Farewell From Mull Eagle Watch 2019

Alas, the eagles have gone on a journey.

After weeks of watching Scalla and Anna training their young eaglet in the nearby bay. We have had countless up close and personal experiences with the young eaglet. In particular as it soared past us a quite a close proximity multiple times in recent tours. Clearly figuring out navigation and how best to get the wind beneath its wings.
On one particular day, our small tour group turned the corner and as we did so, the young eagle was perched on the beach. Noticing us, it took off and soared over our heads within just a few metres. We could hear the sound it made as it beat its wings and it was as if we felt the wind from the movement on our faces. The young eagle then proceeded to fly towards the nearby hills and seemed to be attempting to hunt. Our group was astonished to say the least. We never intend on getting so close to the eagles, but sometimes they come to you – without warning!

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Photo of eagle chick by Brian Redpath.
As time went on over the past month, we had a few days of long duration eagle watches. The entire family of eagles, all three of them, perched on rocks out at sea or in the nearby bay.
One day in particular we witnessed Scalla scavenge some food off a hooded crow, only to be scared off by the young eaglet. Chowing down on the prey, it obviously had been left waiting for a bit too long for dinner by the parents.

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Photo of chick looking out to sea by Rebecca Read.

Training has clearly been quite successful this year, as it’s been nineteen years since Scalla and Anna started breeding, so they are very much seasoned parents.

 

As time went on we noticed the family spending less and less time in the territory. The last sighting we had was of the three of them soaring over the ridge at Morvern, over on the mainland.
This is the furthest distance they have all been away from the nesting site since the beginning of the season. They are now free to continue training and helping their young chick become a strong and independent hunter in lands far away. How exciting for the eagle family to have successfully raised a chick, despite all the challenges they face as a species.

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Some incredible sights other than eagles in the last week.
With no eagles in the territory, we have been turning our attention to the majestic coastline and out along the Sound of Mull. Sights out and around the area has given us rewarding views of distant golden eagles soaring along the ridge of the monumental hill behind us. Preferring to hunt it’s own live prey, the golden eagles are best spotted further inland.

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Golden eagles seen soaring along the ridge line from afar. Photo by Caoimhe Keohane

Not to mention a pair of playing otters on the nearby rocks. Seals in the Sound of Mull. Including a great variety of waders including curlew, ringed plover, turnstone, dunlin, great black backed gull, black headed gull, redshank, red breasted merganser, goosander, eider duck, cormorant, shag and gannets diving out at sea.

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All of this in either beautiful sunshine with rainbows in abundance, or in gale force winds and showers. Nature knows no such thing as bad weather, it’s just weather. Our group in the photograph above were not deterred by the classic Scottish weather. We even had a rainbow appear once the sun came out. Enthusiasm for the extensive range of elements is a necessity here in the Hebridean Islands of Scotland. Sure, you know what they say: variety is the spice of life!

Gun teagamh (without a doubt in Scottish Gaelic) a successful season had here at Mull Eagle Watch 2019 with Eagle Rangers Lizzy and Caoimhe.

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Thank you to all the individuals and organisations who supported us this season. In various ways such as attending a tour, gifting us a donation or simply reading this blog and our other social media posts.
A huge thank you to all the partners:

Mull and Iona Community Trust, RSPB, Police Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland. Also to Craignure Golf Club of course, for all the hard work put in by the volunteers and superb baking skills The tours have really appreciated the cake and tea and last but certainly not least the staff at Visit Scotland, Craignure who took our bookings and kept our visitors informed and up to date.

Over and out for this year. Many more eagle adventures to come.
Soraidh slàn le mo charaidean,
(Farewell my friends)

Caoimhe Keohane

RSPB Community Engagement and Tourism Officer

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