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July 2016
July 31st
On tour again today and we were lucky to get great White-tailed Sea Eagles, as the birds have fledged they were not in their usual haunts but we found a pair which decided to put on a show for us. At the same spot were Lapwings and they were being harrased by a determined Kestrel, the Lapwings won out. a very good sighting of a Red Deer stag with hinds and calves seen later in the day. A female Hen Harrier was a particularly good sighting and finally a Golden Eagle, not close but seen well. Other birds of note seen today were Curlews, Greenshank, Dipper, Goosander, Red Breasted Mergansers, Red Throated Diver, Black Guilliemots, Gannets and a very good Sparrowhawk.
July 30th
Change over day so no tour and as I was watching the birds in the garden I observed how many berries were on the Rowan Tree in our garden. Are we in for a hard winter, does this mean we should be making sure we have plenty of winter woolies in, the boiler is well serviced, no draughts from the windows etc, or is it just an old wives tale? - time will tell I suppose. Great Spotted Woodpecker in the garden this morning and our Coal Tits are re-appearing with their young now.
July 29th
No tour today as I was having a great time having root canal treatment at the dentists in Tobermory. I am now feeling somewhat sorry for myself and hope that it will not be too long before I can get some feeling back in my mouth again.
July 28th
Back from our travels and straight back in tour mode but flying by the seat of my pants as all the Eagle chicks have now fledged and are not necessarily still hanging around their nest sites. We managed to find two White-tailed Sea Eagles at sites I know and after a great deal of patience a Golden Eagle which gave us great views thanks to the Buzzard which kept mobbing it. Other birds of prey seen were Sparrowhawks and Kestrels. On the mammal front we saw 2 separate Otters one of them giving us a great deal of pleasure with its antics, we also saw lots of Seals and Red Deer were everywhere, whereas they were in short supply before we left for family visits and a break in Rome with our son and daughter-in-law.
July 15th to July 27th
Chicken and Budgie sitting so no Mull blogging, but can be reached by E-Mail for tours or self-catering or on
mobile 07780 600367.
July 14th
A beautiful day weatherwise with lovely guests and we saw all Mulls specialities except for Otter, this was the first time I had not seen Otter in I can't remember how long but it had to happen sometime. The picture below is the mist across the Loch that was my view as I entered the Kitchen at 6o'clock this morning, a pretty cool start to my day. I spent the evening loading the car for a trip down south to see my Dad and celebrate our sons 40th birthday. Thanks to Pete and Jenny our friends with whom we are doing a house swap, they are looking after our house and Sally, the dog and we are looking after their house amd their chickens and budgies.
Ardrioch this morning
July 13th
A mostly dry day and the wildlife appeared one by one. One Greenshank, One Golden Eagle, One Otter, one Lapwing get the picture, however we did see more than one White-tailed Sea Eagle, Kestrel, Buzzard and three Red Throated Divers, my highlight of the day. Seals and Red Deer as usual but today the views almost outdid the wildlife. My guests were great and were so taken with what Mull has to offer that I am sure they will all be back again for what I call Mull therapy.
Inch Keneth
Inch Kenneth
Ulva from Mull
Ulva from Mull
Loch Tuath
Loch Tuath
July 12th
A tour with no rain but with another group of lovely people who put me under no pressure even though when we found an Otter at the end of the day one of my guests told me it was the first she had ever seen in the wild, I was really chuffed for her. White-tailed Eagles were in abundance again today and we saw 2 Golden Eagles as well. Red Deer calves are appearing now as you can tell from the photo of two of this years calves one is much bigger than the other and is probably an early season birth whilst the other is only a fairly new born. Gannets, Kittiwakes, Guilliemots and a Fulmar seen on a sea watch, looking for Whales and Dolphins which we did not find. I saw my Linnets again so I was very happy.
Red deer hindRed Deer calves
July 11th
No tour today, so I got to play with my new strimmer, OK it was gardening but fun gardening, then I had to clear up, ah well every silver lining has a cloud. Speaking of clouds it stopped raining this afternoon and Pam finished painting her planks, this gives us two options, we either put them on the house or build an Arc. Thanks to Sheila and Blake for pointing out the drawbacks to this latter plan which made us think after we had stopped laughing.
July 10th
Hey we had two short dry spells between the rain, we managed to get coffee/tea break and lunch break in both of them, good planning or what. Another good plan was to do the tour the wrong way round as we found an Otter at our first stop and it was the only one we saw in the day, funnily my guests were not so bothered about getting wet at this point. A White-tailed Sea Eagle in the mist at first but clearer as the mist lifted somewhat. Red Deer stags hinds and calves and then another very good White-tailed Sea Eagle sitting on a mound wishing it had an umbrella. Seals and Eider with ducklings followed and then Fallow Deer, this wet day was going brilliantly and then it stopped raining and like lightening we had our mid morning break, late but dry, not dry enough however for the Golden Eagle to fly. Two White-tailed Eagles over the bus interacting with Buzzards, a Sitting Kestrel, Black Guilliemot and Great Northern Diver were the highlights before lunch and another short break in the rain before the afternoon deluge, so back to our house for a warm in front of the AGA and afternoon tea and cakes in the company of all our garden birds of which Siskins are the most numerous at present.
July 9th
Very heavy rain, my Dam runneth over, I watched Wimledon where it wasn't raining.
July 8th
An iffy weather day again and we started wildlife watching with The Eider Duck and Ducklings in the the picture below. We were soon out watching a White-tailed Eagle in a tree which was just below the mist line but we also saw Common Sandpiper and Common Gull chicks at this stop and a lone flying Sand Martin. As the mist lifted we moved to an area where we might see an Otter but only saw Common Seals with Pups as the water was very rough, however we did see a Golden Eagle come flying over a hill being mobbed by Hooded Crows giving very good size comparison. More sitting White-tailed Eagles, a Hen Harrier, 2 very good Kestrels and a recently fledged Buzzard chick being fed by its mother, but still no Otter. Stonechats, Curlews and Lapwings were seen well and after I had given up an Otter, not a great view as it kept playing cat and mouse with us but all my guests got at least one good sighting and very relieved I took them home.
Eider Ducks
July 7th
Another free day although Pam did a bus guiding trip to Duart Castle and I did a bit of gardening before it started raining again. We are seeing the Great Spotted Woodpeckers regularly on the peanut feeders again now.
Great Spotted
                                      Woodpecker
July 6th
No tour today and it rained so I was not to distressed and Pam was back painting planks in the shed, there are a lot of planks and to say she is getting bored would be to put it mildly. As a treat for Pam's plank painting I took her out to the Bellachroy for a well earned meal this evening, it was still raining, the drought seems well and truly over now, Mull back to normal. Well done Andy Murray, bad luck Wales football team but you made your nation proud.
July 5th
Mixed weather again today but the day was certainly brightened for me when a male Hen Harrier flew right in front of the bus giving brilliant views if only for about 15 seconds before it dissappeared of a hill. Golden eagles and White-tailed Sea Eagles seen well again today but the Otter we saw was quite distant. We had a very good sighting of a Fallow Deer stag today as well as Red Deer and suckling Common Seal pup. Little birds were harder to find although we had a good Yellowhammer sighting and its that time of the year when we are seeing Wheatear chicks everywhere.
July 4th
Red Throated Divers, just when I thought they had gone for good like buses three of them at one site, they were distant to put it mildly but obvious just the same. Excellent flying White-tailed Sea Eagles today as you can see as even I managed a half decent photo, I missed most of the action though trying to find the bird through my tiny lense. Eventually after lunch we found a very good Golden Eagle, we had been looking out for it all through lunch without success and then when moving away from our lunch spot we saw it sitting on a hill just in a blind spot so we could not see it from where we had lunch, I swear I thought I could hear it laughing at us, however we had the last laugh and a very good view. Two good Otters today and good news the Shelducks still have 12 ducklings, now that is what I call a saga, how big do they have to get before the Eagles decide to have them for dinner or will they all fly, I will keep readers informed.
WTSE and Gull flying
WTSE flying with
                                              fish
July 3rd
A cool windy day with showers at inappropriate times so we did not get to see any Golden Eagles today as they rarely fly in the rain. We saw White-tailed Sea Eagles but they were not flying either but still giving good views and we were able to see how big they are. Red Deer stags, hinds and calves and Fallow Deer were seen well as were both types of Seal with Common seals with lots of pups. A very good Otter showing well running over rocks, it kept going out of sight but eventualy we picked it up before it went out into rough water to fish. Bird of the day Raven, they were everywhere some at their acrobatic best and lest I forget two lots of Goosander with ducklings, our ahh moment of the day. In spite of the poor weather the views on Mull are still spectacular and well worth seeing.
Loch Tuath to
                                              Ulva Ferry
WTSE in a tree
July 2nd
A very showery day with a lot more heavy showers than sunshine so I could not get out in the garden to do chores, not my favorite hobby, so this gave me time to see the birds in the garden which we feed for our self-catering guests pleasure. The Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker put in an appearance and our local White-tailed Sea Eagle and Buzzards flew over. We have lots of brightly coloured Siskins and a Lesser Redpoll which stand out amongst the more common Finches and Tits which are now bringing their young into the garden. As they rarely get a mention, we have Wrens, Robins, Blackbirds, House Sparrows and Dunnocks all birds worth seeing and lets not forget our Rabbits, we have lots of them. All in all it was a very pleasant way to spend a very wet day.
July 1st
It was a perfect day, our good friend Nic Davies of Otter photograph fame went and fetched our car back from Fort William which saved us a journey, thanks a lot Nic. Then the Mull wildlife decided to put on a show for us, we saw 3 very good Otters, check out photo taken from the car park some distance away, and the Otter was not disturbed at all even with my box brownie and not one of those mega cameras where you need to be in the face of the animal apparently without using any fieldcraft. (rant over) We had a Golden Eagle carrying a Rabbit which was really great except for the Rabbit. A Buzzard bringing in prey to 3 recently fledged chicks and a female Hen Harrier flew right in front of the bus giving us a special sighting. White-tailed Eagles were seen as were Red Deer with new Bambie calf, Fallow Deer and both types of Seal, Common Seal with pups. We did a bit of Sea watching today and saw Guilliemots, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Fulmar, my first of the year, and the Lapwing in the picture. It was one of those days you just don't want to end but sadly it has to.
Otter on rockLapwing

July 2015
July 26th
We have gone away for a few days to see the Grand Children, visit my parents and go to two celebration parties, my sister and brother-in-laws golden wedding and my brothers sixtieth birthday. Well done to all of them.
A few pictures of the birds in the garden taken over the weekend.

Chaffinch 
Siskin maleSiskin female
July 25th
The morning after the night before, ZZZzzz???
July 24th
Another day with no guests so I tried every shop in North Mull to try and track down a Curlew for my sister with no luck but one shop kindly gave us a web site to try which did produce a result. We went out to our neighbours for supper tonight and were royally treated to plenty of food and drink. It was a lovely evening so thanks to Nick and Catherine for their wonderful hospitality.
July 23rd
A day off ZZZZzzzzzz?
July 22nd
A better day for weather although still very chilly for the time of the year and the day got off to a great start with Seals and 2 Otters, the one was all singing and dancing the other very sneaky. White-tailed Eagles seen well in trees and flying and a Golden Eagle seen and unusually it was also in a tree. Some of my guests with less patience wandered off whilst the rest of us had terrific views as the bird left its tree roost and gave us a great fly past being mobbed by Hooded Crows.
Harebells
July 21st
My guests wanted Eagles today and they were well rewarded with a White-tail Eagle chick on the nest and mum sitting close by, the adult bird flew and went right over our heads, what a good start to the day. More flying White-tails followed and later distant Golden Eagle which we were a bit dissapointed with until as we were leaving the area we spotted a closer Golden Eagle flying over the hill and it landed in a tree, giving us great views.
Other highlights were a Peragrine Falcon, 2 Red-throated Divers and a juvenile Redstart which entertained us all through lunch. Thank you to my guest Jo Tomalin for the photo below.
Redstart Juv Jo Tomalin
July 20th
A blustery cool but dry day and all the Mull special species were seen well. My guests today were great even when out in the cold they retained their sence of humour always a plus in my book. Thanks to Luc from Switzerland for his seat work during the day it helped me out a lot. The two stars on todays tour were a lovely very close Red Deer calf which I could not photograph as it was to close and to get out my camera would have caused disturbance, which as regular readers and guests know is something Pam and I do not agree with.  I did manage to get one quick photo of this baby Song Thrush waiting for its parent to bring it some food.
Song Thrush juv
July 19th
A nice sunny day although not too hot but it was a big improvement on recent days. Patience is the name of the game and we were certainly that in the afternoon when we waited for over an hour for our Golden Eagle sighting, my guests thought it was well worth the wait and as we waited in the sunshine two ladies took time out to grab 40 winks. There was no waiting around in the morning as several White-tailed Eagles were seen as was a Sparrowhawk and brilliant Hen Harrier and lots of Buzzards. Red and Fallow Deer were seen as were both types of Seal and a very good Otter, all before lunch. Other notable birds seen in the morning rush were Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwits and Goosanders.
Black-tailed GodwitBlack-tailed Godwit
                                              in summer plumage
July 18th
Gale force winds, driving rain, eleven degrees, this wonderful Mull summer continues. White-tailed Eagles are beginning to fledge now. We are going out tonight to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. I was a child bridegroom.
July 17th
High winds and heavy showers made for a difficult day to find the wildlife today but luckily my guests were happy to see anything including good views and full waterfalls. Red Deer with calves and Seals with pups were abundant and eventually at the end of the day we had a very good White-tail Eagle coming in to join it's chicks on the nest. A single swift was seen flying very 'swiftly' in the high wind.
July 16th
A drier day with very nice guests and brilliant views of Hen Harriers both male and female. We had 4 gGolden Eagles in the air at the same time, unfortunately you would have needed eyes in the back of your head to see them all as they were 2 seperate pairs in different territories but flying at the same time. It was difficult to know where to look as the Harriers were flying at the same time, for your information but keep it to yourselves it was about 2-45pm. I have been feeling unwell for the past few days as I have had a reaction to my Yelloe Fever innoculation, I hope that the vaccine works because the real thing can't be much worse.
July 15th
A nice day today with all the main species seen. Good White-tail Eagles seen today with a pair on the rocks around the Common Seals - they clean up the after-birth when the young seals are born - and a pair of youngsters in a nest almost ready to fledge. Red and Fallow Deer seen again today and eventually an Otter apeared about half an hour after the Kayac had been around, rolling around on the seaweed and then curling up and going to sleep. There are plenty of Orchids around at the moment but with the wet weather they are not lasting very long - Butterfly Orchid below.
Butterfly Orchid
July 14th
Another funny day weatherwise and also with the wildlife although  the day started promisingly with 2 adult White-tailed Eagles and then Porpoise with at least 5 individuals seen. We then saw both types of Seal well and a couple of Fallow Deer. The day then went very quiet except for Buzzards and Hooded Crows. We did manage a brief sighting of a Golden Eagle late in the day and lots of Red Deer but all in all the wildlife failed to come out in the second half of the day.
WTSE bookendsFallow Deer trio
July 13th
Another driech cold day which improved in the late afternoon to a sintilating 14 degrees in the sunshine (thats 56 degrees in old money) tropical for this year. Now I don't want you to think you are reading this wrong but we saw Five Otters today and also Five White-tailed Eagles as well as Three Golden Eagles, a Single Hen Harrier and Red Deer hinds and calves. These species were all seen on a day of inclement weather although there was little wind. Also seen today Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrowhawk, Red Throated Diver, Whinchat, and Twite and for the second day running a Magpie and it is not the Tobermory bird.
July 12th
Another dull day and I set out in my summer clothing because the weather forcast was for a sunny afternoon. When will I ever learn not to trust the weather forcasters with Mulls forcast, it took me a long time to thaw out in front of tyhe Aga when I got home. Otters were the main species on the tour tuday and it is not very often that this happens, of course I had forgotten to take the camera but my guests had a great time with them. Both types of Eagle were seen as were Red Deer and Seals and although my guests did not see one I had a terrific view of a female Hen Harrier on my way to pick guests up in Tobermory in the morning. Little birds of note seen today were Stonechat, Whinchat and Linnets with the Wheatears feeding their newly fledged babies.
July 10th
A dull driech day and Pam did the tour, more penance, although I went along to try and take some photographs for the blog which will appear below. We saw 50 species in very poor light on what Pam calls use your imagination tours for the views and island sightings. We did see good White-tailed Eagles today but the bird of prey of the day was a very wet Sparrowhawk, flying and drying. We are starting to see youngsters appearing now with Wheatear and Eider amongst them. My favorite picture of the day was of a female Eider spreading its wings to rid herself of water.
Eider Duck dries it's
                                              wingsWheatear newly
                                              fledged chicks
Wild ThymeHighland cows on the
                                              hillside
Eider Duck and
                                              ducklings
July 9th
No tour today as we had to go to Oban for some inoculations, it should have been a simple task but ended up a a marathon one. Someone in our house was a complete NUMPTY today and for once it wasn't me. I did not Grouse about the mistake but moved Swiftly to correct it and by driving like a Loonatic we managed to just make our appointment thanks to the considerate NHS staff. To thank me for keeping my cool, Pam took a Tern at the wheel and drove us home as she had allowed me to Swallow a pint of Perroni with my lunch.
July 8th
A brilliant start to the day with, at first glance, a female Hen Harrier hunting, it flew off down the glen and we picked it up again, looking at it from above I realised that it was a first summer male, we could see the grey patches coming through the brown on the top of it's wings, fantastic. This was closly followed by 2 hunting Golden Eagles, Red Deer and White-tail Eagle and we had been going for less than an hour - we like Dervaig starts as you are looking for the wildlife as soon as you are in the mini-bus. High winds kept the tides high and we were unable to find an Otter today but a great group of guests on board, with a special mention of my friend Bev who at 92 was on her 3rd Discover Mull tour which she said was her best yet ..... don't tell Arthur! As well as more of the above species we had lots of Linnets and a pair of Grey Wagtail. 
July 7th
 Another great tour today with the weather almost a carbon copy of yesterday. Red Deer stags, hins and a lovely spotty calf which drew aah's from all my female guests. A wonderful Otter today which took some finding but when we did it put on a superb display like only Otters can, this drew words like 'fantastic', 'oh it's rolling over now' and, from the men, 'it's scratching itself under it's arm pits'! White-tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle also seen as were lots of small birds including the Whinchat and Meadow Pipit in the photographs below. 
Meadow PipitWhinchat
July 6th
A day of both warm, sunny weather or cloudy and cool although it remained dry for most of the day. It was a tour where White-tailed Sea Eagles were certainly in evidence, they seemed to be everywhere today and my guests were really impressed with the size of these huge birds. A good Otteragain today with Common Seals with pups also being seen in good numbers. Buzzards showed well and we had a good sighting of a flying Snipe. Golden Eagles and Red Deer were seen as were quite a few small species, Lapwing seen for the first time in a while and some Curlews a particular favorite for one of my guests.
July 5th
A fantastic tour, perfect weather, mainly dull but warm with a light breeze and great light. We saw 5 Hen Harriers in the day, a Discover Mull record, we are lucky if we see more than one on most of our tours. Brilliant, close Golden Eagle where we usually only see them in the winter, White-tailed Eagles and we did not need to stop at our usual White-tailed eagle stop. Two Otters one very close fishing one further away showing off. Red Deer stags and hinds, lots of Seals with pups. We had great views of 2 Red Throated Divers, fabulous Shelduck with ducklings and lots of small birds but I found out my camera had no power, sod's law.Thanks to my great guests today particularly Peter from Denmark for his fantastic spotting and Geoff for his botanical knowledge, sometimes I think I should pay the guests for giving me so much pleasure, today was one of those days, so thanks to you all.
Red Deer with calves
July 4th
A day of thunder showers, usual saturday chores and a lovely evening out at the Murphy's. Thanks Jaq for the lovely food and Mike for the use of the comfy chair and company. Congratulations on the England football team for finishing 3rd at the ladies world cup and Andy Murray the last Brit standing at Wimbledon again this year, although there do appear to be green shoots in some of our lesser known players, so there is some hope for next year.
July 3rd
A beautiful day and with patience all Mulls main species were seen well. The highlights being a Female (ringtail) Hen harrier, a very well behaved Otter and 4 Adders. The Eagles were seen with the Golden Eagle giving us long views both in time and distance, Red Deer stag today as well as hinds and calves and with both types of Seal seen it was a really good day. Todays other noteworthy bird sigtings were Red Throated Diver, Dipper and Lesser Redpoll.
July 2nd
We took the day off to chill out after a busy time with tours and visiting family. On the subject of family congratulations to my youngest brother Alan, on his promotion at work. On a sad note recently one of the farmers who have been really supportive to us since we came to Mull both with the tours and as a friend, died unexpectedly this week at a young age. Our condolences go out to his family and friends, he will be sorely missed by everyone on the island.
July 1st
Another hot day but with a little breeze to keep us cool and with Pam at the wheel again today we see all of Mull main species during the day. A Golden and White-tail Eagle in the sky together helps guests to see the difference between them. The 3 Adders and 3 slow worms were a great find at the end of the day as most of my guests had never seen an Adder before. The highlight for me were the 3 Swift that flew by although Arthur was upset as he does not have them on his list for this year - it only makes us even as I havn't seen any Red Grouse yet!

July 2014
July 31st
A day where we dodged the rain and managed to stay dry all day. After yesterdays epistle I will keep this one short, it was another day at the Mull office, 2 White-tailed Eagles, Red Deer stags, hinds and calves, a very good Otter, 2 Golden Eagles, 3 Adders and a Slow Worm, Common Seals, spectacular views, a lot of chatter as I said just another day on a Discover Mull Tour. We did however have a famous guest when the Tobermory Cat decided to check out our bus before the tour started.
Tobermory catScotch Argus
                                              Butterfly
Adder black3
                                              Adders
July 30th
Another driech cool day and finding the wildlife guests wanted to see was difficult in the conditions. We were able to find a pair of White-tailed Eagles looking fairly sorry for themselves after heavy overnight rain and I was delighted that we could see them below the mist line, so were my guests, then the rain stopped and both Eagles flew, by now my guests were extatic particularly when we found a rather large fledged chick. It started to rain heavily so we went looking for Otter and low and behold we saw some Seals, you could just make them out in the mist, then a shout went up and another White-tailed Eagle appeared out of the mist. As my guests watched the Eagle the weather improved and I looked through the scope to see if the Seals could be seen better, they could and not only the Seals but a brilliant little Otter climbing over the rocks just behind them and it proceeded to roll on its back, scratch its ears and give my guests a lovely quarter of an hour. The rain and mist returned but we were able to stop and take photographs of a very good waterfall after all the rain. Between the afternoon showers we saw some Red Deer hinds with calves and a very good Golden Eagle carrying prey. On our way home we stopped and saw 3 adders and a Slow Worm, not too shabby given the weather.
July 29th
A sometimes driech day which started with an Adder and 2 Slow Worms and was followed up with a very good Otter. We saw 5 White-tailed Eagles during the day, the one at lunchtime flying right over our heads.  After lunch having just about given up on the Golden Eagle when it appeared gave us a short flying display before disappearing back where it came from. We saw lots of Seals both Common and Grey which was good as my Swiss guests had asked for them and Red and Fallow Deer again. My bird of the day a beautiful Pied Wagtail, very black and it looked spectacular.
July 28th
A dull but warm day and birds of prey were everywhere with Buzzards, 2 MERLINS, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 4 White-tailed Eagles and a Golden Eagle all seen with a very brief view of a Hen Harrier thrown in. Mammals not to be out done turned up with Red Deer stags, hinds and calves all seen as were Common and Grey Seals and  Fallow Deer and not to forget Rabbits and an unfortunate run over Hedgehog. The Otter today took some finding but put on a nice performance of rolling and scratching, Otters are the only thing that can look cute doing this and my guests love it. Adders, Whinchats and Stonechats completed a very satisfactory day.
July 27th
A poor day weatherwise but at least it was cooler although nothing seemed to want to fly. We saw some Red Deer just below the mist line and an Otter before lunch which delighted my guests. Both types of Eagle were seen either sitting in trees or on the top of a hill, lots of Seals both Common and Grey and then more Red Deer, at the end of the day a flock of 26 Redshank feeding furiosly showed that migration has started and there were Curlews and a tatty Greenshank at the same spot. My highlight of the day was meeting a hero of mine, Simon Barnes who writes a piece in the RSPB magazine who had been up to write about the Commonwelth Games in Glasgow in his capacity as sports writer for the Times and  had taken the opportunity to go out with David Sexton the RSPB officer on Mull. As Simon said it was a win, win situation and he even had a look at a White-tailed Eagle through my telescope. Often when you meet someone you respect you can be dissapointed but Simon Barnes is a thoughly nice chap.

HeronRedshank
July 26th
I mowed the lawns in drizzle this morning, washed the van, checked out the water supply, took down the cots in the self-catering and fed the birds and this is my day off, oh oh I can hear Pam coming in I had better look busy. Talking of Pam she went swimming in the sea today with her friends and got very up close and personal to a Red Throated Diver within about 5 metres and the bird did not seem bothered, what a fantastic sight that must have been and all I saw was a Sparrowhawk flying through the garden.
July 25th
Still scorcio and no tour today so I took Pam out to lunch at the new Hebridean Lodge restaurant at Baliscate just outside Tobermory, we had a terrific lunch and Pam had a Knickerbocka Glory made from Tobermory ice cream and she was in ice cream heaven. Pam deserved the treat as she had guided a bus tour from a cruise ship yesterday which due to no fault of the guides was fraught with problems and the guides were subject to some verbal abuse from a couple of irate guests and that coupled with the heat on the bus returning from Iona making her feel ill she needed a bit of cheering up. Pam goes sea swimming with friends on most days now and she says the sea is so warm they are glad for some cold bits, I think she should take a bar of soap with her and so save water, always thinking green I am.
July 24th
What a difference a day can make, not in this case it was hotter than yesterday 29 degrees but we did see an Otter which was due to some fine spotting from two of our guests. Brilliant views of a male and female Hen Harrier interacting today, the usual good Golden and White-tailed Eagle sightings and close Red Deer with calves as well as Fallow Deer.  My sighting of the day was 4 young Red Grouse chicks well grown showing that Red Grouse are still  breeding on Mull. It was a great day but once again cut short due to the heat but our guests really enjoyed their day and really welcomed the red hot soup at lunch time.
July 23rd
Today it was more than SCORCIO it was unbearably hot and not really a day for wildlife watching. I would like to thank David Campbell and all his family who filled the bus for giving me such a great day in the heat. David your grandchildren were a joy and you should be very proud of them, I hope you all enjoyed your swim in Calgary Bay on your way home. Eagles were great again today which was good because most of the wildlife were having siestas.
The boats at Salen
July 22nd
Scorcio and more Eagles, Deer and Seals today with Kestrels and Buzzards thrown in. Today however I am going to tell you of the other birds seen well. Eider Ducks, Goosander, Red Breasted Merganser, Common Sandpiper, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Meadow Pipits, Stonechats, Wheatears, Black Guillemots, Guillemots, Gannets, Common Tern, Kittiwake, Red Throated Divers, Ravens and Hooded Crows, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins. Then there are the wildflowers, the scenery and if you are lucky the Adders, what I am trying to say here is Mull has much more to Offer than just Eagles and Otters although I know they are special.
July 21st
Scorcio, not my favorite wildlife watching weather but today proved me wrong. Adder, Buzzard and a distant Golden Eagle started the day off well and then stopping to watchour second Buzzard we saw a male Hen Harrier giving great views, we were to see another later in the day. At another unscheduled stop we watched 2 White-tailed Eagles flying past fairy low and quite close. Red Deer and a lot of Kestrels were seen as well as more Golden Eagles and a newly fledged White-tailed Eagle chick, we did see an Otter but unfortunately too low over the Bracken for most guests to see, I did try to knock down the bracken picking up a tick in the process and by the time my guests could see where it had been it had gone, the joys of being a wildlife tour leader. We did not disturb the Otter as it was at least 100 metres away and did not know we were there and as far as most of my guests were concerned the Otter might as well not been there as they did not see it, Ah well such is life. Other notable sightings were Red Throated Divers, Black Guillemots, Red Breasted Mergansers, Goosanders and lots of Curlews as well as a couple of diving Gannets in an otherwise deserted sea.
July 20th
Hello again, we have been away to see about my knee and visit my mum and dad in Cheshire hence no blog for the last few days. A tour today and low cloud after very muggy weather and overnight rain made wildlife watching tricky. We started with Gulls, Herons, Oystercatchers and Common Sandpipers. At our second stop we saw Curlews and Goosanders. this was followed by Eider Ducks, Shags, and a very good Gannet, before we hit the low cloud and saw very little of anything until we spotted some Red Deer and a Pheasant below the mist. We arrived at a good Golden Eagle site in time to see it fly and then sit being mobbed by a family of Ravens, Kestrel and Buzzareds were seen at the same spot. On to the White-tailed Eagle stop and sure enough we saw one sitting and flying and one youngster although they have now fledged. The afternoon was spent looking for and not seeing an Otter we did however see a Common Tern and Common Seals and very good Fallow Deer.
July 13th
A mainly dull, breezy, warm day and Gannets and Great Skua early in the day, then it went extremely flat, not even any singing birds. We reached the waterfall at Eas Force and some guests wanted to photograph it and while there we saw some eclipse Eiders and 2 Red Throated Divers. At lunchtime a young Cuckoo was seen being fed by Meadow Pipits and then at least 4 Kestrels were seen. The Golden Eagle flew giving nice views and then we spotted a White-tailed Eagle. A family of Linnets was seen and Buzzards with prey feeding young, all this at our lunch stop. The afternoon brought more White-tailed Eagles and great Golden Eagles and a brilliant Otter, Hen Harrier, more Golden Eagles and Red Deer stags on our way home and our day was complete. Thanks to Mike for his help in spotting the wildlife and keeping my spirits up when little was happening. Patience is the name of the game when wildlife watching and today proved how true this is.
July 12th
David, Catherine and Jack left first thing this morning and we shall miss their company but the weather has turned wet so not so nice for a wee boy. I did some gardening before the rain set in and this afternoon Pam has gone swimming in the sea with her friend Becky, the rain was pouring down but there is no stopping her now the sea temperature has risen again. Even Pam and Becky think they are certifiable bonkers and I think we can all agree on that.
July 11th
Scorcio again and more good Eagles, Buzzards and Kestrels on the tour but it got so hot in the afternoon that my guests nearly went to sleep. We went to the Bellachroy for tea with David, Catherine and little Jack this evening and had a very good meal and very good Beer, Jack was great and didn't cry once with all of us taking it in turns for a cuddle so that in between we could eat our meal. Thanks to Anthony, Christine and Lee for looking after us so well.
Common Gull on the chimney
July 10th
Even more scorcio than yesterday so Pam did the tour and also had lots of fun with an all female group who had magnificent Golden Eagle, whilst I stayed at home to mow the lawns. I am probably going to put the mockers on it but why does everyone think it rains all the time in Scotland, we have had very little daytime rain this summer and anyway the wildlife and yours truly prefer cooler duller weather. This week it has been very sunny and hot which makes our job of finding guests the wildlife so much harder, yes I know it is nice to be out in the sun when you are on holiday but not for long walks and wildlife watching, my friend with the ice cream parlour in Tobermory is doing a roaring trade however, an ill wind and all that. (To show how close the eagle was, the left picture was taken with the small camera with no zoom on it. Pam)
Golden Eagle little
                                              cameraGolden Eagle sitting
                                              Pam
July 9th
Scorcio, great for our guests but not so good for seeing wildlife. Firstly I must say our guests today were really great fun it was none stop banter all day till we all nearly passed out with heat stroke. We saw very good Eagles and Buzzzards again today but a Sparrowhawk chasing Meadoow Pipits was the raptor sighting of the day. A Greenshank at Dervaig also was unexpected and delighted me. Wheatears with young are everywhere now and we are starting to see more Deer appearing with calves joining the Common Seal pups in the Ahh stakes. On the way home we had more laughs as we tried to outdo each other in the banter stakes and when we reached home we were very happy, extremely hot and in need of a nice cool beer.
July 8th
After a light drizzle to start the day we were soon seeing a Buzzard in a tree, a flying over Red Throated Diver, whitethroat and a family of Stonechats and 3 Adders. Redshank and Common Sandpipers and a parent Pied Wagtail with a beak full of grubs were then seen at another stop and as there was not much on the sea it was time for coffee. After our coffee break we saw some Red Deer and a Short Eared Owl only the second one on a tour this year. Cracking on to our lunch spot and arrived not a minute to soon as the Golden Eagles put on an incredible display, there were Kestrels, Buzzards, Red Breasted Merganser and Linnets here as well. After lunch on to look for White-tailed Eagle and they performed almost as well as the Goldies, through the afternoon Fallow Deer, Common and Grey Seals and a Hare were seen and on the bird front Shelduck with very young cute ducklings, Cormorant and Shags, Goosander, Rock Pipit and a large flock of Red Breasted Mergansers on the Loch. No Otter today but due to the quality and quantity of the other Mull wildlife our guests seemed more than happy.
July 7th
Back on serious wildlife watching tours today in weather that was much better than forecast, sunshine, warm and none of the predicted rain. White-tailed Eagles all morning after we had seen a Red Breasted Merganser with ducklings my first Merganser ducklings of the year. Fallow Deer, Common and Grey Seals followed and a small group Goosander. The day was going well and got better as we spotted an Otter which we were able to watch in peace as it leisurely fished on the incoming tide. After lunch the best sighting of the day as a Golden Eagle appeared out of nowhere and gave us brilliant if much too short a view for about 2 to 3 minutes before moving on. A lovely teatime stop where where we surrouded by Highland Cattle and calves whilst looking for seabirds. The day ended with 2 Adders which some of my guests particularly wanted to see, a very good day with lovely guests, many thanks to all involved.
July 6th
A mainly dry sunny day for Jack's wildlife tour and at his first stop A Great Skua and Bottlenose Dolphins, the first Dolphins we have seen on a tour this year. All this excitment made Jack hungry so we found a place out of the breeze for a coffee, for us not Jack he prefered Milk. After the break we set off again and Jack showing he was not particularly interested in the views went to sleep. He woke up in time to see his first White-tailed Eagle flying very close being persued by a Shelduck although Jack seemed more interested in more milk and then after seeing his first Golden Eagle, Seals and Fallow Deer he was ready for home. We were stopped for a short time by council men working on the roads and Jack took this opportunity to voice his displeasure vociferously  but soon calmed down as we got on our way. As we got back home I asked Jack if he had enjoyed his day, he just smiled then looked at his Mum as if to say isn't it time for tea.
WTSE Shellduck and Gull
July 5th
A mainly dry day with a few showers and I had a day off to wash and valet the mini bus and check the water supply after the heavy rain. We said goodbye to Roy and Kay this morning and welcomed regular visitors and friends David and Catherine with their new baby Jack this afternoon, this is the first time we have seen Jack and he is a real charmer, we are taking him out on his first wildlife tour tomorrow although as he is still a baby I have doughts about him getting too excited.
July 4th
Heavy overnight much needed rain which continued on into today and Pam was doing the tour to give me a day off. She had a group of ladies from Australia on the tour and decided to bring them to Ardrioch to see the birds in our garden and give them morning coffee as it was raining so hard. The ladies really enjoyed seeing some of our birds from close up and managed to dry out in front of the Aga. They set off again in the heavy rain which eventually stopped before lunch time and as always happens when long spells of rain stop everything gets up. They saw 3 Otters, Eagles galore one White-tailed Eagle taking off from a field flew just over their heads, Deer, Seals, 5 Kestrels, Buzzards and a lovely Spotted Flycatcher, Pams words not mine. This evening we went to the Bellachroy Inn in the village with Roy and Kay, Roy is an old school friend of mine and we recently got back in touch after nearly 50 years and get on so well it as if the in between years never existed and I am so glad we have got back together. Kay and Roy have a wicked sence of humour which we are just discovering and I am sure we will have some great times with them on our sorties down to Cheshire in the future.
WTSE flying
July 3rd
A dull but mainly dry day till later in the day. After struggling to see Otters this week today we saw 3, one at the place they were chased by kayakers 4 weeks ago, let us hope it remains undisturbed now but I have my doubts. Great sightings of White-tailed Eagles and Red Deer and a lovely Fallow Deer, Redshank and Common Gull chicks and the Adder was again a highlight for my guests as were the Sand Martins with a chick in the entrance of the nest hole prior to fledging. Due to ill health our booked guests for the Sheiling have had to postpone their trip to Mull until September so we have a week free in the Sheiling starting the week 19th July so if you want a short break or take a cheep week
 phone Pam on 01688 400415 or mobile 07780 600367.
July 2nd
A dull day till early lunch time them low cloud and rain all day but not cold. We started the day with an Adder which apart from the Seal Pups Red and Fallow Deer and Eagle chicks turned out to be the highlights of the day. We did manage to stay dry for all our refreshment stops which was something of a miracle. Kestrel and Buzzards were seen well but the adult Eagles remained absent hiding from the poor conditions, we did manage a couple of Otters one very brief and the other asleep, sometimes you just have to accept it is not your day, the wonder of wildlife watching if guarentees were what you expect you would be in a Zoo, on Mull you still have the spectacular scenery and some really wild creatures to look at.
July 1st
Another beautiful day with lots of sunshine and very hot with little wind. Orchids, Wildflowers and Highland Cattle started a really nice day with lovely guests. At coffee break a White-tailed Eagle and a Buzzard put on a display dancing around each other until the Eagle got fed up and moved off. Lunchtime and the Golden Eagles put in an appearance and it was a five star show and coupled with kestrels made our guests very happy. More Eagles in the afternoon as well as Red Deer, a brief Fallow Deer and both types of Seal, insect eating plants and a cameo performance from a Sedge Warbler nd our day was complete, well nearly because Pam and I went out for a picnic with friends this evening and saw some Porpoise, the first we have seen since February.
July 2013
July 31st
A very good tour with all the usual suspects seen and then an evening with the Grand Children, I am happily Knac....d
July 30th
A lovely day spent with our Grand Children.
July 29th
 A tour today and we missed all the predicted showers until the end of the day. Great group today and we had a lot of laughs as well as a lot of superb Eagle sightings, no Otters today although we did see Red Deer as we had the best Red Deer spotter on board as I have ever had. I am sure if Otters were Red we would have see hundreds. Adders seen well again and for me the birding highlight were the Red Throated Divers we saw in the morning. The other good sightings of the day were Great spotted Woodpecker and Lesser Redpoll in our garden. Rain Stopped play at the cricket this evening.
July 28th
A damp day but undeterred we went out looking for Otter and after making Mermaids and Fishes out of shells and seaweed we saw 2 Otters which all my grand children saw very well through the telescope. We also saw 2 White-tailed Eagles and 2 Adders, not a bad way to start their holiday. We also managed a walk on Calgary beach and a competitive game of cricket until Grandma Pam hit the ball into the ditch and Grandpa, that would be me, then had to go in and find it disturbing a Zillion Midges in the process. For the first time in the history of cricket it was 'midges stop play'.
July 27th
Another lovely day and as we are expecting the grand children I spent the day getting ready to welcome them so no birding what so ever. They arrived this afternoon and it was lovely to see them after not seeing them for ages, it is really  a treat for me as they think their grandpa is great, I must make the most of their delusions before they learn better.
July 26th
Weather glorious as was the wildlife, Curlews, Oystercatcher and whimbrel at our first stop, Siskin, Common Sandpiper and Mute Swan at the next. White-tailed Eagle with Chick at next stop and Golden Eagle Chick at Coffee break. We then saw Red Throated Divers, Red Breasted Mergansers and Eider Ducks. A Buzzard and more Golden Eagle Sightings were to follow and a White-tailed Eagle flew over our heads. A single Otter seen before lunch was followed by 2 more after lunch. Yellowhammer and Red Deer were seen and the day finished with an Adder and 2 Slow Worms followed by a Hen Harrier sighting. We then decided to call it a day before it all got too much for our guests from Belgium and France.
 
 
Red Deer in the long grass Eas Force bridge
July 25th
Weather continues unsettled but as we had no tour Pam and I went for a walk at Garmony, it was a nice walk and the highlights were Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Arctic Terns. In the afternoon and evening I had another walk, not so appealing as the one in the morning, up and down, up and down, following a lawn mower. Our grand children are coming to stay for a week so we need a bit of space where they can play, hopefully the weather will have settled down again by then.
July 24th
After the storms a much fresher day enjoyed by all my guests and me. Mulls main species also enjoyed the weather with all of them performing well, particularly an Otter and the Golden Eagles. I had a great day which culminated with a meal at The Bellachroy Inn with friends, the beer as always was excellent as was the food and company, my day was complete.
July 23rd
Hot, muggy, moody, with a thunder shower that lasted for over an hour. Todays tour was a before the rain tour and an after the rain tour, before we saw a White-tailed Eagle, Common Seals, Curlews, Oystercatchers a late Common Sandpiper, 2 Red Throated Divers,  Eider Ducks and a family of Mink. We got to our lunch stop early and had a brief view of a Golden Eagle and were told we had missed an Otter because a group of people with a dog had sent it hurrying for cover and then it rained, wow did it rain. We took lunch and the rain stopped and we waited and waited and nothing happened so after giving it as long as I could we drove off. An hour later I stopped where I sometimes see a Kestrel and Buzzards and lo and behold the Buzzards were there, 3 of them, at last something to see. After watching the Buzzards we noticed 3 Ravens and a Kestrel behaving oddly and dive bombing what appeared to be nothing but when I got the scope on the spot I found it to be a Golden Eagle on the ground and what followed was an amazing wildlife spectacle. The eagle fed up with being harassed flew to be joined by its partner, they were continually being mobbed by the Kestrel and Ravens, as we continued to watch at the back of my mind I heard another Raptors screaming call and as the Eagles flew ever nearer to us the Kestrel and Ravens disappeared, then as the Eagles moved away again out of the sky came another bird which came at the speed of light and actually hit one of the Eagles, it was as you have probably guessed a Peregrine Falcon. This spectacle lasted for over half an hour and during this time we had seen 3 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels, 3 Ravens, 2 Golden Eagles and a Peregrine Falcon, it does not get better than that.
Storm Brewing over Ulva
                                      Ferry
July 22nd
Scorcio but more bearably scorcio and my first guest over 90 years young well done Bev you can come out with me anytime, you were a breath of fresh air and what I did not know about Mull you did so for once there were no questions left unanswered. Jacqui, David, Judy and Ted you were delightful and brought as much to my day as I hope I did to yours. Today we saw 2 very obliging Golden Eagles and 2 Otters which I know pleased you all and probably Bev most of all, It gives me so much pleasure to show guests the wildlife on Mull, however the winner on all my tours is the island itself, what a pleasure to live and work in such a delightful environment and meet such nice people that I did today, thanks to you all. 
To Dave Yates I have not seen a Short Eared Owl since early in the year as it is a poor Vole year on Mull but my Hen Harrier sightings have been very good this year. It is good to hear that Tony is progressing slowly and we hope he makes a full recovery. Give him and the lovely Wendy our love and best wishes, we missed having you all here this year but all being well we will see you all next year, keep in touch.
July 21st
Scorcio and once again hard work in the hot conditions but did manage a Whimbrel and 2 Red Throated Divers along with the birds of prey and Red deer and Seals. Thanks to my guests who were delightful and I hope they all managed a swim to cool off at the end of the day. Did I mention it was Scorcio, much more of this and I may have to emigrate to the North Pole.
July 20th
Scorcio again but I was up and out doing my BTO hill breeding bird square at 7am before it got too hot. I was able to see Golden Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Willow Warbler and Hooded Crow as well as the usual Skylarks and loads of Meadow Pipits. We went out with our friends for a meal tonight to celebrate our Ruby Wedding, thanks to everyone who sent cards and good wishes, The only problem with ruby anniversaries all the cards were red and as a died in the wool Manchester City supporter it was all becoming a little too much particularly as the envelopes were red as well. Ah well I don't suppose I will ever have another ruby wedding.
July 19th
Scorcio with little breeze not the best conditions for wildlife watching and it looks set to continue. My guests desperately wanted Otters which although I tried in all my best sites we were unable to see any, they did however see very good Eagles of both types sitting and flying, a Peregrine Falcon, Buzzards Kestrels some little birds and Red Deer with this years calves so it was still a good day and the views spectacular.
July 18th
Another nice day but getting very hot as the day went on. No tour as I had a dentist appointment, it was to be my last treatment with a root canal, I turned up but the dentist van wasn't there it was still in Tobermory, on finding this out we had to drive to Tobermory as quickly as we could, this is all very well if guests on the island used their mirrors, there was I trying to make an important appointment following a car doing 20 miles per hour for over 3 miles. I know from guests who find the single track roads difficult that they find some locals very rude, in the locals favour it can be very frustrating if you are trying to go about your business but are consistently held up by tourists, all it takes is a look in your mirrors and pulling into a passing place where it is safe to do so and everyone is happy. Passing places are not just there for on coming vehicles but to allow for overtaking, that is why they are called passing places, rant over. On the wildlife front I had a Wren in the kitchen this morning, it was very cute and very fast, eventually I got it out without it coming to any harm. We have a family of Great Spotted Woodpeckers coming to our feeders regularly at the moment and Pam took these great photos of some of them on our feeders also a very cheeky Rock Dove.
Great spotted Woodpecker
                                      female Rock Dove on feeder
July 17th
The weather the same as yesterday but with more breeze. Otters, 4 of them again, we watched a mother with 2 cubs for half an hour and my guests were in football parlance over the moon. Imagine therefore their delight when we found another later in the day. The other star attraction of a very good day was a Golden Eagle which appeared over a hill, flew round for a few minutes and then dived down only to bounce up again. The Eagle proceeded to do this a couple more times before putting down its legs opening its talons it just flew down and caught a Rabbit off Watership Down, guests who have been out with me this year will know where I mean. All of this was spectacular watching for my guests but unfortunately not for the Rabbit. The Eagle took off and was last seen carrying the hapless Rabbit back to the nest. We saw lots of other birds and mammals again today including Gannets and Kittiwakes, thanks to my guests today, good spotters, good sports, good fun and very patient it can make all the difference. 
July 16th
Another pleasant but dull day with low cloud spoiling the scenery in the afternoon. White-tailed eagles were the mainstay of the tour again today seeming to pop up where I wasn't expecting them. We did see Otter today but it was a bit distant although all guests saw it well through the scope. Hen Harrier was another good sighting at the end of the day, unfortunately I only had my Tobermory guests still on board as the others had got off at their pick up points even though I had said there was a chance of Hen Harrier. On my way home I stopped and got the photos of an Adder which is under a sheet I have put down. Little birds today Linnet and Yellowhammer as well as the usual stuff another good day of wildlife watching.
Harebells on the wallBog asphodil & Tormentil
 
July 15th
Dull and breezy and lots of sightings today including, Curlews, a Whimbrel, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Sedge Warbler, Kittiwakes, Shags, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins. I know this lot is probably not what you are looking for but we liked them all, oh and by the way we also saw Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Hen Harrier, Red Deer, Common Seals and a Mink, I hope you are feeling better now. I forgot to mention yesterday we had boxing Red Deer stags a first for a Discover Mull Tour.
July 14th
A dull, dry, cooler, breezy day and my favorite weather conditions for wildlife watching, you can keep your heat wave this was much better. On the tour today we saw 6 White-tailed Eagles, 4 Golden Eagles, a brilliant Hen Harrier, a brief Peregrine Falcon, wonderful Kestrels and Buzzards galore. Little birds of the day, Yellowhammer, Linnets, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins with Curlews, Lapwings and Common Sandpiper. Mammals seen were a superb Otter doing what only Otters can do perform, catching fish, eating fish, grooming, rolling about on its back just fabulous to watch, guests were enraptured. Red Deer stags, hinds and calves were also seen well as were Fallow Deer and with the regularly seen Common Seals and pups it was a fantastic day wildlife watching. If you read this Colin, I think we have your ruck sack.
Fallow DeerFallow Deer
July 13th
A nice pleasantly warm day, much nicer to be out in than the heat wave we have been having. No tour today so I got our serviced Midgeater machine going. we now have 2 machines to catch the little bu....s, next year we might have another making Ardrioch a Midge free zone, sorry to the Bats and Swallows but to my mind my wife and guests come first. We have never had a self-catering enquiry asking if we had any Midges our guests could see as they had never seen one before. I also cleaned all my bird feeders, if they are not regularly cleaned you can spread disease within the bird community, this is very important, no not spreading the disease but cleaning bird feeders regularly.
July 12th
A more pleasant day today weather wise but still hot. Another good day particularly for Red Deer, I spotted one on the top of a hill before lunch and on checking the spot out later the one had turned into a large herd  including  some stags which is unusual at this time of the year, but the farmers have been gathering sheep and the hinds and stags sometimes get driven together which is what I think must have happened in this case. White-tailed Eagle chicks are now being seen having fledged and we should soon be seeing the young Golden Eagle fledglings.
July 11th
Did I say yesterday was scorcio, no that was just warm today was SCORCIO in fact it was to  bl....y hot. Porpoise again today and we even found an Otter, not the best Otter I have ever seen but everyone saw it through the telescope. Red Deer were everywhere today probably too hot to hide. My small bird of the day this Yellowhammer which let me take its photo, good on you mate.
YellowhammerYellowhammer singing
July 10th
Scorcio with sea mist made it an atmospheric day in which most of the Mull specialities performed very well particularly a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Kestrel, so close to us that a guest got a really good photo of the action. The female Hen Harrier playing hide and seek with us eventually gave up and decided she was too beautiful not to be seen. Little bird of the day was a Yellowhammer but by the time all guests had seen it and I remembered I had a camera it had flown off. I did see my first Harebells of the year at the same spot as the Yellowhammer and did remember to take a picture. The views with the mist were special take a look at the pictures of Eorsa, Ben More and Gribun Rocks below to get a flavour of a special day on Mull. Guests were brilliant as Well.
Ben More with low cloudsGribbun rocks with low cloud
July 9th
Another hot one but in the afternoon we had sea mist but it was strangely intermittent so it was a case of now we can see now we can't. We did see a male Hen Harrier seeing off a Golden Eagle before it started hunting right in front of us. White-tailed Eagle giving us a fly past to end the day and Porpoise at the start of the day. Little bird of the day was this beautiful Stonechat which hung around long enough for all eight guests to get a good view and me a nice photo, enjoy.
StonechatStonechat turning
July 8th
Scorcio and no tour today so I went and gave our water supply a thorough check which took most of the morning and then I cleaned and valeted the van in readiness for this weeks tours. Pam and I did manage to get out later in the afternoon and we saw an Otter, some Gannets and Kittiwakes and best of all a Fulmar gliding over the water as only Fulmars can.
July 7th
Very warm and after a dull start turned sunny and only 3 Otters today with the last one seen being the best. Great views of both types of Eagle today and a brief Hen Harrier but we did see a Peregrine Falcon again today. My bird of the day was Whinchat and so you don't have to miss out check out the photo's. I had my first Israelis on my tour today and they were interested in all our birds, they particularly liked our Oystercatchers. I cannot let this day go by without congratulating Andy Murray on winning Wimbledon a great achievement from this proud Scot and true Briton, at last a Scottish and British champion, well done Dunblane you deserve a little happiness after all you went through, but you survived because you pulled together as a community, a lesson there for us all I think.
WhinchatWhinchat facing
July 6th
Low cloud and rain for most of the day and it was that kind of day up and down. On the plus side The Lions won in Australia on the down side a Great Spotted Woodpecker fledgling flew into our kitchen window and is now in that great tree in the sky. On the down side Sabine Lisicki lost at Wimbledon on the plus side congratulations to Marion Bartoli for not only winning but for her grace in victory, in life you should always strive to do your best but don't look down on those who just fall short of their goal, this does not happen to much in sport but wasn't it great to see both girls go off arm in arm together, true sportsmanship, well done to both.
July 5th
A good start to the day weather wise which was a good job as a low cloud and drizzle moved in at lunch time and remained for most of the rest of the day. The morning was great however with 4, yes I did say, 4 Otters, a mother with 2 cubs and a dog Otter from the same stop. Apparently the mother and dog Otter had been seen fighting earlier in the morning, the mum protecting her cubs from the male who will try to kill cubs which are not his. Also at this stop we saw a Golden Eagle sitting on a hill and then give us a flying display looking disdainfully down on the Otters and Seals which we were looking at before the Otters appeared. Earlier in the day whilst guests were watching White-tailed Eagles doing their thing I saw this lovely Sedge Warbler and managed a couple of photos as most readers will know I love my little birds and so do some of my guests if I can tear them away from Eagles.
Sedge Warbler singingSedge Warbler
July 4th
A dull warm but breezy day and as I had no tour I watched Wimbledon on TV. In the morning I went and fetched more bird seed for my garden birds which are having a very hard time this year judging by the amount of peanuts they are getting through. The Great Spotted Woodpecker chicks have now fledged from next door and the parents must still be feeding them as they come to our restaurant regularly so they have the energy to feed their offspring.
July 3rd
A dull but mainly dry day and all the better for it as I had Margaret on the tour and she was celebrating her eightieth birthday and desperately wanted to see a Golden Eagle. In the day she saw 5 in total including one chasing and taking a Rabbit, great for her not so good for the Rabbit. We also saw 3 White-tailed Eagles, 2 very close Otters, Red Deer with babies, Common Seal with babies and a female Hen Harrier which Margaret actually spotted for us. There were 3 smaller birds which gave my guests a lot of pleasure, Lapwing, a very close obliging Wren and these gorgeous Sand Martins which will be fledging very soon. Hi to Betty and John my other octogenarians on todays tour and my other guests who helped enormously on todays tour which was enjoyed by all. Once again a very happy birthday to Margaret , I hope your birthday meal was all you hoped it would be.
Sand Martin feeding chicksSand Martin chicks
Sand Martin chicks
July 2nd
Weather, it rained all day so there was little chance of Golden Eagle but that was more than made up for by this very close Otter, we rarely get Otter as good as this but as it was raining there was nobody else about and the Otter was completely undisturbed. White-tailed Eagles were seen but only in trees sheltering from the rain although their offspring seemed to be enjoying itself as it explored all round the nest. Red and Fallow Deer were both seen well, the former with new calves always a plus with the ladies on the tour. The waterfall was a good stop as I had two very nice Germans on the tour who liked taking photos as a memory of their day. Afternoon tea was taken in our kitchen in front of the Aga, thanks to Davie for the fuel this morning or it would have been a very cold Aga. Lovely guests on a particularly foul day thanks to you all but you were rewarded with a great Otter sighting.
Otter eating a fish
July 1st
A breezy day although mainly dry but the wildlife was not particularly easy today and took some finding. We eventually had good sightings of Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Buzzards and Kestrels and a male Hen Harrier but the Otter today remained elusive as there was a rib and tour boat cruising round where I tend to see them and to my mind causing disturbance. There is not a lot of field craft or local knowledge when boats just go searching looking for close Otters to photograph. I have just been watching the television programme on professional wildlife photographers and the time, effort and field craft they employ to get their great shots and then I see amateur photographers doing anything to get a photo not caring about the creature at all. They remind of certain twitchers in the bird world that give all bird watchers a bad name.


July 2012 
July 31st 
Weather low cloud with light drizzle which stopped at lunchtime becoming heavier as the afternoon wore on - A very big thank you to all our guests today as for once the usually impeccable organization skills of Discover Mull broke down leaving either myself or some guests in wrong pick up points or at wrong times. In the event everyone was picked up and the tour started only 15 minutes late, our sincere apologies to all involved and many thanks to you all for the cheery way you took the disruption. As for the tour itself, brilliant Otter with 2 more seen briefly during the day, the best Golden Eagle sightings of the year flying very low right over our heads, a White-tailed Eagle chick flying round and eventually showing us how not to land in a tree. We saw both types of Seal, Red Deer and  Red Breasted Mergansers and finally a Pair of Red Throated Divers and we all had a thoroughly enjoyable day, which after the chaotic beginning was remarkable. Thanks once again for our guests patience and good humour.
July 30th
Weather scorchio - Back down to earth after the Orca experience, a day off, So wash the car, go to Salen for bird seed, mow the lawns, check all the water filters all this while Pam was cleaning the self-catering cottages ready for this weeks guests. I did mention that this was a day off didn't I, well both Pam and I did need a bit of a rest after a very busy season so far.
July 29th
Weather hot, hot hot - Killer Whale whoa, not one but two Killer Whales, a male called John Cow identified by a large notch at the base of his dorsal fin swimming with a female. Although they were some distance from land I could still identify it through the telescope. I (Pam) did the tour today and this is the first time I have seen Killer Whale although Arthur has seen them twice in the past and I think I was more excited than our guests. Thanks to Arthur for phoning me and to our friends on Mull for alerting us to the whales presence in the waters around Mull. I saw an Otter in open water after we had seen the Whales but none of my guests managed to see it, after the whales it was probably too small. We saw Orca today, YAHOO
July 28th
Weather warm with cloud cover - a perfect day for wildlife watching which was filled with raptors including a Peregrine sitting in a tree beneath a White-tail Eagle with a Sparrowhawk flying close by. Thank you to the Towe family for being enthusiastic, fun and good spotters. We always say that the more people who are spotting the more you see and this was definitely true today. As well as all the birds of prey we had an Otter for over half an hour and as they were such good spotters all the family on todays tour saw it well despite  the fact that it was trying its hardest not to be seen 
The Towe FamilyThe big waterfall at Eas
                                      Force
Many of our guests are fascinated by the tree below, sometimes known as the Love Tree, it looks like a 
Oak Tree and a Mountain Ash Tree are growing out of the same trunk on an old fallen down tree.
The
                                      Love TreeThe Love Tree
July 27th
Weather another sunny warm day - Beautiful weather at the moment but hot sunny weather although very pleasant to be out in is not really conducive to wildlife watching as most of the birds either hide away out of the sun or fly so high they are just dots in the sky. A great group of guests today who were happy with everything they saw which included very good Eagles, the White-tailed Eagles on Loch Na Keal have now fledged and we will soon have to search for them as we will not Know where the youngsters are sitting and more often than not they will be out of sight, oh well that's  the trials of a wildlife tour operator.. Birds of the day today a very close Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Curlews and Red Breasted Merganser with ducklings. At the end of the day one guest said to me" we will have to come back you have inspired us to see more" a really nice comment and what I try to do with all my guests.
Highland cattle by salmon
                                      trap
July 26th
Weather another fabulous day of sunshine - a strange day today where we saw all Mulls main species with very good views of both types of Eagle but only a distant view of one flying, hen harrier was also seen but only briefly and then only by me and a couple of guests. Otter was seen but by the time I had managed to get all my guests onto where it was it was coming in and disappeared as they do but at least all guests saw it. Red Deer were better but no stags were seen, some days can be most frustrating.
July 25th
Weather another sunny warm day with less breeze - Golden Eagles everywhere today and giving great views, brilliant White-tailed Eagles although we had to wait some time for them to fly. Kestrels and Buzzards showing well, see Buzzard photo and we had good sightings of Eiders and Red Throated Divers. Red Deer as always were seen and so were both types of Seal and the views today were fantastic. The last few nights the sunsets from Ardrioch have been amazing, we will try and take some pics to show you of tomorrow nights weather permitting.
WTSE sitting in treeBuzzard sitting on rock
July 24th
Weather sunny and warm despite strong north westerly breeze - another tough day for wildlife with patience required in abundance except for the Red Deer now appearing all over the place with young and more stags being seen. Both types of Seal are also seen regularly as our the White-tailed Eagles but as the Eagles are now moulting as their offspring are ready to fledge they spend a lot of time sitting and doing very little. We did get a good but brief view of a female Hen Harrier and a distant but longer sighting of a pair of Golden Eagles, we did have special views of Buzzard and Kestrel and also lots of Curlews, ah well that's wildlife for you, we will try again tomorrow and hope for better views.
July 23rd
Weather sunny with more breeze - I spent the morning cleaning our water system to ensure all our self-catering guests have good clean wholesome water to drink. The afternoon was spent watching England and India play cricket, lazy so and so that I am, Pam cleaned the self-catering cottages, got lunch, walked the dogs, visited a friend, welcomed guests, answered e-mails, cooked tea and groomed the dogs, just shows what can be achieved if you don't watch cricket.
July 22nd
Weather sunny and hotter than yesterday - A great Eagle and Red Deer day but other wise a quiet day wildlife wise, but the views were spectacular and the company and chat fantastic which made for a very nice day out. Thanks to our italian guests and to let the young lady know I have managed to get my fingers back in position after that incredible handshake, good luck with your athletics Javelin etc. in the future.
July 21st
Weather sunny and warm with light breeze - A good tour today beginning with great views of a pair of Lapwings a lovely bird I haven't seen on a tour for a couple of weeks. A female Hen Harrier gave us a close display for several minutes, White-tailed Eagles and very good Red Throated Divers followed and not to be out done a prey carrying Golden Eagle put in an appearance at lunchtime. The afternoon was very pleasant but the warm sunshine meant most of the wildlife was taking a siesta.
July 20th
Weather beautiful sunny and warm - No tour today as nobody had booked so I went for a long walk at 5am and saw my first Jay on Mull this year bringing my Mull list for 2011 to 140 species seen. On the walk I also saw a Greenshank, 3 Goosanders, a very nice Dunnock and a beautiful Lesser Redpoll. Red Deer and very close Common Seals were also seen and I returned home tired  but happy to have seen the Jay my main reason for going out so early.
July 19th
Weather overcast with strong breeze, light rain as the day wore on - Pam did the tour today so I could mow the lawns and have a rest from driving. The tour produced a great view of Golden Eagle carrying and eating prey, Pam was glad that our Guests were not squeamish as they were eating lunch at the time. They also saw a close herd of Red Deer hinds and calves as seen below. At lunchtime I went with Andy Mortley to check out the Barn Owl boxes and they have reared one chick.
Red Deer
July 18th
Weather lovely sunny and calm - After the poor weather yesterday everything was out enjoying the great weather today with Golden Eagles and an Otter being the highlights. Red Throated Divers were again prominent as were some Gannets and a Fulmar or two. Another great Mull day out with nice enthusiastic guests who were very complimentary about Pam's soup and baking.
Otter on seaweed
July 17th
Weather light rain but calm morning, heavier rain and stronger winds in the afternoon - Todays tour was made special for me by our guests, despite the weather they were determined to enjoy their day and see whatever there was to be seen in the conditions. Their reward was brilliant White-tailed Eagles with one flying very close and for those in the know the boat was not out today and it was not the Eagle that goes to the boat, which goes to prove they do fly without artificial bribery even on a wet day. The other highlights of the day were 5 very close Red Throated Divers at 2 different locations, both Grey and Common Seal and Red Deer with calves and not forgetting a very good Sparrowhawk.
July 16th
Weather rain early but turned into a really nice warm day - I had a day off today and did very little but fetch bird seed from Salen. On the way home I spotted a most beautiful Lesser Redpoll on the telephone wires, it really made my day. When you like seeing birds as much as I do it doesn't take much to put a smile on your face. On the same theme I am enjoying watching Siskins and lots of young birds on the feeders as I write todays blog, all's well in my world.
July 15th
Weather cloudy then showers followed by a couple of nice hours of sunshine and then it rained - Unpredictable weather and unpredictable wildlife today as our patience was really tested. When we arrived at our best White-tailed Eagle site nothing was there, we stayed around for a while and then we had terrific views for half an hour. Red Deer were easy but Golden Eagle were very difficult until I got really lucky and found one sitting on a rock as I scanned a hillside in desperation. One guest asked for Stonechat a bird we only see occasionally on the tours this year but one turned up, see what I mean unpredictable.
July 14th
Weather sunny, warm, breezy morning becoming cloudier with light rain as the afternoon wore on - A tricky day wildlife wise today as we had to wait for anything substantial to fly but we did eventually see a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Raven. The Eagle settled on the top of a hill and was the mobbed by a kestrel and 5 Ravens which settled down by the Eagle, a case of keep your friends close and your enemies closer still.............do Ravens have any friends? Later in the day we watched a White-tailed Eagle chick practising flying and had a female Hen Harrier fly right across the road in front of the van, that was quite a near miss.
July 13th
Weather sunny, warm with light breeze - Another successful tour with all the top species seen including for once a very obliging Otter which stayed around grooming on a fairly close rock long enough for all my guests to see it through the telescope for several minutes. I learned today of a new White-tailed Eagle pair which have had a chick in a new location on Mull, funny how even though we live on an island how secret these big birds can be and this nest has only recently come to light.
White-tail EagleWhite-tail Eagle
July 12th
Weather sunny warm and calm - Back to wildlife tours after a long weekend away and a special thanks to all my guests on todays tour who made it so easy for me, at times it felt like like I was on the tour and they were the guides. I always say if everyone on the tour is looking for the wildlife the more chance you have of seeing it and today we saw 2 very good Otters spotted by a guest, too many Golden Eagles to count including a very good juvenile, Red Deer stags spotted by another guest, White-tailed Eagle all be it sitting in a tree, fortunately the youngsters were more active and a very long distance Hen Harrier. What made the day special for me was that my guests were so keen and interested and all wanted a tick list of all the birds we had seen so that they could look at them in guide books at their leisure and learn more about them. so many thanks to all my guests today and the wildlife which performed brilliantly. I had a fantastic day
July 8th to July 11th
We have been away to a family wedding.
July 7th
Weather sunshine and heavy showers all day - A great start to todays tour as we had seen both White-tailed and Golden Eagles, Red Deer stags, hinds and calves, Common Seal with pups and a pair of Bullfinches before the first shower. At lunch we had great views of 2 Kestrels, Linnets, Wheatear and Curlew. After lunch we spent sometime watching an Otter and cub fishing and the day ended with more views of a Golden Eagle sitting on a distant rock. having earlier been mobbed by crows. 

July 6th Weather rain for most of the day but calm and cool for July - A hard day with very low cloud and little breeze to shift it, we did however manage to see both types of Eagle, both Fallow and Red Deer and both Grey and Common Seals. Views of Sand Martins, Yellowhammer, Eider Ducks with ducklings and a lovely Red Breasted Merganser with very small ducklings brightened up a very driech day. 

July 5th
Weather very windy and cool and although there was rain in the air it was drier than forecast - Daylight robbery! it was daylight robbery and everyone on the tour witnessed it. A Buzzard minding its own business and carrying a Rabbit probably to feed its young was approached in an aggressive manner by a young thug of a juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagle. The Buzzard which was a bit of a wuss immediately dropped the Rabbit and the Eagle caught it before it had dropped more than three feet, it was pretty spectacular, members of the bird police looking for witnesses of this heinous crime can contact me at Discover Mull. In the pictures below you can see the effects of the salt burn on the trees at Calgary Bay and pictures of the bay itself on a fairly damp day.

Calgary woods with saltburn
                                      damageCalgary wood showing salt
                                      burn damage
Calgary Bay

July 4th
Weather sunny, windy but very warm - A great day out and on the whole the wildlife responded to the weather with all the sort after species seen including Otter. White-tailed Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Hen Harrier all seen well carrying prey the first time a Discover Mull tour has seen 4 separate raptors with prey on the same day, Wow. Little birds were also seen well today with Linnets, Skylarks, Whitethroat, Stonechat and Whinchat to mention a few, we also had a great view of the Common Sandpiper in the picture below.

Common Sandpiper on post
July 3rd
Weather same as the last couple of days - Arthur had to supervise the sheep being sheared today so I (Pam) took the tour. I love this time of year with all the baby creatures and today we were not disappointed, we watched Red Deer feeding their calves, Common Seals swimming with their young in the bay, a line of almost 60 Greylag Geese and Goslings in the middle of the loch and some tiny Eider Duck ducklings with their mum obviously a second hatch. I really enjoyed watching 4 well camouflaged young Curlew on the seaweed looking more like gangly teenagers than babies.
July 2nd
Weather another summers day - No tour today as it is change over day in the self-catering so Pam does the cleaning and I usually mow lawns but as I mowed them on Thursday I had an easy day and just checked the water supply had a couple of cups of tea and a blether with our good friend and neighbour and brought the sheep in to be sheared and then watched Wimbledon, in other words I had a very easy day unfortunately no wildlife watching.
July 1st
Weather Sunny and warm with very light breeze - Hey is this the summer people talk about I had to take my jumper off today and roll my sleeves up. The wildlife came out as well to welcome the better weather with the highlight for our guests being a mother and cub Otter that were still performing as we had to leave them after over half an hour. Little birds were seen everywhere including a lovely male Stonechat rare on Mull this year, the only animal missed on an almost perfect day was Fallow Deer. Thanks to Pam for being the Swans legs of Discover Mull it might be me that most guests see but is Pam who takes the bookings, makes the lunches, biscuits and cake and sees to it that I turn up on time and in the right places and even sometimes gives me a break like this afternoon, so to Pam many many thanks


July 2011
July 31st
Weather Rain all day - No tour today so I watched the sport on television, on a wildlife theme it was mainly cricket.
July 30th
Weather dry but very cloudy morning rain and low cloud all afternoon - A difficult day for wildlife watching with everything keeping its head down although we did manage brilliant White-tailed Eagle in the morning before the rain came down. Our guests were very patient and some of them saw a Mink with 2 Kits chase and catch a Rabbit as I looked for Golden Eagle and Otter which did not turn up although Buzzard, Kestrel, Curlew and Ravens did. We watched the Seals for some time hoping all the while to see an Otter but to no avail , then it started raining so we moved on. We drove through dense fog where you could see nothing and eventually came to the coast, at least we could see now and I stopped more in hope than expectation to try and see an Otter as it was low tide, low and behold there was not one but two, a mother and cub and they gave us an Otter spectacular for ages and fully Ottered out we went back to our house for tea and to warm up and dry off in front of the aga. I showed guests the Barn Owl on the way back to Tobermory, so although we had not seen many species what we did see was special.
July 29th
Weather cloudy but warm and dry with warm sunshine in the afternoon - Another great group today with another lovely family and two young ladies who told me they could not use binoculars but turned out to be the best spotters of us all the little minxes. Although we try to see all the wildlife Mull has to offer on our tours we do try to make it more rounded by including the history of the island and the geology and scenery, which include the fact that Mull had black Highland Cattle called Kyloe Cows and in the (photo below) is a good example of a cow (with horns going up) and bull (with horns going round and down) which we saw on todays tour. All the usual Mull highlights were seen and also a very good Red Throated Diver. Thanks once again to our guests who gave me such an enjoyable day.
Black Highland Cattle or
                                      Kyloe Cow
July 28th
Weather low cloud with drizzle for much of the day improving a little as the day went on - A lovely group out with us today including a family with 3 fantastic children, it was my pleasure to be out wildlife watching with them. It was hard work due to the weather but they never complained but just enjoyed all that we saw during the day. We had a very good if lucky White-tailed Eagle, an Otter for an hour, both types of Seal, Red Deer and a long distant and brief view of a Golden Eagle. One of the highlights of the day was the Barn Owl Chick we saw in an Owl box I know of, where the front has rotted away, definitely a crowd pleaser (see photo).
Barn Owl & chick
July 27th
Weather beautiful a great day for wildlife watching - We set off in high spirits after yesterday, unfortunately 2 short as a couple had cancelled the night before as it might rain, what this is Scotland what did they expect, it was more disappointing as we had turned at least 8 people away as we thought we already had a full van. In the event they missed a Red Breasted Merganser with 7 tiny ducklings, a very good Otter, brilliant Golden Eagles being mobbed by Buzzards for some time a recently fledged White-tailed Eagle chick, Red Deer hind with calf, a Great Skua chasing a Kittiwakes and robbing it, a Barn Owl and lots more and yes a wonderful fast flowing waterfall because it does sometimes rain on Mull. We hope they had as much fun as us sitting inside in case it might rain.
July 26th
Weather low cloud and rain all day my most nightmare conditions - A full van of intrepids set out from Tobermory and because of the conditions we knew that the water would be our best chance to see any wildlife, so we went to one of my Otter areas and as soon as we got out of the van we were lucky to find a fishing Otter which we were able to watch for some time and we also saw 2 more distant ones in the same area. Good sightings of both types of seal, Red Deer and at the end of the day a White-tailed Eagle in the mist as the clouds lifted fractionally. Many thanks to our guests for their patience and our dogs for being so welcoming as we came back to Ardrioch for afternoon tea and cakes to warm up and get dry.
July 25th
Weather low cloud for most of the day although it lifted a little in the afternoon - We had 2 male Hen Harriers today one of which was an extremely good sighting for several minutes. We saw 4 White-tailed Eagles and 4 Golden Eagles today one of which was carrying prey. It was a really good day for birds with many small species seen and both Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser and 6 Black Guillemots. Our guests today were more than delighted with what they had seen and when we got home one couple saw our resident Sparrowhawk flying through the garden just to complete their day.
July 24th
Weather fine till 10-30 and then drizzle all day - I started mowing the lawn early today as I had no tours it is change over day in the self catering cottages, as usual on a saturday I had only managed an hour when the rain came. Pam and I rushed to get our sheep in as they were due to be sheared and you can't shear wet sheep, we managed before they got wet thanks to our two well trained Shelties?....... So with Lawn Mowing, Sheep Shearing, Dealing with Water Filters and Supply, refilling Gas and the bait in our Midge Magnet and doing a very little bit to help Pam with the change over in the cottages I found no time for wildlife watching today which was unusual for me.
The Singing Shepherd sheering
                                      the sheepThe
                                      sheared sheep
July 23rd
Weather cloudy but mainly dry with slight breeze - A very good Eagle day today with everything I expected to see in the morning turning up and performing as if on cue. The afternoon was much harder and it was a good job we had some fantastic views to keep the guests and me happy. In the late afternoon we did have fantastic sightings of Great Skua, Manx Shearwaters and lots of other seabirds, and the day ended with a good sighting of a Barn Owl.
July 22nd
Weather sunny , warm and calm - Although it was warm it was not hot enough in the morning for heat haze so the views of the small isles, Skye, Coll, Tiree, The Treshnish Islands and the Outer Hebrides were sensational. We saw Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Curlew and Grey Heron at our first stop but we had already seen a Barn Owl before we had reached the stop. Gannets, Kittiwakes and a Great Skua followed with Wheatear, Pied Wagtail, Swallows, Lesser Redpoll and not to be forgotten House Sparrows and all this before we saw the first of 7 Golden Eagles for the day. Brilliant Red Throated Divers were seen showing their red throats really well and a Male Razorbill proudly escorting his offspring and giving it lessons in survival. At lunchtime we saw 4 Otters and watched a mother with 2 cubs for 30 minutes as we rested in the glorious afternoon sunshine, a special mention for the male Sparrowhawk that came out and gave us a very close encounter for 5 minutes, it was Pam's favorite sighting on this brilliant day. On to see White-tailed Eagle and we eventually saw 3 and one flew directly over our heads. Common and Grey seals and a very close Black Guillemot were seen in the late afternoon and 7 well antlered Stags gave us a fitting finale to another great day out on this fabulous Island.
July 21st
Weather windier and wetter with heavier rain as the day went on - We had a good day considering the conditions with a good amount of species seen including White-tailed Eagle which we spotted sitting on a hill and it eventually flew. As we waited for the flight we managed to see a Sedge Warbler and a Red Throated Diver and have a coffee and home baked biscuits, very welcome at the time. On we went and saw both Common and Grey Seals and after  a sharp eyed guest had briefly spotted an Otter climbing out of the water and knowing where it had a holt I positioned our guests where they could watch the road and sure enough a couple of minutes later they watched in amazement as it trotted across the road 50 yards in front of them. Red Deer stags hinds and a calf followed but it looked like we would miss Golden Eagle but during a brief break in the weather we saw one fly very low to the ground and quite close a really lucky break to be in the right place at the right time.
July 20th
Weather the same as yesterday - Otter in the morning and White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle and Red Deer after lunch in another good day with a lot of laughs, some of todays guests appreciated my attempts at humour. Great Skuas, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Grey Seals during the afternoon when we had finished our tea and cakes. The other good sightings today were Red Throated Divers a beautiful male Stonechat and a family of Twite.
July 19th
Weather rain for the first hour of the day turning into a beautiful sunny, calm and warm day - Curlews at our first stop always a nice bird to show guests through the telescopes. Otter and White-tailed Eagle followed and then at a comfort stop we saw these beautiful (see photo) Moon Jellyfish a sign that our waters are warming up. At lunch we saw the appearance of a fledged Golden Eagle for the first time flying with its parents all together giving us great views. To finish the day we went to a favoured spot of mine which is quiet and beautiful, regular guests will know where I mean and we saw the biggest Basking Shark I have ever seen with a total of 3 all together. On our way home we saw another White-tailed Eagle which gave us a very close celebrity fly past to finish a very enjoyable day. Many thanks to our guests who must have wondered what they were letting themselves in for when I picked them up in such bad weather, however they were up for the challenge and had some fantastic wildlife sightings.
Moon JellyfishMoon Jellyfish
July 18th
Weather cloudy with light winds but dry - Diving Gannets, a seabird feeding frenzy and a Great Skua attacking a Herring Gull were seen at the start of the day. Redshank, Curlews, Common Sandpipers, Snipe on a post and of course Oystercatchers were the waders seen. Raptors seen today were Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Kestrels and a male Hen Harrier. Birds of the day however had to be the 2 Common Crossbills seen as we were on our way home, all the guests got a good look at them through the scope as the birds remained in the top of a larch tree for several minutes very obliging of them. 3 Otters were seen today as well as Red Deer stags, hinds and calves, Fallow Deer and Common and Grey Seals. Pam took a journalist out today and saw a Greenshank and Peregrine Falcon as well as some of the species we had seen on our tour. A great day all round for Discover Mull and our guests.
July 17th
Weather showers again but less windy - The day after the Bird Club barbie held in our house as we could barely stand up outside. We have no tour today which is just as well as we are tired from the festivities but Pam is diligently working away cleaning the self-catering cottages as I struggle to stay awake. Last night was a very great success and the food was excellent, congratulations to all involved, particularly Pam for making the house so welcoming for everyone and also the dogs for nearly behaving perfectly.
July 16th
Weather showery with strong gusty winds - Standing in a force seven wind trying to show guests 2 Otters was not easy today, it was difficult enough trying to keep your binoculars steady let alone a scope, I can understand why the golfers at St Andrews got so frustrated. It was another good Golden Eagle day and we also saw White-tailed Eagle and Great skuas again. The best small birds of the day were Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat and I also got a decent Common Buzzard picture.
WhitethroatCommon Buzzard
July 15th
Weather drizzle and low cloud in the morning improving as the day went on - Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagles and Hen Harriers were the star raptors of the day with guests enjoying a juvenile Golden Eagle flying very precariously and landing face down, plenty of work needed on flying technique methinks. We had watched and lost a male Hen Harrier when it suddenly appeared in front of the van as we had just set off giving us a terrific view as had the Peregrine earlier in the day. We had a fantastic Linnet sighting today which as regular readers know is my favorite bird so I was more than pleased with the day.
July 14th
Weather rain in the morning brightening up in the afternoon but breezy all day - We saw 3 Great Skuas today as well as a White-tailed Eagle being mobbed by Hooded Crows we also saw 5 Ringed Plovers. Red Deer and an Otter were also seen today as well as lots of baby Rabbits which is good news for the birds of prey. There are a lot of fledgling birds appearing on our bird feeders at the moment which shows that the dry weather helped birds rearing young.
July 13th
Weather another very good weather day - We had great views today of a Sedge Warbler, it is always nice to see small birds on the tours and continuing that theme watching Swallows and House Martins collecting mud provided guests with a good talking point. Other good bird sightings today included Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Red Throated Divers. A great view today of a Golden Eagle sitting on a hill, check the photos below.
Golden Eagle sitting on a
                                      hillGolden Eagle still sitting on
                                      a hill
July 12th
Weather perfect after early morning drizzle - Today the highlight was the best views of 2 Golden Eagles I think I have had in 9 years of doing tours - sensational. I am not going to say any more about todays tour because everything else we saw including Basking Shark pales into insignificance. Just a word about my friend Ruby who is a delight to take out and enchanted all my other guests. See below wild flowers we are seeing on the tours at the moment.
Common EyebrightHarebells in the grass
Bog AsphodelBell
                                      Heather
English StonecropCross-leaved heath Heather
July 11th
Weather wind and rain all morning improving in the afternoon but still breezy - Otter at the first stop set the tone for the day which despite the weather again turned out to be a very good one. We saw both Eagles very well and Fallow and Red Deer with calves enjoying some late afternoon sunshine, both types of Seal were seen with a baby Common Seal providing the best comments. The day ended in sunshine at one of my favorite spots watching diving Gannets and lots of other seabirds. After the recent monsoons we have spectacular waterfalls at the moment and the rain has brought on some of the summer flowers which are looking superb now.
Eas ForceRushing water at Eas Force

July 10th
Weather beautiful all day with only a slight breeze - I had to go to Craignure today to get something for the self-catering which had broken and of course I took my binoculars and scope which came in very handy as I soon spotted a ring-tailed Hen Harrier which gave me good views for several minutes. As I was looking at the Common Terns in the sound of Mull when I saw a White-tailed Eagle, so even when I have a day off I still see wildlife on this wonderful island, which is just as well as I spent the afternoon mowing lawns, not my favorite hobby.
July 9th
Weather a really dire morning heavy rain and winds, fortunately it improved in the afternoon - A different day today taking guests from a cruise ship to Iona. They just wanted views and a little of the history of the island, the views were non existent in the morning but they enjoyed the Abbey and their afternoon return journey. With the guests on Iona I went to Uiskin Bay and managed to see a Red Throated Diver as I enjoyed a cup of hot coffee in the awful weather.
July 8th
Weather Still windy and showery - I think we have had enough rain for the time being, the Mull drought is well and truly over. I had a day off today to go and get my hair cut in Tobermory a much needed operation as I had started to get Denis Healey eyebrows. When I got back home I was watching the birds in the garden and realized they have suddenly started to eat the peanuts and fat balls again which they had been ignoring whilst breeding.
July 7th
Weather the same as yesterday - A good day which nearly turned disastrous as an Otter ran out right in front of the bus, it was so close only the 2 guests sitting in the front seat and myself (just as well) saw it. All of the Mull specialities were seen except for Hen Harrier today, for me however a wonderful view of a group of Kittiwakes sitting on a rock out of the wind took some beating.

KittiwakesGannet
July 6th
Weather very windy with heavy showers chilly - Very good White-tailed Eagle to start the day which was good for me as it was pretty grotty weatherwise at the time. At the next stop we had brilliant diving Gannets, very close in with views that got even an old birder like me excited. We had views of young Common Seals with their mums as we waited for a Golden Eagle to show itself which fortunately for me it eventually did. Below 3 pictures in sequence of Gannet diving.
GannetGannetGannet
July 5th
Weather sunny, cloudy, windy with occasional heavy showers - Fantastic guests today rewarded with Goosanders and Red Breasted Mergansers, Redshank, Snipe, Yellowhammers, Whitethroat, Lapwings and Curlews. We also saw 3 White-tailed Eagles, Buzzards, Kestrels, Golden Eagle and a really close female (ring tail) Hen Harrier. A lot of Red Deer were seen including stags and very young calf and the highlight for some guests a mother Otter with 2 cubs. I think amongst all the birds seen today my pick would be the recently fledged Sand Martins on telegraph lines at our very first stop.
July 4th
Weather very wet with gale force winds - We nearly called off todays tour due to the awful weather but I am glad we didn't as it turned out to be not to bad a day for Mulls special species. We saw 4 White-tailed Eagles, after a brilliant spot by one of our guests of two very low down in the bushes a juvenile flew in and both bird got up despite the weather to see it off giving us great unexpected views. We also saw lots of Red Deer including a great view of a stag and 2 Fallow Deer, next came an Otter which I spotted in the sea weed, it obligingly came out of the water onto a rock for several minutes and pleased the guests with it's antics. It stopped raining and the clouds lifted for a short time and we took the opportunity to see if we could find a Golden Eagle, unlikely in the weather but we were lucky as one left it's territory just as we arrived and gave us good views. Finally we saw both male and female Hen Harriers at very close quarters before the weather again turned horrible and we decided to call it a day.
July 3rd
Weather cloudy and breezy with occasional heavy shower - Birds talk, oh yes they do, I have not had any feed for a week as my order was stuck in a shed at Oban and not delivered so the birds had no feed and disappeared. The feed arrived late yesterday and I put it out this morning, eventually one or two turned up and by this afternoon the Ardrioch bird restaurant was heaving with the feeders having waiting lists. I don't know where they have been for the past week but the bird bush telegraph has been very busy and they are back in numbers now.
July 2nd
Weather dry for most of the day with sunshine and cloud but very windy - Despite the sea being full of white horses we managed a very good Otter which took some finding in the choppy water but eventually it came on shore with a large fish so all guests got good views. Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle  all interacting together giving good comparisons between Mulls largest raptors was the other highlight of an otherwise quiet day.
July 1st
Weather wet and windy hoorah - We needed some rain and today we got it in abundance, my guests were not so impressed however at the end of the day I think they might just have changed their minds. I admit we did not see lots of wildlife but we did manage a White-tailed Eagle and chick, 2 Otters one very close indeed out of the water eating a fish, a very close Common Seal see picture below. We went on to see a brilliant Short Eared Owl hunting, a group of Red Deer hinds with calves and 2 Golden Eagles to finish off the day, in which the weather had been at best awful for wildlife watching. It just goes to show you never know what you might see or if you will see anything, isn't that what makes wildlife watching so exhilarating.
Waterfall July 2010Common Seal



 

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