Friday, 10 September 2010

King of the hill.

Wednesday I had a few jobs to do but in the afternoon I was outside, chewing the fat, and a female Hen Harrier flew over head. The camera was in the shop as I'd been doing the last blog entry so I couldn't get a photo but you can't be at the ready all the soon as the Harrier disappeared a Peregrine appeared heading in the opposite direction!!! I ran into the shop and grabbed the camera as the bird was sailing away. The first shot was seriously blurred and this one isn't much better but it was half way across the loch by this time.
Another mystery moth - I'll probably end up with a proper ID book for Xmas or even birthday. Any ideas on the moth and also any clues as to which book to buy would be gratefully accepted.
Thursday I was back out on tour so with the guests on board and no particular targets for the day we set off. A Cormorant was drying it's wings at our first stop with a few Curlew flying between feeding areas. The Hooded Crows are at their cheeky best at this time of year. Small groups loiter around just looking for trouble or just some fun with each other. Well worth an hour or two of sitting watching them - try it if you get the chance! We located an Otter in the distance so headed a bit closer and waited for some exceptional views. A WT Eagle appeared behind us while we were watching the Otter but it was soon out of sight. There was a bit of a crowd gathering and all of a sudden the Otter disappeared so we quietly left the area.
I'd had regular sightings of a herd of Red Deer hinds so we had a look in the area but the farmer was out gathering his sheep so that was a blank. There were a number of Ravens in the area riding the updrafts and calling to each other so it wasn't a complete blank. The Grey Herons are a spectacular bird but they can be overlooked as they are quite approachable and a common sight up here.
We'd had a fair bit of rain overnight and as the cloud started to break and the sun came out there were wisps of steam coming out of the forestry - stunning.
As we approached the area where we'd seen the Otter we could see a real poor situation. One person was steadfastly pursuing the Otter along the shore while another two people were trying to get in front of it. The Otter was really motoring and not fishing - not good at all. There was nothing we could do without causing more disturbance to the Otter:-( We got cracking views of a Sparrowhawk just after lunch before we picked up a small herd of Red Deer hinds with a couple of youngsters. As we headed to a spot for Golden Eagle we picked up 4 Yellowhammers at the side of the road with plenty of Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail in the same area. A flock of 20 Rock Dove were in the next field down.
Stunning views of one of the Golden Eagle sitting on a telegraph pole were had with one of thee other birds flying at some height in the same area. We willed this one to take flight but it wasn't going to happen. We'd turned around and heading back we got a fleeting glimpse of the bird taking off and the camera was out.
A mightily impressive bird at close quarters - you don't care what you see after an encounter like that!
We located the King of the hill at our next stop. A couple of Northern Wheatear were pursuing their prey and this bird kept coming back to this obvious high point to scan for the next victim:-)
We had Mountain Hare in the bag so we had a refreshing cuppa while scrutinising the Skylark and Linnets through the scope. Both of these birds are worth a look when you can see them in such detail. Our journey back had a few highlights too with Gannets visible almost constantly as we drove along the lochside. As we slowed to view a couple of these black and white birds I caught a flash of black and white on the side of the road. We stopped and wandered back along the road to find this....
...a wee kitten. We had little choice but to take this one with us - not feral, no sign of an adult or other kittens and it was starving too. We've named her Sula after the old Latin name for Gannet and she's well pleased with her cosy new home. Back to the tour - a couple of miles down the road we hit the ferry traffic and had to pull into a passing place to let a number of cars go. This was what we could see out of the window as we waited...
...two adult WT Eagle - a grand finish to the day! Back at the shop the Crossbills were giving a fine display too.


Wilma said...

Great day you had, Bryan.

That is a precious kitten, too. Does it have one blue eye and one green? or is that a trick of the lighting? We got our cat in a similar way. Leaving work one cold rainy night 9 years ago, I spotted what looked like a fuzzy hat someone had dropped in a mud puddle at the exit to the parking lot. We stopped so as not to drive over it and I was going to hang it on the exit post for the owner to find. But the "hat" turned out to be a "cat" instead, a tiny grey kitten. And once you pick a cat up in those situations, you really can't put it back down; the cat is yours. Hope you enjoy your new cat as much as we have enjoyed ours. ;-)

Bryan Rains said...

Wilma - The kitten, Sula, has settled in nicely. Her eyes are just starting to change colour so they will both be green - a trick of the light I guess.

Anonymous said...

We were the two lucky people that went out with Brian on Thursday. It was the best day of our holiday, we saw so much, things that we would not have noticed if it had not have been for Brian. This is a must for any tourist going to Mull.
I am glad that Sula has settled in and I wish Joy a speedy recovery.

Rick said...

Love reading your blogs bryan & i so wish i had the bottle to up sticks & come & live on mull.
Merlin, Leo, Twinkle, Dewy & Roscoe (our cats) are quite certain that Sula's new home will be as warm & welcoming as what theirs is!