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Mull Eagle Watch welcomes Chris Packham to Springwatch

Scotland’s famous wildlife island, Mull was celebrating the new face of Springwatch this week when the BBC announced that presenter Chris Packham would be joining the popular wildlife series in May.

Wild Scotland member, Mull Eagle Watch has worked with Springwatch and Autumnwatch since 2005 when the first series beamed live pictures of the white-tailed eagle’s nest at Loch Frisa on the Isle of Mull into the homes of over 4 million viewers helping to dramatically boost tourism on the island.

Photo credit: Iain Erskine

Chris Packham visited the Eagle Hide when he was filming for another BBC series ‘Hands on Nature’. He is well known to television viewers from his early days on the ‘Really Wild Show’ and more recently on ‘Nature’s Calender’. His career in broadcasting has spanned 20 years and he is very excited about this new opportunity which arose after Bill Oddie announced he was to take a break from Springwatch earlier this year.

Chris said: “I love the concept of a British programme about British wildlife. I’m so enthusiastic about this opportunity. Springwatch has such a great following and I really hope I’ll add something to the mix”. He was very impressed with the wildlife viewing opportunities when he visited Mull and was treated to close encounters with minke whales on a whale watch trip and the sea eagles at the hide. Something the local organisers of this year’s Mull Wildlife Week from 9-15 May are hoping to repeat.

Mull Eagle Watch is the first and only public viewing facility in the world where people can watch the sea eagles at their nest. Last year the project raised over £10,000 for local good causes on Mull and Iona and welcomed over 4000 visitors. This year the hide opens on 6 April and people can book onto a special ranger-led trip by calling 01688 302 038. The project is run by a partnership involving Forestry Commission Scotland, Mull & Iona Community Trust, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Strathclyde Police with local volunteers. The sea eagles bring in £2 million a year to the island economy from visitors spend on local goods and services.

RSPB Scotland’s Mull Officer Dave Sexton said: “We’re thrilled that Chris is joining the Springwatch family as he was genuinely blown away by the wildlife he saw on Mull. I’m sure our long relationship with the programme and the other presenters who have all been here to see the eagles – Kate Humble, Simon King and Gordon Buchanan – will now go from strength to strength”.

This year Springwatch will air from 25 May to 11 June on BBC Two and will include an update on the two Mull sea eagle chicks fitted with satellite tags during last year’s Autumnwatch. You can follow their progress at www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/tracking/mulleagles.

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