Thursday, 30 June 2011

Osprey Ringing 27th June

The chicks in the main nest for tweed Valley Osprey Project were ringed on 27th June. The three chicks are really big and very nearly ready to leave the nest. Conservation Manager and licensed ringer Tony Lightley and Ringer Ronnie Graham ringed the chicks. Each was given a unique BTO metal ring and they were given Large dark blue Darvic rings with white letters ZN, ZP and ZR and all 3 chicks were thought to be male.
A further nest of osprey chicks will be ringed on Friday 1st july and photos will be posted on to the blog afterwards.

Saturday 25th June

Chicks looking like fully feathered, adult-sized birds now with large wings flapping a lot of the time, really building up those muscles now. When the youngsters are flapping their wings, they are holding on to the nest so as to not take off! All 3 were walking about the nest this morning with no adult on the nest, but as always most likely that one of them is nearby. Mum came and sat on the nest at 10:30 and all the chicks are having a snooze. Both parents were on the nest at 11:00, with Mum on the nest and Dad perched on the branch to the left hand side. Chicks were still snoozing.
Heron parent was back again today at 14:00 to feed the youngsters.

Thursday 23rd June and Friday 24th June

Tony Lightley from Forestry Commission, (Conservation Manager) went to check the nest today to see when the chicks would be ready to ring. They also tried to re-position the camera for a better view of the nest and the rapidly growing chicks.
Woodpecker was around a lot today, probably because it’s been quite quiet on the people front.
Friday 24th June Chicks are looking big and healthy with plenty of fish being fed to them. Lots of stretching going on, particularly by one of the chicks, assumed to be the older one. Female has spent most of the day on and around the nest, being a good Mum as usual. Chicks have been preening and also moving sticks around the nest – practicing nest maintenance for later on in life! They have been lazing in the nest after being fed, stretching out their large, fully feathered wings. Huge fish brought by Dad at 14:45 (still alive at first!) Mum fed herself first and then the chicks. At 16.20 Mum left and soon came back with a wide stick that she proceeded to try and put down in the nest, instead putting it on one of the chick’s backs. The chick wasn’t happy and had to get up to shake it off!
Parent bird seen on the heron nest today at 14:30, feeding his or her chicks with what looked like a whole regurgitated fish and other treats!
The feeders have been very busy today with the nuthatch and greenfinches making many appearances, the pheasant was also back.

Tuesday 21st June

Mum spent most of the day sheltering the chicks from the weather – the chicks can just about fit their heads under her but not much more! Only 1 fish brought in by Dad during the day, seems as though the rain was causing him problems when trying to fish.

Monday 20th June

The ospreys are looking much happier today, with much nicer weather and the chicks have been preening, stretching and moving around the nest. Dad brought in a fish at 11.30, without having eaten any of it and passed it over to Mum. Mums doing a bit of re-arranging in the nest, moving sticks around after feeding the chicks.
Herons are looking much more lively today, stand up and stretching and moving around the nest. Not huddled up in a miserable looking ball as they usually do!
Great spotted woodpecker visited the feeders
New camera has been put up on a swallow’s nest. Looks like the female is sitting on something, probably eggs, and she can be seen leaving and coming back. We’ll keep an eye on the action there too

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sunday 19th June

Female on the nest with the 3 chicks who are now stretching and flapping their wings to build up some flight muscles – only about 3 weeks to go before usual fledging age! Male came in with a fish at 11.00 and stayed on the nest while the female fed the chicks. Male disappeared again, presumably to hunt for some more food! Then, successful again, dad brings in a fish at 13.30 - we have some very well fed chicks! The nest had some small visitors – small birds, including great tits, coal tits and a few chaffinches. They seemed to be looking for insects probably attracted to the remnants of fish. Next thing we know, there’s something over the nest and mum is very unhappy again, she was calling and trying to chase off the intruders, seemingly without success. This went on for over an hour! Only 2 hours later and the male is back again with another fish showing his amazing hunting skills and ability to look after his family! Chicks are eager as ever to be fed and mum takes charge. Dad moves off to perch just off the side of the nest and watch over his feeding family. Once the chicks finished feeding they all tried to burrow in to mum to get away from the rain even though they’re much too big and have their adult feathers! Dad has left again and mum moves to the edge of the nest to do some preening and get away from her wanting chicks. Everyone is quite relaxed on the nest and content having being fed once more. It rained for virtually the whole afternoon, unhappy birds and people alike!
Variety of birds on the feeders outside; siskins, chaffinches, dunnocks on the ground, blue tits, great tits....and 2 nuthatches!
Saturday 18th June
The male brought in a fish at about 11.45 and passed it over to the female to feed her and the chicks. All the chicks seemed satisfied and settled down in the nest to digest their meal! The male stayed around the nest for a long time, perching up to the left then flew off to catch some more fish. Between 16.00-16.20 the female was still on the nest but she seemed very unhappy about something nearby, possibly a crow seeming interested in what was going on. She was calling out to whatever it may have been, with her wings lowered and flapping. At about 16.50 it started to rain and the female moved over to the chicks to shelter them with her wings. The male came back once more with a fish at 17.00, having eaten the head for himself and passing it over to the female to do her duty!

Friday, 17 June 2011

A surprise visitor

The osprey watch had another unusal visitor yesterday, as a little fledgeling robin flew into the fishery next door. Jimmy from the fishery brought it over to the osprey centre to find out what it was and to see if it was alright. It was a bit stunned so we put it in the artificial osprey nest outside the building to allow it time to recover and fly off.
The osprey chicks are doing very well, the male brought a feast of fish to the nest and the female fed the raw trout to each individual chick until they were full and sleepy.
The heron chicks are looking huge and glum. A visit from one of the parents did little to raise any activity from them but the parent seemed satisfied that they were ok and left them to continue their treetop trance.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Chicks are growing up.

The three osprey chicks are really growing up in to fine healthy young birds now. The two older chicks have the characteristic stripey heads and are bigger than the youngest one.
It has been a busy time for the parents and despite the horrendous weather this summer has brought for the Tweed Valley, the male bird still manages to bring in plenty of fish .
The herony cam shows such a contrast in the two species lifestyles, the heron parents are very much more indifferent towards their chicks it seems. The parents rarely ever sit on the nest with their young and they have to huddle together for warmth and are never sheltered by the parents. We never see the young chicks being fed and as they are growing can only conclude that they get an early meal prior to cameras being swithched on.
Ospreys by comparison are so very attentive to their little ones and shield them from weather and any likely threats of danger.
The blue tits have now fledged and the other nest cams have no residents. One box has been visited by a grey squirrel and also a great tit. We will be keeping a look out for any other likely nests for cameras to capture second broods.