Tuesday, 4 December 2012

White-Tailed Eagle, Loch Leven

My main purpose of visiting Loch Leven this morning was to see if I could spot the White-Tailed Eagle that had returned to the loch over the weekend.  I was predicting an eagle return, given the wintery conditions over the last few days.

As usual, I scanned the trees on the islands with my binoculars and was sure that a dark shadowy, yet familiar form I had spotted was that of the Eagle.  The sun was still to rise, so light was limited, especially when trying to spot an eagle in trees - they may be big but they're not always so easy to see!

I got confirmation that it was indeed an Eagle when I was able to see it move, and later a crow perched close by giving a great size comparison.

White-Tailed Eagle in tree, with Pink-Footed Geese flying in the distance

Having started on my 'eagle watch' almost two hours previous, and still no sign of movement from said Eagle, I was starting to consider calling it a day and returning home, as despite gloves and thermal socks, extremities were in need of some warmth!  I had my dog in tow and, as much as he's used to going bird watching with me, even he was starting to wonder if I would ever go home.

"One more look through the binoculars," I said, and then I saw the Eagle flex its wings and take off!

 
Looking for breakfast!

It flew above the Loch, soaring around an area, before flying close to the surface of the water and making a grab for it's breakfast.  It must have missed, as it continued to fly low over the loch and made a second snatch from the water, and then another - third time lucky for the Eagle.

Eagle in the background, just after it made a grab from the loch

Breakfast held firmly in its talons, it flew back to the island and disappeared from view behind the trees.  The sun was now shining upon the tree that it had earlier perched in and I wished it had returned to that same spot to eat, so that I could have seen it bathed in the early morning sun. 

Taking its breakfast back to the island

It's the first time I've seen a White-Tailed Eagle hunt in the wild (not including the distant view I had on Mull of two adults collecting the fish thrown in for them from one of the boats I could see on the loch). 

An amazing, if cold, morning.


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