End of January Mull wildlife count

We had a very good day for our count, unofficial and just an interesting thing to do. We should see changes as the migration happens and Spring comes in. Its also going to be interesting as the years go by and what changes will happen each month.

Our rules are to count everything, Mammals and birds with any other interesting or unusual things on the way such as flowers. We will count numbers of species if its unusual and of course enjoy the scenary. 

The weather has to be mentioned as it plays a part in what we see especially spotting otters in a rough sea. Today we had a lovely day, cold and some snow around.

We drove the big loop from Salen through Glen More turning right at Kinloch along the scenic route home. It’s a great route as there are a good range of Habitats. We counted 40 different bird species and 3 different mammals. Highlights below.
Starting with our garden birds which typically were on the quiet side. Just sparrows, Blackbird and Collared dove. Then we headed towards Craignure seeing Herring Gull, Rock dove, Red breasted Merganser Widgeon, Canada and Greylag geese Ringed plover, Bar tailed Godwit Goosander and Red throated diver.

Grass point turn off in the hope of seeing the Wintering Kingfisher, we did, stunning little bird. Also Hen Harrier ( ringtail ), Black guillemot, Red shank and Greenshank. Raven and Red deer as well.
Heading into Glen More our favorite stop at this time of year for Eagles, Two Golden flying over the ridge and two White tailed Eagles passed by them. Lots of song thrush around really good to see, Raven. More Red deer around, groups of stags looking very regal.
Turning right at Kinloch a Kestrel hovering incredible how they keep their heads so still while they watch for prey. Little grebe and otter adding to our total.
Otter number 2 as we drove around the next bay, busy fishing. Great Northern diver and another Red throated diver calling, Beautiful sound.

Loch na keal is always a good place for wildlife and today it was brilliant. Common seal, Rock pipit, Turnstone and Grey Plover, Raven, White tailed eagle making 5 in total. Then we saw a mum otter with 2 cubs and another adult otter rolling around on the seaweed. It took a while to sort out just how many there were in the tangle. We should have carried on counting other things but we just had to stay and watch. There was another otter that came close and watched the mum and cubs from a distance. We guess it was a male which can cause problems as they sometimes kill cubs. He left soon afterwards so all was well.

Daylight was going so we went to the end of the loch to check the gulls. Black headed, Herring Greater Blackback and Common Gulls in good numbers. Lots of Turnstone and teal in the rocks and Golden eye, Slavonian grebe and Shellduck at the end of day.
Lots of Buzzards about not many little birds as it was quite windy. We missed seeing other thrushes, stone chat and linnets etc which we would normally see, and we did hope to see snow bunting as they come lower in bad weather. 

All in all a great start to our year.