KL laid her first egg at about 14.30 this afternoon (Tuesday). She had been seen looking slightly uncomfortable, sitting low in the nest cup with her wings braced forward a bit. However, having bred for 5 years now the actual lay was not the huge effort it was a few years ago and it was only when she stood up we could verify she had indeed produced an egg. Unring’s reaction was also very different from the young bird of 5 years ago. The reaction to his first egg 5 years ago was one of complete indifference. Sitting on it was a bore and he usually tried to get away as soon as he could. Today, he flew in within minutes and dived straight into the nest cup to investigate and then pushing KL aside he settled down to brood it. This was not quite what KL had expected but she rallied and with a few well positioned shoves, dislodged him, snuggled down over the egg and started the long process of incubation.
We hope she will lay another in a couple of days time.
On the 9th April our No 14 was just South of Anger; he is now to the North and flying directly towards England and the Lake District. Keep a look out for him from now on as with a tail wind it is feasible he could be here tomorrow.
Chateau d’Anger – photos Arlette
The Black City – Roof tiles of Anger
No 14’s flight for April 6th. Maps showing his morning start and evening roost in the Pyrenees. About 380 km. That bird can travel!!!
An Easter mystery at Whinlatter!
A number of people came into the Visitor Centre reporting a clutch of eggs laid at the base of a tree close by one of the trails. There were four, and being pure white did not match any of the ground nesting birds’ more camouflaged ones- an Easter bunny hoard we wondered?
Then came the answer. As the Carters walked past the tree a tawny owl shot over the path in front of them! Why she should have tried to nest in such an exposed and lowly place who can say. Perhaps she is a young and inexperienced fowl or perhaps her chosen nest hole collapsed or was taken by another owl. Sadly, despite her efforts no Easter chicks are likely to be hatching from this nest.
With a great sigh of relief we can see that No 14 has made it over the desert. With the Atlas Mountains in his sights he powered up, crossed over them and with hardly time to draw a breath had travelled over the Mediterranean and into Spain. Surely he must have fished at some point! His roost site on April 4th was in the rocky region Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, West of Almontaras in Granada province, Andalucía.
Beside the Lake:- Other than our pair of contented looking ospreys a male marsh harrier was spotted yesterday over the marshland. It would be great to say that there was a chance that a pair of these beautiful birds might one day make it their home but these are reed loving raptors and we have too small an area for them to be really interested. Leighton Moss, just over the border to Lancashire is their Northern stronghold.
Try this link to see the RSPB video https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/m/marshharrier/
No 14 still battles on with the journey over the Algerian desert. This area, the Grand Erg Occidental and the Tademait plateau has one of the most extreme climates in the world, being the birthplace of the Hammatan withering wind, whipping up dust storms over the dessicated dunes. And there are still the Atlas Mountains to cross before the sea.
At home KL and Unring are enjoying marital bliss in a spring green land, eating fish and adding grass and sticks to the nest. Sunbathing was the order of the morning, but this afternoon a third bird upset Unring as he carried in a huge pike. Mantling, stamping and fluttering Unring showed his aggression and anxiety, caught in the dilemma of wanting to defend his territory and hold onto his fish.
Here’s one he caught earlier
Still finding his way across Algeria – it will be a sigh of relief all round when he reaches the coast.
Through the driving rain sweeping over the Bassenthwaite valley the grey shadow that we suspected was KL has been positively identified by her leg ring to be just that. She has been joined by another osprey that we assume is Unring as they are mating. However, we haven’t been able to get a good closeup of him yet to see his markings.
No 14 has been flying North through Algeria – again veering towards the West so we anticipate a Mediterranean crossing soon.
Welcome, one and all!
The Project opens on Saturday April 1st. At Dodd the viewpoints will be open with Staff, Information Volunteers and telescopes at the ready. However, as every year, if it is raining hard the optics have to be put under cover to prevent damage.
At Whinlatter the new osprey viewing area is now sharing an area with new forest information and retail space. The CCTV screens are bigger than ever and showing clear views of the nest .
No 14 roosted in the East of Mali on the night of the 27th.Unlike his previous 2 years he seems to be veering towards the West rather than the East – following more closely to his south bound migration perhaps. Either way there is a lot of desert yet – in Mali alone there are 480,000 square miles.
Back at the Bassenthwaite nest an osprey has been seen 2 days running now – but today the sun yellowed haze was so great it was only possible to see a grey shadow amongst the branches.
At 13.56 today 14 had passed into Niger, the Tahoua region. This is an arid dusty area of small trees and scrub bordering the desert, but it supports agriculture and Tahoua City is a market town where Tuareg merchants from the North and Fulani traders from the South meet up. It is also an area that mines gypsum, a versatile mineral existing as alabaster for carving, plaster of Paris for splints, dough conditioner for bread, an ingredient for foot cream and in one of its natural forms creating the beautiful desert rose. Interesting – but its link to ospreys lies in the fact that In ancient times it proves this area to have been much wetter as the mineral is formed in layers by the evaporation of water from great lakes. A much better place for an osprey to be flying over.
If he makes it to England he may well fly over other ancient Lake beds – these are in Blue Anchor, Somerset.
Ashley Dace Wikipedia commons
At last No 14 has started his return journey heading nearly due North from Bioko into Nigeria, as he has done before. There are some areas of water there for him to fuel up before the Sahara crossing. He started on March 23rd and reached the area near Abuja on the 25th, so he should be flying over sand by now. All fingers and toes crossed for him!