Its been a very mixed year for ospreys in the UK and not without a few surprises- such as the one male, two nests saga at FCS /RSPB Aberfoyle- and tragedy- such as the loss of the well known female and her chicks at Tweed Valley Project main nest. This of course highlights that you can never take ospreys for granted and that there is always something new to learn about their behaviour and conservation.
However, overall the summer weather was kind and there has been a bumper crop of chicks fledged across the UK. It is especially exciting to see increasing numbers in England and Wales, with ospreys spreading out to recolonize more of their historical range- may it continue! An excellent guest Blog on the Dyfi Osprey site : http://www.dyfiospreyproject.com/blog highlights some key issues about ospreys in the UK and how we need keep an eye on the big picture for this species as a whole- they are not out of the woods entirely yet and there is a great deal we all can and should be doing to help them.
So as we were not lucky enough to have chicks hatched at Loch of the Lowes this year and we therefore have no satellite tracking data to keep us nail-biting, we thought you might be sharing our osprey withdrawal symptoms. Many of our sister projects and colleagues in osprey conservation have tracked birds this year, and who knows what fascinating insights and new information we might all learn this winter.
So here’s a summary of who to watch over the winter:
Roy Dennis’ Highland Foundation for Wildlife has four birds being tracked: adult females Beatrice and Green J wintering in Spain, adult male Blue XD is Senegal, and our favourite Rothiemurchus (born 2005 and a regular visitor to Lowes) in Senegal.
Keilder Osprey Project tagged two chicks this year: “7H” who is in Morocco, and “UV” who is in Portugal- will they move on or stay?
Aberfoyle Ospreys tagged two chicks, Lonaig who is also in Portugal and Murrin who is awol currently.
Tweed Valley Osprey Project has tagged a young bird called “FK8” in the Scottish Borders- not much news yet of this bird who seemed to hang around late this autumn.
The Lake District Osprey Project has two birds currently tracked: “14” from 2013 who is still in Equatorial Guinea, and “8A” from 2014 who is in Mauritania after a successful first migration.
Rutland Water Ospreys is still tracking “30( 05)” on her third successful migration – interestingly along almost exactly the same route each time.
RSPB Loch Garten has three birds tracking: Breagha from 2013 in Senegal, and this years two chicks Seasca ( awol over the Bay of Biscay) Millicent who has settled in Senegal/Mauritania border area near the town of Richard Toll- very close to our Blue YD’s wintering grounds.
So, how many of these birds will survive the winter? What interesting exploits will they get up to? Will any be seen and photographed there? Will we get any other reports of ringed UK birds sent in- even our missing birds Blue YD and Blue 44? Let’s hope so!