"Look Mum - I can fly!"


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Mull Eagle Watch

Follows the fortunes of Mull's white-tailed eagles and the Isle's other fascinating wildlife

"Look Mum - I can fly!"

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Sorry for the delay in news but as you may have read we have now moved over to a new blog software!  Still finding my way round it so hope this works!!  I am holding the fort for a few days while Dave has a well earned rest.

The one piece of news I wanted to share with you is the naming of our chicks.  This year Ulva Primary School chose the names and the names chosen are Heather for our female and Bracken for our male.  They are really fitting names as at this time of the year, the Island is covered in heather and bracken and indeed, Heather, our female chick spent this morning sat amidst a clump of bracken - very ironic.


It has been quite a week here on Mull!  We have been seeing Heather, our chick, quite frequently sitting down at the lochside with either Frisa or Skye in close attendance.  On Tuesday afternoon, we had been watching her hop, skip and jumping around when all of a sudden she was flying - albeit quite low, but she flew from the lochside into the field in front of the hide.  We had lovely views and I have to say (not that I'm biased) but she is simply stunning - a lovely rich chocolate colour.  She then decided to fly back from where she came - relishing in this new past time called "flying".


Wednesday saw her again sitting down by the lochside.  The afternoon group had left having seen Frisa flying over the loch and being attentive to her chick.  I had tidied up the hide, done the paperwork and wondered down to the forward hide to lock up when I spotted a large bird flying above the trees.  "It must be Skye or Frisa returning home" I thought.  But I had to do a double take, as the bird I was looking at didn't have the usual pale head - this bird was chocolate brown all over - I quickly checked the lochside where she had been sitting and nothing!  It was our Heather flying high above the trees.  She looked a little wobbly but she started calling with excitement - a noise I have never heard before but it was obvious it was sheer excitement that she could really fly.  It wasn't long before Frisa appeared and joined the flying display.  I have to confess that at this point I had tears streaming down my cheeks - it was a magical moment to see her flying high with her new found wings - it was a beautiful evening and ideal flying conditions - as if to anticipate her next move, Frisa then landed on one of her favourite branches, remained for about a minute and then flew up - Heather then landed on the same branch albeit a bit clumsy but it was as if Frisa was showing her how to land. She stayed there for a short while but it wasnt long before she was up again soaring and screaming with delight.  She kept looking at Frisa as if to say "look mum, I'm flying".  It was very touching. Of course, this was the evening I said I wouldnt be late home but how could I leave?  It was a truly memorable moment  - Heather is officially airborne!

Please bear with us as we familiarise ourselves with the new software - I hope you will continue to read and join in our blogs.


Debby Thorne - White Tailed Eagle Information Officer, Mull



  • I hope so, thank you for the reply, so looking forward to seeing one.

  • It seems just about impossible to read these different blogs without getting tearful.  Bracken.....    

    Heather flying and shouting in excitment. That was a lovely update. Thanks.

    I still keep checking Mara and Breagha's wanderings and was surprised when I saw how far north Breagha had gone.

    Reply: I have just posted a blog with an update on Mara and Breagha - you can follow their journey on Google Earth http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/tracking/mulleagles/

  • Phew, managed to log into the new blog at last. Had a stressful afternoon. I have had to re register using another email but managed to keep my old name. All my old blogs are under the name wright??? Don't know how this happened.

    Anyway thanks for the blog Debby.  Bet it was awesome watching Heather flying over you.

  • Thanks Debby. We enjoy ALL the updates but it just helps us to respond correctly to you or Dave. I'll put my 'recollection' down to a 'senior moment' !!.

  • Debbie. Have the 'boffins' worked out how WE are going to distinguish between you and Dave when you post replies?. Surely the 'old' system automatically gave that info? without you having to end your reply with either Debbie or Dave.

    Reply: No the system didn't do it - we sign off our replies - have not done so on this particular post as Dave on hols for a couple of weeks so you are stuck with me I'm afraid! Debby

  • Thanks, My Avatar is now Oattie who we saw in October 06, An amazing view , will never forget, he sat there just watching us, watching him, fantastic moment.

    You could just attatch a link to a blog, just an idea.


  • Hi

    I was wondering if there are any pictures of Heather, and if you could post a link up for us, would love to see a pic of her, Thanks

    Reply: I have taken some photos of her but it was when it was raining so they are not very good - as soon as I get some decent ones will post them if I can work how to on the new software! To give you an idea she is a really deep chocolate brown colour all over

  • Hi Debbie, Thanks for the update, it was great to meet you on Friday 24th July, me and Denise had a truly fantastic visit to the hide, especially when Heather flew across the loch for the first time right in front of us, an awesome experience. It was also fun to watch Heather attempting to climb on to the fallen tree in the field before finally stumbling on to it. I managed to get some photos of Frisa when she flew from the tree and went looking for Heather. I have used on in my avatar. All the best and thanks again.

    Reply: Its great to be able to put a face to a name when we meet our bloggers!  Heather was pretty stunning wasnt she?

  • Perhaps the new Forum section is just intended by the RSPB to be used by those who want to chat off-subject?? I haven't seen any guidance anywhere. These blogs are much more better to stay involved with, I would have thought. Ooooh - another Heather and they have an encounter to come! How nice.

  • You don't need to hope that we'll carry on reading and joining in Debby - just try and keep us away (although I must admit that it has taken me some time to get over here and reply).

    You and Dave write such wonderful reports, it is always exciting to read them, sometimes over and over again.  Please don't ever stop.

  • Thank you so much for such a great story, Debby!  I really enjoyed that!  Great names for the chicks.  So sad about Bracken!

  • Hi Debby

    What is the tag on Heather? I know yellow 'O' was Oattie from 3 years ago, but when they were tagged you didn't know their names so just wondered please.


    Reply:  As of last year we stopped putting the wing tags on - the chicks just get their BTO leg rings

  • I wish I had of been there. You and Dave really have a knack for these blogs. What a rewarding job you have albeit with a rollercoaster of emotions.


    Reply: You are right Neil  - The Friday we discovered Bracken was my last day before my holidays so went off very mixed emotions - the first day back at the hide when I had to tell our visitors was difficult and it still is but on the plus side, we have a beautiful, healthy female in Bracken and she is certainly giving us plenty of joy!

  • Woo Hoo, I am called Heather too!! I feel honoured to have an eagle called the same name as me, I really hope we get to see each other in October, plus its my birthday!! Have to say great name, well done children, you must all feel so special to name a White Tailed Sea Eagle chick.

    Please come out to play in October Heather :-)

    Best wishes to all and thanks for the great work you do to keep the chicks safe all year round !!


  • Absolutely lovely names. How  I wish Heather had a Mara (did I get the gender right?) I'm so glad white tailed eagles don't migrate. (one stress less !!! ). Don't worry, we are all familiarising  ourselves with the new software Debby! Talk about a trek through a jungle - but it is good though, isn't it.? Thanks for your blog.

    Reply: That's right - Mara is the male and Breagha the female - wow - think I've managed to reply to a comment - progress!