This year, prior to going to Mull for the Otter Photography Tours, I drove up to stay with Andy and Lyndsey, initially for a Hallowe'en Party at a mutual friend's house, but also to spend some time with them both, and help Andy with preparing his crested tit and red squirrel sites, ready for the winter workshops.
But with Andy still on Mull when I arrived, I spent the first day alone with the red squirrels, which is never a bad thing. They're such charming creatures to watch, as they scurry around the woodland, collecting nuts to nibble on, or cache for the colder months ahead.
Back to the thrushes, and I ended up playing the guide. With a stressful job, Lyndsey doesn't get out as much with her camera as she might, so I was quite happy to position the car in spots where she could photograph the redwings. These are gorgeous birds that are often overlooked by folks wanting to see waxwings, but in the right light, these winter thrushes are just as beautiful.
Then later on, we tried the harbours, in the vain hope that the winter wildfowl might have started to use them again. In years gone by, we would see eiders, long-tailed ducks, mergansers, scoters and divers visiting and feeding from these man-made sheltered spots, but we believe they have been dredged to ensure the boats are safe, and as a result, the birds remain out at sea.
Near the harbour, on some rocks being washed over by the waves, were some waders, and one stood out as being a "purp". I've hardly any images of purple sandpipers, but alas by the time we had got anywhere near close enough for photos, the light had gone. One for next time, perhaps.
And so it proved to be, when we found a small group beside a pool. Most seemed comfortable with us inching closer, but a male, perhaps the "look-out" for the group was ultra alert, and seemed nervous. Armed only with 400mm of reach, I wasn't quite as close as I'd have liked when he decided he didn't like the look of us, and flew, taking all the others with him... right up the side of the mountain.
A day with the mountain hares followed, which was also damp and chilly. The individual we approached stayed put, which was great, but wasn't the most active. The most action we saw was the taking of a pellet or two, and a few amusing expressions.
Later that week I spent some time chasing the winter thrushes, alone this time. The redwings were easy to locate, being in the same spots as before, but this time the waxwings were also around, and would occasionally drop in to feed from the same areas.