Glimpse of eagles and whales

A sea eagle in flight. Picture courtesy of Summer Queen Cruises and RSPB
A sea eagle in flight. Picture courtesy of Summer Queen Cruises and RSPB

A course on White Tailed Sea Eagles held in Ullapool on Thursday 20th September was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of not only a Sea Eagle but also two Minke Whales.

The RSPB Sea Eagle project held a morning course that introduced Sea Eagle identification and monitoring to people from the area could become involved in the project.

Thirty-three delegates from Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB, The Forestry Commission, local tourist providers and members of the public with an interest in the birds attended the class which was followed by an afternoon cruise on the local tour boat Summer Queen.

Not only did the course see a Sea Eagle in Lochbroom but also had the added bonus of encountering two Minke Whales.

Sea Eagles were first re-introduced into Scotland in the 70s and a third stage to the release programme involved a number being released in Wester Ross.

A pair of the birds have been seen regularly by Ullapool but monitoring in 2012 has identified six different birds around the area.

It is hoped that this is an indication that the programme is proving successful and will follow in the footsteps of the Isles Rhum, Mull and Skye.

Summer Queen operator Noel Hawkins said: “We have been regularly encountering Sea Eagles in the last couple of years but it was beneficial to have greater information on monitoring and identified these wonderful birds.

“Seeing an Eagle in the loch with members of the RSPB and other groups aboard hopefully helps validate their presence in the area and it would be good if other people can become involved in helping monitor and documenting the birds around the region.

“A mother and juvenile Minke Whale swimming up next to the boat wasn’t what we were actually looking for but was certainly a great bonus!”

Plans for more courses are being planned, please conact Alison MacLennan, RSPB 01471 822882 for further details.