Friday, June 03, 2005

Ballamory and Minke Whale

Friday saw us heading off to the Isle of Mull. The ferry journeys between Kilchoan and Tobermory were fairly uneventful with a feeding party of Gannet and auks in the channel and 8 Eider and a Black Guillemot in Tobermory harbour. The woodland walk to Aros Park was also fairly quiet with a Spotted Flycatcher at the waterfall the highlight. As the sun came out in the early afternoon and Peregrine and Common Buzzard appeared above the town. Red-throated Diver and Common Sandpiper showed back at Kilchoan harbour.

The best sight of the week awaited us back at Coldstream Cottage as a spot of seawatching revealed a large cetacean sufacing with a slow flat roll showing a small dorsal fin. The large rafts of Manx Shearwaters lingering offshore were soon forgotten. Surely this was a rorqual whale! The Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) showed off and on from 17:30-22:30 often close in to the shore. The slow shallow roll was in stark contrast to the other smaller cetaceans I have seen. There was no blow visible but it occasionally lifted its head sllightly from the water before a roll. The porpoise-like fin was set well back on the body but the tail was never seen above the water.

While watching the whale a presumed Bottle-nosed Dolphin surfaced far out and a Harbour Porpoise was around later in the evening.

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