UPDATE: An Eagle has landed – and gone again!
Following hot on the heels of reports concerning a young White-tailed Eagle named Aonghus, that had arrived on the Isle of Man from County Galway in Ireland, comes news of the bird’s untimely departure from the Island!
Just as news of Aonghus’s appearance in the Isle of Man had been broken by the Island’s news outlets, satellite tracking data revealed that the young bird has turned tail and left the Island.
Dr Allan Mee, Project Manager of the Irish White-tailed Sea Eagle Reintroduction Programme spoke with Neil Morris, Managing Director of local wildlife conservation charity Manx BirdLife on the afternoon of 21st January to inform Mr Morris that the latest satellite tracking data received that afternoon by the project team showed that Aonghus was now in Dumfries & Galloway in Scotland.
It appears that Aonghus took advantage of calm weather and blue skies to leave the Island, heading north across the sea to Scotland.
It had been surmised that the young Eagle had arrived on the Isle of Man while making his way back to his natal home on the west coast of Ireland after wintering in northeast England. But rather than attempting to cross the Irish Sea westwards directly from the Isle of Man, it appears that the bird is retracing its steps through Scotland. Presumably, this will enable Aonghus to cross the sea to Ireland using the shorter route he originally took between Ireland and the Mull of Kintyre.
During Aonghus’s stay on the Isle of Man he was seen by few people. Despite being such a large bird, his unobtrusive feeding habits meant he was relatively inconspicuous for most of the time. The sightings reported to media outlets over the weekend of 18th/19th January most probably relate to Aonghus being spotted while on his way to the north of the Island in order to head out from the Ayres Coast and cross the sea to Scotland.
Perhaps this will be the first of many future visits by Aonghus and his kin, and that White-tailed Eagles will become a regular sight on the Island. It is likely that the growing success of reintroduction programmes in Scotland, Ireland and England will boost the chances of future occurrences in the Isle of Man.
The Golden Eagle Trust
The Golden Eagle Trust manages the White-tailed Sea Eagle Reintroduction Programme in Co. Kerry, the Golden Eagle Reintroduction Programme in Co. Donegal, and the Red Kite Reintroduction Programme in Co. Wicklow in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Environment, Heritage, and Local Government.
Isle of Man contact
Neil G. Morris, Managing Director, Manx BirdLife