With only two records in living memory and only three people alive with White-tailed Sea Eagle on their Northumberland List, a twitchable wandering Scottish, Dutch or German bird has been long overdue. With news breaking late afternoon of a bird at Prestwick Carr, everything was dropped, with perhaps 20 other local birders doing exactly the same.
On arrival it had "flown north into the wood harassed by Common Buzzard", by now having switched vehicles I was with ADMc who from 1994-2005 could claim to be the only living person with a county record. After a bit of a slow drive over an increasingly subsiding and currently flooded road we took a call saying it was up in the air, visible from the east end where we had driven from. Several minutes later the beastie was up again mobbed by Common Buzzard over the north end of Prestwick Carr.
I took a gamble and drove around to Berwick Hill, heading down the track adjacent to the nursery the WTE suddenly appeared 30m west of me flying northwest. With six inches of water between me and a gap in the treeline it was time for wet feet. It then flew northwest toward Kirkley Mill Bridge. I drove around to the north of Kirkley Mill Bridge and saw it again very briefly further east possibly toward Blagdon Estate but not again.
With radio tag clearly visble in shots 4,5,& 6 this is presumably a juvenile from the Scottish East Coast Re-introduction Programme.
It may well have been in Northumberland for some days as a report that came to me by email from Paul Shakeshaft on Monday of " an Eagle (sp)" as follows:
"Called in at Linton reserve about 5pm on Sunday...At the West flash, watched through telescope a very large raptor on the ground on north side of flash for about 10 minutes. Feathered legs noticeable. Bill grey and yellow. When it took off, it headed off to the south east. Quite dark underneath. From the undertail (pale patches & dark broad terminal band) and top of rump (white), we thought it was a golden eagle perhaps 5 years old. The top and back of the head were paler than the rest but not the colour an adult bird. No jesses or tags."
Thanks to Steve Whitehouse for the early warning and ADMc.