Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Fundraising for Scotland's Red Kites

Open Edition Prints

I am selling open edition prints of my Red Kite drawing that was successfully auctioned in September 2014. The online auction raised £70 for the RSPB, and the funds are being used to help monitor Kites in the Black Isle/Ross-shire area.

All profits from the sale of prints will be donated to help Red Kite conservation in Scotland.

If you would like to see one of the prints 'in the flesh', there is one on display at Argaty Red Kites at Doune, near Callander, where you can also witness the spectacle of Red Kite feeding time!

Red Kite portrait

The prints are available in two sizes.

Miniature - £5.00: The print measures 5" x 3" (130mm x 80mm), and is mounted in a white mount. Total size including mount is 6" x 4" / 150mm x 100mm (will fit a standard 6" x 4" photo frame). £2.00 from the sale of this print will be donated to Red Kite conservation.

Miniature mounted Red Kite print

A4 print - £20.00: The print is A4 size (297mm x 210mm), mounted in a white mount with backing board. Total size including mount is 355mm x 280mm / 14" x 11". Profits from the sale of this print will be donated to Red Kite conservation.

Prints can be purchased via my online shop here.

© Karen Hartnell - all images and text may not be reproduced in any way.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Isle of Mull, March 2015: Part 3 - Weather Extremes

Monday 9th

A very wet and windy start to the day, with a new dusting of snow gracing the top of the higher hills. The forecast showed it would get worse as the day progressed, so we decided on a nearby walk along Glen Forsa.

Battered by the wind and torrential rain - we only went out so Mr Labrador could have his walk - I just about managed to spot Curlew, a couple of Greylag Geese, two Buzzards and plenty of soggy Highland cattle.

A wet and windy Glen Forsa
Having forgotten to re-proof my waterproofs before I went away, I arrived back at the car on the soggy side myself.  It was back to the house to get dried off and batten down the hatches for the rest of the day.

Lunchtime, and I was sat on the sofa looking out of the window when I spotted what looked like a White-tailed Eagle flying down into the forest.  A few minutes later, I saw a definite White-tailed Eagle head up into the sky, flying further and further across towards the mainland until it was out of sight.

The wind became wilder as the day went on, and I got a bit of a shock when the garden furniture flew across the garden and impaled itself on the fence!

Water blowing across the water!

Tuesday 10th

Calm returned to Mull.  I had a 7am sighting of one of the local White-tailed Eagles soaring above the forest.

Aros Falls

A short walk down to the Falls, near Tobermory, which looked spectacular after the previous day's rain.

Aros Falls 

Tobermory Lighthouse walk

A pleasant walk to the lighthouse via Tobermory.  The sun appeared, creating a rainbow over the colourful buildings, and the reflections of the primary colours rippled in the water of the harbour.


We crunched our way over a scallop shell-lined pathway to the golf course, and I spotted a Buzzard teeing up on the 10th. This was after I slipped heading down a boggy section of grass, just avoiding a soggy bottom, but my hands and arms didn't escape a soaking! My fall didn't deter the Song Thrushes, who were busy feeding on the fairways.

The Buzzard planning his next shot on Tobermory Golf Course
There was a great view across the water, as the CalMac Tobermory-Kilchoan ferry sailed by.  Then I spotted the bright white-washed walls of the lighthouse, backed by the deep blue colour of the sea behind.  A seal and Oystercatchers were on the rocks below.

Tobermory Lighthouse, with the CalMac ferry in the
distance and a passing fishing boat
Returning back along the golf course, and managing to stay upright this time, I spotted a male Bullfinch in the hedgerow.

Driving to our next walk, I spotted a male Hen Harrier hunting above the heather, near the road, giving great views.

Male Hen Harrier
Loch Frisa

Our next stop was something of a pilgrimage for me as far as my White-tailed Eagle watching goes. It all started 10 years ago, watching a pair called Skye and Frisa on BBC's Springwatch programme - and Loch Frisa was where the action happened.

We started our walk, accompanied by mewing Buzzards who were making the most of the dry weather.  We settled on a bench, and waited, keeping my eyes peeled for any dark blobs in the sky. It wasn't long before I spotted my first dark blob.  A White-tailed Eagle, with sub-adult markings.  It soared along the hillside and out of view.

Another dark blob spotted heading in our direction.  As it got closer I could see it was an adult White-tailed Eagle.  This could only mean one thing, I was finally seeing either Skye or Frisa.  A very happy sighting for me.  It soared past the ridgeline and out of sight, as I stood watching with a big grin on my face.

Skye or Frisa?
A couple of Buzzards appeared, gliding close by and showing talons to each other.  Then from across the loch I spotted the sub-adult White-tailed Eagle again. Having compared photos from the first sighting, the feather patterns/shape confirm it was the same bird. This time it soared for ages above the nearby hill. A Raven accompanied it for a time. Eventually, the Eagle disappeared from view.

One of the Buzzards
The sub-adult White-tailed Eagle
Next, we stopped for lunch in a parking area overlooking Dervaig.  Graeme looked out of his window and asked me 'what's that?'. I couldn't see anything, being sat on the other side of the car to him. He asked me again... I replied: 'What?! I can't see anyth.... ah, an Eagle!'.  Panic ensued as I tried to find a place in the car to safely put down my cup of soup!  Soup secured, I got out of the car and watched the adult soaring close by.  The Eagle then turned, and flew past in front of us across the road and soared some more.  As if that wasn't exciting enough, it turned and then flew low and directly over our heads!  I filmed as the Eagle passed, almost falling backwards at the time!  Given the location, it might well have been the adult male 'Cuin', who appeared on Springwatch last year.  His mate is a female who was released originally on the east coast, but she is wing tagged, so I knew it wasn't her. Having watched last year's Springwatch again since I got back from Mull, I'm not sure it is Cuin, as he appeared to have a bit of tag still remaining on his wing? Whoever it was, it was still a great sight!

Adult White-tailed Eagle passes overhead - watching us as he flies by!
You can view my video on YouTube here: White-tailed Eagle passes overhead

After that overhead pass, the adult bird soared off, but what a treat!  I got back into the car and finished my soup, ready for the next walk of the day.

Cnoc na Sroine Walk, near Salen

Next stop was a walk to Glenaros Farm and then onto the open moor. There are great views across the Sound of Mull and at the walk's summit, you can also see views across to Loch Frisa and Loch na Keal.  It was extremely boggy on the return, but at least the sun was shining!

The much-photographed old boats by Salen Bay

View to Ben More
Read more about my week on Mull:

Part One
Part Two
Part Four - coming soon
Part Five - coming soon

© Karen Hartnell & Graeme Low - all images and text may not be reproduced in any way.