As you know Mull Eagle Watch has now closed for the 2016 season and what a season it has been.

For the first time, we had 2 viewing opportunities - one at the north end of the Island at West Ardhu and the other  towards the south at Tiroran.  Another first for Mull Eagle Watch this year was that both sites were hosted by community woodlands - North West Mull Woodland and South West Mull and Iona Development

It has been a great season with both eagle families providing fantastic views for our visitors - added to which they both successfully raised and fledged a chick each.  As those of you who have visited will know, it is not just about the eagles but spotting other wildlife flora and fauna and also learning about the plans for the local woodland areas - something our many visitors appreciated.

During the first part of the season, we were delighted to learn that Mull Eagle Watch had retained its 5 Star rating from VisitScotland in the Visitor Attraction category - one of only a handful in Scotland.

At the end of the season, we learned we had been shortlisted at 2 separate award ceremonies - firstly the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards and secondly the Nature of Scotland Awards.  

With every digit crossed, we attended the Highlands and Islands Award in Inverness and were over the moon to win the Innovation in Tourism Award - as you can see from the group photo below, when the award arrived back on Mull, everyone wanted a turn holding it!

With the dust just settling, we then headed off to Edinburgh for the RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards hosted by Chris Packham.  I don't think we could quite believe our ears when they read out "the winner is Mull Eagle Watch".   Chris has been to Mull several times and visited the project so it was great to hear him speak of the success of the eagles but also what a great community project.  

The photo shows us on stage receiving the award and a photo of the stunning award itself.

What a way to end the year - and once again a huge thank you to all our partners involved, our supporters, volunteers, our visitors who have made this year so special - but the real stars of the show are the eagles - a great re-introduction success story - long may it continue.

Debby Thorne

RSPB Ranger, Isle of Mull