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Flying visit by white-tailed eagle: Scotland’s largest bird of prey spotted at kite project

Visitors to Argaty Red Kites near Doune had a big surprise this week when Scotland’s largest bird of prey made a flying appearance.

The white-tailed sea eagle was first spotted by staff on Monday when it was seen soaring high above the viewing hide being mobbed by local kites. 

White-tailed eagles, which are often described as looking like ‘flying barn doors’, have a massive 8-foot wingspan and are usually seen only in remote areas of the Highlands and Islands.

The eagle seen at Argaty is known as bird ‘T’ (pictured) and is a young male released 3 months ago in Fife along with 14 other eagles. The birds are part of an RSPB programme that hopes to reintroduce sea eagles to the east coast of Scotland.

‘T’ was last spotted ten days ago in the Tay estuary area, but like other young sea eagles, he is likely to wander as he explores his environment, and is unlikely to settle on a territory for another 3 years.

Mike McDonnell, Head Ranger with the Argaty Red Kites project said: “We’re obviously used to seeing dozens of kites above the farm. They’re large birds themselves with a 5 foot wingspan, but when this much larger shape appeared on the horizon I knew I was looking at something special.”

“We had a young golden eagle here almost 1 year ago to the day, but for this to be followed by a sea eagle – the largest bird of prey in Scotland – is just fantastic and will take some beating.”

The Argaty viewing hide, based at Lerrocks Farm and operated by Niall and Lynn Bowser, gives people the chance to see wild red kites as they swoop down daily to scavenge on a small amount of food placed close the viewing area.

The team are hoping that their new visitor may stay around, giving visitors a unique chance to see such a rare bird of prey.

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