Easter time is an exciting time for many, days off work, days off school, heaps of chocolate, what is not to love. Easter was made even more exciting this year as Scotland’s most famous Osprey pair were reunited on their nest at Loch Garten. The Loch Garten Osprey’s are affectionately known as EJ and Oden and as you could probably guess, Oden the male and EJ the female. EJ returned on March 23 and Odin arrived just over a week later on March 31.
This is the 15th nesting season for EJ and she has successfully fledged 25 osprey’s chicks from this nest site. This is the 9th season that she has been with Oden.
This pair is monitored 24/7 via camera and a live feed can be viewed at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre website. There are a number of nest sites all over the UK with similar set-ups, which are also monitored and can be watched live.
Seeing the Ospreys return to Loch Garten, and indeed any nest site is always a huge relief as Osprey migration can be quite treacherous for the birds. Travelling from as far away as South Africa, flying a long distance is a massive effort for such a large bird. Because of this Ospreys will migrate more slowly than most birds and will stop at their favourite feeding sites along the way. They will take a rest for a few days, sometimes for over a week, where they can rest and refuel. As each bird travels alone, it will follow its own route and stop at its own rest sites.
It takes the ospreys roughly 45 days to complete the journey, travelling during daylight for about 150 miles per day. For comparison, swifts have been recorded doing roughly the same trip in only 3 days, which is 15 times faster than an osprey. The males will usually begin their migration and arrive back at the nest before the females, however this was not the case with the Loch Garten Ospreys. Possibly because this is a well-established nest so there is no need for the males to establish a suitable territory and build a nest for the female’s arrival as many will need to do.
It is the females who start the return migration, followed soon after by the males and lastly the young will leave the nest. Hopefully this year we will have several more ospreys carrying this epic journey from this nest come autumn, and indeed from all the nest sites, all over the UK.
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