It can’t be easy, learning how to eagle.
Wobbling inexpertly on a spruce branch, you can almost see the brow of NWMCWC’s 10-week old chick furrowing as he tries to marshal his gigantic wings and make them flap at the same time.
So far his efforts have yielded mixed results: on Monday, he jumped from a side branch back into the nest – but finished by skidding on his keel and almost bumping into the tree trunk. Tuesday saw two yellow feet and a pair of brown, bird trousers dangling optimistically a foot above the nest platform… before crashing down in a mess of dark feathers and pine needles.
Once his dignity was recovered, beady eyes popped out from behind the foliage. The short feathers on the back of the chick’s head were spiked up in excitement; it was clear that he couldn’t wait to try it all again.
The adults, meanwhile, perch in stately silence above. Their capacity for sitting seems to be almost limitless.
At times it feels like civilizations could rise and fall and Star would still be stapled to the right of the nest, staring into the middle distance and brooding over his eagle thoughts – whatever those might be.
Luckily, these marathon bouts of sitting are interspersed with nuggets of action.
The parent birds still like to give us all the once-over from time to time, circling low and lazy over the hide for their adoring public (Hope’s hand wave needs a bit of work; aside from that, she could give any Royal a run for their monarchy).
The mood at the nest tree is relaxed. The chick is able to tear up prey for itself, so carcasses are pretty much dropped and left for it by the adults.
Though it isn’t always easy to see what is being brought in, Fulmar appears to be a popular menu choice.
It has to be said that Star’s beautiful white tail is looking somewhat grubby these days – being a much besmirched shade of vomit yellow (!) This is likely thanks to fulmar oil.
So, as we approach fledging time, I expect there’ll be some skinned knees, collisions and calamities… but when the stabilizers come off and this youngster takes his first “proper” flight, I guarantee that I will be as pleased and as proud as punch.
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Community Ranger for Mull Eagle Watch
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