Thursday, 3 November 2011

East Scotland White-Tailed Sea Eagles 1 Nov

It was a lovely day weather-wise on Tuesday, something that has been few and far between of late.  I decided to see if I could get some white-tailed sea eagle watching done.

Conditions were perfect ... but was it all too perfect? No, I was soon rewarded with the first sighting of the day. Perched in a tree was Red P, one of the eagles I had seen just a few weeks beforehand on the radio tracking afternoon.  Red P is also a bit of a celebrity, spotted pre-release on a feature about the east Scotland release project on Countryfile at the weekend... he/she didn't seem to have let fame go to his/her head!

 'Red P'

After we walked past Red P another eagle flew into the area, soaring in the sky above, getting mobbed by crows.  Beautiful views of it. Update Jan '12: looking at the various photos taken again of this particular eagle flying, I caught sight of a wing tag and it looks like this eagle is Red1.

Incoming eagle! 

Red P eventually took off, had a bit of a soar and then landed in a tree opposite, and then I spotted another eagle sat nearby.  I was trying hard to identify this one, but the red tag was blowing in the wind so I could only see the reverse and when it went the correct side, it was too quick for me to see.  It looked like a 1 or a T but not sure. (Seeing as the eagle above seems to now be Red1, the one below might have been H or T).

Spot the eagle! Red tag visible.

That particular eagle took off a while later and circled above us for a while, again the crows mobbed.

The formation of sea eagle and two crows reminded me of the Battle of Britain memorial flight of the lancaster bomber flanked by a spitfire and hurricane! I'm sure at times the crows were actually trying to land on the eagles' wings.

Red P took to the sky again as well, the crows took chase. 

The three eagles gave us some fantastic views, it was a perfect afternoon! 

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

House Sparrows

Photographs taken yesterday of the House Sparrows.

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Blue & Coal Tits

Photographs I've taken in my garden recently of Blue and Coal Tits.

  Coal Tit flies away

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Chaffinches photographed in my garden recently.

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Monday, 17 October 2011

White-Tailed Sea Eagle Tracking

On Wednesday 12 October I spent an afternoon / evening with the RSBP's new and former east coast sea eagle officers tracking some of the east coast White-Tailed Sea Eagles, one of the Wild Connections events in Perthshire last week.

What a fantastic time I had.  We went to a roost site and had a go with the radio tracking equipment, picking up a signal from one of the east coast eagles. I got to hold one of the radio transmitters that the eagles wear on their backs and they are extremely lightweight, and I doubt the eagles even notice they are wearing them.  I also got to see some feathers, one of which was probably the largest feather I have ever held! No wonder the eagles can soar so efficiently.

After having a go with the tracking equipment, we tried to see if we could spot the eagle who's signal we were tracking.  We saw it some distance away perched in a tree. This was eagle tagged Red A, one of this year's releases.

 Red A

Another signal was being picked up so we tried to spot that one, which was in the opposite direction.  We walked some distance, stopping to scan the trees for any sign, until finally it was spotted. This was Red E.  Moving along the track for a clearer view, I was trying to pick up Red E again, only to discover in my binoculars an eagle with a turquoise tag! This eagle was just a few trees along from Red E, and was Turquoise Z, a male from the 2009 release.  He had some food in the branch which he was eating.

Red E and Turquoise Z
Not far from those two eagles, we spotted another perched on a tree. This was Red P. There was also Red 2. So a very successful evening of eagle watching!

Red P

Turquoise Z
On Saturday I went back to the same area, in the hope of another sighting.  This time I saw a couple of large sillouettes fly past a gap in the trees out of sight. Eagles!

Walking around to a good vantage point, there was a buzzard extremely agitated in a nearby tree. It kept circling above the trees, calling.  I knew an eagle had to be somewhere in the trees, although I couldn't see it.  It wasn't long before the buzzard achieved it's objective and flushed the eagle out.  It chased it away, despite being dwafted by the huge sea eagle!  I was watching the action through my bincoluars while my other half took photos. I had hoped to be able to get an i.d on the wing tags, which were red for this year's release, but it was flying in the wrong direction.

Buzzard not happy!

Buzzard chases off the White-Tailed Eagle!
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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

River Ericht Walk, Blairgowrie, Perthshire

On Saturday I did the River Ericht walk, which takes you across Kitty Swanson's Bridge at about the halfway point. I started the walk from Rattray so it was slightly longer than shown in the walk leaflet.

I spotted a family of buzzards soaring above the trees and calling to one another and there were plenty of peacock butterflies in the fields.

A long walk, with paths pretty overgrown (lots of nettles in places) for the most part and wet. It was hard going and the walking boots got saturated! We didn't see anyone else on the main part of the walk, very quiet.

Kitty Swanson's Bridge
River Ericht
Buzzard soaring, saw three of them in a group
View to Blairgowrie
This walk is part of the Blairgowrie Path Network and you can see the route on the leaflet here (River Ericht Walk).

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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ben Gullipen & Highland Cows

On Sunday we walked up Ben Gullipen near Callendar. This is a nice leg-stretcher of a hill, not that high, but great views.

The Highland Coos were on the slopes, and they looked lovely against the backdrop of sun-flecked hills.

The views from the summit are fantastic, looking down Loch Venachar towards Ben A'an Loch Lomond is just visible. The peak of Ben Lomond could be seen, it's summit getting brushed by the cloud. Ben Ledi is directly opposite Ben Gullipen on the otherside of Loch Venachar. Looking in the opposite direction, I could see the Ochil Hills and the Wallace Monument and Castle in Stirling.

A lot of tree felling has gone on in the area since I was last here a few years ago.
Looking down Loch Venachar
Ben Ledi
Highland Cows (coos!)Ben A'an (right) with a distant Loch Lomond just visible
Highland Coos with Callendar behindCorbie Labrador enjoyed his walk!
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