The boat rocked on the gentle swell in Loch na Kreal under an unaccustomed clear sky and warm sun for this cold May. The sea eagle, the flying barn door, left its perch on the distant Scots pine tree, by its nest containing two chicks and headed our way, gradually increasing in size in the lens like some V bomber of yesteryear. It flew in low and, as it neared the boat, gained height, circled to pinpoint the fish and, with a flick of the tail plunged down, thrust out its talons, scooped up the prey amid a spray of crystal clear water and headed back to its young, mobbed by gulls all the way. What a sight! Today must rank as one of my best wildlife experiences ever: a day of sea eagle photography with Mull Charters on the small boat Lady Jayne skippered by Martin, who has been running these trips from Ulva Ferry into Loch Na Keal, Mull for several years. We had booked for a trip last Wednesday but it had been cancelled in view of the awful weather, but we had been able to re-book for today. We were up early and away for 8.30 to be ready to board at 9.45. Once in position we had the amazing experience of watching and photographing three visits from these stunning birds, attracted by the fish thrown out by the crew; one fish per visit. The eagles appear to recognise the boat and know when to make their approach. Martin is careful to ration the fish provided so that the eagles do not come to rely on the food source and need to hunt for themselves. An added bonus was the excellent views and photo opportunities of the great northern diver on the way to the site.
Back at the site, ready for our meal at the excellent Craignure Inn we were pleased to get our first clear view of Ben Nevis with a thick covering of snow.
What a day to live in the memory banks.
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