With just two days left on Mull we decided to stay around the house in the hope of getting some more sightings of the Golden Eagles. We weren’t disappointed as on a walk down to the beach we rounded a corner to find one of the Eagles sat just above us on the hillside. I quickly fired off a couple of frames on the camera before retreating and finding another route before we were spotted.
Being so close to these massive predators is always a buzz but I have no wish to disturb them so always make sure that we steer clear and never go deliberately looking for them. All of our sightings are just incidental to being in the valley and it’s an approach that clearly works for they are here year after year.
Our time on the beach was spent collecting driftwood for use at home but it wasn’t hard to spot where the Eagle was sitting as it came under a constant barrage of attacks from the local Hooded Crows and a pair of Kestrels. It’s a wonder that they get any peace at all with that racket following them wherever they go. The bird certainly had good taste though when it comes to resting spots as the view in this part of the world is simply spectacular.
A trip to Croig to see the Seals also found us looking at our second Diver species of the trip in the form of a first summer Great Northern Diver. The bird was preening way out on the loch but there was no mistaking its size and shape over the smaller Red Throated Divers that had been far more numerous throughout the rest of our trip. Along the shore seventy Greylag Geese including many of this year’s fledglings were floating about in a single raft, just one of the many that we had seen around the island. It certainly seems to have been a good year for them. At least forty Oystercatchers and five Ringed Plovers were also present, the whole lot taking to the sky as a male Peregrine Falcon glided across the scene.
At Croig I also managed to get my best shots for the trip of a Wheatear. This species is so numerous here that to not have come away with a decent photo would have been a disappointment. Unfortunately their flighty nature and my cameras limited range are not a good combination.
On our final day we once again spotted a Golden Eagle, this time sat on a rock on the far side of the valley. If it wasn’t for the constant bombardment being unleashed by the Hooded Crows and Kestrels it likely would have gone unnoticed, but as it was we were treated to prolonged views which made an unusual distraction from our kite flying. It would seem that even Eagles have their tolerance levels as after taking as much of its unwelcome company as it could tolerate it took to the air in a few down strokes of its massive wings. It gradually climbed higher and higher until its entourage was no more before flying out of sight.
The island had one final treat in store for us as the sun started to set. We climbed the hill at the back of the house from whose top it is possible to watch across a favourite hunting area for the local Short Eared Owls. It can be a bit hit or miss whether they turn up or not but on this occasion we were lucky. A single bird was flying along the deer fence, seeming to move so slowly through the air that I half expected to see it drop out of the sky. It was only visible for a few moments before the next hill blocked our view. We took the opportunity to look out to sea where the Treshnish Isles were catching the last of the suns rays before moving down the hill to see if we could relocate the Owl. The third island from the left in the photo below is Lunga, home to the Puffins from my last two posts.
Once down the hill we once again spotted the Short Eared Owl which promptly landed on the ground where it stayed for the following thirty minutes. We waited to see if there would be any further action but it was not to be.
As we walked back to the house with the sun setting behind us, I reflected on an amazing couple of weeks. Every time I visit Mull it seems to throw up yet more surprises and stunning wildlife which through these posts and photos I have been able to relive all over again. Judging by the comments I have received it sounds as if you have all been enjoying them as well, and that makes it all the better.