So, here we are. It’s July and I’ve only just managed to put pen to paper! Life at the Osprey Centre is busy, busy, busy!
The season so far has delivered so much and has far exceeded any expectations I had before coming here.
Last year, I was lucky enough to have lived and worked in an area that is a popular location for ospreys’ fishing. This year, I have been given the amazing opportunity to see a whole other side to these magnificent animals. What goes on in the LG nest is like a storyline unravelling in a TV drama........only WAY BETTER!
Watching them, talking about them, marvelling them, laughing at them, puzzling over things that they do and taking in all the highs and lows has undoubtedly left an overwhelming impression on me of utmost respect and admiration for these birds. There are never two days the same working at the centre. The accelerated growth rates of the chicks means that one week we can be watching them barely able to hold their heads up and then the next, watching them helping EJ with a spot of house-keeping; moving sticks and moss around the nest!
We have all been enjoying the ‘stare-offs’ that we have been getting recently from the chicks. These prolonged looks directly into the camera lens have been delighting our visitors and us, as I’m sure they have you too! And, after meeting the sisters in the flesh last Friday, I can confirm that yes, they are as stunning in person as they are on camera!
As Abby mentioned in her last blog, the countdown to fledging has begun. Bets are on for who will fledge first and on what date. I don’t want to tell you all my guess as I don’t want to jinx myself! The energetic wing flaps and jumps up off the nest have us all waiting on baited breath for that first committed lift off into the unknown. Weather has and will play a crucial part in the fledging of the chicks. Wet wings don't fair well in the world of aviation and flight exercising has been somewhat intermittent. So, we currently have two wet chicks waiting in LG departure lounge!!
Meanwhile, no sooner had I written that no two days are the same, when Caledonia provided us with the next big talking point.......
........Odin delivered fish no.5 of the day to the nest just before 5.30pm yesterday and true to form, made a speedy exit (albeit only to the camera tree.) However, the chicks were home alone and didn’t have mum on hand to dish out their dinner to them. ‘So what?!’ thought Super Cally and promptly started to skilfully feed herself, deploying that all important neck twist and tearing off chunk after chunk of fishy bites. Adding to the brilliance of this is the fact that the fish was entire, so no helping hand from Odin offering an easy way in. Of course, this all took place under the watchful eye of Alba who didn’t even get a single morsel! However, her patience was rewarded when at 18.09, EJ landed a giant fish of which there was enough to go round and even allow Cally seconds!
As the osprey season continues here at Loch Garten, so I will continue to marvel the fantastic four and look forward to what each new day has in store!
NB – We are aware that the wide-angle camera is still frozen. It has been affected by the relentless wet weather this season and we are hoping to fix it ASAP and.............
............FISH NUMBER 300 OF THE SEASON WAS BROUGHT TO THE NEST BY EJ AT 08.25 THIS MORNING!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for the update Mairi. 300 fish....amazing to think, where do they put it all?!
Thank you for the fantastic blog Mairi. I was watching as Cally took the fish from Odin and fed herself yesterday. It's amazing how fast they grow and learn. Alba has, this morning found a good size piece of fish on the nest and fed herself with it, refusing EJ's help when she flew in. Another 'First' that I noticed this morning, was both chicks standing up, dozing just like grown ups. Next hurdle is to actually take a leap of faith and fly. As you say, the rain will delay this. Here's hoping that it will stop raining soon :o)
Thanks for the excellent blog Mairi. So the fish count has reached the 300 mark. This shows the amazing efforts that Odin the Magnificent and EJ have made to feed their family in the most dire of weather conditions. Both Caledonia and Alba look in excellent condition and I would expect them 2 fledge within the next few days.
Thanks Mairi, and thanks for a superb update. Odin is just a marvel when you consider what the weather has been like. 300 fish delivered is just astounding. This is without the ones that EJ is bringing in as well. No wonder these two juveniles look so well. It is exciting that fledging is only a short time away weather permitting and there will be the heart in mouth moment when this happens wondering if they will touch down safely.
Like many others I was fascinated watching Cally feed herself yesterday - although those hours of watching EJ paid off. I did chuckle at the way she kept calling out for help for mum to come in and take over but she persevered. I think Alba may have been hoping Cally would feed her!!! :o) x
Thank you Mairi, for your great update. We who regularly look in here, are all affected by 'Ospreyitis' and so we know just what you mean!
Now for the next exciting chapter in the story, as they finally take to the air..
Mairi ~ what a lovely blog ~ you paint an amazingly vivid picture. You've had some wonderful experiences over the past 2 years, from your account. Thanks ~ Leen
Thanks for interesting blog. I think Alba might fledge first. Wall to wall rain on the south coast and I see, Oh its raining in Scotland as well, what a suprise. Hope it brightens up before we tour Scotland in 2 weeks time. Getting excited about seeing our family and the Lady of the Lochs family.
IF Keith is around, is there any news from Lochter nest, I do hope the remaining chick fledges. Looking forward to Roy putting the bling on the Dyfi chick and wondering what it is, lets hope he gets a dry spell.
Thank you for such a brilliant blog Mairi. It was lovely to watch Cally devour her whole fish yesterday. 300 fish to one nest makes me wonder, each year, how many fish are caught for all the Scottish nests, not counting the Welsh and English ones. As I mentioned on the DU yesterday, I am completely in awe of how EJ manages to catch and then carry those 'whales' back to the nest. I know the female osprey are capable of catching bigger fish than the males but her's do seem to be extra large. Once again EJ & Odin have reared two beautiful birds, Cally and Alba and I look forward to their fledging.
Thanks for a brilliant blog Mairi. It was great watching Caledonia feeding herself yesterday, and to think only a few weeks ago she was a tiny little chick. She and Alba are certainly beautiful Ospreys. Of course being raised by Super Ospreys like EJ and Odin helps. Can't wait to see Caledonia and Alba fledge :-)
Thankyou Mairi for a very informative update. So pleased you are enjoying your stat at LG.
Weather I know is not brilliant at present but hopefully they will not let it put them off fledging.
Glad to see Cally feeding herself yesterday - really grown up now and the next step has been taken.
Thanks for the update Mairi and great to meet you last week. What a dreadful season you are having as far as the weather goes. I'm surprised they haven't got webbed feet! Pity this is delaying fledging but it gives us the opportunity to see them more on the nest before they take off. They both look like strong, capable birds and have had the best care possible, so fingers crossed they will do well. Keep up the good work and hope to see you again soon.
Thank you for the update Mairi....a wonderful blog illustrating just how lucky we all are to be able to have a window into "Osprey Life". I am sure it is part of all our lives. Sorry to see you have the dreadful rain I think the whole country has suffered over the past couple of days. Really looking forward to fledging!!
thanks Mairi for the very descriptive blog:) Lovely to feel the passion come through.
300 fish. WOW!
Poor things, soaking wet and bedraggled, one of them was trying to get underneath her sister to hide from the rain.!!!Cant see the leg ring,as the rain has the screen all blurred
It is one year today since we visited Loch Garten. The weather was beautiful, we met Richard, Valerie, and lots of other lovely people. (you will be there now Valerie, lucky lady)
We also met Leen & Rick, who now are great friends of mine and my family. They are coming up to see me....very soon. So thank you Loch Garten.
Also a BIG thank you to Mairi for that super blog. We may see you all next year...the rain may have stopped by then........Crafter x