A few days ago, I shared some of the typical target species from my Mull trips. These are the sort of things that everyone wants to see and get stunning photos of. Well, they are not always at close quarters and getting stunning photos will involve a lot of patience, and some luck assuming you go there with the intention of trying to take your photos legally, particularly during the breeding season. But if you are going then good luck and hope you do well. Tips for Otters - generally from about 2 hours before high water on a rising tide usually seems to be quite successful. In terms of locations, that is down to you or your guide if you use one. There are quite a few regular haunts.
With regard to eagles - the same thing goes. You will see plenty if you look. I have seen ten Golden Eagle individuals in one day, and half a dozen WTSE - they are there, but you need to look, find, be patient and lucky.
However, if you are there for a limited time - I used to go for a week at a time then make sure you get after a lot of the other species. You never have to go far from the road, which is handy when carting heavy kit and tripods.
Some years you get lucky, and the odd Slavonian Grebe hangs around
When it dives, get yourself down to water level for an eye height shot. You have up to thirty seconds to move when they have dived.
Don't forget to get photos of the most common birds on the islands such as these two. Oystercatcher and Meadow Pipit
One of the techniques I use when stalking a subject is to get two shots from a distance, then slowly take a couple of steps, bang bang, two more shots, two more steps, two more steps until the subject either clears off or it gets too close.
This shot of a Ringed Plover was taken at close to minimum focus distance for the 500 lens.
One trip definitely worth making is out to Lunga on the Treshnish Isles. you only get a couple of hours out there to avoid ovestressing the wildlife. But when you leave the boat, make sure you go to the end of the island. DON'T let the first puffins beguile you . Move on - there are lots more subjects at the end, such as the shot of a Shag through a crack in the rock. Plus loads of close ups of Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill and more Puffins than you can manage.
When you get back on the mainland - don't forget the mammals. There are Red Deer everywhere, a small herd of Fallow deer in the middle of the island, plus plenty of Hare both at the southern and northern tips. More gentle than the usual Brown Hare in appearance - although still just about as nervous.
My first sightings of Green Hairstreak butterflies was on Mull on my first trip. very tiny and difficult to see. It is their movement that is likely to get your attention. These two were happy to stay around as they had their minds on other things than photographers.
Sunrise and sunset is both very early and very late if you are used to more more degrees of latitude, particularly in Spring/early Summer. This sunset was taken after 10.30.
Make sure you get out on the north west facing sides for views like this. Taken on the north west tip of Mull looking towards the island of Coll.
I hope you have enjoyed a little glance at some of one of my favourite places, and maybe given you the motivation to think about your own trips next year.
I will bring a brief update in the next part of some of what you might find in the Cairngorms in Spring.