June, 2008

Wildlife

Wildlife
We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Mull Eagle Watch

Follows the fortunes of Mull's white-tailed eagles and the Isle's other fascinating wildlife
  • Weeks 11 and 12 - Camera chaos and beautiful butterflies!

    As many of you know (and some not....), we up at Loch Frisa have been hoping to get a webcam up to our sea-eagles nest, but due to many unforseen problems it has been a long time in coming. Eventually 2 weeks ago we managed to put it in place to beam live pictures to the hide and the worldwide web, but our eagles unfortunately didn't take to it too well. Why that was we may never know, but we felt it was necessary to take the camera back out and leave our eagles be for this year, which is of course very much a shame, but it's more important that they successfully raise their chicks, who by the way, at just over 9 weeks old are now the size of turkeys!!!! Both really healthy and very, very hungry!! Skye and Frisa have been working their tails off to satisfy their voracious appitites, bringing in fulmars, rabbits.... you name it.... they're catching it, but still our not so little eaglets demand more and more!!!

    Although it is a real pity that we haven't got a camera on our eagles nest this year, we have been able to put one overlooking a pair of swallows. They've only just started to build their nest in the last couple of weeks and in quite an unusual place too........ right on top of the security light above the hide door!!!! With our solar and wind power we knew the hide was environmentally friendly....... and it looks like our swallows quite obviously agree!!

    At the moment our swallow has four browny-speckled white eggs in her nest which she's been sat on for almost a week now and as I'm writing I can see her sat perfectly comfortably in there, keeping them nice and warm on the T.V screen in the hide! Hopefully in a week to 10 days we'll have some more wee chicks at Loch Frisa!

    It looks like our Sand Martins eggs have hatched now as well, the parents constantly nipping in with food and popping back out carrying a little white parcel in their beaks....... always good to keep the burrow tidy!!

    But it's not just been the birds around us keeping us all entertained...... we've had some fantastic butterflies and dragonflies darting about too! Dark-green and Small Pearl-boardered Fritilleries, Common Blues, Broad-bodied Chasers and Golden-ringed Dragonflies are just some of the non-feathered flying highlights, but today we've had the best of the bunch. Unfortunately though, it was after everyone went home after this afternoons trip. A I walked out to fill up our feeders at the feeding station in front of the hide, a little mottled butterfly whizzed past me...... quickly getting my bins on it I followed it until it came to rest on the head of a nearby thistle. I crept closer to get a better look, and there basking in the sunshine was a Chequered Skipper, but before I could grab my camera out of my pocket, off it went again zipping down the track..... what a fantastic little gem, a very rare butterfly indeed, and not often seen on Mull..... a truly lucky find!!!!

    So summers in full swing, there are more and more hungry mouths to feed appearing every day and our eagles and eaglets are still putting on a fantastic show for everyone who comes to visit us at Loch Frisa. It won't be long before the chicks get to their time to fly the nest....... the past few weeks and months have flown by, it seems only yesterday that Skye and Frisa were sat on the nest protecting their precious eggs from the elements and now they've hatched and their almost fully grown eagles!!! Kids eh...... they grow up so fast don't they!!!

  • Weeks 8, 9, and 10 - Hollow wings!!

    At the time of writing, poor old Frisa and Skye are sat on their perching tree, soaking up the sun and trying to catch their breath after tireless trips too and from the nest bringing more and more food for our ravenous chicks! It's just non stop for them at the minute, as the chicks - (who are looking more and more like eagles every day now, and have turned from little white bundles of fluff to big brown bundles of fluff as their feathers come through!!!) - just want to eat, eat more, have a snack then have dinner, tea and supper all in the space of an hour!!! As is true of most youngsters, they certainly have hollow wings!!!! And the amount that they have grown in the last couple of weeks has been astonishing!!

    Sea eagles are fantastic parents, and do as much as they possibly can to keep their young fit, healthy and content in the nest, and Sye and Frisa really are running themselves ragged to cope with their babies demands! Fulmars, rabbits and other bits and peices have been brought in, and our visitors are amazed at the sheer range of food our eagles eat..... fish, seabirds, ducks, geese, you name it, our eagles will eat it!! (in the past there have been records of sea eagles who have brought in the odd feral cat to the nest!!! You can just imagine Tiddles looking at the eagle thinking "Yummy! That looks tasty!!!"....... and the eagle staring straight back and thinking exactly the same!!!)

    So all is still well up on Loch Frisa, and with more birds being seen up at the hide, our species list has now grown to a fantastic 69, with Osprey, Whinchat and Whitethroat the latest summery additions, the Sand Martins still excavating, Siskins on the feeders, and of course the stars of our show the eagles on top form, it looks and feels like it's going to be a great summer!!