Written on 02/10/2014, Isle of Mull

We’ve yet to find the best ‘next day’ activity following a strenuous walk but thought that the short climb up ‘S Airde Beinn sounded as good an option as any. As its alternative name of crater loch suggests this was once an active volcano and even today its dolerite plug and crater are still easily discernible.

P1090763 - ‘S Airde Beinn, Isle of Mull
P1090758 - ‘S Airde Beinn, Isle of Mull

Up at the top a short half hour walk takes you around the entire perimeter, a stroll that today at least was accompanied by gale force winds. The views on offer, when it was possible to hold the camera still at any rate, were both spectacular and far reaching. I even got to pick out the setting for a couple of blogs I follow over on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

‘S Airde Beinn, Isle of Mull
P1090781 - ‘S Airde Beinn, Isle of Mull
P1090773 - ‘S Airde Beinn, Isle of Mull

Despite swirling vegetation and a coat that seemed intent on whipping various parts of my body I managed to spot a small bird perched up on a nearby rock. The shock of seeing anything in such conditions was almost enough to make me forget my binoculars but I just about managed to raise them in time to shout across to Emma “Snow Bunting!”. Sadly before I’d extracted the camera it and at least six others had fled the scene and despite much searching could not be relocated. At least we finally had the first of our hoped for autumn migrants, and what a cracker to start with.

Earlier that morning we’d dropped in at Calgary Bay to make amends for last visits slightly dull conditions. No such issue today though the altered profile of the beach following several high and stormy tides was clear to see.

Calgary, Isle of Mull

For once the gathered Oystercatchers were more than happy for me to get within camera range allowing a couple of decent shots to be taken against a backdrop of breaking waves.

P1090740 - Oystercatchers, Isle of Mull
P1090747 - Oystercatchers, Isle of Mull

There was also interest along the strand-line where another jellyfish species, the By-the-wind-sailor, had been washed up in large numbers. These curious creatures rely, as their name suggests, on a sail to transport them across the ocean and they end up on our shores as a result of the North Atlantic Drift. Normally bluish in colour it traps food with a fringe of stinging tentacles which is then transferred to the digestive body hanging beneath a central float.

P1090729 - By-the-wind-sailor, Isle of Mull
P1090733 - By-the-wind-sailor, Isle of Mull

While we were making amends for previous unfavourable conditions it seemed a no-brainer to return to Aros Park and photograph some of the fungi species which had been so tempting in torrential rain just over a week ago. To our surprise we found several of the more prominent specimens had already gone well beyond their best (in fact the whole woodland seemed far more advanced towards autumn than previously) but that didn’t stop us finding plenty more to take their place.

P1090803 - Aros Park, Isle of Mull
Pluteaceae Species
P1090806 - Tree Lungwort, Isle of Mull
Tree Lungwort
P1090809 - The Flirt, Isle of Mull
The Flirt
P1090796 - Butter Waxcap, Isle of Mull
Butter Waxcap
P1090790 - Birch Polypore, Isle of Mull
Birch Polypore

Photography complete we headed for home where Emma decided it was high time she tasted some Tobermory whisky. Let’s just say the jury’s still out on that one.


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