Mull Wildlife Photography Workshops

Mull Wildlife Photography Workshops

Join Mull-based Pete for a bespoke Wildlife Photography Workshop, focusing on otters or any other species that calls the island home.

2021 Availability: Workshops in early December.

Taking bookings for 2022 now.

Mull Wildlife - Otters

Otters (Available All Year)

With over 300 miles of coastline, Mull is one of the places in the UK to see otters, and Pete knows some of the very best locations on the island to see these often elusive mammals.

As well as knowing where the otters' territories are, he also knows the signs to look for when determining if otters are around, how to spot them (in all weathers), and most importantly, how to approach and observe them, without scaring them away.

When tracking otters, you may be climbing over slippery rocks and through seaweed, so be sure you are confident in doing this before booking such a workshop. You may also have to crouch for periods of time, in all weather conditions, so bear this in mind too! It is worth it though, to see these creatures close up.

While Pete is willing to take bookings for otter workshops for just one day, he recommends at least three days, to increase the chances of experiencing a special encounter, or "Golden Ticket" moment with one or more otters.

Mull Wildlife - White-Tailed Eagle

White-Tailed Eagles

Having watched and photographed white-tailed eagles on numerous occasions, Pete can take you to the best spots on Mull to see them, and if the trips are running (April - October), include the Mull Charters' boat trip (at the additional cost for the trip) as a part of the tour.

This is one of the finest wildlife experiences in the UK, and is something he tries to experience several times each year, as it always throws up something of interest.

Pete can advise you on how to photograph these magnificent birds from the boat trip, including camera settings and what gear to bring aboard. And with over twenty pairs of white-tailed eagles nesting each year on Mull, plus juveniles and sub-adult birds around, there's always a good chance of encountering them whilst touring around the island.

White-tailed eagles are the UK's largest resident eagle, with (on average) the world's largest wingspan for an eagle. Nicknamed the "flying barn doors" they're an impressive sight on the wing.

PuffinFish

Puffins (End Of April - End Of July)

From April to the end of July, Pete can accompany you out with one of the tour operators to the Treshnish Isles where you will encounter a wonderful array of seabirds, including the charismatic puffin.

Puffins breed on both Staffa and Lunga, and photo opportunities are available on each island, with Lunga being the main location for these birds.

Pete will guide you on what sort of images you might try to obtain from the trip, including portraits, behavioural and flight shots, with advice on the settings required for each.

In addition to the puffins, you may see guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars, shags, skuas, ravens, wheatears, and even corncrakes.

During the early part of the season, Lunga is carpeted with bluebells, which can add a splash of colour to the image.

The footpath at Lunga leads right through the puffin breeding colony, so offers the visitor a wonderful view of these comedic seabirds as they dig out and line their burrows, court one another, fight off rivals, bring in their catches, or simply perch around, enjoying the views.

Mull Wildlife - Golden Eagle

Golden Eagles

Mull also has a very healthy population of golden eagles, though these huge raptors are usually harder to spot and photograph than their re-introduced cousins. That said, Pete knows of several locations on the island where you're more than likely to get a good view.

While nothing is guaranteed with these birds, Pete has enjoyed some wonderful encounters with golden eagles in recent visits, and would hope to continue this with you during a tour. Just seeing a golden eagle is such a memorable moment!

Workshops for golden eagles are best combined with other raptors, so as to increase chances of a special encounter.

Mull Wildlife - Hen Harrier

Hen Harriers

Without ground-nesting threats such as foxes or badgers on the island, and no illegal persecution from humans, Mull offers these otherwise threatened raptors a safe haven, and hen harriers thrive on the island.

That said, they can still be difficult to see, though Pete can take you to some good locations to increase your chances of seeing them.

Both favoured hunting grounds and roosting locations will be watched to see the elegant birds of prey, and depending on the time of year, the dramatic skydance courtship display might even be encountered.

Other Species

  • Red deer
  • Common and grey seals
  • Waders such as curlew, whimbrel, greenshank
  • Divers
  • Short-eared owls
  • Merlin
  • Peregrine falcons
  • Sparrowhawks
  • Kestrels
  • Buzzards
  • Irish hares
  • Migrants such as whinchats, wheatears, spotted flycatchers, corncrakes
  • Residents such as stonechats
  • Adders
  • Included:

  • Advice on clothing for the tour plus what photographic gear to bring along.
  • Transport around Mull in all weathers in a 4x4 vehicle.
  • Collection from your accommodation, and drop off at the end of each day.
  • Instruction and guidance for approaching the wildlife.
  • Assistance with any camera settings if required.
  • Public liability cover via professional photographic insurance policy.
  • Not Included:

  • Accommodation.
  • Transport to and from Mull.
  • Photographic equipment.
  • Packed lunch or drinks.
  • Fee:

  • £250 per day for 1-to-1, £350 per day for 1-to-2
  • Fee does not include additional cost for workshops involving boat trips. Pete will advise on overall cost per day based on the trip involved.
  • Maximum of 2 clients permitted for otter photography
  • A non-refundable* deposit of £50 per day must be paid at time of booking.
  • Balance to be paid 6 weeks before booking date.
  • Discounted rates available for multiple day workshops. Email for details.
  • Workshops involving boat trips need to be booked well in advance so as to guarantee a place. Such trips are also likely to be cancelled by the operator at short notice because of the weather, in which case Pete will offer an alternative workshop.
  • *Refunds will be issued in the current situation with the CV19 pandemic.
    • Marie and Steve S
      We have had three absolutely amazing days with Pete as our guide. While mainly focussing on otters, he is very knowledgeable about the wildlife and Mull in general. We feel we have learnt a lot about the island, and much more about the otters. Learning how to respectfully get great photos, without disturbing these beautiful mammals, is a privilege. Did we pick some of the wettest days of the year? Probably. Did we get drenched some days? Definitely. But Pete made it an absolute pleasure with his lighthearted relaxed guiding. Great company and we already have him in our sights for a return trip!
      Marie and Steve S
    • Ian B

      I completed a 5 day guided workshop with Pete recently, and the trip and the results were beyond anything I had expected. I stayed near Pete and each day we spent all our time with Pete imparting knowledge on Otters, birds of prey and everything Mull.

      The outcomes for me were learning a huge amount about otters, their behaviour, how to photograph them without causing them any distress. This trip culminated in a platinum hour with a mother and two cubs, where they wandered so close to us that we could hear them breathing. My biggest problem, the sheer number of great images that I have to find the time to process and get some printed.

      My only recommendation to anyone contemplating a visit is to give yourself enough time to enjoy yourself with Pete, and make sure to do two trips with the brilliant Mull Charters to see the White Tailed Sea Eagles.

      Ian B
    • Stephen H

      Thanks for a fantastic day photographing such an entertaining family of otters. Your knowledge and experience gave me the halcyon otter day I have been looking for on Mull, yet had previously failed to achieve despite several attempts over the years. The fieldcraft and in-depth knowledge you possess resulted in some photos I will treasure for a long time. Despite the apocalyptic rain you were cheerful throughout, even with boots full of seawater. Looking forward to catching up again on Mull. I might even have gone mirrorless by then!

      Stephen H
    • Ian I

      I have visited Mull on a number of occasions over the last few years and have always had patchy luck with regard to Otter sightings.

      Having followed Pete's excellent wildlife photography over the years I was pleased to hear that he had moved to Mull and would be offering his services as a guide. Our guided day could not have gone any better, we found Otters quickly and Pete's advice and guidance was excellent. I was able to get so many photos that I was over the moon about. All the while feeling like we were not intruding into their world, causing them any stress or making them alter their behaviour.

      All in all a fantastic day that I would thoroughly recommend!

      Ian I
    • Cathy G

      If you have a bucket list, put a day with Pete on it right now.

      His knowledge of photography is outstanding, but his passion, field-craft and care for his wildlife subjects is what makes this a truly outstanding experience. He will make sure you get the best shots, but the best part of the time spent with Pete is just sitting together and smiling at the absolute privilege of being allowed into the life of an otter. Lovely day with a special human being.

      Cathy G
    • Marianne & Malcolm

      Hi Pete,

      Thanks to you for being such a cheery guide! Not only did we enjoy the wildlife and the landscapes, we also had fun spending time with you. We thought we would have posted something already, but we have so many photos its taking some time to sort through! But we will post fairly soon and tag you when we do!

      We wish you a good summer season!

      Regards,

      Malcolm & Marianne

      Marianne & Malcolm
    • Ruth R

      Many thanks for all the effort and patience yesterday, I had a great time. Especially lovely to see the otters playing again. I shall sort out a couple of pics over the next few days and send them to you; hope you are enjoying your holiday,seeing lots of hen harriers I hope. May your Unkindness of ravens turn into a Convocation of eagles…(looked it up! )

      Best wishes,

      Ruth

      Ruth R

    Mull Workshop FAQs

    1Are workshops available all year?
    Now that Pete is a resident of Mull, workshops can be booked throughout the year.
    2What is the duration of a workshop?
    Pete can offer single or multi-day workshops. Days can be split into halves, if desired, and if Pete has available time to do so.

    In terms of each day, then the workshop can start early morning and last until the evening. It depends on the subject. Otter workshops tend to be based on tide times. Workshops for birds such as short-eared owls might begin mid afternoon, and extend until dusk.
    3Are subjects only available at certain times of the year?
    Yes. Puffins for example are only around on the Treshnish Isles from late April through to the end of July. Raptors such as short-eared owls and hen harriers are more active and hence visible when they're breeding, so workshops targeting these should be booked during their breeding season. Pete can advise you on this.
    4I want to photograph white-tailed eagles, which trip with Mull Charters do you arrange?

    Mull Charters offer a range of options here, and Pete will ask you for a preference when booking your workshop.

    The cheapest option is the Wildlife Trip that involves the eagles, but also looks for other wildlife around the coast.

    There are two photo specific trips called the "Photo 6" and "Photo 4". These are more expensive but are limited to 6 or 4 clients per trip.

    Finally there is a private charter whereby the trip is solely booked for the workshop.

    5Can I go on a Photo Special for the white-tailed eagles?

    Yes. Pete will check when you book if you would like to go out on a Photo 6 or Photo 4 trip, and see if Mull Charters are running such a trip during the period you have requested.

    As a fallback, if no Photo Specials are being run, Pete will try to book you on to a Wildlife Trip, and make the best of it.

    6Can I book a private charter with Mull Charters, as a part of my workshop?
    Yes, of course, if they have availability. Pete will ask for you, and confirm if the trip can be run. Bear in mind that this will be costly - significantly more than the standard trip.

    Also, please note that this is still effectively the same trip as the standard wildlife trip, albeit with fewer people aboard.
    7What happens if the wildlife doesn't show up during a workshop?
    Pete will do his utmost to find whatever subject you want to photograph during the workshop, but if it fails to show, or the weather is poor, or luck is against you, nothing much can be done. Unfortunately this is part of the "joy" of wildlife photography.
    8What happens if a third party trip is cancelled during the workshop?
    If the weather or some other reason means the operator of a trip booked as a part of your workshop cannot provide the trip, then the cost of the trip will be refunded in full to you. Pete will substitute something else into the workshop if desired, to ensure the time isn't wasted.
    9What do I need to bring for a workshop?
    Pete will send you a checklist of suggested items for a workshop, which covers off most of the subjects photographed on Mull.
    10How fit do I need to be for a workshop?
    At the time of booking a workshop, please convey any fitness concerns you have to Pete. Typically for otters, you might have to scramble over slippery rocks or along a shoreline, so you need to be able to do that, and also sit or lie down, often on uncomfortable ground to get the images.

    The puffin trips can also involve a small amount of clambering over wet rocks when the boat arrives at Lunga. There is also a short but steep climb up to the colony of puffins.
    11How much is a workshop?
    Please see the section for costs above. The daily rates for one or two people are detailed, as is the possibility of gaining a discounted rate.
    12Are midges a problem during workshops?
    If the weather is calm and warm, from mid-May until September, then yes, midges may be an issue. Pete recommends Smidge as a product to be worn to help prevent bites, though it's not any sort of guarantee - the buggers find somewhere to bite eventually!
    13How do I get to Mull?
    Driving, head to either Oban or Lochaline, and take the ferry over. Public transport, ideally take a train to Oban, and then walk over to the ferry terminal (across the road) to take that to Craignure on Mull.

    Mull has buses and taxis if needed.
    14What accommodation is available on Mull?
    Mull has plenty of hotels, B&Bs, campsites and hostels, but please try to book early, as they fill up rapidly. Watch out for cancellations though, as you can grab a bargain, late in the day.
    15Do you provide accommodation for workshops?
    No. Clients are expected to source their own accommodation and make their way to it. Pete can collect you from your accommodation for the workshop, but he's based in the north of Mull, so if you book somewhere at the other end of the island, he may arrange a meeting place instead.