The ospreys at the main Tweed Valley nest are still occupying the site and can regularly be seen resting and preening while they are there. They are regularly visited by an intruder bird, FS2, who has been around for approximately 20 days. The adult birds at the site seem less distressed by her presence and far more tolerant of her. We have not seen any evidence of her being chased away or the mantling of the male bird towards the new female recently. They seem to casually fly off and leave the newcomer to herself at the nest. This is quite unexpected behaviour as it is their territory but perhaps it is less threatening in the absence of any chicks being reared and therefore tolerated more.
The female FS2 is still unknown to us at present as no-one as yet has confirmed records of her ringing and origin. She seems to be a young bird as her leg ring has three digits, and it is only in the last couple of years that three digit darvics have been in use. She seems to be practising her nesting skills and yesterday she began pecking at the unhatched egg from the main nest couple and rolling it. She nibbled at the surrounding nesting material with her beak, all the while emitting a soft peeping call, before bunching her talons up and squatting over the egg as though incubating. She sat on it for about a minute before lifting off and tidying the nest.
Perhaps she is trying motherhood out for when she experiences the real thing when she breeds. We estimate this to be next year if she finds a territory of her own and a partner. AS6 seems to have a good bond with SS and so it is unlikely that FS2 will usurp her and take her place with her mate SS.
Fishing now, not home building for FK8
FK8 displayed similar nesting practise behaviour last week when we realised that the satellite data meant she had not moved out of a forest to feed for six days. We discovered that she was building a nest and that she must have been fed by a partner. However, after creating a crude nest structure, she has abandoned the site and moved back to her favoured haunts, further north in Caithness, where she is back to scouring the landscape exploring lochs and lochans and roosting in tree plantations. This means that she is fishing for herself once again, so it will be interesting to see whether the new nest site was a serious attempt ready for next season or whether she will continue to explore until she settles.
TVOP round up of the season so far
The Tweed Valley Osprey Project has grown over the years and is far more than just about what is happening with our main nest birds. The project area now has 12 occupied osprey nest sites and this year only eight of those sites were successful in rearing young. There were 16 ospreys raised in total and all were fitted with BTO rings and Darvic rings.
The main nest failed to produce young, which was thought to be due to human disturbance which led to the chick dying. The back-up nest young have been fitted with tracking devices and have ring numbers blue PX1 and PX2. Both have fledged successfully and have not yet ventured far from the nest site. Due to the need for site security, the data of their journeys won’t be released until they venture further afield, so as not to disclose the location of the nest. The fact that three other nest sites failed was thought to be due to weather related conditions.
Born in the Borders
New for this year has been the nest at Born in the Borders at Jedburgh where ospreys Samson and Dalilah raised three young females. They have now fledged and been fitted with darvic rings PW6, PW7 and PW8. For the first time this year their nest was live on camera and could be viewed from the visitor centre there.
More than 200 next year hopefully
In total, the Tweed Valley Osprey Project has seen a minimum of 193 young ospreys through to fledging since 1998 which is a proven success for this project. So, not only are there live cameras on the main nest but there are ongoing darvic studies of the distribution of the birds and research into their movements and migration due to the advanced technology in tracking devices.
Each year the research has increased and so goshawk studies will be included in the project and other raptor species in the future. The centres at both Glentress Forest and Kailzie Gardens provide an outlet to show the public this interesting research, with the latest films and slideshows of the ospreys and their lives on show.
Trail camera captures brock
New for Kailzie this week are the trail camera films recorded during last week, including the very curious badger taking a close up interest in the camera.
The life of bees
At Glentress, you can watch the incredible life of bees through the glass fronted hive. Visitors can see the bees coming in with laden pollen sacks and pick out the queen, who is marked with a white spot on her back, being provisioned by the other bees.
Watch the latest footage