Monthly Archives: April 2016

There’s No Business Like Snow-Business

We’ve had a Happy Event here at Mull Eagle Watch – but true to form, the Scottish weather is threatening to throw a spanner in the works…

This week it was confirmed that Star and Hope, the White-tailed Eagles of West Ardhu Community Forest, had hatched a single chick.

Our suspicions that an arrival was imminent were raised when Hope’s behaviour underwent a noticeable change.

After 38-days of sitting quietly during her turn at incubation, Hope was suddenly animated – standing up often and peering curiously between her legs. She seemed reluctant to leave the nest, and wouldn’t change places with the male when he solicited a swap.

By lunchtime the following day, Star was bringing in prey and we could see Hope reaching down to feed their tiny eaglet.

However, the good times didn’t last. No sooner had the chick enjoyed its first meal than an arctic blast of icy weather swept over Mull; bringing sleet, snow and bone-chilling winds.

Eagle chicks are unable to regulate their own body temperature until they are around 10-days old. As such, this unseasonal snowfall represents a very real risk of hypothermia for our hatchling.

Watching the silent flakes accumulate, I can’t help but pity this scrap of life – clinging to the warm underside of its parent as the cold gathers around them.

Star and Hope are experienced. They know that they must sit tight at all costs.

For now, all we can do is wait.

To watch the drama unfold, come and see us at NWMCWC’s West Ardhu site.

Booking is essential, so please call: 01680 812 556

Stephanie Cope

Community Ranger for Mull Eagle Watch

To get the latest from our sister site at Tiroran Community Forest, please see:


Hide and Seek

The first week of Mull Eagle Watch 2016 is complete and under our belt!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many, lovely guests that have visited West Ardhu and Tiroran since we opened last Monday.

Though the weather has been a bit of a mixed bag, the eagles – Star, Hope, Fingal and Iona – have provided some exceptional views for our visitors.

Guests at West Ardhu were treated to an absolutely breath-taking fly over from Hope on Tuesday, as she left the nest and headed east right over the top of the hide. She did three laps of the clearing to the front of us, low down and perfectly lit by the afternoon sun.

At this point, she had been on the nest almost all day, and was visibly enjoying the chance to stretch her enormous wing.

Hope’s manner was very relaxed – demonstrating that she was comfortable with our presence at the hide. As a guide, it’s very satisfying to be rewarded in this way for considerate behaviour. Courtesy and patience are the most important ingredients for successful wildlife watching.

I’ve been fortunate enough to live alongside Mull’s white-tailed eagles for several years, but this encounter must rank as one of the closest and most beautiful moments that I have experienced with them. The atmosphere, as she passed directly above us, was one of silent and respectful wonder.


Stephanie Cope

Community Ranger for Mull Eagle Watch

To get the latest from our sister site at Tiroran Community Forest, visit the RSPB’s Mull Eagles blog.