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Arthur's Mull Bird List 2017
Discover Mull Wildlife Tours based on the Isle of Mull
We are taking bookings for tours and self-catering for 2018
book in advance to avoid dissapointment
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
December 2017
Dec 14th to 31st 
Robin Christmas message
Dec 11th to 13th
It is still very cold so I decided to just take photo's of the birds we see every day in our garden for you to look at if you stumble on our web site during the holiday period. As the weather is forcast to remain cold we have decided this will be our last post before Christmas. So we would both like to take this opportunity to wish all our friends, guests and blog readers a very Happy Christmas and New Year and look forward to blogging for you in the new year with my Mull birding news.
Rock Doves in the snowCoal Tit with Greenfinch

Collored DoveBlue Tit with seed
Chaffinches on the groundBrambling on feeder
Yellowhammer in the snowGoldfinch on feeder
Jay on the bird table
Siskin with GoldfinchGreat
                            Tit
Dunnock in snowHouse
                            Sparrow
Dec 10th
We risked life and limb going down to the Loch opposite Ardrioch today as it was so icy and enjoyed watching a very large dog Otter which was 200 yards away when we first spotted it but because we remained very quiet and camouflaged against a Gorse Bush it came within 20 feet of us on its way up the burn.
Ardrioch view after snowHooded Crow at top of tree
Dec 7th to 9th
The weather on Mull for the last few days has been more akin to Ice Age with snow and freezing temperatures so we have not been out birding but on the Ice Age theme a photo of some of Pam's cuddly toys to make you smile. I got her the Mammoth for her birthday a few days ago.
Ice
                                  Age
Dec 4th to 6th
Not a lot happening on Mull at the moment except in our garden where we have had a visit from a family of Long Tailed Tits. We are bracing ourselves for some wintry weather this weekend although as I write it is just wet and blustery. Pam is iceing the Christmas Cake and will be celebrating, if you can use that term, her birthday soon, no its not Chrismas day as I am not Santa. We were planning a day out to the South of the Island this week but the weather has put a stop to that so it will be just what's around the Dervaig area for the next few days. If we do have anything wildlife wise to report you will find it here or on Alan Spellman's Mullbirds site.
Dec 3rd
A morning out with Pam and we saw Red Deer and Fallow Deer including the one in the photograph below which took off as we stopped the car and I was just able to get this photo of a yearling stag. We saw 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles one of them having a real scrap with a Heron, not the one in the picture, believe me you would not look that chilled if you had just escaped White-tailed Eagle talons. 2 Golden Eagles were seen as they appeared off a hillside in their territory to see off a transgressing White-tail, this was the one that tangled with the Heron. On our way home we spotted an Otter and over the hill road back home a beautiful male Hen Harrier.
Fallow young stag deerHeron on a rock
Dec 2nd
Today after trying to find one all year Pam and I saw 3 Common Crossbills in the forestry plantation along the Glen Road between Dervaig and Salen.
Dec 1st
We had a dinner party tonight so no birding although while I was doing some work in the garden I did manage to see a Treecreeper climbing the tree by our garden gate.
Nov 30th

A major home refurbishment has started near Dervaig and it is still only November, yes our pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles have started to rebuild their nest in preparation for the 2018 breeding season, they are either being very pro-active or have an early 2018 holiday planned, either way it will be good for our self-caterers to have the Eagles so close. We went to Calgary yesterday and were very fortunate to see both Great Northern and Black Throated Divers in the bay. I counted 15 Greenfinches in the garden this morning and 10 Collared Doves, this is a record for Collared Doves a beautiful bird often given a hard time by garden birders but Pam and I are very pleased to have them.
November 2017
Nov 29th
A trip out this morning as the house feels empty as there is no dog to trip over, in the event nature and wildlife once again proved a panacea for me as I saw a total of 50 species of birds and mammals in beautiful Mull scenery in just 3 hours. Shortly after leaving home I was watching a Golden Eagle patrolling its hillside territory and watching it glide effortly down the valley gave me a sence of peace and wellbeing. The photo's I took today are of a Cormorant and a Shag, one of the questions I am most often asked on the tours is how to tell the difference between them and one way is Cormorants (left) have flat heads and Shags (right) steep forheads and this shows quite well in the two photographs.
Cormorant on postShag on post
Nov 28th
A sad day at Ardrioch today, Sally our Sheltie, unfortunately was riddled with cancer and had to be put to sleep. the vet told us that apart from discomfort going to the toilet she was otherwise fine and had not suffered, she had not lost her appetite and still had a lot of energy for her age, you would honestly not have known there was anything wrong with her which is why it has hit us so hard. The vet said the cancer was so bad she would not have lasted to Christmas, so that made us feel a little better for having to have her put to sleep. Below you will see a picture of Sally taken only in July for those of you readers that have seen Sally when either staying here or on one of our tours when we stopped here for comfort breaks or for afternoon tea in bad weather. Sally will be missed very much as she was such a friendly dog.
Sally in the garden
Nov 27th
Sally, our Shetland Sheep Dog (Sheltie) has been ill for couple of weeks now and we took her to the vets today for a scan which proved that she had a growth which needs fixing with an operation and we are hoping the growth is not cancerous.
Nov 26th
A morning out in nice weather and we had a cracking time, we saw 2 Otters, 4 White-tailed sea Eagles, several Red Deer and the 2 Fallow Deer stags shown in the photo below, the one antlered one is a spotted Fallow Deer the other a dark phased one it was just nice to see both of them. One of the Otters was eating a rather large fish which it finished just before being disturbed by a creeling boat, the early Otter gets the catch. Waders and Ducks there were aplenty, we have never seen so many Mallards on Mull as there is at the moment and they have been joined in good numbers by Wigeon and Teal. All the usual Mull Waders were seen but the highlight was a flock of Golden Plover that flew in to the flats at Killiechronan as the tide receeded.
Fallow Deer stag darkFallow Deer stag 1 horned
Golden Plover
Otter eatingMallard & Widgeon
Nov 25th
Today it was perishingly cold and after a short trip to Calgary Bay we decided that discretion was the better part than valour so Pam wrote the Christmas cards , yes it is that time again and I helped by watching the Rugby on the TV. At Calgary there was little about, too cold, although a Common Seal kept bottleing, probably trying to catch some rays, good luck with that. Then we heard Ravens always a good sound as it alerts you to possible goings on and in this case it was a very brave Sparrowhawk having a real go at a Raven. As the action played out a Common Buzzard probably bored, joined in, we could not tell which side it was on but between them they put on a good show which helped us forget how cold it was, if only for a short time.
Nov 24th
A busy day today around the house as there was snow on the ground so I had to content myself with garden birding and by a quarte to nine I had seen the Brambling, Siskin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Buzzard, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Collared Doves, Blackbirds and a Robin, not bad for first light. At 10am the Dunnocks, House Sparrows and Rock Doves put in an appearance, that is all the regulars although Pam has seen the Treecreeper a couple of times recently. Chaffinch numbers by 10am well exceed 100 birds, can't wait to put this into the big garden bird count where our record is 160 and they did not believe that.  
Nov 23rd
The highlight of today were 4 Whooper Swans which flew over our heads at Dervaig as we were watching some Snipe, Redshank, Greenshank, Little Grebe and Goosander in the bay. We were heading into Tobermory to visit the tooth fairy, dentist to most of you and to buy a new mop stale as my heavy handed wife had broken the previous one, now you know why I do as I am told, (only joking my love.) On our way home we saw a beautiful male Goldeneye on the Mishnish Lochs just enjoying the peace and quiet, then on Loch Torr 2 Female Goldeneyes dashing about diving, fishing, is there a moral in there somewhere. We had a great view of a Buzzard on a post with a Kestrel on a telephone wire just above it, gorgeous.
Nov 22nd
The rain stopped so I took the chance of a drive round the block this morning and I had a great sighting of a pair of Golden Eagles flying very low towards me and dissappeared behind a knoll, I thought they might reappear but to no avail although it was still a fabulous view. I was about to leave when I spotted a distant bird it looked Crow like but I was not convinced and when it came down below the skyline I realised it was a male Hen Harrier and again I had fabulous views of one of my favorite birds as it hawked over the hillside, still some distace away but still breathtaking. Other notable sightings 2 Red Deer, 2 Common seals and lots of Great Northern Divers.
Nov20th-21st
A blog for Blake and Sheila and hope it makes you all smile.
'Down Came The Rain It Happened Again' (Mitch Murray), for two days 'Raindrops Kept Falling On My Head' (B J Thomas) at his rate we thought 'It Might As Well Rain Until September' (Carol King), see where I am going with this blog. When I am in a good mood I am 'Singing In The Rain' (Doris Travis), although when I'm down its more of a 'Purple Rain' (Prince), anyway whatever my mood it's certainly 'November Rain' (Guns and Roses). Oh, Oh, 'Here Comes The Rain Again' (Eurythmics), and we don't know 'Who'll Stop The Rain' (Credence Clearwater Revival), anyway for now 'Let It Rain' (Eric Clapton). It's certaily no good living on Mull if you 'Can't Stand The Rain' (Tina Turner) unless you are 'Only Happy When It Rains' (Garbage) because the one thing you can be sure of 'A Hard Rains Going To Fall' (Bob Dylan) so there is no point in saying ' Why Does It Always Rain On Me' (Travis). One thing is for certain come Spring there could be 'One More Rainy Day' (Deep Purple), then like this Spring 'No More Rain' (Kylie Minogue) and then we would all be saying 'I wish It Would Rain' (The Temptations). Some Photo's below of Water which is rather plentiful on Mull right now, Loch Cuin and Eas Force.
Loch Cuin from the bridgeLoch Cuin reed beds
Eas Force top fallsEas Force lower falls
Nov 19th
Egrets, now Pam's seen two, yes we went down to Fishnish today and guess what there was no Egret to be seen so off we trecked down the coast looking for it to no avail. At Garmony we did see a lovely Stonechat and an equally nice but less glamorous Robin. On our way back I suggested we go back to Fishnish on the off chance, low and behold there it was in exactly the same place I had seen it a couple of days ago, I was very pleased for Pam, I hope I scored a few brownie points for this one (no pun intended) On our way back home we  saw 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles on a rock by the shore, 3 Bar Tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Curlews, Wigeon, a very close Great Northern Diver, Red Breasted Mergansers and a really smart male Goosander to end a lovely and successful morning.
Goosander
Nov 18th
A cold windy day but dry so I went with Pam to Cailaich and we watched a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles talon grasping, it was an impressive sight until 2 Ravens flew in and broke up the courtship display. Not content with iterupting the lovebirds one of the Ravens continued to harrass the younger Eagle although on several occasions it did take liberties getting very close to the Eagles very large talons. It was an incredible watch and well worth getting out for. As always at Cailaich the views were spectacular and the Highland Cows in the rocks by the shore were extremely photogenic, so on Pam's instructions I obliged even if I could hardly hold the camera still in the wind.
Highland Cattle at CailaichHighland Cow black
Nov 17th
Egrets, I've now seen two, yes after a few abortive attempts I have at last caught up with our long staying Little Egret at Fishnish and have photo's to prove it, bird number 141 for my Mull year list. It was nearly a disasterous day however as I left my binoculars in the hide as I went to get my camera from the car to photograph the bird and forgot all about them as I started for home. Fortunately something jogged my memory before I had gone too far and I went back to retrieve them and guess what they were right where I had left them, nearly another fine mess I had nearly got into, no change there then.
Little EgretLitle Egret 2
Nov 16th
Today the Jay was back in the garden along with the zillion Chaffinches and Goldfinches, try picking the single Brambling out of that lot. The Wind blew high and the wind blew low and the leaves they all fell to the ground and there they stayed until I got out my trusty rake and wheelbarrow and removed them. Then the wind blew some and more leaves appeared on the ground and I thought someome is trying to tell me something, so I left them where they had fallen. no dout in a few days Pam will start complaining and out will come the trusty rake and Wheelbarrow.... Again.
Nov 15th
We always love a trip to Dougies, our local store, to stock up on goodies and a chat with the locals, but better still is the wildlife watching at the end of the loch on the way home. Greenshank, Snipe, Curlew and Little Grebe, all the usuals, but a special treet today a mother Otter was trying to curl up for a sleep on a rock and her tiny, weeny cub was trying to climb up onto the rock to join her but was too small and kept slipping down to the bottom, after straining, heaving and complaining it appeared on top  and started to climb all over the resting mum eventually managing to sneek a quick suckle of milk from her. I thought it was quite funny but for Pam it was a real AHhhh moment. To complete the wildlife entertainment on returning home a Sparrowhawk flew up from our garden and gave us a great show of flap, flap, gluiding as it was being mobbed by Chaffinches. Beats a visit to a big supermarket any day.
Nov 14th
I spent the morning out and about and saw a total of 5 seperate Otters none of which were close enough to photograph. White-tailed Sea Eagles were resting up after a busy breeding season, they will soon be turning their attention to nest building for next year. Red Deer relaxing after the rut and in the case of the stags feeding up for the Winter. I counted over 10 Slavonian Grebes on Loch Na Keal, twice as many more Great Northern Divers, 6 Bar Tailed Godwits at Killiechronan and too many Red Breasted Mergansers to count. In a stream near the Beinn More parking spot was a Dipper feeding and I was able to watch it for some time without either it or myself being disturbed, fantastic.
GN
                                  DiverRed breasted Merganzer
OystercatchersDipper
Misy risingTeal
Nov 13th
A wet day just for a change so I did my birding from the kitchen window and amongst the highlights were a Jay, a Brambling and the Great Spotted woodpecker below.
GS Woodpecker on nuts
 Nov 9th to 12th
Although I have been out and about briefly during the last few days I have still not been at my best so I have just taken a few photos of some of the birds I have seen. As always most of my photos are pretty useless and this included the ones of the Gadwall we saw on Loch Na Keal yesterday, I only mention this as it was my first Gadwall of the year taking my Mull year list to 140 species. Thanks to Jac and Mike for a nice day out yesterday, I have now thawed out. I would also like to thank our neighbours, they know who they are for tightening a nut and keeping the water flowing when we were away. I hope you enjoy the photos as today we are battening down the hatches as we are expecting more gales and yet more rain, I will keep you informed.
WidgeonGoosander
Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush &
                                  RedwingFieldfares
Redwing
Curlews at restRedshank
Golden Eagle flyingGN Diver evening roost
Nov 9th
A count of 30 Goldfinches in the garden this morning an all time record count for the Ardrioch garden.
Goldfinches at feeder
Nov 8th
A day at home still feeling rough although 3 yellowhammers and a Siskin in the garden brightened my day.
Nov 7th
I had to go to Tobermory today to get a new battery for our car key fob and on the way back saw 2 Whooper Swans on Loch Torr.
Common Seal & GullWhooper Swan
Nov 6th
I am under the weather at the moment after coming back from Cheshire so only out for short periods of time for essentials but a neccessary trip to Salen this morning saw me watching an Otter and a Common Seal so the day was not wasted.
Nov 5th
We are back after a month away visiting family and a weeks holiday in Dorset, near Arne. When we were at the Arne RSPB reserve we saw a Great White Egret imagine our surprise when we saw one at Dervaig on our return, a first for Mull I think. This morning my eagle eyed wife, Pam saw a Brambling amongst the Chaffinches in our garden and called me as it was a first for me this year. There have been a pair of Whooper Swans on the Mishnish Lochs this week which we saw when taking our dog , Sally to the vets with a stomach problem. I know how she feels as I have picked up a bug which is going round Dervaig which prevents me from travelling to far from home. The blog is now back in business until our next trip away.
Great White EgretGreat White Egret flying
Brambling maleBrambling & Chaffinch


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
Mail
                                        box
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