We head at more civilised time toward Tobermory for our third trip out with the good people from Sealife surveys. Our good luck continues when we find out the White Tailed Eagle Warden is on board to check out some of the cliff nesting birds. Needless to say we see some White Tailed Eagles and Golden Eagles from the boat although we were slightly perturbed by how close we got to the nest and that no discretion was shown about the location.
The boat continued out towards Colonsay and there are huge numbers of Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes feeding on the rich ocean micro fauna. In most directions from the boat Manxies are evident and by the end of the day we see approximately 2000 of these pelagic crackers. We also get onto a couple of Storm Petrels pattering the surface above a pod of Harbour Porpoise – does it get better than this? Yes.
After several hours at sea watching group after group of seabirds we start heading back to the port. An unusual looking gull grabs ourattention but it looks just like another juvenile kittiwake heading to a feeding frenzy. As we follow it to the frenzy a hulking monster breaches. WHALE! An adult Minke Whale has joined the feeding party of manxies, diving gannets and petrels – this is just like Blue Planet. An awesome few seconds of total action and then calm is restored.
The day is finished off with the usual Harriers and Short Eared Owls feeding around Lochdon.
Another later morning before heading to Ulva Ferry and our second boat trip of the tour. We spend the day on Staffa and Lunga on the Tour from Turus Mara. We see all the expected birds plus some bag some great Puffin shots. Including some for the new ‘Birdscape’ project .
Overnight we had our first rain!
Day seven and eight were spent along the south side of the island visiting areas such as Loch Spelve alt the way to Fidden. Despite intensive searching we were unable to find any showy Mountain Hare near Fidden Farm, but we did see some more Hen Harrier. We also saw more of both species of eagles on we also added to the raptor list with Merlin and Peregrine.
Uisken beach was really productive with good views of Sanderling and Whimbrel. The fields in the surrounding area produced some linnet and more Twite ads well as some Rock Dove (wild ones!).
On both evenings we saw Short Eared Owls and we finally saw our local White Tailed Eagles at Grasspoint along with Redstart and Wood Warbler in the forest.
We were disappointed to be leaving without any otter shots, but then one last search produced the best views and one final photo opportunity. A cracking Otter right on the peninsula a Grasspoint.
All in all a fantastic tour of Mull, which produced everything we had hoped for and a very relaxing time. I would say to get the most form a visit it is worthwhile to get up early and go to bed late. Not only is the light better for photography, but everything seems much more active and confiding.
Next year we hope to run some photographic tours to the island. It would be great if they went as well as this trip!