Female White-tailed Sea Eagle Fiadhna (tag F) continues to explore much of Ireland after leaving her wintering area in the Antrim Hills. A quick look at the map following her journey since leaving Kerry back in August 2009 suggests she has now been to every county in Ireland, north and south, except for Wexford, Mayo, Sligo, and Roscommon!
Her amazing journey saw her finally leaving the Antrim hills on 29 Dec 2009 and moving a short distance west to the Lower Bann River, 4km west of Ballymoney. Here she remained until 8 Feb 2010 when she headed west towards Lough Foyle, roosting that night on Binevenagh Mt., just north of Limavady. The next day she was seen on the Roe estuary (E side of L. Foyle) before moving west to Inishowen, Co. Donegal. Over the next three days she toured Donegal from the west coast near Dungloe (10/2), the Bluestacks (11-12/2), before heading north to Glenveagh (13/2). Amazingly she roosted that night within a short distance of the 2009 Golden Eagle nest. It would have been interesting to have been there to see the reaction of the resident Goldens to this young intruder! The next day was spent in the Glenveagh area before she headed south, crossing back into Northern Ireland on 15/2, roosting near Castlederg, Co. Tyrone, over the next three days.
On 18/2 Fiadhna moved into the Sperrin Mountains east of Strabane, remaining in the uplands until 28/2 when she moved SE, roosting that night on the shore of Lough Neagh south of Ardboe. Next day she moved south along the west shore of L. Neagh, then SSE to roost on the Cooley peninsula, Co. Lough. On 2/3 she headed west then SW into north Co. Meath, south Cavan, to the Longford-Westmeath border. Here she roosted and foraged along the Inny River north of Lough Derravaragh for the next 2-3 days. On 5/3 Fiadhna began to move SSW through Westmeath, Offaly, and into north Tipperary, roosting near Templemore. Next day she continued south then SW to the Galty Mountains, west across south Co. Limerick over the Mullaghareirk Mts. to Castleisland, Co. Kerry, before heading NW to roost on Kerry Head on the N side of Tralee Bay. After almost 8 months away from "home", Fiadhna had come within 20km of the Lakes of Killarney but kept on going. It is hard to believe that she didn?t see a soaring eagle or two over the lakes, perhaps the first she had seen in 8 months, but chose to do some more exploring!
On 7/3 Fiadhna headed north to roost near Asdee in north Kerry. Next day she crossed the Shannon into Clare, followed the west Clare coast past the Cliffs of Moher, crossing Galway Bay from near Black Head and continuing north through Connemara. Over the next 12 days Fiadhna foraged and roosted over a small area of multiple small lakes, bog and forestry south of Maam Cross (apart from one day trip 35km NW to just north of Clifden). On 20/3 she made the big move SW across Galway into Leinster, roosting near Ballyraggat, Co. Kilkenny. Next day she headed east into Carlow then NE into Wicklow, roosting 6km SW of Wicklow town. At present she is still near Wicklow town in an area of mixed farming, apparently causing great interest among the locals (bovines and corvids!) as can be seen from the photo (thanks Brendan!). Here?s hoping Fiadhna keeps safe during this dangerous period for all eagles and kites with the threat of poison out there.