Mull is becoming famous as the 'Eagle Island', because of the
good chance of seeing both golden and white-tailed eagles, it
is the wide range of birdlife seen amongst such remarkable scenery
that really makes Mull, along with the Treshnish Islands, Staffa
and Iona so special for the birder. This page gives you information
about what birds you can see here, where to see them and when
they are here. Seaview is an ideal location for exploring and
finding the birds of Mull and Iona. Birdwatching breakaway offers
are available on the bookings page, including
trips to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles which John can book
is now home to both British breeding eagles: the golden eagle
and the white-tailed eagle, more commonly known now as
the sea eagle. The golden eagles' preferred home is the
mountains whilst the sea eagle prefers the shore of sheltered
Mull you are never far from the mountains and therefore
never far from the domain of the golden eagle.
Since they spend much of their time
soaring through their territory, making use of updrafts
from hillsides, then scanning along ridges gives you the
best chance of seeing them isolated against the sky.
golden eagles leave their nests in mid-summer, staying
within their parents territory until early winter and
are separated from adults by their white patches in wings
eagles are now breeding in significant numbers on Mull as a
result of a long-standing re-introduction project by SNH and
feed on fish as well as many other items such as ducks
and seabirds and can often be seen on or near the shore
of the more sheltered parts of the coastline or sea-lochs.
is also one of the best places in the UK to see hen harrier
and, in some years, short-eared owl are also regulary
seen in the early mornings and evenings.
Both species haunt the lower lying
areas such as bog and scrubland, also taking advantage
of increased prey populations within in young forestry
are the commonest bird of prey on Mull but prefer the low-lying
more fertile areas such as fields where rabbits are more common.
Kestrel are found everywhere mostly nesting in holes
and crevices in crags and cliffs.
are fairly common, taking advantage of plantation forestry
and native woodland alike, but they are very secretive
during the breeding season and more likely to be seen
in late summer and autumn when breeding is over. Peregrine
and merlin are much rarer on Mull with only a few
pairs of breeding each year.
seabird colonies around Mull are mostly on the outying
islands. However shag and fulmar both breed
on steep sea cliffs at many points around Mull and herring,
greater-black backed, lesser black-backed
and common gull colonies are also spread throughout
on the Treshnish Isles and Staffa the seabirds rule the roost
with nationally significant numbers of guillemot, black
guillemot, razorbill, puffin & kittiwake.
While smaller numbers of arctic
skua, great skua, manx shearwater and
storm petrels can be seen around the islands or on the
crossing to them.
inshore islands just of Mull's coast are regulary breeding haunts
of arctic and common tern, which can often be
seen fishing in the Sound of Iona.
not abundant in huge numbers there are signifcant populations
of wader species breeding in the area. The whistling call
that announces the arrival of the common sandpiper
is one of the sounds of spring, breeding close to the
edge of lochs and coast.
plover and oystercatcher are abundant around the
rocky coastline and beaches throughout the islands. Snipe
are often flushed from ditches in the bog and their 'drumming'
display is seen and heard throughout the islands on calm summer
evenings. Again in the evening and close to woodland edges you
might be lucky enough to observe the 'roding' display of the
woodcock, a larger realtive of the snipe.
areas of pastures or machair grassland, lapwing
are common while the wetter margins of such areas are
the haunt of redshank and, much rarer on Mull,
dunlin. The higher areas of bog on the hills are
the breeding areas of golden plover, who often
feed on the fields at lower down.
early spring or late summer and autumn many migrant waders pass
through the area and beaches are a good place to spot turnstone,
whimbrel, black-tailed and bar-tailed godwit,
dunlin, sanderling while even rarer species such as dotterel
and purple sandpiper could well be seen.
pipit and skylark are the most abundant passerines
and are found throughout the islands on moorland and bog.
Stonechat, wheatear and pied wagtail are
also abundant, while yellowhammer, whinchat,
linnet and twite, all breed in low numbers.
grouse are widespread but low in numbers while the highest
hills do support some ptarmigan. Some of the small inland
lochans support teal, mallard or reed bunting.
Snow bunting is a common winter visitor as are fieldfare
native woodlands woodlands and associated scrubland scattered
around Mull support willow warbler, wood warbler,
sedge warbler, whitethroat, tree pipit, redstart,
robin, coal tit, great tit, wren and treecreeper.
dipper is a wonderful bird, feeding on aquatic
insects it captures by diving into the cold, clean waters
of Mull's streams and rivers. Some streams are also home
for the grey wagtail.
has extensive areas of coniferous plantation forests which,
though not particularly diverse, does support significant numbers
of chaffinch, siskin, goldcrest and wood
is a stronghold for the largest and finest of corvids,
the raven. The hooded crow, the grey bodied
sub-species of the carrion crow is very common while there
is a small number of rook and jackdaw colonies.
waters and sea lochs are frequented by breeding grey heron,
eider, shelduck, red-breasted merganser,
greylag geese, mute swan and red-throated diver.
Wintering birds such as slavonian grebe, both great
northern and black-throated diver are regular visitors
to the area.
corncrake, is a very rare British breeding bird.
It was once widespread through much of Britain, but increasing
agricultural intensification means that it is now only
found in western areas of Scotland and Ireland. It spends
much of its time in deep vegetation, the males often spending
all night calling - an extraordinary repetitive rasping
sound. Iona has an increasingly healthy population of
& When to see Birds on Mull,
Iona & Treshnish
Isles & Staffa
Treshnish Isles are the prime seabird islands and are
always worth a visit from June through to the end of July,
the thousands of puffins, guillemots and other species
are unforgettable. Trips to Treshnish and Staffa can be
arranged through John, with one of the birdwatching
packages available at Seaview.
also holds good numbers of puffins and other seabirds as well
as it's amazing geology.
na Keal is a large sea loch on the west coast of Mull and provides
a wide range of bird interest throughout the year. Other sealochs
also of interest are Loch Don and Loch Spelve.
year round sea eagles frequent the shore of sea lochs
and golden eagles soar across the mountain ridges behind.
Grey heron, shag, reb-breasted merganser, eider and oystercatcher
are also present all year. Summer visitors include common
More is extends either side of the A849 road between Craignure
and Fionnphort some 8 miles west of Craignure. It encompasses
some immature plantation forestry, large areas of moorland and
surrounding high peaks.
year round interest include golden eagle, raven, hen harrier,
buzzard, kestrel and short-eared owl. Summer sights include
cuckoo, meadow pipit, whintchat, wheatear, curlew. Winter
may see flocks of snow bunting.
is an area of sandy coastal grassland and rocky coastline just
south of Fionnphort that holds a wide variety of birdlife.
summer breeding species include redshank, oystercatcher,
lapwing, shelduck, linnet, skylark, snipe, buzzard, raven
and gulls. In passage peregrine, godwits and whimbrel
are amongst those that can be seen. Winter can see flocks
of barnacle geese.
you cross to Iona to sound out the corncrakes make sure spend
the short ferry ride scanning the Sound of Iona.
year round interest includes shag, cormorant, guilliemot,
gannet, eider while summer also sees kittiwake and terns
feeding in the Sound.
& Lochs of the Ross of Mull
beaches and lochs of the Ross of Mull, can provide hours of
exciting birding. Loch Poit na h-I, Loch Assapol & Harrison's
Loch hold little grebe, greylag geese, mallard and teal in summer
and whooper swan, white-fronted geese, pochard and goldeneye
beaches at Ardalanish and Uisken have oystercatcher, ringed
plover and common gull. In spring and late summer passage
species such as turnstone, whimbrel, sanderling and dunlin.
is always on hand to give some guidance as to where you are
likely to find most of the aforementioned species.