Preparations are well underway for the arrival of the new cohort of sea eagle chicks this year.
Licences have been granted, flights have been arranged, now it's all down to the birds to get on with rearing the chicks until they are ready to be collected.
The team have been working hard to prepare the 10 aviaries for the chicks to be kept in. The walls, platforms and perches have been scrubbed, the ground has been weeded and the bedding material put down already. It's great that the aviaries have remained in such great condition for the duration of the project without needing hardly any repairs at all!
The chicks will be collected when they are between 5 and 8 weeks old so that they are big enough to tear up their own food and feed themselves with the food we provide. This means we don't have to handle them to feed them in captivity, and they have minimal contact with people.
This picture was taken by Ingar Stoyle Bringsvor of Birdlife Norway during last year's chick collection.
One of the young birds released in August last year from east Scotland has recently been making a guest apperance at a selection of RSPB reserves in North East Scotland! This individual with red wing tags and the letter "A" has recently spent time on RSPB Loch of Strathbeg, and last week at Broubster Leans in Caithness. "Red A" who is a young male was joined at Strathbeg by another young bird "Red Z"- a female released in the same year. Since then, Red A has been spending time at Broubster Leans, but without his companion.
Since his release, he has made some spectacular journeys. He is the first east coast white-tailed sea eagle to be spotted on the isle of Arran where he spent time in October last year. He then ventured further west to Campbeltown before heading to Loch of Strathbeg.
Quite the adventurer!
Below is a photo of Red A taken on Arran by Brian Couper. A good example of scale!
The East Scotland Sea Eagle team has trippled in size over the past month with new recruits Miriam Kayoueche-Reeve and Heather Richards joining me at the RSPB Tayside and Fife office!
Miriam is the new Sea Eagle infomation officer, and her post has been funded by Rural Tayside and Fife LEADER. Her role is to promote the east coast sea eagle to the tourism industry and to attend lots of events over the busy summer period to raise awareness of sea eagles in east Scotland. Look out for Miriam at up and coming events such as The Railway Farm market http://www.highlandlightrailway.co.uk/events.php.
Heather is the new sea eagle project assistant and will be a great help to me over this busy time as I prepeare for this year's chicks to arrive. Her post is funded by both HLF and LEADER. So far she has been helping prepare release aviaries for the chicks and following the movements of the older sea eagles and was very excited to see one of our awesome birds down at Tentsmuir point!
A big welocme to them both, and I hope they enjoy their new roles in this exciting project :-)