It may be the end of the human side of the project at the end of August but it is definitely not the end for our ospreys. In the seven months before they return to Bassenthwaite again their lives go on in their personal projects for survival.
We do have a couple of tools to keep us in touch with their whereabouts, a satellite tracker and leg-rings. These are vital if we are to learn anything about the global nature of these birds and to make sure that their habitats in other parts of the world are thriving and fit for their needs. Healthy waters full of healthy fish.
Our 2013 juvenile – prosaically named Number 14, has a back pack Satellite transmitter and for the last 4 years it has been sending out a steady stream of information telling us to with a few yards where he is in the world, his height above ground and how fast he is flying. His journeys have proved to be an eye opener into the distances and range of migration and also the amount of navigational decision making an individual is capable of. His winter home is in Bioko, an island off the North of Equatorial Guinea and it is to here he is now making his way.
He started his journey from his bachelor pad in the South Lakes on September 9th, flying down country to roost near Seven Springs, the source of the Thames for the night. Next day was a great hop of 182 miles. Setting off early on the 10th he flew over Eastbourne and Hastings, across the channel to landfall on the French coast South of Bologne-sur-mer. On the 11th he swept around the West of Paris passing over Versailles.
He has since been making his way down to mid France arriving at a convenient stretch of water near Bourges on 16th. The water is obviously full of fish as he has settled for a rest there and on 20th was still moving between 3 or 4 trees around the water’s edge. Where next and when is the question?
Leg rings do not give this amount of detail, but over a large number of sightings can give accurate ideas on the broad bands of migration paths. Of course they have to be spotted and read first and then the information passed on . This year we have been particularly grateful to Jose Alvires and Alberto Benito who have photographed birds of great interest to us.
Blue 2H, a Keilder chick who attempted to breed in the North Lakes this year and was seen trying to feed our chicks when his own nest failed, was photographed fishing by Jose in Covado River Portugal.
Also from the Fowlshaw nest Blue 35, the female mate of our own White YW was seen by Alberto on the Aguilar de Campoo Reservoir in Spain.
(Follow the blue links for great pictures)
What a feast of autumn ospreys for all of us armchair travellers!