A quiet day today

After YA’s busy morning yesterday working on his nest he was missing for a while. Here’s where he was some of the time – firstly, his brother Yellow 37’s nest.

anybody around?
(c) Forestry Commission England

YA flew up to the top of the camera and perched there for a few minutes before deciding to give 37 a head start by tidying up the nest.

a bit of nestoration
(c) Forestry Commission England

Then it was on to check out other homes – Nest 4 next stop.

another nest to check
(c) Forestry Commission England

YA stayed a short time then flew off, possibly to inspect Nest 3.

Today a human visit to Nest 3 was high on the agenda because YA wasn’t seen in the first hour of recording. Was the Nest 3 female back (she’d arrived by 27 March last year) so  had YA  ‘gone courting’?

There was no activity over a couple of hours at Nest 3 so it is unlikely either resident has returned.

YA was first recorded on his nest today flying in with a headless trout at 13.09. Press HD for best quality.

Yesterday too he went straight to the perch but ate immediately. Today he sat and looked around for over an hour before deciding to finish his meal.

The weather has changed and rain is dominating over the next couple of days, so YA – and we – may have to be patient in our wait for more returners. Last year most Kielder breeding ospreys returned at their earliest known date but that will not be true this year.

Regular readers will have noted there is coverage of Nest 4 this season. Many thanks to the Forestry Commission for their work on the infrastructure and installing the nestcam.

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Down to business

YA wasn’t recorded on his nest yesterday after the first visit. But today he was on and off all morning, moving moss, scraping out the nest cup and bringing twigs and bark to build up the edge. And having a rest in between!

a break from the action
(c) Forestry Commission England

Some of the action. Press HD for best quality on all videos and apologies for the fogging.

But waiting is boring and working is tiring.

After more work this afternoon YA brought a fish to the nest but with no female awaiting a gift he is tucking in on the perch as this is written, 16.00.

YA returned on the same date as last year and Mrs YA arrived later that day. Historically 37 is usually back first. Last year he landed on his nest on 24 March which was the earliest date recorded for him. We hope he and the other Kielder Ospreys are all safely winging their way home.

Some of the nestcams are streaming live to Kielder Castle Cafe. To see the action as it happens over a cuppa or more visit during opening hours 11.00 to 16.00 until April, then 09.30 to 17.00.

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More on YA’s return

It was a thrill to see YA land on his nest at Kielder yesterday afternoon. He looked in good shape.

YA looks around his area
(c) Forestry Commission England

Review of footage from other nestcams revealed he had called at his old nest, Nest 1, a few minutes earlier. This short video shows that arrival and a bit of action from his time on Nest 1A.

He didn’t return to the nest before the nestcam stopped streaming at 17.00 but he’s been busy today. More on that later.


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White YA returns

White YA, the breeding male on Nest 1A, landed on his nest at 13.23 (ignore the time stamp, adjustment required).

touchdown imminent
(c) Forestry Commission England

He moved some sticks, looked about and performed a couple of nest scrapes before departing after about 30 minutes.

too much moss in here!
(c) Forestry Commission England

There will be more tomorrow once review of the nestcams has taken place. The Kielder season starts!

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Ready and waiting…

Kielder Water and Forest Park was looking stunning on 20 March.

blue skies, choppy waves
(c) Joanna Dailey

The Forestry Commission England Wildlife Rangers have been working hard on refurbishing the four osprey nests at Kielder. Radio and Electronics Branch have been equally busy with the nestcams and the technical infrastructure. Here’s the result of their joint efforts at the two main nests.

fresh moss for the ospreys on Nest 1A
(c) Forestry Commission England

sun shining on Nest 2’s new moss lining
(c) Forestry Commission England

None of the breeding pairs arrived yesterday and they would be advised to hang back further south until tomorrow at least!

early snow on Wednesday
(c) Forestry Commission England

Tomorrow is the day Yellow 37 from Nest 2 arrived home in 2016. We hope he and the other breeding ospreys are having safe journeys.

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Track and field

Paul has created what we think is a first, a marriage of satellite tracking data with photos of the osprey’s activity observed in the field – in this case UV foraging. Here is UV on an earlier foray on 26 February.

26 Feb: UV at 11.37
(c) V J Paine

Just before 13.00 he returned to thrill us once more. Here is Paul’s animation, many thanks to him.

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Changing places

In the last post we described changes to the northern part of the Langue de Barbarie. An increase in human activity in the unpopulated area at its southern end may well be why UV – and other ospreys – were less in evidence in February 2017 than the same period last year. Where are UV and his like spending time now?

Doune Baba Dieye, the island where a village was destroyed by the ocean, hosts UV (sometimes) and other ospreys whilst the displaced villagers tend their crops on the north spit of the Langue. In February 2016 there were ospreys on Doune Baba Dieye so this isn’t a new destination. But they are still present in number in 2017 which was not the case on north spit albeit over a short observation period. Plus there’s the supporting evidence from UV’s data to indicate the spit is less popular, at least with him.

This year UV has visited more or less the same southern area of Doune Baba Dieye as in 2016.

the beach by the Senegal River looking towards the south of Doune Baba Dieye
(c) Joanna Dailey

This beach was a destination more often last year than this. The tip of the mainland, part of which is visible to the top right of the photo, is another destination for ospreys to perch. Beyond the trees top left is where UV has been more of the time in 2017. This is the area, looking inland.

the tributary frequented by ospreys and others
(c) Joanna Dailey

Some of the dots on the sandbar are ospreys and on some days UV is one but not when we visited. Either day!

the edge of the tributary
(c) V J Paine

ospreys by the sandbar
(c) Joanna Dailey

The beach and trees around the tributary are well used.

the best way to cool the feet
(c) Joanna Dailey


a popular beach
(c) Joanna Dailey

a more panoramic view
(c) Joanna Dailey

And crabs were enjoying lunch.

Last year Whistling Duck flocks were in the shallow water but not this, although bird life abounded.

Gulls and a Grey Heron
(c) Joanna Dailey

UV and other ospreys also perch at the end of the mainland that you can see in the first photo.

an osprey on the crest of the beach at the tip of the mainland
(c) Joanna Dailey

But there is human activity there too which will deter the less tolerant birds.

A fisherman at the very end of the mainland waits for the tide to be right…
(c) Joanna Dailey

… and later on it was
(c) Joanna Dailey

And the next day off the very end of the mainland
(c) Joanna Dailey

You can see how shallow the water is near the river mouth. Another area UV perches is a mangrove lined tributary off the main river. Access is only possible around high tide.

Spoonbills near the start of the tributary
(c) Joanna Dailey

reeds give way to mangroves…
(c) Joanna Dailey

… the channel narrows…
(c) Joanna Dailey

…UV perches in this area
(c) Joanna Dailey

But not on that day!

an osprey in the mangroves
(c) Joanna Dailey

The habitat housed kingfishers and heron, ospreys were seen and also heard slightly further away. It is a quiet area and difficult to access, good for wildlife.

Leaving the tributary revealed the first human activity.

just out of the tributary a herdsman tends his stock
(c) Joanna Dailey

That was to the east, to the west…

a perch with adornment
(c) Joanna Dailey

Overhead ospreys foraged.

a German osprey forages
(c) V J Paine

one of many ospreys in moult
(c) V J Paine

You’ll have noticed some detritus on the beaches in the earlier photos. Here is more including a Wetlands International bucket.

how did that get there?
(c) V J Paine

Wherever the origin – and netting especially is a local responsibility – plastic entering the food chain is a growing problem, and one that can persist for hundreds of years. The detritus is not necessarily from the local area but could well have been brought to shore from thousands of miles away by ocean currents. These currents being what they are, much of west Africa’s beach flotsam emanates from western Europe and countries around the Mediterranean. In recent years, some enterprising Senegalese have found a way to make money out of the washed-up garbage.

But it would be far better to stop this problem at source – and that means all of us should dispose of our unused items responsibly!

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