I don't know if this will work! I've tried to keep Debby's excellent blog and photos up here for a while yet so that I can just add a few words to it...

Still stunningly beautiful here on the Isle of Mull. A covering of snow, ice crystals and frost on everything. And with a cloudless blue sky, the sun has shone bright all day. The garden birds have been busy on the feeders since first light and down at the old pier, a peregrine was dashing after his Christmas dinner, a seal surfaced nearby with a loud snort of frosty vapour and then an otter appeared briefly before slipping away out of sight behind a rocky headland. Not bad for a 15 minute wander from the house but it's what you can expect during a winter visit here.

The satellite data just in shows our 2009 male sea eagle chick Oran has headed south to Islay for Christmas. Islay is a fabulous place and the RSPB reserves at Loch Gruinart and the Mull of Oa, where Oran has gone, are amazing places for wildlife. I'm sure they'll keep an eye on Oran for us. The female chick Venus is still with us on Mull. Last year's chicks satellite tags are now on a winter setting but we're pretty sure female Breagha is near the Isle of Skye and her brother Mara is over on Morvern. Fantastic that they're all still alive and well. Long may it last.

If you happen to take a look back at the Archives for this blog to last summer 2008 you'll find a blog called 'The longest day' in several installments. It was about a sea eagle nest which fell out in a summer storm and the two chicks which were rescued. Well, some brilliant news just now that one of those free-fall twins 'Yellow G' was sighted on Mull today by Bryan Rains who runs 'Wild About Mull' wildlife tours. Yellow G is the same age as Haggis (from 2006) and has yellow tags. Just great to think he's now 3+ years old. When I found him as a heap of soggy, broken feathers at the bottom of the cliff, I doubted he would survive the night. Makes it all worthwhile. Why not have a read of those adventures in the Archives over the Holidays if you can find them!

It just remains for me to thank you all for sticking with us and reading about our adventures with the white-tailed eagles. They are inspiring, special birds who do take your breath away and I hope you can visit us and them in 2010. From a frosty, snowy Isle of Mull, a very Merry Christmas to you all.

Dave Sexton RSPB Scotland Mull Officer

Take my breath away

courtesy Berlin (from the film, Top Gun)

Well as I type this, there are just about three and half sleeps until Santa arrives.  Even on Mull, with its slower pace of life, there is still that frenzy of activity that goes on during the weeks leading up to the big day.  The Pantomine in Tobermory - not to be missed - was excellent as ever, the School Christmas Play, again excellent (although there may be a touch of bias!), the Christmas party and the fight for the sprouts in the Co-op!  Added to that in our house, decorating the lounge, installing a log burner, the arrival of a puppy and the stress of a missing chicken!  A mad house to say the least!

 Sometimes though, its just nice to escape for some peace and tranquility.  And for me, there is only one place - Loch Frisa.  I left hubby fighting with a log burner and headed off.  We have had some snow which has stayed with us for a few days mainly because its so cold and the snow hasnt had a chance to melt.  But today was bright and having spent 20 minutes clearing the windscreen, headed for the Loch.  As I drove down the track, I was amazed at the number of animal tracks visible in the snow.  As the Loch came into view, I was met by a beautiful wintry scene.  The Loch was like glass, still and beautifully reflective.  Snow still lay on the ground and as I stopped to admire the view, I caught sight of a familiar shape on a knoll.  It was Skye.  He looked truly magnificent with the snowy backdrop - I could almost imagine I was in Norway.  I scanned round and found Frisa, sitting on what is now becoming a regular tree.  As I arrived at the hide to fill up the birdfeeders, I was greeted by a blue tit, dunnock, great tit and a coal tit - all pleased to see me and hoping I wasnt empty handed.  Feeders duly filled and the birds happily feeding, I notice two huge ripples on the Loch - our two otters were playing hide and seek.  Then across the glen, that familiar sea eagle cry - Frisa then took off and joined Skye.  They seemed so pleased to see each other - lots of calling that echoed around the glen.  A truly beautiful sight.  And then, catching me by surprise a mating!  Skye and Frisa affirming that special bond they have.  They have been checking out treees looking for the next family home.  I slipped away unnoticed, leaving them to enjoy their own company as I felt I had intruded enough.   

I returned home to learn the missing chicken had returned home and the log burner had been installed and is now alight and burning brightly.  All is well for the time being!

Dont forget it is important to keep feeding our garden birds at this time of the year and also to make sure they have water available!

 Dunnock Loch Frisa



Dunnock - Loch Frisa (photo Debby Thorne)





 I would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone for their support this year.  It has been a priviledge having a window into the world of these magnificent birds and to be able to share it with our visitors to the Hide and here on the Blog.  I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and Happy New Year.  I hope to see many of you at the Hide in 2010 which is going to be a very special year for us.  More details to follow.

 Loch Frisa



 Loch Frisa (photo Debby Thorne)


Loch FrisaLoch Frisa (photo Debby Thorne)

  Dont forget the Hide is open year round - details here http://www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature/sites/mull/index.asp

 Debby Thorne, White Tailed Eagle Information Officer, Isle of Mull

  • Happy New Year Debby and Dave and to everyone, hope its a happy , healthy 2010 for you!!

    Thanks for all the good work you did in 2009,

    Best Wishes Heather x

  • Wonderful, wonderful descriptive blogs Debby and Dave.  How you two make everything come to life for us.  Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you both a Happy New Year and enjoy the celebrations won't you.  Just going to vote now.

  • Hope everyone had an enjoyable christmas.

    Maybe Frisa and Skye were resting after partying on christmas day ;-)

    We have great winter visitors in our garden too, so have that to look forward too, normally get lovely Bullfinches, Siskins, Redpoll, Linnet, Redwings and last year we got some lovely Bramblings. Not quite Eagles, but lovely all the same to see them at such close quarters.

    And Mull to look forward to at Easter, Can't wait...

    Hope the eagles are more definate this season where they want to nest, or maybe they'll take you for a ride again.

    All the Best Heather P

  • Happy Boxing Day!

    The winter wonderland on Mull continues. Up at Loch Frisa today; no sign of our adult pair of resident white-tailed eagles Frisa & Skye but there was an immature sea eagle flying up the loch and I could make out a satellite tag. I suspect it was Venus judging from her recent plotted movements. Back at the loch there were seven whooper swans just below the eagle's normal roost tree, two pairs of adults and 3 youngsters. They were quietly whooping to themselves and preening in the icy waters.

    After a quick bout of sledging on the track, we headed for home. Debby is doing a trip tomorrow so I hope the eagles show up. If not there's always the lovely whoopers.

    Hope you're enjoying the holidays.


  • Don't know what happened to my previous post, but anyway - thanks for everything Debby, and Dave, and for sharing your life with these wonderful birds.  Your blogs are magnificent, and the photos too.

    Merry Christmas to you and your families, and a wonderful New Year.