An invitation to come along tomorrow, Saturday 30th November, from 10am to 4 pm, and visit me at An Roth charity shop in Craignure, Isle of Mull (by the Cal-Mac ferry pier) to support the rspb by buying Christmas cards, calendars, wrapping paper, diaries, cuddly toys, gift memberships, etc. I will also have a telescope set up (weather permitting) to watch for the Craignure otter and seabirds, dolphins, etc. in Bunessan Bay. I will also be selling my wildlife booklets with a donation going to the rspb. John Clare, Community Information & Tourism Officer.
It was a great year leading the Mull Eagle Watch trips, watching the white-tailed eagles at the nest, but it is even more special when the eagles visit me.
When I was out in the garden the other day a large shadow flashed across the ground, and on looking up into the sky I saw a pair of white-tailed eagles soaring overhead. Without a single flap of the wings they circled above the house, and I could almost see the glint in their sunlit eye as they stared down at me. I was transfixed.
Their long primary feathers flexed as subtle changes in direction caused the air currents to ruffle the pale plumage on their heads. One was a certain adult, with a pure white, wedge-shaped tail. The other retained narrow brown bands around the tail feather margins. Not a pair I recognize, certainly not Iona and Fingal from the Glen Seilisteir nest. Perhaps we have a new pair setting up territory in the neighbourhood. The large sessile oaks among the deciduous woodland on the steep seashore opposite our front windows would be a nice site (for them and us). The large sitka spruce in the garden is probably too much to hope for (the bird table probably isn't strong enough either)..
I watch them circling, watching me, for about 10 minutes until with a subtle adjustment of wing angle the older bird heads off east, followed by its partner, and within 20 seconds they are just distant specks above Ardchrishnish They soar above the higher ground for a few moments before descending steeply to disappear down toward the coast where there may be some carrion on the shore. Loch Scridain is always rich in food for the eagles. There are plentiful fish and seabirds and at this time of year there are usually a few carcases of grey seal pups that didn't survive the storms that usually occur in November.
It was great to be able to spend a few minutes admiring these magnificent birds that add so much to the wildlife fauna of Mull and attract so many visitors to the island. i look forward to next year and hope that the Glen Seilisdeir pair survive the winter and return to their nest for a successful breeding season in 2014.
There will be beautiful rspb Christmas cards, calendars, wrapping paper, diaries, etc. for sale at events on Mull in the next couple of days. I will be at Bunessan Bakehouse 11am-4pm on Friday 29th November (with lots of tea and cake!) and will also be taking a scope to spot wildlife in Bunessan Bay (the Bunessan white-tailed eagle pair with any luck). On Saturday 30th, I will be at An Roth, Craignure from 10am-4pm with all the Christmas goodies. I will also have the scope and will be trying to spot the Craignure otter and other offshore wildlife. Come along and buy some goods (all profits go straight into rspb nature conservation projects) and ask me questions about Mull Eagle Watch and the wonderful wildlife of Mull. John Clare, Community Information & Tourism Officer.