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Staff managing Mull’s sea eagle hide today expressed their disappointment that the two famous eagles, Skye and Frisa, won’t be rearing a family this year as one of their chicks perished in the cold and the other egg has failed to hatch.
However, the viewing season is still very much open for business with the breeding pair continuing to hunt in the immediate area, returning to their favourite perches at the hide.
Stuart Maidment of Forestry Commission Scotland on Mull said:
“We are obviously disappointed that we won’t see new chicks this year but if anyone still wants to see the amazing white-tailed eagles then we are still the place to go.
“We also have Heather, last year’s chick, dropping in from time to time and now that the parents don’t have to guard the nest we expect to see more of her. Not only that, we have a huge variety of other magnificent birds of prey to see.”
At the hide there is a buzzard-cam beaming in live footage of a nearby nest, where the project is waiting for two eggs to hatch in about two week’s time. Red-breasted Merganser, goldeneye, goosander, gulls and red and black-throated diver are just some of the species to be seen . We also see golden eagles, buzzards, hen harriers, sparrowhawks, peregrines, merlins, kestrels and have even had a glimpse of a goshawks.
A colony of sand martins are also thriving in the quarry at the hide’s car park with a camera being fixed in place so that visitors can view the birds coming in and out of their nest holes, and bird feeders are attracting more species every week, the latest being a greater spotted woodpecker. A new nest barrel for barn owls may also be an added attraction with a nest-cam being fitted.
Trips to the hide at Loch Frisa can be arranged by calling the Booking Office on 01680 812556. The hide is open from Sunday to Friday (closed Saturday).
Notes for Editors:
1) The Sea Eagle hide is managed by a partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland, Mull & Iona Community Trust, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Strathclyde Police. The project is known as Mull Eagle Watch.
2) Each year the hide’s income from visitors and donations is split between running Mull Eagle Watch and the “Eagle Fund”. In January this year, over £13,000 was handed out in cheques by Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham to members of the local community who applied for grants. Funds paid for the renovation of the war memorial in Tobermory, providing low level reflectors along the road at Salen Bay to protect otters from becoming road casualties, an outdoor classroom at Tobermory Primary School, and many other projects around the island.
3) Trips to the hide at Loch Frisa can be arranged by calling the Booking Office on 01680 812556. The hide is open from Sunday to Friday (closed Saturday) and access to the Meeting Point is at the Lettermore turn onto a Forestry Commission track, off the Craignure to Tobermory road at Aros. Trips cost £5 per adult, £2 per child or £12 for a family of four, and last for two hours, starting at 10.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. There is normally no vehicular access along the track for members of the public.
4) The White-tailed Sea Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, which was previously found breeding across the UK from the Isle of Wight to the far north of Scotland, was heavily persecuted in the 18th and 19th centuries. The last bird was shot on Shetland in 1918 and the species was then officially extinct in the UK.
5) A reintroduction programme between 1975 and 1985 saw 82 sea eagle chicks brought to the Isle of Rum from Norway. They were acclimatised and subsequently released when they were old enough. In 1985 a pair of Sea Eagles successfully fledged a chick on Loch Frisa on the Isle of Mull, marking the return of the eagles after 67 years. This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of that first fledging.
6) There are now 45 pairs of Sea Eagles in Scotland, with 10 pairs on Mull. Last year 36 young Sea Eagles fledged across Scotland, including 10 on Mull. Another reintroduction project is now in its fourth year on the East coast of Scotland.
For further information please contact:
Sue Dewar, Mull & Iona Ranger Service 01680 300 640 or 07867 74543,
David Sexton RSPB Scotland on 07818 803 382.
Stuart Maidment, Forestry Commission Scotland, 07831 132226 (Monday onwards)
Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.