A 'Golden' Opportunity!

29th July 2019

Glen Tanar is home to numerous different species of wildlife, including black grouse, pine martens, ospreys and crossbills. However, none are more impressive than the iconic Golden Eagle.

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Glen Tanar Golden Eagles - Image Credit Mark Hamblin (2014)

Golden Eagles have called Scotland their home for thousands of years. Here at Glen Tanar we are Lucky to house a pair of Golden Eagles, 1 of only 508 pairs left in Scotland … and likely the whole of the UK, according to the Fourth National Golden Eagle Survey.

In 2013 Glen Tanar’s Wildlife Manager, Colin Mclean, explored the idea of showcasing Glen Tanar’s Golden Eagles, by venturing into the world of wildlife photography. 2013 marked the first year that we set up our Golden Eagle photography hide. To this day Glen Tanar is the only location offering Golden Eagle nest photography in the whole of the UK, making this a truly unique opportunity to view and photograph a Scottish highland icon!

Since 2013 the pair have successfully bred 5 of the last 7 years producing a total of 8 chicks. This year the pair produced 1 chick, which hatched late and was a whole 2 weeks younger than usual when photography commenced this year.

Glen Tanar Golden Eagles - Image Credit Andy Hayes (2019)

The process of organizing Golden Eagle photography at Glen Tanar, whilst not disturbing the birds, is a yearlong process carried out by our Wildlife Manager Colin. Each year he submits a special application form to Scottish Natural Heritage in Nov/Dec outlining our plan to carry our Golden Eagle nest photography the following year.

The Golden Eagles then tend to lay their eggs towards the end of March in large nests - which can grow to the size of a double beds – atop old pine trees scattered throughout the Glen Tanar Estate. The Eagles tend to rotate their nests each year between half a dozen different sites.

Around late April Colin sets aside time to identify the nest and confirm the pair have successfully bred. Once successful breeding has been confirmed we then have the green light to announce our Golden Eagle Photography for the year. This year we sold a maximum of 10 individual photography slots spread over a 4-week period, to offer photographers the exclusive opportunity to photograph a Scottish Highland icon and have an truly unforgettable experience. Don’t just take our word for it though …

‘At around 6:30pm Mike the estate ranger called me on the radio to see if it was all clear for him to come up to collect me, he made his way to the hide and found me packed up, ready to exit with a broad smile on my face. What an experience. While it’s important to get good images I’m discovering, more and more, that it’s the ‘being there’ and sharing those intimate moments with these magnificent birds that is even more rewarding. Thank You eagles and Glen Tanar staff for a truly remarkable day.’

Andy Hayes (2019)
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Glen Tanar Golden Eagles - Image Credit Ruth Rowlands (2019)

Each Year the hide setup is slightly different based on the location of the nest; however, the hide is usually situated about 50m from the nest on a rising slope to get the best shots possible. Year after year we are amazed at the images that photographers manage to capture of these beautiful birds … here’s hoping for many more!

Golden Eagle photography has now closed for the year, however if you would like to be the first to know about future wildlife photography opportunities at Glen Tanar, sign up for our newsletter below and register your interest in ‘Wildlife Photography’.