Tuesday, 1 September 2009

One Last Thing....

The Osprey Officer Emma is leaving the project to work with other wildlife and would just like to say a heartfelt thank you to the fabulous volunteer team who make this project happen. Many of you will not realise that the two osprey visitor centres are run entirely by a volunteer team, fifty local people who donate their time and expert knowledge of birds and local wildlife to share with the public. The project would simple not happen if it weren't for their support and that of the whole local community who help us protect these fabulous birds.

It has been a privilege to lead this team and to share the magic of the osprey season with our numerous friendly visitors over the last three years. I hope you have enjoyed the blog, and the camera views- here's hoping 2010 will be just as exciting!

Goodbye and Good luck

Its time to say goodbye to our young ospreys as they head off on the biggest adventure of their lives! They have a three thousand mile journey ahead of them, and all the hazards and dangers such as hunters, power lines, bad weather, sea crossings, deserts and even crocodiles!

Keep your fingers tightly crossed for Tokyo, Caledonia and Stig our three main nest chicks, as well as their contemporaries born in the Borders this year. It has been another amazingly successful breeding year for our local ospreys , with at least nine pairs raising an estimated 22 chicks! What a good omen for the future of our local ospreys!

Until next time...

We hope you enjoyed the updates this season - we're now going into 'off season' mode on the blog. We'll keep it ticking over during the autumn and winter and will be back in the spring for next season's action.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Osprey Centres and Cameras

Please accept our apologies for the intermittent problems with the osprey nest camera over the last few days. Its seems the constant work over the summer has exhausted the solar batteries and they are draining quickly. In order to preserve them we have shortened the timer to 10.30am to 4pm. There have also been some clarity problems but hopefully these have now been sorted.

Our twin centres at Kailzie Gardens and Glentress forest will be open 10am-5pm until Monday the 31st August. After this time, as there is no longer any activity on the osprey nest, our centres will go into an 'off season' mode. Both will be open but unstaffed during September, with highlights of the 2009 season on display but no live camera viewing. They will of course still have information on local walks, wildlife watching etc available.

So pop in and see our friendly volunteer staff before the months end to hear all about our fantastic season, ask questions, or share your own osprey stories.

The End is Nigh

Well, metaphorically speaking the end of our 2009 osprey season is nearing its natural conclusion, as our young birds become independent and all the birds begin to think of moving southwards.

Over the last week, we've noticed the birds returning less and less often to the nest, and the three chicks are now appearing only once or twice a day for brief visits. This is , of course, a good sign as the youngsters need to be effectively self-sufficient any day now.

We have not had a confirmed sighting of our mother bird for well over a week , so we are pretty certain she has heading south on her long migration. Dad has also been conspicuously absent from the nest for the last few days- though he may still be in the area , just spending all his time at the river 'coaching' his offspring!

We are also starting to get regular sightings of other ospreys in the area- birds from further north in Scotland who are passing through the Borders on their journey south, often using our waterways as a convenient staging post.

All this of course means it is the best possible time of year to try your hand at spotting ospreys out and about in the Borders. If you want some hot tips, pop into one of our centres over the next few days and ask our volunteers. If you see a bird , and especially if you spot any wearing colourful Darvic leg rings, please let us know!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A Motherly Surprise

Our viewing of the live osprey nest has continued to be fascinating this week, with more than usual nest activity for this time of year. All three chicks are still making very regular appearances, and dad is perhaps surprisingly still bringing fish to the nest daily, despite the fact that at least two of the chicks are now able to hunt for themselves.

Yesterday held an even greater surprise though, as our female osprey made an appearance on the nest with a fish. We had begun to think she had already left for her long migration journey south. Regular watchers will know it is always mum who heads south first, leaving dad to 'supervise' the teenage chicks in the final weeks before he too abandons them.

What was most interesting though, was the fact that mum 'babied' the three chicks as if they were tiny- carefully shredding the fish she had brought in and ensuring it was shared fairly. This is extraordinary considering their advanced stage of independence!

It was great to see her looking so well and obviously in good hunting form as she will surely start her journey soon.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Growing Independence

Good news this week as all three of our chicks are doing brilliantly and gaining independence rapidly. They have all been returning to the nest regularly and their father has still been providing fish for them. There have been a few squabbles over fish on the nest and there is no doubt that the oldest two have been getting the lions share now mum isn't around to ensure good manners.

The best news though has been the appearance on the nest of both Tokyo and Calendonia with their own fish! Both chicks have returned to the nest carrying the fish, in Caledonia's case, still wriggling and flapping! We are very proud of our youngsters who are beginning to feed themselves. This puts paid to the theory that young ospreys do not hunt for themselves until abandoned by their parents and forces to start their southwards journeys.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Update on Other Birds

Just a quick note to answer some enquiries about our other birds we've been featuring at the centres over the last few months on live cameras. Though Ospreys are of course our stars, we like to think of them as ambassadors for all our local wildlife and try to feature other species in the centres as well.

Firstly, the live Heron nest on camera at Kailzie fledged at least 7 healthy chicks, and though we've had one sad mortality since then, these youngsters are often being seen in the Kailzie fields and on the Tweed river below the centre.

Similarly the nuthatch family who so fascinated us on live nest box camera are all fledged and still visit the bird feeding table outside the centre- though trying to see any leg ring numbers on these visits has proved impossible!

At Glentress, the swallows have just yesterday fledged their second brood on the live nest camera - a grand total of 10 chicks this year- well done parents! Its a pleasure to watch the swallows swooping around Glentress carpark oblivious to all the human activity below.

We have also had exciting regular reports of Tree Sparrows on our live feeding station camera- as well as all the usual suspects- which is a quite uncommon species distinct from the common House Sparrow.

Lastly we have a family of Jays frequently using the Live Osprey nest at the moment- two adults and at least one youngster have been making appearances, mostly when the Ospreys are away, to scavenge for scraps. They have even appeared when the nest is occupied occasionally, and after ignoring them imperiously for a while , the young ospreys eventually give chase! Jays are lovely forest birds, not often seen up close, but are versatile scavengers and a colourful addition!

There is still lots to see in the centres, including highlights of the season so far, so drop in before the end of August.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Family News

Over the last few days the main Osprey nest has been the site of regular activity and it's been quite hard to keep a track of all the coming and going! The whole family is never on the nest all together now, and with the adults and chicks all still using the nest as a base , especially for feeding, it is a bit like watching a constantly changing who's who!

The reason for all the confusion is easy to appreciate when you realise that all three chicks are now at least as big as their father and Tokyo and Caledonia are nearly as big as mum! The only appreciable difference in appearance is the more speckled feathers of the youngsters (as each feather still has a pale fringe to it).

The only way to be certain of the birds identities is to zoom in and focus on their legs to read their Identity Leg rings ( known as Darvic rings) which they have been wearing since the 13th July. By this method we have been able to confirm all three chicks have visited the nest regularly this week- including little Stig who seems to be doing just fine!

We have even seen mum on Thursday who brought a fish back to the nest and fed the chicks as if they were little.

This is interesting as she is obviously back to hunting herself and getting fit for her migration south, as she is usually the first to head south- and this could be very soon indeed.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Growing Up Fast

Our three Osprey chicks are certainly growing up quickly and showing remarkable independence at this early stage of their newly fledged lives. Over the last three or four days they have been an increasingly rare sight at the nest, as they spend longer and longer away on their 'training' flights, working on their all important fitness.

They have also taken to roosting on trees nearby the nest rather than on it, as their quick appearance when an adult with food appears testifies! Like all hungry teenagers, when food is on offer, they magically appear! Dad has been bringing at least two fish a day the the nest, but it looks very like the start of the ' tough love' period when the food deliveries decrease, as a none to subtle 'hint' that the youngsters should be trying fishing for themselves.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Stig Takes Off!

To everyone's joy, our smallest chick Stig, who got into such trouble earlier this week, has finally taken his first flight. Late yesterday he took off rather tentatively and made a short trip around the nest. He was back on the nest within five minutes looking very pleased with himself. However, he has only repeated the attempt twice since- he's still taking things slowly thank goodness!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Stig Still on the Nest

To all our enormous relief it seems little Stig, our smallest chick, has learnt from his misadventure at the beginning of the week, and is taking things slowly. He has been sitting on the nest all day again yesterday, doing some wing stretching and flapping, but not trying to take off. Some unkind people have suggested he's a little 'backwards' but we think he's just being cautious as his unscheduled first 'flight' was such a disaster!

There has been lots of action at the nest, with the two oldest chicks making regular short flights and both parents appearing on the nest regularly. However, when dad brought in a fish and mum was absent, there was an bit of squabbling over the fish- with no mum there to ensure they shared fairly, Tokyo the oldest and bossiest unsurprisingly got the majority of ti!

We expect all three chicks to be using the nest a lot in the next two or three weeks or so- unlike many small birds, the Osprey chicks first flight is just the start of a gradual 'fitness' regime, aimed at building wing muscle and strength for the long journeys ahead.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Stig Recovers

Just a quick update on Stig- our little rascal who gave us all such a fright yesterday! He seems to be absolutely fine, none the worse for his "off the nest" adventures!

It doesn't seem like he's learnt his lesson though- he's back sitting on the edge of the nest again, as precariously as before!

He has been tucking into fish today as normal with his brother and sister who have both been taking short flights. At about 5pm today when dad brought in a fish, all five birds were on the nest- though the chicks can feed themselves already, mum seems to think it was vital she was there to ensure everyone shared fairly!

Lets hope Stig continues his wing stretching and flapping and is fit enough to make his official first flight later this week- fingers crossed its more successful than the last!

Monday, 27 July 2009

High Drama and Dramatic Rescue

Monday the 27th July 2009 will go down as one of our most dramatic days ever, but I am happy to report 'All's well that ends well'.

Yesterday afternoon, the youngest chick " Stig" took a tumble from the nest, despite not being anywhere near ready to fly . Witnesses describing him 'stepping backwards and falling of the nest' late afternoon. This is not uncommon in birds near to fledging and we waited to see if this unscheduled departure would force him to fly and see him return safely. (Almost all young Ospreys come back to the nest after their early flights, which usually only last few minutes.) Unfortunately by early this morning he had not reappeared and our concerns for him grew.

If "Stig" had been able to glide to a nearby tree, his parents would continue to feed him and all would be well until he was properly ready to fly in a few days. If however, he fell to the ground, he would most likely not have the strength to take off and would of course be desperately vulnerable to predators and unlikely to survive.

After consulting with our experts and much discussion on the merits of interfering, we decided that the other two chicks would not be compromised if we went to the nest to see if we could find " Stig". After a short search, we found him stuck amongst very long bracken near the base of the nest tree, looking forlorn, but unharmed. After a short confinement in a quiet and safe box, "Stig" was fed with some fresh fish ( kindly supplied by Ronnie Graham of Barony Country Foods at short notice!) and returned safely to the nest by Forestry Commission Conservation Manager Tony Lightly.

We watched on camera this afternoon as he sat on the nest feeding well and waiting for his two older siblings ( both now flying) to return to share his windfall of fish! He seemed none the worse for wear for his adventure, but was still standing perilously close to the nest edge having learnt little from his mishap! This happy outcome seems to vindicate our decision to intervene- since he most probably would not have survived if we hadn't. We will report on his progress tomorrow and hope all the excitement won't have done him any harm!

Whilst all this was going on, we shouldn't ignore the fact that our female chick "Caledonia" fledged naturally today as well, at about 2pm. Her first flight was a text book five minutes and she came back to an impressively accomplished first landing- well done lass!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

We Have First Lift Off!

This afternoon our oldest Osprey chick 'Tokyo' took his maiden flight. After a week full of vigorous wing stretching and flapping and a few attempts at flying across the large nest in the past couple of days, and at the grand old age of seven and half weeks he took his first flight from the nest at 1.57 pm today.

He was shepherded back to the nest by his ever watchful mother just three minutes later, as is often the case with Ospreys- they do not leave the nest permanently at first, continuing to use it as a base for several weeks to come, and only gradually building independence.

We will keep you posted on the progress of the other two chicks and be sure to drop in a visit us if you can to enjoy the thrills and spills ( crash landings and ungainly manoeuvres being common) of this eventful time in the young Ospreys lives.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Teenagers Doing Well

Our three Osprey chicks are all doing well, a week after their exciting ringing experience. They settled back into life on the nest very very quickly and have been happily showing off their blue leg rings on camera ever since!

They are spending a large amount of time preening themselves as the last of their down 'baby fluff' is shed and their adult feathers fully develop. When they shake themselves, little clouds of tiny down feathers often float away like thistle down!

They are also importantly spending a lot of time wing stretching now- which we have been jokingly calling 'Osprey aerobics'. This is crucial for their wing muscles to develop and strengthen prior to their first flight.

We've had lots of questions regarding when these chicks will fledge: the answer is soon! In 2007 when the chicks hatched at a similar time, they first fledged on the 24th July- so will this year be the same this year?

And don't worry , once they fledge they will keep coming back to the nest , like all teenagers, for food, rest and company, so you will still be seeing plenty of them!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Still Buzzing

Here in the Tweed Valley we are still buzzing from all the excitement of meeting our Osprey chicks up close on Monday on their ringing day. We thought you'd like some more pictures of them up close!

Also, some people have asked about the 'backup nest' where you will be pleased to hear two very big and healthy chicks were also ringed on Monday- one male and one female.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Baby's Big Day

Wow! What an amazing day for our young Ospreys and us!
Yesterday was ringing day- the only time in the Ospreys lives when they will be handled by humans. This safe and strictly controlled research technique involves the chicks being brought down to the ground for about half an hour to be weighed, measured, health checked and have identity leg rings fitted. These will enable us to identify these individuals in the future and track their movements. It is also our only chance for the team to meet them face to face and take photographs- an experience to be treasured.

The parent birds circled overhead during this process as usual, swearing at us but not attacking, and were happy to return to their family very shortly after they were returned to the nest safe and sound.

All three chicks were in very good body condition and very well grown for their age, we are happy to say. Tokyo was rather feisty and had a few nips at our team- until given a stick to hold in his beak! It turns out that he is a male bird, whereas Caledonia is undoubtedly a female, and little Stig ( still a healthy 1.6 kgs) is also probably a boy.

The rings this year are blue on the left leg, and the ring 'numbers' are : "LK" for Tokyo, "LL" for Caledonia" and "LM" for Stig.

There is extensive footage of this process now available of this process in both centres for you to enjoy.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Ringing Day Approaches

The exciting day is fast approaching when our young Ospreys are going to be ringed. This is the only day in their entire lives (hopefully) when they will be handled by humans and that we will get to see them in such intimate detail so its an important moment.

This safe and strictly licensed technique is one hundred years old this year and tried and tested with Ospreys. It enables us to identify individuals, track the progress of birds and gather information on their migrations and whereabouts during their ( hopefully) long lives. At the same time, the chicks will be weighed, measured and given a health check as well.

This Monday morning ( the 13th) at approximately 10am- 12noon, the team will be ringing the main nest chicks, and thanks to help from the Forestry Commission technical department we will be able to broadcast this event live into the centres at Glentress and Kailzie for all to enjoy. There will be experienced volunteers on hand to explain the procedures as they happen and to answer any questions you may have.

All of this is of course weather dependant as the birds welfare must always come first, but I will try to post any change of plans here for you all.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Growing Up Fast

Our three Osprey chicks, Tokyo, Caledonia and Stig, are growing up incredibly fast and showing signs in the last couple of days of making quick progress.

The wing stretching phase begun in earnest ( in which the chicks stretch horizontally often to strengthen their muscles for flight) which is often gangly and at the expense of the others' personal space'! Its just as well the nest is so large and mum is spending more time off the nest in a nearby tree.

Also, the largest chick, Tokyo, was seen today feeding itself for the first time. When the usual afternoon fish was fed to the chicks by mum, only a small fibrous tail fin section remained- too small and unappetising for mum to consider. The oldest chick took it upon itself to eat this unaided, almost choking on the whole tail as it swallowed it! Greed is good if you're a growing Osprey!

The chicks will be six weeks old next week, which means only one thing- ringing day is near! We will probably be doing this special job early next week so stay posted for more info- it will be televised in the centre for you all to enjoy.

Monday, 6 July 2009


Our poor Ospreys have spend a rather soggy weekend here in the Tweed Valley, with intermittent downpours of heavy summer rain. Some of you have no doubt noticed that mum seems to be a little less vigilant on the nest than earlier in the season, but before you criticise her, let us explain.

Now the chicks have a decent set of adult feathers coming through, they are much better at thermoregulation ( maintaining their own body temperature) and have gained an amount of waterproofing as well. This means mum can now take breaks sitting nearby, without having to sit on top of the chicks all the time.

Secondly, the chicks are now much less vulnerable to predators, being a) well camouflaged ( as some visitors will be able to tell you!) and b) big enough to be too much of a meal for almost all predators.

Thirdly, you will probably have noticed the chicks have started their wing stretching and exercising, which can be rather vigorous and make the nest a bit crowded and uncomfortable for mum- better to give the chicks room for their aerobics!

So if mum is absent from the nest- don't panic! It is most likely she is just a few feet to the right or left of the camera on a perch, nearby if there's any trouble or threat- as you can see from how quickly she appears when food arrives!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Coping with the Heat

Here in the Tweed Valley we are sweltering in the heat, with hot muggy conditions and some sudden thundery downpours that haven't been unwelcome!

With the osprey nest being so high up and exposed, there is of course, no shade to be had for the chicks. Our female Osprey has therefore been doing a great 'parasol' impersonation, trying to provide enough shade for all three of her young. She has been standing with her wings outspread, almost like a cormorant, and with her own feathers fluffed out to increase air circulation. Heat and dehydration can be a real risk for young Ospreys who are getting all their water needs from their fish diet.

Fascinatingly, when the male has arrived with food over the last couple of days, mum hasn't made her usual quick grab of the fish to feed it to the chicks. She seems to realise keeping the chicks shaded is even more important than food, so she has held her position. Dad therefore has stepped into the breach and been feeding the chicks himself- not very common behaviour, but a sensible way around the problem. Osprey parents are nothing if not dedicated!

Monday, 29 June 2009

What to Expect Next

As our chicks reach their 'halfway mark' in the fast race to fledging, its a good time to look ahead. We've had lots of questions about what to expect over the next few weeks, so here's a guide.

Our chicks will quickly gain adult feathers now( these currently showing as wee brown smudges in their down), and will begin to look a lot more like miniature adults.

The chicks legs will start to develop strength and they will begin to stand more on the nest , whereas they are still currently 'walking' on their knees and their elbows! They will likely be much more adventurous on the nest too, venturing out of the central cup to the edges.

We expect in a week or so to see the chicks start stretching their wings and develop their muscles. They will likely fledge at between 7 and 8 weeks- watch out for the thrills and spills.

We also expect to ring the chicks sometime in the next ten days to two weeks: this special day will be organised by an expert team- stay tuned for the date to be announced. This event will be televised in the centres live.

Friday, 26 June 2009

The Name Game

Here in the Tweed Valley we have decided to break with convention this year and name our young Ospreys on the nest. There are three chicks at approximately three and a half weeks old, who are definately developing their own unique characters so we thought it high time they had names!

We have asked three of our local primary schools to help name the Osprey chicks , as hopefully these birds will part of the future of the Borders just as the children will be. The school holidays will be the ideal time for the children to come and meet their 'namesakes' and see for themselves just how fast they grow, and follow their eventful progress.

With very kind assistance of the local primary school children we now have names for two of our youngsters: The largest and bossiest chicks has been named " Tokyo" by Eddlestone Primary pupils and the second, darker chick has been named "Caledonia" by the pupils at Kingsland Primary School, Peebles. We are waiting for confirmation of the name for the third, youngest chick, but it is currently going by the nickname "Stig".

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Hotting Up

Our baby Ospreys are now three weeks old, and taking on a speckled appearance, as they get the first tiny adult feathers. Their wings seem to be growing faster than anything else, and they seem to using these long appendages as 'props' . All three youngsters are quite mobile now and as they move around the nest, they balance on their wings as their feet are still quite weak.

Dad excelled himself this morning with three nice fish delivered within 3 hours- the demands of a hungry family just keep growing! The fishing conditions are near perfect, with calm clear water, at a good depth.

Mum has spent most of today shielding the youngsters from the hot weather- what a difference to last week when she was struggling to keep them warm. She has been standing over the chicks with her wings spread to provide as much shade as possible!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Intruder Drama on the Nest

At Osprey nests, it is common in the early days of the season to have intruder Ospreys harass the nest. These are usually young juvenile birds trying to muscle in on the established pairs, who are given short welcome by resident birds. Regular viewers of our main nest here in the Tweed valley will know we certainly had our fair share of these dramas back in April.

It is more unusual however, to have intruders later in the season, so today's events were certainly a surprise! At approximately 11.45 the female started giving alarm calls, and the chicks obediently 'played dead' in the nest. Mum started to mantle ( spreading her wings defensively ) and the shadow of a large bird was seen passing over the nest a few times.

Then dramatically, a strange adult Osprey landed on the nest, clinging to the right hand side for a few seconds before mum flew at it in a rage and chased it off. This intruder bird seemed to fall to the lower branches of the nest tree, stunned, but then took off, and the female gave chase!

She was absent form the nest for at least 10 minutes, which the chicks didn't seem to mind, though we were very relieved when she reappeared to keep them safe. Though another Osprey would not harm the chicks, and opportunist predator may have take the chance to steal a chick, or a heavy shower could have chilled them fatally.

Is this the same intruder female who we saw at the nest in April? We could not seem any coloured leg ring during the brief visit so it is certainly possible- and would account for her boldness. Or could it be another of our youngsters returning to its natal nest? These questions can only be answered if it returns to the nest again- though we hope for our chicks sake , things remain quiet and peaceful.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Fledging Youngsters

News today of our other nesting birds on live cameras in the centres.

The swallows at Glentress have begun to fledge from the nest- all six are absolutely huge and hopefully will therefore have a good chance on the wing. The jackdaws have also fledged but are still using the box to roost in.

The Kailzie nuthatches are doing well, with several of the ringed young appearing on the feeders at the window very regularly. We are still hoping their parents will lay another clutch in the televised nest box.

The Herons are still using the nest their nests in the colony on camera, and are often to be seen sitting in a loose group in the field along the river bank- sometimes up to seven or eight of them!

We also have a blue tits live on camera at Kailzie at the moment on camera.

We are hoping to have more youngsters on camera in the centres soon- just in time for the school holidays!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Second Week for the Chicks

The second week of our chicks lives has been a happy and uneventful one. There have been plenty of fish delivered by our dedicated male, and mum has been working hard to keep the chicks warm and dry during the recent heavy showers of rain.

The chicks are 15, 14 and 12 days old today, and all are doing well- and even the smallest chick is managing to get his fair share of food- his size doesn't seem to an impediment. The squabbling is seemingly subsiding as the chicks sort out their 'pecking order' and things find a quieter equilibrium.

The change this week most of you will notice is that all three chicks have entered their very dark grey phase with distinctive white stripes on their backs. Some unkind folk would say this is an 'ugly' stage with the chicks looking decidedly reptilian! We'll let you decide!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Early Squabbles

The first week of the chicks lives at the main osprey nest has been a good one, with plenty of fish being delivered by their doting dad and mum doing a great job of being scrupulously fair at food distribution!

There have been some squabbles amongst the chicks though, with the largest and oldest chick ( not surprisingly) being the main culprit so far. It is quite normal for their to be sibling squabbles, especially in the first couple of weeks until a clear hierarchy develops. The biggest chick has been seen of the last couple of days, pecking at its second sibling and even at his mother- when she was trying to get it to sit down quietly under her!

Helpfully the three chicks are quite distinct from one another, and our volunteer staff can help you distinguish their differences. The oldest chick is also the palest and largest, with the second chick being much darker around the head. The youngest is of course much smaller and is also very pale.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Herons and Nuthatches

Those of you who have enjoyed views of our local Heronry at the Kailzie centre this spring will be pleased to hear the colony is doing well. There are at least seven 'teenage' herons, all either just fledged or on the cusp of their first flights. There are also, unusually, three freshly laid eggs!?!

We were privileged to witness the ringing of some of these young herons last week, when they were brought safely to the ground (using techniques similar to those we use every year on the Ospreys) for our licensed bird ringer to attached identity rings. These will hopefully enable us to follow their progress and chart how many of these local youngsters survive.

If you would like to see pictures of this process , please just ask centre staff

Our Kailzie Nuthatches have also fledged recently, with all six making their first flight within 20 minutes of each other on Thursday. These delightful little birds often lay two clutches of eggs per year so we will be leaving the nest camera connected in case. If you would like to see footage of this nest, there are highlights available in the centres. The adults are also still a common feature on the live feeding station at Kailzie.

Growing Bairns

Our three delightful Osprey chicks are all doing well, with oldest being a week old today. All three seem strong and healthy, and are happily feeding in turns.

There has been some squabbling, with the oldest chick being rather bossy, even having a go at its mum this morning. However, the smallest chick who was born late on Thursday, despite being much smaller, is holding its own.

The chicks are more distinct from each other than usual, with the eldest being the largest and palest, the middle one being noticeably darker and having more head stripes, and the youngest noticeably smaller.

All three will soon begin changing colours, growing a little darker grey and developing the odd 'roadstripe' white marking down their backs that typifies this next stage. Turn your back for a day and baby ospreys change colour on you!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Its a Triple Bill!

Great news yesterday afternoon as the third osprey egg on our main nest hatched!

Those of us watching all day did wonder if the poor female had 'ants in her pants' as she was very very restless all day. At around 4pm there suddenly appeared two pieces of broken egg shell which she took out from underneath herself.

Finally, after a very long wait ( sorry to those visitors who patiently waited until 5.30- you were right after all!!) at 5.40pm the male arrived with a (tiny) fish and the female stood up. We were clearly able to see both wee heads of the older chicks (looking strong and hungry!) as well as a very wobbly third little face.

Just like baby humans, it seems wee ospreys are not very good at first on head control! We hope the cold turn the weather has taken doesn't disadvantage this late little arrival who is , after all, three days younger than its oldest sibling.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

And Now for the Bad News

Amongst all the happy news this week come two devastating bits of bad news for Ospreys in Scotland.

Firstly the confirmed police report of an Osprey egg theft in the highlands last month- egg thieves wiped out a breeding nest, in a illegal raid to supply the egg collecting trade. This kind of criminal behaviour threatens birds survival and is a timely reminder of the risks to our precious local birds.

If you are one of the lucky Borders locals who knows of a nest site location, PLEASE continue to be vigilant and keep the location to yourself! You never whose ears the information may end up in and the risks are very real. If you see any suspicious behaviour at any nest site, contact the Osprey officer or the police immediately.

Secondly, two reports this week of Scottish Ospreys seriously endangered and one dead through entanglement with fishing line. Whilst most fishermen are highly responsible and wildlife loving, a small minority continue to discard fishing line on river banks where it is a lethal hazard to all kinds of wildlife. Ospreys, swans, otters and other birds all regularly die or are injured by entanglement in discarded line. PLEASE CLEAN UP FISHING LINE! Walkers, if you see fishing line lying about, please pick it up to help protect wildlife- your actions could save lives.

Thank you.

And a Third and a Fourth

Fantastic news confirmed this afternoon that another of our local Osprey nests ( there are at least 8 again this year) , affectionately know as the 'backup nest' also has recent hatchlings. This nest is camera monitored , although not live linked , and todays recording clearly shows least two chicks. They are probably three or four days ahead of our main nest birds. We are hoping to be able to share this footage with you in the centres soon, so if you would like to see the backup nest birds, just ask the volunteer on duty to show you the latest recordings.
Lets hope all our local nests will do as well this year and we may have another bumper Osprey year!

A Second Osprey Arrival

More great news on Tuesday morning with the appearance of another baby Osprey on the main nest. It took us a while to confirm its presence- it wasn't until the lunchtime fish arrived that we saw its little head clearly- interestingly dad took a turn feeding both the chicks showing his typical dedication and tenderness which is not that common in male ospreys.

The second wee arrival is noticeably darker marked than its sibling which should allow us to distinguish them , at least for a while until the later feather stages - regular watchers will know how many colour stages baby ospreys go through!

We still await the third eggs potential hatching- stay tuned!

Monday, 1 June 2009

What a Scorcher of a First day!

Our first little Osprey chick of the year has had a scorcher of a first day in the blazing sunshine and unseasonal heat here in the Scottish Borders. The parents have been taking turns sheltering it (and its two unhatched siblings) with their shadows from the sun, rather than tucking it underneath to keep warn as is usually the case in cold spring weather !

The wee one has had many tiny meals of raw Tweed river fish, with mum keeping a ready supply of fish at hand on the nest for these 'little and often' snacks. This does however, seem to be attracting a lot of flies to the nest!

It is amazing to see how strong the chicks begging instinct is at only a few hours old- it seems strong and healthy and well able to put its head up for food at any opportunity

Lets hope the strong sun is not a risk to the chicks who can easily overheat, just as they can easily chill- it is up to the parents dedication now to keep them safe and comfortable until they have adult feathers and can regulate their own temperature.

Lets hope our wee osprey is joined by some siblings soon.

First Osprey Chick Hatches!

Great news this morning as our first wee Osprey of the season has hatched!!!!! Our first clue was when we turned the camera on this morning half a hatched egg was clearly visible. The male was sitting on the eggs and chick, but when mum arrived with food ( which she has been eating itself off nest) we saw the wee head appear. Both remaining eggs were also clearly visible.
Both parents have been seen spreading their wings wide to provide shade for their first arrival. More news soon!

Waiting With Baited Breath

Here in the Tweed Valley we are literally waiting with baited breath for our first Osprey chicks of 2009 to hatch. Yesterday was the 35th day for our 'oldest' egg, and therefore the first possible hatching date. Our birds seem to have an historical average of about 37 days so we feel sure the big event can't be far off!

The parent birds behaviour has certainly altered somewhat over the weekend. Despite the blazing sunshine, both parents have been diligent on the nest, with the male sitting most of the day on Sunday. Both birds seem to be somewhat restless, and we are looking out for signs of them 'listening' to the telltale noises from inside the eggs as they prepare to hatch.

Unusually on the weekend, when the male brought in a fish, the female did not leave with it as she has been prone to do, but he sat next to her and fed her strips of fish in a delightful display of tenderness. This is more like the behaviour we see on the nest when has has young chicks she is unwilling to leave.

Keep your fingers crossed and hopefully we will have good news to share with everyone very soon.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Is Our Male Unusual?

Lots of people have commented on how much of the incubation duty our male is doing. We estimate he is sitting on the the eggs for between a quarter and a third of the time. This would seem to be unusually high for an osprey. Our female is lucky to have such an attentive partner who is allowing her plenty of time off. She has been making good use of the time , because once her chicks hatch she will be constantly on the nest.

We have been wondering if she has been fishing for herself, as the male doesn't seem to be bringing in a lot of fish at this stage- if so she must be eating them elsewhere as she hasn't been bringing them back to the nest to share.

Even when he isn't sitting on the eggs, our male has been his usual attentive, dedicated self, sitting nearby - often on the camera!

More Babies!

More delightful news as our swallows at the Glentress centre have hatched at least two young live on camera. One of our young visitors this morning was the first to see the two little beaks begging for food. The adult birds have stepped up their activities to bring in enough food, and can be seen flying frantically in and out of the shed doors opposite the centre.

The nuthatch chicks at Kailzie are also doing well, growing fast and finally feathering up. They were ringed on Tuesday so we can hopefully follow their progress after fledging- look out for young nuthatches on the feeders wearing tiny metal leg rings.

Hopefully there are many more baby birds yet to come this year!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Potential Dates For Hatching

Many people have been asking us when to expect the osprey eggs to hatch, and believe me, we're getting excited about the imminent event too!

The ospreys typical incubation is 35- 37 days. Our three eggs were laid between the 24th and the 30th April so according to our calculations , the earliest possible date for hatching would be the 30th May but most likely the first week of June. So not long to wait now!

Our congratulations go to those osprey nests that already have chicks this year- Glaslyn, Loch of the Lowes and Loch Garten. Lets hope it's a good season for all our birds, and for ospreys UK wide.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

New Arrivals Welcomed

No not osprey chicks yet- they'll be at least another week to ten days before they hatch. But we do have babies already at our Kaizlie centre with delightful Nuthatch chicks on live camera. There are six of these amazing wee birds , who are perhaps the ugliest babies we've ever had, but will soon grow into beautiful adults. These birds are notoriously quick fledgers so be sure to drop into the centre to see them live soon! We are also awaiting our swallows at Glentress hatching soon.

Friday, 8 May 2009

All Quiet on the Nest Front

All is quiet here on our local osprey nest with incubation of the three eggs continuing. Both parents have been sharing the duties on the nest, and the male has been supplying two or three small fish a day to keep his mate happy. Despite the cold and windy weather here this week, the eggs seem snug in their moss lined nest. The male osprey has been showing his usual tender care of his partner, by bringing in yet more sticks, and quite often placing them across her back when he arrives with them- which doesn't always please her!

Here in the centres we are enjoying watching other species on nest camera , such as swallows, herons, and nuthatches whilst we await the ospreys hatching at the end of the month.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Incubation and a More Peaceful week .

Here at the Ospreywatch centres, our star birds have laid their three precious eggs- which we have been getting much better views of the last few days, with their delicate and beautiful mottle brown and cream appearance.

Both parents have been incubating as seems to be normal for this pair. In fact the male yesterday seem rather reluctant to 'give them back' to their mum when she returned from her usual snack break- he obviously thought he had it all well under control!

We have had a lot less trouble in the last week from intruder ospreys- though at least one volunteer thinks he has seen our 'doppelganger' rival female actually on the nest! Any juvenile birds around have probably given up trying to steal such a well established nest- let's hope they find one of the other waiting platforms in the area we have provided.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

A Triple Bonus!

Three is definitely our lucky number here at the Tweed Valley Osprey Project. After keeping us waiting so long for the first egg to arrive, our resident female osprey has excelled herself and again laid three eggs! We got a glimpse of the third egg today, which was probably laid sometime in the last 36 hours. Both parents are already doing sterling duty incubating and turning the eggs.

Let's just hope their parental dedication will see all three hatch in a few weeks time!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Herons Ahoy!

Great news at our Kailzie centre today with our local heronry at last live on camera! Not many people know that these birds nest in colonies and we have at least three pairs nesting together on the banks of the river Tweed.

The great news is that the nest we have on camera has three hatchlings, approximately ten days old. these delightful nestlings are rather odd looking- somewhat like prehistoric dinosaurs.

They will be featuring live on camera in the centre every day from 12 noon until 4pm, until next week when they will be live all day, everyday. Edited footage will also be shown at the Glentress centre.

As far as we know, this is the only heronry televised in south Scotland- the nearest other is the highly recommended Lochinver RSPB project.

Come and enjoy the views of these strange and beautiful creatures.

Then There Were Two

Great news today as we have confirmation of a second osprey egg in the nest. It was probably laid on Sunday afternoon or Monday but it has taken us until now to confirm its presence. This is because the nest is so very deep in the centre.

We may even yet got a third egg laid if this female's historical record is anything to go by.
We are overjoyed at the prospect of even two potential osprey offspring this year- but it's a long and hazardous 35 days ahead until hatching at least so fingers crossed all round.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Incubation Begins

Over the weekend here in the Tweed Valley, our ospreys have been settling down to the long and patient task of incubating their egg. As yet there is still only one egg, but because the nest is so deeply cup shaped, it may be a few days before we can confirm the presence of another egg as we would normally expect. This pair of birds have historically laid two or three each year for the last five years.

It seems our male, being impatient for the first egg to arrive has spent most of his time digging out the centre of the nest ( all that kicking may have been frustration!) and adding yet more moss which is doing a great job of hiding the eggs from view. After a weekend of perfect sunshine it turned very cold again yesterday so all that insulation certainly came in handy though.

Our male osprey has been showing himself to be his usual considerate and devoted self- taking a turn at least once a day to sit on the egg. Usually when he arrives back with a fish , the female will take it off to eat it and he will sit in the nest- carefully curling his long talons in to avoid endangering the egg. He can sit for up to an hour a half , showing unusual paternal devotion.

Let's hope that both birds soon have another egg to lavish attention on!

Friday, 24 April 2009

An Exciting First: Nuthatches At Kailzie

Our Kailzie centre is today a bit like a maternity ward with not only the osprey on her first egg, but a real first: Nuthatch eggs.

We have nuthatches nesting in one of our boxes near the centre, and for the first time we have them live on camera. This is a privileged insight indeed into this beautiful bird.

The female is sitting on at least two eggs and when she leaves she cleverly covers them up with wood shavings to fool predators. The male was seen this afternoon sitting on top the nest box singing at full volume- perhaps announcing to the world his new fatherhood!

Come and see these lovely birds on camera at Kailzie this season.

An Egg at Last!!!

The long wait is over - our female Osprey this morning laid her first egg at about 11am. After days of coming and going, she finally settled in the nest centre this morning and after about half an hour of agitated behaviour she started standing and using her beak to roll something beneath her- typical behaviour with an egg.

At noon we caught a glimpse of the egg, despite the centre of the nest being so deep.
This is hopefully just the beginning of her breeding season- with three eggs the historic norm for this pair of birds. They are usually laid a day or so apart, so we'll hopefully see more eggs over the next few days.

The male has been his usual attentive self today, bringing in at least two fish- the female didn't seem much interested in the second, having more maternal things on her mind! He also tried to take a turn incubating this afternoon, keen to take a look at the egg- but our female didn't give him much of a chance! He has certainly been hanging around the nest more than usual- a proud father indeed!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Overdue Eggs or Mistaken Identity?

We have been suffering a torturous wait here at the Osprey Watch centres for the appearance of our first eggs of the season. We have been getting lots of questions about why it is that the eggs are 'late', as they are usually laid 7-14days after first mating. However, the eggs have in the past been laid as late as the end of April, so we are not yet out of the realms of 'normal'- we are not panicking yet, just being impatient!

Firstly our nest has not been a quiet place this spring with an unusually high amount of intruder disturbance with others ospreys at the site. In particular last Saturday's violence may just have put off our female laying. This is unlikely but possible, especially since both our resident birds have been mating frequently and showing all the usual nesting behaviour such as nest 'renovation'.

The other even less likely possibility is that we have had a case of mistaken identity with the females and a changeover last Saturday.

Since 'our' female is unringed, we rely on recognising her distinctive head markings each year. Could it be that the female who arrived on the 1st April was coincidentally another unringed female with a similar marking? Could our male " white SS" have been courting another lady that first week, and when his 'real' lady turned up on the Saturday, she chased the interloper off? This would mean of course she has only been on 'her' nest for a week, accounting for the lack of eggs as yet.

The reason we are unsure is that the extreme violence of that encounter made identifying the females very difficult- in such a flurry of feathers , quite who was chasing who was unclear.

Could it be that there was a changeover amongst all that excitement? If the 'intruder' was in fact a resident bird coming home to find an interloper in her place, it would certainly account for the amazing violence and persistence she showed!

We will be reviewing the recorded footage over the next couple of days to see if we can unravel this mystery!

Monday, 20 April 2009

News of Previous Osprey Chicks

Whilst the torturous wait for the first egg of 2009 on our main osprey nest goes on , I thought I'd share some good news with everyone about some of our previous osprey offspring.

As everyone knows, the odds are stacked against our chicks, with a survival rate in the first 12 months estimated to be between just 25-50%.

At his excellent recent talk in Edinburgh , Roy Dennis pointed out that even on the nest it is not unusual for not all chicks to survive to fledge as this depends entirely on fish supply and therefore directly on the skill and dedication of the male bird. We are very lucky that our main nest male is such an excellent provider!

Add to this the many hazards of their first lonely long migration and their first couple of years in Africa, and we can only expect a small number of the birds we watch growing up here making it back as adults to breed in the future.

However, there are bright examples such as one of our chicks born in 2005 in the Tweed Valley. The female chick was fitted with a green darvic ring 'DE' , and she was first seen at Rutland Water in East Anglia in July 2007, where she stayed until September, as is common in juvenile birds. She was seen again in 2008, but has not yet made an appearance in 2009.

The definition of true success for a project like ours is to know that our birds become part of the breeding population and future of the species, so we hope she survives and makes Rutland her home!

Incidentally the other chick from the same 2005 nest, also a female, was found dead (apparently electrocuted) in Cordoba Spain on 16th September 2008, she had flown a distance of 2000km from the nest site to the site where she was recovered.

Another chick hatched near Peebles in 2003 was reported to have flown free after being found injured after being downed by the downdraft of a Hercules aircraft at a fish farm on Loch Ken in 2008.

Lets hope 2009 is the year we get more news of the fate of our Tweed Valley Osprey chicks!

Friday, 17 April 2009

A Terrible Long Wait

Here in the Tweed Valley we are suffering a terrible wait for our first osprey egg on the main nest. Though we hoped it might appear as soon as last weekend, we are sure it can't be far off now! It is certainly still in the realms of reasonable timing since their arrival so we aren't panicking yet, but the wait feels like torture!

The good news is that the behaviour of the birds is all normal and certainly the female is looking very homely!

Further good news is that out of the 8 pairs of ospreys we know nested in the Borders last year, at least five are back so far this Spring, so things are looking good for the breeding season ahead.

I have has some enquires regarding ring numbers for previous years chicks form The Tweed Valley- I am hoping to publish a list next week with all the numbers you should be looking out for! Thanks for the interest- lets hope this year we will see more of this next generation of ospreys making it back to breed here in Scotland.

Monday, 13 April 2009

A Dramatic Weekend

Our resident Osprey Pair have had a dramatic weekend, with a most unwelcome Easter visitor at the nest! The pair have been looking very settled on the nest, doing great 'renovating work' with sticks and moss, and bonding closely - often sharing the perch side by side romantically!

However, on Saturday another Osprey spoiled their peace by invading the nest. When the male brought a fish in about 3pm, the female was joined by another bird, and briefly there was a dramatic struggle with three birds on the nest. It appeared as if our female had the intruder pinned down for a minute or so, before it escaped the violent squabble , minus the fish, and the male exited stage left! It is highly unusual for ospreys to come to physical blows like this, with most aggression and defence being ritualised posturing and 'swearing' rather than coming to blows with talons!

That would usually be the end of that, but for at least and hour and a half, the intruder continues to harass the female on the nest, dive bombing and swooping so low our lass had to duck to avoid being struck . The speed at which these attacks occurred was incredible, as was the intruders persistence. Those watching we riveted by the drama, but alas it was all so fast and furious we could not get a view of an identity ring on the intruder, so its identity remains a mystery. Was it another female? Was it a previous years offspring convinced it had rights to its natal nest?

In the five years we've been watching this Osprey couple we've never seen such a prolonged episode of aggression. We can only hope the drama has not put our female off laying her eggs as they are literally due any time now.

Apologies For Poor Picture Quality

Our apologies for the occasional poor picture quality on the web link to the live nest camera. The problem occasionally crops up in the early season every year, and is caused by condensation misting on the camera screen at the nest. Unfortunately we can't just pop up to wipe it off!

It happens due to the low angle of the sun at this time in April in the nest valley, but always disappears after the first couple of weeks of the season as the suns angle gets higher.

We know it is frustrating when your view is hazy , but please bear with us! Many thanks, The Osprey Centre Team.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Will it Be an Easter Egg?

Our resident osprey pair have been doing sterling duty on the nest the last few days, with the male in particular bringing in and adding many more sticks, and much fresh moss to line the nest. Both birds have also been doing their rather comical ' sit and scrape' excavation technique to ensure the nest is adequately cup shaped to protect and insulate the eggs. Luckily we have a higher camera angle this year so we hope we will none the less get a clear view of the eggs when they are laid.

On average our female seems to lay eggs about 10 days after her first mating - which would make today or tomorrow the earliest we could expect an egg. So, fingers very firmly crossed we may get a wonderful Easter present of Osprey eggs over the weekend! We hope she will then lay at least two over the next several days.

There has almost always been one of the birds in continuous residence now- probably as they are bound and determined not to loose the newly renovated nest to an intruder, and perhaps also because the female is close to laying. Interestingly both birds have been seen eating on the nest lately- another good sign that family life isn't far off.

Stay tuned for Osprey Easter Egg news!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Webcam now on the blog

If you look to the right of the page you'll hopefully see images coming from our main nest. You can see a bigger version of the web cam on the main Tweed Valley ospreys pages on the Forestry Commission website - but it will give you a taste of what's going on.

You might need to refresh the page from time to time to update the image, but in the main there will be a live feed between 10.00am and 5.00pm each day.

The best images, of course, are available at our osprey watch centres, so do pay us a visit if you can.

Open Doors and a Busy Nest

After a frantic weekend of preparation, we have officially opened our doors at both visitors centres for the season, and the public and volunteers are already enjoying great viewing of our Osprey couple on their nest. The live web version of the camera is also up as of today ( 10am- 5pm daily) so do enjoy it. Remember there loads extra to do and see in the centres so don't forget to visit us during the season!

The birds are certainly wasting no time in getting ready to raise a family, with multiple matings, and some nest tidying and renovation going on , especially bringing in fresh moss to line it with.

There has also been some serious 'guard' duty as we again had an Osprey intruder at the nest yesterday. Both 'our' birds saw off the intruder several times as it did close fly-pasts and at one stage landed on the nest. Alas it was all too fast for us to ascertain an identity for the intruder, but usually at this time of year it is a young Osprey ( often male) looking to 'muscle in.

Other news at the centres is that we have several other live nest box cameras this year which we hope will be featuring some really interesting birds. At Glentress we already have Jackdaws nesting and at Kailzie the first optimistic signs of our FIRST EVER nesting Nuthatch on camera- stay tuned!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

And Then There Were Three!

What did I say yesterday? It wasn't an April fool- it was indeed the day our 'main' nest Osprey first returned. The hardworking volunteers attending a working Bee at Glentress centre preparing it for the season, were treated to the first camera view of our female bird on the nest just after lunch. This confirmed her presence which we'd suspected for a few days after local sightings over the river etc. What a welcome sight after her long and dangerous journeys!

Then the best of news today, as our female was joined by her mate at 10.30am this morning. The pair, despite months apart, wasted no time in romantic reunions and mated at 11am. This bodes very well for the breeding season ahead.

To top it all off the newly reunited pair joined forces to see off an intruder Osprey this lunchtime at the nest- alas it happened too quickly for me to identify the intruder, but I'm sure it won't be the last of the season.

The two visitor centres open on Monday so come and see the birds for yourselves soon!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Our First Bird of 2009

I am happy to report we have our first breeding bird of the 2009 season here in the Tweed Valley.
Alas it is not on our main live camera nest - yet! Will today be the day our stars arrive? we hope so!

Most of you will be familiar with the second nest we monitor in the area, affectionately know as the 'Backup' nest. It appears that the female on this nest is already in residence and busy housekeeping whilst waiting for her mate.
Many of you will know this bird as 'Errol's mum' as it was she in 2005 who raised an amazing four chicks to fledging ( a record ) one of whom was the famous runt Errol.

We hope to report very soon on more arrivals - stay tuned!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Excitement Grows with First Sightings

Excitement is growing here at the Tweed Valley Osprey Project with the first local sighting of an Osprey for the 2009 season reported. Thanks to a very keen eyed local volunteer,Mary, we know that at least one Osprey has been seen fishing on the River Tweed in the last few days.

We cannot yet say whether this is one of our local breeding birds, as we've not been able to see ring markings, but our usual breeding pair have not yet appeared on their nest with the camera. However, we are now watching the nest with baited breath waiting for the first arrival there.

It is quite likely that the Osprey seen on the Tweed was a bird from further north in Scotland making a 'rest stop' on route north - the Tweed seems to be a favorite food and rest way station, which is one of the reasons we chose this area to put artificial platforms to attract breeding pairs.

The last week of good high pressure weather over the migration route has probably meant many Ospreys have travelled fast and well, and we can only hope this weeks cooler north westerlies don't hamper their return too much.

Keep those fingers crossed for all our birds as they make their way home to us!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Welcome to the 2009 Osprey Season

Believe it or not, its time already to start looking forward to another Osprey Breeding season. Here at the Tweed Valley Osprey Project, we are busy preparing our cameras , centres, displays and volunteers for the busy time ahead, and the excitement is building.

We are all looking forward to the drama and satisfaction of another successful breeding season locally for these amazing rare birds.

As well as our star birds the Ospreys this year we are preparing to televise nest camera footage from 5 other species so its going to be a fascinating summer!

The twin visitor centres at Kailzie Gardens and Glentress Forest open on the 6th April and will be open seven days a week until the end of August.

Interested in volunteering?

Why not get involved this year with this fantastic local conservation project? We welcome new volunteers every year to help staff the centres, and we have other ways in which you can help-we run lots of nature watch and social events too. Full training and a warm welcome is guaranteed , so please get in touch - email the Osprey Centre Officer at tweedvalleyospreys@yahoo.co.uk or call 07530310376.

Waiting for Arrivals

As spring struggles through the winter cold, our thoughts are already turning to our intrepid Ospreys who will be leaving Africa around now on their hazardous migration to Scotland for the breeding season.
The first reports are already coming in of Ospreys on route over France and southern England so it will only be a matter of weeks before they arrive in Scotland.
The resident pair we have camera coverage of here in the Borders are very reliable, always arriving at their usual nest in the last few days of March or early April. We never take their arrival for granted though, as the hazards of the journey should never be underestimated!
We will be opening our twin public viewing centres on Monday the 6th April , and they will be profiling our birds seven days a week until the end of August. Let's hope its as successful a breeding season as last year!
So keep your eyes and ears open in the Borders for the distinctive Osprey , and please share any sightings with us via the blog or email.