Monday, 16 November 2009

Another Whale of a Season off Gairloch!

It’s been another super season for whale and dolphin watching with Wild Scotland member, Hebridean Whale Cruises who run from Gairloch Harbour on the West Coast of Scotland.

So far this year, sightings have been:
  • Minke whale: 277
  • Long-finned pilot whale 1
  • Humpback whale: 1 definite & 1 possible
  • Short-beaked common dolphin: 2319
  • Bottlenose dolphin:80

There have also been several sightings of killer whales in the area.

For more information about wildlife watching trips from Gairloch, visit Hebridean Whale Cruises

Friday, 13 November 2009

Another Good Season on Mull

Here's a round-up of the wildlife-watching season on Mull from Discover Mull's Arthur Brown:

"With the summer and autumn season now over this is an update of the happenings from Discover Mull on The Isle of Mull during these two seasons.

"White-tailed eagles (Sea Eagles): a record number of 10 chicks were fledged this year on the island so we were very pleased. Three pairs fledged two chicks each which was also very good and one chick died when a nest collapsed causing it to hit the ground just before it was to follow its sister in flying the nest, the only black spot on a very good year. We were lucky enough to have very good white-tailed eagle sightings on most of our tours with views of two adults taking gulls and eider ducks being the most exciting. Some guests were able to get some very good photographs of this magnificent bird of prey flying low right above our heads, a fantastic memento of their stay on Mull.

"Golden eagles did not have such a good breeding season due to wet and cold weather in May this year. We have more breeding pairs of golden eagles than white-tailed eagles on the island but they fledged less young which meant that it was harder to see golden eagles on the tours as less birds were feeding young. We were very lucky to see them on most tours as our favourite pair did manage to rear a youngster despite having to build a new nest this year as their chosen nest sight of the last few years blew out in a gale the previous winter.

"Hen harriers and short-eared owls had a very poor year due to the very poor May weather this year, in fact most short-eared owls left the island early as they had failed to breed so we did not see many on the tours. Hen harriers did remain in small numbers and we saw them on some tours particularly in the late summer and early autumn.

"Otters were seen on most tours and provide hours of entertainment and delight to all that see them. Fewer cubs were seen in the summer this year but as autumn approached more were being seen with their mothers as they got stronger and disturbance was less from visitors playing around the coasts, sailing and kayaking.

"Red deer were seen on every tour this year with the obvious highlights being calving in June and a spectacular rut in the late autumn. Fallow deer were also seen in the early summer and autumn before and after the bracken appeared and disappeared.

"The other main highlights of a great Mull year were mountain hare seen in very good numbers this year. Common and grey seals were seen on nearly every tour, one particular highlight was when we witnessed a common seal giving birth. Seabirds had a very good breeding year with gannets providing the most spectacular sightings of the seabirds plunge diving to catch fish.

"Another great wildlife summer on Mull, a working island and not a reserve, that shows what nature can achieve if we work harmoniously with it and not try to change it for our own ends."

For more information: Discover Mull and Wild Scotland