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Reports of Golden Eagles flying high in Strabane skies

GOLDEN Eagles have been spotted in the skies above Strabane.
 
Reports surfaced in recent days that one of the regal birds of prey had been clocked above Knockavoe by an eagle-eyed local.
 
However, whilst this sighting might be extremely rare, it is not impossible, according to the Golden Eagle Trust.
 
Last year was a wholly positive one for Donegal’s Golden Eagles in that that three young birds fledged in the wild.
 
All told, 18 young have fledged in Donegal since the first successful breeding in 2007.
 
According to  the Irish Raptor Study Group (IRSG), five territories were occupied including, South Derryveagh, North Derryveagh/Glenveagh National Park, Inishowen, Bluestack Mountains and the Glencolumcille Peninsula/Slieve Toohey.
 
Confirming that some of the birds of prey introduced in Donegal have nested across the border in the Glens of Antrim and in Co Down, Lorcan O’Toole of the Golden Eagle Trust says it’s quite possible Golden Eagles could have been sighted in Strabane.
 
“They have been into Tyrone, definitely,” Mr O’Toole said.
 
“Sometimes though, what people are seeing are Buzzards, which in Donegal is known as the poor man’s eagle. But certainly, Golden Eagles will have travelled through Tyrone and they have been seen in the Sperrins as well. Young birds have been known to wander into different areas. There’s every chance the sighting in Strabane was a bird in passage to higher ground.”
 
Another possibly sighting in and around Strabane, according to Mr O’Toole, is the White
Tailed Sea Eagle.
 
Some 100 sea eagles have been released in Ireland over the past 10 years as part of a National Parks and Wildlife Service reintroduction project, following their national extinction in 1910.
 
“These birds have definitely been in every county in Ireland,” Mr O’Toole said. “There’s every possibility the Strabane sighting could have been one of these eagles following the river. I know there was one spotted in Glenties the week before last. When you think it might only take a White Tailed Sea Eagle 20 or 30 minutes to get from there to Strabane… it’s possible.”
 
He added, “Both species have been seen in Co Tyrone already and hopefully in the coming years there will be many more.”
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