Monday, 18 May 2009

Time for a bath

Today dawned warm but dull with the forecast for rain. This morning at the hide we were treated to great views of both adult Sea Eagles flying and bringing in food, and the chicks were very active on the nest. At 33 days old now they are growing fast and are now greyish brown - difficult to see against the branches in the nest until they move.

The juvenile Golden Eagle came through again - he nearly always takes a direct line over the nest and I wonder if he is looking at the store of food that our Sea Eagles have left for their chicks. Thank goodness he hasn't been tempted to go and help himself, and our adult birds don't seem to be too worried by his visits.

This afternoon the promised rain arrived. Both adult Sea Eagles were away from the nest but within minutes of the heavy rain starting both flew back in, one with food, and the chicks were fed and sheltered.

I took a group of visitors to our forward hide and we were treated to the most amazing sight. Frisa flew out of the trees and circled above the loch in front of us getting lower and lower. We all thought she was going to take a fish but no, she landed in the shallows about 150 metres away from us. First she drank, and then she bathed. Not just a quick dip, but a real dunking, shaking her wings and dipping her whole body under the water. After a while she walked out onto the shore, had a good shake and began to preen. We could all see her with the naked eye, but with binoculars and scopes the views were amazing.

Once she was happy with her appearance she took off and flew to the trees opposite us, all the time being mobbed by two Hooded Crows who actually made contact with her. One of them had the temerity to land in the tree next to her, but it soon decided she was a bit too close for comfort and disappeared.

It was certainly the closest view I've ever had of an adult sea eagle, and our visitors were speechless. After 38 days of incubating her eggs, followed by another month tending her chicks and feeding them, Frisa must have been feeling very much in need of a clean up - she really did seem to be enjoying her ablutions. Now her tail is whiter than white again!

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