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Arthur's Mull Bird List 2017
Discover Mull Wildlife Tours
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
bookings are now being taken for 2017

March 2017
March 21st to 31st
I have to return to Cheshire as my Dad is not getting any better so I will not be blogging again this month, I hope to start again in April, Sorry. Pam will be left at home to hold the fort and take bookings.
March 14th to  20th
We have spent the last week in Cheshire as my dad has been hospitalised again and is not at all well. We arrived home this evening to the news that Mull is to get a covering of snow tomorrow, Oh joy, still Richie our son and Sheetal and their children have come up to visit so it isn't all bad news. I will update you on the wildlife situation tomorrow if I  can get out.
March 13th
A BlackThroated Diver in partial breeding plumage, this is a real treat for us. Two year firsts for me on Mull today Lesser Black-backed Gull and Kittiwakes at Cailaich Point and 2 Mistle Thrushes in our garden, the first in the garden this year. We saw some friends who visit Mull each year when we were out and about today, another sign of Spring when regular guests to Mull start arriving. One other sign of spring seen today were our first calves of the year also seen at Cailaich Point.
Black-throated DiverLesser Black Backed
                                              Gull
Highland Cows and
                                              calfHighland Cow suckling
                                              calf
March 12th
Spring is in the air and this was brought home to me as dawn broke this morning. I opened the door to let our dog out and was met with a cocophony of sound, my first real dawn chorus of the year. I just stood there enthralled at the beautiful sounds I was hearing and the picture that was enfolding in front of my eyes as the light appeared after its overnight slumbers, It makes you feel good to be alive. We had a large Toad in the garden this morning, another sign of Spring, as are our Daffodills, we nearly have a host of golden ones. Britain is known as a nation who like to queue, well so do our Rock Doves, the ones on the power lines are queueing, waiting for me to feed the birds, they eat us out of house and home.
Rock Doves on the
                                              wire
DaffodilsDaffodils more
March 11th
Any readers who a little prudish don't read on. Today we watched as two Golden Eagles gave us a lovely view as the flew harmoniously around the top of a hill. Then pulling in her wings the larger female landed and suveyed her territory as the male continued his impressive flight. Suddenly the male also landed on the back of the female and copulation took place in front of our eyes, a priviledge to see and not at all voyeuristic, just right place, right time. The male then stood alongside the female with a satisfactory look on its face. Later we saw an adult White-tailed Sea Eagle being mobbed by a Great Black-backed Gull. Lots of other wildlife seen including a Peregrine Falcon but the Eagles were the highlights.
Golden Eagle pair
                                                at top of hillWTSE & GBB
                                                Gull
March 10th
Sometimes when you go out and don't see Eagles and Otters it is not always a dissapointing day as it makes you look and consider more the wildlife you do see. Today this was brought home to me when I saw 3 Goosanders, one male and two females, all in beautiful breeding plumage. I could have, however I didn't, take a photograph as I had time and inclination to stop and admire these glorious ducks, often overlooked as they are just ducks, although in breeding plumage a special almost exotic sight.
March 9th
It is not very scientific but I can reveal that at Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig on the Isle of Mull our Solar Panels in the last year produced 3.2% less electric than in 2015 which might prove that although it was warmer in 2016 it was slightly less sunny. No birding today as I took the Mini-Bus for its annual council test which it passed. I then worked on my water supply in readiness for our son the water expert (Heating Engineer) to come and organise us for the up coming season. Picture of our son Richie, back in the day!
Richie
                                      back in the day
March 8th
A very wet morning which I spent looking at our garden birds and counted a record number of Goldfinches, 22 at one time, there were also at least 73 Chaffinches. As the weather improved in the afternoon we went for a walk with Sally, our Sheltie. On the walk we saw lots of pools of water with Frogspawn in them, the photo below shows one of the better ones. Nearing our car on our return we saw a hunting Hen Harrier back on breeding territory, the first time I have seen one here since the snow storm that put a stop to them breeding here last year. A bit of good news for this endangered breeding bird in Britain. Pam took a photo of our regular Treecreeper today, see if you can spot it? it is there I promise.
FrogspawnTreecreeper spot the
March 7th
As I was watching the birds in the garden this morning I noticed a beautiful male Yellowhammer appear from behind the Daffodils, of course the camera wasn't handy so I had to go and find it. Finding things in our house is a usual occurance as I have a tendency of putting things down anywhere. When I had found the said camera of course the bird was gone, but no, there it was on the seed feeder and I did get a resonable photo, on checking the photo I noticed Mrs Yellowhammer was also in the shot, then it occured to me he had taken her out for mothers day. Note to all male readers the day is fast approaching, for your own sakes Don't forget March 26th.
Yellowhammers on
                                              feeders 
March 6th
Today we took all our neccessary paperwork to the council offices in Tobermory to be scanned so that our mini-bus inspection can go ahead as planned on Thursday, then we are geared up for the start of the season. With the coming of the longer days one or two White-tailed Eagles will have started laying eggs, also though Winter birds are still with us and Pam and I went to a night roost for Great Northern Divers this evening and counted at least 55 birds in total and they were still arriving when it was getting to dark to see properly. This was a fantastic sight and in its own way but different to a Starling murmeration, lots of the same species seen together in the wild at the same time. The photo shows the first group of 9 birds which were there when we first arrived.
GN Diver roost
March 5th
I had to rely on my garden birds for my wildlife fix today as I was still a bit off colour but with 18 species of birds visiting daily at the moment this was no great hardship. Species seen today, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Siskins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Robins, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Treecreepers, Jays, Starlings, Hooded Crows, Yellowhammers, House Sparrows, Rock Doves and Collared Doves.
March 4th
A trip around the block today and a good Otter sighting catching and eating fish. It was a good day for Mammals as I saw both types of Deer and both types of Seal as well as the Otter. I spent the afternoon watching sport on the TV as I was feeling under the weather.
March 3rd
I went out for a short drive this afternoon and stopped to look at our local White-tailed Sea Eagle nest and both birds were there one on either side of the nest like two sentries on duty. Red Deer on the hill at the rear of our house and Yellowhammers in the garden were other highlights today. I am seeing more Shelducks now a sure sign that Spring is fast approaching and Snipe numbers at Dervaig although still high are less than they were.
March 2nd
In our garden this morning I counted 18 Goldfinches, this is a record count of this species in the garden and the photograph is of just one of them. I also took a photograph of our 2 resident Hooded crows and although they have evil habits you have to admit they are a very smart bird.
Goldfinch in the
                                                gardenHooded Crows in the
                                                garden
March 1st
I had to take the mini-bus to the garage in Tobermory today for its annual service and its first MOT? it passed. I did little in the way of wildlife watching but I heard it through the grapevine that there were Orcas seen off Cailaich Point today, the story of my life you can't be in two places at the same time. An unusual comment for my blog, Moles Mull Moles must be really hard as the top soil does not go down very far and judging by the number of Mole hills on Mull they still seem to be thriving here.
February 2017
Feb 28th
Today was one of those days when Mull is seen at its best, yes it was cold but with only a breeze it was very pleasant and the views were spectacular, a great day to be out and about. I was enthralled by a Golden Eagle today flying head on into the wind as if to say this is my space and for a while I shared it with him. The problem I had were the Lapwings with their iredescent colouring on special view with the sun on their backs on the opposite side of the road to the Eagle. I then saw my first Pied Wagtail on Mull this year. My cup runneth over.
Ben MoreUlva and Gometra gap
Eigg and
                                              Ardnamurchan Lighthouse
Rhum, Muck and
                                              Cullins
Feb27th
A mainly beautiful day and I saw the Sparrowhawk fly through the garden disturbing the peace of all the birds enjoying the weather and in full voice wecoming a sign of Sprig weather. Down on the Lochside were Goosander, a flock of Wigeon and 3 Greenshank and a small party of Red Deer on the hillside. A White-tailed Sea Eagle lazily flew past and the 2 Jays put in an appearance. I had a couple of friends visiting today and it was good to catch up with them.
feb26th
A long walk with Sally in the rain brought little in the way of wildlife although Siskins were back in the garden today and a beautiful Yellowhammer put in an appearance. Pam busy down in Cheshire helping our son and Daughter-in law prpare to move into their new house tomorrow.
Feb 25th
Today I had a fantastic view of a Golden Eagle, it took me by complete surprise as it was in an area I have not seen Goldies for srveral years and the last time they were there was due to disturbance in their traditional territory. Another bird which reappeared today was our Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden, it to was on a feeder I had not seenit on before and so I almost missed it. I think we are in for a dry Summer as I cannot imagine it can keep raining this much for that much longer.
Feb 24th
A monsoon is expected this afternoon so I went out for the morning covering one of our tour routes in just three hours, it normally takes seven. In the time I was out I saw 46 bird species and 4 types of mammal. The mammal species seen were Red Deer everywhere, recently we have struggled to find Red Deer but today it was no trouble at all. Both types of Seal were seen and a very hungry Otter devouring fish as if it had not eaten for days. White-tailed Sea Eagles, Buzzards and Kestrels were the only birds of prey seen but I was overwhelmed with Waders, the pick of which were Turnstone, BarTailed Godwits and Ringed Plovers. Ducks seen were Wigeon, Shelduck, Mallard, Red Breasted Mergansers and some beautiful Teal.
Pam saw the 2 Jays in the garden again this morning, she said they were making an awful racket.
Teal trioWTSE Juv on spit
Feb 23rd
A short trip around the local area with Pam and we saw 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 2 flying and 2 others around a nest site. Quite close to home we saw 3 Red Deer and I even managed to take a photo of one of them. The best sighting of the trip however was of a field full of Skylarks, a quick count prodeced between 45 and 50 birds in the flock all together, it was quite a spectacle. The good news from this sighting is that in spite of all the wind, rain, sleet and snow, Spring is just around the corner.
View from Ardrioch
                                              after snowRed Deer in the
                                              woods
Feb 22nd
A six mile walk through Aros Park almost to the end of the double road and back brought little in the way of wildlife except for a White-tailed Sea Eagle. On the other hand it did a lot in the way it tired out Sally who did nothing but sleep this afternoon, It has to be said that Pam and I did not do much either. It is difficult for me to admit Pam is fitter than me now, she puts it down to pilates, I put it down to me being older but that will never change. I did take a couple of photo's on the walk as some of the views were delightful and I needed the rest.
Waterfall Aros ParkView from Aros Park
                                              house
View from Aros
                                              Park church

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

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

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

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

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


Blog
                                July

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

Pam & Arthur Brown
Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig
Isle of Mull
Argyll, PA75 6QR

enquiries@discovermull.co.uk
Mail box
telephone
01688 400415
07780 600367


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