Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Green Halo of the North...

A wonderful 'Mull Stargazing Tour' last night as we admired and photographed the aurora borealis under a strong moon, lighting up the surrounding wildscapes.

The strong lunar light made it easier to pick out the main constellations on show and we watched Jupiter rise to the east later on in the night.

Wildlife sightings during the tour were 3 Barn Owls, Short-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, 3 Mountain Hares and 12 Woodcock. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

See what the tide will bring...

We were privileged to see six species of raptor on today’s Mull Wildlife Tour which included this immature White-tailed Eagle perched on the shoreline. 

We also encountered two Otters foraging in sheltered sea lochs and Red Deer hunkered down in their woodland refuge. 

I am just getting prepared for tonight’s Stargazing Tour, can't wait!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Confident in Camouflage!

Confident Camouflage!

The wonderful sight of a Little Owl at roost yesterday in an Ash tree. They are a rare breeding bird in Scotland so this record just south of the Border could be one of the most northerly breeding Little Owls in the country. 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Bank Vole in the Garden!

Bank Vole in the garden!

What a beautiful little animal, especially when lucky enough to watch it at close range. They have a more rustic coat than the Field Vole and are not as widespread. The species can often get overlooked, even though they engineer certain ecosystems, being an important prey item for species such as Owls, Foxes and Weasels.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

An Alternative New Year Lights Display!

An alternative New Year lights display! 

As the clock struck 12 last night and fireworks could be seen and heard down in the lower ground, I was treated to a different display, as the northern lights blossomed into the early hours.
Another great spectacle was Jupiter rising to the east in close conjunction with the waning gibbous moon.

Interacting Tawny Owls provided some wonderful soundscapes.

Happy New Year everyone!

Crepuscular Barn Owls...

I am currently down in Cumbria staying with family and last week we were treated to a sighting of this Barn Owl out hunting an hour before sunset. After the encounter I was curious to why the species behave differently on Mull to the Barn Owls in Cumbria.

In my experience the Barn Owls on Mull are almost entirely nocturnal, with records of crepuscular hunting in the summer when there is little darkness. One theory to this is that there are more diurnal hunting raptors on Mull, from the small Kestrels to the huge White-tailed Eagles, and they are all a threat to Barn Owls through predation and competition when they choose to be active in good light.
There will be other theories and many more questions, which helps keeps us curious to the dynamic wonders of nature.