Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Scottish ospreys begin perilous journey

A young, female Scottish osprey, which is being tracked by satellite, has embarked on a celebration zig-zag-tour of the remainder of the mainland UK and a flypast of a number of RSPB nature reserves before heading for Africa for the winter.

Last Wednesday morning (17 August) the three-month old bird, christened 'Tore', was still at its parents' nest at the RSPB Loch Garten reserve, in the Highlands of Scotland.

By Thursday afternoon, the bird completed a flypast of the RSPB's nature reserve at South Stack, on the Welsh island of Anglesey, after passing through Dumfries and Galloway and flying over the Isle of Man.

Perilous Journey across Wales and England
After roosting overnight in North Wales she headed across the industrial Midlands of England and rural East Anglia to the RSPB's Minsmere reserve on the Suffolk coast.

Staff at Minsmere saw an osprey with an attached aerial, proving beyond doubt that it was Tore. The latest update revealed that Tore had skirted around the worst of south-east London and the RSPB's Rainham nature reserve, en route for the British Channel coast near Portsmouth.

The journey of Bynack, Tore's brother, has also been followed using GPS satellite technology. Worryingly he headed from Scotland over the North Sea, heading towards Norway, sparking considerable alarm. However, he has since reappeared near Bruges, in Belgium.

Loch Garten, one of the best Breeding Sites of Scottish Ospreys
The Scottish Osprey's prefer to nest in the tall Scot's Pines, which are found in the more remote and mountainous regions of Scotland. The habitat is not only one of the most picturesque areas in Scotland but it is also home for many other rare creatures and threatened bird life e.g. Pine Martin, Capercaillie, Red Squirrel, Crested Tits, Red deer, Crossbills, etc.

GPS Satellite tracking
Caroline Rance, an osprey information officer at Loch Garten, in Scotland, has been following the reserve's osprey stories. She said: 'Ever since they hatched Tore and Bynack have become stars of the reserve. Visitors to the reserve and the website have been following their fortunes.

'The satellite technology is fantastic, allowing us to follow their travels in detail, but it can cause our hearts to leap into our mouths when these birds do something unexpected like taking a wrong turn.'

The Ospreys are not expected to return to Scotland from Africa until late Spring or early Summer next year (2012). Until that time, and in association with all our migratory birds, they face an uncertain future from predation, habitat loss, human destruction and conflict.

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