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Wildlife on Mull
Even on a brief visit to Mull it will soon become obvious that this is a good place for wildlife. Red deer roam the hills. Eagles and Buzzards soar over the skylines. Seals and otters can be seen in many of the bays and inlets. Mull's blend of mountains, coastline, moorland and bogs is a wonderful habitat for both flora and fauna.
Red deer are seen on the hills and in the many forests here. In the winter they are often found along the shoreline licking the salt from the rocks. Fallow deer inhabit the wooded area around Gruline and Salen and wild white goats are found from Grass Point in the south-east down to the Ross of Mull in the south-west.
Seals are easily viewed from a number of points on the island, as they swim in the sea or bask on the many rocks and isles around Mull. Both the common seal and the Atlantic grey seal (the third rarest seal in the world) are frequently seen.
Mull is one of the best places to see whales and dolphins in the UK and Europe too. The waters around Mull are home to bottlenose dolphins, minke whales and harbour porpoises. Risso's dolphins, killer whales, common dolphins and Atlantic white-sided dolphins are also common visitors to the area.
For more information on whales and dolphins in Scotland and the best places to see them on Mull, visit the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust's Marine Discovery Centre in Tobermory.
Otters are often sighted and many sea lochs have permanent residents. More recently an otter has made Tobermory Harbour its home and has even been seen on the pontoons posing for tourists and their cameras.
There are also polecats, weasels, stoats, feral ferrets, rabbits, blue and brown hares and rats.
Field voles and mice help feed the buzzard population and of course the many cats, both domestic and feral, that live on the island. There is a good population of shrews and pygmy shrews, the latter being a protected species.
Evidence of moles can be seen almost every where and they have been known to appear by the roadside. An unusual sight for a passing walker!
Lizards can be found basking in the sun on dry stone dykes and slow worms sunning themselves on the grass and moss. Frogs are plentiful and there is also a healthy population of both toads and newts. Grass snakes and adders do well here, too.
Beautiful dragonflies are regular visitors to ponds and bogs in the summer and there are always plenty of colourful butterflies and moths to be seen, along with their creepy crawly, hairy caterpillars.
One of Mull's natural assets is its rich variety of bird life. What follows is just a brief summary which attempts to give some impression of a very large range indeed!
Flocks of Great Northern Divers can be seen in the spring on sea-lochs, displaying their summer plumage before pairing off to breed. Red-throated and Black-throated Divers are much rarer but are occasionally seen. Little Grebe breed by some of the inland lochs and there have been regular sightings of the Slavonian Grebe.
Mute and Whooper Swans reside on the island and quite a large number of Whooper Swans migrate through the area.
Many ducks nest or over-winter here, one of the most attractive being the Eider. A variety of geese visit the island, either during migration or to pass the winter months.
There are many Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and Kestrels on the island, and there are resident Golden Eagles, Merlin, Peregrine and Hen Harriers.
Red Grouse and Ptarmigan are resident, along with numerous Pheasants. There are a few Water Rail, but these shy birds are very difficult to spot.