As if by clockwork, and with the first cold snap last Tuesday, Turquoise H, our 2009 released female white-tailed eagle appeared on Loch Leven! This is the 5th year running that Turquoise H with her partner Turquoise X have arrived there for winter.
The loch has been popular with birds released in all years since the first release in 2007, with 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 birds also being seen on the loch, and even a west coast bird in April 2009.
Turquoise H and X made their way here within weeks of being released, and have been returning regularly since. They were first seen on Loch Leven in August 2009, but since their first appearance, they have only ever returned to Loch Leven in the winter. They were next seen in December 2009 and stayed through until early March when they moved away again. The same pattern was repeated in 2010 but they arrived earlier in September for a few days returning again October to stay for the winter. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 their visits became very restricted to the winter time – arriving in December and leaving again in February.
The pair are now 5 years old, and this year they attempted to breed for the first time! (not at Loch Leven) Unfortunately, as is commonly the case with first breeding attempts, the pair were not successful. There is still some speculation over what the cause of failure might have been. Some of the possibilities are poor nest site selection (leading to exposure to bad weather), predation (by a fox for example) or that the eggs got chilled during incubation and failed to develop. But the good thing is that they attempted! and they will have one year of experience under their belts before next season when they can try again!
...although it would have been very nice to have seen a youngster accompany the pair to the loch this winter!
The birds have been seen roosting in their usual spots on Castle and Reed Bower Islands. They have also been seen during the day on St Serfs Island. Enjoy the view from RSPB Loch Leven’s cafe with a warm cuppa :-)
Check out this great atmospheric picture of Turquoise H taken by Karen Hartnell on Wednesday last week -
And if that’s not enough for you and you want to see even more eagle action, head down to Argaty Red Kite feeding station (http://argatyredkites.co.uk/index.php), where they had their first ever visit by a West of Scotland white tailed eagle yesterday afternoon! The bird had a silver BTO ring on its right leg and a black anodised ring on it’s left leg which is the system used on the west coast to ring white-tailed eagles.
This great photo was taken by Ivor Wilson who was at Argaty at the time -
Head down to the hide for 1:30pm to see the kites being fed and (if you’re lucky) the white-tailed eagle causing a stir!