The GSM tracker on Blue VV, the female juvenile on Nest 1, has only transmitted irregularly because the nest area is not within range of a mobile phone mast. Also with a lot of inactivity, witnessed via the nestcam and ‘long shot’ camera, the solar panel was not charging well.The data received showed a fairly restricted area of flight around the nest – no more than an occasional 3 mile foray.
So it was a slight surprise to find that sometime after 08.08 BST on Sunday 31 August she began her migration. At that time she was in the nest area but by the next data point, 08.58, she was flying over Kielder Water near the dam end. And on she went!
At first she was flying around 500-600m altitude and up to 35 knots, roughly 40mph. She was heading SSE but after passing east of Allendale in the North Pennines she took a more southerly direction. Throughout her journey she would regularly change course just a little to fly in a more easterly direction for a few minutes before heading south again.
She gained height to over 1000m flying over North Yorkshire. By 12.01 she was south of Barnard Castle and did one of her easterly shifts. She past very near Scar House Reservoir in Nidderdale but didn’t slow down. Soon after she was just east of Grimwith Reservoir but again there was no fishing attempt. With the GSM system, data points are at 2 or even 1 minute intervals for much of the daylight hours so any roosting or fishing activity is very obvious.
Blue VV carried on throughout the afternoon without stopping for a break or hunting for fish, although she did track along Gill Beck and past Reva Reservoir before flying high over Bradford. From 15.38 she dropped altitude and/or speed at times but was almost always over 250m and 15 knots. She flew alongside Cromford Canal (and the A6!) for a while. The last data point received was at 18.24 when she was in Northamptonshire, having started to head slightly westwards towards Banbury in Oxfordshire. STOP PRESS, new data received as this was being written showed she stopped soon after the last fix on the map and roosted in trees quite near the River Cherwell. She was still in that area at 10.23 this morning. Here is a map up to 18.24 on 31 August.
She had covered 400km, just under 250 miles, in under 10 hours with no recorded stops on the way. A fairly steady start, no record, but quite a long distance for a first day. And humans will feel better when she has caught a fish!
So what did she do in her last 24 hours at Kielder? She had an exciting start, with a male intruder landing on the nest (more about him in another post). After shouting at him for a bit she shooed him off.
Plucky lass! She was around the nest area or on the nest all morning. When YA brought a smallish fish in at 14.28 she claimed it and flew off to a tree near the nest to eat.
At 19.11 she came down to the nest to eat a trout which Blue UV had finished eating.