This book is based on many years of experience with eagles. It was written by bringing together Stuart's diary and field notes, along with his photographs, thus providing a complete description of eagles, their behaviour and ecology.
The "Action Researchers" guide to golden eagles
by Derek Spencer in the United Kingdom (04/06/2012)
This is a superbly accurate account of what it takes to be a serious golden eagle "action researcher" and fieldworker. This book has obviously been researched and written by a dedicated golden eagle fieldworker. The days on the hill are complemented by outstanding photographs of what can be seen if the long hard hours are put it. This book is ideal for someone with an interest in golden eagles right up to the serious raptor monitor. I would recommend this book to anyone with any interest in birds or the wild rugged Scottish landscape.
"This is the first book in a new series with a theme of Birds and People. The book is taken up mainly by a series of evocative descriptions of the author’s exploits in the field over many years of searching for and monitoring golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos in Scotland. There is a focus on the breeding season and the annual quest to pin down the locations of breeding pairs and monitor the outcome at nests that are found. The extent of the effort involved in collecting this information comes across strongly. Some sites require several hours of hard walking over difficult terrain just to reach the breeding area and because the birds roam over such huge distances there is no guarantee that one will be seen during a day’s fieldwork. Add in the vagaries of the weather, swarms of biting insects and the need to scramble over rocky slopes or wade through treacherous bogs in order to reach potential nest sites and it quickly becomes apparent that eagle monitoring will not be for everyone. It clearly does appeal to Stuart and his enthusiasm for this work and for the bird itself shines through on every page, even under the most testing of circumstances. Indeed Stuart’s involvement in eagle monitoring almost came to an abrupt end when attempting to cross a particularly challenging piece of terrain.
The book is largely descriptive with a broad coverage that encompasses the landscape visited and the diverse range of wildlife that it supports. But there is no shortage of information about the eagles themselves and there are detailed accounts of many fascinating aspects of eagle behaviour based on first hand observations. Each of these are, to some extent, chance encounters and moments of good fortune but, of course, are only possible because of the long hours spent in the field, hunting for eagles. New technology such as the use of satellite transmitters will certainly help to improve our understanding of eagle movements and habitat use in future but, for certain aspects of eagle behaviour, there will be no substitute for direct observations. The need for fieldwork of the type described in this book will, thankfully, remain for many years to come.
The book is superbly illustrated with the author’s own photographs, some of the eagles themselves, but many showing the wide range of other animals and plants that may be encountered when off the beaten track in the highlands of Scotland. Reading through the book was certainly a very pleasant way to while away a few hours indoors, whilst at the same time firing an enthusiasm to spend more time outside watching wildlife at first hand."
- Ian Carter, 14 September 2012, http://www.britishbirds.co.uk
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Stuart is a founder member of the North East Raptor Study Group-the first to be set up in the country. Stuart has worked with Jeff Watson and Keith Brockie, and more recently with Mike McGrady.