Friday, 27 June 2008

Ringing Pending

Our annual ringing event for the young Ospreys is coming up, and if you've seen the size of the chicks this week ( now looking uncannily like mini adults ) you will be unsurprised that we are keen to do the ringing before these little beauties start flying!

The ringing process is undertaken by licensed experts and is done with the greatest of professional care for the birds' welfare. It is the only time in their lives they are ever handled, and it is our only chance to meet them face to face after watching their early days on camera.
The process is painless and involves a short removal from the nest for weighing, measuring, a health check by a wildlife vet and the identity rings' attachment to their legs.

We hope to ring our birds early next week, weather permitting, and we will endeavour to beam live coverage of the event into the centres and the webcam as it happens so you can enjoy the view.

So stay tuned.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Sad News

Sad news today from our Backup nest- the second camera monitored Osprey nest in the Tweed Valley. It appears that one chick of the three recently hatched, has disappeared. We are not sure exactly when this tragedy happened as the nest is not filmed 24hrs, but it seems likely the smallest chick has died sometime in the last few days. It is most likely it has succumbed to cold and wet ( the weather has been very erratic) or perhaps was accidentally injured in the nest. The other two chicks are still hearty and strong. We will keep you posted of any further developments at this nest.

Apologies for Web Camera Problems

Our apologies for the current problems with the website link to the nest camera. The problem is with the web uplink which transfers the picture to the website, not the actual camera- which is working on site beautifully. Rest assured we are trying to fix the problem and please be patient with us while we try to fix the problem.

Meanwhile you can enjoy the nest camera view in both our visitors centres, and keep up to date on the web diary. Thanks, the Osprey team.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Our Other Birds Update

Just a quick update for those of you who have visited our twin visitors centres this year and may have wondered what is happening on the other nests profiled on nest cameras.

At Kailzie gardens our bumper blue tit family have finally fledged, from their nest on the tree outside the front door. Of the 10 or 11 eggs, and nine hatchlings, eight managed to fly the nest safely- not bad! We hope this super pair of wee birds might even attempt a second brood- we will keep the nest camera switched on to keep an eye out.

At Glentress, our swallows in the adjacent shed have now hatched five lovely chicks- they are certainly hungry, and the parents frantic in their efforts to satisfy them! We will keep you informed of their progress.

Other local birds are also doing well: at Kailzie the local heronry has a mix of chicks , some now old enough to be seen flying along the banks of the tweed. At Glentress , we have moorhen chicks and ducklings on the popular pond walks at the Red Squirrel carpark. If is a fantastic time to get out and about and see bird families- ask us how!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Growing Independance

Our young Ospreys are progressing fast- they seem to grow before our very eyes. Despite knowing what to expect, every year it never ceases to amaze me. The oldest two chicks are now four weeks old and clearly almost half way through their amazing early growth spurt- by eight weeks they'll be adult size and flying!
What we've really noticed this week is how long their wings have grown- they are quite comical using them like props to waddle about the nest on. Their feathers are starting to come in too- and they have taken on a distinctly speckled and well camouflaged appearance that can make them hard to see on the nest if they are sill very still or sleeping.
The boldest of them has even been seen this week, cheekily trying to take fish from dad- picking at a newly arrived fish impatiently without waiting for it to be shredded.
Mum now seems happy to leave them for short periods too- she has taken a half hour or so break most days since we've had plenty of sunshine.
My they grow up fast- Don't I sound like a grandparent- whoops!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Happy Family

Here in the Tweed Valley, our Ospreys are doing amazingly well, but life in the nest day to day is not without its little dramas. For example, there are the daily squabbles between chicks, with one (we suspect the oldest female chick) being decidedly bossy and today pecking her siblings head quite fiercely. Yet again Mum came to the rescue, diverting their attention to break up the fight.

Dad has been working hard to bring in enough fish to keep all the hungry mouths happy, and has taken to bringing in fish still whole. He must be still hungry himself, because occasionally he hangs around nearby and waits until all the chicks are full and then pops back to 'ask' for the tail for himself.

Just this afternoon, Dad arrived back in the nest with a fish, only to find mum was away, and there was no-one around the do the serving! He sat for about ten minutes wondering what to do with it before resorting to feeding the chicks himself- two of them took a few minutes to be convinced it would taste as good from a different parent.

Dad Osprey still insists on bringing in yet more moss to line the nest and yesterday half buried one chick which sat patiently with a moss headdress for a few minutes. Quite the look.

Overall all three chicks are growing well, starting to colour up with the first signs of brown and white feathers, and disproportionately long wings they use as props to waddle about the nest with- not their cutest stage but fascinating none the less.

Monday, 9 June 2008

A Loving Father

Our Osprey Dad has this week been demonstrating his extreme devotion to his parental duties and to his DIY. Not only has he been bringing in four or more fish a day to feed his family , including one very large pike, but he has been bringing in yet more sticks and moss to the nest. It is almost comical watching how he brings in fresh bedding material, artfully arranges it ( sometimes misguidedly on top of the chicks) and as soon as his back is turned, Mum rearranges it to her satisfaction! On one day this week, Mum returned from a quick trip away to find he had nearly buried the chicks in sticks, and it wasn't even raining!

His obsession with DIY it seems, is already passing to his offspring who have been seen lately moving small sticks around the nest themselves, perhaps trying to make things more comfortable, or perhaps just imitating their parents. All three chicks continue to be hale and hearty, so don't miss their cute early days- they'll soon be bigger than you realise!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Bird of Prey Month Events

Here at the Osprey Watch centres we've christened June Bid of Prey month, and our Ospreys will be acting as ambassadors for all our local raptors. The Scottish Borders we are blessed with many different species of Birds of Prey and many opportunities to view them. Mini displays will be available in the centres all month, so come and visit us to find out more, including their conservation challenges, and where to see them.

We are also running a weekend of special activities on the theme of Birds of Prey. On Saturday the 14th June, Glentress will be hosting a FREE Information and activity day, featuring kids games 12-,2pm.

On Sunday the 15th June at Kailzie Gardens centre, will we have a FREE information and activity morning and a themed afternoon guided walk at 2pm . The walk will be moderate grade, approx 2 hrs long and children must be accompanied. Please wear outdoor shoes and clothing.
For more information email us or call Emma on 07530310376

Growing Fast

Our three Osprey chicks are growing very fast indeed, already leaving behind their fluffy pale down and taking on a dark grey , striped look. They have already tripled in size in their first two weeks or so, and seem to grow before our very eyes!
All three chicks are feeding well- though Dad has taken to bringing in some fish alive which is a bit of a challenge. They are also getting rather more mobile and restless and one chick in particular is proving rather adventurous. It keeps wandering in the nest, trying to get out of the deep centre 'cupped' area, and Mum has to keep manoeuvring herself between it and the nest edge to prevent a nasty accident!
The female Ospreys parenting skills never cease to amaze us- as well as keeping her chicks shielded from this weeks occasional down pours, she has, on hot days, been placing herself carefully to provide shade for her chicks. What tender and attentive parents Ospreys are.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

More Good News: Backup Nest Babies

More good news here in the Tweed Valley today- the second camera monitored nest in the area, affectionately know as the 'back-up nest', has hatched three chicks. They appear to have been born between Wednesday and Friday last week, and are now approaching a week old, and all doing well. Friends of the project will know they are in excellent 'hands' ( or should that be talons?) as this is the famous Osprey pair who in 2005 raised four chicks to fledging.
We will bring you further news of this nest in the next couple of days.
Needless to say we are over the moon to have six Osprey chicks on these two nests considering the cold and difficult spring we've had- it bodes well for this being a bumper year for the Borders Ospreys!

An Eventful Weekend

What a weekend we've had here in the Tweed valley, with everything from blazing summer sunshine to torrential downpours! Our Osprey family on the main nest are doing well, with the three chicks growing before our very eyes- the youngest still obviously whiter than its two siblings who have already started to darken into deep grey 'bandits'.
On Sunday however, we were all given a terrible fright when the male bird brought in a huge trout to the nest - alive and very much kicking! This is unusual as he most often eats the head himself before bringing his catches to the nest, On this occasion, perhaps sensing his offspring were hungry, he brought it in still flapping and dumped it rather unceremoniously in the nest. The female Osprey did not immediately kill it or begin to 'serve' it to the chicks and for some ten minutes or so it flapped around, and being quite large it represented a considerable threat to the chicks. It landed on top of them once or twice, and we held our breath , hoping they weren't injured- luckily they seem to escape unharmed, as mum eventually tucked them under her for safety until the flapping subsided. What a day for a baby Osprey- nearly flattened by your supper!