• David Campbell

White-tailed Eagle over my garden!

My local gulls are a real blessing. This is a good time of year for migrating raptors and some track just inland from the coast, often coming over my garden. When the gulls erupt into the air and give alarm calls, it's always worth putting the sunglasses on and scanning the blue. If the crows get involved too, there's even more of a chance that a bird of prey is going over (rather than one of the gulls' occasional false "dreads").

When this happened just before midday while I was out in the garden, I was hoping for a Common Buzzard or a Red Kite, or if my luck was really in, an Osprey or Marsh Harrier. The object of the gulls' discontent was, however, nothing short of a juvenile White-tailed Eagle! It circled for a minute or two before being escorted off west (being seen over Goring and Littlehampton by other observers later).

juvenile White-tailed Eagle over my garden

Of course, there is a reintroduction project underway on the Isle of Wight, which I can see on a clear day from the beach at the end of the road, and that turned out to be its origin [as shown by satellite tracker data from the bird]. Still, that doesn't detract from the excitement of seeing this massive raptor over my own few square metres of Planet Earth.

It's amazing to think that, assuming it survives to breed, we'll always have this bird to thank for its part in sowing the new population and reclaiming the White-tailed Eagle's rightful place on the south coast...