The sightings at Mull Eagle Watch just keep on getting better, especially now the adult white-tailed eagles are feeding their offspring. Fingal the male, particularly, is bringing in increasing numbers of small prey items including fish, gulls and greylag geese, while before the first egg hatched on 7th May, both adults were taking it in turns to incubate the eggs or feed on the carcase of a red deer up on the moorland above Tiroran Forest. Fingal was also seen being mobbed by 12 hooded crows as he perched precariously in the flimsy top of one of the big Sitka Spruce trees close to the nest.
One of the sub-adult white-tailed eagles, which is probably one of this pairs offspring from a previous year, has again tried to land on the nest, and again been chased off by the male. Orion, last year's juvenile, is also still in the territory and is regularly seen soaring with other birds and hunting over the nearby Loch Scridain.
There are usually good views of golden eagles too, with a juvenile occasionally flying low over the hide, and a spectacular sight one afternoon of a new pair of golden eagles chasing off a sub-adult white-tailed eagle (the golden eagles, although smaller, are well able to defend their territories and food from the larger white-tailed eagles).
Our visitors are often entranced by the behaviour of the other birds we see such as the great spotted woodpecker that some days drums out its territorial signal throughout the trip, but especially the numerous siskins that have been attracted to our bird feeders. The males stand out with their bright yellow-green plumage and black caps. Other sightings include common crossbill and cuckoo, and we are treated every day to the song of willow warbler, song thrush and blackbird.
This week we have also seen a wide range of invertebrates during the trips: green hairstreak, speckled wood, green-veined white, speckled yellow moth, large red damselfly and a number of beetles including the predatory wood tiger.
The 2 hour ranger-lead Mull Eagle Trips at Tiroran Forest, Glen Seilisdeir (NM 480 303) start at 10am and 1pm each weekday. To book telephone 01680 812 556 or call in at the Visit Information Centre in Craignure.
John Clare, Community Information and Tourism Officer
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