Derek Spencer, PhD Student
- Liverpool Comprehensive School
- Master of Arts (Ed), Bermuda Police
Derek is passionate about golden eagles and joined the Centre for Mountain Studies in February 2011.
Under the supervision of Prof Martin Price, Professor Des Thompson and Dr Elizabeth Masden he is working on his research PhD, “Golden eagles in Foinaven Special Protection Area: a contribution to long-term species conservation”.
His research will involve looking at species distribution, changes in land use, prey availability and persecution within the 6 territories in the Foinaven SPA but also in 13 adjoining golden eagle territories in North West Sutherland.
Since February 2011, Derek’s research has involved over 100 days of fieldwork in the 19 golden eagle territories and has resulted in two chicks within the SPA being fitted with satellite transmitters. This will give valuable data on flight dispersal of juvenile golden eagles when they leave the natal nest site.
Derek also confirmed that 13 of the 19 territories have resident adult golden eagles, and with knowledge of eyrie locations gained during this season, he will formulate a more structured observation programme for next year which will result in a more detailed picture of their distribution in the North West Highlands.
Derek is a member of the Highland Raptor Study Group (HRSG) which monitors Raptors in the Highlands of Scotland. The data collected during his research PhD will be fed into the HRSG recording system.
When he is not climbing mountains to golden eagle eyries, Derek is a fitness instructor at Lochinver Leisure/Learning Centre.