Early in the morning of June 30th the Lake District Osprey Project team met at the roadside to check that all was in order; the tree climber checking off his ropes, Roy examining the satellite tracker, the equipment for weighing and measuring popped in the knapsack – don’t forget the rings! And most importantly, the Licence, issued to permit the team to approach the schedule one nest for this one-off occasion only.
The Bassenthwaite Osprey chicks were to be given their “MOT” and have their identification leg rings fitted.
Quietly, the team made its way to the nest site and, as expected, were immediately spotted by KL and Unring who rose into the air crying out an alarm call to their chicks. ‘Lie down and keep still – Predators about!’
Within minutes the climber was up by the nest, well secured, with carry bags in hand. The chicks obeying their parents and staying motionless were placed carefully in their bags, clipped to the pulley rope and lowered down to those on the ground.
Everything was set up ready for the first measurements to be taken, wing and tail length and width of tarsus. – all about right for their age. Feathers skin and eyes looking really healthy. Then weighing, The oldest weighed in at 1000g .The colour ring Blue V0 was placed on its right leg. The metal BTO ring with its unique serial number was placed on its left leg . The second chick, four days younger, weighed 850g. It was given the colour ring Blue V1 .
The decision was made at this point to put a satellite tracker on V0 only. V1 needed a bit more growth and weight. Roy took the 15g tracker and placed it like a mini- rucksack on the back of the bird. The straps were sewn together with cotton so that in a few years they will disintegrate and the tracker will fall off.
All done. The chicks were replaced in their carry bags and pulled back up the tree to the familiarity of their nest.
As quickly as possible the team re-assembled and, together, walked out from the site.
Above, KL and Unring watched the predators move away and within 20 minutes had swooped back to the nest to find their chicks none the worse for their unexpected outing, but like most children, already hungry.