A belated Happy New Year to everyone reading this. It's been a little while since my last blog and as usual the birds have kept me busy.
I arrived in the office on Monday 17th December to find my inbox full of emails about a sea eagle on the Isle of May in the firth of Forth, seen by several fishermen over the weekend. I shot off down to Crail and Anstruther to try and pick up a radio-signal, but only ended up with a cold bottom from sitting on the sea wall! Thanks to the SNH warden I was then able to head out to the island on the Wednesday to try and track the bird.
At this time of year the Isle of May holds large numbers of gulls and is covered in dead rabbits and grey seal pups, as well as some very much alive angry females who greeted us when the boat landed!
I had only 90 minutes on the island to try and find the bird and unfortunately was unsuccessful, radio-tracking can take time as it is important on a place like the May to cover every nook and cranny and I expect this bird was just sitting tight somewhere! Hopefully, I’ll pin it down this month.
Our group of six sociable birds (four females and two males) have joined up again after a bit of independent wandering with the birds travelling to Strathbraan / Loch Freuchie near Dunkeld and Glenalmond in Perthshire. Other birds have been at Monikie country Park and along the Tay estuary while bird F has moved south of St Fergus towards Peterhead. Bird 5, a female has also been near Balloch loch near Crieff mingling with buzzards and red kites.
Bird T who popped in at Argaty in November found himself a feast in the shape of a dead sheep near Braco. He is currently fairly resident between Callander and Braco, moving over an area of approximately 15 km. A few blog readers have seen this bird in the area and at Flanders Moss. I caught up with him last Thursday, being mobbed by crows and chasing greylag geese and Andy Hay managed to get this fantastic photo.
Finally, the disappearance and alleged persecution of a bird in the Angus Glens, which was reported in the press in December, was extremely sad for the whole project team. The information regarding this came directly to Tayside Police and coincided with a cessation of regular sightings and radio-contact with this bird. The incident is currently under investigation, so if anyone has any information they think may be relevant they should contact the police directly.
Although it seems like a long way off preparations are already under way for the arrival of the next lot of chicks, some of the many licences must be secured annually and we have some more cleaning and disinfecting to do of the cages not to mention the huge freezer for their food!