The new year at Montrose Basin has brought with it a host of good sightings, giving many birders a great start to their yearly list.
On January the 3rd a White-Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) was seen in various locations across the reserve, initially being spotted on the ‘Osprey perch’ in the southern section of the reserve before being spotted along Dronner’s Dyke later in the day as the tide went out. The eagle had turquise wing tags, indicating a 2009 release. Unfortunately the lettering on the wing tags wasn’t deciphered, so the eagle couldn’t be individually identified.
East Scotland Sea Eagles (ESSE) is a joint project run by RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commision Scotland, which has been working to establish a self-sustaining population of White-Talied Eagles in East and Central Scotland. There have been 86 Eagles re-introduced into the area over a 6 year period, from 2007 to 2012. Each colour wing tag relates to one of these 6 release years, with white corresponding to 2007, silver over red to 2008, turquoise (as seen on indvidual at basin) to 2009, yellow to 2010, red to 2011 and grey with yellow letters to 2012. Even though the re-introduction of the Eagles has now finished they will continue to be monitored, via their wing tags and radio (VHF) tags that they have been fitted with, which have a battery life of 5 years.
Other sightings on the reserve so far this year have included, 2 Velvet Scoters sighted on the 2nd of January, 3 Long-Tailed Ducks which have been seen across the reserve regularly, mainly at the Lurgies area and a Black-Necked Grebe, seen on the the 13th of January. Our resident Kingfishers have also been seen on numerous occassions, with both the male and female using the perch infront of the visitor centre to fish from. Craig Shepherd, Visitor Centre Assistant Manager.