Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Focusing on Golden Eagle behaviour...

The weather continues to produce some great spells up here, We seem so fortunate to have missed a lot of the rough stuff further south in the last few months. On my time off I have been mainly focusing on Golden Eagle behaviour as I am really keen to learn as much as possible about the inspirational species. I have put in a few shifts at a near by Goldie territory which is so far successful in their breeding attempts with one chick in the nest. I have seen the female feeding the eaglet which looked like Rabbit. Plenty of territorial behaviour seen as it is a coastal eyrie with a lot of Gulls around and also a good number of Ravens and Hooded Crows which don't get intensively controlled on the island. A number of sharp stoops at avian intruders has been seen along with shallow displays at two intruding Golden Eagles above. Also the male bird has been making sure that the neighbouring WT Eagles don't drift too close to their patch.

I am reading the superb newly published book 'Eagle Days' by Stuart Rae which covers his life experiences with Golden Eagles in the Scottish highlands. You can also read his blog here http://stuartrae.blogspot.co.uk/ . 

An incredible photo of A Goldie tackling a Red Fox - http://500px.com/photo/7767768

After reading this recent article on Prince Williams strong views on Rhino poaching and the threat of them becoming extinct in the next few decades it just made me think of one subject...Hen Harriers. The iconic bird is close to extinction as a breeding species in their native England but the royals always decide to turn their attention to threatened animals thousands of miles away instead and ignore Britains wildlife. Along with their track record with Toff Harry allegedly shooting Hen Harriers and Philip shooting a large number of iconic animals including Tigers before co-founding the WWF, they just completely embarrass themselves all the time regarding conservation. Stick to Horse Polo and Croquet...dear me. 

I have been busy with boat trips six days a week so the content of the blog is mostly marine life with some incredible encounters at that! Bow riding Minke whales, White-Beaked Dolphins again! and Bottlenose Dolphins up Loch Sunart. On the bird front we have had Storm petrels and Dark morph Arctic Skuas along with all our other stunning sea bird species. A few videos in this post to help viewers experience the encounters in the last fortnight.

Click on photos for a larger scale...

Male Golden Eagle collects stick and drops it to perform stoop display to female above...

A pair of Golden Eagles in flight and getting mobbed by a Hoodie

Minke whales surfacing close to Sula Beag on a whale watch explorer south of the Isle of Muck...sorry for the over excitement but there was two whales!

Lochdon at low tide, Sea Pink blossoming above the high tide mark
Looking west from Gribun just after watching a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins with Andy T
Bottlenose Dolphins up loch Sunart
Over eight socialising with the boat when we were stationary 
Here is skipper Lewys video of the Dolphins down Loch Sunart...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WZPnFZifVE&feature=youtu.be

White-beaked Dolphins again! still in our waters...
Common Dolphins breaching - Ben More, North Mull and Coll in the back drop...
Happy passengers and crew after another Whale watch
Ruth and I on Coll at lunchtime during a charter
SLS team - me, jayne, Lydia, Lippy, Andy and Ruth
A passanger emailed this into the office, has to go on the blog!
White-beaked Dolphins east of Coll!

Incredible footage using a GoPro camera of a kayaking experience with Blue whales! A must watch!...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVtw94PJ8XA

More amazing footage of a breaching Minke Whale off Ardnamurchan point on a Sea Life Surveys trip a few years back, captured by the great Andy Tait!...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwLOIJ1FFEA

Thanks for looking, my next post will feature a trip to Lunga and Staffa to experience the amazing geology and the breeding sea birds and also more adventures and encounters with Sea Life Surveys. cheers


  1. Hi, I'm demonstrating on the Glasgow/UMBSM field trip out with you guys over the next week or so. I'm just looking for some quick tips on birding sites in the Tobermory/Salen area (for when I get a few minutes away from the students). Anywhere I shouldn't miss?

    Catch you in a few days!

  2. Hi Nat sounds great looking forward to having you on board, Ardmore is an FC woodland just outside tobermory and is a good site to cover for eagles and other birds, glengorm road for upland birds, two good sites close to tobermory, cheers