Thursday, 30 April 2009

Barn Owls

A quick update: the barn owls laid their third egg yesterday and both adults are in the box this morning as its very heavy rain.

Its not good news........but there is a sliver (ringed) lining!

Our resident male osprey (unringed) has not been seen for about 10 days now and at about the time he disappeared the female appeared to be sitting on eggs. As said in my previous post she is sitting tight most of the time but is getting on and off the nest to chase intruders. This is not good due to the risk to the eggs.

The silver-ringed male has at last been seen providing her with fish. He flew in on Monday with a fish, gave it to her and she flew off. He looked as if he was going to take over incubation but stood in the nest cup then didn't sit down. He poked around in the nest and I watched him with baited breath, half expecting any eggs in the nest to come flying out any minute. Instead he stood there for a moment then took off. The female was sitting in a dead tree to the left and sat there eating her fish for 5 minutes then flew down to the nest with the fish and continued to eat it there. I breathed a sigh of relief and was at least glad to see that she is getting fed. The silver-ringed bird continues to try and mate with her but she is not receptive.

On Tuesday a green-ringed bird landed on the nest and the silver-ringed bird was very quick to defend the female and the nest and actually locked talons with the intruding male. The female joined in quite aggressively and forced them both off the nest. I haven't seen such physical contact in a long time. Ospreys like most animals tend to avoid aggressive contact as it may result in injury; which can sometimes be too costly.

To say our female is having a hard time is to put it mildly, trying to incubate the unringed male's eggs, while trying to defend the nest, most of the time alone. The only good thing is she is actually being fed by the silver ringed male, which is allowing her, for the moment, to continue to sit tight.

I have asked that the cameras be switched from the overview camera to the nest cup camera so we can definitely see if we have eggs and how many. This hopefully should be done today or tomorrow. I'll let you know when I do.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Barn Owls now on

The live camera on the Barn Owl nest box is now up and running and they have gratified us with an egg on Friday 24th April and a second egg today!

Confused? You will be!

Sorry for the delay in updating the blog but things have been rather confusing of late. On the 17th April the female looked good for laying an egg but there hadn't been a changeover; normally the first definite behaviour that there is an egg. Then midweek the unringed male (our resident bird) seemed to have vanished!

Shortly after that we had various other birds coming into the nest including a green-ringed bird and a silver-ringed male. The silver-ringed male seems to have taken over the female and is seen with fish, but it's uncertain as to whether the female is being fed by him or by another male.

The silver-ringed bird keeps attempting to mate with Red 6A but is always unsuccessful. Red 6A, although she appears to have an egg in the nest (she looks like she is incubating and turning an egg), is also leaving the nest for short periods probably because her regular male is not around. Today is not proving to shed any light as the female is tight on the nest due to the heavy rain and no other birds have been seen. Hopefully this week will clarify things and won't result in an egg being kicked out the nest!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

No eggs yet! :-(

The female has still been sitting low on the nest but there has been no changeover as yet, when the male has come in with a fish.
We are not impatient, are we?

Friday, 17 April 2009

Nearly there?

Tomorrow will be a week since the original male returned and we normally say eggs will appear 7-10 days after mating! The female has been sitting quite low today and fussing about the nest which is a good indication she is getting broody.

The male on the other hand has been very lacklustre today, although he has mated successfully several times with the female.

Both ospreys were alarm calling at certain points throughout the day but no osprey intruder was seen on camera, although a pheasant was seen strolling in the background.

So will tomorrow be the day we see an egg?

Thursday, 16 April 2009

All change... again!

The mating between Red 6A and the green-ringed male was improving and seemed to be going well all week. He was adding the occassional branch to the nest and bringing in fish, although I was a bit surprised by his laissez-faire attitude.

Then on Saturday, as soon as the cameras were on, it was an unringed male who was on the nest and green ring was nowhere to be seen. Was this our original bird or another unringed male? The fact our female was so relaxed with him indicated the former, and on checking footage from 2007, it is indeed our resident male. He is quite distinctive as he has 2 stripes coming up from each eye to the top of his head. A marking I have never seen before in another osprey.

It's funny how when you have resident birds together their behaviour just gels and things progress so much faster. This male is on a mission and keeps bringing stick after stick back to the nest. After being off for 2 days I notice a definite improvement in the nest; it is much more formed and is greener, having been lined with moss and lichen. The male has been successfully mating with the female all week and bringing numerous fish to her, including a jack pike. Now that this male is in, things seemed to have settled down on the nest with no other ospreys venturing in for a while now.

Now we can get on with the business in hand!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Menage a ...quatre?

On Monday when Red 6A arrived, the green ringed male tried to mate with her but she was having none of it and kept shrugging him off. She then did have a successful mating, but with which male we are unsure. It seemed too adept to be the green-ringed male and shortly after this mating he did try and was shrugged off again.

On Tuesday there was alot of to and fro'ing on the nest by Red 6A and the green-ringed male, with quite a few sticks brought in.

On Wednesday we finally got to see a fish being brought in by the green-ringed male. He was sitting eating it quite happily at the top of the nest when he dropped it. Red 6A, not one to miss an opportunity, nipped in and took the fish off to a nearby tree to eat it.

Shortly after when Red 6A was on the nest with green ring, another 2 birds joined the proceedings; the silver ringed male and an unringed bird. The latter was thought to be a male due to Red 6A's lack of response but could have been the previously unringed female. Talk about confusing!

Today there has been much nest building going on by Red 6A and green ring. However, although he keeps trying to mate with Red 6A, any attempt has been unsuccessful.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Nice to see you, to see you...

Well the nest was very quiet until midday when the unringed female appeared with the green ringed male and mating took place; more successfully than yesterday. The unringed female was food soliciting and the male kept flying off but was unsure as to what to do. So he returned with some moss and dried grass. Good boy!

Then at 2pm, the unringed female landed on the nest and was immediately chased off by another bird. A quick zoom revealed it was Red 6A! Welcome back our resident female, living up to her reputation of not standing for interlopers on her nest. :-)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Well, hello....!

This morning started with an empty nest but was soon filled by a fourth bird; an unringed osprey, which we thought was a male due to its very light markings. In a tree behind was a green ringed bird which we thought was the same one as yesterdays, which looked female due to a very brown chest patch. Then lo and behold, green ring flew down to the nest and landed on top of the unringed bird! Obviously identification by chest patches alone is not to be relied upon. Lol!

The unringed female was very receptive to advances with submissive posturing but poor green ring seemed out of his depth and tried to mate with her head! Then he landed beside her on the nest and adopted the mating posture of retracted talons and flat legs, with us thinking "but you have to get on top of her first!" Subsequent mating attempts proved just as bad with him approaching the female sideways and this remained the status for the rest of the day. He tried many times but no successful mating attempts occurred.

It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.

Our ospreys are back!

While everyone else was reporting ospreys left right and centre, we were still waiting to see an osprey on live camera here at David Marshall Lodge.

Then on Saturday 4th amidst the pouring rain, an osprey landed on the top of the nest tree with a large trout. The trout was still alive and kept flapping, making it a difficult meal for the bird to keep hold off. After 5 minutes of pulling the fish up then it slipping back down, the fish had more or less given up the ghost and the osprey started to tuck in. On zooming the camera we noticed the bird didnt have its coloured Darvic ring but did have a silver leg ring. The male ate the head of the fish and while it was eating, another osprey landed in the actual nest. This was quickly chased off by a third bird which appeared to have a green ring, then it too took off.

Later in the afternoon, an osprey chased the male off his perch where he had sat for over an hour with the rest of the fish and landed on the nest. This time we got to see the ring which was yellow. We didnt get a good look at the letters but thought it looked like OU. This is the female that used to breed at the site prior to 2005 Since then she always turns up but is consistently chased off by Red 6A, our resident female. Is she yet to appear?