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Spotting Eagles in the Highlands

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Old Tuesday 13th January 2004, 11:57   #1
Andrew Diment
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Spotting Eagles in the Highlands

My wife & I will be staying at Shiel Bridge, close to the Isle of Skye, for a week in May and would dearly love to see amongst other things, Sea Eagles and Otters. We will have our own transport and do not mind travelling. Does anyone know where we should go specifically to get a glimpse of these?

Of course, there are plenty of other things we want to see too, such as Golden Eagles, Puffins, Divers, Red Deer, etc, etc etc.

Any information would be gratefully received. Thank you.

Andrew
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Old Tuesday 13th January 2004, 15:24   #2
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The International Otter Survival Fund has HQ in Broadford on Skye so they may be able to help you. Loch Eishort on the Sleat peninsula is a very reliable site according to IOSF. I've seen them there too so this site may be worth a look.
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Old Tuesday 13th January 2004, 16:26   #3
Andrew Whitehouse
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Hi Andrew,

I've always been told that it's relatively easy to see Otters around the Skye bridge but maybe others can give you more details.

Many years ago I saw my first ever Golden Eagles on Skye (around the western end of the island) and I think the island is one of the better parts of Scotland for them. If you can get over to Mull then that would be a better bet for eagles though. It's the best place in Britain for Sea Eagles and probably the best in Europe for Golden Eagles.

With the other birds, I think Red-throated Divers are fairly common on the west coast. Look around on sea lochs and carefully scan any small lochans you come across. Black-throated are around but will be scarcer. I've seen them on Loch Broom near Achiltibuie. There are likely to be some smart breeding plumage Great-northerns about on sealochs in May.

Puffins might be tricky unless you're in the vicinity of breeding colonies, which will be on small offshore islands. A boat trip to one of the offshore islands might be the best bet (e.g. Rhum or Eigg). A day trip to Handa might also be possible, although that's quite a bit further north.

You'll be in a beautiful area with lots of wildlife at a great time of the year, so I'm sure you'll have a great time.
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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 11:49   #4
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Hi Andrew
I live fairly close to this area the best way to find Eagles there is to ask the local Gamekeeper. The best place to spot the species you are looking for is Mull or Ardnamurchan, If you are visiting the area in the second half of May contact me I may be able to help if you do not connect with Eagles near Shiel Bridge
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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 12:37   #5
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I`ve found Otters relatively easy to see from the main road running alongside Loch Alsh before the Skye road bridge - particularly at low tide they can be seen fishing and crabbing amongst the rocks.
Just before the Road Bridge is a good site for Black Guillemots too.
Skye is always a good bet for Golden Eagles - you`d have to be pretty unlucky not to score - ask the locals especially the B&B people ,they can usually help.

The tip at Portree is fantastic for Ravens there can be 50+ birds at times.
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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 21:25   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Frankis
Hi Spar,

Not every gamekeeper in the whole of Northumberland, far from it - most of the lowland estate keepers are fairly good.

But I think you'd be hard put to find a grouse moor in Northumberland where raptors are not persecuted (and as you can see, I did say "on the Northumbrian moors" ). That lot are a law unto themselves.

Michael
What a sweeping statement Michael - a little like me suggesting all birders in Newcastle carry a considerable chip on their shoulders concerning 'keepers!

I take it you know all these 'keepers or that you can supply evidence that those currently employed on the Northumbrian moors are all guilty of persecuting raptors?

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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 21:42   #7
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In the West Highlands there are no grouse moors this takes the pressure of Raptors as long as there is no Stalking in progress I find the Gamekeepers very helpfull
There are areas in the North East of Scotland that the attitude of Keepers is very differant.
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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 22:06   #8
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Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally Posted by saluki
I take it you know all these 'keepers or that you can supply evidence that those currently employed on the Northumbrian moors are all guilty of persecuting raptors?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Frankis
Hi Saluki,

Not personally, but I know raptor workers who could. Probably not (regrettably) enough to bring successful prosecutions, but enough to know that raptors are being very heavily persecuted on almost all, if not all, Northumbrian grouse moors. Several keepers have been the subject of recent (and ongoing, in some cases) police investigations.

Michael
I'll take that as a 'no' then Michael.

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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 22:25   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallus
In the West Highlands there are no grouse moors this takes the pressure of Raptors as long as there is no Stalking in progress I find the Gamekeepers very helpfull
There are areas in the North East of Scotland that the attitude of Keepers is very differant.
I'd agree with you Gallus, though unfortunately, when I lived on the West Coast the 'keeper on the neighbouring estate had a reputation for regarding anything with a hooked beak as 'the enemy'. He only changed his ways when the ground started to become more intensively watched, partially due to Ospreys nesting on the loch. Every year a pair of eagles would nest on his ground, and every year they were unsuccessful. One year for some reason they chose to nest in a totally unsuitable site (one could actually walk into the nest!), but it was over the march on my uncle's ground. That year, for the first time in many years, they managed to bring off a chick. It could have been a coincidence of course . . .

saluki

(PS. A Tortoishell butterfly has just landed on the back of my neck! Gave me the fright of my life!)
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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 23:01   #10
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Of course every keeper is not poisoning birds but Michael's point is surely true for the area he mentions.
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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 23:29   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Frankis
Hi Saluki,

Not personally, but I know raptor workers who could. Probably not (regrettably) enough to bring successful prosecutions, but enough to know that raptors are being very heavily persecuted on almost all, if not all, Northumbrian grouse moors. Several keepers have been the subject of recent (and ongoing, in some cases) police investigations.

Michael
My point is Michael you don't have the details from personal knowledge and you aren't involved in any prosecution of 'keepers yourself. You also admit that raptor workers don't have enough evidence to bring prosecutions. Surely it would be wise to wait for the outcome of any ongoing court cases before you started to condemn all Northumbrian moor keepers? If, or when, any currently employed 'keepers are convicted of killing raptors then I will be quite happy to condemn them as vehemently as yourself.

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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 23:33   #12
Edward woodwood
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who's killing the bird then?
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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 23:34   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
Of course every keeper is not poisoning birds but Michael's point is surely true for the area he mentions.
I have no idea Tim, but then neither has Michael - isn't he simply basing his argument on hearsay? By all means condemn anyone who is prosecuted for killing raptors, but Michael seems to prefer blanket condemnation of all Northumbrian moor keepers. IMO this is wrong.

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Old Friday 23rd January 2004, 23:44   #14
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Unfortunately as birders we like to believe that every bird that nests will be succesfull , when birds fail especially raptors the blame must always lie with somebody. It is very similar to when birds are found dead the first question is always"was it shot?" " did something get it?" , just because they failed and they were on gamekeepered land does not mean that harm was done to them.
If that were the case the RSPB would have a lot to answer for as some breeding birds fail & birds die on their reserves!!
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Old Saturday 24th January 2004, 01:52   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
who's killing the bird then?

Don't know - you tell me

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Old Saturday 24th January 2004, 14:04   #16
tom mckinney
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Wasn't this thread originally about how to find Eagles on Skye?

Maybe the interesting & worthy topic of b*****d gamekeepers should have its own thread and poor Andrew should be allowed to have this thread filled with lots of good raptor & Otter sites.

Tom
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Old Saturday 24th January 2004, 14:14   #17
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Fair point,Tom,perhaps one of the combatants will start a new Thread accordingly.
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Old Saturday 24th January 2004, 14:26   #18
Michael Frankis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom mckinney
Wasn't this thread originally about how to find Eagles on Skye?

Maybe the interesting & worthy topic of b*****d gamekeepers should have its own thread and poor Andrew should be allowed to have this thread filled with lots of good raptor & Otter sites.

Tom
True! I'll edit mine out

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Old Sunday 25th January 2004, 00:13   #19
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I don't want to get involved with this post because you all know my views regarding keepers and birds of prey, I THINK THEY'RE DOING A SPLENDID JOB.

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Old Sunday 25th January 2004, 01:44   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grousemore
Fair point,Tom,perhaps one of the combatants will start a new Thread accordingly.
Most threads tend to ramble - I don't find anyone complaining when posters make unconstructive remarks about a previous post - ie. 'I too, would like to extend a warm welcome . . .' or 'Yes, I've noticed that too . . .'. And neither should they IMO. Everyone is entitled - within reason - to say what they like. Andrew's thread has developed in a way that he probably never envisaged when he posted it - but he has, hopefully, received replies from those people who are qualified to answer his question. Michael brought up a point that I didn't agree with (unfortunately he has decided to delete his posts, quite why I will leave to others to decide), have I not the right to disagree with him - without starting another thread which might seem as if I was 'picking' on Michael? I have no wish to do this as I usually agree with him - we have a difference of opinion on certain subjects - it doesn't lesser my respect for Michael's opinion, and I'm sure that it doesn't lesser his respect for mine.

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Old Sunday 25th January 2004, 06:47   #21
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Let's not over react.The point is that when discussions get significantly off-topic,a new Thread is the best way of ensuring that future searches for information have a higher success rate.
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Old Sunday 25th January 2004, 07:46   #22
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Sorry I mentioned Gamekeepers as a source of information in the Highlands it works for me I find that private Keepered Estates are the best places to spot and Photogragh Wildlife there is not the same pressure on these areas that you get on some of our Nature reserves. As a B & B owner I should have thought to mention to Andrew that this is a good sourse of information on the location of Wildlife in an area. Andrew you should also try Forest Enterprise and Highland Council Ranger service.
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Old Monday 26th January 2004, 22:09   #23
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I remember a Goshawk nesting less than 100 metres from a very active keepers lodge a good few years back, because it was so close to the keepers lodge we assumed that he knew it was there but wasn't doing anything about it because he thought that we were watching him - WRONG, he didn't know about it until we drew attention to it by asking if we could observe the nest (with sched one licence of course) from his ground. We had to go back to work for the next few days, when we returned there was a large pile of firewood freshly cut under the nest tree, of course the Gos had deserted. When we confronted the keeper he said he didn't know that was where the nest was - we couldn't prove he did. We'd known this keeper for many years, I'd known him since I was a wee lad, we thought we were okay with him, he'll not harm the birds if he thinks we are involved with them. It just show that you can't trust keepers where birds of prey are concerned.

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Old Tuesday 27th January 2004, 06:20   #24
Andrew Diment
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My word,

I started this post on 13 of January and apart from the first two replies nothing else happened until 23rd. It wasn't until then that I was notified there had been any replies at all so I apologise to Guffers and Fifebirder for not replying sooner. However, as you will all know, the post has been diverted slightly and now covers a topic about which I know nothing so I'll just say thank you very much to those that left me information about Eagles the Highlands. The more I read the more anxious I am to get there and with the information I've gathered from this website I feel sure we're going to have a superb holiday. Thanks again.

Andrew
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