The guessing is now over... Incase you didn't hear we are thrilled to share the news that our sea eagle chick has fledged!
Another snapshot by Amy Downes
Here he is looking remarkably relaxed, the falconry hood was used to keep him calm during the wing tagging process. We posted a few other photo's from the ringing in July, click here to see them.
Remember if you do get a good glimpse of a sea eagle please let us know by emailing email@example.com. If you make a note of the date, time, place and what the bird was doing, plus any information you can see on the wing tag, including the colour. You never know it could be a White A...
Is White A (the second wild chick on the east coast of Scotland in over 200 years) thinking about leaving the nest? White 1 (last year's chick) fledged in early August and White A is keeping the nest watch team guessing as to when he will leave the nest. Come say hello at one of our events or sign up to a guided walk to get the most up-to-date information, see our last blog post here to find out about our summer plans.
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.
One of our volunteers, the talented artist Karen Hartnell, has been involved from the beginning of the nest watch season. After a stint in the hide watching the parents she was inspired to do this brilliant sketch:
Karen has been regularly spending time at the hide and had a particularly interesting visit recently. Read her blog post to find out why:
As I drove to my nest watch shift, I was wondering how our newest east coaster, White A, had progressed since I last saw him two weeks ago. I had been reading about Mull’s Eagle Watch chick ‘branching out’, moving out of the nest onto surrounding branches, the next step in readiness for its first flight, but hadn’t expected White A to graduate to this stage within minutes of my arrival.
I reached the hide early in the morning, set up my scope and ten minutes later I was treated to a perfect view of the not-so-little one standing on the left side of the nest; beautiful dark chocolate-brown plumage, with a hint of a cheeky glint in his young eyes - very handsome.
The youngster was certainly wide awake and restless! He turned and flapped his wings, creating lift momentarily, the white of his wing tags clearly visible. Then he repeated the action, this time briefly landing on a branch behind before springing off and landing back into the nest. A brief pause - little did I know what he next had in store for me!
Turning to face the right side of the nest, White A wing-flap hopped right out of the nest and onto the surrounding branch! Then he bounced to the right some more, landing on a springy branch. I’m not sure who looked the most shocked out of the two of us: him as he landed on the branch trying to maintain balance with his huge wings, or me at the sight of him bouncing there hoping he didn’t fall off, heart in my mouth. Just to add to my anxiousness, he promptly left that area and went even further right, completely out of sight! Usually the first thing you notice of his whereabouts are the wing tags he now wears, spots of bright white shining through the dark foliage as he moves around, but I couldn’t see them anywhere.
I read the hide’s log book. Then I re-read the book to double-check, but there was no record of him going out of the nest before!
While I was a nervous wreck, his parents, Turquoise 1 and Z, were perched in their favourite spots nearby, calmly preening in the morning sunshine and ignoring their chick’s antics. They weren’t calling and neither was the eaglet, so I was sure all was well.
It was two hours before I caught sight of the longed-for white wing tags hopping back onto the nest, to my relief. White A then started calling, probably hungry after his branching out session!
Later he returned to the far right of the nest tree, his wing tags just visible, and I heard him calling. One of the adults responded from the same area and, as I trained my scope there, I saw the mature yellow beak open as another call was made, perched close to its chick. A short while later I spotted the tell-tale white markers entering the nest again and, at almost the same time, the adult bird exited via a very impressive downward dive from the left.
As if that excitement wasn’t enough, the silence was later broken by a loud ‘whoosh, whoosh, whoosh’ noise coming from the right side of the hide. I looked out of the front of the hide to see the male eagle flying low close by. Turquoise Z’s white tail was highlighted by the sun, bright yellow legs hanging down, talons gripping prey, which he carried straight into the nest and disappeared from view.
I had one last check through the scope before I left mid-afternoon and all was quiet on the nest. White A was probably sleeping off his recent meal and morning’s antics. Turquoise 1 was sitting atop her perch tree, watching the world go by around her, sun glinting off of her yellow beak, the tip of which was coloured by a recent meal.
That was the end of another exciting, very warm, afternoon in the company of White-tailed Eagles.
Turquoise 1 watching the world go by
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!