Is it really JJ7?

I woke up to wonderful news from Jean-Marie Dupart from the Saloum Delta in Senegal. The Saloum Delta is home to Mangrove forests and wetlands, perfect for an Osprey.

“Saloum Delta 031” by Crane in Prague is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dupart has already counted 1018 Ospreys this month. He has another week to go before his final monthly tally. This is fabulous news in terms of numbers. But – that is not why I am excited this morning although, it is reason enough.

This is Loch Arkaig in Scotland. In 2020, it was home to Louis and Aila and their three hatchlings: Doddie (male), Vera (female), and Captain (male).

A Scottish ringed bird from Loch Arkaig is at the Saloum Delta. Dupart could not tell if it is JJ2 or JJ7. Scottish observers note that it does not have the dark necklace of JJ2, a female. To me, the number appears to be JJ7.

copyright Jean-Marie Dupart

So why is JJ7 so special? There are several reasons. For some, JJ7 or Captain is the last ever hatch of Louis and Aila, the much loved Scottish Osprey couple at Loch Arkaig in 2020. Aila did not return from migration in 2021.

For me, JJ7 is a third hatch survivor. JJ7 is one among the list including others such as Tiny Tot Tumbles (2021, Achieva Credit Union, St Petersburg, FL), Tiny Little Bob or Blue 463 (2021, Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria), and Ervie (2021, Port Lincoln, Australia). My 12 year research project focuses on third hatch survivors. I want to know if the creativity and persistence that kept these little ones alive on the nest also gives them a higher success rate in the wild. Unless the birds are ringed or have a sat-pak – or a very distinctive head like Tiny Tot Tumbles- then there is no way to know about their survival rates. That is why this sighting is so important. Is this JJ7? And if so, is JJ7 the only chick to survive from the clutch of three?

There is little Captain at the back of the food line. Doddie is on the right and Vera is on Captain’s left. You can clearly see the difference in size between Doddie, the oldest sibling, also a male, and Captain.

Little Captain is on the far right.

Despite lots of fish on the nest and the exceptional parenting of Louis and Aila, there was some intense sibling rivalry.

Louis and Aila worked together to try and ensure that all three chicks thrived. Louis fished at night and also assisted Aila in feeding. JJ7 was sometimes fed separately from the larger siblings in order to make sure he had enough to eat.

The chicks enjoyed some fish after being ringed.

JJ7 Captain fledges on the 24th of July 2020.

Captain thinking about leaving the natal nest for the last time.

And he’s off!

JJ7 flies off the nest to begin his migration on 23 August 2020. Will he return this year to find a mate? Gosh, I hope so and since no one has claimed his natal nest, I hope that Captain gets there before anyone else. He can say hello to Dad, Louis, at the loch.

Along with hundreds of others I cannot stop smiling today! This is incredibly good news.

In other Bird World News, NE27 hatched at 02:24 on the 25th of January. NE26 hatched at 04:06 on the 23rd – making them approximately 46.5 hours apart in age.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I didn’t think anything could take away from the excitement of NE27 hatching but having a sighting of JJ7 sure did! Take care. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cam or FB pages where I took my screen shot: The Woodland Trust and People’s Post Code Lottery, Loch Arkaig FB Page, NEFlorida Bald Eagle Cam, and Jean-Marie Dupart.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Oh Mary Ann I can see the excitement you have when seeing that JJ7 has returned. I feel the same for the little third hatchlings too. You named them all. Thanks so much for the videos and photos and new info on JJ7 and his family! How exciting it always is to see a fledgling return to their nest. Congratulations to Samson and Gabby on their new hatch! I hope they have a good season and there isn’t any or much sibling rivalry. Prayers for JJ7 to stay and find a mate and claim his nest. Best wishes for them all!
    Have a great afternoon and we look forward to the next updates!

    1. Isn’t it fantastic?!!!! I was jumping up and down re JJ7. He gives us all lots of hope. There is some pecking from 26. I hope it goes away and that 27 will just keep 26 calm. You are always welcome for the news, Linda. I know how much we are all looking forward to Achieva, too.

  2. Mary Ann, thanks for sharing the story of JJ7 and his siblings and parents. I hope you’ll soon find out if that’s really him! It’d be a wonderful full circle if he returned to his natal nest. I can imagine that doesn’t happen very often. Please keep us posted.

    Also crossing fingers for NE27. When I checked in there this morning, NE26 was already pecking at him. It has me worried and I’m afraid to watch.

    Thank you as always for everything, including your reports yesterday! (I’m behind with comments once again.) Hope it has stopped snowing where you are. Wish I could send you some of our 50° (F) sunshine! Take good care.

    1. Our snow has stopped. It is to get warm and start again tomorrow. This morning was the first time I felt my fingers going to freeze filling the bird feeders. I ran in and got the gloves. Sick of winter but happy for the moisture. Yes, all fingers and toes crossed for 27. I am becoming shy of the beaking. Not sure how I will deal with the Ospreys but last year I counted the bites the wee ones got and it helped me through it. You are always welcome. It is good when everyone is fed and full!

      1. I can imagine that’s getting old with your severe winter. Please stay safe and warm!

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