July, 2014

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

East Scotland Sea Eagles

Find out how we're bringing back white-tailed eagles to east Scotland
  • Summer Starts Here... For Us!

    Come and discover the story of the East Scotland Sea Eagles with RSPB staff and volunteers. We are running a programme of family-friendly activities throughout the summer so you can follow the sea eagle tale through its highs and lows. There will be updates on how this year’s chick is getting on and we also have exclusive video footage gathered over the past seven years of the reintroduction project.

    The programme includes special event days and guided walks at Tentsmuir Forest, as well as other locations across Fife, including Tayport Harbour Cafe and St Andrews Botanic Gardens. Follow this link for directions to Tentsmuir Forest: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/visit/tentsmuir.

    Some events are drop-in but others will require booking. For full details on events please visit www.rspb.org.uk/scotland and enter 'Fife' in the ‘Near You’ window. We will add more dates throughout the season. Please note that some events will be weather dependant so please keep an eye on our facebook page for latest updates.

    The summer programme is to help raise awareness about how these magnificent birds were brought back and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The East Scotland Sea Eagle reintroduction project is a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Between 2007 and 2012, 85 white-tailed eagles were released; the first successful nesting attempt in east Scotland was 2013. We have a successful nesting attempt for the second year running, see here.

    We look forward to saying hello sometime soon. Here are some pictures of our summer so far... 


    Meet the team


    Tentsmuir Point hits 60


    Check out the centrepiece!


    Learning how to track


    Our blank canvas...


    Our student placements hard at work

    Watching footage of this year's chick


    Learning some new birds


    Activities are not just for children...


    Come and say hello!




  • It's a boy! Or at least we think it is...

    Following on from our last blog post with the exciting news about the successful sea eagle nest for the second year running we can now confirm  more details. The breeding pair (Turquoise 1 and Z) are the same pair that raised the chick (White 1) last year. White 1 was the first chick to fledge in the east coast of Scotland in over 200 years, see here for a reminder


    Meet the Parents

    Photo taken by: Raymond Leinster

    A fortnight ago this year's chick was ringed and we are thrilled to announce that it's doing really well. Blood samples are required to confirm the sex of white-tailed eagles but you can have a pretty good guess by looking at the size of their feet! This chick has a relatively small set which is why we think it's a male.


    Our curious chick

    Photo taken by: Ian Francis

    All of the East Scotland sea eagle chicks that were released as part of the 2007-2012 reintroduction programme were fitted with wing tags and VHF transmitters. White A is the second chick to be fitted with a more advanced satellite tag so we can follow his movements closely as he grows up and - hopefully - joins the breeding population. His sibling from last year also had a satellite tag which meant we could react quickly when it went missing in April.


    Say hello to White A - our new chick and his 'small' feet!

    Photo taken by: Amy Downes


    We are hoping to post more information about summer plans and how you can find out more about the project later this week. Until then, spread the word about our fantastic new arrival.




  • Another Sunday Morning

    Since Rhian's post in April on the nest watch volunteers there has been a lot of activity in the project...

    We are absolutely thrilled to have a white-tailed sea eagle nest this year - this is the second successful breeding attempt in East Scotland and a very exciting time for the partnership project! The initial six nest watch volunteers were crucial in helping us to set up the surveillance scheme and we now have over 30 staff and volunteers involved.

    The summer will be an even busier time for us and we will have more updates on this soon. In the meantime, read on to enjoy the blog post, photographs and video from our excellent volunteer Andy Guppy.

    Another Sunday morning, another eagle watch shift, during the walk to the hide at 7:30 in the morning I did not expect a mosquito to dine on my hand as I walked, sadly it no longer exists and my hand throbbed the rest of the day.

    On the lovely walk to the hide I managed to observe many species of birds, insects and obtain some lovely pictures of local butterfly life, Orange Tips were in abundance, along with some small coppers and I even managed to grab a Cinnabar Moth, a first for me.

    Green Woodpecker yaffling in the woodland and a family of newly fledged wrens as I walked the last 200 metres or so.

    Many people have asked why I do what I do in relation to watching/monitoring the sea eagles the answer is simple – “When you are rewarded with such beautiful wildlife before the actual real fun begins why not?“

    On approach to the hide I checked on the Willow Warbler who decide to set up home just yards from the hide, they were busy feeding a nest full of young. Quick picture and left them to contend with the hungry gaping mouths.

    At last the hide, 400 metres plus from the nest.

    As usual got my gear set up, most use a scope, I have adapted a method that allows me to observe and record footage at the same time using my camera as a scope since it has a high power zoom.

    Turned out to be a very eventful morning, as I arrived the male came in with what looked like a rabbit, however I did not quite have my kit set up to capture, however 2 hours later I observed and recorded a change over on the nest, this is where one bird comes in and swaps nest duty with the other. The video attached has a haze about it, that is the result of the heat wave at ground level when filming on a hot day over such a distance.

    When I realised what I had just captured on film, I was grinning like a Cheshire cat :)

    Other than that change over the rest of the shift had become a norm shall we say during the incubation period, not much activity on the nest and numerous hours spent flitching at every move you see in the nest hoping to see the hatching youngster, alas not on this shift, perhaps I will get lucky on the next.

    What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning, sitting in the middle of nowhere, nothing but the songs of the local birdlife, watching and protecting a bird as elegant as the White-tailed Sea Eagle.