Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Stuff of Dreams

For the next two weeks I'm volunteering with Sea Life Surveys, based on the Isle of Mull, thanks to Ewan

I arrived at Tobermory on Friday evening, only venturing a far as the harbour, the weather was pleasant, and the Peregrine on the church kept me company for a good hour or so. That night I couldn't have dreamt of what was to follow.

Saturday morning Ewan took me to one of his favourite local patches, Coal Tit, Goldcrest and Siskin could be heard as we left the car and headed down the track. After a short while we picked up the bird Ewan had intended on showing me, a Golden Eagle, the male was up, although relatively low, being mobbed by a Hooded Crow. We stood and watched for a good 10 minutes as the male circled over head, soon to be joined by the female. A breath-taking experience. We continued on towards the forest, not far down the track I spotted a Tawny Owl sitting out in the open, providing excellent views and a good opportunity to take some photographs.

We left the Owl and continued around to the Bay, where after seconds a dog Otter appeared along the shoreline, showing for 5-10 minutes before both it and us headed off. A sign of good things to come?

It was Ewan's bosses birthday and a boat trip and BBQ had been planned, we met on the Sula Beag at lunchtime and headed off towards the Cairns of Coll. Gannets, Great black Backed Gull, Common Gull, Manx Shearwater, Guillemot, and a Harbour Porpoise with a small calf were seen on the journey out of the sound. An adult Minke Whale broke the surface off Ardnamurchan point, providing some great views.

On Arrival to the Cairns of Coll we were hit by wildlife, a Great Skua came to inspect the boat within seconds, and a Basking Shark was picked up not far away, as well as another adult Minke Whale close to the boat! A few of us climbed into the rib to try and join the Basking Shark in the water, unfortunately it moved off after a short while and I missed out, although being so close to it in the rib was an experience in itself. Instead I got the chance to swim with the Seals, an amazing experience, even though I was confused by the snorkel. Great Black Backed Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Turnstone, 2 Great Skua, Raven, and Eider were all seen in the area. The Sula Beg stayed out in the Atlantic until the early hours of the morning.

 Look at that water !

from the Cairns of Coll, looking towards the Isle of Rum

Today we headed for Burg, a Scottish National Trust site, with the plan to follow the fossil tree trail. This area has some dramatic scenery and great habitat, the highlights of the day being, Whinchat, Dark Green Fritillary, Scotch Argus, Slender Scotch Burnet Moth and Golden Ringed Dragonfly. There was also a large number of young Wheatear in the area.

Oh and these characters…

An amazing experience already, I can't wait to see what the coming days hold.


  1. Sounds wonderful have a great time.

  2. sum it up in your post title.

  3. you're kidding! I was there all last week and left on Saturday! Lucky man getting a chance to spend sometime with those guys, a great setup! Say hi to James for me, he should rememebr me..we, my wife Beth and Daughter Izzy ventured out on a 2hr eco cruz last wed, with Ewan, he'll probably remember me, 'big lens, nothing to take pics of'. Go up every year and usually do the all day whale watch. good luck as there's been alot of commons around recently. You shoudl get yourself out with Mull Charters (Martin) on loch na keal - I wet twice and had some great views of Sea eagles - see pics

  4. Such an amazing place and a great crew! Nice shots, I'll definitely have to get that sorted.

  5. The shot of the Tawny is a stunner. I especially like that goat which is face on too.

    I'm wondering if I put a nice comment on GBs blog he'll get me on a two week trip.:-)

    Enjoy. Cheers.