First successful sea eagle breeding in Deeside for around 200 years - Cairngorms National Park Authority

Sea eagle in flight (Dorothea OLDANI on Unsplash)
Sea eagle photo by Dorothea OLDANI on Unsplash

A pair of sea eagles have bred successfully in Deeside for the first time in around 200 years, fledging two chicks.The pair nested on Mar Estate, one of six estates in the East Cairngorms Moorland Partnership. Although sea eagles have been in the area for several years, this is their first successful breeding attempt. The pair is one of 5 territorial pairs in the Cairngorms National Park this year, of which 3 have fledged young.

Sea eagles, also known as white-tailed eagles, are thought not to have bred in this part of the Cairngorms since the early 1800s. The species became extinct in Scotland in 1918 but, after an absence of almost 60 years, they were reintroduced to the west coast in 1975, using Norwegian birds. Further reintroductions in Wester Ross and then Fife have resulted in the national population gradually expanding to around 130 pairs, with pairs in the National Park tending to be a mix of birds from the east and west. The pair on Mar Estate is made up of a male released in 2011 as part of the Fife re-introduction and a female believed to be from the west coast. Colonisation of the east of the country has been slower than hoped, due in part to ongoing raptor persecution in some areas. It is therefore welcome news that this pair has successfully established on an estate managed principally for deer and grouse.

Mark Nicolson, a proprietor of Mar Estate, said “We are delighted to have successful breeding of sea eagles on the estate. Sea eagles have been present for several years, mainly providing spectacular aerial battles with our long resident golden eagles. Our hopes that they might settle and breed have been realised, and we look forward to their return next year. After some local input, we have named the young fledglings Victoria and Albert.”

Grant Moir, CEO of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) said “Raptor conservation is a key element of the work of the East Cairngorms Noorland Partnership (ECMP). Around 50 pairs of moorland raptors (golden eagles, peregrines, hen harriers and merlins) breed in the ECMP area. We are keen to see more raptors in the area so this news is very welcome.”

Posted on: 15 September 2020

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