Monthly Archives: September 2019

Hope made it

 

Hope has made it across the Sahara

The last report about Hope was that she had safely made it across the Alboran Sea and arrived in North Africa. Since then, she travelled down through Morocco and entered into dangerous Saharan territory. She headed into the desert and we have waited with baited breath to see if she would make it across such a harsh landscape after having journeyed so far. We don’t even know if she is capable of fishing for herself yet, as right up until the time she left the nest in Tweed Valley, her dad, white leg SS, was still supporting her with fish deliveries.

Lost for 6 days

On 13th September Hope’s signal was lost in the Western Sahara and for 6 days we had not had any tracking signal back and were beginning to fear that she had perished. To be the bearer of yet more bad news was not something to be relished. The sad reality of birds lost on migration is the difficult part of tracking young ospreys. Having spent a summer watching them grow and hoping to see them thrive once they leave their parents is nail-biting.

Time to celebrate

This time though, we can rejoice – the wait was worth it. On 19th September the tracking device burst back into life and delivered the data we had been waiting for! Hope did not perish in the desert – she has made an incredible trip and has almost reached Senegal.

Senegal and Gambia are pretty much on our wish list of ‘go to’ places for ospreys to migrate to.

Hope is almost there, and although not wanting to count any chickens before they have hatched yet, we’re feeling a lot more relieved that she is out of the desert and onto good osprey territory for a winter stay.

Fingers crossed for Hope.

SS is a super hero

When we track birds on migration and realise the stark reality of the high mortality rates, it makes it so much more incredible just how birds such as white leg SS and Mrs O make that migration multiple times with success. Especially SS, at 20 years old he is a very experienced world-wise traveller.

Hope near Senegal 19th September

Hope near to Senegal on 19th September

Hope flies high

Hope has left the United Kingdom!

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At last, some good news! Hope, the third young osprey from the main nest in Tweed Valley has started her migration, and safely made it out of the UK.

In our first update from Hope, we learned she had crossed France, and reached Spain on 9 September. At 9.43am Hope was flying at an altitude of 810m, at a leisurely speed of 8.72knots. Her journey took her over the major route of the A-15 south of Lekunberri, in the Basque Country of Spain.

High hopes for Hope!

Hope left the main Tweed Valley nest site at 5.50am on 5 September, where she was last seen on the nest. The day before, her dad, SS, had been bringing fish for her. The rest of the family had already gone, and tragically, her sister Luna had died in Dorset by the time Hope decided to migrate.

On her first day, she travelled a huge distance of 450km, followed by a shorter 31km journey on her second day, and then another epic 410km to leave the UK and travel down through France. It is very interesting that the route that she took through UK was so similar to her sister Luna’s, except that on reaching the south coast she went directly across the channel, where Luna had turned went west along the coast into Dorset.

Luna’s hesitance to leave the coast and cross the channel was probably weather driven. Fortune has favoured Hope, and she has made swift progress. We have everything crossed for her safe journey, and it will be really exciting to see where she spends her winter, if she can successfully complete this first migration journey.

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Hope’s journey so far (up to 9th September)

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A fast migration for Hope so far to Spain

Tweeddale ospreys have flown

All the ospreys have now left from the new nest site, which has been monitored by volunteer Stuart Blaik this season. They stayed as late as the main nest adult SS and his daughter Hope.

Loch Doon and the Tweed Valley grandsons

I was fortunate to visit the osprey site at Loch Doon at the weekend, where I saw one of our Tweed Valley ospreys’ great grandsons on the nest.

The poor young osprey was having a hard time, being harassed by two crows after his dad had delivered a fine fish for him. He never got to eat it though, as the two clever crows bombarded him so often that he lost his fight to defend it. He gave up, and gave chase, and even managed to steal back his fish from the crows. Nonetheless, they kept coming in and taking chunks of his meal.

It is a fantastic set up at Loch Doon in Dumfriesshire – they have a visitor centre with cameras on the nest for live viewing, and a lounge to sit in and drink good coffee whilst watching the nest, across the loch. Volunteers are on duty to tell visitors what is happening and to keep them informed, and the enthusiastic Roy, who was on duty when I visited, told us all about the birds and the osprey project there. It was really good to make links with sites to where Tweed Valley birds have dispersed, and are now breeding.

Another update from Hope!

This morning, we learned Hope has travelled down the west of Africa, having made a safe crossing over the Alboran Sea, leaving Spain yesterday.

Full details of her journey will follow soon!

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Tragedy for Luna

Very sad news

Luna never made it off English shores. She got as far as the Blandford Forum area of Dorset, where she roosted overnight. On her flight the next morning, tragically, she struck overhead power lines. She broke her wing and was taken to the vet, but was put to sleep as they couldn’t save her.

301 dead

Luna was recovered close to the power line shown in the google image . The red dot was her last tracked point.