(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
It was day two. Our first full day on the island. We had a hearty breakfast provided by a burly ex geologist from Stoke! Funny but there seems to be rather a lot of English people on the island. Most of the people in the shops, pubs even petrol stations are from down south, a long way down south. But we digress and you want to hear about the day. We set off south again in search of some more big birds. But first heres one you weren't expecting....
Grey Heron in a tree
Common Gull (I became rather fond of these.)
We drove passed the three Lochs car park and the poor guys in the bashed transit had spent the night there. It was Friday so they should be able to sort out a pick up today...... surely!
We stopped for a mo at the junction for the B8035 along the A849. Or at the head of Loch Beg. A nice little spot where Highland Cattle and Snipe and Whinchats mixed quit merely
Whinchat on a rock behind a bush
We carried along around the Lochs stopping occasionally as either Lee spotted an interesting bird or I spotted a potential landscape shot. If you want to see the results pop over to HERE at manualfocusuk.com for my first efforts. One of the tick lists for me was an Eider. The EFRS have a soft spot for these. Very attractive and large duck as they are they have a very odd call. For those of a certain age they are the Larry Grasson of the bird world with a very camp sounding 'Oooohh' for a call. For those not familial imagine your aunty or granny doing it. We love em! I was well chuffed to get a pair in the actual wild.
But first another Grey Heron.
Female Eider Duck
Male Eider Duck
Male showing off his green. Very nice green it is to.
Ah the ever present Oyster Catcher
Then Lee spotted a really cool bird. A Great Northern Diver. Never seen one before and what a very nice bird it is to. I like that almost pixilated pattern on its wings. Very nice.
While we were by the Loch this female Mallard flew round and promptly landed in a puddle in the rocks the size of your kitchen sink! I managed to get an excellent shot. Why the hell can't this have been a Golden Eagle or something!!
Further along we stopped in a small lay-bye. This is a common thing to see. A couple of people with bins/scopes/cameras standing next to a car in a lay-bye looking at something in the distance. It's usually the cue for someone driving along to stop and have a chat. Just that happened. A guy we had met previously pulled up and told us a good spot to see Hen Harriers. While chatting he asked with a smile if we had met 'Captain Gobshyte' yet. We laughed as we knew exactly who he meant. If you don't have a read of THIS.
After he left a small fast bird flew passed chasing an even smaller little brown thing. We both guessed as to what it was. A Merlin. I've only seen one briefly before on Start but they are so distinctive in flight there is little mistaking them. By the time I managed a shot it was well away so this is as good as it got.
It was at another lay-bye when we had a bit of a disagreement. You see I was watching a Buzzard and Kestrel while Lee was watching a Golden eagle. Well I think I was watching a Buzzard.
I've tried to convince myself this is a Golden eagle but I don't think it is.
Greater Black backed Gull
This is definitely a Buzzard
Both Lee and I were keen to spot the one bird we had really come for. A Hen Harrier. Lee was constantly reassuring me that we will see dozens of them everywhere and get really good pics. I waited in eager anticipation. I didn't have to wait too long. Lee as always spotted our target. A female Ringtail wandering along up high. Typically this day saw the weather break a bit with plenty of clouds to darken things. We even had a few brief showers. We stopped and wandered up and down the road. My car was not only unlocked but the boot was wide open as we walked out of sight. I couldn't care less. We were on Mull after all. I managed a few record shots but the thrill of seeing my first was amazing. Thanks Lee
Ring tail over head
The classic silhouette
Lee eagerly spotting the Hen harriers
We were only half way through the day and ticked a few nice ones off already. We drove back along the coastline. Ever since we'd been there we were waiting for our first Otters. They came all at once.
Probably a family of three making their way along the coast. Annoyingly they never had all their heads out at any one time.
Another Oyster catcher
Young Common Gull
Rock Pipet on a rock
Can't leave out a nice Pied Wagtail
A splendid Common Gull. Nice wind tip pattern
How :Lee managed to spot these I don't know but spot them he did. An adult and Juvenile White Tailed Eagles sitting on a small island in the straights. They stayed for quite a while calling and moving around. There was an Otter on the other side which may have spooked them.
Another Great Northern Diver showing it's wings well
We moved on a little to the head of the water and stopped by a group of other birders yep you guested it, standing by cars with binoculars and cameras looking at something distant.
Lee having a scout about
And as we stood wondering what was about guess who flew passed. The pair of Eagles from the island.
First probably Mother
How cool is that! Brilliant day with loads of stuff. We agreed that you don't have to go anywhere special just stop for five mins and something will come along.
Like this Common Sandpiper for example
Or yet another Common Gull
Getting boring is it?
Common Sandpiper again
I mean Wow! Mull is great. When we shut that door to the day we were well buzzing with hits on the list. Day three will be in a few days so watch this space and thanks for reading.