Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Wild about Mull - Day 2

White-tailed Eagle (Pete Walkden)
White-tailed Eagle (Pete Walkden)
White-tailed Eagle distant shot
Unique signage on Mull
Otter delight (Pete Walkden)
Grey Heron being closely watched by Otter
Great Northern Diver
Golden Eagles soaring high
Tawny Owl
Yet another Wheater

Before breakfast I had my first explore of the islands towards Lochdon and in very windy conditions I recorded a Spotted Flycatcher, good numbers of Wheater, Red-brested Meganser, Rock Pipit, Wood Wrabler, Shelduck and Whimbrel.

After breakfast we travelled west for about 30 minutes taking in some amazing scenery and finding our first pair of Hen Harriers gliding around looking for prey. Our day was spent with Bryan Rains (Wild about Mull) who was recommended to us by midlands photographer Pete Walkden. Bryan drove us around the local area trying to find us exactly what we wanted to see. We were quickly seeing Great Northern Divers, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank, Dunlin and Ringed Plover before we travelled higher up the moors. After stopping at a quiet location and setting up the scope we had views of our first White-tailed Eagle sitting on the nest. This is one of 30 pairs on the island. These giants of the sky have settled in very well to Mull since their re-introduction which generates must needed income for the island.

After a session searching for Otters unsuccessfully we headed upland on the other side of the loch. We did stop at the local seal colony that also had Eiders and Mergansers. This secluded road gave us perfect views of the valley below us. Whilst waiting for birds of prey we watched a newly arrived female Cuckoo, Wheatears, Crossbills and a Tree Pipit close to the mini bus. The slight bit of drizzle then stopped and the temperature seemed to increase. As if by magic a male Hen Harrier came out to fly about the woodland below us. Buzzing from this moment, two Golden Eagles came into view and displayed right above us for about 30 minutes. Absolutely amazing. The downside of seeing a pair together probably indicated that their own nest had failed. The recent snow has made it difficult for the nesting birds.

Bryan had another treat us for by showing us a Tawny Owl in a barn on the hillside before we returned to the loch for more Otter searching. This time we hit the jackpot with a mother playing with her two cubs and another Otter enjoying the sun watched by a Grey Heron.  Before wrapping up for the day we returned to our first Eagle spot where we found the male White-tailed Eagle that treated us to a fly past. The size of the bird was amazing, the eight foot wing span seemed to take ages to get going as it drifted upwards. A brilliant moment.

On our journey home we found yet another pair of Hen Harriers and 30 Pink-footed Geese. Quite a day……………

Many thanks to Pete Walkden for his superb images that really helps my blog. 

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