Mrs. O and SS
On the main nest the regular pair SS and Mrs. O have been making use of their time there to do a spot of tidying up of the twigs and sticks and the occasional nest scraping into the bottom of the nest by SS too. SS is still bringing fish for a persistent Mrs. O and their partnership has held well.
A stranger visits
There was a nest visit from a strange bird on 3rd August. SS was at the nest and video recording showed that he began to mantle and show distress as another bird landed on the nest. The second bird was a female with no leg rings and a quite streaky brown head markings in her crest.
She perched on the edge of the nest staring out across the valley and didn’t settle, while SS turned his back on her and mantled his wings. It was thought that the bird was Mrs. O at first but it was only when examining the footage closely and zooming in on freeze frame that it was obvious that this female had no leg rings at all, whereas Mrs. O has a silver BTO ring on her right leg. The head markings on Mrs. O are quite distinctive too as she has a thick chocolate coloured stripe down the back of the head and also a pale edging to her dark plumage.
The visiting female appeared to be on edge and watchful into the distance. She had the tail end of a trout in her right talons and she didn’t stay for long. After an alert and a watchful few minutes she took off from the nest leaving SS behind. She seemed to have no interest in him at all and paid him no attention, keeping her back to him as she watched out. His body language of dropped wings and mantling behaviour, turning his back to her and walking away from her showed that the disinterest in each other was mutual.
SS delivers a fish
In contrast to this behaviour, a loud squawking Mrs. O was at the nest on 6th August when SS flew down to join her with a really big trout in his talons, which an excited Mrs. O rushed forward to take from him. He let her take it from him straight away and it could be seen that he had made a meal of the head end of the fish but had left most of the body and tail for her. She took her generous portion up to the right hand perch and began to feed hungrily while SS busied himself cleaning his beak in the nest material before eventually leaving a contented Mrs. O to feed alone.
She didn’t stay quiet for long though and before she had even finished the meal her usual loud calling began again in earnest between chunks of fish being pulled off with her hooked beak and devoured.
A fishery treat for a visiting osprey
An osprey has twice visited Kailzie Gardens Fishery this week, witnessed by Jane who lives in the Lodge house at the gates to the Gardens. The first visit from an osprey which she describes as being quite small (so probably male) was at 8pm in the evening, when she saw a bird repeatedly dive into the pond and a big splash. It then tried to fly off with a really big fish in its talons but it was too big to haul away and it dropped it and flew off along the river towards her house.
The second visit was from the same smaller osprey but this time with success as she watched him flying past her house at 6am with a struggling fish securely in his talons. Don’t tell Jimmy at the Fishery! Only kidding! He was as pleased as we were but did say he would send a bill for the fish at the end of the season, I hope he was only kidding too!!
At the back up nest 2, the two satellite tagged young ospreys Pinky (PY1) and Perky(PY2) have been getting bolder in their flights away from their nest site. Both birds discovered the River Tweed on 2nd August; Pinky got there first at 8am while Perky checked out the river later that day. They never actually went over the river but flanked the edges of it over higher ground. So far both birds have taken short flights North , South , East and West of their home nest while they familiarise themselves with their territory and wait for parents to bring fish for them.
Most journeys stayed within 0-800m from the nest. The longest trip for Pinky so far took her on a journey over the valleys and forests to Kirkhouse forest edge as she flew adjacent to the B709 at 7.47am on 7th August, later in the day at 11am she was flying along the River Tweed near to Walkerburn, that has been her longest flight so far, a distance of 16 km in total.
Her brother Perky (PY2) has not been a slacker on the exploration front either, as he has not only discovered the Tweed but he has also crossed over a couple of hills to check out a neighbouring osprey pairs nest site. He didn’t stop but continued on past for a further kilometre before heading back to familiar territory and wait for mum or dad to bring food.
It’s good to see their confidence levels growing and to know that these flights are contributing to them gaining strength and fitness ready for migration which is not long away now.