Each year, the ospreys at Loch Garten have people across the world gripped in their tale of violence, adultery and... well... fishing.
This year's diary, written by the Osprey Information Assistants at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre, picks up the saga where we left off.
We update the blog at least twice a week - more often when there's high drama here. We hope you enjoy reading as the nest-side story unfolds...
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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!!!!!!!!!!
Horay-I said she would go first as she was fisty and took the other's food early on. Come on Cally.
Alba has fledged :o) www.youtube.com/watch
Alba seems to have flown at 9.11 am
Two contented looking chicks, settling down for the night ~ I guess neither has fledged, by the lack of comments!
Sunshine, Black Jag ~ did you manage to get together on Wednesday?
Crafter ~ have you looked in today?
And how's everyone at LG? Plenty of visitors? Have fond memories of this time last year ~ the weather here today reminded us of our visit ~ pleasantly warm (most of the time!) ~ Leen
The 3rd single chick this year, the Dyfi osprey chick is a healthy boy. Ceulan has also got a satalite tracker on so we will be able to follow the 3 males from Lowes, Bassenwaithe and Dyfi on their migrations with our beautiful girls.
The chicks are looking just great. Big, strong (and dry). What beautiful birds they have become. I will miss them when they finally leave.
I wouldn't fledge either in this weather. They look happy and content sitting looking at us bloggers looking like beautiful twin ospreys. EJ and Odin must be very proud.
Will there be a fledge today? Follow the action at the Loch Garten Group. See www.rspb.org.uk/.../915.aspx
A great Blog Mairi - thank you so much for spending the time.
Another wet day for the birds to contend with. EJ and Odin have done a sterling job to raise two chicks this year. It seems that the odds were stacked against them with almost continual poor weather to contend with. They will be pleased to see African shores again but we will miss them of course.
say that after all these comments that I share, so lucky to live here step by step, these two young ladies are so beautiful, they are intensive training take-off and slow down the edge of the nest, they still like a mouthful, I will miss them , we have loved so much during all those weeks, step by step, they became greedy courageous braving the weather, cold. And do not forget the parents copies, so protective, a wonder, if I could, I would jump on the first plane to kiss and say goodbye and good luck beauties. Know find the right routes for long life and give us news. Véronique (from France)
Hello ~ is there anybody out there ~ or has everyone 'fledged'??
Feeding time, and flapping time ~ what a lovely picture ~ not sure who's who, but I think one will be taking her 'maiden flight' very soon.
Sunshine and Black Jag ~ enjoy your time together tomorrow, and I guess, Brian, you'll have so much to share ~ France/ Rutland Water and more.......
Thinking of ALL at LG, and here........Leen
Oh, despite not winning, Andy Murray played the game of his life, and showed he has feelings ~ it was very moving!
Crafter ~ yes, what a special day, this day a year ago ~ meeting you and your lovely daughter and son-in-law.
It was an amazing day ~ Richard, and All the Team, made us (and the cake!!) feel so welcome ~ thanks. Valerie was there, as she is now ~ we also met LMac and SueC ~ hello!
Caledonia and Alba are practising, despite the weather ~ and I'm now going to watch the Wimbledon Final ~ Leen
Terrible buzz today! Forecast not too brill. Last night my heart went out to them as EJ was trying so hard to cover them with her wings but only their heads were underneath o) x
Thank you Mairi .... I really enjoyed reading your very descriptive blog.... 300 fish phew is that a record? So glad that Caledonia and Alba are doing so well, they have excellent parents to guide them along. During our current very wet weather I have been thinking of them up their aloft in their nest, they will be pleased to fledge and fly to warmer climes I think! LOL.