Mull and Iona are home to a vast range
of wildlife and the best way to maximise your chances of seeing some of
the islands' most interesting inhabitants is to go on a guided tour.
Click here for a list of tour operators
On land you can spot golden eagles, sea
eagles, otters, red deer, fallow deer, mountain hares, buzzards and many
more species. By sea you can visit Staffa and
the Treshnish isles
where huge colonies of sea birds nest each year. Guillemots, razorbills
and cormorants raise their young on the Isle of Lunga along with its most
popular residents, the puffins (known as the 'Clowns of the Sky').
Ornithologists are spoilt for choice on
Mull and its surrounding islands, it sometimes seems like there is a
buzzard for every passing place as they perch on the poles at the side of
the road. The sea eagle is a particular draw for birdwatchers and 2003
has been a particularly successful year for this bird. Seven chicks
fledged, the highest number since the species was reintroduced in 1975. [info
from Round & About Sept 2003]. Mull
has fallen victim to egg thieves in previous years so a big effort
'Operation Easter' was made to protect nests. You can arrange to visit
the sea eagle hide at Loch Frisa for the best views.
With such big attractions as eagles and
whales, let's not forget the flora. Springtime on Mull sees spectacular
displays of bluebells, head to Grasspoint for a real carpet of flowers.
There is also an impressive display
of primroses covering the island at this time of year, making way in the
summer for orchids that brighten up marshes and meadows. And, where the
bracken's not too thick, there are beautiful hillsides covered in
heather. Visiting Mull at different times of year can be like visiting a
whole different island.
Mull also has lots of amphibians and
reptiles. You are quite likely to see slow worms basking in the sun
(unfortunately, they often bask on tarmac and get run over) but they are
not snakes and pose no threat. Mull's only resident snake is the adder,
which is poisonous but reclusive and unlikely to bite a human unless
disturbed or provoked.