Two golden eagle chicks which hatched on Remony Estate in Perthshire earlier this year have made a significant contribution to Scotland and Ireland’s conservation efforts to support this iconic bird of prey.
Remony Estate, which is situated on the southern shore of Loch Tay in Perthshire, worked with Ireland’s Golden Eagle Trust to lift one of the chicks to join the Irish Golden Eagle Reintroduction Programme. The initiative, created by the Golden Eagle Trust Ltd., aims to re-establish a self sufficient breeding population of the bird in North West Ireland after an absence of almost 100 years.
Trainee keeper David Anderson was the first member of staff on the estate to spot the golden eagle a few months prior to its laying eggs, and began to monitor its activities alongside his grandfather, retired keeper Angus Hogg, and current keeper Bruce Blackley. Estate staff viewed the eyrie from a distance as they had no licence to disturb the eagles.
David said, “We initially thought that the sighting may turn out to be that of a buzzard but were delighted when it was confirmed it was a golden eagle. It was nesting on a ledge where an eagle had previously built an eerie but had never raised chicks. We continued to monitor the nest and soon after realised that she had laid eggs. When the eggs had hatched we reported the events to the Police representative on the Operation Countrywatch Partnership.”
One of the chicks was ringed by Hazel Brockie, a friend of those at the estate, who possesses a trainee ringing licence under the British Trust of Ornithology and was supervised by husband Keith Brockie of the Tayside Raptor Study Group (TRSG), authorised ringer under the British Trust for Ornithology and a Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) licence holder. This allows Remony Estate to monitor and observe the bird’s life on the grounds for years to come. The other chick was captured by Keith to join Ireland's Golden Eagle Reintroduction Programme. This was observed by Andrea Hudspeth, Field Officer, for the OpC Partnership of estates, police, SNH, RSPB and TRSG, who had been monitoring these birds along with other raptor species and black grouse on the estate as part of Operation Countrywatch.
Remony Estate owner James Duncan Millar is proud to be supporting Scotland’s most majestic bird of prey. He commented:
“When we were approached by the golden eagle re-introduction program for Ireland I was keen to help as long as it was all legitimate and the overall golden eagle population would benefit.
He continues, “I’m very proud of the range of biodiversity that Remony Estate offers. It has had a fair quota of raptors over the years, which at one time or the other has included sea eagles, golden eagle, merlin and peregrines – some of Scotland’s most iconic and statuesque species. Management of the grouse moor also assures numbers of golden plover, curlew, oystercatcher and peewit. Black grouse are making a comeback, and the estate’s red squirrels are also flourishing.”
“I am a lucky man to have the opportunity to take responsibility for this beautiful part of Perthshire.”
Scottish Land & Estates North East and Central Regional Manager Scott Petrie commented:
“This wonderful story at Remony is an example of a landowner doing their bit for biodiversity and organisations working together to achieve a great result for the golden eagle population. This ties in perfectly with Scottish Land & Estates’ Wildlife Estates Scotland initiative which encourages all landowners to adopt best practice standards in moorland and wildlife management”.
Keith Brockie commented:
“Scottish golden eagle chicks for the Irish Reintroduction Project can only be taken by an appropriately licenced person. In addition the eaglet must come from an eyrie containing two chicks so the parents are left with one chick to rear. Moreover they cannot be taken from an area designated as a Special Protection Area for golden eagles. Thus I am grateful to Remony Estate for their assistance in allowing the chick to be taken for this deserving project which has been running for a decade now.”
The chick was safely delivered to the program in Ireland and has joined a female eagle from the Isle of Mull.