Our SWT Loch of the Lowes Osprey Satellite tracking project has been enormously successful so far, and we would like to thank all the hard working volunteers, local children and all our supporters who helped raise the money to make it all happen- it simply wouldn’t have been possible without your kind support.
So far we have managed to tag and follow two chicks, Blue 44 from Loch of the Lowes and Blue YD from Angus. Both of these birds have given us valuable data on their post fledging behavior for scientific study, as well as allowing us to follow and become involved in their personal stories once they left Scotland on their first migrations.
Here’s a summary of the kind of things we have learned so far:
- The extent to which the young birds, post fledging, use their territories around the natal nest and how far they travel.
- The speed and direction at which they first leave Scotland and the route they take through the UK, as well as travel height and speed information.
- The way in which one bird stopped over on an extended sojourn in France, before continuing south, which hadn’t been proven in a young bird before, and the links it enabled us to make with colleagues working with Ospreys in this area.
- Exactly what kind of locations our birds stop and roost in on route and the importance of national parks and other protected wetland areas on the route- some areas were used by more than one bird.
- The way the two SWT bird’s routes converged in Spain, proving how vital this western Mediterranean corridor is to migrating ospreys.
- The first ever tracked Africa destination for an SWT bird- in Senegal!
- A detailed picture of the behavior of a young bird in Africa and the areas he uses, giving us insight into the hazards and threats they face on a daily basis.
- A tantalizing clue as to where our resident female osprey may spend her winters- as we know chicks inherit the tendency for their wintering grounds from their parents. However, we need more chicks to be tracked to prove this theory conclusively.
- We have also learnt just how fascinating this story of a birds destiny can be to us- we have been glued to the satellite data and have had more than 150,000 hits by the public on the satellite tracking webpage so far!
Despite the fact that we lost contact with Blue 44 in Spain, we can still hope that it was a transmitter failure rather than the demise of the bird to blame- only time will tell. We must remember that the average survival rate for young ospreys in the first year is as little as 50% naturally, and some experts put it as low as 30%. To have even one young bird still doing so well ( Blue YD) and giving us information is very lucky indeed.
We would like to use this vital information to not only better understand our local birds, but to promote their conservation worldwide. We are sharing our results with other scientists and students studying osprey behaviour. We are also hoping to use the links to Senegal to guide us to visit West Africa next winter, to learn more from the locals about the birds and understand the context of this half of their lives, and hopefully promote their conservation. More details on this exciting project soon.
Lastly, we hope to continue this Satellite tracking project over the next few years, tagging future chicks from Loch of the Lowes to build up a more complete picture and track changes in behavior and survival rates etc. We will be announcing very soon an appeal to help us raise enough money to tag another chick from Loch of the Lowes this year 2013. Let’s hope it is a lucky and fascinating a year as 2012 proved to be!
Thankyou all again for your interest and kind support.