The month of June has been a whirlwind few weeks for Mull Magic. A hectic walking schedule, coupled with the making and baking of our gourmet packed lunches, has meant that we have had little opportunity (or energy!) to sit down and keep up to date with our Mull Magic blog. However, now that we are sat in front of the computer screen, it could be that catching up will be akin to feast or famine!
Our recent Mull Magic Wildlife Walking Week was a rip-roaring success. Blessed with glorious weather all week, we were able to show all our visitors the very best that the Isle of Mull has to offer: splendid scenery, landscapes and seascapes to die for and, of course, the island’s uniquely fantastic wildlife.
One of our guests had never seen a Crossbill before and hoped that a visit to Mull might allow her to achieve this long held ambition. This chunky, enigmatic finch has enjoyed a good breeding season in the island’s spruce plantations and family parties are now roaming the local countryside in feeding forays. Highly nomadic, these noisy, miniature parrots can be difficult to pin down, as they flit among the tree tops. Amazingly, as if to know of our wishes, a pair alighted on the upper branches of a nearby spruce. Disturbed by a singing cock Siskin on the same branch, the Crossbills flew off, only to re-alight in a tree that was even closer to us, providing one lucky lady with the thrill of a lifetime!
As we walked through the coastal grassland, we were surprised and delighted to obtain close encounters with two rather special, yet very different, Isle of Mull moths. Resting in the long grass, we came across a strikingly beautiful Buff-tip moth. We may never have found this had it been relaxing in a manner more accustomed to its cryptic markings. This large moth bears a remarkable resemblance to the broken twigs of several deciduous trees, in which it can normally be found, as you can see for yourself - the moth is on the left!
The fuchsia-pink and olive-green colours of the Elephant Hawk Moth make it a stand-out amongst the island’s moth population. Extending its range in Scotland, this beautiful moth is shaped like a jet fighter and gets its name from the caterpillar’s apparent resemblance to an elephant’s trunk. Like the Buff-tip, we stumbled across one of these attractive insects as it rested, low down on grass stems, very close to the path that we were walking along. Despite its stunning appearance, it would have been missed had it not been for the eagle-eyed in our group, searching at ground level for flowering plants. Our heads may have been in the clouds after the wonderful sightings during the day but some of us definitely had our eyes closer to the ground!