I scanned the treeline looking for that familiar shape standing out against the branches. Nothing in the trees…and nothing in the branches…
Oh wait – here she is! Right on cue the female sea eagle flew from the open woodland, dominating the sky. For such a heavy bird (about 5kg) she landed elegantly into her nest, careful not to trample what was sitting inside it. She had a kill clutched in her talons. Through my binoculars I could see her tearing small pieces of meat with her beak and gently feeding it to something out of sight underneath her – she has a chick!
I was elated. There are two white tailed sea eagle nests on these islands. The first nest has been here for 7 years or so, but this one was only built last year by a young pair, and they failed to breed. Hopefully this could be the year!
After feeding the chick(s), she took to the skies with the remains of her kill and landed on a hill side where she continued to feast on it, pulling out white feathers (an unfortunate seagull?) as she dined.
Only 50 metres away, a juvenile white tailed sea eagle was being pestered by a pair of hooded crows. I felt a rather sorry for it – it was perched on a branch in the sun minding its own business when they ganged up on it and refused to leave it alone. It eventually gave up and flew off over a ridge, the crows squawking and mobbing it as they escorted it out of their territory.
The second (older) sea eagle nest was occupied – mum was sitting in it and didn’t move once, so I can only hope she’s also on eggs or has a chick already.
Only time will tell! I’ll keep you posted.