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Sat5th Nov 2005

Orange 2, 3, 4 and 5 were again seen occasionally in Glenveagh during the first half of November. Orange O was in the Blue Stack Mountains. Green K, O and H were noted in the Blue Stacks also during the month. Green H, a female, was seen again in Glenveagh on the 26th November but again did not settle down. A sub Adult Golden Eagle was seen in Glencar, County Leitrim by Trevor Hunter from Birdwatch Ireland on the 26th also.

Red F and Red S continued to use different roost sites within their new home range during the month.

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Wed5th Oct 2005

In early October, Orange 3 was seen perched at the food dump near the release cages in Glenveagh. Green N was also present. Both birds flew across the glen as I approached to replenish the supplementary food dump. Orange 3 landed first and seconds later Green N landed with both talons on its back. Orange 3 had to spread its wings to take the load. Green N did not make any blows from its bill but it was clearly an aggressive act as there was no shortage of landing space all around Orange 3.

On the 5th October, a pair of adult eagles, (one with yellow tags), were seen soaring within the 2005 breeding territory and were assumed to be Yellow Two Spots and Yellow Diagonal Bar. There were no fresh signs at their nest when it was visited on the 8th October. Yellow 3 Spots was radio tracked briefly within its territory on the 6th October. Both adults from this pair were seen on site later that day. They had occupied several roosting sites near the rudimentary nest – the favoured site contained fresh Hare remains.

Green N was noted performing 3 short undulating display flights in Glenveagh on the 7th October in the late afternoon – no other eagles were visible in the sky at the time. Blue 3 was seen to be patrolling the edge of its territory a few kilometers away on the 17th October 2005. On the 29th October, Green N was seen and radio tracked over the Glenveagh Waterfall during a visit by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Castle Espie. A second bird appeared and there was some talon grappling before the blue-tagged bird retreated in one direction and Green N went another direction. This may signal the re-emergence of Golden Eagle territorial boundaries in Glenveagh National Park!

Orange 2, Orange 3 and Orange 5 were still regularly seen at the Glenveagh food dumps. Orange 4 was seen sporadically near the Glenveagh food dumps. The food dumps were moved around frequently this year in an effort to avoid the core areas occupied by Blue 3 and Green N and also to avoid the areas within the National Park that were unusually busy due to vital road maintenance and Rhododendron spraying.

On the 11th October the Red tagged pair were finally identified as Red F and Red S (male) as they settled to roost above an oblivious sheep farming gathering some hill sheep. Green H and Green T, both females, were noted in and on the edge of Glenveagh on both the 24th and 25th October – they both would have presumably come in contact with Blue 3 – the resident male. This was the first time Green T was noted in Glenveagh since it left, shortly after its release, on the 22nd August 2004. Neither female was present in Glenveagh on the 26th though Green K, a male, had arrived suddenly. All three birds were absent on the 27th.

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Mon5th Sep 2005

Six of the seven birds released in August 2005 remained in Glenveagh until mid September. But they began to make excursions beyond the National Park thereafter. By the end of the month Orange 0 was noted in the Blue Stack Mountains some 30 Kilometres away from the release site. Orange 9 was not recorded during September or during the remainder of 2005. It was last seen on Inishowen, over 40km north of the release site, on 31st August 2005.

Green N was noted in the Blue Stack Mountains by JK on the 8th September and was noted back in Glenveagh on the 12th September – its radio transmitter was working well. It had gone unrecorded since the 11th May ’05. After dusk on the 15th September, Blue 3 was seen roosting within several feet of a second sub adult eagle in a larch tree near the main food dump. Blue 3 is a male and the second bird was a female as it was noticeably larger. Unfortunately I could not see the second bird’s wing tags due to its roosting position and poor light. At the time I felt it had blue tags (Blue 1 or Blue 4 the only possible available females) - but it may have had green tags and it could have been Green N – the newly returned female. We had hoped this was a third pair of eagles – but Blue 3 remained unattached. An unidentified blue-tagged eagle was seen at the food dump on 21st September. Blue 5 was noted around Slieve Snacht, Derryveagh on the 28th September and Green O and Green H were also noted in the Derryveagh range. This year’s cohort was not seen loafing near the food dump as regularly as previous years – nor were they as sociable as previous cohorts. This is probably due to the presence of up to 5 older eagles within the Park during the early autumn.

On the 27th September, two red-tagged Golden Eagle were seen flying together as a pair. This pair was first noted on the 17th July and is now the third pair in Donegal. The female is Red F and the male did not have an active radio transmitter. Green X was seen in the Blue Stacks, as was one of the satellite tagged eagles with Orange wing tags, on the 29th September.

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Fri5th Aug 2005

The year's cohort of seven young birds were marked by Roy Dennis on the 11th August and released on the 13th August 2005. The released birds attached to the food dump quickly and they enjoyed good weather shortly after release. Orange 9 was with the birds near the release site on the 14th and 15th August. By the 16th it had moved to another location some 1 km away, whereas 5 of the birds were near one food dump and a sixth was at another food dump. A third food dump was established for Orange 9 and by the 18th this food dump had been attended by Orange 9. It was radio tracked with the others on the 19th but was roosting by itself again on the 21st August before rejoining the other birds during the 22nd. It was known to have left Glenveagh during the next radio check on the 26th August, whilst the remaining six birds were seen on subsequent days. An accurate report of an Orange tagged eagle, feeding on a dead sheep at Effishmore, Inishowen (41 km NE of the release site) on the 31st August must relate to Orange 9.

On the 11th August, during a visit to this year's breeding site two eagles (a female and male) were seen flying together above the nest. The female was in heavy moult at that time. We are going to assume that it is the original pair, Yellow Diagonal Bar and Yellow Two Spot, but we may not be in a position to confirm this, by reading wing tags, until next spring.

On the 14th August, Blue 3 was seen flying over the food dump in Glenveagh and it landed briefly near the release cages. It has not been seen since. This male's radio transmitter is missing its antenna. But it has been seen periodically, on its own, in the same territory for over a year.

Green K, Green O and Green T were noted alive in the Bluestacks in August. On the 17th and 19th August, Red F was radio tracked near where the two red tagged birds were seen together in July and where it had been radio tracked in early May.

There was an unconfirmed record of two Golden Eagles over the Gap of Dungloe, Co Kerry on the 7th August, by an English birdwatcher familiar with Buzzards. In Connemara, to the west of Lough Corrib, there was a report of a single eagle on the 6th August, followed by a report of 2 eagles nearby on the 16th August and a third record of an eagle in the same area on the 3rd September. On the 4th September, there was a report of an eagle on Inishboifin Island (Galway) flying toward Achill Island, which may tie in with local accounts of German and American visitors reporting eagles from the nearby Rinyvale Headland during the summer.

A report of a Yellow tagged bird, flying through sea mist on the North Inishowen Peninsula in early August, may relate to one of two Yellow tagged birds not recorded since November 2003 or earlier and highlights the difficulty in locating dispersing birds. The Sea Eagle Project in Scotland got 570 records, including 214 with wing tag details, in 2004 alone. In comparison, since our project began in 2001, we have only received a handful of wing tag records identifying an individual Golden Eagle outside of Glenveagh National Park. The Golden Eagle behaviour and habitat selection and the paucity of upland bird watching here will make it very difficult to gather individual wing tag records before the birds begin to settle and breed.

This year we have attached a Satellite tag to Orange 3 and Orange 4, the largest male and female respectively, in the hope that when these birds disperse next spring we may be able to identify their dispersal patterns. This Golden Eagle tracking initiative is being carried out in partnership with Dr Mike McGrady, Natural Research, Ltd. To date Orange 3 and Orange 4 have remained near the release site food dumps.

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Tue12th Jul 2005

Green N was radio tracked near Grogán Mor on the 3rd June. Green O and Green T were radio tracked in the Bluestacks during June and July also.

5 young birds were collected in Scotland in mid June (two birds came from the Uists, two from Badenoch near Strathspey and one from Perthshire) and brought to Glenveagh on the 21st June. A further two young eagles were collected from Angus and brought to Glenveagh on 2nd July. We are currently aware of only 10 broods of two that were located in Scotland this breeding season. We imported 5 males and 2 females this year. (By August 2005 we had released 19 males and 23 females – and 3 females have been recovered dead since the project started.)

I did no driving and radio tracking from late June to early August due to a broken arm. On the 17th July, two red-tagged birds, just into their 3rd year, were seen at a distance foraging and flying together as a pair in another potential territory.

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