Friday, 26 April 2013

One, Two, Three Osprey Eggs!

The ospreys now have three eggs and the season looks set to be on course for early chicks again this year.

Our ospreys acan be viewed live via our camera viewing
Our ospreys acan be viewed live via our camera viewing
facilities at our two Wildwatch centres at Kailzie Gardens
and Glentress
  This is in contrast to the lateness of all of our other breeding birds which have been delayed by the poor spring weather.

The ospreys are doing their shared incubation duties at their tree top eyrie, they are very territorial at their nest site and will not tolerate other ospreys coming too close. They defend their site rigorously with posturing and flights to scare off any unwelcome ospreys in the vicinity. Other ospreys often will pop over to have a look at other sites in the area, known affectionately as ‘buzzing’ the nest. Often, it is just harmless nosiness but the territorial pair need to safe-guard that it is not a serious attempt at site stealing.

The female osprey has been hunkered down deep into the cup of the enormous nest to keep her eggs safe in the high winds while the male continues to bring in fish. The weather has meant that the main rivers such as the Tweed have been in ‘spate’ and too difficult to hunt from but he seems to have secured a good loch from which to provide a steady supply of fish.
Heron nest with eggs
Two heron eggs
The herons have only just laid their eggs and the nest that is on camera now has two beautiful bright blue eggs with a very proud mum. When she laid her first egg, volunteers on duty at the Kailzie Gardens Osprey and Nature Watch Centre, watched and said that she stood up and peered down below and seemed surprised at the sight of an egg there. The herons are very late nesting this year and would normally have chicks by now. But the lateness does not seem to have hampered their progress in any way as mum appears to be in fine breeding condition and is settled at the nest site and has begun to incubate. They nest in a heronry, a colonial nest site with other family groups. Sometimes the female will leave the nest and take a flight to the flooded pasture to forage for food. We have been able to follow this activity on the meadow camera.

The jackdaws have taken up residence in the owl box at Glentress and this can be seen in the Wildwatch room in the Peel Centre, on the windows on wildlife cameras. They now have 5 eggs, which will take up to 18 days to incubate. It will be fun to watch the antics of this lively little family on camera over the next few weeks.

The pond camera in Kailzie has revealed that the frogs have left masses of frogspawn and the pond camera at Glentress which was showing lots of toads in the water now has long strings of toadspawn on the rocks. This will be interesting to watch as the spawn develops and the little tadpoles break out and become free swimmers.

More volunteers are needed to help to staff the two centres and if anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer please get in touch with Tweed Valley Osprey Project Officer, Diane Bennett by email on

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Two eggs now and counting!

A second egg has been spotted in the nest and this was first seen late on Monday 15th April when the volunteer on duty at the Glentress Wildwatch room realised that when the female was turning what he thought to be one egg, there were actually two! We will keep a watchful eye for more eggs over the next few days.

Ospreys at the nest now with two eggs
Proud Dad to be looks down as female reveals 2 eggs

The birds have begun their incubation duties and as ever the male bird from this pair is always keen to take his turn. Both birds appear to be relaxed and very settled. The eggs are gently and carefully turned regularly and the adult birds curl their talons in, to make sure that they do not accidentally pierce the eggs while they lean down and roll the eggs into a favoured position using their beaks.

The weather has been very stormy with high winds. The female has been hunkered down into the nest cup which she frequently scrapes and shifts about material, so that it is to her liking. The male bird has been perching above the nest looking down like the proud father to be.

More wildlife news from around Tweed Valley

The pond camera at Glentress is now showing lots of toads mating in the water. The one at Kailzie has revealed masses of frogspawn and frogs lumbering about.

Heron on the nest
Breeding condition - Bright orange base to the beak
At Kailzie Osprey and Nature Watch Centre, the ‘live’ heron camera is giving superb views of the female heron in impressive breeding condition.

Her beak has a very bright colouration with a vivid orange base and yellow tip. During rest periods at the nest she has been seen resting her long beak on the sticks in the nest. She continues to re-arrange the sticks and there is a lot more fresh grassy material which has been added to the top. There has been no sign of any mate, but she certainly gives the impression of a bird with egg laying on her mind!

The first swallows appeared hunting over Kailzie fishery today and the blue tit has begun to build her nest in the nestbox with a live camera link into the centre at Kailzie.

Monday, 15 April 2013

First Osprey Egg of the Year!

Female stands to reveal egg
At just after 3pm on Friday, the female osprey laid her first egg. Two volunteers were at the centre and spotted the egg when the female stood up.

One of the volunteers is new to the project and so this is a lovely surprise for her to be the first to see the egg and a great start to the season.

We believe that this may be the first osprey egg this year in the Scotland. The Tweed Valley birds have wasted no time since their return and have been spotted frequently mating at the nest site. We will keep a watchful eye for more eggs over the next few days. 
Male flies off with fish.

At around 5.30pm, the male was up on the perch next to the nest with a fish and taking a leisurely meal while the female took her place, to begin incubating straight away. Both birds appeared to be relaxed and very settled. 

Egg rolled into position and female begins to incubate again.
The male flew off with his fish and a few seconds later the female stood up, peered down between her feet and began to nudge the egg with her beak to turn it, which was clearly seen. She soon settled back down to incubate again, very satisfied that all is well and the position of the egg is just as she would like it.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Waiting for an egg to be laid as our ospreys settle in for the season

The osprey pair at the main nest have settled in to their tenth season and can be seen sitting close together at the eyrie - their massive nest on top of the Scots Pine, that will be their home for this coming summer.

New Perch at the nest.
The pair seem very settled and have been mating at the nest site. We are expecting to see an egg any day now.
They have taken short trips away from the nest to bring back some nest adornments of sticks and mosses and now the centre of the nest is beginning to look quite snug in readiness for laying.  

The snow has mostly melted, although it is still  a very sharp, cold spring. However, all seems well set for the start of the breeding season.

The camera has been set up high this year so that we can get a good view in to the nest. 

There has been a new perch added to the side of the nest too (see pic) which the birds have found very much to their liking. It gives a super view of the ospreys when they are there. 

The new cameras are relaying images ‘live’ into the centres at Glentress Forest and at Kailzie Gardens and the quality of the picture is excellent due to the use of high definition.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Ospreys return to Tweed Valley for a 10th season

The Tweed Valley Ospreys have returned for their tenth season at the main nest site which is viewed live on camera.

The severe weather conditions in the Tweed Valley this spring has meant a delay in setting the cameras up at the main nest site, as the snow made it impossible for the technical team to get near enough to the cabling and mast to switch on. Luckily the team had renovated the nest site in readiness for the return of the birds earlier in the month before the snow came and the cameras had already been installed but connections had not been sorted out when the weather took a turn for the worst.

Today though, we finally managed to have cameras rolling and a great sight at the nest was the presence of our two ospreys back for their tenth anniversary year together. The nest does not look inviting at all, with over a foot of frozen,compacted snow sitting on top of it! The pair were seen at the perches to the side of the nest and have wasted no time, as we witnessed mating taking place. The female was also seen eating a good sized fish while the male bird surveyed his domain from the lofty perch to the side of the nest.

It is always a huge relief to see the birds back for the first time at the start of the season, particularly after such a harsh spring. Both birds appear to be in fine form and the female as always looked very impressive as she turned to camera showing her raised crest and piercing yellow eyes.

Both centres at Glentress Peel and Kailzie Gardens Osprey & Nature Watch are now open for the public to view these magnificent pair live on camera at their eyrie and enjoy the intimate moments of family life at the nest.