I was out at Ovingham hoping to get some shots of the Tyne in spate when a friend, Kevin Lee (who runs Stone Cottage Bed & Breakfast at Prestwick Road Ends if you need a room) gave me a call to say he was watching a large raptor, possibly an eagle on the Carr. We had spoken earlier about rare birds turning up but I was thinking more on the lines of Garganey or a nice wader but this was just too much. I would have given skant regard to 90% of people who told me of such but I know he spends most of his spare time in the north of Scotland and knows an eagle when he sees one so........breakneck speed back to the Carr phoning Graeme B on the way (hands free of course) to see if there he had heard any reports.
We both turned up on the Carr together to be met by a pair of Buzzards and our hearts sank but he was optimistic for a Sea Eagle and after about ten minutes of scanning the area Graemes colleague directed us to a bird flying just above hedge line 100 meters east of Mayfair Cottage. It was massive so we dashed back to the car and drove further down the road. I got out and located the bird on a bush and took the record shots above just in case. Turned out it was the best I was to get. We carefully walked down the bumpy road till there was a gap in the trees and there it was definitely a White tailed Eagle. Graeme got his scope on the bird whilst I tried and failed to get better shots due to focusing through the branches. The view through the scope was spectacular. A massive bird, brown with white streaking, a big pale beak, huge yellow talons and it was ringed silver over red on the left leg to boot.
As I retreated to find a better camera angle the bird took off heading west then back east behind the wood mobbed by Buzzards. The word had been put out and the next half hour was spent trying to re-locate the bird as cars arrived at each end of the bumpy road. STH and Crammy birder turned up and eventually the number of eyes and sharing info by mobile phone pinpointed the bird at the back of the wood only for it to fly the moment we got to the vantage point. Eventually though, the bird gave an excellent flying display over the woods accompanied by two cautious Buzzards. A fantastic sight to see such a huge bird and a lifer, new addition to the Prestwick Carr list and number 72 for the 2010 list. Ticks all over the place!!