Our pair of white-tailed eagles, Iona and Fingal, have chosen a very sensible new nest site this year in the saucer-shaped broken top of a spruce tree. The weather has been warm and sunny most of the week, but several days have been quite windy too and last year’s nest, 25 metres up in an exposed location has been buffeted around. Even the regular roosting sites (where the adult bird that is not incubating the eggs sits and preens) near to the new nest have been rocking, but the new nest seems to be sheltered whichever direction the wind is coming from.
It has been another spectacular week of viewing at Mull Eagle Watch. At times we have been seeing from the hide a mix of 6 or more white-tailed eagles and golden eagles flying and roosting. There are regularly 4 white-tailed eagles on, or in the vicinity of the nest: our female, Iona, often incubating the eggs; Fingal the male, roosting nearby or flying in with prey (also taking his turn incubating); Orion, last year’s juvenile with its uniform dark brown mottled plumage; and a 3 or 4 year old sub-adult female bird. The latter is tolerated while it roosts in trees close to the nest, but on Friday she actually made an attempt to land on the nest while Iona was incubating and Fingal was sat on the edge. Fingal attempted to warn her off with his high-pitched yelping call, but she still flew in until, at the last moment, he spread his wings in a threatening posture and she veered away, over the tops of the spruce trees, heading for the spot where the main thermal the eagles use to gain height lifted her quickly up on her huge wings until she was soaring several hundred feet above Ben More (the highest mountain on the Isle of Mull).
Numerous families have visited us this week and we have had great fun building a life-size replica nest with the children who then, as they sit inside the nest, have their photo taken by parents.
Because of the easily accessible location of the hide (from where we watch the nest and flying eagles) we can accommodate less-able visitors. We are also a dog-friendly visitor attraction, so that pets do not have to be left in cars.
We are now looking forward to May 6th, when we think the first egg of the 2 or 3 that the birds are incubating is likely to hatch. After this and (hopefully) subsequent hatchings, the activity on the nest and the number of visits to bring prey will increase. It will then be 12 weeks on average before the first chick fledges.
Mull Eagle Watch is a five-star (maximum) Visit Scotland attraction that takes place at Tiroran Forest, Glen Seilisdeir on the Isle of Mull. We run 2-hour trips at 10am and 1pm each weekday. To book telephone 01680 812556 or call in to the Visitor Information Centre at Craignure (opposite the main ferry landing spot). We now have a Mull eagle Watch face book page too, so watch out for regular postings and updates on the progress of the eggs and chicks.
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