Tragedy for Perky but triumph for FK8

FK8 is in Portugal

We’ve had some very happy news and some very sad news about the Tweed Valley Ospreys this week.

Firstly, the good news is that after a six week absence of satellite data from the tag on FK8 (the three year old osprey female), we have suddenly received strong clear signals from Portugal! She is back in her winter territory and it would seem that she has been there since 26th August. We do not have the full details of her journey yet but will hopefully be able to report details of how she got there and where she has been in the near future.

Daniel Raposa, who lives in Portugal, very kindly went on an expedition to search for FK8 at her known haunts in the Sines area of Portugal at Barragem de Morgavel on 23rd September. He was not lucky enough to see her, but we will hopefully be able to find out exactly what happened on her journey once we sort through the backlog of data. We hope the data will continue to be transmitted and we can keep track of her once more.


Daniel Rapoza’s photo of Barragem de Morgavel


Daniels’ photo of Barragem de Morgavel

Perky has died in Switzerland

Now for the deeply sad news: We have lost Perky. He had been doing really well at the Lac de Joux in Switzerland and had even been spotted by Wendy Strahm (co-ordinator for the osprey reintroduction project in Switzerland) carrying a large fish on September 20th. He had arrived in the area on August 29th and was undertaking fishing trips of about 20km per day, apart from a huge tour on September 16th when he flew as far south as Geneva. We thought he was continuing his migration, but he then doubled back to return to the Lac de Joux. However, something clearly happened the night of September 23rd, after which he appeared to stop moving and the voltage and temperature on his satellite transmitter gradually declined until we lost his signal on the afternoon of September 25th.

Perky perch Lac de Joux 4oct17 (1) crop

Perkys’ final roost.

Fisher cabin Lac de Joux 4oct17 (1)

Perky feathers were found near to this cabin

Perky feathers with tag 4oct17

The feathers showing carnivore damage with the recovered tag.

Perky feathers in situ Lac de Joux 4oct17 (1)

The feathers on the ground. All photos taken by Wendy Strahm.

Phil Atkinson from Movetech Telemetry analysed the GPS transmitter data and sent what he estimated to be Perky’s last position, so Wendy returned to the site which was on a very steep slope overlooking the lake. Sadly, she only found a pile of feathers and the satellite transmitter, with its little solar panel lying face-down on the ground. There was no body to be found, and it looked as though a carnivore – probably a fox – had found or possibly dragged the carcass behind a little fisherman’s cabin and consumed it. With no carcass we will never know why he died, although as it appears he died at night, it is possible he may have been killed by the resident Eagle Owl in the area. A young osprey’s life is never easy.

Pinky in Spain

Perky’s sister, Pinky, is still in Spain at the Rio Agueda. She had briefly crossed the border into Portugal but returned to Spain where she appears to be doing very well exploring the river systems. It will be interesting to see if she moves further south with the onset of autumn well under way.

Pinky river trp Spain

Pinkys’ movements along the Rio Agueda.

Scottish osprey movement

Other Scottish satellite-tagged osprey journeys can be seen on the Google Earth map below. The winner of the race by far is the young female from Dumfries and Galloway, who reached Gambia by 1st October.

all movement scottish sat tag ospreys oct2017

8 ospreys on migration 2017

Of the eight ospreys shown, two are in Morocco, one in Gambia, two in Spain, one in Portugal, one in France and one (deceased – Perky) in Switzerland. The birds which are still in Europe are quite far north for overwintering, so there is likely to be further southerly movement before they final settle. It is expected that the ospreys in Morocco will continue further south too before they settle.

6 thoughts on “Tragedy for Perky but triumph for FK8

  1. sheilaeffie

    Oh dear, Diane, a blog of smiles and tears. I was so sorry to hear that Perky had died, possibly by the talons of an eagle owl. Such a pity. I had been following him with interest, as I have been to the Three Lakes on holiday, and could imagine the area. Thank you Wendy for taking the time to find his remains. It is wonderful to have such folk who are willing to go the extra mile to find an osprey, either to say yes, it is here fit and well, or to give answers to difficult questions.
    However, it is good to read that the possible demise of FK8 has proved not to be the case, and she is fine in the sunshine of her winter quarters. And good news of Pinky too. Fingers crossed that it continues.

  2. Lisa Kennedy

    Hi Diane, my previous comment got lost so trying again. That was such a bitter-sweet post. How terribly sad about little Perky. He was an adventurous little osprey, heading into Switzerland the way he did. RIP brave little soul.

    FK8 certainly gave us all a turn when the signals stopped but it’s fantastic that she’s bopping around her winter grounds again! I wonder if Pinky will stay where she is for the winter and not go further south.

    Do you know the tag/band numbers for the others mentioned in the movement part of your blog?
    Thanks for keeping us updated.

  3. Thibault

    Hello, I am pretty sure I saw FK8 here :
    37°54’36.7″N 8°40’33.5″W
    37.910193, -8.675964
    2 days ago !

  4. broadbield

    I wonder if it’s not more likely that the fox took the carcase away to consume. That’s certainly been our experience when a fox visited. Then hen, duck or goose simply disappeared and all that was left were a few feathers. I would think it unlikely a fox would consume every part of a bird, including feathers, beak and talons.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s