Tag Archives: wildlife

Snatch and grab

The osprey pair
The main nest pair are settling in together and their relationship seems to be blossoming. They began the season by frequent mating and then separating to opposite sides of the nest but they seem to be getting more affectionate towards each other.
I think white leg SS must be trying to impress his new wife, as I received a fantastic report from Tom McAndrew who witnessed him bringing a huge trout for her.
Tom said. “I was just packing up when the new female bird set up the most raucous calling and SS brought in the biggest trout I have ever seen him deliver! This was not so much graciously received as grabbed and removed to perch: I’m not sure whether SS was scunnered but he was certainly peeved and retired to the opposite perch.”
Perhaps the new Mrs SS will perfect her manners by the end of the season.

A week later

Love is definitely in the air for our pair of ospreys at the main nest now though. The bond between them has strengthened since their return. They will often be seen sitting together on the same perch beside the nest. Mating has taken place frequently too but there is still no sign of an egg yet. Domestic duties seem to be on the agenda, which gives us hope that they are expecting eggs, as the male brought in a large clump of fresh moss for the nest and has been bringing the occasional stick to add to the sides too. The female jumped down into the base of the nest on Monday and nose-dived into the middle and was kicking out her legs to scrape out a scoop into the centre. This was a sure sign that she is preparing a cup shape to fill with a precious egg cargo and we felt sure that we would see an egg in there soon afterwards but still no sign yet.
We are unconcerned though as it is still early in the season and all the signs are good indicators that they will be productive soon.

Wandering Borders bird

We have received some lovely news from Emyr Evans, the Dyfi Projects manager for Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust that a Borders osprey with ring number blue CL1 has visited the Dyfi osprey nest site at 11.25am on the 15th April. This bird fledged from a nest site in the Borders in 2012 and successfully migrated. It took a trip to County Wicklow in Ireland and was spotted there for a few days in June 2014. It is great news that as a fully mature adult it is now back in the UK and hopefully on track for taking up a breeding territory. Will it prospect for a site in Wales or continue northwards to find a nest site in Scotland? I hope through more sightings that we may find out.

Spring is still springing

This spring has been a bit of a stop and start season which could account for the delay in egg laying. The weather seemed to encourage blue tits to begin to build a nest in one of the nest boxes on camera at Kailzie and then stop again, while another pair have continued to build their nest and it looks near to completion. These can be watched on the screens in the Kailzie Osprey and Nature Watch Centre.
The oystercatchers seen from the river camera were doing their superb sidestepping synchronised courtship dance with heads down and open beaks.

courting oystercatchers
Butterflies and bees seem to have emerged suddenly and the sunshine on early flowers such as coltsfoot and primroses are providing early nectar sources for them.
A few swallows have been seen and chiffchaffs and willow warblers are now coming through and taking up territories, singing loudly to announce their arrival.

Thanks for reading!

Diane Bennett
Tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com

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The return of White SS

Glentress ospreys

A slow start

The osprey season has been slow to get started this year. Low pressure weather over much of Europe in the period before Easter was considered to be hampering progress of the migrating birds. The sudden improvement in weather and a brief period of high pressure weather systems brought about the correct conditions for the birds to move north.

SS and unringed female move in

During this brief spell of good weather our very special osprey male returned with a new partner at his side.
It was such a lovely surprise to see the return of ‘white leg SS’ to the main nest on 9th April accompanied by an unringed female osprey. We really had been quite uncertain whether he would continue to hold the main nest territory or be usurped by other birds. There has been a shadowy presence at the site –  another osprey passing overhead and causing some upset, since the pair took up residence.

Pair bonding

All seems to bode well so far though, as SS brought a fish and presented it to his new partner which she accepted and began to eat. She was pecking at the fish and appeared to find the presence of another osprey in the vicinity quite alarming, whereas SS appeared to be unconcerned. The pair bonding over a gifted fish is a good sign that they will remain together. Mating between the pair has taken place frequently at the nest and we are convinced that there will be eggs laid very soon. He has been seen to be scraping a scoop shape into the bottom of the nest in readiness.

Apart from mating, the pair seem to spend time apart at either side of the nest on separate perches. Perhaps there will be a closer partnership observed once eggs are laid and incubation starts. This will be the time when they will need to cooperate more, to take turns to incubate the clutch and he will give her breaks to go and stretch her wings while he keeps the precious eggs warm and protected.

The unringed female

After losing his mate last season, an unringed female moved in to the main nest and seemed to follow SS around even though he was seemingly distressed by her presence. He was often seen turning his back to her and mantling his wings as she followed him around the nest. It earned her the nickname ‘stalker’ amongst the volunteers. However, we wonder if this is perhaps the same female and she has successfully won her male prize. He is the rightful territory holder of the main nest site and he needs a partner, as the urge to breed is instinctive. Whether she is another female or the same one, we cannot tell but they are certainly an item now!

FK8 moving on

The satellite tagged female bird (FK8) that fledged from the ‘back up nest’ number 2 has spent the whole winter down in the Algarve region of Portugal.
In March she took a long journey east into Spain and spent some time just north of the Strait of Gibraltar. She has since headed back across to the area of Spain called the Donana National Park.

It is often noted that during springtime, birds exhibit a ‘migration restlessness’, even though they are not ready to migrate themselves. So perhaps her jaunt across country was just such migratory excitement and so we will keep watching to see where she heads to next or if she settles for the summer period in Spain.

Thanks for reading
Diane
tweedvalleyospreys@gmail.com