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May 2016
May 31st
Today we had sensational views of Golden Eagles, Otters, 3 of them and Cuckoo, good sightings of White-tailed Sea Eagles Red and Fallow Deer and Seals, the downside believe it or not, it was too darn hot.
May 30th
Pam did the tour today as I was up to my waist in water clearing the burn where our water supply comes from, thanks to Nick for his considerable help.
Again the White-tail and Golden Eagles put on a good show seeing them both in 2 different areas and our Otter although a little distant stayed on the same rock for over 20 minutes as my guests took it in turn watching in the scope. Smaller birds are starting to feed there young now so good views of Wheatear, White-throat, Redpoll and of course Yellowhammer. Lots of Red Dear and Seals and a high flying female Hen Harrier added to an enjoyable day's wildlife watching.
May 29th
Back on track after yesterdays aberation and guess what we had an Otter, a very good Otter for over 45 minutes, we also saw great Golden Eagles, magnificent White-tailed Sea Eagles, Red and Fallow Deer including Red Deer stags, both types of Seal, Cuckoo, Peregrine Falcon and lots more to boot. I am not bragging here but reinforcing the point that it is better to look for everything than waste time casing a paticular species unless you can spend all day like the wildlife T.V. cameramen do. All my guests were overjoyed by their day and I myself was rather chuffed.

WTSE & Raven
Otter on seaweed
May 28th
I always say never just go after the big stuff as there are no guarantees that you will find them but today I broke my own rule as a young boy was desperate for Otter, we spent half the day just looking for Otter and still did not see one, point proved I think. We did have very good views of White-tailed Sea Eagles and Golden Eagles, Red and Fallow Deer and Common Seal. The Buzzard with chicks is still providing a lot of pleasure as did the Lapwing with 2 young chicks, let us hope they escape the attention of the Hooded Crows. Little birds of the day Stonechat with chicks and the Nutty Yellowhammer also 2 late Dunlin at Dervaig. I nearly forgot a pair of Red Throated Divers as well as some late Great Northern Divers. That's all folks.
Buzzard with chicksGolden Eagle
May 27th
As the song says this was a 'perfect day', dull with only a light breeze, perfect for wildlife watching, lovely enthusiastic guests and the probably because the weather was not too sunny or wet the wildlife was out and about in abundance. All Mulls big stuff was seen including Otter and a very good male Hen Harrier but lots of other birds put in an appearance. Stonechat, Whinchat, Lesser Redpoll, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Cuckoo, Yellowhammer and the nutty one also performed really well, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, I could go on but that would be just listing, suffice it to say we saw everything well and the views and wildflowers also played their part in a perfect day.
The Narows Loch Cuin
Butterwort & Sundew
May 26th
Pam gave me a day off so we went with our friend Alan 'Mullbirds' Spellman to Croggan as we don't go there very often but only after going to see the Nurse to give blood, this is not Pam's favourite thing to do as she does not give up her blood easily and she was in with the nurse for quite some time before coming out looking like a pin cussion. At Croggan a lovely place on Mull if somewhat off the beaten track Alan and I were looking for birds but Pam was more interested in some old Goat, a feral one with very long horns which facinated her. The day also produced some Black Rabbits a very close Cuckoo and what I had most wanted to see my first Redstart of the year and it was a beauty, shame one of us missed it, now I only have to try and see a Grasshopper Warbler although I don't fancy my chances on that one. Thanks to Alan for these lovely Redstart pictures.
Black RabittCuckoo on
                                    wire
Redstart (m) AS
Redstart (f) AS
May 25th
We had great views of an Otter today although the first one we saw was certainly not in that bracket but a good spot none the less. The Eagles once again performed well and the Buzzard chicks on their nest continue to grow well and provide guests with a lot of pleasure. Kestrels were seen as was Cuckoo and Dipper but the birds of the day were the pair of Peregrine falcons seen towards the end of another very good day out. I had an excellent Lobster bisque at the Bellachroy this evening and Pam really enjoyed her warm Mackeral salad, the beer was very good as well.
May 24th
A harder day today as we just missed out on Otter and did not get a Hen Harrier but on the plus side we had not one but 2 Sparrowhawks and a Peregrine Falcon, both not regulars on our tours. Excellent views of White-tailed Sea Eagles and good ones of Golden Eagles and today we had a Buzzard fest, they were everywhere. Kestrel was the other raptor seen but once again the nutty Yellowhammer stole the show, this bird would win Britains got tallent, or then again maybe not.
May 23rd
Back on duty with a lovely group of guests and the wildlife of Mull also came out to welcome me back although I think the nice weather also helped as it was quite calm and a little dull, great weather for wildlife watching. We started with Common Seals, an Eider Duck and Curlew, then we saw our first Otter of the day which although distant put on a show for us doing all the things Otters should do and some it shouldn't, its mother could have taught it better manners. Red Breasted Mergansers, Great Northern and Red throated Divers were seen at coffee stop as was a Grey Seal always good to pick up on the tours. We then moved on and saw a Dipper and some Fallow Deer which have proved illusive on our tours this year. At our next stop we saw a much closer Otter and a White-tailed Sea Eagle, the Eagle flew in and landed giving great views through the telescope. Next stop to look for Red Deer, none there but we did see 2 Hen Harriers, a Kestrel and Ravens and it was not even lunch time. At lunch we all enjoyed seeing our Buzzard nest which I can confirm has 3 chicks. Nutty Yellowhammer, Willow Warbler and Red Deer followed after lunch and then after waiting it out a Golden Eagle, this made our day complete. To all the other wildlife seen but not mentioned in todays blog I apolagise and will give them a mention in future blogs, please don't be miffed you are all important to me. Thanks to todays guest David Davies for sending these lovely photo's from todays tour.
WTSE David DaviesOtter David
                                    Davies
Siskin David DaviesYellowhammer
                                    David Davies

May 22nd
Arthurs Dad continues to improve which is really good news and Arthur will be back home today so that I can get some rest, although having said that todays tour was absolutely brilliant. All the 'big' stuff was seen really well but the small birds were the stars today, Whinchat, Whitethroat, Yellowhammer (nutty and normal) Meadow Pipit and Redpoll also lots of cuckoo's mostly being chased by smaller birds. Thanks to all my guests for there good humour and spotting, some were out with us for their 5th time.
May 21st
As I lay in bed this morning I missed the early morning calling of our male Song Thrush. Change over day in the self-catering today, ah well you know what they say, a woman's work is never done, this week I think they might be right. Arthur rang to say his Dad was looking a lot brighter and he (Arthur) will be coming back tomorrow.
May 20th
As I was in the kitchen preparing for todays tour (doing Arthurs jobs as well as my own) I was alerted by the alarm calls of our Song Thrush, I looked up to see the Sparrowhawk fly inches infront of the kitchen window being followed by a very angry Song Thrush, I think the Sparrowhawk was carrying something. An hour later as I got into the van to leave for the tour the Song Thursh was still very upset in the tree at the bottom of the garden. Although all our main species were seen on todays tour there were no stand out moments. We were amused by Arthur's
nutty Yellowhammer as he took his anger out on someone elses car wing mirror.
May 19th
Rain all day, but in the first hour before it got too heavy we had White-tail Eagle with chick showing well and a mum & cub Otter feeding, we had good veiws of them in and out of the water, at one point the cub was so excited as mum brought it some food it tumbled off the rock into the water. Back to our house for morning coffee and lots of Siskins in the garden. Later a flying White-tail Eagle was seen and lots of Red Deer. Thanks to all my guests who
despite the rain were a jolly and cheerful group.
May18th
It was one of those days when we saw all Mull's specialities really well including the Golden Eagle in the photo which performed so well for us that I managed to get a usable picture, the first of a Goldie this season, the Great Northern diver wasn't bad either.2 Otters in the morning and then White-tailed Eagle and Hen Harrier carrying prey it was just one of those unforgettable days. In a list of well over 50 bird species we saw Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Linnet, the nutty Yellowhammer again, Siskin, Dunlin, Lapwing, Curlew, Eider Ducks, I could go on but thankfully I won't, just to say it was a great day. I am off the Island for a few days as my Dad is unwell and Pam is stepping into the breach once more, so those taking tours can be assured of an excellent guide.
Great northern DiverGolden Eagle
                                      on the hill
May 17th
After a dry start the rain came down which somewhat cut short the day, although by that time we had had brilliant views of Golden Eagle and 2 Otters seen good, and White-tailed Sea Eagles, also lots of Red Deer and both types of Seal, not bad for a wet day. There were of course other birds seen including, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Stonechat, Wheatear, Eider Ducks, Red Breasted Mergansers and Great Northern Divers in breeding plumage but the most notable sightings of today were the Black Guilliemots, not just the birds which were great but the sheer number of them, we have only seen a few all year but today they were everywhere, maybe it needs to rain to bring them out.
May 16th
A good day today with a few unusual happenings, firstly we saw the Iceland Gull again, is this bird becoming an illegal immigrant, has it overstayed its visa, time will tell but I'm no snitch. We then had an episode with the Yellowhammer in the pictures below, which kept jumping onto the wing mirror on the van and looking at itself in the glass. Either in the words of the song (your so vain) or it was determined to come out with us on one of our trips, who knows what was going on in its little head, made for a nice photo though. Song Thrushes are singing like crazy this year and this one in the picture taken at Calgary was auditioning for 'The Voice'. Goldies, White-tailed Sea Eagles, my Buzzards nest and Red Throated Divers all seen well today, what will tomorrow bring, tune in to my blog to find out.
Yellowhammer on wing mirror Yellowhammer on mini-bus
Song Thrush on a rock
May 15th
A first for me on Mull, a Green Woodpecker, which flew in front of the bus and into a wood just as we were about to turn onto the Killiechronan road coming from Knock. My thanks to the Pooles who were sitting in the front seats and spotted and identified it before I did as I was concentrating on the road at the time. 2  Red Throated Divers and a very close Great Northern Diver were seen well as was the Willow Warbler found by Lynn Fearne who was rightly very proud of herself and also great fun. The other main highlights of the day were Golden Eagle carrying prey, we think it was a Rabbit and 2 Golden Eagles seeing off a White-tailed Sea Eagle which had encroached too close to their nest site.
May 14th
I did BTO square this morning seeing 2 new birds for my Mull year list, a Spotted Flycatcher and Wood Warbler, other notable birds seen were Yellowhammer, Goldcrest and a Blackcap with 4 wrens also a highlight. Cuckoos are calling everywhere now and starting to pair up prior to laying eggs, time for extra vigilance from the Meadow Pipits. I went for a walk down Loch Ba looking unsuccessfully for Redstart this afternoon but I did take this photo of the Loch, not an area I often visit but beautiful none the less.
Loch Ba
May 13th
Great weather again for our trip out in the wilds of Mull, we had a bus load of lovely guests and Mulls main species did not dissapoint, particularly the Otters with 2 seen in the same area. Both Golden Eagles and White-tailed Sea Eagles performed well but the Buzzard nest with chicks that we have found was a real croud pleaser. We went to the Bellachroy, Mulls oldest inn in Dervaig this evening and had a wonderful meal made even more pleasant by the fact that most of the guests in the pubs restaurant we had taken out during the week.
May12th
Good news, I think at least 3 of the Golden Eagles in our patch have hatched chicks, although I cannot be sure but we are now regularly seeing Golden Eagles fly round in their territories which they don't do if their nests have failed. Today the golden eagle sightings were exceptional as you can see from the photo I took with my little box brownie (those of a certain age will know what I mean). I took the photo of these lovely Swallows gathering nest material which enthralled my guests for quite a while, as those of you who regularly travel with us know we look for everything not just the big stuff. Now what does the poem say " What is life if full of care you have no time to stand and stare" In Awe.
Swallow collecting mudSwallow with
                                      twigs
Golden Eagle flying
May 11th
Pam doing the tour today and I knew I was in for a good day as I had regular guests 'Old rocker' Blake and his lovely wife Sheila May (see blog for 21st March) with me. As it turned out we had a FABULOUS day. We started well with a White-tail Eagles being mobbed by 2 Buzzards as a Sparrowhawk flew through looking on. We saw Red Deer next and then a beautiful hunting male Hen Harrier always a great bird to see. The Golden Eagles were brilliant too as they were reafirming there pair bond with 'golden ball dives' after a few weeks of 1 bird sitting on the nest, we hope this means they now have young. We didn't get Otter today but we substituted them with
very close DOLPHINS close to shore leaping out of the water, the seals were a bit mifted as my guests ignored them completly... I wonder why? Thanks to guests Tim & Tania Nightingale for the dolphin photo's.
Dolphins in Salen Bay Tim &
                                    Tania NightingaleDolphins in
                                    Salen Bay Tim Nightingale
May 10th
Still scorcio, this makes finding wildlife really difficult as they are all hiding in the shade drinking Pina Collardos (joke). Good news we found an Otter that wasn't asleep and as we watched it a White-tailed Sea Eagle flew round over our heads, our guests were delighted and some even broke out in a sweat, or glow for the ladies. This could have been due to the wildlife but probably it had more to do with the 26 degree heat. We had good views of Golden eagle at lunchtime but for me it was the 2 Red throated Divers which were the highlight. Our guests were great and we had an author out with us today who has written some famous books and all I can say is that he was the most charming and interesting man and the Otter made his day. A special mention to Ian and Lorraine who were also on the tour, Lorraine was on the tour to support Ians passion for wildlife and she was great company and enjoyed the day much more than she thought she would. We love guests come out with us to enjoy thier day it gives all of us a better day out.
Otter eating
May 9th
What's happening, what's going on????, 12 days ago we had humungous amounts of snow, today 26 degrees of scorcio heat, my body thermastat is confused, not to mention my choice of clothing. The saying is that there is no bad weather just wrong clothing, well pity the poor tourist who has come to Scotland expecting cool weather and cold winds and ends up frying. We had some great Eagle sightings today but the Otter we saw was just as inactive as yesterday but you can imagine how welcome the hot soup at lunchtime was? Water anyone. The photo of the Lapwing below was taken because it stood and posed so it would have been remiss of me not to take a picture.
Lapwing
May 8th
It was a warm day and the wildlife was just taking advantage to chill out as you do on a Sunday, so although we saw everthing my guests wanted to see none of it was what I would call spectacular. We saw 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles in total, all perched in trees except for the one on her nest feeding a chick. The Golden Eagle was fairly brief but it was thanks to the Hooded Crows that we saw it at all as they harried it off its perch where we could not see it and it flew round giving great size comparrison before all too soon returning to the out of sight perching spot. The otter was grooming when we found it, then it curled up and went to sleep, on a lighter note we did see Fallow as well as Red Deer and both types of seal. Our find of the day was finding a Buzzards nest, the female was on the nest when the male brought in a worm, wasn't she lucky, it must have been like expecting Michelin star and getting a Little Mac. This evening Pam and I went to the Reedbeds at Dervaig and got a couple of photos of Reed Bunting and Sedge Warbler both new birds for Pam this year.
Sedge WarblerReed Bunting
May 7th
I went out searching and found the Osprey, It was flying from Grass Point in the direction of Loch Don, I was very pleased as I missed out last year even though it had stayed around for some time. On my way home I stopped at Loch Don and saw an awful lot of Dunlin and a few Ringed Plover and despite checking through them for some time could not find anything different. Stopping at Craignure Golf club I saw a pair of Arctic Terns also my first of the year. Pam did the changeovers in the self-catering but still managed to see the Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats in the early morning before starting work, she is knackered.

May 6th
A day of light winds and slightly warmer which brought the birds out in much larger numbers and hearalded some new arrivals including Common Terns, Sedge Warblers and Whitethroat all new birds for my Mull bird list. I also saw my first Reed Bunting on Mull for the year, a bird that has taken some finding for me. Great sightings of Hen harriers, Golden Eagles, White-tailed Sea Eagles and Otter today due in no little part to my guests who were all good spotters so we did not miss much. Other notable birds seen today were Eiders, Dunlin, Whinchat and Kestrels, we also had a flying Peregrine Falcon. A lot of laughs today which in my opinion helps a lot and thank goodness less disturbance of the Otters by photographers today.
Eider ducks male
May 5th
A sunny day today but still windy. At our first stop we saw White-tail Eagles along with there new chick. Red Throated and Great Northern Divers are looking handsome now in their summer plumage and we were pleased to pick up a cukoo calling from a rock. Golden Eagles gave us good views as they did a change over at the nest but our highlight was a mother Otter with a tiny cub, she had it on the sea in rough water but was protecting it by swimming close to the shore on the sea side of the baby taking the waves as they came over them, we stayed inside the van to watch to avoid disturbance to the the vunerable pair as they swam along the shore and after a short while they came out of the water and ran up the stony shore line towards the road, again we kept back and watched as they crossed the road and went up the stream heading home to their holt. A lovely day of wildlife watching tinged with sadness as Arthur went to our friends wifes funeral.
May 4th
I picked up my guests in Tobermory in very windy conditions and after a short time it started raining although we did manage to see a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles before it got too bad. As the rain got worse I stopped at our house for morning coffee and we watched the birds in our garden. At Calgary as the rain worsened but to lighten our mood there were Dunlin and Ringed Plover on the beach. The next hour was a blur, literally, as we could not see anything through the mist and rain, as we say use your imagination tours. The rain eased and we were able to see the coast which was just as well as we went past a few Red Deer, at first we could only see 8 but as the mist lifted we saw at least 20. Whoopee, the rain stopped and a few birds were seen including Whimbrel and a very close hunting Hen Harrier, not such a bad day afterall. It got better, we sptted an Otter running over rocks before diving into the very rough sea before dissapearing, we thought we had lost it but out it came on to the rocks again with a Crab and gave us great views whilst it ate it. (photographers please note you do not need to be close enough to share the Crabs meal to get a good photo, wildlife disturbance is a crime. Sorry for the rant.) We went to a Golden Eagle site and a bird flew in and landed on a rock giving us great views and as we drank our afternoon brew the rain started and the bird slowly dissapeared from view. We decided to call it a day as we had been extremely lucky considering the weather but our luck continued as we saw a single Fallow Deer, a single Common Seal and some Eider Ducks on our way home. It was still raining on our return, thanks to my guests you were awsome.
May 3rd
High winds and the odd squally shower made wildlife watching difficult but my guests adapted to the conditions to appreciate everything we did find. A Hen Harrier flew or should I say was blown in front of us but as it went great distances in a very short time not all my guests saw it. We saw 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles in total, Buzzards, Kestrels, both Kestrels were brilliant views and worth being out to see, and a very brief Golden Eagle. Goldeneye ducks displaying were the surprise bird of the day and the Grey and Common Seals along with the Red Deer made it a not to bad day in the conditions.
May 2nd
It was not the best weather for wildlife watching today with high winds and squally showers but on the bright side as our Preston friends say the 'food was up to standard', so thanks Pam for that at least she is consistant. There were two types of wildlife always in evidence today White-tailed Sea Eagles which now having hatched chicks have to feed them and Deer with lots of Red Deer seen and even a guest appearance by the Fallow Deer, even if they were hiding in a wood. For me there were three highlights on on the day, our guests were delightful, the Gannets, Kittiwakes and Manx Shearwaters were a joy and Pam came out with us as it was my birthday. Oh and the waterfalls were worth the tour in themselves.
Eas Force looking at UlvaEas Force
                                    under bridge
May 1st
After heavy overnight rain it looked unpromising for todays tour and although we saw both types of Eagle they were certainly not in the numbers we saw on Friday. We did see however 3 Otters, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrels and of course Buzzards. The highlight of the tour today was a very nice Iceland Gull seen on the north shore of Loch Na keal, an unexpected treat. Today on the tour I had a fantastic group of spotters in particular Alan and Jean who come on our tour every year at this time and I really look forward to this trip and I was not dissapointed.
Iceland Gull

May 2015
May 31st
More high winds and evil squally showers today, never mind Summer starts tomorrow with promised heavy rain and gale force winds, nothing changes. Very good White-tailed Eagles today, Red Deer and both types of Seal and we had a brief sighting of a Hen Harrier. We had 3 great sightings of little birds today with Whinchat, Whitethroat and my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year taking my Mull year list to 131 by the end of May. The Spring flowers are just appearing with Bluebells, Bugle, Milkwort, Lousewort and Wild Srawberry joining the still blooming yellows of the Primroses, Celandines and Gorse of the supposedly early Spring.
May 30th
The best day of the season weatherwise and a good one for the main Mull species. We saw 3 Golden Eagles, a White-tailed Sea Eagle, 3 Otters, a male Hen Harrier and lots of Red Deer. Both types of Seal were seen as were a host of Rabbits. At Cailaich we saw Gannets, Shags and Kittiwakes. At least 5 Kestrels were seen along with the usual Buzzards and with one guest requeating them we also saw Eider Ducks and Ravens. With great views and good company goingback to work after time off with our family was fairly seemless, thanks to all involved.
May 29th
We had two walks today one at Cailaich Point and one at Treshnish, the walks were either side of lunch at Calgary art in nature. At cailaich I saw my first Fulmars of the year on Mull taking my total to 130.
May 28th
Pam and I went out with the family today and were able to show the girls there first ever Cuckoo, a young one being taught to hunt by a pair of Meadow Pipits. In the garden on a daily basis now we are seeing Lesser Redpoll which have joined the usual visitors to the garden.
May 27th
Pam did the tour today so I could change my battery, on the car, obviously. It was a lovely day till 11am then it poured down all day, I did feel sorry for Pam as I know how hard finding wildlife can be in those conditions. I in the meantime went to the swimming baths with the grand children, it is so long since I have been to the baths the girls had to show me how to use the lockers. In wildlife terms the girls were like 3 Dolphins in the water and I was the Basking Shark but we all had a Whale of a time.
Pam - We had 2 hours to find the wildlife which is not the easiest task but in this time we saw a large herd of Red Deer with a juvinile White-tail Eagle flying by and just managed to see the Golden Eagle as it dashed back to it's nest sight before the rain started. Other birds of note in the pouring rain were Great-northern Diver, Linnet, Common Sandpiper, Kestral and Buzard eating a rabbit. Back at home for afternoon tea and a warm in front of the AGA my lovely guests were pleased with the numbers of birds in the garden including Great-spotted Woodpecker and Lesser Redpoll.
At times today it felt like flogging a dead horse - literaly - as one of my guests spotted a dead horse in a field, a first for a Discover Mull tour.
May 26th
Less rain but still breezy and cool but a much better day for spotting wildlife. An Otter early in the day, always a good way to start a tour and this Otter was all singing all dancing as opposed to yesterdays all sleeping one. On to the White-tailed Eagle spot and it flew right over the van, it can't get much better than this I thought. Oh yes it could as Golden Eagles flew round and then landed giving great views through the telescope, up it got, flew round again and landed giving us even better views through the telescope. Lunch and hot soup to warm us up and then just as we were about to leave a lovely pair of Linnets, my day was made. After lunch a large herd of 20+ Red Deer, a brief Hen Harrier and then shock, horror it began to rain, time to go home I thought and so we did, but we were all pleased with our day out.

WTE flying
                            overhead
May 25th
Some days are hard as the wildlife does not want to play ball and for us this was one of those days. we looked at several locations for Hen Harrier but none obliged, we eventually saw Golden Eagles but had to wait until well after lunch to do so and our White-tailed Eagle sighting although a good one was simply a bird sitting in a tree. The Otter sighting today was a terrific spot but the Otter was sleeping for most of the time looking like a rock, it was only her occasional movements that convinced my guests it really was an Otter. So some days you might see most of Mulls main species but none of them could be described as really special, this was one of those days.
May 24th
Strong winds, showers and very cold for late May. A great group out again today and most of them kept their spirits up despite being bl...y frozen for most of the day. The wildlife was not really enjoying it much either except maybe the Buzzards which seemed to be everywhere. We saw White-tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier and Red Deer as well as some small birds and good Common Seals, although from the praise we got I think that Pam's very hot home made soup at lunchtime was the moment of the day. Go Pam.
May 23rd
A dry windy day and preparing for new guests in the self-catering and the arrival of Simon, Becky and 3 of our Grand Daughters. I washed and valeted the mini bus, cleared through our water supply and filled in the holes in the drive my usual saturday chores. I did find time to go out very locally and find a couple of new birds for my Mull year list, my first Blackcap of the year and to my surprise a Garden Warbler a bird I don't see too often on Mull.
May 22nd
A cool but dry day after a wet start and did the wildlife of Mull appreciate it after the deluge of yesterday? you can bet they did. Fantastic Golden Eagles, wonderful White-tailed Sea Eagles, sensational Hen Harriers, fields full of Red Deer, rocks filling up with Seals and a fishing Otter and that was just the big stuff. We saw 65 bird species in the day, close to a Discover Mull record with Eiders and Black-tailed Godwits being the highlights although the Stonechats were really nice as well. My guests today were brilliant and I haven't laughed so much in ages, fun birding just how I like it to be, the better weather helped as well.
Red Deer herdEider Ducks
May 21st
A monsoon day in which we still saw 50 species even if we did get really wet. Birds of the day were the 3 Black-tailed Godwits at Dervaig at the end of the day, not a bird seen regularly and a treat that warmed the cockles, much needed after the trying day. White-tailed Sea Eagles, 2 Otters lots of Seals and Red Deeralso seen through the rain. The most common words on todays tour were pass the drying cloth please Arthur, very polite group today. A great view of a Great Northern Diver with a Crab, tricky for a Diver to eat I imagine. Birds in the garden as we had afternoon tea in our kitchen, yes we do that on wet days, were Song and Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Siskins, Gold, Green and Chaffinch, Coal and Great Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swallows and Collard Dove. We heard a Cuckoo calling, it was a little strange, it sounded like I am a celebrity bird get me out of here. Back in Tobermory my guests headed to the pub and I fool that I went looking for a Glaucous Gull which I did  not see but managed to get a little wetter.
May 20th
A glorious day and I got the day off as Pam did the tour to give this doddery old geeser a day off, how come she knows which days to pick, woman's intuition maybe. I will leave Pam to tell you about the tour but I did take a picture or two of the Siskins in our garden.
Pam - A brilliant day with great guests including the 4 Window cleaners from Rotherham. As well as very good sighting of all our favorite species we also saw a Magpie (not the one in Tobermory), Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, a bl....y great sheep, Common Sandpipers and Stonechats. I was dissapointed when even after much searching we did not see Arthurs new bird from yesterday, the Beagle, .............but we met quite a few people who had.
SiskinSiskin on feeder
May 19th
A day when the strong winds  and frequent showers made it feel baltic out wildlife watching. To be fair my guests braved the weather for most of the day and were rewarded with a pair of Golden Eagles giving us a wonderful display of low flying. The funiest sighting of the day and the one that provided the most banter, was a new bird for our tour 'the Beagle' as it is now called. My guests were convinced they had an Eagle in their binoculars and they were not convinced when I told them it was a Buzzard, even at the end of the day they were still not conviced, it is no wonder we call Buzzards 'tourist Eagles' on Mull. Great Gannets today being blown close in by the wind but we could not keep our binoculars steady enough to see them properly but turning around we were able to see another Beagle????
May 18th
After an overnight deluge we had an almost dry day and some fabulous wildlife sightings. The highlight for some was the interaction between a couple of male Hen Harriers, for some the White-tailed Sea Eagle coming in and feeding her chicks on the nest, then there was the Otter but for me it was a lovely singing Yellowhammer in a tree by Eas Force waterfall which was also magnificent after the overnight rain. Golden Eagle and Red Deer were seen as were the Eider another good bird in summer plumage and with Gannets and Common Terns in Calgary Bay our day was complete. For you flower lovers out there, our
Spring is just starting and the Bluebells are just coming through and at afternoon tea break I took this picture of Butterwort, sometimes called Bog Violet and you can see why from the flower.
YellowhammerButterwort
                                      in flower
Otter by the sea
May 17th
Sunshine and heavy showers and still cool but I am not going to complain. I met a farmer from Mull today who never complains about his lot but even he says the sheep have never wintered so badly due to the cold, rain and winds and lambing this year has been a disaster and they are still having to feed their stock as there is little or no grass yet. On a happier note todays tour brought excellent Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, White-tailed sea Eagles, Otter, Red Deer, Grey and Common Seals, Gannets, Goosander, Eider Ducks, Red Throated Divers, Great Northern Divers and Siskins. We had a fabulous day with great guests and over 60 species seen in the day.
Eider Duck male
May 16th
Pam, bless her, had a very busy day, she was up and out doing a bus tour from Tobermory to Calgary Bay for guests from a cruise ship. She then went shopping for goodies for our grand children who are bringing their mum and dad up to Mull for Whit week. Home again and she had to clean Inch Hame in preparation for impending guests and then cook a joint for our tea and for the guests sandwiches for next week. I too had a busy   day, birding, I went out with my mate Alan Spellman to look for and find Redstart another bird for my year list. I must get home and see if Pam has finished work yet? I do hope she has. Thanks to my mate for the Redstart photo.
Redstart female
May 15th
Another day of mixed weather, morning ok afternoon dreadful. Divers were the birds of today with a few Great Northern Divers seen and then at lunchtime with rain threatening we saw a BlackThroated Diver which kept diving and made showing it to my guests somewhat difficult. We went looking for Otters and we spotted another Diver getting closer we realised it was a Red Throat and then as if by magic its mate appeared and they gave us great views for quite some time. We went back to our house for afternoon tea to get warm and out of the rain and had some lovely views of Siskins in the garden. My new bird of the day Common Tern.
May 14th
Pam did the tour today and I was left at home with instructions. Now you all know of my avertion to gardening, well even our new gardener has been having a go at me for not ridding the garden of all the winter debris, so today I had to go and do something about it. This is a case of out with the old and in with the new, now I just have to relearn how to use it, any ideas?
Wheelbarrow oldWheelbarrow
                                    newWheatear msle
                                    AS
Pam - Whilst Arthur is busy in the garden (not), I was out looking for wildlife. The sighting of the day was male and female Cuckoo inter-acting and being chased by meadow pipits as they flew across the hillside. My guests wanted Otter today but despite being in the right place at the right time for over an hour we saw nothing until the last stop before the end of the day when, thanks to a kind couple, we found a young Otter feeding in the seaweed at high tide. Thank you to Alan (mullbirds) Spellman for sending Arthur this lovely pic of a Wheatear to use on his blog.
May 13th
Scorcio, well it felt like it as the temperature rose to a stupendous 14 degrees at one point and the sun came out as well and with little wind it felt more like the Med than the Arctic conditions of recent days. Hen Harrier started the day off well and a lovely pair of Linnets soon followed. We saw a pair of beautiful Whinchats and the Sedge Warbler was very obliging. Red Deer and Seals in very good numbers and a fantastic Otter at lunch time, one of two seen today. White-tailed Eagles were great today sitting in their nest area and then flying off giving my guests a fabulous view. Only a distant Golden Eagle today but this was more than made up for by the sunshine. Another new bird for my year list today, a White Wagtail (Alba) seen at Laggan Bay.
May 12th
What can I say the weather the same wet and very windy, great group and the best wildlife can be described in 3 words, Short Eared  Owls, which were superb and worth the day out alone. I did get another new bird for my Mull year list, Arctic Tern, always nice to know they have returned from their epic journey, let us hope the Mink leave their small colony alone, although I doubt it. I wish the animal rights people could see the damage these none endemic species have done to our native wildlife. As the saying goes the world is full of good intentions.
May 11th
Gale force winds, ferries cancelled, has winter returned, perhaps not, we saw some Bluebells trying to come through today. Good news one of my Golden Eagle pairs was carrying prey today which means there is young in the nest. Two white-tailed Eagle chicks sitting up being fed in a nest was a particular highlight today along with the Eider Ducks and Great Northern Divers. The day ended with a brief view of a distant Otter and by brief I really mean brief. On the plus side it rained less than yesterday which was not hard. Moody views were spectacular today.
May 10th
I know that drought can be awful but so can high winds a d heavy rain and we got the latter today. Thanks go to my guests for their good humoured fortitude in what were truly awful conditions. I would also like to thank the White-tailed Eagle looking after her chicks on the nest, at least we could see her through the deluge, also Great Northern Divers, Red Breasted Mergansers, Whimbrels, Gannets, Guilliemot, Black Guillemot, Shelduck, Dunlins, Buzzards, Kestrel, Red Deer several species that I have not mentioned which e nsured the day was not a complete washout. Special mention to the small flock of Twite seen and the Manx Shearwaters  which flew past in the wind, the latter being my first on Mull this year. Once again many thanks to my brilliant guests.
May 9th
No tour today as it is change over day in our self-catering cottages and Pam does the cleaning and I do as I am told. After we had welcomed the new guests and had tea we went out looking for Short Eared Owls as Pam had not seen any yet this year - what an hour and a half we had, a Sparrowhawk flying along the wood by the electric sub-station, a male Hen Harrier going bananas, Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and then the Short Eared Owl. A fabulous sighting of this beautiful bird as it hunted the moorland, another male Hen Harrier on our way home, could the evening get any better. Yes it could, as we stopped at the Dervaig reed bed on our way home a Grasshopper Warbler appeared on the edge of the reeds right in front of us, we were really surprised as this is a bird that normally sculks in the undergrowth, this one was close enough to photograph. Finally Pam got to see some Dunlin feeding in the bay at Dervaig, what an evening we had just had, now as Zebedee said its time for bed, ZZZzzzzzzz.
Grasshopper Warbler
May 8th
With all my winter woolies on we set off on another tour and after the first two stops the sun came out and the wind dropped, it was nearly scorcio. With my suummer kit on we contiued the tour and saw all of Mulls main species with Golden Eagle, the probable stand out. A very good Otter spotted by a guest and a not so good Otter spotted by me. I saw my first Whitethroat of the year today and the day ended with this great view of a Cuckoo the second one we saw in the day.
Cuckoo
May 7th
A little bird fest today, just the type of day I like but it is still perishing cold here on Mull. My first Reed Bunting of the year and at least 3 separate House Martins seen another Mull first for my year list. Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat heard, Yellowhammer, Sand Martins, Swallows, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Whimbrel, I could go on but I need space to mention the Brilliant Golden and White-tailed Eagles that we saw today. We also saw Hen Harrier both types of Seal and Red Deer all good stuff to warm the cockles of your heart which was just as well as the weather wasn't.
May 6th
Water, water everywhere yet not a drop to spare - our water suppy was blocked with peat coming off the newly felled hill and Arthur had to stop at home to sort it out leaving me (Pam) to take the tour today. A great group today although we were a few minutes late starting out as one couple were enjoying a very good breakfast at their hotel. They all wanted to see Eagles today and no one was dissapointed with, as well, as distant views early in the day we had a close Golden Eagle at lunch time and saw mum & baby White-tail Eagle in the nest later. A group of Whimbrel were seen, a first for many of my guests and a snipe flew over our heads but the bird of the day was on Osprey drifting along the ridge of the mountain, spotted by Andrew who was forgiven for been late this morning and given an extra peice of cake. Poor Arthur was just a jealous guy as he has not had Osprey on Mull for a couple of years. He was fantastic today and worked his magic and the water has returned, I don't know how he does it.
( Arthur wrote the last sentence when I was not looking, )
Wheatear





As I was waiting for the Otter to re-apear I saw this close Wheatear and remembered that Arthur always has a photo for you, so here it is.









May 5th
We moved the tour today as the weather was supposed to be very bad, in the end it was just bad so Pam and I went looking for new birds for my Mull year list. We got Wood warbler at Salen, Lesser Redpoll and Goldcrest on the walk to Loch Ba bringing my Mull year total to 117, see Arthur's Bird List to see all the species I have seen on Mull so far this year.We have had Treecreepers and Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the garden today along with Siskins and all our other regular garden birds. By the door to the Shieling we have some beautiful Primroses and two patches of Cowslips bringing  a splash of yellow colour to the back yard.
Wood WarblerGoldcrest
                                    upside down
May 4th
a much better day weatherwise with no rain until late afternoon. Two new species seen for my Mull year list a Sedge Warbler and Great Skua, one a lovely wee bird singing its head off, the other a pirate looking very fierce as it flew dramatically over the waves looking for smaller seabirds to rob. We had brillian interaction between a Kestrel and Buzzard at lunchtime, with the Kestrel behaving more like a fighter plane folding in its wings and diving at great speed at the Buzzard. Ravens showing their flying prowess diving down and dissapearing below a hill and then bouncing back again as if they were trampolining which my guests found amazing. All this along with both Eagles, Seals, Red Deer including a stag which had recently lost his antlers and my guests were really pleased with their day.
DunlinRainbow over Mishnish Lochs
May 3rd
An awful day weatherwise with gales and driving rain with sleet, some of my guests thought we might cancel the tour but we decided to go ahead with it as we have never cancelled a tour before due to bad weather. We saw a very good Otter not long after starting the tour, White-tailed Eagles giving us such a great display my guests did not want to leave them, lots of Red Deer, Seals and after a lot of patience as the weather improved in the late afternoon a very good Golden Eagle.Interspersed with these sightings we saw my first Dunlin of the year, Redshank, Whimbrel, Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Common Sandpipers, Red Breasted Mergansers, Great Northern Divers, Swallows, House Martins, Wheatears amongst over 40 species seen well on a day when you could have been cooped up in the warmth. I know where I would rather have been. Thanks to my guests who all enjoyed their arctic experience and to John and Sue who came all the way from Croggan, I am glad the Short Eared Owl was out where I said it could be and you saw it on your long way back home.
Common Sandpiper 
May 2nd
A trip to Iona today to try and see  a Corncrake, the conditions were not helpfull as it was cool and windy but undetered me and my pal Nick got on the ferry at 10am. Arriving on Iona we went straight to the fire station and their was a lady there hunkered down out of the wind with a telescope, " there are two in my scope she said" and there they were out in the open more visible than William and Katherines new baby, photos taken we were back on Mull by 11am, The high winds made birding difficult and we only really saw two species of birds of note 3 rafts of Eider and several Great Northern Divers some in full breeding plumage. We went to the Bellachroy last night to celebrate my birthday and had a great time, Thanks to Christine, Anthony and their staff for making the evening special, to Jac for the cake and Rich and Sheetal who payed for it all.
Corncrakes x 2Corncrake
Iona AbbeyGreat Northern
                                    Diver
May 1st
No tour today but left with chores to do by my beloved wife as she was off on a bus guiding trip. As I was carrying buckets of water to our newly planted fruit trees our nearest White-tailed Eagle flew over the house, I have it on good authority that this pair have chicks for the first time so I expect to see more of them in our vicinity as the chick(s) start growing. On my way to do the shopping I took this picture of one of our local Redshanks, with so much to do I forgot the milk, well I am 65 tomorrow. Pam just rang to say she would be late and could I cook the tea? who says men can't multi task.
Redshank with reflection

May 2014
May 31st
A beautiful day and I went out early leaving Pam cleaning the self-catering cottages which are both filling up well this year and we only have one week left to let out in the Sheiling, week begining 26th July until the week begining 16th August so for anyone considering a late Summer or Autumn holiday on Mull I should seriously start looking at accommodation as soon as possible as Mull is having a very good year with tourists this year. Mid term update on Eagles, they seem to be having a very good year, Harriers not so many but those with nests have large clutches and finally Short Eared Owls are very thin on the ground.
May 30th
Our guests today were really nice and very patient with us and they had to be as the start of their day was not promising. Two booked guests did not turn up, the bus from Oban was late and our car, bringing the stand by guests, broke down just after they had arrived at the meeting point. The tour eventually got under way and we saw lots of Buzzards and Eagles but what they all wanted to see more than anything else was Otter and just like on Spring watch one turned up at the end of the day, not the closest I have ever seen but it was an Otter in the wild and quite good through the telescope and the first wild Otter any of my guests had seen so they were realy pleased that their patience had been rewarded.

May 29th
Golden Eagle on a post David
                                  ColePoor Arthur had to go to the dentist today for a filling leaving me (Pam) in charge of todays tour which turned out to be an Eagle bonanzer. A White-tail Eagle was found first, sitting in an old haunt where we have not seen it for a while and after it flew we were able to look at some of the lovely wildflowers that are now starting to appear finding my first sundews, butterworts and orchid of the year. Then a Golden Eagle was spotted by one of my guests as I was driving, I stopped and we watched fly higher and higher until it dissapeared  into the clouds. At our lunch stop we found this beautiful Golden Eagle just sitting on a fence post, friends David and Christine stopped and David took this lovely photo of the bird and sent it to us. The eagle kindly waited until we had eaten all the sandwiches before flying. Next was the White-tail Eagle again, flying, sitting, carrying prey, feeding it's 2 chicks, what more can you ask for.... oh yes, an Otter rolling on the seaweed behind us.
May 28th
More wildlife disturbance today this time by a person with a large camera clambering over rocks where the Otter is usually seen, unfortunately for him he did not realise that the tide had come in and he had to wade back to the shore which made me smile, one up for the hard pressed wildlife. Eagles and Otter stared again today but all my guests saw their first ever Cuckoo and one said it was worth the tour just to see that. Good views today of Whitethroat, Whinchat and Stonechat and I saw a pair of Linnets so I was Chuffed as well. I would like to thank Pam from all our guests who continually praise the refreshment on the tours, particularly her home made hot soup and home baking, I know we advertise it but guests still seem surprised by the quality.
May 27th
An absolutely beautiful Mull day with views to make your heart sing and although I never like to single out the big stuff on Mull today was one of those days when they completely overshadowed everything else we saw except for a brilliant Cuckoo which most of my guests had never seen before. We had 6 very good Golden Eagles all giving views of colour and size as they flew around or landed where we could see them well with the scope. White-tailed Eagles with one being mobbed by a Hooded Crow flying right over our heads. Then the Otters 3 of them at different locations, one of them giving really good views until it was disturbed by a couple in a boat who proceeded to chase it into hiding, this type of disturbance of wildlife really annoys me. After they had given up and moved on the Otter came out againand gave us good uninterupted views of it catching fish as we were at a safe distance and being very quiet it did not know we were there. This in my opinion is the way to watch wildlife in its own environment.
May 26th
Hoorah, there were birds in the sea, the first I have seen in ages if you don't count the Great Northern Divers. Today I saw 2 new species for the year an Arctic Skua and Puffins and remember we are a land based tour. Other birds seen at sea were Guilliemots, Black Guilliemots, Gannets and Shags and we also had a Grey Seal, on the shore at the same spot were Wheatears, Starlings and Oystercatchers and a pair of Shelduck flew through. Our first stop had produced a single late Dunlin, Redshank, Common Sandpiper and Oystercatchers with a distant view of a Goosander. A total of 5 Cuckoos were seen by guests today and we had particularly good sightings of Golden Eagles and Otter.
May 25th
A beautiful day for photos, views and flowers and we covered the lot on our tour today, add in the birds and mammals seen and you can tell we had another good day on Mull are there any other kind. Eagles today were the star attraction but the Shelduck ducklings make me smile and today was no exception scurrying around in the kelp as their agitated parents tried unsuccessfully to keep control. I have seen better Otter than we saw today and it was thanks to Ryan, my spotter of the day that we saw one at all. New bird of the year seen today was Arctic Tern.
May 24th
A lovely day and I spent time in my local patch around Ardrioch today seeing 2 new species for my year list, Spotted Flycatchers and Long-tailed Tits. other notable species seen were Bullfinch, Blackcap, Tree Pipit, Treecreeper, Lesser Redpoll, Siskins, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Yellowhammers, Goldcrest, Willow Warblers and lots of Robins and Swallows. this morning I got our Midge machine going and hope to catch lots of Midges as they drive Pam nuts. As I write this blog I am watching the birds on our feeders in the lovely evening sunshine and enjoying the views across the Loch, we do live in a spectaculr, beautiful place.
May 23rd
A day of mainly big 5 sightings today with a White-tailed Eagle being mobbed by a Buzzard and male Hen Harrier giving good size comparrisons between the three. A sighting of two Golden Eagles after morning coffee and fabulous views of another pair at afternoon tea. An Otter sighting after lunch, not the best I have ever had but all right given the blustery conditions. Red Deer seen well again as were both types of Seal but I think the White-tailed Eagles and chicks in the afternoon were my guests highlight of the day.
May 22nd
A nice cool, cloudy, breezy day with no sign of rain and much harder birding than yesterday but we did manage a female Hen Harrier at our third stop being put up by a White-tailed Sea Eagle, both good views if somewhat distant but all my guests were birders and the birds hung around for some time so everyone was pleased wth the sighting. Earlier we had seen some Waders with Dunlin being the pick but often forgotten Oystercatchers are looking really good in breeding plumage, Redshank and Curlew were also seen. Stonechats were seen well and so were the Slow Worms and lots of Red Deer today but we had to wait till lunchtime for our first sighting of a Golden Eagle but it was worth the wait. In the afternoon we saw more good Eagle sightings with the highlight being White-tailed Eagle chicks in their nest and we also saw a brief Sedge Warbler and some Great Northern Divers which was a first ever for at least one of my guests. The day finished on a real high as we spotted an Otter at last bringing in a fish and giving us very close views for about 20 minutes, this meant we were rather late finishing the tour today but as guests were enjoying the show and we have no ferries to meet it doesn't matter.
May 21st
Over night downpours continued into the morning and it was not looking too promising when I picked up my guests today. The rain had eased but was still persistent as we arrived at our first stop and a Cuckoo flew past persued by a Meadow Pipit before we had all got out of the bus. Within seconds we had spotted a male Hen Harrier which gave us good views and then a Willow Warbler was found in a bush and then a Whinchat and then another Cuckoo fly past and we were still at our first stop. Linnet, Buzzard, Stonechat and Sand Martins were seen at the next stop and so it went on. At every stop something new including 3 sightings of Peregrine Falcons, my first Short Eared Owl of the year, both types of Eagle, Red Deer, both types of Seal an Otter and a Hare. In all on a great day of not great weather 52 bird and 6 mammal species were seen. I got home and Pam told me three people had cancelled because the forecast was not good and there is no rain in tomorrows forecast, ah pehaps thats why they cancelled.
May 20th
A dry warm day and Shelduck with ducklings always a delight to see and one I look forward to each year. Golden Eagles were in evidence sitting enjoying the warm weather, at least they were till they were rudely interupted by some annoying Hooded Crows. Two Otters today and a very brief Hen Harrier but lots of small birds were seen, including baby White tailed Eagle chicks being fed by their mother. Deer and Seals were behaving well and we saw Rabbits but no Hares today, so we returned home very warm and tired after another good day of wildlife watching.
Shellduck with ducklings
May 19th
A much nicer day with some actual sunshine and we saw 57 species in the day, the highlight for me was 2 Red Throated Divers and a superb Whinchat at our first stop. I know my guests really only want to see the Mull big stuff, Eagles, Otters, Deer and Seal but Mull has so much more to offer and I try on the tour to give guests a flavour of all Mull has to offer and maybe just maybe introduce some visitors nto becoming bird watchers or wildlife watchers which is even better. I think most of my guests appreciate this approach and for the record we saw brilliant Golden and White-tailed Eagles today, Red Deer and both types of Seal, very good Otter and Hares but if we had just chased after the big stuff we would have missed most of the rest.
May 18th
Today was similar to yesterday but calmer and I knew when I met our guests we were in for a good day despite the conditions. We laughed, poked gentle fun out of each other and all in all had a great time and as I sometimes say I had a ball. On to the wet wildlife, Otter, Seals, Rabbits, Hares, Red and Fallow Deer, ah but where are all the birds I hear you thinking, patience and I will reveal all. White-tailed Eagle sitting in a tree, a baby without umbrella poked its head up saw it was still raining and went back in the nest, Mum flew in to tuck it up, then Dad flew in with with food surrounded by a squadron of Hooded Crows, A Buzzard put in a guest fly past and a Golden Eagle mistakingly thinking the rain was stopping flew round, landed, flew round again, landed again, then flew to the top of a hill landed and gave us great views as it tried unsuccessfully to dry out. Great Northern Divers in good numbers and Red Breasted Merganser and Eider Ducks at the end of the day. Little birds seen were Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Stonechat and Whinchat and special birds Snipe and Lapwings with chicks. As we headed home a chink of blue sky appeared but the rain continued to fall, the jokes and laughter continued unabated and I must thank my guests for giving me such a great day, particularly Pete, Alan, Gay and Joy who certainly lived up to her name.
May 17th
It rained all day today and as we had no tour Pam cleaned the chalets and I did my few chores. Some sad news filtered through from yesterday, I mentioned the rising wind yesterday afternoon and it appears a local man got into trouble in his boat and trying to swim to shore unfortunately drowned. This sad event must make us think that you cannot take the sea and weather conditions lightly and not to sound to elf and safety always check out weather conditions before you take to the seas even in sea lochs, yesterday was a tragic lesson to us all.
May 16th
Back to normal today and Buzzards were out in force, it was a shame the other raptors were not so obliging. Little birds were much better and we watched the Whitethroat flitting from bush to bush until everyone had seen it. Good sightings of Chats, other Warblers, Linnet, Lapwings with chicks and Great Northern Divers and a very good Black Guillemot. Joy at last for our guests as we saw both Eagles well and a brilliant Otter before the gale force wind and promised rain put an end to an otherwise great day out.
Otter on a rockOtter in
                                    water
BluebellsBluebell
May 15th
Still low cloud this morning but fortunatly no rain and with Arthurs day off today I (Pam) set off with a lovely group seeing mainly small birds with Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings showing well. On our way down to our lunch stop with had a White-tail Eagle, distant to start with but eventually flying towards us to give us great size comparisons with Buzzards and Hooded Crows. As the clouds cleared away we eventually had good views of Golden Eagles and plenty of Red Deer and a few Fallow Deer but Otter eluded us until our afternoon tea stop when we spotted one on a distant island. All our guests saw it breifly before it dissapeared as we drank our tea and ate our cake then someone spotted it again, it had curled up for a sleep but as the tide was nearly knocking it off it's rock it had to move eventually giving good views before slipping off into the water.
May 14th
With the weather due to deteriorate at lunchtime I offered my guests Eagles or morning comfort breaks, they chose the Eagles which was a wise choice as we saw both Golden and White-tailed Eagles brilliantly and also unexpectedly a female Hen Harrier before coffee break. The fact that Coffee break was nearly an hour late due to guests crossed legs is irrelevant but it was their dicision to put seeing the wildlife before their comfort and I really respected their choice as after lunch low cloud and drizzle prevented us seeing anything well except for a male Hen Harrier towards the end of the day.
May 13th
A beautiful Spring day and lots of small birds about and Cuckoos everywhere but the sighting of the day was a Hare, brown on top but its undebelly,legs and feet still winter white it was certainly a lovely sight in a field with a Rabbit and Falow Deer. Golden Eagles put on a show late in the day but the white-tailed were more in evidence today with great views in the morning and evening. Otter today was brief to say the least but some guests saw it running over the rocks before magically dissapearing in the kelp. Another very good Mull day with 53 species seen well except for the dratted Otter which only put in a guest appearance. Thanks to Mike Murphy for the photo's.
Hare MMHare running
                                    MM
May12th
A day of real heavy showers, one lasted an hour and a half and I got drenched, at least it wasn't too cold. Little birds took centre stage this morning with great views of Whitethroat, Whinchat, Grasshopper Warbler, Stone chat and Cuckoo, later we saw a Sedge Warbler. At lunchtime in pouring rain I found an Otter, my guests said they would come and look at it after they had finished their soup and sandwiches???? fortunately it obligingly hung around long enough for them all to see it. After the rain stopped we had very good sightings of White-tailed and Golden Eagles and a male Red Breasted Merganser. Mammals seen were Common Seals and Red Deer, a good day even if I have shrunk 2 inches.
May 11th
An important day in the footballing year for Arthur and so I took the tour today and left him to sit in front of the TV. A good start to the day with a Cuckoo and Slow Worms followed by quite distant Golden and White-tail Eagles, it was not until around lunch time that we saw closer wildlife with a mum and cub Otter frolicing on the rocks before curling up and going to sleep, 3 Golden Eagles with the male doing spectacular 'Golden Ball dives' and a while later a male White-tail Eagle bringing food into the nest and the female feeding the small chicks who every now and again raised there heads to be seen by delighted guests. At the end of the day as I returned home I worried, was Arthur going to be happy or sad.................All was well in Arthurs world, Manchester City won the League!
May 10th
I had a day off
May 9th
A cool day with quite a breeze but mainly dry. We had to be patient today but it was well worth it with the Hen Harrier again putting on a great show, as did the Whitethroat, the warm up act for the Harrier main show. Stonechat and Slow Worms at our second stop and lots of wheatear everywhere. We saw both Black Throated and Great Northern Divers and heard but did not see a Red Throat, Whimbrel, Curlew, Lapwing and Dunlin all seen well as were Buzzards and a Sedge Warbler, mamals Seen were both types of Seal, Red Deer and Rabbit and once again at the end of the day an Otter. finally a mention to the White-tailed and Golden Eagles you are behaving beautifully at the moment, long may it continue.
Whimbrel
May 8th
A lovely day and brilliant Hen Harrier at the start of the tour as well as Cuckoo, Whitethroat, Willow warbler and a Golden Eagle my guests were well pleased particularly the ones who really wanted to see the Harriers. More Golden Eagles were to follow with exceptional views at the end of the afternoon. Another special sighting today were 2 Red throated Divers, a real treat being very close. White-tailed Eagles were seen well as were Kestrels, a Sedge Warbler and Linnets and Twite and to end a very good day an Otter the second of the day but much better than the first.
Red-throated Diver
May 7th
We had showers today and I do mean showers on our side of the Loch torrential rain on the other sunshine, ah well you can't win them all. Super White-tailed Eagle flying low over the Loch being chased by Oystercatchers, I would like to say it was great planning by me but really I just wanted to be on the nice side of the Loch. It took all day but I eventually found an Otter and it was a good one and really pleased one of my guests who desperately wanted to see an Otter in the wild. Two new birds today, a Whitethroat and 4 Common Terns and the bird of the day for me Black Throated Diver.
May 6th
A breezy but dry day and fantastic Otters, a mother and 2 cubs, we were able to see one cub suckling its mum as they settled down my guests were enraptured as you might well guess. Four White-tailed Eagles today 2 sitting in a tree out of the wind as I am fairly sure their nest has failed although this has not been confirmed yet. The other pair have certainly got a least one chick as they are bringing in prey. Golden Eagles, Whimbrel, Black Throated Diver,Eiders, and kestrel were the best of the rest today and of course we saw some Red Deer and both types of Seal, the latter somewhat forgotten because of the Otters in the same vicinity.
Otter family grooming
May 5th
Very windy this morning but we had a terrific start to the day with Hen Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Slow worms and 2 Otters in the first hour. At coffee break the weather had started to turn and rain on driving wind set in for the rest of the day although we did get Kestrel and Buzzards, very good Whimbrel, Razorbills and Black Guillemots. Red and Fallow Deer were seen as was a single Common Seal picked up by some eagle eyed guests. Although the weather became almost intoerable because we had seen most of Mulls big stuff due to our early start everyone was in good spirits and enjoying a lot of banter and Pam's hot soup, the day finished with Eider Ducks it was a very good day for them. Thanks to all our guests.
May 4th
"Do you still go out if it is raining?" we are often asked and today it rained and rained and yes we went out with a van full of guests. Now I know it is more pleasant if the weather is fine but what else would you be doing on Mull on a very wet day? In the event we saw 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles, one flying, a flying Golden Eagle, 3 Otters a mother and cub at one site and a single female at another, Red and Fallow Deer and a couple of Slow Worms. Other birds of note seen were Gannet, Razorbills, Guillemot and Black Guillemot, Black Throated, Red Throated and Great Northern Divers, Eider Ducks and Shelduck, Whimbrel, Snipe and Lapwing and all three Hirondine species and at the end of the day it was still raining.
May 3rd
A nicer day than was forcast and I went out looking for more incoming migrants and saw my first Wood Warbler of the year and we saw a better sighting of a Grasshopper Warbler but still no sign of Redstart. On a more sporty front Manchester City just managed to beat Everton this evening thus keeping alive their chances of winning the premier league, suppoting this team will be the death of me, no wonder I have high blood pressure.
May 2nd
A great tour today with 60 species seen on the day. The first stop was a real highlight with 2 male Hen Harriers having a scrap and they were joined by a Buzzard, then after breaking off one of the Harriers presumably the winner went into display mode giving our guests great views of a remarkable bird. At the same spot we saw a Whinchat my first on Mull this year and some Willow Warblers. We had good sightings of all the Mull special species and my guests were really delighted with the very good views of Whimbrel and Cuckoo.
May 1st
A cool dull breezy day but no tour as I have a BTO meeting this afternoon but I did go out and get 2 new birds for my year list. Firstly early doors a Chiffchaff in Aros Park, I also saw a pair of Bullfinches in the park as well. After breakfast Pam and I went to see if we could find any Redstart in the Loch Ba woods but only saw a male Blackcap, Chaffinches a Bluetit and tree Pipits. It was on the walk to the Loch when we saw a flock of Lesser Redpoll my second new year bird of the day taking me to 120 for the year. On Loch Ba itself we saw 3 Goosanders in breeding plumage they looked very smart. Thanks to all my BTO volunteers I think we might cover all our brreding bird and water bird squares on Mull this year.

May - 2013
May 31st
Cooler but still dry after a damp start and Pam joined me on the tour for the first time in a while and we had a good day wildlife watching particularly on the Eagle front, which are showing well at the moment. We had 2 guests from Spain on with us today and they were delightful, it is great when we can introduce visitors from other countries to the delights that Mull has to offer. We went to the Bellachroy with friends this evening and had a wonderful time. Congratulations to David and Catherine on their engagement it was really terrific news and Pam and I are so pleased for you and we don't want to hear any talk of cancellations.

Common TernsButterwort
May 30th
Scorcio with a breeze, a lot of red faces today, from the sun not embarrassment and another lovely tour. We had Americans on the tour today and they were interested in all the birds I had to show them as they don't get most of them in America. The Mull raptors were in splendid form showing off to our overseas visitors with Lapwings, Common Sandpipers and Stonechats also showing well. More stunning views around Mull today and the Bluebell wood with the sun shining through just took your breath away.
Bluebell WoodBluebells
May 29th
Another sunny (I wore sun glasses all day) breezy day. Just occasionally you get a day when guests although very nice are not very communicative and make my job a little harder trying to entertain them, today was definitely not one of them, it was full of laughs and good spotters, a very easy and enjoyable day for me and I hope for  them as well. All Mulls main wildlife performed well, some better than others but we had cracking views of Cuckoos almost in compromising positions, which brought out the naughty side in my guests, they nearly made me blush, but not quite. A great day out with friends, isn't that what it should be about and the views were excellent too.
May 28th
A lovely sunny day even if it was quite windy for most of the day. The views today were magical and the views of the Eagles and Otters, Deer and Seal equally so, it was a day when all my guests left with all their requests more than fulfilled. Sometimes my job is just brilliant and it more than made up for the disappointment of yesterdays cancellations, thanks to all involved the animals and guests.
Fallow Deer trioFallow Deer albino
May 27th
A lot of overnight rain which turned into a really great day of sunshine and light wind, the weather was so bad that we had 3 cancellations today, I am now worried that if the sun keeps shining and we don't have gale force winds we will get a lot more cancellations, bring back the gales, rain and cold when no guests cancelled. Brilliant views of Golden and White-tailed Eagles today, both types of Deer and Common Seal also seen as well as 53 bird species. Sighting of the day was a Mother Goosander with 8 newly hatched ducklings coming down the burn onto the Loch for the first time, where all 8 ducklings climbed upon mum's back and hitched a ride, a wonderful experience for all my guests and the 3 who cancelled missed it. I don't often get annoyed but on this occasion I did, particularly as we had turned away prospective guests who would have loved to have come out on a tour with us and they cancelled so late that we had made all the refreshments for the day.
May 26th
A lovely day and lots of great sightings including a very good Otter and a breeding plumaged Great Northern Diver that made one of my guests holiday let alone day out. Another highlight was a post hopping Cuckoo which all my guests managed to see through the telescope even if not on the same post, it was as if the little blighter was having a game with me.
May 25th
More nice weather and I did my last BTO walk for May today around Ardrioch, that is within a square kilometre and I saw 30 species of birds. The 2 top birds for me were Blackcap and Spotted Flycatcher as they were new for me on Mull this year. Other notable birds that I don't often see were Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll although they are in the garden but usually when I am out on tours, Goldcrest, Cuckoo and Treecreeper. This list does not include any birds of prey as I did not see any when doing the count but Pam sees most of them during the week if she is not too busy. Also it does not include anything on the Loch which is just outside my given square. We are very lucky to live in an area of so many diverse species and no disruption from human interference although this year the natural elements haven't helped them.
May 24th
A beautiful warm, sunny Spring day and what were we doing, BEACH CLEANING, the annual back breaking day. There were 2 Otters out as we arrived but no time to watch them just picking up litter from the beach, why do people drop litter at all especially in a lovely environment like ours on Mull. We get a lot of debris from fishing boats and fish farms as well and as I was trying to pull some rope out of the mud it suddenly gave way and yours truly fell onto my back in the said mud, looking and feeling somewhat foolish. At the end of the afternoon Pam and I and our friend Mari had cleaned up a large stretch of beach and there were lots of bin liners full of rubbish for the council to take away and this benefits the local school who get money from the council for our efforts. The school children teachers and volunteers clean up another beach and this gives the children a good lesson in how littering destroys the environment they live in.
May 23rd
Temperatures at 6.5 degrees Celsius, gale force winds, snow just north of Glasgow, has the world gone mad. It was back to my complete winter wardrobe today but we set off to find Mull's Summer species and we had great views of a Cuckoo complete with chattering beak and a look which said "where the He.. am I?" The White-taied Eagle we saw in the morning was clinging on to a branch like grim death, I still don't know if it flew deliberately or just fell off its perch.  Golden Eagles at lunch time, just showing off as if to say " We are the daddies " and an Otter on an island which was easy to see and then in the raging water where it was almost impossible to see. We had afternoon tea at our house and watched our garden birds as guests stood in pools of water as they thawed out.
May 22nd
Another very windy cold day and I was forced back into my winter base layers no wonder the birds are having a hard time and guess what we have not had any Basking Sharks yet. Wonderful guests again today who showed patience and fortitude. It was a case of you get what you deserve and in their case that was very good Otters a mother with a cub in a sheltered spot, they were sheltered, we weren't. White-tailed Eagle flying past just as we arrived at a pull off place, giving great views and the only one we saw all day. We then went to a Golden Eagle site and had to wait for over an hour till one appeared but my guests remained positive and in good humour despite almost having hypothermia. Just before the end of the day a brilliant Cuckoo seen by all the guests through the telescope, it was sitting on fence posts but playing games with us as I don't think any of my guests saw it on the same fence post as it kept flying from one post to another. A great day for the big stuff but our tours feel more like the David Attenborough programme Life in the freezer at the moment.
May 21st
Another windy cool day and it was a good day for Eagles with both White-tailed and Golden Eagles showing well, we had a very good male Hen Harrier hunting over moorland and some lovely Lapwing chicks which greatly pleased our guests. Todays guests were also interested in the history of Mull as well as the wildlife and it is on these days when our knowledge of the local history on Mull comes in very handy.
May 20th
Many thanks to Dave Wilford and his wife for agreeing to come out on Thursday instead of today, as due to an administrative error (not our fault) we had 10 guests to fit in 8 seats and my small brain was struggling to find a solution . Today weather was just the opposite to yesterday with my nightmare scenario, low cloud. In the end we did see some of Mulls special wildlife but not as well as i would have liked. On a happier note guests wanted to see the geology and standing stones on North Mull and we had great views of those, sometimes it pays to have more than one string to your bow.
May 19th
A perfect day for wildlife watching on Mull, dull, warm but with no wind, I know people like sunny days, don't we all, but for wildlife watching dull and calm is much better. To prove my point we started our day at 9-30 and by mid-day we had seen Golden Eagles, White-tailed Eagle, Otter, Red Deer and a male Hen Harrier. We were to see more during the day including 2 more Otters. Other birds of the day in a day when 59 species of birds were seen were Whinchat and Cuckoo.
Cuckoo and Meadow Pipit
May 18th
A very windy day and certainly not the best conditions to do some of my BTO squares but as I cannot get out on my own except Saturdays, needs must. As expected it was disappointing although there were at least 5 pairs of Common Sandpipers on the Forsa River on my patch. Readers who know about my hill bog patch will chuckle to know I saw even less than normal up there and my feet got very wet. On a happier note I did manage to get Wood Warbler to add to my Mull year list.
May 17th
A dry breezy day and warm out of the wind. As well as very good views of Eagles today we also had good sightings of some little birds at last, these included Stonechat, Whinchat, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Wheatear and Sand Martins at their nests. Other birds of note on a mainly bird watching day were Whimbrel, Lapwing with tiny chicks and Geese both Greylag and Canada with goslings. 
May 16th
Wow, Spring has sprung at last temperatures up to 16 degrees, birds singing, sun shining, Mull at its radiant best. The day ended on a real high with a brilliant view of a Male Hen Harrier, a wonderful view of a lovely Whinchat and a stunning Cuckoo all at the same time. The White-tailed Eagles had put on a show earlier in the day and the Red Deer had come out to enjoy the sunshine, There was a lot more birds and mammals seen but not as spectacularly although the second Otter did perform a lot better than the first. I must go now and do a little sun bathing on the lawn.
May 15th
Another nice day weather wise but feeling colder in a strong wind. Red Deer, 2 Golden Eagles and a White-tailed Eagle and we had only been going for an hour. These were quickly followed by some very fine looking Eider Ducks gossiping away like no bodies business and some Common Seals just hanging around as only Common Seals can. Guests wanted an Otter and we found one on an island but before all my guests had seen it the unobliging mammal had slipped into a very rough sea making it very difficult to see for anyone not used to using a telescope. Eventually, to my great relief it came out on another island with a fish so all my guests were able to watch it. Towards the end of the day we were rewarded with a male Hen Harrier, a Dipper and a fine male Stonechat. We returned home happy but very COLD.
Eider Duck
May 14th
A lovely day if not particularly warm and the Eagles were everywhere as were Buzzards. On the Eagle front we had are best views of both types of Eagle for the year today with a White-tail flying over us very close and the boat nowhere in sight, that's for readers in the know. A Golden Eagle also flew directly over us and I was so entranced like all my guests I forgot all about my camera, wildlife in the raw can do that to you and even though I see them most days some sightings are still so precious. Another Otter seen well today as were Willow and Sedge Warbler.
May 13th
We had everything today and that was just the weather, gale force gusts, sleet, hail, rain and at times even a little blue sky. The wind was so bad we had to go to a different area on Mull on todays tour just so that we could stand up but never the less we managed 3 White-tailed Eagles, 3 Golden Eagles, 2 Otters very close, Red and Fallow Deer and finally great views of both male and female Hen Harrier. Other bird of note were a party of 17 Turnstones in summer plumage, a lovely bird to see. Brilliant guests with lots of laughs, if you come to Mull it can sometimes take good humour, tenacity, patience but the rewards are worth the effort on this incredible wildlife island, it is certainly never dull.
Otter swimmingTurnstone
May 12th
Maybe we are coming to the end of winter, has the world turned upside down and we haven't noticed, more rain and cold biting winds all day. We had 2 Otters on the tour today, 2 White-tailed Eagles, miraculously a brief Golden Eagle, Red and Fallow Deer and Common Seals. Birds of the day were Whimbrels giving great views and a fabulous Yellowhammer. Now where is the fire and hot toddy to warm my bones, possible snow forecast for tomorrow, Oh joy.
May 11th
No tour as it is a Saturday and it is still raining. I brushed down the taping and filling in the bathrooms today and ended up looking like a snowman and in the cold winds feeling a bit like one as well. We have Tree Pipits in the wood and possibly a Wood Warbler but that needs more investigation. Deep depression as Manchester City lost in the F.A. Cup final but congratulations to Wigan and in particular Dave Whelan, if we had to lose it couldn't have been to a more deserving chap.
May 10th
A total washout so as I had no tour today I spent the day seeing what turned up in the garden from our kitchen window, sad I know but revealing none the less. We had a female Hen Harrier, 2 Ravens our resident Hooded Crows, a Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 2 Tree Creepers, Lesser Redpolls, Siskins, Coal, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Blackbirds, Robin, Dunnock, Yellowhammer, Rock Dove, Collard Dove and a Great Black Backed Gull. As one guest recently said you could nearly do the tours from your kitchen. So for anyone booked in at our self-catering don't forget to bring your binoculars and bird watch in comfort from your sitting room if the weather is bad.
May 9th
A wet start but some improvement during the day which was very similar to yesterday but the highlight for my guests was the Otter which they were all wanting to see. A couple of my guests had been coming to Mull for 3 years and hadn't seen an Otter, well they have now. In the evening on a drive out locally Pam and I saw a Male Hen Harrier carrying large prey which was either an obese Field Vole or a small Rabbit. We had earlier had a great pro-longed sighting of a hunting Short Eared Owl, thanks to Alan and Jean guests in our self-catering for pointing it out to us as it saved us looking for it ourselves.
Common
                            GullCommon Sandpiper
May 8th
I went to see if I could see anything at the Reedbeds this morning and was lucky to see my first Sedge Warbler of the year so a good start to the day as was the weather but it deteriorated as the day went on. We had good sightings of both Eagles, despite the rain, and Otter on the day and brilliant views of Lesser Redpolls and Siskins in our garden where we stopped for afternoon tea to get warm and dry. My guests said we could do the tours just from our kitchen there were so many birds in the garden.
May 7th
Scorcio, well not exactly but a massive improvement on recent days with a warm not freezing breeze. I woke up to find a Lesser Redpoll in the garden and my first on Mull this year, so I knew we were in for a good day. On the tour we saw my first Common Whitethroat of the year and Willow Warblers singing at every stop, Spring has arrived. Golden Eagles were performing as they had been kept down by the rain and White-tails too put on a show. We had 2 very good separate Otters and more Red Deer than you could shake a stick at. More birds and  Mull's incredible views, happy guests, my day was complete, " Oh Happy Day."
WrenWren
                            singing
May 6th
I am not going to mention the weather other than to say it hasn't changed, the wildlife we saw hadn't changed much either. I hardly ever say this but today was almost a carbon copy of yesterday except we had longer and better views of Otter. Tomorrow it is a better forecast and we might get to see a Golden Eagle again and hopefully some new returning migrants, as always I will keep readers of my blog informed.
Black headed Gulls at Calgary
May 5th
Raindrops keep falling on my head, yes, you guest it another wet and windy day and we got lucky we had 2 Ring-tailed Hen Harriers a White-tailed Eagle sitting and flying and an Otter all in the first hour and a half, that was in the rain, then it poured, it is still raining as I wright this blog, it has to stop sometime. Other notable sightings were Whimbrels, great Northern Divers, Gannet, Razorbills, Manx Shearwaters and a Black Guillemot. On the mammal front as well as Otter we had Rabbits, Red Deer Common and Grey Seals. On another very poor day weather wise we saw 46 bird species and 6 mammals another 50+ species day, I wonder how many we could see on a nice day, maybe it will be tomorrow, let's hope so.
May 4th
Another very windy and at times wet day but as I had a day off I went to Iona to try and get a Corncrake for my year list, Corncrakes are the only bird I count that I don't see on Mull even though we do have a few. As you probably know Corncrakes are notoriously difficult to see even though they are quite noisy so I managed to get one picture with a Corncrake in it, see if any of you can find it on the photo below? From this you can gather I did see the bird and also added a Twite at Ardalanish to my list of birds seen on Mull in 2013. Birds of the day were a field full of mainly breeding plumaged Golden Plover with a few Dunlin in with them, my count of the Plovers exceeded 200 and to those of you who have heard my cautionary tale there were definitely no Dotterel.
CorncrakeGolden
                            Plover
Golden PloverGolden Plover flying
May 3rd
Just a spot of rain today or should i say deluge but at least the wind had dropped. Dolphins for the 3 time on a tour this year and 3 Tufted Ducks what a way to start a tour and certainly cheered up my guests who were great by the way. A white-tailed Eagle looking suitably miserable in the wet in spite of recently becoming a dad again and 3 Red Throated Divers at our next stop, things were going swimmingly, literally. Then 2 Otters, oh joy of joys as my guests desperately wanted to see Otters and were threatening to do unspeakably things to me if they didn't see any. After lunch Dipper, 3 Whimbrel and a group of Red Deer jumping a sheep fence and then it poured so home for afternoon tea and a dry off.
May 2nd
On a day of pouring rain and wind I was met at Cathy Duffy's bed and breakfast by Harry and his gang from 2 days ago with window cleaner and a cloth and a lot of birthday wishes, cheers chaps it was most kind of you. On to todays tour, many thanks to all my guests for your fortitude and good humour on what could only be described as a trying day, in fact bl....y cold and wet. We did see a brief but good male Hen Harrier, a brief but good White-tailed Eagle, a brief but good Otter all thanks to my guests spotting skills, I take no credit for any of them. I did manage to find my first Whinchat of the year and we saw a lot of Great Northern Divers including a fabulous one in Calgary Bay in full summer plumage. Several Whimbrel were seen as were a skein of Barnacle Geese flying low over the water from Cailaich Point. The day finished with a beautiful summer plumaged Black Headed Gull at Dervaig, not a species we see in great numbers on Mull. My thanks to Blake and Sheila for the birthday card and all my guests who make my job special and find me so many birds, cheers to you all.
Black headed Gull
May 1st
Another nice sunny day which was enjoyed all the Mull big stars, except for us, Otters which despite lots of searching remained elusive. Hen Harriers however, they were a different kettle of fish with 3 flying together a male and 2 females, now I know male Hen Harriers can have more than 1 female but taking them out together seems a little strange even to me. Golden Eagles popped up everywhere as did hundreds of Buzzards, there wasn't actually hundreds it just seemed like there were. Bird of the day a male White-tailed Sea Eagle which flew past our noses literally this was definitely the wow moment of the tour. 

May - 2012 
May 31st
Weather same as yesterday but getting cooler and windier in the afternoon - All Mulls special species seen today, the otter was a bit shy hiding along the edge of the sea weed but at least everyone saw it then later we saw 5 White-tail sea Eagles, to one guests delight, doing more than just sitting in a tree. Lots of Red Deer were seen and at the end of the day a hunting male Hen Harrier. 
May 30th
Weather is it still May sunny, only light breeze warmer, OH JOY - Brilliant White-tailed Sea Eagle today and 2 golden Eagles, Buzzards galore but my bird of the day was a magnificent male Linnet. Goosander at our first stop with Common Sandpipers and Redshank this was followed shortly by 2 Lapwings mobbing thieving Hooded Crows, all good stuff. Good views of both Common and Grey Seals and also Shags and a Great Northern Diver. Ringed Plover were seen and Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Wheatears in abundance and not forgetting the fabulous Cuckoo which posed brilliantly for all guests to see it which could not be said of the Red Breasted Merganser. The day finished with some great views of the Small Isles and the Outer Hebrides oh let this be the start of Spring now Autumn is nearly over.
 
Cuckoo on postLinnet
May 29th
Weather Very windy, a few showers, cool and WINDY - Another trying wildlife day but with great guests. Lots of Gannets today and some good views of Manx Shearwaters also a Cuckoo trying to stay balanced on a post whilst cuckooing, in other words multi-tasking. Both types of Eagles seen well eventually but birds of the day were 2 Hen harriers a Male and Female seen really well at the end of another WINDY day.
May 28th
Weather much better sunshine with intermittent short very sharp showers - The best day for ages and I had to catch up on Chores, Unblock the sink, Clean through our water supply as the rain had brought down a lot of peat and clean the van as we were not sure what colour it was. I did all this with bad grace as I would much preferred to be out wildlife watching.
May 27th
Weather started fine but deteriorated after 11am more rain but less windy and slightly warmer -Pam had a journalist out with her today as I was taking the tour, I told her to start early as the forecast was not good and they had seen  a Jay (rare on Mull) great Golden Eagle and Bottle-Nose  Dolphins before we had started out at 10am it is true what they say the early bird catches the worm or in this case the wildlife. We saw A Golden Eagle but not great, but did get very good views of a Red Deer stag and White-tailed Eagle, but then so did Pam.
May 26th
Weather dry morning and then back to cold with rain and wind - I have been on Mull for 12 years now and can not remember a May with weather we are experiencing at the moment, apart from the first few days this May has been wet, windy and cold. This has not unduly diminished our wildlife sightings in fact we have seen more rarities but watching the wildlife has not been overly pleasant unless you are addicted to it like I am.
May 25th
Weather rain all day, windy and cool - As the weather dictated Otter was high on the agenda today and we had brilliant views of a mother and cub fishing for a long time, we all got very wet, however the adrenaline rush kept us warm until we got back in the van and realized how cold we really were, the heater in the van soon warmed us up. A great view surprisingly of a White-tailed Sea Eagle flying through the rain like a 747 flying through an ash cloud. Notable sightings today were Red Deer stag, a male Goosander and lots of Gannets some of them plunge diving.
GannetOtter
                            eating a fish
Red Deer stag in velvetGoosander
May 24th
Weather not as bad as predicted with no rain and only strong not gale force winds - 2 Golden Eagles, 3 White-tailed Eagles, 3 separate Otters, 2 Hen Harriers, Buzzards too many to count, 2 Kestrels, 2 Great Northern Divers and Red Deer everywhere, what a difference to yesterday. We also saw Lapwing with 3 chicks  and Shelduck with 2 ducklings and some brilliant Gannets. I saw 2 Red Throated Divers this evening but did not see the Sabines Gull at Calgary that Pam saw in the late afternoon.
Sabine's GullSabines Gull Calgary beach
Sabine's
                            Gull by Alan Spellman
May 23rd
Weather beyond belief Rain Gale force wind I can't believe this is May - Highlight of todays tour were 2 Red Throated Divers, otherwise it was the size of the waves, the waterfalls going up hill and the good cheer of the great guests we had out on todays tour. This evening I had A call from Alan Mullbirds Spellman and went and saw a Sabines Gull the first I have ever seen and a Red Necked Pharalope at the same site so I have seen 3 rare birds on Mull in the last 24 hours so there is some good to be had for the bad weather.
May 22nd
Weather still very windy with a few heavy showers, not as bad as forecast though - the tour was great with a very good group on board, although we had great sighting all day it was paled by the 'mega' rarity we found when we got home. A SCARLET ROSEFINCH was feeding on the nuts just 5 yards in front of our kitchen window as we were washing up the dishes from the day. This is only the 2nd one of its kind recorded on Mull, they are a rare visitor to Britain in Spring and Autumn.
Scarlett Rosefinch and SiskinScarlett Rosefinch feeding on nuts
May 21st
Weather Heavy rain all day - With all this rain we are getting at the moment it means that our grass is growing really well, this means that so are our lambs so I though I would show you some pictures of how they are growing. Bramble and her friend in the first picture were our pet lambs from last year that we fed on the bottle and now they have lambs of their own. You can also see how well Arthur's woodland trees are growing in the background.
Bramble and her friend with their
                            lambsEwes and lambs
Black ewes with white lambsEwes and
                            lambs
May 20th
Weather All 4 seasons in one day starting with a heavy hail storm, still very windy - a lovely group out today who asked for everything and that is exactly what they got including the Barn Owl peeping out of his nest box at the end of the day and a close snipe flying. If you go out with an open mind it is surprising how much more you see. 
May 19th
Weather Only a couple of brief showers in a largely dry day, cool and breezy - Mulls main species seen well but the two standouts were White-tailed Sea Eagle in the morning and brilliant Hen Harrier at the last stop of the day although a lot of patience was required before the Harrier appeared. The guests today were great and we had a lot of laughs and looked for all the wildlife Mull has to offer including House Sparrows and Chaffinches just the kind of tour I like. Had to mow lawns when I got home as the grass was drier, just the kind of work I don't like. Very good spotter on the tour today, many thanks Emma.
May 18th
Weather not the heavy rain as forecast but still very windy with frequent showers, cold in exposed areas - A good start to the day with 2 WTS Eagles sitting out after the last few days of rain, the female didn't stay out for long, soon going back to the nest to care for the young chick(s), this was followed by flying Golden Eagle being bombed by a Kestrel. Bird of the day was a cuckoo being continually harassed by 2 Meadow Pipits, wonderful views with great colouration of the cuckoo. Later in the day we had another Golden Eagle and a male Hen Harrier.
May 17th
Weather High cloud and calm morning with mist and drizzle as the afternoon wore on - After the monsoon conditions of yesterday today was great and we saw all Mulls speciality species including the Otter in the pictures below. White-tailed Eagles were really good today and we had a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Raven. A short but good view of a male Hen Harrier ended a very enjoyable day.
Otter
                            on seaweedOtter
                            eating
May 16th
Weather Heavy rain all day after heavy overnight rain - A lot of nests could well have been washed out in the last 24 hours as the Dervaig Reedbed was completely flooded this morning. Ground nesting birds will also be under a great deal of pressure and all in all it has been a very traumatic last few days for breeding birds on Mull, let us hope it is not too late for most of them to try again. 
May 15th
Weather rain for most of the day with a breeze low cloud - I was not looking forward to today when i saw the weather, not for myself but because I thought that the guests might moan all day, how wrong can you be, they were up for everything we could see in the poor weather even House Sparrows. This is by far the best way to approach wet days as you never know in the world of wildlife. The day started with Goosander, Red Breasted Mergansers, Grey Heron and Redshank. At the next major stop we saw another Goosander, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Shags, our first af many Great Northern Divers, Eider Ducks, Sand Martins all our regular Gulls including Lesser Black-Backed and Common Seals. After coffee we saw Grey Seals, Common Sandpiper and took in some wild flowers, before lunch we had added Greylag Goose and Lapwing to our list of birds. At lunch we had a great view of a Twite and Wheatear and Common Whitethroat were seen. A visit to a waterfall in full flow and more wildflowers followed and then we saw some Red Deer. The weather improved a little and as the rain stopped for an hour or so  we saw some birds of prey which had been kept down all day by the rain. First as always after rain the Buzzards then a Kestrel and  fantastic views of a pair of hunting Short Eared Owls, my first on a tour this year. What followed was unbelievable as a pair Of Golden Eagles got up and started hunting right in front of us, my best view for weeks. The day finished with a pair of White-tailed Eagles sitting on a rock and then one took off and flew round being mobbed by Gulls and then the curtain of rain came down on another successful day.
May 14th
Weather showers all day - No tour today and no chance of mowing lawns either so i got up early and went to Tobermory before anybody had woken up except for the birds and managed to get to see my first Chiffchaff on Mull, great. Later I saw a Sparrowhawk fly through the garden and across our fields towards the woods. I spent most of the afternoon watching my team win the F.A. Cup for those of you who watched it we were in blue, Hoorah.
May 13th
Weather in spite of an awful forecast the weather was cool and fairly calm and mainly dry - Talk about friday 13th being unlucky, we saw 3 White-tailed Sea Eagles both in trees and flying, good views of Golden Eagles, a brilliant Otter, Red Deer as always and a magnificent male Hen Harrier to end a terrific day. We also saw both types of Seal very well and had a wonderful Cuckoo sighting, Linnet and Goldfinch were the little bird sightings of the day and to end this most unlucky day Pam and I went up into our wood and had a wonderful sighting of a Grasshopper Warbler my first this year, oh that everyday could be Friday the thirteenth.
May 12th
Weather reasonable morning heavy and persistent showers in the afternoon - We managed to see 3 Golden Eagles before the showers set in and lots of Red Deer. 2  White-tailed Sea Eagles between the afternoon showers delighted our guests and we managed Buzzards and a very nice Kestrel one of 3 seen in the day just before the end of the day. Bird of the day my first Greylag Goslings of the year.
Greylag Geese and goslingsGreylag Goose and goslings
May 11th
Weather Less rain and less windy, not great but much improved on last couple of days - Today we had 3 Otters two of them a mother and cub gave guests great views for over an hour at lunch time. Good sightings of both Eagles flying and perched the White-tails in a tree the Goldies on the ground. Bird of the day for me the male Hen harrier sky diving in display flight.
Corncrake Special lead by Pam for wild Isles Week
As you can see from my pictures below we had a very successful Corncrake walk on Iona with 100% of my guests seeing a Corncrake. During the afternoon we watched the male secretively displaying to the female, a first for me, some guests saw both birds at the same time. A very pleasing and long day.
Corncrake callingCorncrake
CorncrakeCorncrake displaying with head down

May 10th
Weather rain and windy morning drier in the afternoon although still windy - We saw some beautiful golden Plover very close up in the morning but wildlife watching was very tricky. In the afternoon as the weather improved it all happened as birds that had been down all morning started to appear. We had White-tailed Sea Eagle feeding chicks, an Otter very close taking a late lunch, A very good Golden Eagle being mobbed by Ravens directly overhead and on our way back to Dervaig Red Deer stags and as a finale a wonderful view of a male Hen Harrier hunting. Sometimes although wet days can require a lot of patience they can give you some wonderful sightings, personally I think they are much better for wildlife than hot sunny days.

Otter swimmingOtter
                            with fish
May 9th
Weather very windy some sun, wind turning to gale force - Not the best weather for watching wildlife but you have to do the best you can in difficult circumstances. We saw both type of Deer today the Fallow Deer although hard to spot in the woods were impressive when all guests saw them they thought there was only 2 or 3 but as they got their eyes in realized there were 10 or 12 of them. Both Eagles were seen well although patience was really required here. Birds of the day some beautiful Eider Ducks before the wind really took hold and a good Whimbrel, I had a good but brief view of a male Hen Harrier but only one of my guests saw it.
TwiteButterwort or Bog Violet
May 8th
Weather light rain but windy start to the day but as the weather improved the wind speed did as well - A very good birding day with both Twite and Linnet seen well and Goldfinches were seen everywhere. Waders seen were Redshank, Dunlin, Whimbrel Common Sandpipers, Lapwing, Oystercatchers of course and a lovely flock of Golden Plover. Both Red Throated and Great Northern Divers were seen as were Eider Ducks, Shelduck, Red Breasted Mergansers and Mallard some of which now have ducklings. On the sea we saw Kittiwakes, Gannets and a Great Skua and birds of prey Were Kestrels, Buzzards and both types of Eagle and a Hen Harrier to end the day. Common and Grey Seals were seen as were lots of Red Deer and Rabbits but Mammal of the day was a Mountain Hare. All in all given the poor weather it was a very good wildlife day out.
Golden Plover maleGolden Plover male and female
May 7th
Weather cloudy with light rain but brightening up as the day wore on - I climbed up a gully with a friend today looking for Ring Ouzel and the views we saw were breathtaking, the views of Ring Ouzel were none existent. We did see a Golden Eagle, Wheatear, Common Snipe, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits and although the wildlife was a bit thin on the ground the views and peace and quiet and to be out there with your own thoughts in such beautiful surroundings more than made up for it. A truly memorable day.
May 6th
Weather mainly cloudy with occasional light rain showers, breezy - Another excellent White-tailed Sea Eagle day but it was the Golden Eagle that stole the show today, circling above us carrying a Rabbit before it landed and proceeded to pluck the hair off the unfortunate mammal with great gusto, we were eating lunch at the time. The other main highlight of the day was a Brent Goose seen with Greylags very unusual for North Mull.
Brent GooseRed breasted Merganzers
May 5th
Weather cloudy with light rain, windy and cool - We had a day when we saw all the Mull prime species with 2 Otters the first one for half an hour at morning coffee. White-tailed Sea Eagles were excellent today with 2 separate birds flying well, Golden Eagle although seen flying it was quite distant and I thought I saw where it landed but it turned out to be an Eagle looking rock. We saw both Red and Fallow Deer and to end the day a really nice male Hen Harrier. My birds of the day were a pair of Red Throated Divers and some more Twite, we also had a great view of a Sedge Warbler. 
Red-throated diverFallow Deer Stags
May 4th
Weather Sunny with more breeze - A tough day today wildlife wise with very little happening, we had to wait for ages for a White-tailed Sea Eagle to fly, but it was good when it did and we had another very good view of one unexpectedly later in the day. We saw Golden Eagles but very high and not what could be called spectacular. At the end of the day however we managed to see a really close male Hen Harrier which is a wonderful bird to see close up. We did see lots of Red Deer and Common Seals and a really nice view of a Sedge Warbler and we had another Whinchat today. In the late evening Pam and I went looking for Short Eared Owls and managed to find 2, one of them sitting on a fence which was fantastic. Mull is looking absolutely fabulous at the moment with all the sunshine and dry weather the views everywhere are just stunning.
May 3rd
Weather sunny with light breeze , warm - Hen Harrier a male both flying and resting at the start of the day with Red Deer stags with antlers growing back soon followed and then one of the highlights of a very good bird day a Cuckoo really close a first sighting for a lot of my guests who had heard them many times but not seen one. We saw 2 Red Throated Divers after lunch and then 4 beautiful Twite on telephone lines just above where we were standing at the time, some guests did not believe there was a bird called a Twite until I showed them in the bird books I carry, oh ye of little faith. We saw Whimbrel again today and out came the bird books again and for me a special view of a Stonechat that seem to be very scarce this year.
May 2nd
Weather scorchio - Pam did the tour today and I did my breeding bird square around Ardrioch, the birds seen included Lesser Redpoll, 5 different Yellowhammers, Bullfinch, Blackcap Sparrowhawk, Treecreeper and Song Thrush, in all over 40 species of breeding birds were seen in the one kilometre square around Ardrioch, we are so lucky to live here.
May 1st
Weather the same as yesterday but even more windy - The only place to start this blog is with the White-tailed Sea Eagles which today put on a real show. We turned up at a spot I know and we saw an Eagle in her usual spot, before I could put the scope up 3 more White-tails appeared above her 2 with talons down, this got her up  as one of the three disappeared behind the trees. We now had 3 Eagles circling very close to us giving us great views when low and behold 2 more appeared on the scene and we witnessed a White-tailed Eagle ballet in front of our eyes, even I was impressed and I see them most days. now and we saw at least 4 today, we also heard two distant calling Cuckoos. As well as the Buzzards, Eagles and Kestrels we are seeing more Peregrine Falcons and Merlins this spring. In the hills the sound of spring is all around us as we look for the Eagles with calling Curlews, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, it is perfect to be out there listening to these evocative sounds.


May - 2011
May 31st
Weather as yesterday but more breeze - If yesterday was Golden Eagle day today it was Otters with a total of 5 Seen in 2 family groups giving us great views of Otters in the wild doing what wildlife does if left undisturbed. We saw a total of 3 Golden Eagles and 3 White-tailed Eagles today and had a brief view of a male Hen Harrier. Little birds seen well were Yellowhammer, Whitethroat, Sand Martins flying in and out of nest holes Wheatears and Pied Wagtails. There were only 3 Dunlin at Dervaig today so maybe Spring Migration is nearly over if they leave it much longer they will meet the early birds on their way back. Finally to end a great day both Arctic and Great Skuas were seen as well as Gannets and Kittiwakes, it was my first Arctic skua of the year.
May 30th
Weather Sunny warm and quite calm - No golden Eagles on friday today we had 7 with some great views just over our heads. We had an Otter for about 20 minutes which pleased my guests immensely, lots of Red Deer and at afternoon tea a White-tailed Eagle. Bird of the day for me had to be the Black Throated Diver in Loch Tuath and I also had my best view of the year of a Sedge Warbler.
May 29th
Weather cloudy with intermittent heavy showers calm - A breeding bird square today and the best sighting was of  Lesser Redpoll, there were also 6 calling Yellowhammers in the square and a nesting Tawny Owl. This afternoon Pam and I went looking for more ticks for my bird list and saw 2 new species for the year on Mull, Common Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher bringing my Mull list total for 2010 to 130 species. On the way to see the Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher we also saw a cracking male Hen Harrier.
May 28th
Weather cold breezy and cloudy - Some days you go out and nothing much happens today was one of those days although we saw a brilliant White-tailed Eagle, a Cuckoo, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Dunlin, Redshank, Common Terns Greylag Geese with Goslings, Sand Martins, House Martins, Swallows, Skylarks, Lapwings, Red Deer, Common and Grey Seals, we did not manage a Golden Eagle or Otter so it was a disappointing day.
May 27th
Weather sunny after overnight rain but warmer - A very good tour today with very enthusiastic guests with birds of the day being a Common Scoter at Calgary and a Cuckoo which was a first for most of the guests. Both Eagles were seen very well as were 2 Otters. Other bird sightings were Whitethroat, Yellowhammer and Sand Martins carrying food into nest holes. We also had very good Red Deer today and Grey and Common Seal on the same island giving the guests a good chance to see the difference between the two species.
May 26th
Weather another cool dry breezy day - Another good day but no Otter no matter how hard we tried, we did however get brilliant White-tailed Eagle and a good if distant Golden Eagle. There were 2 late Great Northern Divers in Loch Na Keal and as always some good views of Eider Ducks and Red Breasted Mergansers. We had a good sighting of a Cuckoo and a really strange one of a Kestrel which landed in a land slip and proceeded to do an impressive piece of break dancing for about 5 minutes, I have never seen this behaviour before from a Kestrel it was more like a Bird of Paradise doing its mating dance, very strange.
May 25th
Weather like yesterday but cooler in the afternoon with north westerly breeze - A brilliant day with 4 very nice Dutch guests a great couple of good wildlife watchers and a regular visitor to Discover Mull Tours Dave Bowen who is unique. I don't know what impression Dave and my banter left on our other guests but it left me warn out but it was one of the best fun days we have had this year with so many laughs and also one of the best wildlife days of the year. As I keep saying wildlife watching does not have to be dull and boring it can be fun with a lot of laughs. Thanks Dave
May 24th
Weather sunny but cooler with strong breeze - Only 2 White -tailed Eagles today but one was a cracker, a juvenile which gave one of our guests a great photo. we also saw only one Golden Eagle today but it was brilliant as it was close for a Goldie and being mobbed by 2 buzzards gave guests a great size comparison. A brief Otter and lots Of Red Deer on what was otherwise a quiet day.
May 23rd
Weather sunny and warmer - White-tailed Eagles every where today, it is strange how wildlife can act differently every day which is why it is so enthralling, we saw 7 White-tailed Eagles today but only 1 Golden Eagle. The best bird of the day was the beautiful Turnstones at Calgary in full summer plumage, absolutely stunning. There were another 35 Dunlin feeding like mad at Dervaig on their way to their breeding grounds further north, very late. A Goosander at our first stop was followed at lunch time by 2 Red Throated Divers and of course we saw both types of Seal and Deer and the Mull  rare breed piglets and Highland calves ( E-Woks.) More wildflowers are appearing by the day and Orchids should be coming up all over Mull soon.
White-tailed EagleYellowhammer
Water-avonsButterwort
May 22nd
Weather warm, dry, cloudy but getting sunnier throughout the day - No tour today so I got up early and went to try and get some little birds for my list, I succeeded in finding Wood Warbler and Goldcrest which I have struggled with all year, I also had good views of Lesser Redpoll and Whitethroat. At 7-45 I climbed a hill to do my regular BTO breeding bird survey and saw very little except Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Snipe which is all I usually get for all my climbing efforts.
May 21st
Weather cloudy but warm and dry - A great day for the Mull specials today although we had to work round the weather to get them. Fantastic White-tailed Eagle in the morning and good sightings of Fallow and Red Deer and also Common and Grey Seals. The cloud closed in at lunch time so in the afternoon we concentrated on Otter and had a fabulous time watching a mother and cub for over half an hour. The weather was improving so we went back to look for Golden Eagle and were rewarded with a really close aril display of hunting Golden Eagle. Other birds of note on a very good day were Linnets. yellowhammer and Eider Ducks.
May 20th
Weather low cloud again but still warm and calm - After an early sighting of a White-tailed Eagle in the morning followed by great views of a flock of Linnets, we arrived at one of my lunch spots with very little hope of seeing Golden Eagle in the mist but as I started to get the lunch out a guest spotted a White- tailed Eagle fly across the Golden Eagle territory and low and behold the Golden Eagle got up to see off the White-tail. It only flew round for a couple of minutes until the White-tailed Eagle disappeared and then disappeared back in the mist to its nest area, this was a definite case of right place at the right time. Later in the day we had an Otter all be it a brief one.
May 19th
Weather low cloud all day but warm with less wind - Common Dolphin had to be the highlight of the day as we so rarely see them on land based tours. Lots of sea birds were seen as well as White-tailed Eagles, Otters and Red Deer, we saw 2 Cuckoos in the day and as the weather warms up the wild flowers are at last putting in an appearance, check out some of the pictures below.
BluebellsMountain
                            Everlasting
BogbeanOrchid at Eas Force
May 18th
Weather warm and sunny - A great day for Eagles and Otter with all 3 species being seen really well with Golden Eagle bringing in prey to nest site a fabulous sighting for our guests. Other great bird sightings of the day were Cuckoo again a first for some guests, Whitethroats, Sedge Warbler, Great Northern Divers and a first for me this year a Whinchat. Guests today were lively and chatty which makes all the difference to the enjoyment of the day, as I keep saying wildlife watching does not have to be deadly serious.
May 17th
Weather sunny warmer and dry - Another good day today with guests who are now friends and some Mull regulars who stop and talk to me on the trips which is also very nice, I do enjoy talking to them and seeing their joy at being on Mull again if only for a week or two, all of them need their Mull fix for the year. I took our guests today to Eas Force waterfall and showed them the Mountain Everlasting plant as none of them had seen it before, it is a bit nondescript but still a good plant to see, we try to cater for all tastes on our tours, not just Eagles and Otters as we feel it gives guests a more rounded day. On a personal note I saw my first Common Terns on Mull for the year today bringing my year total for Mull to 125 and also my first Orchid of the year.
Eas Force in the sunshineOrchid
May 16th
Weather some sunshine and some cloud but it remained dry but cool when the sun went in - A great day today but it was not always easy, after early Red Deer and a sitting White tailed Eagle we went to Salen Bay and saw some very nice Eider Ducks and a pair of Mute Swans. On to our coffee break and 2 more White-tailed Eagles and this time one of them flew giving guests great views. We then had a Whimbrel fly in and it was picture book perfect with its head stripes and shortly after a fabulous view of a Linnet my favorite bird. Otters and Golden eagles proved elusive however and it was at 3pm at low tide when a sharp eyed guest spotted 2 Otters under some seaweed a tremendous spot which earned him an extra piece of cake before I could relax. We watched the Otters foraging for ages before they finally disappeared, so we went back to a Golden Eagle sight for afternoon tea and like buses where before there had been none 3 appeared at the same time. The day finished with some nice views of waders including these summer plumaged Dunlins feeding frantically.
Dunlin feedingDunlin
                            feeding
May 15th
Weather another warmer day with sunshine and the odd shower - No wildlife watching today, as it is a Saturday and we have our chores to do, Pam cottage cleaning and I had to deal with the sheep fencing as the lambs were looking to get out, I also cleaned up the back yard and set up the Midge Magnet for the season. The weather has started to warm up so we thought it won't be long before the first Midges appear and we want to be prepared like all good scouts.
May 14th
Weather sunny and whoopee warmer with slight breeze - We had a lovely tour today seeing both Eagles and Otters as well as Red Deer and both types of Seal. Very good Black Guillemot today and Great Northern Divers and the Black Tailed Godwits are still at Dervaig. Bluebells are at last appearing in sheltered spots, we are also seeing Milkwort and Lousewort on the tours and The Mountain Everlasting and Bog Beam which was pointed out to me by a botanist last year has started flowering again, maybe winter is over at last.
May 13th
Weather rain, breezy and cold - Not a great day to be out wildlife watching but we did get the Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlins still at Dervaig and a Buzzard and Redshank at Croig. We went back to Ardrioch for morning coffee to warm up and not get too wet for the rest of the day, I find that guests rarely enjoy the day if they are cold and wet all day, so half an hour warming and drying off in front of the Aga whilst looking at the views from the kitchen and the many birds in our garden goes down really well on wet days. Birds seen in the garden were Blackbirds, Collared Doves, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Siskins, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Pied Wagtail, Swallows, Sparrowhawk and rock Doves which was a first for one of our guests so he was really happy. The weather hardly improved for the rest of the day but we managed to see White-tailed Eagle Both types of Deer and Seal some Great views of Great Northern Divers, Kittiwakes and Razorbills amongst other things. Guests also enjoy seeing the geology on Mull and the wildflowers and learning a bit of the history of this wonderful island on dreich days like today.
Whimbrel
May 12th
Weather another lovely day and slightly warmer - Brilliant views of the Small Isles, Skye, Staffa and Iona today, with the Outer Hebrides showing up well over Coll. Magnificent Otter today the best for sighting we have had for ages of a mother and cub feeding, grooming and finally sleeping. 4 White-tails seen and too many Buzzards to count, brief view of a Golden Eagle which we lost as a Kestrel flew through. My highlights of the day after the Otters were The Dunlins and Black-tailed Godwits back at Dervaig.
May 11th
Weather a lovely day with less wind but more sun though it is still quite cold for the time of year - Another day of Eagles today with good sightings but not like the awesome ones we had of the White-tailed Eagles of yesterday. An Otter was seen and all the guests saw it before it disappeared behind an island and did not reappear darn it. Pam did her last Corncrake specials today and in the morning session they had good views of this elusive bird, they also saw Corncrakes in the afternoon but some of her guests missed them. This was her last Corncrake special as the scheduled for 13th have had to be cancelled as she has flu and we are not doing them next year. Over the years this has been a very successful venture for us and Pam should be congratulated on the success rate she has had at finding and showing these elusive little birds to guests over the years. 
May 10th
Weather another fine day but very cold and windy - I had a great start to the day with 4 Black-tailed Godwits at Dervaig as I went to pick up our guests in Tobermory, there were 15 Dunlin in the same area as I came home in the evening. Brilliant white-tailed Eagle today see photos and a male Hen Harrier at lunch time. Other birds of prey seen in the day were Kestrel, Golden Eagle, Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk.
White-tailed Eagle sitting in a treeWhite-tail Eagle
May 9th
Weather another lovely day but slightly cooler with wind picking up as the day went on - Golden Eagles were the highlight birds of the day, although Great Northern Divers continue to provide excellent views. 5 whimbrel flew in as we were watching Gannets and other seabirds from a good sea watching vantage point, and we then saw 2 Great Skuas fly by. The views today were special, the conditions so good we were able to se the Outer Hebrides without our binoculars. Some of the fine Geology Mull has to offer was pointed out to one of the guests who had expressed a particular interest.
May 8th
Weather the same as yesterday - On a beautiful day I was stuck inside suffering from the lergy trying to get better as we have a big wildlife week coming up. Our Yellowhammer joined our other birds in the garden again today Pam saw 5 Dunlin at the end of Loch Cuin when she went to the shop in the village. Grasshopper Warblers have now joined the Tree Pipits in our woodland and wildflowers are now poking their heads out as the weather warms up slightly.
May 7th
Weather sunny warmer just lovely - a great Eagle day today with good sightings of both types of Mulls famed Eagles, it was not such a good day however for Mallards. We spotted a Mallard Duck with about 10 ducklings the first youngsters I have seen this year as we were oooing and aaaing about the baby ducklings a White-tailed Eagle dived into the water right through the middle of the group and right in front of us and caught a duckling which it then carried off being harassed by all and sundry to feed its chick, it was total carnage but spectacular. On a more quiet front saw my first Arctic Tern of the year sitting on a buoy, tired after its epic migration.
May 6th
Weather warm and cloudy - Arthur's feeling under the weather today, man flu I think! so not much bird watching, but I did take the dogs for a walk through the woods and back over the river which isn't to high at the moment and over our land. I went up onto a bank to check out a kestrel box which we had put up into a tree a couple of years ago, at first it looked empty but suddenly the box rattled and out flew a Tawny Owl.
May 5th
Weather still cloudy but warmer and calmer - A walk down the Glen Forsa river today a first for us and a real treat, We saw White-tailed Eagle, lots of Curlews and Chaffinches, 3 pairs of Common sandpipers on their breeding territories and a flock of about 14 Common Crossbills but they were flitting about so much that we were not sure how many there actually were, it was certainly the most we have ever seen at any one time. Earlier in the day we saw Golden Eagles, Buzzards and lots of Eider Ducks. On our way home Red Throated and Great Northern Divers were seen and Pam saw her first Whitethroat of the year.
May 4th
Weather cloudier but a little warmer than yesterday thank goodness - A day of fewer sightings but those we had were magnificent. We picked up 2 guests in Dervaig and on our way into Tobermory to pick up the other guests we saw 2 Hen Harriers both a Male and Female. On the tour we started with some good views of Eider Ducks then magnificent White- tailed Eagles, the rest of the morning was spent looking unsuccessfully for Golden Eagle and Otter, but we did manage Great Northern Divers and Red Breasted Mergansers. After lunch hoorah a fantastic Otter really close for 20 minutes, the wind came to our aid this time as we were down wind and the Otter never had any idea we were there. fabulous sightings of Red Deer followed and to end the day a Short Eared Owl really close and the first on our tours this year, we watched the Owl for at lest 10 minutes as it hawked all around the vehicle, I was as transfixed as were our guests.
May 3rd
Weather sunny again but very windy and cold - A birding tour today in which we saw 5 White-tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles, Gannets, Manx Shearwaters a feeding frenzy of Kittiwakes and Razorbills some Guillemots and 2 Great Skuas. Little birds seen included 3 Linnets, Whitethroats, Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins but a first for a Discover Mull Tour all our guests in a full bus got to see Grasshopper Warbler through a telescope, a remarkable feat as this is such an illusive bird and notoriously difficult to see.
May 2nd
Weather sunny breezy but cold - It was my birthday today, one with a zero in it and we took our family and friends around North Mull to show the ones who have never been up before the area in which we live. We took them to Calgary Bay, Loch Tuath with the views over to Staffa and Iona, Eas Force Waterfall and Loch Na Keal before returning home via Tobermory. The Island was at its pristine best in lovely sunshine with all the magnificent views and we were able to see some of the wildlife on offer on Mull although today it was not a priority, they all came home more than little impressed with our paradise of an island.
Brown
                            family on tourBrown
                            family at Eas Force
May 1st
Weather lovely but cool - My brother brought my Mum and Dad up for the weekend today so Pam was very busy preparing a party fo us all, so I took the Grand children and dogs on a long walk to Quinnish around the woodland walk. It is amazing how far a 2 and 4 tear old will walk when they think they are in charge of the dogs. It is amazing how much the dogs enjoy walking with the children when they know they are really in charge.
Arthur with his birthday cakeGranddaughters feeding Bramble


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