Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Giant eagle seen after 200 years

The giant bird became extinct in England in 1800

One of the rarest birds in the UK has ruffled the feathers of birdspotters in Cumbria after a 200-year absence.

The Sea Eagle, which disappeared from England in the 19th Century, was seen over the Solway coast near Carlisle and later above Annan in southern Scotland.

Believed to be a juvenile bird, it may have flown from as far as the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.

The Sea Eagle, nicknamed the "flying door" was re-introduced into the UK in the 1970s.

An RSPB spokesman said: "This is a very rare sight indeed, probably the first time it has been spotted in Cumbria for 200 years, and the bird will have travelled quite a distance.

"There are currently just over 80 birds which have paired off to breed off the coasts of Scotland.

"Keen birdwatchers will travel to the Isle of Mull or the Isle of Skye to see this rare creature.

"We think the bird is a young one, probably in its first year or so and will be travelling around looking for a partner after leaving its parents."

The Sea Eagle, also known as the white-tailed eagle, is the largest of the European eagles.

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