We had quickly planned and booked in May to take the family to a few places we've not been to together before and see some wonderful wildlife sights.
The plan was, and carried out exactly, to travel up to Glasgow area, stay overnight as it's a long way from South Wales, next day travel on to Oban, where we visited a sea life sanctuary and had booked a ferry to the Isle of Mull.
I've been wanting to go to Mull for ages to see the White-tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles and Otters. We stayed in a sweet little B&B place whose facilities were first class. We used this as base for 3 nights and ventured out in the day times. A boat trip was already booked before we travelled to see White-tailed Eagles in and around a specific loch and we were not disappointed ! Just take look at this for an encounter....
On this boat trip we saw a few seals, Shag, Gannet, Guillemot, gulls and a distant mother and calf porpoise briefly surfacing.
The following day's plan was to visit the Isle of Iona as we'd read it was possible to see or hear Corncrake. After a very long drive around what seemed to be most of Mull, with outstanding scenery I might add, and during which we found a closer Golden Eagle soaring, we arrived at the ferry port for a short ferry trip. Foot passengers only allowed. It was a lovely little island. White sands on the beaches, lots of tall grassy areas and some history tied in with it's ruined Nunnery and an existing Abbey. After a lunch stop we walked around near the grassy areas and sure enough we just about managed to hear up to 3 Corncrake. Their call is very distinctive. Listen and watch here....
However en route to the ferry port, we stumbled across 2 otters swimming in the loch close to the road. The light conditions were poor and this is the best image I captured of them, possibly a mother and a youngster...
Other birds seen during our stay on Mull were a Short-eared Owl close by, Herons seemed to be everywhere you look, Red-breasted Merganser, Ringed Plover, a Spotted flycatcher, Greylag Geese, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, more Black Guillemots and Guillemot.
A loop around a smaller island first gave us our first views of Puffins for the trip - they are very cute!
Then it was time to leave the area and travel south to Northumberland. Here we had another hotel base for a few nights and visited the Farne Islands and a few seaside towns nearby. A lovely area to stay in and explore - I think we'll go back and have a week's stay one day !
The Farne Islands are home to Puffins during the breading season, Razorbills, Guillemots, Shags, Cormorants and Kittiwakes and the very special Arctic Terns. Another boat trip gave us amazing views of all of the islands with a landing on Inner Farne for 1 hour. More seals were enjoyed by all on the boat especially as they sang to us!
On landing at Inner Farne we were greeted by the Arctic Terns, now with fledglings, flying all around us catching food and feeding their young.
A short walk around the footpaths take you close but not too close to the nesting areas, most finished by now (end of July) but there was one area that was the best. It was a sort of a headland - you were practically on the very top with all the rock faces below. However, a fence at the very edge took you face to face with some of these delightful birds.
We discovered a few wildlife sites on our travels along the Northumberland coast where other birds of note were, Linnet, Tree Sparrow, Ruff, Little Egret, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Water Rail, Sandwich Tern.
Some were so distant I did not get any photos but still great to observe through binoculars and telescope.
We had an amazing trip and I highly recommend any of you birders and nature lovers out there to visit these places and see such sights.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and viewing the photos.