13th April 2018
On Good Friday, when people all across the country (including myself) were getting excited about tucking into their (*cough* nine) chocolate eggs, we at Mull Eagle Watch were most excited about an egg that wasn’t chocolate at all. It was the first egg that Scalla and Anna had laid in their nest at Craignure Golf Club.
Tours began soon after and our visitors were able to see an incubating eagle on the nest with the telescopes that Swarovski and Viking kindly loan to the project every year.
We were getting great views of one parent flying and of a group of eagle youths that loitered around the area. But there was a third adult around who became a very unwelcome visitor.
On a few tours, this eagle was seen flying around and towards the nest which distressed Scalla and Anna and led them to tackle him mid-air and chase him away. And unfortunately, it became apparent that something had happened in the scuffle which caused this first clutch to fail.
The intruder may well have intended to oust Scalla in order to take over his territory and female. Last year, Anna’s 37 year-old father who lived around Lochdon on Mull, fell victim to this behaviour when the younger male succeeded in killing him.
But don’t fear! Our hopes remain high; we’ve been seeing the pair flying, perching and calling together and even bringing in new nesting material to repair the nest. This is a very positive indication that they will, very soon, attempt to lay a second clutch of eggs!
Scalla and Anna perched together after their interrupted nesting attempt
For now, the pair is wowing visitors by perching in very convenient places and, on occasion, flying right over our heads! It’s just a matter of time before Anna lands in the nest for good.
To book on a tour, call the VisitScotland iCentre in Craignure on 01680 812556
Bye for now,
11th April 2018
I’m excited to be returning to the role of RSPB Community Information and Tourism Officer this summer and will be running the eagle nest tours alongside Cian Burke-Brown (pictured) who is the seasonal ranger for Mull and Iona Community Trust.
This year, we are being hosted by the wonderful Craignure Golf Club. A team of volunteers has been busy refurbishing the club in time for us opening and is even providing refreshments for golfers and our visitors to enjoy post-tour.
It is also the place where Scalla and Anna call home.
Introducing Scalla and Anna
Birthday: 15th August 1996
Tag: Grey O (both lost)
Favourite food: fish
Birthday: 4th July 1995
Tag: White O (both lost)
Famous family: Daughter of the oldest pair of sea eagles in Scotland who finally died last year on Mull aged 37
Favourite food: fish and small children.
We’re loving the Golf Club’s coastal habitat which is new to Mull Eagle Watch this year and the constant soundtrack of gulls and oystercatchers that comes with it. And we have the beautiful snow-capped mountains behind us to scan for goldies, hen harriers, ravens and the group of juveniles sea eagles that often give us a fly-past.
We’ve seen lots of action already and there’s plenty more to come!
To book on a tour, please call the VisitScotland Craignure iCentre on 01680 812556 or pop in when you arrive. Please inform of any mobility issues.
Also, Debby Thorne is now running new tours of Star and Hope at West Ardhu (where we were based last year). So for another chance to see these magnificent birds, you can book to visit her at the iCentre too.
Thanks for reading.
RSPB eagle ranger
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