Monday, 12 March 2012

My First West Coast White-Tailed Eagle!

It finally happened - I saw my first west coast White-Tailed Eagle during my holiday at Lochalsh last week! 

I had been standing in the garden watching a Golden Eagle on the hillside until it disappeared from view and as I turned and looked to the right I saw another bird.  I trained the binoculars on it straightaway and as soon as I saw it flying, I knew it was my favourite bird!  The huge wings, the wedge-shaped tailed, long neck and huge beak.  I couldn't get the full effect of it's plumage colouring as it was sillhouetted against the grey sky, but its tail was definitely a lighter colour than the body as it turned and soared in the sky.

It was high above Loch Long, before it started to glide down and disappeared from view behind a high bank we were standing next to.  I ran up the bank (not easy in slippers!), but I had lost sight of it.  It was great to finally see one of the west coast birds.

White-Tailed Eagle above Loch Long
(photos taken by my other half)

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Golden Eagles Galore!

Last week I was staying near Kyle of Lochalsh, by Loch Long. It turned out to be a great spot for watching Golden Eagles. There appeared to be a resident pair and one other in the area.  I was always seeing them when the weather was dry. I expect they were hiding when the weather was really wild on a couple of days!

The second morning of the holiday I scanned the crags I could see from the bedroom, and noticed something on the top of the main hill which I was sure wasn't there before.  Looking through the spotting scope I could tell that it was an eagle.  It sat there for a long time, and as I watched it another flew into view before landing next to the first.  They remained there for a while, before taking off and soaring along the length of the hillside, over the garden and to the crags on the otherside of the loch, before disappearing from view.  I watched them for almost an hour!

Spot the Eagle...
 Zoomed in view of the two Golden Eagles
 Soaring above the hillside

On the last day of the holiday we walked along Glen Elchaig to the Falls of Glomach, a few miles from where we were staying.  I spotted a pair of Golden Eagles soaring together above one of the hills.  They flew along the crags. When they were against the hillside, I could see the colours of their plumage and also a good sense of their size!  They were soaring for quite some time until they eventually disappeared down the glen. 

Golden Eagle soaring in Glen Elchaig
Golden Eagle (photo taken by my other half)

Not long after seeing those two, I spotted one on the other side of the glen. 

During my week away I spotted 11 Golden Eagles, but they were likely the same ones given that I saw them in the same vicinity, the one pair usually together and a single.

Sightings Along the River Today

The birds I saw along the river this morning (purely so I remember in the future what I've seen!):

  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Goosander, male & female
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Dipper
  • Buzzard
A lovely morning, shame I didn't take my binoculars out with me!