Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Peace reigns at Glen Seilisdeir

All is well at our Sea Eagle nest, and Iona and Fingal are the proud parents of two healthy chicks. They are almost two weeks old and are growing rapidly. At three days old we were already seeing wobbly, fluffy white heads bobbing about in the nest - now there are the first signs of grey showing through the white. The heads have stopped wobbling and are now expertly aiming for mum's beak - provided it is full of food!

To begin with Iona did all the brooding of her new family, with Fingal in charge of catching their food, but now both adults take turns. So far the chicks have been fed mainly on fish and seabirds such as Fulmars. To begin with the parent birds tore off tiny pieces of food to offer to their chicks, their enormous beaks bigger by far than the chicks' heads. With each day the morsels of food are getting larger and the chicks are getting greedier - it really isn't surprising that by eight to nine weeks they will be fully grown, and in ten weeks' time they will be ready to leave the nest.

As you can see by the photograph (taken for us by islander Alan Jack) the nest is very exposed, of necessity because with a wingspan of 2.4 metres the adults have to be able to spread their wings before launching themselves from the tree. You can just see Iona's pale head as she broods her charges on the nest.

To give you an idea of size the nest is about two metres across and just over half a metre deep, with a nest cup where the chicks lie and a built up surround so they are safe from falling. Over the last weekend the weather on Mull was atrocious and we were very concerned for the chicks' safety. Strong cold wind and heavy rain can be lethal for young birds and it was with some concern that we arrived on Monday to see if the nest was still intact with its precious contents. Thank goodness it was and as the weather warmed and the sun came out we were very relieved to see that all was well.

Last Friday we were visited by an assessor from the Green Tourism Business Scheme, and we are now awaiting our grading. All our power is provided from solar panels, and we strive to be eco-friendly in all that we do, so we hope that the assessor was impressed with what he saw.

The hide has been really busy, and everyone loves the new format. As the chicks grow we will see more and more activity at the nest, so if you are heading to Mull this summer do come to see us.

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