We saw amazing sights of a buzzard and a sparrowhawk yesterday, but not a single osprey!
EJ did indeed start her migration on Saturday, 21st August, having first brought each of her two remaining juveniles a very large rainbow trout. This kept them happy all day, but on Sunday they were both hungry again! There was no breakfast! There was no sign of Odin! Had he seen EJ go and decided to follow her, as Orange VS did in 2008? Surely not! We had last seen Odin on Friday evening. Earlier in the day, he had sat in view of the juveniles, eating a fish, trying to tempt them to have a go at fishing themselves.
On Sunday morning, the juveniles sat mantling and screaming at a male intruder osprey, which landed on the nest. The juvenile on the nest lunged at him and forced him off the nest, but he went and sat on the camera tree. Then, we heard a shrill alarm call and Odin came into view! He lunged at the intruder, forcing him off the tree and gave chase! We were so happy to see him! Our juveniles begged for food, but Odin’s job was to try to get them to have a go at fishing themselves. Perhaps he succeeded, for on Wednesday, at 07.46, one of the juveniles was seen looking very wet, even for the soggy weather. At 09.07, one of the juveniles brought in a large stick to the nest, just as Odin would have. At 10.00, one juvenile sat on the nest, the other in the camera tree. Both were calling for food. We weren’t able to see Odin, but they obviously could. At 10.20, the middle juvenile left the nest and started to soar, circling ever higher, until it was a tiny dot. Surely it must be on it’s way! The youngest juvenile sat in the camera tree, quietly for a while, before flying away at 11.00. Later in the day, at 15.34, an osprey appeared from behind the nest and flew around, before heading away again. Was it Odin checking that the juveniles had gone, before stating his own migration?
There has been no sign of the family since, although today an osprey was spotted flying above the nest. Last year we saw the indruder, White TF, take up residence for the last week. The nest is very popular with spotted flycatchers!
We wish all ospreys a safe journey and an abundance of tasty fish!
It has now been exactly a week since we have seen all 3 of our juveniles together, so we can only assume that our eldest chick has begun his long journey south to West Africa! Good luck chick! Both EJ and Odin are still here though, and the 2 younger juveniles, both of whom are still being brought fish by their parents.
EJ has been on breakfast duty this morning, bringing in the first fish of the day at 7.21 and then another at 9.31. When we opened the centre this morning, we had a great view of the 2 chicks sitting side by side on the nest in the morning sun, not a sight we see very often anymore! As I type, one of them is still sitting on the nest clutching the remainder of its fish, and the other is perched in the camera tree eating away.
UPDATE! (22 Aug, 12pm): Odin and the 2 juveniles around this morning, but we haven't seen EJ since those fish deliveries yesterday morning. Has she gone? We'll keep you updated!
We are already noticing that EJ & Odin are bringing less fish to the nest now, perhaps trying to encourage the juveniles to go fishing for themselves. Yesterday, Odin caught a fish and then sat on a perch down behind the nest where he proceeded to eat it all by himself, even though one of the chicks was sitting on the nest calling and calling!
On many nests the female will leave for migration first, then the chicks will go one by one, with the male staying to look after them until the last chick has gone. However, here at Loch Garten our family like to rewrite the rules! Last year Rothes (the eldest chick) left first, followed in order by Odin, Garten (the youngest chick), EJ, and finally Mallachie (the middle chick). So who knows what order they will leave in this year?!
Unfortunately for us, the ospreys show no telltale signs that they are thinking of starting their migration. One day, when they know the time is right, they just leave the area and begin their amazing journey – up to 3500 miles across vast lands, oceans and deserts.
Perhaps the most amazing journey is that of our young birds; never having flown very far from the nest before, perhaps never even having caught their own fish, they undertake this huge migration completely alone, not following their parents or flying with their siblings. Yet, they instinctively know where to go. What incredible birds!
In the meantime, we just have to enjoy every sighting of EJ, Odin and the last 2 chicks – you just never know if this will be the last time you’ll see them!
PS. Welcome to Tracey, who has come up from the Edinburgh office to help us out in the centre for a few days while David swans off on holiday!
…after all it’s been so warm today EJ was seen to be panting, with eyes closed! What a change from the recent weather! The juveniles seem to have been making the most of the big improvement over the last two days as we have seen much less of them. Over the last two days, EJ and Odin have brought in just eight fish, three yesterday and four today. Only about half have been handed to the juveniles. They are just not there or don’t seem hungry. We had decided that it seemed unlikely that a juvenile had caught it’s own fish, but you never know. They still seem to look quite clumsy when they eat a fish on a perch, often flapping their wings as they try to balance. EJ sat on one of her favourite perches to the right of the centre, eating a rainbow trout, as we opened up today. There was a juvenile sat in the camera tree, which later flew right past her. Later, there were some brilliant close-up views of a young buzzard hunting. EJ kept a close eye on it!
Last night, EJ brought in a huge rainbow trout at 20.48 and sat, eating away, over the back. We heard Odin call as he arrived on the camera tree, but there were no juveniles around to share the meal. During the day one of the juveniles had sat out on the same perch EJ used today, but we hardly saw any of the others. There was a strange eerie feeling as though they were all away. At 21.30 another osprey appeared and Odin gave chase, alarm calling. They were so close, but we could barely see as it was so dark.
Today the loch and forest looked beautiful, with the hills, trees and clouds reflected in the still water. Click on the attachent below for a look! The small birds sounded very happy too! The squirrels are showing signs of cooler weather approaching though, as the darker tail colour grows in. One jumped into the feeder today and was trapped by another jumping on top of the lid!
Of course I am talking about the social event of the osprey season, the imminent gathering of 26 of our dedicated bloggers at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre.
Hopefully the birds will put on the kind of display that we have been seeing this afternoon. A total of 6 fish so far today (as of 16:45) and all 5 members of our osprey family in and around the nest at the same time. After a slow start to the day we have been treated to an afternoon of beautiful views of our juveniles and adults, both through the scopes and on the live cameras. The rain showers that have been threatening all morning have so far come to nothing and even the ever-present Scottish Midge cannot dampen our spirits.
It is also not long now until our family head off on their migration to West Africa, when we will bid farewell to our Juveniles for the last time. It has been a very successful season here at Loch Garten and we do still have some time to enjoy watching these beautiful birds as they prepare themselves for the journey ahead.
Talking about West Africa, Rothes (one of our juveniles from last year) continues to chill-out on her Island off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. If you fancy seeing where she has been on her adventures, go to the link below:
All the staff are looking forward to meeting some of the bloggers tomorrow and hoping that both the weather and birds put on a good show. (Luckily I have Thursday off to recover!)
….and what a first day back it’s been! Our three young ospreys seem to be coming along at a fantastic rate. While I’ve been away, one of them has managed to catch a fish! On Monday, at 05.59, EJ brought in a 16’’ rainbow trout. Two chicks were around and they ‘shared’ the fish between them. After EJ had headed off, leaving the two to their squabbles, the third chick arrived at 06.06, with an 8’’ trout!! Obviously we didn’t see this fish being caught, but it wasn’t brought in by one of the adults. This is incredible news as usually juvenile ospreys are expected to find their own way to Africa, without even having caught a fish before they leave! Last year, we saw Rothes with wet feet and then with a fish that didn’t seem to match any deliveries from the adults. Rothes then surprised us all by being the first to leave on her migration. Just warning you a similar thing may happen again, this year. These chicks seem much more advanced than last year’s.
Yesterday saw another unexplained fish delivery at 06.40. So far today, there have been five fish – four from EJ and one from Odin. The running total since hatching now stands at 386! The chicks seemed to think Odin was an intruder, alarm calling and mantling! They obviously remember him stealing the un-eaten fish that EJ had her eye on yesterday. She didn’t look impressed!
Our visitors today were treated to a great view of the pine marten kit eating from the squirrel feeder! It’s a really good size now, but still has a rather less bushy tail. Maybe you will see it after we switch cameras when our ospreys leave. I’m not wanting to think about that though! We’ve also seen a crossbill, a crested tit and lots of red squirrels. It’s tough coming back to work!
Sorry if you feel we’ve not been answering your questions. I didn’t see many yesterday and wonder whether they are being posted on another page. We only really have time to check the community page.It does sound possible that the female osprey flying near that other nest is trying to tempt the youngsters to fly and follow her, but we haven’t seen that happen here.
We are all looking forward to the Loch Garten Bloggers visit! Hope you are all ready to take over the presentations! Although we are really grateful for all the goodies we’ve received, we thought you may like to consider joining the RSPB, on your visit, instead of bringing gifts. If you are already a member, then the membership makes a great gift. We have the last remaining osprey prints!