Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Southern skies beckon soon.

A lonely chick was seen at the main nest site on Monday 12th August, it flew on to the nest and was calling repeatedly. We could not see if there was an adult nearby or whether it was just calling out in the hopes that a parent may be in the vicinity with a tasty fish to hand over. The male bird, white leg ring SS appeared on the nest site on 13th August with a really big fish and was feeding himself. One of the chicks was keeping him close company and calling and begging for food. The chick is a good deal larger than her dad, so this is presumably a female chick. Her hungry father was having a good feed for himself and did not appear too keen to share his prize.

The chicks by now are proficient fliers and we would hope that they are gaining the hunting skills that will make them independent. Survival depends on the young birds being able to hunt for themselves, as soon they will need to make their solo migration journeys to Africa.

It could be that the male may be reluctant to share a meal at this late stage because he will be very aware that the chicks must make their own way without his support soon. He is the parent that will provide the finishing school for his offspring, as by now their mum has broken ties with them and may even have moved on. She will make her way slowly south, feeding up and getting herself back into peak condition after raising another brood over the summer. We have no idea how old she is because she is not ringed. This has certainly been her 10th season with male, white leg ring SS, but we believe that she was possibly the bird that occupied the main nest with another unringed male the year before SS arrived. He is fifteen years old and in his prime and we hope that they will both return next year for their eleventh year together. It is worth visiting the osprey centres to catch a glimpse of the family before they leave and although the nest may be empty sometimes when the family are off hunting, we are still seeing Dad and the chicks popping back to feed from time to time.

The Kailzie Wildlife Festival was held last weekend at Kailzie Gardens and was a great success. The weekend was packed with wildlife themed family entertainment, with demonstrations of bird ringing, bat and bird box making, guided walks, photography, pond dipping, mammal trapping, stalls and birds of prey. One of the star attractions was the magnificent golden eagle called Captain, a ferret on a lead kept what appeared to be a critical eye on proceedings and a mighty Eagle Owl greeted visitors with a steely orange eyed gaze.

The festival was organised by the Friends of Kailzie Wildlife as part of the KLAWED Project with funding from Leader and SNH.

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