Season round up
This year the Tweed Valley Osprey Project has had a total of eleven nest sites with pairs of ospreys in residence and of these nests, nine of the sites were successful with osprey parents raising young this year. A total of 18 young ospreys have fledged: there were two broods with three chicks, five broods with two chicks and two broods of single chicks.
All of them were fitted with identity rings apart from the one that flew off last week and another that was too small for the ring to be fitted at the time and so was just fitted with a BTO ring.
This is the highest number of chicks fledged since 2011 when a total of 20 chicks fledged, so in all it has been a really productive season for breeding ospreys in the Scottish Borders, despite the disappointing result for the main nest on ‘live’ camera where our most well-known osprey, SS and his latest partner Mrs. O, have failed to breed.
The Darvic rings used for the Tweed Valley birds this year were all blue with white lettering of PX6 and PX9, PY0, PY1, PY2, PY3, PY4, PY8, PY9, LK0, LK1, LK2, LK3, LK4, LK5 and LK6.
The Tweed Valley Osprey Project area stretches from the source of the Tweed in upper Tweeddale to the mouth of the Tweed in Berwick. The main concentration of ospreys in the upper Tweed Valley has produced a minimum of 207 osprey chicks to date. The total is given as a minimum as there could well be more birds fledged from the area from undiscovered sites.
Fledging at nest 2
The satellite tagged birds from the back up nest 2 have successfully fledged and data from their trackers has revealed that they have not ventured very far from their nest site yet. The first to fledge was the female bird PY1 on the 13th July where she took a few flights each about a distance of between 50m to 200m around the nest site. She then found a good spot to the south of the nest on higher ground where she was presumably watching for her parents bringing fish in.
Each morning on 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th July she headed across to the same spot and sat in a tree there waiting. She became more adventurous and flew in a triangle around the site 200 metres south of the nest perched for a while, then flew 220m across the valley from the nest and perched there and stayed for an hour before flying 350m directly in a straight line back to the nest site. Checking the time of recorded film footage at the site we can see that her flight to the nest corresponded with Dad bringing a fish in as we filmed the whole family together feeding on that date at that time.
The volunteer on duty noted that the female adult concentrated more on feeding the young male bird but this didn’t cause concern at this stage in their development as the female chick (PY1) is more advanced and later footage revealed that she was feeding herself quite proficiently.
The male chick, PY2, fledged a couple of days later than his sister. He has made flights of varying lengths from 400m, 500m and his most adventurous 800m from the nest site. Each journeys end coincides with a flight back to the nest and presumably to receive fish from a parent.
PY1 Feeding herself
On 25th July PY1, the young female, was sitting in the nest feeding herself. She had half a trout that she was tucking into when the camera shook indicating that a bird was sitting on it, she looked up towards the camera and let go of the fish and moved to the side as her mum dropped into the nest and took the remaining fish and she began to feed. After a few minutes cleaning her beak in the nesting material, PY1 ruffled her feathers and took off leaving mum behind to finish her meal in peace. 8C and PY2, (Dad and son) were nowhere to be seen.
FK8 is still further north and is regularly visiting the Dornoch Estuary and then travelling north to the Forsinard Flows and she seems to be splitting her time between the two areas on a regular basis.
PX1, is still in Southern Mali at the Morila gold mines near Sanso, fishing in lagoons there and not venturing far from the location much at all.