As many of you are probably aware, the Roy Dennis Foundation has started a consultation on the re-introduction the White Tailed Sea Eagle to the Island.
Picture courtesy of https://visitcoastalnorway.com/2015/01/13/watch-sea-eagles-coast-trondelag-norway/
Sea Eagle in flight

These majestic birds were once commonplace along the whole of the south coast, but as with many of these apex predators, persecution ended their reign in the late 1700’s.

As a closet birdwatcher myself, and having spent a lot of time on the west coast of Scotland, you can imagine my excitement when the idea was first publicised. The re-introduction would be a dream come true. Of course, there is a lot of hard work to be done to ensure the welfare of the birds, but also to ensure land owners, farmers and locals are given the chance to express their concerns.
On a personal level, I feel the project has great potential. I sit at my desk and look out over Tennyson Down, imagining that at some point in the near future I might be watching eagles.
But what is the flip side to this? Is there a negative impact?
I have read the facebook posts and coverage in the local paper and there seems to be real concerns from various parts of the community. Whether you agree with them or not, these concerns must be addressed. It is important to highlight these issues, so that we can all base our decision on fair and relevant information.

As mentioned earlier, I have spent a lot of time in Scotland where there are healthy numbers of both Golden and White Tailed Eagles. I regularly visit the Isle of Mull specifically to see these birds and other species.

Picture courtesy of mull-eagle-watch
Hoody and Sea Eagle sharing the skies
I have been visiting Mull at least twice a year for the past 5-6 years and have seen first hand what the Raptors bring to the Island. There is a thriving tourism industry based around the birds, from guided walks to boat trips out to photograph the eagles feeding. This has allowed local business and land owners to diversify and cater for the influx of tourists each year. I defy anyone seeing these birds in the wild not to be in awe. This is what brings me back time and time again.
So what will all this mean for us? Putting aside the obvious tourism benefits what else will this bring to the fore?
Well, the Island environment lends itself perfectly to the needs of these birds. With rich fishing grounds available through the spring and summer, and countless water birds on our estuaries during the winter. With the introduction of this species comes extensive protection of these environments, ensuring they are kept pristine for generations to come. I have heard concerns over our red squirrel population, but in reality a bird with a 2.5m wingspan would struggle to catch one. Red squirrels already live harmoniously with eagles in Scotland.
During the lambing season I have seen eagles feeding on lambs. Whether the lambs were dead or not prior to eagle feeding I can only guess, but with all the times I have visited Mull I have seen this only once. Mostly I have seen them feeding around the coast.
As an Islander, I support this project fully.
As a birder, I await the outcome of the public consultation with baited breath.
From an ecology point of view I feel we have an obligation to support a species that we were responsible for removing. I look forward to the possibility of seeing these birds alongside all the other wonderful species that call our Island home.
Jim ‘the Bird’ Robotham
Oracle of all things Outdoors

Staring out of the office window gazing at Afton and Tennyson Downs makes me think that it is not a bad life being an old outdoor instructor working on the Isle of Wight. Above the ground I can see a wide variety of birds ranging from buzzards to kestrels, and not forgetting the very pretty goldfinches.

I have spent most of my life living and working in the outdoors, and our island, the Isle of Wight, is up there with the best of them when it comes to stunning scenery, dramatic and varied landscape and  some of the best surf conditions in UK waters.

This time of year is a great time to get outside and enjoy our island and all the outdoor activities that are on offer. The crowds have gone and the 550 miles of footpaths, 70 miles of coastline are virtually devoid of people. The sea is at its warmest, and there is a lot of late autumnal sunshine around to entice everyone to get outdoors and enjoy the natural environment.

Everybody should access the outdoors – it’s free, on your doorstep and accessible 365 days a year. The Isle of Wight is highly accessible, regardless of age, interests or ability. Most of the beaches are now open for dog walkers and even a large number of the sea front parking meters are covered until February so parking couldn’t be easier!

The footpaths and bridleways are generally well maintained and brilliantly way marked allowing you to plan some excellent rambling routes as well as cycling, mountain biking and horse riding trips.    kayak-coaching  

If you prefer something more adventurous, then a wetsuit could be the way forwards to get out in some fantastic waves to surf, kayak, SUP surf or even some open swimming (sea conditions permitting of course!).

Across the island there are a number of clubs and groups that bring like-minded people together to enjoy outdoor activities if you prefer to live life beyond the living room. As with Adventure Activities, you can also book to explore new environments through guided tours or activities with an instructor-led session.

The benefits of being outdoors and taking part in any type of activity are huge and well documented, even scientifically proven. Being active and connected to natural environments improves your mental, physical and emotional well-being, gets you fit and blows away the cobwebs in a way that TV never does… and it’s a whole load of fun too!

So what are you waiting for?

Get on your walking boots and big bobble hat, or wetsuit and buoyancy aid, and just DO IT!

Oh, and there are also a large number of excellent warm and friendly pubs, hotels and cafes to retire to after your adventures in the outdoors!

 

Archie McGhie (Senior Instructor, Exponent of the Great Outdoors and 1st time blogger)   

Book your Adventure here >>>   

#livelifewithmoreadventure   #getoutdoors   #winteriswaiting