As you may have seen in the news, Alba has made it all the way down to Senegal, and is still moving south! It appears that she is spending her entire days travelling, only stopping to roost at night. She must also be finding time to fish for herself (unless, as some have suggested, she is actually following EJ!) but the distances she is covering mean she can’t be staying in any one place for too long.
It will only be three weeks on Sunday since she was last seen at the nest, meaning she has made what we believe to be the fastest recorded osprey migration ever! This is an absolutely phenomenal achievement and, along with the huge pride we are all feeling, we are all a bit bewildered that we were watching her here just 19 days ago! At a very young age it was clear that Alba had the survival instinct, making sure she was getting fed ahead of her siblings. She is clearly a determined creature and we hope she establishes herself at a good fishing spot, continuing from strength to strength. Without wanting to get too far ahead of ourselves, the signs are looking good at this early stage, so after four years of disappointment, will Alba be the first tagged chick to return to Loch Garten......?
By comparison, big sister Caledonia is making a much more relaxed journey. It is still hugely impressive that she’s made it down to southern Spain, but is clearly enjoying the Seville area and doesn’t seem to want to go any further just yet. For the last couple of days she has been spending most of her time around the banks of Canal De Alfonso XIII which is close to major road routes and what appear to be industrial buildings. Perhaps not everyone’s idea of a holiday destination, but if there’s fish and somewhere comfortable to sit then it will do for a stop-off point.
Our fantastic volunteer Mike will continue to plot Cally and Ally’s progress over the winter, so all the latest information will be uploaded onto our website at: www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/tracking/lochgartenospreys/index.aspx. Richard will also be updating the blog, so you can still get your osprey fix during the coming months, and it will be April again before you know it!
So as well as updating you all on the exploits of the intrepid young ospreys, this also serves as a tearful goodbye from me and the whole team. Abby and Mairi have already given their farewells, so here’s a few words from Jen:
Richard told us at the start that the season would fly by and he wasn’t kidding! I can’t believe we are at the end already but it has been a fantastic season. From seeing my first capercaillie to helping rebuild Blue XD’s nest to getting to ring an osprey chick, I wouldn’t know where to start when picking my highlight. I have met some wonderful people in the centre – thank you to all of you who came to visit us. Also, thank you to all our brilliant volunteers who we couldn’t have done without. And thanks to Richard for putting an awesome team together, I have absolutely loved working with John, Abby, Mairi and Laura (and the 2 Julies!) I’m leaving feeling very proud of our ospreys – Odin and EJ raising two healthy chicks with Alba going for gold and breaking migration records! What a girl! I’m going south too but not all the way to Africa. I’ll be working on the RSPB’s beautiful Arne reserve in Dorset over the winter where ospreys often stop over on migration so hopefully I’ll see a few over the next few weeks to slowly wean me off them. Jen
Thank you for all your support throughout the season, has been lovely to meet so many of you; it’s been a brilliant six months! Will miss the daily red squirrel fix and of course our ospreys; I still haven’t properly seen a pine marten (although one did very thoughtfully leave a scat right outside the Centre this morning!) Like our birds, I’m also heading south for the winter, so if anyone is popping into RSPB Radipole Lake come and say hello! Laura.
A huge, heartfelt thanks to all the 27,529 lovely people who came to visit us. Meeting such a diverse mix of people every day really does make the job so enjoyable, in fact, it’s what makes the job. Without turning this into an Oscar acceptance speech, thank you to Richard for having me back, and for being such an enthusiastic and supportive boss. Thanks to the 101 residential volunteers who gave up their time to sit up all night watching ospreys sleep. You are all brilliant. Plus our regular volunteers Mike and Helen, true osprey heroes. But most of all, thanks to my amazing team for making Operation Osprey 2012 such a fun and successful six months. You have provided endless inspiration to both me and our visitors. Thanks for putting up with me, and thanks for making me tea.
It’s been a season of ups and downs, but overall a massive success with two strong, healthy chicks making their way into the unknown, blissfully unaware that thousands of people around the world are following their every move, wishing them all the very best. It’s been an honour to see them grow and develop from this privileged position, and it’s been a great deal of fun sharing the excitement with so many others.
So on behalf of everyone involved at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre, thanks for reading and watching.
A big THANK YOU to Team LG 2012 and ALL you dedicated volunteers ~ where would we be without you!! John, I have visions of you cycling into the blue yonder ~ but where will your 'trusty steed' take you this time? Au revoir ~ Leen
Thankyou John for your final blog - the team have been marvellous in looking after visitors, watching the nest etc. Its been a roller coaster of a season but happy endings abound. Let's hope Alba enjoys her winter break and for the next year or two before , hopefully, returning home - wouldn't that be fantastic if it happened.
Thankyou to all of you for all the hard work put in.
Just seen the photo of you all....good one :)) had to Google RSPB Radipole Lake as that was a new one on me Laura......gosh you are a long way south!! LOL
What a lovely blog from you all. It's sad the season's ended but wonderful that the 2 girls are winging their way south in their own unique way.
If any of you are back next year then hopefully I will see you then. Enjoy your new adventures.
Thanks for letting me be part of the amazing experience. Loch Garten is such a magical place. I wish I didn't live so far away because I'd love to visit more often.
My highlight was being part of the priviliged group of people who witnessed Caledonia and Alba being ringed and tagged and being one of the first to know their names. Seeing the chicks close up makes me feel like I have a special bond with them. We all knew Alba would do well but it's fantastic to see her progressing so fast. Hopefully we'll see her back at Abernethy in a few years.
Thank you to Richard, John and the rest of the osprey team for doing a wonderful job. Thanks Mairi for letting me share your chalet for a week.
Hope the seasonal staff are all enjoying there new roles. Jen and Laura - I may pop along to Radipole and Arne at some point to say hello as they're not too far from my home in Devon and are both fantastic reserves.
Thanks again all and good luck to EJ, Odin, Caledonia and Alba.
I agree wholehearted with Donna28, THANKS for letting me be part of this =)
Have a great autumn and winter, looking forward to next spring!
Just back from a holiday with no means to get on the blog. So I have read the whole lot thro' today.
The goodbye's... the highs...the lows....phew a lot to go thro' and now feeling VERY sad.
But thro' being a member, I have met some lovely people, Sunshine...Mel....and of course now a family friend...Leen. I have met them all.
So thank you Loch Garten...not only for the excitement of our lovely birds.....but the friendships that come from being a member of the RSPB.
I now need to ask a question.......Richard....who is doing the toilets this year !!!!!! Hmmm.
Oh I am SO sorry.....it said there was a problem, so I pressed again.
Thanks John for the final blog And to all the gang. Thanks also for the photo . Good luck to you all. What a truely wonderful season.Thanks too to all the wonderful volunteers To Richard and Iain and all those who work behind the scenes.
Hellen and Andy