Skye bird guide to Sea Eagles – how best to see them

The White-tailed Eagle is Britain’s biggest bird of prey and Skye and the West Coast of Scotland is one of the best places to see them.  This Skye bird guide to Sea Eagles explains how best to see them on Skye.

The birds are huge – with a wingspan of up to 8 feet.  Its broad, powerful wings – often described as being like barn doors – allow it to soar effortlessly while searching for prey which includes small mammals as well as fish which are taken from the surface of the water in a lethal swoop.

Sea Eagles were reintroduced to the UK on the Isle of Rum back in the 1970s and have now become well-established across the West Coast.  Skye now has a good population and there’s every chance of seeing one around the coast, especially if you are patient and find a good cliff-top vantage point to look out from. The cliff tops around the Storr Lochs area being as good a place as any.

You’ll need binoculars and a telescope to get the best views.  Happily guests staying at Springbank Elgol, our Skye self catering holiday cottage, have exclusive use of both which are provided as part of our environmental activities offer.

A very reliable way of seeing sea eagles is to take a boat trip from Portree.  The MV Brigadoon claims that its passengers saw sea eagles on 99% of its trips.  The crew throws fish into the water in order to get the birds to swoop down from the cliffs and grab an easy meal.  The promotional shot from MV Brigadoon gives some idea of what you might see.

White-tailed eagle by MV Brigadoon.

White-tailed eagle by MV Brigadoon.

It can’t be stressed too much that Sea Eagles are always vulnerable to disturbance at nest sites and so we can’t provide any information about specific locations but they are out there and your patience will be rewarded.  Good luck!