Iolo Williams, Jack Waldie, Theo de Clermont and Ewan Miles, of Nature Scotland, recently took a group of ten guests in search of the Island of Mull’s wildlife. The guides were equipped with two Leica APO-TELEVID spotting scopes, a pair of Leica Noctivid 8×42 and Leica Trinovid 10x 42 binoculars. Here is their wildlife packed trip report.
We met on the Western Isles hotel balcony and headed for an introduction, and early dinner, before heading out to the moors of NW Mull. Red Deer, a vocal Red-Throated Diver, at least two Hen Harriers and a Short Eared Owl were the highlights of the evening.
We spent the morning aboard ‘Sea Life Mull’ and encountered c6 Storm Petrels, 3 Great Skuas, Puffins, Gannet, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Ravens, Fulmar, Common + Arctic Terns and hundreds of Manx Shearwaters on the way out. After a while searching we eventually found c80 Common Dolphins, at least 4 Minke Whales and the highlight a breaching Basking Shark! On the way in we had an adult White-tailed Eagle and a Golden Eagle and a few Seals. After lunch we headed out for a successful Adder hunt finding 5 individuals! We then headed to Glen Forsa for a scenic wildlife walk finding 2 Male and 1 Female Hen Harrier and a friendly group of Highland Cows before heading back to Tobermory.
We ventured straight to Loch Na Keal and to the north side quickly finding a very accommodating adult White-Tailed Eagle, when an Otter appeared behind us eventually bringing in a flatfish in front of us! Moving onto the south side of the loch we started at Loch Ba for a walk, which was quickly interrupted by 3 Golden Eagles and shortly after a 4th appeared further down the loch and a distant White-tailed Eagle. Golden-ringed Dragonflies, Keeled Skimmers and Common Darter dragonflies were also around the path. Lunchtime at Scarsdale rocks yielded a few Harbour Seals. Moving around to the mouth of Loch Na Keal we had great overhead views of 3 Peregrine Falcons and 4 Ravens with a hurry of seabirds out in the loch, and 1 Harbour Porpoise briefly appearing. Up and over the Ardmeanach peninsula we had 2 Adult and 1 3cy White-Tailed Eagles before wandering down to the nest site for great views of the sizeable chick! Working our way back to Loch Na Keal we observed an Otter feeding out in the loch for a short time before heading back to the hotel. Orca Alert! – a message from a few friends meant we headed straight out to Glengorm and eventually John Coe and Aquarius appeared from around Ardnamurchan headland and gave distant views heading SW on the edge of the murk – a first for our Nature Scotland Mull package tours!
We awoke to a slightly more rainy day so headed to the south east of the island. A fruitful walk produced 1 adult and 1 2cy White-tailed Eagle, 2 Turnstone, Harbour Porpoises and a playful group of Common Dolphins. Heading Back round to lunch we had a great Otter sighting and a surprise Adder (large pregnant female) before heading back north via Salen Bay for a few more Harbour Seals and wildflowers and then up to Tobermory.
On our final day we covered the north east of the island and first to the Mishnish lochs for 3 Red-throated Divers before moving onto Calgary Bay and the Calgary Machair for photos, scenery and a wildflower walk. Continuing round to the moors of NW Mull we had a distant Hen Harrier and a few Red Deer, before moving to the impressive Ears Fors Waterfall where a Common Lizard was basking, enjoying the views! Continuing round to lunch we had a very freshly fledged juvenile White-tailed Eagle and a few Butterflies whizzing around whilst having lunch, before saying our goodbyes.
The Leica Noctivid binoculars provided impeccable clarity when viewing the wildlife and the x8 magnification provided a wider field of view when viewing the islands large open vistas and also for seawatching, to cover wider areas of ocean from the boats vantage point. The optics dealt with a few wet days out in the field and had immaculate resistance to the rain and other elements.
The Leica APO-TELEVID spotting scope also proved to be an essential bit of kit on our wildlife expedition. The 25-50x eyepiece provided superb reach and flexibility when viewing different wildlife subjects. The scope performs at a very high optical standard and it was well tested in low light levels during our evening tours watching short-eared owls.
For more information about Nature Scotland and their trips please visit their website naturescotland.com.