Golden Eagle in the Lake District?

I saw a huge bird of prey about 2-3 years ago in the Lake District and it’s been bugging me ever since trying to work out what it was.

It was standing in the middle of the road eating what looked like roadkill, it didn’t stop for my car so I had to almost stop and drive around it. It looked me dead in the eye as I drove past and I was terrified it was sooo big!

Ive seen lots of birds of prey, theres quite a lot where I live. I used to drive this particular route 10 times per week and was familiar with certain birds of prey I’d often pass in the same places, this was massively bigger than anything I’ve ever seen in the wild. Certainly not a buzzard or anything that size. My first thought was that it was something that had got loose from one of the bird of prey centres.

When I looked at images the closest I can identify is the golden eagle, but how likely is it that I saw one in the Lake District? Have there been any other sightings in this area? I also looked at pictures of a red kite, but I still think it looked more like an eagle with chunkier legs and that death stare almost turned my blood cold

  • While it is not impossible to see Golden Eagles in the Lake District this sounds more like Buzzard or Kite behaviour to me. The is a Golden Eagle relocation scheme over the Solway Firth in Dumfries and Galloway and that it not far away as Eagles fly so your Eagle sighting is not impossible but I doubt you would get so close that you had to drive round it. 

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • A pair of Golden Eagles nested in the Haweswater area for many years and then only the one adult left and eventually died of Natural causes. The RSPB for many years had an observation point with telescopes where you could look through telescopes from a very long distance to see the Golden Eagles at the nest. Bur sadly no Golden Eagles have nested for a lot of years now..

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • www.rspb.org.uk/.../details.aspx
    Article about the Golden Eagles in Haweswater published on the 14 April 2016 on the RSPB website.

    Regards,

    Ian.

  • Thank you for your replies!

    It really did look like a golden eagle, but maybe it was more likely to be a red kite or something.

    I know it definitely wasn’t a buzzard as I see lots of them round here and it was just absolutely huge compared to them, and a lot more powerful looking if that makes sense!
  • In reply to Sarah21:

    Sarah, another idea is could it have been a White Tailed Eagle ? maybe not as daft as it sounds , they are massive and youngsters from reintroduction schemes wander all over the country before settling down. We have even had a couple of sightings over our patch in the middle of North Yorkshire. It would certainly be capable of giving you the "death stare" you mentioned.

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Yeah I suppose it could have been! I don’t remember a lot of white on it but I suppose they might not all be very white.

    I knew as soon as I drove away I’d regret not getting a video, it really did feel like a once in a lifetime moment but it was a dangerous place to stop and nowhere to pull onto the side of the road (it was the A591 near Bassenthwaite just before a double bend)

    I’ve seen a lot of wildlife round Cumbria as I used to drive from carlisle to bassenthwaite every day for work, morning and night (lots of barn owls!) rain snow or sunshine but that was something else, it looked like it didn’t belong there.

    That death stare is something I’ll see until the day I die! God help anything that tries to mess with it
  • In reply to Sarah21:

    Not a lot of white to see if it was on the ground and it would be a youngish bird if that's what it was

    Pete

    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Was it a winding country lane or wide open main road? Also, was it down in a valley or up on one of the higher roads? You mention a stare. What colour eyes did it have?

  • It was quite a wide but winding road, (A591 between Bothel and Lake Bassenthwaite if you know the area) not a lot of traffic but also not a deserted road.

    I’d say it wasn’t a very high road, it’s an area just off the A595, probably a mile or two from the nearest village, not too far from the lake, with fields and woodland close by (lots of deer, owls, rabbits, squirrels and some badgers in the area) maybe a couple miles from where the mountains start.

    I think it had yellow eyes, definitely not brown as I remember them being bright
  • This I found on Bird Guides for the area.White Tailed Eagle,that may help.

    www.birdguides.com/.../

    and seen in cumbria recently.
    www.birdguides.com/.../