A wildlife cruise on the Isle of Mull is heaven for bird lovers, writes Richard Tulloch.
It looks so easy when David Attenborough does it.
He whispers a few lines to the camera, parts the bushes and there's the beast in question doing something photogenic.
We're learning that real wildlife spotting involves good days and disappointing ones, even on Scotland's Isle of Mull, a mecca for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
Fortunately, although our trip is billed as the Around Mull: Wildlife Explorer itinerary there are plenty of other attractions to keep us happy in the Hebrides.
For starters we have the fun of exploring the islands from the Majestic Line cruise boat, the Glen Tarsan. Our boat is charming, but hardly majestic; it's a refitted fishing vessel, with accommodation for just 10 passengers; the cabins are comfortable, the crew and fellow passengers congenial and the food is superb.
Steaming up the Sound of Mull we've already seen wild goats on the rocky crags, curious seals surfacing beside us, and dolphins surfing on our bow-wave.
Gentle rain is falling as the Glen Tarsan's tender delivers us to the jetty at Tobermory, the touristy fishing village where brightly-coloured shops lining the waterfront contrast with the leaden sky.
We set off to explore the island with wildlife guides David Woodhouse and Arthur Brown.
Mull has some of Britain's most varied terrain; the peak of Ben More disappearing into the clouds, rolling hills dotted with patches of oak and birch forest, sheltered lochs and hundreds of kilometres of indented coastline.
A little knot of birdwatchers, clutching thermos flasks and huddling in waterproofs, train hopeful telescopes at a stand of pine trees. True dedication, even in Europe's cleanest rain.
By a deserted beach strewn with seaweed, David passes out binoculars.
"There's a mother otter and her cub along here somewhere."
We wait. We look. We wait.
Black-faced sheep graze. What I think are sparrows hop across a sodden patch of grass. David soon puts me straight. They're not sparrows; they're meadow pipits, skylarks and the little one with the short tail is a twite.
Later, the Glen Tarsan chugs out to the puffin colony on the remote Treshnish Islands and returns via the towering cliffs and caves of Staffa Island. In the sheltered inlet between the islands of Gometra and Ulva we glide past basking seals, red deer on the hilltops and an eagle soars overhead.
With a bit of help I manage to identify dozens of bird species. I know my whimbrels from my oystercatchers. And I can tick off a twite too.
Mr Attenborough would be happy.
The writer was a guest of Majestic Line cruises.