Monday, 28 April 2008

Images of the birds

Stuart Lowrie has taken some photos of the ospreys in flight. They were taken at St Marys Loch earlier this month (April 2008).

Osprey flying in the Tweed Valley

The second picture also shows a local peregrine falcon. According to Stuart, the peregrine seemed to be joining the local crows in harassing our osprey .

We hope these inspire you to get out and about and spot our local birds in action- see the staff in the osprey watch centres for advice on local viewing hotspots.

Osprey and peregrine falcon flying in the Tweed Valley

Friday, 25 April 2008

Blissfully quiet on the nest

Here in the beautiful Tweed Valley spring is finally showing its face and our Ospreys are at last basking in some proper spring sunshine!

All is blissfully quiet on our main nest, with our birds settled down to the patient task of incubating their precious eggs. As yet, no incidents of nest raiding , intruder birds, extramarital affairs, infanticide or egg stealing! ( touch wood). Our experienced birds are being model of family life. We are treated to great views of the two birds on the nest, as well as all the comings and goings, fish deliveries and shift changes.

Other migrant birds are also starting to appear- we have our first local sand martins and swallows. Some are even beginning to nest, such as our blue tits , who you can see on one of our other 'nest cams' at Kailzie Gardens.

Spring really is beginning to bite- come and enjoy the view!

Monday, 21 April 2008

It's a Hatrick!

To our great delight today on our 'main' nest we witnessed another Osprey egg- bringing the total laid in the nest this year to three. This pair of birds have reliably laid three eggs most years- and they did not disappoint us.

On several past occasions, only two chicks have resulted from three eggs, so its reassuring to have three 'chances'- especially as the weather was so very cold around the time the first egg was laid this year, perhaps endangering it.

Our female bird now settles down to a period of patient incubation, but there is no room for complacency- just today a carrion crow 'buzzed' the nest, perhaps testing the resolve of our female, who saw it off with fierce calls and expressions. The crows are one of the few predators capable of stealing an unprotected egg. Luckily our Ospreys are vigilant parents.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Finally Some Sunshine

Our hardy Ospreys have finally been treated to some sunny spells over the last couple of days, albeit with a cold wind still blowing! Our female bird really seems to have settled down to the task of incubating, being the personification of patience- she will need to be, as she faces over a month of the job until her chicks ( hopefully) hatch.

The male today spent most of the afternoon bringing in fresh moss to line the nest- often plonking great footfuls down on his mate, which she then artfully arranged. She and the eggs are now very snug, but it does make it a little hard to see if there is a third egg yet!

For those of you desperately waiting for an update from our second filmed nest (affectionately known as the 'backup' nest), rest assured it is occupied and the regular birds are doing very well.

This nest does not have a live camera link, but footage can be recorded at regular intervals. We will try to bring you regular news from this nest, especially at crucial times of the season. The latest footage shows two rather disgruntled birds on their snow covered nest, the female sitting so determinedly we've yet to get to see her eggs! More news soon.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Eggs in Peril?

Our excitement today on discovering another egg on our 'main' nest has turned to concern as the weather here in the Tweed Valley continues to swing between lovely sunny spells and snow showers! The second Osprey egg was laid overnight, and joins an earlier one laid last Friday.

Our very experienced Osprey parents know the risk to the eggs from the elements, and they have been taking turns incubating, but both appear restless- changing places so frequently we sometimes loose track. Perhaps they're trying to keep warm! We can only hope that this late cold weather doesn't jeopardise the success of these eggs, and that our female osprey lays a couple more just in case.

On Sunday two ospreys were seen flying over the viewing centre at Kailzie Gardens, engaging at one stage, in an aerial 'dog-fight' with two local buzzards. This spectacular display was a delight to watch- flying techniques were use that would make the red baron balk! This shows how active the birds are in Tweed Valley at the moment, so keep your eyes open. Happy spotting, Emma

Friday, 11 April 2008

The First Egg

Another wet and cold day here in the Tweed valley unfortunately- we were even watching hailstones bounce off the back of our nesting Ospreys!

Today we were treated to some great views of what we've all been hoping for- our first Osprey Egg of the season! Sometime late yesterday or early this morning our female laid a single egg which we hope in time will soon be joined by more.

Our first clue was the way she was sitting in the freshly moss lined nest centre, instead of perching as she has the last few days. Then she stood up and was seen turning over something between her feet with her beak- a telltale sign. Finally, as she left the nest briefly, we were able to zoom our camera right in and confirm the presence of an egg.

Ospreys usually commence incubating straight away, but our bird has been a bit restless today, probably as it is still snowing up at the nest site! Our male bird took a brief turn at incubating too- friends will remember that in previous years he has been a great father, often sharing such duties.

Our main concern now is that the current cold and wet weather doesn't jeopardise the egg. Lets hope it is joined by more soon- It's going to be great weekend!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

All Present and Ready

Our hardy 'main' nest birds have been riding out the wild and wintry weather here in the Borders the last few days. Despite the snow carpeting their nest, one of them has been on the nest at all times- probably to make sure no passing birds steal the chance to call it home! The Osprey pair have often been seen sitting side by side and mating, giving every sign of being 'family' orientated- egg laying can't be far off.

More good news today from our second monitored nest in the Tweed Valley. Affectionately know as the 'backup' nest, this Osprey pair have been a feature of the project for several years, and friends of the project will know them as the parents of 'Erol',the famous runt of a nest of a record four chicks in 2005.

The camera on this nest has today been linked up to a remote recording station, and the first images show two birds on the nest, one already sitting suspiciously as if she has eggs. This pair have a reputation for being early birds and it seems they may have preempted even our main nest pair this year. Over the next couple of days fresh footage will be collected that should allow us to identify the birds and to confirm the presence of eggs at this nest.
So all four of our regularly filmed birds have migrated successfully this year, and are on their nests ready to breed- it bodes well for the season ahead.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

A Whiteout

Viewers of the online camera link today will be appreciating the extraordinary weather we've been having today here in the Tweed valley which is more like midwinter than April!

Our poor Osprey couple have been sitting on the nest through snow showers and freezing winds. Late this afternoon we briefly lost view of them completely as snow settled all over the camera lens.

Surely the birds must be asking themselves why they hurried back from sunny Africa for this!
Let's hope the weather improves before our birds start egg laying and incubation duties, which could be anytime now.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

The Happy Couple

More great news from our 'main' nest: we now have our regular pair of Ospreys settled in residence.

Over the last couple of days, a male bird has been visiting our female on the nest morning and evenings, but today he stuck around and we were able to clearly identify his white leg ring (SS) which confirmed his identity.

Its seems after last years' scare, when his tardiness led to another male courting 'his' lady, our male has made sure he was on time and by his lady's' side to ward off interlopers from the beginning.

He and the female have been looking very 'romantic' sitting side by side on the perch and mating several times over the last two days. They have even been seen doing some 'housekeeping' together , adding sticks to the nest. Both birds have been vigilant however, watching the skies ready to ward off any other birds trying to steal their nest.

Great viewing of the birds is already being had at our centres so come and join us.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Osprey Web-Cam is Live!

We now have live pictures of our main Osprey nest available online every day between 10am and 5pm . In between visits you can now keep abreast of all the developments on the nest and see for yourself how things unfold. Please feel free to post us any comments or questions about the behaviour you see. Note: the view may change during the day as our volunteer staff in the centres zoom in and out to identify birds, see details etc.
Enjoy the view!