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Arthur's Mull Bird List 2018

2O19 WILL BE THE LAST YEAR THAT DISCOVER MULL WILDLIFE TOURS WILL BE OPERATING AS WE ARE RETIRING WITH OUR LAST TOUR GOING OUT ON SUNDAY JULY 14TH.
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
October 2018
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
Sparrowhawk
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.

Dipper
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???
September 2018
Sept 30th
Once upon a time on a cold wet day on the island of Mull Arthur Brown took a full bus of 8 guests on a Discover Mull wildlife tour. During the morning they saw a Black Throated Diver and lots of Red Deer including stags. After lunch with his guests getting cold and damp he stopped to look for some White-tailed Sea Eagles and found two sitting on rocks by the shoreline, thank goodness he thought. One of his guests looking through the telescope at the Eagles saw an Otter, Arthur confirmed it was there in front of the said Eagles, even better he thought. What followed was amazing, the Otter was carrying a fish and trying to get to land, the Eagles kept mobbing the Otter and trying to steal the fish. The otter swam out to sea with the Eagles following diving at her all the time but she would not let go of the fish, even turnimg to try and return to land. As she approached the shore we spotted the reason she would not let go of the fish as two small pups appeared on the shoreline and as she tried to get out of the water an Eagle actually landed on her back lifting her slightly but still she would not let go of her fish, what courage she was showing. This process carried on for some time and in the end she managed to get out of the water and take her pups away from danger seeming no worse for wear from her traumatic experience. Arthur's guests were really happy at this outcome and had for a while forgotten how cold and wet they were. When he had taken his guests home Arthur went home himself and Pam made him a lovely drink of hot Chocolate which he drank whilst in a very hot bath and thought of what he had witnessed on a fabulous afternoon on the Island of Mull.
WTSE attaching Otter in seaweed
Sept 29th
Ryder Cup and football, I do have other hobbies.
Sept 28th
A tour today and it could not have got off to a better start as we had seen 5 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 2 Golden Eagles, 4 Otters and Red Deer stags before 11-30am. At least 6 Kestrels were seen during the day and another 2 White-Tailed Eagles and of course numerous Buzzards. At one point in the morning through the telescope we had 2 White-tailed Eagles bookending an otter with a Grey Seal in the water in front of them looking on. My guests were somewhat overwhelmed and even I was a little taken aback. The views today were stunning as well as there was only a little rain and no mist so even though we had less wildlife in the afternoon we still had glorious Mull to enjoy.
WTSE flying full wingsWTSE flying sdult
Eorsa & Beinn MoreInch Keneth & Ross of Mull
Sept 27th
More of the same weatherwise although it did improve in the late afternoon. our local Sparrowhawk was having a laugh with the birds in the garden today, no sooner had they returned after one traumatising fly through when the little blighter flew through again, the little birds did not know if they were coming or going, well obviously both. On a short trip out today I found another new Otter with pups and the Black Throated Diver was still about. You can add Ringed Plovers to the list of birds on our local loch, Loch Cuin, and the Snipe seem to be resident for the winter now and will be joined by more as winter approaches. I had fun today playing with my best mate, Lucy, sorry Nick but when the cats away.
Sept 26th
After Arthurs songs of yesterday he sent me out in Mountain Mist (Rick Wakeman). Rain, wind, low cloud, not the best conditions for finding wildlife. At our first stop we had good comparisons of Shag and Cormorant and Meadow and Rock Pipits. Searching for Otters was a Pantomine especially when the call went up 'There behind you' as mum and 2 cubs were running across the field and up the hill. As we pulled up at are lunch stop I found a juvinle White-tail Eagle sitting on the beach, unfortunatly as I was helping guests out of the van it flew away. A short time later we saw 2 more flying very low but still at the lower level of the cloud. During luch they came and went, increasing in numbers until eventually we had 6 juvenile White-tail Eagles flying right above our heads, interacting with each other and attempting to talon grasp. My guests were delighted as they had not expected to see any Eagles in these weather conditions. Other highlights were a Dipper, Red-throated Diver and 4 Common Scoter, the last 2 in rather choppy water.
Sept 25th
Today we had no tour which was just as well as this morning it was very Windy (The Association) and any birds that were out were Blowing in the wind (Bob Dylan). in fact you could say that they had the Wind beneath their wings (Bette Midler). As well as the wind Here Comes the rain again (Eurthmics) and we all had Here comes that rainy day feeling again (The Fortunes) and we were wondering Who'll stop the rain (Creedence Clearwater Revival). As the day progressed the weather got worse with gales and heavier rain, in fact it was Stormy Weather (Etta James) and it was Like a Hurricane (Neil Young) And there was Little shelter from the storm (Bob Dylan) but we live in hope it will get better After the Storm (Mumford and Sons).
Sept 24th
A nice if cool day for the tour today and once again we saw 4 Otters, isn't it funny how Otters reappear as visitor numbers go down, our friends Jaquie and MiKe saw 11 Otters yesterday when out with some friends. Excellent White-tailed Sea Eagle sightings today and also a good if distant Golden Eagle.  Good views of Red Deer stag and lots of sightings of hinds and this years calves. The Black Throated Diver was again present but there was no sign of the Common Scoter. We saw lots of wader species although not in great numbers and once again our guests were astonished at how many birds we have in our garden as we took afternoon tea in the warmth of our Aga heated kitchen.
WTSE adult flyingWTSE juv flying
Sept 23rd
Today to be different I am putting the top twenty countdown from today's tour in my opinion. At no 20 Oystercatcher, seen on most tours but an obvious bird to get begginers started. At 19 Siskin, in our garden and guests always love this little Finch. At 18 the Common Gull which is a really nice Gull and not as evil looking as its bigger cousins. At 17 the ubiquitous Grey Heron, a bird guests easily spot and often comment upon. At 16 Red Breasted Merganser a beautiful Duck which breeds on Mull. At 15 Seals, both types and a Mammal guests like to see and whilst they look at the Seals I can search for Otters. !4 Redshank, a delightful but fairly obvious Wader to see but harder than Oystercatcher. At 13 Bar Tailed Godwit A good bird which looks rather like a small Curlew until you see the bill. At !2 the Curlew most guests favorite Wader due mainly to its call. At 11 the Sparrowhawk and I will also include Buzzard here as we see the latter on most tours but not so the Sparrowhawk. At 10 Snipe which when we see it guests get quite excited by its colours and bill size. At 9 Greenshank my favorite Mull Wader. At 8 Kestrel a beautiful raptor often overlooked and this is a big mistake. At 7 Red Deer although we have an awful lot of them guests cannot find them and love to see stags. At 6, White-tailed Sea Eagle A guest favourite but I much prefer the Golden Eagle. At 5, Great Northern Diver, the first on a tour for some time. At 4, Otter, everyone wants to see them and when we do its great, today we saw four. At 3, Common Scoter, a sea duck and the first one on a tour this year, so you could say its a new entry. At 2 Golden Eagle, an iconic bird in Mull and Scotland. No 1 on todays tour a Black Throated Diver still in most of its breeding plumage, I'm still rubbing my thies a la Chris Packham over this sighting. This top 20 were all seen on todays tour so apologies to all the wildlife not there, you should put in an appearance to be included. The list is only my opinion my guests would be different no doubt.
Sept 22nd
Changeover day in the self-catering so I had one more lawn to mow although I did manage to get out and do a bit of wildlife watching and I am glad I did as I saw a very young Otter pup in a new area. At Cailaich a small flock of Twite, always a nice bird to see, Kestrels, Buzzards, and Red Deer here as well. On to Calgary and a single Common Scoter in the bay and 4 Eider Ducks here as well and then I spotted a pair of Red Throated Divers and in the good light and through the scope I was able to see that they still had the Red on their throats. When I returned home I took Lucy for a walk across the road to the Loch and was able to take a photo of these Goosander at high tide.
Goosander family
Sept 21st
No tour today and after yesterdays epic I stayed at home and mowed the Lawns, yes we did have more showers but if I wait for the rain to stop completely they might not get done till Christmas (did I really mention that word). I also cleaned the mini-bus, for all guests who have been out with me this year it is dark blue, even I had forgotten what it looks like when cleaned, I also got the hoover out and cleaned the inside, I have have to go now as Pam has just fainted at the sight of me with a hoover. This evening we went to the Bird Club meeting about mammals, Wildcat, Pinemarting and Polecat, it was interesting and informative and very enjoyable and as it was held in Dervaig we were home by 10 oclock, now that is a bonus, see what we have been missing all these years going down to Craignure.
Sept 20th
Oh what a day, late in September 2018, a wonderful male Hen Harrier sighting and at the same time we were also seeing some Red Deer stags, unfortunatly for the Deer the Hen Harrier was the main attraction with the Deer only a supporting role. Earlier in the day we had found an Otter although we were struggling to remain upright as the high winds were blowing right up the Loch, through perseverance and patience all our guests were able to see the Otter very well through the telescope. 2 White-tailed Sea Eaglers were seen as was a very good female Sparrowhawk and of course Kestrels and Buzzards but it was the Golden Eagles at the end of the day which really stole the show today and I can't often say that after the great Hen Harrier sighting but these birds really wanted to be seen and flew right over our heads and I even managed a decent (for me) photograph of them. What a way to end a perfect day with lovely guests, great wildlife sightings and all on a day when we only had a few showers. Other notable sightings today were Snipe, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Bar Tailed Godwit and I saw a single Wigeon.
Golden Eagle female adult and
                                  juvinile
Sept 19th
I love my wife she managed to re-jig the tours so we didn't have to do a tour today and the weather was evil, high winds and yes even more rain.
Sept 18th
It might as well rain throughout September, yes another wet day although not as windy as it has been, severe gales promised for tomorrow though so a bit of tour jigging by Pam means we are not out in that. Anyway back to today and what can you see on a wet day on Mull, 4 otters that's what, a mum with 2 pups and a single one fishing, Common Seal, the first 2 of 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles, Buzzards and Kestrels and of course some Red Deer. Other notable sighting were the Robin in the photo on top of a tall post at Ulva Ferry and a Dipper in a stream near the sea as the burns were full and very fast flowing as believe it or not it had poured down with rain all night.
Otters mum & cubsOtters a bundle of
Robin on postDipper in the stream
Sept 17th
Rain all day with the wind getting up in the afternoon fortunatly we managed to see wildlife in the morning. The White-tail Eagle chicks were looking a bit bedraggled sitting on there branch and the Buzzards and Kestrels were flying in the rain. We were fortunate enough to get a 20 minute break just as we pulled up at our lunch stop and 2 Golden Eagles took the opportunity to take to the sky, we were so lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The Sparrowhawk flew through as well and we got lunch whilst it was dry. Later we found an Otter fishing in some relativly calm water and a nice herd of Red Deer and Common Seals were also seen. I did a lot of talking about the History and Geology of Mull which all my guests enjoyed.
Sept 16th
A tour today in windy and often wet conditions but we managed to see brilliant Hen Harrier hunting on a ridge and in the valley below us, there was a hunting Kestrel here as well and obviously a Buzzard. 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles were seen but evan they were not showing that well today as we only saw them perched. At one of our Golden Eagle stops we saw a Peregrine falcon very close and one of two Sparrowhawks seen in the day. A distant Golden Eagle not one to shout about was seen flying into the strog winds wings tucked well in. Other notable birds seen were Ravens who were putting on a great display, at least one bird species enjoys high winds. Mammals today were Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Grey and Common Seals and a total of 5 Otters, yes that is correct 5 Otters, 2 seperate ones and a mum with 2 cubs, I think my guests had a good day in spite of the weather, I know I did.
Buzzard hovering
Sept 15th
A day off
Sept 14th
The day started with some lovely Red Breasted Mergansers, Greenshank, Bar Tailed Godwits, Curlews, Redshank and Oystercatchers, these were followed by some Eider Ducks, a Black Guilliemot and these Common Seals that look like they are sitting on water but in fact they are on an island just below the surface waiting for the tide to recede. We had 3 Golden Eagle sightings today the one at afternoon tea being a cracker. White-tailed Sea Eagles as usual, 2 Hen Harrier sightings the second one another cracking sighting and Red Deer stags some with hinds, we saw one getting himself dolled up with fancy Deer perfume, that is lying in its own Urine, hum hum, I bet it did. Two other Deer stags were having a bit of a go at each other, it wasn't a fight to the death but the rut has started.
Red-breasted MerganzerCommon Seals Aros Bay
Sept 13th
Between the showers and in high winds we watched as a pair of Golden Eagles as they flew high above the hill looking as if they were doing it just for the fun of it. A few minutes later we turned as all the gulls were flying over the salmon hatchery and sure enought there were 2 White-tail Eagles flying above them. Both sightings were for several minutes and delighted my guests. I (Pam) havn't led a tour for a couple of weeks and was also delighted with this good start to the day. Just before lunch, in the only calm water around the island, I spotted an Otter in the water swimming past a pair of Goosander I had in the telescope unfortunatly it disapeared before any of my guests saw it. As I was searching for it someone said that there was another Otter on the otherside, we went to look and it was playing 'hide and seek' with us but eventually we were able to watch a mother and cub as they were hunting elusivly behind rock and seaweed. Whilst we were watching the Otters a beautiful male Hen Harrier flew right over the top of them  hunting the islands . Along with Red Deer, Seals and numerous Kestrels our other highlight for the day was a close Peregrine Falcon.
Sept 12th
It was one of those days, my guests wanted Otters, there were white horses on the sea due to a very strong wind, we got at least 3 Otters which my guests either could not see in the water or the Otters just disappeared. I was more than a little frustrated although in the end all my guests had seen an Otter however briefly so I suppose you could say job done but I was not happy on two counts, the sightings were not great for my guests and we missed out on other wildlife looking just for Otter. We did see a lot of Red Deer stags, 5 White-tailed Sea Eagles and a Hen Harrier although we could have seen much more if we hadn't spent so much time looking for Otter. Finally the mum and cubs were nowhere to be seen, not really a suprise as you could barely park where they had been the day before, word gets about and the wildlife gets disturbed from its normal behaviour.
Sept 11th
Wind, heavy squalls, cool not the best day for a tour or so we thought but it turned out to be a great day with the highlight for my guests being a mum Otter with 2 small cubs, check out the photo of the two youngsters playing in seaweed whilst mum was out fishing about 30 metres away. Another highlight were the 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles which flew in and landed on seaweed whilst we were having lunch, both coffe and lunch were taken between squalls. 2 Hen Harriers seen early in the tour set the day up well and with a Golden Eagles and a group of Red Deer with a young stag made my guests more than pleased with a day when to be truthfull their expectations were not that high, it just goes to show you can never second guess wildlife.
Otter young at playWTSE at rest
Sept 10th
No tour today so we went to Tobermory, me to buy a new watch strap and Pam to the jewellers to get a stone reset in her engagement ring. In the event the ring has had to be sent away to be reset which is going to cost a small fortune but as she has worn it for over 46 years I can't complain and she is worth it to put up with me for all that time. On our way home we did a detour to get in a bit of birding and saw 4 or was it 5 Kestrels, they were more prevelent than Buzzards this morning. 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles but for me it was a single Black Tailed Godwit that stole the show today. I was glad we didn't have a tour today as the weather was awful, rain, wind, rain, gales and still more rain.
Sept 9th
Out on tour again today and to put it mildly the weather was not promising so we were all in wet weather gear and mode. I drove off missing a couple of usual stops as it was pouring down but as the rain eased we reached a possible White-tailed Eagle stop and so I stopped for a look. There were no Eagles there but we did see a Buzzard and 2 fantastic Hen Harriers which kept us entertained for a while much to my relief. My guests wanted Otters, when don't they, and lo and behold we got one, a very good one at coffee time, much to my relief. After coffee we saw a single Fallow Deer and a couple of Red Deer but in the wind and rain nothing else. The rain stopped and so did we and out flew a Kestrel and 2 Golden Eagles much to my relief and at lunch a White-tailed Sea Eagle flew over our heads, you guessed it, much to my relief. More Red Deer followed and all the birds in our garden and to end the day Goosander, Redshank, Greenshank and Snipe, Much to my relief.
Sept 8th
A word in support of little brown jobs (LBJ'S) they do not all look alike, there are subtle differences and they all play a part in our eco system and if you look at them closely they are all very beautifull. Take a look at the photograph below of a humble Meadow Pipit and even with my fuzzy photos you can see what a lovely bird it is with its wing bar, black, brown, buff and white plumage and long claws very evident and without them were would our Cuckoos nest, Merlins feed and bird watchers struggle to identify a typical LBJ. I went for a short drive around today and saw some wildlife but I was particularly taken with the Meadow Pipits and a gorgeous charm of over 30 Goldfinches at Calgary.
Meadow Pipit
Sept 7th
A tour today and an unusual request for Dunlin, now I have not seen Dunlin for at least a week on our tours, lots of other Waders but not Dunlin, but the Gods must have been smiling on me today as at our last stop and the 2nd possible Dunlin spot I found 3 feeding up furiously, result, a great way to leave guests on a high and it was a first for the lady who made the request. White-tailed Sea Eagles were seen as were Golden Eagles but the star of today was an Otter which performed perfectly for my guests who all wanted to see Otter, Todays photo is a group of four Red Deer, including a young stag, there were 20 in total in the herd but these four were grouped together for a half decent shot. (whisper that as the stalking season will soon be upon us).
Red Deer in a field
Sept 6th
No tour today but I had to go to Salen to fetch a parcel for Pam who was too busy baking Lemon Drizzle Cake for the tours so I took the opportunity to do a bit of birding with my new Kowa scope for the first time. Waders seen were Oystercatchers, Curlews, Bar Tailed Godwits, Ringed Plover, Greenshank and Redshank. Birds of prey seen were Buzzards, Golden Eagles and White-tailed Sea Eagles, I also saw Red and Fallow Deer and both types of Seal and the views through the scope were amazing, I was really chuffed. Thanks to Nick for painting the windows and fixing the downspouts in readiness for Winter we cannot thank him enough. I took a photo of Aros Castle  which we see on most tours but I never get time to photograph it and so I thought I should as it is getting more dillapadated like the Salen boats.
Aros CastleWTSE at Tenga
Sept 5th
As Arthur says wildllife watching can all be about timing and today as I (Pam) was on the tour and the weather forcast was not great we started doing the tour from Tobermory via Dervaig as we had heard that it was pouring down in Salen. In the first hour, but it was mainly in a 20 minute period, we saw Hooded Crows and Ravens and a baby toad under the Adders sheet. The usual Herons, Goosanders and Greylag Geese at the end of Loch Cuin with some Red Deer on the hill. At our next stop we saw a juvenile White-tail Sea Eagle looking very bedragled in a tree as we watched a Buzzard flew past behind the trees where we could hear but not see the adult bird. A Sparrowhawk flew over head and across the road behind us, as we turned we saw the Hooded Crows chasing a bird which turned out to be a beautiful female Hen Harrier twisting and turning to avoid the crows. I then took my guests home for a toilet stop and we had great views of the adult White-tailed Sea Eagle from our garden (pretty cool eh.) Whilst watching the Eagle the Sparrowhawk had gone through the garden and all the little birds had gone. It rained quite heavily for most of the day although we saw 2 more White-tail Eagles flying and some more Red Deer.
Sept 4th
Another tour with great sightings of all Mulls special species seen in near perfect weather for wildlife watching. We saw zillions more Buzzards today and I imagine a lot of visitors think they are Golden Eagles particularly as the bus and taxi drivers tell them they are but I would know if I told guests that Buzzards were Eagles and I could not in all concience do that even if they would not know. Today we actually saw 3 Golden Eagles, 6 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 2 Hen Harriers, Kestrels, and Peregrine Falcon. 3 Otters were seen a mother and young in a place I rarely see them and another late in the day although for once on a tour Otters were not really a high priority for my guests and they barely glanced at the last one. Other birds of note were Bar Tailed Godwits, Greenshank, a Lapwing and Ringed Plover and we also saw a lot of Red Deer stags today and 2 Fallow Deer. I could not resist taking this photo of the Highland Cow which was framed by the branches of the trees and bushes.
Highland Cow in bushes
Sept 3rd
Back on tour again and I had a fantastic time, great guests at least 4 had been out with me before, lots of visitors who I always enjoy catching up with, fabulous weather and wonderfull wildlife except for the morning Midges which we will not dwell on. 9 White tailed Sea Eagles, 4 Golden Eagles, 2 Hen Harriers, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk and zillions of Buzzards. Small birds included Lesser Redpoll, Siskins, Greenfinches and Coal Tits. Red Deer, both kinds of Seal and a Rabbit were seen on a day when all Mulls main species came out to play. When I got home I even had time to finish the Lawn that I had not got around to on Friday, a very special day indeed.
Otter walking on rock
Sept 1st and 2nd
The weather forecast was right for once so I stayed indoors and caught up on the family particularly my brothers and sister. I also enjoyed watching the weekend sport particulary the brilliant cricket test match, Lewis Hamiltons amazing win at the Italian Grand Prix and of course supporting my football club Manchester City and before any of you think I only support winners, I have supported City since 1958 and even got my unfortunate son and daughter to support them, how's that for being a cruel dad. Richard is now a season ticket holder and even had Blue Moon sung at his wedding much to his Manchester United mates disgust.
August 2018
31st August
Mowed lawns as I had no tour and weekend weather not promising. This Good Morning Good Morning, I was feeding the birds With a little help from my friends, Jack and Tom but not For the benefit of Mr Kite as we don't have Red Kites on Mull very often. The house and self-catering are getting a bit of a makeover with our friend and neighbour Nick Fixing a Hole, whilst painting all the windows, which is all a Day in the life for Nick and Getting Better for us. In November Pam is going to a wedding in America with our son and daughter-in-law, you could say She's leaving home, leaving me to look after our dog Lucy (in the sky with diamonds) so I will not be one of SGT Peppers lonely hearts club band. This blog post is mainly for Blake and Sheila but I hope it makes you all smile a little bit.
Arthur, Jack & Tom feed the
                                  birds
30th August
Another tour and I am unashamedley starting with the best of the rest as we had 3 Red Throated Divers today on Loch Na Keal which made my day even if my guests appeared a little underwhelmed. We had to show a lot of patience today as we had to wait for an Otter we were watching at a distance to fill up with fish, eventually however it climbe out onto an island and gave us a great view, my guests were very excited with that sighting. White-tailed Sea Eagles were excellent again today and we saw 4 really good Golden Eagles. Changing my route a tad today brought us good luck with a very good Hen Harrier sighting and a couple of Kestrels and a nice herd of Red Deer including some good stags.
29th August
A tour today with great guests, they were great at spotting, great at chatting to me and all had a great sence of humour which helps me enormously . Mulls special species also performed well for me today, we had a fabulous sighting of a female Hen Harrier but sadly for one of my guests not a male, ah well you can't win them all. White-tailed Sea Eagles were seen in good numbers but the one that flew over our heads was very special. We saw a lot of Golden Eagles today although the one that was being mobbed by Crows and landed reasonably close for a Golden Eagle was probably the highlight of the day. Loads of Red Deer were seen today including several stags and a very good if brief Otter was also seen which pleased my lovely guests no end. Thanks to everyone on todays tour I had a really great day with you all.
28th August
No tour and not a lot to report but I did manage to walk Lucy across the road and got some photos of Dunlin which dropped into feed as we were there and the tide was receeding.

Dunlin 4Dunlin 2
27th August
A full tour today and we had a good day with 2 Otters seen well, both types of Seal and Red Deer includig a stag. On the bird front we saw 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles both sitting and flying, it is when they are flying that you appreciate how enormous these birds are. 2 Golden Eagles were seen a little distant but very good views, Kestrels and Buzzards as usual and a brief Hen Harrier which most of my guests saw. Wader of the day was a Bar-tailed Godwit and my guests also enjoyed seeing Black Guilliemots and Cormorants and Shags sitting together giving good size comparrison and the obvious different forehead shape. Finally our guests are amazed by how many Grey Herons they see on Mull and I explain that we have at least 12 Heronries of various sizes.
26th August
No tour today but an awful lot of rain, we worked indoors and enjoyed the birds in the garden.
25th August
Saturday so no tour but we took Lucy across the road to the side of Loch Cuin and saw 5 Black Tailed Godwits still in partial breeding plumage, 40 Redshank, a count of 9 Greenshank, 7 Goosander, 6 Curlews, 55 Greylag Geese, 5 Herons, a pair of Mallard, and 2 Herring Gulls and a single Great Blacked Gull. Earlier one of our self-catering guests had also seen good numbers of Ringed Plovers and a few Dunlin here as well. On our way back to the house Pam spotted the Buzzard sitting on the telegraph post which I just had to stop and get a photo of as they usually fly away when I show them my camera. With the 16 to 17 species seen regularly in our garden it does not matter if it rains at Ardrioch there is plenty to see within a ten minute walk.
Black-tailed Godwits 2Buzzard on post Ardrioch
24th august
A tour in very showery conditions and the showers were very heavy when they came and were very blustery in stong winds. We saw some very good birds of prey between the showers including several White-tailed Sea Eagles with the one in the photo below aruably the best of them. Very good Hen Harrier and 2 Peregrine Falcans were seen as were 2 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk although the Golden Eagle we saw was so brief only myself and one guest actually saw it. Red Deer including a stag and Fallow Deer were seen, the Fallow Deer crossed the road right in front of the mini-bus. The Hedgehog in the photo we rescued as it was crossing the road, so we took it up a forest path and just hope it found a much safer route for its travells.
WTSE in treeHedgehog rescued
23rd August
No tour today so I went with Lucy across the road to the Loch and saw 4 Black Tailed Godwits in a field with a large group of Greylag Geese, more migration. At the coast there were lots of Ring Plover and 4 Greenshank, a single Dunlin, Curlews and Goosander. Guests in our self-catering who came down as I was leaving saw an Otter fishing an hour after I had left. My mate and neighbour, Nick has been painting our wooden widows blue to match in with the new windows we had put in Inch Hame in the Winter. As usual he is making a first class job and the house will look really good when he has finished, although at the moment he is dodging the showers so can't get in a full day very often on what is a very fiddly job.
Black-tailed GodwitsRinged Plovers
Greenshank & Ringed Plover
22nd August
A tour today and at our first stop there was a Bar Tailed Godwit at Aros, so Autumn migration has started which will make birding more interesting for the rest of the year after the Summer moult. We had several sightings of White-tailed Sea Eagles today and 3 Golden Eagles at lunchtime. An Otter in the morning which was number one on my guests wish list so I was a very happy chappie when we found one. Red Deer mums and calves proved a big hit with my guests and so did the Seal seen in a few locations. We are seeing a lot of Grey Herons all over the place at the moment as fledged birds join their parents around the coast, my guests are amazed at how many Herons we have on Mull. The views were spectacular today and we were able to see the Outer Hebridies from one of my favorite viewpoints.
Otter groomingOtter still grooming
Otter swimming

21st August
No tour today but I did manage to get out birding for myself
and saw a few nice birds including 2 Wigeon the first back for the  winter or maybe they were just passing through. A Dipper was seen at a regular haunt and there were lots of Swallows and a few House Martins feeding up before their long migration to Africa begins. A lot of Arctic and Common Terns also feeding up although a couple were having a rest along with some Shags, Cormorants and a single Kittiwake. Without really looking for them I saw both types of Seal , a single Fallow Deer and 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles. A total of 35 bird species and 3 mammals were seen and I was only out for about three hours.
Shag on a postCormorant
Artic Tern
20th August
No tour today but as it was a beautiful day I mowed the lawns which meant I had no time to go out birding as I also had to go to Tobermory to fill up the car, get some more bird seed and fetch a new gas for the midge machine as it had run out. No rest for the wicked as the saying goes although I did manage a few looks at the birds in the garden, the highlights being Lesser Redpoll, Siskins and Great Spotted Woodpecker, at least now Lucy chases the Rabbits off the lawn, so there is one animal she is not scared of.
!9th August
A tour today and I can honestly say it could not have been better with lovely guests and would you believe it 3, yes, Three Otters at three seperate sites, where have they been hiding. We saw 2 Golden Eagles, 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles, Red Deer including stags and a Hen Harrier, we also saw Buzzards and Kestrels. other wildlife were waders which included Oystercatchers, Curlews, Redshank, Greenshanks, Ring Plovers and Dunlin. Other notable birds were Goosander, Black Guilliemot, Kittiwakes, Shags, Cormorants, Gannet, Siskin and a beautiful male Linnet, I nearly forgot the Wheatears of which we saw quite a few mainly in one location. As usual I forgot about my camera for most of the tour as I prefer to watch the wildlife and look out for more as my guests watch the Otters and other wildlife we find but I did remember I had it with me when I found my first Grass of Parnassus of the year it wasn't until I looked at the picture on the computer that I saw the small insect on the flower.
Grass of Parnassus with insect
!8th August
Changeover day in the self-catering and I was relieved that the lawns did not need mowing and so I took Lucy across the road and down to the Cuin lochside and enjoyed an hour of peacefull birding. There were over 50 Greylag Geese grazing the new grass from recently mown fields much to the farmers chagrin. Down at the Lochside a mother and 4 well grown Goosander chicks flew past to land on the Loch for a leisurly swim. There were the usual Redshanks, Greenshanks, Curlews and Grey Herons but what I was most taken with today were a mixed flock of Ring Plovers and Dunlin which had obviously just arrived judging by the way busy way they were feeding. I enjoyed watching their antics and with lovely Lucy by my side I just relaxed in the atmosphere that only Mull can bring to me.
Greylag Gese grazing new grass
!7th August
As forecast the weather today was pretty awful, wet and windy, a bit of a change from what we experienced in the South and not the best for wildlife watching but apart from 2 no shows we had a full bus. The day started quite well with Redhanks, Greenshanks, Curlews and Oystercatchers seen at Dervaig, we also saw Goosander and the first of many Grey Herons here as well. Ravens were seen but little else untill we got to the shoreline once again where we saw Red Breasted Mergansers, Mute Swans, Cormorants and Swallows as well as Common Seals. The rain kept falling and the wind got up so hot coffee and tea were most welcome. Apart from a very nice Ringed Plover and all Mulls Gull species not a lot was seen until Sam spotted a White-tailed Sea Eagle fly in and land on a tree which lifted everyones dampened (litterally) spirits somewhat. Red Deer, Shags, Black Guilliemots and a Great Northern Diver were seen but the rain kept falling and it was hard keeping eveyones spirits up although with a little persuasion our guests devoured all the hot Carrot soup and sandwiches. The rain stopped at 10 past 4 in the afternoon and in 10 minutes we saw 2 Kestrels, 2 more White-tailed Sea Eagles and 2 Hen Harriers, the trevails of the day were forgotten in this bird fest and my guests went home tired wet and very happy, me I was tired, wet and very relieved.
Ardrioch houseLucy
!6th August
Arrived home at 2-30pm after a family and friends visit of 3 weeks, thanks once again to Pete and Jenny for looking after everything including Lucy, also for ensuring our self-caterers were well looked after, we are really indebted to you. Everything was perfect when we got home which was just as well as we have our first tour on our return tomorrow and the weather is not looking to promising.
9th August
Our ship Ortelius took us north into the Ice Flows just 600 miles south of the North Pole. The view was incredible with ice as far as the eye could see. This is home to Bruinics Guillemots, Ivory and Glaucous Gulls who feed on Polar Cod from the icy seas. Yes, thats Pam so rugged up you can not tell who it is.
Bruinics Guillemots on iceIvory Gull flying
Ice Flows ArticGlaucous Gull on ice
Glaucous Gull flyingIce flows Pam on ship
5th August
Long-tails Ducks and a Juvinile King Eider were seen from a Zodiac ride and Glacias seen from the ship.
Long tail Ducks ArticKing Eider Artic
Glacia ArticGlacia 2 Artic
4th August
Arthur & I enjoying our holiday in the Artic and all our trips out in the Zodiacs, we saw Rock Pharmigan and Artic Skua.
Pam, Arthur on ship Glacia
                                    Artic    Zodiac transport
                                    Artic
Artic Ptarmigan ArticArtic Skua Artic
2nd August
At 79 degrees north Ny-Alesund is the worlds most northern settlement originally a mining comunity today it is a centre for International Artic Scientific research and environmental monitoting. Here we saw our first Glacia and an old Mining Train. We know it as the Grey Pharolope as we would normally see it in winter plumage but in the Artic this bird is know as the Red Pharolope. The female on the left is the more colourful as the male sits on the eggs and rears the young whilst she goes off to find another male to mate with. (I think this is a good idea - Pam) We also saw our first Reindeer, Ivory Gull, Purple Sandpiper and nesting Artic Turn.
Grey Pharolope female NAGrey Pharolope male NA
Coal Train Ny-AlesundGlacia Ny-Alesund
Reindeer Ny-AlesundIvory Gull NA
Purple Sandpiper Ny-AlesundArtic Turn on nest NA
1st August
Fulmar in fabulous Artic sky. We saw Blue Whales on our first evening on our ship and Polar Bear with cubs the next morning, they were walking amongst the nesting Barnacle Geese and Eider Ducks and foraging the eggs from their nests.
Fulmar in fabulous Artic skyBlue Whale
Blue Whales ArticPolar Bear
Polar bear with cubs
July 2018
30th July
This Eider Duck was on her nest just by the side of the road. Our first view of the ship Ortelius at dock in Longyearbyen.
Eider Cuck on nest
                                    LongyesrbyenOrtilious
29th July
Our first day in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, the Artic flowers are very hardy as are their Husky dogs. The Skidoos are all parked up during the summer months.
Hardy Spitzbergan plant Longyearbyen
Husky DogLongyearbyen transport
Pictures from our holiday in the Arctic. Firstly the pub in Longyearbyan, Svalbard 78 degrees north and our first of many Snowbuntings in full breeding plumage.
Pub LongyearbyanSnowbunting Longyearbyan
July 27th
Today I mowed all the the lawns in preparation for leaving early in the morning. Thanks once again to Nick our neighbour and friend who came and hung a big new, well second hand T.V. which he also provided on the wall of the living room in Inch Hame, now its like being in a multi-plex T.V. on the wall or birds on the feeders in garden through the large living room window. There will be no actual Mull Blog posts whilst we are away but Pam is going to put a couple of photos each day from our excellent holiday cruising around in an ice breaker ship in the Arctic.
July 26th
My last tour before we go and visit our family in the deep dark south and what a nice tour it was with two lovely 9 year old girls from different families who got on really well and filled in a list of all the wildlife that we spotted. All my guests today were delightful and fully appreciated Mull and looking at it through their eyes I am sure we will miss it too when we are away. Birds of the day were 3 Dunlin which are the first ones we have seen since they went away to breed in the middle of May. At the other end of the breeding scale we also saw a Red Breasted Merganser with some very small ducklings which of course got the Ahh effect from the girls. Golden Eagles, White-tailed Sea Eagles and Red Deer stags were seen in good numbers.
July 25th
Discover Mull has never been just about the wildlife, more discovering the many interesting facets about Mull, the history, geology, folklore, wildflowers and scenery and this was what my guests today asked me for. Sometimes I had to dig deep into my mind to remember some of the stories that we used to tell when we first started doing tours but it was fun and my guests enjoyed their day. Some of the wildlife are still showing well with plenty of White-tail sea Eagles, Buzzards, Common Seal and Red Deer to watch in between the stories.
July 24th
Happy birthday Richard, that is our son and we forgot to get him a card so this will have to do, no doubt we will pay for it (literally) when we see him next week. We had another good tour today with all Mulls special species seen well, that is except Otter, they will return to north Mull soon although we will not be here from Friday 27th July to Thursday 16th of August as we are going to see our Grandchildren and of course their Mums and Dads. Once again Pete and Jenny are coming up to look after the Lucy and the self-catering cottages, many thanks to them for that. Our first tour back is Friday 17th August and we will not be going away again this season, so we will be doing tours right through September into October. We will be taking our computer with us and mobile phone so we can be contacted by email at enquiries@discovermull.co.uk or 07780 600367 . We will also be taking self-catering booking for this year and next year.
Fallow Deer young stagFallow Deer dark young stag
July 23rd
I had a private hire group today who only wanted a 5 hour tour so I had to amend our normal route to fit in with there requirements. We had a great start to the day with a very good female Hen Harrier flying across a ridge, a Golden Eagle and a herd of Red Deer all seen at our first stop. The White-tail Eagle chick was trying to hide from view in our local nest but later in the day both adult and (a different) newly fledged young White-tail Eagles were seen well both flying and sitting. Red Deer stags were seen as well as close Fallow Deer, with one of my guests comenting that it was nice to see them in the wild not in a 'park'. There seen to be so many Common Seal and pups this year but still the Otter eludes us.
July 22nd
A very dreich day the drought has well and truly broken on Mull. Today was really all about Ben Rumsby an eleven year old boy and one of the best birders I have ever had out on a tour in 17 years. the weather conditions were awful for birding with low cloud and persistent drizzle yet we saw 55 species of bird and 4 Mammals and that was entirely due to Ben's young eyes and knowledge of bird song and flight. Ben has even suprised Mike Dilger from the One Show with his knowledge of birds and I can truthfully say I am not surprised having seen him in action. Well done Ben and your family for all their encouragment of your hobby, I am sure it will take you far in the future. It was a great pleasure to meet you and take you out, many thanks.
July 21st
Mowed the lawns
- The first time for nearly 3 weeks?? and only got enough grass to go across the compost holder off all 3 lawns.
July 20th
Regarding the Sparrowhawk and Chaffinches in our garden, I counted over 100 Chaffinches in our garden this morning so either we are going to have a very fat Sparrowhawk or our Chaffinches are doing OK. In case you are worried I am fairly sure it will be the latter.
Chaffinches in garden
July 19th
Todays tour was a delight for me as my guests were brilliant, keen good spotters and interested in anything Mull had to offer. This was probably very wise as apart from Buzzards, Kestrels, White-tailed sea Eagles and a Golden Eagle sitting on a hill a long way away the big stuff was not in to much abundance. Yes, we had very good Red Deer including stags and of course lots of Common Seals but it was the wonderful views and small birds that stole the show. Whinchat, Stonechat, Meadow Pipits, Common Sandpipers, Redshank and Greenshank were all seen well although the perishing little singing Whitethroat remained hidden in its treehouse. Pam saw a Sparrowhawk take a Chaffinch from the garden today and was a little worried about their numbers, I will update you on this problem tomorrow. Today I have to thank Pam for putting up with me as it is our 45th wedding aniversary.
WTSE flying
July 18th
Sometimes life plays tricks on us and today as we did not have a tour I took Lucy for a walk across the road to the Loch, a distance of less than half a mile and what was there, an Otter, that's what. I have been looking everywhere for Otter this week for my guests without success and where do I see one almost at home when I have no guests, ah well at least I know they still exist. It was nice to sit quietly and watch the Otter from a safe none disturbing distanc with Lucy at my feet. We saw a Goosander with ducklings, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Herring and Common Gulls and Greylag Geese during a very pleasant hour Otter watching. Our neighbouring farmer has now replaced her sheep for 8 yearling cattle as the grass got too long for the sheep, it makes a nice change and reminds me a little of my previous career.
Otter on seaweedOystercatcher on seaweed
LucyLucy standing
Common Gull on Lichen rockRed cows in our field
July 17th
Sometimes my guests make my day as much as the wildlife and today was no exception as they were so appreciative of everything we saw and not just the big stuff which pleases me no end as it shows that they have an empathy for all that is wild and free. Yes we had the usual big stuff but it was Common Sandpipers, Curlews, Greylag Geese, Kittiwakes and even a lowly Dunnock that got their seal of approval. Mull was again at its magnificent best with views to die for and we went to places where the pace of modern life can be completey forgotten. The picture of the Kestrel is not great even by my poor standards but it was the only photo I took today and I thought it was better than nothing, but having seen it probably not???
Kestral fuzzzyGreylag Geese at Croig
July 16th
The day started well when after a special request we went to look for and found a Short-eared Owl, it was hunting over meadows with grazing cattle for quite some time. Buzzards were everywhere today, I think many of the young ones have now fledged as they are calling to be fed all the time. A number of White-tail Eagles were seen and later on in the afternoon we followed one as it flew into a Golden Eagle territory, suddenly it swooped down out of sight behind a hill and disturbed a Golden Eagle which  flew around until the White-tail Eagle got back up and flew away it gave us a good comparisen of the 2 birds. Another Cuckoo was seen today as well as Kestel, Linnet, Swallows and House Martins.
July 15th
Given that we live on Mull even when having a great Summer weatherwise it does not come as too much of a shock if we get a bad day and today it was it. Yes we needed the rain but did it have to come with really low cloud, making wildlife watching difficult and for Golden Eagles impossible. We made up for it however with lots of Common Seals with pups, a couple of Grey Seals, Fallow Deer and a Red Deer with her new calf. White-tailed sea Eagles were seen well as were Sparrowhawk, Buzzards and Kestrels with a possible Peregrine sighting by one of my guests and at our 2nd last stop a female Hen Harrier showed well. Little birds seen were Reed Bunting, Linnet, Rock Pipit, Wheatear, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin and Grey Wagtail. Waders seen were Greenshank, Redshank, Curlew, Lapwing, Common Sandpiper and of course Oystercatchers. All 5 of Mull's main Gulls were seen and both Red Breasted Mergansers and Goosander with young. So as you can tell from this blog even the bad times are good, one from the Tremeloes for Blake I managed to get in there, more tomorrow.
Reed Bunting on wire
July 14th
A day at home but I could not stop myself doing a bit of bird watching as birds that have now bred are appearing in the garden with their new offspring. Blackbirds that have used our large shed to breed in seem to have done particularly well as we have at least 6 young Blackbirds in the garden. Young Robins have also started arriving as have the new Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Siskins remain in good numbers and Great and Blue Tits have returned with young although we are still waiting for the Coal Tits. The Swallows seem to have dispersed but they have been replaced by Pied Wagtails and it is nice to see that the Yellowhammers have also bred successfully. One animal that has been prolific in our garden this year has been Rabbits, we have zillions and now Buzzards are hovering over the garden, I live in hope.
Greenfinches with ChaffinchCollored Dove
House Sparrow
July 13th
Golden and White-tailed Eagles were again to the fore today and we saw so many Red Deer there were too many to count includig stags and calves
. There are more Common Seal calves appearing now and we saw another Hare but still Otters remain illusive. We did however a a very good addition to todays tour, Dolphins, this is a rare occurance on Discover Mull tours so it provided guests with something special to remember from their day out. Goosander with young and a Shelduck with a well grown youngster were also well worth seeing as were the 6 or was it 7 Redshanks and a very good Greenshank sighting. The views today were again stunning and my guest enjoyed their day very much and praised Pam's baking skills and super soup.
July 12th
A dreich day brightened by the sight of 3 Hares in a field not long after our first stop. 3 of my guests were desperate to see an Otter but I am afraid they were to be dissapointed and had to put up with Common Seals with pups, Red Deer with calves and Highland Cows with calves as well. We saw 3 Golden Eagles, 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles and lots of Buzzards as usual. Red Throated Divers at Calgary were a good sighting for me as was the male Hen Harrier on our way home so only one of my guests, Julip from Barcelona, a delightful young lady saw it. I took the photo of the harebells on the bridge as I pass them on most tours and I just find that they brighten up my day.
HaresHarebells on wall
Highland Cow & calfRed deer & calf
July 11th
We were very lucky with the weather today as they forecast rain all day and we didn't get a drop even though Arthur has been doing a rain dance since we got back from our holiday, just shows not to believe the forecast on Mull. The White-tail Sea Eagles put on another grand show today but it was mostly a day for small birds especially small raptors with Kestrels, Sparrowhawk and Merlin seen. Grey Wagtails, Goldfinch, Siskins, Swallows, Pied Wagtails, Wheatear and Stonechat all franticly feeding and the star of the little birds was a baby Robin who decided to take a look inside the bus whilst we were all visiting the loo. Sorry I didn't get a photo. Both Red Deer and Common Seal with there young were seen well but our Buzzard chicks have now fledged their nest and could be heard calling from the trees but not seen.
July 10th
The conditions were similar to yesterday and we were treated to a similar day wildlife wise minus the Otter. Red Deer stags at the start of the day got everyone in the right mood and this was followed soon after by a White-tailed Sea Eagle on a regular haunt improved their spirits even more. Red Breasted Merganser with water running babies made my guests chuckle before we got the first of many Common Seals with this years pups. The juvenile Cuckoo was again on the same post as yesterday and again delighted our guests, I wish I could tie it to the post but it must fly south soon, but not too soon I hope. Lots more White-tailed Eagle were seen although it was the great sighting of a Golden Eagle at afternoon tea that was the Eagle of the day. Fallow Deer were seen again and we had a flying Goosander which helped guests distinguish the difference between them and Mergansers, another notable sighting was a Black Guilliemot seen at lunch time. Thanks to all my guests who were delightful and made for a great day out.
July 9th
I think the wildlife must have missed us while we were away as we had 8 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 4 Golden Eagles, 2 brief Hen Harriers, 2 Kestrels and more Buzzards than I could keep count of. On the mammal front we saw a lovely small dark Fallow Deer stag and numerous Red Deer including this years calves. Both types of Seal including the Common Seal in the picture below which was more visible than any we saw in the Arctic. The other main highlights of the day were a Red Breasted Merganser with ducklings and the young Cuckoo in the picture below which was catching its own food so it will soon be on its way south to visit Africa for the first time. Many thanks to Selwyn and Stella for the information of its wearabouts or we would probably have missed it. Magic Mull at its best.
Common SealCuckoo baby
Calgary BeachBuzzard hovering

July 8th
We are back and business as usual with our first tour tomorrow.
We had a great time in the high Arctic reaching just 600 miles from the North Pole and Pam, the nutcase that she is, did a Polar Dip.
Pam & Elaine Polar Plunge
June 2018
June 23rd to July 7th
As we will be away there will be no tours or blog but we will be leaving Lucy, the house and self-catering cottages in our friends Pete and Jenny Latham's capable hands. If you wish for any information about future tours or the self-catering accommodation do not hesitate to give them a call on 01688 400415 and they will be happy to help. In the meantime some photos taken on a recent tour or in our garden in the last few days.
RabbitLucy looking at Rabbit
Red Deer with sheep ArdriochView from Ardrioch across Loch
                                  Cuin
RedpollBlackbird baby
Yellowhammer
June 22nd
The last tour for a fortnight as we are off looking for Polar Bears, amongst other creatures, on an Ice breaker ship in the far north. Today the tour was hard work as the wildlife was taking a day off with no Golden Eagles or Otters seen, which goes to show that it is wildlife and as such is not always putting in an appearance as we are not a zoo. White-tailed Eagles were seen well as were Red Deer but once again it was the Hen Harrier that stole the show, what a shame that this iconic bird is being so persecuted in Britain, it is no supprise that it is only flurishing in areas where there are no grouse moors, there traditional habitat. The fact that the owners of these moorlands and their game keepers cannot explain why this is the case is remarkable, saying it has nothing to do with them and now they are killing Mountain Hares in there hundreds, the traditional food of Golden Eagles, they will certainly be wanting rid of them next and all in the name of shooting Gouse.
Hen Harrier with WTSECommon Sandpiper
Oystercatcher with chicksRinged Plover
June 21st
A wonderful day for rapters today with White-tail Eagles seen sitting, flying, 4 in the sky together at one time, and chick in the nest with an adult. Golden Eagles were also seen flying and sitting and the day ended with this fabulous female Hen Harrier flying right over our heads, a special moment for one of my guests who really wanted to see Hen Harrier. It may not have been as exciting as Arthurs 20 minutes yesterday but the sightings were spread out through out the day which was nice. Eider Ducks with duckings, a Goosander on the river and Stonechat on a wire were amongst other enjoyable sighting for the day.
Hen Harrier female flying
June 20th
Today we saw all Mulls Specialities and more but it was the 20 minutes at our Hen Harrier stop which will stay with me for a long time. As we arrived a guest saw I big bird flying, so we all got out of the bus very quickly as it was a White-tailed Sea Eagle, the one in the photo below. It was being mobbed by a female Hen Harrier and this carried on for about 5 minutes before a Raven joined the fun and the Eagle flew off leaving us with a very triumphant Hen harrier rising on the thermols and calling, probably to her chicks. It was then that a Golden Eagle flew through, this one was a juvenile with its white tail and white under wing bars, it was being mobbed by a Buzzard giving us great size comparrison, they hung around for another fiove minutes before going up high in the clouds. I have been doing this job for 17 years and this was one of the most spectacular sightings I have ever had. God bless Mull and the birds that fly over her.
WTSE flying
June 19th
The rain stayed away till the end of today's tour and the wildlife appreciated this as much as we did and performed admirably. There was a White-tailed Sea Eagle in a tree by the nest and we could just make out the chicks replete after an early breakfast. We saw at least 3 more White-tailed Sea Eagles flying during the day. Redshank and Common Sandpiper were seen before we had a fantastic sighting of a Hen Harrier which flew past us as we were looking for none existent Adders. Whitethroat was seen after singing its little head off competing with the more melodious Willow Warblers. We had a spectacular view of a  Kestrel from a high vantage point which flew below us mobbing a hapless Buzzard. Buzzards were everywhere but I was grateful to the one mobbing the Golden Eagle and giving my guests very good size comparison proving that all the Buzzards we had seen, and there were lots of them, were indeed not Golden Eagles, we only saw one of them. We saw 2 Red Throated Divers and I did get a distant photo to prove we had seen them, don't look for the second one it's not in the photo. We had a fabulous Otter sighting which we watched as we drank afternoon tea. We finished the day at the high waterfall in Aros Park and I took some Photos of a Bracket Fungi, the waterfall itself and a baby fledged Dipper.
Red throated DiverBracket Fungi
Aros Park WaterfallsDipper on rock
June 18th
Very windy and showery today and another difficult day for finding the wildlife but in the end we managed to see all Mull's special species including a close female Hen Harrier at the end of the day and we found our first Red Deer calf of the year hiding in the bracken. The Buzzard chicks on the nest contine to delight our guests, they are grownig well now and the largest chick is showing adult plumage including the distinctive 'chain of office' as we call the white band around it's front, mum & dad are continually flying to and fro with food for the growing chicks and only stay long enought on the nest to drop the food before flying off to fetch more. For all mulls small birds and mammals its a case of watch out watch out there's a Buzzard about.
June 17th
Another fantastic tour for all Mulls special species, Hen Harrier prey passing at one of the early stops and this was after the White-tailed Sea Eagle had been seen near the nest. We missed out again on Adder but there were 2 Toads there instead, check out the photo below. On our way back to the bus two White-tailed Sea Eagles flew over our heads and getting up yet another Hen Harrier, it was a great sighting. Also at this stop were 3 Lesser Redpoll and a Reed Bunting. Lapwing, Buzzards, Red Deer and Eider Duck with ducklings followed, then a lovely view of House Martins flying around and landing on mud , photo below. Fallow Deer, Common Seal and Grey Seal and 2 fantastic Golden Eagles were to come next and this was after 4 Great Northern Divers in Salen Bay. A very good Otter and a brief Snipe and of course the Buzzard chicks on their nest and then lunch. Gannet, Kittiwakes and a Blck Guilliemot were the highlights of the afternoon, then it started to rain so an early end to a fantastic tour, thanks to all my guests who once again made the day special.
ToadHouse Martin collecting mud
June 16th
A very wet morning and Pam cleaned the self-catering cottages and was pleased to get all the washing dry on the Aga. In the afternoon as the weather had improved she went sea swimming which I must admit she loves doing so she was really happy. I had a day off watching the cricket and football on the television so I was really happy as well.
June 15th
A similar day to yesterday although there was less rain and the high winds were a strong breeze. mammals were all seen well today that is all except Otter which we missed as we were looking for and finding a Snipe which was a first for some of my guests. Another highlight today was a Cuckoo which gave very good views sitting on telephone wires and then flying right past us, another first for some guests. We saw both types of Eagle but the Hen Harrier at the end of the day stole the show today with an excellent flying display. On my way home I took this photo of a Little Grebe on the Mishnish Lochs, not a great picture but I think you can just about make out what it is.
Little Grebe Mishnish
June 14th
Today started very wet with almost gale force winds and four of our guests failed to show up, now it is a free country and that is their perogative but to not turn up without informing us is just rude not just because we had catered for them, we also waited 20 minutes for them which is not fair on the guests who did turn up. We take our bookings on trust and will continue to do so as it is only a few people who have no manners. Just in case you are wondering what sort of tour we had today, Red Deer, both types of Seal and 2 seperate Otters were seen whilst it was still raining as was a probable Black Tern, on Loch Na Keal a very rare bird for Mull and probably only there because of the gales. After the rain stopped although it was still very windy A white-tailed Sea Eagle flew right over the top of the bus giving guests great views and a fabulous Golden Eagle flew very close below us so we could really see all the flecks of colour on its back and wings and 3 Hen Harriers to end a very special day. The guests who turned up were really up for a great day and we and the wildlife gave them one. The Woodpeckers are now bringing their young to feed in the garden.
Woodpecker on nuts
June 13th
Today we hosted our Marie Curie fund rasing event at our home and £1000 was raised for them on the day. Our house was full of people chattering, friends, holiday makers and 3 representatives from Marie Curie including a lady all the way from London HQ. Our thanks to all who came along and supported us and special thanks to all who baked delicious cakes and or donated prizes for the tombola and to Cheryl, Janet and Moria for all their hard work and not forgetting Sarah, our lovely Marie Curie nurse (left in picture).
Marie Curie Fund raising event
June 12th
Just occasionally you get an almost perfect tour and today was my day. It started with Wheatear at our first stop and 3 Hen Harriers at our last and in between well you had to see it yo believe it. Short Eared Owl at a stop I have not seen Short Eared Owl in before, we also had Lapwing and Whinchat here. My guests of course wanted Otter but at coffee we saw Herons, flying Red Breasted Mergansers, Common and Grey Seal and a long distance White-tailed Sea Eagle. We had already seen Red Deer but an amazing spot by one of my guests and we got Fallow Deer as Well. We went and found a much closer White-tailed Sea Eagle and a Sedge Warbler and as I was scanning for the Slavonian Grebe which we did not see I picked up a distant Otter which we watched getting closer and closer for over half an hour until it hauled itself out onto a nearby seaweed rock, I could do no wrong today. At lunch the Buzzard chicks performed brilliantly prompting a guest to say it was like Springwatch for real. We also had a great view of a Meadow Pipit , Ravens, and a spectacular interaction between a Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon. In the afternoon it was Golden Eagle that stole the show but not before a Cuckoo and Stonechat had been seen well. the day ended with the Three Hen Harriers and a brief view of a flying Whitethroat, not a bad little outing. However there is no such thing as a perfect day the Adder was a no show. On a brighter note we have a Spotted Flycatcher in our garden a first for Ardrioch.
June 11th
Pam did the tour today and had what she called an Eagle fest with White-tailed Sea Eagles and Golden Eagles seen well, this was a good job as her guests particularly wanted to see Eagles and particularly Sea Eagles, (see what I did there). David a regular in our self-catering has been getting twitchy as he had not seen the local Spotted Flycatcher but today he did on our garden fence for over an hour catching insects to take back to the nesting female, to put it mildly he was right chuffed. I bought a new toy for Lucy to run and fetch and Pam said  all she did was chew it. I beg to differ check out the photos below. That's my girl erm dog, nice one Lucy, any chance of brownie points Pam.
Lucy holds throw toyLucy running with toy
Marie Curie eventJune 10th
A tour again today and this time it was Golden Eagles and Otters to the fore with 3 of each species seen really well with one of the Golden Eagles being exceptional, it flew in being mobbed by a Buzzard and then landed in full view giving our guests great views of its golden head and gold flecked plumage. White-tailed Eagles were seen but most of my guests missed the flying one in spite of its great size. Other notable sightings today were a Slavonian Grebe in full breeding plumage and the Glaucous Gull again in Tobermory Harbour.
June 9th
I could not go birding today, for at home I had to stay,
we have a coffee morning on Wednesday, so I was cleaning windows.
The cause is the Marie Curie Nurse, guests will come with pounds in purse,
so I really should not curse, when I'm cleaning windows.
With windows cleaned our guests will see, to the Loch over the trees,
and our garden birds and bees, after I've cleaned windows.
Pam, well she has had to bake, she has made her  lemon drizzle cake,
for our guests to partake, while me, I'm cleaning windows.

June 8th
Prey passing Hen Harrier, Adder, White-tailed Sea Eagle and chicks, Lesser Redpoll and Siskins with 2 Red Throated Divers at coffee break. Cuckoos, Skylarks, Kestrel, Buzzards and Stonechat and all before lunch. Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Common and Grey Seals, Wheatear, Linnet and more White-tailed Sea Eagles. To end the day a Glaucous Gull in Tobermory Harbour. What more could you want on a day out on Mull, Golden Eagle and Otter, that's what. We missed the Golden Eagle because we were watching the Fallow Deer, we missed the Otter because we were trying to locate the Golden Eagle, dissapointing, yes, but it is this that makes wildlife watching so facinating, it is wildlife and you can't get what you want all the time or it would become boring. A prey passing Hen Harrier some birders go through their lives witout seeing. Guests are delighted to see a Cuckoo and Lesser Redpoll and as for a Glaucous Gull on Mull in June, that's just rediculous. You will have other chances to see Otter and Golden Eagle but probably not a prey passing Hen Harrier or a Glaucous Gull in June.
Glaucous Gull with Herring Gull
                                  behind
June 7th
A great start to the day with both male & female Hen Harriers hunting and feeding chicks on the ground, this was followed by Adder and White-tail Eagle chicks in the nest. (so far this sounds just like Arthurs day yesterday)  Again, like Arthur, we had 2 Golden Eagles flying but this time they were distant, after looking at a few small birds, Skylark, Meadow Pipit & Whinchat we turned and there were 2 very close Golden Eagles behind us being harrased by 2 Hooded Crows, they stayed close for 10 or 15 minutes giving us great views. More Eagles were seen in the afternoon along with Red Deer and Seals but unfortunatly the Otter remained absent today.
June 6th
Today was just amazing, we pulled up at our first stop and saw a White-tailed Sea Eagle on her nest with her chicks, then on to a Hen Harrier spot and there she was hunting before landing where we could all see her well through the scope. Next stop Adder and there it was a little dozy so early in the day so it stopped around for photo's. After coffee break 4 Red Throated divers and a Great Northern Diver, these were shortly followed by Whinchat and a Cuckoo both giving great views. Next the sighting of the day with 2 Golden Eagles flying down a valley givind us superb views of their golden heads and gold flecked upper wings it was my best Goldie sighting of the year. On we went for lunch and the Buzzard chicks were showing well on the nest and also here my Linnet family turned up as usual, check photo below. In the afternoon we saw Red Deer and Common Seals and more White-tailed Sea Eagles both sitting and flying. The highlight of the afternoon for my guests was the Otter that we watched fishing for half an hour, in fact we took the oportunity to have afternoon tea and cake. By now my guests were thrilled but tired so like Zebedee I said 'time for bed'.
Linnet on wire
June 5th
It was a day with low cloud and sea mist but what a great day we had with Mull's special species with a fantastic sighting of a female Hen Harrier to start the day, it was seen hunting and then landed where all my guests got to see this iconic bird in all its glory on an island where it is free from the disgracefull persecution it suffers in most of the UK. We had 5 Otter sightings today although I suspect there were only 3 Otters, one seen three times although I might be wrong. White-tailed Eagles sitting and flying with no feeding boat in sight, also chicks on a nest. We also had Buzzard chicks on a nest a lot of Buzzards. We had to wait till the end of the day for Golden Eagles because of the mist but like buses two came along together. Red and Fallow Deer were seen as were Common and Grey Seals and quite a few other birds including my Linnets, so all in all a good day was had by all.
June 4th
I stayed home today strimming although I did take a photograph of the lovely Lesser Redpoll on one of our Niger Seed feeders by the flowering Rowen. Pam taking over writing and we had an Eagle day today with either Golden or White-tail being seen at almost every stop, once at the same time. One of my guests was desperate for an Otter which can really put the preasure on us guides, luckily I eventually found one where we don't normally see them but it was quite a distant view. Lots of lovely small birds seen again today as they are all busy feeding their young in the nests.
Redpoll with flowering Rowen
June 3rd
The promised rain did not appear but I have to say the wildlife today did not dissapoint, we went looking for Hen Harrier and it duly appeared with a Kestrel and Buzzard. Whinchat and adder were seen at the next stop followed by a White-tailed Sea Eagle and Red Deer. We stopped to look for a dipper and saw a Grey Wagtail, followed by 3 male Eider Ducks and a Shag. On we went and saw both types of Seal, fallow Deer and an Otter. At lunch we had the Buzzard chicks on the nest with a parent and my cup runneth over with 4, yes four Linnets. At afternoon tea a White-tailed Eagle flew past us and the Golden Eagle got up to see it off giving great interaction between these two iconic birds. 56 birds seen today including the Reed Bunting in the photo, there were also Eight mammals seen as we saw Porpoise to end a super day on the magical Isle of Mull.
Reedbunting on reedsBuzzard flying
June 2nd
Lawn mowing and other chores today including washing the mini-bus, this was a red letter day for the bus as I can't remember when I last gave it a bath, for guests who have been out with us this year I have discovered the van is still blue. The frog in the photo below popped out as I was mowing the lawn, it was such a bright coloured one I had to get it to pose for me, the Swallow is one of the pair nesting in our shed. Pam continues to swim in the sea but at least the water has warmed up a little and apparently is quite refreshing after the seriously hot weather we are having at the moment, according to the weather forecast we might get our own thunderstorms tomorrow, I hope it is after the tour.
Frog in our gardenSwallow on line
June 1st
Another hot humid day in which we saw plenty of Eagles both White-tailed and Golden, but no Otters, Pam had them all yesterday. We saw lots of Red Deer mostly under trees in the shade or wallowing in mud trying to keep cool. We saw both types of Seal and quite a few late Great Northern Divers, some in breeding plumage, they had better get a move on if they want to breed this year. A lot of other birds were seen including the Wheatear and Curlew in the photos below, yes they are mine you can tell as they are a little fuzzy, Chris Packham would not be impressed. My favorite bird of the day was of course the Linnet at lunchtime, it really is a bonny bird, as are Whinchats.
WheatearCurlew




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
enquiries@discovermull.co.uk
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telephone
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