24th September 2017
Mull Eagle Watch tours have come to an end after another successful season in 2017.
Thursday 21st was the last day of tours and, after cancelling on the Wednesday due to a return of miserable weather, I was pleased to be greeted at West Ardhu with sunshine and clear views.
Visitors saw Star swoop in and perch in the nest tree where he proceeded to sit for the rest of the day. It’s easy to think that eagles have easy lives when you see them like this but Star and Hope and indeed Fingal and Iona have all been incredibly busy parents this season, managing to raise three chicks between them despite the gruelling weather that Mother Nature has thrown at them.
The parents are doing all they can to equip their eaglets with the skills they need to survive; only half of all juveniles make it to adulthood at five years of age so we're still crossing our fingers for all three. They should now be catching their own prey but they will remain with their parents throughout most of the winter before beginning their long journeys around Scotland in search of a mate and their own territory for the next few years.
And we finally have names for the West Ardhu chicks! Gael and Storm have been chosen by Dervaig Primary School. So I think its safe to say that, along with the name ‘Arwen’ that was chosen for our Tiroran chick, we have some good strong names for these majestic birds. Thank goodness we dodged Eagley McEagleyface as some visitors suggested!
I’m already back at home in Windermere having left my life on Mull. Today, I went for a walk near Ambleside and enjoyed the familiar views of the surrounding mountains that the Lake District is famous for (along with the lakes) and I couldn’t help but scan the summits, expecting and hoping an eagle to pop up any second. Needless to say, none were seen. But the Lake District was home to the last golden eagle in England until last year and the last pair of English white-tailed eagles resided here too in the 1800’s before their extinction. After the successful reintroduction of the white-tailed eagle to Britain over 40 years ago, we are now seeing the population grow from strength to strength so it’s only a matter of time before they re-colonise England and I’m hoping it will be here, on my doorstep.
Thank you all for supporting the project this year whether you visited one of our two hides or just followed us on our blogs and social media. The money we raised will be donated to the two community forests that hosted us to aid with their conservation and education projects.
I’m already thinking about when I can return to Mull to visit but in the meantime, I’m hoping I’ll receive eagle updates from Dave Sexton who does such a fantastic job of monitoring these eagles on Mull and leading this partnership project.
Here are some of my favourite photos from the season. Enjoy!
Iona and Arwen in theTiroran nest
Four-week old Arwen having her leg rings fitted
Gael and Storm being ringed at 6 weeks old
Hope feeding her eaglets
Visitors to Tiroran Community Forest enjoying overhead views of golden eagles
Gael and Storm in the West Ardhu nest
Sibling rivalry at West Ardhu
Newly-fledged Arwen looking regal on her parents' perch
Saga Pearl II cruise ship visit to West Ardhu
Fingal perched above old nest at Tiroran
Best wishes and thanks for following,
RSPB Community Information and Tourism Officer
Mull Eagle Watch