Saturday 6 May 2017

Mull Eagle Watch .... sea eagles on the nest

It is  40 years since white tailed eagles (Sea eagles) were re-introduced to Scotland with an importation of 80 bird from Norway. Noe we have over 100 breeding pa1rs with one of the highest populations on the Isle of Mull. I can see a nest from my garden here on the peninsula, with a telescope of course. Every year hundreds of visitors to Mull see them too.
Mull eagle watch

Mull Eagle Watch does Ranger led visits to viewing points and hides where these great birds, they have a ten foot wing span, nest. You need binoculars or better still a telescope; the nest we watched on this week near Dervaig is 300 yards from the viewing point to avoid disturbance.

We watched the female on the nest, then got up stretched her wings and flew into an adjacent tree to sunbathe while her mate took over the nest. for a while. One watcher I met had travelled from Liverpool that day just for this experience.

Each visitor contributes  ten pounds for the visit, so five months of say 30 visitors a day might generate up to 30,000 stg in a season for local good causes. Then there is the income to the island from food, fuel, accommodation etc. On the down side farmers do lose lambs to the eagles but there is a compensation scheme.

It is an example of how the re-introduction of top predators could benefit the local economy and wildlife diversity in our remote rural areas. However when we leave the EU and there are no more farm subsidies sheep numbers will inevitably decline resulting in less carrion and perhaps fewer eagles. An unintended side effect of Brexit?

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