Reflections On Mull

July 27, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Otter mull
Whilst most people who go to Mull go to see Sea Eagles some also go to look for Otters. After the Shetlands Mull is probably the second best place in Britain to see Otters so last week I naturally spent time surveying the coastline. With losing two days to bad weather I was left with only one day when the tide was right for fishing Otters. I set off on foot to cover a headland and almost immediately encountered a fishing dog Otter. I followed him along the shore for one and a half hours and during that time he came ashore three times, once only ten feet from me and too close to focus! The third time he brought a fish ashore and gave me some good photo opportunities . This week’s gallery, besides Sea Eagle and Otters, also includes butterflies and views from Mull Click here.
Back home the good news is that the settled weather has enabled the three pairs of Kingfishers that I monitor to fledge between them at least twenty five young. This is a record number coming after two poor seasons and a brilliant end to the best breeding season I have ever known.

Sea Eagles

July 19, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Sea Eagle

For more than twenty years I have heard about White Tailed Sea Eagles following fishing boats in Skye and Mull to scavenge fish thrown from the boats. Last week I finally visited Mull to film this incredible spectacle of the world’s fourth largest eagle taking fish thrown from specially licensed boats. As the boat sails into the vicinity of the eagle’s eyrie  the adults recognise it and fly high above to await a fish being thrown out. Then, with a rapid turn of speed, the eagle dives down and removes the fish from the surface of the sea with as little impact on the water as possible. This method of taking  the fish is in contrast to an Osprey that plunges completely into the water then lifts off with its prey. To see these enormous birds carrying out this manoeuvre is something never to be forgotten and whilst the weather could have been better I did manage several sailings and lots of photos. Click here.

It was only my second visit to Mull but where else in Britain is it possible to see six different Sea Eagles and three different Golden Eagles in one day.

See next week’s blog for more news of my visit to Mull.

Wader Success

July 11, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Little Ringed Plover

The pattern of this Spring and Summer’s rainfall has ensured that the Pennine moorlands have never dried out. This has benefitted the moorland waders, especially after their eggs have hatched,ensuring that their young are able to find food at that crucial time of their development. On some moors Lapwings have returned to breed after an absence of many years and one pair of Golden Plover were still incubating eggs at the end of June which is the latest I have ever known. Although the reservoirs have remained largely full, with the co – operation of the local water authority some water has been taken out enabling Little Ringed Plovers to breed successfully. Click here.

Whilst I was in the moorland valleys last week I heard a bird that I have not encountered for a long time and seldom filmed it was a male Grey Partridge and whilst it remained a long way off I did manage to take some photos of a bird that is now very much in decline..

Long Eared Owl Success

July 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Long Eared Owl 14

Having mentioned in last week’s blog about the successful breeding of some raptors this year, due to the abundance of voles, I was not surprised to find three more recently fledged Long Eared Owls this week, one with a missing ear tuft! The gallery shows them in the pines plus some of the other birds I have come across in the Pennines this season. Click here

At the moment the three Kingfisher sites that I monitor each year all have newly hatched young so the next three weeks need to be reasonably dry to ensure their successful fledging. All three pairs have already fledged first broods of young so they have had a much better start than in the last couple of years which have been abysmal.

July is the month to encounter Stoats and last week alone I have seen three different individuals darting across country roads. For those of you who like Whimberries this years crop looks like being one of the best.

In the garden on the 5th we had a record four Carrion Crows together.