Mother and daughter bonding

flight-of-fk8

Both of the chicks at ‘Back up nest 2’ have now fledged and are exploring the area around their eyrie home, and venturing further afield as they become emboldened and more experienced at mastering their flying technique.

The birds will use the nest site as a waiting point and feeding area, as they’re not fully independent yet and rely on their parents for fish to be brought in.

The latest downloaded footage taken from the nest camera brought delightful images of the female chick FK8, with the satellite tag, at the nest site with her mum. Mum (green ring NO) had a fish and was gently tearing off strips and feeding the oversized youngster as though she was still a tiny nestling. It was a stark contrast to the main nest family that we’ve watched for the past ten years. Usually, at the main nest site, once the chicks were fully fledged we witnessed their mum retreating from feeding times and their dad doing most of the work.

So far at this site we’ve only ever seen a quick visit from dad as he drops off a fish and then mum proceeds to feed the brood. It was nice to see a spot of mother and daughter bonding. Once the young adult was full, mum ate the rest of the fish herself – she will be building her reserves up ready for her impending migration.

Housework and nest tidying

Once both birds were full and satisfied, a spot of housework seemed to preoccupy them. The nest is a masterpiece of artwork, a patchwork of meadow grasses, moss, bark, sticks and lichens on top of the platform of flattened sticks. FK8 followed her mum around the nest and appeared to mirror her behaviour, learning nest skills which she will one day hopefully put into good practice when she has a brood of her own.

Readiness for migration

Mum eventually began to get restless and took to the sky leaving FK8 behind. After she had gone, FK8 seemed to grow tired and took a nap. It was a short period to catch up on a bit of rest, since life is now very tiring as she flies around the territory, using her muscles and building up her strength. Her fitness levels must increase as she does more exercise, having spent eight flightless weeks in the nest being fed and rapidly growing. The ‘puppy fat’ will turn to muscle and she will reach her peak condition to make her first migration journey. It’s going to be an exciting time for this project to be able to follow her journey as her transmitter relays signals which we can follow on Google Earth.

She soon became restless and began wing stretching and hopping around the nest and then she took off in the direction of the camera, giving a lovely view of just how magnificent she has become. She is a beautiful bird with an impressive head crest, bright yellow eyes, dark eye stripe and white head streaked with brown markings.

Injured osprey returns

While on duty at the osprey centre in Kailzie, volunteer Robert Jamieson checked out the camera on the main nest on 16th July. This camera was still live, although there have not been birds there much since the tragic loss of the female and the three small chicks earlier this season.

injured-osprey

He witnessed two ospreys dropping in to the site, one was ringed and the other was an unringed female. The ringed bird had a blue leg ring, LT and this was fantastic news, as this is the injured osprey that was rescued in 2011 and spent two weeks in rehabilitation at South of Scotland Wildlife Hospital. He was released later that season from the nest site where he had been raised back in 2009 and he took off with purposeful flight across the valley. It was a lump in the throat moment to see him fully recovered. He obviously, successfully made it to Africa at the end of that year and he is now back in the Borders and paired with a female bird. We do not know if he has a nest site or whether he is trying to take over the main nest site now that it is vacant.

The new pair were not there long when a very disgruntled white leg SS returned and began his mantling and defensive behaviour to display his displeasure at their presence. A third osprey appeared and proceeded to dive bomb SS with aerial swoops. Poor SS is not having a good year at all.

Diane Bennett
Tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com

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