Good morning all.
I hope that everyone is having a lovely weekend and the weather is being kind to you. Could I remind anyone that is interested that Rutland are hosting the annual Birdfair which begins on Friday 17th August and runs through to Sunday 19th August. The link below will give you more information together with a video by Chris Packham.
© Screenshot pictures copyright Scottish Wildlife Trust
And so to our weekly summary for those that have missed any action during the week.
Sunday, 29th July
It is a sunny morning and the nest sits complete with its osprey family. Blue 44 is taking just short flights around the immediate area and not straying out of range, perhaps his confidence is not quite there just yet. He sits upon Lady’s perch later in the morning preening in the sunshine and looking out over the loch, occasionally bobbing his head from side to side when he spots something of interest.
Laddie visits with a lunchtime meal at 1:48pm and transfers this to junior who seems to wait a short while as if expecting mum to land and feed it to him. He is big enough to do this without any adult intervention now and proceeds to do so when she fails to make an appearance. She does however return at 5:00pm having witnessed Laddie on approach with a fish and heading towards the nest. She arrives just before him and is there to take delivery as he lands, dragging poor Laddie across the nest with it in her haste to retrieve it from him. At this point in time Blue 44 is nowhere to be seen and Lady seizes the opportunity to take flight and retain this precious meal for herself although he has occupied most of his time perching on the opposite side of the tree just out of camera visibility so may be a little further away just now.
Having eaten her fill of the fish, Lady returns to the nest with a leftover portion and feeds this to Blue 44 who is now back in residence. Once mealtime is over she carries out a little nest tidying, moving a large branch that occupies the centre of the nest cup which has been causing an inconvenience and relocating it to a more suitable position where it will no longer be in the way. Health and safety dictates that all exit routes must not be blocked or inaccessible and this will now pass the standard required!
Monday, 30th July
Following a turn in the weather yesterday afternoon, this morning appears no better with heavy clouds looming overhead and the threat of thunder in the air. The nest stands empty but Blue 44 is not far, sheltering from the rain in the foliage of the tree beneath the nest and just out of camera visibility. He breakfasted earlier when Dad delivered a fresh catch around 8:00am so has not gone hungry this morning. At 11:09am when another meal is deposited, Lady arrives just behind making a grab and taking flight with it. Laddie remains on the nest for some while preening, sitting quietly and watching carefully all around to ensure no intruders are in their territory.
Blue 44 is back in residence at 1:32pm. He spends time sat on mum’s observation perch which affords him a clear view over and around the loch. Laddie has been fishing and caught a mid-afternoon meal delivering this to the nest at 2:55pm. On transferring this to Blue 44 he then retreats to busy himself elsewhere around the loch and leaves junior to get on with feeding himself. It is a wet and rotten day at the loch and Blue 44 spends a lot of his time beneath the nest sheltering from the elements. At least he has the ability to do so now as in his earlier weeks he had only the shelter of mum to rely upon but as he gained proportion she was unable to shield him fully and so he often took the brunt of the heavy weather.
As evening draws in Blue 44 still occupies Lady’s perch and is treated to a fresh meal when Laddie arrives at 9:23pm. With supper devoured he preens and stretches before tucking his head beneath his wings and is well settled for the night by 11.00pm.
Tuesday, 31st July
Blue 44 is sat on mum’s perch when dad comes in with breakfast at 5:03am. Lady makes an appearance and the three occupy the nest for a minute as junior edges toward Laddie and waits to be passed the live fish. Laddie however, has other ideas and after taking a few quick pecks decides to depart complete with the fish still in his talons. However, Lady has located the remnant of a previous meal which she shares with junior and Laddie therefore takes the opportunity to retain his catch for himself while he can. Later in the morning, intruder activity is apparent as a heron is witnessed flying too close to the nest and landing in the reed bed just below. Lady took flight, bombarding the heron numerous times, eventually evicting it from the osprey end of the loch and chasing it away from their territory. A large, whole and live fish delivery comes in just prior to 11:00am and Blue 44 is given immediate charge of it. Grasping it within his sharp talons and biting into the head, mum and dad look on as he devours it with relish.
As the afternoon gets underway more intruder activity takes place when an unknown osprey takes a dive at Blue 44 while he is perched on the dead tree. From the nest Lady emits distress calls and mantles as the juvenile makes a hasty return to the safety of home and she takes off giving chase to the interloper. On her return both she and Blue 44 continue to defend the nest as the intruder remains the airspace overhead.
At 6:10pm Laddie brings in a snack and as Lady is the first to appear she gets the prize and takes off to consume it for herself. Another small fish is delivered just half an hour later which once again is seized by Lady but Blue 44 has also witnessed the delivery and flies in to make sure he will not be left out. He is not disappointed and Lady’s maternal instinct prevails as she dissects the snack and feeds her chick taking less than ten minutes to finish the meal. Laddie has been the bearer of many fish today and as the evening draws in, supper is forthcoming at 8:40pm. Blue 44 is alone on the nest as he arrives and wastes no time in snatching it from Laddie’s hold and making short work of it. Lady pays a late evening visit, spending time with Blue 44 before heading to her overnight perching area leaving him to take up position on her observation perch for a final look across the loch before snuggling down in the central nest cup for the night.
Wednesday, 1st August
It is just after midnight and Blue 44 is sleeping in the centre of the nest. He wakens briefly in the rain and flaps his wings before settling back down. Dad is on duty as usual and having been fishing, arrives with breakfast at 5:45am. It is sufficient a size for Blue 44 to fully consume and just half an hour later he is finishing off the tail end. At 6:45am as he sits digesting his breakfast, mum lands with a live catch and proceeds to feed him directly from it. Once he has had sufficient to eat he moves across and onto her observation perch while she finishes off the remaining portion herself. Just as she is doing so Laddie then lands with a fresh catch of his own and once delivered, he takes to the sky leaving Lady to continue feeding an already well-stuffed juvenile. During the late morning Blue 44 is in sole occupation of the nest giving his plumage a thorough preen and watching over the loch for any signs of activity.
As the afternoon commences Lady occupies the dead tree perch, moving to the nest at 4:07pm and soliciting loudly for food from Laddie. As she waits she busies herself with nest tidying and moving sticks from the central cup to the rim to keep their home in good order.
Laddie arrives with a fresh meal at 6:50pm but no-one is home to take delivery and he stands with it in his talons as he scans the surrounding area. Lady has spotted him and flies in to receive it, taking off a moment later. Within minutes, Blue 44 has returned but is unaware that he missed his chance of a meal. He takes flight briefly but returns to sit on mum’s perch and wait for dad to show with supper.
Thursday, 2nd August
Blue 44 starts his day sat upon mum’s perch enjoying the early morning sunshine before taking flight to occupy a perching area of his own and wait for his parents to arrive. Lady lands at 8:33am just ahead of Laddie who has secured a freshly caught fish and dragging it frantically from his foot-hold. The nest site remains quiet other than an occasional visit from the passerines that occupy the nearby foliage and Laddie undertaking some light maintenance.
The afternoon brings another first in the development of Blue 44 as, at 12:25pm he is witnessed to be making his first known attempt at fishing right in front of the visitor hides, skimming over the water and elevating over the trees then swinging around to execute a return. Extending his feet and stretching his talons wide he swept down to the surface making contact with the water but was not successful in landing a catch. This however demonstrates his ability to recognise a fish and dive and he will make many unsuccessful attempts before he lands that first catch. Taking a break to return to the nest, Laddie appeared with the remains of a pike caught earlier which junior finally finished off before making another attempt to fish and taking up position on his perch to dry off in the breeze. At 2:15pm Laddie has made another fresh catch and delivers this to the nest. Blue 44 has spotted his approach and is waiting and eager and on arrival, taking the fish and mantling over it until Laddie takes off and he has the nest and meal to himself. Once finished eating, he returns to the dead tree perch where he spends time looking out over the water and preening.
His fishing attempts have already proved his development is as it should be for his ten weeks of age. He has watched Laddie execute many a successful catch and knows the basics of what is required. He already knows how to hold a fish to retain it within his grasp but the act of plucking it from the water will be a whole new experience for him and he will still have much to learn about how to rotate the fish whilst in flight to ensure that a streamlined effect is obtained for optimum efficiency.
Friday, 3rd August
It’s a sunny morning and Blue 44 arrives back at the nest following an early flight around and is calling to Laddie for breakfast. At 9:00am he is sat upon Lady’s perch preening in the warmth of the sun before taking flight whereupon Lady arrives and begins her own soliciting for the next thirty minutes. The nest remains quiet other than both Lady and Blue 44 making intermittent visits in the hope of receiving something tasty.
At 12:25pm that hope becomes reality when at last, Laddie flies in with a fish. From his perch below the nest Blue 44 has witnessed his arrival and comes crashing in to take delivery. Having not quite perfected his technique when eager to return, the juvenile is still making some spectacular and hilarious landings. As he snatches the meal from dad’s feet he mantles over it and Laddie leaves him to eat, squeaking with excitement as he tears into the flesh. However, just ten minutes into his meal it is evident that there is intruder activity present as he begins to mantle and scans the sky above him. As junior calls out, one of the adults can be heard alarm calling nearby. Upon returning to his meal Laddie lands with another fish just half an hour after the first, however, freshest is always the best and he leaves off to investigate what dad has brought in. It would seem that Laddie has already eaten his portion as this offering is headless and Blue 44 continues on with tearing at the exposed flesh. His meal is yet again disturbed by intruder activity overhead and he mantles alarm calling while further calls can be heard from the bird above. As Blue 44 lays flat in the centre of the nest the intruder takes a sweeping dive at him and he jumps up in defence. At this, Laddie gives chase and an aerial dog-fight ensues, engaging the intruder in combat for around ten minutes. He eventually gets back to his fish but as he is finishing it off Laddie lands with another though takes flight with it a few minutes later leaving Blue 44 to finish the one he already has. Once the tail end has disappeared he moves to the edge of the nest to clean his beak on the interwoven branches then clambers up onto mum’s perch from where he takes off.
It has been a hectic afternoon for our osprey’s but Laddie has still excelled himself in his fish count and continues to do so as the evening draws in, landing a huge catch which he delivers at 7:23pm. Although Blue 44 is not at the nest he has witnessed dad’s delivery and comically comes crashing in behind him to take the meal. This is one enormous offering and will certainly take most of the night to consume so it is fair to assume that Blue 44 will be busy for quite some time. By 9:30pm he is still only halfway through and leaves it at the side of the nest where he will no doubt find space for it later on.
Saturday, 4th August
There is still a huge portion of the fish left on the nest from last night’s supper and Blue 44 takes up where he left off. Breakfast complete after thirty five minutes, he takes to the sky leaving enough to have for his lunch when the time comes. During his absence the nest receives a visit from a little bird investigating the structure and hopping about the branches and Laddie comes in too but has spied the leftover fish tail and takes it away for himself. Blue 44 returns at 10:55am but his fish has gone and he left it just THERE! I won’t go into the old ‘who’s been eating my breakfast’ but Goldilocks and the three bears does spring to mind! Perhaps he’ll be more careful where he leaves it next time. He departs in the direction of Laddie’s favoured perching tree across the loch from the visitor hides but appears to be having so much fun flying around that he fails to notice when dad comes in with a meal for him. Laddie waits for five or so minutes but seeing as there are no takers for his fish he takes to the air.
It’s a sunny afternoon and Blue 44 is sat upon Lady’s observation perch. He has made numerous visits back to the nest and continued to call for food. but the only offering on sight was a very small tail end that Laddie eventually brought in at 2.56pm. However prior to this Laddie had made the catch and followed Blue 44 around the loch in an attempt to transfer it to him but as he was perched in a tree at the time, his efforts failed and Laddie decided he would eat the majority of it himself.
As the evening gets underway, Blue 44 arrives at the nest swiftly followed by Laddie who deposits a fresh live catch at 6:43pm. Grabbing it from his talons he mantles over it as it flaps before he begins to dissect and eat it. Laddie departs and is back within just seven minutes with another, but not wanting to let go of his current meal, Blue 44 stands on it and then proceeds to remove the second fish from dad with his beak. He has continued his attempts at fishing for himself today but has still not landed that all-important first catch however it will not be far off I am sure! Lady has not been seen around the loch since yesterday morning and it is quite possible that she may now have commenced her long migration south. This will only become evident if no further sightings are witnessed over the next few days and it will therefore be fair to assume that she will have done so. This being the case, I am sure she will be in each of our thoughts over the next few weeks and our hopes that she makes it safely over.
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.