Catching new males for satellite tracking

At last it’s stopped raining, so I decided that we would try to catch two known male ospreys in order to fit satellite transmitters so that I could carry out more research on the hunting behaviour of male ospreys in Scotland and also to study their migrations. Steve and Amy had come up from the Lake District for the weekend to help, so we first of all went to Logie’s old nest in the morning. Her old mate is the regular breeding male, and this year is mated to Morven and they have one big chick. We put out an eagle owl as a decoy and a Dho Gaza net (she is an old eagle owl, named Gandalf, kindly on a short loan from John Barrie of the Bird of Prey Centre near Huntly). Quickly we had caught him, and he was in excellent condition, so I fitted one of our new Microwave Telemetry Argos GPS transmitters (kindly funded by Talisman Energy UK in Aberdeen), and released him in view of his nest. Since then, regular transmissions have shown him travelling as far as Findhorn Bay to bring back fish to the nest for Morven and their chick. Before he migrates, we will set up a page on this website to record details of his life and his migration.

After such a good start, we went in the afternoon to Badenoch and Strathspey, to a new nest established last year, which now has two big young. There we caught both adults, the female was unringed. She was in excellent condition, weighing in at 1872 grams, and was just finishing her summer moult. I marked her with one of our new colour rings, blue/white AB and then released her. Her mate carried a red/white colour ring 8T, which showed that I had ringed him as a chick at a nest on the RSPB Abernethy Forest reserve on 15 July 2001. He has been seen regularly at the Rothiemurchus Fishery near Aviemore and has been photographed there catching rainbow trout. I fitted him with one of the new transmitters and we released him. Since then he’s been regularly back to the fishery catching fish for his family, and on one occasion he was many miles away looking for brown trout in the River Tromie. Red 8T will also have a webpage soon which will give details of his life and migration. We returned home very happy that fieldwork, for once, had been so successful.

Red/white 8T 19th July