Sunshine on Tweed… but PX1, where have you gone?

20180525_13-03-07 stick moving shady eggs

Mrs O, are you building a sunshade?

Sun brollies needed!

The weather has been fantastic in Tweed Valley for the past fortnight, and while we have all been basking in the glorious sunshine in high temperatures, we should spare a thought for the ospreys. Sitting at the top of the tree, their nest is totally exposed to the harshest of sun rays, with no shade at all.

Mrs O has tried to make herself useful, moving sticks around the nest – it looked as though she possibly had ideas of building a sun screen at one point, but never quite followed through on the construction. SS was seen panting, with an open beak, sitting over the eggs to shield them from cooking in the sun. They have both dutifully turned the eggs regularly and scraped the nest cup to rotate the mossy lining, keeping them at the right temperature.

The adult birds overwinter as far as Africa, so this hot weather is something that they are well equipped to deal with. The insulation that their feathers provide shields them from the harshest of conditions, hot or cold. They can fluff up their feathers to expel heat, or pant.

It is the eggs that must be protected because overheating can be as problematic as chilling to the development of the chick inside its protective shell, mostly due to excessive moisture loss.

SS is an experienced bird when it comes to looking after eggs, and he was very careful to maintain cover over them, shielding them from too much exposure to direct sunshine for any lengthy periods. Mrs O appeared slightly clumsier around the eggs, and at one point looked as though she might stand on them. Thankfully, they don’t have too long to go until the full incubation period is over. They will soon be welcoming the little chicks to the world!

20180526_14-28-34 SS panting inheat

SS hot and panting in the heat

Has anyone seen PX1?

We are still worried about PX1, aka Jeremy Paxman’s osprey. His transmitter has not sent any further data since he was spotted fishing along the Helmsdale River, on the Badanloch Estate in the north of Scotland on 17 May. We are still hoping this is a transmission fault, and the tracker is not sending data – but it is a shame, because we were beginning to see just how much a young male osprey travels and roams while exploring the land, especially when he has no territory to defend.

PX1 north of Scotland

The far north of Scotland where PX1 is roaming. He could turn up anywhere. Has anyone seen him?

Peebles holidaymakers may have seen PX1

comp osprey Durness

Peebles couple on holiday in Durness photograph this osprey and it looks like there could be a tag on his back. Is it PX1?

We received some photos from a Peebles couple returning from holiday in Durness on 20 May which may shed some light on PX1’s whereabouts. The couple had been walking and watching wildlife when they spotted an osprey at the Kyle of Durness, while they were travelling back to Peebles. It flew off and was chased by some oystercatchers, but they managed to capture a few shots of him and sent them to us, having heard that PX1 had been in Durness the week before.

We have no way of being certain but from the pictures, it does appear that the osprey has something on its back which could well be a satellite tag. It is quite feasible that PX1 headed back up north to the coast, and that this bird could be him. We just have to hope that we get a confirmed sighting or that his tracking device wakes up and begins to send data again. If anyone is heading to the north of Scotland please keep a look out for him and let us know if you see him. A photograph to confirm his identity would be a bonus!

Nest cams full house

At the osprey watch centre in Kailzie Gardens both nest cams have got a full complement of hatched chicks now, with the blue tits well on the way to becoming fledglings. The great tit chicks are still small, squirming, open- beaked hunger machines being fed by a busy mum and dad.

Rhona captures pine martens in the valley

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Wildlife photographer Rhona Anderson from Peeblesshire managed to capture some stunning film footage of a local pine marten in Tweed Valley this week. You can view her films and see the rest of her amazing wildlife photographs over at her Flickr page.

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