed their company and impressive displays before moving on west up the sound of Mull. 
Twenty minutes later when we reached the north end of Mull a large mature Minke whale surfaced close to our starboard side. 
We arrived at Arnagour to pick up 12 Coll residents before heading south towards the Treshnish isles. Nice sunshine and a calm to moderate wind as we enjoyed the sea bird action on the way down. The first port of call was Staffa to drop the folk off and spend an hour admiring the amazing basalt column rock formations in and around Fingels cave. Lewis very kindly let me go and explore as I had never experienced it before. Instead of following the crowds and going down to the cave I walked onto the higher ground walking around the rich grasslands admiring the wild flowers and watching the Butterflies which were mostly Common Blue. Corncrake could be heard and also seen Twite. The Fulmar colony was very impressive as I could not tear myself away from looking down on the magical birds.
Next stop was the island of Lunga which has the majority of breeding auks in the area as well as large numbers of Kitiwakes, Fulmars, Shags, Storm Petrels and breeding Ravens and Peregrines along with other species. Again captain lewy gave me the oppertunity to spend my lunch hour with all the breeding birds and it was an amazing experience not just to see but the noise and smell to go with it. 
The island has a number of native plants including Primrose, Birdsfoot, Trefoil, Orchids, Sea Campion, Sea Thrift, Yellow Flags and the Oyster plants. The island was inhabited until the 19th century as there is still building remains to the north east of Lunga. Great day at the Treshnish isles with the friendly folk of Coll.  

Staffa, amazing rock formation, Basalt columns...

Common Blue on Staffa

Fulmars on Staffa

Fulmars and Sea Thrift

Looking down on the mini albatrosses

The most northerly breeding birds on the planet

Common Blues...

Black Guilimot on Staffa

Thanks for digging this burrow for me!

Doing what they do best...

Sea Campion and the clowns of the sea

The famous harp rock, Common Guilimots showing

Shag and Sea Thrift

You hear about the takeover at Elland road?

Puffin with breeding Auks and ocean beyond...
an amazing experience

Taken from my phone...
On the Monday it was back to the whale watch routine and another amazing trip to add to the long list in 2012. Minkes, three separate pods of Common Dolphins and flying Basking Sharks! We had Bill an ex gamekeeper on board and I had some interesting discussions with him throughout the trip and I was picking his brain all the time trying to learn as much as I can about their opinions and views on wildlife management and of course Birds of Prey. "Everything with a hooked beak is vermin" I then explained to him that there is no such thing as vermin and every species has a vital part to play in British ecosystems. Do fisherman class whales, dolphins and sea birds as 'Vermin'? He then took the Michel out of my Wildcat and Pine Marten talks asking if my next vermin species talk was on the American Mink! The V word really annoys me and if anyone uses it on a trip I soon put them right. species didn't evolve over millions of years to suit there surroundings perfectly for people to class them as pests relating to their personal interests. A great guy and always interesting to get different views on the well debated countryside management subject. 

Wednesday and Thursday consisted of a Shark charter on board Sula Crion with five underwater cameramen as passengers and Jimbo the gaffer as skipper. Some fantastic Shark action with some sociable animals and also some incredible breaching behaviour. Here is a youtube video of a breaching Basker. We had Alex Mustard on board for the week who is a very highly regarded underwater cameraman, check out his web site and look at some of his incredible captures -

Sea Life Surveys sightings, on a roll!!

Thanks for looking everyone, Ray Mears and ITV film crew on board next week. Also these big black and white things were seen in our waters last July, same again please . cheers 8-)


  1. Nice post as always Ewan. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for the kind words Steve :)