The autumn weather and arrival of wintering geese has kept our birds of all ages on the move and even saw one young female released for the second time!
After spending a few days on Staple island, yellowV finally left the Farnes in strong winds heading south onto the mainland on the 17th September.
Sadly, our other island inhabitant ‘Erik’ (yellowL) present on the Isle of May since the end of August was found with a broken leg in the seal colony on Monday, artist Keith Brockie and warden Alex Ash managed to catch the bird, splint its leg and immobilise it, Colin (who runs the May Princess) then headed over in his rib to bring the bird off. I drove to the vets and initially the prognosis was not too bad as the bird was responding to pinching the foot so the nerves were not completely severed, however, an x-ray on Tuesday morning confirmed that the bone was shattered and so beyond repair and sadly the 5 month old male was put down. Despite picking up some fulmar oil the bird was in good condition and a good weight, so we can only speculate what caused his accident either getting too close to a seal or its pup or landing awkwardly. Either way, everyone involved did everything they could and it is always incredibly sad to lose a bird. However, with 15 of our 19 newly released birds till alive we are still extremely pleased with our survival rates.
Another rescued bird had a much happier ending. Yellow3 a female was found near Fascadail on Ardnamurchan over 100 miles from the release site on the 18th September and following some strong winds and rain. She was first spotted by a dog walker who was concerned that she wasn’t flying, Ricky and Liz who work on golden eagles in the area then kept an eye on her before catching her on Sunday and asking the SSPCA to take her in. Once we got her back to Fife she was found to be 700g underweight, but not injured so after a couple of weeks of feeding and exercise she was ready to be re-released. She is the first eagle to be successfully released by the SSPCA and we are really grateful for their help as at this stage of the project every bird counts! A big thank you to John McAvoy Colin, Colin, Lorraine and everyone at the SSPCA for their help.
Photo: Colin Seddon (7th October 2010).
We set her free her back at the release site as there are still four other birds in the area and we are putting out food there regularly, and she had spent nearly a month in this area as well as two months looking at the view in captiviy. It also means we can check on her daily. It was a cool, still morning last Thursday when we opened her cage and she was in no rush to go, taking 20 minutes to even approach the open hatch, she then sat there for another 40 minutes often stretching her wings slightly ready to go and at one stage captivated by a flock of pink-footed geese overhead. She seemed a little shell-shocked after release staying in the same tree all day and is likely to have beena little disorientated after being driven back from the West coastbut has since been spotted up to 1km from the wood and is flying well.
Several 2009 birds have been back near the release site also, turquoiseH & turquoiseX have been popping in and out of Loch Leven, with H attempting to catch a goose on Monday and also moving to the East Neuk of Fife. They have also been joined recently by turquoiseK, she has spent most of the summer in Perthshire and Angus with turquoise1, however, he has got itchy feet recently and has abandoned her to head west and was spotted meeting up with one of our 2007 females; white7 on Mull by Bryan Rains at the end of September.
YellowE has moved onto the Ythan estuary whilst her brother (yellowO) remains in Fife and their other brother is still roosting around the nest site in Norway!
A group of four of our 2008 birds are roosting near Edzell, within striking distance of several goose roosts.
The food dump often attracts corvids, but volunteer Iain Malzer was lucky enough to spot a red kite nearby on Monday, an uncommon sight in Fife.