White-tailed eagles have appeared on Loch Lomond for the first time in over a hundred years.
Nature bodies are working together to protect the native birds and minimise disturbance in the hope that they might stay and breed in future years.
A pair of white-tailed eagles, or sea eagles as they’re commonly known, were first spotted at Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve in early March this year. They have since been observed ‘nest prospecting’ – searching for suitable nest sites – suggesting they intend to stay.
It is believed that this is the first time sea eagles have settled at Loch Lomond since persecution and habitat changes led to their extinction in Britain in the early 20th century, with the last known bird reported in Shetland in 1918.
Their reintroduction to Scotland, first in the 1970s and again in the 90s and early 2000s, has been a conservation success. There is now estimated to be over 150 breeding pairs.
NatureScot, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority and RSPB Scotland are working together to monitor the birds’ behaviour, and to put in place protection and visitor management measures to ensure the birds are not disturbed by other loch users. This includes an exclusion zone, signs asking visitors to keep their distance and monitoring of the area during regular Ranger patrols. Police Scotland are also aware of the presence of the sea eagles.