8 May 2020

An Eagle over Edinburgh?


by Rick T.

8 May 2020

You just never know what you might see if you keep looking up!

Lots of folk seem to get annoyed with their local Gull population (or Seagulls as they tend to be referred to).

But sometimes, if you listen to what they're saying to each other, they might just lead you to a fantastic and unexpected wildlife sighting!!

Surely that's worth a chip or two?

I'm sure Alastair and Jane from Edinburgh would agree!!!

Email from Alastair and Jane (used with kind permission)

Hi Rick.

Whilst sat on our balcony this morning, the peace was disturbed by numerous seagulls going absolutely mad, they seemed panicked. We looked up and noticed a bird approximately three times their size with a huge wingspan. We wondered if it was an eagle? Terrible picture below where you can just about make out the bird and a seagull, which seemed to accompany if not chase it away for some time. Cant imagine an eagle would be scared of a seagull though. We would love to know what it is if you can identify it. Seems odd it would be in Edinburgh?


Alastair and Jane.

We receive quite a few ID requests (lots of which turn out to be Buzzards and Kites, but are still most welcome!) and I must admit that when I received the first picture I was not very hopeful of an ID to say the least (Sorry Alastair!). Viewing it on my phone I almost gave up but thought I'd give it a chance on the computer screen. And I'm pleased I did!

The couple had captured what appears to be a White tailed Eagle whilst having their morning coffee!! A quick discussion between myself and Eagle Officer John Wright concluded in us agreeing this was the most likely species.

Any attempt at an ID would have been massively hindered without the presence of the other bird, the gull in the picture, giving a sense of scale to the sighting.

Alistair and Jane were delighted!

'Wow, that’s great, we are so excited to have seen it, it would have gone unnoticed if it wasn't for the seagulls making such a strange noise.

Thrilled to add a WTE to our list of our (almost) garden birds! Thanks for getting back to us with the likely identification.'

You're very welcome Guys and THANK YOU!

Keep sending your sightings to

Good luck, stay well and keep looking up!!!

Photo Credits: Top & Middle: Alastair and Jane Martin. Bottom composite: Comparison of White Tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle Flight Profiles: Top - Imm. WTE - Rick Taylor / Bottom - Imm. Golden Eagle Beaky (C11) - John Wright.