SS and Mrs O. enjoy domestic bliss

All is quiet

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It has been a quiet and uneventful week on the main osprey nest, which is a good thing, as both birds are quite settled. Mrs O is sitting on her three eggs, while SS continues to brings fish for her. If she leaves her eggs to feed on the perch beside the nest, SS takes a turn looking after the eggs. It’s domestic bliss, for now at least! Have a look at the latest videos from the nest – click the image below to play.

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This week’s video from the nest – click to play in a new window.

 

Not bothered

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One day this week, SS and Mrs O were sitting together, both staring up into the sky, as if watching another bird flying over. They did not appear to be alarmed, and displayed no signs of anxious behaviour or distress, although the posture of SS could be considered protective; perched slightly above her with his tail over her back.

SS out on the loch

SS Male Osprey - 12 5 19

Our 20 year-old male SS was spotted on a fishing trip to St. Mary’s Loch on the evening of 12 May by John Wright, the Golden Eagle Officer for the South of Scotland Eagle Project. He managed to take a fantastic photograph of him as he flew by. This is the first time that he has ever been spotted and photographed flying and fishing at the loch, and we were delighted to receive the photograph of him. John also spotted another couple of ospreys in the area. One was un-ringed, but the other was PX5, a 3 year old male from the Solway area.

Moving house

We have news about the ‘back up nest no. 2’ birds, which is somewhat bittersweet. We were very disappointed that the birds that were holding the territory at the end of last summer hadn’t returned to the nest. Considering the remoteness of the area, Tony and Graham managed to set up a live camera viewing system via satellite, via masts running over numerous hills to beam into the Glentress Wildwatch Room and Kailzie Gardens Osprey Watch. We were convinced that this pair would return this spring, and when they failed to take up residence on the nest, we were left wondering why.

This week, one of the wildlife rangers spotted them, not at the camera nest (which has been occupied for about 10years) but at a new nest site that they have built for themselves nearby. The area that they have chosen is near to clear felled trees, where birds tried to nest previously. A nesting platform was put up to lure them away from tree harvesting areas about 10 years ago, and this became our ‘back up nest 2’.

Sadly, the original ‘back up no. 2’ nest birds have died. The good news is that we think the late partner of 8C, an un-ringed bird, is potentially with the new male from the end of last season at this new site. We may not find out, in the absence of a camera, but in terms of osprey nest sites, they have certainly chosen well for panoramic, elevated scenic views. We just have to hope they have selected a good enough tree to withstand the test of time.

New site

More very exciting news came from a former volunteer for the Tweed Valley Osprey Project this week. He got in touch to say that a pair of ospreys have built a nest about a mile from his house, and they can see the birds from their home. They are able to zoom in with good binoculars and cameras from a safe distance, without disturbing the nest. This is a brand new nest site, and great news. We think potentially it could be the birds that left the original back up nest site, or it could even be new birds that have taken to the area.

More raptor news

We have news that other raptors are also doing well and we now have 2 nesting pairs of red kites in the Scottish Borders, one pair in the Tweeddale area and worth looking out for and a pair of peregrines that have struggled to breed in their location previously, are now on a nest with eggs.

Goshawks that have been satellite tracked in the area of Tweeddale continue to be monitored, and data has revealed their regular haunts, showing where the mature birds which are ready to breed are taking up territory.

Golden eagles which were released as juveniles are thriving and ranging to explore the south of Scotland, and a sub-adult bird has also moved into the region too. It is hoped that territories will be established in the future, and that they will start to breed here.

SS birthday Party – you’re invited!

Another reminder for past volunteers to get in touch if they would like to celebrate SS being 20 years old this year on 8 June.

Contact Diane on  Tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com to confirm your attendance. We would love to celebrate with all past and present volunteers and project supporters, and share a few stories. There’ll be a chance to show off your osprey-themed talents too, be they arty, crafty, wordy, ‘techy’, musical or just plain daft!

Volunteer with us

If you would like to be a volunteer at the osprey centres at Glentress Forest WildWatch Room and Kailzie Gardens, Nature and Osprey Watch, then please get in touch by email at tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com, or you can phone Diane on 07908098026.

We really do need some more volunteers for this season to monitor the cameras and to keep a log diary of osprey activity, and to chat to visitors to tell them what is happening at the nest sites which are live on camera. Volunteers also play a vital role in recording footage from the live camera. Training will be given, so no previous experience is needed.

20190510_14-09-26 SS returns to Mrs O

Our live camera feed is still down, but we are working on a solution

Unfortunately, the live camera feed hosted by Forestry and Land Scotland is currently down due to ongoing technical issues. They have people in the field working on a solution, and they apologise for the inconvenience. We’ll have it back up and running as soon as possible – and you can see videos from the feed, updated every week, on our Osprey Playlist. Thanks for your understanding.

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SS is 20, and we are celebrating!

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SS drops in with a fish for Mrs O

Birthday Celebration for SS 20th

The Friends of Kailzie Wildlife has successfully been awarded a grant for Tweed Valley Osprey Project to hold a celebration to mark the 20th birthday of white leg SS, the male osprey on the main nest since 2004.  To mark the occasion we are holding a celebration in the Osprey Centre at Kailzie Gardens on 8 June, and will be having a large sculpture cake of the birthday bird. Join us if you can!

Past and Present Volunteers and supporters of Tweed Valley Osprey Project Invited

We would like to invite all past and present volunteers and supporters of the Tweed Valley Osprey Project to come along. We will have some refreshments and cut the osprey cake and share it.

We would also like to invite volunteers and supporters to help celebrate by sharing memories, artwork, photos, or poems, and to showcase any osprey-related talents they might have, to display on the day. Any contributions will be photographed or digitised and used for the proposed production of a souvenir booklet about the life of SS, our most celebrated osprey.

Many volunteers have been contacted by email but many addresses are no longer in use, so please get in touch if you would like to come along and visitors will be most welcome also.

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This week’s YouTube playlist – click to play!

News from the nest

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Mrs O sitting on the eggs with SS looking on

This has been a good week at the main nest site for Mrs O and SS. They are proving to be a very settled couple. Fish are being delivered regularly by SS, and he is dutifully giving them to Mrs O. She moves up to the perch to feed, and he takes over for a stint of egg sitting. She then briefly leaves the nest site and has a stretch of her flight muscles, and a chance to excrete away from the nest.

Decorating the nest

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Mrs O moves that bark about

Time passes slowly for Mrs O, sitting on eggs for long periods of time. Focusing on something to occupy herself relieves the monotony. This week, the point of interest for Mrs O was a squared off piece of bark. She moved it about and fussed over it, and at one point even had it balanced above the eggs, before giving it a heave, along with a clump of moss that had attached itself. She positioned it towards the back of the nest, from where we can view it on the camera. A contemporary home often does have a feature wall, so we applaud Mrs O’s thoroughly modern take on the traditional osprey nest.

Scary appendage on SS

Film footage taken of the pair on the nest on 3 May gave a bit of a scare. It appeared that something was sticking up out of SS’ back. It looked like a twig, but it was perpendicular to his wing and we were worried that it was sticking into him. Footage from the next couple of days has been analysed since and it has gone, so presumably SS will have removed it from his feathers when preening.

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All is well for SS

Son of SS success

One of the offspring of SS is a male bird with yellow leg ring 8O. He was fledged from the main Tweed Valley nest in 2006 when SS was with his original un-ringed partner. We know that he has been breeding and doing well over at the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust Reserve of Caerlaverock in Dumfriesshire, because the nest site had a camera to view the nest back in the visitor centre.

He first took up the territory in 2012 with an un-ringed female, but had no young. However, he bred successfully with his un-ringed partner in 2014 and 2015, rearing two chicks per year – two females, FK2 and FK3; and then the following year two more female chicks ringed as CN0 and CN1.

From 2016 to 2018 another two ospreys occupied the site, and 😯 didn’t return until this spring, when he paired up at the nest site again with an un-ringed partner. All looked good for breeding again. Sadly, the pair have abandoned the site and moved to a nearby nest site instead of the camera site, and although they are settled and hopefully with eggs, they cannot be viewed on the live screen.

We are certain that the other offspring of SS will be breeding and successful too, but we do not know anything about them as they will be on territory where there are no cameras.

FK8 update

26th and 27th April FK8

Another Tweed Valley favourite is FK8, the female osprey who nested up in the Dornoch area for the first time last year. She has a tracker and we know that she returned safely but didn’t directly settle down to nest. She was flitting back and forth to favourite hunting grounds further north to Loch Slethill and Forsinard area.

The last data that we have received shows that as late as 24 April she was staying overnight in forest land near to Loch an Cloiche, but returned to her nest site and spent two nights there on 25 and 26 April, showing the last tracked point on 27 April. Hopefully this means that she has paired up with her partner and is now on eggs, but we will wait to see if more data is returned.

Volunteer with us

If anybody would like to be a volunteer at the osprey centres at Glentress Forest WildWatch Room and Kailzie Gardens, Nature and Osprey Watch, then please get in touch by email at tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com, or you can phone Diane on 07908098026.

We really do need some more volunteers for this season to monitor the cameras and to keep a log diary of osprey activity, and to chat to visitors to tell them what is happening at the nest sites which are live on camera. Volunteers also play a vital role in recording footage from the live camera. Training will be given, so no previous experience is needed.

A note about our live camera feed

Unfortunately, the live camera feed hosted by Forestry and Land Scotland is currently down due to ongoing technical issues. They have people in the field working on a solution, and they apologise for the inconvenience. We’ll have it back up and running as soon as possible – and will share some videos from the feed here on the blog. Thanks for your understanding.

Time to incubate

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It has been a very busy week on the main osprey nest in the Tweed Valley. The resident pair, Mrs O and SS have settled down together for the season. After laying an egg on Easter Sunday, Mrs O then went on to lay two more over the next few days. Egg number 2 arrived on Wednesday 24 April, and the volunteer on duty on Friday 26 April  got a lovely surprise when she found a third egg that morning.

Now, the serious duty of incubation has begun, and it’s time for SS to prove his worth as a mate by providing fish for her when she is hungry, and looking after the eggs while she feeds.

So far, all seems to be going well for them. Mrs O, known for her demanding squawks when she wants something, is a changed bird. She has dropped the attitude, and serenity has descended the nest site as a contented Mrs O sits on her clutch of 3 eggs. SS is bringing plenty of fish to support her.

Unwelcome visitors and home defence

A few visitors to the nest site have broken the monotony watching Mrs O sitting still on her eggs. The cheeky jay visitor returned and took a bolder approach by sitting on the top of the nest while Mrs O was sitting on her eggs. Perhaps he feels safe while she is sitting on her eggs? We somehow get the feeling that his visits will be repeated throughout the summer. Another little visitor was a chaffinch that popped onto the lower side of the nest, and helped herself to a bit of nice moss for her own nest while a docile Mrs O looked on.

Not all visitors are welcome though… while SS was away fishing on Sunday 28 April a very startled and upset Mrs O became agitated as the shadow of a large bird flew over the nest. She rose from the eggs and mantled her wings over them for protection and with an open beak and a fierce expression. As she glared up at the sky, an intruder male osprey dropped in. His legs could just be seen as he dropped down towards the nest as though to land.

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We got a clear view, and could see that this bird had no leg rings, and has not been seen here before. He overflew the nest itself and had the audacity to land on the left hand perch above Mrs O, who was not happy at all. She drew herself up into a magnificent posture of aggression and launched herself into the air towards the perch, to topple the unwelcome visitor and drive him away.

He flew off and she gave chase. This was a very scary time for her, as she had to leave her eggs unattended to deal with the imposter. She returned as quickly as possible and thankfully the eggs were unharmed. She settled back down to shield them and keep them warm.

Tag-team parenting

When both birds are present at the nest it, would usually be the male that would have dealt with the intruder. Because she was alone, Mrs O had no option but to deal with the threatening situation herself.  It is always a dangerous situation leaving precious eggs exposed. Our friend the Jay, or even crows and pine martens would all appreciate a free meal if they had the opportunity.

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SS returned about 45 minutes later with a fish and Mrs O was pleased to see him. She rose from the eggs and took the fish immediately, moving up on to the right hand perch to feed while SS busied himself tidying the nest and moving moss and sticks around, before settling down onto the eggs and having an afternoon nap.

Backup nests still empty

No ospreys have taken up residence at the back up no.2 nest this year. The male bird 8C (FK8’s father) died last year, and his un-ringed female partner never made a secure partnership with any of the incoming male birds. At the end of the season, birds were at the site and building the nest up, which led us to be hopeful that they would occupy the site this year. Thus far, both the original back up nest and no.2 nests are unoccupied this season.

The nestbox camera at Kailzie Gardens osprey watch centre has a pair of great tits in residence, and they now have a clutch of seven eggs. They will incubate for the next couple of weeks and then we should be able to watch them rearing their young family.

Volunteers – please step forward!

We really do need some more volunteers for this season to monitor the cameras and to keep a log diary of osprey activity, and to chat to visitors to tell them what is happening at the nest sites which are live on camera. Volunteers also play a vital role in recording footage from the live camera. Training will be given, so no previous experience is needed.

If anybody would like to be a volunteer, please get in touch by email at tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com, or you can phone Diane on 07908098026.

A note about our live camera feed

Unfortunately, the live camera feed hosted by Forestry and Land Scotland is currently down due to ongoing technical issues. They have people in the field working on a solution, and they apologise for the inconvenience. We’ll have it back up and running as soon as possible – and will share some videos from the feed here on the blog. Thanks for your understanding.

An Easter surprise…

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Mrs O. with her “Easter egg”

Towards the end of last week, it was becoming clear that Mrs O was due to lay an egg at the main nest. Since her arrival back to the territory, she had been with her partner, regularly mating in the nest. A concerted team effort saw them build the nest up in readiness for the new arrivals, and then line it with copious, comfortable-looking, soft, dried moss.

Come Easter Sunday, the obliging Mrs O decided to make Easter Sunday memorable this year, and laid her first egg of 2019. Needless to say, this was a very happy day in the osprey watch hut for volunteers and visitors. Mrs O and SS sat in the nest with their prize egg just as crowds of children were running around Kailzie Gardens, indulging in their own egg hunts.

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Fish fight!

Prior to the egg being laid, the happy couple had been having a few spats over the quantity of fish being brought in. SS had arrived on Saturday with a fish. but did not want to share it. The expectant mother was not pleased, and was eventually quite forceful. She took it from him and went up onto the perch to eat. After tucking in for about half an hour, she flew back down onto the nest with it. A disgruntled SS tussled with her to take it back and then flew off with it.

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It was a different story on Easter Sunday, however. A very relaxed Mrs O was sitting on her newly laid egg when SS came in with a fish. They were not even fazed when a cheeky little jay popped into the site and hung about looking for scraps for a while before flying away.

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SS sat up on the perch eating the fish, until he decided to drop back down into the nest. Mrs O took her turn to take the remaining fish up on to the perch, while SS took up position sitting on the egg, carefully curling his talons so that he didn’t accidentally pierce it.

Mrs O eating with jay below her 20190421_16-06-45

The jay returned and took a position below Mrs O, where she was feeding on the perch. He was probably hoping that she would be a messy eater, but every morsel torn from the fish was devoured by Mrs O, and the jay soon left, disappointed.

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Also on Sunday, SS fell asleep while he was sitting in the nest. It is a rare sight to see the ospreys completely asleep, as they remain alert to danger or disturbance, but SS had his eyes tight shut, showing his feathered lower eyelid. Perhaps it was the warm weather inducing fatigue.

Update: A second egg arrives

Mrs O and egg

Since this blog post was written, on the afternoon of 24 April, Mrs O. has laid one more egg, bringing the grand total to two so far. We are hoping for at least one more! We have still not seen any birds return to the back up nest yet but remain hopeful, as there is still time.

FK8’s incredible journey

FK8 explores north before heading back to nest area

FK8, the 5-year old Tweed Valley female who is satellite tagged, arrived at her nest in Dornoch on 7 April at 14.18pm. It looks likely that her male partner has not arrived there yet, as she didn’t stay long before returning to her favourite fishing grounds up in the far north at Forsinard and Loch Slethill.

She has been fishing and roosting there, which is good as she will be getting into breeding condition and replenishing her reserves after her migration from Portugal. On 17 April she returned to Dornoch and was still there on 18 April , so perhaps her partner has since arrived and she is at the nest with him. We do not know anything about her partner as he is not tagged. The next set of data will indicate whether she is staying at the nest or not.

FK8s journey through the UK with stopovers marked

Her spring migration was swift and direct. She left Sines in Portugal on 30 March, headed northwards, and stopped overnight in Sarzedo in a clump of trees before continuing her journey into Spain. Her next stopping point was near to Ocero, on 31 March.

She took off the next morning and headed to the Spanish coastline, then out into the Bay of Biscay. She continued her journey, flying throughout the night to make the sea crossing, and reaching the shores of Brittany on 2 April after a 760km non- stop flight with no sleep. She spent a couple of nights on the mainland before crossing the English Channel, reaching UK shores at 10.30am. She flew north through Wales and stopped over near to Penant after flying for 525km.

She left Wales from the coast, not far from Colwyn bay by St Cynbryd Church, and flew directly over the Irish Sea to Dumfriesshire, arriving in Southern Scotland at 13.16pm on 5 April at Auchencairn. She flew over the Balcary Bay Hotel at a height of 92 m above sea level and a speed of 4 knots.

It took her one more stop to complete her journey near to the Rannoch Moor Hotel in the Highlands on 6 April. The next day she was safely back to her nest site from last year, near Dornoch. We hope that she meets her mate and has a successful breeding season.

Volunteer with us

If anybody would like to be a volunteer at the osprey centres at Glentress Forest WildWatch Room and Kailzie Gardens, Nature and Osprey Watch, then please get in touch by email at tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com, or you can phone Diane on 07908098026.

We really do need some more volunteers for this season to monitor the cameras and to keep a log diary of osprey activity, and to chat to visitors to tell them what is happening at the nest sites which are live on camera. Volunteers also play a vital role in recording footage from the live camera. Training will be given, so no previous experience is needed.

A note about our live camera feed

Unfortunately, the live camera feed hosted by Forestry and Land Scotland is currently down due to ongoing technical issues. They have people in the field working on a solution, and they apologise for the inconvenience. We’ll have it back up and running as soon as possible – and will share some videos from the feed here on the blog. Thanks for your understanding.

Mrs O. and SS – feathering their nest…

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Mrs O. and SS are displaying real signs of togetherness and pair bonding in 2019

Since arriving last week, our main nest pair have settled in at their familiar territory and begun the serious business of making their nest secure and structurally tight. On Wednesday 10 April, SS brought in a large, lichen-covered stick for the nest. He placed it up at the top end but was clearly not happy with it, and kept trying to move it further down, but didn’t like the lichen coming off and sticking to his beak. He kept shaking his head and dropping the stick.

Mrs O came to the rescue and in a rare act of teamwork, she got hold of the stick’s underside, which didn’t have lichen on, and pulled it. SS got hold of the other end and they worked together to ensure their nest felt secure and sturdy to their satisfaction.

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Mrs O. lends a hand. Well, a beak…

This is progress in their relationship. Mrs O seems contented and relaxed, and there has been less squawking from her than in previous years. This is her third year with SS, so she must feel more secure and confident that their partnership is strong.

The first year that she came, she fought off another ringed female bird and claimed the territory and the right to be on the nest site with SS, who has been at the same site since 2004 with his first partner (who sadly died in 2014). Mrs O and SS spent the first season holding the territory, but didn’t breed as they were too late pairing up for mating to produce viable eggs.

Teamwork SS and Mrs O

Working together to make the nest secure

Last year when Mrs O arrived, she hadn’t quite made her mind up and flitted between the back up nest and the main nest, until finally settling and choosing SS as her mate. They successfully raised their first family together. This year she arrived back at the nest on the same day as SS, and they are now an established couple. They have been sharing nest building tasks between them, and homemaking and togetherness is evident in their teamwork. Their bond will grow stronger the longer they are together, and this bodes well for raising a family again this year.

Eggs on the way for Easter?

The pair have been mating regularly, and we can expect eggs over the Easter weekend with a bit of luck. This week Mrs O was trying the nest out for sitting purposes after a spot of stick moving, and she squatted down in the centre and sat. No eggs are laid yet but she must be getting ready.

getting ready to lay

Mrs O. gets comfy and ready to lay

SS brought a fish in after a hunting trip on Wednesday and gave it to Mrs O. She went up onto the perch and ate it, and SS looked very tired after his exertion. He sat in the nest relaxing and resting with his eyes closed. We have not witnessed him sleeping at the nest before, but he is a 20 year old bird now and has just arrived back from his long migration. He will need to build up some strength for the summer, to provide for a family of hungry young, and a partner, as well as feeding himself.

Hopes for a brighter 2019 season

There are still no ospreys at the back up nest yet, but another pair at one of the sites have returned safely already, and others will be taking up their territories too. Last year was the worst year since 2007 for the Tweed Valley Osprey Project area birds. Out of a potential 15 nest sites, only 5 were productive with only 10 osprey chicks fledged. Six of the nest sites were occupied by single birds only and they paired up later in the season, but were too late to breed. At least there was pair bonding, which will hopefully develop into breeding success for this year.

Storm Desmond was responsible for blowing out two of the nest sites, with the contents lost. These sites have been re- built up for the 2019 season by the environment team, ready for returning birds.

A nesting platform was constructed on a telegraph pole and erected by Scottish Power at one of the osprey sites last year, where an old nest tree had been storm damaged and had subsequently collapsed. The male bird returned to this site, but the female failed to return. A second female did arrive, but too late in the season. Hopefully they will pair up for 2019. New platforms and nesting locations will be established to encourage more ospreys to breed for the 2019 season, so we are optimistic that this could be a better year.

Volunteer with us

If anybody would like to be a volunteer at the osprey centres at Glentress Forest WildWatch Room and Kailzie Gardens, Nature and Osprey Watch, then please get in touch by email at tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com, or you can phone Diane on 07908098026.

We really do need some more volunteers for this season to monitor the cameras and to keep a log diary of osprey activity, and to chat to visitors to tell them what is happening at the nest sites which are live on camera. Volunteers also play a vital role in recording footage from the live camera. Training will be given, so no previous experience is needed.

A note about our live camera feed

Unfortunately, the live camera feed hosted by Forestry and Land Scotland is currently down due to ongoing technical issues. They have people in the field working on a solution, and they apologise for the inconvenience. We’ll have it back up and running as soon as possible – and will share some videos from the feed here on the blog. Thanks for your understanding.

The 2019 Osprey season begins: SS & Mrs O. return

SS in the misty rain Mrs O on perch with fish

SS in the mist, back at the main nest…

The Tweed Valley Osprey Project has had a very happy start to the 2019 season. Both the distinctive white leg of SS and his partner Mrs O have been spotted, and they have safely returned from their migration to their nest site.

Both arrived on Saturday 6 April, and by Sunday, they had begun mating. They seem to be ready for a season together again. SS has been seen digging out a scrape in the centre of the nest, which makes a cup shape for eggs, but they have not added much in the way of new nesting material yet.

SS has brought a few sticks back for the nest and some clumps of moss, which he places carefully onto the nest. Mrs O, ever the interior decorator, rearranges the adornments and takes charge of the exact positioning. Home furnishings it would seem are firmly Mrs O’s domain! He provides and she decides.

Mrs O takes the fish from SS

Same goes for feeding time. SS arrived at the nest with a beauty of a big brown trout on Sunday, and Mrs O needed no encouragement, she pounced upon the prize, took it from him and flew up to the branch with the fresh trout still flapping in her talons. We hope we can expect eggs at their nest very soon.

Birthday party for SS!

Mrs O taking fish close up

SS will be 20 years old this year and we are hoping to have a birthday celebration at the osprey centre at Kailzie Gardens, with volunteers and visitors, on 8 June. We would like any past volunteers or supporters of Tweed Valley Osprey Project to get in touch and come along too. More details will follow in future news reports and blogs.

Ospreys have not yet returned to other sites in Tweed Valley, or to the back-up nest, but we are hopeful that they will all return soon.

FK8 completes a long journey

FK8's return 2019

One of the Tweed Valley birds, FK8, which has been satellite tracked for the past 5 years has returned to breed again in the Dornoch area. She left her wintering grounds in Portugal on 1 April, then spent a couple of days held up in France as the weather turned adverse before she crossed the channel to Britain and flew up the west of the country. She did not pass through Peeblesshire this time on her migration, but headed straight for Dornoch where her nest site is located. She arrived safely on 7 April at 3.57pm.

Doros journey 2018

FK8’s daughter, from last year’s successful breeding in Dornoch, was named Doros. She migrated almost one month later than her mother in the autumn of 2018. She completed an incredible journey of 3255km with only 4 overnight roosts in 6 days, with a continuous journey from UK shores out over the Atlantic Ocean to Morocco. She settled near to the town of Takabout and discovered a shallow reservoir Sidi Abderrahmane which she made her home residence until she was last tracked on 31 October. It could be that her tracker has ceased to work and she is still there and doing well, but we don’t have any further data.

RIP Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Tweedledum last point

Last year’s main nest young, named as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, didn’t fare as well. Tweedledee was picked up at Wooler. She was emaciated and subsequently died on the way to the vets. Her brother, after a brief spell at Fishcross SSPCA, was released and followed his sisters path to the Northumbrian coast but was never tracked beyond the River Coquet at Warkworth on 16 September 2018.

LK8 last track point 25th October 2018

LK8, another of the tracked juveniles from last year in upper Tweed Valley, sadly never made it either. He was tracked as far as the south coast of Spain to a mountainous region above the Alboran Sea. The data indicates that he most likely died there, as the data points didn’t continue and returned a static location.

Volunteer with us

If anybody would like to be a volunteer at the osprey centres at Glentress Forest WildWatch Room and Kailzie Gardens, Nature and Osprey Watch, then please get in touch by email at tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com, or you can phone Diane on 07908098026.

We really do need some more volunteers for this season to monitor the cameras and to keep a log diary of osprey activity, and to chat to visitors to tell them what is happening at the nest sites which are live on camera. Volunteers also play a vital role in recording footage from the live camera. Training will be given, so no previous experience is needed.

A note about our live camera feed

Unfortunately, the live camera feed hosted by Forestry and Land Scotland is currently down due to ongoing technical issues. They have people in the field working on a solution, and they apologise for the inconvenience. We’ll have it back up and running as soon as possible – and will share some videos from the feed here on the blog. Thanks for your understanding.

 

 

 

Migration update

The osprey centres may have closed for the season but the Tweed Valley osprey saga continues, with the start of migration journeys, families parting company, and plenty of drama, with a helping hand for one of the main nest chicks.

Tweedledum rescued and taken to SSPCA

The Environment team for the Tweed Valley Osprey Project continued to monitor the main nest after the season closed. They were alarmed to discover that one of the main nest chicks, Tweedledum (LL7), was spending far too much time back at the nest site, was not feeding properly, and eventually was weakened to the state of being flightless. The decision was made to recover the bird and take him to the SSPCA at Fishcross for assessment and treatment. There, he was examined by a vet and given a full health scan. He was found to be underweight, with a few broken tail feathers. After a short period of TLC, and after being fed with lots of fish to gain strength and aid recovery, Tweedledum was released back at the nest site.

Tweedledum begins to migrate

He has since got his mojo back, and on 10 September left the nest area and moved over to Yarrow Valley to begin his migration. He spent the night there, before flying further across the Borders to Minto. He then roosted overnight in farmland before heading eastwards to the coast.

He spent 3 days in the area between Craster and Long Houghton and took a circular flight out to sea, then returned inland to roost on 14 September. Then on 15 September he headed south to Warkworth on the River Coquet, where he settled and seemed to have found a good fishing and roosting spot. He doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to leave the Northumberland area and progress his migration journey just yet.

LL6 and LL7 both routes together

Tweedledum and Tweedledee migrate as far as the east coast. Map shows roost sites for both

Tragedy for Tweedledee

His sister, Tweedledee, also migrated. What was so surprising is that she set off on a very similar route, starting on 8 September with a journey to the same area of Northumberland coast. She also spent 4 days in the area, and did not progress further south. The data has been scrutinised and there appears to have been no contact between them. They were never in the same place at the same time, but considering they did not leave together, the similarities in behaviour are interesting. She ventured quite a distance out into the north Sea, only to double back up to Bamburgh, and then back inland. The last data showed that she was at a business park in North Berwick at Windmill Way on 15 September. However, on 17 September we received the tragic news that she had been found dead and her carcass had been recovered in Wooler. She was emaciated and so had not been feeding. This perhaps explains why migration never progressed further once she reached the coast.

LK8’s strong migration journey

In contrast to the journeys made so far by the siblings from the main nest, LK8, another fledged bird from Tweed Valley Project area from a nest site just a few kilometres away from the main nest, has also migrated. His route couldn’t be more different to the other birds.

LK8 journey

LK8 ‘s migration route so far. He has almost made it to France on 17th Sept.

He left his nest area on 12 September and headed straight overland in a south easterly direction to Barnard Castle in County Durham, where he roosted overnight before continuing his journey to Yorkshire, then Bury St. Edmunds, and on to the coast of southern England, crossing Southend on Sea, and continuing down to finally roost near to Hastings on 15 September. In just four days, he reached the English Channel and was ready to make a crossing, whereas the main nest birds spent four days in Northumberland. It doesn’t seem that the journeys are distinct from each other due to any atmospheric conditions, but as we now know that Tweedledee has died, the delay in migration was likely due to the birds being in poor condition. Hopefully Tweedledum will do better beside the River Coquet in Warkworth before continuing his journey.

LK8 continued migration on 17 September and the last data received showed that he had almost reached the coast of France. Hopefully will have made it there in safety by now.

FK8 and Doros

Our final satellite tagged bird for the Tweed Valley Osprey Project this season is now known as Doros. It stands for Dornoch osprey, and the apt name was created by one of our volunteers, Marjorie. Doros is the daughter of FK8, one of the tracked ospreys from the back up nest in 2014. This is her first offspring but she will not be winning any great accolades for mother of the year.

Doros fledged on August 14 and after making her first flight, her mum left her at the nest and returned to her favourite hunting grounds in the Forsinard Flows. She made a 180km round trip for three consecutive days, popping back to check on her daughter, and then left for Portugal. She is now back on her territory at Sines in Portugal, yet her daughter, Doros, is still in Dornoch at the nest site and hasn’t ventured much further than the estuary or the forestry plantations nearby. Presumably her dad stayed with her to provide the final stages of parenting and hopefully any day now she will also make a move south.