Incredible footage shows rare bird’s eye view of Orkney cliffs

Stunning video has shown the dramatic and ancient coastal cliffs of Orkney - from the back of a sea eagle.

Stunning video has shown the dramatic and ancient coastal cliffs of Orkney - from the back of a sea eagle.

The footage shows the 400 million-year-old sheer cliffs, hundreds of feet high, of the western mainland of the island chain as they are battered by the Atlantic.

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Marra, a white-tailed sea eagle, soars gracefully above the jagged, broken coastline, her head and savagely-curved beak visible as she scans for prey.

The footage is all the more remarkable because sea eagles - which have been extinct in Scotland since the 19th Century - only returned to the skies above Orkney two years ago.

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Marra is seen flying over the Brough of Birsay, an isolated island that can on be accessed by crossing a narrow causeway during low-tide.

Posting the amazing footage online, Fife-based Elite Falconry said: “We are privileged to have Marra accompany us to some of Scotland’s most stunning and dramatic landscapes during our falconry journeys.

“Here is some footage from her on board video camera which we thought you might enjoy, when she was flying over the Brough of Birsay on the Orkney Islands yesterday afternoon.”

The trained birds are sent out to hunt in the skies above Scotland, with the on-board camera constantly filming as they reach speeds exceeding 100mph.

A spokeswoman from the falconry said: “On this occasion we were up in Orkney on a hunting trip to flush geese out of farming fields.

“But we are always wanting to give out birds new experiences and this was the first time we took Marra, our white-tailed sea eagle.

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“We got permission to fly around Birsay and it was the closest thing to her natural environment.

“She’s normally quite nervous and it takes a lot of training to get sea eagles comfortable but she really excelled and enjoyed it.”

Sea-eagles were hunted to extinction in Scotland during the 1800s but have been successfully reintroduced in recent years.

In 2015, sea eagles returned to Orkney almost 150 years since they disappeared.

The camera used to capture the remarkable footage is attached to Marra by a harness and does not affect her ability to fly.