Lovely weather for preparing for eggs

Blue skies and water sandwiching green forested hills – a lovely setting for the Kielder ospreys to get ready for egg time in the sunshine and light breeze.

Both pairs mated frequently in the morning.

Mating on Nest 1 (c) Forestry Commission England

Mating on Nest 1
(c) Forestry Commission England

37 approaches the nest from below (c) Forestry Commission England

37 approaches the nest from below before mating
(c) Forestry Commission England

In between they preened, scraped the cup and fiddled with moss, bark and twigs as ospreys do.

Synchronised preening on Nest 2 (c) Forestry Commission England

Synchronised preening on Nest 2
(c) Forestry Commission England

Around lunchtime there was a lull, although both females were back on their nests by 14.15.

By later afternoon Nest 1 had been mostly empty but Mrs 37 spent time on Nest 2. 37 was probably on top of the camera pole as she looked up a lot, telling him something on occasion. Hungry maybe? Although she didn’t mantle she looked agitated a couple of times and was following something flying around the area.

Mrs 37 stares intently at the camera pole (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 stares intently at the camera pole
(c) Forestry Commission England

On Nest 1, YA landed with most of a fish shortly before 16.00 and Mrs YA went off to a nearby tree whilst YA did some more scraping. The pair are surrounding the cup with moss but not going so far as building up a nest edge!

Mrs YA snatches the fish from YA - and nearly his foot too! (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA snatches the fish from YA – and nearly his foot too!
(c) Forestry Commission England

On Nest 2 Mrs 37 very gratefully accepted a fish delivery; she seemed peckish. She flew off and 37 messed about with bark for a couple of minutes but then Mrs 37 landed (with fish) and both ospreys looked very alarmed. There was something flying bothering them, at times they ducked, but no view or even shadow gave a clue to the species. Probably osprey although 37 didn’t leave the nest to chase it away, as he usually does. After almost 30 minutes things calmed down and Mrs 37 tucked into the trout on the nest before taking it away again.

Mrs 37 returns to the nest with fish as something unsettles the pair (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 returns to the nest with fish as something unsettles the pair
(c) Forestry Commission England

 

 

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Ruffled feathers!

No dozing on the nests at Kielder on Thursday, it was very breezy and bits of moss and bark were being blown around Nest 1 especially. The ospreys’ feathers were definitely ruffled although more often by the wind than intruders. There were a couple of ‘incidents’when the ospreys on both nests mantled but no intruder was visible on the cams.

YA gets ready to see something off as Mrs YA mantles (c) Forestry Commission England

YA gets ready to see something off as Mrs YA mantles
(c) Forestry Commission England

It should have been a difficult day to fish with ‘white horses’ thumping against the dam wall. It seemed that way on Nest 1, with Mrs YA reduced to trying to swallow a fishtail and part of the body whole; she did that last year too. But on Nest 2 37 provided quite a large trout which Mrs 37 took away to eat. And Kielder ornithologist Martin saw an osprey hunting near the dam, go right into the water then shake his wings for a couple of minutes still on the water before he flew off with his prize.

Nest cup work occupied both pairs. Mrs YA scraped, stood and lay in the Nest 1 cup and YA did his share of scraping. It is still a bit soon for egg laying on Nest 1, but the pair mated a few times to ensure it should happen!

Mrs YA deepens the cup (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA deepens the cup
(c) Forestry Commission England

Testing for size (c) Forestry Commission England

Testing for size
(c) Forestry Commission England

On Nest 2 Mrs 37 stood in the cup rather than lay in it, whereas after a vigorous scrape 37 again lay for some time, practising for his incubation duties. There could be an Easter egg for Nest 2 although usually Mrs 37 spends more time in the cup before laying than she did today.

37 seems to have earth stained legs (c) Forestry Commission England

37 seems to have earth stained legs
(c) Forestry Commission England

37 lying in the cup, just like yesterday (c) Forestry Commission England

37 lying in the cup, just like yesterday
(c) Forestry Commission England

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Another pretty dozy day

It wasn’t quite as sunny at Kielder on Wednesday as the previous day and the wind had a chill edge, but it was still a mainly relaxing one for the ospreys.

On Nest 1 the pair were together on the nest for a time in the morning.

The Nest 1 pair together (c) Forestry Commission England

The Nest 1 pair together
(c) Forestry Commission England

At one point YA was mantling at an overhead threat, but it wasn’t possible to identify what species. In the afternoon the pair were mainly in trees around the nest area, although YA was down on the nest for a bit.

YA mantles before flying after something (c) Forestry Commission England

YA had mantled before flying after something
(c) Forestry Commission England

On Nest 2, Mrs 37 was on the nest in the morning and at around 09.30 and 10.30 was mantling at something overhead.

Mrs 37 unhappy at something overhead (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 unhappy at something overhead
(c) Forestry Commission England

An hour later she was happily eating a fish that 37 had dropped off for her. Having had enough she flew off, leaving the trout on the nest, and 37 landed. But he wasn’t interested in food. He inspected the cup, preened a bit, then lay in the cup just like a female. What a ‘new man’ he is, sharing the parenting experiences!

37 being a 'new man' in the deep cup (c) Forestry Commission England

37 being a ‘new man’ in the deep cup
(c) Forestry Commission England

The Nest 2 pair contentedly side by side (c) Forestry Commission England

The Nest 2 pair contentedly side by side, 37 napping again!
(c) Forestry Commission England

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Dozing in the sun at Kielder

A relaxed day was spent at Kielder in both nests.  The weather was gorgeous – sunny with a clear blue sky and a slight breeze.  Mrs 37 spent a long time dozing on the edge of her nest, looking around unhurriedly in between.  She eventually flew off, probably refreshed from her relaxed morning of sleeping and preening.

Both birds had been seen on Nest 1 earlier in the day, rearranging the nest, but the nest was empty for a lot of the morning.  Crows were seen sitting on nearby trees, but did not make a nuisance of themselves at all today.  Mrs YA returned to the nest for a short while, but flew off and was not seen again until early afternoon.  Her shouting on the nest was rewarded when YA flew in with a huge fish.  She claimed it immediately  and flew off to eat it.  YA stayed on the nest and moved a lot of moss around.  At one stage he was moving some moss with his beak at one side of the nest cup, while kicking more moss hard with his legs.  Moss was spraying everywhere!

Mrs 37 dozes on the edge of her nest

Mrs 37 dozes on the edge of her nest

Mrs 37 asleep with her head over her back

Mrs 37 asleep with her head over her back

In the afternoon there was much more action, with 37 coming in to hand over a fish to Mrs 37 early in the afternoon.  She immediately flew off with it.  However she was back within quarter of an hour, and there was a successful mating.

37 arrives with a fish for his mate

37 arrives with a fish for his mate

A successful mating

A successful mating

Over on Nest 1, both ospreys spent a while mantling side by side, but in a very relaxed manner.

Mantling, but seemingly at peace.

Mantling, but seemingly at peace.

Followed by more mating.

YA and Mrs YA preparing to mate again

YA and Mrs YA preparing to mate again

Throughout the day there did not appear to be any anxiety about intruders, although both pairs were looking up and checking the skies.  Perhaps the other ospreys have moved on during their migration

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A video of the Aberfoyle female who visited Nest 1

Not much happened at Kielder on Monday, especially compared to Dyfi and Rutland in particular.

Here is a short video showing the Aberfoyle female Blue HV moments after she landed on Friday. And YA’s initial reaction.

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Thinking about eggs?

Both females at Kielder spent quite a bit of time standing or sitting in the cups of their respective nests on Sunday. Especially Mrs 37 and she should be first to lay having arrived home earlier than Mrs YA. Also she hasn’t had to contend with interruptions to courtship from Scottish females! However an egg would be very early by Nest 2 standards, 14-17 days being the normal gap between pairing up again and an egg being laid. 37 and she mated quite often today although she was not always receptive to him. This was the case just after 15.00. 37 landed with a tiny twig and the pair moved small items around the cup. They then had a ‘chat’, taking turns to say their piece. 37 tried to mate but the female kept her tail down – maybe she’d been suggesting some trout would be appreciated as no meal had been seen all day! 37 flew off and she returned to sitting in the cup.

On Nest 1 in the morning Mrs YA stood in the cup but didn’t lie down in the incubating position as she has done in the last couple of days. YA landed and they mated a few times. Mrs YA left the nest in the afternoon. YA sat on the camera pole for a while until a crow landed on the nest; he flew down to chase it off and it responded by going onto the pole! Not for long, though.

Here are a couple of images from Nest 2 today.

A successful copulation by the look of it (c) Forestry Commission England

A successful copulation by the look of it
(c) Forestry Commission England

37 and Mrs 37 look like they are having a chat (c) Forestry Commission England

37 and Mrs 37 look like they are having a chat
(c) Forestry Commission England

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The boring domestic stuff!

After the excitement for humans of seeing the Aberfoyle osprey at Kielder yesterday, for our ospreys it was probably rather a relief to get back to a day of domesticity. If a very breezy one!

Nest 2 was quiet again with just a couple of visits by 37 to tidy his domain caught on camera. But most of the attention was on Nest 1 after yesterday, and unfortunately it isn’t possible to see both nest streams at once so action may have been missed.

On Nest 1 when streaming started Mrs YA was on the nest doing some fiddling with bark and twigs, shouting occasionally and lying in the nest cup. She was in the cup quite a bit during the day. It is far too early for her to have formed eggs but she is regularly trying out the comfort of the scraped out area. At 09.45 YA landed with a fish and Mrs YA took it straight away. YA did a bit of earth shovelling in the cup as she ate, and generally roamed the nest. After a while he tried to mate even though Mrs YA was still eating.

By late morning Mrs YA had allowed YA take the fish away and she’d dozed for a bit. He brought the fish remnant back then both did a bit more work on the nest. The large branch YA had brought in a couple of days back was quite challenging to both of them and finally it somehow got pushed over the edge!

The pair were on or near the nest most of the day and at times looked fairly alert, but there were no crow or osprey incursions today.

Here are some images from a peaceful day.

Here comes a late breakfast (c) Forestry Commission England

Here comes a late breakfast
(c) Forestry Commission England

YA was on or near the nest most of the day; Mrs YA gets on with eating (c) Forestry Commission England

YA was on or near the nest most of the day; Mrs YA gets on with eating
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA spent time on and off during the day sitting in the area the eggs will be laid (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA spent time during the day sitting in the area the eggs will be laid
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA struggles with the branch (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA struggles with the branch
(c) Forestry Commission England

YA finds the branch tricky too (c) Forestry Commission England

YA finds the branch tricky too
(c) Forestry Commission England

The branch is now over the edge as YA stands in the nest cup. His brother wouldn't be impressed! (c) Forestry Commission England

The branch is now over the edge as YA stands in the nest cup. His brother wouldn’t be impressed!
(c) Forestry Commission England

 

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