Looking out from my office window today everything I see is golden. From the luxurious golden green vegetation 10m away from me, to an entirely golden flat sea all the way to Iona and the South of the Island.
We have had so many foreign visitors to the Islands this season and lots of islanders would now say ‘too many’. Is it so much cheaper, or is it our better climate, with a nice balance of rain and sun, because the beaches have been stunning and our waterfalls have been spectacular and tropical at times.
I have a wildlife trip this Tuesday but only 3 people at the moment and then another tour on Wednesday which is full already.
These are odd times for my Wildlife Expeditions as the clientele is completely different, to say April, May and early June, when everyone is very focussed and passionate about nature. At this time of year visitors are usually just looking for something to do.
Well yesterdays Wildlife trip was dominated by big showers and big sun and I had the cutest little French girl of about 11 years of age on the trip with her Grandmother. Her enthusiasm should have put some grown ups to shame as she romped off regularly, with a pair of binoculars had I loaned her to look at this and that and explore some more.
I have a feeling she will grow into a top female environmentalist. Well I hope so !
Off then to our National Scenic Area with my little friend and her Nan, who obviously encourages her.
I had a full minibus for the day and gambling for a moment, I hoped we would get an early sighting of the Sea eagles. Other enthusiasts along with my own customers were there and all had top views of a pair sitting together, as well as Joys very nice scones and tea or coffee, and for my little friend orange juice.
Across Loch na Keal there was one of those ‘cuddly moments’ as a female otter and her youngster rolled around on a short seaweed covered rock before rolling off into the sea again.
Another otter now with a large fish 100m from the track up Benmore and where it appeared to go under a small bridge and into the vegetation the other side of the road.
Over the mountain into Glen Seilesdair next and red deer stags on the horizon and guess what, another otter and a photographer a bit too close on Loch Scridain.
Creatures are on he move now and beautiful birds like the hen harrier can end up wintering as far away as The Cota Donana National Park, by Seville, where I have seen them myself
SO !! I was pretty chuffed at finding a a male harrier dancing in the landscape 50m out between the mussel farm on Loch Spelve and the Grasspoint turnoff. He is becoming so rare and may go extinct on mainland Britian soon, if the big estates don’t become more caring about the other creatures living around them.
I have a feeling that The Dance of the Seven Veils didn’t originate in the Far east, but here on Mull because it is at it again here, with a misty drizzly morning for the pessimist and then lunchtime warm and sunny for the optimist. What next ???
Every day is different and yes it makes for great entertainment, but not reliability.
We have had long spells of wonderful weather this season, glorious sunrises and sunsets just like last night, with star filled skies and more.
I would cancel that trip to Iceland I think and come to the Hebridean islands, where Islands like Mull can make Aurora Borealis look tame !!
What does Tuesday bring for me tomorrow and the days Wildlife Trip I wonder? Yet more things to wonder about !!
Off to Oban today to see a few people AND pick up a few things for my new recipe entitled King Prawns and Crab with Chilli.
Boy was it delicious, but you do have to like prawns and crab and of course red chillies and some white wine for the dish and your own pleasure also !!
No Tours today or tomorrow but Tuesday 15th I am out looking for otters and eagles again.
doing this posting, I was lucky at 6.30 to see a White Tailed Sea Eagle loping low across the grassland in front of the house and then out toward The Island of Ulva.
Motto is that if you don’t look you don’t see !!!
There is a beautiful sunset now shaping up for this evening.
It is another simply glorious day here, with little wind, calm sea and the white sandy beaches of Iona beckoning !
Our German guests left today, so there is much to be done preparing for more guests later in the week.
Also fruit bushes to check on and water, minibus to refuel for next trip and now things to do in Oban tomorrow. Interestingly we had bats cruising around the house and our small woodland this morning. Unusual of course because it is very sunny !! However I think they were probably youngsters, as I have seen young tawny owls sitting out on tree branches in the height of the day. No doubt mum would give hem a rollicking later when she explains that they are supposed to be secretive and nocturnal !
Everyone is awed by the view from here. As I am awed again right now, just looking out to another vast golden sea.
Today we have mist and rain for now, but by lunchtime it may get better.
However we don’t mind this because we have had lots of very sunny days until now !
Yesterday I waited patiently with my group for the White Tailed Sea Eagles to arrive on Loch na Keal. So it was just a wave of my wand and one came low over the sea and glid up onto a favourite perch, with everyone admiring it. UNTIL !!!!! we all spotted that its mate was already there and both then gave super views in the telescope.
Across the loch an otter wandered along a seaweed point and slipped into the water.
From then on we had otters on Scarisdale rocks with seals and two adult Sea Eagles which usually means that they are waiting for an otter to catch something substantial and then steal it !!!
We had another otter sighting on Loch Scridain but time was running out and we had a ferry to catch.
This morning I had to take my relatives, who have been here a few days, to catch a very early ferry, and so right now I am pretty drained.
However tomorrow is another day and I believe it is going to be very sunny again.
Yes a good but small group today but plenty of enthusiasm and sightings.
On Loch na Keal we had an adult Sea Eagle pressed tight up against the top of a tree, before jumping 6 feet off, to land on a more flimsy tree !!
Watching pony trekkers across on the shingle spit at Killiechronan they trotted very close and past another sitting adult sea eagle which didn’t bat an eyelid !!
Lots of seals over on Scarisdale rocks by Knoch and 10 minutes up the coast a female otter with a youngster.
A female Golden eagle flew low over us at Gribbun cliffs.
Lots of twite as we now headed up to Glen Seilesdair
Heading down to Craignure for the ferry now and a very good sighting of a female hen harrier before we headed for Craignure.
We have had really good weather now for a few days and from my office it’s like The Seychelles. I have a landscape of brown and gold and a very blue calm sea.
Topping today has to be the earthquake that that we had yesterday afternoon, which originally seemed like distant thunder. However the press have confirmed Earthquake. If anyone wants more information have a look at ‘Earthquake Scotland’ online.
Joy was in Oban yesterday morning and I had lots to do around our land and house and pleased to say that my fruit bushes are looking pretty good. I hope for a bumper harvest Next Spring and Summer. Can you possibly beat Rhubarb Pie and cream, custard, or ice cream ?? It is a NO then and rather like trying to improve on fish and chips in newspaper, with lots of salt and vinegar, on a dark evening with a full moon by the waterfront in Whitby ? I don’t think so !
So yes, a pretty good trip for everyone in lovely weather.
On Loch na Keal I found one of the white tailed sea eagles nestled right up against the top of a tree.
Across the loch I spotted more sea eagles on an islet full of seals. In fact there were 3 sea eagles originally, but one took an early flight and left two adult birds with the seals !!
In the telescope everyone had really good views of the two birds and being adults they of course had big yellow bills. The young sea eagles have dark bills.
Moving on we had a number of ravens, wheatears, gannets, black guillemots and lots of landscape to talk about. We also had red deer stags on the skyline.
On Loch Scridain and after looking hard we found the much requested otter, climbing onto a seaweed covered boulder to mark its territory and then off again.
More to be seen I guess, but the ferry back to Oban beckoned some of my passengers and so more of magical Mull will have to wait until they return another time.
The weather today has been very good but now at 4pm there are a few spots of rain in the air. However out over Iona it still looks good from here.
We have new guests staying with us and they have gone there today. It will have been lovely there, as there has been no wind to speak of today.
On yesterdays wildlife trip there appeared to be a need to see an otter among the group and a youngster duly delivered, just before Gribbun Cliffs, as it trotted across the road in front of us giving good sightings before wandering into the vegetation and large inshore boulders.
My group were happy !!! Even more so when we had a big male on Loch Scridain for some time, very close and repeatedly catching something in the shallows.
So otters good, as was a distant golden eagle in Glen Seilesdair with a buzzard close by, which gave some idea of the size of a golden eagle.
We seemed to stop more often than usual yesterday, which appeared to lead to a lot of eating and drinking. Maybe it was one of those days when the chemistry was very right among the group. The otters had been seen and so perhaps contentment had taken everyone over??
Today it is serene again from my office, though grandchildren Sonny and Charlie are making a lot of noise and get a bit feral whenever they come here. Are Joy and I too soft with them ? I think so !!
I have another Wildlife Tour tomorrow and hope for another easy natured and keen group just like yesterday !!