An article about one of our 2008 males who we found poisoned in Angus in August:
Having been involved in the search I have gone through a whole host of emotions in the last few months, the fact that three white-tailed eagles (1.5% of the Scottish population) have allegedly been persecuted in one small area is sad, disappointing and ultimately criminal as well as hugely frustrating for all those working so hard to restore this native species. I just hope that an investigation brings us a step closer to reducing wildlife crime. I don't think there is much else to say.
A belated Happy New Year to all blog readers.
The blog has not been updated for awhile as I was off on leave during the project's 'quieter' period and returned to find the RSPB office shut due to the weather. The eagles have been busy whilst I've been away as have project volunteers Dan and Gayle Spinks, Linsey McLean and Neil Blair and RSPB staff who have been tracking the birds in some tough weather conditions.
Ralf continues to be a regular visitor to Loch of Strathbeg catching widgeon, injured geese and a whooper swan and he has now been on the reserve for over 10 months, he also recently featured on BBC's out of doors programme, which you can listen to here:
On the 28th December three of our 2009 birds, tags X, H and Z finally left the immediate release area and have made themselves at home on Loch Leven, regularly being seen on St Serf's island and on the frozen loch. During cold weather the sea eagles tend to do quite well, being larger birds that can travel easily to find food and benefitting from the stress that other species are under and increased die off of wildfowl and rabbits. A few days ago, one of the birds killed a buzzard, which had been standing out on the ice for over an hour, so was probably not in the best condition. The young eagles have also been involved in a fight with a fox, repeatedly swooping at it whilst it umped up from the ice at them The eagles can be seen daily from the hides and visitor centre at Vane Farm. Bird H is a particularly large female, probably weighing close to 7kg now and Z is a very small male with X being a more averaged sized male. Bird X was named Hamish by Leuchars primary school and bird Z named Norbett by Donibristle school. All three birds are now nearly 9 months old.
The winners of the Duncan of Jordanstone student exhibition were also announced, with the exhibition running through to the 16th December. Ellen Brown from Kirkcaldy won first prize her design for large copper feathers engraved with the Norwegian for sea eagle. Runner-up Maddy Norval designed a computer game featuring a sea egle navigating its environment, having to eat and avoid being killed and loose points for eating lambs! Third prize was a sculpture based on maps and the eagles' journey from Norway to Scotland by Jerry Cook. The project partners are hoping to secure funding to develop some of these designs.
As the thaw continues there will be more updates on the birds movements once project volunteers and staff are able to get out radio-tracking again.