Golden eagle days on Skye

Golden eagleWork in progress for sure, but a new project which shows a lot of promise. A golden eagle in flight over Skye last week, at a location which is offering consistent sightings without any disturbance of the birds.

A month doing nothing but exploring Skye was something I was privileged to be able to do a few years ago, and a lot of that time was spent looking for eagles. I’d already been to most of the island’s more well-known locations many times before so I was interested in seeing as much of the rest of the coastline as possible. It was an eye-opening few weeks and I found endless stretches of sublime coastal scenery that I’d been previously unaware of – often only reachable by jumping over a lot of fences, going down obscure farm tracks and descending slimy sheep tracks down the edges of cliffs.

I came across golden or white-tailed eagles in a few of these locations. At the time I’d no equipment for serious wildlife photography but I kept a mental note of everywhere I’d seen eagles. In particular I remembered a walk during which I’d found myself briefly looking down on a pair of golden eagles flying past the cliffs, which had proceeded to show on and off over the following few hours.

I’ve repeated that walk many times now and seen golden eagles on every occasion – sometimes very close. Recently I decided to spend a few hours on the hill with the camera to try and figure out how much potential it had for getting good images of the birds.  By far the most important consideration is whether or not it is possible without disturbing the birds – and I am convinced that it is.

These images are the result of my first session up there. With a lot of time spent lying very still in the heather I was treated to 3 or 4 fairly close passes by the birds which was extremely exciting, even though I didn’t really have enough available light. It is fair to say that a really good image of a golden eagle is something of a holy grail in Scotland so I’m excited put more hours in and see what happens.

Not just confined to the remotest hills and corries – a golden eagle with settlements visible not far below.

Golden eagleSkye has around 30 pairs of golden eagles.

Golden eagleFlying straight at the camera – a thrilling moment.

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