This is actually a blog from Charlotte, not Caroline!
After the drama and excitement of Thursday night, events at Osprey towers have settled down despite a few interruptions from a battle scarred female Osprey missing a wing feather. We have kept a rather smelly reminder of the Osprey chicks’ presence in the visitor centre, namely an unsightly white splatter across the entrance to the visitor centre. Visitors don’t seem to mind this at all, in fact a large German group were keen to take photos of it as a ‘souvenir’ of their visit. Keeping calm for twenty or so minutes in the presence of strange human folk whilst being held by even stranger hands must be a pretty scary task for a wriggling Osprey tot. When it was time for little Bynack’s minute of fame in front of the cameras, he just couldn’t take the excitement and pooed down Richard’s trousers and onto the carpet! Poor Bynack!
As you will know it’s fairly hard to gauge the size of the juveniles, from the camera view on the webcam. It’s impossible to believe that only after six weeks the chicks are almost fully grown. EJ has moved her place of residence to the camera tree to keep a stern eye on the kids. Of late Tore and Bynack have started to develop an interest in the art of nest building and sometimes take it upon themselves to rearrange twigs and carefully undo all of EJ’s fine construction work. It’ll be another fortnight until they’re both airborne but for the moment they enjoy impressing each other with their huge wingspans, occasionally cuffing each other round the heads with their wing tips.
Yesterday a beautiful male Rosefinch, a first recorded sighting for the reserve was spotted underneath the feeders making the most of the dropped seed. After attempting to cycle back from the kiosk to the centre as stealthily as I could to avoid disturbing the bird the Rosefinch had mysteriously disappeared. Could today bring a reappearance of this elusive migrant? On the Loch, there are several groups of female Wigeon shepherding their fluffy broods around. One female and her five chicks have taken to exploring the beach on the north shore of Loch Garten and can frequently be seen bumbling around the shore , haphazardly crashing into sticks and rocks. Let’s hope they develop an idea of spatial awareness soon!
Last but certainly not least an update on Rothes. I was talking to a group of visitors in the centre about the wonders of Osprey migration on Friday when a couple inquired: ‘How far will she make it this year?’ To which I confidently replied, ‘Spain, Portugal?’ By the time she’s hit Spain it’ll be time to head back down with the Autumn migration’. No sooner had I said this, an excited Julie, (our shop manager) poked her head round the door and exclaimed ‘France! She’s crossed the border!
‘France ?! France???’ I repeated incredulously. Yes, it’s true. Our Rothes has just flown over the Southern Pyrenees and is heading over Bayonne, a small town famous for it’s smoked ham. It’s incredible to believe it’s taken her less than a week to cross over Spain and Portugal, Presumably she’s been helped along by excellent weather and some strong thermals. At the rate she’s flying who knows? She might even reach the UK before the season is over. Just when you think you know birds they always surprise you with a trick or two!
A big thank you and shout out to Mile End primary school who visited the Osprey Centre this week, presenting us with a cheque for £260!! The enterprising classes raised funds by washing cars and having an art sale to get enough money to pay for their coach from Aberdeen, and a donation towards the work that we do here with the ospreys. The pupils were presented with an osprey print and their own certificate. We hope you all enjoyed your time here at the Osprey Centre and out in Abernethy forest. Thank you so much for the amazing amount you raised, you’re all brilliant!
Finally, Patrick Preston, one of our long standing volunteers has just summed up Thursdays drama in an amusing ode to ringing and tagging. He has just enjoyed his twentieth year volunteering with us and received his own silver badge for his service to the RSPB. Thanks again Patrick for all your hard work and support.
Ring in the new
The time has come the experts said to talk of many things,
Of gender and identity, it’s time they had their rings
Where do they go in winter time? We need to keep a track,
A wee transmitter-solar powered- to strap upon their back
So to the tree the ladder goes and climb up to the nest,
In harness, hard hat-by the rules-lashed rungs and all the rest,
Alarmed, EJ takes to the air and circles overhead
The chicks do as they’re told, of course, and lie down playing dead
Meanwhile indoors the table’s set prepared for every need,
A cushion where the bird can sit while they do the deed,
The gathered guests are told the rules of how they should behave,
In order not to stress the chick, it’s dignity to save
The first chick comes, the bigger one nestles in big hands,
While it’s measured checked and scrutinised as Osprey chicks demand,
The rings go on, her name announced, for yes it is a she,
The backpack with it’s aerial is plain for all to see,
Then a photo call with all the team to mark the happy day,
And in the bag, back to the nest, all done without delay,
The younger chick then takes the stage for all the same attention,
A he this time, who voids his bowels where you really wouldn’t mention
Back in the nest calm is restored to EJ and the brood,
And what they really want right now is some piscine food,
So right on one Odin returns, attention not in doubt,
And puts into the nest for the them the very best brown trout!
With that we’ll leave you to enjoy the sunshine, we certainly are. Until next time folks!
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