At midday, it turned into a lovely day – clearing skies and hot sunshine, and a light north-east wind. This evening, I went off birdwatching to Findhorn Bay on the falling tide to look for unusual waders – a really nice selection there, including five curlew sandpipers, a little stint, some black-tailed godwits and four spotted redshanks. I kept my eye on the falling tide hoping to see a late Osprey hunting flounders, but no luck. Then as I walked back along the salt marsh, I suddenly heard the high-pitched calls of pink-footed geese, and searching the sky I picked out a skein of 32 geese several thousand feet above me and they just kept flying south. The first of the autumn for me and the seasons have changed. As happens every autumn when I hear my first pinkfeet coming south from the Arctic, my mind races straight back to the summer we visited north-east Greenland to study geese and while camping there I saw the fantastic white wolves of the Arctic – their howls and the calls of pinkfeet will be forever connected in my mind. A last scan of the bay as the light dimmed revealed a male osprey feeding out on the bay, and he flew to roost on a post in the salt marsh. It wasn’t Nimrod and I wondered if it would be my last osprey of the year for my home patch.

Checked the satellite data later and found that Nimrod had set off on his migration – he had sensed the change to good weather and at midday set off on an eastern circuit round the Cairngorms and so his migration had started and we know exactly when he left. Now we have the chance to follow our first male osprey on migration using a GPS satellite transmitter. Already, I’ve learnt much about his fishing behaviour and how often he took fish back to his young, and where he went to hunt and where he roosted at night. It was good weather in England as well and the young honey buzzard flew south from Coventry, probably to Oxfordshire or further south.