Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Still waiting

Although it is way past time for Skye and Frisa's remaining egg to hatch, they are still incubating, taking it in turns to sit on the nest whatever the weather. There is an outside chance that they might have recycled and laid another egg, but this is so rare it is really clutching at straws. It is more likely that the eagles just aren't quite ready to give up yet, but sooner or later they will lose interest in the remaining egg that hasn't hatched, and go back to normal everyday life. I think this is beginning to happen now as the off-duty bird seems to be spending longer and longer away from the nest, rather than being on hand to relieve the bird that is sitting.

Once they have given up we will start to see more of them again, sitting in their favourite perch trees preening, and hunting for prey. Frisa has already started to moult - we have watched her pulling at a wing feather that was sticking up at a strange angle, but wasn't quite ready to come out.

Our Buzzard-cam is as popular as ever, with the female appearing to do most of the incubating. She calls when she has had enough and usually the male returns to take over, although yesterday he was hunting over the hill opposite the nest and ignored her calls before returning to the nest for five minutes. When he took off again his mate came back immediately, but was obviously not happy and took out her frustration on a twig in the nest.

The farmer who lives further along the track told us that he often sees Barn Owls hunting the fields close to the hide, so we have now put up a nest barrel in an isolated tree. We are planning to put a camera in the barrel next week, so hopefully we will be able to watch a Barn Owl family later in the season! Barn Owls do well on Mull - I monitor them and ring the chicks and in a year when there is a good population of Short-tailed Field Voles on the island we can have around 25 nesting pairs. There is plenty of excellent habitat, not too much fast traffic and usually a good food supply. Their only real problem is a lack of nest sites - Barn Owls like to nest in isolated hollow trees or old barns. There is at least one pair nesting in a cleft in a cliff face, but we also have a number of nestboxes and nest barrels fixed onto trees, and these are proving popular with the owls.

Next week is Mull and Iona Wildlife Week, so the island will be busy. We're expecting plenty of visitors to the hide and there are other events planned all around the island.

1 comment:

  1. Really sorry to hear nest has failed. Such wonderful birds and such a wonderful island. Thanks for such an informative visit to the hide.
    D and M Hodgkins


Please feel free to leave your comments on the blog. We've got a few house rules:
1. We (Forestry Commission Scotland) will review all comments and reserve the right to not publish them at our discretion.
2. There will be a time delay between submission and posting. Comments posted on a Saturday or Sunday won't be moderated until the following Monday.
3. Please make comments appropriate and relevant.
4. If you've a comment or question about Mull Sea Eagles you can e-mail as we might not be able to respond here.
5. We won't publish comments that are abusive, indecent, unlawful or defamatory; published comments may be removed at any time; and individuals are personally liable for the comments they submit.