Good morning all.
The country has taken a battering from the wind and rain yet again and flood warnings are back in place! Where IS summer? If this is what we have to look forward to every year then I think I will move to somewhere a little less wet! (Hands-up who still has a hosepipe ban!!!)
It has been a week of mixed emotions at Lowes but I feel the one important thing we should embrace is the fact that we have a very beautiful and healthy chick in Blue 44 and really need to celebrate this fact. It would have been a miserable season indeed if all three of the eggs had failed again as they did last year.
I hope that anyone under the weather will soon be feeling a lot better and with that, I bring you our weekly summary.
© Screenshot pictures copyright Scottish Wildlife Trust
Sunday, 1st July
Lady sits at the edge of the nest preening before tucking her head beneath her wing and drifting to sleep. The chick, scratches, stretches and nods off along with her. As dawn approaches she takes off for her first break of the new day and Laddie arrives to announce he is on duty, departing shortly after to go in search of breakfast. It is a sunny morning and the loch is calm and still, the water-life beginning its own new day ahead and down on the lily pads the great crested grebes are welcoming the arrival of a new chick to their brood. Laddie comes and goes with moss and bedding materials and undertakes a touch of light nest maintenance but no fish delivery has yet been witnessed. On each of his return visits he appears satisfied to remain on the nest for prolonged periods spending time with his family.
At around midday, a disturbance ensues when an intruder osprey strays into their territory and Lady mantles defensively, issuing distress calls. Laddie swoops straight in and out again, giving chase, returning to the nest to check on the status of its occupants, but the intruder is not discouraged and remains within their territorial airspace causing Laddie to take flight once again in combat. Mission successfully completed, he returns to the nest with a large branch, however, no sooner has he landed, his role as protector is again in demand, Lady is alarm calling and shielding the chick and Laddie propels himself at the intruder which is now directly above the nest. Their defensive actions are sufficient for the time-being but they remain on high alert as the intruder may well chance its luck later if it remains in the area. It is quite possible that this is the same bird that was around yesterday as it displays the same method of attack by circling the nest and swooping down to almost land. Once peace reigns, the chick continues its wing-flapping exercises and head-bobbing as it stands precariously close to the edge of the nest.
By mid-afternoon Laddie has been busy and flies in carrying a whole brown trout. As he deposits this upon the nest, Lady wastes no time in tearing into it and feeding the hungry juvenile. Their last delivery was yesterday evening and they are both in need of a substantial meal at this point. Laddie deposits two further fish during the evening and has therefore had better luck later in the day than that of earlier. Lady takes a quick break at 10:25pm settling down with the chick fast asleep at 11:30pm.
Monday, 2nd July
The small hours of the night are occupied with stretches and preening. At first light all is quiet but Lady is now fully awake and sat upon her observation perch. She takes a break at 3:50am, returning ten minutes later to sit in wait for Laddie and breakfast. He arrives within half an hour but has not yet secured a catch and takes to the skies a short while later. At around 5:30am she is disturbed by something and issues a distress call. As Laddie is nearby he swoops in to find her shielding the chick and takes off to give chase. This is sufficient to evict the intruder for now and he therefore goes in search of sticks, branches and moss which he relocates to the nest.
Following careful consideration and having sought specialist advice from the UK’s foremost expert, Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) have taken the decision to now ring the chick. At the start of the afternoon, the nest occupants are blissfully unaware that in a short time the young chick will be removed, placed in a bag and lowered from the tree. It will be fitted with a lightweight plastic Darvic leg ring bearing a unique colour and alphabetical/numerical combination, visible from a long distance, together with a durable metal British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) band containing an individual serial number. The chick will also be fitted with a satellite tracking device which will enable SWT to gather important scientific data in respect of where it will journey, feed and rest-stop en route, forming the bigger picture of osprey migration.
At the time of ringing and tagging, the chick is given a health check to include wing measurement and weight, he shows no signs of any health or developmental problems for his six weeks of age and is identified as male. He is issued with a blue Darvic ring bearing the number 44 and from hereon in will be formally identified as Blue 44. During the thirty minutes or so that Blue 44 was absent from the nest, Lady circled overhead calling and Laddie remained in close proximity. Once the juvenile was placed back on the nest Lady moved to sit on a nearby tree and kept a careful watch. As is normal at such times she remained away for well in excess of an hour and Laddie, having been on a fishing hunt, appeared at the nest just before 3:00pm. The chick, having remained in the defensive, immobile position showed interest in dad landing but Lady did not appear on the nest to remove the fish from him. After waiting for some while Laddie took off to his perching area where he consumed the fish head and returned half an hour later. He waited ten more minutes before departing again. At 4:25pm Lady finally returned and Blue 44 received its first meal under its new identity.
Lady settles back onto the nest having checked the juvenile and Laddie takes an evening fishing trip bringing in a perch for them both at 9:45pm. Before finally settling for the night she becomes inquisitive as to the aerial that is protruding from the chicks back feathers. It has been a strange day on the nest at Lowes but hopefully all will now soon return to normal.
Tuesday, 3rd July
As daybreak approaches, Blue 44 stretches his wings and flaps; he has had an unhindered night and awaits delivery of a meal from Laddie. At 4:45am he is not disappointed as the first fish of the day is deposited and breakfast gets underway. Returning to his lookout post Laddie is fortunate to catch sight of another easy target and takes a dive down into the water, successfully emerging with another unsuspecting casualty which he delivers to the nest. He stays a short while before departing, leaving Lady and Blue 44 to enjoy their second breakfast. Returning at 7:20am he removes what leftovers there may be for himself. Just before 9:00am he lands on the nest carrying a remnant and proceeds to finish this under the watchful gaze of the juvenile. At one point, Blue 44 starts toward Laddie looking in hope that he may be offered a taste but unperturbed, Laddie is impervious to his feelings and continues to eat.
During the afternoon at a point when Lady has taken a break from the nest, alarm calling can be heard in the vicinity. She flies back to protect Blue 44 and check it has come to no harm. She once again shows a curious interest in the transmitter that he carries although she exhibits no change in behaviour toward him. She will be accustomed to having previously seen the leg rings but the transmitter is new to her and she pecks at it with curiosity.
At 4:45pm Lady is soliciting loudly, her demeanour portrays the knowledge that her mate has landed a successful catch and moments later he lands upon the nest with the spoils of a well-deployed operation. Lady and Blue 44 revel in the meal placed before them and Laddie departs to continue his tasks. As evening draws in he has been successful once again and delivers a sizeable treat to the nest which will stave off overnight hunger and hopefully keep them going until morning.
Wednesday, 4th July
It is a quiet night; Lady is sat at the edge of the nest preening with intermittent bouts of light sleep as Blue 44 remains peacefully within the central cup. The night moths are flitting around and remain with them for company. At 3:40am she is fully awake and ready to take her first break of the new day. The loch is coming alive with the resident Canada geese honking to one another and the passerines having begun to perform their morning melodic song. Laddie arrives at 4:15am for his first visit announcing he is now on duty and taking orders for breakfast. Just after 6:00am he returns with an immense fish and is quickly followed in by Lady who had taken a break but spotted him on his approach. Breakfast commences and Blue 44 is soon tucking in contentedly. Once feeding is over they both stand at the far side of the nest looking out over the loch. The chick’s well developed vision now takes his gaze far and wide and he surveys the sight that many before him have done from the very same position. At 7:00am Laddie lands and, removing the remnant of fish for his own consumption, takes flight to one of his perches. It is a wet morning as rain now falls and Lady attempts to cover the almost full grown juvenile. It is now too big for her to comfortably brood and will come to no harm in the rain at this point in time. Although the nurturing instinct remains, it is not as necessary as it previously was when the chick was in danger of becoming saturated and cold in the conditions it has experienced this season. For Blue 44, he knows no difference and will not do so until he undertakes his first migration south. The scorching sun and intense heat are likely to be a new experience for him but he will become accustomed to them as all others have. There is a moment of pure tranquillity later in the morning when the trio are sat together gazing out across the loch.
As the afternoon gets underway, Blue 44 preens his beautiful juvenile plumage and continues practising his flight lift-offs. Both Lady and Laddie busy themselves with nest maintenance and all seems well around the loch. However, at 4:45pm an intruder has ventured too close to the nest and Laddie takes flight quickly followed by Lady as she alarm calls. Within two minutes she is back to protect the juvenile but takes to the air again in defence. Their actions are successful and no further disturbance ensues. The evening sees a little nest tidying take place and a fourth fish delivery at 9:10pm. What a truly astounding bird Laddie has turned out to be!
Thursday, 5th July
Lady has not moved from the edge of the nest all night. She is joined by Blue 44 at 2:40am who has remained in the central cup for most of that time. He sits beside her and preens, but she has drifted to sleep and wakens with a start when he spreads his wings and catches her. He returns to the nest cup and Lady remains on the side waiting for Laddie to make his first morning visit. He does so at 4:58am and has with him a delicious fish for their breakfast. Lady had taken a swift break but is back immediately and commences feeding the juvenile while Laddie takes off on a mission of his own. Morning duties on the nest consist of wing flaps, pecking at bedding, moving sticks, twigs and moss and sleeping lightly. It’s a busy day!
It is an extremely wet afternoon. Lunch is delivered at 12:45pm and as feeding gets underway Lady is startled by a sudden and loud clap of thunder, taking to the skies she flees the nest, complete with the fish still clutched within her talons! Blue 44 immediately adopts the thanatotic stance, lying completely still and portraying the appearance of being dead. On her return a minute later, it would seem that the meal they were enjoying so much has been lost during flight. Unfortunately they will have to now wait until Laddie has secured another catch. In the meantime, Lady takes a break, returning with a piece of bark which she carefully positions into place. The remainder of the afternoon sees nest tidying and maintenance taking up their busy schedule.
It is 7:20pm before another meal appears, it is only small enough to pass off as a snack but it is something. Fishing in such atrocious weather cannot be easy for Laddie but he has not failed so far. He makes another an hour later which will keep them going for a little while longer and at 9:25pm comes in with the big prize. Half an hour later, he is back again with another. He is in no doubt as to his role as hunter-gatherer and undertakes it with absolute perfection, marking up six successful catches in just one day!
Friday, 6th July
Lady sits upon her observation perch preening before settling to sleep. Blue 44 stretches and flaps his wings and an old friend pays a visit to the webcam! Spidey is spinning his web on the camera lens. Where has he been? It’s been so long since he dropped by to say hello to the nest occupants. Following a quiet night, Laddie is in attendance at 4:25am and stays for five minutes before heading out on his usual morning search for breakfast. At 5:40am Lady has spotted something in the distance and takes off to investigate, returning to land on her observation perch and continuing to maintain a careful watch. All is revealed when Laddie swoops in half an hour later with a decent catch which she quickly removes from his grasp and dissects for Blue 44. Once he has eaten sufficiently he moves away leaving mum to finish the remainder of the meal. At 7:30am Laddie is back and scanning the nest for leftovers but he is out of luck at this time. Taking off, he goes back in search of another meal and lands a successful catch which he delivers to the nest at 10:30am. Lady wastes no time and is straight on it although this time, there is sufficient left for Laddie to enjoy.
Lady and Blue 44 take time out from their busy schedules of pecking, preening and flapping to snack as the afternoon gets underway. Lady is alerted to something overhead and mantles, Laddie joins his family on the nest and both adults closely follow the source of visual disturbance across their airspace remaining alert in the event that defensive action may be required. All falls quiet and the days’ activities return to normal as Laddie leaves them to head off and do what he does best!
At 7:10pm he deposits a meal on the nest and evening feeding once again takes precedence. Blue 44 has his own piece of fish and is attempting to feed himself. This is excellent action on his part as it shows that he has reached the stage where Lady can take a step back and allow him to take more control of his meals. He will still be offered food and will still take it but the instinct has kicked in which confirms his growth and development is on target. Just half an hour later another meal is delivered, this one fresh from the water and still alive. Lady retrieves it and begins to dissect it for Blue 44 and Laddie takes flight. He has located a surfeit of fish that are simply waiting for him to collect them as, at 9:10pm another successful catch is secured. Three in the last two hours, that is certainly some going! As it is deposited, both mum and chick tug at it, dragging it into the nestcup in unison. Laddie leaves them to it but returns at 10:20pm to see if there are any leftovers for him to take, it would however, appear not!
Saturday, 7th July
As dawn breaks, Lady is fully awake and up and about inspecting the nest. She is inquisitive, taking a keen interest in the sides and over the edge and pecks around for quite some while. Breakfast is delivered at 5:45am and she commences feeding Blue 44. He is getting big enough to tear into pieces of fleshy fish himself now and proceeds to do so when Lady provides him the opportunity. Following a good feast, he preens a little and settles down for a post-breakfast snooze while mum watches from the safety of the dead tree just below the nest. The song of a chaffinch is billowing through the branches and the resident geese can be heard calling in the distance. At one point during late morning the family of three occupy the nest together and look particularly serene as they gaze out over the loch.
Blue 44 spends much time alone on the nest during the afternoon but Lady is not far away and keeps him under close observation. It has been a wet afternoon at the loch but evening commences with a welcome fish delivery at 7:05pm. Lady immediately begins to feed the juvenile and Laddie departs leaving them to eat, they will hopefully save him a morsel for when he looks in later. Feeding over for the chick at 7:30pm, he moves to the side of the nest, cleans his beak and looks out over the edge. He occupies himself with wing flapping and carefully examines the nest edge where Lady had done so earlier. Once she has finished eating, she joins him and undertakes a little tidying by moving a clump of mossy bedding around. It is still raining but Laddie lands with a headless fish just after 7:50pm and feeding continues once again. Lady is still eating at 8.40pm but breaks off to take a quick flight. On her return a couple of minutes later she stands aside and watches over Blue 44 as he grasps the fish tail remnant in his talons and proceeds to finish it off. It looks like Laddie will be unsuccessful once again!
We would like to wish a very Happy Birthday to Deirdre today. Have a fabulous day and we hope you do something special. Click the link below to see a message from The Wildlife Village. xxxx
The Dyfi Osprey Project and the Scottish wildlife Trust have kindly given their permission for us to post still and video images from their webcams. To visit their sites please click on the relevant link. Loch of the Lowes. Dyfi Osprey Project.