4th July 2017
The huge eaglet in Tiroran Community Forest has been getting flappy and giving our visitors fantastic views!
The chick, who we think may be a female (according to the measurements taken by the ringing team back on 9th June), is becoming ever more active on the nest, much to the delight of our Mull Eagle Watch visitors. With brown plumage, it is rather camouflaged on the eyrie but of course, our fantastic Swarovski and Viking scopes allow us to see right into the nest and watch its every move.
Both tour groups today were spoilt with views of the adults soaring around overhead, flashing their gleaming white tails at their admirers gasping away far below. I could barely get a word in edgeways for being interrupted by the adults appearing in view!
And at 8 weeks old, the chick is feeding itself with the prey its parents are bringing in. It still has two weeks to go until it reaches adult size and a further two before it makes its first big leap of faith. We’ll hopefully get to see some branching in the coming weeks – when the eaglet hops around in the nest and on surrounding branches before it finally jumps off for good. But it already looks like its becoming unsettled and bored as it watches the world go by outside of the eyrie. Today, I watched as the eaglet had a right good flap about. Its incredible to see just how huge its wing span is when only two months ago it was in an egg not much larger than your standard apple! Oh how they grow up so quickly.
Eaglet flapping its wings
Once hatched, the chick was a pale grey ball of fluff who since sprouted black feathers and now, boasts rich dark brown plumage. When the chick was ringed at four weeks old, the team found a single black feather in the nest which is believed to be from its deceased sibling and we now hold this at the eagle hide for visitors to view.
The Tiroran eaglet in the eyrie at four weeks old (photo: Rachel Pate)
Feather from the deceased chick
Along with the feather is another new addition to my box of props – a collection of bones. These were recently found at the base of Fingal and Iona’s first ever nest. The team were sent up this tree too after ringing to reinforce the nest just in case the pair decided to try it out once more. It succumbed to very wet and windy weather in 2004 and fell apart, sending the precious eggs tumbling down to the unforgiving ground.
Previous prey item remains
The ringing team securing Fingal and Iona's old nest (photo: Dave Sexton)
The forest is alive with the chirping, chattering and warbling of our songbirds and their new offspring. And on those few sunny days we have enjoyed, we've been marvelling at the beautiful golden ringed dragonflies whizzing about the place.
We have been seeing the charming chaffinches with their newly-fledged young, teaching them how to stuff their beaks on the bird feeders.
The grass is always greener: a jealous siskin and a chaffinch on the Tiroran feeders
And a handsome male great spotted woodpecker who we’ve been watching for months, recently introduced to us his offspring. Dad perched still for one second, allowing me to take this single snap.
Male great spotted woodpecker in front of the Tiroran eagle hide
Thanks for reading, and remember to head over to head over to Rachel’s blog on our Mull Eagle Watch website to catch up with the West Ardhu family.
If you’d like to see our eagles in person, please pop in to the Visitor Information Centre in Craignure or give them a call on 01680 812556
Thanks and bye for now,
Mull Eagle Watch
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