It has been interesting to observe the dispersal of the second batch of sea eagle chicks, now aged 7-8 months. Five birds have set up a communal roost in the Carse of Gowrie, whilst another four birds continue to roost close to the release site and move throughout Fife. This is a stark contrast to last year’s birds at this time, who had all moved out of Fife, with the majority of birds in a communal roost in Strathbraan. Although birds spent sometime in the Carse, north of the Tay estuary last year, the second batch of birds have lingered here much longer. We carry out extensive screening of health and pollutants when the birds enter Scotland and it will be interesting to see how different factors affect birds survival and health as they grow and disperse or whether this is just down to differences between individuals.
The communal roost near Loch Tay appears to have broken up. Some of last year’s females have been covering a lot of ground, birds 5 and 7 were on Mull on the 17th December but bird 7 was then tracked and seen by two project volunteers near Murthly on the River Tay on the 20th December, covering over 100 miles in 3 days! Here she encountered a 2008 male (ring number 89), who has also been in the area and near Loch of the Lowes since early December.
We had our first confirmed sighting of one of last year’s birds sea fishing just north of Arbroath and have also received more sightings of sea eagles interacting with red kites around the west end of Glen almond in Perthshire.
As well as starting to apply for this year's licences and plan logistics, I am also looking forward to the release of a 20 minute film on the East Scotland project which is due out in February and continuing education and outreach in the local area with our field teachers at our Vane Farm reserve.
Many thanks to everyone who has reported sightings over the Christmas period and best wishes for the New Year.