It's been an eventful week up at the Lake District Osprey project. On Wednesday one of the visitors, John Smallman, got more than he bargained for when he was named the project's one millionth visitor since it first started back in 2001. To mark the occasion, John was presented with a framed osprey print and a goodie bag, as well as being able to get good views of both the adult ospreys.
He didn't get to see this year's chick, Lucky 13, though because the intrepid youngster has already made a move on his first migration. It's unusual for chicks to leave before their mother, but this hasn't stopped him. The Lake District Osprey team are able to keep a close eye on him as he makes his treacherous first journey to Africa thanks to his satellite tag and on Wednesday he was recorded on the south coast between Eastbourne and Hastings. We'll keep you posted on his journey as and when we can.
Have the Loch Garten osprey chicks, Alba and Caledonia, managed to make it across the English Channel? Find out by checking out the latest post on the Loch Garten osprey diary. You can also keep up to date with where the ospreys are on the migration map.
It looks like "blue 80" returned to the nest at Glaslyn after being AWOL for the last 10 days. She appeared on the nest on Thursday morning and was promptly chased off by one of the other chicks. Was "blue 80" just testing out her wings over the last week and a half or do you think she got homesick?
Guest blogger: Amy Martin, Information Assistant at Westonbirt Arboretum
Well the last month or so has been a busy one for the RSPB at Wesonbirt! We’ve held a whole host of hands-on family events, which I hope many of you joined us for. For those who didn’t get chance, here’s what we got up to…
Back at the end of July we were joined by Chris Tracey from Butterfly Conservation, who helped show visitors all the amazing butterflies to be seen around Westonbirt. Together we took enthusiastic families into the downs between Holly Bush Gate and Silk Wood. Despite being a poor year for butterflies, we were lucky enough to see a fair few, including ringlets, gatekeepers and marbled whites. We were also able to let visitors have a sneaky peak at some of moths we'd caught the previous night, including the poplar hawk moth – a beautiful and fascinating creature!
At the start of August we held table-top pond dipping. August is a fantastic time of the year for pond life, and we got the chance to see baby newts close up, along with water boatmen, pond skaters and dragonfly larvae!
Minibeast-lovers also had the chance to do their own bug safari earlier this month. Equipped with bug pots, magnifiers and identification guides, children (and kids at heart) delved into the undergrowth to discover centipedes, millipedes, beetles and more.
Last weekend, visitors planted their own wildflower seeds – a mixture of native wildflowers including bluebells, poppies, cornflowers and more – in biodegradable pots, to take home for attracting bees and butterflies into their gardens.
Our summer family events have now come to an end, but there's still plenty going on at the bird viewing area, which is busier than ever! It's definitely worth a visit as there's the chance to see nuthatches, coal tits and marsh tits, and Westonbirt’s family of great spotted woodpeckers are still very much around too. Today I saw mum, dad and the two young. It really is a treat to see such elusive birds only a couple of feet away!
This week has been all about the build up to the much-anticipated Treefest at Westonbirt - a nature festival celebrating all things "woody". We'll have finger paint butterflies and moth talks, a chance to name our resident woodpecker family, and the chance to find out how you can step up for nature with us. So make sure you drop by to say hello!
Earlier this year the Mull Eagles team were delighted when one of the original satellite tagged white-tailed eagle chicks, Mara, settled down and established a territory of his own with his partner, who happened to be one of the eagles released on the east coast of Scotland. The pair even made a star turn on Springwatch back in June. So the team feared the worst when the signal from Mara's satellite tag started coming repeatedly from exactly the same location over several days.
Would their worst fears by realised? To find out check out the latest installment on the Mull Eagles blog.
Photo by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)