Self Catering Holiday Cottages Mull - Ardrioch Farm Dervaig, Isle of Mull       

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Arthurs Blog
Nov 25th-30th inc
Just local birding between gardening except for one day trip down to Finnaphort on a very cold but still day. Near Finnaphort in a field and on telephone lines were more Jackdaws and Rooks than we have seen on Mull in a very long time, a bit of good news on the birding front for a change. At Fidden at least 100 Lapwings also a very good number and in a field on the way to Ardalanish beach a very large number of Golden Plover. In the day we had good sightings of 3 different Otters, several Red Deer and some Fallow Deer that walked in front of the car although the Mammal sighting of the day were number of Common Seals along Loch Scridain. Pam conted over 50 in the largest group but there were many more in smaller groups. Near the boathouse for Inch Kenneth were a good number of Barnacle Geese and we saw a Golden Eagle sitting on Eorsa. Waders included lots of Ringed Plovers and Turnstones at Loch Beg opposite the old Kinloch Hotel. Finally at Loch Pottie Tufted Ducks, Goldeneye and a single Whooper Swan.
Bsrnacle Geese Inch Kenneth boathouseOtter swimming
Common seals Loch Scridain skerries
Nov 24th
A wildlife watching morning with 52 birds and 5 mammals seen. The mammals seen were Otter, Red and Fallow Deer, Common and Grey Seals. The highlight of the birding had to be the pair of long Tailed Ducks in Lagganulva Bay, a most unexpected find, if I did emojies imagine smiley face and thumbs up. A mixed flock of Fieldfares and Redwings were nice to see as were the Lesser Redpoll associating with large flocks of Chaffinches and Goldfinches. 3 Lapwings and lots of Curlew in a field by Ulva School and Whimbrel at Salen were also good spots. In the garden a Great Spotted Woodpecker was present shortly after sunrise. Todays photo Red Breasted Mergansers at Lagganulva and Long-tail Ducks (taken in
Red breasted Merganzers Lagganulva BayLong-tail Duck 
Nov 23rd
A short trip out and about the highlight of which was a Golden Eagle at Calgary, there were 3 Great Northern Divers here as well and the long staying Black Throated Diver was still there. Snipe were amongst the waders seen at Dervaig with an unusually high count of 15 Little Grebe at the Dervaig end of Loch Cuin
Snipe at Dervaig
Nov 22nd
We had friends around tonight for a meal and a film show of our trip to Spitzbergen find below some of photos from the trip of birds (Pomerine Squa and Northern Fulmar) that can also be seen on Mull and Polar Bear and Arctic Fox.
Polar BearArtic fox
Pomerine SquaFulmar, Northern
Nov 21st
No birding today although I did see this Hooded Crow in our field and they are now turning up in the garden. I spent the day gardening in between putting my feet up, gardening has that effect on me.
Hooded Crow in our field
Nov 20th
Our van had to go to the garage at Salen for a brakes check  and I had to give blood and pick up meds from the doctors also in Salen so Pam and I decided to go and try to see the Loch Don Kingfisher whilst we were down in that area. After waiting around which was no great hardship as we spent some of the time watching a couple of female Hen Harriers hunting on the left side of the Grasspoint road just up from the bridge, we managed at last to see and get some photos of the Kingfisher with a catch in its bill. Another single Whooper Swan at Loch Don, Gorten end and to complete our morning a Dipper at Garmony.
Kingfisher in treeDipper Garmony
Kingfisher with fish
Nov 19th
A trip to Tobermory brought 2 surprises, firstly a single Whooper Swan on Loch Torr see photo and then no fuel at the garage the main reason for the trip. I took Pam to the Mull theatre to see the Nuthatch even though it was perishingly cold and the Nuthatch, for a laugh, kept us waiting for half an hour before it put in an appearance, I an shocked that I could hold the camera I was that cold. We did make the most of our journey to Tobermory with an exciting trip to the tip, we really know how to enjoy life.
Whooper Swan preeningNuthatch with nut 
Nov 18th
Birding locally this morning in great weather, yea... Gardening this afternoon too. The birding was not bad nor were the views in stunning weather, at Cailaich a Peregrine Falcon on top of a hill my photo got vetoed as it was pretty rubish. On my way out at the gate a Meadow Pipit and to my surprise a Grey Wagtail. On to Calgary and the Black Throated Diver was there with a single great Northern Diver I just got a photo through the scope of the Great Northern with a fish. Oystercatchers and Shags at Lainne Sguer and a few Ringed Plovers on the beach at Calgary. Back at Dervaig and the Common Scoter still present as were 2 Greenshank, 2 Redshank and a Snipe, an Ok morning now that gardening.
Shags and Oystercatchers at Lainne SguerShags Lainne Sguer
Great Northern Diver with fish CalgaryRedshank and Greenshank at Dervaig
Ardnamurchan and Eigg
Nov 17th
I decided to go birding this morning but did not get too far as I spotted a bird on Loch Cuin that although distant I thought looked a bit like a Red Necked Grebe ... it wasn't. After trying both sides of the Loch I eventually got close enough to realise it was a female Common Scoter, my first of the year and another bird which is not seen that often on Mull and I have never seen one on Loch Cuin before. The Treecreeper was back in the garden again this afternoon and so was the Great Spotted Woodpecker, more birds are returning to the garden now as other sources of food become harder to obtain. The first Common Scoter picture taken with the phone through the telescope by Pam as it is too technical for me to do.
Common Scoter PamCommon Scoter Arthur
Nov 16th
We put out a night camera trap which our lovely friends Pete and Jenny gave us when we retired and found that a Woodcock had visited the garden in the early evening. Yesterday my mate Nick kindly took a trailor load of scrap to the tip for me, I followed in the car to get a fill up and to go to the Mull theatre, not for a play but to see the Nuthatch which has been in the vicinity of the car park for three weeks. Thanks to Debbie who put out some peanuts on the bird table which allowed me to get some great views of this scarce visitor to Mull.
Woodcock night cameraWoodcock night camera 2
Nov 15th
I was cleaning a bedroom window yesterday when I found this little Pipperstrell Bat having a lovely sleep inside the opening window, he squeaked at me when I put him on the window sill for safty, probably feeling the cold a bit. After giving the window a good clean I moved him on the outside window sill to where he could crawl back inside again and it wasn't long before he'd dissapeared into the window again. Note to myself - don't open this window again until spring. Pam
Pipperstrell Bat
Nov 14th
this week I have been out on a couple of birding trips in variable weather conditions, once in drizzly rain and wind and once very cold with a lot less wind and on this trip Pam came with me with Lucy our dog. On the two trips White-tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles, Otters and Red Deer were seen although not all on the same day. The highlight for me was a Black Throated Diver in Calgary Bay and other highlights were to see Common Snipe back at Dervaig along with Ringed Plovers, Greenshank and Redshank. We had great views of a female Kestrel at Reudle near the Old Schoolhouse and Slavonian Grebe on Loch Na Keal. There are less birds than normal in our garden but we hope this improves as the Winter really gets going, we will just have to wait and see. We are having dinner parties at the moment and showing friends some of our photos from our holday to Spitzbergan and I will inlude one or two in following posts.
Grey Herons Killichronan Nov19Ringed Plover Dervaig
Fallow deer with sheep
Nov 5th
I took a trip around the North West of Mull yesterday and was quite dissapointed at the number of species that I saw with only 30 bird species seen in the day, this does not include the 11 species seen in our garden which is also down on previous years. I am not the only one who has noticed that species numbers are down as some of my neighbours have benn noticing less birds in their gardens as well. A friend from down in the South of England has also noted that birds are less prevalent, lets hope it is a blip and not a permanent trend. The three photos below are from my trip out.
Otter at Kellan
Gooseander at arosWigeon at Aros
Nov 1st
Arthur and I are now taking a well earned rest from work and family commitments. We are pleased to say that our daughter-in-law is now well on the way to recovery and planning to go back to work. Their daughter has now started the local school and the little boy is in the nursary attached to the school making life easier for the whole family and they now need time to themselves to get back to normal life. 
Arthur has been doing some jobs around the farm, working on his dam, mending fences and tidying the big shed, all jobs that have been put to one side when he was working. He has also been able to return the kindness to our neighbours by watering polly tunnels and feeding cats whilst they have been on holiday. He has taken a total break for a couple of months from bird watching but I'm sure he will be back to it soon when he will then resume writing his blog.
The last time I returned from Cheshire I brought back with me a large bag of material and have been making new curtains for my self-catering cottage which I am having decorated this winter and I have also been swimming in the sea whenever I can making up for the lost time in the summer.
As our regular readers can see I am in the prosess of making a new page for Arthurs blog and below you will find just the hightlights for 2019 which I will be putting in during the next couple of weeks. We are still keeping the old email address of if any of you wish to drop us a line, we'ed love to hear from you. 
31st Oct
We have been seeing large flocks of Fieldfare and Redwings at Ardrioch for a few days now, they have been feasting on the Rowen berries on our woodland, then a couple of days ago they came onto the tree right infront of our kitchen wndow which although it was laden with berries there were so many of them they stripped it in 2 days, on the 3rd day they came back and cleaned up all the berries that had fallen on the ground. The trees are now completly bare and the flocks have moved on, maybe you will see them in a few weeks time!
Redwing and Fieldfare flockFieldfare and Redwing
Fieldfare in the gardenRedwing in garden
Aug 14th
Out and about early again this morning and there is still not a lot about although for those planning on coming to Mull I did see an otter today and I wasn't even trying. My sighting of the day was by the Killiechronan campsite where a flock of at least 70 Ringed Plover flew in to feast as the tide went out, they were joined by a few Dunlin. The Autumn flowers are out in abundance now with Grass Of Parnasus seen as well as the Bell Heather and Ling. On my way home I was able to photograph the Goosanders on Loch Cuin, they would be some of the same ones we saw when out walking with Lucy on Moday.
Grass of ParnassasLing Bell Heather aug19
Aug 12th
This morning I went out early  in lovely weather, light breeze, sunshine, 4 degrees centigrade, I was wearing thermols for goodness sake, talk about climate change. Being out and about on Mull in such calm conditions was wonderfull and the views even more so, with Coll and Tiree looking resplendent from Calgary Bay, I felt I could reach out and touch them. On the birding front the highlight of the morning had to be the flock of approximately 20 Twite seen at Cailaich Point, Kittiwakes, and Gannets here as well. There are lots of Meadow Pipits everywhere and Pam and I saw at least 12 Goosander on Loch Cuin and also 3 Greenshank. Red Deer and of course Rabbits were the Mammals seen but really it was just being back on Mull that was the real highlight of my morning. This afternoon once again the weather has intervened, I was supposed to be mowing lawns but it is pouring down, the suns still shining though.

Curlew Loch CuinRed Deer Cailaich
Scotch ArgusKittiwake Cailiach
July 20th
Last night we had a retirement party at the Hebridean Lodge for our friends and all the people who have helped us with Discover Mull Tours. Helen, our host at the Hebridean Lodge did us proud, the food was amazing and more than enough for at least another half dozen guests, many thanks Helen from us both. The harp was played by Becky Roth, one of Pam's swimming buddies and was absolutely beautiful, many thanks Becky for adding a touch of class to the evening. Thanks go to everyone at the party for all your help you all know what you did, but you cannot know how much we appreciate all your love and friendship, We hope that last night showed how much we value everything you have done for us.
On a birdy note one of our neighbours died earlier in the year and he used to feed the Rock Doves which meant we shared this chore, now I feel we are feeding all the Rock Doves on Mull in our garden as well as all the Chaffinches.
Retirement PartyBecky & harp
July 18th
The second day of our retirement and we went out in Nick and Mikes new boat which spent the winter in my shed. It was lovely day weatherwise and we saw lots of great wildlife, mainly seabirds. Puffins, Razorbills, Guilliemots, Black Guilliemots, Shags, Cormorants, Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls, Great Black Backed Gulls, Grey Herons, Oystercatchers and a White-tailed Eagle sitting on an Island. Both types of Seal were seen and now there are lots of baby Common Seals are out and about with their mothers. The main purpose of the trip however was to do some sea fishing and Pam caught a good sized Pollock with her very first cast. Pam obviouly has a penchant for fishing as she caught by far the most fish on the day although Nick caught the biggest. A wonderful day was had by all and Pam and I would like to thank Nick and Catherine for giving us such a great day out and a fishing lesson, we could be eating fish for some time as Pam is now preparing the catch for the freezer.
Gone fishing Kittiewake flyingGone fishing Kittiewake sitting

Gone fishing Kittiewake eatingGone fishing gannet
July 16th
We have now retired from doing Discover Mull wildlife tours and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our guests for their support over the past 18 years and the kindness of guests who have sent us cards and best wishes on our retirement. Pam has been away for most of the Spring as a close family member was diagnosed with very bad cancer just after Easter and so we decided to only do tours which were already booked and to that end we must thank our friends and neighbours who have helped both with the tours and the self-catering whilst Pam was away. The news now is more positive and Pam was back for our last tour and we will be having a celebration party for both our retirement and 46th wedding anniversary later this week. Many guests have kindly told me how much they have liked my blog and how much they had missed it in the last few months so I have decided to continue to do a blog about what Pam and I are up to and wildlife happenings on Mull although it probably won't be done daily. Photo's taken of our final tour, we had a great day out.
Final tour with guestsFinal tour Pam & Arthur
May 3rd
A tour today in cool windy conditions with both types of Eagles seen well, a brief Otter sighting, both Fallow and Red Deer and both types of Seal. Whinchat and Dunlin were seen which were two birds Sue one of my guests really wanted to see. The Highland Cows and calves were a highlight for some of my guests as was the lovely Bluebell wood.
Bluebell woodWTSE
May 2nd
A lovely day for a tour although it got a bit colder later in the day. We saw several Golden Eagles and White-tailed Sea Eagles in one location they were flying together and interacting giving my guests a great chance to see the differences between the two species. 2 seperate Otters were also seen although one was quite distant. My guests enjoyed seeing the new migrant and passage birds including Whimbrel, see photo below, Wheatear and Common Sandpipers appearing everywere and we now have more Whinchats joining their resident cousins the Stonechat. Finally Willow Warblers, we don't see many but they certainly let you know they are there with their constant singing.
May 1st
A trip with Pam and Lucy to Iona to try and see a Corncrake, they should have started to arrive but nobody had reported any so it was a bit of a shot in dark. On our way across to Iona on the ferry Pam spotted a couple of Common Terns, my first of the year and the first reported on Mull this year. On Iona no sound of Corncrake near the Abbey or around the fire station so we decided to go to the beaches on the north of the island. On our walk we saw lots of little birds including Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Wheatear and Linnet as well as Rooks and Jackdaws. At the gate at the end of the road Pam thought she had heard a Corncrake, I on the other hand hadn't and as I have better hearing we went on. Then we both heard the distinct sound of a Corncrake and the rest as they say is history, check out the photigraphs. Another Mull first for Pam and I this year, we were really pleased and then a Merlin appeared chasing small birds another Arthur first of the year, the day was going spectacularly well.On our way back to the ferry we saw a pair of Twite a first for Pam this year and on our way back to Ardrioch we found a Tree Pipit a bird that had been eluding us this last week and Pam at last got her Common Whitethroat. Lastly Lucy loved her time on Iona, not sure about the ferry journey though.
CorncrakeCorncrake 2
Pam and Lucy leaving Iona on ferrySkylark Iona

Pam & Arthur Brown
Ardrioch Farm
Isle of Mull
PA75 6QR
Tel: 01688 400415
Mob: 07780 600367  

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  Calmac Ferry 1
Winter Timetables 2019

  Calmac Ferry 2
Winter Timetables 2019 Lochaline/Fishnish
Lochaline slipway closure details