Tuesday, 30 August 2011

28th August...from Speyside to the Deeside.

After spending several days making exploratory flights from a small tributary of the river Spey, Ozwold appears to have set off south again. This time he has flown south, about 34 miles, in the region of the town of Ballater. I was relieved to see that he has been moving around successfully after the high winds and heavy rains that have hit northern Scotland in the past few days. (This satelitte picture is west of Aberdeen).

One of the places Ozwold may have flown over on his journey south to Ballater is Corgarff Castle. This castle, set on lonely moorland has had a long and bloody history.
It was built originally by a branch of the Forbes clan as a tower house around 1550. But a spot of feuding between the Forbeses and the Gordons (who lived north over the mountains) saw Adam Gordan a-galloping with his men to capture Forbes of Towie. Laird Forbes was away, and his wife Margaret refused Adam entry and shot him in the knee, whereupon Adam set fire to the castle burning everyone to death. It is indeed a gruesome tale. The tradegy is remembered in the ballad 'Edom o Gordon'.
The castle was rebuilt and used as barracks by the redcoats in 1746 after the battle of Culloden. The striking pentagon star shaped outer walls were added at this time. The redcoats patrolled Strathdon hunting down Jacobite sympathisers and also illegal producers of whisky for nearly a hundred years.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Ozwold is on the move!

16th August 2011

These are the first remarkable images plotting the journey of Ozwold as he starts on his very first migration.
Roy Dennis readjusted Ozwold's starting location to the town of Nairn, to keep the nest site secret.
Ozwold took us by surprise by starting his migration earlier than anticipated. Many osprey chicks stay at the nest site until mid September and leave about the same time as the adult males, the females having left earlier in August.
In the map below we can see that Ozwold set off on quite a direct line south, a distance of approximately 70 miles to the Grampian mountains.
I hope Ozwold has learnt to fish successfully on his own already, without relying on supplementary feeding from his dad.

17th August 2011

Another fairly straight line south. At the Firth of Forth, Ozwold hugged the coast and headed east, north of Edinburgh and flew south again, a total distance of just over a hundred miles.

18th August 2011

Ozwold headed south, then took a suprise west flight along the southern coast of Scotland, and then north to the remote hill country and high level lochs of the Galloway Forest Park. One loch Ozwold visited was the Clatteringshaws Loch. 

Distance, approx 70 miles.

19th August 2011

Another suprise as Ozwold headed west and north across the island of Arran and on to Kintyre. He finished the day near West Loch Tarbert, a long sea loch, perfect for a spot of fishing.

Today's distance, approximately 90 miles.

16th - 22nd August 2011

Since first leaving the nest on the 16th August, Ozwold has flown a remarkable full circle almost back to his nest site. He is currently fishing on an area of the Spey river favoured by ospreys.

All this data helps to build up a picture of the behaviour and flight patterns of young ospreys as they take their first flights from the nest. During this flight, Ozwold will have been building up an important memory map of Scotland that will be essential for feeding areas and potential nest sites on his eventual return. Roy Dennis is relieved that Ozwold made a full circle, rather than heading out too far west. If ospreys leave landfall and are blown out across the ocean, they can die from exhaustion.

It will be interesting to see when Ozwold makes his next move south.

Total distance 16th to 22nd; nearly 500 miles! He's certainly been putting in the miles and building up his flying fitness for his migration south.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Ospreys at Arne

Ospreys have been sighted at Arne in Dorset. These birds are likely to be the females on their journey south. It will be interesting to see what route Ozwold takes when he leaves the nest site in September. I'll be sure to whizz down to Arne to see if I can catch a glimpse of him if he does.

Marathon run for osprey education in The Gambia.

In September, Tim Mackrill, the project manager of the Rutland osprey project will be running the Berlin marathon to raise money to develop links with Gambian schools to raise awareness of wildlife, the osprey being the flagship species.

I was really pleased when OUP offered to donate Sky Hawk books to this venture too.

Tim Mackrill's fundraising page

Tim Mackrill

My page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/timsberlinmarathon

Last winter a group of Osprey Project staff and volunteers  travelled to Gambia and Senegal in search of European Ospreys. During the month-long trip we visted Tanji school near Banjul to talk to the children about our work at Rutland Water, focussing on Ospreys and migration. The children were enthralled.
Following the success of the visit to West Africa we intend to develop a wildlife education programme for Gambian schools, with Ospreys as the flagship species.  We will raise money to provide educational resources for schools located in areas that are important for Ospreys and other European migrant birds, such as Tanji. These resources, including books, posters, optics and computer equipment, will allow the children to learn more about the birds and other wildlife that live close to their communities. With the help of local Gambian bird guide, Junkund Jadama, we will also organise fieldtrips for school children – allowing them to see all this wonderful wildlife at first hand. Furthermore, we’ll  link schools in the Gambia with schools in Rutland, allowing the children to develop friendships, with Ospreys as the common link. There is also the potential for similar links to be formed along the bird’s migration route – with schools elsewhere in Europe and North Africa. 
All funds raised will be managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and will be used specifically to purchase educational resources that can be used in the Gambian schools and to fund field trips.
As Project Officer I felt it was only right that I got the ball rolling and so I will be running the Berlin marathon in September. We feel passionately that we have a unique opportunity to provide wildlife education in Gambian schools and that the work can have a real lasting legacy among communities in West Africa. Any money you feel able to donate would be greatly appreciated.
We will be travelling out to Gambia in January, enabling us to visit more schools and to distribute resources funded by our first wave of fundraising. So, if you can, please give generously.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Exploring a wider radius

Ozwold has been exploring a wider radius, making flights of up to 1km from the nest site. Roy thinks he may be tracking, looking out for his father bringing fish back to the nest. It will be interesting to see how far he ventures from the nest site over the next few weeks before he leaves for his migration and if he visits any potential fishing areas himself.

The female adult birds tend to leave  for their autumn migration earlier than the males. Ozwold's mother does not have a satelitte tag so we won't know if she has already left. Beatrice, one of the female ospreys Roy has been following since 2008 has just started to move south from her nest site. You can follow some of these other tagged birds on Roy Dennis' website http://www.roydennis.org/

Roy also tagged three osprey chicks in Wales. You can follow these birds, Leri, Dulas and Einion on the facebook page of the Dyfi Osprey Project.