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Mull and its surrounding islands are home to thousands of seabirds and ducks. On the main island, Mull you can see nesting Kittiwakes and Fulmars. The Black Guillemot nests here, as does the Shag and a number of species of Gull, including Britain's largest Gull, the Great Black Backed Gull. Just offshore on our smaller islands, you can see large numbers of Puffins, Common Guillemots and Razorbills. There are also rarer birds, such as Storn Petrel and Arctic Skua. On the mountainous island of Rhum there are huge numbers of Manx Shearwaters. Many seabirds that do not nest here, are also seen on migration, in Spring and late Summer. Birds such as Sooty Shearwater, Gannet, Corys and Great Shearwater are seen annually. Nesting along the seaweed covered shorelines, are Red Breasted Merganser and Eider Duck, and on inland lochs there are Red Throated Divers, Slavonian Grebes, Black Throated Diver and Great Northern Diver.
Bird watching Magazine recently referred to the island as 'Eagle Island' and most keen birdwatchers would probably agree with this. Along with the Isle of Skye, the Isle l is the best place in the world to see The Golden Eagle. Numbers are reasonably high here and the birds enjoy a spectacular range of habitats from 3,000 foot peaks to sea cliffs, adorned with white sandy beaches. Golden Eagles eat carrion [any dead animal], mountain hares and some game birds such as Ptarmigan; however their favourite prey is undoubtedly the Mountain Hare.
Your first sighting of a Golden Eagle, is usually a large bird of prey breaking the skyline, and often being chased by Ravens or Hooded Crows, particularly during the breeding period of May to July, when all birds are very territorial in their behaviour. The Hooded Crow has long been regarded as a sub-species of the Carrion Crow Corvus corone largely because there is a wide range of intergradation between the Hooded and Carrion Crows where they meet which is in Scotland roughly in line with the Great Glen, and in western Europe from Denmark south to northern Italy. On this basis, the Hooded Crow is found in Scandinavia and eastward from a line from Denmark to northern Italy through northern and central Asia to Japan. There is a disjunct population in Ireland and north-west Scotland. Here on Mull, you will often see the White Tailed Sea Eagle and Golden Eagle together; then it is easy to tell them apart. The Sea Eagle is bigger by a third, than the Golden Eagle. Your first impression of a Sea Eagle, is of an immense pair of very broad wings. The tail is wedge shaped and only two thirds the width of the wings. The head seems to protrude well in front of the large square ended wings, whereas the Golden Eagle has a smaller head and longer tail, which it twists to steer, rather like a Red Kite. In summer, you will usually see adult birds of both species, which means that you should see the white tail and pale head of the Sea Eagle, and the golden head and dark tail of the Golden Eagle. Outside the breeding season, the watcher could mistake a young Golden Eagle for a Sea Eagle, because they have white tail with a black band; however, the silhouette is never like that of the bigger Sea Eagle. The young Sea Eagle also has a dark tail which can add to the confusion.
If you have limited time in The Highlands and Islands, we strongly recommend that you join an organised wildlife tour on the island.
Mull is a reasonably remote Oceanic Island. If a boat heads west from the island, the next landmass it reaches will probably be America. In other words, there is a lot of water around here!! And where there is water there are Cetaceans.