Friday, 4 December 2015

10 reasons to visit Mull in the Winter...

Article published here - www.sharenature.co.uk

Are you looking to escape this winter? Whether it is aspiring for adventure or searching for solitude, the Isle of Mull has something for everyone. Here are 10 reasons to visit the Hebridean island in the winter time...

Tranquillity
During the winter months there are fewer visitors to the Isle of Mull; this increases the tranquillity around the island for winter guests to take advantage of. Immersing yourself in a wild, untamed area is increasingly becoming a rarer opportunity on our crowded planet. The Isle of Mull in the winter time provides you with the perfect chance to cut yourself off from the stress of the modern world and re-connect with nature.
Bed and Breakfast winter accommodation here.

Loch na Keal panoramic by Martin Jones
Cheaper Rates 
From October 2015 the Mull ferry fares have drastically decreased in price due to the introduction of RET (road equivalent tariff). It is now possible to visit Mull with a vehicle for less than £20 return.

Self catering accommodation on the island is also available at a reduced winter rate - Book Here.

Calmac vessel approaching Arinagour
Wild Winterscapes 
As autumn turns to winter, mother nature will introduce you to every colour in existence as Mull's diverse range of habitats seem to change by the hour. Pronounced snow-capped peaks towering over frosted glens and icy sea lochs are some of the wintery sights around the island. 

For the opportunity to explore some of the true wilderness areas on foot, enquire about a winter walking tour with Mull Magic here.  

Lochbuie - Martin Jones
The Wildlife - Drawcard Species 
Most of Mull's iconic wildlife species are present on the isle all year round such as White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Red Deer, Hen Harrier and Otter. Reduced day light hours in the winter time create less feeding opportunity for the raptors, so this can produce an increased chance of seeing them. Less day light and potential disturbance can provide more frequent Otter encounters, actively feeding in coastal areas.

Adult White-tailed Eagle in snowstorm. Guy Broome.

Tawny Owl on Mull, Ewan Miles
You could go for a night drive and see how many owl species you can spot around the island. Mull has four breeding species; Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Long-eared Owl and Short-eared Owl.

The island has pure Red Deer populations that have not been hybridised by Sika Deer unlike large parts of the Scottish mainland. These animals show well year round and the sight of one owning a snow-laden skyline is memorable.

Winter migrants can use the landmass of Mull as a fuelling stop or wintering ground. This can create the opportunity to see passage and wintering birds in an increased number. Whether you are looking for rarities or just admiring local species, Mull is an excellent winter birding location.

The coastlines can be very productive in the winter months with a good chance to observe marine mammals. Harbour and Grey Seals are residential animals so they can be seen all year round. Grey Seals have their pups in the wintertime as well which adds to the spectacle. 

Harbour Seal in moult, Ewan Miles
Cetaceans can be seen in Hebridean waters throughout the winter with Harbour Porpoise and Bottlenose Dolphins recorded around Mulls coastline. Minke Whales are occasionally seen in the colder months but no-one really knows their wintering movements, which makes studying the winter seas even more exciting! 

Bottlenose Dolphin calf photographed by Ewan Miles
Join Share Nature for a winter wildlife tour of Mull - www.sharenature.co.uk

The wildlife boat operators do not tend to run tours in the winter so pick a good vantage point from land or go on a Calmac ferry from Oban which provide non-landing trips to a number of Hebridean islands, giving plenty of time to scan for marine life and take in the seascapes. 

Geodiversity
Scotland is the 'cradle of geology' thanks to Edinburgh's 17th century scientist, James Hutton. Mull attracts geologists from all over the world to admire and study the islands unique rock formations. 
Mull has some world class geological sites of interest, which include Fingals Cave, Carsaig Arches and 60 million year old fossilized trees!

Whatever the weather, the rocks are going nowhere in a hurry. Get out and do a geo-adventure, time-travelling millions of years into the island's past!

Local geology books 'Mull in the Making' and 'Mull in the Shaping' provide information and geo-excursion routes, and can be bought from Tobermory book shop Tackle and Books.   

Geology literature - Mull in the Shaping
Dark Skies / Northern Lights
Mull is located below some of the darkest skies in the whole of Europe. A clear winter's night on the island can provide breathtaking views of the wondrous night sky. A satellite image of our continent at night will display the value of the west coast of Scotland and its unpolluted skies. 

Rhubba nan Gall lighthouse starscape, photograph by Ewan Miles
The island's high latitude provides an increased chance of observing the northern lights throughout the dark winter months. With a bit more perseverance, wonderful displays can be had in Scotland. If you are a UK citizen, it will mean more to be be on home turf and will save you a trip abroad! Keep an eye on the UK Aurora forecast here.

Stargazing Tours are now available on Mull during the winter, more information can be seen here - www.sharenature.co.uk 

Aurora Borealis, North Mull, by Ewan Miles
Adventure - Embrace the Elements 
Whatever mother nature throws at you, get out there and brave the wilds. Make use of your outdoor clothing and also remember that it is only rain, your skin is 100% waterproof, fine tuned over millions of years, so don't worry about getting wet! Adventure does not find you indoors, exchange the walls/roof for mountains/skyscapes and create some memories.   
Buy walking books from Tackle and Books, Tobermory.  

Mull Walking literature
Waterfalls!
Rain is not all bad - it fuels the rich, diverse, world class landscapes around the island and it can present beautiful rainbows. The rainfall also produces some enhanced spectacles of water dramatically powering down from the higher ground. After a period of heavy rainfall you can be spellbound by the falling water all around you, finding yourself in a real state of enchantment.  

One of the many dramatic river networks on Mull
Another added spectacle when you get a strong Atlantic wind hitting Mull's west facing skyscraper coastlines are chimneys of reverse waterfalls pointing skyward! Inclined waterfalls being pushed up from the howling winds are a spectacular sight which leaves me mesmerised on every sighting. 

Photography
Winter photography provides the opportunity to capture those different images that have been rarely taken before on Mull. Subjects like Eagles cresting a snow capped peak or Otters foraging in an icy environment will get photographers up and eager at the crack of dawn.
Winter for on Mull, photo courtesy of Martin Jones
Mull's dynamic weather systems and changing light provides endless admiration and beauty which makes it a photographers haven, especially in the winter which traditionally has more changeable conditions, providing endless photography opportunities.

The colder temperatures can increase the clarity in the air and create a better quality of photograph, helping you get those sharper images!

Go on a practical winter workshop to receive expert tuition on capturing the wild elements - Islandscape Photography 
   
Displaying Eagles
As winter comes to a close the early breeding Eagles will be at their busiest as they patrol their territory and perform some wonderful avian displays, peaking and troughing magnificently through Mull's airwaves.The sight of the country's top predators dancing majestically over Mull is not to be missed and will make a February/March island visit well worth it! 
Golden Eagle surrounded by Calluna. Photo by John Hoyes
I hope some of these reasons could encourage a visit to Mull. There is so much to admire, explore and discover on the island during winter and we would be delighted to share it with you

More accommodation options and winter attractions on Mull can be found here - http://www.isle-of-mull.net/

Ewan Miles

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

An Afternoon with Nature...

A nice spell of weather on Saturday 7th November so Rachel, Stuart and I headed out round the north side of Mull to check on a Raven roost which has displayed some fascinating behaviour this autumn. 

At the head of loch Cuin on low water we had 4 Greenshanks and 4 Snipe along with a solitary Redshank.

We made our way south on the upland pass to Torloisk and Stuart spotted something stationary on the skyline and as we got the optics onto it, it was an adult Golden Eagle showing very well! We pulled over and scoped the bird, enjoying beautiful views, lit up in the Hebridean sunshine. It took to the wing and came even closer before travelling NW with urgency.  

Raven on Mulls coastline...


Round by Ulva we did not know where to look as the first encounter was a White-tailed Eagle on a distant skerry, surrounded by Harbour Seals. Shortly afterwards we had four Otters at Laggan bay along with a Black-throated diver and Great-northern Divers. Inland there were Ravens and Buzzards with Golden Eagles owning the distant skylines. 

Another sight of interest was Red-breasted Mergansers performing courtship behavior in their classic elegant manner, very beautiful.

We saw some Ravens performing intersting interactions but the birds dispersed elsewhere as the light dropped...we will be back! 

We worked our way round to Loch Na Keal where we had a flock of Fieldfare , Kestrels, Grey Seals and the wonderful sight of a 37 bird Great-northern Diver roost at dusk! 

Thanks for looking.   

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Best Things in Life are Free...

We have had a wonderful spell of weather which seems to have gone on since the end of August. On the 27th October I was out with Stuart for a couple of hours in the sunshine and while driving past the Mishnish lochs Stuart spotted a good record for Mull...a Moorhen. After looking at the BTO atlas I realised there was very few records on the West of Scotland in general and not just the islands. 
Further along the loch we had a solitary adult Whooper Swan and the first female Goldeneye of the winter.  

BTO Atlas of Moorhen in the UK
A bit further to the west we decided to check a traditional reptile spot as the conditions were so warm for the time of year. Straight away we came across a beautiful adult female Adder with a fresh vibrant skin! Another great record and also an indicator of the mild autumn condition's we have had. 

Female Adder on 27th October
We checked a few reptile sheets nearby and had a lovely sight of two Short-tailed Voles travelling back and forward through their corridors. You see daily evidence of these lovely rodents but it was nice nice to see them directly and also acknowledge their important role in engineering a number of ecosystems. 

Adder skin, photo by Stuart Gibson
On the way back to the van I was telling Stuart how envious I was of my friend Gary who found a pristine Adder skin on Geltsdale a few years ago and as we admired the female Adder again I noticed a skin nearby the snake wrapped in a stem of ling heather! Amazing, I was delighted, and that will go straight in my box of wonders to use on trips to educate guests.

Thanks for looking :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Welcome to the Wilderness

I went to my favourite night club on Saturday evening...it is called 'The Wilderness'.

I was not surrounded by walls and a roof but instead, mountains and skyscapes...

Immerse yourself with wilderness...
My perfect Saturday night out is quite different to most folk. The connections are non-comparable. I wasn't seeing any females with a grill that looked like it had been dipped in Ronseal, or any shaved chimps that looked like they had been kicked through Topman. Instead I was seeing Hen Harriers quartering the hillsides, Eagles owning the skylines and some unbelievably diverse scenery of mountains and lochs all bathed in weak golden light. 

The soundscapes consisted of Meadow Pipits fluttering above the bell heather and a solitary Golden Plover vocalising near the summit. The silence and tranquillity was the best soundtrack of the night as DJ mother nature breathed very delicately throughout the evening period. The light breeze creeping through the silver birch woodlands making 'the lady of the woods' dance elegantly with her fine branches moving to the beat of nature.

The following day I felt so elevated. I had walked over eight miles on undulated terrain, breathing in the freshest air in the lands. This increased my fitness and circulated blood throughout my body, releasing endorphins to my brain which increases your mental well being and triggers a positive feeling.  

I got such a high from my time in the enchanted lands. Instead of trying to escape from life I was immersing myself with the real world, also known as the natural world, fine tuned over 4.6 billion years.

Adventure does not find you indoors...who is joining me next time?...I cant wait...nothing beats nature.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Mull Hen Harrier Day...With Harriers!!

One of my roles for Hen Harrier Day was to provide hour long tours in search of the wonderful raptors throughout the day. In our location here on Mull we are fortunate to have an increased chance of seeing the birds on short tours due to the lack of criminal activity and destruction of the iconic species. 

Prizes to raise money on the day...
HH Day Cake made by Sarah Padders!
Owl not forget you!

The first tour left Craignure Bunkhouse at 11:00 and within five minutes of arriving at Hen Harrier habitat to the south we got onto a Short-eared Owl hunting high up on the hillside. We all watched the bird for around ten minutes before it disappeared out of view. A wonderful start and just like the Hen Harrier this species gets illegally shot, trapped and poisoned on Red Grouse moors due to their predatory instincts towards the game birds so it was very relevant to see this bird as well on a day where we all stand together in stance of criminal activity in our uplands. 

Within forty five minutes of the tour we had a Hen Harrier on Hen Harrier Day! As all aboard turned to watch a Hooded Crow fly over the road, a female Harrier suddenly appeared just afterwards as I was turning the van round! We lost sight of the bird but parked up and persevered for five minutes as the bird appeared again and flew right in front of us, silhouetted in the 'scotch mist'. 

Rise for Raptors...
Rain does not stop play...

The second tour started at 13:00 and with a full vehicle we headed south to spend an hour observing everything we possibly could in a Hen Harriers world with the top prize being the Skydancer itself of course! 
Good proper Scottish rain throughout the second tour as were joined by naturalist John Miles who has a lifetimes experience living and working in the uplands with Hen Harriers alongside grouse moors. He talked about all the wild flora in a Harriers upland habitat and after fifty minutes persevering he spotted a female Hen Harrier from a distance, hunting in the rain! 
Minutes later we got a male Harrier hunting on the opposing hillside working his way up the slope and out of view. All the passengers managed to see at least one of the birds so it was another great success!

Studying the open moors...
Hen Harrier Hat-trick!

Our third Hen Harrier Day tour departed Craignure Bunkhouse at 14:30 with another full van load all set to search for the majestic 'ghost birds'. After views of a distant pair working the hillside we had a memorable encounter on the way back in with an adult female Hen Harrier quartering the roadside habitat, providing incredible views! A second ringtail appeared from nowhere and interactions were observed between the birds as the Red Deer hinds grazed all around them. A wonderful finish to our final tour of the day and seeing these birds in the wilds reminds us what we are fighting for and provides more fuel and urgency to help protect them in the future.

What a photo by Luke Hasler - https://www.facebook.com/lukehaslerphotography

Lord of the Wings

A lot of people do not realise that the Hen Harriers which breed on Mull are still under great threat from persecution. In the non-breeding season young birds will naturally disperse to cover new grounds and also adult birds can travel nationwide depending on food availability. A Hebridean Hen Harrier could pass through dozens of Red Grouse moors on their journey south. The fictional equivalent is Frodo Baggins trying to define all the odds to avoid mass evil on route to Mount Doom.
In the movies the good guys always seem to win so lets hope in the near future that this moorland monstrosity ends and there is a fairytale finale for the majestic Hen Harrier. 

 Ewan

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

10 petitions to sign in August...

If you think that releasing balloons into the environment looks good then your head is full of air as well, please sign...
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105551

Use the money properly, repair roads, create more viewpoints for people and stop destroying our natural heritage! Please sign - http://www.plantlife.org.uk/roadvergecampaign

Don't kill off our bees! - please sign
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104796

Save the bees, help us reach 500,000 signatures!
http://action.sumofus.org/a/neonics-uk/2/2/?sub=fb

Put a ban to bull fighting - https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-of-spain-mariano-rajoy-brey-end-all-bullfighting-in-spain?recruiter=197634541&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-share_petition-no_msg&rp_sharecordion_checklist=checklist_promote&fb_ref=Default

A complete ban on driven grouse shooting, one of the most corrupt industries on the planet
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104441

If the bees go then so do we, please sign - https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/ban-the-pesticides-that-are-harming-our-bees#petition

Save the hunting act, new government petition 
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104637

Ban the monstrosity of trophy hunting...
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/610/392/435/?taf_id=14207523&cid=fb_na 

Join the global movement...
http://www.worldanimalprotection.org/wildlife-not-entertainers?utm_medium=Twitter_celeb&utm_campaign=INT_WinE


Thanks for looking

Monday, 10 August 2015

July Excursions

Inspire Wild blog post, also viewed here - http://inspirewild.co.uk/blog/

Guided Walk with MICT 

At the start of the month I helped out on a guided walk at Loch Tor led by Rachel French of Mull and Iona Community Trust and Mull Eagle Watch. Temperatures of around 23 degrees with low winds provided an increased opportunity to observe the reptiles, butterflies and dragonflies in the area.
We started with great views of a pregnant Common Lizard (pictured) and also a very small new born nearby. We recorded a number of dragonfly and damselfly species which included Golden-ringed, Four-spotted Chaser, Beautiful Damoiselle (pictured) and Large Red Damselfly. I submitted all records to the British Dragonfly Society.
Butterfly and moth species recorded were Dark Green Fritillaries, Speckled Wood, Speckled Yellow and Small Heath.
A small woodland pond produced a dragonfly nymph with over 10 Palmate Newts also present. 

Northern Egger

A Swift Appearance 

During a Mull Evening Tour on the 1st July, as the warm setting sun beamed down on the sea loch, we watched two Otters actively feeding on the shoreline. Earlier we had watched a White-tailed Eagle and a male Hen Harrier in the same binocular field of view!

A Swift was a nice record as it is a non-breeding bird on the island. Wonderful to watch the avian master, with their anchor shaped profile in flight. The average age of the bird is 7 and the oldest recorded Swift was still alive at 21 years old! 

LNK sunset

Rare Raptor

The highlight on our Mull Half Day tour on the 4th July was undoubtedly watching a male and female Merlin mobbing a male Hen Harrier! Merlin’s are regarded as a rare breeding bird on Mull but I am sure will be under recorded on the island.


Sight for Soar Eyes

At the beginning of a Mull Evening Tour on the 12th we watched an Otter and Harbour Seals being very active in a sheltered bay in the Sound of Mull.
A bit later on we had exquisite views of a 1st year White-tailed Eagle soaring overhead. A Buzzard interacting with the bird added to the spectacle and provided a great example of size comparison between the two raptor species.
Red Deer sightings increased in numbers as the evening went on and three small fawns were also recorded. 

Red Deer stag and Pied Flycatcher

Mammal Mania

On a beautiful sunny Mull Evening Tour on the 13th we recorded eight species of mammal on the tour, which included Otter, Mountain Hare, Common Pipistrelle and Grey Seal.
Great views of a Male Hen Harrier and White-tailed Eagles were also had along with Red-breasted Mergansers, Ravens, Kestrel and Buzzard.
We finished the trip off watching a beautiful sunset to the north-west and also watching a Tawny Owl fly into a Sitka Spruce woodland. 

Euriasian Otter

Fledging to Freedom

Mull Half Day and Evening Tour 22/07/15 - One of the days highlights was watching a newly fledged White-tailed Eagle on the wing in a not so elegant manner! The bird was very vocal when in flight and we were all so curious to what he/she was saying! 

On the evening we enjoyed unbelievable views of a pair of Golden Eagles interacting with Buzzards and Ravens. Again the soundscapes are just as important to the experience as all three species were very vocal and it was amazing to hear how weak the yelping calls of the Golden Eagle are in comparison to the other two species.

Two males and a female Hen Harrier were seen hunting successfully in the rough grasslands as the light faded. 

Hawking in the Sunshine

On an Ardnamurchan Tour on the 23rd we explored a young Birch woodland which had great views over Loch Sunart. Speckled Wood butterflies were seen in flight over the moss-laden woodland floor.
We saw three Common Hawker dragonflies when the sun appeared and all records have been sent to the British Dragonfly Society.
Manx Shearwater and Gannets were seen gliding effortlessly over the choppy sea state on our ferry journey back to Tobermory Isle of Mull.

Female Common Darter

Flight Perfectionists

No trips on the weekend (25th - 26th) but a great evening doing Dragonfly fieldwork yesterday, which included recording a pair of Keeled Skimmers (pictured, blue abdomen) mating in tandem. The species have a patchy distribution, mainly western Britain.
Three female Common Darters (pictured, yellow abdomen) also seen. They are a summer/autumn species which can even be recorded on the wing in December!

All records were sent to the British Dragonfly Society.

Keeled Skimmers mating

Fantastic Falcons!

On our evening tour on the 27th while we were watching our second Otter of the tour we heard the screeching of Peregrine Falcons overhead and enjoyed wonderful views of a pair patrolling their coastal territory.
Two adult female Hen Harriers were also seen on the tour along with a Black-throated Diver, Hedgehog, Short-tailed Vole, Red Deer (pictured) and Common Pipistrelle Bats.

Low light is Best light!

We had an amazing half hour spell watching owls on our evening tour on Wednesday 29th. Whilst we were on our way north back to Tobermory during the dusk period we noticed a white haze in the opposing field and as we got a bit closer we noticed that it was a Barn Owl hunting low over the buttercup meadow. Shortly afterwards we had a Tawny Owl cross our bath while driving through a woodland and as we stopped and looked to the right we had the bird perched looking back at us, providing another amazing nocturnal connection. We were well and truly spoilt five minutes later again as a second Barn Owl was seen working the rough grass further north. We admired the ghost bird as it crossed over the road in front of us to cover more hunting grounds. Three memorable owl sightings in the space of ten minutes and one of our clients could not hold back the tears as we watched the second Barn Owl.

Minke Magic

On our wild west excursion to Ardnamurchan on the 30th July we were treated to the sight of an adult White-tailed Eagle sharing a thermal column with two Peregrine Falcons and a Buzzard! In the afternoon we had a walk in the RSPB woodland of Glenborrowdale and encountered Golden-ringed Dragonflies, Speckled Wood and Green-veined White butterflies. Before the end of the tour we covered the remote settlements on the north side of the peninsula and were in awe of the seascapes looking out to the Small Isles and Skye. A short spell sea watching ended up being very productive with two minke whales including one that was very close into Swordle Bay. It was amazing to study the sea from such a height as you could see the shoals of fish moving right at the surface with Manx Shearwaters and Gannets tracking their very move. 

National Whale and Dolphin Watch

It is National Whale and Dolphin Watch from 25th July - 2nd August and we contributed the following cetacean records to Sea Watch Foundation and HWDT -

28/07/15 - 1 adult Minke Whale, Ardnamurchan Point. 
30/07/15 - 2 adult Minke Whales, Kilmory, Ardnamurchan.
30/07/15 - 2 Harbour Porpoise, Kilchoan, Sound of Mull.

HWDT sightings records
Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly Count is from 17th July - 9th August and we have submitted our records so far from the time period. A location we cover near Loch Tor was productive on the 25th July as when the sun appeared so did Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and Common Blues. 

Butterfly Count records

Look out for more blog updates in the weeks to come as we approach the later stages of the tourism season based on Mull.

Ewan

Friday, 31 July 2015

Cumbrian Bee-eaters!

The news has been made public about the Bee-eaters nesting in the Geltsdale area! - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-33732567


I cant wait to visit the site and have the chance to see them when I am back in Cumbria in early Septmeber.

RSPB are providing a viewing area and information on how to get to the site is here - http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/investigations/archive/2015/07/30/come-and-see-brilliant-bee-eaters.aspx

Ewan

Friday, 24 July 2015

Inspire Wild Begins

First post from a new business venture...

First Tours

Our first ever tours were on the 16th May where we led two guided walks around Aros Park, accommodating passengers off the Sega Pearl 2 cruise ship in association with the The National Trust for Scotland. It was highly changeable weather conditions, ranging from sunshine to hail storms!
We studied the bird songs of Wood Warbler, Crossbill, Willow
Warbler, Blackcap, Dunnock, Treecreeper, Wren, Robin and Song Thrush. Another avian encounter was watching an adult White-Tailed Eagle in flight being mobbed by a number of persistent Hooded Crows. 




Palmate Newts were recorded in a woodland pond with crisp sunshine lighting up the amphibians wonderful markings and colouration. We also admired the woodlands bryophytes and lichens, learning about their fascinating history and also their relationship with the surrounding trees. 

Wild flowers discovered on the tours were Bluebells, Wood Anemone, Wild Garlic, Wood Sorrel, Common Butterwort, Opposite-Leaved Golden-Saxifrage, Water Avens, Yellow Archangel, Marsh Marigold and Primroses.

Media Attention

On the 19th May we provided guidance to a French film crew who were on Mull filming some wildscapes and heritage sites for a show called Echappées Belles to be broadcast in November on France 5. I was filmed and also interviewed about the islands wildlife and what it means to him. The program will be aired in November on national French television and then worldwide in 2016.

The Golden Tour

On of our keystone trips is the 'Mull Evening Tour' which operates in the summer months from May to August. I have been based on the isle of Mull since 2010 and my idea of a night out does not involve being surrounded by walls and a roof but more like mountains and skyscapes in the great outdoors. I did my best to encourage people to join me in the field on every occasion and over the years have shared some amazing wildlife encounters with visitors and residents on the island. In the winter of 2014 plans came into place to start providing commercial tours at this magical time of the day and during the month of June we provided 15 evening tours. 



An incredible encounter on June 8th with an adult female Hen Harrier (pictured). After persevering for a short spell we observed the bird at close range quartering over the rough grass in pursuit of prey!
We also watched a Short-eared Owl interacting with a Hooded Crow on the wing and a distant male Hen Harrier on the opposing fell side. We watched all this with the soundscape of a drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Cuckoo.



On the 10th June we had wonderful owl sightings on the tour which started with a Short-eared Owl hunting over the rough grassland and also interacting with a Hooded Crow. During the dusk period we saw three Tawny Owls (pictured) at close range and listened to their wonderful variety of calls. 

To book a trip - http://inspirewild.co.uk/wildlife-tours/mull-evening-tour/


The Wild West

Another unique trip option that we have created this year is the Ardnamurchan Full Day Tour. The adventure starts in Tobermory where we get the passenger ferry across to the village of Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Once you arrive on the peninsula it feels like you have made the journey to another island as it is surrounded by ocean on three sides. The signs of traditional crofting around the settlement gives you a sense of time travelling, turning your clock back through the decades.  



One incredible encounter was while researching the trip with Cain and Rachel in mid May we were travelling to the east back from Ardnamurchan point when we saw a Pine Marten was running across the adjacent field getting mobbed by Meadow Pipits! 

We provided eight Ardnamurchan tours in the month of June and had some wonderful connections with the natural world which included Otters frolicking in the secluded Sanna Bay and Golden Eagles ruling the mountainous skylines. The habitat diversity in the area is breathtaking as we cover the harsh Atlantic coastlines on Ardnamurchan, the temperate rainforests of Sunart and the mountain ranges of Moidart, all in one day!  


To book a trip to the Wild West - http://inspirewild.co.uk/wildlife-tours/ardnamurchan-full-day-tour/


Half Day Island Introduction

Another unique option for visitors to the island is the 'Mull Half Day Tour', which runs twice a day on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and we provided 15 half day tours throughout June.



On June 10th We had six separate encounters with eagles on the tour with three sightings of both White-tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle. We also observed a male Adder basking in the sunshine and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers at close range through the spotting scope.
We admired beautiful expanses of Hare's-tail Cottongrass lit up in the crisp sunshine on open moors. Other records on the trip were Green-veined White butterfly, Ravens, Skylarks, Wheatears, Buzzards, male Kestrel, Sand Martins and Common Sandpipers.

Trip information - http://inspirewild.co.uk/wildlife-tours/mull-half-day-tour/


Contribution - Giving Back to Nature

With our tours launching, we've also began to compile Inspire Wild data on the biodiversity of the Isle of Mull and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. We feel that this is a major part of not only Inspire Wild, but the wildlife tourism industry as a whole.



 

The data we collect will be passed on to the relevant organisations, allowing them (and us) to gain a better understanding of the species present, seasonal and annual trends, adding to a bigger data set as a whole, which will hopefully help conserve species both now and in the future.

We will be taking part in a number of citizen science projects, the first of which is the National Plant Monitoring Scheme.
   


Ewan

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Isle of Mull Hen Harrier Day 2015

Join us for Hen Harrier Day on the Isle of Mull. We will be providing trips in search of the birds throughout the day and also family based activities at our base of Craignure Bunkhouse. 




Saturday, 4 July 2015

Crocodile Farms - Discraceful Destruction of our Dinosaurs

150 million years on and some of our reptile species from the Mesozoic era are still on our planet. What a privilege it is to share this earth with a living day dinosaur, and yet some of us treat them with unimaginable pain and torture in connection with the fashion industry to sell items like £30k handbags...please sign this petition below to help stop these barbaric actions...

A crocodile being tortured for the pointless fashion industry...
PLEASE SIGN - http://action.peta.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=5&ea.campaign.id=35659