There has been no sign of EJ since Thursday, so it looks like we can safely say she has started her migration south! The chicks have been left unsupervised since Friday, with OVS also being absent since he flew in with that fish,which he proceeded to eat the whole thing himself.
Although this may seem worrying at first, he may be employing an advanced parenting method, know as the 'starvation technique', to kick in the natural survival instincts of the chicks. This is quite normal behaviour, and actually quite understandable. After all, why would a youngster go to the bother of getting its own dinner if its parents keep on providing...sound familiar?! However, this is obviously a critical time and there is always the risk that a chick may be continually unsuccessful when fishing, become weaker and weaker and eventually starve to death. Many other ospreys and indeed other animals are taking similar risks as I type...although that doesn't make it any less nerve racking for us!Nethy's behaviour over the last few days has been very encouraging as she has spent very little time on site and presumably has been gaining strength and perfecting that fishing technique (we hope!). The satellite data shows that she has flown over both the nearby lochs, Loch Garten and Loch Mallachie and as you already know she has returned to the nest wet and muddy. The adults don't actually fish on these lochs (they are very peaty) so we wouldn't expect her to have much success on either.
Although we are all eagerly awaiting the day when one of our chicks returns with a fish the fact that they haven't doesn't mean that they are being unsuccessful. Think of it this way.... if one of the chicks catches a fish (I imagine it's pretty tiring!) why go to all the extra effort of carrying it back to the nest AND trying to keep it from your hungry brother or sister when you could just eat it somewhere nearby?Deshar has been spending a lot more time on site than Nethy, but from his satellite data we know he has been flying as far as Loch Garten - has he been attempting to fish here too? Over the past few days we have seen a number of intruding ospreys fly a little too close to the nest for Deshar's liking and he has successfully defended the nest and sent them on their way by mantling his wings to make himself look bigger.Hopefully by the end of the week we will have some more satellite data and will be able to update you on where the chicks have been flying to. And please be assured that if Nethy or Deshar returns to the site with a fish we will update you as soon as possible.In the meantime....If you want to specifically help the Loch Garten Osprey Team 2008, you might consider supporting the RSPB. You can do this online via the RSPB website: http://www.rspb.org.uk/join, if you add the code PR08 (that is zero eight), your membership will be credited to the Loch Garten team.
The Google Earth map will be updated on Tuesday
I have just checked on their positions and as of 5pm yesterday (24th August):
Nethy was in Fairford which is 10km east of Cirencester.
Deshar was near Brockhill Country Park, Folkestone
Another week has passed at the Osprey centre here at Loch Garten, with its usual dramas and excitment. Nethy and Deshar, our two chicks are now 10 weeks old and have been perfecting the art of flying. They are flying further afield and are away from the nest for longer periods of time, which makes spotting them from the centre more tricky!
There was quite a bit of excitment in the centre on Friday, when EJ arrived back to the nest with a 12" Brown Trout. As usual one of the chicks took it from her, on this occasion it was our male Deshar. Once Deshar had tugged the fish away from EJ he then managed to get the fish stuck to his foot! Ospreys have spicules on their feet, which are small spines that act like velcro, they also have sharp talons that can snap shut when they come into contact with a fish, so it is no suprise really that Deshar couldn't 'un-stick' the fish once he had grabbed hold! In an attempt to release the Trout, he flew with the fish in one talon and tried to land in the camera tree, he then circled before finally dropping the fish whilst attempting to land with it on a stump infront of the centre! He then sat in a tree for a while to catch his breath and recover from his ordeal! So although we have yet to see our chicks with a fish of their own, we had our first sighting of one of them flying with a fish!
The adult Ospreys are still providing the chicks with a supply of fish each day, with EJ still 'out-fishing' OVS quite considerably, if not by number, then definately by size! Since Monday, EJ has brought in a total of 17 fish, with a combined length of 271 inches. Whilst OVS has contributed 10 fish with a combined length of 106 inches!! That just about says it all really!
The next stage that we are waiting for now is for the chicks to start fishing for themselves. Soon the adults will start to bring fewer fish to the nest and we then hope our chicks will associate the feeling of hunger with going to get food, instead of sitting on the nest expecting it to be brought to them! Saying that, yet another bit of excitment in the centre, as Nethy our female chick has just landed on the nest with muddy legs and a wet underside, this is excting news....could she have been fishing already? We all really expected Nethy to attempt to fish first as she is a couple of days older than Deshar, is this all the proof we need? Well, it would be good to see her arrive on the nest with her first catch, then we will definately know for sure! So watch this space!
Anyway, thats about it for this week, thank you to all our visitors, members and bloggers for your continued support.
If you want to specifically help the Loch Garten Osprey Team 2008, you might consider supporting the RSPB. You can do this online via the RSPB website: http://www.rspb.org.uk/join, if you add the code PR08 (that is zero eight), your membership will be credited to the Loch Garten team.
The title of the blog explains the situation that we have here at Loch Garten. Despite Deshar being eleven weeks old today, we still await the first fish being brought in by a chick! However, Nethy did return again yesterday with muddy legs and a muddy chest, so she is obviously trying, its just that so far the fish have all managed to get away! The co-ordinates from her satellite tracker back up this theory, showing that she has been down to the loch at least four times recently. The main reason that she is being unsuccessful, is her choice of water to fish in. Those of you who have visited the Osprey Centre, hopefully also had some time to enjoy the beautiful loch, and you will therefore have noticed that it is incredibly peaty, making it very dark, and therefore difficult for an osprey to spot fish in. Indeed, our adult birds do not use Loch Garten to catch fish, prefering other small local lochs, the River Spey, and of course the fish farm. Hopefully, Nethy will realise soon, after her failed attempts, that if you are feeling hungry, Loch Garten is not the way to go!
This morning, in the centre, we having been playing some footage of EJ feeding Nethy and Deshar when they were one and three days old respectively! Although, we are still awaiting them catching their first fish, it is amazing to think how much they have grown and achieved in the past eleven weeks. We had all three of them on the nest for those first four weeks, with Nethy and Deshar growing fast, from the tiny chicks that hatched out of the eggs, into their reptilian stage where their feathers came through, and it was almost possible to see a daily growth. We saw EJ bring in the huge 17 inch fish on the 17th June, the first of many that she has brought for the chicks from her very impressive fishing missions. We had the sad loss of the third chick on 26th June, followed by the excitement of the ringing on 5th July, where Nethy and Deshar not only received their leg rings and satellite trackers, but also their names! Recently, we have witnessed the maiden voyages of both Nethy and Deshar, on 20th and 22nd July respectively, and they are both now accomplished at flying with a fish in theoir talons. It is just a matter of time and practice until we see a chick return to the nest with a fish.
VS brought in a fish at 11.20 this morning, which Deshar took to one of his favourit perches, so that he could eat it in peace, away from his sister! However, as usual EJ had beaten VS to it, bringing in the first fish at 6.15 this morning! As I write, EJ is away from the area, possibly fishing, whilst VS is perched underneath the nest, so just a normal day at Loch Garten!
We await the next fish...but who will bring it in, EJ, VS, maybe Nethy, or possibly even Deshar? I know who my money would be on!
In the meantime....If you want to specifically help the Loch Garten Osprey Team 2008, you might consider supporting the RSPB. You can do this online via the RSPB website: http://www.rspb.org.uk/join, if you add the code PR08 (that is zero eight), your membership will be credited to the Loch Garten team.