Thursday, 23 May 2013

Borders osprey visits France and new arrivals for the herons!


We have had some further exciting news of a Borders bred osprey, (hatched in 2009 and fitted with a blue leg ring VA, whilst still a fledgling), has been caught on camera catching a super fish in South West France, in a place called Banc d’Arcachon. It first appeared on 11th May and was seen catching a fish and then disappearing off into the forest area and then sighted again on 12th May in the same area.

Scottish Borders chick ringed as VA in 2009 with siblings

It is always so delightful to hear news of birds bred in the Borders returning after a few years when they are ready to breed and prospecting for nest sites. This is the first record of one of our birds turning up in France. It proves the value of ringing the birds with the large lettered and coloured, Darvic rings, so that individuals can be identified. We have learnt so much about osprey movements, dispersion and behavior since the ringing scheme began.



VA photographed in France 11th May 2013
We are delighted that two heron chicks have hatched out so far and they are very cute with spiky tufted heads and grey down all over.
We were even treated to the rare sight of both parent birds at the nest, as they did a parenting swap over at the nest site, in order to keep up the continuous duties to look after the young chicks.
This allowed one of the birds to go off and have a stretch and feed for a while. There is still one egg remaining and it is hoped that it too may hatch to give a third heron chick.
The blue tit has finally laid eggs in the
 
Two heron chicks with parent 19th May

nest box that she has been tending to since late March. It would seem that she instinctively delayed laying eggs until conditions were suitable and weather improved enough to guarantee a good food supply for chick hatching time. She has ten eggs and she has now begun to incubate.
Unlike the heron and osprey, she also delays incubating until all of her eggs are laid. This ensures that all chicks will hatch out at roughly the same time and will all fledge together at the same time too. It is a survival strategy of the blue tit to have ‘all the eggs in one basket’, so that when they fledge together, the family quickly disperse and become independent. Most of the young birds will not make adulthood and will be picked off by predators such as sparrowhawk and corvid species but at least two or three of the brood will make it hopefully.

The jackdaws in the owl box at Glentress have three chicks and two of their eggs did not hatch. The three chicks are doing really well and have grown substantially in just over a week.
All of the nests have cameras linking them to screens in the two centres at GlentressWildwatch Room and Kailzie Gardens Osprey and Nature Watch where the family life of the birds is revealed in intimate detail without any disturbance to the birds themselves.

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