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Sea eagles in suffolk

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Old Tuesday 7th March 2006, 19:49   #1
Isurus
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Sea eagles in suffolk

This proposed reintroduction (.pdf download) was alluded to in another thread but I thought some my find it interesting enough to warrant a thread of its own
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Old Tuesday 7th March 2006, 22:00   #2
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Hi Isurus,

Where and when did you here of this??

And who is proposing to do it?

I certainly have not heard on the Suffolk birding grapevine of any introduction programme.

Regards

Rob
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Old Tuesday 7th March 2006, 22:09   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robam
Hi Isurus,

Where and when did you here of this??

And who is proposing to do it?

I certainly have not heard on the Suffolk birding grapevine of any introduction programme.

Regards

Rob
Rob - I made the words "proposed reintroduction" a shiny clicky link to the relevant info. Its worked but isn't obvious until you run the cursor over it - what I get for show boating
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 07:47   #4
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I see there are possible proposals to release birds in the east coast of Scotland -would be good to see these birds over the east coast Firths.
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 09:51   #5
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Great stuff. Would be amazing to see these birds in England.
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 11:11   #6
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I only skimmed the document so it has possibly been discussed, but are there plenty of potential nest sites in these areas? I imagine that lowland sea eagles need reasonably undisturbed areas of woodland with large trees for nesting, or will they nest on electricity pylons like Scotttish ospreys?
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 11:45   #7
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Hi Isurus,
This would be absolutely brillant. I've been to Mull to see the Sea Eagles there, I think they're magnificent birds but it would be great not to have to go quite so far to see them (although I love Mull) Do you know if English Nature have approved the proposal? I hope they look into re-intorducing them to the Solent too - then I could see them everyday
Cheers Adam
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 12:09   #8
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capercaillie71
I imagine that lowland sea eagles need reasonably undisturbed areas of woodland with large trees for nesting, or will they nest on electricity pylons like Scotttish ospreys?
I would say Wh-t Eagles merely need relatively undisturbed woodland - I know of pairs out here that nest within half a kilometre of passive human presence. However, in my opinion, they do not appreciate human presence within 100-200 metres of the nest. Away from the nest, they are even more tolerant of human presence - regular birds winter in the city centres of both Lithuania's second and third cities and, during autumn passage, you sometimes get as many as 40 or 50 congregating on commercial fish farms, largely unfussed by the fairly close proximity of fishfarm workers, fishermen and the occasional birdwatchers.
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 21:56   #9
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Thanks to whoever made the link blue. Would I be right in thinking eastern england gets the odd vagrant WTSE from Europe? and if so is there a likelihood of the reintroduced population receiving new genetic material from wild populations?
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Old Thursday 9th March 2006, 07:06   #10
Jos Stratford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isurus
Would I be right in thinking eastern england gets the odd vagrant WTSE from Europe? and if so is there a likelihood of the reintroduced population receiving new genetic material from wild populations?

Yes ...and no to a certain degree!

Yes, it is probable that most, or almost all, the east coast are birds from the continent. If you come up to this part of the world, the White-t Eagle population is mushrooming (after Marsh Harrier and Buzzard, it is the rapor I see most often), but the majority of bids are migratory (most water courses freeze in winter). Thus large numbers of Baltic birds are moving south-west in autumn/early winter - as mentioned in a post before, it is not uncommon to get to autumn concentrations of up to 50 birds in some choice locations. Most these birds move down to northern Poland and Germany to join resident birds there, but cold weather there could push some of these further westward and it is likely that this is responsible for the British east coast.

The 'no' element of my answer comes from the fact that, as I understand, the proposed source of introduction birds would be the southern Baltic, i.e. same place as where vagrants likely originate, thus could be an introduction bird's uncle or sister :) Moreover, though here I'm not sure, I'd say birds occurring as winterers in the UK are likely to re-migrate in the spring, rather than stay put. That said, I don't think the genetic mix problem is too serious, didn't seem to be an issue with the Scottish introduction.
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Old Thursday 9th March 2006, 09:37   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Stratford
I would say Wh-t Eagles merely need relatively undisturbed woodland - I know of pairs out here that nest within half a kilometre of passive human presence. However, in my opinion, they do not appreciate human presence within 100-200 metres of the nest. Away from the nest, they are even more tolerant of human presence - regular birds winter in the city centres of both Lithuania's second and third cities and, during autumn passage, you sometimes get as many as 40 or 50 congregating on commercial fish farms, largely unfussed by the fairly close proximity of fishfarm workers, fishermen and the occasional birdwatchers.
Iwoud suggest that south pembrokeshire would be an ideal location for a reintroduction area.
regards to all
barry
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Old Thursday 9th March 2006, 12:30   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capercaillie71
I imagine that lowland sea eagles need reasonably undisturbed areas of woodland with large trees for nesting
White-tailed eagles became much more tolerant to humans. In winter they hunt ducks in cities in Poland. One pair breeds in Berlin outskirts.

As Jos said, they don't need large forest as long as they are not disturbed within ca. 200 m from nest and have some safe roost sites.
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Old Friday 23rd June 2006, 19:32   #13
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White tailed Eagle reintroduction schemes in the UK

From The Independent web site:

The eagle flies again>

Shot out of our skies, the massive sea eagle is making a spectacular comeback - and it could soon be seen in a harbour near you. Peter Marren reports

Published: 22 June 2006

Imagine a great bird the size of a tall bookcase casting shadows as it soars over the marshes. Better still, think of it following your boat, like a gannet, its long, banana-yellow bill casting this way and that as it scans the ocean for fishy titbits. Or perhaps you see it perched on a rock by the harbour with outstretched wings, rather like one of the copper liver birds overlooking Liverpool's waterfront. Could this be the highlight of a wildlife tour of tropical Africa or the Amazon? No, it is a possible glimpse of East Anglia a few years from now. It could even be a scene from the Thames Gateway.

The bird is the sea eagle, the fourth-largest eagle in the world and the biggest bird of prey in northern Europe. Its story has been one of the unlikeliest conservation successes of recent times. Pushed to extinction in Britain by sheep farmers and sporting interests in the early years of the 20th century, the return of the sea eagle became a conservation sensation three generations later.

Young birds taken from their nests in Norway were reared and then released into the wild. There are now some 33 breeding pairs of the great bird, all of them in Scotland. And their number is steadily increasing at 12 per cent a year, a sign that the population is already "self-sustaining". In other words, barring some unforeseen catastrophe, the sea eagle is back and here to stay.

Here to stay but, for most of us, a long distance away. In much of the country, it is quicker and cheaper to fly to Majorca than make the journey to sea eagle country on Scotland's remote north-west coast. But there are plans to reintroduce the eagle to more populous parts of Britain. Last December, English Nature even approved a scheme to release them in East Anglia, where the Suffolk coast has been earmarked as the most eagle-friendly area. There are similar plans to rear and release sea eagles in lowland Scotland and in north Wales. The East Anglian project may begin as early as next year.

Has the conservation world gone eagle-crazy? Can you imagine the world's fourth-largest eagle making a living over the rooftops of Ipswich? Or gliding along the Menai Straits, fixing Brunel's railway bridge with its glassy yellow stare? Well, yes, say the eagle's human promoters; believe it or not, they can.

This is not the shy, aloof golden eagle, forever destined to flee from ever-encroaching human habitation. The sea eagle gets on with people quite well - that is, as long as we are not persecuting them. In other parts of the world, they hang around fishing harbours and nest close to villages. In behaviour, sea eagles are more like their close relative, the American bald eagle (the world's third-largest eagle). This American icon routinely nests on the outskirts of major cities, like Vancouver, even, on occasion, in big trees in parks and gardens.

Professor Ian Newton, a world authority on birds of prey, points out that sea eagles could once be found all around the British coast. "Many parts of the coast still present suitable habitats for these magnificent birds, and, if undisturbed, they could nest in fairly close proximity to people. We can expect them to build their nests in trees and cliffs and to hunt mainly over the shallower estuaries and inland reservoirs."

Often thought of as the most sterile agricultural plain in Britain, East Anglia in fact holds a plentiful year-round food supply for sea eagles. The marshes and muddy estuaries of Suffolk and Essex are well-stocked with waterfowl and fish, while rabbits are frequent along the drier parts of the coast.

Moreover, the eagle can take its pick of inland lakes, from the Broads to the big reservoirs of the East Midlands; a hundred-mile round flight is nothing to a sea eagle. In Scotland they regularly visit the headwaters of highland rivers to feast on dead and dying salmon. They also appear from nowhere like vultures after a ghillie has "gralloched" (that is, disembowelled) a deer, before carrying it off the hill.

But how will the good folk of East Anglia take to the idea of an eight-foot, flesh-eating bird swooping over their neighbourhood? If Scotland is any guide, they will love it. The B&B establishments of Mull have never had it so good. Eagle watching has become a thriving business in the isles, generating around £1.5m a year. In England, the reintroduction project is estimated to cost between £120,000 and £150,000 a year. So, in business terms, this project could quickly turn a profit.

Sea eagle enthusiasts also point to the popularity of reintroduced red kites and ospreys. And if you think ospreys are impressive, just wait until you spot a sea eagle out on a fishing trip.

In truth, it's all about spectacle and spin. Sea eagles are among the world's least-threatened large birds of prey. Their numbers have quadrupled in Sweden, and they have recolonised Denmark. They are pleased with Poland and having fun in Finland. Introducing them to Suffolk isn't going to make much difference to sea eagle conservation. It is doing very nicely on its own, thank you very much.

But, as English Nature recognises, there's more to this than meets the eye. Messing around with sea eagles, says English Nature, "represents a major opportunity to lead a high profile 'flagship species' project that will highlight the organisation at the forefront of a major biodiversity delivery initiative." In other words, sea eagles get the column inches denied to smaller fry. They star in Springwatch and attract crowds of admirers. They "deliver benefits to people and nature", say English Nature.

And that is what 21st-century style, ultra-democratic nature conservation has to be about. Government-funded heritage bodies are terrified at being seen to be élitist and remote from popular expectations. There's nothing that links people and nature better than a big fierce bird, especially one that is unlikely to cause much serious concern to farmers and game interests.

And there's nothing like an eagle to sum up what it means to be wild and free. Perhaps people will feel soon be feeling a little wilder and freer themselves as they wander the muddy banks of Essex and a vast bird floats by with a flicker of its barn-door wings. Modern Britain may sometimes feel like a land of suburbs and grain prairies. But if the world's fourth-largest eagle can make itself at home here, then may be our environment can't be all that bad.

The giant of the skies

* A very big bird

Weighing as much as a full-grown swan and with a wingspan of eight feet, this is a most impressive bird - especially from a few feet away as it follows your boat in the expectation of fishy hand-outs.

* A poetic name

Scottish Gaelic speakers called it Iolaire suil na Greine, "the eagle with the sunlit eye".

* Distinguishing features

Heavy, vulture-like wings. Massive yellow bill and matching eyes. Tail trimmed with white on mature birds. In breeding season it can be noisy, uttering dog-like yelps and harsh screeches.

* Numbers

The European population is about 6,000 pairs, mostly in Scandinavia and Russia. Norway has the most with about 2,000 pairs. In the remote past, Britain may have had almost as many.

* What they eat

A lot of things. Sea eagles are fond of fish, alive or dead. They will also catch and eat waterfowl, including cormorants, gulls and ducks, and steal anything they fancy from other birds. They like eating rabbits, and they love carrion. Also lambs, though usually sick or dead ones.

* Where to see them now

Sea-eagle spotting is a major attraction for visitors to the isle of Mull. Mid-morning is a good time to catch a glimpse. A customised hide run by the RSPB (bookings can be made by calling 01688 302 038) and three wildlife tour operators on the island improve your chance of a good view.

* The vision

"Imagine a future when eagles soar again over the chalk cliffs or hunt for waterfowl over marshes" - Roy Dennis, pioneer of the sea eagle reintroduction project.
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Old Saturday 24th June 2006, 20:03   #14
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I enjoyed reading that article. Someone put it on the surfbirds list too. It triggered the usual rounds of painstaking pedantry about quoted facts, killjoys and those convinced there is a single pot of money for all conservation worldwide, but I would guess the public response will be v positive. And its the public response that matters in this case, not that of birders.
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 20:33   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnraven
I enjoyed reading that article. Someone put it on the surfbirds list too. It triggered the usual rounds of painstaking pedantry about quoted facts, killjoys and those convinced there is a single pot of money for all conservation worldwide, but I would guess the public response will be v positive. And its the public response that matters in this case, not that of birders.
Thanks for your positive response. I thought the article was well balanced and not too rose-tinted.
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 20:57   #16
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Am I alone in questioning the value of introducing White-tailed Eagles into Suffolk? (I know I'm not but nobody else here seems to.)

There is no evidence that they ever bred in the area, just some fossil remains from Essex as I understand it. So it is not a re-introduction. The species is doing very well on its own in northern and western Europe, expanding its breeding range and increasing its numbers so much tha it has been progressively downgraded in conservation terms to 'least concern'. So why spend vast amounts of money on it? If somebody has to, then why not build on the Scottish scheme?

And what effect would introduced birds have on local birds and reserves? Where would they nest? There are not the number of remote and undisturbed potenial breeding sites that there are in western Scotland. Wetland reserves such as Minsmere would surely attract feeding birds to the detriment of other species - White-tailed Eagles have a greater disruptive effect than harriers, Ospreys, etc.
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 21:14   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Lister
Where would they nest? There are not the number of remote and undisturbed potenial breeding sites that there are in western Scotland. Wetland reserves such as Minsmere would surely attract feeding birds to the detriment of other species - White-tailed Eagles have a greater disruptive effect than harriers, Ospreys, etc.

Not entirely correct in these points, I believe - White-tailed Eagles do not need remote breeding sites, they are relatively tolerant of human activity and, even at the nest, rarely pay attention to human activity at ranges of 500 metres. I am quite sure Suffolk would be well to their liking and provide ample suitable nesting sites.

With regard the disruptive effect on other birds, I don't really think this is a serious issue - as mentioned in an earlier post, White-tailed Eagle are abundant out here - my local patch commonly now has two pairs breeding and often gets 10 or so together in autumn, whilst coastal sites get up to 40 together, an amazing sight. However, these localities are teeming with wildfowl and waders too, there doesn't seem to be any serious negative impacts, just part of the natural system. If the wildfowl and eagles can spend part of the year together here in autumn, I'm sure the wildfowl once having migrated in the English east coast will manage to cope with a few eagles there too. For further insight into the resiliance of waterbird populations to the presence of large eagles, go no further than Bharatpur in India - tens of thousands of wintering waterbirds, dozens upon dozens of large eagles, notably Greater Spotted Eagles
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 21:14   #18
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totally agree with you steve.
all the time and money spent on the rutland ospreys,in my opinion was waste of time as now we have at least 2 pairs breeding outside scotland.
dont get me wrong wt eagles are brilliant birds but should'nt we be spending time and money on birds that are declining in the uk farmland/woodland.
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 21:29   #19
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Originally Posted by sonic
totally agree with you steve.
all the time and money spent on the rutland ospreys,in my opinion was waste of time as now we have at least 2 pairs breeding outside scotland.
dont get me wrong wt eagles are brilliant birds but should'nt we be spending time and money on birds that are declining in the uk farmland/woodland.

I think you mean Ospreys in this case ...but the Ospreys are a good example of why reintroductions are a positive move. Yes Ospreys probably would have recolonised eventually, yes it probably cost quite some money to set up the Rutland project. However, I would ask if this has been a drain on conservation funds? Has it meant less money on other important works? Has it damaged conservation in any way? To all, I would hazard an answer 'definately no'. Flagship and charasmatic species, such as the Osprey, White-tailed Eagle and Red Kite, will generate income in their own right, will foster greater interest in wildlife and conservation amongst the greater population and will only serve to increase an awareness and interest in all areas of wildlife. I don't believe it is a question of farmland birds or White-tailed Eagles, funding will come from different sources, so I think it is more a question do we want both? My answer is certainly yes. As for the allowing the recolonisation to occur under natural steam, yes maybe it would happen, but why wait til we are drawing our pensions before we perhaps see these magnificent things flying over our coasts again. And finally, taking the Red Kite example, it is a species of global concern ...spreading the population via reintroductions is nothing but a responsible move. Indeed, it is reckoned that England will soon hold the largest population of this species in Europe (after Germany where the species is in decline). Ditto for reasons to attempt to reintroduce Great Bustards - globally insecure, a thriving population in Britain (if it can be done) is a darn site more secure than any in certain other states I could mention.
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 21:35   #20
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If they dont want them in England, we'll have them in Wales, plenty of food here too
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 21:38   #21
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Originally Posted by valley boy
If they dont want them in England, we'll have them in Wales, plenty of food here too

I'll sell you some Valley Boy, what's the going prices for chubby chicks? About a month old about now
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 21:40   #22
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I'll sell you some Valley Boy, what's the going prices for chubby chicks? About a month old about now
I'll swap you for some sheep, in fact you can have them all
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 21:50   #23
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Originally Posted by valley boy
I'll swap you for some sheep, in fact you can have them all

Now there's a thing, whilst I see White-tailed Eagle near daily, Sheep are mega rarities out here!!! In fact, only saw my first ever ones just two or three years ago (unfortunately didn't take fieldnotes, so can't confirm the dates). However, real influx this year, saw a whole flock of them about two weeks ago ...at least 15 all together!!! Since you being so generous with your offer on sheep, I'll also throw in a few Honey Buzzards (got lot more of them than sheep), but I can forward these to Northumberland if you prefer
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 22:08   #24
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hold on just a minute chaps, if there's any sheep going may I insist you divert 3 or 4 this way, still need it for me patch mammal list ... I'll take an eagle to .. thanks
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2006, 22:28   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonic
totally agree with you steve.
all the time and money spent on the rutland ospreys,in my opinion was waste of time as now we have at least 2 pairs breeding outside scotland.
dont get me wrong wt eagles are brilliant birds but should'nt we be spending time and money on birds that are declining in the uk farmland/woodland.
I read somewhere that the White-tailed Eagles on Mull brought in £1.5million to the local economy in the Western Isles. Similar amount brought in by Ospreys in Scotland too.

One of the Welsh male Ospreys was from Rutland Water.

The Rural Payments Scheme is intended to pay farmers and landowners to manage their land in ways sympathetic to wildlife and conservation.
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