Dull day at Kielder

After a lovely sunny four day Easter period, Tuesday was misty, drizzly and dull at Kielder. Mainly dull nest monitoring too, even for the most avid osprey lover, because the ospreys were absent for large parts of the day. No Easter egg(s) and maybe none for a couple more days.

On sunny Monday there was action on the nests but no signs of imminent eggs, eg the females lying in the cup for some time. On Nest 1 when YA brought a fish in and Mrs YA took it he mated with her immediately; the same happened on Tuesday!

YA mates on Monday whilst Mrs YA is thinking mainly of fish (c) Forestry Commission

YA mates on Monday whilst Mrs YA is thinking mainly of fish
(c) Forestry Commission

Groundhog day on Tuesday (c) Forestry Commission England

Groundhog day on Tuesday
(c) Forestry Commission England

On Nest 2 on Monday there was a bit of mating and a lot of nest work. 37 brought in a huge bit of moss which would have completely filled the cup; Mrs 37 was not impressed when it was dumped and tried to drag it across the nest before resorting to tearing manageable chunks off. The wind took care of one very large bit, fortunately, and over the edge it blew. Later there was some major dropping off of sticks which Mrs 37 used to create a barricade between herself and the camera before spreading them more evenly.

37 has landed with a piece of moss almost as big as him (c) Forestry Commission England

37 has landed with a piece of moss almost as big as him
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 hauls the moss across the nest (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 hauls the moss across the nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 barricades herself in the cup! (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 barricades herself in the cup!
(c) Forestry Commission England

On Tuesday the main entertainment was when Mrs YA decided to try and swallow a stringy bit of fish skin and tail whole; regular readers may remember she has a habit of trying this. She had to give up after a bit, resorting to more dainty behaviour.

Mrs YA could do with arms to help stuff the fish into her mouth! (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA could do with arms to help stuff the fish into her mouth!
(c) Forestry Commission England

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No Easter egg at Kielder yet!

The Forestry Commission have an Easter Egg Trail from Kielder Castle this weekend, but osprey lovers would be more thrilled to see an egg on an osprey nest than in the woods!

With sunny and fairly warm weather all weekend both pairs of ospreys spent a long time on the respective nests preening, dozing, fiddling with the nest decor and mating.

Working hard together on Nest 2 (c) Forestry Commission England

Working hard together on Nest 2
(c) Forestry Commission England

On Saturday there was a bit of mantling on both nests. But the lengthiest session was on Nest 2. At just after noon Mrs 37 (who was on her own at the time) looked agitated, then mantled furiously. The reason became clear – another osprey, unringed,  landed on HER nest! The intruder had a good look around as Mrs 37 shouted, flapped and eventually took to the air. The intruder followed almost immediately. Here are screenshots from the event.

Something is worrying Mrs 37 (c) Forestry Commission England

Something is worrying Mrs 37
(c) Forestry Commission England

Here's the problem! (c) Forestry Commission England

Here’s the problem!
(c) Forestry Commission England

the intruder looks around (c) Forestry Commission

The intruder looks around as Mrs 37 stands behind
(c) Forestry Commission England

intruder leaves just after Mrs 37 has flown

The intruder leaves immediately after Mrs 37 flew away (c) Forestry Commission England

On Sunday it was nowhere near as stressful on Nest 2. Early in the morning the pair dozed in the sun.

Enjoying the sun (c) Forestry Commission England

Enjoying the sun
(c) Forestry Commission England

On both nests the females scraped in the cup.

Mrs 37 scraping (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 scraping
(c) Forestry Commission England

And here's Mrs YA's effort (c) Forestry Commission England

And here’s Mrs YA’s effort
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA also tried lying in the cup. She’s just getting down on her haunches in the shot below.

Is it a comfy cup? (c) Forestry Commission England

Is it a comfy cup?
(c) Forestry Commission England

A fish delivery by 37 just after 14.00 was welcome and Mrs 37 went off to eat. As ever, 37 fiddled with bark and moss and scraped. He also had another few minutes lying in the cup. He’s ready to incubate those eggs!

37 has dropped a fish off (c) Forestry Commission England

37 has dropped a fish off
(c) Forestry Commission England

 

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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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