August, 2017

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
  • And the name is...

    30th August 2017

    Bunessan Primary School have now named our chick at Tiroran Community Forest after visiting for a day of fun and learning with The Mull and Iona Ranger Service and Mull Eagle Watch.

    Children got messy making plaster casts of animal hoof prints along the forest tracks before learning about dinosaurs – the ancestors of eagles – with Emily and Kate from the Ranger Service. Over at the eagles hide, they learnt all about white-tailed eagles and enjoyed handling the real eagle feathers and other props but sadly, our eagle family was nowhere to be seen!

    How many children make a white-tailed eagle? (photos: Sue Hawkes)

    Over lunch time, with mouthfuls of ham sandwiches and cheesy wotsits, they shouted out name suggestions for the one female chick and the list was handed over to John Clare, the Forest Officer, to pick the name. Which was...

    Arwen!

    This translates as ‘muse’ or ‘noble-woman’ form Celtic languages. It is also one of the main female characters from J R R Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings – a half-elf, half human who eventually becomes a queen. A strong name for a powerful bird.

    Dervaig Primary School are currently coming up with names for the two chicks at West Ardhu so watch out for these in the next few weeks.

    Arwen is the most commonly seen eagle around Tiroran now, with Fingal and Iona proving trickier to track down these days but we’ve been seeing golden eagles, buzzards and kestrels and a juvenile great-spotted woodpecker on the feeders along with the chattering of crossbills high up in the conifers.

    Arwen on her parents' perch in Tiroran Forest

    Trips at both hides are running until late September and you can book on a tour by calling The Visitor Information Centre in Craignure on 01680 812556 or by popping in in person. Tours are free for locals.

    Thanks for reading,

    Meryl

  • Off to a soaring start

    16th August 2017 

    At last, after a long and nerve-wracking wait, the chick at Tiroran Community Forest has successfully made her first flight.

    Tiroran chick in the nest at four weeks old

    On the afternoon of Friday the 11th, I arrived at the hide and was greeted by the sight of an empty nest. Nothing was seen of the family until a little later when I had a quick peek through the scope and spotted a pair of conspicuous yellow feet clinging onto a branch below the nest. After comically shuffling along the branch to avoid the strong winds, we saw some flapping and eventually, the chick made it to a higher branch and sat there for the duration for us all to admire.

    Chick perched underneath the nest after fledging

    At one point dad even landed in the nest and we got to see him sat directly above his teetering chick who almost looked desperate to return to its safety.

    On the Sunday, visitors witnessed her soaring in the sunshine already like a pro. She’ll remain dependent on her parents for a few more months yet and hopefully, by the end of this month, we’ll have a name for her.

    Trips are still running until the end of September but views of the eagles at both sites are no longer guaranteed.

    As usual, you can book on a tour at either (or both!) of our two hides by contacting Craignure Visitor Information Centre on 01680 812556.

    Thanks for reading,

    Meryl