Where is PX1?
The satellite tracked osprey PX1, the Jeremy Paxman osprey, has spent a few days at Forsinard enjoying good fishing in the many lochans in the area. He travelled further south from Forsinard on 16 May to the Badanloch Estate where he discovered the Helmsdale River and the tributaries, the Strath of Kildonan and the Kinbrace Burn.
Unfortunately the track data has ceased from updating from 17 May at 9pm, showing the last point where PX1 left the burnside and flew across the road, headed towards the Helmsdale River. We are hoping that it is a temporary blip in data, and that this will just be a lag before the tag starts to transmit again. Battery strength was good, and there were satellites in the area, but it is a very remote landscape with few mobile masts, so this could lead to poor signal transmission. Prior to it stopping, good and frequent data was being transmitted to show his whereabouts along the burn.
It is a worrying time waiting for data to update again – in the meantime we do not know if he is still safe and well. We shall have to wait and see. The last track points data will be analysed closely for any clues as to why it has stopped.
Is FK8 nesting?
FK8 has remained in a very static location, and we now believe that she must be making her first nesting attempt. We are waiting for news to confirm this. She is in the Dornoch area and we are hoping that she will breed successfully this year.
FK0 still hanging around the back up nest…
The back up no.2 nest in Tweed Valley remains unoccupied by a resident breeding pair, but the site is still being visited occasionally by FK0, the male osprey. He has been seen at the nest site with another bird on occasion, but we have not managed to capture footage of the two birds together to find out which female bird he is now with. They are too late to attempt to breed, but it is a good sign that he is holding this site as territory and has another osprey with him, which means they may attempt breeding there next summer.
New build – no thank you
Another ungrateful pair of ospreys have returned to their site to breed this year, where their choice of tree for the nest is so poor that the nest fell apart over the winter with the weight of snow. Tony Lightley put up a platform for them on a nearby sturdier tree which they could use instead. Tonys’ heart sank when he witnessed the birds carrying sticks not to adorn the new penthouse quality platform, but to rebuild in the spindly larch where the original nest was.
Domesticity for Mrs O and SS
SS and Mrs O have become very settled, like a married couple, both taking turns to sit on the eggs. SS has been providing fish for Mrs O, and she seems to be more contented this year. We have witnessed the eggs being rotated in the nest, and incubation time so far has proved to be (thankfully) uneventful.
The earliest date for hatching of the eggs will be the week beginning 11 June. Fingers crossed that this will be a happy year of fatherhood for SS, a role which he excels at. Mrs O is the unproven mother to-be, but hopefully she will be a good mum when the time comes.
Visitor centre news
In the osprey visitor centre at Kailzie Gardens, the blue tits have all hatched in the nest camera box and can be seen on screen. They grow very fast and it will only take two weeks before they will fledge and leave the nest.
Trail cameras have been set up to capture other wildlife in the area and we have some wonderful garden footage of hedgehog wars, showing dining etiquette amongst three hedgehogs visiting a local garden where bowls of food are provided for them on a nightly basis. A greedy hedgehog sits in the bowl to prevent any other hedgehogs sharing. He manages to hog all the food until ram raider hedgehog tips him out of the bowl. Who would have thought the humble hedgehog could be so beastly? The hedgehog wars film clip can be viewed on You Tube, on the Kailzie Wildlife channel.