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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. Mink are becoming an increasing problem on the island and are now seen more often than we would like. Otter
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.
Moles mostly feed on earthworms. While they do eat grubs, it's an old wives tale that grubs are the reason that moles are in a lawn. Therefore using grub control products as a method of controlling moles will not be effective. Even in grub free lawns, moles continue to survive, because the majority of their diet consists of the ever-present earthworm. When the ground dries out in the summer (or when it freezes in the winter), earthworms and soil dwelling insects remain deeper in the ground - and so do the moles. The best way to view nesting sea birds, such as Puffin, Razorbill, Guillemot and Kittiwake, is to take a boat trip to the Treshnish Isles in late spring or early summer.
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. Sea Eagles have nested here in recent years. 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. Lapwing and Ringed and Golden Plovers breed here, as do Snipe and Woodcock which are quite numerous although localised. Many waders either reside on or visit Mull, the most commonly seen and heard being the Curlew.
Short-eared Owls are often seen flying over moorland and young forestry plantations during the breeding season and there are some resident Tawny and Barn Owls. The list of small birds would seem endless.