Friday, 11 April 2014

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The chick is named! And a fond farewell...

On Thursday the 5th September I went to Tobermory School to visit the primary 6/7 class I had been working with in the early part of the year during the spring.

The teacher Richard Gawthrope helped me to facilitate the group and we had a slideshow on the chick’s progress and what happened during the season. I gave the children copies of the photographs and information sheet to keep.

They had been given homework the previous night to think about some names for the chick, so I had them work in pairs to come up with one name each.

The next part was funny as the children wanted to vote with their heads on the table so they could not see who else was voting for a secret ballot and they raised their hands if they wanted to vote…

The last two names were Rambo and Orion…

The reason for Rambo was “my dad watches these films” and the reason for Orion was “the birds are hunters and when you watch them fly so high they go up into the sky and disappear to the stars and the star sign for a hunter is Orion.”

We then had a secret paper vote which was opened up in front of staff and children…and Orion won!

The winner who picked the name was Mari - pictured at the front of the picture to the right. Well done Mari for an excellent well thought out name and thank you.

On Monday 9th September I did my last hide walk with a lovely group of people and guess who appeared just on cue…as we were walking back the newly-named juvenile Orion came out and flew over our heads, it was like a fly pass to me saying goodbye!

Tomorrow, I do my last Ranger event, a walk out around Lochbuie with John Clare the RSPB ranger who I have worked with for 6 months and I would like to personally thank him for all his help and support.

I would also like to say well done to Nicky Adcock that has come out on all, the ranger’s walks this season I have done and has supported me over many miles. We have seen some amazing wild life, flora and scenery. Nicky has taken some fantastic photographs and I look forward to seeing them in the winter.

I have met some wonderful extraordinary people at the hide; some very local who came over five times to the hide during the season, to people from abroad who have travelled many, many miles to see these wonderful birds.

I thank all of you that have come to see us at the hide. We have had an extra 700 visitors this year and I hope that many of you return next year to see these wonderful birds. (If you’ve visited in August and September, do return to Mull in the second week of May through to middle of July to see the most activity at the nest during springtime.)

On my journey to work and homeward bound I have seen much wildlife on the road, but last Friday I stopped on the way home to speak to some people who were looking out to sea. This is a favourite spot for seeing an otter. I stopped and went over and got told they were looking at five otters. I got the scopes out the back of the van and sure enough five otters all in one place fishing in the seaweed. Then I saw an amazing view which they had not seen themselves - a basking shark behind the otters swimming and feeding, what a sight! I call that “A  Platinum  Moment” one I shall cherish in my memory for life.

Have a good autumn, winter and stay safe wherever you travel.
I am off to a wedding soon to be a best women that’s a first for me.

Take care, kind regards thank you for following this blog.

Cheryl Callow
Seasonal Ranger

Monday, 26 August 2013

Fungi and forestry

Last week was a very busy week for me. The hide walks continue out to Loch Scridain and we often see the birds out the back, either on the mountains or in their favourite trees.

This recent photo shows Iona in the tree overlooking the Loch in the rain. I have often seen her back at the nest site in the tree there especially when it’s raining hard. August has seen rain most days, and it’s felt more like April.

I have noticed also there has been so much fungi around in the woods - some lovely macro photography to be had if you are keen on nature, like I am.

On Thursday we had a visit from the Forestry Commission and their senior managers who were looking at our hide and site to see in what way we could improve the signage and experience.
A lot was discussed, all for the better and I was very pleased to meet Louise who helps me with this blog!

On Friday, although it was very wet, I had a great day we saw the birds all day and the group of people that came were great fun and lovely people.
I love meeting all those who come from all over the world to this hide it such a great place to work.
Last week I also did a ranger event called Fun with Doggies which went very well in the local woods. Part of my job as a ranger is that I have to do about 15 events through the summer on other subjects and in the north part of the island.

Next week is my last day at the hide. My contract ends then, and John Clare from the RSPB will be about for another three weeks.

If you want to visit the hide please make sure you book as some days we are not open all the time so I do not want you to have wasted journey, call us on 01680 812556.

Until next time, have a good week. I am off for a photography ranger walk this afternoon…

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A busy week on Mull

This week we have seen Iona a couple of times up on the hill, but we have had a lot of rain over the last ten days. It has become harder spotting the birds, but they are about and some days we have some great views - just like the picture below with Fingal sitting in a tree.

 Today I am off doing a bird of prey walk down at Loch Frisa at the old hide to see what we can find with about 14 people, should be good fun and interesting. The naming of the juvenile will now be on 5th September at Tobermory School and I am revisiting the class I met earlier in the year, really looking forward to it. John and I will spend the afternoon together today, writing up the final report for the steering group meeting at the end of the season. In my next entry I’ll be looking back reviewing the season and all the people who called in to see us at the eagle hide…until then keep safe!

Blog published by Louise Boyd on behalf of Cheryl Callow, Mull Ranger

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Juvenile is doing well

The day started with seeing Iona back on the nest and I had not seen her  for 10 days, so it was so good to see her again.

The juvenile bird has been seen many times this week flying about the side of the hill and mountain .

Today we saw the juvenile flying about, and it came out and roosted on a tree that was dead.

The bird was there until a buzzard flew over with its young juvenile bird. The buzzard has  also been out  practising this week flying and hunting over the local fields.

Today I was joined by the two Doreen's as my assistant rangers in my van, we followed the large group around just behind them.

The walk is along the track past the nest and out the other side over looking the Loch where the male bird Fingal hunts.

The two Doreen's were very lucky as they saw the birds in good views followed up by the golden eagle with its juvenile.

The larger group also saw eagles flying in the distance.

As we were standing on the track,  we noticed what look like a small vole but as I got up close you could see it was a shrew. I called John Clare the RSPB Ranger over and he told us it was a pigmy shrew - quite unusual, another golden moment for the groups.

I took the two Doreen's back to the reception hide, where I finished off the talk and tour with them.

When I got back I was greeted by Mark and his wife who had visited  the hide earlier in the year. He is a very keen photographer and is a judge on the Country File Calendar Competition, he’s a very generous man and always willing to share his pictures and photography knowledge. I stopped to have a chat with him about the eagles and wildlife on the island. I took them both back up the path near to the waterfall in case the birds were about, but sadly they had gone ...

If you are considering coming on the trips, remember you need to be able to walk about a mile out and a mile back to the reception hide over a two hour period. You also need to wear sturdy shoes and have a coat incase we get a shower or two.

Trips leave at 10am or 1pm each day, but we are not there on Thursday 8th August as we are both at the Salen show on Mull. 

Written by the Mull Ranger

Monday, 29 July 2013

The chick has fledged...

Last Saturday morning the chick fledged from the nest, and there have been reported sightings of it on top of the tree and it’s been heard calling in the local fields and woodlands.

John the RSPB ranger heard it on Monday and Tuesday. Today we heard the chick on our morning trip but did not hear it or see it on the afternoon trip…

Iona has been seen on the nest tree on Monday of this week.

We are still open but we have changed how we do things by walking out and looking for the birds but sticking to the footpaths. We are still giving the talks about the WTE and showing some of the pictures from this season, if you want to join us we travel out at 10am and 1pm the tours are about 2 hours long.

Please remember to book, and call ahead for opening times. We are not open this Friday 2nd August or Thursday 8th August due to the local shows that are on. We will have a stand at both shows Bunessan and Salen so do pop in and see us.

This was the last picture I took of the chick on Friday 26th July 2013, enjoy ….

Written by the Mull Ranger

Monday, 22 July 2013

Our chick is desperate to get up in the air!

We have had a mixed week of weather from sunshine to mist to rain and the chick has sat through all of this and at the same time wings flapping like mad !

During this week there has been a very International flavour at the hide with visitors from Wisconsin USA, Australia and families from from Austria & Germany.

Our male bird Fingal has been around a lot more this week flying in with food at regular intervals. Many small gosling have been eaten and often the nest if covered with white fluff and feathers! When Fingal lands on the nest, its like a hover craft coming in and blowing all the feathers up in the air, a sight to behold!

Iona watches over her chick at the nest
Iona watches over her chick at the nest

Iona has been sitting on the branch very close to the chick, to the right as you look at the nest. On Thursday, she sat there for five hours without flying off!

The hide will be open all summer until the end of August as the chick will stay in the area and they often come back on the nest for about a month, so please still come and see us.

Once the chick has fledged we will walk you through the Glen to observe all three birds.
Booking is a must and can be done by calling 01680 812556 or visit for more info.

Blog published by Colin Baxter on behalf of Cheryl Callow, Mull Ranger