Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Four seasons in two days at the hide

Things are moving up a gear at Loch Frisa with only 9 days left to go before we expect our first chick to hatch. Skye and Frisa are patiently sitting it out and taking it in turns to incubate, but the recent weather must have confused them. One day we have brilliant sunshine and temperatures of 20 degrees, the next it is 6 degrees and pouring with rain. And as the weather changes so does the eagles' behaviour.

When it is wet the bird on duty is way down in the nest, huddled around the egg(s) to keep them warm and dry, and just occasionally raising its head over the edge of the nest to check all is well. On the warmer days it will sit a little higher in the nest, maybe preening from time to time and rearranging the twigs on the nest.

During the torrential rain last week there were very few changeovers, with the incubating bird patiently sitting it out for hours, but on the first day of fine weather the eagles were changing over every two or three hours.

Today was one of sunshine and showers, and during one of the sunny spells we watched Skye gently turning the eggs underneath him before settling down again to wait for his mate. Frisa, on the other hand, had enjoyed 6 hours off the nest returning just after our last trip to the hide had finished. She can be forgiven for being away for so long, since she is usually the one to stay on the nest all night.

Both birds have been bringing in grass and twigs to line the nest and keep it clean, something that they will continue to do until the chicks fledge. There has been plenty of activity from other wildlife, including a male and female Hen Harrier seen in the same area on separate occasions so we are hoping to watch a pair sky-dancing in the future.

Yesterday we were watching two Buzzards being mobbed by a Raven, when in flew Skye, then a Peregrine Falcon joined in the fray. The Raven transferred its attentions to Skye who quickly turned the tables and our last sight of them was of the Raven disappearing over the ridge hotly pursued by a very indignant Skye!

So far this week our trips have all been full, so if you are thinking of visiting the Sea Eagle hide do be sure to book a place through the booking office on 01680 812556.

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