Introducing the Class of 09 - Oran & Venus


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

Introducing the Class of 09 - Oran & Venus

  • Comments 42
  • Likes

We've now changed the look of  this page to allow you to keep track of two new white-tailed eagle chicks from Mull. And now, as promised, we've added some new photos of them so you'll know what they look like - if you're ever lucky enough to see them! Thanks to Katie for sorting that. I love the shot of Oran on his nest greeting FCS climber Nick Purdy. Not a very friendly welcome! Oran and Venus are joining our first two chicks from Loch Frisa in 2008, Mara and Breagha. Don't forget to use the + and -and arrow buttons on the maps to zoom into see where they've been and when. They were all fitted with light weight, solar powered satellite tags to help us study the dispersal of immature sea eagles away from their nest areas. They were fitted by Roy Dennis from the Highland Foundation for Wildlife with help from our tree climber Justin Grant. Our thanks to the private landowners concerned and to Forestry Commission Scotland, their climbers and rangers for all their help on the day. The tags were funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and the data will be collected and mapped by John Sutherland and Sally Fisher from the RSPB's Data Management Unit. The all important analysis of the satellite data will be carried out by Natural Research Ltd on behalf of the Sea Eagle Project Team. Our thanks to them all and to the RSPB's web team for helping us get all this information out to you!

Oran is a fine, dark male chick who fledged from his mighty tree top nest in July. He is named after St Oran who is believed to have travelled through Mull to the Holy Isle of Iona in the 12th Century. We hope that our young eagle will be watched over and kept safe by his Saintly name sake. Oran is doing well so far. He returned to his nest to be fed quite a few times after his maiden flight which is quite unusual. He may be a bit of big baby and uncertain of launching off on his own into the big wide world. Over the next few months we'll find out how he gets on.

Across a few mountain ridges, from another Mull nest flew a beautiful young female sea eagle called Venus. She is named after the Goddess of love and beauty, flowers and Spring. Venus, the planet, is also the brightest light in the night sky and she appears at dawn and dusk as if to welcome the new day and to signal the approaching night. We couldn't think of a better name for our young female eagle. Like Oran, she too is now venturing further afield and is already well clear of her nest area. The parents of both chicks will happily tolerate their offspring around them for several months to come. They may not be bringing in much, if any, food for them at the moment but they will gladly share a deer, seal or sheep carcass with them. The chicks will know to follow along behind their parents in the expectation of a free handout. Soon though they will start to explore on their own and day by day, week by week, the distance between them and the adults will grow and the family bond will weaken. Unlike Mara and Breagha who spent alot of time together, Oran and Venus will soon be tackling life's challenges alone. This time last year, as Mara and Breagha began longer flights away, they seemed to find some comfort or at least reassurance  in each other's company on a regular basis. Life will be very different for young Oran and Venus. We will be watching them as closely as we can but they are wild birds and our role is simply to watch, study, learn and to protect. Our pioneers Mara and Breagha have proven they can survive out there and have now firmly dispersed from Mull. Mara may not be too far away on Loch Sunart but Breagha has ventured further into the north west Highlands. We wonder where the first big flights for Oran and Venus will be to? Will they ever meet up with Mara and Breagha? Stay tuned as we join them all on their extraordinary journeys.

Dave Sexton RSPB Scotland Mull Officer 

The Eagle Hide at Loch Frisa is still open! Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am and 1pm. Call 01680 812 556. Come and see us - and the eagles! Last week Debby and the groups of visitors saw the sea eagles AND the golden eagles - and the first red deer stag of the autumn was heard roaring around Loch Frisa so what are you waiting for? Plan your fall trip to Mull now and capture an autumn moment...visit the Holiday Mull & Iona website for details.


  • Reply - Hi Ed - if you go to Google Earth, on the left hand side of the screen are listed the things you are following ie White Tailed Sea Eagles, Ospreys - you need to untick the boxes which are labelled Nethy and Deshar, then Save, and that should clear them from the map.  I had the same problem for a while!

  • I only just found out the names of Oran & Venus when they suddenly appeared on my Google Earth.  Another pair to follow on the Google Earth.  I just wish I knew how to delete Nethy and Deshar's routes from it as it slightly upsets me everytime.  I know it's nature but I travelled to see them on a few occasions and followed them on the internet for weeks!!!

  • Its to help the Sea Eagles that they are tagged, not to hinder them. All of us here want the best for the birds that is one thing i think we all agree on!

    The tags clearly have done no damage to the birds or stopped them do what any Sea Eagle does.

    All the team on Mull and people have and are doing a great job protecting and helping this bird so it can roam safely without having to worry.

    I think its fantastic having these wonderful birds in our country and without RSPB on Mull this wouldn't have happened..

  • Well HeatherP if it comes and sits on your car bonnet it will be pretty sick.Lots of people me included are not happy that birds that took thousands of years to evolve with hollow bones or at least a very light frame have these plastic weights put on their wing and due to temporary problem(I wonder why)wing tags not on 2008 release.I know lots of clever people disagree with me but it is probably like handicapping you having to carry 3 bags of sugar,you would not be as good as your contemporaries.Suggest these Eagles are so fantastic it doesn't matter much who it is.    

  • Heather stay around till I get there!! Do you still have to book well in advance for trips?

    Reply: no that's fine. Maybe a day or two before.

  • Oops i can't believe i spelt Oaties name wrong!! Sorry Fella! Oh yeah the one show, thats where i saw him!!

    I don't remember much about the Goldie, I think i maybe reported it at the time, maybe not? it was a few years ago, but i think we marked it on the map, i'll see if can find record and remember.

    Didn't know you tagged Golden Eagles too! Or maybe it was from mainland!

  • ps. Heather was seen by Debby today flying with Frisa near the Hide. Skye there too. Happy families.


  • Its just a shame that we won't beable to identify an eagle by year or name now, unless it comes and sits on your bonnet long enough to read its ring :-) We were very lucky and clearly seeing the yellow tag and black 'O' on him and that year they (Haggis and Oattie) had been on springwatch , they are like celebraties, it was like seeing David Beckham, but i have met him like a 100x, I wouldn't mind my pic being taken with a Sea Eagle!!! Have we heard of him recently , Oattie!!

    But as you say they must be rare those encounters and then reports, We have never seen a tag before or since,  once we saw a yellow tagged Golden Eagle. I just would love to see Heather the Sea Eagle, but i guess any young one could be her on the island or Oran or Venus!! Well any eagle is good enough me, I hope they continue to do as well as they are!

    Well i'll let you know if i have any good sightings!


    Oatie was over in the east last year. Nothing since...deep breath! He'll be fine. He was one of Kate Humble's favourites that year (2006) and was on The One Show. Haggis was also seen on Lewis and then back on Mull once. Keep watching...

    Tell me more of the yellow tagged golden eagle?


  • HeatherP I think chicks not tagged on wing this year I think the senior Norwegian man in charge of sending birds to Scotland does not like the practice or at least thinks it unnecessary. I believe he thinks ring on the leg is enough for any identification.

    Reply: HeatherP - west coast chicks haven't been wing tagged for a couple of years now. Last ones were in 2007 when the colour was white. The decision was one taken by the Sea Eagle Project Team in the UK as we all felt the wing tags had told us as much as they were going to about juvenile dispersal as getting data in from sightings depended on too many variables, like being seen in the first place, being accurately read by the observer and then actually receiving the information. So that's why in the west we're now piloting satellite tags. Other sister projects are still in their early phases when wing tags will still provide useful information so the east coast and Irish projects are still wing tagging. In the east the tags this year are turquoise with white letters or numbers. Sooty's latest revelations are news to me but maybe he has a hotline to Norway!  Wing tags were not everyone's cup of tea as a research tool but after 20 years or so of wing tagging here, there is no evidence that they harm or inhibit the birds in any way and many of our breeding birds were (and still are) wing tagged and are thriving. But to see a sea eagle as nature intended without wing tags is of course a thrilling sight - so as soon as we felt the time was right, the programme was ended. Let's hope the sat tags now do the business on juvenile dispersal although I must confess that there have been many times when I miss being able to ID a young bird from its wing tags - and I haven't yet managed to read a coloured leg ring through the 'scope. Time will tell. Dave

  • Just had a look at the photos.  The first pic of Oran is hilarious, if not a little scary.  I hopt that Nick Purdy didn't take it personally :))

    Thanks to everyone concerned.

  • We were staying at Tobermory in August.  We went for a walk up to the coast on the Glengorm estate and saw a Sea Eagle fly past.  Fantastic!!  Also saw buzzards, misselthrushes, basking shark and other wildlife - all on one evening!!  We're coming back next year.

  • I have just been on and my picture of a dolphin is used on it :-D  

    Also thought i'd post this pic of my favourite sighting of a sea eagle, Oattie taken in September 06, he may be just a baby but he was massive, i think my best memory!!

    Why were the chicks not wing tagged this year? well Heather anyway?


  • Well everything seems really good and interesting at the moment Dave,hope I am not tempting fate but no nail biting drama's which lets your blog fan club relax.Great that you find time to keep us all informed on the Eagles.

    Heatherp if you are in Tobermory take the chance to drive out towards Glengorm castle hope you have good luck and get several sightings good idea to speak with like minded Sea Eagle (better not put hunters)mean fanatics.I think the more fanatics we get better chance of getting less persecution of Raptors in general.    

  • Sometimes it's best to just enjoy the moment and not fuss trying for cameras as you then miss it all! Good luck tomorrow. Today Frisa flew in and perched and was looking rather bedraggled in this rain. She seemed to be on her own for now. I also saw two goldies a little further along to the north of the hide.

    Meanwhile, be sure to check out the new photos just posted on the tracking page and introduce yourselves to Oran and Venus! Thanks to Debby, Nick Purdy and Roy Dennis for letting us use them.


  • Thanks for the reply Dave, wish we had got a photo of him. I did try to video him but it was all such a panic it happened so quick. We have been on the island getting on for two weeks now (we were at the fledging party) and although the weather has been grim we have seen wildlife just about every day, we are never put off by the weather you just have to get out and about. We are visiting Debbie at the hide tomorrow morning, hope to see Skye & Frisa and maybe even Heather this time!!