Jun 162012

Isle of Mull “Eagle Island”- still producing White-tailed Eagles


The Isle of Mull is now known as “Eagle Island” thanks to the thriving populations of golden eagles and white-tailed sea eagles on the island.


Sea eagles have now ‘come home’ to Scotland. They were originally reintroduced to the UK by the Government’s Scottish Natural Heritage after being persecuted to extinction by 1918 in Scotland. This project was based on the Isle of Rum and started in 1975 – following a trial attempt on Fair Isle in 1968. By the early 1980’s a few of the sea eagles had dispersed from Rum and were seen on the neighbouring Isle of Mull. The first successful breeding attempt since extinction on Mull in the 1880’s took place on the island in 1985 and the population has slowly increased since then. (RSPB)


The white-tailed eagle is again now getting well established on the Isle of Mull. The latest figures show that there are now 14 pairs of white-tailed eagles on Mull from a total Scottish population of 40 pairs. The eagles were introduced in the mid seventies from pairs brought over from Norway and after a slow start the birds have eventually established themselves. This year the eagles I have photographed have two young hatched and are feeding well. They survived the very bad wet and cold weather and the future looks good for the chicks and hopes are high that they will fledge. The eagles will build two or more nests and decide at the last minute which nest they will use just to keep everyone guessing. Their nest sites are spread over the island and are kept secret. They are watched by an army of very enthusiastic volunteers around the clock to keep the eggs safe from egg thieves and the chicks safe from unscrupulous would-be falconers.

White-tailed Eagle

White-tailed Eagle Loch Na Keal Isle of Mull

White-tailed Eagle Loch Na Keal Isle of Mull


White-tailed Eagle Loch Na Keal Isle of Mull


Ron McCombe

Ron McCombe

Ron McCombe, A professional wildlife photographer, Ron lives in the Scottish Borders. He has travelled around Europe, North America and Canada in pursuit of his photographic goals. He concentrates his photography around the Borders Region of Scotland but travels up to the Highlands and Islands around Scotland running workshops in these areas. An award-winning photographer, Ron won the inaugural Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year 2010. His work can be seen in books, magazines and newspapers. He is passionate about Scotland and its amazing wildlife and promotes it in his lectures and illustrated talks all over the UK.

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  3 Responses to “White-tailed Eagle on Loch Na Keal, Isle of Mull, Scotland”

  1. Amazing pictures… thanks for sharing.

  2. Ron, I agree wholeheartedly with Nic’s comments. Outstanding images – and it would be great to see a few more raptors in Ireland. Apart from Sparrow Hawks, Kestrels and the occasional Peregrine Falcon, I have yet to see a Buzzard, a Red Kite (or a White-Tailed Sea Eagle – that would be wonderful to see!). I must take a trip up to the Island of Mull.

  3. Ron, what a stunning series of images and how wonderful that Mull is now “officially” Eagle Island. I wish Ireland would learn a few tricks as we have introduced sea eagles on the west coast only to have local farmers poison and shoot them. Hope we are able to move on from there. I was on Mull in the 90’s and they were fabulous to watch…great success story.

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