Our Osprey chick Blue44 continues to do really well and has been looking very grown up today indeed- standing right on the edge of the nest which gave us a few nervous moments, but he is still about a week off fledging at least so it’s not quite time for the big leap just yet.
He has been preening a lot today, which is normal for this stage- when we were ringing and tagging him on Monday, Roy Dennis pointed out that the waxy cuticle which covers the quill of the emerging feathers on young birds, was in his case, still attached in many places.Roy said that whilst in dry weather this wax flakes off easily, in wet years such as this, the chicks do a lot of extra preening to break off this sheath to allow the feathers to growth through fully and expand out.
Monday’s events already seem like a bit of a dream for me personally- it all seemed to happen so fast, despite having been planned for literally years. Having spent countless hours, day and night, watching, studying, protecting and guarding these birds this year alone, I was very conscious of the privilege of getting to see the chick up close. Though I have had the honour of seeing osprey chicks ringed before, and even holding them, it never ceases to amaze me how small they seem in real life- though the wings and feet a HUGE, the body is tiny, no larger than a small chicken. It was an absolute delight to meet wee Blue 44, and I can only hope we will be seeing an awful lot more of him for many more years to come.
Which brings me to the exciting news that our satellite tracking page in now LIVE! Click on this link to see the page on our Scottish Wildlife Trust website that hosts the tracking information and a map of our chicks travels.
What will happen is that the satellite tag on Blue 44 will talk to the satellite several times a day, measuring location, altitude, speed etc. This information is then sent to the satellite base every few days from where we can download it and transfer it to our map page. The satellite is predesigned to send this information every four days, until the 15th August ( around when autumn migration starts) , then every two days during peak migration times, then from the end of October every four days again over the winter when the birds are more sedentary. So you can expect updates every two days of our birds migration journey and we will do our very best to interpret this exciting news for you on the blog as it happens. As you can se right now, the map shows our wee chap atLoch of the Lowes.