Monday, 13 June 2011

Life at Loch Frisa

It's a while since I've posted to the blog, although we've kept you up to date with "tweets". Skye and Frisa have had another unproductive year despite laying and incubating an egg. The 38 days incubation period came and went with no sign of food coming in and after another 3 weeks, when the eagles seemed to lose interest, we sent a licensed climber up to the nest to find out what had been going on. He found a single egg (unusual for Skye and Frisa as they normally lay two), and analysis showed that the egg had been fertile but had addled. Either they had been disturbed - unlikely with a round-the-clock watch on the nest, or the egg had chilled, or some other unknown reason.

As there was no point in focusing on the nest we decided to alter the trip slightly to give our visitors the best possible chance of seeing the eagles on one of their favourite perches. We now meet our visitors at the north end of Loch Frisa and escort them along the loch, stopping at various points along the way. The loch (Mull's largest freshwater loch) is over five miles long and the views over it are spectacular whatever the weather. We discovered that one of Skye and Frisa's favourite perches is in the wood where they started building their nest at the beginning of this year, before they returned to lay in the "Springwatch" nest. What is even more interesting is that from time to time they have been joined by a juvenile which we think is Heather, their chick from 2009!

We see them in other locations too, sometimes on the other side of the loch, and occasionally when we arrive at the hide we find them sitting in their favourite trees just opposite us. Our visitors tell us that they love the lochside drive, and we spot plenty of other wildlife too, including Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Red Breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, and a single young Whooper Swan which flew in with it's parents last October and decided not to join them when they migrated this Spring. Our Sand Martin colony in the quarry behind the hide car park seems busier than ever this year, and they are a welcome sight as we know that they, and the Swallows, are helping to keep the midges under control.

This year we've been laying on activities for children during the school holidays, one of which was building a lifesize Sea Eagle nest. I expected it to take them some time to build, but all the same I collected and "pruned" two trailers full of branches, twigs, moss etc. so that they would have plenty of material. However, I could have done with at least five trailers full as the whole lot disappeared in minutes. One of the Foresters made a great framework as you can see from the photos, and everyone was delighted with the end results - so much so that some of the children decided to try the nest out for size!

The finished nest - with occupants!

When the nest was finally complete I almost expected to find an eagle sitting on it the next time I drove along the loch. I wonder what Skye and Frisa make of it?

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