Monthly Archives: May 2017

SS: Super Stud

Cheerio Mrs.O, hello FS2

FS2 and SS 18th May 2017

FS2 and SS

Just when we thought things had settled in to domestic bliss at the main nest with SS and Mrs. O, a dramatic return of a visitor from last year has changed the turn of events. FS2, a female with the blue darvic ring who appeared at the end of last summer and began mock incubating the dud egg in the nest, has turned up while Mrs.O was away and she is now also a new partner for SS.

We never realised his leg ring letters meant super stud, but he now has a choice of the ladies and has mated with both of them! What a difference a day makes as the song goes, 24 little hours and two female ospreys vying for the attentions of dear old SS.

SS – Super Stud

This is a real surprise for all those doubters out there who questioned his breeding credentials this year because of his age or his modus operandi for finding a mate. He is quite a bird.

Mrs.O it would seem has not given up yet, and she returned to the nest once FS2 was away. Who will stay with SS? We shall have to wait and see.

Watch the latest videos of the nest here:

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A Mate for SS at Last

new Mrs O for SS 14th May 4.40pm

Mrs. O. joins SS at the nest but he is not thrilled at first

 SS Finds a Partner

We are absolutely thrilled that SS has found a partner at last. On Sunday 14th May, white leg SS was sitting at his nest site alone again where he has spent the past month waiting for a female osprey to join him this season. He was seen to be restless and looking skyward frequently and the volunteers on duty could hear an osprey calling in the background.

David, the volunteer on duty at Glentress felt sure that something was about to happen and thankfully remained later than usual, which was just as well, as the female bird, Mrs.O. dropped into the nest site to join SS.

Don’t play hard to get SS

SS mantles and moves away from new mate mrs.O best

SS keeps away from Mrs. O

We would expect that he would be really pleased to be joined by a single female at last but no, he was mantling his wings and creeping around the nest to get away from her in alarm. Osprey courtship is a curious thing – she is available and wanting to breed and so is he. He has an impressive eyrie in which to raise a family, a territory in which he is Lord over and no other osprey has managed to usurp him from his position. So we wonder why he displays such coy behaviour. It is obviously a big draw for the female ospreys because Mrs. O has been quite undeterred by his behaviour and has continued to pursue him with tenacity.

Hang in there Mrs. O.

Mrs O flashes her tail up but SS too coy

Mrs. O flies off and returns to land next to SS. Flashes tail up

After weighing each other up and SS showing his back to Mrs. O, dropping his wings and giving off distress vibes with head bent down and looking away from her, she took a bit of a hint and flew off. Well that changed his attitude alright. He dropped the distress mantling immediately after she left the nest and looked around, staring after her.

Did she watch for his reaction as she flew above the nest? Perhaps, because she immediately returned and landed right next to him, fluffing her tail right up as she did so. Although he then moved away from her again, perhaps there was enough spark of interest there to encourage her to stay? Eventually, SS took off and the female Mrs.O. did not give up, she watched him go, fluffed up her feathers and followed that bird.

Mrs O is undeterred and follows that SS bird

Follow that bird Mrs.O. Don’t let him get away.

 

What a looker but no Darvic

New Mrs.O with BTO ring only

SS gets off some first date poor Mrs O!

No Darvic just a BTO ring for Mrs.O

She is a stunning female with dark sleek feathers on her back and a rich patterned chestnut coloured necklace of feathering around her neck to her chest. Her head crest is well defined with dark markings to her forehead and back of the otherwise white head with characteristic dark eye-stripe. She is magnificent and seems in great condition.

We have no way of knowing where she is from as she has no Darvic ring on her leg with coloured letters but she does have a BTO ring (metal ring with serial number) on her right leg.  This is interesting as it could be that she has somehow lost the Darvic ring from her left leg or could it be that she never had one? We will try to find out some information about how long Darvics have been in use for.

SS keeps a distance

SS sits as far from Mrs.O as possible

Please don’t be so coy SS. He moves to the end of the branch as far away as possible

On Monday morning both ospreys were together again at the nest site, where courtship between the two seemed to be very slow indeed, but then the weather was a particular passion killer with teeming rain. Mrs.O had a fish in her talons and SS was trying his best to keep as far from her as possible. He flew on to the perch and then teetered to the very end of it just to make sure he had put the maximum distance between him and her.

Once again, Mrs.O was undeterred. We do not know if he brought the fish in for her, but it did seem a little unlikely given his anti-social stance towards her presence. After a couple of hours sitting at the nest site largely ignoring one another, she moved up on to the perch to the right and ate her fish while he remained on the left hand perch.

The SS way of finding a partner

SS not thrilled by new Mrs.O yet

So far SS is to be admired; we were slating his tactics of sitting at the nest waiting for a female last week but it has paid off. They literally fall from the sky for him and drop into his lair of main nest TVOP. He would not win any courtship contests that’s for sure, but he definitely has appeal for this female who has dropped in and seems to be about to stay.

Mating at last for the new pairing

Things have become more intimate between the two and mating has since occurred at the nest site between them, although he never hung around afterwards and took off.

Mrs.O. began moving nesting material around and this is a sure sign that we can at last be optimistic that all things osprey are indeed looking up at this nest location. We hope that they are a fertile pair and that she produces viable eggs. For now though we are very content that at last SS has found a partner.

Good luck for the rest of the season as it will be unique for this project to have a pairing take place as late in the year as this. This will prove to be another interesting insight into the lives of ospreys, as we may find out if such late parings can lead to successful rearing of offspring. Fingers crossed.

FK8 returns to the UK

FK8 back in north scotland

FK8 has safely returned to Forsinard Flows.

We know that birds are still arriving as we have just had superb news that FK8 (the female osprey being satellite tracked) has only just come back to the UK. She made a staggering crossing of the Bay of Biscay being battered by bad weather before turning back to rest on an island just off the point of Brittany. She then spent from 21st April to 24th April recuperating on the mainland before crossing the English Channel to arrive at Plymouth on 24th April at 14.17pm.

She stopped at some fish ponds north of Collaton Cross and presumably fed and took an overnight roost nearby. From here she headed to the Bristol Channel and made the crossing from 9.23am to 10.15am on 26th April, arriving at Rest Bay north of Porthcawl in South Wales and continuing north.

FK8 celebrity reality TV star

FK8 at Dyfi birds nest courtesy of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust

FK8 Visiting Dyfi birds. Photo courtesy of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust.

Being the celebrity that she is, she couldn’t resist starring on the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust ‘live’ camera briefly, disturbing the resident pair of nesting ospreys. The ospreys were not in the least pleased to see her and she hovered over the nest and then headed off.

The spike from her route to the nest gives us an insight into just how good osprey eyesight is. She must have been at least 4km away to spot that nest and veer across to the west to visit, before moving northerly again to roost overnight in trees outside of Machynlleth. She set off through the north of Wales on 27th April and on reaching Conway turned inland following the line of the land over to Chester were she spent the night.

FK8 flies high through Peebles

Fly past Peebles 29th April FK8

An eight minute flight at over 1000m altitude and FK8 has gone through Peebles.

She flew north again on 28th April, roosting overnight north of Blackburn and then on to Carlisle without stopping on 29th April and then to home territory in Peeblesshire! How very exciting and yet no phone calls or photos from anyone spotting her coming through. Well not surprising really, as she sped past at a height of between 900m and over 1031m in altitude, arriving at 11.47am and within 8 minutes she had gone! Lonely SS might have welcomed her for a visit.

FK8 back up north at the Forsinard Flows

She has set her sights on moving north now. She has since travelled across the north east of Scotland, crossed the Dornoch Estuary and is back up at the Forsinard Flows RSPB Reserve fishing at Loch Slethill and settling in. This is her second summer to return to the UK and although late in spring, she could have her mind set on breeding this year. She is now three years old and in fantastic condition. We wish her the best of luck.

The full journey will be put on the screens at the osprey centres and also will be made into a film clip for the osprey blog soon.

No wife for SS yet

30th April SS looks skyward

No partner yet for SS

At the main nest, a lonely SS remains waiting for his partner. He is ever the optimistic soul, building up nesting material, and moving moss around. He is defending the territory against any incoming ospreys but he remains a single occupant. If he is still waiting for his partner from last year, blue leg ring AS6, then it is so disappointing, as it would seem that she has moved on.

However, spring is still unfurling and many migrants are still only just arriving, so we have not given up hope for SS yet.

Heron family life on camera

heron and three young.jpg

Back at the centres there are now herons on camera at Kailzie, with a nest of three very lively, somewhat prehistoric looking heron chicks. They differ in size greatly and the smallest is having a hard time to survive the cruelty meted out by its siblings attacking it in the nest. This is raw nature and often the smallest will not survive but so far it’s holding on.

The blue tit nest box camera has revealed that there are six eggs which are covered in moss while the bird is out. She will not start to incubate them until she has laid the full clutch which could be as many as thirteen eggs.

Otters and fox cameras

otter eating fish 11th April 2017

The stealth camera has been recording otters and foxes. The otters obligingly eat the fish left out for them and so there is a great view of it and the fox with the bent tail had a good feast on fish too.

Bees are back

The bees have been re-instated at Glentress Wildwatch, which are great to watch. They pass the time bringing packed pollen sacs back to the viewing hive after feasting on the flowers outside.