Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wednesday 29th September. Its a hard life being a rutting Stag!

A very cloudy start to the day yesterday as we made our journey to collect the days guests. On arrival we met a happy go luck group all keen to explore Mull and the great outdoors.

Heading off our first sighting of the morning A White Tailed Eagle overhead i think the Greylag Geese flying in total panic helped us there!.

If the birds go up suddenly its a matter of looking around 360 degrees and finding the predator in the sky.

There it was gliding across towards us and the Geese heading in the opposite direction. Sometimes i wonder what if must feel like being an eagle you walk in the room and everyone else walks out!

Great sightings of x2 Hen harrier before we left great to see them a bit scarce this year. Flying across a loch instead of grassland for a change.

We moved on and spotted a Grey Seal in the shallows as well as Common seals and loads of  Herons yes they really are everywhere.

Coffee and Biscuits came next as we discussed the finer points of life and a host of various interesting subjects.

A single Merlin was next on the menu and we captured a brief glimpse of one which took off from a nearby rock as we passed.

After finishing too many biscuits again! i drove our group along the lochside and we quickly spotted our first Otter of the day. Great views diving and fishing, two of our guests had only seen a brief glimpse of a live Otter once before so glad we could put that right.

Our next spot a Golden Eagle flying across the cliff face distant views i must admit and cant say it danced for us, it didnt and we lost sight as it glided over the ridge.

A few moments laters we were busy in discussion Corvids was the topic and talking about Ravens and how clever they are when a local Raven peformed an upside down display for us. Almost shouting out look how clever i am!

Next up a large group of Hinds below us a relatively large group for Mull and i am sure this number of hinds will be guarded very shortly with an impressive stag. A small upright stag was present but nothing majestic and no signs yet of an impressive Autumn Stag moving in.

They havent quite warmed up yet although some stags have started roaring the hormones havent peaked and they are not in full flow.

Odd groups around with 3-4 Spring stags always happens in early rut. Later as time moves on a dominant Stag generally moves in and will not tolerate any young pretenders around his girls!

Lunchtime stop and views of Curlew, Little Grebe, Gadwall, Oystercatcher and Redshank. Heron another Common Seal floating around in the bay.

Throwing in a few Buzzards the list was growing by the second.

The guests were in wildlife spotting mode and all eyes again scanned the loch looking for more intimate views of Otters.

Just had a hunch that the tide was perfect and i wanted to go back over the ground we had just covered once more.

Yes over there x3 Otters rolling playing around on an exposed weedy rock just offshore brilliant views. Suddenly the telescope was busy and suddenly the guests turned into digiscoping mode using their cameras and some real innovative methods of taking a few snaps through the scope.

Sometimes Otters appear like magic!

Quite impressed as i didnt have a digiscoping adapter with me.

Delighted with great views of Otters we moved in search of more Eagles didn't take long to find our local female perched in a favourite place and both telescope and live screen gave excellent images.

Then a few minutes later on cue we had x2 WTSE overhead and an adult perfomed a fantastic low level display for us to the gasps and wow sounds around me.

We moved through the glen looking for more Golden Eagles and sad to report that we couldn't find any. No birds flying and a systematic search of the area we couldnt find a perched eagle either.

Last Stop a well know rutting stand and an impressive sight of around 35 Hinds and 4-5 stags again smaller but no real signs of aggression and activity. The stags looked quite happy with each others company.

The Rut is a game of stamina and fitness i think they are just drawing breath before the long month ahead.

They hardly sleep, feed and certainly only have one thing on their minds.

Staggering how a well conditioned stag can enter at the start of October and at the end of October has lost a considerable amount of weight and well looks completely knackered.

Well it was a great day and we all enjoyed ourselves the wildlife sightings made up for the grey sky which shrouded us for most of the day.


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