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W.T.Eagle ( N W Norfolk ) reintroduction proposal (1 Viewer)

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Here we go again........https://wildkenhill.co.uk/category/white-tailed-eagles/

I recall the last proposal ( English Nature then ) a decade ago, and the response from within the county. Let's see how this one develops, early days to gauge reaction through a survey.

Some familiar exponents in the background to the "rewilding" proposals.

Addendum. Have just read a paragraph under the "ambitious vision" section which encompasses camping, glamping, safaris and education. I need to read more, especially that beavers are already on site.
 
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CharleyBird

Well-known member
Would they compete with the remnants of our Montagu's Harriers? Wondering if there any MH in N Norfolk now?
 

WalterRayle

Emeritus Prof at University of the Bearded Clam
United Kingdom
I'd be interested to know where they intend sourcing birds for this re-introduction, if it goes ahead. Given that they have a licence to release up to 12 each year for five years on the Isle of Wight, and yet they've only released six in each of the two years of that project so far, it seems as though there might not be that many 'spare' young birds around from Scottish sources to 'supply' the current re-introduction scheme. Can the Scottish population afford to 'lose' so many birds each year for these schemes?

I seem to recall that the original English Nature proposal was scuppered when the recession hit and most of their funding was cut.
 

jimb

Well-known member
I'd be interested to know where they intend sourcing birds for this re-introduction, if it goes ahead. Given that they have a licence to release up to 12 each year for five years on the Isle of Wight, and yet they've only released six in each of the two years of that project so far, it seems as though there might not be that many 'spare' young birds around from Scottish sources to 'supply' the current re-introduction scheme. Can the Scottish population afford to 'lose' so many birds each year for these schemes?

I seem to recall that the original English Nature proposal was scuppered when the recession hit and most of their funding was cut.
Just for the record the WTE project on the Isle of Wight only released six birds in the first year as the project opener and to appease the local farming community etc. They wanted to ensure the project got off to a positive start. In 2020, Covid struck and it looked likely that there would be no birds as lockdown struck and no one could monitor nests in Scotland. Thanks to the persistence of Roy Dennis, they managed to get out at the last minute. Unfortunately it was not a good breeding year for WTE in Scotland, even worse for Osprey, but found ten possible youngsters. When it came to collecting them, one was dead in the nest and two others were not healthy enough. Seven were eventually released on the Isle of Wight which was a magnificent effort by the project as no volunteers could help due to the pandemic. Sadly one died when it collided with a power cable but the rest have overwintered well both on the island and the mainland. If the Norfolk project can be managed as well as the Island project then it will be a success. One of our birds has spent most of the winter in Norfolk before moving on recently.
Hopefully lockdown will not hamper the project in 2021 and a good breeding season in Scotland will allow the full quota of 12 birds.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Just for the record the WTE project on the Isle of Wight only released six birds in the first year as the project opener and to appease the local farming community etc. They wanted to ensure the project got off to a positive start. In 2020, Covid struck and it looked likely that there would be no birds as lockdown struck and no one could monitor nests in Scotland. Thanks to the persistence of Roy Dennis, they managed to get out at the last minute. Unfortunately it was not a good breeding year for WTE in Scotland, even worse for Osprey, but found ten possible youngsters. When it came to collecting them, one was dead in the nest and two others were not healthy enough. Seven were eventually released on the Isle of Wight which was a magnificent effort by the project as no volunteers could help due to the pandemic. Sadly one died when it collided with a power cable but the rest have overwintered well both on the island and the mainland. If the Norfolk project can be managed as well as the Island project then it will be a success. One of our birds has spent most of the winter in Norfolk before moving on recently.
Hopefully lockdown will not hamper the project in 2021 and a good breeding season in Scotland will allow the full quota of 12 birds.
When you say "spent the winter in Norfolk before moving on" I notice you don't say "spent the winter in Norfolk before coming back". So where did it go and what does that say about putting WTE in the South of England?

John
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Copied from Sea Eagle website:

"As they do not reach breeding maturity until they are four or five years old, its only at this point that we expect them to return more permanently to the south of England to set up their territories.

With the birds expected to start exploring further afield over the coming months, you may be lucky enough wherever you are in the country to experience one of them flying across your local skies. We closely monitor the birds using satellite tracking devices so we know where they are and can plot their journeys, but it’s always great to receive images and news of sightings of the birds from the public. These can be shared with us via an online reporting form on roydennis.org or via social media (details below) where you can also follow all our updates on the project."

I think I recall seeing tracking info. that the Norfolk autumn / 1st winter period bird headed North West after leaving North Norfolk.
Maybe they do not release "live" updates in case some idiot goes out searching with intent to harm, or too many observers might disturb these younger birds in their first winter.
 
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jurek

Well-known member
Thy could import many more birds from Germany and Poland, where WTE is much more numerous.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Thy could import many more birds from Germany and Poland, where WTE is much more numerous.
I always felt that it was young German birds making the recent crossings across the Channel on their wanderings. Perhaps it was because of imports after Brexit?πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I always felt that it was young German birds making the recent crossings across the Channel on their wanderings. Perhaps it was because of imports after Brexit?πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί
The last real one in Hampshire was Finnish ringed, so not necessarily!

John
 

WalterRayle

Emeritus Prof at University of the Bearded Clam
United Kingdom
Interesting to read the comment above that 'only six were released in year one to appease the local community' which, on my reading, suggests they're not that bothered whether this succeeds or fails and it really is a Roy Dennis vanity project, if they were serious about re-introducing them, they'd have made sure they had the full compliment of the licence. I remember reading somewhere that the original Rhum introduction needed somewhere in the region of 90 birds before it became successful, so only releasing a fraction of this number in less large scale suitable habitat in southern England seems doomed from the start, especially given that comment about appeasing the locals.
Secondly, after all the media hype about one of the first batch flying all the way to Essex and back everything went quiet about that bird after it returned to the mainland and disappeared a little later. A press release at the time mentioned that the public were being asked to look out for it and that the police had been informed, but nothing was said about where it was last recorded, so there was no chance we could look out for it. It smacks to me that it had disappeared over a shooting estate and its disappearance was being covered up. The project NEVER released any further details about it and when someone I know queried this they never got an answer.

All in all, I increasingly think this is a waste of time and money and think trying to release more in Norfolk would be equally so.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Interesting to read the comment above that 'only six were released in year one to appease the local community' which, on my reading, suggests they're not that bothered whether this succeeds or fails and it really is a Roy Dennis vanity project, if they were serious about re-introducing them, they'd have made sure they had the full compliment of the licence. I remember reading somewhere that the original Rhum introduction needed somewhere in the region of 90 birds before it became successful, so only releasing a fraction of this number in less large scale suitable habitat in southern England seems doomed from the start, especially given that comment about appeasing the locals.
Secondly, after all the media hype about one of the first batch flying all the way to Essex and back everything went quiet about that bird after it returned to the mainland and disappeared a little later. A press release at the time mentioned that the public were being asked to look out for it and that the police had been informed, but nothing was said about where it was last recorded, so there was no chance we could look out for it. It smacks to me that it had disappeared over a shooting estate and its disappearance was being covered up. The project NEVER released any further details about it and when someone I know queried this they never got an answer.

All in all, I increasingly think this is a waste of time and money and think trying to release more in Norfolk would be equally so.
I agree with this. The original project has done very well. If there is a sufficient surplus from it to colonise new areas, they will, and will gradually work their way naturally into other areas of the British Isles that can ecologically/have humans that are prepared to support them. There is no need for these vanity projects, which smack of Thatcherite yuppy "I want it now" rather than playing the long game that conservationists should be involved in. This also applies to Osprey.

John
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
What would the downsides* be of a population of hundreds of White-tailed Eagles spread around the whole coast (and maybe even inland) of the British Isles?

What would the upsides be?

Bullet points or in-depth, or even a link ... ;-)

*(Aside any initial funding/vanity project issues).
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Downsides:

- downgrading of the value of WTE in current range, where they offer a significant economic boost to tourist trade that is not only part of attracting tourists to the area but also part of underwriting acceptance of their presence there by less enthusiastic sectors.

- risk to the reintroduced birds in areas where the criteria for reintroduction (specifically removal of human direct threat) are not met (to which one may add additional perceived raptor pressure that could actually result in negative attitude change in currently tolerant areas).

- competition for e.g. Osprey iro nest sites, hunting territory (including at migration stops).

- reduced ability to recognise wintering visitors from the Continent

- possible pressure on e.g. breeding waders (think of Minsmere scrape and its current Badger issues - hard to fence out a WTE!)

Just off the top of my head.

Upsides

easier year-tick with no need to spend money on tripping to Western Scotland.

John
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
I'm sure there are other potential upsides ... to mitigate against/reduce some of the downsides it would of course be good to do a few other things like razing industrial estates, housing estates and the like ...

I'm guessing any proposals for such would be even more unpopular politically or otherwise ... ;-)
 

davewalters

Well-known member
Let's just hope they'll take notice of the survey results and not bother. The way it was worded though lead me to believe the results will make no difference at all.
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Living in an area with very high White-tailed Eagle populations in a variety of habitats, including flat open coastal areas not very dissimilar to north Norfolk, I see no issue with the Norfolk coast supporting these birds. Would disagree with most of the arguments presented above, bar that by John that it is, perhaps, unnecessary because they will likely colonise in the long term anyhow, either through the considerable and continuing expansion of the population on the continent, or through the slow expansion of Scottish birds.
 
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jurek

Well-known member
I think that the best strategy is simply catching fledged young in Scandinavia or Germany, transporting them to Norfolk and immediate release.

This would by-pass the problem of mortality of chicks at fledging, and the cost of feeding, housing and caring for them. Probably as soon as several immatures find themselves together, they would start pairing and try nesting in Britain. Overall, one risks only that young birds, potentially, would fly back to their home countries. However, the cost sunk is so low that it pays even if some birds return back.

Looking back at reintroductions (actually translocations) of big birds and mammals in Europe, the biggest problem is the overhead of money and long time, because of bureaucracy, few birds available, time to mature etc. Such a minimum strategy, similar to how e.g. deer are translocated, would bypass these issues.

And recent reports of bird conservation in Europe suggests that such spreading can be most beneficial to the species. In many birds, when the population is protected, new territories are found preferably in the same area in suboptimal places, when many optimal places far away are not occupied. Spreading birds from lower quality old places will help the species as a whole.

vanity project
All wildlife in England can be seen as vanity projects, because it could be more cheaply protected elsewhere.
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
This would by-pass the problem of mortality of chicks at fledging, and the cost of feeding, housing and caring for them. Probably as soon as several immatures find themselves together, they would start pairing and try nesting in Britain. Overall, one risks only that young birds, potentially, would fly back to their home countries. However, the cost sunk is so low that it pays even if some birds return back.
I believe some of the east of Scotland birds ended up joining the established west Scotland population (which they were sourced from?) so perhaps their flying back to Germany / Baltic is a significant risk?
And recent reports of bird conservation in Europe suggests that such spreading can be most beneficial to the species. In many birds, when the population is protected, new territories are found preferably in the same area in suboptimal places, when many optimal places far away are not occupied. Spreading birds from lower quality old places will help the species as a whole.
Thats a very good point, if there is evidence of occupancy of suboptimal habitat close to core range
All wildlife in England can be seen as vanity projects, because it could be more cheaply protected elsewhere.
Sadly as one of the most wildlife-impoverished countries in the world (possible only exceeded by some smaller islands whose native fauna is largely extirpated and replaced with exotics..) I think you are correct.
Just for the record the WTE project on the Isle of Wight only released six birds in the first year as the project opener and to appease the local farming community etc. They wanted to ensure the project got off to a positive start.
Does anyone know if any population modelling has been undertaken for this project? It is a fairly fundamental step in conservation biology if you are thinking of spending $$$ on a reintroduction project, insofar as amongst other things it allows you to estimate how many individuals you need to introduce. Certainly it was done for both W. Scotland and Ireland projects.
The reason I ask is that 6 birds per year seems a very low figure if they expect to establish a self-sustaining population with long-term viability.
 

jurek

Well-known member
Thats a very good point, if there is evidence of occupancy of suboptimal habitat close to core range
Yes, WTEs in Poland and N Germany have been locally breeding in the last decades less than 1 km from each other, and in very small patches of forests. So there is evidence.

WTE is the most tolerant to human presence among the eagles. They nest in farmland with lakes, rivers or fish ponds and winter in city rivers and coasts. Waterbodies, even in cities and major recreation places, do contain fish, mallards and coots, and there are usually some undisturbed roosting spots like hard-to-get islands, piers or fenced areas of shoreline. Pretty amazing for a bird which 80 years ago was very rare and still is the logo of nature reserve system in Germany. Its sibling species, the bald eagle, nests in city parks in Canada, so this may follow, too.
 

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