As of Friday:
Both Bega and her brother No 14 are now in the air.
Bega crossed the channel, and left the Normandy coastline on the 14th then headed for Bordeaux and at the last download was at Poitou- Charentes. This area is renowned for the migratory movements of its people, as it is the region of origin of most of the Arcadian and Cajun populations of Canada, where of course the N American osprey populations are just starting to move on their journeys to Central and South America.
Number 14 is on his third trip south. Left Cumbria at 10.00 Thursday and then motored to Garstang 11.00, West Birmingham 1400 and the last signal Marlborough, Wiltshire 1600, heading for New Forest area.
Sometimes we see transport planes flying ponderously down Bassenthwaite Lake. and sometimes we hear jets cracking the sound barrier. Bega seems to be modelling herself on the former as she toddles down England.
Weds 7th 12.00 – 13.00 crossed Morecambe bay. Over Manchester Thursday lunchtime. Saturday 10th 18.00 at Barton in the Beans (would you believe) West of Leicester.
Yesterday morning just North west of Winchester. and at 18.00 yesterday night was near the M3, north of Southhampton the Otterburn, Cranbury park area.
Will she flap over to France?
No 14 still in South Lakes.
The Apron strings, or maybe the Braces, have broken. Bega is flying free if not too wild.
On Saturday 3rd Bega (and No 14) were still in their usual summer grounds, but on Sunday 1st Bega started moving down the country, not in the usual focussed flight we have seen in many of our other birds, that eats up the miles in one burst to get them well away from home, but in a sort of meander that took her near to Fowlshaw.
On Tuesday 6th she was still in that area, although it does not look like she has come across No 14.
Although this pattern of behaviour is slightly different, it may be the right thing for Bega. Whilst manning the viewpoints up to August 29th, no-one actually saw Bega catch a fish, so the rich area of sandy shallow estuary and flats of South Lakes would be a good place to linger in and begin to take your fishing career more seriously.
In some years our birds have left by the end of August joining the smaller summer migrants on the travel routes back to the warmth of the South. However, this year, although KL left a couple of weeks ago, Bega and Unring are hanging on here. Pike and trout are in plentiful supply and Unring pulls them out of the Lake like a magician pulling rabbits out of hats. Bega – his beautiful assistant – then eats them. There seems little incentive for her to develop any digital dexterity to tickle trout, when Dad will do all the work. Her efforts at hunting consist of sitting on a post in the water and occasionally jumping in with a splash after the ripples. Her satellite tracker confirms that she is not fishing secretly at the other end of the Lake after we have gone home. All this has made for near guaranteed sightings of the birds over the past weeks from the telescopes at the Dodd Viewpoints, and even a chance of seeing Bega on the CCTV screens at Whinlatter on the nest toying with the latest meal.
However, ready or not, the human side of the osprey season has to have an end and this is always at the end of August. So, tomorrow, Monday Bank Holiday will be the last time the 2 sites are manned this year.
Not to give up entirely though. We hope to be continuing with this diary over the coming weeks as we have not one but two birds with trackers on.
Currently, Number 14 our marathon 2013 bird is still flying around South Lakes but like Bega the urge to move South may kick in at any time. Unlike Bega he is now an expert fisherman and experienced traveller. We are crossing our fingers that both will survive the journey.
Bega, big and beautiful, but still only 3 months old when all is said and done. She continues to fly over and around the Lake, often following Unring. However, like many young princesses she does not seem so inclined to do things for herself when Dad is there to do it for her! If he catches a fish she makes sure that she is positioned near to the nest, ready for him to pass it to her. Unring has been trying to entice her off by flying overhead with tasty trout and not giving instant delivery – to tempt her to go and fish for herself. But like many Dads, his willpower is weaker than hers and the fish always lands up on the nest, just where she wants it.
Even princesses have their annoyances though!
Although this looks like Bega is avoiding the water we know she has been flying and fishing over the Lake – it’s just that the signals have coincided with her time on land. The orange lines merely join the dots up and don’t represent her actual flight pattern. Interestingly it does show that she seems to have explored the first nesting site on the west side of the Lake where it all started in 2001.
The current nest site is also being used still with Dad regularly bringing fish back for her to eat. There has been no sign of KL for a few days now so we must assume that she has started her long journey back to Africa leaving Dad to hold the baby.
Look out on this Summer land of light and shadows
What do I see and hear?
A red squirrel nibbling,
A grey rabbit hopping,
A kestrel hovering on the wind.
A raven croaking,
A buzzard lifting,
A fish by strong talons pinned.
A green yaffle laughing,
A brown lizard basking,
A crackle from a gorse seed gun.
A swallow skimming,
A kingfisher diving,
A rowan ripening in the sun.
Walk this bright land of light and shadows.
Cumbria’s catching my heart, this year.
Image L Wilde
Since fledging on July 12th Bega has been a model example of a developing juvenile bird. The first few days were spent landing and taking off from the nest. Then by the end of the week she was extending her range to the Derwent river and the ‘diamond’ field, accompanied by her parents. Viewing from Dodd Viewpoints has become better and better as the birds fly and fish closer and closer to the telescopes. In the past few days the next stage of Bega’s training for independence has begun and she has been spotted flying over the Lake, her instincts for hunting fish being woken as she stares down into the water.
If you want an even more immersive experience spotting ospreys try swimming in the silk blue waters of the North after the Viewpoint telescopes are put away at 17.00. Seeing the iconic pale belly and angled wings set against the sky, as unafraid, one of our birds quarters the water, is a sight for life.
Viewing, Swimming, Flying and Fishing
The transition between child and adulthood is marked by the gradual assumption of independence, together with a diminishing need for parental support. Getting the balance right is a tricky business though! Over the past week Unring has been bringing fish directly to Bega on the nest, rather than waiting for KL, as she is now quite capable of subduing and eating a fish without help. Indeed, if KL turns up Bega has shown signs of being quite snappish towards her Mum and definitely hasn’t wanted to share the meal. However, as every teenager knows, there are times when being ‘grownup’ palls and a bit of TLC is needed.
So, here is KL feeding her big daughter on Wednesday for maybe the last time before becoming redundant as a carer for this season.
THE WEBSTREAM CLOSURE Since then Bega is only visiting the nest once in a while to collect fish from Dad. Often she flies off to her comfortable perch amongst the alders to eat. She is spending her nights away as well. We will be switching off the webstreaming this weekend because the best place now to see her and her parents is from the telescopes on Dodd. At Whinlatter we will still be watching the wider area through the CCTV and have lots of footage of B’s miracle survival and amazing growth