(Photo courtesy Iain Erskine)
the egg (s) they have been incubating for the last 38 days have finally hatched! Having endured persistent rain, Arctic blasts and a blizzard, Fingal and Iona have done an amazing job keeping the egg (s) dry and warm and are now feeding their young. At this moment, we do not know how many chicks they have as they are still tiny and safely cocooned within the nest cup or under an adult bird, but as soon as we know how many, we will let you know. Fingal and Iona have been kept busy as well as taking on the role of parents, they have been keeping a close eye on the young golden eagles that have been hanging around for several weeks now. This afternoon, Fingal was patrolling the ridge and at one point, all 3 goldies were close by, as well as the local buzzard. Fingal dropped like a stone out of the sky towards the buzzard who had got just a bit too close to the nest. It looked as if he was going to take the buzzard and we all held our breath as we watched him chase the buzzard until it was safely out of the area.
Some of you will be aware of the White tailed eagles in Estonia and the amazing webcam - they have managed to successfully hatch 3 chicks which is quite a rarity - make yourself a cuppa and settle down to watch Estonian Webcam
Golden Eagle - (photo courtesy Iain Erskine)
Don't forget, Mull Eagle Watch is located at 2 sites this year courtesy of South West Mull & Iona Development Trust and North West Mull Community Woodland - come and join us and watch the story unfold. Booking is essential via VisitScotland Craignure on 01680 812556.
You can read about Hope and Star here West Ardhu blog
RSPB Ranger, Isle of Mull
What a difference a week makes! Last week I was wearing short sleeves and this week I have so many layers on I look like I could be auditioning for the Michelin Man (some of you may remember him!). Lovely blue skies and warm sunshine last week, have been replaced by a cold wind coming straight from the North Pole - thankfully it is still dry but it is positively Baltic.
Its been a busy week at Tiroran, Fingal and Iona still taking turns to incubate their eggs - we are now on countdown and will be pacing the floor shortly. In the meantime we have had plenty of visitors and I dont mean 2 legged ones! We have had some great views of young golden eagles and quite often the off duty white tailed eagle will fly up and make sure they dont hang around in their territory. This gives our visitors a great opportunity to compare both eagles. Incredibly, on one occasion, one of the young golden eagles landed on a branch next to the nest - Fingal was on duty at the time and he was not happy! Lots of calling until the goldie got the message he wasnt welcome and took off. We then had a sub adult male white tailed eagle visit - this is an eagle about 4 years of age, who is looking for a mate and a territory. Usually, we would expect our resident eagles to chase a sub adult out - white tailed eagles mate for life so wouldnt want an intruder around to cause any distractions. I think my jaw hit the floor when I saw Iona, the female, fly up with the sub adult and enjoy a fly around with him - she was certainly not chasing him off and seemed to enjoy the attention! Fingal take note! The last we saw was Iona disappearing over the trees with the sub adult in tow. I really wasnt sure what to expect when I went back the next day, but thankfully she was back on the nest with Fingal close by - phew!
We have had a juvenile white tailed eagle hanging around since we opened - from the colouring, very dark chocolate brown, looks like one from last year but we dont know where it originates - but it is often seen sitting in the region of the nest. Most of the time, it is tolerated by both the adults but on one occasion, Fingal took exception. He came off the nest, talons raised up and pushed the youngster off his branch - to show he wasnt put off, the youngster flew and landed immediately above the nest and stayed there. Fingal had to get back on the nest but sat there shouting at the youngster who took absoloutely no notice.
As well as great views of our big birds, we are also treated to great views of our smaller ones too including siskins and many many chaffinches and the local woodpecker! So come along and join us. We have 2 sites this year on Community Forestry - [West Ardhu] and [Tiroran]. to book a trip, call the VisitScotland Office on 01680 812556. Steph and look forward to welcoming you. You can catch up with the events at West Ardu here West Ardhu blog
With thanks to our hosts at South West Mull & Iona Development Trust adn North West Mull Community Woodland
As mentioned before, this year Mull Eagle Watch is located at 2 sites on Community Woodland, North West Mull Community Woodland and South West Mull & Iona Development Trust The eagles at both sites are well into incubation and we are now onto countdown to the day when we await hatching.
At Tiroran, Fingal and Hope continue to give our visitors great views but this week they haven't been the centre of attention. The weather on Mull has been wonderful with blue skies and warm sunshine. We have great views towards Ben More and the surrounding area and this week we were scanning the skyline, when 3 large shapes appeared above a distant crag - we could see they were golden eagles and as they drifted towards us, we could make out they were young golden eagles, identified by the white patches. As we watched them interacting with each other, more large birds drifted into view - this time a slightly different shape - a much broader, heavier looking wing with a more rounded tail - yes - white tailed eagles. As we focussed, we saw not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 juveniles. And just to help us with our ID skills, a couple of buzzards joined in. Then we saw another bird, a different wing shape to the eagles, smaller - one of our visitors was convinced it was a goshawk - and just to add to the party in the sky, a sparrowhawk came through. We were all stood them in amazement - all you could hear was "there's another one - oh and another". Our visitors certainly went home happy.
But that wasnt the end of it - today I was at our second site at West Ardu - home to Hope and Star white tailed eagles. One of our visitors was celebrating his 83rd birthday so the best birthday present he could hope for was a view of a white tailed eagle as he had never seen one. As we arrived at our viewing point, we were greeted by the male, called Star (named by the pupils from Dervaig Primary School) sat close to the nest, basking in the warmth of the sunshine. As we scanned the skyline, one of our visitors spotted that familiar site on the skyline - 2 large birds that turned out to be golden eagles - we were then treated to a fly through by 3 white tailed eagles. The goldies stayed around and again great for us to be able to compare the profile of both eagles.
Not a bad day at the office.
To book on a trip, called our friends at VisitScotland Craignure on 01680 812556