I lay in bed with my early morning cup of tea looking out of the window across the haze of bluebells on the bank right outside and the blaze of yellow of the gorse to the turquoise waters of the sound of Mull and the early morning Calmac ferry from Oban arrives. When I walk out to the rocks to look, hopefully, for the ever shy otters, the gorse is bright all around the bay and the air is heavy with its heady coconut scent. Time for breakfast and an early departure for Fionphort and Iona. The road winds for 40 miles across south Mull, one of two ‘main’ roads on the island and both single track with passing places. It takes us through mountainous Glen More and along the shores of Loch Scridain and more otter territory, but no luck. It takes us an hour and a half before we arrive at ferry terminal, but we are soon on our way over to Iona on yet another Calmac Ferry. I am not the only birder on the island and I am soon pointed in the direction of the corncrakes for which the island is famous. Once verging on extinction here, careful management has secured their future and there are now nearly 30 pairs. There was no trouble finding them, they seem to call from everywhere, especially around the village. Although they favour the small traditional hay meadows they are also partial to local gardens. Finding them is easy with their constant creaking croaking, in fact very reminiscent of its scientific name of crex crex. Persistence was rewarded however and I managed shots that I am delighted with. I was also pleased with the pictures I managed of eider duck and a pied wagtail carrying food for its chicks.
From the village we walked the short distance across the island to the wild west coast and the large area of precious machair, still close cropped turf overlaying the white shell sands, and yet to burst into its summer colour of myriads of flowers. Once back in the village, it was time for tea and cake in the St Columba Hotel (where else) and a quick climb up the hill behind the abbey for some elevated shots before wandering up towards the north end of the island. All too soon it was time to return to the village and 6.00 pm ferry back to Fionphort and the long drive back to Craignure. Towards the end of the afternoon we enjoyed some superb light and the white sands looked wonderful backed by a sea of turquoise, jade and inky Prussian blue. As we were late back we treated ourselves to tea at the local pub: locally caught pan fried scallops on black pudding followed by a huge plate of langoustine to share with chips; magical.
Another fabulous day.
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