Archives for January 2010

Environment minister’s visit to Glenfeshie

When Alma was killed last summer, the Scottish Government Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham condemned the illegal killing of eagles in the most strenuous manner. Later, she wrote and said that she would like to meet up with Glenfeshie estate and the Foundation to discuss this appalling incident and also to learn more about the Golden Eagle tracking project and the ecological restoration of Glenfeshie, by the present owner and his staff. This morning, she spent some time in Glenfeshie, meeting the owner, Anders Holch Povlsen, and the manager, Thomas MacDonell, who outlined the exciting and successful project in restoring the ecology of Glenfeshie, as well as their long-term vision. How I wish there were more large areas of land where ecosystem restoration is regarded as crucial to the future well-being of the land and nature. We also discussed golden eagles and future plans for tracking more eagles, juvenile and full-grown, in order to learn more about their ecology and movements within the Cairngorms National Park. We discussed the illegal killing of Alma and it’s disappointing to report that no one has yet been charged with the crime, despite intensive investigation by Tayside police. We still hope that crucial evidence may come forward or that someone will give the police information to allow them to solve the crime. The Minister then visited Kincraig primary school, where the pupils have carried out an exciting project on following the movements of the young eagle called Tom. Latest news is that we have atleast 7 more transmitters for tracking – more information later in the spring.

A snowy winter

I was down at Findhorn Bay this morning and it was exceedingly cold, about minus 12C, even although the sun was shining. We are into our 4th week of snow and winter weather, with nearly three feet of snow around the house. It is now very hard on wildlife, and today in the estuary nearly half of Findhorn bay was iced over. The salt marshes have been frozen for several weeks and the waders and ducks were feeding at the tide’s edge at low tide, but half of their feeding areas are frozen. Several woodcock along the shore were looking out of place and probably starving, the deep snow has driven them out of their usual wintering quarters. It was a very different scene to the summer time haunts of the ospreys – and so different to their winter quarters – Nimrod is the furthest away (3260 miles) in Guinea Bissau, with Talisman 125 kilometres away, and Red 8T 135 kilometres north in southern Senegal. Rothiemurchus and Morven are further north, and Beatrice is in southern Spain, this past week she has suddenly had a couple day’s of travelling nearly as far as Gibraltar. One of this year’s young sea eagles on Mull, which I helped tag for the Mull Sea Eagle Project visited North Ireland in the past week before returning to Islay, and the other one finally left Mull and moved to Jura.

Findhorn Bay 10th January. Usual view to osprey fishing sites

Location of our tagged ospreys in west Africa