Late on Tuesday 15 July the six chicks on Nest 1 and 2 were ringed. Three were also fitted with Solar GPS/GSM trackers, which use the mobile phone network as well as satellites to collect and transmit data.
A small team including Roy Dennis, Martin (the Kielder ornithologist) and Cat, also a licensed ringer, worked together to ensure the chicks were ringed and tagged as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Nest 2 was the first destination. The three chicks were lowered to the ground by the licensed tree climbing Forestry Commission Ranger. All youngsters were calm when placed on the ground, obeying the circling parents’ alarm calls to ‘play dead’.
The smallest looking chick was weighed first and came in at an unexpectedly heavy weight of 1900g! The next to be weighed was the same and the third was a bit lighter. The measurements were carefully checked, so the results were a real surprise. All were female; it had been hoped the ‘smaller’ one was male because the aim was to attach trackers to two males and a female and ideally two at Nest 2. So it was decided to tag just one from that nest, the one referred to as chick 3 in the blog, who is much heavier than she looks. She was ringed with a Blue 7H Darvic ring then the tag was attached. You can see Blue 7H remained calm. Roy’s expertise was clear to see and a great privilege to watch.
The other two females were ringed Blue 8H and Blue 9H. All were judged very fit youngsters – the term chick seems inappropriate now! This is Blue 8H who is the same weight as Blue 7H despite looking larger.
This is an image of Blue 9H, the lightest chick at 1800g.
Reports from Kielder Castle Cafe revealed that 20 minutes after the team left the area 37 brought a fish to the nest and the chicks were feeding.
For the team it was on to Nest 1, quite a few miles away along forest roads then another hike in across rough fell. Mrs YA was on the nest and saw the visitors heading up; reviewing nestcam footage later showed her flying off and the chicks getting into the ‘play dead’ position. YA flew over, lower than 37 had done, so wonderful views of him.
The Ranger lowered the chicks to the ground, then got on with some gardening work plus building up the far side of the nest a bit. Meanwhile, as the chicks arrived at ground level, fingers were crossed for at least one male: and there was! The chick, heavy again, was 1600g but after consideration the experts agreed ‘it’ was almost certainly a male. So, with his two sisters, we have five females out of six chicks so far this year with two still to go on Nest 3.
The sisters were the same weight, 1950g, and it was decided to put a tracker on the one described as a bully in recent posts. True to form she had pecked at YA’s wing earlier in the day and certainly has spirit. She was ringed Blue VV then was taken to have her tracker attached as the other two were ringed. This avoided delay in returning the threesome to the nest.
The male – the paler looking chick who has been very active lately flapping and hopping on the nest – was ringed Blue UV during Blue VV’s tracker attachment.
Whilst Blue UV had his tracker attached the final chick was ringed, Blue VT, a healthy female.
Here are the details of the six stunners!
Blue 7H weight 1900g wing 372mm female
Blue 8H weight 1900g wing 350mm female
Blue 9H weight 1800g wing 316mm female
Blue VT weight 1950g wing 360mm female
Blue UV weight 1600g wing 333mm male
Blue VV weight 1950g wing 355mm female
Words are totally inadequate to describe the feeling of seeing six absolutely wonderful looking young ospreys. The credit is due to the parenting skills of the Glaslyn born males and their female partners, who have been exceptional this year. Four of the chicks hatched in bad weather but the females sheltered them diligently and the males brought in good catches. This blog is dedicated to the parents. Super parents for certain.