A seven-day wildlife holiday encompassing the very best of Mull & Iona with the very best scenery. Otters, White-tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles, Hen Harriers, Short-eared Owls, Puffins, Corncrakes, Deer and Seals. Timed to avoid the midges!
Highlights at a glance:
Meet in Oban in the late afternoon before we catch the ferry from Oban to Mull and then make the short drive to the Pennyghael Hotel on the shore of Loch Scridain - our base for our stay on the island. On the forty minute sailing we should encounter seabirds such as Common and Black Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwakes and maybe Harbour Porpoise.DAY 2 Sunday
Today we explore the sea lochs of the southern end of the island looking for an array of wildlife. Here we should find our first White-tailed Eagles - the UK's biggest bird of prey. Also known as 'Sea Eagles', Mull hosts a healthy population of breeding pairs and the island is the best place in Britain to see this huge an impressive raptor. Divers (loons) will be in their resplendent summer plumage and we should find good numbers of Great Northern and Red-throated Divers and hopefully a handful of Black-throated. Eiders, Black Guillemots, Red-breasted Mergansers and Goosanders share the coastal inlets and their shorelines are attractive to Common Sandpipers, Redshanks and Turnstones. More secluded bays are home to Otters. Mull has an exceptionally good population of Otters and we'll hopefully see several animals fishing or resting up in the quieter backwaters. Newly arrived migrants will be in song and we'll hopefully find Grasshopper Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Tree Pipits.DAY 3 Monday
We spend the morning in the hills to the north and west of Loch Scridain in search of raptors. Hopefully the cloud base will be high and we will be treated to wonderful views of Ben More - the largest of the island hills - and at over 3,000ft qualifying as one of the 283 Scottish 'Munros'. We make several strategic stops at vantage points along the quiet mountain roads to look for our second eagle species of the holiday - Golden Eagle. With a healthy population of around 35 pairs, the Isle of Mull boasts the highest breeding density of Golden Eagles in Europe and it is not unusual for us to see several in a morning! We will also be on the lookout for Hen Harriers, Peregrines, Merlins, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks, Buzzards and Short-eared Owls. Watching any of these majestic birds soar over stunning mountain scenery is sure to be a highlight and we may also see Red Deer and Mountain Hares. Continuing north we head along to Eas Fors, a spectacular waterfall which plunges over the cliffs directly into the sea and we will hopefully find Grey Wagtails and Dippers here. Further on we traverse rugged moorland where Hen Harriers and Golden Eagles hunt, before dropping down to the white sand bay at Calgary and headland at Caliach Point. On a clear day views from here take in Tiree, Coll, Rhum and Ardnamurchan. Stunning!DAY 4 Tuesday
Today we take a boat trip with our friends Martin and Alex of Mull Charters into the calm inshore waters of the Sound of Ulva and Loch Na Keal. As we cruise gently along the shoreline we'll be looking for Otters, Common Seals. Black Guillemots, Red-throated and Great Northern Divers and keeping our eyes peeled for Harbour Porpoise and Bottle-nosed Dolphins. Martin and Alex know more about the White-tailed Eagles that inhabit this stretch of coast than anyone and we should be treated to absolutely amazing views of the birds as they hunt in the lochs - sometimes plunging incredibly close to the boat - allowing amazing photographic opportunities! Weather and sea conditions permitting (note that we will sail ONLY if the seas are calm) we plan to visit the uninhabited Treshnish Islands; - home to thousands of sea birds. Fulmars, Common Guillemots, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Shags and the possibility of Great and Arctic Skua The main attraction here are the Puffins which have a breeding population in excess of 2,000 pairs. We also plan to visit to Staffa and the massive basaltic columns that form the entrance to the world famous Fingals Cave. Here we will also see Puffins and passerines such as Rock Pipit and Twite. With luck we will hopefully see a few Manx Shearwaters from the boat.DAY 5 Wednesday
Today we head west to Fionnphort and take a short ferry ride to the beautiful island of Iona. At only 1.5 miles wide and 3 miles long with a population of 120 residents it very much reminds us of Out Skerries here in Shetland! For many centuries, Iona has been an island of special significance for all Christians. In AD 563, Columba and his followers arrived here from Ireland to spread the gospel in Scotland and the north of England. The restored medieval abbey continues to hold daily services today and St Oran's Chapel and Reilig Odhram is reputed to be the burial place of 48 kings of Scotland, including Macbeth. Ornithologically, the island has found notoriety for a bird far more often heard than seen - Corncrake. As many as 25 calling males are present on the island and their 'rasping' songs will greet us as we stroll along the beautiful coastal meadows. Fortunately at this time of year the height of the vegetation is relatively low and thus we stand an excellent chance of seeing one well - but patience is required! For those that wish, there will naturally also be time to explore Iona Abbey.DAY 6 Thursday
Today we initially head east through the dramatic valley of Glen More making several strategic stops at raptor-viewing vantage points. We'll search for Golden Eagles, Hen Harriers, Peregrines and Short-eared Owls. Continuing north we'll stop off at Salen Bay - a reliable site for Otters - and explore the Oak woodlands where we will look for newly-arrived Wood Warblers and breeding Dippers along the Aros river. White-tailed Eagles often hunt along this stretch of coast and as we head inland we'll be on the lookout for Goosanders. Whinchats, Sedge Warblers, Hen Harriers, Peregrines, Common Redstart, Tree Pipit, Common Redpoll and Common Crossbill. We also visit colourful Tobermory - the largest town on Mull with picturesque and brightly painted buildings adding colour to the vibrant waterfront area.DAY 7 Friday
Following breakfast we make the return crossing to Oban where the tour will conclude.
Group Size: 8 - 10 travellers
2021 Operating Dates
Sat 1st May - Fri 7th May
Sat 8th May - Fri 14th May
We are winners of the Tourism & Environment Thistle Award - the highest accolade in Scottish Tourism - and rated as 'Excellent' by our customers on TripAdvisor. ATOL 9151.
Founded in 1993, we are the No.1 choice for birding, mammal, botanical, photographic and walking holidays in Shetland. Choose from over 40 3-day and 7-day wildlife-filled holidays. Day tours plus bespoke packages also arranged. We are the only award-winning eco-tourism holiday business resident in Shetland and rated as 'Excellent' by our customers on TripAdvisor. ATOL 9151. Visit us online at www.shetlandwildlife.co.uk
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