Monday, 23 August 2010

Life at Loch Frisa

They may not have chicks this year, but Skye and Frisa are keeping us on our toes. With no young to rear they have had plenty of time to themselves and have found several new places to roost, and although they are still up and down the loch we are never quite sure where they are going to be. This is an added bonus for our visitors as they are often taken on an extra journey to different viewpoints, and as a result we have been treated to rare sightings of other special wildlife too!

One favourite place overlooks the loch from a high vantage point, and we have had the occasional view of Black-throated Divers (although we usually hear their mournful call before we see them). Red-throated Divers have also been seen, and these stunning birds have been venturing closer to the head of the loch near to the hide.

Our Buzzard chick fledged successfully and is seen daily. Occasionally the female leaves a piece of food on the nest to give him a helping hand, but generally he is managing to hunt well for himself, still favouring frogs. He is easily recognised by his juvenile plumage, and by the fact that he has inherited his father's tail - two ginger feathers in the middle of the other brown ones. In today's torrential rain he was hoping the worms would come to the surface and was running around on the ground and pouncing every so often. He calls frequently - probably reminding his parents that he is still there - and he has turned into quite a character, very popular with our visitors. Sometimes we see all three Buzzards flying together.

All the other Sea Eagle chicks on the island have fledged now - of our ten pairs eight were successful and produced a total of ten healthy fledglings between them. Although they have all left their nests, they are still in the vicinity, and there have been some great views of the chicks sitting with their parents. Two more chicks have been satellite tagged this year so you will soon be able to follow them on the RSPB website when they start to venture further afield.

Skye and Frisa may not have a family this year, but they are reinforcing their pair bond as we often see them sat side by side on the same branch, and recently they were perched with their necks entwined (more like a pair of swans!). As they are not defending a breeding territory now their daughter from last year, Heather, has decided it is safe to return to roost with her parents and we sometimes see all three of them sat together. Her beak is almost the same bright yellow as the adults' now, although it will be three or four years before she gets her full white tail.

Our large flock of Siskins have fledged all their young and left the area now, although the Chaffinches are still going strong. The Redpoll family are still visiting the feeders, and both the Pied and Grey Wagtails nested in the quarry by the hide car park. The Sandmartin colony has been constantly busy with the first brood fledged and the second brood still to go, all of which has been captured on our camera showing live footage in the hide.

So there is plenty to see on Loch Frisa, and if you are thinking of visiting Mull in the next month or two, do come and see us at the hide.

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