Tuesday on Mull was supposed to be a more restful day than the previous two, which of course meant that we ended up doing more than ever. First port of call was Calgary for a little taste of the Caribbean. With white sands and clear water it is the most stunning beach on the whole island and unsurprisingly attracts the masses during peak periods. Fortunately for us we were very much out of season meaning we had the place pretty much to ourselves. The result was an abundance of wildlife that would normally be pushed further afield, the highlight of which was a Whimbrel out on the rocks.
In the bay another summer plumaged Great Northern Diver was fishing (they really were everywhere this year), although as with the others we’d seen it always managed to keep just out of range of my camera. A nearby Red Throated Diver suffered from the same affliction. Instead I turned my attention to the Common Gull’s who were patrolling the beach. Calgary was the first place I ever saw these birds and I always like to spend some time with them when I get a chance. The individual below splashing through the waves is probably my best shot of one to date.
Heading further along the coast we again passed through Dervaig and relocated the Redshank and Mergansers from the previous day. This time a couple of Greylag Geese were also feeding right by the side of the road.
A few more miles of idyllic driving brought us to the capitol city village of Mull, Tobermory. Those of you in the UK may know it better from the children’s television series Balamory. Though filming stopped several years ago, regular repeats still bring in the visitors and I for one can never resist singing the theme tune as I walk down the high street. I’m sure the locals are probably sick of hearing it but it always makes me smile so come on everybody – “what’s the story in Balamory, wouldn’t you like to know….“
We took the opportunity to stock up on a few essentials and then walked the coast path to Aros Park. Once a country estate it is now managed by the forestry commission for everyone’s enjoyment and is a very relaxing place to spend a couple of hours. A Sparrowhawk welcomed us by circling above the trees on a thermal, and was rather curiously joined by a Grey Heron doing the same thing. Not two birds that you’d typically associate with each other I’m sure you’ll agree. A single Chiffchaff and two Bullfinches were nice finds, as was a Peacock Butterfly.
Our return journey was somewhat hampered by a heavy downpour, but it did at least show that it rains occasionally on Mull. By the time we reached Tobermory the sun was once again shining and we decided to head down to Salen. There are three abandoned fishing boats there that I’ve always wanted to photograph, and having heard that the winter storms had not been kind to them I realised that this may very well be the last chance I had to do so. As it turned out we could not have timed our arrival better. A shaft of sun was lighting up the weathered hulks beautifully whilst the dark skies provided a suitably menacing backdrop. These are just two of my favourites from the many that I took.
We drove back to the house via the Glen road which proved an inspired decision as we not only saw a Dipper in one of the burns but also got some great views of Red Deer. Sadly my efforts to both drive the car and use my camera were less than successful. The same could be said for that nights efforts with the Short Eared Owls but I did have one great encounter with a Wheatear. I’d just stepped over an old stone wall and found this little chap looking right at me. For whatever reason it was completely unperturbed by my presence and allowed me to approach to within a few feet.
That rather nicely rounded off a very successful “quiet” day, but mother nature had one more surprise in store. As the sun sank behind the hill and another rain shower blew across the valley a stunning double rainbow developed. What a way for the island to sign off for the night.