Tuesday 19 August 3pm
The family seem to have settled into a bit of a routine. Heading over towards Glen Aros in the mornings, picking over any unfortunate casualties from the night before and then just loafing about in the sun all day. Occasionally one of the adults heads off for something fresh but always seems to leave one adult on child-care duty.
In the afternoon, one of the chicks decided to take a paddle and waded about upto the top of its legs in the loch. Time and again it ducked its head under the water and had a bit of a splash about; this was maybe its first attempt at a bath. We've often seen Frisa and Skye bathing in the shallows. Then it would jump and pounce and grab a stone, 'kill' it and then jump on another one. Very amusing to watch and the nearest thing I've seen to sea eagle 'play'. Eventually, it got bored with that game and went back to perch on the fence post, drying its wings in the afternoon sun. I'm wondering if one chick is already more independent than the other. One always seems happy to feed itself and generally fend for itself while the other is still food begging and following the adults about. I'm just not sure who is who, as the size difference between the bigger female Breagha and her smaller brother Mara doesn't seem very pronounced at the moment. I hope we've got the sexing right... They also seem to spend less time together than previous twins of Frisa & Skye. Itchy & Scatchy in 2005, both males, were inseperable for months as were Haggis & Oatie in 2006 (also both males). Maybe brother and sister just don't get on so well? The day ended with Frisa & Skye perched together, preening in their favourite larches and enjoying the late afternoon sun. A perfect scene of parental contentment.
Dave Sexton RSPB Mull Officer
Monday 18 August Loch Frisa 1000-1600
An astonishing 84 people attended the hide today during the 'drop-in' session from 10am to 1pm. Just about everyone saw Frisa perched and flying. But she seemed to keep disappearing back over the ridge and down into Glen Aros, frustratingly just out of sight. So after the session had finished, I drove round and sure enough there were Frisa and Mara feeding on a carcase not too far from the road. Breagha was a little way off perched on her own - hopefully already having had her fill. Skye was then seen back in his favourite larches near the hide. Mara was feeding himself well from the carcase and had about 30 ravens over for dinner too. Quite a feeding frenzy. Sometimes Frisa would move in for a feed but always gave way for Mara. Eventually he flew off and perched for a while before Frisa brought him a 'carry-out' and they both sat a few yards apart, Frisa preening and Mara feeding and making his incessant food begging call which is audible a long way off. We left them to it, happy in the knowledge that they were all well today.
Dave Sexton RSPB Mull Officer
A quick stop at the hide, a scan and a listen... I could immediately hear a chick not too far away. There was Frisa perched in her favourite larches and the calls seemed to be coming from nearby.
I drove closer and stared hard into the dense conifers. Frisa ignored me as usual and continued preening only 75m or so away. Then, a movement in the branches and there was Mara, well hidden. His calls became more and more desperate and frequent as he tried to to make Frisa feel guilty and force her into going hunting for him. But she didn't need to. Why?
Suddenly Mara's calls reached the frantic stage and off he flew, strongly across the loch. I followed him through the lens of the BBC's 'Autumnwatch' camera and there he was now chasing Skye who had arrived on the scene with fresh prey. Next minute, there was Breagha also joining in the chase until Skye eventually felt he'd teased them enough and he landed, only to be piled into by both hungry offspring. I couldn't make out who it was who won the prize but I think it was Breagha. Skye then flew a short distance away to recover and watch the chicks feeding.
Soon after Frisa took off from next to me and flew fast towards them. She suddenly banked sharply and I realised she was attacking some ravens who were getting just a bit too close for comfort to her chicks and she was having none of it. Wonderful to see her being so protective and watching everything that was going on even from a mile or more away.
Both adults then drifted away towards Dervaig while the chicks spent the rest of the afternoon together entertaining themselves. Flying short distances, perching on fence posts (yes, eagles and not only buzzards do that sometimes), chasing each other, jumping on each other and invisible, pretend prey and generally just lazing about on a sunny August afternoon in the heather. Not a bad life.Why not come and see them for yourselves? The hide is open Friday to Tuesday 10am-1pm. See our 'Aren't Birds Brilliant!' page for details.
After returning from holiday to Mull last night, I headed up to Loch Frisa this afternoon to try and see the chicks with my own eyes after too many weeks of hearing about them and reading about them on the Internet! From the hide I had a brief glimpse of one chick flying well but disappearing over the ridge into Glen Aros.
So I dashed round into the glen and waited and scanned. Finally there was one of them - Mara probably - feeding on a carcase, tugging away at something that was far from fresh and far from appetising but he seemed to be enjoying it.
Suddenly, in flew Breagha and displaced him from his late lunch. They both looked great. I could just make out the tiny sat tags through the telescope so I knew it was them. Breagha then flew back into the trees and out of sight. Half an hour later Skye flew in with new prey and both chicks again appeared hoping for something a little fresher.
At last, confirmation for me with my own eyes that both chicks were fine and behaving normally. What a relief!
Our chicks at Loch Frisa have most certainly been getting more and more used to the fact that they are designed for the air....... Both Mara and Breagha have been up and about this week, playing around in the thermals, looking at the world from on high...... and it looks like they're actually beginning to enjoy it!!!
Yesterday, Mara decided that the world of Loch Frisa obviously wasn't big enough for him and followed Skye off into the distance for a bit of a day trip! Circling away, he looked fantastic, full of confidence in the air, soaring away on those big broad wings of his. It won't be too long it seems before both of our chicks decide to leave home and try and make their own way in the Mull wilderness. With the mastery of flight that both are now showing I have a little inkling that they'll do just fine!!
Apart from our eagles doing well, this week has been a revelation with the appearance of a family of Red-throated Divers who have bred on the loch. Mum, Dad and their (not so wee) chick have been delighting us all with their presence and haunting us with their fantastic calls, making the family bond that little bit stronger. We've also discovered that our Sand Martin pair have successfully hatched their second brood of chicks too!! The adults are busy ziping in carrying insects to the young and zooming back out carrying little white pouches..... (Always good to keep the nest tidy!!). We'll be expecting the next batch to be on the wing in the next week, so do keep watching this space for news of when it happens!