Page last updated at 18:24 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 19:24 UK

Double hatching for sea eagles

Sea Eagle - Iain Erskine
Frisa and Skye have reared 18 young at Loch Frisa since 1998

Mull's celebrity white-tailed sea eagles, Frisa and Skye, have hatched two more chicks.

The pair, who have featured regularly on the BBC's Springwatch and Autumnwatch programmes, have now reared 18 young at Loch Frisa on Mull.

A second pair, who failed to breed last year after being disturbed by a photographer, have also hatched a brood elsewhere on the island.

The photographer was later fined £600 under wildlife protection laws.

Eagle watch

During the 38-day incubation period the nest was kept under 24-hour guard by Mull Eagle Watch, with additional help from RSPB Scotland, police and air cadets.

Reckless behaviour by photographers and others around our protected wildlife on Mull will not go unpunished
Pc Finlay Christine
Strathclyde Police

RSPB Scotland Mull officer Dave Sexton said: "We're delighted that both the Loch Frisa pair and the pair which were disturbed last year have hatched young.

"Those sea eagles are both approaching 30 years old and are the oldest in Scotland. They deserve better than the treatment they got last year and I'm thrilled they are now back in business.

"Sea eagles are now a vital part of Mull's important tourism industry and we'll do everything we have to in order to keep them safe from disturbance."

Landmark prosecution

Last spring, a photographer was charged with reckless disturbance of a sea eagle nest under the Nature Conservation Scotland Act (2004).

He was later found guilty and fined £600 in what was thought to be the first UK prosecution of its kind for the species.

Pc Finlay Christine, of Strathclyde Police, said: "The case last year showed that reckless behaviour by photographers and others around our protected wildlife on Mull will not go unpunished. It's great to see this pair recover from their failure and hatch chicks again."

In 2007, Frisa and Skye lost their chicks when they fell out of the nest.

Last year they hatched Mara and Breagha, who have been tagged with satellite tracking devices to chart their progress.

The public viewing hide at Loch Frisa is now open for visitors.

People can book ranger-led trips by calling 01688 302038.

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