31st July 2018
Alongside tours at Craignure and Tiroran, Mull Eagle Watch is now running tours at the West Ardhu eagle watch at Dervaig, owned by North West Mull Community Woodland Company.
We return to Hope and Star, the pair we watched here last year. They have successfully raised and fledged two chicks again, which are now 14 weeks old, and we’ve been seeing lots of action even in our first week here!
The two chicks in the nest
The more confident chick is taking short flights along the treeline and exploring the vast range of perching spots whilst the other remains close to the nest.
We’ve seen Hope bringing in what looks like a shag for the now adult-sized chicks to tuck into whilst Star brought back what looked like a measly lump of meat for them to fight over.
Hope bringing a bird back to the nest
And there is an immature white-tailed eagle which keeps making an appearance, often to be shooed off by Hope and Star. But an extra eagle never hurts on tours!
We’re also seeing buzzards mobbing the eagles, sparrowhawks whizzing around clutching prey, plenty of kestrels chasing each other, a few great-spotted woodpeckers and lots of siskins on the feeders.
Buzzard at West Ardhu
A juvenile great-spotted woodpecker at the feeders
Siskins at the feeders
Even though our chicks have fledged, they'll be hanging around for a while yet and we'll be running tours until the end of September.
Our family/dog-friendly tours are running at 11am and 2pm Sunday-Friday at North West Mull Community Woodland Company Eagle Watch.
Prices: Adults, £10 (Including RSPB members) and Children, £5. Family of four is £25. Locals go free.
At Craignure Golf Club, we are running a coastal wildlife watch where we are seeing eagles, breeding terns, waders, seals and even the odd otter! This site is ideal for daytrippers.
Booking is recommended and is done through the VisitScotland Craignure iCentre in person or on 01680 812 556/377. And please inform of any mobility issues.
Thanks for reading,
RSPB Eagle Ranger
2nd July 2018
Sadly, on Thursday 14th June, the Tiroran chick was confirmed dead. It had only been ringed on the Monday and the team remarked at how placid it had been when being handled.
The Tiroran chick being ringed
Looking back, that wasn’t a good sign. Cian had been watching the chick all week with visitors and had seen it feeding well on Monday and Tuesday but hunkered down on the Wednesday during storm Hector. By Thursday afternoon, it was apparent to him that the chick was lifeless.
The ringing team were visiting their last nest of the day when they were informed. Instead of clocking off at 6pm, they journeyed back to Tiroran to retrieve the body.
It was sent off for post-mortem and the results suggested that it had a birth defect or a chest infection and it is likely that the storm was the final straw. It also had no food in its crop (the pouch in the throat used to temporarily store food) which suggested it had not been feeding despite there being food in the nest and the parents attending to it.
A very sad tale for Fingal and Iona this year. I had the honour of watching them raising their chick, Arwen, last year and seeing her go from egg to fledge in such a short space of time was very special. But they aren’t alone. Sadly a higher-than-average 9/20 white-tailed eagle nests have failed this year on Mull.
Despite having lost their chick, Fingal and Iona are still around Tiroran and have even been seen sitting in the nest tree on our tours.
Iona sat above the nest having lost her chick
If you would like to book on a tour here or at Craignure Golf Club where we are running coastal wildlife watches, please call the Visit Scotland Craignure iCentre on 01680 812377.
11th June 2018
The Mull Eagle Watch rangers attended the beautiful Treshnish (and Haunn cottages) Farm on Sunday 10th June for their Open Farm Sunday event. This national scheme run by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) gives farmers an opportunity to show people how they are farming in an environmentally-friendly way and for us, as consumers, to learn about where our food comes from – one of the most beautiful places on Mull apparently!
The farmers, Somerset and Carolyne, gave us an interesting insight into their annual itinerary regarding lambing and meadow management before guiding us around their land.
The meadows looking over to Calgary Bay
And their meadows host the most magnificent myriad of wildflowers you can imagine!
We had orchids (butterfly, heath spotted, common spotted, fragrant, northern marsh to name a few).
Northern Marsh Orchid
Heath Spotted Orchid
Me smelling the Fragrant Orchid
And the most colourful swathes of other flowers including the pink lousewort, white burnet rose, blue speedwells, yellow buttercups, purple vetch, red sorrel, heaps of wood bitter vetch and even a rare moonwort.
We finished the walk with a delicious Moveable Feast by Jeannette’s at Ballygown which we all tucked into on the array of multi-coloured picnic blankets that had been laid out down the lawn, giving us a superb view across to the Isle of Coll. We were joined in our picnic by a group of porpoise who were feeding in the sea below us!
A fantastic event; great farming, great wildlife, great people and great food!
If you fancy seeing this wonder for yourself, why not take a peek at their cottages for your next holiday!