What an exciting couple of days with our sole Loch of the Lowes 2012 Osprey chick Blue 44 now underway on his autumn migration to Africa.
He was last seen on the nest at 8.20am on Saturday the 8th and his father hadn’t been seen since the previous morning so it is fair to suppose he may have followed in his parents’ wake, or realised there would be no further fish deliveries so decided it was time to make the big move by himself.
What has amazed us is that he went so far, so fast on his first day, given that he hadn’t gone very far around Loch of the Lowes in the preceding weeks. His second day, by contrast has been a bit slower and with more rest stops- perhaps sensible as he still has a long long way to go!
The good news is that he is taking a sensible and known route down the eastern seaboard of the UK-not making the drastic mistake of heading due west as some young birds have done in the past, quickly getting into fatal trouble.
If you live in the southern UK, now is the best time of year to get out and about your local waterways and try to spot passing Ospreys. Even areas which don’t normally have breeding birds, will sometimes get good numbers of passing birds in the autumn (and to a lesser extent in spring) so eyes to the skies folks! If you live on the eastern seaboard, keep a special eye out for a bonny bird with an aerial attached- that’s our boy!
Many people have been asking how long it will take for Blue 44 to reach his destination: we don’t yet know, but we will soon find out! The record for a young osprey has just been set by a tagged chick from Loch Garten “Alba” who made the journey in two weeks, but it has been known to take up to six weeks or more. Just which country he will stop in is anyone’s guess at the moment as well.
Remember the sad truth is that fewer than 50% of young ospreys survive their first year so even if this wee fellow is lucky enough to not get lost, he still has to avoid power lines, human shooters, storms, desert crossings, entanglement and starvation. Let us just hope and pray that this beloved osprey is one of the lucky ones this year- we are all wishing you well Blue!