It has been a time of celebration in the Tweed Valley, as not only have the main nest pair of ospreys returned for their eleventh season together and have just hatched out three beautiful chicks, but the conclusion of the tenth anniversary celebrations of this nesting pair was held at St. Ronan’s Primary School on Tuesday 27th May.
The honoured pupils that had taken part in the project to create a tenth anniversary book to mark the birds tenth year together were joined by osprey volunteers, project partners for Tweed valley Osprey Project from Forestry Commission Scotland, Kailzie Gardens and the Friends of Kailzie Wildlife to launch the new book, ‘Osprey Time Flies, 10 years of Osprey in the Tweed Valley’.
The children had taken part in the project last summer to learn all about the ospreys in the heart of the Tweed Valley, which have been nesting successfully and making a significant impact on the regeneration of the osprey population in the Scottish Borders. The pupils worked with the Tweed Valley Osprey Project Officer, Diane Bennett and the Kailzie Wildlife Project Officer, Rachel McAleese to undertake workshops, writing, artwork, games, video diaries and interviews all about ospreys.
A Tale of Two Ospreys
The work by the children was used to complement telling the story of this remarkable pair of ospreys and what has happened each year since their first successful brood was raised here. It’s a touching tale about two birds which migrate each year to Africa and return to the same eyrie in the Tweed Valley Forest Park to raise a family each summer. These birds have been watched on ‘live camera’ at the two osprey watch centres at Glentress Forest and Kailzie Gardens and they have delighted viewers over the years by allowing such an insight into their private life. We have gained so much knowledge and certainly a deep fondness for these birds as we have watched the intimate osprey moments relayed through live images back to our screens. We have shared their joy as the chicks fledge each year and we have witnessed the stress of intruder birds causing a threat to family life, storms battering the towering nest structure with a parent bird sheltering the young and marvelled at the hunting prowess of the male as he dutifully brings fish to feed his family.
The children who took part in the project were mostly in their tenth year and we were able to reflect on each year of their lives and the corresponding events that took place at the osprey nest. The children’s work for the book finished last summer with a privileged, ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to the osprey nest to see the birds being fitted with their leg rings by a licensed ringer from the Forestry Commission Scotland, Tony Lightley.
Time to celebrate
The celebration evening culminated in a chance to re-live the experience by watching the film of the bird ringing and of the children playing the osprey migration game. Each child received a copy of the book, ‘Osprey Time Flies’ and a special presentation copy of the film, as well as a photograph taken with the ospreys during the ringing. It’s hoped that the children will hold ospreys in a special place in their hearts and become their conservation champions in the future.
St. Ronan’s head teacher, Keith Belleville was delighted to see the work of the pupils in print. “We were very privileged to have been asked to take part in this unique project and I know that the memory of being involved will live on with the children. This is an excellent example of schools working in partnership with the community and taking, not just outdoors, but into the wild,” he said.
Osprey Time Flies Book
There are 10,000 copies of the book which will be issued free to each family in the Tweeddale schools over the coming weeks. The rest of the books will be available from the osprey centres and a few chosen outlets and we would welcome a donation towards the Tweed Valley Osprey Project from anybody wanting a copy of the book. The osprey project is a not for profit project and all funds raised are used towards keeping the project going.
We are extremely grateful to Lemon Digital Design in Peebles for helping to produce this book and for their inspiration, design and tireless enthusiasm throughout the project.
The whole project was made possible with funding from Awards for All Scotland.
Thanks for reading!
Diane Bennett, Tweed Valley Osprey Project Officer.