This is a very quick blog post just to answer some earlier questions. We do not know the sex of any of the chicks at this stage and will not be able to ascertain whether they are male or female until we ring them at approximately 5 weeks old. At 5 weeks, we would expect the females to be slightly heavier than the males, a difference that will remain throughout their lives. It was a accident on my part, when I referred to chick 1 as a male, a slip of the keyboard, and for this I apologise. We will all just have to wait a few more weeks.
Also in answer to another concerned comment. We cannot verify whether it was a mouse that was on the nest at 2.45pm on Friday. If it had been a mouse, which is always a possibility, there is no need for concern as EJ rarely leaves the nest for any length of time. We have seen mites occassionally crawl accross the nest camera lens. The osprey regularly have mites in their feathers, this is why they enjoy having a good preen. Hopefully this answers these two questions.
VS has delivered three fish already this morning! We await the next fish.
As I write this blog, EJ and the chicks are enjoying the sunshine, after some early morning refreshing rain. They all look fairly content, and quite rightly so, as they have already had their first fish of the day. At 6.37, Orange VS delivered a 16" Brown Trout, head included, which EJ quickly started dishing out to the three chicks. Those of you who were slightly concerned about VS fishing capabilities, will be delighted to hear that this early morning delivery is not just a one off! Over the past two days, we have been delighted to see VS deliver five fish each day! Although it does not make for exciting prose, I will tell you the time of each fish, as we here at the centre are all very excited and proud of VS! On Thursday the first fish a 16" Rainbow Trout with its head still on was delivered at 5.57, an 18" Rainbow Trout followed at 8.34, a 17" Brown Trout with its head still firmly attached came in at 12.05, another Rainbow Trout 10" at 16.10, and finally a fish supper of an 18" unidentified fish at 19.50! Yay, what a great day, and he did not disappoint us yesterday either! The first fish a 14" Rainbow Trout arrived at 4.50, he delivered a small fish at 9.32, another at 13.53, a 16" Rainbow Trout at 17.23, and finished the day with a 12" fish at 19.43! What a star, and on those timings the next fish should be due any minute!
The chicks are thriving with all this fish, which is essential as they have alot of growing to do over the next few weeks! They are now 14, 12 and 9 days old respectively, and just those few days put them at very different stages of development. Chick 1 is very much in its reptilian stage (this is the official term for the look that he is currently sporting!), it has lost its light brown down, which has been replaced with darker brown down, and it really does have the look of a reptile at the moment with its orange eyes clearly visible, but rest assured it will be transformed once again into a beautiful osprey in the next 10-15 days! Chick 2 is at the difficult transition stage between cute and fluffly to reptilian and gangly, whilst chick number 3 remains in the cute and fluffy stage for the moment! It is amazing to watch them grow and change so quickly out there on the nest!
I would feel rude not to mention EJ in my blog at all! She is doing well, and as the chicks are growing well and the weather is good, she has been able to not only enjoy more exercise flights, but also nip over to the camera tree and have a good preen, which is essential when you are being broadcast 24 hours a day on the webcam! We have been contacted by several people concerned that EJ is not feeding the third chick, but you will be pleased to hear that while chick1 and 2 often get the first morsels of fish, 3 is definately getting its fair share too!
Those of you who have been following the progress of our Goldeneye, will be delighted to hear that yesterday we caught a glimpse of a Goldeneye on the loch, with six ducklings in tow!
And finally a mention for St Denys Church of England Infant School in Leicestershire, Ms Hines contacted the centre this week, and told us that the children have all been following the events at here with interest and excitement, via the webcam and the blog, so a big hello and thank you from us all here at Loch Garten Osprey Centre.
We await the next fish.....
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.
What I like about working at the Osprey Centre, apart from the beautiful surroundings and wonderful staff, is the diversity of people who come through the door. This week we have had a lady in her 90s who remembers coming to the Centre in 1959, contrast that against the 4 week old baby who probably wont remember a thing about its visit. Many people who read the blog turn up and make themselves known to me... it is good to put a face to those who leave so many comments, one in particular was Mr Farrell who teaches Year 5 Gamesley Primary School which asked several very good questions at the start of the season.... a very nice man. Then we had Cavan, aged 6, who was very excited at sharing a birthday with our youngest chick. It's not just about the birds; It's about the people too.
Anyway, enough digression......As promised here is a round up of the recent events. All three eggs have hatched and the chicks are looking quite strong, even the smallest one is starting to hold its head up high when food is on offer. The eldest is 9 days old and is definitely the boss of the brood, often picking on both of its siblings. Please rest assured that despite the bullying tactics on the nest all three chicks are currently fine; we have had several phone calls to the Centre from worried webcam viewers regarding the behaviour of our eldest.... we appreciate your concerns but there is nothing to worry about, we will tell you immediately if anything happens to the chicks. There is also a common concern that the youngest chick isn't being fed... well it is. EJ makes sure that all the chicks get their fair share of food...again, nothing to worry about at the moment.
On the subject of food, OVS is bringing in enough fish to keep the hungry mouths satisfied. Yesterday he brought in four, two of which were decent sized - a 15" Brown trout for breakfast isn't a bad way to start the day for an osprey chick. Apart from feeding the chicks and going on more frequent and longer (in duration, not distance) exercise flights EJ has been reasonably quiet..... well apart from seeing of the odd intruding osprey flying over the nest, and on Saturday a red kite.
What do we have to look forward to in the next few days and weeks? As the chicks grow they will be spending more and more time sitting on the nest as opposed to underneath our female, so webcam viewers will get great views of them as they quickly grow. They will start to lose that "downy" look and develop their feathers, they will get more vocal, more active and more mobile. Should we get a couple of warm days next week then you are in for a treat as the chicks come into their own and wander around the nest.... happy viewing.
For those readers who have visited the Centre.... the goldeneye chicks have now jumped, our other box now has an incubating female and the red squirrels are doing well.
If anything extraordinary happens we will keep you informed, but since the hatchings have all taken place now and we are again back into a routine, the blog will return to a twice weekly update.
Thanks for all of the interest in both the blog and the webcams, even I, the eternal optimist, didn't expect them to be this popular. A special thanks too for those people who have joined us via the blog, it is good to know that all the hard work of my team is being recognised. Until next time.........
The third chick is looking quite strong.... It has had several feeds now, including two this morning ...one at 4.15 and another at 7.15. The weather at the moment is cold and wet so EJ is currently sitting tight on the chicks and keeping them warm and dry until OVS turns up with the next meal.
As promised in an earlier posting this weekend's blog will be a wee bit more substantial and will round up the events of the last week or so.
One final message before I go.... For those readers who have visited the Centre this year you may be interested in the progress of our goldeneye, well, 7 chicks are sitting in the box and will no doubt jump later this afternoon.
Thanks for your kind messages and support.
Third chick has arrived..... don't know when the event actually happened, all I know is that we had an intact egg at 22.12 last night and when she went on an exercise flight at 10.31 this morning the egg shell was broken and three chicks were on the nest. As with the others, we are waiting for the first feed.
I will update with a progress report tonight.