From Saturday 30th until Saturday 7th I spent the week on the Isle of Mull with Cain, Ewan, Andrew and Ciara. The trip got off to a good start as we spotted at least three Waxwing south of services on M74 near Uddington outside Hamilton. One of the Waxwings flew over the road bridge and did some aerial acrobatics before joining the others in the trees.
A brief and welcome stop at the Green Welly Stop and for more potato based products at Fort William, we were on the island by dusk. After checking in at our cottage for the week near Dervaig, we had a drive around the local roads. Not surprisingly Tawny Owl were on fence posts and Red Deer roamed the roadsides but a sign of how mild the weather was took the form of a Hedgehog that was wandering around the middle of the road.
Sunday the 1st we spent most of the day around the shores of Loch Na Keal. On our way we called into Salen Bay where a winter plumage Great Northern Diver was just off shore where it wrestled with a crab for about ten minutes. It was great to see this species close up for a change rather than a distant blob on the sea off Stag Rocks. Plenty of gulls though no white wingers were around the fish factory. Occasionally they would all take to the air before re-landing, we soon noticed why. A juvenile White Tailed Eagle was sitting on a fence post near the factory. Its amazing how such a massive bird can stay so well hidden. The eagle eventually took off, flew past us and landed on a rocky outcrop just offshore.
Also on the Loch were a group of five Slavonian Grebe, Black Guillemot, more close in Great Northern Divers and very entertaining displaying groups of Red Breasted Merganser. We watched as three or four males made a variety of noises and head movements towards unimpressed females.
Next we headed over to Loch Buie where another White Tailed Eagle flew over the Loch. The Bay just past the Loch was impressive complete with an honesty shop that sold Guinness crisps, honest! Feral Goats climbed over the rocks near the bay and Woodcock swooped in front of the car as we headed back. In the darkness on a road near Salen I had my best ever views of a Tawny Owl as it stared down at us from a roadside wire.
Monday 2nd we started again at Loch Na Keal. A pair of Shoveler were amongst a flock of Teal in the middle of the Loch, it turns out that these were unbelievably only the second record for the Isle! Surely there must have been more.
At the nearby Killiechronnan as we left, a Golden Eagle was being mobbed overhead by Hooded Crows and Buzzard. A pair of White Tailed Eagles were also circling a plantation as we headed to Loch Scridian. An Otter preformed well on the shores of Loch Scridian and whilst we watched a Long Tailed Duck landed on the water after flying from further inland.
Loch Begg was our final stop of the day as light disappeared. A lone Greenshank and 124 Golden plover were the best waders at this attractive spot.
More to come soon... and pictures!