Now that the white-tailed eagle chick has flown the nest at Mull Eagle Watch, Glen Seilisdeir, we are having to work harder to spot the birds, but both adults and juvenile are returning to the nest tree to roost and feed. We have also had some great views of the family flying over the Glen, with the bonus of regular sightings of a juvenile golden eagle practicing its hunting technique on the moorland above the treeline.
The twice daily (weekdays) trips at 10am and 1pm last for 2 hours, and although we stop off at the viewing area to check out whether the white-tailed eagles are around the nest area, we usually walk further along the forest track to gain better views of their other favourite roosting and flying places. The second main viewing area is in a stunning location with extensive views over the surrounding woodland, fields and grassland, out to Loch Scridain, the main hunting area for the adult birds, Iona and Fingal. Sea fish, greylag goslings, shag and harbour seal placenta have been high on the list of food items the adults have been bringing in in the last month.
The walks enable visitors to have close views of some of the other wildlife that occurs in Tiroran Forest, and on sunny days the rides and clearings within the wood are alive with butterflies, including dark-green fritillary, scotch argus and common blue, and dragonflies such as the gold-ringed. Regular sightings of common crossbills, siskins, coal tits and buzzards are also made, along with occasional views of great spotted woodpecker and sparrowhawk. Grey herons, oystercatchers, redshank, dunlin and curlew can be seen from our vantage point over the bay, sometimes joined at the water’s edge by one of the adult white-tailed eagles. The Glen is also filled with hawking hirundines at the moment, and red deer can often be seen around the margins of the forest.
Mull Eagle Watch trips will be continuing throughout August so do come along and visit us for a great 2 hour wildlife walk. Walks start at 10am and 1pm each weekday. To book ring 01680 882 556.
Our wildlife walks at Mull Eagle Watch are continuing despite the indifferent weather we have had in the last couple of weeks. On wet days we are lucky to see much wildlife at all, but on the fine days we are getting great views of the white-tailed eagles, golden eagles and a host of other wild creatures.
On Tuesday this week our morning visitors were treated to a flying display by our juvenile. It flew low over the conifer woodland before soaring up onto the moorland, being pursued by a buzzard. Suddenly, as it neared the skyline, a group of four hooded crows appeared, swooping down in turns to try and scare the eagle away. As the juvenile got higher and higher, the crows lost interest and headed off.
Meanwhile down on the shore below our viewpoint, we spotted an otter rooting through the seaweed. It then headed a few metres into the sea, hunting through the shallow water. regularly returning to the surface to eat the small fish it was catching.
In the afternoon, both adult white-tailed eagles and the juvenile were spotted in the same area of moorland giving us an aerial display, twisting and turning in the thermals and breezes along the scarp. The outline of the birds showed their unmistakable broad wings, while their white tails and pale head plumage glistened in the sun. They continued to show as we headed back to the hide, and common crossbills could be heard calling in the tall spruce trees, feeding on the seeds in the new crop of cones.
The Mull Eagle Watch 2 hour trips now comprise a gentle walk of around 2 miles with an opportunity to learn about the fascinating history and ecology of the magnificent white-tailed eagles and other Mull wildlife. There are usually 2 trips starting at 10am and 2pm each weekday. Ring 01680 812556 to book places.
The white-tailed eagle chick from the Glen Seilisdeir nest on the Isle of Mull has flown from the nest. On Friday afternoon the 12 week old chick was still exercising its wings on the branches around the nest. By mid-morning on Saturday it had gone. No-one saw it fly and so the watching and waiting game was on to check that it had fledged successfully and not plunged to death or serious injury from 70 feet up in the nest tree as some Mull white-tailed eagle chicks had done in the past.
Several visits on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, and constant watching from houses adjacent to the woodland brought no sight of the chick. Careful listening around the nest site also brought no results. Iona, the adult female, sat in the nest tree, seemingly unconcerned, preening her feathers, while Fingal, the adult male, was nowhere to be seen.
Eventually on Sunday afternoon distant calls could be heard. The juvenile bird was obviously hungry and asking its parents to bring food. Later in the evening it was spotted in the tree above the nest and it was certain that it had survived its first flight and was now able to manoeuvre adequately.
Large numbers of visitors turned up at Mull Eagle Watch today to try to see the newly fledged chick, but it eluded everyone. In the morning, neither of the adults were spotted either, and it was the plaintive calls of a young buzzard that were most audible. When the afternoon visitors arrived at the viewing area, Iona was sat on her favourite perch: the branch protruding to the right of the nest. At one point she hopped up onto the nest, finishing a few small scraps of food from the carcass of the shag, brought in by the male last week.
We will be continuing to run the Mull Eagle Watch trips at Glen Seilisdeir until the end of August and hope that visitors will get spectacular views of the white-tailed eagle family in and around the nest tree and flying over their forest home. To book a trip ring 01680 812 556.
Remember the RSPB and Forestry Commission/Mull & Iona Community Trust Rangers will be at Bunessan Show this Friday 2nd August and at Salen Show next Wednesday 8th August so Mull Eagle Watch trips will not be happening on those days.