With all the excitement at the Loch of the Lowes osprey nest of late, it has been easy to be distracted from the fascinating story of the two young birds from 2012 who are part of our satellite tracking project. We are still learning new and valuable information from the data coming in- you can see the live results on our interactive map here: http://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/things-to-do/osprey/
Firstly there is Lowes born Blue 44 who we sadly have had no further news from. We are still unsure whether his transmitter failed or if he has met the same sad fate as many young ospreys on their first hazardous migration journeys. If he has survived, he will still be wearing his Blue Darvic Leg ring so anyone seeing him in Africa or southern Europe should be able to report him via the bird watching network, and we should hear the news. Lots of people have been asking if we will see him back this year in Scotland – but remember, young ospreys don’t return to their natal area until they are old enough to breed themselves at 3-5 years. In effect birds born in 2012 will still be enjoying a great ‘gap-year’ in Africa, and growing up fast.
This is perfectly illustrated by the story of our second bird, Angus born Blue YD who is currently living on the west coast of Senegal. Over the past few weeks, he has settled down on the coast, after having spent the majority of time over the winter inland on the Senegal river system. We think this is because prime coastal fishing territories have become vacant now that adult birds have flown north to breed. The area he seems to have settled in covers approximately 90km of coastline which he wanders up and down regularly.
He seems to have a set routine, whereby he roosts overnight just inland on the sand dunes, covered with scrubby vegetation, punctuated by short fishing trips out over the sea. None of these see him venture very far out- it is obvious that he is hunting successfully in the shallow waves just near the shore and doesn’t need to go far. None of his short forays inland go far- presumably there isn’t a lot to tempt him inland in terms of food when the living is so good on the coast.
In case you are wondering, today in Senegal’s capital Dakar (approx 100km from Blue YD’s position) it was 26 degrees c (79F) with 73% humidity, and light winds. Sounds great doesn’t it? However, we mustn’t forget he is still contending with fishing nets, crocodiles and any number of other hazards on a daily basis so it’s not all a holiday!