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2018

Come along to Tiroran Community Forest next week to learn about the management, history and biodiversity of the area with myself, Christine Leach and the SWMID team as part of Community Land Week.  Thursday 16th August 1-4pm:

South West Mull and Iona Development Trust will be hosting a community event, ‘Tiroran Community Forest – Then and Now‘ which will focus on People, Forestry and Biodiversity & Nature. There will be three stations in the forest each with a local expert who will talk about their subject in relation to what the forest was like post buy-out and what it is like now.

The People station will cover the areas that were cleared in the forest in the late 1800s and the sites for the new woodland crofts and what it could be like again with people living in the forest. This station will be covered by a local historian and one of the potential crofters.

The Forestry station will look at the way the forest was planted in the 1970s and the changes that Forestry Commission Scotland now look for in terms of forest planning and the reasoning behind this. It will also give the Trust a chance to talk about their aspirations in terms of forestry and what their plans are.

The Biodiversity and Nature station will consider the species in the forest and the impact of both the previous and future forest management on this aspect.

The event is open to everyone. There is no need to book but if you are thinking of attending and / or would like more information, please contact Morven – mgibson@swmid.co.uk or 01681 700 021.

 

Now open 6 days a week (not Tuesday) 11 to 5.

OFFICIAL OPENING SATURDAY 5TH MAY 2-4PM

I will be selling books, cards, postcards, pictures and printed cushions and should be in the shop most Wednesdays.

Setting up the shop-gallery.

Some of my work for sale.

 

All of the booklets, photographs and artwork on this site have been produced by me and are copyright.  Paper or digital copies can be obtained by contacting me by e-mail.  Or why not come and have a chat the South West Mull Makers shop in the Columba Centre in Fionnphort (ferry terminal for Iona) on the Isle of Mull where I will usually be found on a Wednesday?  Private viewing of other artwork, etc. by appointment.

My guide to Staffa booklet.

 

2018 GARDEN WILDLIFE (see Wildlife Gardening Page for more information)

One of two grey herons that are visiting the wildlife garden every day to hunt for frogs in the pond and field voles amongst the grassland and heather.  The garden has a range of much richer habitats that the surrounding fields (over-grazed), but why they aren't down at the bay fishing I don't know (too many other herons perhaps?).

They also roost in the large spruce trees in the garden so perhaps they are going to nest?

 

Some of the 16-18 goldfinch charm that visit the feeders each day in winter.

 

Big Garden Birdwatch 29 January 2018

While carrying out the BGBW yesterday morning (29th Jan) we spotted a large group of corvids (ravens and hooded crows) wheeling over the high moorland behind the house.  Suddenly, a pair of white-tailed eagles appeared above the horizon, the size difference between the female and male being very apparent.  They soared for a while, carried out a couple of pair-bonding manoeuvres – with the male flipping over in flight below the female – and then swooped down on the moorland out of sight.  Within a few moments, another eagle appeared flying directly towards us.  It soon became apparent by the shape and the white under-wing patches and white on the tail, that it was a sub-adult golden eagle.  With all the corvid and bird of prey activity where it had come from, it seemed that it had been disturbed from a carcase by the arrival of the pair of sea eagles.

The young golden eagle flew low over the moorland, descending toward a rocky outcrop on the slopes above our back garden.  It landed on one of the promontories where it proceeded to survey its domain and carry out a desultory preening routine where the full extent of the white tail plumage became very apparent.  This gave us enough time to fetch and erect a telescope and spend a superb 15 minutes watching this marvellous bird, it’s golden head catching the sun that, each day, is gradually rising above the southern moorland as Spring approaches.

A hooded crow brought an end to the proceedings when it started to mob the golden eagle where it sat, causing the bird to fly off, rising with heavy wing-beats, turning several times, until it disappeared over the hill top.

Meanwhile, looking back east to where the golden eagle had come from, the white-tailed eagle pair were again up in the sky, the female being mobbed relentlessly.  She moved easily away without a single wing-flap, flipping over every so often as one of the crows swooped down from above.  Both sea eagles rose inexorably until almost out of sight, heading off into the distance.  What a BGBW 2018!

 

BGBW Garden List 2018

Chaffinch                 28 min.

House Sparrow         18 min.

Goldfinch                 18 (fighting over 3 Nyjer seed feeders)

Greenfinch               1

Siskin                     1

Dunnock                 1

Great Tit                 3

Blue Tit                   5

Coal Tit                   3

Blackbird                 9 (including 4 black beaks)

Robin                     3

Starling                   1

Rock Doves             2

Grey Heron              1 (one of a pair that feeds on frogs and field voles and roosts in the garden)

Hooded Crow           1

Also during the hour 5 greylag geese and 1 raven flew over.

 

Some Highlights 2010-2017

 

Working as Forest Officer for Tiroran Community Forest on the Isle of Mull for South West Mull & Iona Development.

 

Working for RSPB leading the Mull Eagle Watch trips and other events.

The juvenile white-tailed eagle from Tiroran Forest in 2015.

The nesting white-tailed eagles at Tiroran Community Forest in Glen Seilisdeir. 

 

Carring out a biodiversity audit of the Isle of Mull and Iona.

Logo I designed for the Mull Biodiversity Audit I carried out for RSPB showing the rare slender scotch burnet.

 

Helping the BBC Autumnwatch/Springwatch and The One Show team film the wild goats at Carsaig on Mull and appearing on the programme.

Mike Dilger, the One Show presenter with yours truly.

 

Working for the Ross of Mull Historical Centre carring out landscape archaeology surveys and a range of other projects.

Helping with an excavation on Iona.

 

Writing and illustrating a range of books about the Isle of Mull and its wildlife - see BOOKS page.

 

 

 




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