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 :)