Saturday was taken up on ferries! We initially caught the Mull to Oban ferry at 6.45am. Then we took the Oban to South Uist ferry at 8.30am. This longer journey is scheduled to take just over 5 hours but took a great deal longer due to a technical fault temporarily preventing us docking the other end! We then drove slowly to Lochmaddy on North Uist which is to be our home for the next week.
As such most of the wildlife sightings were in or over the sea. It was very calm and this permitted continual if brief viewings of Harbour Porpoise on and off throughout the whole journey. These animals rarely show much above the surface. We encountered several pods of the more lively Common Dolphins and a couple of small pods of Bottle-nosed Dolphins. Grey and Common Seals were about in some numbers.
Plenty of sea-birds included the four common auks, Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Great and Arctic Skua and three Storm Petrels. It was possible to see a solitary Golden Eagle hunting over Morvern uplands as we sailed the length of the Sound of Mull.
On arrival at Lochmaddy and after settling in at our self catering chalet, we went for a walk across the low-lying heather moors which are typically dotted with small and large saltwater and freshwater lochs. The evocative goose-like calls of the Red-throated Divers as they flew overhead were fabulous, and a male Hen Harrier is always quality birding. A short walk in to a conifer plantation was sufficient to prove breeding Long-eared Owl with an adult seen and young heard calling. Roll on more Hebridean birding!
Eleanor and Neil