Follow Wild Scotland
Facebook Blog Twitter Instagram
Bookmark and Share

Stay up to date with Wild Scotland and sign up for our Newsletter

A Record Year for Scottish Sea Eagles

Scotland’s sea eagle population has received a record boost for a second year running after 29 young eagles fledged from nests in 2006.

The Isle of Mull took the spoils again this year, with 10 young fledgling eagles taking flight from the popular west-coast tourist destination, now famed for its huge feathered residents.

Skye’s sea eagles also put on a good performance, with one pair hatching three chicks – an exceptionally rare event which has been recorded just twice in the past 30 years.

Although the third Skye chick sadly died after unseasonably bad weather, the remaining chicks fledged fit and healthy with their parents often seen catching fish close to tourist boats around the island – to the delight of tourists and wildlife-watchers.

Such breeding success is pinned on the hard work of volunteers and communities across the country, especially in the well-known breeding areas of Mull and the Isle of Skye, which are home to almost two thirds of the Scottish sea eagle population of 33 breeding pairs.

The dedicated local teams work closely with the police, to ensure that all eagle nests are given the best chance of success, not least at Forestry Commission Scotland’s (FCS) Loch Frisa site where RSPB Scotland works with the Commission to show an active nest to visitors each year.

The 2006 Mull fledglings,  named ‘Haggis’ and ‘Oatie’ by local schoolchildren, were popular with visitors of all ages including veteran broadcaster John Craven, who saw his first sea eagle. More recently Oscar nominated actor Tom Conti visited the island’s sea eagles as part of a new BBC television series Saving Planet Earth due for broadcast next year. Skye’s eagle pair are also set to feature in the BBC’s new Nature’s Calendar series in the coming months.

The continuing popularity of the Loch Frisa site has ensured that the economic boost to the Isle of Mull looks set to continue, with visitors to Argyll and the isles encouraged to report any sightings of ‘wing-tagged’ sea eagles, allowing RSPB staff to monitor their progress once they have left the relative safety of the home territory.

After 2005’s BBC Springwatch broadcast and progress reports in this year’s series, the enthusiasm for wildlife watching shows no sign of slowing down as the RSPB’s Mull Officer David Sexton confirms:

“Over 5,500 people enjoyed watching Skye, Frisa, Haggis and Oatie at Loch Frisa this year and booking enquiries for next year are already coming in. The local Tourist Information Centres also recorded their busiest season yet for visitors coming to see wildlife. The challenge now is to ensure that the sea eagles and other wildlife are not adversely affected by all this additional, but welcome interest in our incredible natural world. The aim must be for wildlife to thrive and for people to be enthused and satisfied by their experience. It’s important too that they realise that the biodiversity is so rich here largely thanks to the way the land and seas are managed and the people that do it. Long may it remain so”.

To see Mull’s wildlife, choose one of the Wild Scotland operators based on this magical island. Click here for more information.

View All News Items