Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mull 2009 : White Tailed Eagles

What can I add that Dan hasn't already said,great location,wonderful birds,brilliant company,awesome scenery,good digs,food and beer,our annual early May trip just gets better and better-I know I'll add a couple of video clips.
Whilst we were blessed with mainly dry and sunny weather (well apart from the last day!) it was always very windy so photography (ie digi-scoping) was always difficult as the birds were inevitably quite distant and the scope had to be set to the highest mag on the zoom.
I keep forgetting that most digital cameras have video mode and although not of the highest quality quite adequate for a record clip most of the time and particularly useful when it's windy.
I'd seen my first WT Eagle on Mull in 2005 when myself and Teresa visited at Easter that year and was totally knocked out by my first sighting of one in flight coming in off the sea at Lochbuie,it was one of 3 that I saw on that morning.
My next encounter with these incredible raptors was in Norway in 2006 when we went on an Orca Watching Day Trip for Teresa's 50th birthday,don't mention bloody Orcas as we "dipped" dramatically on them,that's nature I suppose,it's not like visiting a zoo and nothing is guaranteed !!
However,the WT Eagle encounters that day somewhat made up for the Orca disappointment and although I didn't keep a tally we must have seen between 50-60 individuals,they were everywhere!!
The first bird we saw when getting off the plane at the remote airport high in the arctic circle was a WTE and there were at least a dozen sat in the conifers bordering the small harbour that our whalewatching boat sailed from !!
I was therefore really looking forward to another encounter with these "flying barn doors" and we were not to be disappointed with pairs at Loch Frisa (of Springwatch fame),Loch na Keal and Loch Scridain.
One of a nesting pair perched openly on a distant conifer before taking to the air :-

video

Moments later after changing over at the nest the other bird took to the air flying across the valley and circling right over our vantage point on the edge of the "main" road giving incredible flight views (apologies for the shaky image it was very windy as well as trying to film a moving bird !!) :-

video

We enjoyed one of those magical 10 minutes or so that you get in birding from time to time (too infrequently unfortunately!!) when the bird you are lucky enough to be watching "does everything it says on the tin" and that was one of those special moments,although Corncrake on Iona was a long awaited "lifer" this all too brief encounter with this wonderful raptor was the highlight of the trip for me.

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