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A round of golf where an ‘eagle’ is guaranteed!

Male sea eagle (credit: Seafari Adventures, Oban)

Male sea eagle (credit: Seafari Adventures, Oban)

Cries of ‘birdie’ and ‘eagle’ took on a whole different meaning at a Mull golf course this summer after a pair of white-tailed eagles chose to nest right next to the fairway.

The birds, which were first reported by local Scottish Natural Heritage staff, successfully raised two chicks, nicknamed Pitch and Putt by golfing enthusiasts. They have proved popular with the golf club and visiting golfers alike, and have been a great example of how these massive birds can live in harmony with human neighbours.

White-tailed eagles, which have a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres and prefer to nest on sea cliffs and in mature trees, are now breeding successfully over much of Mull, and unlike the slightly smaller golden eagle, they seem perfectly happy to make their home close to human habitations.

Golf Club regular Mary van Heerden, said: “It’s been a real privilege having these amazing birds as our close neighbours all summer. When I’m out cutting the fairways and I see one of the adults fly over with its white tail gleaming in the sun, it lifts your spirits and gladdens your heart. I’m going to miss them when the chicks finally disperse.”

Dave Sexton, RSPB Scotland Mull Officer, said: “I’ve been monitoring this nest all season, and the eagles have seemed completely relaxed about the regular activities on the golf course. What they wouldn’t have liked is anything unexpected, for example someone coming too close to the nest to take photographs etc, but as long as people were going about their every days tasks, they went about theirs, and everyone seemed to get along fine.

“They’ve actually been helping the golf club by keeping the greens clear of greylag and Canada geese and rabbits throughout the season, and although one or two people might have been put off their stroke by the sight, most people have been thrilled to see such rare and magnificent birds soaring overhead.”

Wild Scotland member, Mull Eagle Watch runs the public white-tailed eagle hide at Forestry Commission Scotland’s Loch Frisa where visitors to Mull have a chance to see the eagles for themselves. For the first time, the hide will remain open through Autumn. Trips on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am and 1pm. To book call Craignure VisitScotland Information Centre on 01680 812 556.

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