Satellite Tracking: Corrie (2010-2011)

Ringing Date: 7th August 2010

Nest Location: Badenoch

BTO Ring Number: EN72946

Satellite Radio Number: 51898

Sex: Female

Measurements: Wing 158mm; Tail 80mm

Weight: 237g


For the first time in the UK, a young merlin was tagged by the Highland Foundation for Wildife in Badenoch, using the very latest miniature satellite transmitter.  David Whitaker had found a merlin nest in long heather in the upper part of the River Spey watershed earlier in the season with eggs – a very late nest.  He took me to the nest on 1st August 2010 when we found two chicks in the nest but the biggest chick was too small to satellite tag.  So we just ringed and measured the two young.  Both chicks were in good condition but small.  There was no fresh food in the nest, just meadow pipit feathers.  Being so late in the season many of the small birds such as meadow pipits had started to leave the high ground.  One of the adults was calling some distance away.

I returned on 7th August with Dan Puplett and found the two chicks in the heather about two feet from the nest; the male merlin was calling in background.  I decided to tag the larger chick.  It subsequently fledged and was called Corrie, in view of the location being on the way to the Corrieyairack Pass from the River Spey to Fort Augustus.

Corrie 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

Corrie first roosted away from the nest site on 21st August.  She made her first long flight away three days later, to A’Chailleach, a mountain north of Newtonmore, nearly 20km away.  She ranged around the River Spey throughout the first half of September, roosting in conifer plantations.   On the 20th she flew to Argyllshire, near Tullich.  Disappointingly, we received no further signals from her until a short one on 16th January 2011.  We hope that she is still alive and that the transmitter is simply not charging correctly, but we cannot be sure.

To view details of Corrie’s movements click on the following link:   Corrie 2010


Reproductive History

Corrie did not reach breeding age during our studies.