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Sea Eagles on the Isle of Wight?

As a young birdwatcher living in Hampshire, one of my favourite places was St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight, a chalk headland sticking out into the English Channel. I spent many hours there studying bird migration at day and night. To get there I caught the ferry from Portsmouth to Ryde and then a small train followed by some hitchhiking. One day my old diary reminds me I must have been dreaming about sea eagles, now called white-tailed eagles, and decided that I would first of all visit Culver Cliff near Sandown. In 1780 this was their last breeding site along the south coasts of England. I hiked from Bembridge and at low tide walked round the base of the cliffs and looked up at the chalky white headland, where the old books recorded their nest. Of course, I saw no sea eagles that day but could imagine them circling above me – their huge wings, bright yellow bills and white tails against the blue sky.

Much has changed since 1957 and lost raptors like sea eagles have been reintroduced to Scotland and Ireland, as well as red kites to England and Scotland, and ospreys to England. A bold vision for the sea eagle is to return the species throughout southern Europe to the Mediterranean. As part of that plan Forestry Commission England and our Foundation has put forward proposals to restore the white-tailed eagle to the Isle of Wight. After a year of careful planning and talking with people on the Isle of Wight the group will be holding public meetings on 12th and 13th November at three locations across the Island to outline the project and discuss the proposal with local people.

Click here to find out more about the proposals and details of the public meetings. 

To give your views on the project please complete our online questionnaire.

We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page; and please email your support if you like the idea to roydennis@aol.com or timmackrill@hotmail.com.

White-tailed eagles were successfully reintroduced to Scotland and there are now over 130 breeding pairs (photo by Roy Dennis)