Thursday, 4 August 2011

A second try at seeing the White-tailed Eagles at Loch Frisa (25th July)

The day began amazingly with another sighting of an Otter that swam onto a small rocky/seaweed covered island in the middle of the bay around 6:10 in the morning.  It then joined a second otter already on the island, what an experience!  The plan for today was to make a second trip to Mull (only my brother and I this time).  The crossing was also eventful and I counted at least 16 Common Guillemots (comprising of 7adults (including 1 bridled variant), 7 juveniles an 2 non-breeding adults).  The plan was to meet up with the forestry commission and RSPB group tour leaders at loch Frisa who were guiding a tour to the hide at the south end of loch Frisa were we hoped to see the Eagles.  Despite waiting two hours for the birds to appear (between 10am-12) we left without even gaining a glimpse of one.  Apparently the pair that had nested at the loch this year had failed to raise any chicks, this was later investigated and it is believed that one egg could have been taken (by egg-collectors) as only one egg was found in the nest (when two are usually laid) and the disturbance interfered with the development of the second egg that died during the middle of development, the most likely cause for this would have been the disturbance caused by the egg collector that fatally halted the incubation of the egg.  As a result the adults could have dispersed in search of food further afield and had no reason to return to the failed nest.  Birds that were present included Buzzards and a family of 3 Siskins on the feeders infront of the hide.  The ferry trip back from Tobermory to Kilchoan produced 3 Manx Shearwaters (surprisingly close inland given the time of day).  Back at the jetty my brother and I had a while to spend scanning the shore line whilst waiting for our lift back, together we found 2 Wheatears (1 ad. ♂ and 1 sub-ad.♂) and 1 juv. Ringed Plover.  The trip didn't end here as we then went as a family to Sanna Beach (near the south western point of the peninsula).  Here we came across a few stop of migratory species on the beach such as 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Wheatear, Linnets and a resident Rock Pipit.  From the headland  were 72 Shags on a small offshore island and 1 Guillemot was amongst two large groups of Manx Shearwaters comprising of 300-400 bird in each group!  In the same evening I also observed two Otters from the window of our cottage at Camas Fearna.

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