Surprise, surprise the weather forecast was wrong! I woke to not the glimmer of promised sunshine, but drizzle. I had been looking forward to today and had hoped for good weather.
I've written a detailed blog on my entire week of eagle watching here, but the following is what happened on this particular day.
9.45am, we headed along Loch na Keal. Through the gloom a shaft of sunlight lit up an area of trees on the opposite side of the loch: the place where White-tailed Eagle regulars Yellow Black Spot (YBS) and her mate are often seen. Could it be a sign? Yes! As we got closer, there they were sitting in a tree.
|YBS, top, and her mate, with his back to us (can just see his white tail)|
|A mini watercolour sketch I did previously of YBS|
and her mate. I've always wondered what she was saying to him!
After a short wait, the first of the adult White-tailed Eagles appeared and we watched it fly just above the trees, then with legs down, it grabbed a branch from the top of one of them and carried it back to the nest. What strength they have!
This particular adult flew out several times gathering nesting material, but there was no sign of its mate. Then there was movement, and we could finally see the second Eagle fly in, and they sat side by side near the nest: we only knew they were sitting together having seen them land there. As you can see from the photo, they were very well hidden!
|Nest, centre of photo, with two White-tailed Eagles just above it ... |
you'll have to take my word for it!
Next, stop was Glen Seilisdeir. Driving along Loch na Keal, we passed Graeme's car parked at the start of the Ben More walk, and had a (sympathetic) giggle knowing he was somewhere up in the murk and we were nice and dry and warm in the car.
At Glen Seilisdeir, there was no sign of the adult White-tailed Eagles, Fingal and Iona, any where near their nest site. We waited and waited, but eventually decided to call it a day and headed back up the road. I took one last look back .... and to my surprise, there was an incoming White-tailed Eagle! As it flew into the forest, we could see it wasn't one of the adults, but a juvenile. It went to land in a tree, turning with legs and talons outstretched, but decided against it at the last minute and disappeared from view. Scanning with the binoculars, eventually spotting an Eagle sitting in the trees. It was Fingal and Iona's youngster from last year, Orion. It was lovely to see him, having followed his progress online from hatching to fledging.
|Juvenile White-tailed Eagle, Orion|
* You can watch Fingal and Iona safely from the Mull Eagle Watch hide without risk of disturbing them at this crucial time. *
Time for a cup of tea, so we headed back to the cottage. Graeme and Corbie Labrader were already back. Apparently, it was very wet and windy on Ben More, and gave up trying to get to the top! Here's a couple of photos from their hike:
|Ben More: Corbie was happy, he had snow rolls|
|Ben More: View of Loch na Keal, Eorsa and Ulva|
Later in the afternoon, the sun finally appeared. So I headed back to see if Fingal or Iona were home. They weren't. We had a short walk before heading home. Just as we had started to drive along the main road, I spotted one of the adult Eagles flying low in front of the trees, across the road and out of sight. Nice to see one of them at last, even if it was all too brief!
You can read my other Mull Diary Blogs here:
- Day One: The Journey
- Day Two: Time to Explore
- Day Three: Sunshine, Sand and an Eagle
- Day Four: Eagles Galore
- Day Five: A Hebridean Storm
- Day Six: Wildlife, Wildlife Everywhere
- Day Seven: Golden and White
- Eagle Watching on Mull
© Karen Hartnell - all images and text may not be reproduced in any way.
Photos copyright Karen Hartnell and Graeme Low