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A programme of activities to encourage more people to come and watch magnificent white-tailed sea eagles in Fife forests was launched today (Monday 21 July 2014).
The latest stage in a long-running collaboration between RSPB Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, the programme highlights the success of the species since it was re-introduced to Scotland.
RSPB Scotland’s Rhian Evans, who has played a key role in the reintroduction programme said;
“Persecution wiped sea eagles off the UK map almost 100 years ago but they’re now back - and doing remarkably well, with three breeding attempts in east and central Scotland this year.
“One pair is nesting on Forestry Commission land here in Fife and they often visit the coastline at Tentsmuir Forest, which is one of their favourite hunting grounds. They can be seen quite frequently on the beach, especially as for the second year running they have a chick to feed, so it’s a great place to come and try to see sea eagles in the wild.”
“We’re delighted that this pair have raised a chick again this year and that it’s doing well. We have just put wing tags and a satellite transmitter on him, so we can follow his movements over the coming years as he grows up and joins the breeding population. We hope he’ll have a better fate than his sibling from last year. Their success – and the fact that the number of breeding pairs are increasing across Scotland - is really a great testament to the success of the reintroduction.”
The activities programme includes special event days at Tentsmuir Forest on Thursday 24 and 31 July and Thursday 7 August, as well as at locations across Fife, including Tayport Harbour Cafe and St Andrews Botanic Gardens amongst others. (For full details visit www.rspb.org.uk/scotland and search in the ‘Near You’ window.)
As well as having experts on hand to answer questions about these magnificent birds and how the partnership has successfully delivered the reintroduction programme, visitors to the events will have the chance to view footage of the recent ringing of this year’s sea eagle chick and video footage gathered over the past seven years of the project.
Graeme Findlay, for Forestry Commission Scotland’s Fife team, said;
“It’s been a fantastic experience to have been involved in this programme and for us to have contributed to the re-establishment of sea eagles along Scotland’s east coast.
“I don’t think anyone truly appreciates how stunning these birds are until they see them in the wild and I would urge anyone with an interest in birds or in wildlife to spend a day out here and wait for the eagles to come hunting. They are a truly spectacular sight.”
Tom Cunningham, SNH’s Tentsmuir reserve manager, added:
“There are already so many reasons to visit Tentsmuir – with great forest and beach walks and lots of wildlife, including seals and red squirrels. Now there’s yet another reason with the sea eagles, which are one of nature’s truly spectacular sights. Seeing one can really take your breath away!”
For updates and more information about the East Scotland Sea Eagles visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/eastscotlandeagles/default.aspx or www.facebook.com/RSPBTaysideFife.
1) A 25 year, three-phase reintroduction programme began in 1975. The east coast phase (the most recent) was a partnership between RSPB Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage with funding from Leader (2011-2013) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (2011-2014). Between 2007 and 2012, 85 birds were released on the east coast of Scotland, with the first successful nesting attempt made last year (2013).
2) Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
3) The nest in Forestry Commission Scotland woodland in Fife was built by a pair of birds, known as Turquoise 1 and Turquoise Z, which were released in 2009 as part of the East Scotland Sea Eagle reintroduction project.
4) Media enquiries to Kirsty Nutt, Communications Officer, RSPB Scotland, 01224 627869 / 07711 385595