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Spring Skydancer tour 24th March -28th March 2024

Spring Skydancer tour 24th March -28th March 2024

Wildlife Summary:

24th evening - day 1

We all met up for lunch at our accommodation before heading out for the afternoon. A lovely calm afternoon/evening to start the trip so tried our luck for Adders but no sign in a quick search.

So we headed for Loch Na Keal.. On arrival on the south side we instantly found 2 Otters (mother and cub) before a female Golden Eagle appeared on the hillside and briefly displayed, our first skydancer of the trip already!

The Otters hung around a while and had a good sized fish snack on a skerry just offshore.

We had a few Common Seals, Black Guillemots, R-B Mergansers, Slavonian Grebes and 5 Common Scoters before moving on.

Next stop at a Golden Eagle territory, the pair showed fantastically in the midafternoon sun bringing in material to their nest and feeding on some recently caught prey on the hillside!

Heading round to the north side, A few Bar-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plovers and a 1st Winter Little Gull were at the high tide roost with a White-tailed Eagle (WTE) and 2 Golden Eagles over the distant hills.

As it got towards evening time and the sunset brewed we headed further on to the diver roost, where we had great views of 2 calling Slavonian Grebes, singing Yellowhammer and last but not least 104 Great-Northern and 1 Black-Throated Diver coming into roost!

A great first afternoon/evening before heading back for dinner.

25th -

First stop was Adders attempt 2 with much more success finding 4 Adders out basking! A skydancing male Hen Harrier interrupted our reptile session to our delight! Before leaving a WTE drifted by distantly and a Mink ran across the road… not such a welcome sighting.

Next onto Loch Cuin whilst watching the common waders a Kingfisher flew in! Not a common bird on Mull.

2 Wheatears and a Great-Northern Diver were at Calgary bay before heading up to the moors where a male Golden Eagle was out hunting before being harassed by 2 Kestrels.

A drive up to the next section of moorland and time for refreshments, finding at least 3 Hen Harriers and 2 Golden Eagles there.

Another Golden Eagle appeared distantly and briefly displayed, and a WTE flew through before heading for home.

26th -

A bright day with a light breeze beckoned, so we headed to the south east of the island stopping at Scallastle bay on the way finding Eiders, Red-throated Divers and an Adult WTE perched up.

Heading down to the moorland and mountains, it all kicked off! We had 2 male and 2 female Hen Harriers, the 2 males flying in tandem overhead in the bright blue sky, a Golden Eagle over the hills behind and 5 distant WTE and an Otter fishing close inshore on the loch!

Into Glen More we started with a Golden Eagle and 2 WTE’s over the hills at Ardura before moving on and finding 3 Whooper Swans on the Three lochs.

Further into the Glen we had 2 more Golden Eagles, including a female displaying and chasing a Buzzard! 3 WTE flew by whilst we had lunch.

A Juvenile Golden Eagle flew over the ridge whilst having Tea and cake at Ardmeanach before heading onto Loch Na Keal, seeing another Golden Eagle there and 3 more WTE’s!

A Dipper was on the stream on our way round the loch.

A late decision to head for the moors in the NW in the last of the evening's light was well rewarded with a WTE, a Hen Harrier and at least 3 Short-eared Owls!

A ringtail Hen harrier and a Red-throated Diver finished the day on the journey home.

27th -

We awakened to a cool, windy and drizzly day so headed down to the sea lochs of the south east. Not 5 minutes into starting, we spotted an Otter fishing close inshore in the seaweed.

A female Golden Eagle then appeared very close and displayed before heading and joining its mate more distantly. An immature Golden Eagle flew over the van shortly after.

Round the south side of the loch, 2 flocks of Whooper Swans flew over (17 and 6).

We intended to go for a coastal walk but were interrupted by a very showy Otter who brought 2 crabs to shore to our delight.

Out on our walk we found another Otter on the way there and a few Common wader species at the beach. Walking back yet another Otter appeared, this time a large dog Otter.

We had lunch and headed back round the loch and up to Fishnish finding 2 Red-throated Divers and 23 Whooper Swans flew over.

As the skies had cleared we headed to the north side of Loch Na Keal seeing a distant Golden Eagle before an adult WTE appeared and flew around overhead for some time. Time to head back to Tobermory for final night dinner.

28th - last day

Over breakfast a message came through that John Coe and Aquarius, our 2 resident but very unpredictable Killer Whales, had been seen on the north coast of Mull, so plans were abandoned, and we went out to look for them.

After a bit of a wild goose chase, we finally clapped eyes on them from Glengorm relatively close inshore, a 1st for most of the group and fantastic final day sighting. 2 WTE drifted through while we were watching the Orca.

We then headed to Tobermory to see if the Dipper was around but no sign, a WTE did fly over distantly. We headed back to the hotel for lunch and said our goodbyes.

Theo de Clermont

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