First Osprey Watch of the season! And mini update

Here is an evocative report by Joyce of the first Osprey Watch this year at Kielder.

Osprey Watch 31 May 2014

It was with great excitement that I drove to Kielder today with it being the first day of Osprey Watch 2014 – and knowing that the eggs are imminent and I may have chance of seeing the eggs unfurl to a chick!

It was a lovely day weather-wise, much better than forecast and just a singleton midge from my experience today so it couldn’t have been better.

The Watch now starts at 11am and by 10.35am our visitors started to arrive to see our lovely birds. Having 4 scopes now is much improved to last year and with a disabled ramp and step up for the children families can all have a scope at the same time.

Our female was sitting in the nest at the start of the Watch and continued to sit incubating for almost the whole of the Watch. Her day consisted of nestorations from a sitting position and turning the eggs regularly.

At 11.40 we were treated to an unidentified Osprey slowly skimming the lake near Leaplish and then disappearing into Mounces area. An hour later we spotted another Osprey (or the same one?) flying high in the sky and circling the same area above the trees. Everything was calm until 15.45 when the male arrived with a headless fish but she didn’t seem very bothered about it and both birds seemed a bit tense and alert….was there an intruder about? He flew off leaving the fish and was gone for a short time and on his return she got up and took the fish away. We thought he would immediately sit on the eggs, but alarmingly, he also took off and left the eggs uncovered much to the consternation of the volunteers and the visitors……!! About 4 minutes later he returned (phew!) and took up incubation. Thankfully no crows appeared in that time to sabotage an egg as happened at Loch of the Lowes this year. He was happily incubating when Osprey Watch was dismantled.

One family came off the boat very excited as they saw an Osprey take a fish from the lake… and later saw another (or the same Osprey) flying around the lake.

We had 154 visitors today including a family from Luxembourg and a Harrogate Scout troup. The stickers for the children were popular as well as the activity sheet and I was asked by a four year old if the activity sheet was instructions on how to make a telescope! There are some very promising children around.

The first day was a success judging by the enthusiasm of both the adults and children and the excited anticipation of following the progress of our Ospreys on the blog was very rewarding.

Joyce Rawlings and Dave Easby

Nestcam monitoring found no sign of imminent hatching today, although behavioural changes point to an ‘event’ soon! For example, the females on both nests are on the eggs a lot more as hatching approaches. And can be reluctant to leave incubation duty. Fish are being eaten on the nest at times too, a sign that hatching is near.

Mrs YA takes a good look at the eggs as she prepares to hand over to YA (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA takes a good look at the eggs before she hands over to YA
(c) Forestry Commission England

But as Joyce points up in her report, it isn’t all plain sailing. There were a couple of times when Nest 1 ospreys were alarmed. The first was early in the day.

The first of two alarms for Nest 1 (c) Forestry Commission England

The first of two alarms for Nest 1
(c) Forestry Commission England

Then, as Joyce reported, when YA landed with the fish it was more a case of interrupting his meal to see off a threat than to hand it over. The ‘long shot’ camera couldn’t see whatever bothered the ospreys any more than Joyce and the viewers at Leaplish.

The second alert interrupts YA's meal (c) Forestry Commission England

The second alert interrupts YA’s meal
(c) Forestry Commission England

Meanwhile on Nest 2, which is probably a day or so behind Nest 1, there was also an intruder alert an hour or so after the first Nest 1 problem.  At least it allowed us a clear view of the eggs to see if there were cracks!

Nest 2 has an intruder too (c) Forestry Commission England

Nest 2 has an intruder too
(c) Forestry Commission England

Later in the day Mrs 37 was on the eggs with a tail end of fish for company, after 37 had done a couple of hours incubation duty.

Mrs 37 prefers to bit a stick than a fish! (c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs 37 prefers to bite a stick than a fish!
(c) Forestry Commission England


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7 Responses to First Osprey Watch of the season! And mini update

  1. greg Sanders says:

    Thank you all for the frequently updated news! I have been up a number of times this season and have noticed a few “extra” intruders around the area- perhaps a few more platforms for next year may keep the peace!
    seriously though- very good blog! keep up the good work!

    • thehutts says:

      Greg, there are have been extra platforms installed by Forestry Commission England for sometime, just in case. Y37 chose his own nest though, which is why it was in a dead tree that was in danger of blowing over this year and was replaced with an artificial pole. We are very grateful for all the hard work of the Forestry Commission Wildlife Rangers and field staff for all their hard work on behalf of the ospreys and other wildlife. Sally

  2. Marion Webb says:

    Many thanks for the updates, photos and video clips – very much appreciated

  3. Mary G. Kerr says:

    Thanks Joanna for a great and informative blog. Won’t be long now! :-)

  4. Keith Rogers says:

    Thank You Joyce for your report – hope to see you all and all the ospreys later in the year – any names yet for the birds :)

  5. Well done Joyce and David, 154 visitors is fab for the first day, I’m glad the weather was kind to you. Kelly

  6. Greg Sanders says:

    Thanks sally! best of luck this week with hopefull hatchings!

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