Two White-tailed Sea Eagles seen visiting Northern England during the last 6 weeks

Two immature White-tailed eagle rarely found in the English countryside have been spotted in as many months in England. The first eagle turning up in Bedlington, Northumberland almost dead in early Sepetmeber, while the second eagle very much alive was spotted yesterday (13 October) by Ewan Miles after having been alerted by RSPB staff Tindal Tarn near Geltsdale in Cumbria.

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The first eagle was found under a tree by a member of the public in a weak and near death state, due to exhaustion from the lengthy flight and hunger, and unable to stand.

The person who discovered it is said to have got “the fright of his life” when it moved, having believed it was dead.

Police were informed and the eagle was taken to a woman at Killingworth who keeps snowy owls.

It was then transferred to Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre on Saturday morning, where it is being cared for. Cath Debbage, who helps at the Kielder centre, said last night: “You do not often find eagles landing in Bedlington. They do travel big distances but normally in Scotland.

“He might have been a bit dozy to get lost but we have nicknamed him Lucky because he has been very lucky to have ended up here where he could be picked up and we could look after him.”

White-taileds are the biggest breed found in Britain, although most commonly found in Norway, and larger than the golden eagle. The young male is one of 16 infants which was released by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) into a forest at Fife, in June.

The release was made as part of a programme to reintroduce the bird to the east coast of Scotland, following its return to the west of the country some years earlier.

The birds are known to travel long distances but rarely fly as far south as England.

It is thought the new arrival in Northumberland, said to be a couple of months old, had become lost.

There was a reported sighting of an eagle at Cramlington, in the middle of last week, which would in most cases have turned out to be a buzzard.

Now experts believe the sighting may have been the white-tailed bird of prey.

The eagle had a transmitter on its back which would have allowed the team at Fife to identify its exact location, once alerted to its approximate whereabouts by the public.

Centre staff have put Lucky in solitary confinement – away from the public who visit the attraction, believing that he may injure himself due to panicking if placed in an aviary.

Lucky will now remain at Kielder while he builds up his strength.

Staff from Fife will then travel down to collect him and return him to Scotland.

There are two other White-taileds at the centre, including Sima, the star of a film made by bosses at Vindolanda, who performs daily flights for the public.

Eagle following me home….Ewan Miles 


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 Tindale Tarn, Cumbria where the second immature White-tailed eagle was seen 13 October by Ewan Miles

I have been fascinated with Eagles since I was a child and after seeing my first Golden Eagle on Arran along with a trip to the Isle of Mull (Eagle Island) to see the huge White-Tailed Eagles they have always been special to me.

For the last two seasons I have worked on Mull as a wildlife guide for Sea Life Surveys recording daily sightings of both large raptor species. After returning home to Cumbria this year after a great 7 months on the island I was getting settled back on ‘eagle free’ Geltsdale enjoying the Buzzards and Kestrels in the surrounding area. Ten days after returning from the Hebrides and an amazing phone call came in….’White-Tailed Eagle near Tindale Tarn, Geltsdale’…..a few miles from my house on the reserve its self!

I headed straight round and joined by RSPB staff we watched the immature bird on the edge of the tarn drinking, bathing and preening it self before taking flight right above us and heading west towards the Solway. The bird was later over Talkin fell just a few hundred yards from home. The young bird did not have any wing tags which means it could well be from the west coast of Scotland or even from across the north sea. It’s a great shame of course that my dad John missed all the excitement as he was birding on the east coast, but he did get Short Eared Owls and two Hen Harriers so it wasn’t all bad!

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 White-tailed eagle captured by Ewan Miles while working as a guide on Mull this year.


A fantastic encounter and seeing a White-Tailed Eagle in Cumbria and on Geltsdale its self is extra special and tops all my eagle encounters on the west coast of Scotland. Some of my friends on Mull are joking that I took one of their birds back with me and released it on Geltsdale! With three White-Tailed Eagle sightings in the last three years and with me fortunate enough to encounter two of them, things are looking more promising for the region and getting ‘Sea’ Eagles breeding in Cumbria once again.    

 If you want to follow my blog with all my sightings, stories and photos from Mull along with the latest reports from back in Cumbria visit

4 comments to Two White-tailed Sea Eagles seen visiting Northern England during the last 6 weeks

  • david bell

    watched the w.t.eagle in carlisle on friday while fishing in rickerby park for 10 mins while it was been mobbed by 20 plus jackdaws

    • Admin

      Hello David, we would like to express our thanks for passing on this important sighting. At least we now know the eagle managed to leave the Geltsdale region alive unlike other raptors which have stayed far too long for their own good

  • paul williams

    Let us pray they stay away from the Forest of Bowland.

  • andy bainbridge

    Not sure which but definately an eagle, flew across the road in front of us at east woodburn approx 7pm in may 2011. It landed in a tree not far from the car.