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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Fundraising for satellite tags
We need to raise funds to enable us to track this year's Loch Garten ospreys. To donate to our appeal, please go to our JustGiving page. Thank you for your support.
Just a quick update on Breagha and Millicent. They have just continued what they have been doing over the last several weeks. Both birds appear to be well and continue to travel around their small adopted territories in W Africa.
Data shows no change with Millicent and Breagh and we have a reserve update from our new long term volunteer warden Kyle.
Hello All, I'm Kyle and I’m the new long-term winter volunteer here are Abernethy. As Jen's off chasing birds in Costa Rica, I'll fill you in on what I've been getting up to in my time here so far. Most of my time is spent with Alice, the reserve's assistant warden, creating deadwood and restructuring woodland plantation areas in order to provide better habitat for species found on the reserve. There are over 4,500 species here at Abernethy and it is thought that over half of them rely on or benefit from deadwood. However, in plantation areas of the forest we have much less standing and fallen deadwood than is found in boreal forests such as those found in Scandinavia. This is because their density means that they are well sheltered from the elements. Therefore, we are trying to create a home for these 2,000+ species by pulling down trees with a winch to replicate the effects of a storm. Hard work I can tell you! Alice likes to remind me that she doesn't charge me a gym membership for doing this...Another way that we create deadwood is by "ring-barking" - a process in which we strip a round of bark from the trees. Ring-barking creates standing deadwood and creates a home for one of our most iconic, and most definitely one of my favourite species, the crested tit, which make their nests by burrowing into the stumps of standing dead pine trees each year. I find that Deadwooding is a fantastically enjoyable way to improve and create habitat, not just because of our near daily sightings of crossbills and cresties, but because the creation of light and space in the forest is instant and you can really see how the work you are doing is going to benefit the ecology of the woodlands. We select the trees that we pull down based on what we see around them, with particular focus of making small clearances around birch, willow, rowan and juniper to allow them to flourish in order to create a more natural mix of trees in the forest and to continue in our goal of making Abernethy Forest one the best examples of semi-natural boreal forest in north-west Europe.
Breagh still in Senegal.
Millicent still in Mauritania near the Mauritania/Senegal border, between the towns of Richard Toll and Rosso.
On 1st November the tracking data moved into the Winter regime of two data points per day at 09.00 and 16.00 GMT with data downloads on a weekly basis. This will continue until 10 March 2015 when tracking will revert to nine data points per day collected every three days. The current change is because we do not expect much movement of the birds when they have settled into their location in W Africa and the latter change is so that we can track the birds on migration back to the UK. Of course it is probably too early for both of our birds to undertake an early return migration but who can tell. One thing for certain is that the joy of nature is its unpredictability and maybe Breagha will make an early return to the UK in 2015. A consequence of the current change to data collection is that it will be difficult to say much about what the birds are doing. Another consequence is that downloads now occur over the weekend and therefore any blog updates will take place on a Monday when Jen is back in the office.
There is still not too much to say about our two Ospreys except they appear to be well and continue to explore their adopted homes in West Africa. Millicent has been moving around an area of only 0.6 sq. km but in the process has covered 4-5 km on some days. She has not shown any consistently favoured spots for roosting in this area.
Breagha has behaved similarly but does not appear to have travelled such distances during the day although of course the birds can travel significant distances in the eight hours between data points and we will be none the wiser.