Saturday, 28 August 2010

Video clip of returning bird HC from 2007

Here is a clip from the live nest of the returning youngster HCvisiting the nest site. He was originally from the "back up" nest and ringed there prior to fledging in 2007.

Friday, 27 August 2010

End of season

The Tweed Valley Osprey Project is coming to a close for the 2010 season.
Another successful year with over 100 osprey chicks raised in the Scottish Borders in the last 10 years. News of returning chicks to the area just adds to the enthusiasm of all involved and inspires us to carry on and take the project even further for next year.
We hope that everyone has enjoyed hearing about the Tweed Valley Ospreys this year and that we will see lots of visitors at the Two Osprey Watch Centres again next season.
We would like to thank all of our faithful volunteers who make this project run so smoothly and dedicate their time each year. We also want to thank the staff from the Radio Branch of Forestry Commission who carry out all the technical work with the cameras. Thank you to Tony Lightley and Ronnie Graham for ringing the chicks for the project.
Glentress closes on 31st August and Kailzie Osprey Watch will remain open (unstaffed) until Sunday 12th September.

Best Wishes to all and see you next season hopefully.
Di (osprey information officer)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

More news of returning chicks!

We have heard that another Borders bird ringed in 2007 has returned to the Borders to breed. She has a white leg ring letters EB and came from a brood of two chicks originally. She has successfully raised a family of her own this year on Tweed Valley Forestry Commission land. This is more fantastic news for our project and it is always a delight to hear that youngsters reared here are surviving their migration journeys and are beginning to return. We do not know the identity yet of her partner.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Borders Chick from 2007 returns!

We are delighted to hear that the osprey spotted(white leg ring HC) checking out the main nest by sharp eyed volunteer, Iain Mckay while on duty, is a bird which came from our back up nest in 2007. He is now a mature bird checking out territory near to where he was raised in the beautiful Borders landscape which is so familiar to him.
More nesting platforms will be going up in our region to accommodate returning youngsters as they reach maturity and look for territories of their own.
It is great to hear news of any of the ospreys raised in the Borders and is testament to the great success of the Tweed Valley Osprey Project and the Team working in partnership which ensures that the project continues to thrive.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The youngest chick blue HF still visits the live nest regularly and her father is often seen feeding there and reluctantly still handing over his fish.
A white ringed male with lettering HC was seen at the nest last week and we are going to find out who this bird is and where he has come from. We will publish our findings shortly.

Ringed chick news.

One of the Borders ospreys ringed back in 2002 from our main live nest has been discovered alive and well. He is raising a family in Glen Almond in Perthshire, his partner is an unringed female.
It is possible that he has been there for a few years but it has only just come to light that he has a ring number which is visible and this has been reported to the ringers.
We are delighted to hear that he is doing well.
Often we do not get to hear what happens to chicks raised in the area and news of any sightings of ringed ospreys is always welcome, as we can then find out where they came from and when they were ringed.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Childrens puppet theatre.

At Kailzie Gardens Osprey Centre, a new childrens puppet theatre has been created to play in. There are puppet characters of Kailzie Wildlife friends and children can use the puppets to create their own performances. Come along and meet the characters and have some fun!

Nest Visitors

The chicks are now flying freely and the family leave the nest to go off to hunt for fish. The young ospreys are honing their flying skills and becoming competent and strong. The younger chick ringed (HF) does return to the nest on a regular basis and she can be heard calling loudly demanding that her parents return with food for her. Her patient Dad sometimes brings a fish for her and both parents do come over to the nest and join her while she proclaims loudly that she would like to be fed. The other chick can be heard nearby but always seems to be perched just out of camera site.
During periods of absence, other birds have been visiting the nest, so far we have seen a jay, a spotted flycatcher, a pied flycatcher and chaffinches all taking a look around and finding little scraps of food.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Chicks flying.

Today the osprey family were all away fishing and a cheeky jay was seen at the nest exploring for any scraps or leftovers. Both chicks are now competent at flying and come and go from the nest frequently. The parents regularly bring fish back for the chicks and the youngsters will sometimes wait around for the parents to deliver fresh supplies. Visitors to the Tweed Valley should keep a keen watch out for ospreys flying about in family groups to favoured fishing haunts of lochs and rivers in the area.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Both flying

The second chick took to the wing for the first time on Saturday 10th July. This was after much nervous near takeoffs. She is now coming and going from the nest site regularly and waits patiently for food to be delivered by her parents. Her sister seems to alternate her visits, they rarely come to the nest together. yesterday the younger sister ringed Blue HF was at the nest and she is much bigger than both of her parents, her sister is even bigger than her. It is testimony to the great summer of feeding with good fish supplies that they have grown to such stunning juveniles.
The parents try to ensure that good layers of fat are built up on their young as they will soon need to make their migration journey to Africa. They will lose weight dramatically once they begin that journey and as their muscles tone up.
For now all the family are still here but the female will be the first to leave as soon as she is confident that the chicks are fine to cope alone.

Monday, 12 July 2010

WEX Club and childrens' event.

At Kailzie Gardens there is an RSPB Wildlife Explorers Group for young children to come and enjoy outdoor adventures and learn all about wildlife. The group meets once a month and is led by volunteers from the Tweed Valley Osprey Project and trained, competent volunteer leaders from RSPB.
The next meeting will be held on 8th August and we are inviting all children who would like to get involved to come along. ( Normally it is just for members and there is a waiting list to join).
We are planning to hold an osprey day of childrens events at the osprey centre at Kailzie Gardens starting at 2pm(8th August). Please ring if you would like to book a place for your child on 07908098026.
There will be osprey arty crafts and games, including the chance to take part in creating a giant papier mache osprey head for display at the centre.
We can guarantee that all involved will have a great time!
One of our WEX leaders Aly, is pictured above, holding an osprey chick at the recent osprey ringing event carried out by the licensed Forestry Commission, Conservation Manager , Tony Lightley.

Fledged -finally!

The youngest chick finally fledged a week later than her big sister, this happened on Saturday 10th July. This very powerful but somewhat reluctant chick, finally made the brave jump from nest, wing stretching and flapping to taking to the air for real.
We are happy to see her go, as she was trailing behind in terms of progress compared with her sister who has surprised us all by being super early and precocious in everything that she does.
The chicks will continue to use the nest as base camp so we can still watch them at the nest but there may be times from now on when nobody is at home.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Reluctant to leave the nest.

The younger ringed chick still has not made her first flight as far as we can tell. It is possible that she has had a few flights out of hours of the centre openings. She has many wing stretching sessions and prolonged flapping practice and today clearly lifted about 1.5metres above the nest and took a hasty and wobbly return.
It would seem that her dad is a lot more patient with her than mum. He regularly sits at the nest with her and although they did try the tactic of starving her off the nest which didn't work they have reluctantly continued to feed her .
Her sister was very advanced and flew for the first time a week earlier than expected, she regularly returns to the nest and then leaves again although only to hang about in nearby trees.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

More osprey ringing photo's

These photo's were taken on 5th July during the ringing of chicks from Tweed Valley osprey nests.
One of the main nest chicks has been ringed but the larger chick is now fully fledged and was off flying when the ringers arrived. The ringed chick is very well advanced and we can now see the parents encouraging her to leave the nest by withdrawing food supplies. If she wants feeding she is going to have to fly to mum and dad to get some. She is fully capable of flying, her feathers have 100% broken through the quills and she is a powerful youngster. She just needs a bit of courage to take the leap of faith to test out those magnificent wings.

Tweed Valley Osprey Chick Ringing

Two osprey chicks ringed yesterday at one of the successful Tweed Valley Osprey Nests.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Today Tweed Valley Osprey Project chicks were ringed by Licensed Forestry Commission Conservation Manager, Tony Lightley and his ringing colleague Ronnie Graham.
The larger of the two chicks on the live camera nest fledged a week earlier than expected at the weekend and so was unable to be ringed but the smaller chick was ringed today and was found to be a huge and healthy female.
Other monitored nest sites in the Tweed Valley had their chicks ringed also. The Tweed Valley birds are all doing very well and each year we are seeing successful chicks being raised which will one day come back to the area and raise broods of their own or spread into new territory and increase the distribution of ospreys in the UK.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Swallow cam

The swallow nest cam is now back up and running at Glentress. The first brood of chicks unfortunately died. We think that one of the parent birds had been killed and the other parent was overwhelmed by feeding the brood single handedly and so the young starved.

There is a new swallow nest and the camera went live today and the female swallow is sitting on eggs. There is a splendid view of the nest and we will hopefully be able to follow the rearing of the baby swallows through the rest of the season.

The ospreys are doing plenty of stretching of their wings. Yesterday the male osprey brought in a huge fish which was dark brown along the top and had a gold belly, with dark coloured fins. We thought that it did not look like the usual brown trout that he brings in and wondered if it was perhaps a dark salmon kelt? Any good fishing folk out there with suggestions as to what it could have been please let me know! I don't know whether the volunteer on duty recorded it, so I may not have any footage to show of the fish.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The two chicks in the video are about half their full grown size now and their feathering has the spangled charecteristic of pale edging to the feathers which distinguishes them from adult birds. They clamber about the nest with confidence, their legs have become sturdier and the facial markings are clearly visible. The video footage was recorded on 20th June.

The chicks will be fitted with leg rings shortly which will be carried out by licenced rangers. The unique leg ring numbers will enable the birds to be identified in the future wherever they may end up.

At just four weeks old the difference in size between the two chicks is quite noticeable as the larger chick sets about the smaller one and after a few seconds of struggle, the smaller chick submits and puts his head down and waits for the onslaught to cease. Notice, in the film clip how completely unconcerned the adult is during the fight and continues to feed, despite the two siblings. Things calm down and the adult fed the larger chick first and then once full, the second chick got a share of dinner as well.

Chicks pictured at 10 days old.

The chicks pictured at almost four weeks old and the lunch time battle.

The chicks can be seen on the video clip at 10 days old being fed by their parents. Both chicks look fine ,strong and healthy.

The next clip shows a cheeky jay take a quick visit to the osprey nest to see if there were any interesting scraps of food available no doubt. It is a good reference point to see the size of the jay next to the towering osprey present at the nest. I am not sure who was more surprised but the jay didn't hang around for dinner!!

New Theatre for Children- coming soon.

The scorching hot summer is wonderful for holidays but not so great if you are an osprey mum trying to defend your brood from the sun and the chance of heat stroke.
The experienced parents of the Tweed Valley are exceptionally good at keeping their youngsters shielded and so they continue to thrive. The male is such a good hunter and has found some good fishing grounds and is continuing to bring in good sized fish for his family.
The blue tits have all fledged at Kailzie nest cam and we will be editing the recorded footage to bring you a blue tit life cycle film which can be seen at Kailzie Gardens Osprey Watch.
A childrens wildlife puppet theatre is being created at Kailzie in time for the schools summer holidays, so bring your children along to meet the characters and they can play with the hand puppets and put on their own wildlife shows.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The male(white SS), has taken to bringing a full fish back to the nest and to proceed to eat it in front of the hungry family. This is unusual as he would normally arrive and hand over the goods to the female who would feed the chicks. He has chosen a good perch on which to feed, just off to the left of the nest which was created during the nest renovation at the start of the season. He is bringing in some huge trout and so there is no chance that the family will go hungry as there is plenty to share all round.
The youngsters are practicing preening their new feathers and mastering the art of projectile excretion out of the nest!
An unwelcome presence at the nest today caused the male to lean protectively over the young who dutifully played their part by dropping flat into the nest, beautifully camouflaged and perfectly still until the perceived danger had past.
Most likely an intruder osprey surveying the nest site.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Growing up.

The two chicks are growing into good sturdy stock. It is incredible to think that only a week or so ago they were two tiny white, fluffy, wobbly heads in the nest. Now they have the spangled colouring and of course their trade mark eye stripes. The parents are doting as ever and fish meals are provided in a steady flow throughout the day.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Only two chicks.

Sadly the third osprey egg did not hatch out. The female bird is quite consistent each year in laying 2 - 3 eggs and because she lost her first egg earlier in the season we were surprised when she went on to lay 3 further eggs making it four in total.
We wondered about the viability of the fourth egg as she may have spent all of her resources for the season.
However, the two chicks are thriving and have all of the attention of their doting parents.
The blue tits have hatched on the nestcam at Kailzie Gardens and the chicks are all doing well.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Our records from previous years suggest that today Wednesday 26th May will be the day for the third chick to hatch. We are going to be watching very careffully for any signs at the nest.
As soon as we have news we will update this blog.

Monday, 24 May 2010

We had high hopes that the third egg would hatch today but as yet no sign of any hatching. The parents have been very busy feeding the two youngsters during the hot weather at the weekend and during these times the female has not been incubating.
Today she has resumed incubation duties, so there is still time and we will keep a close watch over the next few days and keep fingers crossed.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

A short film clip below to show the parent birds feeding the two chicks at the nest and another clip showing alarmed ospreys calling in distress as an intruder osprey flies overhead. The male bird tries to let go of his fish to deal with the intruder but the fish is firmly stuck to the spicules on his foot. He then flies off to chase the imposter taking the fish with him.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Second chick hatched!

Today the second chick hatched, much to the delight of the visitors at Glentress Osprey Watch. When the camera first came on at 10am, the female stood up and turned the two remaining eggs and then settled back down again with the hatched chick beneath her.
At 10.30am she stood up again and revealed a second chick which had just hatched!
Both chicks are fine and healthy and the parents seem very relaxed as family life seems to be playing out in idyllic fashion so far this season.
We could very well have a third chick tomorrow but if not it will be very soon after, hopefully.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Not just ospreys!

An exciting day in the Tweed Valley as not only did the first osprey chick hatch today but a phone call received about an owl in trouble led to a very surprising find. Three baby long eared owls were discovered and Conservation Manager Tony Lightley from Forestry Commission Scotland was able to ring the youngest of the chicks which was not yet flying.
This is great news as these are the first long eared owls to be discovered in this particular area of the Borders.

feeding first chick

The male brought in two fish to the nest today and the female took the fish and began tearing off small strips of raw fish to feed to the tiny chick. The parents peering into the nest looked like very proud parents admiring the latest family member.
Two more eggs left to incubate to complete the brood.

First chick hatched

The first of the osprey chicks has hatched this morning. A tiny little head has been spotted in the nest when the female bird stood up. We are delighted and believe the osprey chick is the first to hatch in the UK this season. The female continues to incubate the other two eggs and so over the next few days we should see the arrival of the siblings.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Nest Cams

A fidgety female osprey sat in the nest incubating her eggs yesterday, she will be aware that it is not long to go until the arrival of the little chicks. I wonder if she can hear them inside the eggs?
The other nests on camera at Kailzie Gardens are doing well, the blue tit has finally begun to incubate her eggs. The nest is a cosy, snug little cup, adorned with swan feathers under which she covers herself and the eggs. She regularly wriggles about and turns the eggs during which time we can view in stunning detail, this attractive little bird.
The heron camera is now back to full working order and the nest has three big, not so cute chicks! Watching herons on the nest is like watching a scene from Jurassic Park.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Nearly time to hatch.

We are all eagerly waiting for the first hatching this week. Any day now we should see the first of the chicks hatch out. The parent birds were very early arriving back from migration and settled down to mating, egg laying and incubating soon after their arrival. This has given them a head start on the season and they could possibly be the first osprey chicks to hatch in the UK this year.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Cheeky intruder osprey.

On 19th April both birds were at the nest when a cheeky intruder osprey joined them The bird landed briefly on the edge of the nest and was chased off by male bird SS. Who was the mystery intruder? Could it have been a previous offspring popping in to say hello, or was it a stranger checking out a desirable residence?
Both birds are taking turns to incubate the eggs. They are fishing for themselves and eating away from the nest, we presume this strategy avoids attracting scavengers such as crows.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Keeping warm

Sunday 18th April.

The male SS brought in a large clump of moss to the nest and tucked it around the female while she was incubating. On such a cold day, a welcome windbreak for the incubating bird!

3 eggs where revealed when the female stood up. ( Image taken from the CCTV film footage).

Some work is due to be carried out on the main osprey transmitter to fit a new cable for sound, this may mean a temporary disruption for viewing the picture. Once done this will be a very welcome addition to viewing the nest, as we will be able to hear the birds calling.

At Kailzie a blue tit has been busy nest building revealed on nest box cam.

Friday, 16 April 2010

3 eggs confirmed

Just to let you all know that we now have three eggs, confirmed yesterday and probably laid yesterday morning as that was the first view of them.

All is looking good at the nest and both parents-to-be seem very settled. The male bird (SS) is doing plenty of incubating shifts and the female had a break for a couple of hours while he sat on the eggs. No fish have been brought back to the nest so we presume they are taking it in turns to go off and hunt and feed then return to the nest.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

First egg is lost - but looks like another's been laid

Just as we were celebrating the arrival of the first egg in the Tweed Valley (the first from an osprey in the UK, we thought), reports came in that the egg had fallen from the nest.

The egg was laid on 5th April and it was confirmed missing yesterday (7th April). However, all the signs are that the female has laid again so everyone on the project is keeping optimistic.

Diane, our Osprey Information Officer said:

"This was very disappointing but we are pleased to report that our volunteers have seen the female sitting on the nest again so we are quite confident that she has laid another egg....fingers crossed!

"A lot of work had been undertaken to help build up the artificial nest before the ospreys returned from their long migration. It appears that the birds had continued to add more and more material on top of about 12 inches of snow which had fallen very recently.

"Unfortunately this may have resulted in a loose nest and with high winds the egg may have ended up at the edge of the nest. We think the parents then tried to roll the egg back into position but failed to do so.

"The good news is of course that we think that the female has laid again and that ospreys have continued to build up the nest further and it looks much stronger."

We'll have more details when get them.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Our first egg!

The strong winds have gone, most of the snow has melted too, and our pair are back and have given us an Easter egg treat!  They only arrived in the Tweed Valley on the 21st March and have already laid an egg.

Diane, the Osprey Information Officer, has the story:

"The ospreys had a bit of a battering with the recent bad weather but they've come back to a sturdy nest - thanks to the Forestry Commission Scotland and RSPB rangers - and things are looking promising.

"We think the first egg was laid yesterday [5th April] as that is when our volunteers spotted it for the first time.  The female is taking a real interest in the egg, rolling it around and getting it into the best position for incubation.  This is all good news and we just need to keep our fingers crossed now that everything falls into place and we get more eggs."

It's possible this is the first osprey egg laid in the UK this year. You might catch a glimps of it via the webcam - there's a small version of it on the right of this page and you can see a larger version on the main Tweed Valley Ospreys site.

Both the Glentress and Kailzie visitor centres are now open.  Details of opening hours on the main site too.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Snow and gale force winds

Deep snow on the nest and gale force winds are not the ideal welcome home for the birds. In fact it may have upset our pair as they have not been seen due to the blizzard conditions, and another female has appeared at the nest.

We hope the pair are taking shelter and will be back to defend their territory soon.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Welcome back!

Osprey Watch centre re-opens on Sunday 4th April

We are delighted to announce that our osprey pair have successfully returned from Africa and are back on the nest and we're looking forward to this, their 7th year in the Tweed Valley Forest Park.

The two osprey centres in the Tweed Valley at Kailzie Gardens and Glentress Forest will reopen on Sunday 4th April and will be open until the 31st August between 10.00am and 5.00pm every day.

We'll be bringing you updates on the blog so keep an eye out for the latest goings-on.