My Week: Dave Sexton has to choose between eagles and emails

The RSPB Scotland officer for the Isle of Mull recounts his week

Dave Sexton
Dave Sexton

Monday: A lot of my time is spent out in the field tracking eagles. My out-of-office email message is usually on and my mobile phone often diverts to voicemail because I'm out of range in the mountains and glens, so for an hour this morning it's time to catch up on admin. But it's not long before I jump into the Land Rover and head for the hills. I wait for an hour or so near a nest where last week there was a white-tailed eagle chick ready to fly. Now the nest is empty. After four months of watching and worrying has it all gone wrong at the last minute?

Tuesday: I want to get back to the nest but today I'm meeting a TV crew to do an interview about the public viewing facility that has been awarded five stars by VisitScotland. Inevitably, the interviewer slips in a question about eagles killing lambs. I respond that after this year's terrible lambing season when there were reportedly thousands of dead ewes and lambs on west coast hills, occasional predation by eagles is the least of their problems.

Wednesday: A party of Norwegian wildlife travel operators is here to see eagles reintroduced to Mull from Norway and to look at the possibilities for bringing groups of visitors here. We have lunch at a local inn and I present what Mull and Iona have to offer. They seem impressed.

Thursday: It's Salen Show day, a big event for Mull's farmers and producers. The agricultural show attracts hundreds of visitors, so RSPB has a stand there. Our new 'Giving Nature a Home' brand lends itself brilliantly to constructing a home-made display of bird, bat and bug boxes, feeders, garden tools and hedgehog houses. 'Build it and they will come', says the strapline - and they do.

Friday: At dawn I return to the empty nest to find out what has happened to the precious chick. I nearly spill my coffee when I suddenly hear the distinctive screeching and food begging call of a white-tailed eagle chick. There she is, sat high in a conifer watching one of the adults soaring above. I savour the moment, drink my coffee and decide those emails can wait until Monday.

RSPB is a UK charity that helps to protect birds and wildlife

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