Friday, 29 May 2009

Nest box update

Our Great Tits have hatched 6 chicks and one egg remains unhatched. These hatched about 1 week ago and are feathering up quite nicely.

The Blue tits have hatched just hatched on Tuesday but are so tiny I am unsure how many we have, at least 5.

The Barn owl definitely has 2 chicks and 2 eggs but whether there is a third egg or a third chick I was unable to see.

Cuckoos have been having population crashes and Springwatch has been asking for your Cuckoo sightings/calls. Look on their website for more info.

Ospreys galore

Well although it looks like we aren't going to get any more eggs this year, we have had numerous ospreys approaching the nest. In fact we have managed to get 5 new ring numbers!

Three of these have turned out to be birds from other local nests that were hatched in 2004 or 2005. So this is probably the first year that some of them have come back, as osprey chicks normally stay in Africa for 3-4 years until they are mature enough to breed.

One of the rings has still to be identified and another came from a chick that was found caught in the fish cages at Lake of Menteith. This one came down to fish, got caught up in the netting and had to be rescued by the workers at the fishery. They put it to the side but when it was still there several hours later they called for help. The osprey has now been taken to a wildlife rescue centre and the last I heard it was holding its own. Apparently it has an injured elbow and shoulder, so may not be well enough to be re-released. The interesting thing about this bird was that although it didnt come anywhere near our nest, its sibling turned up there about the same time. This also means that 2 chicks survived the return journey when they say only 1 out of 3 normally do. Interesting stuff!

Even more interesting for our nest was that yesterday an unringed osprey turned up at the nest eating a fish. Could this be our resident male? The mystery deepens...

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Time is running out..

After last week's promising start it seems to have all come to nothing. The ospreys have hardly been seen at the nest at all. Today we have seen one bird on the nest - a new green-ringed bird whose Darvic ring I managed to identify. The details have been sent off to BTO to see where this one has come from.

I had said that the female osprey has to lay a new clutch before the end of May but after reading Roy Dennis's book, he says the latest known laying of osprey eggs has been the 23rd May! Groan! It doesnt look like its going to happen here this year. :-(

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Eggs aplenty- although not ospreys!

So far on our live nest box cameras, we have:

  • Barn Owl on 5 eggs
  • Great Tit just hatched 6 chicks and one unhatched egg and
  • Blue Tit on 7 eggs so far.

I can't keep up!

Our ospreys have rarely been at the nest the past 2 weeks. When there have been ospreys on the nest it has been our Red 6A female and Green-ringed male. He has been trying to mate with her but she has been reticent to stay near the nest.

Today however, was the best sightings I have seen of the birds all week. And there was a surprise in store. A pair of ospreys were on the nest alarm calling and mantling against and intruder osprey and I was trying to identify who was who on the nest. Yes, there was the female Red 6A and surely the male was the green-ringed male but I couldnt see the Darvic. Later on I realised why, when I saw he had no Darvic ring but only a metal ring. Welcome back the silver ringed male. The 2 birds mated and the female was hanging around the nest alot more than normal, so hopefully this will be a positive sign.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Web cam live at last

We've now got the web cam up and running, both here (on the right of the page) and a larger version on the main Aberfoyle Ospreys pages at

The camera is live from 10.00am to 5.00pm every day. It shows stills from the nest updated every couple of minutes, rather than a live stream, but it gives you a taste of what's going on.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Bad news...

Yesterday an osprey egg was found on the ground near to the osprey nest. So as suspected it looks like green-ring has kicked the unringed males egg(s) out the nest. The egg was showing signs of predation so whether this was done after being kicked out or was in fact the real reason behind the eggs disappearance, we'll never know.

Red 6A and the green-ringed male have been on the nest very intermittently today and never together. Hopefully our female will hold off until the cold weather is over until laying a new clutch of eggs. If she hasnt done this by the end of May, then its pretty much game over for this season.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Nest box update

The Barn owls are now on 5 eggs and we have a Great Tit on 7.

Too many cooks.......

Everything was going quite well with the silver-ringed male and our female for about a week until a green-ringed male came in and took over. This male was with her for a couple of days mating and feeding her but on Saturday, she seemed to be off the nest alot but not too long for the eggs. Then on Sunday 3rd May, she was off the nest practically all day. An osprey kept coming into the nest but couldn't be identified whereas our female was sitting on the dead tree off to the left for the majority of the day. She seemed totally non-plussed and didn't react at all to the bird on the nest. No alarm calling or food-soliciting, she just sat and preened and preened. From this behaviour I can only suppose that one of the males, probably the green-ringed, had kicked the eggs out the nest. She had been so tight on the nest previously and hadn't been off it for long at any stage at all, so seems strange that she would just suddenly decide to go off,unless the eggs had been removed.

Since then the female and green ringed male have been mating but seem reticent to stay at the nest for any length of time. She really needs to lay again before the end of May if we have any chance of having chicks this season. Stay posted!