More on Nest 1A ringing

On an overcast and midge-ridden morning at Nest 1A, the chicks were health checked and ringed. YA was on perch duty as the small team approached.

YA is about to be interrupted
(c) Joanna Dailey

He and Mrs YA flew around the area, alarm calling. The chicks obeyed the signal to ‘play dead’. They were lowered to the ground for the Kielder ornithologist to check them and fit the BTO and Darvic rings. All were in good condition. Chick 1 was given the Darvic ring Blue Y9.

Blue Y9 hides her bling
(c) Joanna Dailey

Assessed as female, she weighed in at 1740g.

Chick 2 was next.

Blue 8P ‘poses’ behind her sister’s tail feathers
(c) Forestry Commission England

Another female, ringed Blue 8P, she weighed slightly more than her elder sister – 1750g. She tends to eat for a bit longer at meal times, so the weight was no surprise.

Blue 8P on the left, Blue Y9 to the right
(c) Joanna Dailey

Chick 3 showed rather more interest in proceedings. The remnant of the egg tooth is visible at the tip of the beak.

Blue 6P
(c) Forestry Commission England

Weighing 1390g and with slimmer tarsi, Blue 6P is the male of the trio.

YA and Mrs YA were keeping watch over the ringing process, YA was usually nearer the nest.

YA patrols
(c) Forestry Commission England

The chicks were returned to their home.

After the ringing team left the chicks lay still in the nest. They watched Mrs YA at times as she flew around the area. It took a while for them to get on with life, but then it was all go.

6P shouts for food, his sisters watch Mrs YA
(c) Forestry Commission England

6P can’t wait for Mrs YA to feed him, his sisters decide to exercise
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA arrived to take control of the fish and the youngsters ate for around an hour.

YA brought a new fish soon after 18.00.

YA has just landed with a fish
(c) Forestry Commission England

Normality has returned to Nest 1A.


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Nest 1A ringing

The three chicks were ringed this morning, two females and a male. All healthy and good weights. More later!

hiding the bling
(c) Forestry Commission England

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Progress on Nest 3

Chick 3 on Nest 3 has been eating well from the evidence in video clips over the last few days. It is still smaller than would be expected given the roughly 48 hour intervals in the eggs hatching.

20 June: size difference chicks 1 and 3
(c) Forestry Commission England

23 June: chick 3 is well fed but still tiny compared to chick 1
(c) Forestry Commission England

Chick 3 is pushing between the other chicks at meal times.

chick 3 in the middle, not behind the older siblings
(c) Forestry Commission England

Chick 1 isn’t always the first to be given food.

chick 2 receives the first few morsels
(c) Forestry Commission England

The chicks are starting to stand – unsteadily – and flap their wings.

chick 1’s feathers are emerging from their sheaths
(c) Forestry Commission England

chick 2’s wings extended
(c) Forestry Commission England

Finally, here’s a short video of all 3 in a flap! Press HD for best quality.


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Growing youngsters, and a bit about UV

The chicks on Nests 1A and 2 are looking more like young ospreys every day. They have been getting used to walking round the nests and beating their wings, albeit with some ‘rain stops play’ interludes. Like yesterday, all day.

This morning the Nest 1A trio engaged in some light exercise.

chicks 1 and 2 flap their wings
(c) Forestry Commission England

This clip shows all 3 demonstrating their skill. Press HD for best quality.

This video contains clips from the couple of days pre-rain.The Nest 4 pair are nearly a week behind Nest 2. Eating, sleeping and preening are still their main activities.

chick 1 turns away, full
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 69 is still finishing a feed before at least 1 chick has reached ‘full’, even though there is usually a reasonable size piece of fish left. Feeds tend to be under 20 minutes long compared with double that or more on the other streamed nests.

Away from the nest action, UV was at Kielder on 21 and 22 June. He arrived via a long pause in Wark Forest, east of Kielder. On arrival at Kielder Water and Forest Park he paid less attention to the nests than usual, although Nest 2 did witness a fly past.

UV, in the sky to the right, has interrupted tea
(c) Forestry Commission England

UV roosted nearer Kielder Water than he has previously, and possibly ate breakfast by the reservoir.

UV flying over Leaplish Bay, perching in the trees at Whickhope Inlet

Leaplish Bay is north of Kielder Waterside Park, where Osprey Watch is sited. UV was too early and on the wrong day for that event, sadly.

His perching places on the north side of Whickhope Inlet would have been visible to people using the c200 road.

UV was perched on the far side of the Inlet
courtesy Street View

Although not present there every day, UV is still spending some time at Tindale Tarn. RSPB Geltsdale staff haven’t seen another osprey in the area when UV has been by the tarn, but they’ll keep looking!



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Nest 3 news

In the last post about Nest 3 (16 June) we included an image of a very underdeveloped chick 3. There’d been a gap in recordings and with only 3 hours of recording a day – at best – it isn’t possible to be certain why there is such a difference in growth rate between the chicks. The poor weather until last weekend is almost certainly a factor. Also, this is the first year that the adults have had 3 chicks to raise. Usually, their chicks are fairly equal in size by 3 weeks old, but that is not the case this year.

We’ve been able to retrieve some clips from 11 and 12  June. They show chick 3 had started to lag a little behind chick 2 –  although it is 2 full days younger, so would be smaller. Chick 1 is very obviously the first hatch.

chicks 2 and 3 sit up
(c) Forestry Commission England

By the next morning, chick 3, although begging quite strongly, appeared to be falling further behind. But it was still a couple of days short of reaching the ‘reptilian’ stage, so the difference in development between the chicks is exaggerated. Press HD on all clips for best quality.

Regular recording resumed on 18 June, when chick 3 had acquired its dark down and pin feathers.

chick 2 (left) and chick 3 preen in unison
(c) Forestry Commission England

The following day, chick 3 was first to shuffle across when a fish appeared.

chick 3 first to the ‘table’
(c) Forestry Commission England

It held its own next to chick 1 – sometimes it stays at the rear of the siblings – and was eating well when the recording period ended.

Chick 3 is lively when the weather isn’t so hot that all the chicks tend to flop.

Yesterday lunchtime chick 3 had a fairly empty crop – the usual sight. It was more interested in food than the rather large chick 1 at the rear and chick 2.

chick 3 about to take a morsel
(c) Forestry Commission England

Let’s hope the next downloads show a balloon-like crop on chick 3 in some of the footage.





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Last week, until the weekend,  it was wet every day at some point. Then we had several days of hot and sunny weather. In rain or heat chicks tend not to do much – shelter, feed, sleep and preen sums it up. But there has been plenty of development over the period.

On Nest 1A, the chicks are the most advanced of the 4 nests. Chick 3 is probably from the 4th egg to hatch, given marked size difference to its siblings. All the chicks now look like young ospreys as their feathers grow.

chick 2’s amber eyes contrast with Mrs YA/s pale yellow ones
(c) Forestry Commission England

chick 2’s wing stretch
(c) Forestry Commission England

In the image above chick 2’s primary wing feathers are emerging from their protective sheaths. When the chicks preen, they will break off pieces of the sheath, easier in dry weather as the sheaths are more brittle.

YA is providing between 2 and 4 fish during the 12 hour nestcam coverage. Feeds are orderly, with chicks tending to rotate so that often 2 are feeding and 1 is ‘resting’! Little sibling aggression has been seen – this is one incident, started by chick 3 pecking chick 1. Press HD for best quality on all clips.

Chick 1 was restrained in response. Usually, the dominant chick will ‘peck home’ the point!

The chicks fiddle with nest material.

chick 1 moves a stick
(c) Forestry Commission England

They have started to flap their wings. Chick 1 is the only chick who can stand and exercise for several seconds without tumbling.

Chick 1 is also the only one able to walk a few steps without falling. And it can eat standing up.

chick 1 stands to feed
(c) Forestry Commission England

The chicks on Nest 2 are about 5 days behind Nest 1A. Chick 1 started some experimental wing flapping on 16 May.

chick 1 tries a flap
(c) Forestry Commission England

It has improved a bit since then, and can take a few steps.

37 usually brings 2-3 fish to the nest and provides a slightly more varied diet, with perch and roach being seen in the last few days. The chicks often eat separately.

chick 2 stares intently at the world beyond
(c) Forestry Commission England

On Nest 4, 69 also brings the occasional river fish. But, despite a blurry image, it looked like a Rainbow Trout that flipped over the nest edge during handover to Mrs 69.

a lively fish goes over the edge
(c) Forestry Commission England

69 flew off and replaced the lost meal within an hour. Nest 4 is about a week behind Nest 2, so the chicks are just leaving the reptilian stage. Chick 2 looked quite weak for some time in the rainy spell, but has plumped up, literally!

69 watches as chick 2 starts to feel a bit full
(c) Forestry Commission England

The chicks are becoming more mobile.

Chick 2 looked more like an osprey yesterday.

chick 1 has changed colour overnight
(c) Forestry Commission England

There is most aggression on this nest, doubtless a reaction to limited feeding opportunities during the wet weather and Mrs 69’s tendency to stop feeding despite the chicks still begging. 69 is more likely to feed the chicks until they are sated.

one of many acts of sibling aggression on Nest 4
(c) Forestry Commission England

More intrusions are evident on Nest 4 than the others. Frustratingly, an English or Welsh osprey flew quite close to the nest – but not near enough for the ring to be readable.

an English or Welsh osprey flies by
(c) Forestry Commission England

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UV settled? Not yet

The last post about UV mentioned that he was spending much of his time in one area – so was he thinking of settling there? Almost as soon as the words were on paper, UV appeared to lose some interest. But not all. This is where he had been spending many hours.

Tindale Tarn from the SE
(c) Joanna Dailey

Tindale Tarn from the north
(c) Joanna Dailey

Tindale Tarn is part of the RSPB’s Geltsdale reserve. Their Twitter page has some great photographs of UV – scroll down to between 1 and 7 June. You’ll see that another osprey was present at least part of the time UV was foraging and perching at the Tarn. It looks male. The RSPB staff also saw a female interacting with a male osprey, but it isn’t known if the latter was UV. The presence of other ospreys may be the reason UV suddenly focused on the area. He is still visiting occasionally, and we’ll be keeping in touch with the RSPB.

Over the last week UV has been to Kielder Water and Forest Park twice. On 13 June he spent the afternoon by a burn he has perched beside before. When UV arrived at Kielder Water his behaviour was exactly like many foraging ospreys we watch when looking from the dam wall.

typical shoreline foraging behaviour
(c) Forestry Commission England

UV showed no interest in the nests, but on 15 June it was a different story, with Nest 3 receiving several courtesy calls! No recordings, unfortunately. The Nest 4 pair weren’t pleased when UV circled over their home.

UV alert!
(c) Forestry Commission England

Clear off!
(c) Forestry Commission England

15 June was a particularly active day – UV flew over 180 km. After several circuits of Kielder he crossed into Scotland before ending his day in Cumbria. A borders boy!

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