It's been a crazy and exciting week here on Mull Eagle Watch. Frisa and Skye have been up to their usual tricks and have made life even more frustrating than usual for us this year. There have been days when Frisa has been sitting on one nest and Skye has been building at another. Behaviour I've never seen before at this late stage in their breeding cycle. It's almost as if they've had a serious disagreement.
I've long suspected that Frisa favoured a nest they've both been on and adding to many times over the winter. It's a nest where they raised three set of twins over three consecutive years from 2004. And yet, all along Skye has been dragging her back kicking and screaming to a brand new pad which he's clearly very proud of. He's been at it since before Christmas and yet to my eye it still looks half finished and Frisa is clearly unimpressed by his efforts. You'd think that by Mothering Sunday, he'd at least have made a trip to Oban's Homebase store to get a few bits and bobs to add the finishing touches to his efforts. But no. It still looks like one severe gust of wind will blow it all sky high.
At one point, with Frisa settling into her old favourite, even making a cosy nest cup for future eggs, Skye was beavering away on his own some distance away. It was a stand-off. Or a sit-off. As I watched, Frisa reluctantly stood up and moved to the edge of the nest. She preened for a few more minutes in a nonchalent sort of way as if to make a point, made a huge squirt over the edge in his general direction and then launched off.
She vanished from my view so I raced round to the other side of the wood just in time to see her white tail disappear into the wood where Skye had been hard at work. Perhaps her decision had been made. She'd given in. I just hope they've made the right choice. From now on there will be no rest for any of us. Mull Eagle Watch is in full swing. Extra Wildlife Crime Officers from Strathclyde Police and beyond are pitching in; the Air Cadets will be digging into the hillside for the long haul and islanders are on full alert. I'm grateful too for visitors here at the moment also doing their bit while on holiday and being extra eyes and ears on the island. Everyone coming together to help protect our precious eagles. Good luck to everyone this year.
Meanwhile, a warm welcome to Sue and Debby who will be helping to run the trips to the Eagle Hide this year. We've had quite a week, at one point watching eight young sea eagles together - more of that encounter another time. For now, preparations proceed apace for the opening of the hide on 6 April. Why not come and see us? For details visit our 'Date with Nature' pages on this website or call 01688 302 038. Our partners on this unique project are Forestry Commission Scotland, the Mull & Iona Community Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and Strathclyde Police.
And finally, another warm welcome to Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games who are joining the BBC Springwatch team this year following Bill Oddie's decision to take a break. Like Kate, Simon and Gordon before him, Chris has been here to Mull to see Frisa and Skye at the Eagle Hide. After a memorable encounter with them and an even closer encounter with a minke whale on a whale watch, he was - uncharacteristically - lost for words! Watch out for an update on Mara and Breagha during this year's series which starts, as usual, in the last week of May. More news on our sat tag twins here next time.
For now, spare a thought for our eagles sitting out the coming cold, wet and gales which seem to racing into Scotland's west coast as I write. We're in for some sleepless nights.
Dave Sexton RSPB Scotland Mull Officer
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654