Close encounters of the bird kind

The intrepid Autumnwatch team have left the island! After a frantic five days of trying to dodge some serious autumn cloud bursts (not always successfully) and trying to keep cameras steady in severe gale force winds, life on Mull today returned to normal. Except today, something very abnormal happened.

canada goose After days of dodging clouds and rain, things on Mull had returned to normal. canada goose

Canada Goose Parka By late afternoon with heavy showers blowing through giving way to brief periods of calm and thin, veiled sunlight I ventured north to the forested shores of Loch Frisa. A favourite spot. A peaceful scene. Ravens and hooded crows were still feeding on what was left of a red deer stag carcass high on the hill. Sometimes the grey clouds darkened further as the gang of corvids rose as one and circled, tumbling and diving on each other and then settling again to feed eagerly before the long, cold night ahead. Canada Goose Parka

As I took a deep breath of spruce and bracken scented air, I was suddenly aware of an approaching sound like the roar of a Tornado jet fighter. I looked straight up and there high above me one adult sea eagle was soaring, immediately joined by another. It was our local pair: 18 year old female Frisa and her faithful mate for the last 13 years, Skye. I’ve seen them and they’ve seen me on a regular basis for the last seven years. But the noise of rushing air had not come from them. Here it came again, louder this time, more forceful, more angry. More, well, frightening if I’m honest. Still I could see nothing but Frisa and Skye clearly could. They were nervous too, looking all around, craning their necks up and behind them to try to locate this unnerving, invisble force. Then they started to call. A loud echoing cry of alarm. First Frisa, her call deeper than Skye’s which then overlapped with hers.

The sea eagles of Mull Iain Erskine

I noticed they were now lower than before. They were still calling. I was standing out in the open in full view and yet they were getting closer and closer. Then the noise came again. Now louder still and causing a sudden shiver down my back. And like a torpedo from behind the conifers came the black bullet silhouette of an attacking golden eagle, wings folded back, aiming straight at Frisa and Skye. They canada goose baby uk were now circling even lower above my head and taking evasive action. As one golden eagle pulled away, a second and then incredibly a third joined in, like Spitfires in a wartime dog fight. Two adults and their summer fledged youngster were ganging up on the bigger sea eagles. and winning.

Sea eagles are larger than golden eagles Iain canada goose down uk Erskine

With every eerie rush of wind through the golden eagle’s wings and every bullying stoop, Frisa and Skye got lower and lower above me. Second by second, the aggressors pulled up further away from their intended targets. By the time the sea eagles were right above my head, the trio had all but given up and the neighbours from hell drifted away together into the clouds.

With the danger gone, the clearly shaken sea eagle pair hang glided down, legs extended and landed in a flimsy larch just 50m away from me. With a racing heartbeat, I stood for a minute or two to take in the scene. Even when I walked quietly and carefully back to the Land Rover, they didn’t budge. In fact they were even preening briefly. Relaxed again. At ease. Safe.

canadian goose jacket What had really gone on here today? We know that despite their smaller size, the golden eagles are still in charge here and rule the skies. Such encounters canada goose and black friday and disputes must happen on occasion and they can get serious but it felt today like Frisa and Skye had somehow sought me out as a means of actually evading their pursuers. There was no way the goldies would come that close and perhaps the sea eagles knew it. It almost felt in some small, weird way, like they trusted me to keep them safe, as if I was a way out of trouble for them. Who knows? They could also have just flown on once the attacking force had departed but they chose to come and perch nearby to recover. canadian goose jacket

buy canada goose jacket Or of course, it was all just coincidence. I happened to be in the right place at the right time to witness an amazing piece of eagle action. Perhaps I never was part of the plan. Maybe I was losing the plot after nearly a week of frenzied Autumnwatch activity and beginning to sound like an associate of St Francis of Assisi. Yes that was it. Nature just doesn’t work like that in real cheap canada goose uk life does it? buy canada goose jacket

buy canada goose jacket cheap To find out more about the Mull white tailed eagle project visit their blog on RSPB. buy canada goose jacket cheap

Comment number 1. At 18:13 4th Nov 2010, LazyRizzo wrote: It does around you Dave! How utterly amazing an encounter that sounds. Like your wonderful blogs on the Sea Eagles RSPB page (and Debby’s too) this really brings a perfect captured moment to life for your readers. Thank you.

canada goose coats PS maybe next time I am in Mull and I see you walk past I’ll actually manage to pluck up courage to say hello! canada goose cheap canada goose coats

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Comment number 2. At 18:22 4th Nov 2010, WoodsOfFallen wrote: Lovely photos there, especially that last one, truly magnificent birds. I would go up to Mull just to see them if I could just have the time and money and someone to share the experience with because it looks like such a perfect place to be for the birds.

canada goose black friday sale I went to a country fayre nearby earlier this year and there was a flying display of eagles including the white tailed, it absolutely astonished my the size of it and when it flied above me quite low it was just an incredible feeling, nice to see how big it was in comparison to smaller birds of prey too to identify them when they’re flying. canada goose black friday sale

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Comment number 3. At 12:09 5th Nov 2010, Valerie wrote: Well I would say it does Dave, they trust you I am sure to keep them safe. Like you ‘WoodsOfFallen’ I would go up if only, I will go one day hopefully not too far away. Thank you Dave the programme was great last night and yours words as usual are superb

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Comment number 4. At 18:26 5th Nov 2010, 122abcdefghi wrote: Aww! Island vibe! Absolutely enjoy the experience for the rest of your life, for what must be a phenomenally rare and wondrous occurrence of nature being played alongside and, yes, more than likely including yourself. This article makes for fascinating reading. Thanks for letting us know about this.

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Comment number 5. At 14:43 8th Nov 2010, David wrote: Although I enjoyed last weeks Autumnwatch I canada goose online uk felt it lacked something without Kate

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Comment number 6. At 20:05 8th Nov 2010, Bob wrote: That must have been an amazing experience Dave, i was at loch frisa a few weeks back cheap canada goose but unfortunately the resident pair were out for the day. I’d like to thank you for giving us a lift and taking us to a spot where we were able to see two sea eagles, your help was very much appreciated.

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