Mine!

vlcsnap-00063

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!

 

Tracking Bega by the Lake

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.V5 11 aug 16

View from Dodd

IMG_0646

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

 

Dodd Viewpoint is the place to be!

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Viewing, Swimming, Flying and Fishing

Mother and daughter

vlcsnap-00058

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

First Flight

At sometime between dawn and 08.00 Bega definitively  flew out  the nest. She had been jumping up and down and had even managed to leap up onto the branch just above the camera once, but never did a proper flight previously. We shall have to see if she comes back regularly to feed at the nest or if she can wind Dad around her little talon and get him to bring the fish to her!

The Flapper

vlcsnap-00038

                                                                    It looks easy!

7 weeks old and everything is coming together for Bega.

Soon she will be making her first flight and she has only two options then – fly or crash.

Muscles have to be well developed. Flapping work-outs and making jumps across the nest cup builds up stamina and coordination. Plumage is vital. Preening means every feather is fully functional. But her primary pinion feathers still fall short of covering her tail feathers. Determining some landing spots is a good idea.

Here is today’s diary from the Whinlatter screen – how close do you think she is to a first flight?

09.25 Bega on nest resting.

10.48 KL on nest eating small perch. Bega not interested.

11.45 Unring arrives with another small perch, all alive Oh and hopping around the nest. Bega stamps on it, kills it and eats it.

11.50 Unring leaves nest

11.55 KL leaves nest. Bega begins a session of vigorous flapping. She faces into the wind for lift and hangs onto the sticks with her talons to prevent actual lift off – then she lets go. OOo -errr! A jump upwards and backwards, landing on the far side of the nest.

12.05 KL arrives and departs. Bega resting.

12.40 KL arrives and departs.

KL arrives and eats fish tail. She feeds Bega some of it. KL departs

13.20 KL arrives with large stick. Bega helps put it in place.

14.15 Bega starts another session of fast flapping, jumping up at least 60 cm.

14.20  Bega really really wants to be going off the nest. She stares intently at the nearest branch of the tree and flaps deliberately as she shuffles closer and closer to the edge of the nest and then over the edge, sticks slipping into the void under her claws. At the last second she loses her nerve and scrabbles backwards.

15 28 Bega eats fish tail

16.00 Bega rests

S

                                   But, not so easy as it looks!

Go on Sweet Bird

Whilst our Bouncing Babe was having her rings put on, what was her elder sibling doing?

Well, what he usually does – flying and flying and some more flying.

On the weekend of 25th and 26th June he was anywhere between Kendal and Millom.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday he was in the Eden Valley.

On Thursday and Friday he swept over the Border, around Moffat,

This Spa town  incidentally, also attracted Robbie Burns, although the waters he was interested in were to drink, rather than fish in, and comprised an effervescent mix of Sulphur and Iron washed down with beer! Of course, in 1788 Robbie might well have seen an osprey – and even been inspired, between burps, to write his one verse poem, ‘Go On Sweet Bird, and sooth my Care.’ Who knows?.

But without doubt our bird was flying on the wind near Kirkby Lonsdale on Saturday 2nd July, at 06.00,

and Sunday was back to the South Lakes.

A high mileage week – even for him!

The Old Sulphurous Well Moffat.                   Creative Commons Rosser 1954File:Moffat - Sulphurous Well.JPG

Where Ospreys Dare

Where ospreys dare

                    Where ospreys dare

Do you have to wait until the adults are away, before you climb up to the nest is a question often asked?

In fact, either KL or Unring always have the nest in sight, even if they are sitting hidden in the alders or on top of the tree. So, when humans appear we are viewed as predators by the birds. KL was on duty that morning and immediately flew up screaming at us and warning her chick to lie down flat. Because the young birds have little muscle power they rely on their camouflage to protect them, in theory staying still and quiet in the base of the nest cup. (However, it’s tempting to take a sneak peek out to see what is happening.)

In general, this works to our advantage as it means that the adults fly away from the nest and the chick does not struggle and hurt either itself or hopefully, us. On Saturday only KL was on the scene at the beginning but was soon joined by Unring who had been off to catch a fish. He was determined not to let go of this and circled around clasping it, until the excitement was over. Whereupon, he ate it himself!

Meanwhile, the tree climber, under license, climbed up to the nest and popped the chick into a soft bag, which he lowered on a rope to the ringer at base of the tree. He then prepared for a long and rather uncomfortable wait, perched on a side branch, so that the adult birds do not land on the empty nest. It seems that, using ‘bird psychology’,  if the chick is back in the nest when we all depart from the scene at the end of the procedure, the adults believe that they have chased off the predator and see themselves as victors. Obviously ringing is a one off occurrence and there is little danger of the chick being abandoned by its parents as the bond is very strong at 5 weeks old. However, constant/ multiple human disturbances are a far greater threat and often will result in abandonment at the time or a nest move the next season.

Operation lens clean

Operation lens clean

Whilst all this was happening the second tree climber went on a more hazardous climb into the next tree where the zoom camera is situated for operation lens clean. All this season there have been large blurry blobs on the zoom camera spreading over the picture, possibly caused by the calling cards of the resident spider, or a spontaneous growth of algae. The zoom camera is out on a limb so it took some heart-stopping contortions before at last a hand with a cloth poked out between the oak leaves and started the cleanup.

Later we were very pleased to see that his efforts had been entirely successful and there is again a clear view at all distances on the screens at Whinlatter.

At the end of the ringing procedure the chick was popped in the bag again and hauled up to the nest where the climber there gently placed her back in the centre  to await her parents and a fishy brunch.

Our thanks to the tree climber team for such a smooth and successful operation.