By now in our holiday, the worst of the evil weather had passed. The winds had subsided a little, and CalMac ferries were running again (although I'm not sure if the Mull ferries had been affected). It was, however, still pretty wet and dull.
Wednesday 18th May
We had an early start, and my wife spotted a pair of Otters out of the kitchen window. By the time I'd got my shoes and coat on they were far out in the bay, and only a record shot was obtained. This was the only time that we saw more than one Otter at any one time.
|Otters - off Grasspoint|
The Otters then made for a distant shore that was accessible by foot from the cottage. Having taken a shot of the rainbow (the Otters are actually substituting for a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow, but you won't see them at this distance!) I set off to try and spot them from the other shore.
|View From Grasspoint|
It took me a long time to get there as much of the ground between the cottage and there, was bog. I arrived, with very wet feet, to find that they'd already gone. However, there were some Turnstones nearby.
|Turnstone - near Grasspoint|
After breakfast we headed out in the car. Before we reached the bridge, I noticed that the male Goosander was out on the water with his mate. What is more, the weather had brightened a bit, and so some images were obtained from the roadside - somewhat nearer than my previous attempts.
|Goosander (drake) - from Grasspoint Road|
|Goosander - from Grasspoint Road|
Our chosen destination for the morning was Fidden, near Fionnphort. On the way, beyond Bunessen, we came across a Buzzard on a fence post beside the road on my side of the car. Stopping is quite difficult on the road as it must be one of the busiest single track roads with passing places in the country. I approached slowly, but trying to drive, keep an eye open for traffic, and take photos all at the same time was not easy. Each time we approached, the bird took off and flew about three posts further down. This happened three times before we both decided that enough was enough. When I came to look at the results, I found that my camera had misfocused for all the shots. The following two images are all that were salvageable - just!
|Common Buzzard - Fionnphort Road|
As we approached Fidden, a Mountain Hare crossed the road in front of us. This one was exhibiting a bit more of its winter coat than others we had already seen.
We parked down near the water and went for a look around. I was conscious of the fact that Lapwing nest amongst the Iris plants here, and the birds get agitated as you pass by - which I did without delay.
|Lapwing - Fidden|
The tide was half out when we arrived, and Ringed Plover were pecking around in the sand and weed.
|Ringed Plover - Fidden|
A peek through a gap between rocks revealed a pair of Eider lazing around.
|Eider (female) - Fidden|
|Eider (drake) - Fidden|
Whilst photographing the Eider, an Oystercatcher had sat patiently on a rock just to my right.
|Oystercatcher - Fidden|
On the way back to the car, and my waiting wife, I thought I'd just take another shot of a Mipit!
|Meadow Pipit - Fidden|
Fortunately my wife had taken a book to read, so was quite happy for me to leave her in the car whilst I went off to try and find some Mountain Hare. I found a couple that were reasonably cooperative, and still exhibiting some winter white.
|Mountain Hare - Fidden|
I'd pretty much decided to call it a day, and return to my wife, when I spotted a hare with a lot of white on. It went over the brow of the hill, and I followed. I was amazed at how close I was able to get to this animal. At one point it got up and ran, as you can see in the second image below, but then it came back even closer to me and started to preen. After grabbing some images (again I had camera problems) I left it still preening itself!
|Mountain Hare - Fidden|
After more exploration in the south-west of the island we headed back to Pennyghael for another excellent meal at the Pennyghael Hotel, after which we headed back towards Grasspoint. We'd left the hotel somewhat earlier than the previous night, and it was not yet dark as we passed by the end of Loch Spelve. We had been told of Short-eared Owl in these parts, and as we got to a place known as Ardachoil we spotted two - one to the left of the road, and one to the right. Both were very distant, and the light had gone as far as photography is concerned, but I managed to grab a few images of one bird before both birds vanished. The second image is included because it was only after we'd been watching the owls for a little while that we noticed the deer!
|Short-eared Owl - Ardachoil (Loch Spelve)|
Further down the road we came upon more Red Deer. It was virtually dark by now. Whilst watching the deer I caught sight of an owl out of the corner of my eye as it went over the top of the ridge. My wife saw it more clearly, but we are neither of us sure what sort of owl it was - Short-eared or Tawny (I fancy the latter).
|Red Deer - Grasspoint Road|
Thursday 19th May
From the bathroom window, before breakfast, I got my first image (although not a good one) of a Wheatear at Grasspoint.
|Wheatear (male) - Grasspoint|
|Derelict Fishing Boat - Croig|
|Bog Cotton - Croig|
|Willow Warbler - Croig|
|Hooded Crow - Calgary Beach|
|Sand Martin - Calgary Beach|
|Swallow - Sunipol|
|Rabbit (juvenile) - Sunipol|
|Golden Plover - Craignure Golf Course|
|Common Gull Eggs - by Craignure Golf Course|
|Common Gull - by Craignure Golf Course|
|Rainbow - Sound of Mull|
|Whinchat (female) - Ardachoil|
|Short-eared Owl - Ardachoil|
Friday 20th May
Today was 'going home day' and by 7.00 a.m. we were on the road. As we approached the Grasspoint road bridge we saw the snow that had fallen overnight on the nearby Beinn Bhearnach hills (only 741 metres a.s.l. at the highest point). Photos were compulsory!
|Snow on the Tops - from Grasspoint Road|
|Red-breasted Merganser - off Craignure|
|Razorbill - from Mull-Oban Ferry|
|Grasspoint - from Mull-Oban Ferry|
Footnote - for some reason the Blogger editor is doing some unpredictable things with the spacings between paragraphs and images. I'll try and sort it out, but please bear with me if I don't succeed - I don't fancy starting this again from scratch!!!