Bring on the bling.
Manton Bay, as ever, leads the way in this breeding season. Nearly a month ago, they ringed their chicks, before the fledging began. Thankfully, lockdown has eased enough that the majority of nests are going to be ringed too, so we’re finding out what the new additions to the population are…
Manton Bay: 16th June
33 and Maya have proved themselves a formidable osprey-rearing machine. For the second year in a row they have raised four chicks to fledging almost effortlessly. They turn up, the breed, lay, incubate and feed. It’s astonishing.
Who have they added to the osprey population this year?
The ring numbers for this years’ brood are 080, 081, 082 and 083, with 080 being the first chick to have hatched and 083 being the fourth chick to hatch. The biometric data taken indicates that all four chicks are males.
Glaslyn: 24th June
Aran and Mrs G have had an uneventful year, bringing two girls and a boy successfully into the world:
KC2 – Chick 1
KC3 – Chick 2
KC4 – Chick 3
Esthwaite: 26th June
Three very well fed chicks, 2 male and 1 female (to be confirmed), 407, 408 and 409.
DYFI: 30th June
The two chicks are named Tywi and Teifi after south-west Wales rivers - and they’re both males. It’s the first all male clutch for this nest.
As for the birds’ characters:
The younger Teifi was one of the most placid osprey chicks I've ever seen, he just lay there watching us go about our work. Tywi, however, was not so serene. He was pecking so much at Tony, we almost called him Gregory.
Loch Arkaig: 2nd July
Louis and Aila are on their fourth year of breeding together, and their third successfully year. And to mark that anniversary, they’ve managed to raise three chicks for the first time. After some early stumbles, this year the pair really seem to be hitting their stride.
So, who do we have?
JJ6: Male. The eldest. Hatched on 29 May. The calm, patient one.
JJ8: Female. Hatched 1 June. The born leader!
JJ7: Male. Hatched 3 June. The feisty one. Small and had to be assertive to survive.
Kielder 2 & 4: 2nd July
Nest 2 has a single chick - a female:
Her Darvic colour ring is 212. She is named Dunstanburgh, after the village and striking castle ruins on the Northumberland coast.
However, the big news was that her mother is not who we presumed she was:
Regular readers will recall that the loss of camera coverage at the very start of the season resulted in lack of clarity about the identity of the female. We hoped it was White EB, who had bred here since 2016 and raised, amongst others, Y6 now a mother herself and 7L/Aln, still in the Highlands. However, it was not to be. As the ringing party approached the nest and the adults flew around the area it was clear the female was unringed.
Chalk another loss up to the season that has seen so many familiar birds fail to return.
2 for 4:
Chick 1, a female, weighed 1710g and was fitted with Darvic ring Blue 210. She is called Darden, after Darden Pike and Lough in the Simonside Hills near Rothbury
Chick 2 weighed 1610g, and is probably also female. Later in the season it should be possible to determine the gender. She (for now) wears ring Blue 211 and was named Denwick, after a village near the coast on the River Aln.
Clywedog: 4th July
Seren (Blue 5F)’s first season - breeding with the established male, Dylan - has been a real success for an inexperienced bird:
The smallest/youngest chick was ringed 550 and weighed 1250g and is a male.
The middle chick got 551 and weighed 1350g and is also male.
The biggest/oldest got 552 and weighed 1450g and is also a male.
Foulshaw: 7th July
Two females for Foulshaw:
Two six-week-old osprey chicks, both identified as female, were tagged with ID rings at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve near Witherslack recently.
They are 410 and 411.
Kielder 1A & 7: 7th July
Kielder 7 is a new platform, and it welcomed two new arrivals for KM18 and KX7. The eldest is a big female:
She weighed 1890g, so not much doubt about gender! She was given colour ring Blue 213.
And she’s been named Donkleywood. Her sibling is most likely a male:
Chick 2 weighed 1390g, a male. He has colour ring Blue 214 and was named Dally after the remains of a 13th century motte-and-bailey fortress by Chirdon Burn, in the south of the Kielder Forest area.
Who have YA and Mrs YA brought into the world?
Chick 1 was ringed Blue 215. At 1500g, and with slim tarsi, the gender is believed to be male. He is called Dinmont, after Dinmont Lairs, a hill in Kielder Forest.
Chick 2 weighed 1620g and is a female. She was ringed Blue 216 and named Derwent after the Reservoir that the border between Northumberland and County Durham passes through.
And lastly - a tiddler:
The weight of 1290g suggested a male. He appeared in good health and was alert throughout. He wears Blue 217 and is called Dunmoor after a 569m hill in the Cheviots.
I make that 17 males and 11 females.
I foresee a lot of intrusions on the streamed nests in two to three years’ time…
Threave: no ringing
There are two surviving chicks at the Threave nest, but they will not be ringed:
Blue KC has looked unsettled since the loss of a chick and has been leaving the nest for periods to go and fish so we decided not to put any more pressure on her by climbing the tree and removing the chicks. In addition, the water level remains very high and makes access to the nest very difficult.
Hang on, isn’t it nearly 3 months since the last newsletter?
Yes. I’m sorry.
When Britain first went into lockdown, it was initially only for a few weeks. That turned into a few months, and it became clear that my daughters weren’t going back to school any time soon. My wife and I have been splitting home-schooling - but that still means that I lost half my working week. As a self-employed person, if I don’t work, I don’t earn. The only way to reclaim some of that time was to work evenings and weekends - and that left no time for side-projects like this.
I’m now into a new rhythm of working, and one of my daughters is back in school. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to keep this newsletter going through fledging and migration.
Wish me luck!
And apologies for the silence.