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Photographer catches spectacular mid-air moment

It’s the split-second moment when a buzzard mobbing a white-tailed eagle on the Isle of Mull had serious second thoughts.

Mull photographer Iain Erskine, who holds a special licence, captured the image while accompanying an RSPB team to a nest where eaglets were to be ringed.

As the adult birds soared overhead, they drew the attention of a pair of buzzards, which began to mob the eagles relentlessly, swooping down on them and even hitting them on their backs. Finally the eagle’s patience ran out and it was time to teach the nuisance buzzards a lesson.

RSPB Mull Officer Dave Sexton said: “There are always some amazing flying routines from the sea eagles when we have to ring the chicks, and it shows just how agile and spectacular they can be. On this occasion, the adult eagle just flipped over and presented its impressive talons and beak, and Iain managed to get the picture. It’s as though the eagles finally said to the buzzards ‘enough is enough – try that again and you’ll be sorry’!”

The buzzards took the hint and gave up and the eagles returned to their chicks on the nest after ringing was completed.

Mull’s most famous sea eagles, at Loch Frisa, lost their chicks earlier this year in a spell of cold, wet weather, but the adult birds can still be seen regularly at the Forestry Commission Scotland hide. The pair originally starred in the BBC’s ‘Springwatch’ series which is now into week two of a live three week run on BBC Two.

Other pairs of eagles on Mull are in the midst of rearing their chicks, and all the birds are helping to attract birdwatching visitors to the island, who spend some £2million a year in the local economy.

Visitors to the Mull Eagle Hide at Loch Frisa stand a good chance of seeing white-tailed eagles nearby on a ranger-led guided visit. Call 01680 812556 to book.

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