Tag: Species

Simply Mull – Part One

White-tailed Eagle – One of the stars of the island

Heading Towards Lockdown

Mull, capricious, at times turbulent and always always changeable. This is an island of light and shade, of brilliance and foreboding often shifting between these extremes within minutes. It is a place that draws you in, holds you and tugs at you as you leave.

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Farne Islands

The Farne Islands; a group of between 20 and 30 islands, how many depends on the state of the tide; one and a half to nearly five miles off the mainland; resistant igneous Dolerite; home to over 100,000 seabirds. I’d not visited them since childhood and had very mixed emotions after standing on them for the first time in over 50 years.

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Greenland White-fronted Geese on the Dyfi Estuary

The elusive thirteen Greenland White-fronted Geese on the Dyfi estuary.

When Tom Kistruck, the RSPB warden at Ynys-hir, told me that the most recent count of the Greenland White-fronted Geese on the Dyfi estuary, not far from the town of Machynlleth, had grown from the eleven that had been reported before Christmas to thirteen, I had a feeling that the number might prove to be as unlucky as I’d been the previous couple of days. I’m not generally a superstitious person but at times like this you sort of begin to wonder.

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Handa Island – Seabirds in Trouble

Handa is an island that simply tugs you back. It has it all; a wonderful evocative sense of loneliness (no Skomer hoards here – although it is still possible to get a quiet spot if you walk in the opposite direction to the Wick); a chance to get close to the ‘pirates’ of the bird world; archaeology and ancient history and a landscape of low coastal reefs to seriously imposing 100 metre Torridonian sandstone cliffs.Continue reading

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Lochmaddy and Over the Sea to Skye

A Lesser-black-backed Gull takes a ride on the Kylebhan as we cross the Minch

A little hazy today, but the sea state was good and made for a calm crossing over the Minch to the north west coast of Skye. We made a course to Dunvegan Head and then closely followed the coast past Neist Point towards Macleod’s Maidens, an impressive group of three stacks off Idrigill head. A bit of fishing here, which bought us a good supper of Pollock and Mackerel.

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Raasay to Lochmaddy

Skye from Raasay

Again the weather was fine and we could cross the Minch to Lochmaddy and the Outer Hebrides, easily. It was flat calm all the way, but too late for a push to St.Kilda. We headed up the north east coast of Skye, past the impressive Mealt falls and Kilt Rock before heading west across the Minch.

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St.Kilda …. Another Year

Leaving Loch Nevis and Knoydart

Today was our last chance for St.Kilda. If we were going to make it we would need to be at Lochmaddy tonight. The Kylebhan would need eight hours from there to reach the archipelago, an overnight stop and eight hours back. We had wanted time on the island as well, at the very least a day. The weather had cleared but the wind was still south easterly, we could get pinned in Village Bay or worse pushed onto the shore. It wasn’t going to happen.

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Canna ….. but St. Kilda?

Woke up to a very wet day on Rum. Wind speeds were up too out of the shelter of Kinloch Bay. No chance to make a push to Lochmaddy where we would be in a position to make an attempt to reach St. Kilda. If we were going to be sea sick this was the day. Winds pushing towards 5/6 on the Beaufort scale, we were rolled and buffeted but out on deck it was exhilarating.

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Golden Eagles on Mull

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My brother Phil had just come back from Mull and had told of a golden eagle eyrie very close to the single road that runs through Glen More. He’d also been lucky enough to see it take a live lamb off the hillside in front of the eyrie and return it to the then small eaglet sitting tight and out of sight in what had become known as the ‘smiling rock’, due to the shape of the crag under which the eyrie lay.

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