CONSERVATIONISTS are celebrating the relocation of six white-tailed sea eagle chicks from Scotland to the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of England.
One person involved in the project was given the opportunity to name the sibling of one of the trail-blazing chicks after his brother, Alastair Davies, who was well known in Eskdale.
Nic Davies of Tobermory was asked by David Sexton, the Isle of Mull’s RSPB officer, to document the day-long effort on the island to remove one chick from nests containing two youngsters, leaving a single chick in each of the two nests to enjoy the attention of its parents.
It is one of these stay-at-home chicks which Nic has been allowed to name in memory of Alastair who died of cancer in 2013.
Alastair lived in Gilnockie with wife, Kirsteen, and three children.
He was well known in the borders for his charitable work, much of it carried out within Rotary and its End Polio Now campaign, culminating in his highly-regarded tenure as the organisation’s district governor.
He famously instigated the now established Umbrella Walk in Eskdale, an event which continues to raise thousands for good causes.
Nic said: “My brother was a great fan of the west coast and Mull in particular.
“The whole family would take time to find wildlife but Alastair would happily spend an entire day watching a stretch of coast looking for animals, particularly our otters.
“The occasional sighting of an eagle would elicit great excitement and I’m privileged to be able to name one chick in his memory.
“Alastair was never known as Ally but as we don’t yet know the eagle’s gender, the neutral Ally seems appropriate.
It certainly rolls better off the tongue than BTO leg ring number XY0548.”
Ally’s sibling is one of the chicks which have been relocated from Scotland to establish a breeding colony on the Isle of Wight.
The island was the birds’ last English strongholds until its extinction in 1780.
The project is led by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England with support from local groups, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural England and the RSPB.
It is hoped the reintroduction to the prime habitat of the south coast will aid contact and breeding diversity between those eagles already prospering in Scotland, Ireland, France and the Netherlands.
Hopes are high that wildlife tourism will also be boosted as it has been on places like Mull and Skye.
Nic said: “I know Alastair would have been very supportive of this new ground-breaking effort, which is itself the offspring of the white-tailed eagle reintroduction project begun in 1975.
“I’m delighted his name is so closely linked with the nature he loved and hope his namesake Ally will enjoy a long and productive life here in Scotland.”