Green J checked out at Gabriel y Galan Reservoir in Spain

The old female osprey Green J, fromStrathspey in Scotland,  continues to live at her favourite wintering sites at Gabriel y Galan reservoir in NW Extremadura. Two days before Christmas my osprey friends from Switzerland, Wendy Strahm & Denis Landenbergue, made a special visit to the reservoir on 23rd December – armed with the latest GPS data I sent them.  Wendy takes up the story in her email of 24th December “Dear Roy,   Merry Christmas from Green J as well as from us!

Yesterday we went to Gabriel y Galan and at 16h saw Green J preening in the sun on an island beach (long way from the dam, too far to get a good photo). She just sat there not doing a lot until 17:44.

Looking towards Green J's island

Looking towards Green J’s island

She then flew off, we lost her for a few minutes, and then at 17:59 we saw her flying over the dam, unfortunately against the setting sun but managed one photo and can see satellite antenna so we knew it was her (as if we didn’t already).

Green J flying over the dam in setting sun

Green J flying over the dam in setting sun

She flew below the dam and sat on a dead tree trunk in the river that normally is covered by water. We know that the trunk is normally covered by water as Francisco, the man working at the dam who came to see what two people were doing on the dam for such a long time—he was watching us on close-circuit TV—told us. He then told us that he knew the bird, told us where it went to roost, knew that it had an antenna (which he had seen without binns) and that Spanish park people had come to look at it last winter.

Green J on post below the Gabriel y Galan Dam

Green J on dead tree trunk below the Gabriel y Galan Dam

Green J perched on the dead trunk from until 18:19 when she flew off (we didn’t see where as we were saying good-bye to Francisco and it was getting dark). She usually roosts in some Eucalypts on the left bank of the river right behind a colony of about 50 cormorant nests (we counted about 90 cormorants last night).


Night roosting area

Night roosting area

The dam is some 60m high and they opened the gates letting water rush out around the dead trunk where Green J was perched and this didn’t seem to disturb her at all!

We are now off to Doñana.  Best wishes for a great 2015!  Wendy & Denis

I’ve now received the satellite data for 23rd December and it all fits with their notes and photographs.  She flew north to the island at 10am; was at the island until well after 5pm and then flew to the night roost below the dam.

Green J at Gabriel y Galan 23rd December 2014

 Green J at Gabriel y Galan 23rd December 2014


Very many thanks to Wendy & Denis for their story and photographs – it brought back memories of my visits to the reservoir to look for Green J after I first satellite tagged her in 1999 (the first osprey I tagged). She’s a Scottish osprey that almost certainly has never seen Africa! Let’s hope she returns in 2015 at 24 years of age – would be her 21st year of breeding. Her chicks over the years have been translocated to the reintroduction projects at Rutland Water, Andalucia and The Basque country.