Growing games

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From summer heatwave to winter chill and winds –It’s flaming June!

In their exposed nest site the osprey family have been a sad sight to see. KL has spent her time crouching over her chicks trying to keep as much of them as possible warm. She has been drenched and the wind has turned her soggy feathers inside out, like an old umbrella. However, she has persisted and with Unring sitting in the alders close by to give her the occasional spell they are winning through.  Fishing has been tricky with the Lake alternately rough with waves, brown with silt or pock-marked with raindrops. Even with his superior eyesight Unring has been bringing back smaller fry than usual – just at a time when the chicks are putting on their major growth spurt. One small pike today was demolished between them in less than 6 minutes and then they were looking for more.

The eldest is over 3 weeks old now and its rugby-ball shaped body seems to be inflating every day, as well as sprouting a thick cape of feather spines. Instinctively (and probably because their emerging body fuzz itches) all three are starting to spend time preening, nibbling at the base of the spines to remove the quill casing and enable the feather inside to blossom. Wings are also extending. It’s amazing, but in a few more days they will actually begin to look like birds instead of dinosaurs!

 

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