The freezer is stocked, the cages are cleaned and nests built, the CCTV is on and flight booked to bring the birds in next Friday. There has been just enough time for me to pop up to the communal roost near Perth this morning and check on the male (62) and female (93) still using the area, before I leave for Norway tomorrow to help with chick collection.
Alv Ottar Folkestad and volunteers from the Norwegian Ornithological Society have been hard at work over the last week, checking which nests have twins and are accessible to collect from. The first birds were collected on Monday and as of Friday morning we have 6 in total, 2 from the Bergen area which is having a lot better breeding season than last year and 4 from the Alesund area.
All the chicks are 5 weeks old and eating aggressively! At least 3 of the birds are female (based on the size of their tarsus, talons and bill depth) and I’m informed that 1 of the males is very grumpy and aggressive!
Project volunteers Neil, Gayle and Dan will be out radio-tracking whilst I’m away and project assistant Elaine will be trying to pin down a 2008 male (ring number 61) who has been a regular visitor to Edinburgh zoo over the past few months!
A male (tag L) from the 2008 Irish release spent a few days on Orkney this month and project manager Allan Mee will be heading out to Trondheim to collect birds for his project this weekend and we wish him luck with his collection.
Speaking to Allan last week we both agreed that although now in our third year this part of the project doesn't get any less nerve-wracking or exciting!