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West coast of Scotland

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Old Saturday 3rd October 2009, 09:41   #1
Cartman
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West coast of Scotland

Just booked a cottage for June next year in a tiny village called Strontian on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

It is situated right on Loch Sunart where Golden Eagles are seen as well as many other forms of wildlife.

It is only an hour from Mull so I will be popping across to see my first Sea Eagle which will be breathtaking.

Is anyone familiar with the area?
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Old Saturday 3rd October 2009, 10:21   #2
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Hi Cartman

It's really lovely there. Here's a link to a trip report I did for May 2006. The first part of it.

PM me if you want more details.

D
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Old Saturday 3rd October 2009, 10:26   #3
hampers
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You may find this book a help:

Best Birdwatching Sites: Scottish Highlands
Gordon Hamlett

It's very good.

Phil
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Old Saturday 3rd October 2009, 11:31   #4
Cartman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hampers View Post
You may find this book a help:

Best Birdwatching Sites: Scottish Highlands
Gordon Hamlett

It's very good.

Phil
I bought your book 2 years ago Gordon for my trip last year, it's fab

EDIT: Oh I just realised you are called Phil, the username threw me off lol
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Old Saturday 3rd October 2009, 11:31   #5
Cartman
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Hi Cartman

It's really lovely there. Here's a link to a trip report I did for May 2006. The first part of it.

PM me if you want more details.

D
Thanks Delia, I will check it out
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Old Saturday 3rd October 2009, 14:43   #6
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Thanks for the comments about the book - whatever you want to call me!

You should have a brilliant time - seawatching from Ardnamurchan point is excellent plus fantastic views/sunsets there (plus chance of both eagles). You should get both eagles where you are as well as Mull. Morvern can be very good for raptors too. Try watching from the big lay-by just before the Kilchoan ferry terminal - we have actually scoped eagles on north Mull from there! The minor road heading due north from Strontian to polloch is well worth exploring when it gets very dark - drive to the forestry commission turning area and back, looking for pine martens and wildcats. Otters are all round the area. Loch Sunart where you turn off towards Lochaline is very good. Dipper etc in Strontian itself. Listen for wood warblers trilling and look for chequered skippers and small pearl bordered frits which should be on the wing. Boat trip on Loch shiel usually produces golden eagle and black throated diver.

Should be a great trip.

Gordon Hamlett
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Old Saturday 3rd October 2009, 15:49   #7
Cartman
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Originally Posted by gordon hamlett View Post
Thanks for the comments about the book - whatever you want to call me!

You should have a brilliant time - seawatching from Ardnamurchan point is excellent plus fantastic views/sunsets there (plus chance of both eagles). You should get both eagles where you are as well as Mull. Morvern can be very good for raptors too. Try watching from the big lay-by just before the Kilchoan ferry terminal - we have actually scoped eagles on north Mull from there! The minor road heading due north from Strontian to polloch is well worth exploring when it gets very dark - drive to the forestry commission turning area and back, looking for pine martens and wildcats. Otters are all round the area. Loch Sunart where you turn off towards Lochaline is very good. Dipper etc in Strontian itself. Listen for wood warblers trilling and look for chequered skippers and small pearl bordered frits which should be on the wing. Boat trip on Loch shiel usually produces golden eagle and black throated diver.

Should be a great trip.

Gordon Hamlett
Thanks for that Gordon, your book was my bible last year in Errogie
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Old Saturday 3rd October 2009, 18:35   #8
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Its worth a try in the bay at kilchoan have stayed there in the past and it can be a top spot from twite and wheatear plus many others the outer bay is good for seals also otter is a possablity
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Old Wednesday 7th October 2009, 04:37   #9
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Planning to travel in that area some day. I would like to see how the golden eagles acctually interact with sea eagles in real life.
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Old Wednesday 7th October 2009, 08:49   #10
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Port na Croisg is another top Otter spot as is the coastline in front of and just West of Resipole Farm caravan/campsite.

The road between Camas nan Geall and the Ockle junction is legendary for Wildcat after dark, particularly "the basin" - a rushy bowl with the road bordering its South and West sides. A good spotlight is essential: there are various car plug-in ones or a Clubman or similar will do the job without keeping you tied to the car.

In my experience the pubs etc are sympathetic to requests for recharging electrical equipment, which is useful if you are camping.

John
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Old Wednesday 7th October 2009, 09:00   #11
Sandra (Taylor)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon hamlett View Post
Thanks for the comments about the book - whatever you want to call me!

You should have a brilliant time - seawatching from Ardnamurchan point is excellent plus fantastic views/sunsets there (plus chance of both eagles). You should get both eagles where you are as well as Mull. Morvern can be very good for raptors too. Try watching from the big lay-by just before the Kilchoan ferry terminal - we have actually scoped eagles on north Mull from there! The minor road heading due north from Strontian to polloch is well worth exploring when it gets very dark - drive to the forestry commission turning area and back, looking for pine martens and wildcats. Otters are all round the area. Loch Sunart where you turn off towards Lochaline is very good. Dipper etc in Strontian itself. Listen for wood warblers trilling and look for chequered skippers and small pearl bordered frits which should be on the wing. Boat trip on Loch shiel usually produces golden eagle and black throated diver.

Should be a great trip.

Gordon Hamlett
May I interrupt and thank you for that Gordon. We're on Mull for a week from
17th Oct then Seaview grazings at Strontian the week after. Your book will be ever useful but it's good to get this info from you.

Sandra
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Old Thursday 8th October 2009, 08:47   #12
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May I interrupt and thank you for that Gordon. We're on Mull for a week from
17th Oct then Seaview grazings at Strontian the week after. Your book will be ever useful but it's good to get this info from you.

Sandra
Hi Sandra,

Thanks for that. We've just come back from a week in Speyside and a week in Mull. Well, I say week in Mull but we couldn't actually see the island for 2.5 days due to low cloud! And had to leave early to make sure of catching a ferry ahead of storms last weekend

Still managed some excellent birds though - four goldies, four wtse, merlins, peregrines, hen harriers at four sites including one seen from cottage window, great northern divers, brent geese, dolphins, otters etc.

Road quality getting worse if anything, not helped by idiots who don't know how to drive on single track roads.

Have you tried the road down to Carsaig yet? An interesting drive, especially the last bit. limited parking doesn't help either. Had a peregrine mobbing a buzzard 20 ft over our heads as soon as we got out of the car. Fantastic cliffs and bay.

Have a good trip,

Gordon
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Old Thursday 8th October 2009, 09:03   #13
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If you want to avoid the ferry cost to Mull, the Lochaline area (north side of the Sound of Mull) is also great for sea eagles.
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Old Thursday 8th October 2009, 11:41   #14
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Have you tried the road down to Carsaig yet? An interesting drive, especially the last bit. limited parking doesn't help either. Had a peregrine mobbing a buzzard 20 ft over our heads as soon as we got out of the car. Fantastic cliffs and bay.

Have a good trip,

Gordon[/quote]


Yes, we took that road last year - only room for a couple of cars though but nobody else there so OK. The cliffs in the distance looked stunning - low cloud and very atmospheric. Had hoped for harrier on the moorland part of the road but we dipped. Hen harrier really is our bogie bird of Mull - we passed a guy by the side of Loch na keal who said there was a male just 3 mins along the track. Was there heck! It must have been hiding behind a boulder.
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Old Thursday 8th October 2009, 12:06   #15
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I've seen Hen Harriers in Glen More (where a female hunted close enough to the car for pix) and over moorland about three miles short of the Iona ferry landing. they are highly mobile especially outside the breeding season but they are there - keep trying!

I've also seen one or two on Ardnamurchan itself: you might try between Loch Mudle and Kilchoan or scan the moorland near Acharacle.

John

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Old Friday 9th October 2009, 11:25   #16
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I've seen Hen Harriers in Glen More (where a female hunted close enough to the car for pix) and over moorland about three miles short of the Iona ferry landing. they are highly mobile especially outside the breeding season but they are there - keep trying!

I've also seen one or two on Ardnamurchan itself: you might try between Loch Mudle and Kilchoan or scan the moorland near Acharacle.

John

John

Thanks John - we can't possibly come home this time without seeing at least one .............. can we? With so much good info how can we not?

Might pretend (?)

S
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Old Friday 9th October 2009, 15:10   #17
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Have to say we were watching out male harrier hunting this morning - our female is a regular too - we were lucky in that we had a pair next close to the hide this year too so we had some fantastic sightings - they are about - but like all wildlife, its about being in the right place at the right time - we are having a fantastic spell of weather on the Island at the moment, blue skies and sunshine - for anyone planning to come to Mull, we are keeping the hide open throughout the Autumn, we are getting some great views of our WTSE family - we had a crew from Sky 1 with Bill Bailey filming this week and they were treated to Skye, Frisa and Heather all sat together on the hillside. Hide details here

http://www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnatur...mull/index.asp
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Old Friday 9th October 2009, 23:44   #18
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Mull is fabulous if you do get a chance to go over take it! The main ferry from Oban is expensive but I think the shorter crossing from Lochaline is much cheaper?

We were there for a fortnight in September and managed to see everything we wanted except Crossbills and Peregrines - never managed to see either species yet!

The best thing - for the lazy amongst us - is that most of it can be done without getting out of your car! If you haven't been before be aware almost all of Mull is single track roads with passing places - the good thing is the passing places means theres always somewhere to stop.

The road through Glenmore almost guarantees you Golden Eagles if the weather is clear, we stopped counting them after the first dozen or so sightings.

Try taking the 'scenic' road (its signposted as that) between Salen and Pennyghael for Sea Eagles.
The road can be a bit hairy in bad weather but it really is stunning. We had four sightings of Sea Eagles at Pennyghael and along the south end of this road, two of them VERY close to the car.

The most exciting bird sighting on this road was when we had 4 Golden Eagles and 2 Sea Eagles all in the sky at the same time interacting with each other. If you're into your mammals this is a good road for Otters too we had a very close encounter with one wee guy down here.

For Hen Harriers the best spot we found was on the main road just outside Craignure (where the Oban ferry comes in) from here we saw a male and a female on two seperate occassions whilst just driving past.

A good idea is to take one of the many guided wildlife tours available which basically scoot you round in a minibus. The guy we were with reckoned he could pretty much guarantee the 'big four' (Golden Eagle, Sea Eagle, Hen Harrier and Otter) on pretty much any day, so its good if you can only manage a day on the island. If you're there for longer its also handy as you learn where the best spots to look for yourself are, though to be honest if you keep your eyes open you'll see something!

We also went to the Sea Eagle hide but unfortunately didn't see anything - was still well worth the visit though!

Last edited by cabbage : Friday 9th October 2009 at 23:52.
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Old Saturday 10th October 2009, 09:05   #19
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Thanks for all your advice guys, I wish it was June now
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