Ancroft leads the way on Nest 3

The nestcam on Nest 3 records for 3 hours a day, more than previous years thanks to Forestry Commission Radio and Electronics Branch installing a new management system, but that is still only a glimpse into activity. Over the last week, the youngest chick, Acomb doesn’t seem to have made much progress. Nor has the eldest, Archer. Ancroft,  is proving that males do tend to fledge ahead of females, although he isn’t there yet. Or perhaps the clips are misleading!

A couple of days ago, Archer was exercising and Ancroft was feeding himself.

Archer flaps, Ancroft tackles a whole trout
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mostly, the recordings show Ancroft exercising and the other two sleeping or eating!

These clips show Archer’s ‘progress’ between 14 July and now. Press HD for best quality on all clips.

Acomb appeared to be quite advanced, with hops and jumps added to flapping by a week ago, Plenty of focus, too!

(c) Forestry Commission England

But there hasn’t been much advance since.

Ancroft was jumping across the nest by 17 July.

Ancroft jumps across the nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

He’s come on in leaps and bounds since then!

We should discover the fledge dates over the next week. No bets on who will be first!

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Aln returns – nearly 24 hours later

Aln’s take off yesterday was smooth, but she didn’t reappear on the nest until 10.13 today.

I’m back!
(c) Forestry Commission England

Shortly before she fledged yesterday, she performed a high jump over EB. Press HD for best quality on all clips.

Next, with little forewarning as is often the case, she was off.

During the rest of yesterday, EB made several appearances on the nest. She flew with a fish in the same direction as Aln’s fledge.

EB flies off with a fish
(c) Forestry Commission England

Occasionally she landed and sat for a few seconds, calling.

calling to Aln?
(c) Forestry Commission England

This morning, EB had just brought a stick to the nest when she saw Aln returning.

Two data downloads showed Aln had flown down the slope of the fell and past the old nest tree. She may have roosted on the old nest last night, and in the last fix this morning was near ‘her’ nest. It was good to see her land.

She soon started food soliciting.

I want food
(c) Forestry Commission England

She preened and slept and took a few flights. Here she is returning from a short one. Look on the right side of the screen to see her appearing.

It wasn’t until mid afternoon that 37 arrived with a fish, rather than a stick.

at last
(c) Forestry Commission England

Aln ceded possession to EB, who fed her in a couple of sessions. Then tucked in herself.

not hungry now
(c) Forestry Commission England

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Progress on Nest 4

Over the last few days, the two youngsters on Nest 4 have been practicing their wing flapping and have strengthened their legs with hops and jumps.

Aydon concentrates on his destination
(c) Forestry Commission England

Alwinton keep her feet on the ground
(c) Forestry Commission England

As a male – and also a day older – Aydon is leading the way. In this clip he exercises first. Press HD for best quality on all clips.

In the next clip Aydon is steady on most landings.

By this morning, the chicks are much more confident. Aydon does well not to lose his balance in the first video.

The youngsters are starting to eat without help, and sometimes want ‘first go’.

Alwinton gets to the fish first
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 69 and Aydon tussle over trout
(c) Forestry Commission England

There’ll be an update a bit later on Aln, who fledged from Nest 2 yesterday. She didn’t arrive ‘home’ until this morning. She is fine, but waiting for some food!

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Aln fledges

Nest 2 female juvenile Aln fledged this morning.

Aln leaves the nest

Aln heading for the old nest?

EB flew off after Aln. She’s been back to the nest a couple of times, but we haven’t seen Aln return yet.

There are broadband problems at the moment, video later – perhaps.

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UV at Kielder again

UV made one of his flying visits to Kielder Water & Forest Park yesterday. He spent about 2 hours in the area. Apart from a brief stop near the dam, he checked out Nests 4 and 3 once each and Nest 2 a couple of times.

At Nest 3, UV has arrived during a recording slot only once previously. We were lucky again yesterday.

the female watches UV flying behind the nest area
(c) Forestry Commission England

The male had only just landed, and took off to escort UV away.

As far as we can tell, UV only saw 1 adult when near Nest 4. 69 had flown after an intruder a few minutes earlier. From the times of UV’s data and the nestcam it wasn’t UV.

Mrs 69 watches UV flying off camera
(c) Forestry Commission England

The most interesting intrusion by UV was at Nest 2. That was his first destination, after arriving from just over the Scottish Border. The route is one he often uses to Kielder.

He coincided with another intruder – an unringed female who has been seen at all the nest sites and has landed on at least three of them.

Aln had been sitting up preening. She dropped to the nest floor, responding to a call from a parent. UV was unlikely to have been within sight of Nest 2 at the time. A couple of minutes later the intruder female landed.

unringed intruder looks at Aln, Aln looks back
(c) Forestry Commission England

She took off almost immediately and 37 landed briefly. Then he flew – but was he escorting UV – who had now reached the clear fell – out of his territory? 37 wasn’t seen again for some hours.

At 11.38 the intruding female returned. She sat on several nest edges for almost 10 minutes. In this clip from about half way through the intruder’s presence you can see Aln calling at first. Then she has a yawn, dozes and preens, becoming relaxed. The intruder merely inspects the nest and occupant, no threat. Although no doubt she’d be happy to take over from EB next year at the start of the breeding season. Press HD for best quality.

The intruder left as EB arrived on the nest and life went back to normal. An osprey had been seen in the sky a couple of times during the incident, but didn’t sweep low over the nest. It was probably EB.

Today 37 was off camera for several hours. This doesn’t always signify absence from his territory, but today it did. He had been much nearer the coast.

been fishin’
(c) Forestry Commission England

EB tucked in to the Flounder for almost 3 hours on and off, mostly on!

EB gets ready to feast
(c) Forestry Commission England

Aln wasn’t so sure about Flounder, and when 37 arrived with a Rainbow Trout she moved over to be fed by him. Then went back and forth, a juvenile taste test!

But back to UV. There is a link to the Flounder today. After Kielder, UV headed west and spent the rest of the day in the Solway Firth area and a little way inland. He’d flown 141 km during the day.

Today, an early data email showed he was still near the coast – did he see 37 this morning? That we’ll never know, but it is possible.

It has been gusty at Kielder the last couple of days. Pre-fledge practice opportunities have been limited. Aln doesn’t look near fledging yet, although she is 52 days old today so well within the window.

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Ups and downs

The young ospreys on Nests 2 and 4 are having ups and downs jumping about their nests. The weather is good for a couple of days, then wet – as it has been today. On the technical side, after a glimmer of hope that the Nest 1A streaming problem might be fixed earlier in the week, resolution is now unlikely to be for a couple of weeks. The stream from Nest 4 especially is also playing up, with much freezing, so videos from that nest are limited.

Back to the ospreys. On Nest 2, Aln has been making steady progress. Mostly, she is still fed by EB and (rarely) 37. But she is grasping a fish and tearing off chunks when she feels like a top up. On Friday, she competed with EB for possession of a new delivery from 37.

I want it!
(c) Forestry Commission England

Experience won!

Aln isn’t exercising that often – mostly after a meal, or when she has defecated. But she is improving her coordination and strengthening her muscles each day.

a long jump to the nest edge from the centre
(c) Forestry Commission England

a high jump after eating
(c) Forestry Commission England

These two clips show Aln has yet to start ‘helicoptering’ ie hovering above the nest. That activity usually leads to fledging a few days later. Press HD for best quality on all videos.

Aln will be 52 days old on Monday. Kielder youngsters often fledge around the 55 day mark, although there is a range.

The Nest 4 duo will reach 52 days next weekend. Their exercise regime is similar to Aln’s. Both the youngsters have primary feathers that are still well sheathed, in particular the one day younger Alwinton.

lots of feather development required for Alwinton
(c) Forestry Commission England

They aren’t going short of food -this was the 5th fish delivery on camera.

5th delivery within 8 hours
(c) Forestry Commission England

The pair have rarely attempted to feed themselves. Here, Alwinton has a tentative nibble.

Alwinton picks at a fish
(c) Forestry Commission England

As mentioned earlier, the nestcam footage is freezing often. But here is a relatively ‘freeze-free’ clip of the Aydon and Alwinton exercise routine.

You can see Alwinton is more unsteady, despite those sturdy legs!

Both nests have experienced intrusions over recent days. Yesterday, one of the unseen ospreys was UV. EB was keen to escort him away from her nest.

EB flies after an unseen UV
(c) Forestry Commission England

Neither Nest 4 adult flew after UV, but they didn’t look pleased to see him.

in to defend the nest from UV flying nearby, unseen by the nestcam
(c) Forestry Commission England

UV spent several hours in the Kielder area. He was wide-ranging over the day, as so often, covering 182 km. A normal ‘excursion day’ for him.

Today, the rain has curtailed action on the nests. Two rare examples…

Aln has a quick flap of her wings
(c) Forestry Commission England

double flapping
(c) Forestry Commission England

The forecast is better for tomorrow.



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Action again!

UV had been having a quiet time recently – partly weather induced by several wet days. The solar powered battery on his GSM/GPS transmitter was low as a result, and this could have hidden a few outings.

However, on Tuesday UV had a busier day. He travelled to Kielder for the first time in a while – visit 13 since he arrived back from Senegal. It was a brief visit, with a couple of calls each for Nests 2 and 4, but only a single wave of his wings at Nest 3. As usual, he didn’t fly near his parents’ nest. On his first pass quite near Nest 2 EB was preening on the edge of the nest. There was no sign from her that she was aware of another osprey. He may have been just over a ridge, so not necessarily a lack of vigilance by EB to blame.  Later, it was a different story. Down she came from the nestcam.

EB encourages UV to fly on
(c) Forestry Commission England

EB flew after UV, who carried on into Scotland and perched in a favourite area not far from the border.

At Nest 4, 69 responded to UV’s presence in his territory.

69 sets off to escort UV away
(c) Forestry Commission England

The same happened later in the afternoon. The nestcam didn’t show UV at either nest, so ‘unknown intruder’ would have gone on the record without the data.

UV ended the day near the Solway Firth. On Wednesday, he spent some hours at or near the coast before heading inland. By noon (BST) he was arriving at Tindale Tarn, where one of the RSPB Geltsdale staff spotted ‘an osprey’. Not any old osprey, though!

UV only spent about 15 minutes – apparently foraging – before moving on. However he returned in the afternoon. This graphic shows his activity at the tarn. We know he caught a fish during the 14.51/14.55 UTC forage (triangles marked) because the RSPB saw him have a success and take his meal to his favourite tree.

courtesy Paul Wildlifewriter

UV roosted in an oft used spot, then returned to Tindale Tarn this morning. His presence today was reported to us by the RSPB minutes before we received data.

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