October 20th   Leave a comment

I try to keep WildCrail more or less about Crail and the immediate area but occasionally my self-imposed geographical limits get just a bit too frustrating. Today, for example, I had three white-tailed eagles in front of me as I sat at the edge of the Eden Estuary, looking west from the old course at St Andrews: a fantastic sight of the two locally breeding adults and their young of the year. I was out with a class looking at foraging in oystercatchers when one of the students pointed out the eagle excitedly. All telescopes swung round immediately to see a magnificent adult, yellow bill and white tail gleaming, sat on the mud like a giant shorebird as the tide came in. One of the group kept on saying – “but I can’t see a yellow bill or a white tail” – turned out she was looking at another eagle, and then it became clear that the group was divided between three eagles all in a line along the shore. We could see one of the wing tags on the adults – turquoise with the letter Z on it – indicating that it was a male released in 2009 and that has been breeding locally since 2013. The other adult was its female, also released in 2009, and the young bird, their chick of this year. This pair were released as juveniles and started breeding as 4 year olds – they have now fledged their 3rd chick. A fantastic success story for the reintroduction of this iconic Scottish bird and surely only a matter of time before one sets up residence a little closer to Crail. There are now 100 breeding pairs of white-tailed eagles in Scotland – when the reintroduction started 40 years ago there were, of course, none. White-tailed eagles may well become more common on the east coast than the west where the living is easier. I can look forward to many more days like today.

A young white-tailed eagle

A young white-tailed eagle

Posted October 21, 2015 by wildcrail in Sightings

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