Winter tour 20th January

With snow and icy roads forecast we wondered if we could manage a tour today. The gritters had been out and the main road was fine. Limited to the main route we wondered what we would manage to see. On the way to our first stop a lovely goosander. We pulled in just off the main road, female hen harrier, Green and red shank, red deer, Canada geese and buzzard. Lots of little birds in the trees such as blue tits, great tits, robin and chaffinch. So many red deer today, all down from the hills because of all the snow. Carrying on and a pause to check the loch, long tailed tit in the tree next to us. Another hen harrier further on. A brief stop at the loch shore with lots of gulls to check. all seemed to be common gulls. Into the hills and another hen harrier on the way. The view of Ben Talla was gorgeous with the sun on the snow. Hoping for golden eagles, sadly non showing at the moment. However we would be coming back the same way as the roads I would normally go on were too icy. More stops on the way through Glen More but still no eagles. Mull has so many moods with the most stunning scenery and today was no exception. The sunlight on the white mountains was just beautiful. As I has stupidly left the scopes at home Mike came through with them and met us at Kinloch. As we drove to our lunch stop we called in at the estuary and scanned the shore. Red shank, bar tailed godwit, green shank, red breasted merganser and a very brief otter. driving on a mum and cub otter just of the shore. We watched them for quite a while as they played, fed and came out onto the rocks. lovely. We moved a little further to pull off the road for lunch and continue to watch the otters. Lots of great northern divers and a red throated diver. common seal and a real treat of a red necked grebe. Mike scanning around spotted a white tailed eagle on an island further on. Red breasted merganser in the sun. Two more white tailed eagles over the hills. Turning back and heading into the hills again lots of red deer. first few stops still no golden eagles. very little wind makes it hard work for the eagles as they need to lift on either the thermals or a breeze to save energy. the sun was warming and our next stop was perfect. two golden eagles flying across the hillside in front of us. we watched them for a long time as they made their way across to the other hillside. They landed giving us time to look at them through the telescopes. Their golden heads and wings lighting up in the light. Spoilt for choice as a pair of crossbills sat in the top of a tree close by. The male glowing red in the sun. The day was going fast so we carried on to find a place for a cuppa. the view over the loch was lovely and just a few more red deer. A female hen harrier as we drove on to our final stop. Common seals, ringed plover, common gull, canada geese, White tailed eagle, Black guillemot and did I mention red deer!!