May is all about getting ready for our next batch of chicks and whilst heading up to the aviaries to jetwash and disinfect them and whilst getting the buckest and scrubbing brushes out of the car last week I looked up to see an owl chick watching with interest!
Getting the aviaires ready took a couple of days and some hard work from some willing volunteers, once we had cleaned them we built our new nests (photos below show the layers of bark chippings and then moss that build a nice comfy eagle nest) and got the padlocks on, CCTV in and signs up, yesterday I had a meeting with our local wildlife crime officer who coordinates security for the site with Fife police, its incredible how many people are now involved in this project and are willing to help, we also managed to acquire a second chest freezer for the eagles' food just for the price of a bottle of black grouse whisky!
Our 2009 birds have followed throse from previous years with tag 8 (a male) who until a couple of months ago had stayed around the Tay estuary reaching Fair Isle and giving the great skuas a shock and then Orkney, where he was joined by a mystery female. Tag V (who had been seen regularly at Tentsmuir point) is now a regular at the Ythan estuary North-east Scotland, following tag F and 'Ralf' from previous years. Birds are also frequently being seen in Angus with a roost near Fettercairn and sightings up Glen Clova. I was lucky enough to see one of our 2007 females (tag 7) who has been on Mull for the past 6 months, having a brief fight with a young golden eagle over Glen Ogil estate whilst out tracking last week. Another west coast visitor wandered east recnetly with 'Oran' one of the satellite-tagged Mull chicks moving north-east through Perthshire on the 2nd June, ending up in Moray and certainly encountering some of our east coasters on the way, you can follow his movements at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/tracking/mulleagles/index.asp
Chick collection began in Norway yesterday with a 5 week old male collected from nest near Ulsteinvik and our next lot of chicks will arrive on the 25th June.