Much has been said in the press and online about the poisoned sea eagle in Angus, our birds are all radio-tracked and carefully monitored which allows us to find dead birds and determine causes of death. Carbofuran is an extremely persistent poison (one of the reasons it is banned) and so animals killed by it will test positive regardless of how long they have been lying out. I don't know why Tayside Police chose January to release a press statement on this case, but we obviously welcome any progress.
Our Bird of Prey campaign, signed by more than 200,000 people demanding an end to the killing of birds of prey, were handed to Wildlife minister Huw Iranaca Davies today and in Scotland we are handing in our petition to Parliament on the 2nd March, we hope that with the support of so many people we can continue to work with other organisations and landowners to reduce perseucton of birds of prey.
Onto more positive things.....
Its great having sea eagles on our nature reserves as not only does it mean that many more people are able to enjoy these birds but also means they are watched throughout the day providing us with many interesting observations including feeding on a fox last week and their many unsuccessful hunts, at only 10 months old they still have a lot of learning to do and many people are surprised by how lazy they are, often hanging out like bored teenagers on the ice or shore!
In the past week it has more often just been the two eagles at Vane Farm, bird Z has moved over to join other 2008 and 2009 birds on the North of the Tay estuary, only now popping into visit X and H every few days, infact on Monday bird also X flew north to join him to roost for the night, returning to Vane Farm on Tuesday morning. We went to look for pellets and signs of roosting on one area of the reserve on Tuesday and found the fresh remains of a pink-footed goose up a tree!
The eagles seem to be roosting in three places around the Loch. Wildfowlers have been concerned that the presence of the eagles will move and break-up flocks. However, SNH Site Manager Jeremy Squire observed pink-feet settling back on a roost 22 seconds after being flushed! This ties in well with what is being observed at Loch of Strathbeg where Ralf has not casued flocks to roost in different places. However, one of the Loch Leven 3 has reportedly as attempted to catch a wildfowler's decoy!
On the weekend two of the eagles were seen flying above Vane Hill with another successfully re-introduced species the red kite, not often seen at Vane Farm, but with an increasing population in Central Scotland. The fantastic photos below were taken by Graham.
Also on Saturday, 1 of the birds took an interest in model aeroplanes being flown over East Lomond Hill! You can watch the video on YouTube:
Other 2009 birds are still around the Howe of Fife, with one spotted near Bridge of Orchy, probably heading West to investigate its cousins as our young birds normally discover the West coast population by February. One of our 2007 females, bird 5 is still being seen regularly at Loch Cuin on Mull and a 2007 male was around Roslyn Glen in Midlothian on the weekend.
We are starting an exciting new sea eagle education project in Perth and Kinross this year, more information will be added about this soon or do get intouch with the project at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like further information.