Satellite Tracking: Aeshna (2010-2011)

Ringing Date: 29th July 2010

Nest Location: Strathspey

BTO Ring Number: EN72942

Satellite Radio Number: 51897

Sex: Female

Measurements: Wing 152mm; Tail 69mm

Weight: 283g


We first proved hobbies were breeding in Strathspey in 2001, when a pair were located in an open Scots pine wood and reared four young. They reared three young in 2002 and have been present most summers, with breeding probably also occurring at a couple of other locations along the River Spey.

In 2010, I saw a hobby back at the nesting area on 10th May and on 28th May Keith Duncan saw both birds sitting in sheltered spots trying to keep out of the rain.  He found an active crow nest about 30m away containing three or four grown young, an ideal nest for use by breeding hobbies.  We found no occupied nest until late July, when Keith Duncan located young hobbies in a nest close to the 2001 nest tree on 15th July.  Keith and I visited the site on 26th July and saw well grown young in the nest, but the foliage made it very difficult to check their size.  It was decided to ring the chicks on 29th July;  Brian Etheridge climbed the 80 foot Scots pine tree and the male and female arrived and mobbed him when he was at the nest.

The young were lowered in a special bag to the ground for ringing, measuring and satellite tagging.  There were three well grown chicks and the largest one was also fitted with one of the very new lightweight 5g Solar satellite transmitters made by Microwave Telemetry.  The nest contained sand martin and swallow feathers, as well as part of a bat wing.  I decided to name her Aeshna. This is the scientific name of the larger dragonflies, a favourite food of  young hobbies.

Aeshna was satellite tagged as part of the RaptorTrack programme.  This is a partnership programme between the Highland Foundation for Wildlife, the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB and private estates within the park, and has its own website:

Annual Movements

Aeshna remained around the nest site until mid September and  then set off on her first migration.  She crossed into Africa on 26th September and then headed into Senegal, where she remained until 10th November.  She then headed south into Guinea and then to the Ivory Coast and then Ghana.  She reached Lake Volta on 7th December and remained there through the winter until 3rd April 2011, when she began her spring migration.  She made astonishing speed into Guinea, then stayed put for a couple of weeks, only making local movements, and then restarted her migration on April 25th.  She travelled around the Gambia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and then in mid May headed north into Mauritania.  She made a very rapid crossing of most of the Sahara but then stopped in southern Morocco.  We received signals from the same location for six weeks, with the last signal  in July 2011.  Sadly, this suggests that Aeshna died.

Autumn migration 2010. NB Map shows inaccurate non-GPS data


To view details of Aeshna’s movements click on the relevant link:      Aeshna 2011    |    Aeshna 2010


Reproductive History

Aeshna did not reach breeding age during our studies.


Hobby chicks in nest

Aeshna and her siblings on the ground for ringing

Aeshna being ringed

Adult in nearby tree