Isle of Mull Holiday, Lies and Wildlife Photography part 2.

September 26, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Over the last few days we visited the Southern part of the Isle of Mull from Lagganulva right the way around to Craignure. We drove around the Coast road from Knock to Balmeanach to visit the Waterfall there. Whilst on this Coast road looking for Wildlife Photography Locations the Sun was blocked out by this Flying barn door. So this was the White Tailed Sea Eagle I had longed to see. It was Soaring high in the Sky being harassed by a tiny Bird. This "tiny" Bird turned out to be a Buzzard and it gave up the harassment after the Eagle Climbed higher and higher. We watched the Eagle until it disappeared from Sight. When we arrived at the Waterfall it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment as there was hardly any Water Flowing there, in fact this road goes by several Waterfalls and they were all a bit dry. After Balmeanach the road then Climbs the Mountains and Heads Inland. Whilst Climbing we noticed a Herd of about 50 Red Deer but no Stags which we thought was a bit odd. As they were some Distance away and in the Shade I did not take any Photos of them. We carried on along this road Heading towards a bridge that is just before a T-junction. We had been informed that the Area of the River below the bridge was a very good place to Spot Dippers. When we arrived at the bridge the River was dried out! Sunshine, No Rain, No Water, No Midges "Am I in Scotland?" I kept asking myself. As the River was dry there were no Dippers, in fact there were no Birds at all, very disappointing. We turned left at this junction and made our way to Lochdon where I had read in a book and on the Internet that this was the Spot / Area to treble anyone's Bird Sightings. When we arrive the Tide was out and there were a few Greenshank and various other Wildfowl in the Distance, again too far for Photography. Whilst we were looking through our Binoculars I Spotted a fantastic Sight, a Female Hen Harrier. It was Flying over the Reeds near the edge of the Loch. I got my Camera Setup just in case it decided to come and give us a closer visit. Although we watched it for nearly 45 minutes it never left the far edge. As it was getting dark and time for dinner we packed up and left but would be back.

The next day we went on a Sea Eagle trip with Mull Charters. It was a bit too Sunny and bright for my liking as it would make the Photos a bit too Contrasty. The trip was superb with us Seeing and Photographing 6 White Tailed Sea Eagles. If you come to Mull this is a trip well worth taking. If you have a Cropped Camera Body then a 300mm Lens is all you require. If you have a Full Frame Camera Body then up to a 400mm Lens is required. After the trip we returned to Lochdon and drove around the other side of the Loch to Grasspoint. On the way there we had a Close encounter with 2 Red Deer Hinds. I was able to get out of the car and Photograph these Animals. I was so Close I had to Back off so I could get a bit of Space around the Animal. My preferred type of Wildlife Photograph shows the Wildlife within its Habitat and gives it room to let the Wildlife Breath rather that the Wildlife touching any of the sides of the Photo. I was there for several minutes before my wife had to move the car because it was blocking the road. As soon as the car moved the Deer could see my Human Shape and they were off. We carried on towards Grasspoint and got stopped by some wonderful Highland Cows. These were so Photogenic, especially with the Sunshine, Blue Sky, Loch and Mountains in the Background, I just had to swap the Lens on my Camera, to my 70mm - 200mm Zoom, and take some Photos of these obliging Models. When you are up Close the Cows are Big and their Horns are huge. They appear to be gentle Giants but one poke with their Horns and they could do a lot of damage. If you want to get Closer to Photograph them, do not go near the little ones because the "Mums" will Attack you. After several Photos were taken I started Walking back to the car when I Spotted some more Red Deer. I quickly changed Lens, attaching my 500mm, Camouflaged up and started making my way towards the Deer. I checked for Wind Direction and Walked away from the Deer at first. Then when I was hidden from their Sight behind some Bushes and Trees, I slowly made my way towards them. I was about half way there when for some reason the driver of another car beeped their Horn. With that sound the Deer, there were 5 Stags, were off so I made my way Back. This was the first time throughout the holiday that I had seen Red Deer Stags. There are 2 Self-catering cottages to rent at Grasspoint and speaking to one of its occupants they stated that they had several Sightings, in the Mornings, of an Otter in the Water just behind their cottage. As we had other plans made for the next day we did not return. The Lochdon Area has fantastic potential for a Wildlife Photographer and when we revisit Mull we will get a Self-catering cottage here.

Well it could not last and finally on our 7th day of our holiday it Rained, but it was still warm. To be honest we did not mind as we were going shopping in the morning and driving around in the afternoon. Whilst driving just above Calgary Beach I Spotted my very first Wild Otter. I Spotted it Running across a Grassed Area going towards some Rocks where it then entered the Sea. We watched it Hunting for about 45 minutes, taking Crabs and Fish up onto the Rocks to Eat. The feeling this Sighting gave me was out of this World. I managed to take some Photos but really they are just "record shots" because it was some Distance away. I could have got Closer but it would have entailed a "Bear Grills" type of Expedition, starting with Abseiling down a 50 foot Cliff. I expect I could have done it but not with all my Camera Gear. When it finally finished Eating it started Swimming out into the Bay towards the opposite Shore when we lost it. Whilst it was Swimming away from me it looked just like some of the Photos of "Nessie" the Loch Ness Monster, the big bow Wave, the Head out of the Water then the Back breaking the Surface and finally the end of its Tail breaking the Surface. Bow Wave, Head and 2 Humps think about it and I'll let you come to your own conclusions. On the way Back to our B&B I Spotted another Female Hen HarrierCamera out and ready but again it never came into  a good Photography Range

Well they finally got me, the next day was Overcast and that's when "they" decided to strike. The Swarms of Midges fell out of the skies like Stuka Dive Bombers hitting me with pin point accuracy and rising in the Air again before I could squash them with my Hands.  I thought the Midge tale was Lies but it's not. I got my anti Midge kit out and let battle commence. The flame thrower got a few before it ran out of fuel, the Hand grenades got a few more but I only had six of them. The Bazooka jammed and the Uzi ran out of ammunition really quick which left the Baseball Bat but I soon ran out of Energy wielding that and the Midges still poured out of the Sky. They even got me inside the car. I just want to know how can something so Small be so evil? I did not Sleep much that night with all the scratching and the next day we were going home and I was facing a 12 hour drive.

As we made our way onto the ferry the Weather had changed, the Rain had turned into Sleet and it was very Cold, THIS is Scotland. Whilst on the ferry I pondered, we had 7 days of Sunshine, 1 day of Rain and 1 day Overcast with Midges. We had seen Red DeerWhite Tailed Sea EaglesGolden EagleHen HarriersHooded CrowsRock PipitsRed-breasted Mergansers and a Wild Otter this is apart from a lot of Wildfowl, Buzzards and lots of LBJ's (Little Brown Jobbies).  Mull is a fantastic place for Wildlife and getting away from it all, and give it a Year and the scratching to stop and I will return.


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