Following my recent decision to walk away from my career in IT, at least for a while, and concentrate on my photography, I find myself in a position to be able to do what I want and when. As such, Mull was top of the list (as usual!) and after a bit of planning, I had arranged to stay there for a week mid-March, with the intention of heading further north to the Highlands for a second week.
Not having been to Mull in March before, I was expecting the weather to be a bit well, wintery and for me to have to rediscover where the wildlife would be, at that time of year. After a very wet journey up to Oban, I was relieved to see the skies clear on arrival, and as before, I was able to sit outside a quayside bar and enjoy an ale in the sunshine, whilst planning targets on the isle.
Back to the cottage I'd booked and I was very pleased to find it had a fantastic view of the Sound Of Mull. My intention, being based near Fishnish was that I'd explore the northern side of Mull more than usual, but as it turned out, I ended up down the south side as usual...
Mostly they would eat the catch in the water, but larger prey were brought ashore. Occasionally the mother would bring something to the rocks for the young, perhaps out of habit, as the young otters were catching plenty themselves. They still took advantage of the free meal.
Travelling further south, I encountered decent sized flocks of skylarks, both singing and making use of the dry conditions to take dust baths at the roadside.
An early start the next day, I stopped a couple of times on my way to hopefully catch up with the otters, to photograph stags on the moors and marshes. Another calm day - most unusual for Mull in my experience. Maybe March trips should be considered in the future!
After the early start for the otters, I had intended to get an early night in, until I heard on the news of the Northern Lights being visible. I had to wait until late (or early morning) to finally see them as the clouds parted, and enjoyed fine views for a while. Just a shame the internet access at the cottage was down, as I didn't really know how to photo them properly, and the long exposures didn't quite yield what I wanted. Still, they were amazing to watch.
I toured around Loch Na Keal later, seeing curlews, more skylarks and buzzards, plus a lovely shelduck near the shore. Another fine day on Mull.
The weather I normally associate with Mull reminded me that it was still late winter, and I had a quite quiet day. Stonechats and curlews became subjects, and a late encounter with a male hen harrier raised a smile. Mainly of slight annoyance, as it flew over a place I'd been parked moments earlier. And the much awaited eclipse was alas hidden by dark rain clouds. In fact, I thought it was just getting dark for another downpour, when it actually happened.
I had a bit of a wait, but when one popped up, so did the others, and it was a case of waiting and hoping. Finally a male flew a bit closer to me, and I gleefully grabbed some shots.