Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Eagle Bonanza

What a day!  In all the years I've been watching eagles on Mull I've never known anything quite like it.  Yesterday we were treated to the most amazing views of our Sea Eagles - so spectacular one of our visitors was in tears.  If that wasn't enough, the local Golden Eagles put in an appearance too, and not to be outdone our resident Buzzard joined in with the display.

When I arrived meeting point the visitors waiting for the trip to begin had been watching not one, not two but three Golden Eagles - two adults and a juvenile - flying towards Glen Seilisdeir from Ben More, getting closer than I've seen them before and seemingly unperturbed by a group of very excited visitors watching them.

We started the trip and watched both Sea Eagle trips on the nest - our female still keeps returning and stealing food from her smaller sibling.  Half of the group had gone further along the track with the other ranger, and suddenly the walkie-talkie beeped and the message came through that both adult Sea Eagles were sitting in a tree.  My group hurried along to join the others and sure enough, there were Iona and Fingal sitting together on the same branch of a spruce tree.  Could it get any better?

A few minutes later, an adult Buzzard flew over doing just that - buzzing the eagles and getting frighteningly close.  At first the eagles seemed oblivious to the cheeky bird, but then Iona, probably remembering how the Buzzard had tried to steal food from her nest, took off from the tree in the direction of the nest.  And then ..... our female chick appeared from nowhere, powering through the sky straight towards the Buzzard.  This was just too much for Fingal who took off as well, and the three eagles began to circle together getting higher and higher (but not before flying about ten metres right over our heads).  Next to the adult birds the chick looks huge - even dwarfing her mother.  She has certainly been getting more than her share of the food!  We watched all the birds getting higher and higher until almost out of sight - our fledgling flying the highest of all, still chasing the Buzzard who eventually decided that discretion was the better part of valour and changed tack flying back to his or her territory.

We walked back to the hide to make a quick check on our remaining chick at the nest - still not ready to fledge although he has been making little sorties onto the branch at the edge of the nest.  After watching those gargantuan birds flying above us he looked so small in comparison, but I'm sure he'll soon catch up.

And the only disappointment of a wonderful day - while all the excitement was going on where was my camera - back in the van of course!


  1. Thank you so much for these great updates on the Sea Eagles. As we had to cancel our two weeks holiday on Mull in June, due to illness, we are having to make do with reading about what we have missed. We very much appreciate your website, and your work.
    (All the best to Steve Irvine...good to see him mentioned recently)
    Lesley and Jim Curwen

    1. So sorry you had to miss out on your holiday, and do hope you can make it next year. It's been a great season in our new hide and we've been lucky enough to have some superb photos given to us by visiting photographers with permission to use them to illustrate the blog, so I hope they have helped you enjoy the birds from afar. It's been a really good breeding season on Mull for the Sea Eagles and other raptors, especially Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl.
      Will certainly pass on your message to Steve who retires later this year - I'll really miss his company and wealth of knowledge at the hide next year, but I'm sure he'll find it difficult to keep away!

    2. To Lesley and Jim Curwen - I passed your wishes to Steve Irvine and he sends you his best regards.


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