Monday, 29 April 2013

Visitors from far and wide, come to visit the Eagle Hide!

Easter week came and went bringing with it many visitors to The Eagle Hide. During this time, Fingal and Iona have been keeping their eggs incubated and whilst doing so, have witnessed a number of visitors to their tree! These brave birds have included a Great Spotted Woodpecker which flew in and landed right on the top of the tree, a Hoodie on a fleeting visit and then last Friday, a Siskin even perched right on the edge of the nest. Our eagles were very tolerant and just sat there, appearing to admire the incomer.

The week after Easter we had visit from a lovely family from Conneticut in the USA. Their parents had lived on the Isle of Mull, Mark and Fiona Eden-Bushell, whose daughters were former pupils at Bunessan School.

U.S visitors to the Mull Eagle Hide
Our U.S visitors with Mull roots
  One of the daughters was named after the island of Iona and was with Marie, Jason and Calum. The other family members were Lucetta, Angus, Maggie and Grant.

They brought with them good weather on the day of their visit and it was lovely to see young people thoroughly enjoying their roots and heritage. Thank you for visiting us at the Hide and I hope I got all of the names correct!

The following week brought in plenty of rain and wind. I was a little worried about Iona on the nest but she sat right through the hard weather, determined to keeping those eggs protected and warm.
We had yet more great people at the Hide despite the conditions and Stu Darby was very helpful, sending me some lovely photos of the ‘changeover’ during the week of 15th April.

The changeover. Image by Stu Darby
The changeover. Image by Stu Darby
 This was when Fingal flew in and the pair did some very careful manoeuvring around the nest with their talons turned in so as not to damage the eggs. This is always a very delicate operation and just amazing to watch.

During the week of the 22nd April some agricultural students, a group of Scottish Forest Rangers and Laurie Campbell, a Wildlife Photographer, visited us. It was a delight to meet all these wonderful people and to exchange wildlife tips, information, experiences and stories. The agricultural students were particularly complimentary about the Eagle Hide and staff.  

Iona and Fingal at the nest.
Iona and Fingal at the nest.
Image by agricultural student Claire Holland
 I was privileged again to see another changeover whilst on my own on Thursday and just before the group in the afternoon arrived.

On Friday a young couple, on holiday from Northern Ireland returned for their second visit of their stay and were lucky enough to share their morning with Laurie Campbell. He was there specifically to photograph the Eagles and the people visiting, for an article he had been commissioned to do in relation to Camper vans. What an honour to have him in the Hide.

I got plenty of tips about wildlife photography and he proved to be a very caring, sharing person who was clearly a consummate professional.
His patience and determination were second to none and both John and I left him on site mid afternoon on a cold grey day, sitting tight and prepared to wait for his shot until early evening. The Eagles had changed over with the male hunkered down and as I made my way back to the office, I saw the female flying out over the woods.

What will the week of 29th April bring? If you are coming to the Isle of Mull please come and find us.

Call us on 01680 812556 to avoid disappointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Visitors young and old enjoy spectacular eagle sightings at our wildlife hide

Sea Eagle courtesy of Mark Blake Nottinghamwildlife.comIn the first three weeks of the season, glorious weather has helped give visitors spectacular views of the nest and birds, from the viewing area that enables a close encounter with these majestic creatures. 

Positioned amongst the trees, the viewing area allows clear sightings, while providing enough cover to prevent disturbance of the nesting birds. 

Numerous people, varying in age from young children to people in their eighties, have watched the birds. There have already been visits by three honeymoon couples, our local MP, and the Environment Minister who presented a £ 6,261 cheque to Mull and Iona community groups, comprising the money raised from Mull Eagle Watch in 2012.  This brings the total to well over £ 50,000.

Many excellent photographs have been taken and reactions and feedback from all the visitors has been tremendous, with one man in his 60’s, who has been trying unsuccessfully to see an eagle for over 20 years, in tears.  Memorable moments so far have included the interaction of both adult birds on the nest with much rearrangement of nest material and calling. 

The presence in the sky above the nest for a short while of an ‘intruder’ white-tailed eagle juvenile from the east coast of Scotland also lead to much vocalisation, while the arrival at speed of a female sparrowhawk in the viewing area almost lead to agitation of a different kind.  Other highlights included close views of a treecreeper’s antics delicately picking insects from adjacent tree trunks above visitors heads and regular visits of a friendly robin, which kept everyone entertained.

All is looking well for an excellent season and we hope to post a range of images taken at the hide this year over the course of the next few months.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Our Eagles and other wildlife enjoy Mull's great Easter weather

Mull White Tailed Eagles
The weather this Easter week has been fantastic on the Isle of Mull. Iona, the hen bird has been busy sitting on her eggs in the warmth of the sun incubating. Fingal the male has been busy too, making sure the nest is kept fresh with larch and melina (white hill) grass .

He has also been bringing in food for his mate, in the form of large fish and small mammals each day.
There have been several change overs which we have witness at the hide with Iona going off to have a break and feed herself.
Our visitors have been treated to a number of great sightings and yesterday afternoon they witnessed Fingal on the nest calling out for Iona. This was a new noise to many of the children and adults visiting the hide, who had never heard eagle conversation before.

We have also had the delight of a visiting sparrowhawk at our woodland hide, who boldly flies through the hide to the amazement of our visitors! Other visiting wildlife include a small robin at the hide who greets us on a daily basis, whilst we are keeping our eyes peeled for the Scottish Crossbill that is resident in these woods too but no sightings as yet.

Other birds of interest are the local buzzards ,who nest near by and the regular female hen harrier who cleared all of  the chaffinches off the feeders at the reception hide on Tuesday with ease. The male chaffinches are in abundance too on the spruce tree on the feeders in their bright red colour, just like Christmas baubles.

The weather for the week is looking very good so if you are planning a visit to Mull, don't forget to book a trip to the Eagle Hide.