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.
Well, as I said yesterday, today we had a meeting with our sat tag expert to see what, if anything, has come from the exploration of Breagha’s tag. And I’m afraid to say that the tag hasn’t even charged – it’s been sat on a windowsill for over a week and absolutely nothing has happened.
So, the only option now is to send it to Microwave Telemetry over in Maryland and see if they have any luck, which will be done this week. They’ll have more sophisticated technology than we do and might be able to glean some information from the tag.
Nigel (our expert) said that moisture will undoubtedly have entered the tag and that’s why we can’t get it to charge, but Microwave Telemetry may have more luck. The moisture will have got in through the holes that were on the tag – and after some expert analysis, the general consensus is that these holes were made by an animal. Nigel said that absolutely no shot has fallen out of the tag, despite the holes. So, that’s not to say that Breagha didn’t meet his end at the hands of a human, but that nothing can be proved by the tag.
So, it’s more waiting I’m afraid, to see whether our friends over the pond can shed any light on Breagha’s last movements. Needless to say, as soon as we hear anything, we’ll pass it on to you guys.
The webcam trouble continues and after yet another visit this morning to see if any of the connections were faulty along the line, things haven’t improved. Just so you get an idea of what we’re facing, this is a picture of the “control room”, such as it is.
To be honest, we’re stumped, so I phoned trusty old Richard to see if he’d had any experience of a similar problem, and he hasn’t! He suggested I get in touch with the guy who helps out with the camera set up for the ospreys to see if he can work out what the problem is. With our limited understanding of the workings of the camera, it seems that there’s a problem between the camera and the computer – there is a certain amount of signal getting through, as we’re getting intermittent flashes of feeder activity, but evidently there’s a fault somewhere. Maybe a cheeky red squirrel has nibbled through the plastic casing and there’s a bit of moisture in the cable? Who knows, but we’ll try and find out. So as ever, please bear with us whilst we get to the bottom of the issue.
Thanks and fingers double crossed please, both for Breagha’s tag and the webcam!
Just a quick note to let you know that despite repeated attempts to fix the problem with the webcam we're still struggling to identify the root cause. Peter from Carnyx has been advising us and we're doing all we can amidst our other work. We do apologise for the frustration this is causing. Believe me, we're as frustrated as you are with this technology! I have one more thing to try tomorrow and after that, well, it may be that we need a complete system overhaul. Please bear with us! Meanwhile, please be assured that the red squirrels, coal tits, woodpeckers and even jays are still being fed a hearty meal of nuts!
On Breagha matters, we have a meeting tomorrow with our sat tag whizz colleague and will let you know what he's thinking about the tag and the likelihood of any recoverable data. All other evidence, except the tag, has remained in France in case of a criminal investigation.
Till then, thank you for your patience. That's all for now.
What a lot can happen in two weeks! I returned to my office on Tuesday to find the parcel from Noisette, containing the tracker, on my desk. I’d like to echo Jeremy’s words in saying many, many thanks to you Noisette, Alain and your helpers for your determined efforts, resulting in this precious find. This week seems to have been a very hectic one for everyone here at Abernethy (so what’s new?) and it’s only now, Thursday, that I’ve actually been able to sit at my desk and attend to writing a blog to update you.
So, what’s happened to the tracker? As we don’t have the expertise in the team here, we have sent the tag to two colleagues. One of these is a ‘satellite tag whizz’ and he’ll be able to check the tag and see if any more information can be gleaned from it. I’ve had an email from him just this lunchtime to say that the tag is charging and he’s waiting to see what (if anything) it reveals. The other person is part of our investigations team, who will ensure that the tag is treated as if it were evidence, in case a criminal act is suspected.
In addition to this, another colleague who works in investigations for the RSPB here in Scotland, is liaising with the LPO. If the tag turns out to be evidence of a suspected criminal act, then we will pass it on to the LPO, as any investigation will be led by the French authorities.
Thank you all for your continued interest in the fate of our unfortunate Breagha. Despite all the sadness, it is actually very heartening to know that so many of you are as passionate about ospreys as we are. Thank you as well for the messages of support many of you have been posting.
Will the satellite tag reveal any more information to us? We’ll just have to wait and see, but in the meantime please be assured that as ever, when we have anything to add to the blog we will do so as soon as we can.
That’s all for now.