No 14 and some research – handsome, talonted, why no mate?

The map shows No 14’s movements in S Lakes, fishing in the estuary with occasional visits to Pennington reservoir to the west. 

No 14 has not found a mate this year, again and he has rarely been seen visiting the site in South Lakes where we felt he might settle, so:

Our licensed ringer and osprey expert has been trying to discover if the fact that white 14, at the age of 7 years and has not started breeding yet is unusual or if the fact that he is still carrying the satellite tag is having an influence on his breeding capabilities.

To this end he has asked the folk who have worked with the Rutland osprey population which started breeding in the same year as the Lakeland birds and also Roy Dennis who has been involved with Ospreys, including satellite tagging, for many years in Scotland and elsewhere what information they have on the ages that ospreys have started to breed and whether any birds carrying satellite tags have bred successfully.

This is the information/data that they have sent through to him. It’s extremely interesting to know about other ospreys and the ages they start to breed and those others carrying sat tag successfully raising chicks

With regard to the age of breeding males, there have been two males in the Rutland Water population that bred for the first time aged 11 and 14 respectively.

So there is no doubt that some birds have to wait a considerable time to breed.

This year there is an 8 year-old male that is breeding for the first time, and a 7 year-old male that is yet to pair up.

So on this data there is still time and hope that white 14 will breed in the future

There are numerous examples of satellite-tagged birds breeding successfully. Notable examples include:

  • Female Yellow 30 raised eight chicks between 2015-2019 at a nest near Rutland Water after being tagged as an adult in 2013. The tag then fell off last winter and she has returned to breed again this year.
  • One of Roy’s satellite-tagged females, Beatrice, bred each year from 2009-2015 after being tagged as an adult in 2008.
  • Satellite-tagged female Morven bred between 2009 and 2018 while carrying a satellite transmitter. The transmitter was then removed and she continues to return to Scotland.
  • Another of Roy’s satellite-tagged birds, Nimrod (male), raised five chicks between 2008 and 2011 while carrying a satellite tag.
  • A further six satellite-tagged males and two females have bred successfully in Scotland in recent years, plus two males at Rutland Water.

There is no evidence that satellite transmitters have ever stopped birds breeding. 

So to conclude, there is no way that the satellite transmitter is the issue with White 14 and there are still several years left for him to settle down and raise some chicks.

 

The Lockdown Gap.

 

Top of Dodd – Sunshine and clouds in June.

With Staff and Volunteers all in Lockdown and subsequently unable to deliver the Osprey project there has been little news on the doings of the Bassenthwaite family over the past months. At the Dodd viewpoints there is no way that using communal telescopes can comply with covid restrictions. Similarly, gathering people around a screen to watch osprey footage is not possible with social distancing.

However, ospreys, like many other creatures thrived over a time when traffic and people were not there to disturb them.

Eggs were laid, chicks were hatched, fishing was good and the dry sunshine conducive to health and well-being. The two chicks this year looked very healthy. Their experienced Father Unring, now in his 8th breeding year, is a pro at delivering fish and defending the nest site. The female, thought to be the un-ringed one from last year, has taken to motherhood well, shading the young chicks from the sun and popping the right sized morsels of food down their ever-hungry throats.

The chicks from an early age showed a considerable size difference. Perhaps this indicated there had been an egg that did not hatch laid between them. Or perhaps the elder one of the two was a bigger female and the younger a smaller male. However, both were vigorous in vying for attention and in flapping and hopping about the nest prior to first flights.

Altogether, with pairs in South Lakes, such as Foulshaw, and those in Keilder Forest producing young, Cumbria is having a good year ospreywise!