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March 2017
March 31st
Back to the dentist for Pam and I went to Tobermory with her to try unsuccessfully to find the Magpie. It rained heavily last night and through most of today so birding was at somewhat of a premium although It makes you more grateful for what you do see. An example is the two Pied Wagtails seen at Dervaig on a very high tide and the Heron , Greylag Goose and Mute Swan seen at Salen, nothing out of the ordinary but just great to see anyway.
Heron, Greylag Goose and Mute Swan
March 30th
A day out with friends from North to South Mull and we saw 66 bird species and 4 Mammals in the day. Bird highlights included the illusive White Fronted Geese, 4 Common Scoter, 4 Twite, several Skylarks, A single Gannet and a single Razorbill. A few White-tailed Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, a summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe, 3 Pink Footed Geese and my first Wheatear and Sand Martin of the year. Otter and Red Deer were seen well and we ended a fantastic day at the Hebridian
Lodge at Baliscate, Tobermory for an exceptional evening meal.

 TwiteSkylark
March 29th
This is a blog of my return from Cheshire where I have been staying with my son and daughter-in law and 2 of my grandchildren , one of which is 6 months old and they are trying to sleep train him, this is for all my readers but mainly Blake and Sheila. I was trying to get to sleep before my journey home but the baby would not stop Crying (Roy Orbison) so I got up and Drove all night (Cyndi Lauper) to get home to my lovely wife Pamela Pamela (Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders) . Back Home ( England World Cup Squad 1970) there were Voices in the sky ( Moody Blues) as the birds in our garden sang to welcome me home and there was Sally, our dog also rushing to welcome me home Who let the dogs out (Baha Men). It is nice to be Home Again naturally (Gilbert O'sullivan) to see Pam but now I'm so Tired (the Beatles) I need to catch up on my slumbers. So it's to bed for me where I go to sleep ( The Pretenders).
March 21st to 28th
I have to return to Cheshire as my Dad is not getting any better so I will not be blogging again this month, I hope to start again in April, Sorry. Pam will be left at home to hold the fort and take bookings.
March 14th to  20th
We have spent the last week in Cheshire as my dad has been hospitalised again and is not at all well. We arrived home this evening to the news that Mull is to get a covering of snow tomorrow, Oh joy, still Richie our son and Sheetal and their children have come up to visit so it isn't all bad news. I will update you on the wildlife situation tomorrow if I  can get out.
March 13th
A BlackThroated Diver in partial breeding plumage, this is a real treat for us. Two year firsts for me on Mull today Lesser Black-backed Gull and Kittiwakes at Cailaich Point and 2 Mistle Thrushes in our garden, the first in the garden this year. We saw some friends who visit Mull each year when we were out and about today, another sign of Spring when regular guests to Mull start arriving. One other sign of spring seen today were our first calves of the year also seen at Cailaich Point. 
Black-throated DiverLesser Black-backed Gull
Highland Cows ans calfHighland Cow suckling calf
March 12th
Spring is in the air and this was brought home to me as dawn broke this morning. I opened the door to let our dog out and was met with a cocophony of sound, my first real dawn chorus of the year. I just stood there enthralled at the beautiful sounds I was hearing and the picture that was enfolding in front of my eyes as the light appeared after its overnight slumbers, It makes you feel good to be alive. We had a large Toad in the garden this morning, another sign of Spring, as are our Daffodills, we nearly have a host of golden ones. Britain is known as a nation who like to queue, well so do our Rock Doves, the ones on the power lines are queueing, waiting for me to feed the birds, they eat us out of house and home.
Rock Doves on wire 
DaffodilsDaffodils more
March 11th
Any readers who a little prudish don't read on. Today we watched as two Golden Eagles gave us a lovely view as the flew harmoniously around the top of a hill. Then pulling in her wings the larger female landed and suveyed her territory as the male continued his impressive flight. Suddenly the male also landed on the back of the female and copulation took place in front of our eyes, a priviledge to see and not at all voyeuristic, just right place, right time. The male then stood alongside the female with a satisfactory look on its face. Later we saw an adult White-tailed Sea Eagle being mobbed by a Great Black-backed Gull. Lots of other wildlife seen including a Peregrine Falcon but the Eagles were the highlights.
Golden Eagle pair at top of hillWTSE & GBB Gull
March 10th
Sometimes when you go out and don't see Eagles and Otters it is not always a dissapointing day as it makes you look and consider more the wildlife you do see. Today this was brought home to me when I saw 3 Goosanders, one male and two females, all in beautiful breeding plumage. I could have, however I didn't, take a photograph as I had time and inclination to stop and admire these glorious ducks, often overlooked as they are just ducks, although in breeding plumage a special almost exotic sight.
March 9th
It is not very scientific but I can reveal that at Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig on the Isle of Mull our Solar Panels in the last year produced 3.2% less electric than in 2015 which might prove that although it was warmer in 2016 it was slightly less sunny. No birding today as I took the Mini-Bus for its annual council test which it passed. I then worked on my water supply in readiness for our son the water expert (Heating Engineer) to come and organise us for the up coming season. Picture of our son Richie, back in the day!
 Richie back in the day
March 8th
A very wet morning which I spent looking at our garden birds and counted a record number of Goldfinches, 22 at one time, there were also at least 73 Chaffinches. As the weather improved in the afternoon we went for a walk with Sally, our Sheltie. On the walk we saw lots of pools of water with Frogspawn in them, the photo below shows one of the better ones. Nearing our car on our return we saw a hunting Hen Harrier back on breeding territory, the first time I have seen one here since the snow storm that put a stop to them breeding here last year. A bit of good news for this endangered breeding bird in Britain. Pam took a photo of our regular Treecreeper today, see if you can spot it? it is there I promise.
 FrogspawnTreecreeper spot the
March 7th
As I was watching the birds in the garden this morning I noticed a beautiful male Yellowhammer appear from behind the Daffodils, of course the camera wasn't handy so I had to go and find it. Finding things in our house is a usual occurance as I have a tendency of putting things down anywhere. When I had found the said camera of course the bird was gone, but no, there it was on the seed feeder and I did get a resonable photo, on checking the photo I noticed Mrs Yellowhammer was also in the shot, then it occured to me he had taken her out for mothers day.
 Yellowhammers on the feeder
March 6th
Today we took all our neccessary paperwork to the council offices in Tobermory to be scanned so that our mini-bus inspection can go ahead as planned on Thursday, then we are geared up for the start of the season. With the coming of the longer days one or two White-tailed Eagles will have started laying eggs, also though Winter birds are still with us and Pam and I went to a night roost for Great Northern Divers this evening and counted at least 55 birds in total and they were still arriving when it was getting to dark to see properly. This was a fantastic sight and in its own way but different to a Starling murmeration, lots of the same species seen together in the wild at the same time. The photo shows the first group of 9 birds which were there when we first arrived.GN
                            Diver roost
March 5th
I had to rely on my garden birds for my wildlife fix today as I was still a bit off colour but with 18 species of birds visiting daily at the moment this was no great hardship. Species seen today, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Siskins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Robins, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Treecreepers, Jays, Starlings, Hooded Crows, Yellowhammers, House Sparrows, Rock Doves and Collared Doves. 
March 4th
A trip around the block today and a good Otter sighting catching and eating fish. It was a good day for Mammals as I saw both types of Deer and both types of Seal as well as the Otter. I spent the afternoon watching sport on the TV as I was feeling under the weather.
March 3rd
I went out for a short drive this afternoon and stopped to look at our local White-tailed Sea Eagle nest and both birds were there one on either side of the nest like two sentries on duty. Red Deer on the hill at the rear of our house and Yellowhammers in the garden were other highlights today. I am seeing more Shelducks now a sure sign that Spring is fast approaching and Snipe numbers at Dervaig although still high are less than they were.
March 2nd 
In our garden this morning I counted 18 Goldfinches, this is a record count of this species in the garden and the photograph is of just one of them. I also took a photograph of our 2 resident Hooded crows and although they have evil habits you have to admit they are a very smart bird.
Goldfinch in the gardenHooded Crown in the garden
March 1st
I had to take the mini-bus to the garage in Tobermory today for its annual service and its first MOT? it passed. I did little in the way of wildlife watching but I heard it through the grapevine that there were Orcas seen off Cailaich Point today, the story of my life you can't be in two places at the same time. An unusual comment for my blog, Moles Mull Moles must be really hard as the top soil does not go down very far and judging by the number of Mole hills on Mull they still seem to be thriving here.
March 2016
March 30th
Out again today in similar conditions to yesterday but today we saw an Otter which we watched for about half an hour, my guests were delighted, I was delighted for them. Some of our Golden Eagle sightings today were awsome, yes, we saw more than one and even I a wildlife tour operator of too many years to mention was thrilled. A fly by Peregrine falcon was a bonus on the day and we saw 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles, one on a nest the other one, the one in the photograph, on a post. I was delighted with my first Wheatear sighting of the year taking my Mull year list to 101 before the end of March. Mammals seen today as well as the Otter were both types of Seal and both Red and Fallow Deer including a very impressive Red Deer stag. A mention for two of Mulls unsung heroes without which Mulls main species would suffer, I am talking of Meadow Pipits and Rabbits, they are on land what Plankton is in the sea and there presence here cannot be understated.
Treshnish IslesWTSE on a post
March 29th
A good tour today in cool showery conditions and I saw my one hundreth bird species of the year on Mull with Sand Martins returning and hunting over the estuary at Killiechronan. Brilliant views of a Golden Eagle interacting with 2 juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagles near the Golden Eagle nest site was probably the sighting of the day although a Hen Harrier (a bird one of my guests particularly wanted to see) seeing off a very close Golden Eagle  ran it close. Early in the day we saw a lovely pair of Grey Wagtails and a Dipper and I managed a nice picture of a Teal my favorite Duck. The day ended with a Black Throated diver in full breeding plumage, this sighting would have had Chris Packham rubbing his thighs, I resisted, not a good look in front of guests.
TealGrey Wagtail
Black-throated Diver
March 28th
The last day of the family visiting and so we walked to the Old Byre up the road from us so that Nia could play in their outside play area, as you can see Nia had a great time in the play house. Richard and I played Table Tennis, he won and as his prize he paid for the tea. Thanks to Ursula and her staff for the excellent tea and then Nia attached Sally, her husky to the buggy for the return jouney.
Old Byre nia &
                                      SallyOld Byre Nia playing
March 27th
Today we all went for a drive round North Mull, the photograph is of me and Grand Daughter Nia Discovering Mull together, I am the tall one.
Nia
                            Discovers Mull with Arthur
March 26th
Today was a walk in the park, Aros Park at Tobermory to be precise and I took couple of pictures of a Rhododenron bush in flower and the lower end of the higher waterfall as I awaited the arrival of the rest of our tribe.
RhododendronWaterfall Aros Park
March 25th
A day with our youngest grand daughter on a very windy Calgary Beach this morning, she loved it. Tobermory this afternoon and an excellent meal at Am Birlinn this evening with our son and daughter-in law. Thanks to the lovely Chrissie for baby sitting, we truly don't know what we would do without her.
March 24th
Day out in Oban as we were meeting family coming for a visit so no birding today.
March 23rd
The beginning of the end of Mulls dry spell with cool breeze and some showers, certainly a thermols day and for once I was wearing the right clothing. My lovely guests today wanted anything I could find them but with three specific requests, Otter, Dipper and Hen Harrier. After a slow start with only Red Deer and Common Seal of Mulls major species seen and cooffee break over the tour took a turn for the better with a very good Dipper sighting, Brownie points for me then ( excuse the pun.) We then saw a White-tailed Sea Eagle at its nest site but so far away it took my guests several minutes to see it even through the scope. At our second comfort break just as we were about to leave one of my guests spotted a large bird, medium sized really, which turned out to be a Male Hen Harrier, specific request number two. The beautiful bird gave us a great fly past as it hunted over scrub, moorland and trees and my guests were enthralled, as was I. On to lunch stop and it started to rain, so we waited for a few minutes to see if it was going to stop and during that time I spotted an Otter going out for its own lunch not being put off by the deteriorating weather, specific request number three, job done. As if by magic it stopped raining and we watched the Otter eating a fish on a small island as we ate our sandwiches and drank the very welcome, very hot, homemade Carrot soup. Then one of my eagle eyed guests spotted another large bird and this time it was large, a White-tailed Sea Eagle flying towards us right over a Golden Eagle nest territory and sure enough the pair of Goldies got up on cue to see off the intruder, another good show. At our second to last stop we saw lots of sea birds including a very good sighting of an Arctic Skua, my first of the year. Shortly after we went back to Ardrioch for afternoon tea and cakes in front of the Aga, to thaw out and as we drove into the yard there to greet us on a tree by the gate were a pair of Treecreepers, not a bad way to finish a day where 55 bird species and 5 Mamals were seen. We saw a lot of Goosanders today and I managed to get a photo of one, sorry for the long blog but it was great to be out watching wildlife again on this magic Island.
Gooseander male 
March 22nd
Today was a red letter day for me at last I finished my winter jobs with the old heating oil tank taken to the tip and new chicken wire put on the back steps to prevent slipping on the wood. These jobs were completed thanks to Nick our friend and neighbour who took the tank to the tip in his trailor and gave me some staples to enable me to finish the steps. Earlier in the day I had gone to Tobermory to buy some staples and get Easter eggs only to find, numpty that I am I had left my wallet with all my worldly goods in on the kitchen table at home. Pam gets exasperated by me sometimes, I am beginning to see what she means. Out and about again tomorrow so back to Mull wildlife reporting.
March 21st
Welcome to the crazy world of Arthur Brown and he brings you fire, well were theres smoke theres fire, or so they tell me. No chance to go wildlife watching today so to get you thinking here are two more smoke and fire recordings (Smoke gets in your eyes) and (Light my fire) by the Doors, can you think of any more, I must admit I'm struggling.


And the prize of extra Lemon Drizzle cake on their tour goes to Blake & Sheila May for their 'Songs for Swingin' Arsonists'

Dear Arthur and Pam,

Just a few suggestions for the collection. If 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes', you may end up with 'The Tears of a Clown' (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles). Alternatively, if you create an Eternal Flame (The Bangles), you may need to call out the 'Fire Brigade' (The Move). However, if you can move your bonfire a bit closer to the Loch, you might manage to create 'Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple, 1973). They had previously recorded a track called 'Fireball' in 1971 incidentally

I take it you've now become a qualified 'Fire-starter, twisted fire-starter'  (The Prodigy) Just make sure it doesn't become a 'Funeral Pyre' (The Jam) and that you don't start 'Burning Bridges' (Status Quo) or even worse 'Burning Down The House' (Talking Head)s. Still, I suppose it's just a 'Burning Love' (Elvis).

Sorry !  Used to play in a rock band.   Still in therapy.

Looking forward to seeing you on Wed. 11 May.

Very best wishes until then,  

Blake and Sheila May.


Arthur Brown, crazy world of
March 20th
A four hour trip out today with 52 bird species and 4 mammals seen with the highlights being Golden Eagles, Hen Harriers, Black Throated Diver, Siskin and the Devaig Kingfisher. We saw the local White-tailed Sea Eagles, one on the nest and one perched. We then went to Dervaig and saw the Kingfisher along with Snipe, Greenshank and Redshank. At Cailaich we saw a Lesser Black-backed Gull my first one this year on Mull and at Calgary the Black Throated Diver. There followed our very good Golden Eagle sighting with 3 seen in total and the first of 2 Kestrels and a female Hen Harrier. The Siskin seen was in our garden as was this Dunnock in the picture below, a bird often overlooked.
KingfisherDunnock
March 19th
A dry day and I did very little as I was saving my energy for our night out at the new Italian restaurant, Amoretto at the Mishnish, in Tobermory. The food was excellent and the service just right and all in all we had a very nice evening, on tonights experience we can fully recommend the resaurant to guests visiting Mull this summer. The evening was completed when on our way home we had a very good view of a Barn Owl which flew into a tree in the Old Graveyard at Dervaig, what a treat.
March 18th
We have a couple of friends visiting and I (Pam) took them on a planned trip which is why Arthur was digging his hole under pressure and was too tired to come out with us. At our first stop our friends were delighted when our local White-tailed Sea Eagle flew right over our heads as they particularly wanted to see Eagles. Later they were also to be even more delighted when towards the end of the trip we found a pair of Golden Eagles displaying and landing on the hill side to feed then flying again when 2 White-tail Sea Eagles flew throught their territory. Also during the day we saw a hunting Merlin and a pair of loved up Kestrels going in and out of their usual nest site, sitting close in a tree and flying up in the sky together on the thermols. We also enjoyed the smaller birds, Song Thrushes, Dipper and a Tree Creeper in our garden when we returned home.
March 17th
Well there I was Digging a hole, a hole in the ground, So Big and sort of Square, actually it was the cattle grid and I was cleaning it out for the first time in 15 years this was due partly to stop the neighbours sheep giggling as they trotted across the grid which was completly full. It took a full 60 barrow loads to empty the grid and as I was under pressure to complete the task so that we could get vehicles in and out I was completly knackered by the end of the day and so was not able to do any wildlife watching, in fact I was no longer up to much at all.
CurlewYellowhammer pretending to be a
                                    daffodil
March 16th
A trip to the nurse for a jab, not my favorite past time and I had to pay for it, still I can now go to as many places around the world as Pam as she was already covered. As I had to also go to Craignure on business I took the opportunity to go home via Glen More, not a short-cut then. On a tour for myself I saw a beautiful Male Hen Harrier, White-tailed Sea Eagles, and some Red Deer and Seals but no Otters. There were, around the Lochs, some Ducks and Waders including this lovely Curlew one of our many guests favorite bird, particularly its call.
March 14th & 15th
Pam writing the blog today, Arthur is still busy working around the house emptying the old oil tank ready to send it to the tip, he managed to hurt is back, the numpty he forgot to put his back belt on! The drive ways are looking very good now and he has made plenty of parking space for guests coming on the tour and campervans who can stay over night before there day out with us.
Inch Hame is now ready to welcome our guests for the summer. This has been my winter project, painting, making Roman Blinds, shampooing the carpets and generaly having a good spring clean.  I am now Spring cleaning The Sheiling and yesterday I saw the Jay from the window trying to work out how to get nuts out of the feeder. My friend Catherine and I (& Sally) have started walking again mainly the woodland haul routes whilst the ground is so wet, the veiws from the high vantage points and close Eagles in the hidden valleys are wonderful. Yesterday whilst walking to the village our local WTS Eagle was flying high above me. The other day I made the first of many Lemon Drizzle cakes of the season and we are looking forward to welcomeing all our tour and self-catering guests for this summer, lets hope it's going to be a good one.
Kitchen IH windowKitchen IH cooker
March 13th
A much better day but it was a late start after a lovely evening out at Andy and Helen Mortly's, if you visit Mull this year look out for their excellent artwork often on show at the Calgary Carthouse gallery. Pam and I went for a drive this afternoon and were very surprised at the amount of vehicles on the roads of Mull, possibly the better weather brought a lot of locals out of their winter hibernation. Two notable wildlife sightings were the cute young Red Deer seen at Killbrennan and a beautiful Black Throated Diver starting to come into breeding plumage seen near Calgary Bay, it was my first Black Throat of the year.
Red
                            Deer calf
March 12th
The monsoon continued for most of the day but during a short break we, that is Pam, Myself and Sally our dog, went over the road for a brief walk. Birdwise it was quite proffitable as we saw several Redwings in the trees, my first Grey Wagtail of the year and Sally disturbed 3 Woodcock sheltering under a Gorse Bush. On our way back we saw a very nice Kestrel and a Great Spotted Woodpecker and there was a Siskin in the garden today. Just an observation, there are an abuntant amout of Snowdrops out on Mull this year, the photograph below was taken on todays walk.
Snowdrops at Letleys
March 11th
The only wildlife with smiles today were Ducks and you could say they had an awful lot to be pleased about, rain that is, yep it rained all day and night and as I write this blog on the 12th it is still raining and forecast to last for most of today, it is a good jod we have our daughter and son-in-laws 2 Kayaks in the shed. I put new Chicken wire on our wooden ramp today to make it not so slippy for our guests and our toddler Grand Daughter who is visiting over Easter, now my Knees are sore and my legs ache. We went to Salen yesterday and saw a juvenile White-tailed Eagle who obviously has not yet learned that Eagles don't like to fly in the rain, if it stays on Mull it will soon learn???
March 10th
Not a lot to report today as we spent the day in and around Tobermory, Pam doing leaflet drops at hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and self-catering properties. I in the meantime took the mini-bus to have its annual Argyll and Bute council inspection ????, it took 10 minutes, nuff said. I then had some Wildlife stickers put on the van to basically spell out what we do, we think they have turned out well, what do you think? We did see a pair of Dippers at Aros Bridge, see how I managed to get at least one bird species into todays blog.
Mini-bus new stickers
March 9th
A nice day with light winds and some warm sunshine and a day out with friends for a dry run for the seasons up coming tours. When asked what they would most like to see they both said Hen Harrier which is somewhat unusual but I had to try. After a few stops at my known Hen Harrier sites without success we eventually found one hunting at our coffee break stop. This proved to be a very productive spot as we had also found a kestrel and Red Deer stags here shortly after we had arrived. A distant flying White-tailed Sea Eagle and Golden Eagles were then seen at our next stop with 2 more Kestrels and a Buzzard. More White-tailed Sea Eagles were seen including a close juvenile which we spotted when watching a mum and 2 cub Otters playing. On we went to look for Peregrine Falcon and found one, my first of the year on Mull and some Barnacle Geese. On our way back home we saw a couple of regular  Mull visitors and now friends Chris and Jenny, they were obviously watching something on the hillside so I stopped for a blether and Jenny pointed out the female (Ringed tail) Hen Harrier hunting so my friends with me on the tour run were really pleased to end our outing in such a fashion. Other notable sightings were Snipe, Lapwings, Redwings, Mistle Thrush, Rock and Meadow Pipits and fantastic Goosander. I nearly forgot in this wildlife bonanza that both types of Seal, Common and Grey, were seen as were lots of Great Northern Divers and some close Slavonian Grebes. A total of 50 species were seen on a lovely day out and the views wern't bad either.
Otters on the
                                    pontoonWTSE Juv on rock
March 8th
A dull day with showers although it was quite bright in our garden today with the return of two favorites the Great Spotted Woodpecker and a pair of Yellowhammers. I managed to get a nice photo of a Redshank at Dervaig as I was unsuccessfully looking for the Kingfiher. On a walk through Fishnish forest looking for Crossbills again unsuccessfully, I spotted a juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagle floating over the woods. After I had power walked back to the mini-bus I went looking for Otters and Red Throated Divers, you guested it unsuccessfully but I did see this lovely Dipper on the burn at Lagganulva, so all in all I had a great day.
DipperRedshank
March 7th
Today I had to go to Tobermory Council Offices to take the paperwork for my upcoming mini-bus inspection by the council on Thursday. I took the opportunity 
to check if the second winter Iceland Gull was still present in the harbour, and it was, check out the photo below. Pam & I took Sally for a walk through where West Ardhu  forest used to be, the track is still there but with the deforestation in parts it has become somewhat of an obsticle course. On the walk we saw a Sparrowhawk and Hen Harrier.
Iceland Gull Tob
March 6th
We had a visit from our local Treecreeper this morning and on our way to to Quinnish for a walk with Sally our dog we stopped at the end of the Loch at Dervaig for a quick look. There were a total of 11 Snipe, Redshanks, Greenshanks and several Little Grebes and the Kingfisher was also seen. The walk was a little slow as we kept bumping into folks we knew and stopped for a blether. On a drive out later we saw 2 seperate White-tailed sea Eagles on their nests and a Raven gave us a spectacular aerial display.
March 5th
I have little to tell you about today except I was Pam, Catherine and Sally (the dog) chauffeur as I took them to the start of there walk from West Ardhu to Langamull car park, a distance of about 4 miles. The walk took them on the new forest track at the back of Ardrioch and they saw 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles, 2 Buzzards, a Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier and some Red Deer. They were particularly taken with the views and at one point they could see the islands of the outer Hebridies.
March 4th
We took the Mini-Bus back to the garage at Fort William today and it turned into a sort of Hokey- Cokey type of day. We took the Bus right in, we have put it right, so we took the bus back out, then the warning lights came on? So we took the Bus back in, eventually they fixed it and so they took the Bus back out for a test run, then to our great relief they brought the Bus back in and so we took the Bus back out, this time the warning lights stayed off and we could come home. Many thanks to Ann at the garage whose good humour kept our spirits up and the coffee was a God send.
March 3rd
We took a friend, Bobbie Parks, from Cheshire out today and saw no less than 5 Otters and I took a photo of one eating a fish, please don't look if you are at all sqeamish or vegetarian. Both types of Eagles were very active today with 7 Golden and 6 White-tailed Eagles seen well with 3 Goldies and a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles interacting together for half an hour. Other birds of note were Black Guilliemot, Slavonian Grebes with 9 in a single flock and Great Northern Divers, these last three species were all lifers (seen for the first time ) for our friend.
Otter on rock
                            with fish
March 2nd
The local house builders are moving at a tremendous rate, yes our Dervaig White-tailed Sea Eagles are building up their nest very quickly. It does help with building if you have a 'build base' on your doorstep which is exactly what our pair of Eagles have with all the de-forestation. All they have to do is fly down from their nest pick up a large or small branch or a large or small stick, place it in the right spot, check your handiwork then go get another branch or stick. When he returns to the nest the male bird will probably find he has put the first stick in the wrong place and have to change it, well that's what tends to happen in our house. Never the less building is now nearly complete and there appears to be loving harmony in the air, I predict egg laying in the near future.
March 1st
More of a day for birds than a birding day today as this morning I had a major cleaning blitz on all the bird feeders, an important job to help stop or prevent the spread of disease. I went out birding this afternoon and a short time after I left home the heavens opened and it rained for well over an hour which forced a change of plan and I went to Tobermory instead. A brief trip round the local area after the rain had stopped and I saw Buzzards, a lovely Kestrel, a White-tailed Eagle admiring its own nest building, Lapwings and a fairly large flock of Mistle Thrushes. My best sighting however were the pair of large Red Deer stags close to the road, they would have made a nice photo except a car came along just as I spotted them and I had to move on.


March 2015
March 31st
Gale Force Winds all day not fit to be out. March certainly out like a Lion.
March 30th

Another very wet day on Mull but alright for the ducks so I took a couple of photos to show you there is some wildlife OK with the weather. Two mammals also not affected by the rain are Otters and Seals both of which I saw today and the Otter was in danger of getting overweight with the amount of fish it was catching. My bird of the day was a Kittiwake, my first on Mull this year and I have now seen 99 species on Mull this year, only one more needed but only one more day to reach my target of 100 before the end of March.
Shellduck maleTeal
                                      male
March 29th
A walk to Langamull with Pam today, it was a nice walk but we did get a little wet as it poured down on our way back. What harm can a little rain do you, Atishoo? apart from giving you a cold. Out early this morning and got a couple of pictures of a Buzzard and a Greenshank, a nice start to the day.
Greenshank with reflectionBuzzard on a stone
March 28th
More gales from the west but our friends were able to get a ferry home although some were cancelled. I spent a good part of the day tidying up the yard in preparation for Easter. I did go out and about but saw nothing new for my year list. Don't forget to put your clocks forward this evening.
March 27th
Up early and back to Tobermory for a haircut at 9am, It took no time at all as I followed Catriona the owner of the hairdressers all the way into Tobermory, it was like trying to catch Lewis Hamilton, everyone got out of our way, they obviously know her car. After my haircut I had to wait a couple of hours before a trip to the dentist for a large filling, not one of my favourite pastimes, so a bit of birding to take my mind off the dreaded needle and drill. I thought I would give the Tobermory Magpie a try and unlike last year I found it almost immeadiately which was a relief. At the sewage outfalls I found a really nice Iceland Gull which took my mind off what was to follow. Dreaded deed over I gratefully went home to lick my wounds and generally feel sorry for myself.
March 26th
I nearly had a sence of deja-vu as we woke up to high winds and our mini bus was due in for its re-arranged council test, fortunately the ferry ran and the council mechanics were able to get across from Oban. I went for a walk into Aros Park to get out of the wind during the inspection and saw little in the way of bird life which was also sheltering. Getting back to the bus to find it had passed its test I drove home and hunkered down hoping for a better day tomorrow.
March 25th
Another day out with our friends, this time down to the deep south of Mull. We saw 4 types of Goose, Barnacle, Canada, Greenland White-fronted and of course Greylag. I had 2 new birds to add to my Mull year list, some beautiful Golden Plover in breeding plumage and a pair of Eider Ducks. Bird of the day had to be the male Hen Harrier which was displaying, rising up like a large butterfly before plunging down again, we watched this behaviour for a few minutes totally enthrawled before it dissapeared. If it were an audition this would have been a great one for British's National Bird for which it is on the short list.
LapwingStaring
March 24th
A day spent at home but I did manage to get out for a short while to look for a local pair of White-tailed Eagles and by local I mean close to home. I found them, now we need them to try amd breed. An observation, the Moles on Mull seem to have had a good winter with zillions of new Mole hills appearing every day. The good news about the mole hills is that we have bought some fruit trees and will use the soil thrown up by the Moles to plant them.
March 23rd
A day of sunshine and brief squally showers, we went out with friends and had a great day out with a White-tailed Sea Eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard and 2 Golden Eagles giving us a lot of fun at lunch time. A Red Throated Diver in breeding plumage very close, I got out my camera and it dived, reappearing miles away. We saw my first Wheatears of the year and a couple of Hen Harriers in diferent locations. A total of 54 bird species were seen and 3 mammal species. Bird of the day was a Sparrowhawk which gave us a spectacular displaying display for about 10 minutes, it was awesome and something we will not easily forget. Yes dear!! on my way, forgotten it already???
WheatearBracket fungi on Silver Birch
March 22nd
Out and about early this morning and although I did not see much apart from a Red Deer trying to use my car to commit suicide I did manage to find the new nest spot for a pair if White-tailed Sea Eagles. The new site was neccessary as their originally chosen tree fell down as there has been considerable de-forestation on Mull, the Eagles are blaming the forestry cuts. Before lunch Pam and I took the dogs for a walk at Quinnish and amongst the small birds we saw was a small flock of Long Tailed Tits with some carrying nest building material, it seems like Mull's building programme is in full swing for the locals but watch out those migrants will soon be upon us, some Wheatears have already been spotted and a Sand Martin was seen at Dervaig yesterday afternoon.
Longtail Tit with nest material
March 21st
Back from our travels yesterday afternoon and as we approached Craignure on the ferry we spotted a lone Guilliemot not over exciting but my first of the year. Today I went out and about and saw three new birds for my Mull year list a Grey Wagtail at Aros Bridge, a Whimbrel at Salen and a small flock of Razorbills on Loch Tuath. In all I saw over 50 species of birds and mammals in 3 and a half hours. There were also signs that Spring is upon us a lovely Highland calf and a Ewe being motherly to her new lamb. Warning over 18's only, as I was checking one of my Golden Eagle sites an large female flew in and landed on some rocks, regular visitors will know them as the rocks that look like a letter B on its back, just after it had landed its partner already on the rocks jumped upon it and I will leave the rest to your imagination, lets just say David Attenburgh would have been in his element.
Ewe and lambHighland calf
March 11th to 20th
Grandchildren Watch.
March 10th
A morning spent out and about with plenty to be seen although nothing new. A great sighting of a Golden Eagle effortlessly holding in the strong to gale force winds. A pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles, canoodeling, its time they got a nest. An Otter on territory, sprainting and rolling before it went into the sea for an early lunch. There were lots of the usual ducks and waders including the Bar-tailed Godwit at Killiechronan.
March 9th
Awful weather again and as our minibus is due for it's annual council taxi/private hire inspection I spent the morning washing and valeting the bus. As you can see Pam sneaked out and took a picture of me with a cleaning cloth in my hand as she says it is a very unusual occurance. Note the concentration!
Arthur valeting the minibus
March 8th
A much nicer day so Pam and I went out and as a lot of birds had the same idea we saw over 50 species including 4 new ones for my Mull year list. We saw our first Pied Wagtail of the year at Calgary Bay, a Jay at Killiechronan, 2 Gannets flying up the Sound of Mull and 2 Common Crossbills in Fishnish Wood. Thrushes were seen at several locations, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrushes in good numbers and Song Thrushes as well as lots of Blackbirds. We had a great sighting of a Golden Eagle which I took a photo of but it was too far away by the time I had found it in the camera lens and is not good enough to put on the blog. We also saw a White-tailed Sea Eagle near a nest site which could mean they have already laid eggs.
March 7th
Monsoon weather, high winds, driving rain, flooded roads, the Dervaig reed bed flooded, we just made it to Dougie's shop and back, closed the doors and watched the weather from the comfort of our kitchen.
Flood water rushing under the
                                    bridgeFlooded reedbed
Flooded road
March 6th
A bird which is now breeding on Mull which we can really do without is the Canada Goose, it is a lovely bird to look at but breeds like rabbits and today I counted 27 on one field at Killiechronan which will not please the farmer there as he also has to put up with the largest flocks of Greylag Geese on the island. On the plus side some of our White-tailed Sea Eagles are very partial to goslings, so the Goose increase might help take the pressure off some of the other Eagle prey. On my way home this morning I took a photograph of these two Oystercatchers looking very smart in their new breeding plumage.
Oystercatcher in waterOystercatcher on stone
March 5th
There has been a distinct change in the weather, The gale force winds and driving rain are a lot warmer today. A pair of White-tailed Eagles and a Buzzard flew over our woodland this morning and with the warmer weather Red Deer are appearing everywhere, including some very nice stags, where do all these animals hide in the cold weather now that so many of Mull's Spruce forests have been felled. We went out for a meal at the Bellachroy with a friend David Cole and had a lovely meal, I had a curry which was really tasty and I can fully recommend our village pub.
March 4th
Today the sun came out and so did the mammals, i saw 3 Otters today, the Seals were back basking on islands and there were Red Deer everywhere. Incoming Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were feeding up furiously and I got a new bird on Mull for the year a Bar-tailed Godwit at Killiechronan. Spring is certainly in the air as Great Tits and Chaffinches are calling all over the place as they set up breeding territories before the influx of Summer breeding migrants arrive, the wonderful dawn chorus will soon be upon us.
March 3rd
As you all know times are hard and getting through the winter without guests is becoming something of a stretch, so me and a couple of mates took on a cleaning job today. Now this old bird knew what she was doing, she hadn't had cleaners in for over 3 years and the place was disgusting, still needs must and together we got to grips with the job. Now although I say it myself we did a pretty good job we cleaned and even changed her bedding, so you can imagine are supprise and dissappointment after checking our work the old dear flew off without paying.
Arthur cleans out the owl boxBarn Owl
                                    gets a health check
March 2nd
Another day of showers but there were some signs of Spring on an afternoon walk. We saw some Frog Spawn in a ditch, Willow Catkins, and another pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles getting all loved up, the third seperate pair in three days. Then there was a hail shower and I took a picture of a gorse bush with a few yellow flowers showing Spring and white hail stones showing winter is not over yet. As darkness assended so did the snow, with the snowplough going past the end of our drive.
Frog spawnCatkins
Gorse and hail stonesSnowplough
March 1st
According to the BBC weathrman today was the first official day of Spring, if it was it was a freezing cold one. I did not venture out today but had a real treat in the garden when a male Sparrowhawk came in and landed on our weeping pear tree, it stayed a few seconds before going for a small bird sitting inside the tree. The bird, a House Sparrow, flew out of the back and the disgusted Sparrowhawk reappeared out of the tree to sit for several seconds on the top with a disgruntled expression. Todays results House Sparrow 1 Sparrowhawk 0, nice to have a home win for a change.

March 2014
March 31st
A warm day and we were waiting for our new carpets to arrive, nothing? coffee time, nothing? noon, nothing? Pam got hold of carpet man, he had forgotten to put us in his diary and could not get till next week, whoops I thought April fools day had come a day early as the volcano that is Pam erupted. I thought she needed to get out of the house, if we could find the door through piled up furniture, so we went for a couple of hours local birding and saw some Wheatear, Pam's first this year which calmed her down and several Great Northern Divers some coming into breeding plumage and
4 Razorbills.  Returnng home we bumped into a friend, not literally, who told us some amusing tales of her time in the police force and brought us up to date with the White-tailed Eagle happenings as she was part of the Mull Eagle watch team last year and so with Pam's humour now fully restored we returned home. The new 3 piece suite is due to come tomorrow, I hope it arrives!
March 30th
Mothering Sunday and the weather is nice if breezy for a busy day. We made the food and drinks for my trip, I phoned my Mum to wish her a happy day and just as we were about to leave the house at 8-45am the phone rang, it was the other guide from the cruise ship in distress one of the guides had not turned up. Who had forgotten to put their clocks on? it was us, rally driving into Tobermory we were only half an hour late and Pam got away with it as she is normally there 3/4 of an hour befor the bus leaves and so she still arrived in time. My guests were lovely and not one of them complained  and in fact thought it quite funny. They were rewarded with fantastic Otters a mother and 2 cubs, the cubs were enjoying the warmer weather by indulging in a long play fight while mum calmly went out for a bit of peace and quiet and an uninterupted meal. A very good Golden Eagle sighting and a total of 3 White-tailed Eagles one on a nest and plenty of Red Deer and Seal sightings so my guests were all very pleased with their day, thanks to all of them for being so understanding of our forgetfulness. By the way great view of a Black Throated Diver today.
March 29th
It was an unusual day for me no wildlife watching at all because we are having new Carpets fitted on Monday and so it was all hands to the pump in readiness for his momentous event. First we had to move furniture, then take up the old carpets and underlay and then look for little nails and pull them all out and finally get the underlay which was stuck to the floorboards up, not an easy task. I have a tour tomorrow and Pam is guiding a bus trip with people off a cruise ship and we have to be in Tobermory by 9-30am. Don't forget to put your clocks on an hour this evening and so very tired we went to bed.
March 28th
Another lovely day with views to die for and I went and did a dry run for this years tours to see what was about on my route, this might seem strange to some readers but this year I have to go round the route the opposite way to previous years as the council in their wisdom have closed  Salen toilets. This is a forward thinking move as Mull as regular visitors know is inundated with toilets all over the island? NOT. The council think all our visitors love going behind trees and bushes? I don't think so. Thinking of our guests comfort we can still have comfort breaks in the morning and at lunchtime by reversing our tour. So after another council rant back to todays trip and I saw 5 Golden Eagles, most of them distant but the one at the end of the day was reasonable. I had 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles the one in the picture flew right over the van but way up high giving great views through binoculars if not through my pitiful camera. A Hen Harrier, a long way off, at my first stop seen with 2 Golden Eagles and some Red Deer, 3 Red Deer stags were viewed when I stopped for morning coffee. Only 1 Otter seen today but it was a very good one fairly close and fishing as it travelled along, unconcerned as the wind was coming into my face so the Otter could not catch my scent. I saw my first Lesser Black-backed Gull on Mull this year taking my year list up to 98 and finally I got a reasonably photo of a Greenshank which was completely still, unusual for this gorgeous wader.
GreenshankWTSE flying high
March 27th
A gorgeous day and what was I doing taking my new mini-van of 4 weeks to the council garage so that it could be inspected by their mechanics to make sure it was up to scratch for private hire. The clue here was It is NEW, hardly used, you don't even have to have a MOT test for 3 years, however Argyle and Bute council need to make sure it is road worthy. Ah well as they say in the song it all makes work for the working man to do. Just for your information........ IT PAST??????? On my way home I saw my first Wheatear of the year, hey good news Spring is just around the corner???
March 26th
A lovely day and a brief outing just to see what was out there and I managed to see 3 White-tailed Eagles, an Otter, several Common Seals, Red Deer, at least 6 Great Northern Divers and the Lapwing and Iceland Gull pictured below.
Iceland GullLapwing Mar14
March 25th
Another cool but mainly dry day with just a hint of wetting rain, you know the type that you can barely feel but ends up making your glasses and optics wet through so you spend as much time wiping them dry as you do birding. A trip out this morning brought 30 species of birds but no raptors at all, they must have been sitting at home wiping their eyes as the fine mizzle continued to fall. Birds of the day 15 Redshanks at Dervaig a large count for this spot, 4 Wigeon and a Greenshank here as well. A Ringed Plover at Croig and 2 Gannets and to end the trip a Red Grouse and a Great northern Diver. We saw 17 species of birds in the garden today with Pied wagtail, Yellowhammer and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers being the more unusual although they are becoming regulars.
March 24th
We took our van to Tobermory today to have it personalised for Discover Mull and the result is in the picture below, we hope you like it. Many thanks to KFT in Tobermory for their help and expertease in producing the final look. While they were working on the bus Pam and I went for a walk in Aros Park which was quite productive as Pam saw her first Jay of the year and I saw my first Goldcrest of the year so we both had something to be pleased about bird wise.
New mini-bus
March 23rd
After early rain it turned out nice with some much needed sunshine. We are clearing the decks at Ardrioch for some new carpets and a three piece suite this means moving furniture and throwing out our old three piece suite of 30 years standing, it is like saying goodbye to anold friend. As we work I look out at the gorgeous weather thinking I would much prefer to be out there instead of stuck in here. To match the sunshine a splash of yellow appeared on our feeders, a Yellowhammer, it has stayed away for quite some time. We did manage to get out for an hour late in the day and saw 3 golden Eagles, a White-tailed Sea Eagle,11 redshank at Dervaig and 3 Red deer stags amongst other things. We are hoping to get our new van dressed up tomorrow ready for the season if the weather holds, look out for pictures coming soon.
March 22nd
The day of the Bird Club outing and 17 of us met in the Dervaig Community Centre car park, the weather was better than forcast with only the occasional squally hail shower during which the temperature dropped by 2 degrees. We saw Red deer and 2 Otters but it was birds we were after, the clues in the name of the club. During the day over 40 species of birds were seen and here is a list of the highlights. Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Buzzard and Hen Harrier, we also saw 2 Red Grouse and a Great Northern Diver. Gulls seen included both Iceland and Glaucous Gull the latter being my first of the year so I was well chuffed, little birds of note were Treecreeper, Stonechat and Long-tailed Tits which I missed as I arrived late at the start point. I am now writing 100 lines I must not be late.
Iceland GullShellducks
March 21st
The weather is turning colder and as I write this blog it is the morning of the 22nd and the lawn outside is covered in hail stones and in an hour or so I am leading a bird club outing around North West Mull, my local patch. I digress so back to the 21st and I decided to go around the route I intend to take tomorrow but much quicker, the weather was windy and cold so there were few little birds about and the Eagles were either hiding and or more probably nesting so I did not see any of them either, looking good for tomorrow I thought. In the 3 hours I was out I did see my first Gannet of the year, all 3 Divers and a very nice Kestrel in a total of 31 species seen. This evening we went to a very interesting talk on the effects of Mink on breeding populations of Sea Birds, Waders, Gulls and Terns on the small islands around Mull and it is devastating. It can only be reversed by small scale intervention or very costly trapping and killing of Mink. What we saw on the slide show was horrific as most of the birds killed by Mink and it ran into the thousands were not eaten, at least the Otters that killed did eat them. I have sympathy with any activists who want to see Mink Farms irradicated but letting them out to reap such carnage on our fragile wildlife is certainly not the answer.
March 20th
Last night it rained and this was not a shower but 8 hours of relentless rain, it continued untlil after lunch although not as heavily and then the sun came out and for the rest of the day it was quite spring like. Our morning was spent spending again, this time on new carpets, we had to stay in and choose carpets as we have not renewed any since we arrived at Ardrioch and Pam thinks it is about time we did, so now we need as many guests as possible or our borrowing will be resembling the governments and Pam will be putting austerity measures on me. There was little time for wildlife watching today with mainly Waders and Gulls seen on a short trip out this afternoon.This evening Neil Morrison from MacGochans in Tobermory put on an excellent evening of food tasting and drinks from this years menu and if it remains as good as it was last night we can fully recommend it for anyone staying in or around Tobermory. Although it was not on last night they assured me that for real ale drinkers the Tobermory beers will be on draught in the pub in the summer.  So you see there is always something for everyone to do on rainy days in Tobermory, the Whisky Distilery at one end of the car park,MacGochans, in the car park and for those who like their drinks from a mug there is the chocolate shop just outside the car park, with everyones needs covered and great views what more could you ask for? 'Staying at Ardrioch' Pam has just shouted, oh well you cannot please everyone.
March 19th
A dull mainly dry but very windy day and our friend David Cole came and took me out on a days birding. We saw an Otter, Seals, Red Deer including stags and some Rabbits, what about the birds I hear you thinking, well we saw lots of them as well including both White-tailed and Golden Eagle. Today however was not about how many species we saw but the quality of the species we saw, 2 Red Grouse not common on Mull, all 3 Divers including my first Black Throated Diver of the year and a pair of beautiful Grey Wagtails. At least 40 bird species seen on a great day's birding even though I finished the day feeling extremely cold, it is true and today proved it. It is not the weather that counts it is the unsuitable clothing, next time I will take a coat and gloves. Thanks a lot to David it was my best day out so far this year.
March 18th
The weather was a lot better than forcast but I had to clean all my bird feeders before I could think of going birding. This is a very neccessary job as it prevents desease spreading through the bird species that use your feeders. After lunch I went out and about locally and almost as soon as I left home the sun went in and it became cooler, windier and drizzly. Shortly after I had set off I saw a White-tailed Sea Eagle being harried by a Hooded Crow, the bird flew off in the direction of Ulva and I gave chase in the car, now I was not holding back but the Eagle effortlessly kept its distance in front of me, the speed these birds achieve without appearing to do much more than float on air is amazing. Continuing on in the mizzle I spotted a Kestrel, Buzzard and some Red Deer but my sighting of the day was the Purple Sandpiper at Lainne Sgeir, I hope we see some their on Saturday as the bird club outing is on the North West of Mull.
March 17th
A better day and I washed the new van so that we can decorate it ready for the upcoming season. Pam and I are still feeling the effects of our colds, or in my case serious Man Flu, so one job a day is all we can manage so when Pam told me to take some old furniture to the Tobermory tip I put in a stong objection. On my way home from the Tobermory tip I saw a White-tailed eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard, picture of the Eagle below Buzzard picture was rubbish, the Eagle disturbed a Mallard and I was able to get the picture as it flew off. At Dervaig there were 12 Redshank, a good number at this spot also Curlew and Oystercatchers at this location.
Mallard flyingRed Deer in a field
March 16th
A very driech day but needing to find some wildlife to put on the blog we dragged ourselves out and set off towards Salen. We were underwelmed to see a small flock of Starlings and then wow a Hooded Crow, I bet I had you going there. Things got better at Aros Bay with Wigeon, Curlews , Oystercatchers, Herons, Red breasted Mergansers, a Goosander and 2 Great Northern Divers. At Loch Na Keal we could hardly see anything due to low cloud and misty rain but there were 2 very close Shelduck and we think we saw a White-tailed Eagle. The weather by now was impossible but we did manage to see some Red Deer, a White-tailed Eagle flying in the mist and 2 Otters as the weather improved. We arrived home tired but with at least something to blog about.
March 15th
We have arrived home with me with severe Man Flu and Pam with a slight cold, she is actually feeling and looking worse than me. Misty our older dog is limping after battling with briars in the wood while we were away, she doesn't limp half as much when she thinks we are not looking. It is nice to be home again and both our Woodpeckers have paid us a visit and Chrissy who has been looking after everything for us left food for us so we can now rest and recuperate. A special mention to our son Richard, thanks for everything and by that I mean the Colds and Man Flu, at your age you don't need to share everything with your parents.


March 5th to 14th
Pam and I are away from Mull visiting family before we get busy during the summer, we came down in the new mini-bus to give it a good run and show my Dad. We have left our lovely friend Christine looking after Ardrioch and the dogs, who adore her, while we are away, but you can still get in touch with us via email as we have taken our laptop or you can phone on our mobile (number above) if you require tour or self-catering information. I will resume my Mull blog on returning to Mull on Friday 14th March. By the way as I sat on the sofa in our son's livingroom a cousin of the Tobermory Magpie flew past waving sarcasticly at me, I was furious but at least I know what they look like now!
March 4th
Merlin today, no not the magician, the lovely little bird of prey, it was a female and it flew right in front of the new van, casting an admiring glance at it as it flew past, I was certainly admiring this gorgeous little raptor. Another good sighting today was a flock of 20 Skylarks, I tried to take a picture but the little blighters kept flying off just out of my camera range. Returning home Pam told me the Yellowhammer had returned to the garden feeders always a nice bird to see.
March 3rd
We went to Tobermory to inform the council about our new bus to get an updated private hire licence, we then went to see the chap who is doing the logo and design pictures for the van, it should look really good. I went out this afternoon and saw both types of Deer,including this lovely pair of almost black Fallow Deer, a Golden Eagle, Great Northern Divers and a pair of Red Throated Divers. I have noticed in the past few days that we were seeing less Great Tits in the garden and today I found out why, in several areas around north Mull Great Tits are out their staking their claim to territories, this is the first real sign I have seen in the bird population on Mull that Spring is nearly upon us.
Fallow Deer black
March 2nd
A dull cold day and we went out for a drive to get used to the new bus, we were not particularly looking for wildlife as we were more concerned with not scratching the bus but we could not miss this pair of Golden Eagles which were displaying to each other right above us. We were able to stop and get photo's of the birds which appear below, unfortunatly due to the dull conditions there is very little colour on the pictures but we had fantastic views.
Golden Eagles flyingGolden Eagle facing
March 1st
A nice day for travelling and we went to Fort William for the day. The bad bit was one and a half hours of supermarket shopping, the good news we have a brand new mini-bus. No birding today but we have heard a Stork has been busy and we welcome little Jack into this world and congratulate our friends and proud parents David and Catherine very best wishes to you all, we were delighted to hear your news
March 2013
March 31st
Happy Easter to all my blog readers and a lovely cold Spring day with a strong breeze and an hour less sleep, a great day for our first tour of the year and what a good day out it was with 52 birds and 4 mammals seen. The highlight was an unexpected Sandwich Tern in Calgary Bay and a Lesser Black backed Gull at killiechronan, both year Mull ticks for me. White-tailed Sea Eagle and Black Guillemot were life ticks for 2 of our guests which is always nice. Other notable birds were Golden Eagles, Goosanders, Bar-tailed Godwits, Razorbills and Guillemots. A very nice day enjoyed by all and I can't wait for my next tour on Tuesday who knows what will turn up.
March 30th
A bright sunny day and a day when Ardrioch lost an old friend, the rally car which has been in our shed since crashing out of last years rally has been taken away as have most of its accessories, the shed looks quite empty now it has gone. It was also a day for renewing our acquaintance with our feathered friends in the garden including our Great Spotted Woodpecker which put in a starring appearance. Personally I really like to see the Dunnocks an unassuming but pretty little bird which I have taken a great liking to.
March 11th to March 29th
We have been away for 3 weeks to visit Parents, Children and Grand Children, Sad to report that Pam's dad passed away on monday the 18th March and we had the funeral  on the 28th. He like so many older people developed a chest infection in the cold weather and failed to recover. He died quite quickly and very comfortably and it was good for Pam that she had seen him before he took ill and was with him when he died. Obviously this has been a trying time for us and Pam in particular but we are now back home and it will be business as usual with self-caterers coming in on Saturday and my first tour next week. Many thanks to all those who sent condolences, Pam said it was a great comfort to her and that she was pleased her dad was so well thought of. The blog will return to normal tomorrow.
March 10th
A lovely cold Spring day and Pam and I demolished a bathroom in preparation for the new one going in before the start of the season. We will soon be invaded by builders, electricians and a firm of very, very good plumbers and heating engineers from Nantwich in Cheshire, R.J. Brown heating and plumbing. By the way did I mention he is our son.
March 9th
A day similar to yesterday weather wise and a new bird for my year list as I saw my first Gannet of the year just off Calgary Bay. Another sighting of interest for me were a pair of Wood Pigeons at the end of our drive, now I know we get more than our fair share of Rock Doves but these were the first Wood Pigeons near our house that I have seen in the 10 years we have lived here at Ardrioch.
March 8th
A dull, dry windy day and cold, I went out to try and find some new little birds for my Mull year list but no new ones although I did see a very nice Treecreeper and had a lovely long chat with friends Jenny and Chris. In the afternoon as I was watching the birds in the garden a pair of Ravens flew over and a Sparrowhawk flew through.
March 7th
It actually rained today in the morning with a dull dry afternoon. A BTO meeting at our house this lunchtime when we gave some new volunteers their breeding bird squares, as we were chatting after lunch a Siskin turned up on my feeders my first of the year on Mull and the a White-tailed Eagle flew over our garden being mobbed by a Buzzard.
March 6th
A breezy cool day and a quiet day all round as we continue our preparations for the new season. On a trip to the bottle bank and local shop which is brilliant, the shop not the bottle bank I saw 2 Snipe in gorgeous summer plumage on the Loch Cuin mud flats, there were 4 Redshanks associating with them.
SnipeSnipe
March 5th
A quiet calm day with little to report as we spent the day in Oban as the van was having it's annual council test, it passed. Pam spent a long time shopping for baking goods and will soon be baking her home baked biscuits and famous Lemon Drizzle Cake, so we are nearly ready for our wildlife tours to start, on a personal note I can't wait.
March 4th
A dull cold breezy day and a trip around the island seeing 70 species of bird and 5 mammals. Otters, Deer, both Red and Fallow were seen but no hares today. Both types of Eagle were seen as were 3 Ring Tailed Hen Harriers and I managed my first Jackdaw of the year on Mull. Highlight birds of the day were 8 whooper Swans, a Common Scoter, a pair of Goosanders, Golden Plovers and a Great Scaup my second new bird of the day and a Mull rarity. Just to show how cold it gets on Mull in winter even the sheep wear jumpers.
ScaupScaup
Common
                            Scoter Sheep
                            in a coat
March 3rd
The dry weather continues and I had to go and give the van a good wash and shine at the car wash in Tobermory in readiness for its council test on the 5th. Yesterday it had some of the Discover Mull stickers renewed, many thanks to Steve Davis who made a great job of them. Golden Eagle and Red Deer seen on my way home and some nice very close Goldeneye ducks on the Mishnish Lochs.
March 2nd
A dull day with a small amount of rain but not enough to write about, so I won't dwell on it. A good Otter today fairly close to Ardrioch seen on a walk with the dogs. We have the gardeners in at the moment digging up our lawns and pathways, it does mean we are getting a lot of top soil  which I am collecting and putting in a large pile. If I was not a wildlife lover I would put traps down to catch these perishing Moles.
March 1st
After a misty start the day turned out to be a gorgeous Mull Spring day, a day to really take in the breath taking views, so that is precisely what we did. It is really amazing to be able to go out and see just how amazingly beautiful The Isle Of Mull truly is, as the poem says 'The Island of Mull of Isles the fairest' and today you could really see where these sentiments came from. On the bird front as well as both types of Eagle we saw a pair of Goosander, a pair of Dippers and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits.
Loch na Keal
Inch
                            Kenneth


March 2012
March 31st
Weather heavy overnight and morning rain, sunny afternoon, very windy - A walk through the forestry land down Glen Bellert today and I had very close views of Common Crossbills, unfortunately I did not have the camera with me. In the tops of the trees were some Lesser Redpolls the first time I have seen these lovely birds this year. Pam spent the day making wedding cakes for our sons wedding later in the year they looked really good when they came out of the oven .
March 30th
Weather showery, cloudy and cooler - Just a short trip out today to look for a Red-necked Grebe, I did not find it but did see some very nice coastal birds in the mist. I got rid of our old tractor today so we will have more room in the big shed for when the sheep start lambing.
March 29th
Weather cloudy with a light cool breeze - A tour today and we started with Peregrine Falcon not a bad way to start a tour, 2 Otters. the Pied Billed Grebe, Common Seal, Wigeon, Teal and Curlew soon followed, it was all going too well and little else was seen the next 2 hours apart from Herons, Great Northern Divers and Slavonian Grebes. At lunchtime we saw Lapwings and a Wheatear and 4 newly arrived Sand Martins and a little later a group of Red Deer but the bigger birds were still eluding us. As we were getting a little concerned we spotted a Female (Ring-tailed) Hen Harrier on the hill in front of us and it gave us some good views quartering the hillside before it was joined by another female and they flew away together. Feeling much better we went on and after stopping to look at a Buzzard and Stonechat went to look for Golden Eagle, we were in luck this time as Pam spotted a distant bird flying fast and straight, the Eagle came really close to where we were parked on a hill track and was joined by its mate and gave us a fabulous matinee performance. A kestrel was startled by the proximity of the Eagles and before the day ended we had seen a White-tailed Sea Eagle, a good but distant view and 4 Snipe and 5 Redshank. All in all a great day of wildlife sightings on Mull.
Red Deer feedingWheatear on rock
Peregrine
                            in treeOtters feeding
March 28th
Weather cloudy calm but with great viewing light - A male Hen Harrier, a Golden Eagle and 2 Sand Martins at a single stop today, the Harrier was being mobbed by 2 Hooded Crows. A flock of 6 Crossbills seen flying over and a single female sitting in the top of tree was another good sighting today. In the morning an Otter and 2 White-tailed Eagles were seen as were 3 separate pairs of Shelduck and 3 great Northern Divers which are starting to get their summer plumage. Finally our Sparrowhawk was sitting in the ornamental Weeping Pear Tree in the garden this evening, it still is not catching much in our garden but the little birds are probably getting traumatized. The views today were fantastic.
Butterbur with feeding beePied
                            billed Grebe by Arthur

March 27th
Weather a beautiful spring day - I hope you all altered your clocks last night, I did but the wrong way so had to go round them all again idiot that I am. We took the dogs on a long hike today as the weather was so nice, it really does give you a new leash of life to be out and about in the countryside when the weather is this good. The views were wonderful and Pam remarked at one time that she almost felt you could reach out and touch the houses on Coll, a bit of an exaggeration as they were at least 5 miles away at the time. We saw 3 White-tailed Eagles, 2 of which flew right over our heads, 2 very close Mistle Thrushes, a beautiful brick red male Crossbill and 5 Ringed plovers on the walk as several Skylarks serenaded us from above, wonderful.
March 26th
Weather after early rain a dull, cloudy day with a breeze - I took Pam to see the Pied Billed Grebe today as she had not seen it before and it was the first one she had seen, I managed to get a few photo's of the bird and hope they are good enough to put on the web site and you can all see what the fuss has been about. On our way back home we saw 2 Otters feeding and a couple of female (Ring-tailed) Hen Harriers always nice birds to see. Dave A B Cole, a friend of ours who regularly comes to Mull, took these pictures of the Pied Billed Grebe and a hovering Buzzard, he also put up a 'Night cam' by our entrance to see if we could get a picture of the deer jumping the cattle grid at night. Although we didn't get the deer we did get some photo's set off by a rabbit, sheep and the early bus which we thought you might like to see as it shows Dervaig in the dispense between 6 and 8 o'clock in the morning.

Night
                            cam Rabbit
Night cam
                            sheep
Night cam bus
Pied Billed Grebe by Dave A B ColeCommon
                            Buzzard by Dave A B Cole

March 25th
Weather another great spring day with hardly any breeze - A real wow factor to the tour today as we saw 6 Golden Eagles, 4 White-tailed Sea Eagle, 2 Peregrine Falcons, 3 Kestrels, at least 8 Buzzards, 2 Otters, Red Deer and Common Seals. To top this list we also saw the Pied Billed Grebe giving more visitors to Mull a sighting of this rare bird and it was a closer encounter than the one we had on the 25th. The views today were special as are the Daffodils appearing in a garden or field everywhere on North Mull, lovely.
March 24th
Weather exactly the same as yesterday - we went to Tobermory to do a leaflet drop in the hotel and guest houses today and although not birding managed to see 3 Golden Eagles, a Peregrine Falcon, a Kestrel and several Buzzards, we also saw a few Red Deer and a big stag, hopefully the wildlife will remain this obliging for the rest of the summer. We are having the outside of the house and self-catering  painted at the moment and it is starting to look spick and span for all our summer guests and in the next few days our Daffodils should be in full bloom as a fine surround to the newly painted house, pictures when it is all finished.
March 23rd
Weather Cloudy, dry, calm but warm - A tour today with Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Sea Eagle, Otter and Red Deer all being seen. The highlight for me though was a Pied Billed Grebe seen in Salen Bay a first time bird for me and only the second recorded in Argyll, a red letter day. We saw Stonechats and Gannets as well today both seen for the first time this year, and we had very nice views of both types of Seal. It was great to be out with a good group and their spotting skills were most appreciated.
March 22nd
Weather Scorchio, well that was what it seemed like, sunshine and hardly any wind hoorah - Maintenance work for most of the day, boring but I did manage a short trip out with Dave a friend of ours who regularly comes up to Mull. We went to Cailiach Point where we saw my first Wheatears of the year mixing with Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Rock Pipits, it is great to see the first Spring migrants return and I look forward to more arriving soon.

WheatearPied
                            Wagtail
March 21st
Weather dry, some sunshine but very windy and cold - A tour today and it proved a very good raptor day with some fantastic views of White-tailed Sea Eagles and Golden Eagles. It was not just seeing the Eagles that made it such a good day but their inter action with other birds of prey Buzzards, Kestrels and Peregrine Falcons that made the day special. The other notable sighting on the day was the Pink Footed Goose still with the Greylag Geese in the Calgary area,
March 20th
Weather cloudy drizzle most of the day, windy - A truly lazy sunday until we took the dogs for a walk in the afternoon, we saw a very nice Arctic Hare, a Great Northern Diver, Kittiwakes and very little else of note. Last night we went to the Bellachroy Inn for a meal and very exciting it was too as Pam managed to set her hair on fire with the flame from the candle on the table, I was able to put her out before any real damage was done but the singe smell remained for some time. by the way the meal we had was excellent as usual.
March 19th
Weather wonderful sunny and warmer - We had to go to a Wild Scotland meeting in Tobermory this morning as we are members of this important group of tour businesses which operate in an ethical and sustainable way to ensure all guests get to see the wildlife Scotland has to offer, its Scenery, Geology and History without undue disturbance or destruction of sensitive sites. We currently have 130  organizations  throughout the whole of Scotland who have to sign up too a code of practice which they must adhere to. We are all indebted To Caroline Warburton who runs the organization for us, keeps us all on the straight and narrow and helps make Visit Scotland realize the fact that we do have a wonderful rural habitat and wildlife to share with you all here in Scotland as well as Tartan, Whisky and Golf.
March 18th
Weather overcast with cooler breeze and some rain, hail - A trip today with great guests who put up with the weather with great fortitude. On the tour we saw 7 Snipe which was a good number for a tour, 2 brilliant and close Red Deer stags also Fallow Deer. Birds of prey seen were 3 White-tailed Eagles, 2 distant Golden Eagles, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, 2 Hen Harriers and numerous Buzzards. My bird of the day was a Lesser Black-backed Gull the first reported on Mull this year, I almost forgot the Otter seen at lunchtime which all the ladies enjoyed as always. Tonight we went to the bird club meeting where we had a very interesting talk about the Eurasian Beaver re-introduction programme at Knapdale and what effects the Beavers were having on the landscape, it was not only interesting but enlightening as Beavers were hunted out in Scotland 400 years ago. It remains to be seen if at the end ot the trial in 2013 whether Beavers have a future in Scotland or not, the jury is out.
March 17th
Weather another beautiful early spring day - Oh to be out and about but chores get in the way, work on the dam this morning and clearing up the yard this afternoon in readiness for self-catering guests. Pam spent the morning spring cleaning the Shieling which has had new lights fitted in the bathroom. We had a large bonfire today, most of the stuff burned was out of the garden with a fallen tree a d broken branches being the main part, it produced a really good blaze. We had our first Pied Wagtail in the garden today and also a very persistent Buzzard kept flying over. 
March 16th
Weather fantastic wall to wall sunshine but still a breeze, cool - The Brambling was on the peanut feeders first thing this morning the first time I have seen it in 3 days, I was beginning to think it had flown away. On a short trip out today we had some great views of Lapwings and I managed to get a picture of one through the telescope. Another favorite bird of mine which we saw were Teal and I took some pictures as I had not got any that were very good and this one although not great is the best of the bunch.
TealTeal
Lapwing
March 15th
Weather another good day but cloudier than yesterday - Up and out at dawn today hoping to see Owls but only got one fleeting view of a probable Tawny Owl but too brief to identify although I did hear at least 3. In the field where the cemetery is at Calgary I saw 38 Red Deer hinds with calves. At first light there was a White-tailed Eagle in a usual sitting place but no sign of the mate. hopefully they are laying.
March 14th
Weather Blue skies nothing but blue skies, which certainly makes a change from what we have been getting lately - I took the van to have some new rear brake pads fitted in Tobermory this morning and while I waited I went for a walk through Aros Park. I was there for 2 hours and saw 18 species of birds, I could have seen the same 18 species in 10 minutes in our garden but I would not have got in the exercise. After lunch I went out to see if I could find any local Dervaig wildlife, much better 3 Greenshank, a Golden Eagle, a White-tailed Sea Eagle, 3 Otters, a Great Northern Diver, 2 Shelducks, a Curlew and a Shag with a nice breeding tuft. As well as the wildlife the scenery was much nicer as well with great views of snow covered hills. Thanks to Nigel and Nancy for their nice e-mail about their tour on the 6th it is always good to get positive feedback about the day particularly as it was my first tour of the year.
Shag with tuftOtters on the seaweed
Snow covered mountains
March 13th
Weather windy with some heavy squally showers, cold - We took the dogs for a walk on a new forest track at Langamull this morning and once again saw Crossbills. In the garden this morning we saw one of the long staying Bramblings we are beginning to wonder how long this lovely bird is going to stay with us. After the walk we again went to look for the Golden Eagles which are relatively close to Ardrioch and they obliged with a superb pair bonding display , at times they were flying below us and we could see all the colour on the backs and tops of their wings - fabulous.
March 12th
Weather sleet, snow, low cloud and cold and damp - Not the best day for a tour but we did manage to see some Highland Cattle through the sleet. We also saw an Otter, Fallow Deer, Common Seals, lots of Ducks with Teal being my favourite, Curlews and some very close Bar-tailed Godwits. I think the highlight for everyone was the hot home made Carrot Soup and sandwiches eaten in front of the aga in our kitchen at lunchtime watching a persistent Sparrowhawk flying through the garden and not able to take a single bird off the feeders.
March 11th
Weather back to a bit of everything - We took the dogs on a walk we have not been on before and saw a Crossbill and heard many more. In the afternoon we went out looking for Golden Eagles and found a pair which flew very close to us giving some very nice views. We also saw 2 very close Red Deer stags and another Arctic Hare which was a nice sighting as we had not seen one in this area for a couple of years.
Red
                            Deer StagsRed
                            Deer stag
Arctic
                            HareHare on
                            the run
March 10th
Weather gale force winds, rain, sleet, hail with some sunny breaks if you could stand up in it - Not a day for going out today so we let the birds come to us. A white-tailed Sea Eagle flew over our shed this morning giving Pam a bit of a shock, a Buzzard flew over the garden calling as it circled on its way and a Sparrowhawk flew through the garden scattering all the small birds in all directions, not bad for a day in.
March 9th
Weather Heavy squally showers, very windy - the wind has driven some birds into the shelter of Calgary Bay today enabling me to see my first Kittiwakes and Razorbills of the year. Once again Pam has been playing her favorite game 'little bo peep' as 2 of our new ewe's had gone missing, taking the dogs she walked all the way around our property and found them in the wood by the gate waiting to be let in, typical.
March 8th
Weather a little bit of everything from sunshine (not much) to heavy rain with wind thrown in - Firstly I forgot to mention the Mountain Hares we saw yesterday, they were beautiful and when they spotted us they were off like a shot. Today our nearest pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles were sitting on a hillock just up the road from here looking miserable as it was raining at the time, either that or they had just had a row. A family of Whooper Swan turned up at Dervaig this morning 2 adults with 3 Cygnets and out and about today I saw 2 Otters and some Red Deer including 2 Stags.
Whooper SwanWhooper
                            Swans
Red
                            Deer stagsRed Deer
                            stag
March 7th
Weather cloudy, windy feeling cold in the wind - Pam and I spent a very cold but really enjoyable couple of hours watching Fulmars at Cailaich Point today. Fulmars are tube nosed like the Albatross from the southern hemisphere and just like the Albatross are incredible fliers, it was a joy to sit and watch these birds using the wind to glide past the cliffs and land lightly on prospective nest sights, bit like watching the Red Arrows but not in formation. I managed to get a couple of photo's to show you a little of what we were looking at, I hope it wets your appetite to get out watching wildlife whenever you get the time. By the way we did not feel the cold until we returned to the car that was how engrossed we were. 
Fulmar on the wingFulmars on cliff ledge
Shags on cliff ledgeFulmar
                            flying
March 6th
Weather cloudy mainly dry but with a cool wind - Our first tour of the year and we had brilliant Merlin a first for all our guests, my first one this year and as we only see a few each year it was a great start. We saw at least 14 Buzzards but as we saw so many we lost count, 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles and 3 Golden Eagles and 2 Kestrels in a good raptor day. Mammals seen were Red Deer including a very nice stag, Fallow Deer, Common Seals and 4 Otters with 2 playful cubs being the highlight. Other notable sightings, Goosanders, Shelducks, Wigeons, Goldeneye, Little Grebe and a pair of Lapwing on territory. A bird we missed from yesterdays blog a Carrion Crow with Hooded Crows only the second one we have seen on Mull.
March 5th
Weather Cloudy, but calm great light for wildlife watching - I went for a trip out and in the early morning watched 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles a pair and a single bird in their territory, the pair look besotted with each other. I then went to an area where we have breeding Fulmar and spent half an hour watching a fly display by these wonderful birds, I also watched a couple of Meadow Pipits trying to outdo each other in parachute flying. On the sea here I saw a Great Northern Diver and a Guillemot, the first one of the year for me. I went home and picked up Pam and during the rest of a fantastic day we saw 2 more White-tails, 6 Golden Eagles and 2 Otters one being watched enviously by a Grey Heron as it munched on a fish it had just caught.
'Love is in the air'WT
                            Eagle with broken tag
Otter and envious Grey HeronFallow Deer on the run
March 4th
Weather cloudy, calm, warm with a slight sea fog or haa coming in this afternoon - Hi folks we are back after visiting Parents, Children and Grand Children in England. While we were in Cheshire we picked up a new Barn Owl box made by Neil Gallimore, a previous guest on our tours, who on hearing of the fate of the old box very kindly made a new replacement box to go in the tree. On returning home yesterday evening I rang Andy Mortley a local artist and a friend of ours who put up the original box and told him we had a new box. Today Andy came round and we placed the new box in the tree where the original box had been and put a second box in a tree close by as you can see from the pictures below. Many thanks to both Neil and Andy and let us hope that the Barn Owls on Mull appreciate their efforts and use the boxes.
New
                            Barn Owl Box made by Neil GallimoreNew Barn Owl box made by Neil
                            Gallimore, in tree
Re-located
                            Barn Owl boxRe-located
                            Barn Owl box in tree



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