Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Reintroduced White-Tailed Sea Eagle in Northumberland

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.


Holywell Birder said...

Photographs as well :O Will have to try again in the morning, arrived too late today.

Brian Robson said...

Two birders still alive had a bird at Rothbury Alan a few years back, Keith Reeder was one of them/

Still its nice to see another record in Northumberland

alan tilmouth said...

That's right Brian 3rd April 2005 with Alan Giloney, ADMc had the first in 1994, 21st March at Rayburn Lake.

Ian Fisher said...

It's probably from 2008, as that year no birds were wing-tagged.

alan tilmouth said...

It doesnt appear to be one of the Mull four with radio tags as I've just checked on Google Earth.
By 2008 birds I assume you mean Scottish East Coast Ian?

GWW_Milo_02 said...

Is that right wing suffering from shot. The primaries look to have many holes!

Bryan Rains said...

Corker! Just spoke to Dave S regarding this bird. There is one of our sat tagged birds that has disappeared off the map that was last recorded on 21st Jan. It looks spotty enough to be a 2008 bird but the only two birds with sat tags, that I know of from that year, are not in Northumberland.

Mark Mowbray said...

Great find for the region I was going to mention the fact that Keith and Alan found one not so long ago at Simonside but wanted to confirm this with Keith before making myself look daft! They did do and it was in 2005

Keith's report from 2005 can be seen incase anyone is interested inc some very poor pics!

Northumbrian Birding said...

Great shots Alan ,you must have been sharp off the mark.

Ian Fisher said...

aye, I meant East Coast, am not sure whether the transmitter on it is a radio tag or just a radio tag though!