The white-tailed eagle chick from the Glen Seilisdeir nest fledged safely back at the beginning of August and, after over a week spending much of its time on the ground in the clearing below the nest, is now to be seen soaring high above Tiroran Forest and the adjacent moorland.
Last week the visitors to each trip of Mull Eagle Watch had probably the most spectacular views of the year. We are now walking around 1 mile along the forest track to an area of most spectacular views over Kilfinichen Bay, out over Loch Scridain and up to Ben More. This is the place where the eagles are currently most often to be seen, perched on some of their favourite lookout spots, or soaring over the tops of the huge spruce, larch and pine trees. We are also regularly seeing a sub-adult white-tailed eagle, probably a chick raised by this pair several years ago and on one day this week we watched as this bird performed an aerial ballet with this years juvenile: a wheeling and tumbling duet, with one of the eagles flipping over and showing its talons, seemingly part in play, but also with the serious edge of practising for future territorial disputes and mating rituals.
Yesterday, the visiting RSPB Aberdeen Local Group watched as the eagles soared over the adjacent moorland, being mobbed by our local pair of buzzards. A large flock of hooded crows were also in attendance and three ring-tailed harriers, probably the mother and two juveniles, swooped and dived, mobbing both the crows and the eagles. In the afternoon, another group of visitors were even more privileged to have close views of Iona and the juvenile flying low overhead, heading off across the Glen to alight on the moorland. Iona had obviously dropped food for the youngster, because as soon as it landed, it mantled its wings, shielding the prey before starting to rip it up with its big powerful beak.
The chick will spend a few more weeks at least in its parent’s territory, mastering flight and hunting, but still being supported by Iona and Fingal. Then it will be off, ranging far and wide in its 4 or 5 year journey to maturity, finding a mate and establishing its own territory. Provided its survives the first year, often the most critical time of its life, it may return with its mate to establish a territory close to the parents range.
Mull Eagle Watch walks should be continuing until the end of September (2 hours starting at 10am and 1pm most weekdays). Booking is essential on 01689 812 556.
John Clare, Isle of Mull Community Information and Tourism Officer.
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