After 3 years apparently well-settled on territory and paired with a female in west Connemara, something is going on with 2009 male Star. Over the winter he made a couple of excursions away from Connemara to south-east Galway but returned to his territory. Not so just now though.
After returning to his territory on 6th Jan he headed east on 13th Jan roosting on the shore of Lough Corrib, the to Loughrea in SE Galway on 15th, then the shores of Lough Derg near Portumna on 18th, east into north Tipperary near Lorrha on 20th, north into south Offaly on 21st, to Lough Ennel in Westmeath on 23rd, and on to nearby Lough Owel on 24th Jan where he spent the next few days.
On 28th Jan Star headed east into Meath then south to roost near Blessington, Co. Wicklow nest day. On 30th he headed further south to roost near Tullow, Co. Carlow, then south-west into Tipp roosting between Fethard and New Inn next day. On 1st Feb Star started to head back north-west to roost near Feakle in east Clare, then on to the west shore of Lough Corrib next day. On 7th Feb he finally returned back on territory to roost near his 2014 nest site. On 9th Feb he was back on the shore of Lough Corrib where he remains for the moment.
Although it’s as yet too early to be definite, all the evidence from his movements away from his territory suggests that something bad has happened to his mate. It’s just too unlikely that he would be spending so long away and travel so extensively round Ireland (see the map showing his GPS satellite tracks) if he had a mate still on territory. Over the next couple of months we should be able to confirm this but if something has happened to his mate (2009 female) it’s unlikely we will ever know for sure what as she doesn’t have a working transmitter to relocate her. Star will be keen to breed again this year so let’s hope he finds his old or a new mate pronto!