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February 2017
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, with the hills of Mull in the background.
Oban looking
                                                towards Mull
February 2016
Feb 23rd to 29th
The main drive up to Ardrioch from the road re-surfaced with type one gravel using my trusty Wheelbarrow and shovel and a hired Wacka plate. My thanks to the driver of the delivery wagon for putting the stone in piles down the drive and to Nic Davis for his help levelling the stone. I used up the 20 ml stone left over from the driveways to Inch Hame and the Sheiling to create parking areas for the self-catering guests and for vehicles for guests taking one of our Discover Mull Wildlife Tours. Phew, now I can get back to birding and wildlife watching, look out for my March Sightings.

Stone deliveredStone leveled
Parking spaces
                                                at ArdriochParking for The
                                                Sheiling
Feb 22nd
The finished driveways to Inch Hame and the Sheiling. On the birding front we saw our first Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden during our working parties and on our way to get the Mini-bus serviced we saw a Polecat-ferret and our first Tawny Owl of the Year.
Path to the housePath to back yard
Feb 15th to 21st
A week of drive maintenance with mud removed, old stone removed to main drive, driveway to Inch Hame widened. This was all done by myself with the aid of modern technology, a wheelbarrow, a shovel and a brush. Then with help from good friends Nick, Mike and Jaq we re-stoned the Inch Hame drive from 15 tonnes of stone, we did not use it all. Now I'm Knackered!!!
Arthur working in the
                                              rainArthur working on the
                                              drive
Feb 14th
Valentines Day and still home alone with Sally our dog for company but the weather is still fantastic. I went out for a short drive out and had a wildlife watching experience which both Pam and I love, a male Hen Harrier hunting on the ridges and valleys above Tostary. The bird flew back and forth with the lovely sunlight iridescent on its grey white back with its jet black wing tips, I was entranced and thought to myself Pam would have loved this, so perhaps I wasn't alone on Valentines Day after all.
Feb 13th
Very cold, frosty start to the day and our local Sparrowhawk flew through the garden very early this morning, I think it was more case of warming up than hunting as none of the little birds that frequent the garden had appeared yet. A trip to Cailaich Point and a brief view of a Common Snipe and a Great Northern Diver was in the Bay. There were 2 White-tailed sea Eagles near the point and a large hurry of Gulls out on the sea where there must have been a shoal of fish but no sign of any cetaceans.
Feb 12th
I have now finished in the garden and started on the drives and have been wheelbarrowing stone hither and thither, this is very hard work for a bloke my age as my back keeps telling me, I knew selling the tractor and back bucket would come back to haunt me. The only break I had during the day was when our local White-tailed Sea Eagle flew over being mobbed by a pair of Ravens and a Buzzard.
Feb 11th
I took Pam down to the ferry this morning in very bright sunlight and light winds so she was very happy. On our way down to Craignure we saw a dipper on the Aros river. We stopped at the Golf couse at Craignure and saw a Turnstone, Ringed Plover and a possible Dunlin but it kept well hidden so we could not be sure. Pam has a long journey to go and she has to take, in our car to the ferryport, then the ferry to Oban, bus to Glasgow, Shuttle bus to the airport, 6 hour wait for her flight to Exeter, then is picked up by our son-in-law Simon for the final stretch to Brixham in Devon. She Made It.
Feb 10th
Another great day and as Pam is off to see our Devon Grandchildren tomorrow we decided to go wildlife watching this morning. We saw at least 5 Golden and White-tailed Sea Eagles. Buzzards and Kestrels and lots of Red Deer and Common Seals. Other birds of note seen were a Dipper at Knock Bridge and the lovely little Treecreeper in the photograph which kept us enthralled with its antics at the foot of a tree by the car park for Loch Ba. On returning home for lunch I took this picture of a Hooded Crow which has become a regular garden species. The Hooded Crow is a close relative of the all Black Carrion Crow seen in England and southern Scotland but now regarded as a seperate species although they will occasionally interbreed.
TreecreeperHooded Crow
Feb 9th
The lovely weather continued today and Pam and I went out to Dervaig early this morning, a journey of just over a mile. Within a couple of minutes we had witnessed a Sparrowhawk chasing a Buzzard, a hovering Kestrel and a hunting female Hen Harrier, as I mentioned in a recent blog we are very fortunate with the amount of wildlife we have in the North West of Mull. At the end of the Loch at Dervaig there were Little Grebes, Oystercatchers, Curlews and a Greenshank, not bad for 6 minutes wildlife watching but we had to go back home more work to be done while the weather lasts.
Feb 8th
A beautiful day after the poor weather of the last 3 days so Pam and I went out this afternoon and we were able to find a single Red Grouse which flew across the road in front of us at Reudle, my first Red Grouse of the year and Pam's first for 3 years so she was well chuffed. An Otter with 2 young cubs on our tour route was a nice sighting as were the 2 Golden Eagles inter-acting with a White-tailed Sea Eagle. As usual we saw a lot of Great Northern Divers but I have still to see any Red or Black Throated Divers this year. The Mute Swans at Salen looked lovely in the evening sunlight and we saw a Whimbrel and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits roosting with the Curlews and Oystercatchers at the castle end of Aros Bay.
Mute Swans at SalenMute Swan
Feb 7th
It was a case of the day after the night before and although the mind was willing the body was weak so very little work got done today and we enjoyed a very early night. Getting older has compensations but I can assure you partying to the early hours is not one of them. On the plus side the weather today was foul so I did not feel we had missed out on anything.
Feb 6th
We are having a dinner party tonight so Pam is very busy and getting stressed, I am doing the best I can to help by staying out of the way, by the way this increases her stress levels. We saw the Treecreeper today it comes to the garden every day although we don't always see it. We had a female Hen Harrier hunting the field in front of the house today, it doesn't appear that often but is a great sighting when it does. The party was a great success, well done Pam.
Feb 5th
Not a lot to report except for a fantastic sighting of a Woodcock a bird we see quite often in the winter but not usually as well as this one.
Feb 4th
Two very fuzzy pictures taken through drizzle at Dervaig this morning but proof that I did see a second winter Glaucous Gull, note the trailing white wings and white tip to its bill and at last I managed to see the Kingfisher, it is there if you look carefully. These are birds not seen on Mull every year so two good finds for my year list. We had friends Jaqui and Mike round for Haggis, Neeps and Tatties last night a few days late for burns night but a nice evening none the less. Late this evening just before dark Pam and I saw a female Hen Harrier out hunting just up the road from Ardrioch, we are blessed with the wildlife we see in our part of Mull.
Glaucous Gull
                                                Feb16Kingfisher
Feb 3rd
It was a bad day for Partridges as after all our years at Ardrioch our Weeping Pear tree had produced no golden pears we made the decision to cut it down as it was blocking the view from the kitchen in Inch Hame. The picture below is of three, tree fellers wondering what to do after felling the Pear tree, blokes thinking, now that is dangerous.
Three tree fellers
Feb 2nd
The day after the storm and birds returning to the feeders included the Brambling which was nice to see. I went out and about and on my way home over the hill road from Torloisk to Dervaig just before dark I saw a hunting Short Eared Owl my first of the year. White-tailed Sea eagles are now renewing their bonds in readiness for the 2016 breeding season.
Feb 1st
Storm Henry, batten down the hatches again, at this rate we will have no branches left on our trees in the garden.
Febuary 2015
Feb 28th
The last day of February and true to the last few days it rained hard and the wind blew all day but I still went out to see if I could find anything in the bird world to write about. Waders, I saw a few but nothing new to mention, Eagles one or two but then again they were the exception,  I carried on when hope was gone, but I still had  expectations. Of course I saw the ducks, all of the usual persuasion and then as all seemed lost a duck appeared,  to my elation. Oh no, no Mallard this, a Gadwall bliss, in all its splendour. Oh what I'd had to do, to get this view, i'd travelled each and every highway, and more much more than this, it had made My Day.
Gadwall
                                                        Drake Alan
                                                        SpellmanThanks to Alan 'mullbirds' Spellman for this photo of a male Gadwall.
Feb 27th
After last nights Owls we went out to look for the Red Grouse but no luck, Red Grouse on Mull is becoming something of a bogey bird for Pam, if I am out on my own I seem to see them if Pam is with me we don't, such is life. We did see a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles sitting on an Eagle love seat, she was gazing out at the lovely view, he gazing longingly at her, well it is nearly 12 months since they last made young ones so it is quite understandable if love is in the air....?
Feb 26th
Pam and I went out looking for Owls this evening but the first wildlife we saw was a mammal, no not Red Deer although we did see one of them this was a mammal seen only occasionally on Mull, a Polecat Ferret investigating Rabbit holes. As we journied on we put up a Woodcock but still no Owls. Turning round and returning home our luck changed and we had a fabulous sighting of a Tawny Owl sitting on a passing place pole giving us a good view for over half a minute before it flew off. Then as we neared Dervaig we spotted a Barn Owl hunting, flying, hovering and then diving down on prey, we could still see it in the long grass before it got up and flew off hunting some more. We were able to watch this spectacular for over 5 minutes before it dissappeared behind a knoll out of view of the car lights. A very worthwhile trip out and enjoyed enormously by both of us. Thanks to our friend David Mitchell for these 2 photo's.
Tawny Owl D MitchellBarn Owl D Mitchell
Feb 23rd-25th
Very wet windy weather with little to report except I added Canada goose to my year list. Pam and I took the van to Fort William for a service and we saw an Otter on our way to the ferry which was nice to see. 7 Woodcock flew up from the roadside verges as we made our way to the ferry as well which was a bit of a surprise as they have not done that before this winter. Hopefully the winds will drop and the rain, hail and sleet will cease and I will get out and bring you more sightings tomorrow.
Feb 22nd
A very wet day with little to report bird wise except I did see my first Canada Geese of the year today, it is not very often that Canada Geese are sighting of the day. Our friends Mike and Jaq called in this afternoon and stayed for tea, they have bought a house in Salen and will come up to Mull in the near future when they have all their council plans and warrants in place, they can't wait in spite of our attrocious weather at the moment.
Feb 21st
I was leading the Mull Bird Club outing around North West Mull today and despite some members braving difficult driving conditions to make it to the start at Dervaig 19 intrepid souls did turn up. A White-tailed Eagle at our first stop was a bright way to start our day with Goldeneye. Little Grebe, Greenshank, Snipe, Buzzard, Heron and Red Breasted Mergansers seen here as well. We had great sightings of Golden Eagles and another close White-tailed Eagle encounter during the day, with Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Hen Harrier being the other birds of prey seen. As we were having lunch a small flock of 8 Skylarks dropped in just returning to Mull and the first I have seen this year. A total of 43 birds were seen on a blustery cold day and along with mammals Red Deer, Common Seals and Rabbits a good time was had by all. The day finished with a magnificent afternnoon tea provided by Jeanette at the Ballygown Restaurant which was enjoyed by us all and with a big thank you from us all a lovely day out came to an end.
Red Deer last years calf
Feb 20th
A trip into Tobermory today to fill up the van and so I took the opportunity for a walk into Aros Park to try and see some small birds, the walk did me good as I gave my knee a good workout, this should please the physiotherapist whose appointment I missed on Wednesday. Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits and Chaffinches in abundance in the park and I did get a nice photo of a Robin singing its little heart out. I also took a picture of Tobermory from the pier in the park as it shows the Chocolate Box appearance of Mull's main town so well. As I write todays blog a Sparrowhawk has just flown past the office window scattering all in its wake.
Tobermory from Aros Park
Feb 19th
I was at my numpty best today going to a doctors appointment and pysio only to discover the appointments were for yesterday, my appologies to all concerned it was a genuine mistake. It was very windy and perishing cold today but out and about I did see 3 Golen Eagles, a White-tailed Sea Eagle, both Red and Fallow Deer and some Common Seals. It was a toss up which of us was the coldest and I think it was probably me anyway it took me long enough to warm up when I got home.
Feb 18th
Not a lot to report today as I did not get out a lot and when I did it was very quiet and the only notable birds to report were a White-tailed Sea Eagle sitting in a regular roosting spot and a Great Northern Diver in Calgary Bay. Although the winter weather hangs on there is at least the occasional Spring like day and a splash of colour with the Snowdrops in the garden and some of the Gorse Bushes showing some yellow colour. Oh Oh here comes the hail again.
SnowdropsRobin in Aros park
Feb 17th
Golden Eagle and Kestrel and Buzzard seen well today but my bird of today has to be a male Red Grouse which flew in calling and proceeded to strut its stuff in front of me. I ran down the hill to the van, well ran is more than slightly exagerated, to get the camera and low and behold a car came past and the passengers wanted a chat, after they had gone I panted up to the top again, I really must get fitter and there was no sign of the Grouse, bugger, I thought, when it popped up again and I managed to get a shot at it, with the camera, NOT A GUN?
Red Grouse
Feb 16th
I had to stay at home for most of today doing work in the garden and helping my mates load garden compost from my big shed but I did manage a short time out birding. I had a special treat as a Buzzard put up a female Hen Harrier and after some interaction between the pair the Harrier set off hunting. To watch a Hen Harrier hunting is a wildlife spectacle and it is such a shame that this bird is so persecuted throughout most of the United Kingdom but not on Mull as yet, long may it remain thus.
Feb 15th
Feeling better and well enough to get out and about again and down at the Loch in Dervaig were 15 Snipe, the most I have seen here for several years. As we drove towards Salen a pair of Golden Eagles flew with us flying effortlessly along the ridge into a strong wind for a couple of miles. 3 miles up the river Aros from Aros Bay a pair of Goosander sparking as spring is in the air and the days are becoming longer. A White-tailed Sea Eagle flew past as we were checking out the Wigeon in Aros Bay and a Greenshank with some beautiful Red Breasted Mergansers in Summer plumage. Our sighting of the day however was a Merlin which flew up from the shoreline right in front of the car, my first confirmed Merlin sighting of the year. The last good sighting of a nice 2 hour drive round a hunting male Hen Harrier one of the wonders of the great Scottish ( Mull ) wildlife experiences. Red Deer were the only mammals seen as the waves were too stong and the tides wrong for Otters.

Snipe 2Red breasted
                                              Merganzer
Feb 14th
We arrived home on Mull yesterday afternoon after traveling back from Cheshire. Arthur has been quite poorly whilst I have been away in India but he came down to pick us up from Manchester Airport on Wednesday morning. (Don't tell him but I was pleased to see him...Pam) I went out to Mumbai with our son, Richard, who's wife had gone over 3 weeks earlier with their baby to see her parents. We stayed with the family for 8 days, although it was mainly a family visit my daughter-in-law had arranged some things for me to do. Richard & I did 2 tours with Reality Gives one around Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia, and a Transport tour which took us by train, bus and taxi around some facinating areas of Mumbai, the largest open air laundrette, fish and flower market and the thieves market. We also visited the Gateway to India and had afternoon tea at the Taj Mahal Place Hotel. I even managed a couple of days birdwatching, we had arranged a guide through the Bombay Natural History Society and she took us to a wildlife sanctury where we took a forest walk and I saw 29 new species of birds and 2 new mammals. Later in the week we went with the BNHS again on their Flamingo Walk where we saw hundreds of Lesser Flamingo's and plenty of wading birds on the mud flats. What an amazing city full of contrasts and such friendly people.Many thanks Sheetals mum and dad Ram & Gul Mehta for their kind hospitality.
Lesser Flamingo
                                              flyingLesser Flamingo's


February 2014
Feb 28th
The last day of February and sunshine and showers, in between the showers Pam and I took a short walk at Quinnish where we saw 3 Bullfinches 2 males and a female, my first Mull Bullfinches of the year. In the afternoon I went for a short drive round and had a great sighting of a male Merlin, 2 Red Deer stags a Treecreeper, Razorbill and 2 Great northern Divers. Another first for this year a single Starling on our bird feeders in the garden. Pam in a strop for most of the day as she missed the Northern Lights as it was cloudy and wet in and around Dervaig.

Bullfinch male
Feb 27th
What a strange day weather wise, sunny one minute with temperature up to 7 degrees celcius and then rain, hail and sleet with temperatures dropping to a freezing 2 degrees celcius, undetered I went gamely forth and fairly quickly picked up a Red Grouse, a bird I usually struggle to see on Mull. Things got even better for me as after the winter storm I spotted a White winged Gull which I thought was a Glaucous Gull but on reflection was in fact an Iceland Gull, two new species for me this year and both quite rare for the island.
Feb 26th
Today we went to Tobermory and the result was Common Crossbill 1 Magpie 0 Great on the Crossbill as for the bl.....y Magpie we will have to try again. Our new Mini-bus arrived at the garage in Fort William today and we are going to collect it on Saturday and after it has had our logos put on it we will be ready for the new season.
Feb 25th
A very blustery day and after a day out yesterday a day at home chasing insurance for the new van which we should pick up on Saturday fingers crossed. I did manage a short trip out and about and saw 6 Skylarks at Reudle, these birds are new into Mull and could even have been some of the party of 36 seen at Ardalanish yesterday. Two other notable sightings were Curlews at an unusual spot, they flew away as I got my camera but one obligingly only flew a few yards and gave me chance to get this shot. At Dervaig although it was getting quite dark I did manage to get a photo of this female Goosander
CurlewGooseander female
Black Highland cow
                                              and calf
Feb 24th
A lovely day and another trip to the Ross of Mull and a total of 55 bird species and 5 mammals seen. The highlights for me were a drake Scaup on Loch Pottie, there were 22 Tufted Duck and 8 Goldeneye there as well. Four White Fronted Geese on a field with some Greylag Geese across on the Bunnessan side of Loch Assapol. In a field by Ardalanish Beach were 7 Ringed Plover a single Turnstone 24 Lapwings and 40 Oystercatchers but the best birds in the field was a flock of 36 Skylarks. There were 170 Barnacle Geese at Fidden and also a flock of about 200 Starlings, several Rooks were also present and 3 Shelduck. On our way home we saw a single Kittiwake on Loch Scridain and around the coast a total of 6 Otters, another good days birding on Mull.
Otter with a crabKittiewake

Feb 23rd
We had rain of biblical proportions last night with 2 inches falling in 10 hours, it did improve during the day but it was very windy. I took a short trip around the the local area and and came across a a flock of 36 Oystercatchers, these are not unusual on Mull but in such a group they were quite impressive. Other large groups of birds today were 24 Greylag Geese and 17 Rock Doves the latter seen in our garden. Also in the garden today visiting at the same time was a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
Oystercatchers
                                              Calgary
Greylag Geese
                                              Calgary
Feb 22nd
The BTO held a bird identification and survey workshop at Craignure today and fortunately it stayed dry until 2pm so we were able to complete one of the two scheduled outdoor sessions. We saw Red Deer and 2 Otters and 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles but as it was bird identification we were really out for it was more interesting seeing and telling the difference between Great Northern and Red Throated Divers, what to look out for on Shags and the difference between Red Breasted Mergansers and Goosander. At the indoor session a comprehensive lesson on distinguishing Waders was carried out and a lot of valuable lessons on bird identification learned. Many thanks to James, Ben and Laura from the BTO for coming to Mull and giving us some valuable tips, I can thourouly recommend that anyone with an interest in birds attend one of these day courses, you will be well rewarded.
Feb 21st
A cold wet windy day with some hail showers and as Pam & I were arriving in Tobermory for a couple of business meetings one particular hail shower hit the car with such ferocity that we thought it might smash the front window of the car. It was Bird Club tonight and the BTO gave us a good talk on the work they do and the volunteers they need to continue this valuable work. They also showed that through satelite tagging they were able to see why Scottish Cuckoos are doing better than the English ones and it is due to the directions of their migratary routes with the Scottish birds choosing a more easterly route and of the 9 tagged birds all have survived where as 5 out of 9 English Cuckoos have perished. On our way home we saw 2 seperate Barn Owls which was good for me as it adds another bird to my Mull year list.
Feb 20th
Pam's home this afternoon, hooray, look at the state of the kitchen, whoops, out with the hoover, mops and where the dickens does she hide the the cleaning stuff. I just managed to get all the jobs done when it was time to go and meet the ferry at Craignure, little did I know I was going to have to get through Mull's red light district. Steady chaps, there are 3 sets of traffic lightds between Salen and Craignure due to a new water scheme and I was stopped at all 3 for several minutes. I knew I could be in trouble as I started to meet ferry traffic just as I passed Garmony, and there was Pam toe tapping as she patiently waited at the ferry port for her errant husband to arrive. I have to say she was very good about my being late and was chuffed at the seemingly clean house, don't look under the cushons Pam.
Feb 19th
I went out with our friend Sarah Barry for a trip round North West Mull and had a great day out, Sarah was and still is a great wildlife enthusiast and gets enjoyment from all the wildlife she sees from Little Grebes to Eagles and Otters. On the day we saw 2 Otters, 3 Golden Eagles, 3 White-tailed Sea Eagle and a single Little Grebe. A sign that Spring is just around the corner, Lapwings calling their evocative call as they flew over the field they usually breed in, I hope they don't breed just yet or else they will have to teach their chicks to swim instead of fly. We saw 43 bird species in the day and 3 Mammal species but it was Sarah's joy at seeing the wildlife on Mull again which made my day, she also, like me loved the Teals.
WTSE on spitGolden
                                            Eagle sitting
Feb 18th
A thank you to Davie and the Gleaner team who managed to get me some heating oil before the Aga went out, Pam would not have been best pleased if she returned home fome visiting the grand children to find a cold kitchen and only the cookers in the self-catering to cook off, they helped me play my get out of jail free card. Watching the birds in the garden as I waited for Davie I noticed that the male Great spotted Woodpecker was on our nut feeder, previously only the female has been appearing. the Tawny Owls were calling well last night maybe as the weather has improved greatly they are seriously thinking of breeding as they are amongst the earliest breeders of the year.
Feb 17th
After a pleasant morning the weather deteriorated throughout the day with showers in the evening. Thank goodness for Calgary Bay and Dervaig at the moment, I went out locally for an hour today after my big jaunt yesterday and there was very little about except for Great Northern Divers, Ringed Plovers and Curlews, a single red breasted Merganser and the Common Scoter at Calgary and 6 Redshank, Greenshank and Little Grebe at Dervaig. On my way home I did disturb a Buzzard trying to lift a road kill Rabbit, but at the moment our garden seem to be the place for birds.
Feb 16th
Hey I woke up to sunshine and no wind and decided to go with a friend down to the Ross of Mull and am I glad I did, we saw 53 species of birds and 2 Otters, Red Deer and Seals. Of the bird species seen 6 were new ones for me on Mull this year, they were Guillemots, Razorbills, Dunlin, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting and Tufted Duck. Birds of prey seen were White-tailed Sea Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Hen Harrier, Kestrel and Buzzard, sadly no Golden Eagles today but then that's wildlife watching for you. The views were spectacular with Ben More and the higher peaks all covered in snow, all in all a great day out.
Feb 15th
A not very nice day but I had to go to Tobermory and while I was there I thought I should go and see the Magpie, note the confidence in this statement, well it was not well founded, dispite my very best efforts the dratted bird remains illusive to me. The other problem I had today was with Misty our older dog who takes it into her head to off up into the wood and play hide and seek with me, now she is either going deaf or she just enjoys winding me up, I am starting to think it is the latter. A lovely Great spotted Woodpecker came on the close feeders in the garden today.
Great spotted Woodpecker
Feb 14th
Vallentines day and here I am home alone, so as the weather is much improved I went out birding seeing 2 new species on Mull for my year list. Firstly at Cailaich 2 Snipe flew out of the bog and then there was a single Common Scoter at Calgary. Other good sightings were a pair of Golden Eagles, a flock of Redwings mixing with Starlings and at least 10 Great Northern Divers. The Magpie has again been seen in Tobermory I feel the need to try and twitch this bird coming on me again, it is becoming something of a bogey bird for me.
Feb 13th
Hoorah, 27 hours after she left home Pam arrived at Exeter airport and was picked up by our daughter Becky and taken to a 2 michelin star restaurant for a lunch to celebrate her special birthday, I can't say which one but she now has a bus pass. It was cold and wet on Mull today so birding was difficult but I did manage to see an Otter when out and about. Now that Pam is away sale of junk food is going through the roof at Dougie's shop in the village.
Feb 12th
The snow returned overnight and Pam had to be at the ferry for 9-0am so we had to go via Tobermory as the gritters don't go through Glen Bellart, this means the journey time is longer and with the conditions much longer. Pam caught the ferry and had an easy trip to Oban but her bus trip to Glasgow was quite hairy particularly the higher roads. At Glasgow airport after travelling through snow she was told the flight was cancelled due to gale force winds and so she had to spend the night in Glasgow. On my way home I did manage a bit of wildlife watching seeing amongst other birds some Turnstones and Ringed Plover. On the hill roads out of Tobermory our car was stuggling for grip and at one point I thought I would not make it home, so on arriving back I garaged the car and battened down the hatches for the rest of the day.
Feb 11th
After overnight snow flurries the sun came out and soon the snow at low level had gone so we went out looking specifically for Mull's main species and were in luck as we found 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles together in one spot, 3 were juveniles and 1 an adult. I took some photos but they were quite distant and anyway Pam has no time today to upload them as she is off to see our grandchildren tomorrow and I am useless on the computer. We also saw a Kestrel, Buzzards, a Golden Eagle, an Otter and some Red Deer although my highlight was the Dipper seen in a burn estuary at Lagganulva, really close and my first Dipper of the year on Mull.
Ben Talaidh with snow
Feb 10th
Some days you go out expecting a lot and very little happens, today was one of those days. It was a pleasant morning so Pam and I took the dogs for a walk round Quinnish Wood hoping to see lots of woodland species, in the event we saw a few Great Tits and a couple of Blue Tits, which we can see every day in our garden and in larger numbers. It was quite dissapointing for us but the dogs had a whale of a time sniffing here, smelling there, scent marking, getting filthy, so you see sometimes it's just a dogs life.
Feb 9th
A windy day with heavy showers and Pam & I went out for a drive around, not expecting to see a great deal. We were pleasantly surprised at the amount and quality of the wildlife we did see, there were the mixed flock of Tits feeding out of the wind on the road side, a flock of at least 36 Meadow Pipits on early return migration and the Purple Sandpipers again on
Lainne Sgeir. Birds of prey seen were both types of Eagle, lots of Buzzards, a Kestrel and a fantastic view of a Peregrine Falcon. The highlight of the day however had to be the hunting female Hen Harrier seen in the action pictures below. By the way even I am impressed by my pictures, they don't usually turn out this way.
Hen Harrier hunting
                                              1Hen Harrier hunting
                                              2Hen Harrier hunting
                                              3
Hen Harrier
                                              hunting 4Hen Harrier hunting
                                              5Hen Harrier hunting
                                              6
Feb 8th
A wet, windy, cold day and I went out locally, never more than 6 miles from Ardrioch and saw over 30 species of wildlife in less than 2 hours, even more if you count the birds in our garden. At Lainne Sgeir near Calgary Bay there was a White-tailed Sea Eagle and as soon as I spotted it I also spotted a family of 3 Otters in the sea behind the Eagle. Iwas just getting out my telescope for a better look when the Eagle flew off disturbing 5 small Waders which turned out to be Purple Sandpipers, my first sighting of this little bird on Mull this year. When I returned home there was a Yellowhammer on the bird feeders another first for me this year, so although the weather was very poor I had a much better day wildlife and in particular birdwise.
Feb 7th
A lovely day and Pam and I went for a walk at Ardmore north of Tobermory, once again there was little to see in the way of wildlife but it was still interesting to see how the scenery has changed with the felling of a large portion of the forestry woodland. What birds we did see were typical of a felled forest, Wrens, Dunnocks, Robins and in some small regenerated trees a small flock of Coal Tits. I took some photographs of a ruined house within a small settlement and views out towards the Ardnamurchan Penninsular.
Ardmore cliffs and
                                              boatArdmore view
Ardmore old ruin
                                              and viewArdmore old ruin
Feb 6th
Went for a walk in the rain at Quinnish hoping to see Goldcrests but although I heard some they were hidden in the top of the fir trees out of sight and out of the rain. I had a good view of a Woodcock which flew up from under my feet and again I saw a Jay and heard another one, more proof that Jay numbers are increasing on Mull.
Feb 5th
Hey, no rain or wind again today and we went to Tobermory as Pam had a hair appointment and I wanted to have a walk around Aros Park. The walk prouced less in the way of birds than I hoped but I did see 3 small Tit flocks with Great, Blue and Coal Tits all seen and in with the Blue Tits was a very nice Treecreeper. On returning to the car park I heard a Jay calling, not a bird we have in great numbers on Mull, on looking up I not only heard but saw the bird flying over the small Lochan in the park, a first for me this year. This evening I went for a drive round looking for Owls again, once more they proved illusive but I did see my first Woodcock of the year.
Feb 4th
Whoopee a nice day almost unpresidated this year, so up before dawn and out looking for Owls
and Woodcock, unfortunately I did not see any, I hope they have not all drowned or emigrated. In all I saw 47 species of birds in four hours including a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles pair bonding, a Golden Eagle enjoying the sunshine and a Kestrel hovering looking for prey. In the afternoon Pam and I went to the standing stones above Dervaig and on our way saw a hunting male Hen Harrier, the number of Hen Harriers we are seeing bodes well for the vole population and could mean it will be a good year for Short Eared Owls. At the standing stones it was obvious to see the damage done to the woods around the stones by the winter gales, check out the photographs below. Also check out the views of Dervaig Village from the top of the hill now that the forest has been
chopped down, you can now see right out to coll and all of Loch Cuin, for readers who have not been to Mull look at the pencil steeple church, very rare but not unique. 
Standing stones
                                              DervaigStanding stones and
                                              fallen tree
Dervaig villageDervaig and
                                      Loch Cuin
Feb 3rd
Gale force winds all night with our wooden house creeking from the strain. Pam spent the morning learning how to do her own web-site, thanks to Pete for kindly showing her. I went and cleared the drive drains which were full of silt after the persistent rains and to Dougies the brilliant local shop to buy stuff for lunch. On my way home I stopped at the end of the Loch and saw only a single Greenshank and a pair of Common gulls, thank goodness for the birds in our garden.
Feb 2nd
A much nicer start to the day and a day out trying to see White winged Gulls, we did not see any but we did see another hunting male Hen Harrier and a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles. Other birds of note seen were a male Goosander, Ringed Plover and a small flock of Goldfinches known as a charm. With the weather deteriorating we retuned home to warm up and in my case watch the football on the television.
Feb 1st

Another day of very mixed weather and a drive from Calgary to Ulva producing 27 species of birds including a Great Northern Diver in Calgary Bay and a Black Guillemot here as well. We stopped for a coffee at Burg and there was a hovering Kestrel and a Raven, on to Lagganulva Bay where 2 Golden Eagles appeared and there were Redshank and Greenshank on the shore. At Torloisk as we watched a pair of Mistle Thrushes a beautiful Grey Wagtail appeared and spent time searching for food on a mole hill. On the jaunt we saw Red Deer and 2 Otters, one running across the mud at Ulva Ferry and at Calgary we saw the flooding burn which half filled the Sand Martin nest holes, we have compared this with a picture taken last summer of the Sand Martin feeding her chicks at the same nest sight.
Sand Martin nests
                                              floodedSand Martin feeding
                                              chicks

February 2013
Feb 28th
A dull overcast day but warmer and I spent most of the day cleaning drains and brushing up the yard ready for our guests when they start arriving at Easter. Tour bookings are coming in fast now and we are well on the way to 200 pre booked tours. At Dervaig today when I did manage to briefly escape from work there were 8 Common Snipe feeding madly on the mud flats.
Feb 27th
More grey clouds today but still lovely and dry and warmer. On a quick trip round today I saw 11 Great Northern Divers in 4 separate locations and a nice view of a female (ringed tail) Hen Harrier but the sighting of the day had to be the 5 Black Throated Divers seen on Loch Tuath, I don't get to see this wonderful Diver that often so to see 5 in one sighting was wonderful for me. They were also my first sighting of this special bird on Mull this year bringing my Mull year list to 90. I am starting to see Meadow Pipits and Skylarks now so Spring is just around the corner.
Great Northern DiverGreat Northern Diver
Meadow Pipit
Feb 26th
Blue sky nothing but blue sky and a day spent at home so we decided to see how many bird species we could see from our house and garden during the day, as you can see from the photograph the Woodpecker made a return visit. A total of 29 birds seen from the house today, 17 in the garden and 12 either on the Loch or Loch side or flying over.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Feb 25th
Weather absolutely fabulous and we went out to look for, you guessed it, birds. We were not to be disappointed as after a slow start we went on to see 7 different Golden Eagles, 5 White-tailed Eagles, to many Buzzards to count and 3 Kestrels. We also found time to watch and enjoy 2 separate Otters in the same area which was good for us as they were in the area we take our tours. A nice field of about 20 Lapwings made it a really nice day birding. At home we had a Great Spotted Woodpecker visit our feeders the first we have seen on the feeders this year.
WTSE pairLapwing
Lapwing 4WTSE wing flying
Feb 24th
A gorgeous day and a walk with alongside Loch Torr with Pam and 2 little rascals, see pictures below. Red Deer were seen soon after we began our walk and also a light coloured Buzzard but as soon as I reached for the camera it flew off, they usually do. A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a pair of high flying White-tailed Eagles were the bird highlights of the walk but the views in the glorious sunlight of Canna and the Uists were special.
Loch TorrSally & Misty in the car
                                      after their walk
Feb 23rd
How long can this fabulous weather continue, a walk around Croig today brought me another new Mull year tick this time a Goldcrest a bird I normally have some trouble finding, well finding them is no problem, seeing them is something else as they are so small and never stand still continually moving in the trees, the little blighters. 
Feb 22nd
An even nicer day today but very cold thank goodness there is little wind. A trip to Killiechronan today produced Golden and White-tailed Eagles and Red Deer and we also saw 16 Great Northern Divers, 11 Slavonian Grebes, 24 Lapwings, Greenshanks, Redshanks, Ringed Plovers, Teal, Wigeon and much more. However the bird of the day was a Common Scoter my first of the year seen on Loch Na Keal and mammal of the day a White Fallow Deer seen in a field with a stag, the first white Deer for some considerable time.
Common ScoterFallow Deer, Stag and White
                                      Female
Feb 21st
A sunny cold day with little wind and so there was a fire in the crazy world of Arthur Brown, a bonfire to be exact and a large one it was too, I hope the ozone layer is still intact. When not guarding the fire I was busy valleting the van and can now see my face in the windows they are so clean, as is the upholstery and floors, it just needs the new logos now and it will be ready for its test.
Feb 20th
Another lovely sunny day but cooler as the winds got up. Whoopee I finished the gardening today now I have just got to valet the van ready for its council test in early March. In order to get the garden job finished I had to content myself with watching the garden birds, if my garden birds are similar to other gardens there could be trouble in the Chaffinch night clubs as male chaffinches seem to outnumber females by at least 2 to 1.
Feb 19th
An even better warmer day than yesterday and more gardening but we did find time for a lovely walk up to the point at Cailaich. The views were stunning and we saw 2 Mountain Hares and one nearly stayed around long enough for a photograph and Pam saw a group of Porpoise feeding close to a fishing boat. There was a large Highland Bull on the hill as we walked up looking down at a field of Highland cows and then in amongst them I saw a small calf, looking back at the bull I swear it winked as if to say 'that's my boy'.
Black Highland BullBlack Highland Bull
Feb 18th
A lovely sunny day with a slight breeze probably the best day of the year weather wise and where was I? in the garden again. I did manage to escape in the late afternoon and had a fabulous sighting of a female (Ring Tailed) Hen Harrier hunting, always a special bird to see on Mull. Later I spotted a Golden Eagle sitting on a hill taking in the evening sunset and some Red Deer stags grazing on the skyline, 2 archetypal scenes on this beautiful island.
Feb 17th
Our friends who have been staying with us for a week left this morning and of course the weather became much better with less wind and believe it or not some sunshine. This is normally a good thing but for me it means gardening and tidying up for the Spring, so leaving little time for getting out and about. I did manage a trip to Dervaig when Pam was not looking and saw the usual Redshanks, Greenshanks, Oystercatchers, Curlews, Teal and Wigeon so with all the birds in our garden not a completely wasted day.
Feb 16th
A dull but mainly dry day after a morning of light drizzle. The bird club had an outing in the Dervaig area today and as it is my patch I was the leader. Birds of the day were 2 very close Golden Eagles and a displaying Golden Eagle. White-tailed Sea Eagles were also seen as were Red Deer stags. " otters were seen 1 at Lainne Sgeir which disturbed 4 Purple Sandpipers making them visible much to the delight of the group. The Iceland Gull was also seen although distant it was definitely recognizable. Two new species on my Mull year list seen today were A great Spotted woodpecker and 6 skylarks, I am inching towards 100.
Feb 15th
A beautiful sunny day and an early start before it got light looking for Owls, we got lucky and had some nice views of 2 Short Eared Owls hunting at daybreak. A nice walk and a good sighting of 3 Red Deer Stags and on returning to the car a male Hen Harrier put in an appearance, hunting the same area the Owls had been hunting earlier. It was bird club tonight and we had a thought provoking talk on the re-introduction of Beavers programme currently being undertaken in Knapdale in Argyll. On our way to and from bird club we saw 4 separate Barn Owls.
Feb 14th
It has stopped raining so I spent all morning doing one of my least favourite jobs, gardening. A trip round the local area produced 3 Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks, 2 Curlews and 14 Ringed Plovers. We have a regular Yellowhammer appearing in the garden at the moment brightening up the bird feeders and a Barn Owl was in the garden when we returned home from a meal with friends this evening..
Feb 13th
The only way to describe today was wet and I do mean wet, it rained heavily all day, even the Ducks had had enough by the end of the day.
Feb 12th
A very  very cold windy day but dry and so we decided to go to the south of the island to try and get some Geese for my year list. We did have some success as the first new birds of the year on the trip were White-fronted Geese, Barnacle Geese were to follow. We saw some lovely Golden Plover at 2 locations, a Reed bunting, Rooks and believe it or not my first Pied Wagtail of the year. Bird of the day however was the fantastic view of a Peregrine Falcon, which having picked up sitting on a rock suddenly flew and chased the waders across the shoreline at great speed, made the cold weather trip more than worthwhile. 4 Otters were also seen during the day and this summer plumage Black Guillemot.
Black GuillemotBarnacle Geese
Barnacle Geese
Feb 11th
Today was as cold as yesterday without the showers. Another new bird for my year list today an Iceland Gull near the black beach at Kilninian. Earlier in the day on a walk in Aros Park we saw a Treecreeper and another this evening in our garden. A total of 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles and 2 Golden Eagles seen today and in between all this another trip to the dentist who is fast becoming my best friend.
Feb 10th
A very windy cold day with sleet and frozen rain showers thrown in so off I went with our friends David and Kathryn to look for wildlife. We often say bad weather days can be good for wildlife just not the best for watching it. Today was no exception, at one stop we were watching my first goosander of the tear when Kathryn spotted an Otter, after watching the Otter for a few minutes I turned round and a male Hen harrier flew up and proceeded to hunt the ridge behind us. On the hill road out of Dervaig we saw 4 red Deer stags just chilling out...literally, then just as we thought we could not get any colder David spotted 2 Golden Eagles flying towards us, they were either hunting, pair bonding or most likely trying to get warm. Another Otter was seen but only by David and then a brilliant view of another male Hen Harrier. We were nearly home now and in need of a hot drink and lunch as it was nearly 3 o'clock but we took in one last stop to try and see a White-tailed Eagle and whoopee doo there it was sitting on a hill just where I hoped it might be, it was as though it was waiting for us because as soon as I got my telescope out it flew off. So lousy weather and we had seen all Mull's big 5 land based species, what a day. Incidentally shortly after returning home a Sparrowhawk gave us a demonstration of hunting little birds in our garden, it was great flying but on this occasion useless at catching. Finally a White tailed Eagle and Buzzard drifted over Ardrioch taking little notice each other, probably too cold.
Feb 9th
A similar day to yesterday weather wise and we had the Aga serviced today as it was completely sooted up and feeling proper poorly and only working at half pace. An early morning walk with the dogs locally and I saw a nice Mistle Thrush, these birds are in decline but this winter we seem to have more on Mull than I have ever seen before. The Purple Sandpipers remain at Lainne Sgier and today I saw 4 of them as the tide came in hopping up the rocks just ahead of the water.
Feb 8th
A dull dry day and a very early morning start in fact it was still dark and fortune favoured the early risers as we saw a Long Eared Owl hunting at first light on the hill road out of Dervaig on the way to Torloisk. No sign of the Glaucous Gull today but we did see 2 Otters, Red Deer and a Golden Eagle on our trip arriving home at 9-30 in time for breakfast and we were starving.
Feb 7th
A dull but warmer, calmer day and Alan Spellman came to see us and we went to Calgary and Cailaich where I saw my first Guillemots of the year on Mull. There was a pair of Black Guillemots in full summer plumage at Calgary and there were 3 Great Northern Divers there as well. We spent the afternoon writing an article about my Glaucous Gull sighting for the Oystercatcher the magazine of the Mull bird Club.
Feb 6th
A beautiful winters day and time for jobs around the garden but we did manage an hour birding. The sun was beautiful and it was relatively warm at sheltered Ardrioch but out on the coast it was bitterly cold and windy and you can guess which numpty had been taken in by the nice conditions at Ardrioch and not taken his coat and gloves and I have only been living here for 13 years. So there I am standing in arctic conditions looking for wildlife as the blood freezes in my body while Pam properly attired watched from the comfort of the car. Wildlife seen include 2 Golden Eagles, a hunting Kestrel, 4 Red Deer including a very well antlered stag, Great Northern Diver and a Black Guillemot. I am thawed out now, thanks for your concern and as soon as I finish this blog I am going to put my coat and gloves in the car, to cover all weather conditions.
Feb 5th
More high winds and showers so off I went to see what might have been blown in and sure enough on Loch Na Keal was a really nice Glaucous Gull, the picture is one of Alan Spellmans mine were rubbish. There were a total of 40 Curlews in 2 locations and 30 Lapwings also in 2 separate locations. 8 Turnstones at Lagganulva and a Stonechat here as well and also one at Eas force near the waterfall. Over 40 Black Headed Gulls at Killiechronan and a Bar-tailed Godwit here as well. 43 Wood Pigeons in a field at Killiechronan a large number in a flock for Mull, 8 Redwing and a couple of Mistle Thrushes here as well. A pair of Shellducks and a Great Northern Diver on Loch Na Keal and on my way home through Glen Bellert a very close male Hen Harrier making 3 new Mull year ticks. Did I have a good time? too right I did, just needed a van load of guests to make it perfect.
Glaucous Gull ASGlaucous Gull 2AS
Blackheaded GullBar-tailed Godwit
Common, Herring and
                                      Black-headed GullsBar-tailed Godwit preening
TurnstoneTurnstone trio
Feb 4th
A gale force wind today prevented any ferries from coming to Mull, so no newspapers, oh well we can pretend alls right with the world if we don't watch any news on tv. I had my second treatment on my tooth today, I can honestly say it did not hurt.........much, but the taste that was left in my mouth was awful. The only wildlife watching done today was from the kitchen window as I would have been blown over had I tried to watch outside, here come the hailstones again. Just heard that Reg Presley of the 60's group the Troggs has died now there was a WILD THING
Feb 3rd
A nondescript type of day weather wise cool and breezy and after last nights late one we chilled out for most of the day. Bird numbers in the garden continue to rise with lots of Greenfinches now at least 12 birds seen at one time and another guest appearance of a Goldfinch. Misty went missing again and turned up as I was out looking for her, she still expected a  treat when I got back, now that is taking things a little bit far.
Feb 2nd
A nice if dull day and a walk down Loch Frisa with the dogs brought little in the way of wildlife so a little disappointing. This evening we went to the Mull Theatre to see the play 'My name is Rachel Corrie', it is a very thought provoking play about the American girl buried alive by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip when trying to prevent a house in which she was staying being destroyed, it was based on her diaries and e-mails and is well worth seeing if you get a chance. Misty our oldest Sheltie went missing today and we eventually found her behind the deer fencing in the wood, this nearly made us late for the theatre. We stayed up very late with our friends discussing the play so don't aim to do much tomorrow particularly as we had to lubricate our tonsils quite a bit.
Feb 1st 
Lovely weather and a walk with the dogs and on the walk we saw 3 Great Northern Divers and an Otter. On our drive back to Ardrioch a pair of Golden Eagles flew over a hill and circled together for several minutes, we were very pleased to see them as we have not seen a Golden Eagle for about a fortnight now.


February-2012
Feb 24th
Weather Dull and light rain, windy - Not the best day to go out to Loch Buie and Croggan for the first time in almost a year and although the wildlife was not out in abundance this was more than made up for with the views, I had nearly forgotten how lovely it is down there and well worth the journey. The highlight wildlife wise were 3 very close breeding plumaged Black Guillemots, 3 Goosanders a Fallow Deer and a good view of a hunting Golden Eagle, the quantity may have been missing but there was no shortage of quality.
Feb 23rd
Weather rain for most of the day - I cannot say I mind the weather being poor today as I am feeling the effects of David and
Catherine's generous hospitality, I can definitely recommend the Islay whisky Caol Ila. The only wildlife watching I have done today is in the garden which even though not as spectacular as Eagles and Otters is still very rewarding and peaceful, which is what i needed today.
Feb 22nd
Weather cloudy and breezy - It was very strange light today with everything appearing to be in a black and white silhouette particularly the 22 Great Northern Divers we saw, maybe the fact they are black and white with the occasional browner bird had some bearing on this. Seriously it was very strange it was like seeing Mull in an old black and white photograph very dark and moody. 3 White-tails seen today and an Otter, some very smart Wigeon Ducks, a couple of male Goosanders and 50 Barnacle geese were the other highlights of a very nice day out with Alan Spellman and David and Catherine two friends of mine who kindly took me out for dinner tonight.
Feb 21st
Weather dull with showers and light breeze - I had a quieter day today spending most of the day at home but I did manage a walk with my 2 compatriots Misty and Sally who have been looking after me very well whilst Pam is away. The highlight of the walk had to be an incredibly good view a party of 6 Crossbills gave us landing in the top of  tree very close to where we were walking, I love getting good views of this striking little bird although the dogs seemed less impressed. An adult White -tailed Eagle flew past as we returned from the walk and not surprisingly the dogs were more interested in that as they watched warily as it flew past.
Feb 20th
Weather like yesterday but much cooler in a freshening breeze - More BTO Atlas work today with similar results to friday but nice to be out and about none the less. In the day 5 White-tailed Eagles were seen also 4 Golden Eagles several Buzzards, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk but this one was not in our garden. Mammals seen included a single Otter, Grey seals and lots of Red Deer including Stags but my sighting of the day was a single Skylark only my second of the year and another sign of spring.
Feb 19th
Weather Cloudy but dry and calm feeling quite warm - There is a new forest track being put in from Langamull car park through to the Glen Aros Glen Bellart road and I decided to walk the dogs here and take a look. Although there was little wildlife to be seen the views out over Croig and Loch Cuin were spectacular, it was fantastic to be able to see these glorious views without having to climb up hills and through bogs. This is another great way to enjoy what Mull has to offer without  needing to be a Mountaineer.
Feb 18th
Weather wet morning grey but dry afternoon - BTO Atlas work today although it was not very successful as the weather was poor but I have to complete all the winter work before the end of February. On my way home I counted all the birds I saw and there were 26 species in all several of them were in large numbers, I stopped counting when each species reached 30 birds. The list of species with over 30 birds seen was Greylag Geese, Mallards, Hooded Crows, Red Breasted Mergansers, Shags, Oystercatchers, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls, there were also 17 Grey Herons seen. 
Feb 17th
Weather a nice sunny day with light cool breeze - I hope you like my photo's because there will be no more this month as Pam has gone to look after the grand children for half term and I don't know how to put them onto the blog, technophobe that I am. Alan Spellman came to see me today and we went to all the local hot spots and typically in the morning the spots were not too hot, as I say on the tours don't worry about seeing stuff till 4pm. We came back to Ardrioch for lunch and at least 2 Brambling turned up, to see pictures of these birds check Alan's Mullbirds site. After lunch with me in wellies we went to look for Snipe and I managed to flush a Jack Snipe and 3 Common Snipe from a bog, at the same location we also saw a Peregrine Falcon and a pair of Shelduck. Onwards and upwards towards Calgary where as the tide had come in we saw 5 Purple Sandpipers, several Turnstones a Great Northern Diver and 2 Otters. It looked as if Alan would draw a blank in his search for the Pink Footed Goose but after an abortive trip to Croig on our way back we found it with a few Greylag Geese in a field where I had not seen it before. So alls well that ends well another great day out with my mate. Thinking of coming to Mull this year then I recommend you get the Mull bird report written and sold by Alan Mullbirds Spellman through his web site and in shops on the island and I only take 95% for this plug.
Feb 16th
Weather cloudy and cool but mainly dry - A lovely male Bullfinch at Calgary this morning one of my favorite birds and always a delight to see. At Calgary I took a better photograph of the Pink Footed Goose which is still associating with the Greylags there. Another picture I took was of a Hovering Buzzard it shows that Kestrels are not the only bird of prey that hovers. Finally I took a photo of some Red Breasted Mergansers a male and 2 females resplendent with their Punk hairdos.
Red-breasted MerganzersBuzzard hovering
Pink-footed Goose
Feb 15th
Weather a nice day with some sunshine -Oban with the van today and it easily passed the test so all those of you that have already booked tours can rest easily again now. As we were going on the early ferry I took the dogs for a very early walk this morning and noticed how soon it was becoming light particularly on a nice day, yet another sign that spring will soon be upon us. Nothing of great news wildlife wise but we did see one Great Northern diver on the ferry crossing.
Feb 14th 
Weather cloudy but dry not too cold - I took the van to the garage at Tobermory today for a pre council check as it goes for the taxi/private hire inspection in Oban tomorrow. I went for a nice walk through Aros Park as I waited for the garage to check it out for me and although I did not see anything unusual there were a lot of birds singing particularly Blue and Great Tits and I saw a very nice Great Spotted Woodpecker. On my way home there were 3 Goosanders on the Mishnish Lochs with 2 Goldeneye.
Feb 13th
Weather showery morning better in the afternoon - After the big walk yesterday we had a quieter day today with just a gentle walk to ease tired muscles this afternoon. We did not see a lot of birds but is nice to hear the Great Tits singing in the woods again, another sign that spring is just around the corner. We went to see the film "The Kings Speech" in the screen machine at Tobermory last night, it was the first time I have been although Pam is a regular, 80 comfortable seat in an articulated lorry complete with surround sound, IT IS AMAZING.
Feb 12th
Weather sunny, breezy and relatively warm - It was a lovely day for a walk so we decided to go and look at the ruined villages of Cragaig and Glagugary. the walk was very pleasant and the villages well worth seeing, check out the pictures below. We dropped down to the raised beach below the villages and took in the views of the Treshnish Isles, Staffa and Gometra. Turning left from the raised beach we came back via Reudle, you can only do this walk at a low tide. The walk was lovely but can be arduous in places and you do need to wear the correct clothing and waterproof footwear. Although we did not see much wildlife we did see Kestrel, Raven, Golden Eagle and a couple of Wrens. As we turned towards Reudle we spotted a flock of sheep 'human watching' from the top of a cliff.
Treshnish Isles
Ruined villageRuined village and Sally
Flock of sheep
Feb 11th
Weather cloudy but mainly dry and breezy - I spent the day getting the van ready for the annual council test so birding at a premium although I did see a beautiful flock of Wigeon, about 30 in total. As we have been busy today here are some photo's we took on our day out yesterday.
ShellduckBlackheaded Gull
White-tail Eagle on the
                                      shingleSlavonian Grebe
Loch Tuath down to Ulva
                                      Ferry

Feb 10th
Weather warm and sunny - We took the dogs out today and gave them several short walks as we birdwatched. We had great views of a male and female Goosander, a pair of Shelduck and some Black Headed Gulls which are not that common on Mull although there was evidence of breeding in 2010. Birds of prey of the day were a hunting Golden Eagle and a White-tailed Eagle, we also saw several Buzzards and 2 Kestrels. In the afternoon we saw two walkers on top of a hill in shirts and shorts, I kid you not, who says that the winter weather on Mull is always bad.

Walkers in shortsArthur digi-scoping
Feb 9th
Weather Warm with light breeze and rain a lot of rain - The male Brambling was in the garden this morning and is now noticeably getting his summer plumage a really smart bird, the Great Spotted Woodpecker is now a daily visitor and if anything Chaffinch numbers are increasing. On a short trip out we saw 2 White-tailed Eagles, 2 very smart Greenshanks an Otter and 78 Starlings in one flock good numbers for Mull. Pam spent the day getting the self- catering ready for the season and I spent some time valleting the Mini bus. 
Feb 8th
Weather cloudy but dry, cool - The day started on a slightly flat note as I went to get the car to go to Reudle and a walk to Crackaig a deserted village, only to find that the front tyre was down. After changing the tyre we went to the garage in Tobermory to have it fixed and had lunch while we waited, walking down the street we saw our first Pied Wagtail of the year on Mull. On our way home there was a pair of Goldeneye on the Mishnish Lochs and a Merlin flew over the car as we neared Dervaig, unfortunately for me only Pam saw it as was concentrating on something else at the time, just goes to show you should always keep your wits about you on Mull as you never know what you might see or when. The male Brambling was back in the garden again this morning.
Feb 7th
Weather colder than yesterday as wind direction has changed to north westerly but mainly dry - I saw 2 Purple Sandpipers near Calgary today, this is a good sighting for the Mull year list as they are not common on Mull and difficult to see. As I write the Great Spotted woodpecker is having a late evening feed, this bird is very laid back as the Sparrowhawk has just gone through again. We had a Buzzard in the garden at lunch time, it had probably seen the zillions of Chaffinches and wondered what the fuss was all about. Another sign of Spring today a Shag with its breeding tuft up, I tried to get a photo for you to see but the dratted thing kept diving.
Feb 6th
Weather showery and colder - Pam and I went out for 4 hours today and saw 44 species of birds and 4 mammals, highlights were 3 White-tailed Eagles, a Golden Eagle, 2 Otters and Red and Fallow Deer. We also saw 2 separate Dippers back on territory, a Goosander and a Kestrel and 4 Mistle Thrushes both of which are pictured below. There was another sign that spring is not far away when we saw the new calf and mother also pictured below.
KestrelMistle Thrush
Cow and new born calf
Feb 5th
Weather a lovely day warm, dry but a little overcast - I finished the garden today which took longer than I thought it would as the winds from last night had blown a few more branches off the trees. It would have been a good day to be out wildlife watching but at least we saw the 2 Collared Doves which returned so unless they are new ones the Sparrowhawk did not have them. Pam was looking at a video of our Whale watching holiday from 3 years ago and although it was nice to see it again it proved to me that you cannot beat watching wildlife for real as it is not so exciting when seen on a screen. It reminded me a little bit of 'Bull's eye' this is what you could see if you take the time and trouble of going out and seeing nature for yourself.
Feb 4th
Weather tropical up here, mini cyclone last night, monsoon today with high winds - To put a smile on our face we saw the first signs of spring today these beautiful snowdrops at Croig. Bad news, during the night the tree with the Barn Owl box in up the road from Ardrioch fell down along with the box we don't yet know the fate of the Barn Owls we will keep you updated with any news we get. On a short journey out in the monsoon I saw a very sad looking White-tailed Eagle and an Otter doing it's best to hunt in a raging sea.
Snowdrops
Feb 3rd
Weather dry morning after overnight rain - As I write todays blog the forecast rain and gales have started, the electric has tripped 3 times already and we expect to lose power at any moment. The sheep are safely in the shed, suitably grateful, whilst a few intrepid little birds cling onto the bird feeders for extra feed the greedy little tykes. We took the dogs to Calgary Bay this morning and just about managed to stay upright, battening down the hatches now for what could be a long rough night.
Feb 2nd
Weather yesterdays heavy showers merged into a day of all out rain, not good for going out in but great for water scenic pictures - Not much in the way of wildlife to tell you about today except our Sparrowhawk must be getting dizzy the amount of times she has sped round the house today. As for all the little birds they are real triers they keep coming back to the feeders trying to eat as much as they can before the Sparrowhawk returns, they probably huddle up together at night for counselling sessions.
p.s. The  photo gallery has been updated today with brilliant pictures taken by our friend Nic Davies all the pictures were taken on Mull and although I say it myself my photos are not quite as good. 
High water in the reed bed,
                                      DervaigHigh water by the bridge in
                                      Dervaig
Tobermory river near sorceTobermory river enters the
                                      harbour
Feb 1st
Weather Sunshine with heavy showers some of them hailstorms, warmer - We had a visit from the Great Spotted Woodpecker today, where was he on big garden birdwatch day. He was in a very feisty mood taking on all comers and when the Sparrowhawk flew through he did not flinch, probably not a tactic to repeat too often if he wants to live to a ripe old age. On a brief trip out during a hail storm I saw this White-tailed Eagle at Calgary and the Grey Heron at Croig, I also took photos of 3 Redshank and a Greenshank but they were rubbish, it is a good thing that our income does not rely on my photographic skills.
Grey HeronWhite-tailed Eagle