Author Archives: dianetweedvalleyospreys

Mrs O and new beau have 3 eggs

Mrs O returned 27th March

Tweed Valley Osprey centres have remained closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Thankfully, the remote camera at the main Tweed Valley nest has been switched on and is relaying live streaming to the online Forestry and Land Scotland website. In the absence of our dedicated  volunteers who would normally be watching the screen for any exciting action, we find ourselves at the mercy of a static live camera stream giving only a  distant view of the nest and ospreys. The signal strength has been a little disruptive also so far this season.

SS has not returned

We have been watching intently to see if we can figure out what is happening and, so far, we’ve seen the return of the female osprey affectionately known as Mrs. O on 27 March. This was on target and all set for a good start to the season. We have also watched, waited and hoped for the return of white leg SS, our long term male osprey, who would be 21 years old this year but sadly he has not made it back so far.

A new male with a blue leg ring

Mrs O was seen waiting for him at the nest for days on end but eventually a new male made an appearance with a blue leg ring. He was quite persistent and attentive, appearing at the nest with fish. To begin with she remained uninterested and he ate the fish himself. But as time wore on, her resolve to wait for SS diminished. A bond began to form between the pair and soon he was bringing fish for Mrs O which eventually led to mating. It hasn’t all been plain sailing, or without drama, for this new romance though, as he has had to compete with another male osprey that also has a blue leg ring.

Fish eating

Blue ring male with fish

blue ring with fish

Mrs O doesn’t look impressed

Three is a crowd

This second male also brought fish and ate it at the nest in full view of the first new male. Mrs O, meanwhile, mantled and hunkered down in the main nest. Not that she is the shy and retiring type but perhaps she wanted to let the scenario play out and the best man win! Anyway, the interloper with the fish was eventually chased off by the new beau and the pair now seem to be settling quite quickly into their new relationship.

20200409_151833 (1) two males blue ringed and Mrs O

One of these blue ringed males needs to go

20200409_152502 (1) sent on his way

Chased away by the new boy

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Mrs O settling with new Blue ring male

The new pairing and eggs laid

We were still wondering if there might be a chance of SS turning up late and reclaiming his partner and territory but there has not been any sign of him. On 8 April, the nest started to appear more homely with moss  and some new sticks added into it. A scrape in the centre could clearly be made out and, sure enough, Mrs O laid an egg here on 16 April. It was difficult to see clearly at first – and we did wonder if there were 2 eggs – but we were able to grab a very clear image of the single egg later that day.

1st egg laid

1st Egg laid 16th April

IMG-20200416-WA0002 thought there were 2 eggs

Only one egg on 16th but her foot position makes it look like two

The distance of the birds from the camera means we cannot read the leg ring of the blue ringed bird but we can, at least, follow their progress and wait to see further egg laying and Mrs O settling into incubation. We will keep watching to see how many further eggs she lays and to see if the new blue ringed bird matches the excellent partnering and parenting skills of the much loved and most missed white leg SS.

Latest update 23 April. 3 eggs

Mrs O now has 3 eggs and has settled with her new partner, blue ring male. There have not been any sightings of white leg SS and so we must fear the worst for him. He was a legend and held the main nest territory for 16 years in Tweed Valley.

He will be missed but at least his last partner, the young female Mrs O, has found a new mate to start her own story in Tweed Valley. We do hope that this new pairing will be successful. The clutch of 3 eggs will hopefully produce fit and healthy chicks which we expect to hatch shortly after 25 May.

3 eggs and blue ring

Mrs O eating on the perch , new blue ring male takes his turn to look after the 3 eggs

3 eggs arrowed

Close up to see the 3 eggs

Hope made it


Hope has made it across the Sahara

The last report about Hope was that she had safely made it across the Alboran Sea and arrived in North Africa. Since then, she travelled down through Morocco and entered into dangerous Saharan territory. She headed into the desert and we have waited with baited breath to see if she would make it across such a harsh landscape after having journeyed so far. We don’t even know if she is capable of fishing for herself yet, as right up until the time she left the nest in Tweed Valley, her dad, white leg SS, was still supporting her with fish deliveries.

Lost for 6 days

On 13th September Hope’s signal was lost in the Western Sahara and for 6 days we had not had any tracking signal back and were beginning to fear that she had perished. To be the bearer of yet more bad news was not something to be relished. The sad reality of birds lost on migration is the difficult part of tracking young ospreys. Having spent a summer watching them grow and hoping to see them thrive once they leave their parents is nail-biting.

Time to celebrate

This time though, we can rejoice – the wait was worth it. On 19th September the tracking device burst back into life and delivered the data we had been waiting for! Hope did not perish in the desert – she has made an incredible trip and has almost reached Senegal.

Senegal and Gambia are pretty much on our wish list of ‘go to’ places for ospreys to migrate to.

Hope is almost there, and although not wanting to count any chickens before they have hatched yet, we’re feeling a lot more relieved that she is out of the desert and onto good osprey territory for a winter stay.

Fingers crossed for Hope.

SS is a super hero

When we track birds on migration and realise the stark reality of the high mortality rates, it makes it so much more incredible just how birds such as white leg SS and Mrs O make that migration multiple times with success. Especially SS, at 20 years old he is a very experienced world-wise traveller.

Hope near Senegal 19th September

Hope near to Senegal on 19th September

Hope flies high

Hope has left the United Kingdom!

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At last, some good news! Hope, the third young osprey from the main nest in Tweed Valley has started her migration, and safely made it out of the UK.

In our first update from Hope, we learned she had crossed France, and reached Spain on 9 September. At 9.43am Hope was flying at an altitude of 810m, at a leisurely speed of 8.72knots. Her journey took her over the major route of the A-15 south of Lekunberri, in the Basque Country of Spain.

High hopes for Hope!

Hope left the main Tweed Valley nest site at 5.50am on 5 September, where she was last seen on the nest. The day before, her dad, SS, had been bringing fish for her. The rest of the family had already gone, and tragically, her sister Luna had died in Dorset by the time Hope decided to migrate.

On her first day, she travelled a huge distance of 450km, followed by a shorter 31km journey on her second day, and then another epic 410km to leave the UK and travel down through France. It is very interesting that the route that she took through UK was so similar to her sister Luna’s, except that on reaching the south coast she went directly across the channel, where Luna had turned went west along the coast into Dorset.

Luna’s hesitance to leave the coast and cross the channel was probably weather driven. Fortune has favoured Hope, and she has made swift progress. We have everything crossed for her safe journey, and it will be really exciting to see where she spends her winter, if she can successfully complete this first migration journey.


Hope’s journey so far (up to 9th September)


A fast migration for Hope so far to Spain

Tweeddale ospreys have flown

All the ospreys have now left from the new nest site, which has been monitored by volunteer Stuart Blaik this season. They stayed as late as the main nest adult SS and his daughter Hope.

Loch Doon and the Tweed Valley grandsons

I was fortunate to visit the osprey site at Loch Doon at the weekend, where I saw one of our Tweed Valley ospreys’ great grandsons on the nest.

The poor young osprey was having a hard time, being harassed by two crows after his dad had delivered a fine fish for him. He never got to eat it though, as the two clever crows bombarded him so often that he lost his fight to defend it. He gave up, and gave chase, and even managed to steal back his fish from the crows. Nonetheless, they kept coming in and taking chunks of his meal.

It is a fantastic set up at Loch Doon in Dumfriesshire – they have a visitor centre with cameras on the nest for live viewing, and a lounge to sit in and drink good coffee whilst watching the nest, across the loch. Volunteers are on duty to tell visitors what is happening and to keep them informed, and the enthusiastic Roy, who was on duty when I visited, told us all about the birds and the osprey project there. It was really good to make links with sites to where Tweed Valley birds have dispersed, and are now breeding.

Another update from Hope!

This morning, we learned Hope has travelled down the west of Africa, having made a safe crossing over the Alboran Sea, leaving Spain yesterday.

Full details of her journey will follow soon!


Tragedy for Luna

Very sad news

Luna never made it off English shores. She got as far as the Blandford Forum area of Dorset, where she roosted overnight. On her flight the next morning, tragically, she struck overhead power lines. She broke her wing and was taken to the vet, but was put to sleep as they couldn’t save her.

301 dead

Luna was recovered close to the power line shown in the google image . The red dot was her last tracked point.

Luna reaches the Big Smoke

Migration progress

Luna stopped overnight in the wooded valley beside the coast near to Lythe on 20 August, and the next day moved on again, continuing her way south to Lincolnshire. She flew 151 km, and stopped overnight near to Ulceby Cross, close to the A1104 road, in a woodland belt.

Picture5 lythe roost

Overnight roost for Luna in Yorkshire near to Lythe 19th August


Heading south


Crossing the Humber into Grimsby

On 21 August Luna left her latest roost and travelled a further 100km. She reached Fenton in Cambridgeshire where she spent the night in a tree near to the roundabout between the A141 and the B1040.

By 6.30 am on 22 August she was on the move again, heading to  St. Ives. She proceeded south east, crossing the Cambridgeshire countryside, down to Southend on Sea. At 4pm she crossed the Thames estuary and reached the Isle of Grain. She stopped beside the power station at Wallend on the Isle of Grain at 4pm on 22 August, having flown another 133 km of her first migration journey.


Along the Wash and Cambridgeshire route


Roost near to Ulceby Cross


overnight roost 21st August


To Southend On Sea


Luna reaches the Isle of Grain


Luna stops near to the power station close to Wallend , Isle Of Grain


Last data point on 22nd August at 4pm by the power station


Luna’s route through UK, not far to go before leaving us now

So far so good, and fingers crossed, she will be likely to leave the UK this weekend.

There has not been any news of Buzz, but it is likely that he has started his journey.  Although Hope’s tracker is not giving any information out, she was seen on the nest yesterday morning. SS was also there the day before, bringing a fish for her. Her solar-powered tracker is likely not getting charged up with enough sunlight, especially if she is just hanging around at the nest site .

More news as we get it!

Migration Starts

Luna flies south

The migration of the main nest’s young ospreys has begun.

picture 1 leaving

Luna left Tweed Valley, and her first stop was Minto

On 19 August at 3.15pm approximately, Luna, one of the main nest young ospreys left Tweed Valley and set off in a south easterly direction.

Picture 2 Minto

Overnight in a tree north of Minto, in the Scottish Borders

The first part of her journey was a flight of 32.84 km to north of Minto in the Scottish Borders. She spent the night in a tree there, in a small woodland. She stopped at 18.23pm and stayed in the wood until the next morning, then began to move on again at 6.30am. She flew at a speed of between 5 and 20 knots, at a height of 580m above sea level. She flew continuously for four hours,  then at 10.30am on 19 August she rested briefly in a tree at 157m above sea level, before continuing her journey towards Newcastle.

Picture3 rest stop

A well-earned rest stop after 4 hours of flying

picture 4 newcastle out to sea

Out to sea beyond Newcastle

Luna flew out to sea leaving the mainland behind her, and traversed across the bay at Middlesbrough. She re-joined the mainland at 14.45 north of Goldsborough in East Yorkshire, and headed up a wooded valley above the coast to roost for the rest of the day and overnight. She had covered a distance of 168 km altogether on 19 August.

She stopped in the wooded area from about 15.46pm to 6am the following morning. From the image on Google Earth, the wood appears to flank a river where she may have fished as she moved around the area, before settling for the night.

Picture5 lythe roost

Luna re-joined the mainland and roosted in wooded riverline near Lythe

Her journey continued the next morning, and she had reached Newholm by 8am. She carried on going, heading steadily south east. The last GPS point for her migration received so far was on 20 August at 8.59am, north of Langdale End in Yorkshire.

Picture6 newholm onwards

On to Newholm!

picture 7 full route so far

The full journey so far

The other tagged young osprey is Luna’s sister Hope. Her data has not updated since 16 August, when it showed that she was still at the nest site in Tweed Valley. By now she could well be on her way, but we will have to wait for the data lag to catch up. Buzz, their brother may well have left by now too.

Season finale!

Sadly, this week is my last week for the summer osprey season… but it has been a great year at the main nest, and the three young ospreys are doing really well. They give the impression of feistiness and strength, especially when compared with last years young ones.

20190807_13-41-39 young all together

The youngsters hanging out

There have been some superb name suggestions sent to us, and eventually, we decided on a lunar theme. Willie Mair and Rhona Young thought that it would be fitting to mark the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing anniversary, as we had already celebrated a 20th anniversary for SS this year.

We have chosen the name Luna for osprey 301, to mark the lunar landing. Hope will be the name for 303, from Lorna’s suggestion, while the male osprey 302 will be called Buzz, in honour of Buzz Aldrin (not Buzz Lightyear!). Thank you to all those who took the time to offer suggestions, as that was much appreciated!

20190808_14-31-55_Moment here comes dinner

Luna, Hope and Buzz

As the season draws to a close, we haven’t seen Mrs O for a few days. We think that she may have left for southern winter skies already. She has done an absolutely brilliant job raising three young with her partner, white leg SS. He is definitely still around, and his visits to the nest involve only the briefest touchdown to deposit a fish for one of his offspring, then he alights and is away again in the blink of an eye. We hope, very much, that we will see him back next year, partnered with Mrs O for another successful season.

20190807_12-38-50 Mrs O has go faster feather spoilers

Mrs O with feathers sticking up and Hope on the nest, both eating fish

20190807_12-34-49 Mrs O feather fashion close up

Mrs O shows off her feather spoilers

As for the three young ospreys, they are still hanging out at the nest to feed. The last view of Mrs O at the nest was 7 August, when she arrived with a fish. 303 (Hope) was already eating fish on the nest. They both sat there eating, Mrs O up on the perch and Hope on the nest. Mrs O had two feathers on either side sticking right up, looking like the spoilers on a sporty car. Is this the tail end of her summer moult before she takes flight?

Later that day, 302 (Buzz) was sitting alone on the post when a jay decided to visit. The little jay hopped about while Buzz watched, and then both sat at opposite sides of the nest on the perches quite contentedly.

20190808_14-31-25 302 has fish bu tthe girls looking up to mum or dad

Buzz has the fish, Hope  and Luna stare upwards, watching SS in case he has more fish.

On 8 August all three young birds were seen at the nest together, tracking a bird flying in the sky above them. They were dropping their wings and flicking them and calling excitedly. A fish was brought in and dropped off to them, we think by SS, but as it happened in a flash, it was hard to see and then he was gone again.

Buzz grabbed the fish, which was only small but very much still alive and flapping about. He was unsure what to do, and tried to hold it down to keep his sister Hope, from making a steal. The fish had smudge markings down its flanks and was possibly a parr. It looked golden in colour, as the light caught it. Buzz was definitely not up for sharing, especially when Luna made an appearance at the nest with a flying swoop as she dropped in.

Luna landing

Luna landing

Buzz kept walking around the edge of the nest, keeping the fish away from his sisters. His strategy was to hold it down in his talons until it weakened before he attempted to eat it.

The adult bird was flying around the nest above them, and they kept looking skyward, the sisters undecided as to whether they should keep watching dad in case he had some more fish, or to keep watch on their brother, in case he let go of his.

Buzz with trout parr

Buzz with the parr

The centres will remain open until the end of August, allowing visitors to catch a few last glimpses of the family before they leave. This week’s highlight from the nest are over on YouTube – click the image below to play.

Screenshot 2019-08-14 at 11.39.52

This week’s highlights

There is a lovely film which shows the whole summer season, from Mrs O and SS arriving in the spring, to the laying of the eggs, incubation, hatching, and the patient rearing of the three chicks, showing how they developed week by week until fledging.

Thank you to all the volunteers for the Tweed Valley Osprey Project, and our project supporters. The volunteers do a fantastic job keeping a watch on the nest and recording everything that is happening. They greet all the visitors to the centres, and make a visit so pleasant with tales of what the birds have been up to, always ready with a cheery smile and such enthusiasm.

Once the birds begin their migration, I will send in some updates to let everyone know how they are doing. We all wish them a safe journey and a long and happy life. Bye bye until next year!

– Diane Bennett

Tweed-Valley-Osprey-Celebration080619_0004 (1)

The  SS birthday cake by Emma’s Cakes of Kelso and left to right: Diane Bennett, Lady Angela Buchan Hepburn, Tony Lightley, Lynne Mitchell, Eve Schulte, Iain Coates and Norma Coates (Photo Courtesy of Peeblesshire news)


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TVOP fabulous osprey volunteers and supporters (photo courtesy of Peeblesshire news)