Sunday, 30 June 2013


Another day of being flexible to try to get the best of the wildlife. We started the day with good views of Redshank, Lapwing and a female Hen Harrier. We then headed for a Golden Eagle site which paid off fairly quickly with two birds circling in the distance. After a short wait the birds started to head towards us and gave us an awesome display as the first bird sailed overhead...
...and the second bird came even closer and circled over us - awesome!!
Go on then, one more shot.
You would think that would be it for the day but we had close views of Red deer, Whinchat, a nice encounter with an Adder and then we picked up 3 Otters just as they were leaving the holt! We had to give them some space before we were able to get in a position to get out of the vehicle and view them fishing.
We got some stunning views of Common Sandpiper in a few locations...
...the Golden Plover put in another appearance...
...and we got superb views of the WT Eagle coming back to the nest. A RT Diver gave us a bit of a challenge as it kept is distance but we got it in the end. As I arrived back to base a Common Crossbill was shouting from the treetops.

Friday, 28 June 2013

You can't win them all.

Another trip to Iona, with guests, for Corncrake. The trip over was uneventful with Kittiwake...
...and Gannet seen.
There were a few Linnets that came to have a look at what we were doing...
...and plenty of Song Thrush and this charming Blackbird sunbathing!
We spent some time on the island and it was exceptionally quiet so the best we got was a couple of calling birds - you can't win them all. Back on to Mull the highlights were Mountain Hare, Adder, WT Eagle, Golden Eagle and this splendid Stonechat.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Begbie bonanza.

A bit windy and a trickle of rain all day didn't make for the best of conditions. The Begbie family were up for it with the main target for the day being WT Eagle but everything else would do too! We started the day with an Otter sleeping on the shore...
...and another Otter appeared from the water to eat it's catch before dropping back into the choppy water. It was certainly difficult to catch sight of the Otter in the water but it did come ashore again to give us another good view. Reasonably close views of a Red-throated Diver were had but the light was challenging.
It looks like it may have just swallowed a fish in this shot.
A visit to the WT Eagle nest was productive but a bit wet. With no sign of the adults to start with we had to wait for one to come in so we waited for about half an hour. Better still was the bird leaving as it flew straight towards us...
...and over the top - awesome!
No great show from the Golden Eagles but we did get views of the adult and chick. A request for Hen Harrier was soon fulfilled as one gave us a fly past.
With the weather being a bit damp it was no surprise to see the Snipe on a post...
...and a Curlew in the field a bit further along the road.
A real bonus for the day was meant to be a quick stop to look at the Common Seals but the presence of two adult WT Eagle kept us there a bit longer. They were feasting on a carcass and getting harassed by the gulls and oystercatchers - quite spectacular to watch!
We finished the day with another male Hen Harrier and some good views of Red Deer.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Been there, done that.

Better weather for this tour so there were a few more photos. Some close Mountain Hares were nice to see at our first stop.
It looks like this hare has 'been there, done that'!
A young Skylark was kind enough to stay on it's post while we had a good look.
We pushed on from there to see if we could get better views of Adder while it was still cool - that worked well.
All of the Whinchat seem to be feeding young, either in the nest or recently fledged, but this guy must be having a break!
A couple of Golden Eagle rose out of the forestry, gained height, and drifted off. Three Otters entertained us before we had lunch and Golden Eagles were the stars while we ate our lunch. An impressive display of how to ride the updraft from the cliff.
From big to small - this six-spot Burnet Moth was examined closely...
...but soon forgotten as the Golden Eagles reappeared.
Another two Otters sleeping on the shore were nice to see, WT Eagle at the nest and a splendid Curlew at the side of the road.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Leucistic Snipe.

There was no sign of any adult WT Eagle at the nest as we started the tour so we decided to call back later in the day when the weather had improved. Four Otters on the shore were a better sighting.
You would think this bird was stuffed but it's not always there!
The Adder was visible but the cooler conditions didn't help much but we got nice views of Whinchat while we waited.
Best sighting of the day was leucistic Common Snipe that I first saw last June - awesome bird.
Good views of a few Mountain Hare and the weather was finally starting to break.
A couple of Raven were hanging around the pig fields...
...and our WT Eagle sighting was worth waiting for.

Monday, 24 June 2013


A day of requests on a hot, sunny day turned out quite well. The guests for the day had an idea that they might like to see Corncrake so we decided to give it a bash. We started the day with an Otter, Golden Eagle and Adder were added soon after and the first of the requests was filled in when we got good views of a pair of Whinchat.
Mountain Hare was a bit more difficult as I got some fleeting glimpses of one a couple of times but nothing better than that. The Redshank and Lapwing were well photographed though.
We headed over to Iona to look for Corncrake in the foot high vegetation! You could hear them well enough but seeing one was going to be a challenge. The usual advice was given by passing tourists - 'you're wasting your time with them', 'I've been coming here for 15 years and never seen one yet' - all very encouraging eh? Just after the last comment was made I found this one lurking in the long grass!
We got views of that Corncrake as it preened itself and then it wandered off. Another two were picked up in really long vegetation but the best you could get was the vegetation moving as they ran around - funny to watch. I managed a couple of glimpses when but trying to give directions in the sea of yellow was not easy.
Another request for the day had been Raven - I was the last one to attempt photos and they decided to leave just as I pointed the camera.
A Hooded Crow kept me amused while the guests were looking at the Oystercatchers.

Sunday, 23 June 2013


A day off kept me away from the camera but not before pointing it at a male Hen Harrier!
The usual eagles and one otter were seen on the tour but the star of the show was this Curlew shouting at the side of the road.
A Golden Eagle perched low on a hill was nice to see.
The Whinchats are still feeding their young and the Adder is a struggle at times. A Four-spotted Chaser was easier to capture!
We managed to get Great Northern and Red-throated Diver on the tour and a few Red Deer.

Saturday, 22 June 2013


The sightings are staying fairly similar at the moment so I'll just rattle through the photos. A couple of moulting  RB Merganser were having a kip at high tide.
It was nice to see the Lesser Butterfly Orchid in flower.
The Kestrels seem to be doing quite well this year.
Three Golden Eagles in the air together was a bit of a surprise but after looking at the photos I could see that one of the birds was a youngster.
The Mountain Hares are showing how well they can run and hide at the moment - nice if you can get them!
There are lots of young Redshank this year so the adults are keen to keep them safe...
...but not so many Lapwing chicks but the adults are taking good care of the ones they have.
A Snipe on a post - what can I say? There will be more!!