Mull wildlife: what to see, when

Mull wildlife is yours to see, every day. Whatever time of year you choose to visit Mull, there is plenty to spot and enjoy. Each season brings its own wildlife highlights, so if you’re keen to make the most of your visit, follow our wildlife summary guide and discover what you are likely to see. A specialist wildlife tour with the experts on land or sea will get you closer to some of the species listed below.

Our thanks to Bryan Rains from Ross of Mull wildlife tour company Wild About Mull for his help with this article and with our Wild Mull Photo Gallery. You can also check out his wildlife blog for regular updates on sightings.

All year round

Birds

White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Common Buzzard, Rock Dove, plus smaller birds like Linnet, Twite, and Goldfinch etc.

Animals & Sea Life

You’ll also find seals, otters and deer throughout the year.

February to April

Birds

Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver (all year round) and Black-throated Diver can all be seen on the lochs around the island with Slavonian Grebe in some areas too. February is the time to see the Eagles displaying before they settle down to nest in March. Northern Wheatear and Common Sandpiper are the first returning birds from Africa. Short-eared Owl and Willow Warbler will follow. Both types of Eagle will have youngsters hatching at the end of April.

Plants & Flowers

Sundew and Butterwort starting to grow again with other plants like Lesser Celandine, Wood Sorrel, and Primrose all in flower.

Animals & Sea Life

Spring starts a little later in Mull. Lambing season starts in April and can run through to June. Puffins are spring and summer visitors to the Treshnish Isles, including Lunga and Staffa. Lunga is also home to thousands of other nesting sea birds in spring, mainly shag, guillemot, kittiwake and razorbill.

Weather

April, May and June are the driest months.

May to September

Birds

Other summer visitors arriving in May include Whinchat and Corncrake. Redshank can be seen at close quarters while they protect their young. Snipe can be seen in display flight ‘drumming’ in the evenings or on wet days. Swallows and House Martins herald the coming of summer. Both types of Eagles fledge young at the end of July.

Plants & Flowers

This is the time for the Orchids too with Heath Spotted, Lesser Butterfly, Greater Butterfly and Fragrant being the easiest to find. The Heather starts to come into bloom from June as the Bluebells die back.

Animals & Sea Life/birds

Puffins visiting Staffa and Lunga lay their eggs during May.
Whale watching trips run from April through to the start of October. However, the warmer summer months offer good plankton feeding supplies and often good sightings.

Weather

July and August are the warmest months on Mull.

September to November

Birds

The Summer visitors start to leave and the winter birds start to arrive. Flocks of Pink-footed Geese can be seen flying over Mull in favourable conditions with Whooper Swans following a few weeks later. The Great Northern Divers start to arrive back in their winter quarters. With migration at its peak anything can turn up but more regular, scarce visitors, can include Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and the enigmatic Waxwings.

Animals

Deer rut in October.

November to January

Birds

With Winter in full swing, we have a small flock of Greenland White-fronted Geese and two flocks of Barnacle Geese that spend the winter with us. The sightings of WT Eagle can increase at this time of year as the youngsters start to disperse from their natal sites.

There are 30 breeding pairs of Golden Eagle on Mull but they can be difficult to see as they patrol the higher ground. There are 10 breeding pairs of WT Eagle but, being a coastal bird, they are more often seen than the Golden Eagles. Beware the “tourist eagle”, Common Buzzards are very common on the island and it is these birds that you will see sitting on roadside telegraph poles and on fence posts!