Hello from Switzerland

2 Chalet in the mist 15sep17

Mist at the chalet near to Perky’s roost

3 Cow grazing in the mist 15sep17

Misty valley 15th Sept

In search of Perky

The young male osprey named Perky (PY2) migrated as far as Switzerland, halting his journey at the Lac de Joux. His tracking data revealed daily visits along the north shore of the lake, with occasional crossings to the far shore and to a roost site near a chalet beside a forested track. We received news from Wendy Strahm, the project coordinator responsible for the Osprey reintroduction project in Switzerland, that all of the reintroduced Swiss ospreys had left the area, so she was surprised that Perky was still around and generously offered have a look for him. Below is a report of her visit, including photographs of a healthy looking Perky flying above the Lake.

Wendy Strahm reports from Swiss expedition to spot Perky

Wendy wrote,

“Perky (PY2) let me discover a bit of forest in Switzerland (that was quite clearly Osprey heaven) that I had never been to before.

1Road and mist 15sep17

The expedition started at 8am on 15th September, when Stephan Rytz, Loïc Oswald and myself set off for the Vallée de Joux, armed with the latest GPS readings (sent to us by Tony Lightley and Diane Bennett) of where Perky had spent the night, and where he had been fishing during the past few days. When we arrived we were greeted by cool temperatures (4°) and cloud, with a thick layer of mist covering the lake and lower forested slopes. Far from ideal conditions to see any bird, much less a Scottish Osprey that was making a break in his migration in our Swiss lake.

I thought that I knew the Vallée pretty well, but I had never walked in the beautiful forest where apparently he had spent the last two nights. However, GPS is amazing and from Google Earth we were pretty sure that we had found the actual tree where Perky had roosted—a nice dead pine on a slope near a forest clearing. Thank you Forestry Service for leaving dead trees!

We then retired to the “Hotel de la Truite” (appropriately named after Osprey food) for a coffee, as it was hopeless looking for anything. There we were joined by Olivier Jean-Petit-Matile, an excellent naturalist and photographer who knows the Vallée de Joux better than almost anyone.

After we finished our coffee at 10am, the fog was beginning to lift so we returned to the lake shore where PY2 had been recorded a lot, and were suddenly greeted by brilliant sunshine and clear views over the lake. We took a few real postcard photos, but still no Osprey…

12 Lac de Joux 15sep17

8Lac de Joux facing Dent de Vaulion 15sep17

When the mist cleared.

9Loïc Stephan and Olivier looking hard for PY2 15sep17

The search for Perky.

Suddenly, at 10:55, we spotted Perky flying towards us. He then dived twice into the shallow water by the edge of the lake but both times his fishing trip was unsuccessful. So, we had seen PY2 and were delighted, even though he had been too far away to take a decent photo. He then disappeared around a bend and out of sight.

We walked a little closer to where he had been fishing, hoping that he would return. And we were lucky, since at 11:45, he again flew into sight, and then perched in a tree. Again too far away for a decent photo, but we got one through the telescope.

10Perky in tree Lac de Joux 15sep17 (1)

Perky in the tree (Wendy’s Photo)

Suddenly at 12:10, he soared up high over our heads and Olivier managed to take a great photo—you can even see his blue ring on the left leg.

11 Perky PY2 OJPM (2)

Perky flying over Lac de Joux (photo by Olivier Jean-Petit-Matile)

He then proceeded to fly to the southern end of the lake, where we saw him hovering over the little nature reserve located here, but it was a long way away. We jumped in the car to get to the end of the lake, but by the time we got there he had gone, so we don’t know if he had managed to catch a fish or not.

We hope that Perky heads off soon as it is definitely getting colder”.

14 Alpenhorn on ice 22jan16 (2)

Lac de Joux in January

13 People on ice 22jan16

Wendy’s photos of the Lac de Joux in January

We are really grateful to Wendy and her friends for looking for Perky and reporting the fantastic news back to us. The pictures of the area that Perky has made his temporary home really are wonderful. It is great to actually see photos of him on his first big adventure. We are most grateful to Valerie for making the connection with Wendy in Switzerland so that we could follow Perky’s journey so closely.

A trip to Geneva

Since Wendy and her friends spotted Perky, he has taken a day-long tour all the way down to Geneva where he was spotted spiralling high above the town with two buzzards. He didn’t stay long, doubling back to the Lac de Joux, He is still in this region and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move on south just yet.

Pinky does a U turn

Pinky, (PY1) is still in Spain and – like Perky – she has ventured south only to double back north to the Rio Agueda where she is making the most of a rich habitat and good fishing.

Follow the tracked ospreys progress ‘live’

You can now follow all of the tracked Scottish ospreys from 2017 on the Movetech website which is updated every 30 minutes to show their progress as they migrate. The Tweed Valley birds are numbers 631 (Perky) and 632 (Pinky). Please follow this link http://movetech-telemetry.com/

FK8 news

We still have no news of FK8 since her tracker stopped transmitting data. An expedition to search her usual haunts in Portugal will take place on 23rd September – we hope she’s there, even if her tracking device isn’t! (Mistakenly reported as 23rd March in previous blog – sorry).

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5 thoughts on “Hello from Switzerland

  1. Lisa Kennedy

    Hi Diane,
    Wow . What a jam packed update! Wonderful to read Wendy’s notes and photos from her expedition to see Perky. He does love that lake! Pinky seems to be doing well too.
    Thanks for the move tech link as well. I also follow sat tagged ospreys here in the US on movebank’s Animal Tracker app. Incredible to have this technology at our fingertips.
    Sure hope for good news about FK8 from Valerie.
    Is there any way you could ask her to also look for Blue JH4 / in case he’s in that area too. He was banded this past July. That would be Lachlan of Loch Arkaig.
    Thanks so much.
    Lisa

    Reply
  2. Sami

    Hi Diane, great to see photos of the beautiful stopover location chosen by Perky (PY2), and also one of him looking in good shape too. I imagine the search for FK8 would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but hope there is some news of her soon.

    Reply
    1. dianetweedvalleyospreys Post author

      Hi Sami,
      FK8 has made it back to Portugal- incredible! Sadly, Perky has died but Pinky is still in Spain. Will post the full news details as soon as possible.
      Best wishes,
      Diane

      Reply
  3. Lisa Kennedy

    Hi Diane, just checking in to see whether there was any news on FK8 from September 23rd expedition. Also, any word on Pinky and Perky? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. dianetweedvalleyospreys Post author

      Hi Lisa,
      Good and bad news I am afraid. We think Perky has died in Switzerland. Pinky is still in Spain and seems to be doing well. But fantastic news is that FK8 has indeed returned to Portugal! I will send in the full news this week but I know you wanted to know now, so just a quick update!
      Best Wishes,
      Di

      Reply

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