What Heat Wave?

There are two fundamental forces that govern my working life:  the wildlife and the weather. This year, Mother Nature has quite literally flipped me the bird. Star-Species sightings have never been so good – but the weather has never been so bad.

For our smaller residents, things are looking pretty bleak. I have only seen one Beautiful demoiselle this season; even on sunny days, the display sites that I regularly walk past have been devoid of life.

But, just when I’m scuffing my boots and zipping up my rain jacket, Mull sends a scene to lift even the dampest spirit.

This season, two White-tailed eagles are spending time in the vicinity of our hide. It has provided an opportunity to enjoy some of their more intimate and engaging behaviours.

The birds fly low over our vantage point on a regular basis. Though they previously enjoyed sitting on our small offshore skerries, they have now taken to loitering further up the loch – offering superlative views.

Their interest is largely focussed on the flotillas of young Greylag geese that cruise about the weedy margins with their parents. Following a landing with a Surf ‘n’ Turf group a couple of weeks ago, we witnessed one of the birds making passes at geese less than 20m away from us on shallow water. It seemed completely unperturbed by our presence, having arrived just as we were clambering across the rocks from the boat.

Last Tuesday, I watched the adult male fishing in the loch for only the second time ever. It seems possible that recent rainfall has raised the level of the burn – perhaps attracting a small run of Sea trout up to spawn.

Better still, there have been times when both birds have arrived together. My guests Tony and Barbara were treated to the spectacle of the female bird vocalising; drawing her mate down from the sky and engaging in a noisy but tender greeting display. Sitting together on the opposite shore, they were magnificent. We even witnessed a brief spell of mutual preening.

Otter sightings have been excellent too – very encouraging news after last year’s quiet spell. The resident dog otter has been loafing about at almost every decent tide, and a female with two older cubs is frequently seen working the shoreline.

I might not have had opportunity to wear my shorts yet (!) but there is still plenty to look out for here on Glengorm.

Stephanie Cope

Glengorm Wildlife Steward

Eagle Eyes: one of our White-Tailed Eagles flies low for a closer look… 

White-Tailed Eagle