Eagle-eyed Ulva keeps nest watch

The Ulva white-tailed chick. Photograph: Steve Bentall

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Residents on tiny Ulva are on eagle-watch after a pair of white-tails decided to set up home.

To keep an eye on the nest where the pair are currently feeding a large chick, neighbours have turned a back garden into a pop-up watching post.

The adult eagles have moved into Ulva, which lies off the west coast of Mull, for the first time this year.

RSPB Mull officer Dave Sexton said: ‘Watching sea eagles soaring over Ulva lifts our spirits, especially in these uncertain times and it’s wonderful that they’re being cherished and protected locally by island residents.’

When the RSPB climbing and ringing team visited the Ulva sea eagle nest they were faced with a very large chick.

As the nest was not discovered until late on in the season it was impossible to know exactly how old the chick was. Expert bird ringer and climber Justin Grant calmed the chick down and managed to ring it, saying it was the biggest chick he had ever ringed in the nest in several decades of eaglet ringing.

The Ulva chick will stay in the area for several months so there is still a good chance of seeing it and the parent birds either from the pop up in Barry George’s garden not far  from the pier, or from trips with Mull Charters that go out from Ulva Ferry.

Recently, 11 sea eagle chicks have been ringed and two were collected from around Mull for a reintroduction project on the Isle of Wight.

Mr Sexton added: ‘The pop-up Ulva Eagle Watch project is also an excellent initiative and as we know from Mull Eagle Watch, sea eagles can bring significant economic benefits for the island and local groups. I look forward to working with the Ulva management team in the months to come to see how this can be developed further.’