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...
Read more about Loch Garten
Latest up-date on the tracked osprey youngsters from Loch Garten is as follows
Absolutely amazingly, Alba is the winter quarter already! It has taken her just two weeks (she left us on Sunday 19th August) to fly from Loch Garten, to West Africa. On 2nd September at 22.00 hours she was just N of Senegal. Her journey from entering Morocco on 30th August has generally followed a line around 60 km from the coast. She crossed the Tropic of Cancer around 12.30 hrs on 31 August, into Mauritania around 19.30 hrs on 31st August where she roosted overnight before continuing S along the coastal route finally roosting in the south Mauritania on 2 Sept at 22.00 hrs around 200 km from the Senegal border. So she is nearly ‘home’!
This is surely astonishing progress for a maiden migration flight? To take just a fortnight to reach an area that could conceivably end up being her winter quarters, is certainly the quickest of the eight Garten birds we have tagged and followed since 2008. Is it the fastest journey of all known tagged birds I wonder? Has Alba been tanking along in the slip-stream of her experienced migrant mother, EJ, hanging on to her tail feathers, maybe? If only we knew? Will Alba now bide awhile here, or move yet further south, we'll know more on Thursday.
Meantime, Caledonia is still taking her time and has continued her tour of Spain arriving about 150 km NW of Gibraltar at 17.00 hrs on 2 September. En route she spent the night of 29th August around the Rio Jarana S of Madrid then travelled SW through Spain to Seville where she spent mid day 31 August to early morning on 2 September touring the area mainly around the Rio Guadalquivir.
My thanks to Mike for the latest download stint. Seeing that Alba had overnighted in what looks like a very arid area, Mike was asking me quite where might ospreys roost, if there are no obvious suitable places? In the absence of trees, they'll likely use a rocky outcrop, but also quite possibly on the ground too. When I was in Senegal, many moons ago, on venturing out into the flat desert areas at first light, I remember seeing lots of raptors doing just that, roosting out in the open on the ground. I saw short-toed eagles and both Montagu's and marsh harriers all doing this. Sometimes betweem 10-20 birds all in quite close proximity. I must say it looked a bit weird. I didn't see any ospreys doing this though, but I bet they might.
The Osprey Centre closed yesterday at the end of our season. All rather sad for us all. We have pack-up week ahead of us, then that's us, done & dusted for another season. Team LG 2012 will be leaving at the end of the week and will be posting a signing-off blog to say goodbye to you.
Next update will be on Thursday.
Thanks Richard and Mike. Brilliant to hear such fantastic news. Especially of Alba. I do wonder when she found the time to attempt and succeed to catch any fish. I did remark on the day that she left that she wa desperately chasing after EJ for her next meal.
Alba is certainly an amazing bird. This news is both thrilling and reassuring - thanks Richard. Also the news on Cally taking the more sensible approach. I can't help hoping she'll decide to stay in Spain as it seems the safer option.....but whatever happens I know these birds' instincts are far beyond our understanding, and they know what's best for them.
Wow what a migration. Clearly a determined osprey. With that attitude I hope we will be seeing her back in Scotland in 2-3 years time. Does make you wonder if she followed an adult.
Thanks Richard and Alba is just amazing. Always a bit wary of her sister Caledonia but she really has come good. Pleased to see that Caledonia is enjoying her stay in Spain. Can;t believe the end of the season has arrived, but the whole another good year apart from the weather and loss of the smallest chick. Hate to say it but it must mean that you will soon be doing that job, cleaning out the toilets.
Amazing Alba!! This is great news, many thanks Richard. Hope she is fine and she has eaten somewhere. I'm so glad she didn't fly over the ocean again. She is a wonderful osprey, indeed.
Delighted to read this Richard. Great news! Thank you all for everything!
I logged in nervously tonight, wondering what will have befallen Alba. I thought "exhausted after those long flights over sea, nothing to eat, ending up in the desert". I can't tell you how relieved I was seeing your blog title, so went on with courage. Good for the girls!! Alba is truly amazing, and I'm thrilled. Cally takes a more leisurely route. Wonderful wonderful Ospreys! (Sorry, feeling a bit emotional about all this :-) ).
Thank you Richard, for your great update. Really appreciate all you do for us.
I had a brilliant time at the centre and was fortunate to be there just before Alba and Caledonia left on their migration.. I so hope they keep safe and at some point return to the lovely Loch Garten.. I hope to return too.. In the meantime I will watch with interest on Google Earth..
I have to return.. I forgot to get my 'Crestie' pin badge...
Phew again. I am not surprised to hear this about Alba. She always seemed the dominant one and fledged first as well. Are you sure Richard that she wasn't the first egg laid and that Cally hatched a few days early and Alba was late a bit like the two boys from Dyfi last year????????
Fingers crossed for Cally taking a similar route south now. Lucy 13 from Bassenwaith is visiting Paris and Ceulan from Wales and Blue 44 form Loch Lowes are still there.
What a relief to know the two youngsters are well on their way to their other home. Breath holding took place in case they strayed west into the Atlantic instead of south. But they were spot on. Roll on next season. Thank you all for your diligence and keeping us all up to date and watching over the nest during the summer. I might just get my ironing done now.......
Excellent news, even more so considering the weather conditions during their development, this spring and summer for the parents and young chicks/birds. Now we have juveniles and adult osprey with sat tracking totalling fifteen UK natal/breeding birds, plus Bynack and Enion, the ones with the queries arising from their weak signals.
I shall update this thread below, this evening, which covers the latest news of all these osprey, with the news Richard has given above, for Alba and Caledonia.
Also the data is available on ChloeB and Tiger's datasite.
Many thanks for the update Richard, and to Mike for downloading the data. Wow. These two girls really have got the wind beneath their wings! Perhaps they just wanted to feel and see some sunshine after all the wet weather they had for the first few months of their lives. I had been taking a close look at Alba's route this morning and had commented that between 25-27/8 she flew ca 916km, and then 28-30/8 another 1,800km, give or take a few kms! I might have misinterpreted what I was looking at though, but she clearly moved quickly. What a wonderful pair of osprey LG and EJ have produced this year. The question will remain, whose genes do they carry!
Absolutely amazing. These birds never cease to amaze me. Hopefully she will stop soon and get that well deserved rest.
Sorry, I intended to say '...so far', as of course it is not over yet.
Oh what a thrill to see that route since it was what Keith and I predicted last night.
It is certainly the fastest migration for any European osprey. However in 2010 Belle an American osprey flew from New England to South America in seven days. That was wind assisted thugh.