Archives for May 2016

Reaches Djoud National Park in northern Senegal

On night of 13th/14th May Cromarty roosted inland of Kayar and then wandered on up the coast and at 14.46 headed north-east inland and roosted that night in semi-desert near Tiambene. This morning he turned again to the west and flew north just east of St Louis. He flew north up the coast and then headed into the Djoud National Park. At the last signal of this batch at 15.01 he was flying north over the park towards Mauritania. If he flew on north he could have started his Sahara crossing by dusk so there may be no more signals until he reaches mobile phone coverage north of the deserts

May 14th and 15th

May 14th and 15th

He’s not in a hurry

Cromarty flew leisurely up the Senegal coast today after roosting overnight inland near Yenne Tode. At 11.40am he crossed the eastern suburbs of Dakar to the Atlantic and flew on up the coast before heading NE inland at 13.30 and roosted for the night south of Diender

My 12th & 13th

My 12th & 13th

Green J is back again!!!

Earlier this month, I had a phone call from a friend telling me that an osprey nest on his land, which had not been used for nearly a decade, was being rebuilt by a pair of ospreys. A few days later, we were amazed to identify, with our scopes, that the female was in fact the 25-year-old named Green J. I had ringed her as a chick in Easter Ross in 1991, and she had bred at a nest near Carrbridge in Strathspey since 1995. She was a good breeder producing many young, some of which were translocated to Rutland Water and later to Andalusia and most recently to the Basque country. She was the very first osprey in the UK to be fitted with  asatellite transmitter. That was in 1999 and we learned that she wintered at a reservoir in central Spain and did not go to Africa. The transmitter was removed after a few years but in 2013 we satellite tracked her and her mate blue XD, and after all these years she was still returning to the Gabriel y Galan Reservoir in Extremadura. Last summer, Green J was suddenly kicked out of her nest by a large young female osprey and she also lost her mate. We tracked her wandering up the River Spey and then lost contact and were worried that she might have died. But we were wrong because the Spanish ornithologist, Javier Prieta, was sure he saw her at her favourite reservoir this past winter. Clearly he was correct because she returned again to Strathspey and yesterday when we monitored the nest we could see that she was incubating eggs. She was with a new mate and we hope they have a successful summer. I also checked her old nest where last year’s intruder had also found a new mate, because blue XD died in Senegal last winter, and it looked as though she was just ready to lay eggs for the first time. Yesterday we also visited Red 8T, a very well-known male osprey to the bird photographers who regularly visit the Aviemore fisheries; he was circling with an intruding male Osprey close to his usual nest, while his regular mate was incubating eggs. Near my home in Moray, the old female Morven has also returned for another year and has mated to the same male as last year and is incubating eggs in the same nest. Last year she had two late young which were below weight when we went to ring them. One of them I collected under licence for the Swiss Osprey reintroduction project while the other rapidly thrived on his own and was successfully reared. I’ve followed the fortunes of these ospreys for well over 50 years, watching individuals start breeding and disappear, some lasting just one year or a few seasons while others continue on into old age like the veteran Green J breeding at 25 years. It’s funny really because it should teach me that I should accept that I’m also getting old and can’t climb trees like I used to when there were just a few pairs breeding in Scotland. Oh well, I can’t climb the bigger trees any more but I can enjoy beautiful sunny days like yesterday in the company of ospreys.


Morven back again

Last year Morven hatched two late young – both were rather below weight due to the poor summer weather. One chick was collected under licence for the Swiss reintroduction project which allowed the remaining young to thrive and fledge successfully. Morven is back breeding with the same mate in the same nest as last summer.

Red 8T back nesting

Red 8T has returned for another summer and is breeding with the same mate at the same nest. Yesterday he was circling with another male close to the nest site while his mate incubated eggs.

Green J is back nesting

We have found Green J back nesting – she was not lost after all. More details in my blog as soon as possible

Slowly up the African coast

Cromarty is not in a hurry – just 40 km direct line since midday yesterday. He has thermalled his way up the coast, reaching up to 816 metres above sea level, but spent a lot of time wandering around the Mbour area where he roosted overnight. Today he is moving on north and by now (12.30 our time) should have reached the super osprey area of the Somone Lagoon. This is a lovely mangove fringed lagoon full of mullet which I visited a few years ago with the BBC Autumnwatch team.

Cromarty's flight path along the coast viewed from out-to-sea via GoogleEartn

Cromarty’s flight path along the coast viewed from out-to-sea via GoogleEartn

North to Sine Saloum Delta

Yesterday Cromarty crossed the Gambia and entered northern Senegal at 1519 hrs. Continuing north he stopped to roost the night near a marsh north of the road from Sandicoly. This morning he set off in a north-west direction and not long after midday reached the northern section of the Sine Saloum Delta north of Penmarin. At 12.30 he was out in the Atlantic Ocean fishing when the last signals of the day were received.

May 10th - 11th

May 10th – 11th

Cromarty sets off on migration – at last!

Over the last month Cromarty started to wander more around his wintering area in southern Senegal making frequent visits to the Atlantic coast. In winter his daily flights were very local but recently he had covered nearly 200 square km. Several times he headed north towards The Gambia and I thought he was off, but then he returned.  But at 10.10 today the 10th May he set off north and at 11.27 thermalled up to 534 metres altitude and set his course north. He crossed the Gambian border at 1146 and the last signal of today’s batch was at 1220GMT when he was near N’Yofelleh; 37 km north of his start point. Now to watch his migration north. He’s too late to breed this summer but he could find a mate and nest for next year. If he returns to Strathspey, where he was last summer, I know one nest which is empty this spring – both old birds failed to return – so that’s a possible site for him.

Start of migration May 10th morning

Start of migration May 10th morning