Thursday, 10 May 2012

Where eagles dare

MONDAY - Six go wild on Mull

What a brilliant day this turned out to be.  Weather wise it was blustery and quite frankly freezing for most of the morning then as we ate our butties the sun suddenly came out and set the trend for the rest of the week.

But, wrapped up and safely ensconced in Bryan's van - it didn't matter a jot.

Bryan has been running his Wild About Mull tours for a few years now, but he makes every trip as fresh as if it was the first time.  We had a brilliant day from the moment he picked us up at 9 after our breakfast, to when he dropped us off in time for dinner.

Nine wonderful hours seeing the most incredible wildlife on Mull and learning so much from a passionate enthusiast and expert.

Mind you we didn't get very far before we were challenged by our first toros

Everything was so brilliantly planned - even down to the loo stops and tasty homemade lunch - probably the best yellowy egg butties I have ever tasted and very welcome cups of tea from a bottomless flask.

By lunchtime at 1.30pm we'd already seen over 30 species including white tailed eagles, otters, golden eagles, tawny and long eared owls, red deer and loads of birds.

and this is my photo of the white tailed eagle in her nest - honest

and obviously this lot all saw it too

and the otters over yonder

and the sweet tawny owl taking a nap in the rafters

The views down the lochs and across the hills were jaw dropping at times, especially as the sun crept out creating shadows in the folds of the mountains. 

In the afternoon we added mountain hares and adders to our list and many many more beautiful birds.

We all had a tick list to mark off and I'll list the species we saw at the end for those in 'the know' to ruminate.

We topped off the tour at the beautiful Uisken beach

and I rather liked the local fire station

Now Bryan keeps a really brilliant blog so you can look at 'our' day on his blog and see close ups of what we saw, 'cos his camera was able to reach the parts other cameras (like mine) couldn't.  Just click here to read all about it.

And I can tell you now, the chorus of My Old Man (did you read Bryan's blog?) was roof raising as we sped along the single track lane back to Fionnphort from the hall of the mountain hares.  And it all kicked off when we spotted a pair of linnets - I didn't know they were real wild birds!!

Back at Ardness House Gillian excelled herself with big tasty langoustines from the loch, chicken stuffed with haggis and a family recipe 'cloutie' for pud - just amazingly delicious.

and to top it all off the sunset was incredible - pink bouncing off the strata on the mountain opposite, just like the Grand Canyon and then lingering around the horizon up past midnight.

And tomorrow it's going to be Staffa, home to the great Fingal's Cave . . . .  keep tuned in and click here when you ready to read more and move on to Wednesday.

PS The spotted species today were:

Herring Gull
Black-headed Gull
Hooded Crow
Song Thrush
Hooper Swan
Common Buzzard
Common Gull
Common Sandpiper
Tawny Owl
Curlew (on nest)
Mallard (and chicks)
Tree Pipit
Northern Wheatear
Tufted Duck
White Wagtail
Golden Eagle
Pied Wagtail
White-tailed Eagles
Golden Plover
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pipit
Great Northern Diver
Great Skua
Sand Martin
Common Seal
Grey Heron
Highland Cattle
Greylag Goose
Short-eared Owl (in flight)
Mountain Hare
Hedge Sparrow
Hen Harrier
Red Deer

oh and yes a Meadow Pipit too - sorry

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