For many seabird & wildlife enthusiasts, a day trip with Turus Mara will provide observation / photo opportunity of a greater variety of " feathered and / or woolly creatures" than ever before.
Wildlife watching/study/enjoyment is (thankfully) not an exact science for most of us.
Several decades experience do give Turus Mara a distinct advantage in knowing the where ,when and how of finding the best on offer. Excepting a few time-specific species with predictable movements, it is almost impossible to guarantee sightings of many particular creatures on any one day in any one place. This is the nature of nature!
Our expertise gives the visitor the highest probability of being in a position to see – and tips on how to look – eyes really do become trained but also the ability to concentrate can work wonders!
Clearly, there are many variables affecting your chances. Weather effects, both on sea and in the atmosphere, will have a huge influence on your ability to spot things. You may not notice a 10 metre minke whale 200 metres away on a choppy foggy day while a tiny storm petrel can be seen much further off in clear, calm conditions. (Good binoculars are very useful)
To help, we have the Turus Mara bird list which shows the usual breeding times for a lot of the species, and a précised version covering the commonest sought after birds - e.g. for puffin therapy etc. is on the Home Page.
On 17th July 2011, the Scotland On Sunday newspaper published an article entitled :- “Go tell it to the birds – no, really.” These are some excerpts:-
“They’re good listeners, they never interrupt, and are happy being paid in fish”
- PLEASE – do NOT attempt to feed any wild/birdlife.
“Puffin therapy is on offer to anyone seeking to improve their mental health by spending time with the popular seabird. The psychologist-backed trips take clients to the remote island of Lunga,off Mull, where about 3000 puffins flock to breed in the summer months. Dr. Nick Baylis, a consultant psychologist and wellbeing expert, said: “as animals ourselves, we have a born need to be in the wild and if we don’t spend time in nature, it can make us ill. Communing with the wild, and with birds like puffins, is as important as sunshine or sleep or vitamin C.
Puffin therapy is a great way to get that fix.”
We were highly privileged to have "Puffin Therapy" used in the June 2014 edition of National Geographic magazine.
“ Nature deficit Disorder” is gradually being recognised as an increasingly common malady of the age we live in. Our object at Turus Mara is to provide a highly pleasurable antidote. Whatever volume of sodium chloride you take this stuff with, it is a fact that puffins are amongst the tamest of wild creatures. This means that in normal breeding time, any quiet, calm human being should be able to commune within 3 metres of these endearing, charactered little show-offs as they pose beside their burrows. You will be puffinised!
Of course it’s not ALL puffin city. Frequently commented on is the sheer accessibility for other breeding seabirds such as guillimots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars, shags. We are often told access is unusually good in relation to other seabird sites around the UK coast.
Over 1000 Atlantic Grey pups are born every year in the Treshnish Isles during the months of September, October and November. While these large numbers are only in evidence during that breeding period, there will be few days when we do not see some of this species and their smaller relatives, the Common Seals, usually more in evidence closer inshore.
Recent (2014) access to the scientific records produced by The Sea Mammal Research unit, St Andrews University, indicates a 57% increase in seal pup production on The Treshnish Isles during the 25 year period, 1987 to 2012
Constant communication with other boats in the vicinity means that news of sightings of “possibles” such as dolphins, whales, porpoises, sharks, turtles, sunfish etc. is always passed around. If within reasonable distance, we will normally divert to look for these species and spend some time with them if possible. Our infinite variety of conditions can mean that one year’s often-sighted species can be next year’s seemingly non-existent one, - and vice versa.
Communication on board is also VERY important. The most effective way to turn skippers apoplectic is saying: “ We saw a couple of dolphins/whales/sharks back there about 20 minutes ago” Always tell us about your sightings AT THE TIME, even if it’s only a suspicion of a fin. We will take you to look as long as it’s not half way to Ireland!