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Arthur's Mull Bird List 2017
Discover Mull Wildlife Tours
Arthur & Pam Brown, Ardrioch Farm, Dervaig, Isle of Mull, Argyll PA75 6QR
Tel: 01688 400415 or 07780 600367
  Check out our 
Self Catering cottages web site
bookings are now being taken for 2017

January 2017
Jan 15th
A warm, calm day with drizzle rain all day. In spite of the rain we went out with friends for a 3 hour trip around the middle of the Island. A total of 4 Otters were seen including a mother with 2 cubs, Red Deer and Seals were also seen through the misty conditions. 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles were also seen with corvids probably on a carcase. There were two really good sightings today, the first a Merlin sitting on telegraph wires and then hunting, chasing small waders at an estuary, a fantastic sighting and worth going out in poor weather. The other good sighting was of a Pink Footed Goose in a field with Greylags, look for the smaller Goose with the dark head in the photograph.
Pink-foot amongst
                                              Greylag Geese
Jan 14th
A lovely calm day with no rain, perfect conditions for the Mull bird club bird count. A total of 81 birds were seen in north and central Mull which was one up on last year when the whole of Mull was covered. I got 7 new birds for my Mull year list including the Dervaig Kingfisher, in our team we also saw White-tailed Sea Eagle, Golden Eagle, 2 Hen Harriers, Red Deer and 3 Otters and some Porpoise, the last three did not count in the total. Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrest were good spots as was Pam's Ringed Plover spot but my favorite sighting of the day was the large flock of Golden Plover. Bird of the day had to be Grey Plover not seen by us but a very good find on Mull.
Shag on a bouy
Jan 13th
Friday the 13th is considered unlucky in some quarters and it certainly was for our local Barn Owls as one of the trees with the boxes in fell down in last nights gales, if the box can be saved we will re-site it. On a trip round bird activity was in short supply and the tide miles out but there were 4 juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagles on the beach at Killiechronan. Today in the garden it was a party for the Chaffinches with over 120 in attendance, as always there were also a few gate crashers.
Barn Owl box after
                                              galesBarn Owl box still
                                              standing
Jan 12th
Sleet and snow, wind and rain and then gales what more could you ask for on a January day in Scotland. The birds in our garden were really grateful for our feeders today and there were at least 80 Chaffinches at one time but no Brambling as yet. We saw our first Starlings of the year today as we had to go to Tobermory and there were some going to roost at Balisgate. We came home, battened down the hatches and waited for the overnight storms, we certainly got one but fortunately no snow at Dervaig. The photo is of Ben More taken from Reudle showing the snow line through the sleet.
Ben More in the
                                                snow
Jan 11th
Winter is approaching, today it is cold, wet and very windy and I spent the morning digging a hole to get to my neighbours water pipe. I found the joint and got the experts in, my mates from across the fields, one of whom is a retired heating engineer and we managed to fix the the problem and now my neighbour has got water again. If you are wondering why she did not get our local water authority in,  it is because we all have a private water supply on our side of the Loch. 
Jan 10th
I was going to have a good day birding today before the Winter weather returns but my neighbour was having water problems again so I spent the morning trying to put it right. We have found the problem and tomorrow we will hopefully get it repaired. This afternoon I managed an hours birding before dusk and although I did not see a lot I did get a good sighting of a male Hen Harrier hunting. We had 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the garden at the same time today, it is the first time we have had two at the same time as far as I can recollect.
Jan 9th
We went to Tobermory today and saw a Black Guilliemot in the bay another new bird for my Mull year list. I had an idea in my head that I had a dentist appointment for Thursday this week but it was actually today, so I missed it, I don't like doing that as it costs the health service and I was in Tobermory. It was a genuine mistake but I can have no excuses.
Jan 8th
Another driech day and a drive over the hill road to Torlooisk and then Ulva and on to Knock and a walk with Sally, our Sheltie, to the Salmon hatchery sewage outfalls. Nine new birds for my Mull year list today taking my year list to 63 birds and you can find all I have seen on my Mull Bird List 2017. Highlights today were Red Grouse, Turnstones and a Carrion Crow, they were all new for the year. We also saw some good Duck flocks including Golden eye and Teal.
Teal at KnockCarion Crow at Knock
Goldeneye at
                                              Knock
Turnstone at
                                              Knock
Jan 7th
Drizzle and driech but we took the dog for a walk to Calgary. In the sea were 2 Divers, one a Great Northern and the other a Black-throated, a good bird to find so early in the season. There were 24 Snipe, an unusually hight count at Dervaig along with the usual Redshanks and Greenshanks. Today we saw Ringed Plover for the first time this ear and a Great spotted Woodpecker was seen on the nut feeders in the garden. As I write this blog we are hearing a Tawny Owl in the trees near the road.
Snipe singleSnipe lots of
Common Gulls Cuin
Jan 6th
A Cautionary Tale
Bumped the van last September, if you can all remember
Damaged the rear door and fender, so took it to the fender mender

New door and fender for my dough, but to my horror no back window.
None the less I shelved my doughts, closed the door, the window fell out.

No-one would accept the blame, which I thought was quite a shame,
Temper lost, like my hair, the insurance agreed to the repair.

Although we had to cry and moan, today we fetched the van back home.
3 months of fall-outs and of mix-ups, the van is now completly fixed-up.
Jan 5th
Today was a very good day both weatherwise and also for wildlife watching. Mammals seen were Rabbits in our garden, several Red Deer on the hillsides, 3 Fallow Deer and 3 Otters at seperate sites, not bad methinks. Birds seen were a Golden Eagle interacting with 2 Buzzards and another one seen at one of our hotspots being chased by an unconfirmed bird of prey. Other notable bird sightings were Barnacle Geese on Inch Kenneth, an Iceland Gull on Loch Na keal, Long Tailed Tits and Whimbrel at Salen, Golden Plover and Bar Tailed Godwits at Killiechronan and a Stonechat at Ulva Ferry. I could have taken some good photos today but when I took out my camera I remembered I had not taken the battery out of the charger so my camera was as usefull as a chocolate fireguard.
Jan 4th
A welcome home fly past by a White-tailed Sea Eagle got the day off to a great start this morning and this was shortly followed by a visit to our garden by a very active Treecreeper. On my way up to check our water supply I nearly bumped into a Woodcock but it took off just before I strod on it scaring me half to death. We got reaquainted with some of our regular garden species today and saw Goldeneye, Red Breasted Mergansers, Wigeon and Greenshank on a walk down to the Loch. This afternoon we went out to lunch at the Bellachroy in the village with more guests who have become friends and Mull regulars, Jeff and Debs Steed, what a lovely way to spend our first afternoon back on Mull. Congratulations to Anthony and Christine from the Bellachroy who have got into the Michelin good food guide, well done and well deserved.
Red breasted
                                              Merganzers
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR GUESTS AND BLOG READERS
May you have many happy hours of wildlife watching both in your neighbourhood and hopefully up here on the wonderfull island of  Mull
December 2016
Dec 18th
Today we had one of those low cloud and drizzly rain, you know the sort 'wetting rain', every time I tried to look through my binoculars they just got covered in water. As this is my last blog of the year I would like to wish all my readers and guests a very Happy Christmas and look out for my renewing my blog page early in the new year. The picture of the this Robin was taken in our garden.
Christmas message
                                                2016
Ardnamurchan
                                                & Eigg
Caliach &
                                                Coll
Dec 17th 
The day after the night before when we had a party for friends on Mull, a good time was had by all but now-a-days it takes me a full day to get over a night of partying so I spent today recovering.
Dec 16th
At last we saw an Otter at Dervaig, the Kingfisher was seen here recently as well but not by us
Dec 15th
It rained again, all morning but as we had to go to Salen we decided to go and look for Otters as we have yet to see one since returning from our last visit to friends and family. Although we did not see an Otter we did see 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles, a male Hen Harrier, Red Deer, Kestrel, Common Seal and a Golden Eagle as we were returning home and the rain had stopped. At Lagganulva Bay with all the Gulls and Oystercatchers was a large flock of Lapwings always a great bird to see and for us a nice surprise.
Dec 14th
It rained and we saw a White-tailed Sea Eagle sitting in a tree looking disconsulate not far from our back garden. Talking of our garden we had a Treecreeper climbing up one of our trees this morning, always a nice sighting. Pam has spent a lot of time cleaning this week as we are having a party on Friday, I have been making myself scarce, don't you think it strange that if you are about ladies seem to find jobs for you to do. oh, oh here she comes again.

Tree Creeper

Dec 13th
Another fabulous sighting of a Female Hen Harrier this morning, it was hunting very close to my car along a ridge with fabulous views of the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and the Small Isles and Skye as a backdrop, unforgetable. This afternoon Pam and I went out in fading light and had some spectacular Golden Eagle action. There were two birds just holding on the wind looking for prey, it was wonderful to see and shortly afterwards we had a young Goldie chasing a Kestrel, both were travelling at speed when the Eagle pulled its wings in, banked and dropped after the Kestrel, it missed, then flew off in another direction. Shortly afterwards the Kestrel came back flying right past us and I swear there was a grin on its face or maybe just relief.
Kestrel
Dec 12th
Me and my mate the Mull dentist Mr Price met up again this morning, it was really nice with me lying back in an easy chair whilst he practised with his new drill and talked to me about canal roots, it was so enjoyable we plan at least to more get togethers in January next year. The funny thing was after we had parted company I could not feel a thing in my mouth and I swear I had not touched a drop although Pam drove home to be on the safe side. Another Hen Harrier seen today and I took a photo of some of Dervaig's Snipe, later in the afternnoon a Kestrel flew across our garden.
Snipe Loch Cuin
Dec 11th
Another dull but dry day and warm out of the wind, well I was warm as I had that many layers on I looked like Michelin Man. Out and about again today and here are the highlights, Twenty Two Snipe at Dervaig this is a Mull record for me anywhere on Mull for this species. Red Deer through Glen Bellart with Mistle Thrushes and Redwings seen as well. At Aros Bay there were lots of Wigeon and Black Headed Gulls were with the usual Gulls we have on Mull. At Killiechronan in the fields with Starlings were a couple of Fieldfares with 2 Buzzards pestering them, they in turn were suddenly disturbed as a young White-tailed Sea Eagle went through. Great Northern Divers and Slavonian Grebes were on Loch Na Keal and along the hill on the right were 2 interacting Kestrels. Returning home late as I was held up by a farmer moving some yearling cattle I had another fabulous sighting of a female (ringtail) Hen Harrier a lovely trip out and about with plenty to see.
Boats at SalenMallards &
                                              Widgean
Dec 10th
A trip round the block, over the hill road and back via Calgary Bay. We had only just set off when Pam spotted a female Hen Harrier hunting over tusset grass between the road and Loch Cuin, Hen Harriers are always great birds to see particularly as they are amongst Britains most persecuted. A Heron at Dervaig mentioned as it was the first I have seen since returning home. It was at Lainne Sguier and Calgary Bay that the main bird action was seen with 2 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 4 Great Northern Divers, and single Black Throated and Red Throated Divers present as well. Lots of Gulls, Oystercatchers and Curlews were seen and a couple of Kestrels one of them being harassed by a Raven giving great views as they floated in a sky dancing spectacle in a very cool breeze. Red Deer were seen but to far away to get a decent photo so I took this picture of cattle in Torloisk wood relaxing out of the wind. We were out for just over an hour and got all this wildlife and possibly pneumonia, guess what I will dress properly before I go out tomorrow.
Highland Cattle in
                                                woodlandHighland Cattle and
                                                sheep in woodland
Dec 9th
A dull unseasonally warm day with a strong breeze and bird wise little to get too excited about. At Dervaig there were at least 4 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, Snipe galour and 3 Little Grebes. On to Calgary and although all Mulls main winter Gulls were present along with Oystercatchers and a single Shag, there was little else to set the pulses racing. I watched a Buzzard across the bay dive bombing something behind the hill for several minutes but nothing was disturbed, I will leave you to make up your minds what it might have been, White-tailed Eagle on a carcase would be my guess but then I would have expected to have seen some corvids.
Blackbird with black
                                              bill
Dec 8th
Pam had a present today, we got our internet connection back, hence the blog catch up. We went to Tobermory this morning for more shopping and for Pam to spend time at the hair dressers, did I say time it seemed like days, there only a certain amount of time a bloke can Christmas shop without losing the will to live although we eventually got most of what we were looking for. On our way home at Dervaig we saw 3 Whooper Swans (taken on full zoom), 3 Goldeneye Ducks, a Snipe and 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles flew over, RESULT, thats more like it.
Whooper Swans
Dec 7th
Driving up the Glen road from Salen to Dervaig on our way home a male Hen Harrier flew alongside the car as if to say welcome home and a Buzzard sitting on a telegraph pole nodded as if we were returning grandees, it just goes to show what we miss when we are away.
Dec 1st to 6th
Back down to Cheshire for the 70th birthday party of Jerry Sullivan, one of our best friends, which was great by the way, the only problem was that a lot of the invited guests had flu like symptoms including my Dad and Sister so now back home we hope we have not returned with it. Whilst down in Cheshire we caught up with good school friends John and Roy with their wives Irene and Kay, it was just for lunch which lasted nearly 4 hours and was brilliant, thanks to John for arranging the day. We managed a little Christmas shopping between feeding and looking after Dad for my sister, who is a star, and deserved the break short though it was. Our new Grandson is growing like a weed and we have lots of fun with Nia who is still coming to terms with having to share her Mum with him. The only downside to the trip was going to see Manchester City lose 3-1 at home to Chelsea, they should bar me from the ground as I never see them win.
November 2016
Nov 9th to 30th
We have been playing the hokey kokey with the mini bus this month. We picked the bus up from one garage in Fort William where the rear door had been repaired from the accident. We took it to another garage in Fort William where we had bought it and they transfered it to another garage in Inverness to have a makers recall problem sorted. Eventually it was done and a friend of ours went to fetch it home at last but on closing the door to start his journey home the rear window in the supposedly new back door shattered. On his way home he left the bus back in the garage in Fort William where the accident repair had originally been done to have the rear window fixed. We hope to see the bus before Christmas but I am not holding my breath. Pam and I have been suffering from a virus given us by our 2 year old grand-daughter so we have been feeling under the weather but during my feeling better moments I have managed to pick up all the fallen leaves from our garden and cleaned all the bird feeders, the latter being essential for the health of the birds that visit our garden regularly. The White-tailed Eagles near us are still around and will hopefully use the same conifers to nest in next year. I will finish this update with a funny anecdote from my 2 year old grand daughter. Her Mum is trying to teach her to share and to reinforce this has been telling her stories from a childrens bible. The other morning Nia was eating some blueberries and her mum asked if she could have one, to which Nia said no. Her Mum said 'but Nia what did it say in the bible about sharing' to which Nia replied; Don't eat the apple???? Out of the mouths of children.
Common
                                      Buzzard in field
Nov1st to 8th
We had a weeks holiday in Dorset which we spent mainly birding, eating and sleeping after the exilerating if tiring time with our grandchildren.
There is nothing quite like time with grandchildren to make you feel your age even if it was great fun.
October 2016
Oct 21st to 31st
Away visiting family and getting to have a great time with my Dad, Brothers and Sister and their families and our children and grandchildren the girls are now ten, eight, six, two and our new grandson 2 months.
Oct 1st to Oct 20th
Cleang a Burn (stream) which has 12 years growth is no picnic, take it from me, one who now knows. Thanks to Nick for his help with Machete and Chain Saw. Not much birding, no time, but did manage to go and look for a Great Grey Shrike, missed it but got great views of a female Hen Harrier, we saw a male today the 20th. We had the first Brambling reported on Mull this Autumn and another first for our garden, a Grey Wagtail, Treecreepers and Goldcrests have also visited. Maintenance
to the house continues and will be complete before Christmas, I hope, as will the painting, the house not on canvass. The blog will be intermittant at the moment as the van now repaired from its accident has been recalled by the manufacturers for a fault so remains in hospital (garage) but will hopefully be home before December. I am looking forward to several booked appearances at the dentists for root canal treatment, I just can't wait!!! Until my next posting some pictures taken of some of the birds mentioned in the blog and others seen during this time.
Grey Wagtail juv in
                                              gardenKingfisher Dervaig
Siskin in the
                                              gardenBrent Goose Calgary
September 2016
Sept 20th to 30th
Home alone working on putting our garden to bed for the winter, I don't know which was the most surprised me or the garden. Pam arranged some home help for me so I did manage to get out and about a bit and saw a little wildlife some quite rare on Mull so I can't compain. Pam is in her element proud Grand Ma that she is. A big thank you to Pete and Jenny for keeping me company and Meg a Stephen for keeping me birding.
Red GrouseStonechat female
Rhodies in flowerButterfly
Sept 19th
A trip around the block to look for some of Mull's wildlife before I return south to help look after the grandchildren as our son has to get back to work. It was nice to see a host of Golden and White-tail Sea Eagles as I will be away for about 3 weeks leaving Arthur 'home alone' although I have aranged for carers to come in to help him look after him self. It was noticable that the Red Deer stags are coming down from the tops of the mountains to join the herds of hinds in readyness for the rut which will be seriously getting underway in the next few weeks. I saw a very tatty looking female Gadwall,
plenty of waders mainly Green and Redshank and an Otter was seen, I wish it had shown as well as this lovely Otter, picture sent to us by guests David & Harriet Brooks.
Otter David &
                                              Harriet
Sept 10th to 18th
We have been away as we cannot do tours and visited our son and his family in Cheshire. Whilst we were there our lovely daughter-in-law gave us our first grandson, to go with our 4 lovely granddaughters, so many congratulations to you both and now Manchester City has another new fan.
Below are pictures of the oldest and newest members of the family - Eric Brown & Rishee Eric Brown also grandpa & Nia & Richard & Rishee
Eric
                                      & Rishee Eric
NiaSon Richard & grandson
                                      Rishee
Sept 9th
Thanks to our friends Blake and Sheila May for this version on Arthurs accident:

Had you realised that, with very little hassle, the van could be upgraded while it's being repaired. In fact, it could be    auto-matic, it could be sys-tematic, it could be asth-matic. Why, it could even go like ... GREASED LIGHTNING !!!

Go Greased Lightning, heading down to Loch Na Keal (Greased Lighting, go Greased Lightning)

Pedal to the metal, Pam or Ar-thur at the wheel  (Greased Lighting, go Greased Lightning)

There'll be ott-ers on the shore, there'll be eag-les by the score,

There'll be se-als in a heap, 'cause they're al-ways fast a-sleep, Greased Lightning.

Go Greased Lightning, 'cause when you' re on the Isle of Mull  (Greased Lighting, go Greased Lightning)

It ain't al-ways easy, but life is nev-er ev-er dull  (Greased Lighting, go Greased Lightning)

If at Ulva you should be, and you're bursting for a wee,

You must wave your arms a-bout, 'cause if not, the lights go out, Greased Lightning.

The road to Tober-mory really is a big dis-grace  (Greased Lighting, go Greased Lightning)

And it doesn't help when people just ig-nore a pass-ing place  (Greased Lighting, go Greased Lightning)

It'll make you swear and curse, if you stick it in re-verse,

'Cause it really is a farce, if you're dented up the ... rear, Greased Lightning.

Go Greased Lightning, the weather can be quite a strain  (Greased Lighting, go Greased Lightning)

You've either got a drought, or it's pour-ing down with rain  (Greased Lighting, go Greased Lightning)

Now I've had enough of "Grease", so I think I ought to cease,

It'll on-ly get much worse, 'cause I'm runn-ing out of verse, like Greased Lightning.

Sept 8th
Pam and I took the Mini Bus to hospital (garage) today we left it in the hands of a very nice porter, (driver) who assured us that as his son was the surgeon (mechanic) and very good so everything would be all right and I would be the only one feeling pain, in my wallet. After the bus has had a new boot door fitted it has to go and have new front door hinges fitted, the ones that came with it new kept dislocating and the doors flew open when opened in a slight wind. I hasten to add this was not my fault but a fault that was discovered after it had been built, a bit of a birth defect. When I get it it back hopefully it will be better than new.
Sept 7th
I Went out today and did some wildlife watching seeing lots of Eagles which was quite a surprise as I was not particularly looking for them. I also saw a very good Otter which I was also not really looking for. My highlight of my time out was a large mixed flock of Twite and Linnet which I was looking for. I stopped to look for the Kingfisher recently seen at Dervaig but to no avail although some of the Little Grebes that winter here have returned.
Sept 6th
Girl Power Rules. Having spent the last couple of days arranging alternative tours for our pre-booked guests I went out with our friend Jacqui in her mini-bus with todays guests. A hunting male Hen Harrier was seen soon after setting off followed closly by not 1, not 2, but 4 White-tail Sea Eagles, (more were seen later in the day). An Otter with morning coffee and Golden Eagle 'golden ball diving' with lunch were some of the highlights of the day as well as Red Deer and Common Seals were also seen and lots of different waders, Curlew, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Redshank to mention a few. To end the day we saw a Common Snipe flying and a juvenile Golden Eagle giving us a good display.
Sept 5th
Not a great day weatherwise and I had an appointment for more treatment at the dentist, on the wildlife front it involved roots and canals. As the weather improved in the afternoon Pam and our neighbour and friend Nick began preparing to paint the house. I spent the afternoon feeling sorry for myself as I had no feeling in my mouth and was reduced to drinking just water, don't feel too sorry for me as I was able to eat my tea even if it was a little later than usual.
Sept 4th
I did not do much today as my bruised chest and ego had taken a beating. Pam spent the day re-arranging tours for our booked guests, superstar that she is.
Sept 3rd
A calamitous day and an unfortunate accident involving the mini-bus which has meant we cannot do any more tours this year. Nobody was hurt and apart from the back door of the bus little damage was done but as we cannot open the back door until it is fixed and as we only have one month to go in the season we will pass on any booked tours to are friend Jaquie and other tour operators on the island. On the nobody hurt front, numpty me managed to bruise my chest getting the scopes and binos out of the boot of the bus climbing over the back seat.
On another level here is one for the popular music lovers out in Arthur's blog land.
'Oh, bing bash crash, what a picture what a photograph, poor old chap, what a night he spent, door pushed in and his fender bent?'
hope you enjoyed that one, particularly Sheila and Blake.
Van with bump
Sept 2th
A very good day both in terms of the weather and wildlife and if this was to be my last tour of the year Iwould go out on a high. We saw lots of Waders including the Bar-tailed Godwits in the picture below and a Whimbrel was also seen well. Golden Eagles, White-tailed Sea Eagles and Hen Harrier were fabulous today but even I, an avid birder that I am, have to say the 2 Otters seen were the highlight of an exceptioal day. I hope you enjoy the photo although for me it is seeing and watching wildlife that I love, you all know my motto you miss the moment trying to capture the moment.
Bar-tail GodwitOtter on a spit
Sept 1st
No tour today and we went to the Bellachroy for lunch with friends staying in our self catering cottage. The picture below is me and Jack their son feeding the birds in the garden before the rain came down. Note the piles of seed on the floor, Jack puts it in piles and is rewarded as he is seeing lots of Rabbits from the window of the cottage, Dad and mum are much more interested in the birds and Otters but we have yet to attract Otters to our garden.
Arthur & Jack
                                                feeding the birds
August 2016
Aug 31st
A lovely day even if the weather was windy and cool with occasional squally showers. Today we had good sightings of everything as we had a couple of really good spotters on the tour. The tour started with White-tailed Sea Eagles but after only a couple of guests had seen them through the scope it poured down. We then went and looked for waders, spotting Greenshank, Redshank, Curlew, Herons, Common and Herring Gulls and some distant Goosander. As we were watching some Red Deer stags on a high hill this juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagle flew right over our heads, so close it caused a partial eclipse, even I managed a decent photo with my box brownie. More White tails followed shortly after this sighting and the first of 2 Hen Harriers flew past. With all this action going on we went to our lunch spot right after a very late coffee break and we were just in time to see a brilliant close Golden Eagle hunting over a ridge, it dissappeared but then returned carrying a forlorn Rabbit. As we were watching the Eagle I turned round and saw an Otter on a nearby island, it gave us great views before going into very choppy water to fish, later it came out to eat a Crab and was joined by another Otter, what a day. As the weather deteriorated
we decided to call it a day but not before a celebratory cup of tea and cake, oh and 2 more White-tailed Sea Eagles. My thanks to my guests and the Wildlife on Mull for giving me an unforgettable day.
WTSE juv flying
                                                overhead
Aug 30th
A tour today where we saw all Mulls Specialities but in some cases it was really hard work, mainly because the Golden Eagles were not coming out to play. We started the day with some nice Waders, Bar-tailed Godwits and Greenshank being the pick of them and then we saw our first Otter, it was a good find and as we did not see another one all day, a very good find. We watched the Otter for ages and then went to look for and eventually find White-tailed sea Eagles, 3 of them and they gave us a wonderful display of flying and no boats in the area. Then it started to get harder, it was a lovely warm day and nothing was flying although we did see the occasional Buzzard and a long distant persistant Kestrel and lots of Ravens. As the afternoon drew on we saw Red Deer hinds, stags and calves and a very good Kestrel and a Hen Harrier flew in front of the bus and dissappeared but no Golden Eagle although we tried really hard. On our way back home I stopped at a place where I can, but not often, see a Golden Eagle and almost at once one appeared and just as quickle dissappeared. After 10 minutes it re-appeared and you guessed it dissappeared again. It eventually gave up and put on a distant show before landing on the hillside, result, job done.
Red Deer stags on
                                            the hillRed
                                            Deer stag on the hill
Aug 29th
Back on tour again today and the star was undoubtedly the Otter, not the first one we saw which was good but the second one which was excellent, it came out of the water on to land and put on a performance worthy of an Ottscar, the Otter equivalent to the oscars. White-tailed Eagles were seen well in some numbers and a couple of distant Golden Eagles. A Goosander with eyes bigger then its throat provided early morning entertainment as it tried to eat a large flatfish whilst being harried by a Great Black backed Gull and a Heron. The protaganists certainly did not get the fish but nobody saw the Goosander eat it either, the concensus was like all big catches the fish got away. It will however make for good quack at Goosander dinner parties.
Aug 28th
A lovely day just great for a tour but no takers, tour numbers down this summer after a promising spring, with lower ferry prices there are more day trippers and less longer stays. The good weather and no tour meant I had to do yesterdays gardening and help Pam with a clearout in the sheds, oh joy. We had friends around to help us eat the fantastic Mackeral that my mate Nick Evans kindly dropped off for us and mighty tasty they were to, well done to Pam the chef.
Aug 27th
 No tour as we clean holiday lets and this week I valeted the bus and car and tried to do some gardening but it rained.
Aug 26th
No tour today and lunch in the Bellachroy which was very nice, although a large lunch and two pints of really nice beer do not make for a very productive afternoon. So tomorrow I am going to have to do two days chores in one. We have a very noisy young Buzzard flying round the garden at the moment and the Great Spotted Woodpeckers family are in and out all day and with the Jay putting in an appearance now and again garden watching is very productive.
Aug 25th
Another very nice day and the Eagles were again out to give us a day to remember but today the White-tailed Sea Eagles joined the party, The Golden Eagles were not quite up to yesterdays five star performance but were pretty close and the White-tails matced them. Red Throated Divers again made my day but my guests wanted the big stuff and although we found 2 Otters neither stuck around for long although all my guests got to see at least one of them. Red Deer and Seals proved a hit on another tour in which Mulls specialities put on a show.
WTSE behind Ardrioch
Aug 24th
A beautiful day and it turned into a festival of Golden Eagles, 6 were seen in total two in the morning flying, one sitting on a hill at lunch time and when it flew it was mobbed by a Kestrel as a Hen Harrier watched on and then at tea time Mum, Dad, and Juvenile gave us a flying display which I can only describe as awesome. We saw 2 very good Otters today and Red Deer stags and only 1 but quite close White-tailed Sea Eagle. On any usual day I would have put the very good Red Throated Divers as birds of the day but today the Golden Eagles were just special. Before we reached the Eagle territory I took a photo of a Buzzard in flight they are a bird that hardly get a mention but they are still nice to see.
Buzzard hovering
Aug 23rd
A dull day but the promised rain stayed off for most of the day and it was fairly calm and we saw lots of Mulls famed species in the company of Mulls least favorite famed species, Midges. An Otter was found in the morning and we watched it for quite some time as it travelled along eventually coming out onto the rocks to mark his territory
, another Otter was seen later this time fishing for it's lunch. 4 White-tail Sea Eagles were seen as well as Golden Eagles and Hen Harrier. Red Deer were every where today with plenty of stags seen at the tops of the hills. I don't know why Arthur was making such a fuss, he was only going to the hygienist.
Aug 22nd
No tour today but still up early and took this lovely photo at 6am. Out with the strimmer, I now need a baler to pick up the grass as I think the lawn mower might choke. I saw our Jay today and a Buzzard and the Sparrowhawk came into the garden, my little garden birds are getting somewhat traumatised with all these raptors and now 2 White-tailed Sea Eagles have just flown over. If You think my garden birds have problems, I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, oh joy, and Pam is doing the tour.
Mist over Loch Cuin
                                              6am
Aug 21st
A dull driech day with low cloud and drizzle, not great if you wear glasses and use binoculars, but fantastic if you are an unemployed spontex optics cloth. We started off with head and shoulders, no not the hair cleaner but a White-tailed Sea Eagle trying to keep out of the rain, we just managed to see it through the mist. We then went on and saw a pair of antlers on a hill just above the skyline, we couldn't really tell if there was a Red Deer attached to them but presumed there had to be one. On we went and had a better sighting of two Kestrels and a Buzzard and then two more White-tailed Sea Eagles in another tree and as it had stopped raining for a short time we got a good view. 2 otters were seen briefly but they only hung around about as long as Usain Bolt in the hundred metres and more White-tails both sitting and flying. Another Otter was seen and this one stayed around about as long as Mo Farrah in the 10,000 metres, result. A great sighting of 4 Kestrels hounding a Buzzard was probably my sighting of the day although we did see more White-tailed Sea Eagles but as the cloud was still low no Golden Eagle. As we were returning home the sun appeared from its hiding place and so I decided to go where we might see a Golden Eagle and after waiting it out one put in appearance and gave us a bit of a show, I was happy, my guests were happy, we all felt dozy and so we went home.
Grass of ParnassusGrass of Parnassus
Aug 20th
A day of chores, water supply, tick, Strimming, tick, wash van, tick, watch Manchester City play and beat Stoke City ay football, one of those sports mentioned in yesterdays blog, tick, Go out for a lovely meal with friends tick. What was Pam doing, swimming in the sea with friends and a Red Throated Diver 10 yards away. Am I jealous? no as she had cleaned two self-catering cottages before she went.
Aug 19th
A wet day and no tour, we stayed in and watched some olympics seeing Nick Skelton win gold at 58 tears old, yeh one for the golden oldies there. Well done to all our olympians for bringing a smile to our faces in uncertain times, now let us get behind the para olympians who have been dealt a blow due to money shortage which is a real shame as there is so much money floating about in some other sports these days.
Aug 18th
A beautiful day but for us Mulls main species were hard work today and although we saw very good White-tailed Sea Eagles, Red Deer, a distant Golden Eagle and Seal we did not manage to see an Otter. On a brighter note we did see a lot of Wading birds, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover , Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Redshank and Greenshank. We had a good sighting of a Great Northern Diver and 2 Red Throated Divers and a spectacular diving Gannet and less spectacular but still worth seeing diving Common Terns.
Aug 17th
We took our family back to the ferry and then on returning home re-charged our batteries, Grandchildren are delightful but what enegy, it was like Duracell bunnies against cheap battery bunnies and you can guess which we were, and at our time of life we are not re-chargeable. Bird of the day was Hen Harrier with two juveniles which we saw hunting as we made our way home from the ferry, they briefly revived us till we got home and had a reviving cup of tea and a snoozeeeeeee?
Aug 16th
A very sunny hot day not my favorite wildlife watching conditions but we did have some good sightings with Whimbrel and Red Throated Divers being my birds of the day. My guests were desperate to see Otter and they were easily downcast if one did not appear within minutes of us arriving at a spot where they might be seen. After lunch we found an Otter which my guests watched for about an hour, they were delighted and I was relieved as I had felt somewhat pressured all morning. Both types of Eagle were seen as were Red Deer and Seals and a lovely Whinchat, but it was the Otter most of my guests wanted and fortunately we obliged for them.
Aug 15th
We spent a day with the grandchildren and went for a 3 mile walk seeing a close up view of a White-tailed Sea Eagle chick and one of its parents, we did not need binoculars for this sighting. We went to the Olde Byre for me to have a game of Table Tennis with my daughter but the bronze medal match showed no sign of ending so the Gold medal match between the two of us has been put off for the time being. I am glad to say the weather for the second part of their stay is really good although keeping up with three young girls is getting harder for my ageing bones. Ouch, Ow, ouch, ok I'm coming as fast as my legs can carry me.
Aug 14th
A dull day with little wind and no sunshine or rain, a perfect day for wildlife watching. We saw 4 Otters, & White-tailed Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, 2 Hen Harriers, Red deer stags, hinds and calves, Fallow Deer does and fawns and even Porpoise not often seen on Discover Mull tours. Other birds of note seen were Bar-tailed Godwits, Gannets, Black Guilliemots and Black Throated Divers. Pam went out on a boat with the grandchildren and saw 12 Storm Petrels so in spite of our great day I was a little jealous as I rarely get to see this beautiful little sea bird.
Fallow Deer Doe &
                                              fawnFallow Deer dark
Aug 13th
A day with Becky and the grand children and we went to Cailiach and I saw my first Arctic Skua of the year, Gannets, Fulmar, Kittiwakes, Shags,  Buzzards and we had a great sighting of a Merlin. We went to Glengorm for lunch and a walk which was lovely and Grandpa had a great time trying to lose his grand children after they had run him ragged, this is what they do with their energy, I remember having energy back in the day. On our way home we stopped to look for a Golden Eagle and found one with a White-tailed Sea Eagle and Ravens in close proximity. Becky our daughter has now seen, Otter, White-tailed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Golden Eagle, Red Deer and both types of Seal and she has done it in 3 days in awful weather without trying, Mull is that special, today they are going out whale watching and I will update you on their success or failure. By the way it hardly rained at all today and we could be in for a dry spell for at least a couple of hours.
Croig
Aug 12th
If possible the rain was even worse today and one couple booked on the tour did not turn up, so they stayed dry but missed Common Seals, Red Deer, flying White-tailed Sea Eagle and 2 Otters with 41 bird species seen and 4 mammals. Yes the conditions were not perfect but the wildlife was still out there just harder to find but you can imagine the pleasure when we saw some very good wildlife and the waterfalls, particularly Eas Force were spectacular. Just thought of another song ..... Tell it to the rain by the Four Seasons, yes I am old enough to remember them???
Eas Force &
                                              treesEas Force
Aug 11th
To get out of the wet we took the grandchildren to the baths, yes we took them into the water to get them out of the water, there is some reasoning in there somewhere. After lunch we went on a reminissing tour with our daughter and saw an Otter and some Red Deer but what she most remembered of her holidays on Mull was that it was raining then as well. On the subject of rain here are a few songs to get Blake and May going on the subject of rain. It might as well rain until September, Its Raining in my heart, Raindrops keep falling on my head, Singing in the rain and Here comes the rain again. More anyone?
Aug 10th
The Monsoon season has arrived, typically the day the family come for a visit, we are due rain for three days which is a shame for them and my guests on todays tour. We spent a lot of time looking for waders and saw Greenshank, Curlew Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank and my first Common Sandpiper for some time. We saw 4 Fallow Deer two mums and two fawns, Red deer, a family of White-tailed Sea Eagles two of which were on the beach, looking somewhat depressed and finally an Otter so in the end my guests did get a wildlife experience and the waterfalls are filling fast.
Aug 9th
It is that time of the year when in wildlife terms we call it very quiet, It is the time when a lot of our breeding migrants have left and before our winter migrants return but that means we spend more time looking for the Mull specialities. Todays tally was 2 Otters, a very good Golden Eagle, White-tailed Sea Eagle, 2 Hen Harriers , Red Der stags hinds and calves and of course seals and it did not rain till the end of the day. Lovely very chatty guests who got on so well with each other so I hardly got a word in edgeways which as regular guests will know that is unusual for me. Our super Grandchildren from the deep south are arriving tomorrow so it could be bedlam after tomorrows tour.
Wtse in tree 
Aug 8th
The gales of yesterday had abated to just strong winds and we had a full bus of friends and family on a private hire. It was a lovely day out as they had differing requests, some wanted wildflowers, some birds and some mammals but with an overall interest in anything we saw. For our wildflower people we found our first Grass of Parnasis of the year, for the mammal folks, 2 Otters, Grey and Common Seals, Red Deer stags and lets not forget the Rabbits. Birds seen were many with Golden Eagles being the highlight although White-tailed Sea Eagles and Hen Harrier were seen well. We also saw a Peregrine Falcon, Buzzards and Kestrels and lots of waders and even  Black Headed Gull and Wood Pigeon put in guest appearances. All in all a good day was had by all.
Otter &
                                                RedshankRed Deer hind
Aug 7th
Today was difficult, out on a tour in gale force winds with more white horses than wildlife and heavy rain in the afternoon. We saw lots of Goosander today in three places sheltering in hidden bays, I wish we could have joined them. Curlews and a Greenshank were seen and some of us saw Fallow Deer very briefly. Inspiration hit me and we found a pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles sheltering in a tree out of the wind, result, I now felt a little better for my guests. Red Deer were seen as were some Seals and one brave Seal even clambered onto an Island, the fool!!!. Then just after lunch taken before the rain became intollerable a Female Hen Harrier got up and gave us a great show before it to thought better of it and flew off. As it disappeared I spotted an Otter in the water, I still don't know how but off we went down the road to get a closer look and after searching for some time we found it on a seaweed island eating fish and it gave us half an hour of Otter magic before it too succumbed to the conditions and went home. We took the hint and did the same, thanks to Mulls wildlife today you went above and beyond to give our guests a good day and in so doing saved my bacon, probably shoudn't have written that, most of our guests today were vegetarians.
Aug 6th
Saturday and change over day so no tour and I had a lazy day, much to Pams disgust as I had promised to do some work in the garden, but regular readers know how I feel about gardening. There were birds in the garden but I was to lazy to even look to see what was out there although I had fed them before the laziness kicked in.
Aug 5th
A great Norther Diver at the start of the tour boded well but the wildlife was playing hard to get and it was well past coffee break before we found White-tailed Sea Eagles and they came as a package with 3 all together, mum and dad standing by as youngster was getting food from a sheep carcase as Ravens looked on. It was lunchtime by the time we saw Golden Eagles but they put on quite a show probably because they could see the rain coming in, Buzzards and Kestrels were also seen well at the same spot. We saw Red Deer and both types of Seal but no Otter which was somewhat disappointing. The rain was continuing so we had afternoon tea in the warmth of our kitchen and as we left the rain stopped. Stopping off on our way into Tobermory to have a last look for Otter and low and behold we found one and from the look on my guests faces it made their day. My day was made at lunchtime as my guests were watching the Golden Eagles I saw a beautiful male Linnet.
GN Diver
Aug 4th
Todays gems were all Mulls main species and all seen very well. To begin with we saw some Red Deer stags which took some finding as they were so well camouflaged against the hillside, we were to see hinds and calves later in the day. Driving further down the road my Eagle eyed guests spotted a juvenile White-tailed Sea Eagle flying with 2 Buzzards and we were able to watch it for some time till it disappeared over the wood, a total of 4 White-tailed Sea Eagles were seen during the day. Next after searching for some time we found an Otter just before lunchtime and it behaved in a way that I had never witnessed before, the tide was way out and the Otter hunted through the surf right by the beach almost like beach combing. We must have watched facinated by this behaviour for nearly half an hour, I know as I was getting very hungry when we eventually ate lunch. After lunch we saw a distant Golden Eagle and some Kestrels but as the afternoon wore on we found two more Goldies and one was this years chick flying like a veteran. To finish the day we went in search of a Hen Harrier more in hope than expectation and we had a brilliant sighting of a very close female, it was the closest I have seen this year, what a way to end a real gem of a day.
WTSE back in usual
                                              treeOtter surfing
Otter riding the surf
Aug 3rd
Another day with family going swimming as Nia loves it. I, of course, was looking for wildlife, Golden Eagle carrying prey was probably the best wildlife we saw today after the rain had stopped but 2 Hen Harriers sky diving was a close 2nd and an Otter fishing was 3rd, not every young child gets to see wildlife like this I hope it sticks in the memory, although I doubt it, but it will remain in mine. Richie and Nia leave early in the morning so back to work, if you can call wildlife watching back to work, I wonder what gems tomorrow will bring.
Aug 2nd
A day spent with my lovely and, for now, youngest Grand Daughter, Nia who is up visiting with her dad. We went to the Old Byre and had a nice cup of coffee and Nia played in the outside play area which is excellent for kids of all ages and I whipped Richard our son at Table Tennis, the old man still has the moves,Occasionally. This evening we went looking for the Marsh Harrier seen earlier in the day, we did not see the bird but felt an awful lot of Midges. Pics of Nia helping grandpa when he was feeding the birds in the garden.
Nia helping Grandpa
                                              in the gardenNia helping Grandpa
                                              in the shed
Aug 1st
A lovely day out and a highlight of 4 Red Throated Divers in Loch Na Keal, as Red Throats have been at a premium this year I was delighted to see so many in one group. On the subject of Divers there was a Great Northern Diver in Salen Bay, it was probably a none breeding bird returning early from up north. Black Giilliemot young are appearing on the Lochs now and I saw at least 3 today. Finally Scotch Argus Butterflies are now starting to appear but the little blighters did not hang around enough for me to get a photo.
Bridge at Aros


Blog
                                July

car parking
and
passing places
1.     Do not park in passing places – It is an offence and you could be fined. 
2.     Allow overtaking, (use your rear view mirrors) – it is illegal not to let a faster vehicle past you within 4 passing places or when it is safe to do so.
3.   When meeting on coming traffic always pull into the left, When the passing place is on your right, stop opposite the passing place and let the on-coming vehicle use the passing place to go round you. Going into passing places on your right may cause an accident.
4.    If you have just passed a passing place, reverse back into the passing place and then the vehicle coming towards you can pass safely. Avoid going off onto the verges at it can ruin the road edges and verges which then cost a lot to maintain and could seriously damage your vehicle.
5.  Remember not all road users are on holiday many are going about their daily business and that speeding vehicle could be a doctor or vet going to an emergency.

dog walking
and sheep

1. When walking on the hills keep dogs on a lead particularly between March to June which is the peak lambing period. Sheep run away from strange dogs even if they don’t chase them and lambs can lose their mothers in this way and become more vulnerable to predation.
2. Avoid going near cattle with calves as mothers are very protective of their young and will often attack strange dogs.
3. Do not to let your dogs disturb wildlife, particularly ground nesting birds. It is an offence not to control your dog.
4. From August, to October first check whether Deer stalking is operating on any hills on the day you intend to walk them.
5. Do not pick up lambs that you think are injured or lost – please report it to the nearest farmer you see and they will take care of it, in most cases mothers are able to find their own lambs.

wildlife
photography
guidance

Photographers are now one of the main causes of wildlife disturbance on Mull. Knowingly disturbing wildlife is an offence against the wildlife and country act and ignorance of the act is not an acceptable excuse.
We encourage photographers and  many join us on our tours, we do however promote good use of field craft and keep disturbance to an absolute minimum. 
Digi-scoping is used for most of the pictures that we post on our web site as this allows us to take photographs at a distance and does not disturb the wildlife.
A government issued license is required to get close to eagles and other protected birds and wildlife.
Please practise the Countryside code and then you and your dogs can enjoy everything Mull has to offer in complete harmony with landowners, farmer’s animals and wildlife


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