Fogbound - Isle of Mull

Thursday, August 03, 2017 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


Originally written 15/07/2017

If it wasn’t raining today then it was pouring. After dancing with the rain gods and chancing our luck for the last two afternoons we had definitely lost the advantage and woke to find the valley gone and in its place a complete pea souper. Water ran in continuous waterfalls down the windows and even the sheep, hardened denizens of this climate, looked distinctly miserable. In fact a good number spent the day gathered directly outside our door in an attempt to shelter from the unremitting onslaught.

Never mind. If we weren’t going to be able to go walking (I do have to draw the line somewhere) then at least we could still enjoy the increasingly varied menagerie visiting our feeders. In recent days this had expanded to include a pair of Grey Wagtails, our first Greenfinch of the trip and yet more Great Tits swelling their numbers to seven. It might just have been cabin fever setting in but at one point I seriously pondered whether they might be building up for an invasion on the house.

Then in an instant it all changed. The cloud lifted, our valley returned and, was that? Yes it was. The sun decided to put in an appearance creating the most beautiful light that had us out of doors and down to the beach in a heartbeat.

P1100297 - Isle of Mull

P1100296 - Isle of Mull

P1100290 - Isle of Mull

P1100289 - Isle of Mull

The sea state was considerably rougher than we’d seen all week but with it came a flurry of Manx Shearwaters heading east as well as a couple of Gannets. Shags which nest in the cliffs here were constantly coming back and forth and at least two Black Guillemots were also about. Then high above us a Great Skua passed over, clearly heading somewhere with purpose but its destination unknown. We weren’t the only ones to notice either as a herd of Red Deer stopped their frolicking along the cliff edge and watched cautiously until the Skua had passed.

P1100292 - Red Deer, Isle of Mull

On the way back up a Magpie Moth caught my eye and reminded us that we really must try a spot of mothing before the week is out. A drier evening perhaps though given our equipment up here is nothing more advanced than an old desk lamp on a white sheet.

P1100286 - Magpie Moth - Isle of Mull

And that was that, or so we thought. Just as darkness was finally descending a cat skulked its way across the front of the house. Now normally this would be an event unworthy of reporting but when in remotest Scotland the possibility of a true Wildcat is never to be dismissed. Saying that pure examples are incredibly rare and I’m not sure of their current population on Mull, but we are adamant that we have seen one here in the past. This individual was less clear cut but still showed a few key characteristics including the distinctive striped tail with rounded end. Overall however it seemed to lack a suitably beefy build so could perhaps be one of the cross breeds which ultimately threatens the Wildcats existence. The ironic thing is that we’d just deployed our trail-cam for the night yet alas its field of view was just out of reach of the cat's path. We’ve not given up though and shall be repositioning in the hope that it returns.

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