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.
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.
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.
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.
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.