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Arthur's Mull Bird List 2018

If you wish to join us on one of our tours book early to avoid disapointment, we hope to see many previous guests in our final year.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the guests who have come out with us in the 18 years that Discover Mull Wildlife tours has been operating.

The Discover Mull Wildlife tour business is for sale for use from 15th July 2019
Note we will still be offering self-catering accommodation at Ardrioch Farm.
 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
Arthurs Blog can now be found on our self-catering web site for continuity for our regular readers please change to this link.
May 2019
May 3rd
A tour today in cool windy conditions with both types of Eagles seen well, a brief Otter sighting, both Fallow and Red Deer and both types of Seal. Whinchat and Dunlin were seen which were two birds Sue one of my guests really wanted to see. The Highland Cows and calves were a highlight for some of my guests as was the lovely Bluebell wood in the picture below.
This will be the last blog for a while as Pam is going down south as we have an emergency in the family and she is needed to help look after Grandchildren and is taking the computer with her but hopefully things will return to normal as soon as possible.  Arthur will be at home and continue with the tours we have already booked.

Bluebell WoodWTSE
May 2nd
A lovely day for a tour although it got a bit colder later in the day. We saw several Golden Eagles and White-tailed Sea Eagles in one location they were flying together and interacting giving my guests a great chance to see the differences between the two species. 2 seperate Otters were also seen although one was quite distant. My guests enjoyed seeing the new migrant and passage birds including Whimbrel, see photo below, Wheatear and Common Sandpipers appearing everywere and we now have more Whinchats joining their resident cousins the Stonechat. Finally Willow Warblers, we don't see many but they certainly let you know they are there with their constant singing.
May 1st
A trip with Pam and Lucy to Iona to try and see a Corncrake, they should have started to arrive but nobody had reported any so it was a bit of a shot in dark. On our way across to Iona on the ferry Pam spotted a couple of Common Terns, my first of the year and the first reported on Mull this year. On Iona no sound of Corncrake near the Abbey or around the fire station so we decided to go to the beaches on the north of the island. On our walk we saw lots of little birds including Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Wheatear and Linnet as well as Rooks and Jackdaws. At the gate at the end of the road Pam thought she had heard a Corncrake, I on the other hand hadn't and as I have better hearing we went on. Then we both heard the distinct sound of a Corncrake and the rest as they say is history, check out the photigraphs. Another Mull first for Pam and I this year, we were really pleased and then a Merlin appeared chasing small birds another Arthur first of the year, the day was going spectacularly well.On our way back to the ferry we saw a pair of Twite a first for Pam this year and on our way back to Ardrioch we found a Tree Pipit a bird that had been eluding us this last week and Pam at last got her Common Whitethroat. Lastly Lucy loved her time on Iona, not sure about the ferry journey though.
CorncrakeCorncrake 2
Pam and Lucy leaving Iona on
                                  ferrySkylark on Iona
April 2019
29th and 30th April
No tours so Pam and I have been catching up on more new arrivals including, Black Tailed Godwit, Whinchat and Blackcap. We also caught up with, at last, a Short Eared Owl at 9pm on the 29th. Another bird that we saw was the lovely Reed Bunting in the photo below, we have a soft spot for Reed buntings as they were the first bird we identified for ourselves when we started birding, many moons ago. It is raining a little this evening and we do need the water after over 3 weeks without any but we hope now the rain has started in knows when to stop, on Mull it can be all or nothing (Small Faces) that was for Blake and Sheila. The first of May (Bee Gees) tomorrow and we are going to Iona to see if there are any Corncrakes in yet, watch this space.
Black-tailed Godwit and DunlinButterfly in the sun
Reed buntingWhinchat
Sunset from Rhudle
28th April
My first tour of the year with a lovely group of guests. We had a good start with Redshank, Common Sandpiper and a Black-tail Godwit coming into summer plumage and the next few stops found lots of Red Deer, hinds and stags. At mornng coffee we watched over the Golden Eagle area hoping to see a change over of birds on the nest, we were entertained in the field behind us with Linnet, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit and another Common Sandpiper. As we were about to pack up and leave I saw an Eagle flying towards the hill side and landing but this was a White-tail Eagle, a second one followed it in and soon the male Golden Eagle got up to see them off, my guests were delighted as they tallon grasped in the sky before the White-tails were sent packing off down the loch. The Goldie then landed on a rock giving us great views before going to the nest and doing a change over with the female on the nest. Around the corner we found one of the White-tail Eagles sitting out on an island and I soon picked up an Otter in the water swimming towards us, when it reached the shore it dissapeared, maybe just curled up on the rocks and went to sleep. The day got cooler later on but my guests enjoyed a bit of sea watching at the end of the day with Gannets, Guilimots, Shags and Shearwaters seen. (Pam)
26th and 27th April
Still not feeling great but managed to get my lawns mowed and the garden birds fed. Sarah Barry, a young, old friend called to see us and she has hardly changed since we last saw her, she is just as delightful as ever and still as enthusiastic about wildlife. It was nice to meet her boyfriend Justin, and enjoy a lovely lunch and catch up with them both, it turns out that Justin had done a Spitzbergen trip like we did last year and knew where all the best wildlife spots were, it was great comparing notes. As I am still feeling rough Pam is doing tomorrows tour.
25th April
My friend and neighbour Nick has shared man flu with me which has prevented me from getting out as often as I would like although this morning I did manage 3 hours birding and saw my first Sedge Warbler , Common Whitethroat, Wood Warbler and Cuckoo of the year, so its not all bad.
Sedge WarblerWhitethroat
Wood WarblerStonechat
24th April
Pam and I both saw the Grasshopper Warbler this morning and I also saw my first Linnets of the year taking my Mull year list to 116 species of bird.
23rd April
A tour today with Golden and White-tailed Sea Eagle seen as was an Otter, Red Deer and Seals but I had a great day seeing a Common Redstart, a bird I didn't see last year and a gorgeous bird to see. The tour was very successful but I was on cloud nine particularly as it was such an unexpected spot in an area you would not expect to see Redstart. It was noticable that the good weather over Easter has brought in many migrants and most of our Winter migrants have now moved off to their northern breeding grounds. Pam heard a Grasshopper Warbler at Dervaig reedbeds this morning and I will try and get a view of one tomorrow.
!8th April to 22nd April
Grandchildren up for Easter, no birding allowed?????
17th April
A tour birding today with guests just wanting anything we could see with just one request for a Golden Eagle if possible. I love these tours when there is no pressure to find certain species but guests just pleased to see anything. Today we saw 56 Species of birds including 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 2 Golden Eagles and a male Hen Harrier, 4 mammals including Otter and Red Deer and 3 Slow worms. I saw my first Common Sandpiper of the year and first Willow Warbler, other notable sightings were Manx Shearwaters in large numbers with quite a few Guilliemots, Kittiwakes and a single Gannet of Cailaich Point. A dipper was seen as were 2 Grey Wagtails as the wind dropped so migration has started in earnest.
16th April
A tour in less windy conditions and try as I might I could not find an Otter today but we saw a very good Golden Eagle which I spotted as it flew in front of a hill and as luck would have it the bird landed and I got the telescope on it and my guests had brilliant views of all its spectacular colours. a very good White-tailed Sea Eagle today and both types of Deer, the Fallow Deer an excellent spot by Rebecca one of my guests. I had two new birds for the year today, my first Swallow and a Grey Wagtail, this brings my Mull year list up to 110 species, a little down on this time last year as we had fewer rarities on Mull this winter and so I will have to try and catch up in the Autumn.
Swallow 1st of year
15th April
A day at home as it was very windy and I had no tour and I had to go and help my neighbour out with her water supply.
14th April
Another tour in very, very windy, cold conditions and when asked all my guest really wanted was Otter and after that anything else we could see. It took most of the day but in the end we did get a very good Otter, it was in the only area of the tour where we were completely out of the wind and it was eating a really large fish with Hooded Crows and a Herring Gull looking on enviously. despite the wind we still saw 48 species of birds and Mammals including a good but distant Golden Eagle, Red Deer and both types of Seal although for me the sighting of the day was the summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe really lovely in its breeding plumage.
Otter eating fish
!3th April
This morning after feeding the birds in the garden and going up to check our water supply I helped Pam move stuff out of the Sheiling, our smaller self-catering cottage which we had stored in there over winter for a friend. The hardest job was moving a double bed mattress which was bulky and heavy and with my arms still stretched from yesterday they were now crying out in anguish. Where have all my muscles gone since I have given up farming, I feel like Sampson after he had his hair cut off by Delilah, no strength. In my retirment I must work on that. A new bird for the year appeared in the garden today, a Pied Wagtail, and very smart it was too.
Pied Wagtail in gardenCollared Dove on bird table
12th April
A trip to Oban to visit a friend in hospital, a trip to Oban from Dervaig takes up most of the day as you leave early to catch the ferry and don't return until after 5 o'clock as visiting times are 2 till 4 but it was worth it as our friend looked a lot better than we thought she would which was a big plus. Not a lot of wildlife to report except for a fairly large hurry of Gulls seen from the ferry but too distant to identify, a single Gannet flying very low over the water, a few kittiwakes, Black Guilliemots and Razorbills. My arms have grown a couple of inches from carrying a bag full of goodies from the health food shop, many thanks to the kind lady in the shop for allowing us to leave our bags there when we walked up th the hospital.
!1th April
A tour today and Golden Eagles stole the show with a total of 5 being seen in the day with a couple of really good sightings and not just dots on the horizon. However it was the 2 Otters seen at the end of the day that really pleased my guests and I have to say they were really good value and not too distant even climbing on to the top of an island to give us a last profile look before dissappearing over the top but forever locked in my guests memory. Another sighting of Bullfinches in the same tree as before was enjoyed by all, myself included and all in all it was a lovely tour with very good spotters and appreciative guests.
10th April
Today I left Arthur at home cleaning the self-catering windows and had a day out with my swimming friends. We took the Tobermory ferry over to Kilchoan and drove to Sanna Bay where we had a lovely swim in the beautiful sunshine, the sea temperature is around 11 degrees now. Afterwards we warmed our selves up with hot soup and sandwiches and a bracing walk along the beach looking at some lovely wild flowers and fabulous geology in the rocks around the bay, Coltsfoot and dyke pictured,. We then drove around to the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse for tea and cakes in the little cafe and wonderful views of Mull, Coll and the small isles. I saw my first Manx Shearwaters of the year as well as plenty of Razorbills and Guillemots and 2 Harbour Porpoise. We had a lovely day and didn't know when we planned it 2 weeks ago that we had chosen the best day of the year so far.
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse ladiesColtsfoot
Sanna BayGeology in the rocks Sanna Bay
April 9th
A tour today and what a start to the tour season, Bottlenose Dolphins, there might only have been 2 of them but they were close inshore and my guests had great views, no boat required. Double the number of Dolphins and that was how many Otters we saw, 2 of them really close and 2 more distant but they all count. Red Deer, White-tailed Sea Eagles and a distant Golden Eagle were seen as were Buzzards, Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk which was a brilliant spot by one of my guests. Other notable sighting were Bullfinches, Slavonian Grebe in summer plumage, Goosander, Red breasted Mergansers and Wheatear. My guests were great fun and made for a great day out with over 50 species seen during the tour.
Bottlenose Dolphin
April 8th
We went to Tobermory this morning as the car had to have the tracking checked at the garage, so we took the oportunity to go for a walk into Aros Park from the Tobermory car park and back by the main road. The idea was to take Lucy for a decent walk and maybe see a Chiffchaff and also for Pam and I to get some excercise. In the event Lucy got her decent walk, we saw a chiffchaff and now my knees and hips are crying out for help, me I'm just crying out. In Aros Park I took a photo of a Rhodadendron tree covered in lovely red flowers and on the way home a picture of this pair of Canada Geese which at the current rate of breeding will soon outnumber the Greylag Geese on Mull.
ChiffchaffCanada Geese
 April 7th
No time for birding today as we are getting ready for the season to start so we were busy and one job we had was taking some furniture to a friend as we have been storing it in one of our self catering cottages over winter for her but now need the cottage ourselves. On our way to her house we saw that some early tourists were in trouble on our single track roads, a word of caution if you cannot reverse very well give youself plenty of room and use the passing places provided in plenty of time and save yourself grief from locals. The other thing you should do is keep an eye on people coming up behind you as locals are not on holiday and need to get to work so stop and allow them to pass and remember drive like you would on double roads and Stay on the left side of the road even if the passing place is on the right.
eigg muck rhum canna and skye
                                    from mull
Red Deer stags at dawnBuzzard at dawn
Ardnamurchan lighthouse and
                                    Scoor of Eigg at dawn
April 6th
Out at dawn to see what was about and found plenty of Red Deer, they were everywhere and there werealso lots of Buzzards just waking up sitting on favorite perches waiting for their day to begin. Afew Manx Shearwaters passing by Cailaich Point with some Auks and Kittiwakes and a single Gannet. It was lovely to be out with nobody else about just me the views and birdsong. The views over the Small Isles was particularly special and I felt at peace in my own world away from all the brexit news, if you can you should try it. In the afternoon Pam and I had a great sighting of a Male Hen Harrier hunting in Glen Bellart, another special Mull moment.
April 5th
Today I saw my first Peregrine Falcon of the year on Mull, not on the hills or tall buildings as you might expect but in our field just outside the garden, although it was a great sighting for us one of our garden birds was not so lucky as when the Peregrine flew off it had prey in its talons, only a titbit but prey none the less. Our friends Meg and Stephen leave tomorrow so they called in for a cup of tea with us and saw one of our Yellowhammers in the garden and thus taking their week on Mull list to an impressive 82 species of birds. I had some garden work to do today so I was too busy to get out and about so the Peregrine in the morning was a welcome surprise.
April 4th
A day out and 59 bird species seen and also mammals, the highlight being Hare of which we saw 3 in total, we also saw 3 Otters, Common and Grey Seals, Red Deer and Rabbits. The bird species seen included White-tailed Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, Hen Harriers incuding a great view of a male. We saw a large flock of Golden Plover and another flock of Ringed Plover, 22 Whooper swans landed on a Loch joining the Tufted Ducks and Goldeneye already there. Another great sighting was of 2 Red Legged Partridge which flew down the road in front of the van, that is the beauty of birding you never know what might turn up. I think that this was the first time I have seen Red Legged Partidge on Mull. My other highlight of the day were the pair of Red Throated Divers which we saw in a place I have not been to on Mull for a couple of years. Finally at another rarely visited spot we saw a lovely pair of Wheatear, it was a great day out with friends and something I am looking forward to doing more of in my retirment. Todays photo's were taken by our friend Alan 'Mullbirds' Spellman who joined us on our day out.
Hare 6 ASHare 2 AS
Shelduck 2 ASPaps of Jura AS
April 3rd
Woke up to rain and high winds so apart from going to Tobermory to fill up the mini-van and order some bird seed I did little in the way of birding but hope to make up for it tomorrow when we go out birding with friends.
April 2nd
Our first tour of the season and although it was cool at times it was a much better day than had been forecast. We were very soon watching a very obliging Otter which was catching and eating fish in the sea and then caught a big Crab and brought it on to land to eat and for once it came out where we could see it very well in the scopes. We were also able to enjoy Slavonian Grebes, Great Northern Divers, Red Breasted Mergansers, and 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles when not watching the Otter, we even had time to enjoy coffee and buiscuits, the guests were well chuffed and stuffed. Red Deer, Fallow Deer and Common Seal and in the afternoon it was Golden Eagles that took centre stage and they performed equally as well as the Otter had in the morning, doing what Eagles do, not fishing. Other great sightings of the day, Bullfiches, Redwings, Sand Martins and a White Wagtail, the latter two my first of the year.
Slavonian GrebeWhite Wagtail a male
April 1st
Steam cleaned the kitchen floor for most of the day but have finished at last, I made a pretty good job of it even if I say so myself. The problem with doing a good job is that my wife now wants me to do more rooms and they say a woman's work is never done, what about us men?. I notice that if I look hard enough that the grass on the lawn is starting to grow and it will be the lawn needs mowing, then of course its the end of winter and it's light later and Pam will notice the windows will need cleaning, and then of course I am still doing the tours, its no wonder I am retiring, I need more time to do the chores ....... coming darling.                (Hasn't he noticed what day it is, he he he. Pam)
March 2019
March 31st
A day out with friends and we saw a Golden Eagle, 2 white-tailed Sea Eagles, 3 Otters, Red Deer and both types of Seal and a total of 51 bird species. My highlight was a lovely Twite my first of the year and a bird that I sometimes find hard to get. Other good birds were Slavonian Grebes in breeding plumage, Lapwings on territory, a Ring Plover along Loch na Keal and a little Wren singing its head off on top of a large Gorse Bush. We had a Red Throated Diver at Cailaich and there were some good size Redwing flocks and the Skylarks are singing on several territories, a sure sign that Spring has arrived, another sure sign, snow is forecast for Tuesday and we have a tour booked.
March 30th
Steam cleaning the kitchen floor and watching my football team on TV was the order of the day interspursed with a trip to Tobermory to get more bird seed. Pam went sea swimming again today, I still can't see the attraction although she and her friends seem to enjoy it, she is trying to make sure she swims in every month of 2019, don't some people have weird ideas. On her way home over the hill road she had a very good sighting of a female Hen Harrier, so she was really happy. Tonight we went Angus MacKenzies sixtieth birthday, Angus keeps the self-catering going for us and has become a very good friend over the years and we really could not do without him, it was an excellent party.
March 29th
I went with Pam to Calgary and Cailaich today and we saw our first Wheatear of the year at Calgary and some Razorbills in the bay, I had seen Razorbills before but it was the first of the year for Pam. At Cailaich Pam immeadiately spotted 2 Lesser Black Backed Gulls her first of the year and it was just as well that she saw them as no sooner had she spotted them they flew off. On our way home in a field we saw a large mixed flock of Redwings and Skylarks with the Redwing loking particularly smart in their breeding plumage. Later I went out looking for our local White-tailed Sea Eagles which have moved nest and although I did not find them I did get a great view of a Golden Eagle in a territory we know about and as there was only one I presume the other was on the nest.
Red Deer hinds and calvesWheater on mound
RedwingLesser bb Gull with Comon Gulls
March 26th to 28th
Tuesday was a day for getting the mini-van sorted for its council test, now I know I gave it a clean up before but we took people out in it yesterday and believe it or not they put muddy boots on the mats and Pam spilt some soup in the boot, ah well it all makes work for the working man to do. A note for Stewart Pigg and his van window cleaning buddies, the van windows have never been so clean, it's a pity you are not out with me till the middle of May, I can't guarantee they will be the same then. Wednesday, the van passed the test, they all do. I saw my first Bullfinch of the year but it was so dull even I could not recognise it as one in the photo I took. We went for a meal this evening with Yvonne from Focal Point (were we get our optics from) at the Isle of Mull Hotel, on the way home we saw 2 Polecat/ferrets and a Tawny Owl. The daffs in the garden are looking particularly nice at the moment so I took a few pics of them and also the pair of Yellowhammers who just seem to want to be together.Thursday a trip out to Calgary and Cailaich which yielded little except I saw my first Fulmar of the year and had a great sighting of a female Hen Harrier, there was a flock of about 12 Skylarks and a lovely Lapwing and back at Dervaig I took the photo of 4 Redshank. Finally our Songthrush is singing for charity I think he starts singing at daybreak and finishes at dusk, if he doesn't eat soon he will fall off his perch, either that or get a dose of laryngitis.
Gorse and viewDaffodil head
March 25th
We did a practice tour run today with the new owners and some of the staff from the Bellachroy in the village. I have a new alarm clock so I am always up with the Larks or in this case a Song Thrush, see photo below. During the day we saw at least 7 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 3 Golden Eagles, 3 Otters, loads of Red Deer, some lovely Fallow Deer, Common Seals and a single Grey Seal. The highlight of the day were the two Golden Eagles who flew down to a rock near the top of the hill and started copulating, at least that's what one guest called it, my call was a little more basic. As we turned away from this X-rated scene 2 Oystercatchers were also at it on the shoreline and all this before the noon watershed. The people from the Bellachroy were suitably impressed as they were with the food Pam had produced for the day, one was overheard say it was a gourmet tour as well as a wildlife one. I hope today bodes well for our final season of wildlife tours on Mull.
Song Thrush singingBellachroy day out
Highland Cattle herd
March 21st to 24th
Believe it or not Spring is on the way even here on Mull, the first Wheatear has been seen and today Sunday, I saw Lesser Black Backed Gulls for the first time this year. At Cailaich Point the Auks are arriving with lots of Guilliemots and a Puffin seen as well as Kittiwakes and Manx Shearwaters. Hooded Crows and Starlings are back in the garden a sure sign Spring is on the way and I also saw my first Wood Pigeon of the year, we have loads of Rock Doves but not that many Wood Pigeons. White-tailed Eagles are either nesting or thinking of doing so and Golden Eagles have been see mating so will be laying soon. The Daffodils are out and looking spectacular and along with the Gorse turning Mull a brilliant Yellow. I took this picture of a Rabbit in the garden this morning, it bears a startling resemblance to Bigwig from the Watership Down film, well Pam and I think it does. Finally the photo of the Starling shows how stunning they are in the right light.
RabbitStarling on feeder
March 18th to 20th
The weather on Mull remains somewhat miserable with drizzle and wind on each day so I contented myself with garden birding after Sundays day out. This was not a terrible experience as we had great views of Lesser Redpoll, Yellowhammer, Great spotted Woodpecker and Siskins as well as all the other usual suspects we regularly see in the garden. Today I decided to go and see if there were any migrant birds about but apart from Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtail little birds were at a premium. At one of my regular tour stops the drizzle abated and i was treated to a bit of an Eagle fest with 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles interacting with each other and even talon grasping, another white-tail had flown through a few minutes earlier. At least 3 maybe 4 Golden Eagles got up and gave really good views for about half an hour before the cold started to get to my bones as I was not really dressed for the weather (schoolboy error) as our son would say. At the same stop I saw a Mum Otter with 2 small kits, I would like to say they will be around for the summer but last year in the same area they were disturbed by kayakers and went missing for most of the Summer.
March 17th
Today we were back out on Mull doing what I like best, birding, with a group from the BTO and the Mull Bird Club on, what was advertised as, an Eagle day. In total we saw 8 White-tailed Sea Eagles and at least 4 Golden Eagles we sort of lost count somehow. A female Hen Harrier was seen as were Buzzards and Kestrels, 2 Otters, Red and Fallow Deer and a lot of Common Seals. Winter visitors are now moving into breeding plumage and these include Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Divers and Bar-tailed Godwits. The real supprise of the day however was a Barn Owl seen in Glen Bellart, it was a very good spot by one of the BTO members as she saw it as we drove past. We all got a really good look at the Owl before a White-tailed Eagle appeared and the Owl moved out of sight into the trees, discretion being better than valour.
WTSE 4 on a rockOtter on a rock
March 11 to 16th
We returned home from Costa Rica very tired after a very long travel only to find that the weather was evil, gale force winds and rain and sleet quite a contrast to the heat and humidity we had become accustomed too. This did however give us time to get over the holiday without the feeling of guilt we might have had if the weather had been nice. I took the chance to wash the van and discovered that it is still blue and valleted the interior in readiness for the council test before the start of the seaon. Pam became a washer woman for the week but she does assure me that she has finished the washing from the holiday and more importantly managed to get it dry so our week was not entirely wasted.
Februay 2019
Feb 16th to March 10th
We are away on holiday from the 16th Feb to the 10th of March so there will be no blog but our friends Pete and Jenny are on Mull looking after the house and Lucy, and will be here to answer any booking enquiries by phone or email that come in. The blog will recommence as soon as we return.
Gorse flowering on the hill
Feb 12th to 15th
Very windy weather and somewhat showery so my forays into the world of Mull's wildlife watching was limited. I did however get 3 new birds for my Mull year list in the four days since my last posting, the most exciting for me was a Purple Sandpiper seen at Lainne Sguere near Calgary, I did not see one on Mull last year but did see them on their breeding grounds in the Arctic in June. Other firsts for the year, a lovely little Goldcrest in trees by the toilets at Calgary which is the area I usually see my first one of the year. The final new bird of the year which was today when trying to stand up in a gale at Cailaich I saw my first Gannet of the year taking my Mull total for 2019 to 94 bird species. Todays photos show that Spring is on the way, flowering Gorse bushes, Shelducks arriving back in good numbers and a flock of at least 8 Mistle Thrushes. The other photos are just beautiful places and animals that you can see everywhere on Mull when out and about that bring joy to your heart and make you forget all the troubles in the world and of course that great divider brexit.
ShelduckMistle Thrush pair
Aros road bridgeTree leaning
Hebridean sheep and hills
Feb 7th to 11th
Poor weather on most days prevented me from much birding although every time I have gone out wildlife watching, however briefly, I have seen Otter, on the 11th, a much better day I saw 3. On yesterdays excursion I also saw a Golden Eagle, 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles, lots of Red Deer and Pam saw a Hen Harrier, she has seen more Hen Harriers than me just going out locally. On my way home from Tobermory today I spotted a family of 4 Whooper Swans on Loch Torr and managed to get a Photo or two, I also got the this photo of a pair of Goosander at Dervaig. Dropping off the hill into Dervaig today a Sparrowhawk flew in front of the van giving me a very special sighting. Good news on the water sample, all clear so the water is very tasty no chemicals and won't hurt you. Lucy has completely recovered from her 24 hour poorly stomach and we have blocked the big shed doors in case she was finding something not really good for her in there. The mini bus is booked in for its annual service and MOT so it should be ready for our last season of doing tours and it is very pleasing how many of our guests and now friends want to come out with us one last time before we retire on July 14th. Finally I took the picture of the Rainbow, there were several to choose from on one of my jouneys trying to bring Mull's wildlife to my blog readers.
Whooper Swans x 4Whooper Swan
Goosander pairRainbow 

Feb 4th, 5th and 6th
All 3 days on one blog as I have been busy with the water supply before it was tested, this involved a trip to Tobermory for supplies for the system and on my way to Tobermory there were 2 Whooper Swans on the Mishnish Lochs. returning home I unblocked the filter in the dam as the heavy rain had brought some debris down the burn. The water was tested and looked by far the cleanest that had been tested on the day, it was perfectly clear, let's hope it passes all the other tests. As I had been very busy on the water supply I decided to go birding on the 6th, within a few minutes it started raining but before it became a monsoon I managed a photo of the Highland Calf below, my first newborn of the year. I also got a photo of this flying juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagle, I saw 2 more through the torrential rain later in the day. One Otter was seen feeding, unlike me it didn't mind getting wet as long as good meal was involved. Returning home I took the Blue Tit and Coal Tit photos on our feeders, I also took one of a Great Tit but even with my not so good photography it ended up on the cutting room floor.
Highland calf 1st for yearWTSE flying

Blue Tit on feederCoal Tit on feeder
Feb 3rd
It rained on ice, it was treacherous out there this morning, even the water ladies decided travelling was not a good idea this morning. Our friend and neighbour John came round to fit my new UV filter and stayed for a chat, brexit came up in the conversation although we tried very hard to avoid it, I think it has become more of a topic for the British than the weather these days. Anyway on a positive note I am now ready for the water sampler on Tuesday. Lucy the dog has eaten something that doesn't agree with her and is in the dog house litterally and also on rations, she will feel better in the morning with a bit of luck and I have stopped her getting into the shed unless accompanied by an adult.
Ben More snow covered
Feb 2nd
Another sunny cold day and it happened again, yes they went sea swimming again only more of them this time, I on the other hand changed the water filter so I could at least say I had done something and then watched the Rugby and Football in the warmth, I must be getting nesh.
Feb 1st
Today the sun was shining and it even reached 5 degrees celcius so what a good day for birding, well I thought it was but Pam and her nutty friends thought sea swimming was the order of the day, well the sea temperature was 7.8 degrees so it was warmer in the water than out of it, in their opinion. I opted for the first option and went birding this morning and the highlight was a pair of Golden Eagles which flew right over my head giving me a special treat, just me and the Eagles enjoying the winter sunshine on Mull what could be better, certainly not sea swimming, brrr. As well as the Golden Eagles I saw 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles, Common Seals, Red Deer and 3 Otters not a bad trip out. This afternoon I went to clean out the water supply only to find the stop tap to empty the holding tank was frozen solid in a 63 ml pipe, it took an hour of hot water carrying from the kitchen up the hill to free it which meant it was nearly dark before I had completed the job.
Golden Eagle flyingOtter swimming
January 2019
Jan 31st
Funny how work comes along when you least expect it but I had a phone call today and they are coming to sample the water supply next week so I have to go out and service the system which means a trip to Tobermory for a new UV filter bulb. It was a very slow journey as there was still ice on the roads in certain spots even though the gritters had been through, still needs must. Tomorrow I must go and clean the system through which I normally do in the spring.
Jan 30th
We had a lovely walk down the side of Loch Ba today hoping to see Snow Buntings but there were none although we did see 4 Reed Buntings a a single Pied Wagtail around the area where the farmer feeds his cattle. The views were spectacular but my aging bones were aching by the time we got back to the car. We took Lucy wth us and she spent the afternoon asleep on the sofa, I felt like joining her but a hot bath was more appropriate for me.
Loch Ba in snowCattle feeding at the end of Loch
Jan 29th
Big garden bird count at Ardrioch, birds seen Chaffinches 150+, Greenfinches 16, Goldfinches 12, Siskins 8, Lesser Redpoll 3, Mealy Redpoll 1,House Sparrow 8, Brambling 1, Treecreeper 2, Jays 2, Hooded Crows 2, Yellowhammer 3,Sparrowhawk 1, Rock Dove 36, Collared Dove 2, Blackbirds 6, Robins 4, Blue Tits 8, Great Tits 6, Coal Tits 6, Dunnocks 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker 2. The numbers were all seen at any one time in the garden so there are probably more birds than this that actually come to the garden which is not a bad total. The picture is of the tree that fell over in its present state after the tree fellers had done their work.
choped up tree
Jan 28th
I have to drive Arthur to the dentist for a brush up and polish this morning as his hand is still very swollen. As we were a bit worried about it we took a visit to the Doctors just to check nothing is broken, fortunatly it is not and a trip to Craignure to have it Xrayed was not nessesary. As it was such a lovely morning I took Lucy for  walk down the road when we got home, I don't take my binoculars when walking the dog but I listen to the bird song and try to identify them this way and it is lovely to hear the Great Tits 'Teacher Teacher' always one of the first birds with their spring songs. A female Hen Harrier was hunting over the fields to my left and I watched it for some minuites as it circles right over my head before dissapearing over the woodland. Some Red Deer were grazing the fields around the Bellat river and on my way home a Dipper was feeding on the stream near our house, it just shows you don't have to go far on Mull to see some wonderful wildlife. We did the RSPB Garden Bird count at the weekend and Arthur will report on this when his (one) typing finger is able to straighten.
Tree Fellows
Jan 27th
Pam writing as Arthur is 'handicaped', whilst in the garden this morning checking out the fallen tree and feeding the birds Arthur got his fingers trapped in the big shed door when a sudden gust of wind blew the door to as he held it, he has lots of bruising and swelling across 3 fingers and it is very painfull, I hunt out the Arnica for him which gives him a bit of releif. As you can see in the picture we were very lucky with the tree, it could have landed on either of our sheds or the old caravan but it manages to land nicely in the field behind, a job for our neibour Nick and his chain saw me thinks!
Fallen tree in the garden
Jan 26th
We had friends around on Saturday evening to celebrate Burns night this is a Scottish tradition that seems to invole haggis, neeps & tatties, and a lot of whisky, a good time was had by all but we were rather late to bed. Saturday evening into Sunday morning we had very high winds bringing a tree down at the edge of the garden, we didn't hear a thing only Lucy barking around 6 am, she must have heard it go and we had to comfort her by letting her on to our bed.
Jan 24th and 25th
Out and about doing a spot of birding and enjoying the views after the snow, nothing new to report although I did get a Fabulous sighting of a Golde Eagle and took a photo of a Buzzard in a tree and a beautiful shot of Beinne Talaidh my favorite mountain covered in snow.
Golden EagleBuzzard on branch
Beinne Talaidh in snow
Jan 20 to 23rd
Snow and Ice on untreated roads so we have only gone to Dougies shop in Dervaig and otherwise just watch the garden birds although I did see one new bird for my 2019 Mull year list, a Pheasant, I also took pictures of a Greenshank and Snipe at the end of Loch Cuin on my way to the shop.
Pheasanr crossing the road
Jan 20th
We had a lie in this morning I can't think why. later in the day I went to Calgary and saw 2 Divers in the bay one a very nice Black Throated Diver always a great bird to see. This afternoon as I watched my football team on TV Pam went swimming in the sea with her mates, to put it bluntly it was freezing out there and so was she when she got home, freezing but elated, personally I think they are all nuts. Pam is now doing a big jigsaw with Tigers on, all trees, stripes and sky, she should get easier and more comfortable hobbies. We are saving to go to India to try and see Tigers in the wild as our retirment present, before my joints seize up completely.
RedpolGoldfinch & Redpol
Jan 19th
Lucy is happy we had some young lads turn up to work on their rally cars which I allow them to keep in the big shed and I got one of them to go on the roof to get the chuckit and chuck it back down so that I can chuck it for Lucy again, Lucy is a very happy little dog. My mate Nick came round this morning and we hung up the Tawny Owl box which we have somewhat repaired, now we have to wait and see if anything decides to use it. We went to our neighbours house for the evening where we ate too much, drank even more, and generally had a really good time.
Tawny Owl boxSnowdrops in the garden
Jan 18th
No birding today as we have work to do  although it was a very good day for birds in the garden, we had 2 Redpolls on the niger seed feeders, one was obviously a Lesser Redpoll but the other looked bigger and different and might have been a Common or Mealy Redpoll, still not sure I need a longer look if they return. Today there was another first in our garden for 2019 a Yellowhammer, the first we have seen this year. With all the other garden regulars including the Great Spotted Woodpecker and Brambling we can have great birding days without leaving home. Lucy is not a happy dog she has this toy which she loves called a chuckit, I chuck it she fetches it back, not off the house roof she doesn't, she just looks at the roof mournfully.
Great spotted WoodpeckerYellowhammer head only
Jan 17th
With an absolutely beautiful Mull winters day the proposed trip to the south of the island went ahead and we took Lucy with us as we were going out for the whole day and Pam needed her to warm her hands after using the telescope. Less of this frivolity and get to the wildlife watching with the south island birds seen first, White Fronted Geese was a particlar highlight as we often have to search for them but today a flock of over 20 landed on Loch Pottie as we were watching Tufted Ducks another south island bird, as were the several Jackdaws seen in a field with Rooks. Other notable sightings today were 4 dozen Ringed Plovers on the beach at Fidden with a single Turnstone and 40 Lapwing in a field close by with 2 Skylarks near the farmyard. At Fidden we also saw our first female Hen Harrier of the day 2 others were seen on our way home. On the journey back we saw 5 Red Throated Divers on Loch Scridain, a large flock of Barnacle Geese on Inch Kenneth, 2 Whooper Swans flew over Eorsa as we were watching Guilliemots. a single Jay flew over the Mini-bus at Knock as we were watching grazing Fallow Deer and we saw Long Tailed Tits in bushes along Loch Na Keal. For Eagle and Otter readers we saw lots of Red Deer but also 3 Otters and 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles but no Golden Eagles today. The weather was lovely the scenery spectacular, what's not to love.
WTSE in the middle of Loch na
Jan 16th
Although I am still stiff from yesterdays fall I went to Tobermory to fetch even more bird seed and fill the van with fuel as Pam and I intend to go birding on the south of Mull some 60 miles away from where we live on Mull. It will be a full day but weather permitting worth it as you do get birds in the south that you don't in the north of the island. This afternoon I had some retirement practice I listened to my music of which I have a lot and started reading a very good book about a music shop. For any younger people who read my blog that's a shop where you can go in touch, feel and listen to the product you may want to buy and chat to others in the shop about music, it used to be the only way to buy music.
Jan 15th
Today we had Strictly Come Dancing meets Dancing on ice at Ardrioch when on returning to the house from feeding the birds I managed to slip on some wet grass. I did a perfect pirouette, followed by a one legged spin, going well so far, then I ingloriously completely lost balance and fell inelegantly onto our drive, have you ever felt very foolish. An update on my condition I am battered, bruised but nothing broken. I must thank Pam who watched my performance from the kitchen and was out to help faster than a Rat up a drainpipe, typically full of concern one minute and then on seeing I was ok, enraged at my foolishness with wearing Crocks which had no tread, us blokes can't win.
Jan 14th
Pam and I had to go to the doctors surgery this morning and get innoculated against nasties on our trip to Costa Rica later in the year and for once I had the rough end of the stick or in this case needle. On our way home via the scenic route we saw 2 Otters and several Deer. This afternoon me and our neighbour Nick made 5 bird boxes and repaired a Tawny Owl box, now when I say help I mean Nick did most of the work and I was like a TV presenter who says we have come to help, that is TV speak for hinder and get in the way, that was my contribution and I hope the birds appreciate it.
Jan 13th
The poor weather continued and so I cleaned the bird feeders a very important task if the spread of desease particularly in Finches is to be prevented. In between the heavy showers we had fun playing with Lucy who I must say gives us lots of fun and pleasure. The Sparrowhawk was also busy during the breaks in the rain which makes our garden birds very twitchy. Tomorrow we are going to get innoculated for our trip to Costa Rica later in the year, we are not looking forward to it, the innoculations not the holiday.
Jan 12th
The Mull bird count and as predicted numbers were well down on previous years although the weather with rain driving in on a very strong wind made birding very difficult. In the event 69 species were seen by an intrepid, and given the weather, number of 16 birders, our van of 4 found 59 which included a Rook another first for my Mull year list. Notable birds seen on the day were Peregrine Falcon, White-tailed Sea Eagle, (from our bedroom window before leaving our house) Kittiwake, Guilliemot, Slavonian Grebe and Goodander. We had a Great Spotted Woodpecker and Brambling in the garden at the start of the count. Although we were not counting Mammals a total of 5 Otters were seen including a mum with 2 growing kits.
Goosander Jan19
Jan 11th
Tomorrow we have the Mull bird count and this year looks like it will be somewhat dissapointng birdwise as I have yet to reach 70 birds seen and the weather forecast is awful. The good news is that my thigh seems to have turned out to be only a small muscle pull and although it is a little uncomfortable I can still get about pretty much as normal.
Jan 10th
I took Pam out to see if we could see the Velvet Scoter this morning but as it was much windier than the last couple of days we failed to find it, the bird might have gone or just been harder to see in the rougher seas. Pam still enjoyed the outing as she got 10 new birds for her 2019 year list which included a Carrion Crow and an early returning Shelduck which were both new birds on Mull this year for me as well. We also had good sightings of Buzzards, Kestrels, 2 seperate Golden Eagles, a couple of White-tailed sea Eagles and an Otter. We see Otters every time we go out out in the winter as with no tourists to disturb them and much shorter daylight hours for hunting they are much easier to find.
Jan 9th
I managed to feed the birds and check the water supply before discretion took over from valour and I put my injured leg up and watched the birds in the garden and let the bruising on my thigh come out. Our friend Alan Spellman came round for some lunch and to see our Brambling in the garden, Alan left at about 3 pm and the Brambling turned up 10 minutes later. We are inundated with Chaffinches again this winter withwell over 100 in the garden at any one time and it is I think their weight of numbers that prevent some of the other birds visiting, well that and frequent Sparrowhawk visits.
Jan 8th
Pam and I took Lucy for walk on Calgary beach but went down to Cailaich Point to look for Jack Snipe first. Now there is good news and bad news first the good news we had a very good sighting of a Jack Snipe then the bad news I pulled a thigh muscle as my leg went through the top of the bog further than I expected, ouch. Anyway Pam took Lucy for a walk on the beach whilst I went to check out for more wildlife from the comfort of the car. I got lucky with a very good sighting of an Otter eating a fish. After picking up Pam and Lucy we went home although we still managed to see some Redwing and a male Hen Harrier. I made it to the house and cleaned my binoculars and had a very hot bath before finding a thigh bandage which I have not used since my tennising days which I played before coming to live on Mull 20 years ago.
Otter with fish & HoodyHighlabd Cows at Caiach
Jan 7th
Oh Joy, today I have been to Oban for an endoscopy, I knew it was coming up and to be quite honest I was not really looking forward to it. The Consultant and nurses were great and persuaded me to have it done without the anesthetic throat spray which means you have no side effects apart from the fact that you feel more when the tube and camera go down your throat. All was well as they found no hidden troubles and sent me home with a clean bill of health. On our way to the ferry this morning we saw a Barn Owl and also leaned that the ferry we had booked on to return was cancelled due to very high expected winds, taking no chances we were first in the queue for the 2 pm ferry.
Jan 6th
A late start wildlife watching today as we did not get to bed till the early hours, see yesterdays blog. I saw 2 Otters, 2 White-tailed sea Eagles and a female Hen Harrier but for me the bird of the day had to be a Velvet Scoter seen on Loch Na Keal near scarisdale Rocks, this was a lifetime first for me so I was quite excited. Other birds seen included a large flock of Meadow Pipits with an odd Rock Pipit or two mixed with them, I also saw several Ring Plovers at Garmony and on Loch Na Keal 2 Kittiwakes and a small group of Guilliemots.
Jan 5th
I went to Tobermory today with Pam and saw very little in the way of wildlife which was a little dissapointing. In the evening we went for supper with friends in Salen and on our way home we saw a Tawny Owl, I dont know if we should count it it on the 5th as it was seen after 1am in the morning.
Jan 4th
Today we had to go to stock up the larder as we did not have any space in the car on our journey home and essencials were getting very low. I also had some work to do as a sheep was getting into the orchard so we had to get it out and block the hole, what a great invention cable ties are. Also using cable ties I made Lucy 4 more jumps out of canes to go with her expensive one and she has great fun leaping over fences with differing heights. We took Lucy for a walk to the pier at Calgary and down on the beach which she loves and I managed to see a Stonechat and Wren to add to my Mull Year list. On our way home a White-tailed Sea Eagle flew past the van, which was Pam's first of 2019.
Jan 3rd
Out wildlife watching today although I forgot the camera, I did however take binoculars and telescope and had a great time but no photos, I don't have an iphone although Father Christmas bought one for Pam. Today I saw 2 Otters, 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 2 Golden Eagles, Red Deer, Fallow Deer and Common Seals. My highlights as a birder were a Tree Creeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and Brambling all seen in our garden this morning. There was also a single Pink Footed Goose amongst the Greylags at Killiechronan, 23 Snipe at Dervaig, a Bar Tailed Godwit at Salen with the Whimbrel seen by the old boats. A good number of Teal flew in to roost on the north shore of Loch Na Keal joining the large number of Mallards and Wigeon already there. Over 50 species of birds were seen on my first day back on Mull and it was lovely to be out birding again if a little cold in the afternoon.
Jan 2nd
We have returned to Mull after a very good Christmas with family and friends.
Jan 1st
A very happy new year to all our guests and blog readers.
December 2018
Dec 24th to Jan 2nd 2019
We have been away for hristmas and the New Year
Dec 17th to Dec 23rd
After the gales and ferry disruptions things quietened down this week not only the weather but wildlife wise as well so there is little new to report and we now have Christmas to enjoy, so this will be my last blog post of 2018, I will start up again with the blog at the start of next year. After a very promising start to the year my bird list somewhat stalled and I ended up with 142 species seen in 2018. The highlights were Glossy Ibis seen in January and Cattle and Little Egrets seen in November although the Snow Buntings in early spring and of course the Kingfisher at Dervaig were also amongst my personal favourites. It has been noticeable that although species numbers were around the same on Mull this year the numbers of birds for some migrant species were well down, let us hope this is a blip due to the very cold Spring and not a trend. On that cautious note may Pam and I take this opportunity to wish all guests and blog readers a very Happy Christmas and a wonderfull New Year of wildlife watching.
Christmas wish Otters
Dec 9th to Dec 16th
A mixed bag of weather this week and I have discovered that if I feed the birds later in the mornings I get more species in the garden and I think this is down to the Chaffinches. We have between 150 and 200 chaffinches in our garden at one time but only after I have filled up the seed feeders, before then we only have a few and so this encourages the other species to come and try their luck. After I have filled the seed feeders and the Chaffinches turn up in Sqadrens, the sheer weight of numbers of Chaffinches puts off a lot of the other species which is a shame no matter how much I like Chaffinches. Pam cut my hair with the machine this week but forgot to put the guard on for the first run up the back of my head so it now looks like I have a Mohican in reverse and I have to constantly wear a hat or look a complete numpty much to Pam's delight. We had a lovely time visiting friends with Christmas Cards this week, it is the time of year to make time for friends and family and those less fortunate than ourselves. Three Ardrioch facts lately, the Woodcocks are back in our woodland, we have several calling Tawny Owls around the property and the Jays are visiting the garden at first light but don't hang around for long.
Dec 3rd to Dec 9th
We have had a busy week with Cristmas coming up and Pam's birthday, although we did manage a couple of days birding during our off time. We went to the Salmon Hatchery outfalls and saw a Carrion Crow mixed in with numerous Hooded Crows. There were Redshanks and Turnstone on the shoreline and lots of Black Headed Gulls with the Common Gulls and Herring Gulls but no white winged gulls yet this winter. Ducks seen were Mallards, Teal, Wigeon and Goldeneye. The White-tailed Eagles are setting up their nests for next year and we have seen a pair of young Golden Eagles which look as if they are setting up home on a new territory, we will keep monitoring their situation. As always at the end of the tourist season and shortening days Otters are more easily seen with 3 seen on both days out. In the garden there are zillions of Chaffinches, lots of Greenfinches and Goldfinches with the occasional Siskin but our Brambling have disappeared, we hope the resident Sparrowhawk isn't to blame. The Jays and Treecreepers our now daily visitors although you have to be lucky to see them. I have been doing some work in the burn above my dam and touch wood the water supply is in full swing. A thank you to Hannah and Tom and the staff at the Bellachroy for such a good meal for Pam's birthday, she had a lovely time with our friends and a great day all in all as she spent large quantities of the day on the phone to family and friends.
Dec 2nd
Pam had a busy day making chutney which if it tastes as good as it smells will be delicious. I spent most of the day watching football on the tv much to Pams disgust, I don't think Lucy was too impressed either.
Pam... I'm home from my wonderful holiday to California and Tampa in Florida, I have been watching dolphins with my grandchildren, swam with manatee and body boarded with my son and was turned truly Indian for Rajiv (daughter-in-laws brother) and Naha's Wedding. I've worn a sari, had Henna hand painting, danced Bollywood style and took part in a Hindu wedding ceromony. On the Wedding day the bridegroom, Rajiv, goes to meet the brides family on horse back surrounded by loud music and dancing in the street. Here I am with our family going to one of the many parties that was held during the week.
Rajiv on horse at weddingBrown family at Indian wedding
Dec 1st
A lovely day so we decided to go out birding this morning and saw over 50 species of birds and 5 mammals. Birds of prey seen were 2 Golden Eagles, a White-tailed Sea Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and of course Buzzards. Pam and I were particularly pleased to see some Long Tailed Tits, 2 Reed Buntings and a Dipper sitting on a tree root out of reach of the swollen river water. Two Otters were seen as were both types of Seal, Red Deer and a Rabbit. Lucy enjoyed the outing with us until she got car sick which was a shame but otherwise it was nice to be out and about with Pam now she has returned home. Whilst she has been away I busied myself clearing up the leaves and putting the garden to bed for the winter and for once I had a decent bonfire.
Dipper on the river bankLongtail Tit
November 2018
Nov 5th to 30th
I (Pam) am going to America with our son, wife and 2 small children to our daughter-in-laws brothers wedding in California, I am leaving Arthur at home to look after Lucy the dog whilst I am away. As I am the one that up-loads the blog and does the photo's there will be no blog whilst I'm away. I have also managed to book myself a whale watching trip whilst I'm away. Arthur will be here to deal with any emails or phone calls and will be able to take any bookings for next year.   
Nov 4th
I had to work on the water supply today as well as more clearing up in the shed although we did manage a short trip to Calgary, Cailaich and Dervaig. We were only out for just over an hour but managed to see, 2 Snipe, Little Grebe, Greylag Geese, Curlews, a Redshank, Oystercatchers, Rock Pipits, Common Gulls, Kittiwakes, 2 Black Throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers, Shags, great Black Backed Gulls, Fulmars and a Razorbill, Mallards and on our way home a hunting female Hen Harrier. The only wild mammal we saw today were Red Deer unless you count Lucy who when not running around like a mad thing spends the day either licking us to death or trying to trip us up.
OystercatcherOystercatcher & Redshank
Hen Harrier femal huntingStarling in the garden
Nov 3rd
New birds in the garden today 3 starlings, otherwise heavy rain for most of the day although when the rain stopped Pam saw a White-tail Sea Eagle from the kitchen window flying over Loch Cuin.
Nov 2nd
A couple of hours birding with 3 White-tailed Eagles seen, 2 Golden Eagles and lots of Buzzards and Kestrels. At Killiechronan we saw 30 Fallow Deer a record for us, a single Bar Tailed Godwit, a Teal and a group of Goosander. We took Lucy along to get her used to car travel and after a walk with Pam she was car sick on our way home, It wasn't the walk that did it but the cambers and bends on Mull's roads. This afternoon we brought in the picnic tables as we don't intend to sit out again this Winter and our self-catering guests have all gone home. Tomorrow the weather looks horrendous so there will probably be no birding except through the kitchen window.
Fallow Deer grazingLucy racing on Calgary Beach
Curlews 4
Nov 1st
I am leading a Mull Bird Club field trip around the North West of Mull later in the month so this morning I did a dry run, litterally, as for once it wasn't raining and I saw 50 species of birds and 3 mammals in 3 and a half hours, not bad methinks. The highlights were 4 Carrion Crows, ok have you stopped laughing now, Carrion Crows a highlight, well we hardly ever have them on Mull so 4 is a highlight for us. 2 Brambling in the garden was another highlight as were the Lapwings in Laggan Bay along with Curlews and a Dipper at high tide, The Skylark in the photo was a Cailaich as was the Common Buzzard on a rock as I was leaving. The Rock Pipits were in a field near Lagganulva Bay. In the afternoon we took Lucy for a run on Calgary Beach which she absolutely loves.
Carrion Crow and cattleLapwings resting
Buzzard on rockRock Pipit 

October 2018
Oct 26th to Oct 31st
We had friends from Cheshire up for a long weekend and I am glad to say they brought the good weather with them which was nice as we could go out walking and birding. On their first full day we went to Tobermory to a talk at the inaugural book festival which was a great success and I hope continues in future years. We went to an extraordinary talk by Adam Nicolson author of the book The Seabird's Cry and some of what he had to say about the plight of the worlds seabirds did not make for an easy listen, we do need to act fast if we want to save and protect all of the worlds wildlife not just its seabirds, we all need to take responsibility for their plight and future survival. On a happier note we went walking and birding locally for the next two days in glorious weather and enjoyed seeing not only great wildlife but also fabulous views and stunning scenery.  Wildlife wise there were 5 juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagles at Cailaich Point, we also saw a Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel here as well. In and on the sea were Great Northern Divers, Shags and Grey Seals. At Rheudle we had a very good sighting of a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Hen Harrier with Raven occasionally joining in. At Laggan Bay we found this Otter being harased by 4 Hooded Crows (see photo below) At the Salmon Hatchery we saw a Carrion Crow, a first for Pam this year as well as Turnstones, Redshanks, lots of mixed Gulls and Teal plus another Otter. On Loch Na Keal and Loch Tuath we saw Red Throated Diver, Black Throated Diver, Great Northern Divers, Slavonian Grebes, Black Guilliemots, Red Breasted Mergansers and Cormorants. In the garden at Ardrioch we now have 2 Brambling interspersed within the Zillions of Chaffinches, regular visits from Great spotted Woodpeckers, and still a few Siskins, Yellowhammer and Treecreepers. It was a great weekend with our friends with lots of laughs and they even sat and watched most of my fuzzy photos of our trip to Svarlbard which lasted for so long their eyes glazed over but for us it brought back some lovely memories.
WTSE 4 in a row
Otter watched over by Hooded
                                    CrowsLoch Frisa with snow on the
Song Thrush on fenceSlavonian Grebes
Pam, Sue & Lucy
Above on our trips out and about are 4 White-tail Eagles sitting on top of a cliff, an Otter trying to eat whilst being harrast by 4 Hooded Crows, a view of Loch Frisa with the snow on the hills, a Song Thrush, 2 Slavonian Grebes and Pam and Lucy with our good friend Sue. Below are some birds we have been seeing regularly in our garden. Yellowhammer, Redwing, Great spotted Woodpecker and Brambling.
Yellowhammer in the gardenRedwing in the garden
Great Spotted WoodpeckerBrambling in the garden
Oct 18th to 25th
What a driech week, low cloud, rain, drizzle, winds, breeze, more low cloud, more rain, get the picture. My week has been a bit like the weather, 4 new tyres on the car, very expensive, a new washing machine, more expence, a filling at the dentist, painfull, paid for a load of heating oil, more painfull, get the picture. On a happier note a very happy wife, she has a new washing machine, unhappy wife, 3 weeks of washing to catch up on and its raining. Problems with the water supply have hopefully been sorted out although its a good job I bought a pair of waders last year, not for fishing. A trip to the tip with old washing machine and fridge, isn't my life exciting. Birdwise, at last, I can imagine readers thinking, a Little Egret turned up in Dervaig, it could be the one from Bunnessan, who knows? Thanks to Moira and Cheryl for the call. One of our Great Spotted Woodpeckers has returned as have Yellowhammers, and a Wren joining the zillions of Chaffinches and other regulars in the garden also a Hen Harrier and Sparrowhawk regularly fly over or through the garden so Chaffinches beware. We have some winter Thrushes in our woodland at the moment so the inclement weather shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Our Red Deer hind which has been in the wood all by itself might have jumped out, our neighbour helping me out with the Deer fencing where a tree had fallen across it thought he heard it jump the fence as he was waiting for me to return with fencing tackle, personally I am not convinced, will keep you informed. I am looking out of the window to try and see some birds, blimey its driech out there.
Oct 16th & 17th
More clearing and some birding to report and the possibility that two nutcases are out and about on Mull. First the birding, Pam and I went to Bunnessan to look for and find the long staying Little Egret, now I know they are now common in the south of England but they are still rare on Mull hence the trip and also it is another bird for my Mull year list. Whilst in the south we took in Fidden and saw 2 Skylarks, 3 Golden Plovers, 5 Tufted Ducks, a field with 27 Lapwings and a flock of 35 Barnacle Geese passing through not a bad result for a long drive we thought. Now the two nutcases both seen swimming in the sea on the afternoon of the 17th, just by chance one looked remarkably like my wife, Pam and the other looked a lot like one of her best friends, if you happen to see these two ladies stay well clear or you could be invited to take a dip with them, not recommended. (ps: You don't know what you are missing, a little cold when we got in but wonderful, we swam for 40 minutes. 2 cups of hot tea are recomended when I get home. Pam)
Little EgretLittle Egret & gull
Oct 13th 14th & 15th
Not much in the way of wildlife to report as I have been busy Autumn cleaning, yes it was a new one on me as well but you know what its like gents (she who must be obeyed). Anyway I have been clearing out the small shed and finding things we didn't know we still had and will come in usefull and the big shed making room for our vehicles in the winter. Just when you think you are on top of the job the water supply gives me problems and I take a day fixing it, who says I don't have anything to do when not out on tours. A trip to Oban this morning as Pam needed next years diary as she has so many early self-catering and tour bookings she was worried she might double book, whilst we were there I bought a new pair of walking shoes as the ones I had had a split in them and this is not great when walking in the rain which we have to do quite a lot up here in the north west of Scotland. Bird news-The yellowhammer has returned to our garden and today the 15th we managed at last to catch up with the Cattle Egret which has been in the Dervaig / Calgary area for at least a week. Talking of returning species Alan (Mullbirds) Spellman has returned from his now annual migration to Australia check out his web-site for some great pics of Aussie birds and happenings on Mull.
Cattle Egret and sheepCattle Egret Calgary
Oct 12th
Pam and I went looking for a Cattle Egret reportedly seen in the Dervaig area, without success. We did however see male and female Hen Harrier, White-tailed Sea Eagle, Red Deer, a Sparrowhawk and at Calgary Bay a Common Scoter and Black Throated Diver. Then it was back home to shed clearing and finding out I need to work on our water supply after the recent gales and monsoon rains, particularly as more is forecast.
Hen harrier male flying
Oct 11th
A day at home starting a major sort out in the sheds before winter sets in.
Oct 10th
What a difference a day makes as it was a beautifull day and calm out of the wind on the East side of the island where we were on a trip out with friends. They have been staying with us for a week and give me a list of birds they have yet to see on this stay on Mull and we managed to find 7 that they had not seen earlier. Great Northern Divers, Black Throated Divers, Golden Eagle, Reed Bunting, Ring Plover, Turnstone and Redwing. We also saw the Sparrowhawk in the photo and the Bar Tailed Godwits as well as a brillian male Hen Harrier, Red Deer rutting and a feeding Otter and Porpoise, all this in a total of 53 bird species and 5 mammals seen in the day. This evening our friends Meg and Stephen took us out for a very nice meal at the Am Birlinn restaurant as a thank you.
Bar-tail GodwitBar-tail Godwits feeding 2
Oct 9th
Did I mention it has been raining a lot on Mull lately, check out the photos from yesterday at the bridge at Dervaig.
Rain blue car going through
                                    waterRain going over the road
Rain near the top of the
                                    bridgeRain through the other side
Oct 8th
Our last tour of 2018 so as we had room Pam came out with me which was just as well as the weather turned wet and windy again after a brief lull at the start of the tour. We saw a field full of Red Deer with a young stag in charge, well he thought he was but when the hinds are ready to mate he will certainly have been usurped by a larger more experinced stag. White-tailed Sea Eagles were seen both sitting and flying and 2 seperate Otters seen fishing. Other birds of note on todays tour were Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Siskin in our garden when we went home for afternoon tea as the weather had turned really nasty. Photo of the day was of a Dipper near the coast as the burn was in flood and it could only search for food in the estuary where the burn goes into the sea.

Oct 7th
the monsoon season continues up here on Mull and as it was the morning after the night before I just got myself prepared for the big match between Liverpool and Manchester Cilty, with me at one end of the sofa and Nick my mate and Liverpool fan on the other. The match was a bit of a damp sqid although my 2 year old grandson could have taken a better penalty.
Oct 6th
A day out with friends and a rare opportunity to go to the deep south of Mull and to find some birds we rarely see in the north. Rooks, Jackdaws and Tufted Ducks were seen and we also saw some Golden Plovers my particular favourite sighting of the day. We saw White-tailed Sea Eagles, 3 Hen Harriers includin 2 males, 3 Otters, Red Deer and a Hare so it was a very productive day. Teal were seen and Wigeon which proves autumn is moving on and are wintering species are returning. We saw 3 male Eider Duck looking resplendent in their new plumage although we did not see any Baracle Geese which would have been nice but they obviosly are still finding plenty to eat on their journey south. An evening out at our friends and neighbours this evening and a very enjoyable meal and lots of laughter ensued, many thanks to Nick and Catherine our hosts and we hope Jaquie soon feels better as she was in some discomfort tonight.
Red Deer young stagOtter eating on seaweed
Oct 5th
No rain today was forecast so I mowed the other 2 lawns which I had not mown in October although I still got wet as the forecast was not completly correct as there were 3 heavy showers. I went for a drive round the block with Pam this morning and ended up at Cailiach Point where we saw Fulmar, Kittiwake, Gannets and Guilliemots and a very late Puffin. Earlier we had seen a Sparrowhawk which flew across the road in front of us and a White-tailed Eagle which flew over the vehicle, we also had 3 Kestrels which seem to be doing very well on Mull at the moment. In the garden we are still seeing lesser Redpolls and a Wren put in an appearance this morning.
Oct 4th
Today it rained incessently so I stayed in and rested, its raining, its pouring, the old mans snoring. ZZZZZZ
Oct 3rd
A tour in low cloud rain and breeze not the most promising weather for a wildlife tour. An Otter at our first stop did me a real favour as it took a lot of the pressure off for me as it was at a stop I don't often get Otters. Snipe, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlews and of course Oystercatchers were the waders we saw today and birds of prey seen included Kestrels, Buzzards White-tailed Sea Eagles and a spectacular male Hen Harrier towards the end of the tour as the mist lifted and the rain stopped. We saw 3 Red Deer today and they were nearly the last thing we saw on todays tour, I really thought it was going to be the first tour of the year when we did not see any Deer, to my great relief it wasn't.
Oct 2nd
A trip to the dentist which means another trip to Tobermory and I felt a little bit like the invisible man as they had not got me down for an appointment, now I know I am prone to making mistakes but would anyone put a trip to the dentist in their diary unless they had been given one, I certainly wouldn't. To be fair to the dentist she did see me as it was only a check up although I have to go back soon for a filling, oh joy. Back in the shed when I got home with my mates, thanks for the help boys. No rain today, now that is a suprise, so I was able to mow the big lawn this afternoon although there wasn't much grass to cut but I managed 5 full bags of leaves, great for the compost heap.
Oct !st 
I went with Pam to Tobermory to pick up her engagement ring from the jewelers, it has been away for repair and she had felt lost without it, the ring not me. I can understand as she has been wearing it for 47 years so I can't say it hasn't worn well, unlike me. I also made a start on clearing the big shed which involved a trip to the Tobermory tip, we leed such exciting lives???

Blog July
This is the web site of Pam & Arthur Brown, Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig, Isle of Mull. PA75  6QR
          Pam & Arthur Brown
          Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig
          Isle of Mull
          Argyll, PA75 6QR
01688 400415
07780 600367
car parking and 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.
wildlife photography guidance
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