Rare white-tailed eagle spotted at Snettisham

A rare white-tailed eagle flying at RSPB Snettisham, thought to have come from the Isle of Wight.

Diane Ashton saw the white-tailed eagle flying low over Snettisham beach when visiting with her friends. - Credit: Diane Ashton

One of the UK’s largest and rarest birds was spotted at Snettisham last week. 

Diane Ashton, 70, spotted a white-tailed eagle flying low over the beach at Snettisham on Thursday, November 25.

Mrs Ashton, from Attleborough, was visiting the RSPB site with her friends Isobel and Mark Reynolds to prepare for their trip to watch the Snettisham Spectacular when they saw the bird of prey.

She said: "It was exciting, we got to the beach after the long walk and saw this massive bird. We knew it was a bird of prey but not sure what kind.

The white-tailed eagle over RSPB Snettisham.

White-tailed eagles are one of the UK’s largest and rarest birds. - Credit: Diane Ashton

"It wasn't till we pointed it out to someone else on the beach that we were told it was a white-tailed eagle.

"It was so impressive and I didn't have time to set up the proper settings on my camera to get the best photos. It was just a matter of getting photos.

"They are amazing photos in terms of what they are capturing. I feel very privileged."

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Birding was a hobby that Mrs Ashton developed over lockdown with her friends Isobel and Mark Reynolds.

Mrs Ashton added: "We started in January and have learnt a lot quickly - we've spent a lot on cameras too.

"During lockdown I became more aware of birds. Norfolk is such a great place for birding."

A similar sighting of the white-tailed eagle at RSPB Snettisham's sister site RSPB Titchwell.

A similar sighting was reported at RSPB Snettisham's sister site RSPB Titchwell, who said the bird may have come from the Isle of Wight. - Credit: Diane Ashton

The Attleborough resident contacted the Dennis Wildlife Foundation about her sighting who request that any be reported.

The white-tailed eagle disappeared from our shores in the 1700s.

In recent years, the species has been reintroduced to Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Wight, from where young birds released by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation have ranged as far as Norfolk, visiting locations such as King's Lynn.

Plans to reintroduce the species to the coast of Norfolk were given the go-ahead by Natural England.

The plans would have seen conservationists release 60 young birds at Wild Ken Hill, between King's Lynn and Hunstanton, over the next decade.

However, the plans have been put on hold so the reserve can focus on its regenerative farming project.

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