Isle of Mull and the Scottish Highlands

15th to 29th March 2016..

Several invitations to speak in both England and Scotland resulted in a mini lecture tour . Starting in Huddersfield talking to the Local Birdwatchers association where a talk on the straights of Gibraltar was warmly received .A journey further north to Oban taking a ferry to Mull brought me to the lovely little town of Tobermory ( Balamory for you kids out there ) . The ferry crossing was particularly interesting for the number of Great Northern divers and the wonderful light reflected from the hills over the sea. Later in the evening the banter between a group of locals in the pub just had to be witnessed to appreciate it , a situation comedy waiting to be written so so funny !Over the next couple of days travelling around the island presented incredible views of White Tailed Sea Eagles, Hen Harriers and Short Eared Owls . 

These along with large numbers of Grey Herons going into roost in some Larch Trees which looked rather ridiculous.The main purpose of the visit was to deliver a talk to the Isle of Mull Bird Club on British Birds of Prey of all topics this being the raptor capital of Scotland . But having got an invite to go out on their field trip the following day it was brilliant being with such a lively and gregarious bunch with the token scotsman Stuart being the font of all knowledge. 

The highlight being an Irish hare which are found in the southern areas of this island being introduced by the Campbell Clan from Ireland. Sadly no otters were seen on this trip but good company and other wildlife more than compensated for this fact .Moving on the Journey to the Highlands to Grantown on Spey to be precise which is becoming like a second home now. Taking a different route to usual the tourist trail up the western shore of Loch Ness proved to be a good choice , no cars and wonderful scenery .It was great to see ‘ The Family ‘as they now seem like at the Hotel again .A short walk through Anagach woods brought Crossbills , Red Squirrels and a host of other bird species including Grey wagtail , Dipper and Gooseander on the mighty River Spey . Lochindorb later in the day yielded the elusive Black Throated Divers along with many Red Grouse all the males seemed to be in an overcharged testosterone state chasing females through the heather. 

Over the next few days Loch Garten and loch Mallachie gave great photographic opportunities for some of our commoner garden / woodland birds , whilst the Findhorn valley proved its worth as White tailed and Golden Eagle showed well along with Peregrine , Buzzard , Raven and many Mountain Hares which was a welcoming sight after reading about their relentless persecution on some of the Scottish upland shooting estates .

After taking hotel guests on guided walks and delivering a couple of lectures it was time to return homewards with a stop being made at Edinburgh to take in the Zoo , City Tour and the very entertaining Ghost bus tour one not to be missed. The city of Edinburgh never fails to deliver it is a very unique and special place . Thankyou Scotland and amazingly no rain was encountered whilst north of the border but it rained within 400metres of crossing back into England .

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