We stayed in a brilliant cottage on Lochdon with fantastic views over the Loch and surrounding hills, this is an example, the photo isn't great as the light was going and it was through the living room window, but it gives you the idea
|Fancy a dip!|
We went to Mull using the Corran and Fishnish ferries, much cheaper than going direct from Oban, even though it added about 30 minutes driving, but that was good as whilst waiting for the Corran ferry we picked up a lifer, a Black Guilemot. So that was a good start to the week.
Then once there unpacked, picked up all those good things I listed earlier.
So Monday, the weather wasn't great, but decided to go to Loch Ba as there had been sightings of a Long Tailed Duck, this would be a lifer for us, we trotted off from the car park to the Loch, of course once we started walking the heavens opened, but we were togged up for it so put the Camera away and carried on. There wasn't a lot about on the Loch, but we did see:
Sandpiper, RB Merganser, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit and Willow Warbler.
|I've had enough of the rain, I'm off!|
We carried on to Loch Na Keal and the highlights there were Golden Eagle and Great Northern Diver, not lifers but first for the year.
This could get really boring if I just go through everywhere we went day by day (as we did repeat visits!) So I'll concentrate on the highlights in no particular order.
Up there has to be the Iona, we went looking for Corncrake, the day was glorious if a tad windy (that goes for every day! It was either sun & wind or rain and wind!) Iona is a stunning place, we loved it, although I think it should be renamed Wheatear Island! They were everywhere.
We soon heard our first Corncrake but couldn't make out exactly where and then he went quiet! So we moved on and ended up on the other side of the Island on a glorious beach (where it was time for lunch):
|Spot the Eider|
|Waiting for the ferry to Iona|
(Me, Tina, Jo and Jimmy)
|Rain drops keep falling on my head!|
|I need a bigger lens!|
The next highlight happened the following day, we drove to the Ulva Ferry as we knew White Tailed Eagles are seen around there around lunch time as one of the local boats does trips where they throw fish out, so we though we would give it a try.
We hung around for a while by the ferry, the swallows
and skylarks giving us good shows, until we had a raptor fest! In the sky all at the same time circling over the harbour, 2 White Tails, 2 Golden Eagles, 2 Buzzards and a Peregrine. All quite high, but it was a magnificent sight.
|For the record!|
We decided next day as the weather was dreadful to go to the Mull Eagle Watch run by the RSPB at least there was some cover out the rain. We were booked at 1pm, and got there early so parked up by Loch Beg and added some year ticks, Whinchat and Yellowhammer, the Yellowhammer was hiding out of the rain:
|The white on the front of the nest is the Lamb!|
but the view through the scopes was excellent. We stayed there about an hour hoping the male would comeback but he was probably tucked up somewhere. We heard some Crossbill but they weren't showing. Back out at the hide we picked up some Siskin, so that was nice too!
So last highlight is in 3 parts. Firstly Tina and I decided to go to Staffa to see some Puffins, so drove down to Fionnphort, the wind was really up, but the trip went anyway, the ride out was to say the least exhilarating and took longer than usual apparently as we were headed into a strong northerly wind, riding up the waves and crashing down again was fun, but was glad to get to Staffa. We ignored Fingals cave to start with and headed for the other end of the Island for the Puffins... who weren't there! They were all down on the water, as usual it was Tina who spotted them first, she's so much better at this than me. There were about fifty down in the water, with 2 Razorbills and 1 Guilemot.
On the way to the Puffins, we were surprised to hear a Corncrake, there was a small bit of dense vegetation in a dip, again like on Iona we searched but couldn't find him. We did see one of my favourite birds though on Staffa, Fulmars. I simply love them, I can't explain why, they are the tank of the sky, or in RAF terms (more about that in a bit) the avian Hercules. (Thanks Tina for that idea!), then the next best sea bird (IMHO) was all around too, Gannets, just wonderful!
We only had an hour on the island, so we dashed back and did the tourist bit and had a look at Fingals cave.
Once we'd done with the trip we headed for Fidden Beach and lunch, where we had a really productive hour and a half, so many great things here:
Whimbrel(40), Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Little Stint, Greylag, Swallow, Sand Martin, Snipe, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Eider, Wheatear, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Rook, Hooded Crow, Common Sandpiper, Rabbit and Hare:
So that's it apart from Otters from our living room window, swimming across the Loch and running around the waters edge, oh and I forgot the Cuckoo that landed on a post across from the house, I'm sure there's lots of other things, but then there were the impromptu RAF displays, Tornado, Typhoon, Hercules, Sea King another big highlight for me, but those are for a different forum!
So would we go back... tomorrow if we could!
Here's a full list for the week:
Black Guillemot, Blackbird, Black-tailed Godwit, Blue Tit,
Buzzard, Canada Goose, Chaffinch, Coal Tit,
Collared Dove, Common Gull, Common Sandpiper,
Cormorant, Corncrake, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunlin,
Dunnock, Eider, Fulmar, Gannet, Golden Eagle,
Goldfinch, Great Black-backed Gull, Great Northern Diver,
Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose,
Guillemot, Hen Harrier, Herring Gull, Hooded Crow,
House Sparrow, Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull,
Linnet, Little Stint, Mallard, Manx Shearwater,
Meadow Pipit, Merlin, Mistle Thrush, Mute Swan,
Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail,
Puffin, Razorbill, Red-breasted Merganser, Redshank,
Red-throated Diver, Ringed Plover, Robin, Feral Pigeon,
Rock Pipit, Rook, Sand Martin, Shelduck,
Short-eared Owl, Siskin, Skylark, Snipe, Sparrowhawk,
Starling, Stonechat, Swallow, Tufted Duck,
Wheatear, Whimbrel, Whinchat, White-tailed Eagle,
Willow Warbler, Yellowhammer