UK’s largest bird of prey spotted flying over Eastbourne

A white-tailed eagle, the UK’s largest bird of prey, was seen flying over Eastbourne at the weekend.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 9:55 am

The eagle, known to conservationists as G461, was released on the Isle of Wight as part of a five-year introduction programme.

Tracking of the eagle showed it travelled to Battle, Pevensey, Newhaven, Lewes and Beachy Head, before heading into West Sussex.

If you look closely, you can see the eagle is actually holding a tennis ball.

Photo by Laurence Pitcher SUS-210319-090555001

Laurence Pitcher, who took the photos, put on Twitter (@BEACHYBIRDER), “A long anticipated visit from one of the Isle of Wight white-tailed eagles this morning. Great to think these birds will be a regular addition to the avifauna of Beachy Head and the South Downs.

“We’ve stripped enough soul out of our landscapes, it’s time to bring some back.”

So far the Wildlife Foundation has reared and released 13 of the eagles because they want to reintroduce them to southern England.

The species used to be widespread across the country but they were wiped out about a century ago.

Zoomed in to show the tennis ball. Photo by Laurence Pitcher SUS-210319-090532001

The last known breeding pair was recorded in 1780 on the Culver Cliff on the Isle of Wight.

Photo by Laurence Pitcher SUS-210319-090544001