Thursday, 31 January 2013

Some change.

We are still in the grip of winter but there are some changes out there. This time of year seems to prompt a bit of plover arrival so it was no surprise to find four Golden Plover on the patch. I was out on an errand for the morning but you can't drive round with your eyes closed - WT Eagle perched in a tree...
...and two of the three Otters in the shallows.
There were plenty of Lapwings to be found with three separate flocks seen.
A flock of 85 Barnacle Geese were not particularly close but they were a lot closer than the last time I saw them - result.
A large flock of Golden Plover were seen too but they were all against the light - cracking birds though.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A bit of action.

A bit of action recorded last week was, once again, given away by the alarm calls of a couple of Raven.
The Ravens were excited by the presence of a WT Eagle. The eagle was drawn in by 3 Otters that were fishing in the bay and it was trying it's luck at stealing the fish that the Otters caught. I wasn't that close to the action but it was great to watch the WT Eagle swooping down over the Otters.
A Robin kept a close eye on me in case the sandwiches came out - no luck there!
Some good views of the eagle as it banked around before targeting the Otters...
...but it would only make a couple of passes before taking a rest.
The WT Eagle got nothing from the Otters and they were not fussed by it's attempts to rob them so eventually it gave up a flew off - nice to see though.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


With most of the country struggling with snow I thought I would show how bad it is up here - for now!
Just a quick jaunt out in the sunny conditions and I hit lucky. A couple of Ravens were flying about but calling in alarm too.
A quick scan around and there was one of last years Golden Eagle youngsters.
It wasn't there on it's own as there was another youngster just below it - shame about the blurry image but it was nice against the snow.
A scan across the loch before heading for home produced a good view of a Great Northern Diver...
...and an Otter was fishing offshore. I managed to get in a reasonable position to get some snaps when it brought a fish ashore...
...and had a brush up afterwards before heading off.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Sharing the spoils.

A chilly wind didn't inspire a trip out and, as it happens, it wasn't required. Just looking from the shop window provided views of an otter heading for the loch...
...a fly past Buzzard while I was photographing the Otter...
...a Hooded Crow heading for the wood...
...and a greenshank on the near shore - that'll do.
A bit more sun the next day but it's still a cold wind blowing. A Mountain Hare had become a road casualty but it provides food for other things.
A couple of Hooded Crow, three Raven and a pale Buzzard were sharing the spoils.

Friday, 18 January 2013


It's one thing to dash around looking for the wildlife but standing at the side of the road chatting works just as well. Goods view of a WT Eagle were had while chatting.
The local flock of Teal didn't seem bothered by a large predatory bird flying over.
A bit of searching around in the afternoon turned up plenty of the usual suspects including GN Diver, 2 Otter, a couple of Hen Harrier and to finish the way I started, a chat, Stonechat to be precise.
The following day was that dull I nearly left the camera at home but it wasn't raining so it came out. The tide was well in and starting to fall so the birds were moving around. A small gathering of 10 Common Gull held a single Black-headed Gull - a common bird for most people but we don't see too many in this part of Mull.
A flock of Turnstone were next to fly in looking spectacular as they twisted and turned as they looked for somewhere to settle.
A small rock was chosen for the landing site where the spectacular looking birds...
...turned into well camouflaged birds.
On the near shore was a single Dunlin...
...that associates with the Ringed Plovers.
The last photo just about sums up the light conditions through the day - a dark and damp Buzzard.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A hard stare.

It's certainly been better weather for the last couple of days but it hasn't provided too many chances of photos. Cracking views of an Otter the other morning but the sun wasn't up so too dark for shots. Two hours later it was just light enough to photograph this Red Deer. 
I took the opportunity to check on a few sites while doing some errands. A flock of about 70 Barnacle Geese were easily visible but no way of getting closer to them.
A decent count of 18 Tufted Duck were nice to see with Rock Dove and Rook in the vicinity too. Best find of the day was a single Common Scoter (honest, that blob IS a bird)...
...along with a couple of Black Guillemot and a few GN Diver. You can always rely on a Buzzard to pose for a photo when all else is failing so I tend not to pass them up!
These two Otters were not much further along the road but they were not hanging around.
I hate to say it but just round the corner from the Otters was this WT Eagle having lunch.
The eagle was having a quiet time until the Hooded Crows noticed what was going on. The first one that came in landed behind the larger bird and looked like it was going for the tail pull. It seems a bit pointless when there are no other birds there but you have to try. The WT Eagle didn't wait for tail pull but just turned to the Hoodie and gave it a hard stare!

Friday, 11 January 2013


A long awaited patch tick was found minding it's own business in one of the watercourses - a Dipper. There are plenty of Dippers on the island and they can be easy to see in the winter but I've never seen one close to home - result.
A change of scenery after that excitement didn't lower the heart rate much as I came across my first male Hen Harrier of the year. A Kestrel had launched itself from a telegraph pole to head for the ridge and straight for the Hen Harrier.
Not a bad sighting in itself but the female was floating around there too and the Kestrel just kept hammering away at the male!
A couple of Buzzard were circling too but they didn't bother joining the scrap and just as well too...a Golden Eagle came floating into view mere seconds later. The skies cleared quite quickly for some reason!
I could see another bird in the distance so I followed the first bird down the road and watched as it circled...
...waiting for it's mate to join it.
Three Otters were asleep on the rocks as I headed home for a lie down after all of that excitement;-)
I managed to get WT Eagle onto the patch list but it was still a distant view...even when I went for a closer look it was still too far for the camera!
With the likes of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull and Dunlin already added to the list I went to see if I could locate something away from the water or woods. A bit of searching, nothing to show for the effort and the sun going down I came across a single Reed Bunting - well worth the effort.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


The weather is being quite unchangeable which could be nice but it's not, it's just soggy! A Kestrel posed for a shot in the dull light.
The one day it didn't rain I ventured out a bit further to rack up a few year ticks and got good views of WT Eagle and a pair of Golden Eagle.
There are always plenty of Oystercatchers around and you always see them in profile so here is one in a feeding stance - there must be a worm there somewhere!
A couple of days with more rain produced more of the same stuff but at this time of year I tend not to venture too far and things will appear eventually. I've seen a few Otters since the start of the new year but none that have been close enough. I found a mum with two cubs fishing close to the shore so I waited, in the rain, for them to head to shore. Lucky for me, the tide was high and they came ashore close to the road so two of them were mutual preening...
...while the third one devoured a fish.
Just in case you are thinking the weather doesn't look too bad this Buzzard is a better indicator of how wet it was!