Mull here we come!


Our five days in Nethy bridge were enjoyable if not very productive! As we were getting ready to leave we learnt in conversation that the tower of the hotel, where our room was, used to be suites and they ‘belonged’ to old celebrities. The ground floor was Cary Grant’s, the first floor was Mae West’s and the second was Lauren Bacall’s. We had been staying in Mae Wests and I did wonder if looking down from the tower was where the “Come up and see me” was first thought up!IMG_4843 hotelTravel can be boring but with views like these yesterday it certainly kept us interested. We had allowed ourselves plenty of time so were able to stop and stretch our legs and look around.

Ian managed to sniff out a golf club to stop for coffee, he liked the look of the last hole but suspected the others maybe a tad more challenging!

On to Oban to meet up with Roo, Stu and Sprocket and then after lunch and shopping for provisions,off on the ferry to Mull. We got a tick on the journey over with Black Guillemot in the harbour, not as many as we had seen on previous trips but enough for a year tick and bird 226. What a beautiful day to be doing the ferry, lovely views all the way across.

Our house was just a short drive from Craignure where the ferry docks and having arrived I don’t mind if stay put for the next week, although of course we will be adventuring further afield. In fact it wasn’t long before we were out walking exploring the locality and beautiful it is. We spotted some new friends on the way.

We had walked just a very short way when Stu spotted an enormous bird in a wooded area but by the time the rest of us saw it, off it flew through the tree and we couldn’t identify it, hopefully it will be back.IMG_4946 sign

Also spotted by Stu was this stunning, dragonfly which unless anyone knows differently is a Golden ringed dragonfly, brilliant. By far the largest one I have ever seen.

We walked for a couple of hours and when we got ‘home’ it looked as though someone had pulled the plug out, of course the tide had simply gone out which gave it all a very different look. Second tick of the day was the hooded crow, better picture to follow I reckon.

The swan with her cygnets was of course taken before the tide receded but later she got herself slightly stranded in the mud. She was so funny, she was pushing herself through the mud using one of her feet while the cygnets walked happily behind. We weren’t really sure why she didn’t just walk too!

I think we can safely say this looks a good place to spend time so we will see what the week brings. So far this morning two of our group (naming no names) have been out for a run whilst the other two just watched the tide go out again and birds fly in, its a hard life!



My new back garden?


So things aren’t looking too good for my time share proposition (see ‘Who needs birds?’) so far I only have one taker!!!

But this morning we returned, parked in the same spot but instead of walking down to the river we walked up away from the ‘cottage’ and up onto the heath, I liked to think of it as potentialy my back garden! Considering just a few years ago breathing was for me not the easiest thing and that Ian has, during this year had heart problems we did pretty well with our walk today. We had hardly begun our climb when a female black grouse flew out, smashing, the first female we had seen.

The views were lovely but I tend to find the moment I take a photo they flatten out, still I take some points along the way to keep the memories alive. Here is Ian literally putting his best foot forward.

We found this bug along the way, it was a funny thing. It walked a few inches then flew a few and so it went on. I have just identified it as a green tiger beetle and the behaviour I described with the short flights seems typical!IMG_4807 bug

As we climbed we found more and more dead stumps and trees, they stand out beautifully.

We saw very little bird life, some pipits and a pair of Stonechats. Also this damselfly, which seems to be a large red damselfly the same as we had before. Honestly you drive from Norfolk to the Highlands and still find the same one!

Apart from the damselfly and some wood ants the only insects we saw were dozens of the same type of moth. They never settled near enough to get a decent photo which was very annoying

.IMG_4708 moth

We walked for about two and a half hours through the heath which is just my kind of fun, of course it took half as long for the return trip! This trio of trees, alive and dead appealed to me.IMG_4723 3 trees

We were going to have a stroll over by the river where we visited before but there were other people there, what a cheek! We noticed this rather special squirrel the other day and were amused by it again today.

Later on, (I would say after lunch but somehow we missed lunch) we drove back to Nethybridge. Well  should that be Nethybridge or Nethy bridge, I don’t know and it seems no one really can make their minds up.

We popped into our hotel for a quick cuppa then went off to find the river walk just a short walk over the bridge.IMG_4821 river walk sign

It is really quite a fast flowing river,  I don’t know if it was a tad too fast for some bird life. We did a fleeting sighting of a Dipper but no wagtails at all. We were amused by the man sitting fishing!

It is a very pleasant walk and when we got back to the village we met the RSPB ranger and had a good chat. She said if we return later in the year to get in touch and she will take us out for a walk for better Crestie views!

We are saying farewell to Nethy in the morning so tonight I think we will get mostly packed up and ready to go. We are very much looking forward to our week on Mull and expect to have adventures to report on!