I wrote in my last post that we were expecting our first chicks to hatch next month in Norway, but concerns of a later season due to the prolonged winter are unfounded and I heard a couple of days ago that the first chicks in our collection areas have started hatching, although its is still too early to see how successful the season will be. I'm always learning more about white-tailed eagles from Alv Ottar who coordinates our chick collection in Norway, in his last email he told me of two new nest sites on lighthouses!
Bird 8, a 2009 male has headed up to Shetland for his first birthday. This bird was our smallest male of 2009 and has spent the last 8 months in North Fife and on the Tay estuary, not wandering more than 30 miles from the release site, but he obviously got the urge to wander once the thermals arrived. He flew over Forsinard on the 6th April and then turned up on Fair Isle on the 21st April. You can view photos on the Fair Isle blog, my favourite is it getting harassed by bonxies (great skuas) whch don't often meet their match!
Once the wind changed he made it to mainland Shetland on Saturday, flying low over surveyor's head whilst they carried out a BTO bird atlas square in the Sandwick Hills. One of our 2007 females, tag 7, headed up to Shetland this time last year.
Away from birds, we're really excited about our new eduction project we've started with schools in Perth and Kinross and I've already received emails from pupils signing up to be project rangers to help us spread the word about the project.
We record the diet of our released eagles by collecting regurgitated pellets from roosts and from watching them hunting and were able to add a surprising new species to this list last week, when two RSPB members (Debbie and John Lindop) spent an hour watching one of our 2009 males (tag Z) catching frogs near Aboyne!
One of our 2008 males returned from Ardnamurchan last week and has been spending time near Loch of the Lowes, whilst the 2009 birds are really spreading their wings now that there are more thermals aiding their soaring (they seem unaffected by the volcanic ash...!) and we have had birds up at Forsinard in Sutherland and flying with red kites and buzzards near Comrie. Our 2009 male tag V (nicknamed Vince) has also still been hanging arond Tentsmuir point.
Whilst things are warming up a wee bit on the East, the west coast is still being hit by hard weather and it seems this may well be affecting the eagles as Dave Sexton has seen with the Loch Frisa birds on Mull:
We can only watch and wait to see how things are going for our donor population in Norway whose eggs should start hatching next month.
Loch of Kinnordy reserve that gets regular visits by our birds now has its own blog, you can keep up to date with birds and activites on the reserve at:
It was really great to meet so many sea eagle fans at the RSPB Members' Weekend in York last weekend and hear so many stories about people seeing their first sea eagle - some of which were our recent wanderer down south!
Our 2008 wandering sea eagle was spotted flying over Leighton Moss at approximately noon on Sunday before visiting Haweswater in the Lake district. Haweswater used to be home to England's last breeding pair of golden eagles, but has been home to a solitary male since 2004. He must have thought his luck had changed when a larger eagle flew into his territory on Sunday! He must have quickly realised his mistake as the sea eagle was seen off after a short mid-air tussel! The bird was also seen over the Barden Scale watchpoint in the Yorkshire dales by National Park staff on Saturday.