Five Days on Mull - Part Four

Welcome to the final instalment of our Mull holiday - it's been lovely to see that so many have enjoyed seeing the photos!

On our final full day on Mull we decided to go back to Loch Beg to see if we could get photos of the male hen harrier, something we hadn't seen the previous day.  As we followed the very scenic road southwards a beautiful little bird popped up on one of the posts by the roadside:

It was our National Bird, and he had a song for us!

Awwwwwwww ......... what a sweetie.

As we continued to Loch Beg we found ourselves driving along the coast of Loch na Keal.  We came across two birders in one of the big laybys so we stopped to check out what they were looking at.  It turned out that this couple were staying at the B&B in Salen run by the people who run the boat trips to see Mull's wildlife.  The couple were watching the boat further down the loch ............. but they were also watching what was following the boat:

I turned my head and saw this wing slowly flapping.  I was briefly reminded of a grey heron (!) before realising that this wing was much too massive ......... yup, a white-tailed eagle!  OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!

After our disappointment of having our own boat trip cancelled this was the perfect pick-me-up.  What a fantastic bird!

Wow.  What do you say when you see something like that for the first time?

After the boat (and the eagle) disappeared from sight we continued on our way to Loch Beg.  On our way we found another of those obliging buzzards on a post:

It didn't look overly happy to be disturbed mid-preen - that's some look it's giving me.

We reached Loch Beg and stayed there for some time.  To our disappointment the hen harriers mostly stayed out of sight - I can't blame them as it was cold, windy and frequently wet.  Eventually we called it a day and headed to Tobermory - to our relief it was turning out to be a nice evening.  I turned my attention to the harbour and saw that a fish lying on the shore was drawing attention from one or two interested birds:

Inevitably, a herring gull.

Getting splashy with it!

That's not how we'd batter a fish but it clearly works for the gull.

'Better than chips' thinks the gull.

There was bound to be another interested party sooner or later:

This hooded crow wasn't backwards in coming forwards.

It wasn't enough to deter the gull, though.

Eventually another gull got a look in:

One of last year's young herring gulls.  Good to see it thriving.

Nice of it to pose for me!

I was somewhat surprised that the next bird hadn't come after the fish but perhaps it was aware of how picturesque it was looking:

A very handsome great black-backed gull.

I loved the light on the water and the bird's reflection.

Yes, Godfather, you are looking (almost) beautiful.

We headed back to our B&B for our final night on the island.  The following day saw us packing up and making our (reluctant) way to Fishnish to catch the ferry back to the mainland.  Happily this took us past Salen, where we stopped for some last minute birding:

A lovely common gull looking good in the sunlight.

Four goosanders catching some Zs!

A beautifully lit grey heron lurking near the water's edge.

Finishing with a black-headed gull.

I hope you all enjoy this last instalment - and we'll definitely be going back next year!

(Part Three is here).

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

  • What a stroke of luck to stop and check out what the birders were looking at and despite your cancelled boat trip you were rewarded with fantastic views of this huge white-tailed eagle and no wonder you said Wow !! Magnificent raptor to see especially for the first time and bonus to get such lovely photos of it. I see you were both being stalked by the buzzard again !! what a poser and good to see the various gulls and heron too. Thanks for sharing your amazing trip to Mull and really pleased you and Limpy had such a well deserved and rewarding holiday break.

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Regards, Hazel 

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

  • In reply to HAZY:

    HAZY said:
    What a stroke of luck to stop and check out what the birders were looking at

    That's what we'd normally do anywhere but it was a particularly valuable exercise on Mull.  Glad you've enjoyed the threads.

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

  • In reply to Clare:

    Clare Bailey said:
    Glad you've enjoyed the threads

    Most certainly have,

    Wonderful wonderful, yours and Limpy's Photographic, talent is absolutely amazing....

    Thank You so much for sharing, and taking so much time and effort, appreciated.

     

  • Another stupendous set, Clare. We didn't see any white tailed eagles when we were up there, but did see a golden one, about a mile away, a teeny speck against the hillside of Loch Shiel ("Heavily cropped" doesn't even come close to how cropped it had to be lol)
    Definitely some lovely light over the week, despite the murk
    Thanks again for sharing, and looking forward to next years posts already :o)
  • I’ve really enjoyed your wonderful photos, Claire. You certainly are a very accomplished photographer. Good to hear you will be going back. My OH and I visited Mull in 2012. It certainly is an amazing place with so much wildlife. One very clear memory I have is seeing a golden eagle for the first time. We were walking along a path near Tobermory when we looked up and just could not believe how large it’s wingspan is.
  • I feel like I've just been on a brilliant wildlife holiday, more brilliant photos and a real pleasure to see each days collection. A shame about the boat trip, but a white tailed eagle will have made up for that.

    Those gulls were certainly determined, and who can blame them.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • Fab photos and great commentary! Loved all the threads about the Mull trip. Thanks so much for sharing this with everyone.
  • If you thought your sighting of the Hen Harrier the day before was exciting, you must have been ecstatic to see the White Tailed Eagle. Thanks for taking us with you on your trip to Mull, beautiful photos. I am glad you had a lovely trip and that you were well rewarded.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Lynn L said:
    If you thought your sighting of the Hen Harrier the day before was exciting, you must have been ecstatic to see the White Tailed Eagle.

    I almost took off with it!!  Absolutely awesome.

    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,
    A spectacular set to round off with. The White Tailed Eagle must have made the trip rather special and more lovely close ups of Hooded Crows, Buzzard and Gulls.
    We've only seen White Tailed Eagles at a distance on North Uist but stunning even then.
    Thank you for sharing, we must get to Mull soon
    Trevor