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The re-introduction of four young satellite-tagged White-tailed Eagles to the Isle of Wight, and their subsequent wanderings around the country, have led to multiple sightings in Yorkshire. Three of the satellite-tagged birds have visited the county and other birds may also have been seen.
Much of the information here has been extracted from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation blog https://www.roydennis.org/category/sea-eagle/isle-of-wight-sea-eagles/
One was reported from Melbourne (NW Cooper) on 23rd March. This was not a bird from the re-introduction scheme on the Isle of Wight. Presumably the same bird was seen and photographed as it passed south just east of Doncaster Airport later on the same date (C. Featherstone).
A 4th April claim from East Hull could not have been either of the IOW birds as they passed west of The Wolds (see map below).
Isle of Wight satellite tagged birds: G393 (a young male) roosted near Grimsby and resumed his flight north on 4th April, crossing the Humber.
An hour later he was perched in a wood north-west of Beverley. From here it seems certain that it caught sight of another of the Isle of Wight birds, G318 (a young female), who was passing to the west – because the two birds then flew north together for at least the next 17 km. While G318 paused in an area of woodland, G393 continued north into the North Yorkshire Moors and eventually settled to roost in an area of woodland in the east of the National Park having flown 123 km.
G393. Photo Tim Melling, with obvious moult in inner secondaries (from IOW tracking website)
7th April: two, Whitby (OK). They spent four hours between Whitby and Saltburn on the coast, and two hours at midday near Skinningrove in a field, from satellite data.
7th April: one, Stokesley (OK). BirdTrack.
8th April: NY Moors. Photo of G393, Emma Thurlow (from IOW tracking website)
G393's wanderings continued on 12th April, when it flew west across the moors then turned south-west and made a 170-km flight south-west from North Yorkshire to the Peak District NP, where it roosted overnight.
12th April: G393 was seen over Thirsk, photo (G393) by Nathaniel Dargue: it then crossed Leeds at an altitude of 667 metres on its way to The Peak District. Later in Northamptonshire and Birmingham, but by 15th was in East Anglia.
12th April: a report from Hatfield Moors on BirdGuides. Unlikely to be G393 as it was over Leeds.
15th April: G318 took a longer trip around the moors but had been mostly staying in one small area, although no sightings, just satellite information.
19th April: a bird not satellite-tagged flying north over Peterborough diverted west (Josh Jones, BirdGuides) possibly seeing G393 which was heading north towards the Peak District over Rutland and Leicestershire. Presumably this bird reached Yorkshire? Meanwhile G393 spent until 30th April in the Peak District.
24th April: Holmfirth, one reported in BirdTrack: Not an IOW bird. Possibly the one seen over Peterborough?
The young male G393 returned to North Yorkshire on 30th April, following a ten day stay in the northern Peak District. That morning he passed to the east of Huddersfield at 10:15 at an altitude of 172 metres and then continued north-east, crossing over Leeds between 10:45 and 11:00 at around 300 metres. At 11:45 he was north of York -flying lower at an altitude of just 66 metres – and an hour later he was back in the North York Moors, having flown 72 miles in less than three hours. He subsequently made one longer flight to the coast near Loftus on 6th, but otherwise has made only short local movements each day.
Both birds met briefly on 1st May. Initially G393 was further south than G318 on the NY Moors but they met up again on 29th May and spent six weeks together to 8th July.
3rd May: Burton Fleming. Doubtful this could be an IOW bird as both birds were on the NY Moors?
25th May: Giggleswick. Not an IOW bird.
Like her compatriot, G318 was extremely sedentary during June and the early part of July when the two birds spent most days around upper Farndale. During this period she was seen and photographed by a number of local residents and birdwatchers. The birds were observed catching and feeding on rabbits on a number of occasions.
There were multiple reports by birdwatchers and residents, including the following on BirdGuides/BirdTrack:
26th May: Farndale (OK) G318 still in area. 5th June; Grosmont (OK), 20th June: Farndale (2). Paul Newton, 23rd June: Westerdale Moor (1), 24th June: Farndale (1), 25th June: Westerdale Moor (1), 27th June: Farndale (1).
Early June: G324, a young female which had remained on the Isle of Wight for the whole of her first winter, flew first to Northumberland and then to the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, but did not pass through Yorkshire, staying west of the Pennines.
Reports continued: 3rd July: Westerdale Moor (2), 4th July (2), also 6th/7th: Farndale (2), 8th and 12th: Farndale (1), 13th July: Farndale (2), 16th, 19th,24th,26th July: Farndale (1), 26th July: Westerdale Moor (2), (this is puzzling as G393 left on the 19th; was a third bird present?), 29th July (1), 31st July, Farndale (1), 5th August: Blakey Ridge, Farndale, Hilary Milburn.
From 8th July G393’s behaviour began to change, and he started to range more widely in the North York Moors, flying almost to the coast at east coast just north of Whitby on 11th. On 19thJuly he made another flight to the coast, this time at Runswick Bay, before heading purposefully south. By 4:35pm he had flown 65 miles and stopped beside the River Derwent near Ellerton, 10 miles south-east of York. Next morning, 20th July, the young male continued south just before 10am, passing to the east of Doncaster an hour later. By 6th August, G393 was in Norfolk and remained there into September.
On 17th July it appeared that G318 may be returning south. At 12:45 that day she was almost 30 miles south of her favourite haunts in the North York Moors, but she returned north soon afterwards. Since then G318 has ranged more widely than previously and, on 6th August, she flew to the coast and spent two nights roosting in woodland along the course of Easington Beck near Loftus. Then, on the morning of 8th August, she was seen at Scaling Dam Reservoir by Martin Blick. She subsequently returned to a favourite valley in the North York Moors, but ranged more widely.
Photo Paul Elliott.
31st August, G324, on her way back to the Isle of Wight from Scotland, passed Barnard Castle at 1pm and then Thirsk two hours after that, at an altitude of 1200 metres. That night she roosted in a small wood north-east of Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire, having flown 54 miles.
G324 lingered in farmland north-east of Boroughbridge close to the River Swale for the next two days, but then made another concerted move to the south on 3rd September. She was south-west of York at 1pm, flying at just 60 metres and then passed over the River Ouse at Goole shortly after 2pm. That night she roosted in farmland west of Kirton in Lindsey, south of Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, having flown 54 miles from North Yorkshire. G324 is now back on the Isle of Wight.
Also on 31st August, G318 moved from the North York Moors, where she had been present since 5th April, and headed west to the Yorkshire Dales that day and passed just to the south of the area where G324 roosted, earlier in the morning. First she headed south towards Wetherby. By 1:30pm she had flown 26 miles south, and at that point she turned to the north-west and headed towards the Yorkshire Dales. Just over an hour later she was over the moors near Lofthouse and that night she roosted in woodland at the north end of Gouthwaite Reservoir having flown 55 miles during the course of the day. Next morning, she headed north-west and flew almost as far as the Cumbria border near Kirkby Stephen. She remained in the local area on 2nd, but then on 3rd September headed east back across the Dales towards Richmond. She remained in an area just beyond the north-east boundary of the National Park to 9th September (the latest up-date).