• GMTV - Live!

    It wasn't quite what I'd planned for Monday morning. But at 0500 this morning, the alarm went off, waking just about everyone but me. A sharp jab in the ribs did the trick though. By 0530 I was in the landrover, it was pitch black outside, the rain was tipping down and I was wondering what on earth I was doing. The plan was to do two live interviews on GMTV at 0650 and 0810, primarily about the claims from a few…

    • 30 Sep 2008
  • A day off...?

    Okay, I confess, I've not been to Loch Frisa today. It was family time, a bit of gardening, sorting the pond and getting the firewood in the woodshed. I guess we all prepare for seasons in different ways. But for the autumn and winter ahead, the birds in the garden were doing their fair share of stocking up. Bullfinches were on the rose hips, chaffinches were, well, everywhere and a buzzard was hunting voles out in…

    • 29 Sep 2008
  • Brief update

    For most of today, the weather on Mull has not been at all conducive to finding eagles. However, all the latest satellite data shows that both Mara and Breagha are fine and continue to spend most of their time on the south side of Loch Frisa. Mara continues to be the more active according to the data which had me a little worried about Breagha. However, whenever I've seen them both together, there is no difference in…

    • 28 Sep 2008
  • A new dawn

    At some point I must have wandered back from the phone box to Eastcroft. The team were exhausted but couldn't sleep. We began to prepare ourselves mentally for what had probably happened out on the loch today. And we began to prepare how we were going to explain it to the waiting conservation world. There was little sleep for anyone. We just longed for the dawn to come. Some morning light so we could survey the scene…

    • 27 Sep 2008
  • The best and worst of times

    It really had been the most extraordinary summer. We had been watching history unfold. Finally, after ten long years of waiting, the first pair of white-tailed eagles to nest in the wild in the UK had produced a chick. So much effort had been invested in this very important eaglet. It had been 70 years since white-tailed eagles had last nested here. This was the moment everyone had been working towards. Blondie and her…

    • 26 Sep 2008
  • Bonnie's back!

    Just a short one tonight...please see answers under 'Comments' to various queries some of you have raised recently back at 'They raise us up' from yesterday.

    What a great surprise though...I could hear the hooves of a horse getting closer and closer. Before I could work out which direction the sound was coming from, I heard a familiar bark. Hurtling round the corner of the track, at top speed, came Bonnie…

    • 25 Sep 2008
  • They raise us up

    We said farewell to a good friend of Mull Eagle Watch today. In all types of weather, from the start of incubation to the much longed for hatch, Duncan and Susan would be there on their eagle watch duties. They have been there since the beginning of this amazing project and Frisa and Skye and all their chicks have a lot to thank them for. And yet, for Duncan and Susan, as for all of us, the eagles give so much back.

    We…

    • 24 Sep 2008
  • Ain't No Stoppin Us Now!

    The title of that old McFadden and Whitehead 70's classic seemed very apt today and the words weren't far off the mark either. If you don't know the tune, go on to YouTube and search for it, it'll bring it all back - a blast from the past! The words just summed it up for Mara and Breagha today. There really was no stopping them now.

    In warm, sometimes hot sunshine, the pair of them were up and soaring above…

    • 23 Sep 2008
  • The blonde bombshell

    I can see her now. I was hiking through a glen on Mull when two huge dark birds caught my eye over the far ridge. Two immature sea eagles were soaring along the ridge. Often with their legs down they looked like hang gliders drifting back and forth. One was bigger then the other. I'd stumbled across a young pair (at that time, it was the only pair) and they looked to my inexperienced eye to be prospecting a potential…

    • 22 Sep 2008
  • Nice to see you - to see you - Nice!

    (And I don't just mean the return of Brucie tonight)

    Today dawned much like yesterday but by early afternoon, things had started to improve. Slowly but surely, in from the west came some blue sky. The rain ceased, the waters of Salen bay were still and mirror-like and the sun eased out from behind the clouds. At last!

    I think the landrover is on auto-pilot at the moment. I headed straight for the north shore of Loch…

    • 21 Sep 2008
  • No news is...hopefully, good news

    There are Mull days that are made for eagles and there are Mull days that are not. Today was not the day to be an eagle. The low cloud didn't clear all day and the endless drizzle was, well, endless. On days like this one of the few productive things to be achieved is to catch up on essential admin tasks, the long lists of e-mails, 'phone messages and the various end of season reports. But all the time, you're…

    • 20 Sep 2008
  • Sign of the times

    I made my decision. If Mara had tolerated me arriving in the landrover, getting out, shutting the door and walking right beneath him and out into the field, maybe, just maybe, he'd put up with me doing it all in reverse. With minutes to spare before the crew arrived, I retraced my steps taking care not to look directly at Mara as if I'd never noticed him. I got to the landrover, started her up and drove up the track to…

    • 19 Sep 2008
  • Lights, camera, action!?

    That thin ridge of high pressure has just nudged far enough in to the west coast of Scotland to at least give us a dry day and at times a few warm and sunny moments. I was at Loch Frisa first thing to try and locate the chicks for Gordon and co to film. The sat tag data told me late last night that they were on a hill to the south of the loch and the chances were they might still be there this morning. But some weird sixth…

    • 18 Sep 2008
  • A moment like this

    Tuesday 16 September 2008. 2050hrs 

    It's always comforting to see the chicks again. Despite today dawning wet and grey, it had cleared by lunch time and I headed for the hill where the last sat tag signals had come from. Much to my relief, there was Mara sitting on a rocky hillock with mum Frisa a few metres away. Minutes later in flew Breagha and almost landed on her brother. They looked in good condition, despite the…

    • 17 Sep 2008
  • The winds of change

    One day she was with him. The next she was gone. When Electra the golden eagle suddenly disappeared from her mate's life after possibly decades together, one wonders what effect that has on the one that's left behind. They mate for life. Just like our sea eagle pair Frisa and Skye, the two golden eagles whose territory once covered the north end of Mull would have been close - often inseparable. Of course he would never…

    • 16 Sep 2008
  • Electra - Part II

    I couldn't get through directly to the bird hospital at Wings over Mull - but I knew a man that could. It's one of the things that makes living on this island so special, how everyone pulls together when the need arises. One of our local police officers, PC Finlay Christine, on top of all his other duties, also takes a deep interest in the welfare of the island's wildlife and is instrumental in making  Mull…

    • 15 Sep 2008
  • Electra - the story of an eagle

    White-tailed eagles on Mull take up most of my time here but we also have a very important population of golden eagles which I also monitor closely. The two species co-exist just as they have done for thousands of years although for a long time, after sea eagles were persecuted to extinction, the golden eagles had the skies, moors and cliffs to themselves. It probably was a shock to their system when the mighty sea eagles…

    • 14 Sep 2008
  • And it's goodbye from him...

    I wondered yesterday if our eagles would give Chris a good send off. I should never have doubted them. Today, Chris started this morning, the last day the hide is open this year and his last day on Mull, with Frisa and Skye sitting close to each other, calling to each other occasionally. Then Mara and Breagha joined the family gathering and brought two friends along as well! These were two chicks from 2007 -probably from…

    • 13 Sep 2008
  • A day for reflection

    Today is a good day to reflect and remember. Even on days when the cloud level is low and the drizzle doesn't let up, you know that it won't be long before the clear, blue skies return. The weather here usually moves through rapidly - stand around for an hour and you can get all four seasons. Mull can be a magical place at this time of year - the air seems full of young birds testing new wings, toadstools appear on roadside…

    • 12 Sep 2008
  • Springwatch - the tension mounts

    Skye tried to lift the prey off the tree but it was so entangled he couldn’t and he fell, twisting and writhing, wings flapping, talons still firmly embedded in the prey. I strained my eyes at the bank of monitors, desperately trying to work out if he’d injured himself, broken a leg or a wing. Please, no! The calm in the gallery shattered as what looked initially like a “good bit of telly” began to look more like a serious…
    • 10 Sep 2008
  • Springwatch - the highs and the lows

    It was after my health and safety briefing about blood-sucking sheep and deer ticks that I realised these guys were more used to rigging sports fixtures than natural history outside broadcasts. They looked uneasy and began to inspect themselves even though they had just arrived from their B&Bs. Scott was the most worried. A few minutes later he was back, hands cupped, with something hidden inside. 'Are these ticks…
    • 10 Sep 2008
  • Over the sea for Skye

    Of course we'll never know exactly when Frisa met Skye. We do know that Frisa was seen on the Isle of Skye during her immature years and it's tempting to guess that they paired up there and he followed her home to Mull. Of course, he will have done his own fair share of wandering the hills and glens of the west coast of Scotland at that time and he may have encountered her here. Whatever, whenever, wherever - they were…

    • 9 Sep 2008
  • Meet the parents...

    A great gathering today with over 60 people arriving at the hide in almost unbroken sunshine. If you were there, thank you for coming and I hope you enjoyed yourselves. The setting is wonderful - from the hide looking north over the calm, tranquil waters of Loch Frisa. A fisherman on the shore hoping for a bite from the wild brown trout; on the far hillside, cattle and sheep mingle and graze whilst nearer the hide, the…

    • 8 Sep 2008
  • It's party time

    A stunningly beautiful day here on Mull. Feels like early autumn is in the air but it's been sun, sun sun from dawn to dusk. Our Loch Frisa sea eagle family are all accounted for today. The chicks have been up and soaring together, revelling in this Indian Summer we're so lucky to have at the moment - compared to many other parts of the UK. Skye has achieved the record for sitting about in the sun. He flew into his…

    • 7 Sep 2008
  • The longest day - on a wing and a prayer

    There are many great things about working for the RSPB and many great things about working on Mull. At the end of this long summer's day, all of those things began to merge into one adrenalin filled finale. I hated doing it but I had to leave the chicks safe in their new ground nest while I half walked and half ran back to the nearest farm and a phone line. By the time I got there I could hardly speak. After a cup…

    • 5 Sep 2008