Well, having just sat through all the acts for Britain's Got Talent, I'm glad I didn't have to choose the winner - they were all so good. Congratulations to Diversity!
Well someone has finally heard my pleas - the weather here has been glorious, buckets of sunshine, blue skies and very, very warm. The Factor 50 suncream had to come out today. This weather is great for growing chicks too - its gives Skye and Frisa plenty of opportunity to hunt for food too thus giving us fantastic flying displays.
Cotton Grass at Loch Frisa
One of the things I love about working at the Hide is meeting so many different people, all ages and from all differents walks of life - but with one thing in common - to catch sight of our largest Bird of Prey - and Skye and Frisa have certainly given so much pleasure to so many people. We also have a great diversity of wildlife from our eagles (white-tailed and golden), the siskins and chaffinches on the feeders, our sand martins, the divers on the Loch, through to the butterflies and even a dragonfly that we all stopped to admire today. What a wonderful World!
First visitor of the day!
As I arrived at the hide this morning, this lamb was waiting with him mum for the door to open - we do meet a diversity of life at the hide!!
Dave is on Iona this weekend doing the Corncrake survey - I guess I will have to text the results of the show!
Dont forget to check the Estonian webcam Live sea eagle webcam
Have you ever thought of joining the RSPB and supporting our work with the eagles? Just click the 'Join now' button and take a look.
Debby Thorne - White Tailed Eagle Information Officer, Isle of Mull
I returned to the Eagle Hide today, having had a couple of days off. What do you do on your day off on Mull? Why, check on the other eagles of course! I had a great day and had some wonderful views of both white-tailed eagles and golden eagles - we are so lucky on Mull to have both these magnificent birds - I don't think I could ever tire of watching them.
Both trips today were fully booked and the visitors were not disappointed. As I arrived at the hide this morning to open up, I was greeted by Frisa flying across the loch and into the nest. Both groups got fantastic views of both adults and the chicks on the nest. The two chicks are six weeks old today and growing at a phenominal rate. As I took a final look at them this evening, you could clearly see their feathers coming through, a wing or two being flapped, getting ready for that first flight which should happen around 12 weeks old.
Did some of you manage to catch 'Animal 24:7' on BBC One this evening? Just wanted to point out that it was filmed two years ago. It was sad for everyone involved (see archived blogs from 2007 'White tail, black day') but the chicks this year are just fine.
I just want to sign off tonight by sending all our very best wishes to PC Finlay Christine, our Wildlife Crime Officer on Mull who featured in tonight's programme. Finlay 'retired' today (although his official last day is in July) and is one of the nicest guys you could meet. He has done so much for our eagles and all Mull's wildlife. This year he was awarded Wildlife Crime Enforcer of the Year - a fitting tribute to all his hard work. A long, happy and healthy retirement and a huge thank you for all that you have done for our magnificent birds.
Dont forget to check the Live sea eagle webcam in Estonia and you will see how Skye and Frisa's chicks on Mull are looking!
I have included some of the stunning photos taken by Iain Erskine
White-tailed eagle - Photos copyright Iain Erskine
Debby Thorne RSPB Scotland
Live sea eagle webcam
Well, actually I do. Usually. But to wake up to the mizzle (mist and drizzle?) again was a bit of a let down. Especially when the rest of the UK seems to be basking in wonderful warm sunshine. However, undaunted, two true-grit groups assembled at 10am and 1pm and were not put off by suggestions that we might see absolutely nothing at the hide. They would take their chances. True the mist was down and covered the nest wood. True it was raining so hard you got soaked walking from car to hide. True the midges were loving it. True the morning group saw nothing more than a dark 'atmospheric' eagle silhouette in a tree. The afternoon group were a determined bunch. True Brits. It's as if they were willing the rain to stop. And then a miracle happened. It stopped. The clouds parted. A hint of blue appeared in the western sky. Frisa flew from the nest where she'd been doing her best to protect her rapidly growing chicks from the wet. She perched next to Skye and they called to each other. A small cheer went up from the brave crowd at the forward hide. Skye heard what Frisa was screaming: "I know it's wet. I know you're fed up but GO GET SOME FOOD!" Out he flew from the wood, across the loch and off to hunt. Everyone got fabulous views and they left happy and contented, if a little damp and slightly bitten. A small price to pay.
Last night as I took a last look at the live streaming sea eagle webcam in Estonia, I learned something new about sea eagles after nearly 30 years of watching them. Of course we never really get to see them at roost, at night, 'asleep'. The webcam is 2 hours ahead of British Summer Time so at 2230 Estonian time, there was one of the adults - probably the female - on the nest with the two chicks. Amazingly she had her head tucked under her wing - just like a sleeping swan. I've never seen them do that before. There's always something new to learn about these birds. As I write I can close my eyes and picture Frisa on the nest tonight. She has her two chicks tucked cosily underneath and she rests her proud head under her wing. Let's hope the sun shines on them all (and dries them out) tomorrow.
Welcome back to the new Springwatch team. Great show. I think it works. How about you?
Has Britain Got Talent? Mull's sea eagles get some primetime TV exposure this week. Don't miss 'Animal 24:7' BBC One 7.30pm Wednesday 27 May (except Wales).
Dave Sexton RSPB Scotland Mull Officer
First of all, on behalf of Dave and myself, we would like to say thank you for all your comments. They certainly make interesting reading and it's great to know so many of you take an interest in our work with the sea eagles.
One subject that everyone talks about on Mull is the weather! Yesterday and today were absolute contrasts.
Yesterday the forecast told us to expect sunshine and showers but instead we had wall to wall sunshine, and the four layers I started off with first thing in the morning, rapidly reduced to a tee shirt by lunchtime. We had great views of both chicks on the nest much to the excitement of the visitors. Skye and Frisa not to miss out on the attention gave us some fantastic flying displays - and if that wasn't enough, a golden eagle gave us a beautiful flypast too.
During the past week, Channel Four's 'Time Team' have been on Mull working on a dig just outside Tobermory. They have made some significant finds and we look forward to seeing it televised next year. Of course, they also wanted to see our eagles too! So in the early evening sunlight, we took 12 members of the 'Time Team' crew down to the hide. I wish I could have taped their reactions on seeing Frisa on the nest with two chicks and Skye sat next to them roosting on a branch, soaking up the evening sunlight. They were just completely blown away - there were shrieks of excitement and delight at seeing the birds and a genuine admiration for them. They were a great bunch and really appreciated the beauty of these birds. A perfect end to a perfect day. I left Loch Frisa with the sun going down, Skye and Frisa settling down for the night with their two chicks.
C4's 'Time Team' at the Loch Frisa Eagle Hide
Today, however, I woke to the sound of the rain lashing against the windows. The forecast was for heavy showers, but clearing late morning. As I drove to meet the first trip at 10.00am, I wondered how many would actually brave the weather and be waiting for me. Everyone was there - all waiting eagerly. We drove down to the hide, as the trees disappeared from view and the clouds came down and the rain got harder. Some of the group managed to get a glimpse of Frisa and the chicks but that was it. Despite the rain, there was a great atmosphere in the hide. As the day went on, the rain just seemed to get heavier and the clouds thicker. At one point we couldn't see the other side of the loch. As I went to meet the 1.00pm trip, I thought "there really won't be anyone there in this weather". But I was wrong. A young couple, and a family with two young children, eager to see our birds. They were really keen and were desperate for a view a white-tailed eagle. Deep down, I really didn't think we would have much of a chance. When we got to the hide, we could just make out the birds on our feeders (our trusty great-spotted woodpecker didn't let us down) let alone trying to find a soggy eagle. We settled down to watch our 'Eagle Odyssey' DVD - a fantastic RSPB film which had everyone glued to the screen (although I had one eye out the window in case anything flew past). No-one seemed to mind the rain - everyone was just happy to be in the hide learning lots about the eagles. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the children as one day, hopefully they will take over looking after our wildlife and indeed, the planet. As we were beginning to pack up, through the raindrops on the window, I caught sight of one of the eagles! Everyone dashed out into the rain - minus hats and coats. There, in all her glory, was Frisa - she flew over the loch, circled several times, so close to us, that we didn't need our binoculars. The joy and excitement on everyone's face was priceless. You really couldn't have asked for more! What a great end to the day. Oh and the weather did clear - about 7pm this evening the sun finally poked its head out. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Here is the link to the excellent live sea eagle webcam whose chicks are the same age as Skye and Frisa's. Estonian Webcam
Dont forget our friends Kate, Chris, Simon, Gordon and Martin on the new-look 'Springwatch' which is back on Monday, BBC Two 8.00pm.
Also, see the 'Join Now' button on the blog tracking page. We know many of you are supporters of the RSPB already and thank you so much for that. If any of you have been thinking of joining and helping us to protect the eagles, please click on the 'Join Now' button and see how easy it is! Thank you.
Debby Thorne RSPB Scotland white-tailed eagle Information Officer
Phew! What a week that was! Just about recovered from Wild Isles Week but what a fantastic week it was. There were many events around the Island from Corncrake Walks, Evening Birdsong Walks, Looking for Otters and lots of talks on a whole variety of subjects, as well as the Eagle Hide open to trips twice a day. The trips were fully booked all week and our visitors were treated to some great displays by Skye and Frisa as well as sightings of our ever growing chicks.
I am amazed at how quickly the chicks are growing - it doesnt seem five minutes ago when I rang Dave from the forward hide saying "I think we have a hatching", and then the following week ringing him and saying "I'm pretty sure we have two chicks - just keep seeing a little white ball of fluff bobbing up and down". They are now an incredible 5 weeks old - they have lost most of their fluffy white down and are now dark grey in colour. A couple of times, we have managed to spot them trying to feed themselves, trying to take a lump of food and nearly falling over in the process. You can see their little wings moving up and down as they move about the nest. Skye and Frisa are just brilliant parents, bringing in food to the nest, making sure both are fed and sitting near to the nest making sure they dont get into any trouble.
The siskins and great spotted woodpecker continue to provide great entertainment to our visitors in the hide and the young sandmartins have fledged already - the youngsters sit on the fence down at the lochside begging for food from any bird that flies past. The buzzards are rearing young as we have seen food being taken into the nest and our pied wagtails are now feeding young - its a real hive of activity.
I shall leave you with some photos I took during Wild Isles Week. I hope to get some shots of the chicks as they grow but unfortunately the light has been too poor to get a decent photo.
Here is the link to the Estonian Webcam - click on the White Tailed Eagle Camera - direct stream and see how the chicks are doing - they are the same age as Skye and Frisa's and give a great insight to their antics