Mull eagles beat the royals with new arrival

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Regular trips to see the eagles on Mull are being organised.
Regular trips to see the eagles on Mull are being organised.

It isn’t just the royal family who are celebrating the arrival of a new baby – as a pair of Mull’s famous white-tailed eagles just beat them to it.

The eagles at the North West Mull Community Eagle Watch are believed to have hatched one egg sometime in the 24 hours before the royal birth was announced but rangers monitoring the nest from a distance were only able to confirm a feed this week.

All eyes are now on the public nest in the community-owned forest at West Ardhu to see if it is, in fact, twins for the eagle pair, who are known as Hope and Star.

The 12-year-old female Hope had become increasingly reluctant to leave the nest near Dervaig when her nine-year-old mate Star landed to take over incubation duties – a sure sign that she was hearing the chicks calling from inside the egg and did not want to leave them.

Sea eagle eggs hatch a day or two apart, so hopes were still high that there would be another arrival.

NW Mull community woodlands ranger Debby Thorne said: ‘It is a huge relief to get to this stage and to welcome a new eaglet into the world.

‘The weather has been less than ideal during the long 38 days of incubation, with unseasonably cold temperatures, wind and rain, but Hope and Star have sat it out and now we can start to enjoy watching them raise their new arrival.

‘We’re running two trips a day to the NW Mull eagle hide Monday to Friday at 11am and 2pm and we’ve already been sharing some fantastic eagle action with our visitors.’

Meanwhile, at the Mull Eagle Watch project at Craignure Golf Course, rangers are watching closely for any signs of a re-lay after the first clutch of eggs was damaged in a fight with another intruding sea eagle.

The eagles are still about and being seen by visitors there, and everyone is keeping everything crossed that a miracle might happen.

RSPB Mull officer Dave Sexton said: ‘We’re getting close now to the time limit of whether the golf course eagles Scalla and Anna could re-lay. It would be a very rare event but it’s not unknown if the first clutch is lost early on in incubation, which this one was.

‘We are watching their every move for positive signs but only time will tell.’
The project is a partnership with Mull and Iona Community Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forest Enterprise Scotland, RSPB and Police Scotland.

Trips to both eagle watching projects can be booked via VisitScotland in Craignure on 01680 812556.