As promised, I shared some photos of the chicks that were ringed last week when I joined the teams. Lots of you on our facebook page enjoyed seeing them, so here they are again for those of you that may have missed them. We visited two nests with one chick each, both at a slightly different age.
You can clearly see that the older chick is almost fully grown and has lost all of its downy feathers. It still has another five or six weeks in the nest to finish developing its important flight feathers though. The younger chick is still showing a good amount of down and isn’t quite fully grown yet, it is definitely shocked at being interrupted in the nest but it soon settled back down.
Sula and Cuin
We have some very exciting news to share with you all; thanks to a lot of hard work from many people involved and Forestry Commission Scotland for funding we have a live webcam up and running showing a constant feed of a Mull pair of white-tailed eagles. Unfortunately, due to Iona and Fingal building a new site this year we couldn’t get them online, but we do have two online stars to share with you. Meet Sula and Cuin, along with their chick! You can enjoy keeping up with this pair online whenever you fancy. How exciting – this is the first webcam in the UK to give a live feed of white-tailed eagles!
Sula is our female, she is easy to identify from the male because she has wing tags on either side; they are white with a black 5. She was hatched in Norway but was then released as part of the final reintroduction phase on the Scottish East Coast around seven years ago. She then made her way to Mull. She settled here with a Mull bred male called Cuin, also seven years old, and they are doing a great job of raising chicks every year. You may recognise them from Springwatch stardom over the last few weeks, this is the Mull pair that featured on TV. So if you’re dreading the end of Springwatch, not to worry as you can keep up with the stars all season. Enjoy the adults perched by the nest, bringing prey in, feeding the chick, and follow the chick as it grows up, learning to feed, building up muscles and preparing for that all important first flight.
We usually task a local school with the important job of naming our Mull Eagle Watch chick. Last year Iona and Fingal’s chick was named Orion. This year we’re going to give our online followers and fans the chance to name Sula and Cuin’s youngster. This will probably be through our facebook page; we’ll take suggestions and then create a shortlist before finally selecting a winner. So get watching the chick online and start thinking of a fitting name. Keep an eye out for an announcement to start the competition.
Back in Glen Seilisdeir our parents are working hard bringing in lots of prey ranging from greylag goslings through to mountain hare. Our chick is now just over five weeks old and is due to be ringed anytime soon, so next week I’ll be able to share some photos of our very own youngster with you.
Other wildlife sightings of course include our golden eagles, buzzards and ravens. Willow warblers and chiff chaffs are still signing and we have some lovely wildflowers coming out too. Germander speedwell, ivy-leaved speedwell, cat’s ear, birds-foot trefoil, foxglove and bugle are but a few. We also had a brilliant sighting of a marsh fritillary butterfly on the track, one of the UK’s rare species; its caterpillars are primarily reliant on devil’s-bit scabious.
We’ve had the pleasure of Tobermory Primary and Ulva Primary Schools visiting the hide recently too, great to get them outdoors learning about our wildlife. More school visits to come soon, I’m heading out to Iona Primary in the next week and then visiting four different classes in Tobermory!
Thanks for reading again, hope you all enjoy our webcam. If you’re watching and see anything interesting, let me know! Unfortunately I have to tear myself away often, so I’d love to hear what you’re seeing when I’m out and about.