Winter wildlife

The migrating birds have arrived and we are seeing good numbers of Canada, graylag and barnacle geese. the occasional glimpse of a white fronted goose and brent geese.

The widgeon are here with teal and one of my favorites Slavonian grebe. Little grebe, red breasted merganser and goosander are also here.

Great northern divers can be seen in good numbers with glimpses of red throated and black throated grebe.

The red deer are everywhere with the weather pushing them down from the hills and the fallow are seen often on the roads picking up the tasty fruits and nuts off the trees.

Hen harriers tend to be near the coast this time of year and short eared owls are also about if you are lucky and get a good view.

black and common guillemots take shelter in the sea lochs. we had a lucky encounter with a little auk. how these tine things survive the winter is very impressive.

Although its now only December it Eagles can be seen displaying and can be seen starting to take sticks into nests in January. The golden eagles are hunting low just now as the wind is high. we took a short walk up a hill and had the privilege’s of watching a Golden eagle hunting with a hen harrier and kestrel mobbing it.

White tailed eagles tend to stay low and we often see last years young hunting shore lines for a tasty treat.

Those of you that are regular visitors to Mull will know the places to see the eagles. They are around at the moment and starting to sit near to nest sites. As we go towards spring it becomes very busy for the eagles, displaying and deciding the best nest sites.

Otters are busy feeding and this time of year can be good for spotting them. There is less disturbance on the shores where, mostly unintentionally people leave their sent while walking on the shore line.

It can be hard to spot them if the sea is rough but we do have some stunning calm days and its so lovely to watch them from the comfort of your vehicle as they go about their business. Patience is required.

Land based wildlife tours and walking tours are running all year so its worth considering a Winter visit.

Our garden birds as I type are frantically feeding just outside the kitchen window. Chaffinch in large numbers, green finch, blue great and long tailed tits. Goldfinch, house sparrow and siskin. The garden has about 6 pheasants and as many blackbirds, collared dove and rock dove clean up the fallen seed.. Song thrush cleaning up the snails and of course the robin who sits on the fence by the window. we also have the dunnock and wren with a tree creeper just by the back door.

The pond is fairly quiet just now but we did see a newt the other evening and some water beetles. it is unusually mild at the moment.

The sparrow hawk comes through regularly but goes hungry most times. Evening brings the owls with barn and tawny owl flying over the filed and garden.

Look up from the garden on a clear night and the milky way is right over us, stunning. Occasionally we are treated to the Northern lights.