From Protected Species to LBJs
Drimnin and its surrounding area and waters are a haven for wildlife and home to a number of protected species including the White Tailed and Golden Eagles, Scottish Wildcat, Pine Martens, Dolphin, Porpoise and Otters. However it is not just the presence of these headline species that make Drimnin special. It is also the pleasure that one gets from spending a few hours watching the day-to-day antics and activities of, as Gerald Durrell would have phrased it, the `little brown jobs’ and `small uglies’ that may otherwise be overlooked when visiting the busier and more densely populated parts of our country.
We cannot promise that during your stay you will see the headline species which call Drimnin “home”, as with all wildlife sightings luck does play its part. However, to give a flavour of Drimnin's wonderful wildlife, we attempt to illustrate a variety of encounters over the last few of years below.
We are interested, amateur observers and as we walk quietly around the estate shoreline and tracks we are amazed at the abundance and variety of wildlife we find. We frequently see single or pairs of otters during daylight hours, and on occasions have been privileged to watch the interaction of entire otter families. We have watched from the Drimnin jetty as dolphins and porpoises travel down the Sound of Mull and on a shopping trip to Tobermory we spent two hours at the harbour as a pod of dolphins corralled fish and leapt from the water.
The wildcats are a little trickier, as with all cats sightings tend to be on their terms. We have tiptoed along the track in the hope of catching sight of one that has just disappeared into undergrowth, only to look up and realise that for the past few minutes it has been quietly sitting watching from a superior vantage point. Or, glancing away from the computer, we realise that one of them is looking back from the other side of the window.
Pine Martens are another Drimnin resident and depending to whom you speak will alter the description. Some would describe them as entertaining streetwise opportunists, others would describe them as undesirable squatters and poultry killers. We have watched them eat peanuts scattered on the patio, undeterred by the dog watching from a foot away on the other side of a glass door, and climb an aluminium ladder to inspect the second floor of a house before the builders have even got round to fitting the staircase.
However as we have said, it is not just the headline species that can keep us entertained, it is those 'little brown jobs' and 'small uglies' like lizards sunning themselves on a stone, slow worms attempting the perilous journey across our luckily quiet road, hermit crabs scurrying along the beach and dragonflies laying their eggs in muddy puddles.
We also have abundant birdlife. Highlights include watching sea eagles soar along the coast, hearing the call of Great Northern Divers as they fish just offshore, watching a sandpiper feign injury to distract you from the location of her nest, or a grey wagtail foraging amongst the seaweed.
The geology of Drimnin's landscape has created a variety of habitats from upland moors, rich grazing pastures, pine and broadleaf woodland to rocky shoreline and freshwater lochans. Much of the area is protected by legislation as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Scottish Natural Heritage Marine Protection Areas. It is this varied and relatively undisturbed landscape that has created the haven we have today. In addition to the wonderful wildlife, in spring Drimnin is covered in bluebells and we have many orchids including a few rare slender leafed helleborines.
So, whatever the season, as you stroll quietly along the paths and shoreline of this area, you will be hard pressed to leave without seeing something that has stopped you in your tracks.