Each year, the ospreys at Loch Garten have people across the world gripped in their tale of violence, adultery and... well... fishing.
This year's diary, written by the Osprey Information Assistants at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre, picks up the saga where we left off.
We update the blog at least twice a week - more often when there's high drama here. We hope you enjoy reading as the nest-side story unfolds...
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It’s been an exciting couple of days here! Yesterday morning Charlotte, David & I were all in the centre with visitors when our second chick was revealed to the world. Later we watched it being fed for the first time, and then the second & third time as Odin brought in a whopping 6 fish yesterday! We’ve also been watching EJ see off a female intruder who tried to land on the nest earlier.
We’re short staffed today, so with the busy centre and all the excitement I was glad of a break - grabbing a quick bite to eat & checking my emails at the same time when a new email pops up from our administrator Jayne, ‘Satellite tracking is getting interesting’. Every week Jayne downloads the satellite data and plots it into Google maps to give an update on Rothes (EJ & Odin’s first chick in 2009), and every week she emails Richard & I with the latest, and every week it’s the same... ‘still on Ilha de Unhocomozinho’. This week however.... ‘Rothes heads north!’
I quickly scanned it, jumped up from the computer and ran out into the centre where Richard was covering – Odin had just delivered a fish, and EJ was standing up to reveal the chicks. All the visitors were enthralled watching the chicks being fed when I ran in shouting to Richard - ‘Rothes is in Senegal! She’s moving north!’. I ran out again and phoned David on the kiosk – ‘Rothes is in Senegal!!’. ‘Brilliant!’ he exclaimed... ‘Where’s Senegal?!’. ‘Um, I’m not sure exactly... but it’s definitely north, she’s definitely moving!’. Then I ran round to find Abbi who was having her lunch ‘Rothes is in Senegal!’ You get the picture, I was pretty excited!!
Rothes hatched here on 22nd May 2009, the first of a clutch of 3 that year, and EJ & Odin’s first ever chick. On 22nd May 2011, exactly 2 years old, she started heading north!
Sunday saw her leave Ilha de Unhocomozinho, a small island off the coast of Guinea Bissau that has been her home for the last 20 months, and headed to the nearby Ilha Formosa. By Monday she was already flying high above a forest reserve in central Senegal and the final data point we received saw her at Louge-Richard (close to a large wetland area according to Richard, who has been there) and heading north towards the coast on the border with Mauritania. We can even tell you that she was flying at a height of 81 metres above the ground, isn’t technology amazing?!
This really is exciting news, not just for us here at Loch Garten but for everyone involved in osprey conservation. For many years, the information we know about ospreys and their migration has come from ringing records, which has been great and we’ve learned a lot but satellite tracking allows us to follow the entire migration journey, giving us their position to within 15 metres anywhere in the world. Watching her moving north will provide answers to some of the many questions surrounding osprey migration. Will she make a part migration or come the whole way to Scotland? Will she take the same course north as she did going south? When she does return to breed, will she come close to her old nest here at LG or go somewhere else entirely?’
Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. You can see her journey for yourself, and find out more about satellite tracking, here: http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/tracking/lochgartenospreys/index.aspx
You just never know what a day at Loch Garten will hold, I love my job!!
There is a new blog for comments folks.
Linny M-good comment about the wind and ringing. Also Richard won't be badgered about tracking 3 birds as their are only two anyway so might make it easier all round. Loch Lowes blog says 40 days since 3rd egg laid so they are still hopeful for a chick, if anyone deserves one it is Lady, fingers crossed until it is confirmed as all over.
Fish delivery from Odin who is feeding himself first ---EJ now feeding the chicks whilst Odin does some housework, before departing.
Odin back with ANOTHER trout? He's some bird!
Looking on the bright side..... I reckon the tagging and ringing are going to be great this year, 'cos at this rate, there's soon going to be NO wind left ANYWHERE in Scotland for the rest of the year! Have just had to vacate my greenhouse, as it's beginning to sway a bit and the glass is creaking!!
Nail biting. Mum's just flown, but the littluns are hanging on in there.
It looks impossible. It reminds me of that windy spell that prevented tagging and ringing last year.
I can conform that it is very very very very windy up here in the Highlands. Very few birds in the air and the RSPB have confirmed the loss of many nests including a Red Kite's. The road looks as though it is part of a western with tumble weed passing my living room window.
Poor Odin back with more food-he can't let go as the weight is keeping him from being blown off the nest and she can't get up in case the babies are blown off, interesting to see what happens next.
Why doesn't he try to bring it in front of her so she can feed from the front instead, can't be easy for them.
What has happened to the size of the webcam picture? it has shrunk by about 50% compared to what it used to be and if you click full screen it has the look of a wide screen tv. anyone know whats going on?
If EJ gets up off those babies, they will be blown away!
Think he may be spending more time at the nest because of the windy weather. Guess there aren't many places he can go to get out of the wind AND keep his eye on the nest. Bet fishing's a bit difficult too so maybe he's getting tired out trying to fish AND battle against the wind.
Oh my gosh!! It is blowing a gale up in Scotland and Odin can just about stay on the nest!!
Odin seems to be spending a lot longer on the nest with his family than I ever remember from previous years?
I watch the LDOW site each year and 'tuned in' a couple of months ago and saw that the nest had moved. I think I know roughly where the nest is from the photos and should be able to see it from the far shore of the lake. It must be difficult for the volunteers to keep an eye on them without the cam. I hope everything is okay for them after losing no. 11.