courtesy R Kelly
Well I'm sat at the computer with a huge grin on my face. Our chicks were 11 weeks old last week and the average age of fledging for white-tailed eagles is between 10 and 12 weeks. The larger of the 2 chicks (quite possibly a female but we await DNA results to confirm) has been doing some serious wing flapping for several weeks now. At the beginning of the week she took her first tentative steps along a branch that leads out from the nest - she has seen Iona and Fingal (Mum and Dad) do this quite often. The first time, she crept out along the branch and after 5 minutes returned to the nest - she really wasn't sure about this leaving home business. But as the week went on, she spent more and more time off the nest sat on branches to the left and right of the nest. And then on Thursday it happened! She took her first flight - a real heartstopping moment. She flew out from the nest and did a short circuit before coming to land in a nearby tree. But it wasn't an ordinary landing - oh no! She landed quite clumsily and ended up hanging upside down. After what seemed like eternity, she managed to right herself. I wonder what must have been going through her head at that point - "the world looks kinda different upside down". She returned to the nest late afternoon and then again on Friday, we saw her fly from the nest. Her sibling, who is a bit smaller than her, so quite possibly a male, still has some feathers to develop so will remain on the nest for a few days yet. He has been practising his wing flapping and bouncing skills now that his big sister is off the nest so he has plenty of room.
"I'm leaving home mum" - Here is a picture of our chick, possibly female, sat on a branch immediately above the nest - photo Debby Thorne
Here is our 2nd chick - probably a male - still on the nest practising his wing flapping and bouncing skills - photo Debby Thorne
The chicks will remain in the vicinity of the nest for a while yet so you can still come and visit us at Glen Seilisdeir. Please note the road is still closed around the south shore of Loch Na Keal and access to the hide is from the direction of Loch Scridain. Please call our friends at the Craignure Tourist Office for details on 01680 812556. Trips to the hide at Glen Seilisdeir will finish on Friday 31st August so make sure you book for our ranger led trips before we close. Booking is essential and is made via the Craignure Tourist Office.
We will let you know the names of the chicks in due course! Just a bit longer - sorry!
Dont forget you can find us on Twitter @skyeandfrisa and on Facebook - Mull Sea Eagles
Until next time
White-Tailed Eagle Information Officer
Isle of Mull
Well - I cant believe how quickly the time has flown this year. It doesn't seem like 5 minutes that we were announcing Iona (our female) and Fingal (our male) were incubating and then the great news we had a hatching! Over the last 11 weeks we have watched their two chicks develop from 2 little white fluff balls into a pair of very healthy, almost full grown white-tailed eagles. And what stunning birds they are!
This week, they started taking those tentative steps to leaving the nest. One of the chicks has been doing some incredible wing flapping and bouncing on the nest. It's breathtaking to see them with the wings outstretched just itching to take off. They have also been edging out to the branches leading out from the nest. Fingal and Iona, in an effort to encourage them to leave, ease off on the food supply. The chicks do not fly straight away but instead hop down the branches eventually landing on the ground. From there they will start with small hops, skips and jumps building up their confidence before taking short flights to the sky, usually following an adult.
Peter Barden, who has been filming our family at Glen Seilisdeir for the Discovery Channel has very kindly sent us this wonderful clip. This was taken on Thursday and shows one of the chick practising its wing flapping skills. Then Iona, mum, appears with a fish which is promptly snatched and eaten. Thank you Peter for sharing - cant wait to see the final programme!
Strict copyright Peter Barden
Dave is taking a well earned holiday at the moment but I will keep you posted on the chicks. Dont forget you can follow us on Twitter @skyeandfrisa and also find us on Facebook at Mull Sea Eagles
To book a visit to Mull Eagle Watch, dont forget you need to book via our friends at the Craignure Visitor Information Centre, telephone 01680 812556
Until next time,