Osprey Diary 4th November

Our two young ospreys in Africa continue to do well and the good news is that our 2013 chick Blue YZ seems to have found herself a winter territory in Guinea Bissau for now. He latest satellite tracking data shows her sticking around a delta in the Quinara region between the Cantanhez Forest National Park and the Cufada Lagoons National Park. We hope this area which is criss-crossed with numerous rivers and waterways, and lightly populated with small farms, will be a safe place for her to stay.

Blue YZ to 2nd November 2013, Copyright SWT
Blue YZ to 2nd November 2013, Copyright SWT

I hopefully will have time tomorrow to post all the details for you on our interactive map.

Q: Do Ospreys ever over winter in UK?

A: No, some birds have recorded staying late (into November) or arriving early ( February) but they do not overwinter here. Not only do many of our water bodies freeze, but fish sink down very low in cold water so are impossible for ospreys to reach in winter. Osprey have, however, increasingly been recorded overwintering in the south of France and Spain.

Q: If Blue 44 ( the 2012 Loch of the Lowes chick) were deceased, would his tracker not have continued to operate?

A: Generally not- the tracker relies on solar powered batteries and if the bird dies, it will be highly unlikely it would be in a position to generate charge. This is why we are unsure if Blue 44 died or just lost his tracker or it malfunctioned.

Q: Do you ever get reports of ringed ospreys turning up in other areas i.e. if Blue 44 were still alive, and in future returned to Scotland, would you get a report if someone spotted him?

A: Yes we do get reports of ringed Ospreys from all across the UK and further afield, but not nearly as many as we’d like! Darvic rings are easy to read on a nest camera or a bird at  close range or through a telescope, but many ospreys fish and nest in remote areas and so we don’t get reports of every one. This is something every bird lover can help with- if you see any bird with a ring that you can read or have a good photo of a ringed bird, report it to either the BTO  or  in the case of ospreys, us or an osprey  project near you- we all share information regularly. We hope that the UK’s eager birdwatchers will pick up on and report Blue 44 if he ever makes it back to these shores.

 Q: Is there a register, or some pooling of information within the UK, so that when ringed juveniles return to the UK someone somewhere will see their ring numbers and then pass on the information to the relevant agency?  I was thinking if either of our local ringed birds returned to some other part of Scotland and nested there, would we get to know about it?

 A: Each osprey is fitted with two leg rings: one metal one ( a metal BTO ring with a unique serial number and a contact address for reporting to a national database)  and a Darvic ring  ( coloured plastic) which  is a slightly less formal system used by licensed Raptor Study groups and scientists. These are much easier to see from a distance and often show up in photos, so  if anyone sees a bird with a Darvic ring, we would love to hear from them. More information about these rings can be found at: http://www.roydennis.org/animals/raptors/osprey/reading-colour-rings/

We rely on help from birdwatchers all over the UK and abroad to look out for and report ringed birds- every sighting is invaluable so please look out for them and check your photos and tell us if you see a ring.

Almost all ospreys nesting in the UK are monitored and watched by dedicated volunteers and professionals so we would expect to hear if one of our birds turns up elsewhere in the future. We have had records of Loch of the Lowes born birds with rings sighted elsewhere in the UK and breeding at other nest sites- and let’s hope there are many more to come!

Ranger Emma

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Our two young ospreys in Africa continue to do well and the good news is that our 2013 chick Blue YZ seems to have found herself a winter territory in …

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