Megget's epic voyage
Autumn migration is well under way now and most ospreys have left the UK or are about to. Talla (671), one of the two satellite tracked ospreys from the main Tweed Valley osprey nest, left the UK on 26 August and travelled to Portugal. Her journey, as reported last week, ended on 30 August, roosting near an internationally important wetland area. She never stayed though and on 31 August pressed on further south to Sines and moved eastwards into an area near a reservoir called the Barragem de Campilhas. A familiar area where Tweed Valley bird FK8 spent a lot of time wintering close by for a few years when we were tracking her. This was also just a brief stopover and after roosting overnight, Talla’s journey continued to the south coast. The the last tracked point was near Lagos on 1 September, flying high and fast in a southerly direction. The lag in data means that we have had no further updates from Talla since then and the migration journey may have continued further south and on to Africa, or along the coast of Portugal towards Spain. We will have to wait for more data to find out.
Talla's sibling, Megget (670), has now finally set off on migration too, five days after Talla. Megget finally left Tweed Valley on the morning of 31 August and headed straight out towards the Ettrick Valley and onwards to Cumbria. She flew down over the Lake District National Park, then across Morecambe Bay to Lancashire, crossing the Ribble and Alt estuaries and into Merseyside where she made the first stop in a small nature reserve near St. Helens. Sidings Lane Nature Reserve, where she spent the night, is a reclaimed colliery site with a large fishing pond. Talla had a well-deserved rest, having travelled 235km on the first day of migration. The next day she left at approximately 4am to continue her journey. On 1 September she travelled through Shropshire and over the Brecon Beacons in Wales to Swansea where she spent the night in a tree next to a farm on the Gower Peninsula. Her second day of migration covered a distance of 252km. On 2 September Megget flew across the Bristol Channel, then down the length of Cornwall to leave the UK from Rinsey Head at 1:30pm. An incredibly long flight out to sea and across the Bay of Biscay, flying right through the night and finally reaching the Spanish coast at Playa de Poo on 3 September. A mammoth journey of 1011km on the third day of migration.
On reaching Spain she spent quite an unsettled night flitting about the area before continuing her journey southwards. The next leg of the journey took her high into the mountainous region of the Cantabrian Mountains. She reached the River Huerna, where there must have been good fishing, as she roosted in trees in the mountain valley. The last tracked point was near to Pandorado in northern Spain on 6 September.
We hope that the rest of their migration journeys continue safely and that they find suitable areas to spend their winter and the following year while they mature.
A bird with leg ring PX3 which came from a nest within the Tweed Valley Project Area in 2016 has been the star of a photograph competition in Portugal. Carlos Miguel took a superb photo of PX3 in Portugal and won first prize for the photo. He shared the link to see the picture on Facebook:
As this osprey season finishes for another year, the Tweed Valley Osprey Project will continue to track the two young ospreys, Megget and Talla, and bring news of how they are getting on. We are extremely grateful as always to the volunteers for the project, that have monitored the nest site on the screen at Glentress Wild Watch all summer long, recording any activity from the live streaming images relayed from the main nest. This can sometimes mean long shifts of empty nest watching once the young birds fledge, but the dedicated volunteers have kept going to capture the moments when the birds do return to the site, to record as much activity at the nest site as possible. They have done a great job. Thank you.