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.
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.
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.