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Post Info TOPIC: Isle of Mull


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RE: Isle of Mull


Spent a day on Mull today. Ferry over at 10, back at 7. Two adults with a car a bargain at 40.

Highlights were 3 White Tailed Eagles,3 Golden Eagles, Hen Harrier, 4 Velvet Scoter, 5 Great Northern Diver, 2 Slavonian Grebe, Red Throated Diver, 5 Black Guillemot, 4 Goldeneye and hundreds of Fieldfare. Plus the usual shore birds.

Also 4 Grey Seal and an Otter.



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Holiday in first week of August staying in the north just west of Tobermorey.

Golden Eagle - made a daily commute in front of our cottage just before dusk.
White Tailed sea eagle - at fionnphort harbour, loch na'keal, and loch scridian. As I was leaving I found out sea eagles at loch na'keal were not showing well as they were preoccupied with a sheep carcass on the top of the hills.
Hen Harrier .... Few in comparison to the many I saw on Islay the week before.
Corncrake - heard but not seen on Iona.

Ferry crossing ... Black guillemot, kittiwake, gannet, Manx shearwater and harbour porpoise.

Staffa boat trip ... Plenty of puffin, great skua, a dolphin and excitable seals ...... Hen Harrier and white Tailed sea eagle as we approached the harbour on our return.

On my next visit I think I will go a few weeks earlier ..... Apparently the sea eagles had just left the nest so were more dispersed so proved more difficult to locate. Equally the captain of the boat to Staffa said the puffins would be gone within a week.

Location wise ..... Most restaurants bars. And shops are up near Tobermorey in the north of the island where we stayed. But for most of the sites for the specialist mull birds you need to be in the south or middle of the island.

There are a couple of good mull bird sights ..... Eg mullbirds.com.

C

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Spent last week on Mull in hot weather which brought out the midge and the horsefly (Clebs). There is no escape. Concentrated on the White Tailed Sea Eagles whose offspring are nearly all flying now. Great views from the boat trip when both the male and female came to feed. Views from the road are excellent but they do sit round a lot. A trip to Staffa and Lunga produced my first view of Arctic Skua. On Lunga a Great Skua was on view looking out for stray Puffins. Also here were Guillemot, Kittiwake, Fulmar, LBB Gull, GBB Gull, Gannets, Razorbills, Rock Pipits aplenty, Shag, Cormorant, Common and Arctic Terns, Oystercatchers (really common all over Mull), and Wheatears. Back to the ferry point on Ulva great views of a Female WT Eagle and a juvenile sitting in a tree overhanging the loch.
Saw Golden Eagles almost every day and other Raptors included Kestrel and Peregrine at Grasspoint, Hen and Marsh Harrier (both F) at Lochdon and Buzzards almost everywhere.
On the coasts were Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Mute Swans, Curlews, Whimbrel, Eider, Garganey, GN Diver (one sighting all week) RT Diver, (several pair) BH Gulls, Herons, Canada Geese, Ringed Plover, RB Merganser. Starlings, common Sandpiper, and off Garmony point five common Scoter.
A walk round Aros Park saw Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Swallows, House Martins, Redstart, Song and Mistle Thrush, Robin, Wren, Goldfinch, Coal, Great and Blue Tits, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Greenfinch and Siskin.
Over the top from Salen to Dervaig were M Pipits, Pheasant, Hoodies, Raven, Whinchat, Stonechat, Linnets, Skylark, Tawny Owl, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Doves, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and a single and only Cuckoo of the week.
A trip to Iona to record Corncrakes almost ended in failure. At least eight calling birds but no sighting of them until a five second flight right by the fire station gave me my first sighting minutes before I got on the ferry. No record shot but perhaps a trip next April/May will give me a better chance. Was rewarded with a record shot of a Twite.
Been a good year for the local WT Eagles and was told the food source this year has been supplemented by the large influx of Greylags breeding on the Island whose young make easy pickings. Long may it last.

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Had a great day on Mull on 17th June. Highlights where 2 Golden Eagle,2 White Tailed Eagle,Red Throated Diver,Rock Dove, Hooded Crow,Hen Harrier(M),Eider.What a fantastic place it is!!!!


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Mull Trip 16th to 18th May

Me and Chris Chandler did another Scotland trip last week and so I thought it'd be rude not to put in a report. We had great weather on the first 2 days which made it perfect for birding.

Ferry crossing over to Mull and on the return ferry:
Black Guillemot
Guillemots
Razorbills
Gannets
Arctic, Common, Sandwich Terns
Gannets diving close to the ferry, especially the one over to Iona from Mull
Kittiwakes


In the bays and rocks driving around Mull:
Common Sandpiper
Shellduck
Red Breasted Merganser (probably the most common duck on the island, there were so many pairs of them about)
Eiders (second most common duck, even more common than mallards aound the coasts and lochs)
Great Northern Divers (abundant)
1 Red Throated Diver
Rock Pipit
Shags
Cormorants

Driving inland on Mull at the side of the roads and in fields:
Wheaters
Stonechats
Chiffchaffs
Willow Warblers
Blackcaps
Whitethroats
Hooded Crows
1 stuning female Cuckoo a few feet away from us, unstartled by the car, we got out and had good views before she flew further into the forest.
2 male cuckoos at different locations

RSPB Guided Eagle watch
1 immature White-Tailed Eagle flyover (it was from the East Scotland project according to the RSPB guide who was leading us but it made its way over to the Hebrides for the better habitat)
2 Adult White-Tailed Eagles feeding their young - breathtaking close up views of them in flight and it was the first time I'd seen one so I was really pleased
Siskins and Greenfinches in the conifer trees

Iona:
Just as we stepped off the ferry there was a group of Linnets feeding a few feet away from us in the first garden you come to. There were 3 twites with them, feeding on what had been spilt from the garden bird feeder. They didnt have a care in the world and we got amazing close ups of the twites. There were Siskins on the feeder (really good for finches). I was pleased to see greenfinches were fairly common as well.
Just as we were walking towards the youth hostel there was a small walled field on the left of the main road through Iona and there were some birders looking into the field. Sure enough there were 2 male corncrakes calling and we spotted them.
1 Peregrine on Iona
Corncrakes calling everywhere!
A great view of a corncrake in the middle of a field right near us. This is a great time of year for corncrakes because the grass wasnt too high to hide their heads when they stretch up to call to each other. Later in the year it gets more difficult because the grass grows above their heads. The whole time I was there I didnt see a corncrake fly and I must have seen 6 birds.

Other birds on the way up to Mull:

RSPB Baron's Haugh:
Black-Tailed Godwit
Redshank
2 Goosander
Teal
Gadwall
Lesser Redpoll
Reed Warbler
Sedge Warbler

Great trip,

Rob









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Have to agree with previous comments, this really is a great report Joe.

You certainly bring the area to life and you've caused it to move up my places I must visit soon list.

Your decision to postpone the revision for a week was definitely the right one !

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Excellent report - thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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great report Joe I'm salivating at what i could get to see

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Bill


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Well here goes...we went to Mull last week on a family holiday the other week and, given that I've got some reasonably big exams coming up I wasn't going to do much birding and concentrate on revising. But I thought I'd set myself a modest list of seeing and photographing 2 targets, Otter and Tystie (or Black Guillemot). I saw both and photographed only the former, but given that we were there in a week consisting soley of wall to wall sunshine I more or less abandoned my revision!

We arrived on the four o'clock ferry from Oban to Craignure and missed the Sperm Whale that has been hanging around Oban bay for the last week or so, but on driving up we picked up a Dipper so I wasn't all that dissapoinnted. We didn't do much birding that first night, but the day had clearly brought a large fall of Redwings in as the fields were crawling with them and Song Thrushes at a far greater density than anywhere I've ever seen. Lapwing and Greylag Goose were noted in the fields as we drove to where we were staying in Loch Na Keal, geographically almost in the centre of Mull, west of Salen. We settled down to some tea and I put some feeders up outside to see what we could get.

Next day MWIS said would be clear at altitude so we climbed up Ben More, something I briefly considered sitting out on but was glad I didn't as we got both Hen Harriers and Short Eared Owls in the way up, the top was a bit hairy as it was thick drifting snow and we didn't have crampons but we made it OK. We headed home to find Red Throated Diver offshore in the sea loch, along with Grear Northern Diver too. And Red Breasted Merganser, who's morning procession to a burn that flowed out to the sea became a feature of Mull life. The feeders were now attracting Chaffinches in small numbers.

Next day dawned very bright and it was clear it was going to be another belting day weatherwise, so I forced myself into a morning's work before I lost all resolve. I had a look along the shore and found a Stonechat pair, very flighty and skittish, as well as a Buzzard pair who mated in the trees above my head! In the afternoon we headed north to Calgary Bay where I spent a good hour photographing Rock Pipits in a burn, only to find a Snow Bunting I'd overlooked earlier feeding with them! A stunning male bird just beginning to get his summer plumage, I got some reasonable images. We headed home via Tobermory where we saw a juvenile Golden Eagle, along with a juvenile of its larger cousin the White Tailed Eagle as well as a mixed flock of Golden Plover and Lapwing. As the light died I noted a Yellowhammer at the end of the road, a bird that became an absolute highlight for me later on. With a clear night it was the first time i'd really seen the milky way with no light pollution or cloud cover, a nice little treat.

Next day we left late to go to Iona, completely misjudged our journey times (it's 2 hours from Loch Na Keal!) and a arrived at around midday. However, it is the drive from Craignure to Finnport I would recommend for anyone looking for Harriers, we started calling it 'Harrier Glen', despite not actually being one. We got to witness a food pass between a pair along the way, as well as watching numerous birds of both sexes hunting. We also got Otters on this south side of Loch Scridain, a mother and cubs sleeping in a big pile on a rock! This went down well with all, until some photographers put them up (honestly I don't know, what are they like?) Iona itself was very quiet birdwise, but 10 Bottlenose Dolphin in the straits provided some entertainment, especially with several individuals breaching by some 3 feet at times! There were far fewer harriers on the way back, but we took a different route which might explain it. At home all my dreams came true at once and I saw a pair of yellowhammers gracing my makeshift feeder rig, causing me to rush outside with a canvas and tentpole hide and erect it right next to the feeders so I could observe the birds and not disturb them. It was at this point I noticed a raft of Divers off shore, all Great Northern. In none of my books is this behaviour mentioned, is it common? There were 27 birds all together for dusk.

Next day started early with a boat trip on the Lady Jayne, the boat owned by a couple from Mirfield of all places! However it isn't simply a boat, it is the boat that goes out into the loch to allow for viewing of the eagles as they fish. The catch however I that the bird is coming down to a fish thrown into the water by the skipper, which has led to accusations of dependency and even of the eagle being 'tame'. We waited about three hours for the bird, after which time the shout went up that the bird was present. I was in the toilet at the time so I had to get back on deck sharpish! The bird flew in, took the fish in one swoop and left. What struck us was how in control the eagle was of proceedings, you couldn't help but think we were being strung along by the bird and not the other way round! I think it's the efficiency of the bird, not a moment wasted. It's hard to think of them as tame for this reason. On the way back we saw still more Great Northern Divers and a Mink.

Still I got some decent shots off and went home to watch the Yellowhammers, who came in to feed on regular circuits of about a half hour, spending a lot of time infuriatingly behind me calling loudly! One even sat on top of my hide, the shadow cast over me! Very special to get so close to such an amazingly coloured bird. I watched the divers form a raft again and called it a day.

Next day some relatives joined us from the mainland and we walked up Loch Ba, watching the courting lapwings and a massive female White Tailed Eagle as well as a single summer plumage Slavonian Grebe on the loch. The weather closed in as we headed for Tobmory for the evening. On the way home in the dark everyone else saw a Barn Owl fly low across the woad but I missed it sat in the middle seat! Another fantastic night's astronomy too, if only I'd brought my proper scope!

We set off the next day to a reportedly good Otter spot near the official eagle viewing point the south side of Ben More, but none in sight. Still, both eagle species were in the air at once for a good while allowing for a good size comparison, which got even better as Buzzards started to mob the Golden Eagle (a late juvenile), showing how much smaller they really are. An excellent sight, so good that the birding gods clearly decided we'd had our lot and promptly we dipped any Harriers as we drove back via Craignure!

On the Saturday we were due home on the 10:30am ferry, so I got up before dawn and packed my stuff and headed to the hide. It really is something to see, the sunrise over a sea loch and to be willing the sun to hurry up and get onto the bird table! I waited around an hour and missed two visits by the Yellowhammer (and a solitary Redwing) before the sun reached me and I got some decent shots, I actually had to zoom out to fit the bird in the frame. I packed up quickly and we headed home. All in all a very respectable 64 birds, some pleasing photographs and not a speck of revision! So I've got a nice week's worth of the stuff now.

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Another tip I just remembered. If you go on the Mull birds website you can order a copy of the yearly report. It's currently 7.15 and a cracking buy for the price. It's got loads of good info in it on bird species and where to see them on the island as well as all the reports from the last year.

-- Edited by Nick Isherwood on Monday 1st of April 2013 09:03:49 AM

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Be sure to give a report Joe. I'm going to Tobermoray 13th April for a week> You could save me from getting lost


-- Edited by Bill Lavery on Sunday 31st of March 2013 11:56:33 PM

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Bill


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Tobermory harbour (and the area just north of it, via the footpath to the lighthouse) is one of the best spots I know for Black Guillemots (Tysties).

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Many thanks for the help everyone, will be sure to check all the sites out before leaving! Anyone know if the Black Guillemots will be breeding in Oban yet?

Many thanks,

Joe

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these are good links with some excellent photography mull is our favourite place in Scotland BUT KEEP IT TO YOURSELF shhhhh



http://www.wildaboutmull.co.uk/
http://www.discovermull.co.uk

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THE GREAT THING ABOUT BIRDING ISNT JUST THE BIRDS


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Theres plenty of information at this link

http://www.mullbirds.com/LATESTREPORTS.html

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Salen Bay never disappoints if you want otters ducks and waders at low tide. Loch na Keal is a must for golden and sea eagles and large numbers of slav grebes have been there recently but pretty much anywhere round the island can produce good spotting. It really is a magical Island hope the weather is ok.

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You can get them anywhere on the coastline on Mull but like Henry says Loch Na Keal is meant to be the best spot. It's also good for White tailed Eagle there too.

Check out the Mull birds website for loads more info.

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Joe Wynn wrote:

Spending a week on Mull next week and whilst it isn't a birding holiday I would still like to get a bit done, does anyone know any good spots? Also hoping to finally get Otter having missed em last year on Shetland.

Many thanks,

Joe





I saw several Otters along the north shore of Loch na Keal a few years ago Joe, but they are widespread and any rocky shoreline could have them. They are quite easy on Mull, i'd be suprised if you didn't connect on this visit!

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Spending a week on Mull next week and whilst it isn't a birding holiday I would still like to get a bit done, does anyone know any good spots? Also hoping to finally get Otter having missed em last year on Shetland.

Many thanks,

Joe

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Had a family weekend in Argyll and then did two days on Mull. We did a morning ferry, then Staffa for Fingal's Cave and up to Dervaig where we stayed in the excellent Bellachroy Hotel/Pub. Second day we had a walk round Tobermory and then drove to Calgary Bay and from there back for the afternoon ferry. Not a birding trip as such but the wildlife was so spectacular everyone joined in the spotting! Highlights included:

. Short Eared Owl - in the sunshine over the road
. Pair of Golden Eagles displaying over Beinn Bhearnach
. Superb grey male Hen Harrier near the road to Fionnphort - hunting in the rain
. Puffins rafting on the sea near Staffa
. Otter diving for crabs and eating quite a few on a rock 40m out in Loch Na Keal
. Very dark Rock Pipit on beach at Fionnphort
. Sea Eagle flying 30m away past the car near Calgary Bay [think it was a radio tagged bird - going to look to see if I can report it] first spotted by my six year old.
. Displaying Red Throated Divers on a Lochen
. Great Northern and I think Black Throated Divers on the sea lochs [going to check my IDs with Ian :)]
. One unconfirmed raptor - possibly female Hen Harrier - views inconclusive
. Waiting for the ferry home, tempting Hooded Crows in with a spare sandwich and watching a Herring Gull eat a starfish - a leg at a time...

Displaying Buzzards and Red Breasted Mergansers everywhere, Fulmar and Shags nesting on the basalt columns of Staffa, Black Guillemot seen in most locations.

Fallow Deer, Common Lizard and Red Deer also seen but what a superb place - despite very mixed weather some of the views were simply stunning - the cliffs at Gribun being my favourite spot - I think the kids enjoyed kite flying on the beach at Calgary.


-- Edited by Pete Welch on Thursday 12th of April 2012 08:42:19 PM

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Spent a few fantastic days on Mull last week - Tuesday to Saturday

Some of my highlights of the birds and wildlife seen throughout the week included:

2 Hen Harrier - both female (but in different locations) and both gave very good views. One was nearly run over by our tour guide's van, only escaping by using the updraught of the van

White Tailed Sea Eagle - Juvenile showing well around the nest site on Loch Na Keal, hopping from tree to tree. Exceptional views of the male bird coming to collect fish thrown by the Skipper of the boat that Nick describes below. Views down to 10 feet! The sound of the bird swooping down, over the boat, with the air rushing through its feathers was really something

Golden Eagle - a pair including an individual who was mobbed by 5 ravens and a kestrel before settling on a hillside.

Osprey - a single bird was seen heading south through Grasspoint at eye level, mobbed by two oystercatchers A good sighting as the birds don't breed on Mull.

Peregrine - A single was seen over the Ulva ferry landing stage. Peregrines are surprisingly (to me anyway) scarce on the island due to Golden Eagle predation.

Otter - single individual seen traveling down the coastline at Grasspoint

Red deer - Hinds and stags seen throughout the island, but a highlight were two stags silhouetted against the sky on top of a hill

Black guillemot - Lots seen from the ferry and from Grasspoint

Rock pipit - a pair carrying food were seen at Croig

Gannet - good views of one over ulva ferry, and others dotted around the island

Unfortunately no divers, owls or cetaceans were seen

A Fantastic trip


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Excellent report Nick. It's certainly wet my appetite for a visit next year.

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Just back from an excellent week on the Isle of Mull. This was my first visit to Mull on what was really a family holiday but with a bit of planning I managed to get a bit of birding done.

25th June
Oban and the ferry to Craignure produced a few Black Guillemot fishing around the harbour and out into the Sound. The beach in Oban was also a bit of a hang out for Hooded Crow (a bit of a novelty at first but you soon realise that they're everywhere). The ferry across to Craignure wasn't short of sightings either with at least 15 Puffins seen fishing on the Sound along with Guillemot, Gannet and also a few Seals and Harbour Porpoise thrown in for good measure.

Arriving in Craignure, I was really chuffed to see my first Golden Eagle within five minutes of leaving the ferry. It was soaring over the high ground to the left of the main road to Salen.

Our accomodation for the week was an absolutely beautiful house on the coast at Salen. The main window of our lounge was only 20 yards from the waters edge (and we even had a private pier for our use too). The views across the Sound from the window were breathtaking.

A little walk along the shore that evening from our house threw up lots of Oystercatcher, Common Gull (very common over the whole island), Common Sandpiper, Shag (which use the old pier nearby as a roost) and 6 Sandwich Tern which turned out to be quite rare on the island.

A Peregrine seen out of the lounge window at dusk completed a lovely start to our adventure here.


26th June
The weather was terrible today, it never stopped raining all day (quite usual for Mull) and after spending a few hours in Tobermory with the wife and daughter I was ready to get out to explore somewhere so in the evening I decided to head over to Loch Na Keal just to recce the area.

I took the southern road along the Loch and as the clouds hugged the mountains it seemed a very gloomy and forboding place. On the way back though I had an odd experience in that as I was driving through the semi wooded area approximately half way back I saw a cat cross the road about 100 yards ahead. As I pulled up where it had crossed I could see it looking at me from the bushes from only a few feet away and it appeared to be a Tabby cat. It then disappeared but it left me wondering if Wild Cats were native on Mull - I found out later that week that there have been several unconfirmed sightings - mmmmmm!!

27th June
As we were getting ready to go out this morning we were greeted with the sight of two Otters (regular visitors outside the house) fishing. We watched them for a good ten minutes diving and coming up with fish and crabs literally within 30 yards of our window - magic!!
We then spent a day at Calgary Bay so the little one could play on the beach which was really enjoyable. The area of 'Machair' to the rear of the beach was alive with juvenile Wheatear, Stonechat and Sand Martin from the nearby colony. Two large families of Eider were out in the bay but unfortunately I couldn't pick out any Divers - a little too late I think. Other birds seen here were Arctic Terns, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.

28th June
As the weather promised to be good on this day we decided a trip to Iona would be the right thing to do. The journey down to Fionnport was a long one but the scenery more than made up for it. When we reached the ferry the sun was out in force and just a light wind was blowing. The sea was crystal clear and with the skies reflection it appeared turquoise in colour. With the white sand beaches you could have easily mistaken it for somewhere in the Carribean. Anyway, on the island I had one objective in mind - Corncrake!! While the other half went round the Abbey I decided to stake out the surrounding fields. Walking up by the Columbus Hotel I heard the first bird and was taken aback at how loud they are. There were people having afternoon tea on the lawn of the hotel whilst this Corncrake 'rasped' away from only yards away - no-one seemed to bat an eyelid - didn't they know how rare they were?
I spent the next 90 minutes walking the perimeters of a few fields (mostly near to the Abbey) and managed to hear 4 separate birds but unfortunately no sightings - worse than Quail to spot!!

On our way back from Iona we decided to travel along Glen More. This has to be one of the most stunning drives I've ever done - mountain peaks on either side for miles on end and not another soul in sight. Halfway down to my wifes panic I suddenly made an emergency stop as up above one of the peaks were three soaring Golden Eagles. Out came the scope for some rally memorable views!! Also seen here were 5 Red Deer with one being a huge Stag!!

29th June
An early morning start saw me down at Grasspoint and this place didn't disappoint as a female Hen Harrier flew right over the bonnet of the car just as I got over the bridge. I was literally 5 feet away from the bird as it just made its way over to the heathland to my left.
Further down the road here saw lots of Red Deer at very close range and a further male Hen Harrier out towards the point itself. Also a family of Whinchat were very nice to observe just by the car park along with quite a few Siskin.

I should point out at this stage that I had still not caught up with any White tailed Eagles. I had been looking around for them but no luck yet. I had also been told that the Loch Frisa birds had failed to raise any chicks this year too so there was no point in going to view that nest site. Anyway, someone had told me of another nest site (well publisised) on the north side of Loch Na Keal so later that evening I went to look for it.

I soon found the nest site area and the female was sitting high up in her look out tree sporting her very fetching yellow wing tag (being slightly sarcastic). As I was watching her though the male then flew down and landed on the shoreline literally within 80 yards of me - I nearly fell over in amazement!! A few Oystercatcher then put him back up again but he settled again for a few minutes on a small rocky islet just 100 yards away which allowed me to get some damn fine record shots. What an experience!! He was soon put up again by crows and the like and as he flew around the Loch he had upto 40 birds chasing him at one point - they mustn't get a minutes peace!!

30th June
Grasspoint at 7.00am again this gave me good views of another male Harrier near the car park and a Short Eared Owl. Again the Whinchat family was around and a Grasshopper Warbler reeled near to the bridge.

We all decided to go over to the White tailed Eagles nest for 11.00am (a fishing boat comes down the Loch each day at this time and throws fish to the male bird - apparently you can book to go on this boat and get views down to 30 yards). At 11.00am a boat appeared way out in the Loch and suddenly the male bird appeared - he did a couple of small loops over us for a few minutes before slowly making his way out to the boat. Through the scope you could easily make him out as he scooped a fish up from the water before making his way back over to the nest.

A visit over to Glengorm castle (not really a castle) later in the day yielded 4 male Cuckoo all within 100 yards of eachother on the telephone wires on the estate road.

1st July
Another day out at Calgary. Not so many Wheatear this time but all the other birds were present as per the other day.

2nd July
Managed to steal a quick hour down at Grasspoint before our ferry crossing back to Oban and was fortunate to see another White tailed Eagle on a rock just off the point itself - a nice fitting end to what had been an amazing week.

I can honestly say that as this was my first ever time on Mull, it will definately not be my last!! Its a truly amazing island and whilst driving around it constantly gives you the feeling that you'll see something good everytime you go around a bend in the road. Can't wait to go back again!!

If anyones interested, I've posted quite a few shots on my Flickr page (see address below) of some of the birds and wildlife I saw.

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Just enjoyed a week up on Mull. We stayed in a cottage on the Grass Point Road. I'll attempt a proper trip report to Ian in due course but the highlights were;

28/05/11
From Oban to Craignure Ferry;
Black Guillemot(2), Gannet(4), Red Breasted Merganser(2), Red Throated Diver(1), Eider(7), Oystercatcher(8)
Loch Don;
Short Eared Owl(1)
Grass Point;
Whinchat(1), Cuckoo(2), Short Eared Owl(1),Buzzard(2)

29/05/11
Aros Park;
Cormorant on the lake
Tobermory;
Chiffchaff (1) calling behind old church on the front
Tobermory Landfill/Refuse Tip
Raven (2)
Glen Gorm road (Mishnish)
Male and female Hen Harrier
Grass Point Road;
Golden Eagle(1) over Carn Ban, Short Eared Owl (2), Hen Harrier (1m), Cuckoo(1), Grasshopper Warbler(1)

30/05/11
At the cottage;
Linnet (2), Siskin (2)
Leth-fhonn;
Short Eared Owl(1), Hen Harrier (1f)
Loch Spelve (north end);
Mute Swan(1) - only 3 in total seen on the island.
Strathcoil;
Bullfinch(1), Raven(2)
Kinlochspelve;
Turnstone(1), Great Northern Diver(1), Golden Eagle(1)
Loch Uisg;
Golden Eagle(2) - a pair adding wood to a "presumed" unseen nest in a rocky gully. Peregrine(1)
Lochbuie;
Golden Eagle(1) - on ridge of Ben Buie
On the beach - Whimbrel(1), Ringed Plover(7), Dunlin(2), Redpoll(2)
Croggan;
Eider(20), Black Guillemot(1)
Loch Don;
White Tailed Sea Eagle(1)

31/05/11
At the cottage;
Cuckoo(1)
Loch Sguabain;
Golden Eagle(2)
Gleann Seilisdeir (Kilfinchen Bay end);
The pair of Sea Eagle were at the nest, the female (green tag, right wing) feeding the two chicks. Golden Eagle(2), Buzzard (2), Sparrowhawk(1) were all in area.
Loch Meadhoin;
Little Grebe(1)

01/06/11
Oskamull;
Rock Dove(2)
Ballygown;
Yellowhammer(2)
Burg;
Yellowhammer(2)
Dervaig (Poll Athach);
Goosander(2)
Loch Frisa meeting point;
Hen Harrier(2) - including food drop by male
Garmony Point;
Arctic Tern(4), Dunlin(7), Ringed Plover(8), Sedge Warbler(1).
Redpoll, Pied Wag, Eider, Common Sandpiper here

02/06/11
Loch Scridain (Aird of Kinloch);
Black Headed Gull(7), Hen Harrier(1m), Red Throated Diver(2)
Loch Assapol;
Little Grebe(1), Cuckoo(1), Kestrel(1)
Uisken;
Rock Dove(2), White Wagtail(1). Sea watching from the little headland at the east produced plenty of Kittiwake, Shag, Guillemot with a couple of Razorbill and Black Guillemot, one Manx Shearwater and an adult summer plumage Pomerine Skua (with full spoons !) drifting east (and 20mins later presumed same bird west).
Glen More;
Peregrine(1)
Grass Point;
Short Eared Owl(1), Redpoll(2)
Loch Don;
Mute Swan(2), Red Breasted Merganser(2), Cuckoo(1)

03/06/11
Leth-Fhonn;
Reed Bunting(1)
Glen More;
Golden Eagle(1)
Loch Scridain (near Aird Fada);
Red Throated Diver(1), Spotted Flycatcher(1)
Iona;
Jackdaw (11), Corncrake(1) calling in the field outside the Heritage Centre, Rook(14), Sedge Warbler(1), Rock Dove(2), Twite(1) on slopes of Dun I, (couldn't find any Tree Sparrow)
From beach at northern end 6 Ringed Plover with 5 summer plummage Sanderling

Some of the obove noted as highlights are so, as they are uncommon on Mull (unlike down here where we have lots of Rook, Yellowhammer, Jackdaw, BH Gull, etc).

Also superb views of Otter, Grey and Common Seal and 3 Common Dolphin.





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On wednesday I visted Lunga on an organised boat trip (Turus Mara)
Had artic skua on the journey before reaching the island.
Although the birds seen on the island weren't that rare or unusual, it was still a fantastic experience. The sheer proximity that you can get to the puffins, as well as nesting shags, guillemots and razorbills was amazing. I got within two feet of the puffins with a bit of belly-crawling and the opportunities for photography and observation were incredible.
It was a place you could just sit and watch and listen for hours while all the action happens around you - well worth visiting!biggrin.gif

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Tuesday was a relativley quiet day, spent exploring some of the island.
Highlight of the day though was a glorious basking shark around 10 feet from the shore at the rocks at Caliach point. Just magical.

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Bumper day with Arthur from Discover Mullbiggrin.gif

Best of the bunch

3 white tailed eagles, including fantastic views of a pair perched and then flying together about 200 yards from where we were near dervaig.

2 golden eagles circling up in the hills together with a brave lapwing mobbing

1 male hen harrier also circling above our heads into the clouds close to the northern coast.

3 red throated divers at Calgary beach along with a kittiwake.

great views of an otter and her cub near the hen harrier

1 swift - the first of our guide's year and i'm told a bit of a mull raritysmile.gif

4 species of hirundine (swallow, swift, house and sand martins) all in the same area.

And finally a pair of breeding rock pipit

A fantastic daybiggrin.gif

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First day on the island today and what a spectacular place!

29 species seen today without much trying!

Best of the bunch were:

1 barn owl standing outside nestbox in Dervaig

2 Black guillemots - not really on the island but at the port in oban. I was looking out of the window on the ferry (which was still in dock at oban) and could hardly believe my eyes when a pair flew in and landed right next to the ferry (only a few metres from the shore) before flying off after a couple of minutes.
Didn't reallly expect to see them (especially in the circumstances!) and a lifer for me!

plenty raven

a few siskin

2 red breasted megansers on coast near craignure

Tommorow i'm going on the discover mull wildlife tour, so should be able to add a few more birdssmile.gif




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Hi Joey...l've visited Mull lots of times, plus Iona, Rum,Staffa, Treshnish Isles and the great Isle Of Seil (sp).

Simon's right Croggan is fabulous and a secret secluded place not crowded by any means. Grasspoint is a fantastic place to see a pair resident White-tailed Eagles. Ben More, Loch Ne Keal/Beg all wonderful locations for wildlife.


My guide for many years is Richard Atkinson, very warm, knowledgeable fella. l use him for just one day to show me what's new etc.

You won't be disappointed at your stay there biggrin.gif

Best wishes, any help l can give, pm me with pleasure.

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We did a boat trip to Staffa and Lunga from Ulva Ferry on Mull last year. I'm not a big fan of organised trips but it's the only way to get to these islands really and I've got to admit it was very impressive. Lunga is the best island for birding (we only spent 30mins on Staffa, 2.5hrs on Lunga) and has a big seabird colony, including incredible close-up views of puffins. We also had great and arctic skua, manxies, etc. on the way out and from the island. If you do go, make sure you do the wildlife watching tour or else you may find yourself staring at Fingal's Cave on Staffa for a couple of hours! If I remember rightly these are the folk we went with:

http://www.turusmara.com/wildlife.asp

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Joey, just to add to other posts, look on the "search" option at the top of the page and look for Melanie's thread from Mull August 2008, here you will see all the sites we visited ourselves. If you have time Iona is worth a day trip, gives you a chance of seeing Corncrakes. Loch Frisa & Grass point for sea eagles, loch beg for waders & I would highly recommend a visit to Loch Spelve, drive as far as you can past Croggan to where it meets the sea, it is a wonderful location with eagles, harriers, divers, otters etc and you will more than likely have it to yourself.smile.gif

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I'll second Gary's recommendation of Discover Mull. Pam and Arthur concentrate on the northern half of Mull, while most other operators concentrate on the south. Thus its not so crowded. Four of us went out with Pam on 09/05 and had two White-tails and three Goldies, plus two Cuckoos seen, 5 Whimbrel at Caliach while checking out Manxies in the Channel, and Grasshopper and newly arrived Sedge Warbler (both seen and singing) at Dervaig. Pam's Lemon Drizzle cake is a big attraction!
Oh, and an Otter sleeping on Scarisdale Rocks in Loch na Keal just as we turned for home.

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google DISCOVER MULL your host will be pam or arthur realy nice people and the day is a day to remember forever and well worth the price.get some avon skin so soft oil spray to help protect you from the midges.loch na keal ,grasspoint,croig and the road from salen to dervaig shortcut all good for sea eagles.

-- Edited by Gary Gorner on Tuesday 18th of May 2010 05:04:52 PM

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THE GREAT THING ABOUT BIRDING ISNT JUST THE BIRDS


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From what I hear there is little to choose, they all seem to share info.

A good tip for Mull is when under your own steam watch out for the tour mini-buses - if they've stopped there's usually something to see!

You'll soon find that the same happens to you, if you stop someone will pull up behind to check they are not missing anything.

We did a week without using a tour and found all the specialities fairly easily through a combination of skll, planning, good luck and other people's willingness to share info.

It's just magical, you'll love it.

-- Edited by Rob Smallwood on Thursday 13th of May 2010 07:56:13 PM

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Hi Neil,

Thanks for the info,
I have already had a look at the website but was struggling to choose between tour operators - they all sound remarkably similar! Does anyone have any ideas?

Joey

-- Edited by Joey Eccles on Thursday 13th of May 2010 03:15:14 PM

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http://www.mullbirds.com/LATESTREPORTS.html

The above might be helpful.

The RSPB arrange site visits to the Sea Eagle nest site at Loch Frisa although the nest failed to produce young this year, however I read there are 20 pairs on the island so they may not be that hard to find if you're there a while.

We stayed just across the water on the mainland last month but were too mean to pay the extortionate ferry price for a brief visit to Mull.

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Going in late June - can anyone recommend any hotspots or wildlife tour operators?
Staying near Tobermory but about 30mins inland
cheers,
Joey

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