A GIANT species of sea bird has returned to Loch Lomond for the first time in more than a hundred years.

Nature bodies are now working together to protect the native white-tailed eagles and minimise disturbance in the hope that they might stay and breed in future years.

The two sea eagles, as they’re commonly known, were first spotted at the RSPB’s Loch Lomond nature reserve in early March.

They have since been observed “nest prospecting” – searching for suitable nest sites – suggesting they intend to stay.

NatureScot, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority and RSPB Scotland are working together to monitor the birds’ behaviour, and to put in place protection and visitor management measures to ensure the birds are not disturbed by other loch users.

This includes an exclusion zone, signs asking visitors to keep their distance and monitoring of the area during regular Ranger patrols.

Police Scotland are also aware of the presence of the sea eagles.

NatureScot operations manager Paul Roberts said: “This is the latest chapter in the continuing success story of sea eagle conservation.

“We’re working closely with the park authority and RSPB Scotland to protect the birds and we are urging visitors to enjoy the reserve responsibly and make sure they don’t disturb them.”

It is believed that this is the first time sea eagles have settled at Loch Lomond since persecution and habitat changes led to their extinction in Britain in the early 20th century, with the last known bird reported in Shetland in 1918.

Their reintroduction to Scotland, first in the 1970s and again in the 1990s and early 2000s, has been a conservation success, and it’s now estimated there are more than 150 breeding pairs around the country.

Simon Jones, the park authority’s director of environment and visitor services, said: “White tailed eagles are the UK’s largest bird of prey and to have them here in the National Park is something we are excited about.

“We all have a responsibility to help keep these special birds safe and try to minimise disturbance to them.

“We are engaging with a range of stakeholders who may be impacted by the birds’ arrival.”