Ups and Downs in 2021

It’s a case of good news and less good news just now. First, the good news!

Our resident sea eagles Scalla and Anna at Craignure Golf Course fledged a single chick this year. They originally hatched two chicks but one sadly died after 10 days. The chick was ringed in June and fledged in August and has been seen flying well. The golf club, Mull Eagle Watch and Police Scotland kept an eagle-eye on them over the season to ensure they were not disturbed. It can be a long 12 week wait from hatching to fledging but we/they did it! Here’s a photo of their 2021 chick on a soggy day in June (photo by Steve Bentall).

A soggy sea eagle chick by Steve Bentall

The eagle pair are now believed to be in their mid-20s and have been very successful over the years but they are now getting on a bit in eagle years. Last year 2020 they also fledged a single chick which was seen a lot throughout the autumn and early winter but has now long since dispersed and will hopefully be safely exploring others parts of Scotland.

Scalla and Anna began building up their nest before Christmas so we had a good idea where they’d eventually settle. We also liaised closely with Skyport at the time who were busy flying drones with NHS Scotland Covid samples from Mull to Oban. As the take off and landing area is not too far from the eagle roosts and nest wood, it was important that we ensured the safety of both eagles and drones.

Now for the less good news.

We weren’t able to open up for the public viewing side of Mull Eagle Watch again this year. With Covid-related travel restrictions still in place at Easter, the partnership involved (Mull & Iona Community Trust, RSPB Scotland, Forestry & Land Scotland, NatureScot and Police Scotland) decided to hold off for another year. We’ll keep monitoring the ScotGov Covid rules and advice and hope to return to business as normal in 2022. Stay tuned.

For now, we thank you all for your past, present and future interest and support for Mull Eagle Watch and we’ll keep you posted on how Scalla and Anna do over the autumn and winter. For now, as the stags roar, the rowan berries ripen and the wind blows, autumn is here and their nest will be swaying somewhat. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that they make it through this latest wet, unsettled spell.

Mull Eagle Watch was thrilled to be nominated along with some other amazing projects for the 2021 Nature of Scotland Awards ‘Nature Champion of the Decade’. It was put to the public vote in September and if you voted for us, thank you very much! The winner will be announced on 17 November at the online awards ceremony. Find out more here:

Here’s another shot of Scalla and Anna in sunnier times (photo by Iain Erskine). Until next time…in

Scalla and Anna by Iain Erskine.

Mull Eagle Watch team

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