A big chick!

On Friday the chick on Nest 1 had quite a busy morning in comparison with the usual ‘snoozathon’.

It had eaten before the nestcam stream started so was resting initially, with just an occasional stretch of wing and/or leg, but it soon started fiddling with some twigs and preening. Its tail feathers still need their sheaths to be shed but its wings are now looking much more like those of an adult, at least from above. The chick flapped its wings, vigorously at times, and walked on its feet frequently. It looked more co-ordinated for both activities.

YA was mostly in one tree or another but Mrs YA wasn’t visible on the ‘long view’ camera feed. At about 12.20 YA landed with part of a trout; Mrs YA wasn’t far behind! Initially the chick didn’t seem hugely interested but as soon as it stood up and moved Mrs YA started feeding it. Eating and staying on its feet was a bit of a challenge so it went back onto its haunches. After over 20 minutes it stopped for a few moments but then got up and ate more fish. Mrs YA was tearing off quite large morsels but the chick decided the gap between bites could be reduced and started nibbling at the trout in between! Mrs YA was unperturbed by this insolence.

By 12.50 the chick was back on nest re-arranging tasks and Mrs YA continued making inroads into the fish. After a few more minutes the chick had made room for some more morsels.

Both ospreys had finished eating by about 13.00 and YA came down to remove the very small remaining piece. The chick looked expectant but YA must have felt his own needs were greater. He could be seen in a tree with the remnant.

Mrs YA was on and off the nest but soon after 14.00 she started mantling. Both she and the chick hugged the bottom of the nest but YA didn’t leave the tree and no threat could be seen from the ‘long view’ camera feed. Something had spooked her, though. A little later the chick was wandering about moving bark and moss and Mrs YA was standing, alert but not alarming.

A video of the chick over the last three days is here; you can see the rapid rate of development ospreys undergo. Below are some images from today, click to enlarge.

that wing gets longer every day (c) Forestry Commission

that wing gets longer every day
(c) Forestry Commission

one of several of wing exercises (c) Forestry Commission

one of several wing exercises
(c) Forestry Commission

all that flapping is tiring (c) Forestry Commission

all that flapping is tiring
(c) Forestry Commission

standing to eat today (c) Forestry Commission

standing to eat today
(c) Forestry Commission

YA heads back to a tree (c) Forestry Commission

YA heads back to a tree
(c) Forestry Commission





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5 Responses to A big chick!

  1. Elizabeth B says:

    Incredible. If the chick on nest 1 is getting so enormous – how big are the chicks on nest 2? Are they ready to fledge do you think? Will the nest cam be up in time to capture it?

    • joannadailey says:

      There is an image on the 23 July blog where you can see the Nest 2 chicks are bigger than the adult male. Ospreys are at their heaviest at the point they fledge. And the Nest 1 chick is now probably almost 6 weeks old, less than a fortnight from flying, so it is getting big!

      The Nest 2 nestcam may well not be back in time to see fledging. In our favour is the fact we’ve never seen them do as much sustained wing flapping as the Nest 1 chick did today! Ospreys need to do vigorous exercise before the first flight, and ‘helicopter’, literally hover a couple of inches or more above the nest. They’d do that for a few days before taking off normally. As it is now a bit cooler the Nest 2 chicks may well have upped their game and so we may be unlucky and not see first flights.

      We’d love to catch a fledge, obviously, although we may not be able to say for sure it was a first flight. They should hang around the area for some days at least if they behave like last year’s Nest 2 offspring.

      • Elizabeth B says:

        Oh good – looking forward to that!

      • Elizabeth B says:

        I hadn’t looked properly at the pics from 23 July – I think I looked at them on my iphone – where they’re not as clear. Hadn’t realised that the “small” bird was dad rather than a chick. My goodness!

  2. thehutts says:

    Great picture of YA leaving the nest! S

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