Tag Archives: nature

Ron’s Red deer rut photos from Mull

Here’s another rather good set of photos from enthusiastic wildlife photographer Ron McCombe. Ron was on holiday on the Isle of Mull for the rutting season, when you can see the male red deer establishing dominance and mating rights.

Based in the Scottish Borders, Ron was out to try to capture these events on camera. I think he’s done a pretty good job.

Ron McCombe captures a Stag in mid-bellow, creating a steam cloud in the air.As Ron explains, “I have been on the Isle of Mull all week looking for the red deer rut. The deer were all around and as the day ended they could be heard roaring as the rut took place. The challenge was to find them during daylight hours roaring and fighting. I concentrated on the south side of the island, Grasspoint, Pennyghael, and Carsaig. I encountered most of the deer I came across in these areas. Grasspoint was the main site and in particular Achnacraig. I visited the same sites every day. the best day for seeing action was Monday 18th.”

We’ve been fortunate in being able to see and hear the ruts right from the front of Beach House armed with nothing more than a pair of binoculars and a hot cup of coffee. Roughly evenly between Pennyghael and Bunessan, Beach has about eight acres of grounds surrounding the house with a pine forest to the west, which acts as a windbreak and a convenient sheltering area for local wildlife. From our vantage point we’ve been able to see all the action laid out before us, as if it were a play which the deer were personally putting on for our enjoyment.

Of course, it’s not like this every year as the deer can roam far and wide. But we’ve been lucky that the deer have literally come to our front door on many a rutting season. So full admiration to Ron for clearly being persistent. The results speak for themselves.

Beach House Self Catering, Isle of mull
Twitter: mullescape

Mull… the Otter’s paradise

At this time of year the BBC trots out its usual gaggle of over-enthusiastic wildlife presenters to coo over all sorts of soft and cuddly creatures in Autumnwatch. It’s just started a new run, “for an eight week celebration of UK wildlife”.

But I am not meaning to belittle overly-keen TV wildlife presenters. It’s great that our national broadcaster makes a big deal out of the country’s wildlife and tries to educate a predominantly urban population about the nature that’s all around us.

In his own small way, that’s also what landscape painter, and more recently, film-maker Angus Stewart is trying to do. I recently discovered his film, made over two years, of a local otter living in amongst the people of Mull and specifically the town of Tobermory. Aptly called ‘Tobermory and the Otter’, it recounts the tale of wild otters which become bold enough to live and interact with Tobermory’s local characters going about their daily lives.

As Angus explains, “This film is a rare insight into the usually secretive life of wild otters. You will see how an otter makes use of a community, its ingenuity and strategies, how it went about stealing… from fishing boats and the range of fish it caught as well as showing the remarkable interactions it chose to have with the town’s residents.”

The film reflects the changing nature of Mull weather throughout the year, with the ever-familiar backdrop of Tobermory’s painted facade completing the background of footage showing the extrovert otter in action.

It’s certainly a far cry from our all too camera-shy otters at our self-catering holiday home, Beach House. We have otters that live in and around the mouth of the local river, also called Beach. The Beach river flows into a crescent-shaped pebble-strewn beach which has large beds of seaweed towards the eastern tip of the bay. This is a perfect playground where the otters like to potter, most likely looking for tasty morsels of shellfish and unfortunate crab.

By contrast, the otters in Angus’s film seem far more relaxed in the hustle and bustle of life in and around Tobermory. So, if you rather like otters you might want to check out the movie clips of the full 50 minute presentation on his website and YouTube page. Though not currently available on DVD, it may be in the future.

Twitter: mullescape

Blogging: How Mull leaves its mark on Nigel

Nigel Cooke, aka monkeyleader, is an Irishman currently living in Cambridge who happens to be on holiday on Mull right now. He may just be one of the best real-time bloggers I’ve come across of late. He’s written an engaging entry in his blog about a quick return trip to Mull after a visit earlier in the year, which made him and partner Nicola fall in love with the place.

Copyright Nigel Cooke aka monkeyleaderAs he’s only just recounted on his blog (he’s writing this as it happens whilst on Mull… not like days of yore when you’d be lucky to get a picture on the telly!) “Highlights for us included a pair of Golden Eagles, a pair of White Tailed Sea Eagles, Buzzards, Hen Harriers, Osprey, Otters, Kestrel, Northern Gannet, Shags, Great Cormorant, Common Seals, Grey Heron, Curlew, Rock Dove, Rock Pipit, Hooded Crows, Ravens, Red Deer and a Little Grebe.”

Seems Nigel’s a bit of a polymath, not only having a rather good writing style but also some excellent photography skills to boot.

I am jealous 🙂

Twitter: mullescape

Great Mull wildlife shots from an Island visitor

Manx ShearwaterVivthesetter, real name Paul from Warwickshire, was on his holiday break up on Mull this August and appears to have spent a lot of his time pointing his Nikon D300 at the bird life that covers the island. Of course it’s not all birds. He’s also got some charming images of interesting places and other wildlife dotted around various parts visited. He was successful in snapping a Minke Whale, Basking Shark, some excellent shots of a White Tailed Sea Eagle and, the one which really caught my eye, this Manx Shearwater, skimming so close to the surface of the sea, yet looking so laid back whilst doing so.

You can check out the rest of his photos from Mull in two Flickr sets he’s created of his visit to bonnie Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, called Isle of Mull 2010 and Isle of Mull Wildlife.

Thanks for sharing your pictures Paul.

Twitter: mullescape

Mini-Review: Mull Eagle Paradise

Things I didn’t know before I watched ‘Mull – Eagle Paradise‘ using the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service…

  • Wildlife Cameraman Gordon Buchanan is from Mull
  • The last Eagle was killed in the UK in 1918
  • Eagles were re-introduced initially to the island of Rhum in the 60s
  • Despite 140 birds being released in the 60s, the first Eagle chick to be born didn’t happen until 1985 on Mull
  • Mull is particularly appealing to Sea Eagles because, despite the name, they rather like the plentiful supply of rabbits
  • A third of all the sea eagles live on Mull

So, all things considered, I found this rather short BBC programme quite informative. With only 10 minutes there wasn’t much talk of some of the resistance to the growth in eagle numbers from farmers, who feel that these beautiful birds are predating lambs. More studies are being done but, for now at least, it’s uncertain whether eagles actively kill live lambs or are simply scavenging dead carcasses.

There’s no doubt that eagles have been very beneficial to tourism on the Island. At Beach House we’ve seen them floating around high up over Loch Scridain and the Ross of Mull. Of course, people visit the island for many reasons, but there’s no denying that the eagles add something special to the mix.

Twitter: mullescape

Alex Sally’s Wildlife video on Mull

There’s definitely a healthy dose of serendipity when it comes to the web. I was just looking at the Facebook page for Tobermory, the island of Mull’s main town, when I spotted this video that Alex had uploaded to YouTube and shared on the Facebook page back in early August. He’s only got a few videos at the moment but the one shot in HD of Mull is worth a gander at just under nine minutes in length. Click to watch or make it full screen.

As Alex says on his YouTube page, “I have been a keen amateur photographer for a while but this year I have set myself a new challenge. To try and film some of the wildlife I love and to be able to share it.

His website is http://www.wildaboutfilms.co.uk/.

Thanks for sharing Alex. I enjoyed it 🙂