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.