White-tailed eagle from Isle of Wight reintroduction project spotted near Semerwater in Yorkshire Dales

One of the white-tailed ‘sea’ eagles reintroduced to England as part of a breeding programme has been recorded in the Yorkshire Dales this week.

The bird, a juvenile female hatched in 2021, is satellite-tagged and data showed that she spent the summer in northern Scotland before migrating south at the beginning of September.

After passing over the Lake District and Morecambe Bay, she was recorded in the Yorkshire Dales on Monday morning and later spotted near Semerwater – likely hunting for fish in the lake.

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Is it not the first time the species has ventured to Yorkshire since being reintroduced to the Solent in 2019.

White-tailed eagles are native to Britain but were hunted to extinction by 1918, when the last bird was shot in Scotland, although they vanished from England in the 18th century.

Although the reintroduced birds initially remained close to the Isle of Wight throughout the winter, as the weather improved they began to roam around the country, with two making their way to the North York Moors National Park in the spring of 2020..

Ecologists from Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation expected the North York Moors pair to only stay a short while in the area, but they actually spent the whole summer of 2020 there.

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The male eventually left for the Norfolk Broads in the autumn but the female relocated to the Yorkshire Dales National Park for several weeks.

Undated handout photo issued by RSPB of a sea eagleUndated handout photo issued by RSPB of a sea eagle
Undated handout photo issued by RSPB of a sea eagle

The eagle seen at Semerwater is a younger bird rather than one of those originally released during the project.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust assistant Joe Bodycote shared video footage of the eagle being ‘mobbed’ by an osprey above Semerwater.