Friday, 12 April 2013

Aberdeenshire Osprey in Spain

Since 1993, Grampian Ringing Group has ringed over 160 young Ospreys in tree nests, fitting coloured darvic rings supplied by Roy Dennis as part of the Scottish scheme. At least 11 of these have been recovered or resighted abroad, in Spain, Portugal, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Ghana. Increasingly, resightings are coming from birdwatchers using digital cameras.

Crouching in the nest, playing dead (Photo: Ewan Weston)
One such bird was a single youngster, ringed near Monymusk in Aberdeenshire on 17 July near Aberdeen, Scotland.  It was raised in a nest in a forest plantation – one that has been there for many years and has fledged many young. 2012 had very bad weather during the summer and many Ospreys found it hard to rear chicks. It was very pleasing that the birds were successful! Usually, we try to ring young Ospreys at a good large size, but sometimes they have to be ringed at a younger age. This chick was a late, small bird, lagging distinctly behind other nests in the area.

Ringed and ready to go (Photo: Guy Anderson)

Once the birds have left the nests, often they are not seen again and their fate remains unknown. However, we received news a few days ago that this young bird - ringed on the left leg with a blue ring with the white digits 89, had been present at the Urdaibai estuary near Bilbao in northern Spain from March 15th to 8th April. It had been photographed and the ring read.

The Urdaibai estuary, north-east of Bilbao

Blue 89 at the estuary (Photo: Gari Bilbao)

We don't know where else the bird has been, nor whether it is likely to return to Scotland this year, as many young birds don't come back in their first year, but it is always nice to receive reports and photographs, and doubly so as it shows that late, small chicks can successfully fledge, migrate and survive the winter.

Ian Francis

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