As we all contemplate the probable loss of this years Loch of the Lowes hatchling Blue YZ on her first migration in Africa, there are understandably a lot of questions. Some we may never be able to answer with absolute certainty- such as exactly what caused her loss. Discussing others can give us real insights into osprey ecology and behaviour, so keep the questions coming to : firstname.lastname@example.org I will be working to update our Osprey FAQ’s ( tab at the top of this page) this winter, and will also publish a list of the questions we’ve answered here this year- over 150 at last count!
Q: Have any other UK ospreys been lost in Guinea Bissau?
A: Yes. Of recent satellite tracked birds, “Aigan” from Speyside ( Highland Foundation for Wildlife) was lost there in 2012 and an older bird Nimrod who overwintered in Guinea Bissau was also lost. Other tracked ospreys from the UK have been lost in Spain, Senegal, Cape Verde, Mauritania and even in Ireland and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland .
Q: Is there a pattern of young ospreys being lost in particularly bad areas?
A: UK Scientists have so far tracked only a few birds, so no representative overall patterns have really been found yet. However, two general areas seem to be emerging as problems: The first few days of migration ( especially if their flight path goes awry or too far west), and secondly wintering sites in Africa where birds make it through migration but then struggle to survive their first winter.
Q: Have any birds with transmitters that have failed been seen again alive and well?
A: Yes! Roy Dennis for example has had birds with transmitters that failed ( that is, stopped providing data) which turned up in Scotland alive and well and bred again in subsequent years. Morven and Red 8T are two recent examples, which tell us we should never write off an osprey altogether.
Q: Are there any other UK ospreys being satellite tracked this year? How are they doing?
A: Yes, there were a total of six ospreys tagged this year in the UK by various organisations:
Two from RSPB Loch Garten: “Breagha” who is wintering in the SW corner of Mauritania, and “Oighrig”. who is on the Senegal coast.
From the Lake District Osprey Project : “15” who was sadly lost in the Sahara on migration, and “14” who is currently in Nigeria, and still moving south along the African coastline!
From the Rutland Osprey Project: “30” an adult male who is wintering in Senegal.
There are also a few older birds still with working transmitters being tracked: SWT’s “Blue YD” from Angus, now in Senegal; “Caledonia” from RSPB Loch Garten in 2012 now in Spain; “Rothiemurcus” from Speyside 2009 now in Gambia; and “Beatrice” from Speyside now in Spain.
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As we all contemplate the probable loss of this years Loch of the Lowes hatchling Blue YZ on her first migration in Africa, there are understandably a lot of questions. …