Well we are halfway through the season! Hard to imagine that it’s already been three months since the day that Mull Eagle Watch opened. The chick at this stage is nine weeks old. So we should hopefully be witnessing the chick regularly flapping its newly formed wings… measuring up to 2 meters! Absolutely incredible. We have already seen it attempting this a few times on the smaller scale but once that ten week mark comes it will be regularly attempting to figure out the technique that it’s parents use to fly. From the beginning, we saw that fluffy little grey head looking like a little toy. Hard to understand how something can be so adorable from so far away! 😅 Then through the weeks witnessing the exponential rate of growth. Now at the point where it’s nearly the size of its parents!
Plumage is fairly mottled…. yet to grow into that gorgeous signature pale head and brown body with the fanned white tail. It will take about 4 years for this beautiful little eagle to form that majestic notorious white-tailed eagle plumage. And so, as we know, the feet and talons have been fully formed since very early giving it the ability to rip apart prey- holding it down with its enormous feet!
The tours have been going splendidly, we’ve had lots of very interesting and passionate people coming along asking lots of really great questions- which when I hear one I think is fantastic I tweet the answer on our Twitter; Mull Eagle Watch.
For a few weeks we were predominantly seeing the chick in the nest and many of the tours the parents were out hunting more and more, as they have finally after months of being confined to the little nest (although to us it’s not so little, in comparison to every other bird species….it’s about the size of a double bed!!!) 😂 They can finally go off on longer hunting trips, spreading their wings! You can imagine what it must feel like to be such a large bird with such an expensive wingspan and to not be able to go soaring whenever you wish! These birds are born to travel, born to soar…. now finally that the chick is old and strong enough to be left on its own for that little bit longer- these parents are taking the opportunity to stretch their enormous beautiful wings and go on journeys throughout their terrain and even further afield 🙂🦅
We can confirm the nest itself seems secure and strong from when we went into the forest during the ringing session a few weeks back. The experience which was featured in the newspapers The Herald and the Oban Times: Justin Grant (ringer #1) took a photo of Andrew Ford (ringer #2) and the enormous eaglet!
A small group was given the rare opportunity to view the nest from below the enormous ancient Scots Pine within the stunning native woodland where they have chosen to set up their home for the last 5 years. We could really feel the stability of their five-year-old home. Made with branches, sticks and twigs, it was conical in shape and deep. The birds sitting normally on the plateau of the nest. The plateau insulated and lined with softer materials such as sphagnum moss and moor grass. Throughout the forest floor surrounding the nest we found many different feathers of a variety of bird species. Clearly whatever the Eagles had been bringing home… many Fulmar feathers were found and it gave us a rare insight into what these guys get up to on a daily basis nourishment wise.
There was another nest in an undisclosed location on the island with a chick in it that actually fell out of the nest! The chick miraculously fell with the nest and was unharmed, landing on the ground. For three weeks the parents fed the chick on the nest until one of our RSPB people on the island discovered what had happened and noticed that the parents had been feeding the chick on the ground successfully resulting in a ground fed chick in nest! Healthy and thriving… this is not unusual in places like Norway where white-tailed Eagles do nest on the ground.
Other than the eaglet and the nest, the parents Scalla and Anna are doing absolutely phenomenally. They often are seen perched proudly on nearby trees gazing out to the sound of Mull across to the mainland. Occasionally we will see one of them spearheading it out to sea and coming back moments later being mobbed by gulls…. more than likely (with its eyesight 10 times stronger than human being the ability to see nearly 2 km in the distance)😲 Scalla or Anna would have seen some gulls fishing and decided to snatch what they have been working hard to get! No wonder you often see white tailed eagles being mobbed by other birds… they are without a doubt the cheekiest (and profoundly majestic, of course) birds in the sky…
Opportunistic Hunters is exactly what these guys are!
Oher than the eagles here at Mull Eagle Watch, our tours have consisted of big and small groups of very excited and passionate individuals who come out with us to spot other interesting wildlife. We have a colony of seals that are regularly sunbathing (or cloud bathing!) on a rocky island nearby. They have got pups at the moment too, and it’s always heartwarming to see the pups through our binoculars… no matter what age you are a young seal is adorable. 😍
Regular multiple families of greylag geese with their various sizes of Gosling , paddling alongside their parents. Guarantees even on a cloudy day to be a ray of sunshine 🙂
The Common and Arctic Tern that we have nesting along the shore have chicks now which are very active! The terns definitely notice our tour groups and make quite the racket (be sure to watch out when you’re taking the dogs to the beach for shore nesting birds as the eggs and chicks are camouflaged with the pebbles!)
A few ringed plover are local to the shore, running out from the bank each time we walk past. Very cute!
Turnstone, dunlin, merganser, goosander… all of the gulls!
It really is wildlife heaven down here at Mull Eagle Watch 🙂
Your Eagle Rangers,
Caoimhe and Lizzy
VisitScotland Craignure iCentre on 01680 812556 to book.
Thanks for reading,
RSPB Community Information and Tourism Officer