Five Days on Mull - Part One

I might have mentioned (once or twice) that Limpy and I recently returned from our first ever trip to the beautiful island of Mull in the Inner Hebrides.  It's something we'd been talking about doing for years so it felt brilliant (and slightly unreal) as we finally travelled up there.  We hadn't been off the ferry long when we pulled in near Salen on the east coast:

The first of many curlews we were to see on the island.

As we headed north towards Dervaig (where we were staying) I couldn't resist this hooded crow.

We continued on our way and enjoyed a very comfortable night.  After a very generously sized breakfast (can't beat them!) we headed to the west coast of the island, making our first stop at Calgary.  It was cold and drizzly there, though the beach was a beautiful white colour (unlike our local yellowish ones).  There weren't many birds about, though (inevitably) the local corvids pop up everywhere:

We then headed down the coast to the tiny port of Ulva Ferry.  On our way there this buzzard finally descended to a height where I could get shots of it that weren't pure silhouette:

Good to see it had a meal in its talons!

On reaching Ulva Ferry a most familiar bird flew past:

Obviously, herring gulls were everywhere.  What came as a surprise was that the next bird was everywhere as well:

We were told early on that if we thought we'd seen a cormorant it would almost certainly be a shag.  This proved to be the case over the next few days, though we did see the odd cormorant about.

We continued down the coast to Gruline.  A bird which was quickly becoming familiar had just enjoyed a bath:

It looks good and it knows it!  Further down the road we saw a most suitable bird on a post:

What a beauty!  I think it was too surprised to do anything but sit there.

That's possibly the most obliging buzzard I've ever photographed.

We followed the road as it turned west along the coast of Loch na Keal.  There were a few bigger parking areas along here, with birders (no mistaking the scopes and things!) already set up.  Two white-tailed eagles were sitting on a rock - too far away to see anything other than two very large dots in the distance!  I settled on seeing what was a bit closer:

A beautiful meadow pipit.  I must confess I fell into the trap of thinking it was a rock pipit due to its location but it's definitely a meadow pipit.

A typically shy and retiring pied wagtail - one of many in the area.

Right, that'll do for Part One - Part Two to follow!

Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • A stunning set of photos and species Clare, Mull is still on our to visit list so it is really interesting to see what birds can be around; The mippit and pied waggie are little stunners and how obliging to get such great views of the magnificent buzzard. Never seen a hooded crow but a nice tick for you. Can't wait for part 2 !!

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • I got completely carried away snapping hooded crows - for me they are a very rare bird as I live hundreds of miles from north-western Scotland (also Ireland and the Isle of Man) where they live. It was quite surreal to get home and see carrion crows everywhere!

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • Lovely photos from your visit to Mull, look forward to part 2.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Just out of curiosity, Catlady, do you get hooded or carrion crows in Caithness?

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • Now then, I would say carrion crows Clare, some time I will consult a lovley book that I bought, written by local ornithologists and photographers, and see what that says!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Super set Clare, the hoodies bringing back memories of our trip to loch linnhie (and a day trip to Mull!) a few years ago. Looking forward to part 2too :o)
  • Great photos,love that Buzzard on the post.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Part Two has just been posted - click here to see more.

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • Hi Clare,
    Lovely set of photos from Mull, it's long been on the must visit list and without Covid we may have got there by now. We have friends who visit from Suffolk every year and they show us what we have been missing. We have only seen Hooded Crows on the Scottish Islands and so far not managed a close photo as they can be quite shy. Also never had quite such a close encounter with a Buzzard, well done.
    Best Wishes,
    Trevor
  • All episodes now soaked up - am quite drunk with delight, thanks so much CLARE

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