Intruders on the new platform

Yesterday’s post promised details of W6’s last few days on the platform after the unringed female migrated, and information about intruders.

In a sense, the two are intertwined, as W6 enjoyed the company of Mrs YA from Nest 1A for part of each of the four days immediately after ‘his’ female left. He supplied Mrs YA with fish from the start.

W6 and Mrs YA before the first fish ‘gift’
(c) Forestry Commission England

On 23 August, there were at least 2 handovers from W6, and in the evening he sought to seal the courtship!

a bit late in the season for this!
(c) Forestry Commission England

After 25 August Mrs YA wasn’t seen until 31st, when she was on briefly.

dropping in to say farewell?
(c) Forestry Commission England

Mrs YA was last seen on her own nest on 24 August – where was she when not with W6, we wonder!

After 25 August, W6 continued to eat on the nest some days, and brought material, but he was less present than when he was bonding. He wasn’t seen after the afternoon of 6 September. We look forward to his return in 2019.

Re other intruders, Mrs YA wasn’t the only Kielder resident to call in. YA landed on the nest on 12 July, when W6 and the female had been together for 2 days, as far as we know.

YA checks out the new female in the forest
(c) Forestry Commission England

He didn’t stay long. Nor did EB from Nest 2, when she touched down on 10 August.

EB and the female
(c) Forestry Commission England

Several other ospreys also landed. Some were unringed, but four were ringed. The first was seen on the trailcam before either W6 or the female. KN7 is a 2 year old from near Meikleour in Perthshire.

KN7’s first appearance
(c) Forestry Commission England

He landed on Nests 1A and 2 in August, and was on the new platform on 6 days in total. This is his last recorded presence.

KN7 and the female
(c) Forestry Commission England

One intruder made a single landing. CV9 is a 4 year old from Dumfries and Galloway.

CV9 lands…
(c) Forestry Commission England

… and moves to the rear perch
(c) Forestry Commission England

CV9 was also on the Nest 2 footage in early September. These are the only records since migration.

Another young osprey, 2 year old PX5 from the Solway area, made 4 appearances on the new platform in August. On his first, he wasn’t made welcome.

PX5 and the female…
(c) Forestry Commission England

… only briefly!
(c) Forestry Commission England

PX5 was also seen on the Nest 1A and Nest 2 footage.

The last post included a number of stills of the longest recorded intrusion, by 2 year old Freya from Border Ospreys. We’ll end with her, looking relaxed with W6.

Freya watches W6
(c) Forestry Commission England

relaxed enough to doze
(c) Forestry Commission England

A table of intruders seen over the years will be added to the Timeline shortly, and Ellie’s spreadsheet of key events over the years.

Posted in 2018 platform, Intruder, Nest 1A, Nest 2, Osprey updates, UK | Tagged | 6 Comments

A developing relationship

This post describes the bonding between Blue W6 and the unringed female on the new platform in Kielder Forest erected by Forestry Commission England. The first time they were seen together on the trailcam was 10 July, and we have 32 days of coverage of them, before the female was last seen on 21 August. There are a few days in the middle of the period with no recordings, but on every day of coverage both ospreys were present at some point on the nest – together and separately.

From day 1 they behaved as if the nest was theirs, moving material, scraping in the cup area and looking comfortable.

relaxed around each other
(c) Forestry Commission England

W6 scrapes 
(c) Forestry Commission England

On day 1. an unringed intruder landed on the nest when W6 was elsewhere on the fell. The female tolerated the visitor landing. It was possibly one which was briefly on the nest the first day the female was seen, 7 July.

an unringed intruder on the far right edge
(c) Forestry Commission England

But W6 wasn’t pleased, and the intruder was displaced within seconds.

W6 reclaims ‘his’ nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

He wasn’t always so protective of his territory.

The female was still doing some nest work late that evening. The times on the information strip are UTC, not BST.

a large stick arrives
(c) Forestry Commission England

There were several thousand stills most days. W6 wasn’t recorded delivering a fish to the nest until 12 July.

a hungry looking female…
(c) Forestry Commission England

… a fish arrives, not visible…
(c) Forestry Commission England

… and the female takes it
(c) Forestry Commission England

After 12 July, W6 was seen to deliver 1 or 2 fish most days, some whole and others part eaten.

a part eaten fish is handed over
(c) Forestry Commission England

As mentioned in the first post, W6 may need to refine his response to soliciting for the female to fully accept him as a breeding partner. On her last day at Kielder she solicited on and off all morning, but received nothing. Other than a stick!

where is the fish?
(c) Forestry Commission England

A few times, one or both birds roosted on nest perches.

preening in the dark
(c) Forestry Commission England

W6  – and the female – didn’t always deter other birds from landing on the nest and staying. A couple of examples follow.

We’ve already written about Blue VW, a 2015 Nest 3 female, being seen on the nest on 11 August. That post didn’t describe the circumstances. W6 had supplied a fish a few minutes before VW appeared. At this stage, the camera was triggered at 5 minute intervals.

W6 looks full as he hands over the trout
(c) Forestry Commission England

The female often flew off to eat at least part of her meal away from the nest, and that must have happened on this occasion. The next frame 5 minutes later showed VW on the nest  edge with W6 mantling.

VW looks at the camera
(c) Forestry Commission England

After that, VW was the only osprey seen until the last image of her at 11.28 UTC.

W6 returned to crouch in the cup area.

W6 back ‘home’
(c) Forestry Commission England

As non-breeders, the pair are unlikely to defend the nest against other ospreys as vigorously as breeding birds, and generally ospreys are often relatively tolerant towards a bird of the opposite gender. Especially if their mate isn’t around!

An even longer intrusion happened on 22 July. NH0 -Freya – from Border Ospreys  (over 20 miles north of Kielder) visited several Kielder Forest nests over the summer, despite bonding with  resident male Samson.

On 22 July, the female was waiting for W6 to arrive when she started mantling, and Freya settled on the rear perch.

Freya lands
(c) Forestry Commission England

W6 was next to appear.

Freya is hidden behind W6
(c) Forestry Commission England

Freya looks interested in the fish!
(c) Forestry Commission England

W6 soon disappeared. Freya held her position, and after no action from either bird, the female decided to take her fish away.

just before take off
(c) Forestry Commission England

Freya stayed on the perch for most or all of the next half hour plus, occasionally preening and stretching. She departed at 14.22 UTC, possibly ‘encouraged’ so to do, although no other bird was visible. The female returned immediately.

back, but being swooped at by Freya…
(c) Forestry Commision England

…who lands again
(c) Forestry Commission England

Freya was off and back over the next few minutes, and the female decided to leave for a more peaceful spot. So Freya returned.

one of several landings
(c) Forestry Commission England

She eventually left at 15.08 UTC. The next osprey to land was W6, nearly an hour later.

Whatever conclusions are drawn about the nest occupants’ behaviour, there is no doubt that Freya is a confident 2 year old, to say the least!

There will be a final post about W6’s last few days before migration and details of other intruders on the new platform.


Posted in 2018 platform, Intruder, Osprey updates, UK | Tagged | 6 Comments

Headlines about the new nest platform

On 19 October a post revealed that 2015 Nest 3 Blue VW had landed on a new nest platform in Kielder Forest, and promised more about the use of the platform.

There is still some analysis outstanding, but the key findings are that a pair of ospreys were bonding there between 10 July and the female’s departure on 21 or 22 August, and there was also significant – albeit intermittent – interest from other ospreys.

The female was first seen on the trailcam on 7 July.

the female soon after landing
(c) Forestry Commission England

On 10 July, a male appeared on the nest and the pair tolerated each other well. This may not have been the first meeting, but it is the first on record.

W6 lands next to the female
(c) Forestry Commission England

Blue W6, a 2015 male from the Welsh ON4 nest, also known as the B/M nest, was an intruder at Kielder on and off in 2017 and was photographed at Bakethin in early June.

At 3 years old W6 would have been quite young to breed this year, but he knows the moves!

one of many attempts on day 1 by W6
(c) Forestry Commission England

The female was never responsive – it was far too late to breed. But she didn’t show impatience at W6’s enthusiasm, which was tempered after day 1 together.

With Nests 1 and 2 occupied by the Glaslyn brothers, will Kielder benefit from another young Welsh osprey deciding to breed here next year?

The pair were faithful to the nest platform from then on.  They occupied it for at least part of the day and sometimes virtually 24 hours, roosting on perches.

If both return from migration, there is cautious optimism that they will try and breed next year. The caveats are i) that although she has remained with him, W6 doesn’t respond to the female soliciting for food as promptly as she would like, and ii) interest by other ospreys could disrupt the promising partnership.

There’ll be more in the next few days about the development of their relationship and also the intrusion aspect. Meanwhile, we’ll end with some photos from their last day together.

‘where’s breakfast?’
(c) Forestry Commission England

‘now it’s lunch time’
(c) Forestry Commission England

the last afternoon together this year
(c) Forestry Commission England

Posted in 2018 platform, Osprey updates, UK | Tagged | 9 Comments

Current Nest 3 news!

Hot on the rather dated news that 2015 Nest 3 Blue VW successfully returned to Kielder Forest this year, we have ‘hot off the press’ information about a 2018 Nest 3 juvenile.

Yesterday, Renato Bagarrão photographed Blue 224, named Bywell, at Tavira in SE Portugal. He has kindly shared his great image.

Blue 224, Bywell, in Tavira
(c) Renato Bagarrão

Doesn’t Bywell look in good condition? Renato watched her foraging, unsuccessfully, on the Rio Gilão then she headed towards the sea. This image shows Bywell’s location.

foraging area circled, information courtesy Renato Bagarrão

This map shows Tavira’s surrounding area.

courtesy Google maps

The coastal area between Tavira and Faro is the site of a Birdlife International IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Area), the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. It is home to some overwintering ospreys, but is also a departure point for onward migration to Africa.

Coincidentally, 9L/Archer, the only Nest 3 juvenile to have carried a GSM/GPS transmitter, spent part of a day in the western part of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa before crossing to Africa in September 2017.

Bywell may follow suit, but Renato will be keeping an eye out for that 224 ring and will keep us updated. We are very grateful to him for sharing his photograph and his interest in Kielder Ospreys.

Posted in Abroad, Migration, Nest 3, Osprey updates | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Late news but great news!

After the end of the 2017 season, Forestry Commission England and the Kielder ornithologist identified a suitable site for a new telegraph pole and platform to be erected, and the work was completed in early 2018. A trailcam was installed so that at the end of this season activity could be assessed. Field observations showed that there was intermittent interest by ospreys (and other birds, especially a kestrel) until July, when activity increased. There are literally tens of thousands of images to be scrolled through, but work is well underway. To supplement chronological analysis, occasionally random photos are checked, and one such occasion resulted in finding a new returner to Kielder. 11 August was the red letter day – not that we realised at the time.

Blue VW lands
(c) Forestry Commission England

Blue VW is the second Nest 3 offspring to be seen after migration to our knowledge. She hatched in 2015, so may have returned to the UK last year. She is the first female Kielder offspring to be captured on a camera in Kielder Forest.

VW looks at the camera
(c) Forestry Commission England

As you can see, another osprey was on the nest at 12.08 BST (the trailcam doesn’t adjust for BST.). By the next frame, VW was alone.

checking the area
(c) Forestry Commission England

She was in the area – possibly not always on the nest – for at least 20 minutes.

back to the nest from the edge
(c) Forestry Commission England

There will be more posts soon covering the findings from the photographs. For the moment, it is an unexpected thrill for us to find VW has survived for three years, and hopefully she will return many more times. Her father did not come back this Spring, but his legacy lives on in VW.

Posted in Nest 3, Osprey updates, UK | Tagged , | 15 Comments

An osprey and other birds

The three streaming cameras are still recording, although the number of visits by birds is reducing. This post covers the last week. But firstly, we have received details of the last intruder spotted on a nestcam. Blue CV9 landed briefly on Nest 2 on 5 September. Bamburgh wasn’t happy!

CV9 comes into view
(c) Forestry Commission England

CV9 was ringed in 2014 in west Kirkcudbrightshire, so a Dumfries and Galloway area osprey.

CV9 has a few moments on the rear of the nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

Twelve ringed ospreys have been identified over the season by analysing the nestcam footage for intruders, or from visitor photographs.

Currently, on some days there have been no birds of any species landing on the nests. Ravens are now infrequent. Nest 1A had the last recorded visitor.

a raven leans into the wind
(c) Forestry Commission England

The only other bird seen on Nest 1A was a female great spotted woodpecker, who stayed at the side of the pole for 20 minutes before deciding to check out the top. Press HD for best quality on the clips.

The kestrel that has been using Nest 4 as a perch and place to eat prey hasn’t been seen since 1 October. On the previous day, most of a vole was swallowed after a few delicate bites.

The last visitors recorded there were four mistle thrushes.

The subtitle of the blog is ‘ospreys and other wildlife’. The latter category is receiving a bit more coverage than most years!

Posted in Intruder, Nest 1A, Nest 4, Osprey updates, UK | 5 Comments

Highs and lows

The end of the breeding season can have stutters. It may seem the ospreys have migrated, but then one returns – like YA after a 10 day absence.

YA looks towards Kielder Water
(c) Forestry Commission England

The end is in stark contrast to the beginning of the season when, suddenly, an empty nest shakes slightly as an osprey lands. And it is one of the breeding pair.  Relief is mixed with excitement – we’re off on the roller coaster ride that occurs most breeding seasons!

Kielder has been very fortunate this year. Some UK sites have experienced no breeding success, others have been less productive than most years. All of our established nests had at least one fledgling. However 2 eggs didn’t hatch and 2 chicks died when young, so the joy of seeing successful fledges and healthy juveniles heading off on migration was tempered by those disappointments.

There is a new natural nest in the forest, a great thrill, although Nest 5 was not productive. This is the first time an egg or eggs have been laid on a nest in Kielder Forest and there hasn’t been at least one fledging. But the pair appear to have a strong bond, so we hope they raise offspring in 2019. Other ospreys have been present during the season, and signs for the future are promising.

Despite some relative lows, there have been many highs in the season. Having the privilege of watching the chicks being ringed is definitely an experience that is never forgotten. Ellie, Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s seasonal Osprey Assistant, was present at a couple of the nests. Osprey Watch wouldn’t be feasible without volunteers giving their time to talk to the public. Courtesy Forestry Commission England, several NWT volunteers including Les attended ringings. Here are a few ringing day photos from Ellie and Les, which bring back very happy memories. Our thanks to them for sharing.

YA watches his chicks being ringed
(c) Ellie Kent

Binky keeps a beady eye on proceedings
(c) Ellie Kent

Broomlee bites!
(c) Ellie Kent

EB about to land on the old Nest 2 tree
(c) Ellie Kent

Bywell stands above Blackaburn
(c) Les Johnson

the light catches Bywell’s beautiful amber eye
(c) Les Johnson

Ellie will shortly be moving to pastures new. She is completing a spreadsheet of Kielder Osprey data, which will be a lasting legacy of her work here and will be on the site soon. We wish her well in the future, and will miss her sunny personality – which she maintained even when it rained, something she didn’t experience for several weeks!

Posted in Nest 1A, Nest 2, Nest 3, Nest 4, Nest 5, Osprey watch, UK | Tagged | 8 Comments

A Kielder osprey – and other birds

Regular readers will recall that Nest 1A‘s YA turned up on 15 September, complete with a fresh rainbow trout. He hadn’t been seen by any nestcams since 5 September, so was possibly away from the area. He was on his nest until 18.35 so it was unlikely that he would begin his migration until 16 September at earliest.

YA dozes whilst keeping a grip on his meal
(c) Forestry Commission England

On 16 September, YA spent a few minutes on the nest until required to chase off some ravens, then returned to preen for 30 minutes.

YA about to leave the nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

He was back again on 17 September for just over 20 minutes.

landing for a short preening session
(c) Forestry Commission England

away for the last time in 2018
(c) Forestry Commission England

It is probably safe to say YA is now en route to his wintering grounds – or possibly in them, if he doesn’t go as far as West Africa.

The shape of Nests 1A and  2 were altered during the strong winds of Storm Ali. In this clip, the front of Nest 1A disappears. Press HD for best quality.

Nest 2 experienced a sudden increase in sticks on the nest, as the left hand side blew onto the top, creating a dome.

a rather scruffy nest before Storm Ali
(c) Forestry Commission England

A kestrel visits the nest. It had a surprise when flying up to land post Storm Ali.

not how it looked the previous visit
(c) Forestry Commission England

Although it can only be viewed from below, Nest 5, the natural nest, looks as though it survived the storm without damage – a tribute to the nest building skills of the inexperienced ospreys CN2 and FF1.

Nest 4, also undamaged in the storms, has the most kestrel visits.

a kestrel with prey
(c) Forestry Commission England

Ravens and carrion crows are also often seen on the streamed nests.

one raven calls as the other eats
(c) Forestry Commission England

A female Great Spotted Woodpecker tested out the Nest 1A pole.

admiring the view from Nest 1A
(c) Forestry Commission England

There’ll be another couple of posts in the next week or so. That’s presuming YA doesn’t land on his nest tomorrow!

Posted in Nest 1A, Nest 2, Nest 4, Nest 5, Osprey updates, UK | Tagged | 3 Comments

About Nest 5

We’ve mentioned the new natural nest – Nest 5 – a couple of times in posts. Here’s more detail.

The nest site is in an area of windblow – trees uprooted by the prevailing winds. When a block of timber is felled, trees at the edge of an adjacent block become exposed to the weather, and there will often be fallen trees within a few months. Many end up at angles to the ground because as they topple they hit others that remain upright.

The birds have built a nest in a fork at the top of a tree which is still standing straight. They have done a very good job.

the pair in the nest watching an intruder
(c) Forestry Commission England

Overall, the nest isn’t quite as deep as it appears from that angle, which is looking towards a fork that the pair infilled with sticks.

Both ospreys are Scottish. The male is Blue CN2, who has intruded regularly at Kielder nests since 2016, when he was 3 years old. He hatched near Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway.

Blue CN2 perched near his nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

CN2 bringing sticks to the nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

The female is a year younger. Blue FF1 was also 3 years old when first seen on a Kielder nest camera in 2017. She is from a nest in central Perthshire.

FF1’s ring is partially visible
(c) Forestry Commission England

FF1 looks towards her nest
(c) Forestry Commission England

FF1 overwinters at Somone Lagoon in Senegal, which is  also EB’s winter home.

FF1 in January 2016 at Somone Lagoon
(c) Chris Wood

Hindsight is a wonderful attribute, and it is now clear that the pair bonded last year. Late in the season they were intruding at similar times.

During monitoring, only 1 chick was seen peeping over the nest edge. It isn’t known why it died. But, encouragingly, the adults held their territory and were both on the nest in the week beginning 20 August.

FF1 on 20 August
(c) Forestry Commission England

CN2 intruded on Nests 2 and 4 in early September, and was on Nest 4 as late in the season as 13 September.

CN2 just after landing on Nest 2
(c) Forestry Commission England

CN2 rearranges Nest 4
(c) Forestry Commission England

It is a great thrill in our 10th year of breeding to host a new pair in Kielder Forest, despite no fledglings for them this year. Safe migrations to both birds, and we look forward to welcoming them back in 2019.

Posted in Nest 5, Osprey updates, UK | Tagged | 13 Comments

Look who is back!

The nestcams are still recording, but lately corvids and kestrels have been the main visitors. There was a surprise this afternoon.

just after landing
(c) Forestry Commission England

YA was mantling as he landed – possibly at corvids – but he soon began to eat. And eat!

building up his reserves
(c) Forestry Commission England

He is still standing with the fish as this is typed, 16.20.

YA was last on camera when streaming stopped on 5 September. He is usually only around for 1 or 2 days after his last offspring has migrated. If he doesn’t leave tomorrow or early on Monday, he is likely to be trapped by Storm Helene for another couple of days.

Posted in Nest 1A, Osprey updates, UK | Tagged | 3 Comments