Monthly Archives: May 2014

An unwelcome guest at the nest

The osprey eyrie is mostly a place of gentle activity at this time of year, with one of the parents undertaking incubation of the eggs and then swapping over to give the other bird a break. There was a bit of a drama witnessed on camera on Tuesday 13th at around 2pm though, when the peaceful scene was interrupted by the unwelcome presence of an intruder osprey.

intruder osprey

The female had been peacefully incubating the eggs and the male bird (white leg SS), was away from the territory, presumably hunting, when suddenly we could see a large shadow flying overhead. The female became quite agitated and began alarm calling and another osprey touched down briefly, before alighting away from the nest. This happened three times and the female was very upset. With her own partner away, she could not move from the eggs and just sat tight, calling out in alarm. We were able to record the action from the live camera and then take a still picture, capturing the briefest moment, when the intruder launched from the side perch on the nest. We can clearly see that this bird does not have a Darvic ring or BTO ring on its legs and so is not our male bird and is an unknown visitor. At this late stage into the incubation, we can speculate that it is a bird looking for a territory and nest site. It could even be a bird which has a nest site and is just being bold and mischievous checking out the neighbours!

female osprey on three eggs

We are looking forward to seeing the arrival of the chicks when they hatch at the end of May to the beginning of June.

The lonesome heron chick at Kailzie has grown so much that the parents are confident to leave it alone for longer periods. The youngster is big enough to hopefully defend itself against any predatory attack from crows.

heron chick

The blue tit continues to incubate nine eggs at Kailzie and at Glentress Wild Watch, the jackdaws have three chicks hatched and two eggs unhatched.

The bees are very settled into their new home at Glentress and they are, quite simply, fascinating to watch.

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Incubation and intruders at the nest

The long incubation period at the osprey nest site of up to 40 days is well under way. The soon to be parents have settled in to a routine of domesticity. They take turns to incubate and they really are such a great partnership.

female_3_eggs_14th_may

The female was feeling hungry while she was incubating her three eggs and she was very vocal in letting her feelings be known to her partner who was perched up somewhere off screen but nearby enough for her to know that he was tucking in to a good fish meal. She was calling her beseeching “kee…kee..kee” cry, for around 20 minutes. The male osprey ate the head of the fish, as he had done all the hard work to go off and catch it, but – like the dutiful partner that he is – once he had finished eating his portion, he flew on to the nest and a slightly miffed female (who doesn’t obviously appreciate being kept waiting), snatched her take-away from him and instantly took off with it. The fish was a good size and looked to have striped flanks, so it didn’t appear to be the usual trout but possibly a jack pike caught from a nearby lochan.

Some unwelcome guests

Later, a fully fed and contented female returned to the nest and the birds swapped over, the male flew off and the female settled back down on to the eggs. A fairly uneventful hour went by, when suddenly two jays landed on the osprey nest either side of the female. The female osprey was sitting down on her eggs so they were not perceived as a threat to her and she appeared unconcerned. However, the blackbirds that have their territory close to the osprey nest could be heard alarm calling and were very upset by the appearance of the jays. Both jays swooped away from the nest, off in the same direction, just as the female blackbird landed on the bottom perch of the osprey nest. Her back could just be made out at the bottom corner of the screen. All went quiet for a while and then the female blackbird flew away. Shortly afterwards the beautiful, melodious song of the male blackbird could be heard once again. Hopefully the happy singing from his nearby territory perch means that the jays didn’t steal eggs or nestlings from the blackbirds.

The heron chick continues to thrive and is beginning to look more bird-like than reptilian. The parents are now leaving the chick for longer periods. Don’t they ever learn? Last year the chicks were eaten by crows. Clearly, they think that the young bird is capable of defending itself…and we hope that they’re right.

More wildlife news from Glentress

The blue tit is now incubating at least nine eggs. The jays at Glentress have now got a brood of four chicks and are still incubating the fifth egg. Our new Glentress bees are as hypnotising to watch as ever; a totally, fascinating colony. They are busy building new chambers, the queen is populating the nest chambers and the workers are bringing in hefty pollen sacs now that there is gorse, cowslips and a few other wildflowers, in flower at the Glentress site.

More updates soon, thanks for reading.