Monday, 13 June 2016

MULL 2016

 On Friday 7th May Carol and I set off for our annual visit to the Isle of Mull in Scotland. We stayed in the small Hamlet of Knock in the centre of the island just outside the small village of Salen.

 The river Ba runs through Knock and the small amount of through traffic is carried over the river by an old stone hump backed bridge. In previous years we've watched Dippers from here as they carried food to their nest hidden among the tangle of roots and stones along the river bank. This year we were considerably earlier than usual and I think this is a pair still in the throes of courtship. 

 We struggled to find them after this, maybe they were nest building somewhere else along the river this year.

 It goes without saying that the weather in the Northwest of Scotland can be unpredictable, if not downright horrible. This year though, our luck was in and the sun shone bright and hot almost from the start. Even this Chaffinch, just along from our cottage, was pleased about it and took in some rays, seemingly oblivious to our presence. 

 Eager to take advantage of the good weather we booked a boat trip to Staffa and Lunga on the Treshnish Isles for our first full day on Mull. Our pick up point was the tiny harbour at Ulva and luckily we had enough time to stop en route along the shore of Loch na Keal to watch this superb White-tailed Eagle soaring against the blue sky. Sorry it's a bit distant but it does set the scene. 
Staffa is the smaller of the two islands and is home to Fingal's Cave, famous for its fractured columns of Basalt rock and Mendelssohn's 'Hebrides Overture' which was inspired by his visit there in 1829. 

There wasn't too much to see on this small island but the views are terrific and it's always nice to see Eider ducks, even if they are a bit sleepy.

Next stop was Lunga and a spot of Puffin therapy. On the way though, we made a short diversion to see a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins after a tip off from the skipper of another boat. This was a brilliant and exciting few minutes of wildlife magic as the Dolphins surrounded our boat and rode the bow wave so close I could have reached out and patted them. The only slightly cropped picture below makes my point.

And so to the island of Lunga where the Puffins welcomed us with open arms.

It's very easy to get carried away by these charming little birds and indeed we did, spending too much of our limited time on the island with them.

I've limited my self indulgence to just three Puffin pics. Here are just a few of the other inhabitants of the island further down at Harp Rock.



Great Skua, aka the Bonxie

Did I mention Puffins? I think they were sad to see us go.


Greenie said...

What , no rain and high winds !!
You certainly picked the right time this year and found some great species . Some really nice shots there , especially those Puffins .
Just wondering , do the locals wash the sheep in that stream ?

Ken. said...

Glad the weather in pretty good for you. Nice Puffy pics, they are a great bird. Apart from all the other lovely birds the dolphin pics look good 🐬. Oh did I mention the puffin pictures. Looking forward to seeing some erne photo's.
You and Carol enjoy the rest of your holiday

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful Puffin photos, and also the Shag, definitely something when you have shot them.