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Arthur's Mull Bird List 2017
Discover Mull Wildlife Tours based on the Isle of Mull
Inch Hame for 4 people
Special Offer week begining 24th June
£300 for 2 people, £350 for 4 people.
Arthur & Pam Brown, Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig, Isle of Mull, Argyll PA75 6QR
Tel: 01688 400415 or 07780 600367
  Check out our 
Self Catering cottages web site

June 2017
June 23rd
A very windy and mixed day of weather which started well with a lovely Yellowhammer in our garden. Pam did the tour and saw all of the Mull main species including a female Hen Harrier seen as she was waiting for roadworks to clear, first problems with Knock Bridge now roadworks which should have been completed last week, oh joy. I took our friends out to try and find Short Eared Owl and much to their delight and my relief we did see a pair, the sighting was very good but they could have stuck around for a little bit longer as it was perishing cold looking for them. We had a good meal with our Cheshire friends and Jaqui and Mike from Enjoy Mull at the Glen Forsa Hotel this evening, it was a lovely evening full of laughter.
June 22nd
Hi ho hi ho its back to work I go and after the deluge of yesterday the wildlife was really playing ball, at one of my stops we had 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles sitting around, just chilling before taking off as if they were going somewhere, flew 100 yards, turned back and landed to resume chilling, I don't know what that was all about. At the same time A Golden Eagle flew in and landed in full view and hadn,t left the spot when we did, maybe it was a day just for chilling. It wasn,t for us for while we were watching all this Eagle inaction an Otter came out and started fishing, it caught a lot of fish in a relatively short time before it disappeared. " Where has it gone"? someone said, probably chilling I thought.   
June 21st
Thunder bolts and lightening very very frightening, not really but it rhymes, it also poured with rain at times, why am I not complaining about the weather you may be asking, well its because we were in Glengorm tearooms with friends who are staying with us. Whilst it was all happening outside we were inside enjoying great Crab sandwiches, well three of us were Pam doesn't eat Crab, watching the weather with smug expressions on our faces thinking it was a good day not to be doing a tour.
June 8th to June 20th
June the eighth will go down as a day when everything went wrong, well actually 3 things went wrong, first I had a flat tyre on the mini-bus and discovered I needed 4 new tyres, big bill. The motherboard went on the computer hence no blog, so we needed a new computer,big bill. Then the iron broke down as Pam was ironing, new iron required, little bill. This explains why there has been no blog postings for a fortnight so I will give you a brief catch up. It RAINED, yes for the first 10 days we had rain in all its guises, torrential, just heavy, light, drizzle, low cloud and mist, showers, suffice to say the dam runneth over. A lot of fledglings in our garden died of being waterlogged which was tragic, some friends left early as they were sure if they didn't the Arc would be full. On the wildlife front the midges love this weather and little birds are being seen again as their first broods have fledged. We are seeing more Otters and Golden Eagles now with 2 Otters and 4 Golden Eagles seen well on todays tour. Last but by no means least, Knock Bridge opened again on Friday the 16th on time and they have done a great job on it. The photos are of an adult and baby Great Spotted Woodpeckers on one of our feeders and lovely Whinchat, a bird seen a lot on the tours this year.
Woodpecker Dad
                                                & babyWhinchat
June 7th
Today was a Golden Eagle fest with 7 birds seen and all really good sightings, 2 of my guests were really pleased as this was the one bird they had yet to see on Mull this holiday. The Buzzard chicks being fed by its parents was another highlight and we saw White-tailed Sea Eagles but not in anything like the numbers of the Goldies and I can't say that often. Very good close views of both types of Seal today giving my guests very good comparisons betwen the two species. No Otter today, Pam saw them all yesterday, will I ever hear the last of it?
Buzzard hovering
June 6th
It is always a good day when you get an Otter at your first stop and it's an even better day when you get another at the second stop. The weather was cold, wet and windy all day, and so sitting and flying White-tail Eagle at our coffee stop was also good to see. No Golden Eagles as was expected at lunch time, still in the rain, but some lovely small birds including Linnet, Wheatear, Swallow, House and Sand Martins. Later we were suprised by a flying Golden Eagle and even more suprised when we found another 2 Otters. My guests were pleased to have afternoon tea and cakes in our warm kitchen whilst watching our garden birds. At last it stopped raining and on the way home we had male and female Hen Harrier to finish off the day.
June 5th
A great tour today even if at one stop it was warm and Midgy and at the next cold and windy, it was like the Hokey Kokey, put your best coat on take your best coat off, me I just stayed in my shirt and short sleeved jacket and nearly froze to death, numpty that I am. Over 50 species of birds were seen with a total of 6 White-tailed Sea Eagles and 2 Golden Eagles, 2 Hen Harriers and several Buzzards. We had diving Gannets, a lovely Kittiwake, Wheatear, Stonechat, Whinchat and Tree Pipit. On the Mammal front, both types of Seal, Red Deer and Rabbits. In our garden at a comfort break Coal Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Yellowhammer and Siskins were the highlights prompting one guest to say we could stay here all day. One guest wanted Orchids so we got her some seeing Dipper and Grey Wagtail at the same spot and at the end of a lovely day I took this photo of a beautiful male Red Breasted Merganser. Now I am off for a hot bath and hot toddy to ward off pneumonia.
                                              Merganzer maleNorthern Marsh
June 4th
Today I had to re-gig the tour as it was the Isle of Mull Bike Ride with between 300 and 400 cyclists taking part. Meeting 10 or a dozen on normal tours can be fraught but 300+ not on your nelly ( apologies to anyone called Nelly who reads this blog ). So today was as much about cyclist avoidance as wildlife watching. In the event we saw 2 very good Hen Harriers, 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles, a Golden Eagle, Red Deer, Common Seals, Eider Duck with ducklings see photo, Grey Wagtail, Whinchat, Lesser Redpoll, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Skylark, Buzzard with chicks amongst a total of 50 bird species seen during a fruitfull day. We only had to overtake about 10 bikes and one of them three times and on each occasion the rider was off the bike. Is this why they are called push bikes?
Aros bridgeEider Duck & 2
June 3rd
No tour today as we work changing over in the 2 self-catering cottages and keeping the garden tidy for the self-catering guests and the birds. Although both of us were very busy we decided to count the birds we could see from within the house and garden during the day. In total we saw 22 species of birds including White-tailed Sea Eagle and Buzzard flying over with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Siskins, Chaffinches, and Blackbirds all with young now coming into the garden with their parents. Unusual garden sighting 2 Grey Herons flew over, looked around and then flew back again. We also have lots of Rabbits and for younger readers lots of little Bunnies.
June 2nd
Mulls main species performed in spectacular fashion today with a wonderful sighting of a female Hen Harrier hunting and then perched. It can't start better than that I thought, oh yes it could, as 2 Golden Eagles and a Buzzard came out to play giving us a special display. On to my White-tailed Eagle nest and sure enough both adult birds were there, the tour was only an hour in and Mulls main bird species had all been seen. A comfort stop at Ardrioch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the feeders along with Siskins and Lesser Redpoll. At coffee time we saw Gannets, Guilliemots
Kittiwakes and Shags and an inquisitive Grey Seal. Red Deer and Buzzards nest with 2 chicks, a male Hen Harrier and a great Kestrel sighting after lunch but the Otter which one of my guests desperately wanted to see remained absent. Two more White-tailed sea Eagles giving us a flying display were the next major sighting but it was at afternoon tea stop that  we spotted an Otter and it gave my guests half an hour of great pleasure as we were the only people around to see it. Needless to say afternoon tea was very late today.
June 1st
Thanks Donald, you are a star not believing the climate is changing, here we are on the first of June and it is cold, wet and windy, at the same time last week heatstoke, what's going on, nothing in Donalds world. Todays tour was difficult as it rained for most of the day, just look at the moody dark picture taken during the best part of the day. To brighten readers up we saw White-tailed Eagle, very brief Golden Eagle, Otter, Seals by the  had all been seenscore behaving in a funny manner and Red Deer. The sighting of the day however was brilliant Short Eared Owl, It flew and hunted right past us within 50 yards it was spectacular and we had it off and on for over 10 minutes, it was certainly worth getting cold and wet for.
Moody skys
May 2017
May 31st
A beautiful sunny day which always makes our guests happy with lovely views and plenty of wildflowers to see. No Otter today but very good Golden and White-tail Eagles in 2 or 3 locations and Red Deer and Seals also seen well. My guests enjoyed the little birds, Whinchat, Wheatear, Meadow and Rock Pipits and a family of Redpoll. An unusual sighting for Discover Mull today of a small newt. 

May 30th
What a difference a day makes, a very good Otter at our second stop, White-tailed Sea Eagle at our Forth stop, 2 Buzzard Chicks in the nest at lunch time, Red Deer everywhere, and White-tailed Eagle with Chicks on a nest in the afternoon. If you think that all seems very good I need to tell you what happened at our last stop, unlike the TV programmes this is not for effect it was literally our last stop. We were looking for Hen Harrier when 2 White-tailed Eagles flew over our heads, then the Hen Harrier got up briefly but no one took any notice as 2 Golden Eagles then appeared, we literally did not know which way to look, my guests were impressed and I was extatic, particularly after yesterday, Wildlife you just can't predict it.
Pictures of Curlew and Greenfinch seen during todays tour, when I remembered I had a Camera.
May 29th
Every now and again the big stuff does not play ball and today was one of those days and most of the time you just accept that it happens and move on. Today however I had some lovely guests  who were so understanding that I was more disappointed for them than they were for themselves. I personally had a very good day with great views of Linnets and Whinchat two of my favorite birds but aside from White-tailed Sea Eagles and Red Deer Mulls other main species remained illusive, partly due to the rain and partly due to bad timing, I console myself that I tried my level best and have to appreciate sometimes you get days like today, I just don't want too many.
May 28th
Where are Otters when you need them?, I spent ages looking for them in all my best spots but not one showed up, that's wildlife for you. On the plus side we had a male Hen Harrier mobbing a Golden Eagle, another Golden Eagle later in the day. We also saw 2 White-tailed sea Eagles and at least one chick also Buzzards one on a nest with chicks, we see this everday at the moment and Red Deer and Common Seals which will soon be calving and pupping. The highlights for me were the little birds seen really well, Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear, Whitethroat, Skylark, Willow Warbler, Redpoll and Meadow Pipits and at least 3 Cuckoos. I was really pleased to get a half decent fuzzy photo of this Stonechat although when my photo mad mates see it they will have a little chortle to themselves.
May 27th
Today I spent the day quietly recovering from yesterday, YES even on Mull you can get Heatstroke, I have been drinking lots of fluids and putting Aloe Vera on my arms. Only mad dogs and Numpty Arthur go out in the mid-day sun.
May 26th
Scorcio 26+ degrees thats 80+ degrees in fahrenheit, it was very hot.
Not the best day to wear a short sleeved shirt for the first time on a tour, so I am writing todays blog with very sun burned arms. The story of today was all about Eagles and Otters as that was what my guests wanted and it started promisingly with a very good fly over White-tailed Sea Eagle. It then went very quiet as it got hotter, my guests were desperate to see an Otter but there were none in any of the areas I sometimes see them but just before lunch I played a hunch and as my guests were busy photographing I went and looked for Otter. I was pleasantly surprised to find not one, not two but 3 Otters which gave my guests great views and me a great big kiss from an extatic Eva. Apart from Kestrels, Buzzards and a Linnet and some Red Deer and a Cuckoo we saw nothing much else  for the rest of the day. On our way back to Tobermory I stopped for one last look for a Golden Eagle, much more in hope than expectation but there it was a great sighting sitting surveying its territory in all its glory. I got another smackeroony from Eva for that sighting, now wheres a Hen Harrier when you need one. Great day, great guests, ow and wheres the aftersun Pam??
WTSE flying in sun
May 25th
No tour today and no wildlife watching as I spent an hour cleaning the sides of the burn (see photo's before and after) and the rest of the day mowing our lawns which are growing at a tremendous rate at present and as the forecast for Saturday does not look to promising I thought I should get them done. The weather did not help as it was extremely hot, yes it does get hot on Mull occasionaly. What made the heat worse for me was to see Pam with a big grin on her face going sea swimming as I was sweating pushing a lawn mower through the long grass. I am a bit worried about Pam as guests kindly writing nice things about our tours on Tripadvisor are giving her better reviews than me. HOW CAN THAT BE ???
Arthurs burn beforeArthurs burn after
May 24th
Some days the weather just doesn't do as forcast and the low cloud and drizzle that started the day just hung around all day. We had a White-tail Eagle sitting in a tree which flew from one end of the wood to a tree at the other end of the wood. A Golden Eagle flew when it really shouldn't have flown and a fabulous mother and cub Otter eating a huge conga eel on a seaweedy rock being watched over by 2 Great Black-backed Gulls and a Hooded Crow who wanted to join in the feast for half an hour. As well as Red Deer, Seals and small birds a couple of more unusual birds seen today were a Snipe sitting up on a rock and a Red Grouse.
May 23rd
A change in the weather today, lovely till 2pm then it started to rain before becoming somewhat evil so it was back to our house for afternoon tea and cakes. Very good white-tailed Eagles today with the best being a fly past as the drizzle started, it was getting cooler and wetter but this sighting warmed the cockles a wee bit. Excellent Golden Eagle at lunch time this really was a super view and my guests were really impressed. An Otter spotted by a guest was the spot of the day as it was in quite rough water at the time, Otter like, it had caught a large fish and went out of sight to eat it, however we waited it out and had some good views before we lost it in what had now become very rough water. Red Deer in large numbers were seen, note photo and we had some good sightings of Seals, Curlews with chicks, Lapwings and Greylag Geese with Goslings. My day was made by an excellent Linnet, I do love this bird. The day end with a brilliant view of a male Redpoll resplendent in its very smart bright red plumage seen from the warmth and comfort of our kitchen, in the end I almost had to drag my guests away.
Red Deer in field
May 22nd
Another day of mixed weather with very windy and squally conditions making wildlife watching difficult and not too comfortable. However with patience and perseverance we managed to see a lot of wildlife, wild flowers and discussed the geolgy and history of mull. The wildlife highlights were White-tailed Sea Eagle, Red Deer, a very good Otter, Waders, small birds and Seals. The Wild Flowers included Heath Spotted Orchids and Milkwort, check out the photos. Geology wise guests were impressed with the Roche Moutonnee, the Dyke and Raised Beaches at Calgary, while on the History front the village of Innavie and the David Tennent connection was a winner.
Heath spotted OrchidMilkwort
May 21st
Even though the day began wet and windy we still managed to see White-tailed Sea Eagles and Red Deer at the start of the day. It became harder to see the big stuff after that although much to my guests delight we did see a pair of Golden Eagles as the afternoon wore on. For me and a lot of my guests it was the little birds seen in between the big sightings that made the day. Dunlin and Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Lapwing, Curlew and Oystercatchers were the Waders seen. Great views of Whinchat, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler. Tree Pipit, Rock Pipit and Meadow Pipit and Skylark, the list goes on with Great Northern Diver, Black Guilliemot and Red Breasted Megansers. As they say in all the acception speeches apologies to all sighting left out, we liked you all. Todays photos taken on our feeders when we returned home as always I forgot to take any during the day.
GS WoodpeckerSiskins in Feeders
May 20th
I did my breeding bird survey around West Ardhu, that is where our small farm is situated and in the 1 kilometre square I saw 30 species of breedig birds in our area, not bad methinks. I spent the afternoon in our burn doing more Willow and Bog Myrtle clearing at the same time the insects were trying to see me off. I left a gate open today and some sheep got out which was a bit of a drag but it only goes to show how important it is to close gates properly behind you when you are out walking.
May 19th
Pam at the helm again today as Arthur stayed at home and mowed the lawns and cleaned the burn, it keeps him fit!. Our White-tail Eagle chicks are growing bigger in the nest close to home as their attentive parents care for them, Mum on the nest and Dad keeping an eye out for danger close by. The Buzzards are still on there eggs and we play the daily game of 'spot the buzzard in the scope', it won't be long now before they will be busy tending chicks. The Lapwings are still shooing away the Hooded Crows from their growing off spring, and a male Stonechat was being surrounded by 4 hungry chicks on a wire fence. Pairs of male Greylag Geese are strutting the shore sides, protecting their hidden, sitting females, some Greylag Gosling have already been seen, the 'MacDonalds Takeaway' for the growing Eagle chicks.  Yes Spring is in full swing and it is wonderful. Congratulations to Mike today who was celebrating his 80th birthday I hope you had a great day.
May 18th
A beautiful day again and lovely guests who were great fun even if I was the butt of most of their comments, you know what they say if you can't take a joke don't make a joke. Today it was mainly looking for Otters, particularly when I went back to the same spot for the third time, the jokes came thick and fast for that one. In the end thanks to Donald we saw 2 very close Otters, it was certainly a case of third time lucky. Todays photos were taken on a pleasant short walk with Pam and Sally this evening across the road at West Ardhu.
Seathrift at West
                                              ArdhuGreylag Geese at West
May 17th
Pam doing the tour today, Arthur is back at the dentist (is he having an affair with her?) and a great day for all the big stuff. A big dog Otter in the morning on a high tide where I was not expecting to find one gave great views cleaning his fur for 10 minutes before gong into a rough sea and riding the waves. Lots of small birds including Linnets, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Whitethroat, Skylark, also Siskin, Bullfinch and baby Robin seen at a comfort break at our home. My guests also enjoyed a very close Black Guillimot at another comfort stop. On our way home we had an unexpected bonus of 2 very close Golden Eagles almost flying over our heads, an exciting end to a great day.
May 16th
The day started with weather similar to yesterday but improved after lunch. The morning was not a complete washout however with Hen Harrier, Cuckoo, Snipe and Red Grouse all seen well as were some Red Deer. It was in the afternoon after the rain cleared that the birds of prey suddenly appeared and we got great views of Golden Eagles, White-tailed sea Eagle, Buzzards and a Kestrel. Under the dark clouds of drizzle and high wind we went and did a little Sea watching, we saw Gannets and Kittiwakes, Great Northern Divers and Shags and I saw a pair of Common Terns but they magically disappeared. At coffee break I showed my guests Mulls insect eating plants, Butterwort ( Bog Violet ) and Sundew check out the photos.
May 15th
Today it was windy and a little wet, mainly windy and it made wildlife watching very difficult, the exception being white-tailed sea Eagles which performed admirably, including chick in nest putting in a cameo appearance. We played a game called spot the Buzzard, we have a Buzzard nest and she is incubating eggs but in the cool wind she was sitting so low you could barely see her head above the twigs. A Golden Eagle flew persued by a pair of angry Crows, it gave us a 30 second fly past and vanished, all my guests saw it though. Otter was absent although we spent the greater part of the day searching for one. Red Deer and Seals were seen with Great Northern Divers, Ringed Plover, Lapwing with chicks, Redshank, Dunlin. Linnet and Black Guillemots. You could say we made the most from a difficult day.
May 14th
A few cliches for you today, The calm before the storm, today lovely weather, tomorrow wind and rain forecast. Heard but not seen- Cockoos on todays tour. No mean feat- The two Otters we spotted on todays tour which eventually came close enough to give us very good views. Taken by surprise- From nothing about to a White-tailed Eagle being mobbed by a Hooded Crow in a matter of seconds. It,s there somewhere- The Dipper in this photograph. Over the moon- My guests reaction to the Otters and the White-tailed Eagle. Does Pam ever sleep-Guests comments about Pams Soup, cakes and biscuits.
Dipper spot the
May 13th
A very strange May happening on todays tour 6 White-tailed Sea Eagles in the air together at one spot, this happens sometimes in the Winter but it was first for me in May. 2 Otters were seen and they gave my guests a lot of pleasure as did the Golden Eagle which we had to wait some time for in the cold but it was worth the wait. The Bluebell Wood is spectacular at the moment and more of Mulls flowers are now appearing incuding the fairly rare Mountain Everlasting. Finally I saw my first Terns of the year with 2 Common Terns at Calgary Bay.
Bluebell WoodBluebells
May 12th
Pam did todays tour and I spent time working on our water supply which is in need of rain which  been in short supply lately. On the tour Pam had several White-tailed sea Eagles and a Golden Eagle sitting on the top of a hill not the best Goldie she has seen but a Goldie none the less. Her Otter today was much better giving great views which enthralled her guests for over half an hour. Other notable sightings her first Whinchat of the year, Grey Wagtail and Dipper and her guest were delightfull. We went to the Bellachroy in Dervaig this evening and I had one of the best steaks I have had in a very long time and Pam was really happy with her meal as well.
Grey Wagtail
May 11th
Pam did the tour today as I had a dentist appointment to fit a crown on my tooth, in the event the crown did not fit so it was a case of more plasticine bite down and wait, did you know plasticine does not taste very nice. Pam had a good tour but was somewhat traumatised as one couple had not phoned the evening before and were not at the right pick up point, so she wasted time looking for them and then having to return to pick them up. It was a genuine mistake but it does throw you out for the rest of the day, I know as it has happened to me before. One highlight on the tour she keeps telling me was 2 Lapwings defending a nest from a Hooded Crow, they were so aggressive they won, this time?
May 10th
A cooler and duller day with little wind, perfect for wildlife watching and this was proved once again with a fantastic Otter sighting, in fact 2 Otters and they gave us their all for over half an hour until I almost had to drag my guests away. Golden Eagle sightings were also extremely good as were White-tailed sea Eagles, my guests particularly enjoyed seeing a mother feeding two Chicks with their White heads easily visible above the sides of the nest. We have another Buzzard nest again this year and they have just started sitting on eggs, so we can watch how this developes. Other good sightings today a Dipper and Grey and Pied Wagtails at the same time fabulous. Todays photo is of Dervaig taken from above the villiage on thre Tobermory side from the viewpoint.
Dervaig view
May 9th
The weather was beautiful again if a little cooler and today we saw an Otter not the best I have ever seen but all my guests saw it and were as you might expect delighted. White-tailed Eagle flying and an adult feeding a chick with its little white head poping up towards its mothers beak. 3 Golden Eagles in total today and as always numerous Buzzards or as we call them on Mull 'tourist Eagles'. Red Deer and both types of Seal were seen as was a Greenshank, not often seen on Mull at this time of year.
May 8th
Another glorious day of weather, I was told years ago that May was a good month for weather on Mull but have rarely seen it till this year, a long way to go yet but dare I say it a drop of rain would not go a miss. On todays tour I had a blind man who was really good with knowing his bird calls and songs so I did the tour to give him as many birds as I could which worked very well and he built up a quite decent list. All my guests today were lovely and although we did not see as many of the Mull specialities as usual today they took a lot out of their day and were really kind and understanding that todays tour was and had to be slightly different than usual. Ron was a star as were all my guests today, many thanks to you all.
May 7th
On todays tour-- 5 little Ducks went swimming today down the Loch behind Mum's back, a naughty Gull was keeping track, so mother Duck said Quack Quack Quack--- As the naughty Gull came for a snack---now only 4 little Ducks were behind her back.
Mother Duck & 5Mother Duck & 4
May 6th
A long trip and early morning drive to Iona to try and see a Corncrake, see one, I did not even hear one and there were no different waders on the island either. It was not a complete disaster as there were Linnets galore, my favorite bird and I did manage to get some decent, well for me photos of birds. On my way home I stopped off to look for Redstart, without sucess although I did see and manage one photo of a Wood Warbler, my first of the year. Very early start, 4mile walk and I am now Kna// err very tired. Pam started Sea Swimming again today she to is very tired and cold but happy.
WhimbrelWheatear with
LinnetWood Warbler
May 5th
Pam did todays tour and saw brilliant Eagles, both Golden and White-tailed Sea Eagles but no Otter, it has been a funny week for Otter seen only every other day, Sunday Otter Monday no Otters, Tuesday Otters, Wednesday no Otters, Thursday well you must have got my drift by now. I mowed the lawns but managed a bit of birding as I had to make a journey to Salen and managed to take a picture of this Dipper on the Aros river, it certainly took the mundane out of Lawn mowing.
May 4th
Another super fine day weatherwise and the big stuff played its part with great views of White-tailed Sea Eagles, Red Deer and our best sighting of a Golden Eagle this year. As always on our tours I am so involved with the guests I forget about my camera so todays photo of the day is the lovely Robin below, as I say at the start of our tours we try to show guests all Mulls wildlife and not just the big stuff so the Robin is an example. In case you are wondering we did see Otter today, not the best I have ever had on a tour but certainly not the worst. This evening Pam and I went out to look for little birds and she saw her first Whitethroat of the year. Pam is doing the tour tomorrow whilst I mow the lawns, hows that for a day off????
May 3rd
todays tour was a tale of two halves, the morning great , the afternoon very slow. The weather was beautiful and there was only a slight breeze which made it pleasant to be out. I had 2 new birds for my year list today 4 Dunlin at Dervaig and a Common Whitethroat being harassed by a  Cuckoo, just what it needed after migrating all the way up here. Great Hen Harrier and Golden Eagle in the morning with lots of Red Deer also seen. The afternoon was spent looking for Otter and White-tailed Sea Eagle, Otter we did not see but eventually a White-tail came out and flew over our heads as it went high up on the thermols. Common Seal and Eider Ducks were seen as we ventured back to Tobermory after another successful tour.
DunlinWTSE flying
May 2nd
A birthday treat in our garden today, a Brambling, the first in our garden and I missed it as I was out on another brilliant tour. A White-tailed Sea Eagle so close that one of my guests filled her camera with it, as usual my camera was in the van, an Otter so close we dare not move, my camera in the van, Red Deer really close but as I see them all the time I left my camera in the van. Golden Eagles interacting with Hen Harriers to far away for my camera and finally a very good sighting of a sitting Cuckoo, no photos of any of these sighting but I can still see them in my mind, I know how good these sightings were, what a couple of days I have had on tour.
May 1st
Today was a bird watching day as opposed to an Eagle and Otter watching day which was fine by me as we saw over 50 species of birds on the tour most of them small ones, it helps to have great spotters in the van. My first Whinchat of the year was probably the highlight for me although 31 breeding plumage Golden Plover in a field ran it close. Tree Pipit, Lesser Redpoll, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Whimbrel, Stonechat, Siskins, Manx Shearwaters, the list goes on, what a day. By the way Golden Eagle, White-tailed sea Eagle and Red Deer were also seen but just for today they were the add ons to a brilliant days birding, many thanks to all my guests who were as you may have guessed fantastic. The photos today were taken by me on a short walk across the road from our house.
Bullfinch female
April 2017
April 30th
You know the saying about March coming in like a Lion and out like a Lamb well April was just the opposite it came in like a Lamb but out like a Lion as yesterday the wind was awful even though it was much warmer. The tour started on a very high note with a fantastic sighting of the Golden Plover in breeding plumage at one of our first stops, this was followed at coffee break by 4 White-tailed sea Eagles flying over our heads, my guests were extatic. Apart from some good Red Deer sightings, raptors and Otters were proving difficult until after lunch I spotted an Otter, not the best Otter I have seen because of the very rough water although through the scope it gave good views if you could stand up. The day ended with another Eagle which made my guests day. Other sightings today great Whimbrels, a beautiful Grey Wagtail and a Dipper. Late news our local White-tailed Sea eagle has hatched 2 chicks and our Self catering guests saw both Hen Harrier and Buzzard from our garden this morning and I saw a lovely Redpoll this evening.
Golden Plover
April 29th
Saturday and no tour today as it is change over day in the self-catering and after last night I did not feel up to going out wildlife watching although we did nip down to Dervaig to see the Sedge Warbler. Pam spent the morning cleaning cottages whilst I mowed all three lawns, I have to say they now look a lot better than I feel. I would just like to mention the Hebridian Lodge, thanks to Helen and our waitress for giving us such a fabulous meal and a great evening.
April 28th
 A tour today and we had great views of Golden Eagles and White-tailed Sea Eagles which were what most of our guests wanted to see. I managed to remember to take a few photos today of Eider Ducks, a Whimbrel, a Black Guillemot and a Slow Worm, we also had great sightings of a Yellowhammer and Great Northern Divers. Tonight we are going out with friends to celebrate my birthday so I don't expect to be up for much tomorrow as Pam has offered to drive.

Eider malesWhimbrel
                                                      GuillimotSlow Worm
April 27th
We had to go to Fort William today as our car had had another recall from the manufacturers so it had to go back to the dealership, this was our 3rd recall in little over a year and to put it mildly we are not amused. We did manage a big shop at a large supermarket so it was not a complete wasted journey although the round trip is 125 miles and 4 ferry crossings so although the work was done free it is hardly free when you add up the transport costs and the fact that you cannot do a tour on the day so also lost earnings.
April 26th
Dentist-Root canal treatment that's enough said about today. The dentist was great however.
April 25th
On todays tour if you were out of the wind and not in a shower it was fine, otherwise it was perishingly cold. A slow start which was ok as my guests had seen our close White-tailed Sea Eagle fly over our house as they waited for me to bring the mini-bus out, they also saw our Hen harrier flying along the ridge at the back of the house, I nearly felt redundant. At coffee time however we saw 2 Golden Eagles giving great views a certain first for some of my guests. Red Deer, several Whimbrel, Swallows and Sand Martin were to follow before a White-tailed Eagle was spotted in a tree. As we were looking for an Otter we hears and then spotted a Cuckoo, the first of the year for me and a lifetime first for my guests, see fuzzy picture. After lunch an Otter was seen and my guests were really delighted even though some of them were hypothermic when they got back into the bus. A Hen Harrier was spotted before the end of the day and we confimed hatching of our close WTSE as they were both on the nest with the female feeding young.
Cuckoo fuzzy
April 24th
Batten down the hatches, Winter bit back with a vengeance today, gale force winds from the north brought sleet, hail, rain and snow on the hills, you name it, we got it. No tour today thankfully as it would not have been pleasant out there and I am sure that birds with eggs or chicks were having a terrible time. Our garden was full of birds today looking for food a plenty just to keep warm, Swallows must be wondering if they got their timing all wrong. Hoping for better tomorrow as I do have a tour.
April 23rd
A tour today in cold but dry, breezy conditions, my guests were very keen, good spotters and very good fun so a good day was had by all. Before I mention the wildlife I have to mention Pam, everyone on todays full tour had special praise for the food and the very welcome very hot soup at lunch time and the hot drinks and biscuits and cake at coffee and tea time. Our guests might come for the wildlife but they certainly appreciate the efforts she goes to to help them through some early Spring days when the weather is not very warm and made colder by the wind chill. Todays highlights were White-tailed sea Eagles and a brilliant Hen Harrier and because they were all good spotters we all saw the Golden eagle if it only hung about for a minute or so. Red Deer were seen as were lots of Seal although no Otters seen today but not for lack of trying.
April 22nd
A quiet day wildlife watching as I had to do some fencing on the farm and my mate from next door came and gave me a hand, well he did most of the work and I was his gofor. You know what that intails, gofor the posts, gofor the staples, gofor the hammer, gofor the wire cutters, hit that post but watch my fingers etc. Nick did a great job but as a gofor I was a little slow, put it down to age. On the wildlife front Pam and I went out into our wood to look for the Tree Pipit to photograph, we did not see it but our nearby White-tailed Eagle flew over our heads and as I had the camera I had to take a photo of it, well would'nt you?
WTSE Ardrioch
April 21st
An early visitor to the garden today a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the nut feeder, a lovely way to start the day. Pam and I went down to the Reedbed at Dervaig early this morning and heard our first Sedge Warbler of the year although we could not see it but we did see a Reed Bunting. The early morning cocophony of birdsong with noboby else around was a joy to behold. The photos of the Red Deer and cock Pheasant were taken on our way back from Calgary Bay also this morning. Working on the water supply and lawn mowing for the rest of the day.
Pheasant cockGreat spotted
Red Deer in field
April 20th
A tour today with a lot of low cloud and drizzle although the day kicked off well with a pair of Red Throated Divers and a pair of late staying Goldeneye at our first stop. Sand Martins and a nice Willow Warbler at the next stop and a White-tailed Sea Eagle in a tree seen as the weather deteriorated. At coffee break we saw our first Red Deer of the day, a distant Kestrel and to my complete surprize a Golden Eagle flew and even if it was a brief sighting mainly below the skyline all my guests saw it. The weather closed in for most of the rest of the morning but Common Seal were seen and some nice little birds and more Red Deer. It was in the afternoon that the best sightings of the day were seen as the cloud lifted, we had a great view of a White-tailed Sea Eagle and a fantastic Otter which gave us half an hour of entertainment as it fished, ate, fished, ate, well you get the picture. There are still a lot of Great Northern Divers about coming into breeding plumage and I saw my first Tree Pipit of the day at Ardrioch.
Great-northern Diver
April 19th
A pair of Barn swallows flying over the house this morning will hopefully  be the pair that nest in our shed. At Dervaig this afternoon Pam and I saw our first Common Sandpiper of the year, yes it is the one in the photograph. At Cailaich Point today we saw a White-tailed Sea Eagle harassing a flock of Gulls following a fishing vessel, it had a couple of abortive attempts to catch a gull before eventually succeeding, it was all very exciting for us but not so for the unfortunate Gull, nature in the raw. Todays results White-tailed Eagle 1 Gull 0.
Common Sandpiper
April 18th
Although todays tour was very good with brilliant White-tailed sea Eagles seen as well as Golden Eagles, Red Deer, Seals and much more it was the Otters that took centre stage. A mother and cub Otter were out in the water when an inquizative Common Seal appeared on the scene, the mum Otter took her cub to the safety of high ground but the Seal followed until the Otters disappeared. We moved to another spot where we could look for Eagles but still see where the Otters were last seen. A while later one of my guests saw the Otters again but closer to where we were and as they swam out the Seal reappeared and once again the mum took the cub to higher ground. This time however she turned and faced off the Seal at the waters edge before going into the water to have a go, the Seal moved away but as the mum returned to the cub the Seal turned and came back but did not attempt to climb out of the water. The Otters waited for some time and the Seal lost interest so the Otters hunted in peace for a while before having a snooze. A while later the Seal returned and proceeded to hug the coastline as if it was looking for the Otters, eventually it gave up and went back out to sea. The Otters then went out to a location from where I got my fuzzy photo mum catching a crab as they did so, the cub in the picture is eating the Crab whilst mum has a bit of peace after the traumatic exchange. All of this took place over the period of about an hour and I don't know what the Seals intentions were but it was behaviour I had never seen before and mum Otter was taking no chances.
Otters and
April 17th
I went out this morning and all in all it was very quiet considering for once the weather forecasters had got it right and it was beautiful. I did however hear and see my first Willow Warbler of the year which means the air will soon be full of Willow Warbler song as they arrive en masse. The Yellowhammer at Eas Force has gone missing perhapse its mate did not turn up this year, I wonder why?? This afternoon I weedkilled around the solar panels as I don't want them shaded on the day when the sun comes out. White-tailed Sea Eagles should start hatching chicks any day now and the action will begin.
Willow Warbler
April 16th
Happy Easter
to my readers. I was up at silly o'clock this morning and in Tobermory looking for new birds for my year list and although I could not find the Magpie I did see my first Blackcap of the year in Aros Park. As you get older you are not only wiser??? but you realise that silly o'clock starts mean you are very tired in the late afternoon, this did not happen when I was younger. It is supposed to be a very nice day tomorrow so I have plans, watch out weeds around the Solar Panels I am after you.
April 15th
Pam and I spent the morning doing leaflet drops in and around Tobermory, only Dervaig and Salen to go. No birding today so contented myself with watching  the birds in the garden.
April 14th
A tour today in windy cool conditions with some showers, but it was a very good tour made even better by Karina and Steve who's banter from start to finish brought a warmth to an otherwise cold day. Golden and White-tailed Sea Eagles were their highlight of the day although we did get very good sightings of Common Seal, Red Deer and Fallow Deer. The Otter sighting we had was difficult although my guests all saw it briefly as it hid in the seaweed, this particular Otter has a habit of doing this but it was the only one we saw today. The Hen Harrier sighting was at the same time as 2 of our Golden Eagles were showing off and guess which birds my guests wanted to see most. My sighting of the day was of a pair of Bullfinches for Pam who was on the tour with me and they were her first of the year and she did not see them at all last year. To our guests amusment I got a kiss for that sighting.
April 13th
No tour today and so I thought I would mow one of the lawns but the rain had other ideas so Pam and I went to Cailaich Point after she had baked more biscuits for tours. At Cailaich we saw Lapwing, Razorbills, Guillimots, our first Manx Shearwaters of the year and 2 spectacularly close Gannets, no camera of course. This afternoon it had dried up somewhat enabling me to mow the lawn. This evening we went looking in our local area at suitable Short Eared Owl territories and found one giving us some great views, I had a camera this time but all you can see are its eyes in some pictures and the good one was more than fuzzy as Alan Spellman would say. I took some Red Deer photos as we travelled round so they will have to be photo of the day. Spot the Short-eared Owl below, Arthur says he might enter it for the Country File calander competition!
Red Deer behind the
Short-eared Owl
                                              spot theChaffinches in the
April 12th
Today could be described as windy and somewhat cool, very windy and at times cold if you were not wearing the right clothing. Apart from a very good female Hen Harrier sighting in the morning and a brilliant Golden Eagle sighting at lunchtime the other sightings were brief or partial as everything was keeping their heads down. We did see a White-tailed Sea Eagle on its nest although it was only a head and shoulder view, distant Red Deer including stags and an Otter which we waited out. When spotted it did not give us great views but toyed with us by nipping out, catching a fish before hiding out of sight to eat. It would briefly appear again catch a fish then disappear again to eat, very annoying but at least all my guests got to see it. The days real highlight was the female Sparrowhawk in our garden which killed, plucked and ate a Rock Dove in front of the self caterers window and they got the whole episode on video. At the time of writing she has 3 Rock Doves to her name, Red Baron watch out????
one for us oldies there.

April 11th
It never rains but what it pours and that saying could not have been more applicable to todays weather, it poured down for most of the day. I had no tour today and I have to say I was not that worried given the conditions, so I contented myself watching the birds in the garden. The highlight bird was a Sparrowhawk that came and sat in a tree outside our office window obvously sheltering from the rain but also checking out for any unwary little birds that might be about. I did get a photo but it was partially hidden by branches.
Sparrowhawk hiding 
April 10th
A tour today and it was another belter, although it was very cold and windy with occasional showers the group were really up for it and always got out of the bus to brave the elements. We started with Gulls at Dervaig with all the Mull specialities to compare with each other at close range. At Dervaig we saw about 12 species and nutty Yellowhammer and Red Deer apart nothing much else till coffee break. It was at coffee time the most fantastic action happened, a juvenile white-tailed Sea Eagle was seen for several minutes before a Golden Eagle and Buzzard were seen together at the same time. I thought that this was fairly good when we spotted a Peregrine Falcon someone in the party thought there were 2 Peregrines but when I saw it I realised it was a male Hen Harrier and it gave us a great view hunting the hill in front of us. Some guests said they could go home now as they had seen it all but as the words were still in the air a Sparrowhawk flew in to join the party. A lot more Eagles were seen during the day and I added Swallow and Red Throated Diver to my year list but in true Springwatch fashion it was not until afternoon tea time till we found an Otter. We watched the Otter for about half an hour getting fantastic views, then frozen solid we clambered back into the bus and went home, my guests were more than happy with their day out and I was happy for them. Now for a hot bath and a cup of hot tea. By the way no photos today as I was so enthralled with the action I forgot to take any pictures however I missed none of the action trying to capture the action, it is all in my head and is a day I will never forget.
April 9th
Today was good for me as it was a small bird day, my favorites, they may be harder to see but this is the time to look for them as there are no leaves on the trees. A lot of little birds are really worth looking at, take the little brown job in the photo below, a Sand Martin, often overlooked as its cousins the Swallows and House Martins are more noticable with thier blue , white and red colouring although the Sand Martin is a smart bird in its own right, cute, quirky and very vocal in flight. Today I got two new Mull list birds, both small ones, Bullfinch and my personal favorite bird the Linnet and there were 4 of them but not hanging around long enough for a photo
April 8th
I had a nice surprise at the head of Loch Cuin today with 4 Black-tailed Godwits in partial breeding plumage, they were a lovely sight to see. At one of our regular tour stops there was a female Otter with a half grown cub, with a bit of luck they should be their for most of the Summer. A Buzzard was building a new nest and if they breed that should be another nest we can watch this Summer. All in All a good reconnoitre tour out to set us up for the season.
Black-tailed Godwits
April 7th
A quiet day today after the big day out yesterday although I did manage to get out for a short time between working on our water supply and managed to get this nice photo of a male Wheatear sitting on the heather. I went as far as Eas force where I got another unscheduled Mini-Bus inspection, after several minutes of paying particular attention to the the Windows, Window Wipers and Wing Mirrors the Yellowhammer seemed more than satisfied.
WheatearYellowhammer on bus
April 6th
A day out with friends and what a day we had, Red Deer stags which our friends Pete and Jenny always like to see started off the day and then White-tailed Eagles were seen well as were a few Great Northern Divers. We had Coffee near a Heronry and the calls of the Herons were not exactly in tune. Just after coffee we saw a lovely Reed Bunting our first of the year and we then enjoyed the lovely scenic views and a special sighting of a male Hen Harrier hunting until we reached our destination. We went for a walk before lunch seeing Wild Goats and having great views of Golden Eagles if a little distant. We reached the beach we were aiming for and just enjoyed the wonderfull peace and quiet as we were the only people there. We watched the amusing antics of some very busy Turnstones until it was time to return to the van for lunch. On our way home we had a fantastic sighting of a mother and cub Otter hunting along the shoreline completely oblivious to our presence as we remained in the vehicle. This evening we had a lovely evening at the Am Birlinn Restaurant which is local to us and serves very good locally sourced food.
Reed Bunting PLWild Goat
Mushroom RockGolden Eagle distant

April 5th
I went to Tobermory this morning for a walk in Aros Park although I saw nothing new in the way of birds for the year the dawn chorus was beautiful to hear. On the hearing front I did hear the Magpie today but it was behind a house and I could not find the damn thing. I did find my first Chiffchaff of the year today and 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles as well as some impressive Red Deer Stags. Pam had a Lesser Redpoll in the garden today which I missed which she will not let me forget, the sooner I see one the better.
April 4th
My first tour of the year was a belter, A fantastic Otter seen without disturbance at very close quarters, so close even I got a decent photo. Golden Eagles having an argy bargy around a nest site as a juvenile had strayed to close to the nest, 4 Goldies in total seen today. Did I mention the fantastic Otter sighting? White-tailed Eagle being mobbed by 2 Buzzards showing very good size comparison, it was like seeing a Wren take on a Crow, how can we mistake a Buzzard for an Eagle given the size disparity, but we do. We had a fabulous Otter sighting today, have I mentioned that? Some of last years visitors might remember the nutty Yellowhammer at Eas Force Waterfall, well its back and in full vehicle attack mode. Finally on what was a really special day at least 4, yes, that's four Mountain (Irish) Hares in a field, on normal tours might have proved the highlight of the dayexcept that today we had a Stupendous Otter or did I mention that earlier?
Otter 1Otter 2
Otter 3Otter 4
Mountain HaresYellowhammer
April 3rd
A very wet day and as I have my first tour of the year tomorrow I took the mini-bus for out for a surprise, you have probably guessed, I took it to the car wash in Tobermory. Thinking it was a £1 a minute and as always not checking first I put in £6, only to find it was a £1 every 3 minutes so it got an 18 minute clean. My guests tomorrow will be most impressed how clean the bus is, oh, oh it is still raining, dirty puddles on the road, you can hardly tell the bus has been cleaned, never mind the idea was sound and you can't win them all.
April 2nd
A lovely day to go sea watching from Cailaich Point, so Pam and I with a couple of friends Pete and Jenny who are staying with us trecked up to the point this morning. We saw all the main Auks, Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Razorbills and much to my surprise 2 Puffins, Gannets, Fulmar and Kittiwakes were also seen along with Shags and Great Northern Divers and on our way back to the car we saw a pair of Shelducks and a wheatear. Really the only birds missing from sea watching from Mull were Manx Shearwaters & Skuas, this only means we have to go again later in the month when maybe Pam will get her Whales and or Dolphins.
April 1st
Summer must be on the way as on a day round the block doing chores I spied, well I could'nt reall miss it, the Hebridian Princess mored off Ulva, the first cruise ship of the year. A Common Seal obviously not doing chores relaxing on an almost submerged Island with only a Great Black backed Gull for company made me smile, as did the Male Shelduck which flew past me before landing at Lagganulva Bay. Remember the song Mellow Yellow, well that could be Mull at the moment, this years Daffodils are spectacular, the yellow Gorse is at its best and of course my favorites the gorgeous Primroses. Spring is here and its not fooling anybody.
Hebridean PrincessCommon Seal & GBB
PrimrosesPied Wagtails
March 2017
March 31st
Back to the dentist for Pam and I went to Tobermory with her to try unsuccessfully to find the Magpie. It rained heavily last night and through most of today so birding was at somewhat of a premium although It makes you more grateful for what you do see. An example is the two Pied Wagtails seen at Dervaig on a very high tide and the Heron , Greylag Goose and Mute Swan seen at Salen, nothing out of the ordinary but just great to see anyway.
Heron, Greylag Goose
                                              & Common SealShellduck
March 30th
A day out with friends from North to South Mull and we saw 66 bird species and 4 Mammals in the day. Bird highlights included the illusive White Fronted Geese, 4 Common Scoter, 4 Twite, several Skylarks, A single Gannet and a single Razorbill. A few White-tailed Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, a summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe, 3 Pink Footed Geese and my first Wheatear and Sand Martin of the year. Otter and Red Deer were seen well and we ended a fantastic day at the Hebridian Lodge at Baliscate, Tobermory for an exceptional evening meal.
March 29th
This is a blog of my return from Cheshire where I have been staying with my son and daughter-in law and 2 of my grandchildren , one of which is 6 months old and they are trying to sleep train him, this is for all my readers but mainly Blake and Sheila. I was trying to get to sleep before my journey home but the baby would not stop Crying (Roy Orbison) so I got up and Drove all night (Cyndi Lauper) to get home to my lovely wife Pamela Pamela (Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders) . Back Home ( England World Cup Squad 1970) there were Voices in the sky ( Moody Blues) as the birds in our garden sang to welcome me home and there was Sally, our dog also rushing to welcome me home Who let the dogs out (Baha Men). It is nice to be Home Again naturally (Gilbert O'sullivan) to see Pam but now I'm so Tired (the Beatles) I need to catch up on my slumbers. So it's to bed for me where I go to sleep ( The Pretenders).
March 21st to 28th
I have to return to Cheshire as my Dad is not getting any better so I will not be blogging again this month, I hope to start again in April, Sorry. Pam will be left at home to hold the fort and take bookings.
March 14th to  20th
We have spent the last week in Cheshire as my dad has been hospitalised again and is not at all well. We arrived home this evening to the news that Mull is to get a covering of snow tomorrow, Oh joy, still Richie our son and Sheetal and their children have come up to visit so it isn't all bad news. I will update you on the wildlife situation tomorrow if I  can get out.
March 13th
A BlackThroated Diver in partial breeding plumage, this is a real treat for us. Two year firsts for me on Mull today Lesser Black-backed Gull and Kittiwakes at Cailaich Point and 2 Mistle Thrushes in our garden, the first in the garden this year. We saw some friends who visit Mull each year when we were out and about today, another sign of Spring when regular guests to Mull start arriving. One other sign of spring seen today were our first calves of the year also seen at Cailaich Point.
Black-throated DiverLesser Black Backed
Highland Cows and
                                              calfHighland Cow suckling
March 12th
Spring is in the air and this was brought home to me as dawn broke this morning. I opened the door to let our dog out and was met with a cocophony of sound, my first real dawn chorus of the year. I just stood there enthralled at the beautiful sounds I was hearing and the picture that was enfolding in front of my eyes as the light appeared after its overnight slumbers, It makes you feel good to be alive. We had a large Toad in the garden this morning, another sign of Spring, as are our Daffodills, we nearly have a host of golden ones. Britain is known as a nation who like to queue, well so do our Rock Doves, the ones on the power lines are queueing, waiting for me to feed the birds, they eat us out of house and home.
Rock Doves on the
DaffodilsDaffodils more
March 11th
Any readers who a little prudish don't read on. Today we watched as two Golden Eagles gave us a lovely view as the flew harmoniously around the top of a hill. Then pulling in her wings the larger female landed and suveyed her territory as the male continued his impressive flight. Suddenly the male also landed on the back of the female and copulation took place in front of our eyes, a priviledge to see and not at all voyeuristic, just right place, right time. The male then stood alongside the female with a satisfactory look on its face. Later we saw an adult White-tailed Sea Eagle being mobbed by a Great Black-backed Gull. Lots of other wildlife seen including a Peregrine Falcon but the Eagles were the highlights.
Golden Eagle pair
                                                at top of hillWTSE & GBB
March 10th
Sometimes when you go out and don't see Eagles and Otters it is not always a dissapointing day as it makes you look and consider more the wildlife you do see. Today this was brought home to me when I saw 3 Goosanders, one male and two females, all in beautiful breeding plumage. I could have, however I didn't, take a photograph as I had time and inclination to stop and admire these glorious ducks, often overlooked as they are just ducks, although in breeding plumage a special almost exotic sight.
March 9th
It is not very scientific but I can reveal that at Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig on the Isle of Mull our Solar Panels in the last year produced 3.2% less electric than in 2015 which might prove that although it was warmer in 2016 it was slightly less sunny. No birding today as I took the Mini-Bus for its annual council test which it passed. I then worked on my water supply in readiness for our son the water expert (Heating Engineer) to come and organise us for the up coming season. Picture of our son Richie, back in the day!
                                      back in the day
March 8th
A very wet morning which I spent looking at our garden birds and counted a record number of Goldfinches, 22 at one time, there were also at least 73 Chaffinches. As the weather improved in the afternoon we went for a walk with Sally, our Sheltie. On the walk we saw lots of pools of water with Frogspawn in them, the photo below shows one of the better ones. Nearing our car on our return we saw a hunting Hen Harrier back on breeding territory, the first time I have seen one here since the snow storm that put a stop to them breeding here last year. A bit of good news for this endangered breeding bird in Britain. Pam took a photo of our regular Treecreeper today, see if you can spot it? it is there I promise.
FrogspawnTreecreeper spot the
March 7th
As I was watching the birds in the garden this morning I noticed a beautiful male Yellowhammer appear from behind the Daffodils, of course the camera wasn't handy so I had to go and find it. Finding things in our house is a usual occurance as I have a tendency of putting things down anywhere. When I had found the said camera of course the bird was gone, but no, there it was on the seed feeder and I did get a resonable photo, on checking the photo I noticed Mrs Yellowhammer was also in the shot, then it occured to me he had taken her out for mothers day. Note to all male readers the day is fast approaching, for your own sakes Don't forget March 26th.
Yellowhammers on
March 6th
Today we took all our neccessary paperwork to the council offices in Tobermory to be scanned so that our mini-bus inspection can go ahead as planned on Thursday, then we are geared up for the start of the season. With the coming of the longer days one or two White-tailed Eagles will have started laying eggs, also though Winter birds are still with us and Pam and I went to a night roost for Great Northern Divers this evening and counted at least 55 birds in total and they were still arriving when it was getting to dark to see properly. This was a fantastic sight and in its own way but different to a Starling murmeration, lots of the same species seen together in the wild at the same time. The photo shows the first group of 9 birds which were there when we first arrived.
GN Diver roost
March 5th
I had to rely on my garden birds for my wildlife fix today as I was still a bit off colour but with 18 species of birds visiting daily at the moment this was no great hardship. Species seen today, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Siskins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Robins, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Treecreepers, Jays, Starlings, Hooded Crows, Yellowhammers, House Sparrows, Rock Doves and Collared Doves.
March 4th
A trip around the block today and a good Otter sighting catching and eating fish. It was a good day for Mammals as I saw both types of Deer and both types of Seal as well as the Otter. I spent the afternoon watching sport on the TV as I was feeling under the weather.
March 3rd
I went out for a short drive this afternoon and stopped to look at our local White-tailed Sea Eagle nest and both birds were there one on either side of the nest like two sentries on duty. Red Deer on the hill at the rear of our house and Yellowhammers in the garden were other highlights today. I am seeing more Shelducks now a sure sign that Spring is fast approaching and Snipe numbers at Dervaig although still high are less than they were.
March 2nd
In our garden this morning I counted 18 Goldfinches, this is a record count of this species in the garden and the photograph is of just one of them. I also took a photograph of our 2 resident Hooded crows and although they have evil habits you have to admit they are a very smart bird.
Goldfinch in the
                                                gardenHooded Crows in the
March 1st
I had to take the mini-bus to the garage in Tobermory today for its annual service and its first MOT? it passed. I did little in the way of wildlife watching but I heard it through the grapevine that there were Orcas seen off Cailaich Point today, the story of my life you can't be in two places at the same time. An unusual comment for my blog, Moles Mull Moles must be really hard as the top soil does not go down very far and judging by the number of Mole hills on Mull they still seem to be thriving here.
February 2017
Feb 28th
Today was one of those days when Mull is seen at its best, yes it was cold but with only a breeze it was very pleasant and the views were spectacular, a great day to be out and about. I was enthralled by a Golden Eagle today flying head on into the wind as if to say this is my space and for a while I shared it with him. The problem I had were the Lapwings with their iredescent colouring on special view with the sun on their backs on the opposite side of the road to the Eagle. I then saw my first Pied Wagtail on Mull this year. My cup runneth over.
Ben MoreUlva and Gometra gap
Eigg and
                                              Ardnamurchan Lighthouse
Rhum, Muck and
A mainly beautiful day and I saw the Sparrowhawk fly through the garden disturbing the peace of all the birds enjoying the weather and in full voice wecoming a sign of Sprig weather. Down on the Lochside were Goosander, a flock of Wigeon and 3 Greenshank and a small party of Red Deer on the hillside. A White-tailed Sea Eagle lazily flew past and the 2 Jays put in an appearance. I had a couple of friends visiting today and it was good to catch up with them.
A long walk with Sally in the rain brought little in the way of wildlife although Siskins were back in the garden today and a beautiful Yellowhammer put in an appearance. Pam busy down in Cheshire helping our son and Daughter-in law prpare to move into their new house tomorrow.
Feb 25th
Today I had a fantastic view of a Golden Eagle, it took me by complete surprise as it was in an area I have not seen Goldies for srveral years and the last time they were there was due to disturbance in their traditional territory. Another bird which reappeared today was our Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden, it to was on a feeder I had not seenit on before and so I almost missed it. I think we are in for a dry Summer as I cannot imagine it can keep raining this much for that much longer.
Feb 24th
A monsoon is expected this afternoon so I went out for the morning covering one of our tour routes in just three hours, it normally takes seven. In the time I was out I saw 46 bird species and 4 types of mammal. The mammal species seen were Red Deer everywhere, recently we have struggled to find Red Deer but today it was no trouble at all. Both types of Seal were seen and a very hungry Otter devouring fish as if it had not eaten for days. White-tailed Sea Eagles, Buzzards and Kestrels were the only birds of prey seen but I was overwhelmed with Waders, the pick of which were Turnstone, BarTailed Godwits and Ringed Plovers. Ducks seen were Wigeon, Shelduck, Mallard, Red Breasted Mergansers and some beautiful Teal.
Pam saw the 2 Jays in the garden again this morning, she said they were making an awful racket.
Teal trioWTSE Juv on spit
Feb 23rd
A short trip around the local area with Pam and we saw 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 2 flying and 2 others around a nest site. Quite close to home we saw 3 Red Deer and I even managed to take a photo of one of them. The best sighting of the trip however was of a field full of Skylarks, a quick count prodeced between 45 and 50 birds in the flock all together, it was quite a spectacle. The good news from this sighting is that in spite of all the wind, rain, sleet and snow, Spring is just around the corner.
View from Ardrioch
                                              after snowRed Deer in the
Feb 22nd
A six mile walk through Aros Park almost to the end of the double road and back brought little in the way of wildlife except for a White-tailed Sea Eagle. On the other hand it did a lot in the way it tired out Sally who did nothing but sleep this afternoon, It has to be said that Pam and I did not do much either. It is difficult for me to admit Pam is fitter than me now, she puts it down to pilates, I put it down to me being older but that will never change. I did take a couple of photo's on the walk as some of the views were delightful and I needed the rest.
Waterfall Aros ParkView from Aros Park
View from Aros
                                              Park church

Feb 21st
The weather was driech, windy and feeling cold but intrepid as I am I went out this morning and the first thing that I noticed was that White-tailed Sea Eagles were at their nest sites, this is not that unusual as they start laying eggs in early March. Another bird which we see more of in late February early March are Mistle Thrushes and this morning was no exception with 9 in a field near Killiechronan. I just missed a male Hen Harrier at Lagganulva but was showed a photo of it taken by a visitor just before I arrived. Remember the TV programme Bullseye? this is what I could have seen. Drat and double drat, more tomorrow.
Mistle ThrushWTSE in the rain
Feb 20th
Another mixed day weatherwise but I did manage a short time out wildlife watching and had two highlights, the first a Golden Eagle just flying into a strong breeze and just seeming to be imobile as it used the wind to dry through its wings. Secondly a group of Waders with counts of 27 Lapwings and 25 Curlews and several Oystercatchers, this is my favorite type of birding as I really like Wading birds. I took the Mini-Bus to Tobermory this morning to have stickers put on the new rear door.
Golden Eagle
                                              SilhouetteCurlew & Lapwing
Feb 19th
It is that time of year again when we have to start getting ready for our visitors. Pam has to spring clean the self-catering cottages and making sure they are equipped for all guests needs, we had the fire extinguishers all checked last week and we will be putting new batteries in all our fire alarms. I am getting the mini-bus serviced, washed, valeted and having it inspected by the council garrage in preparation for the new season. We still don't know why the council have to inspect the vehicle other than to show you have all the relevent paper work, licence, tax and insurance etc. We had a Hen Harrier fly over the garden today and Pam disturbed a Woodcock when she went to the compost heap. New birds in the garden today 3 Starlings, hardly a murmeration.
Feb 18th
Today the weather was pretty awful, low cloud, drizzle and heavy rain. It reminded me of this poem a Mull visitor sent to the Oban Times a few years ago, so for those of you who don't know it here it is.

It rained and rained, rained and rained - the average was well maintained,
When our fields were simply bogs-It started raining cats and dogs.
Then after a break of half an hour-there came a most refreshing shower.
And then the queerest thing of all-a gentle rain began to fall.

Next day was fairly dry-save for a deluge from the sky.
This wetted people to the skin-but after that the rain set in.
We wondered what's the next we'd get-as sure as fate we got more wet.
But soon we'll have a change again-and we shall have a drop of rain.     no wildlife watching today????

Feb 17th
Isn't birding wonderfull, sometimes you go out and see very little and other times you go out and see lots, well today was the former for me, yes I saw 48 species of bird but only one real wow moment and that was a male Hen Harrier which I drove p, wo wow moments, firstly a fabulous sighting of a sitting Barn Owl and then a Red Deer crossed the road in front of us and at the same time a mouse ran across the road and at the same time a Frog hopped across the road, a three in one view and that was a wow moment.
Feb 16th
Not a lot to report today as it rained all morning and I had to clear up after the builder this afternoon so I only had a short time out and about. The local pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles were sitting above their refurbished nest this evening and we saw the Kingfisher again at Dervaig. ThIs year in Chinese New Year terms must be the year of the Snowdrop, I have never seen so many since I came to live on Mull and there must be twice as many as usual in our garden.
Snowdrops and SallySnowdrops
Feb 15th
We had some unexpected and uninvited guests through the garden last night, yes the Red Deer had returned causing Sally our dog to go mental, at 1am when in a deep sleep, I was in the words of Queen Victoria " not amused." I counted 6 Deer in total through the light of my tourch and so this morning Pam and I went round our perimiter fence to find where they had got in. With the help of Sally this did not take long and after checking they had all gone out the same way I spent the afternoon Fixing the hole where the Deer got In, one for Sheila and Blake in there somewhere, oh, and that's another one and thats all from todays West Coast Story. Slighty contrived but it is what we were up to today.
Feb 14th
On a tour today in windy conditions gusting towards gale force and feeling very cold. During the day we saw 4 Golden Eagles, 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles, numerous Buzzards and Kestrels and a very close Merlin. Mammals seen included 3 Otters, some Common Seals and Red Deer, my guests were really pleased with the Otters as one was fairly close and the other two gave us great views as they played together both in and out of the water. By the end of the day we were ready to warm up as the bitingly cold wind was reaching parts other winds cannot reach even though we were all dressed correctly for the conditions.(Sorry, todays photo's are a bit fuzzy wuzzy due to the bright sun, Arthur takes all his photo's on automatic so he doesn't cater for adverse weather conditions, he just points and shoots! - Pam)
Otter fuzzy wuzzyWTSE's at Gribbon

Feb 13th
A bright, windy day and just a quick drive round the block as there were jobs to be done. There were 26 Wigeon Ducks at the head of Loch Cuin an unusually high for this species here. As well as the usual Redshanks and Greenshanks there were 25 Snipe, not a record count for me but very close. Not a lot else to report on the trip except for a very good view of a Black Throated Diver near Calgary Bay, sometimes it is not the quantity of birds seen but the quality. We had 2 Jays in the garden together this morning, the first time we have had 2 in at the same time.
Jay above nut
Feb 12th
We went for a meal in Tobermory last night with friends and on our way home we saw 2 Long Eared Owls, this is only the second time I have seen this Owl since coming to live on Mull 17 years ago. Today we went for a shorter walk than yesterday to the Salmon hatchery and found a first year Glaucous Gull amongst all the other Gulls at the outfalls another first for me on Mull this year. On the walk we saw a White-tailed Eagle flying in the distance and at Loch Na Keal there were plenty of Ducks to be found as well as the Gulls, Starlings, Turnstones, Redshanks and Hooded Crows. On the drive back home we found some Fallow Deer in the woods and later saw a close Golden Eagle flying along a ridge, all in all another good day in great weather.
Glaucous GullFallow Deer
Ben Talaidh
Feb 11th
A stroll with Sally our dog would a lovely way to enjoy this lovely sunny calm day I told Pam, to which she whole heartedly agreed, so off we set to Loch Frisa. STROLL, THIS WAS A ROUTE MARCH, very enjoyable if you want to keep fit as my heart has not pumped that hard since I can't remember when. Sally, our dog started off with a smile on her face but was very soon giving me quizzical looks as if to say what's going on? The return walk was more leisurely, it needed to be or else the over stretched health service might have had to be called in. We had an amusing sight of a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles being attacked by a Kestrel, punching above his weight methinks. A fabulous male Hen Harrier huntng a ridge, worth the walk in itself, several Buzzards and views to die for. This afternoo ZZZzzzzzzzzzz and not a lot else??????
Tree on Loch Frisa
Feb 10th
After yesterdays big day out we stayed close to home today,  Pam suggested a walk which sounded ok until she also thought it would be a good idea if we took some bags and picked up the litter from the side of the road between our house and the Torloisk turn about 2 thirds of a mile. Do you know how much litter you can pick up in 2 thirds of a mile? A van boot full thats what, yes we had to go and fetch the van and boxes to put all the rubbish in. Why can,t people take their rubbish home? It is know wonder that sheep are lame or ill with the amount of broken bottles and plastic crisp packets we picked up. On the wildlife front our pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles seem to be making themselves at home and there were more Redshank at Dervaig today joining the Greenshanks and 22 Snipe but as a treat there was also a Grey Wagtail which was a very pleasant surprise.
Feb 9th
A dry cold breezy day and a day out with friends Andy and Helen Mortley wildlife artists from Frachadil House near Calgary, check out their artwork it is amazing. The day took us along the West coast of Mull and right down to the Ross and yes, today one of the first birds we saw was a Golden Eagle and it gave us a super view for several minutes before closing its wings and diving down towards its nest site. I managed 2 new birds for my Mull year list, Jackdaw and Skylarks, we saw 18 Skylarks at Fidden and a large flock of 700+ Starlings here as well, the largest flock of Starlings I have ever seen on Mull.
Otter eating large
                                              fishOtter shaking off
Ringed Plovers by
                                              the water
Rooks, fiels ofBen More snow peaked
Feb 8th
A cold sunny day and the birds in our garden were looking spectacular in their shiny new plumage looking its best with the sunshine on it, I think the Blue Tits look particulaly stunning. At the end of the Loch at Dervaig this afternoon it was the Little and large show, just beyond the Salmon trap for readers who know the spot was a Little Grebe nearby was a large White-tailed Sea Eagle on the smallest rock it could find to stand on, it looked precariously balanced. Closer in the Bay were 5 Redshank, 2 Oystercatchers and a count of 15 very industrious Snipe.
Feb 7th
A dull damp day but I still went out on reconoitre for this years tours and saw 50 species of bird and 4 mammals, unfortunately due to the adverse conditions I did not see any Golden Eagles but I was fortunate to see a couple of Mulls rarer species in Whooper Swans and Common Scoters. There were lots of Great Northern Divers and Slavonian Grebes I also saw most of Mulls Wader species including Turnstone and Golden Plover. Redwing and Fieldfares were seen as were White-tailed Sea Eagles and a Hen Harrier hunting a hillside as I was searching for Golden Eagles. Red Deer were plentiful today and both types of Seal were seen in the water not on land it was too cold for basking but mammals of the day were a mum and cub Otter, they took some finding but worth the cold just to see them.
Whooper SwanGreat-northern Diver
Feb 6th
A garden bird day with Siskins now appearing in growing numbers, Treecreepers everyday if you are on the lookout for them and the Great Spotted Woodpeckers are now regular visitors. I counted 9 Goldfinches and 9 Greenfinches in the garden at the same time but this is minute numbers compared to the number of Chaffinches we get. Coal Tits, Blue Tits and Great Tits are feeding up fast to combat the wet weather we have been getting lately. If you get the chance to see a Dunnock in your gardens please take a good look at this often overlooked little bird, it might not be the brightest bird in the garden but is worth a good look as it is quite a character in its own right.
Feb 5th
Today was all about waders, with large flocks of Lapwing, Curlews and Oystercatchers at Lagganulva Bay. It was wonderful to see them all at high tide in beautiful sunshine. We saw 14 Snipe at Dervaig and a couple of Redshank here as well, the Snipe were all probing for food as if they had not eaten for a week. Red Deer on hilltops and 3 more White-tailed Sea eagles were seen but I had to get home to watch Manchester City just get a last gasp win over Swansea on Sky television.
Lapwing and StarlingHeron on a rock
Feb 4th
A walk to the fish farm with Pam and Sally our dog and we saw 5 juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagles which disturbed all the other birds on and around the end of Loch Na Keal. A Golden Eagle was flying over the hills in the distance, master of all it surveyed. The ducks, particularly the Goldeneyes, were resplendent in their breeding plumage, then two Shelducks flew in. Two other birds of note today were a Dipper on Loch Cuin near us at Ardrioch and the Carrion Crow still visible at the Knock sewage outfalls.
Feb 3rd
Returned home and this is a photo taken from Oban, withthe hills of Mull in the background.
Oban looking
                                                towards Mull


car parking
passing places
1.     Do not park in passing places – It is an offence and you could be fined. 
2.     Allow overtaking, (use your rear view mirrors) – it is illegal not to let a faster vehicle past you within 4 passing places or when it is safe to do so.
3.   When meeting on coming traffic always pull into the left, When the passing place is on your right, stop opposite the passing place and let the on-coming vehicle use the passing place to go round you. Going into passing places on your right may cause an accident.
4.    If you have just passed a passing place, reverse back into the passing place and then the vehicle coming towards you can pass safely. Avoid going off onto the verges at it can ruin the road edges and verges which then cost a lot to maintain and could seriously damage your vehicle.
5.  Remember not all road users are on holiday many are going about their daily business and that speeding vehicle could be a doctor or vet going to an emergency.

dog walking
and sheep

1. When walking on the hills keep dogs on a lead particularly between March to June which is the peak lambing period. Sheep run away from strange dogs even if they don’t chase them and lambs can lose their mothers in this way and become more vulnerable to predation.
2. Avoid going near cattle with calves as mothers are very protective of their young and will often attack strange dogs.
3. Do not to let your dogs disturb wildlife, particularly ground nesting birds. It is an offence not to control your dog.
4. From August, to October first check whether Deer stalking is operating on any hills on the day you intend to walk them.
5. Do not pick up lambs that you think are injured or lost – please report it to the nearest farmer you see and they will take care of it, in most cases mothers are able to find their own lambs.


Photographers are now one of the main causes of wildlife disturbance on Mull. Knowingly disturbing wildlife is an offence against the wildlife and country act and ignorance of the act is not an acceptable excuse.
We encourage photographers and  many join us on our tours, we do however promote good use of field craft and keep disturbance to an absolute minimum. 
Digi-scoping is used for most of the pictures that we post on our web site as this allows us to take photographs at a distance and does not disturb the wildlife.
A government issued license is required to get close to eagles and other protected birds and wildlife.
Please practise the Countryside code and then you and your dogs can enjoy everything Mull has to offer in complete harmony with landowners, farmer’s animals and wildlife

Pam & Arthur Brown
Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig
Isle of Mull
Argyll, PA75 6QR
Mail box
01688 400415
07780 600367

This is the web site of Pam & Arthur Brown, Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig, Isle of Mull. PA75  6QR