Saturday, 5 May 2012

WiFi at Last - Mull

May 5
We woke early to find frost rimed grass, a snow encrusted windscreen and snow fringed windows. Opening the curtains I was greeted by the sight of a female Mallard leading her 5 newly hatched ducklings out of the lochan and up the grass towards us. We'd only seen male ducks, where was she nesting? I hope the visiting Heron doesn't find them.
The last of the car packing, where did it all come from? Stop for papers and off, south down the A9. A very surprising right turn - Delia said - took us some miles down a single track road with rare passing places through lovely scenery. Luckily we only met one other traveller, a cyclist. We eventually joined an A road having bypassed Kingussie and Newtonmore. Delia said 2hours 49 minutes to Oban ....and it was , almost to the minute. It was an excellent short cut, we were in Oban at 10.15.
Pam breakfasted overlooking a lovely bay north of Oban, reached via the seafront. It used to be a car park with a small cafe. Now it has a couple of dozen designer houses around one side of the bay - and a parking meter. The cafe has gone.
Tesco for the essentials shop. Mull has a few far spread shops but the prices are steep and the stock limited. Filling up with petrol is obligatory, the cost is astronomical on the island of Mull. We drove to the ferry car park to find out when we could book in for the 2.00 ferry to Craignure and we were waved straight in, seventh in the queue. Booking online means a confirmation with booking number invoice and therefore, a visit to the booking office to exchange it for tickets. We then found a cafe, had a hot drink, explored the 'everything must go' factory shop - outdoor clothing and still not a bargain - before returning to the car. Pam found two Black Guillemots in the harbour so we walked to the end to try and photograph them. A bit distant but I took a few. 

As we walked back, we spotted another, single, bird. One of the pair, about 30 yards away, dived, disappearing .........until the single bird took off vertically and violently and the diving one appeared from under him. 

Devious little b. Funny though. It scurried off, and the attacker returned to its partner, showing its strutting pleasure at the success.
A very smooth crossing, we had a cold drink and Pam asked the cafe man for ONE chip, which she was allowed. Honestly....... I had half of it !
We were at the very front of the ferry but they allowed another row off first.
First stop, Grasspoint, ticking off Wheatear, Stonechat, three Tree Pipits and Twite. Scoping from the small parking area, Pam found a Great Northern Diver. No White-tailed Eagles though and the Mull Eagle Watch notices have been removed. They were the oldest pair so maybe one or both of them has died. (Added later. Failed breeding due to old age Arthur  thinks).
Driving Glen More, I thought I saw a perched bird high on the hillside. Pam stopped, it was a rock...!  But, In binning the rock, I saw a Golden Eagle being mobbed by a much smaller raptor. Unfortunately Pam missed them both, a combination of her position in the car, the briefness of the appearance and, my lack of accurate instructions due to not taking my eyes off the birds.
Penn-y-Ghael stores to buy last year's Mull Bird Report and an ice-cream, warmly greeted by Brian's wife who recognised us immediately. Brian was out birding with a group. They're both friends of John and Jane's  (our B and B owners).
Loch Pottie, a few miles from Phionnphort (pronounced Finfert, don't ask), had more birds than usual. Sand Martins, a single Whooper Swan, Tufted Ducks and roosting Greater Black-backed Gulls. 
John didn't hear the door bell, appearing from the back garden, we were greeted by Megan and her daughter Lainie, brown Retrievers. He helped us unpack the car but we did most of it as more guests arrived.
That was it for the day, we logged on to the internet for the footie, especially the FA Cup score and watched TV for the evening.
I still have to-day's photos to upload ready for sorting when I get home. Could take a long time.......

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