Osprey spotted safe and well in Africa

The osprey, which was tagged near Forfar, was spotted in a beach in West Africa.
The osprey, which was tagged near Forfar, was spotted in a beach in West Africa.

A globe-trotting osprey tagged near Forfar almost four years ago has been found in West Africa 14 months after its electronic tracking signal went dead.

The bird, which hatched on one of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s (SWT) reserves, was spotted safe and well by researchers from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust on a beach in Senegal, which is a well-known wintering spot for around 100 ospreys which visit every year.

The team had travelled to Lompoul sur Mer, western Senegal, to locate another satellite-tagged female bird from Rutland known as 30(05) and saw the three-year-old male bird purely by chance.

Known as Blue YD, it was tagged with a light-weight satellite tracker in July 2012 at an SWT reserves near Forfar. Since the tag stopped transmitting in May 2014, the project has relied on very occasional eye-witness reports of Blue YD’s travels, which have placed it at various times in North Yorkshire, St Andrews and now Senegal, where it will spend the winter months.

Rab Potter, SWT’s reserves manager for north east Scotland, said that Blue YD is part of a conservation success story that has seen the number of the birds, once-extinct in the UK, increase to form a healthy breeding population.

He said: “There are now around 240 breeding pairs in the UK thanks to the efforts of nature conservation charities like the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

“But for such a high profile species, there’s still an awful lot we don’t know. That’s why satellite tagging is so important - because it helps us get a better insight into the lives, migration routes and behaviours of these magnificent birds.”