We headed over to Mull at the end of last month to check on a couple of our 2007 females that have been there, bird 5 is still on the NW of the island and bird 7 has returned from Shetland where she was seen regularly in April and May. At the time of our visit, she was coincidentally near the Craignure golf course nest, enountering this year's chicks 'Pitch' & 'Putt'.
Our 2009 birds have not wandered too far yet, we think that the heavy rain may have kept them close to the release site (this time in prevous years we had birds on the Isle of May and at Montorse basin). However, a couple have wandered north of the Tay estuary and are mixing with some of our 2008 birds. Three of our 2007 birds are currently in Mid-Lothian with a male from 2008. One male (tag 5) has ventured down to the Eden Estuary meaning that we have to keep RAF Leuchars regularly updated on his movements. We have also spent the last couple of weeks cleaning out the cages (no small task!) ready to be jetwashed for the new birds next year.
Sadly we have had 2 casualties in the last couple of weeks, a train collision and an electrocution, it is always sad to lose birds, especially as all of our 2008 birds made it to 1 year old before we had any casualties, but unfortunately it is all part and parcel of a re-introduction that we will lose some birds along the way and have to release a large number for it to be successful. Most of the 2009 birds are still using the food dump which we are stocking with deer 3 times a week and its is common to see 10 eagles still roosting in the release wood. We have really seen their flight imrpove in the last month and they are all able to soar high and flick of crows and buzzards with ease in flight. As our young birds beguin to disperse they are a more regular sight near Perth, but staff at Vane Farm are eaglerly awaiting their first visitor this year. Ralf has returned to Loch of Strathbeg recently after spending time off the reserve.