The migration of the ospreys has begun! Tweed Valley born female FK8, who has spent the summer up in the Forsinard Flows region near Loch Slethill, left the area and headed south on 12th August, leaving Lochan na Saughe Glaise at 9.51am and flying 400km to roost overnight just south of Rochester near Otterburn. She stopped her journey at 18.55 having been flying at an average of 44.4km/hr.
At 7.30am on 13th August she headed off again, this time steering her course slightly westerly into the central English belt over Leeds and Birmingham, reaching heights of over 1500m in high density city areas and dropping back down to around 400m to 500m in more rural areas. She dropped down to about 160m altitude while scouting out a roost site, which she found in a stand of trees just outside of Redditch, having covered another 340km during the days flight.
After a good night’s rest she was away again at 7.12am the next morning and covered just 118km to south of the Bristol Channel to Bishop Sutton where she discovered Chew Valley Lake at 2pm and it would seem she caught herself a fish, as she left the water and headed into trees where she spent about an hour. She stayed in the area and roosted in a group of trees to the east of the Lake and moved during the early hours to another stand of trees nearby. Maybe she was disturbed or mobbed by birds for being the outsider raptor in the area and deemed a threat.
At 6am she flew back across to the lake and potentially was successful in catching a fish straight away because she flew back to the east and roosted in a ploughed field on top of a telegraph pole, presumably to eat her breakfast from 6.52am to 8.39am.
Her journey of over 890km so far seems to have slowed from here and she has stayed in the area during the 15th August, covering ground and traversing across the area but no direct movement further to the south. It is just a short distance from where she is to the English Channel.
When she has migrated previously, she has crossed the channel and then the Bay of Biscay to Spain in one crossing. She can afford to stay in the area and take her time to wait for the perfect weather conditions before making the crossing. We wish her all the very best for a continued safe journey and will follow her progress as she heads further south and hopefully back to Portugal where she has enjoyed the past three winters.
The full migration journey can seen below as a video.
Main nest Mrs. O and SS
Meanwhile, back at the main nest site in Tweed Valley, Mrs. O and SS are still there. With no young this year, we wonder why they are still hanging around. There is really no reason to stay any longer this season. However, perhaps like most animals they have their routines and if they are used to staying later then regardless of their lack of young, they will go at the time they are used to leaving and according to their own life clock.
Mrs. O predictably is still squawking away and she was not pleased to see SS fly onto the nest with no fish in his talons. He looked so fed up, he turned his back on her and she even had the audacity to have a little tug at his feathers on his back with her beak. Just a subtle reminder that she was there and was hungry in case his ears were deceiving him!
Eventually he turned around and started nest tidying. I hope he does realise the season is at an end; that nest looks ready for action and his mating attempts this week seem to suggest that he is hopeful that the bond between them will bring about results buoyed by this osprey optimism we can be sure to be saying farewell to them when they migrate shortly.
We will miss the dulcet tones of Mrs. O who is quite a character and has bonded with SS. They have remained a somewhat odd couple and hugely entertaining this summer with their antics and unusual behaviour.
Tweed Bird visits the River Severn
Birds which haven’t raised young are mostly making their way out of the country now, so we can expect birds form the Highlands to be passing through the area. One of the birds ringed at a nest site in the Tweed Valley project area in 2015 with leg ring blue FX0 was spotted at the River Severn near Build was on 30th July at 10.40am. This bird was from a brood of two and from the nest site where three adults were regularly seen and the third adult seen to bring fish in to the nest site. This has happened for two years running and is most unusual.