Friday in Bird World – the good and the darn right maddening

It doesn’t ‘feel’ like there is much happening in Bird World today which probably means that a lot will take place just when I finish writing this!

Roy Dennis’s new book was released today. You can get a signed copy with a dedication if you order directly through the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation. The form has tabs for calculating the postage and the funds will go directly to Roy and his projects. Not to you know who. Perhaps that person would like to fund some Osprey Projects – just a thought.

Dennis is featured in an article, Conservation Legend Roy Dennis: We’re facing an ecological crisis, but it’s exciting too in The Guardian’s Environmental section. Dennis is eighty years old and for the past sixty years he has been at the cutting edge, the pioneer in conservation action. Without his efforts, there would be fewer raptors – or any wildlife – for that matter in the United Kingdom. In 1961, he was working hard to protect Osprey eggs from collectors! He was at Rutland Water in attempts to reintroduce the Osprey with translocations from Scotland. His most recent triumph is the reintroduction of the White-tailed Eagle. Dennis says that over the years he has learned something about ecological restoration. “When you suggest something, you get all this opposition,” says Dennis. “When you start doing it, the difficulties just disappear. Once it’s successful, the opposition claim they were supportive at the beginning.” Everyone thought that the eagles would disturb the sheep or starve to death. Neither has been true. The people of the Isle of Wight where the White-tailed Eagles were placed are thriving and Dennis gets news of the delight as people watch them soar and fish. Many say they didn’t know there were so many rabbits in the fields for prey or fish in the seas. Dennis is not-retiring. He has many, many more projects. The book is 18.99 GBP.

As anticipated, Mrs G laid her third egg today at the Glaslyn Nest. Aran was on the nest doing some additions to the walls at the time. Do you realize that this is Mrs G’s 18th season in Wales? Amazing bird. The grand dame of the Welsh ospreys.

16 April 2021

And then…there were 3!

16 April 2021

Blue 3J Telyn and Idris welcomed egg 2 yesterday at the Dyfi Nest in Wales.

There is number 2 egg. 15 April 2021

Now to the Osprey Nest that sends me yelling like someone is pulling out my fingernails. There have actually been three fish delivered on the Achieva Osprey nest today. One came in at 10:43:36. No worries about 2 being sick. It had to have been a pellet because 2 is back to being its normal self – aggressive towards Tiny Tot. While the others are busy being fed by Diane, Tiny Tot looks over and sees a fish! Seriously. A fish just laying in the nest. He must not have believed his eyes. There it is – look!

It wasn’t long until 2 noticed that Tiny Tot was mantling something and went over to investigate. Tiny Tot turned almost an entire 360 degrees protecting ‘his’ fish before 2 took it away. I wish Tiny Tot would get rewarded for being clever.

But no. Diane took the fish and fed it to 1 and 2 while Tiny Tot got nothing – not a single flake of fish.

Later he found a piece of bone in the nest with some flakes of fish and chewed at it.

There is another fish delivery at 1:40:25. Of course, 1 and 2 are still not full form the two other fish they have eaten. Tiny is waiting as I write this. It is 2:26:42, forty-seven minutes into the feeding and he is up trying to get a few bites. The question is: will there even be a morsel left for Tiny? We need steady fish deliveries today if Tiny is to be fed well.

By 2:39:40 Tiny Tot has moved away. There is fish left but the two are still eating. All I can do is hope and breathe. Tiny Tot needs food today.

At 3:10, Tiny is still chewing on his bone and the others are still eating. That fish is almost gone. What we need is another fish delivery quickly so that Tiny can have it all to himself. Not a long wait with a delivery at 7:30 pm and the others are hungry again. Hang in there Tiny Tot.

At 3:14:40 the fish tail was in Diane’s mouth and Tiny Tot had not eaten. The last good feed to fill Tiny’s crop was that early morning fish at 3:21:36 on 15 April. He still had a crop yesterday at 12:04:16. Breathe, Mary Ann. Maybe if another fish comes in he will get some of it. It is very disappointing.

Ever since the 12th of March when the competition on the Achieva nest began to fester – yes, it has been going on that long – I have thought an awful lot about the third hatch on these Osprey nests. As I have said many times, the male is called the tercel in falconry terms because it was believed in medieval times that the third egg was always a male. Tiny has survived what Tapps at the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest, one at Hellsgate, another at Savannah and on and on did not. Tiny Tot is still alive. Yes, he is small, yes his growth is stunted. In the 42 days that he has been alive – ten of them or nearly 25% of the time he does not get fed. It is no wonder that he is smaller. Good feeds like he had on a couple of days would make a world of difference now that he should be growing faster.

I began to think about all of the younger sibs that survived some extremely brutal attacks by their older sibs to become great hunters and flyers. Clearly Tiny understands mantling, being alert, keeping his head down so he does not get physically injured. I still say that 2 could kill Tiny Tot if it set its mind to it. Indeed, I have seen 2 intimidate Diane, the mother. But what about this runt business? ‘The Survival of the Fittest’? Is the fittest the larger one, the more aggressive one? what about being clever and figuring out all the work arounds.

So I began to ask people about the runts who surprised everyone. Thanks to my friend ‘T’ in Strasbourg who contacted someone else in Wales they came up with two examples, out of many, to debunk the myth that I did not know about. One example is Green 5R (04). Green 5R (04) was the son of White 03 (97) and female, Green 05 (00). Was treated with great aggression by its older sister, a female. But Green 5R (04) goes on to make history. He was the first osprey to return to England in 150 years! Green 5R (04) did this in 2006 at the age of two years. Green 5R (04) went on to breed at Rutland’s Mantou Bay from 2010-13. He failed to return from his winter migration in 2014. — I am sure glad he didn’t get tossed over the edge of the nest! Then there was Blue IZ (2016) beaten up badly by Blue 24. His father is Monty who at the time had two females on his arm. Blue 24 is on one nest and Glesni is on another. Monty eventually abandons Blue 24 in favour of Glesni. But Blue 24 was a tough bird. We all know how hard it is to hatch an egg being a single bird mom. Blue 24 had three eggs but only two hatched. It is a wonder they survived. One was Cerie Z0 (16) and the other was 1Z or Tegid. Tegid fledged when he was 50 days old on 18 July. He began his first winter migration on 26 August. Tegid returned as a fierce Osprey on 19 May 2018. Two days later, on 21 May, he visited the nest where he had hatched.

In 2019, Tegid challenged Aran for the Glaslyn Nest. He got Aran off the nest for a bit but, in the end, Aran is still at the Dyfi nest with his mate, Mrs G, in 2021. So where is Tegid?

On 4 April 2020, Tegin had landed on the Clywedog Nest and was there with Blue 5F. Watchers thought it was great that the two were together and maybe they would strike up a partnership but they needed to find their own nest! Another noted, ‘Blue 5F and Blue Z1 were together most of last year and spent a lot of time together at two different platforms , one being the Pont Croesor at Glaslyn’.

So what did Tegid do after the sighting above and where is he in 2021? If you know, please do send me a comment. It is possible that he is alive at an unmonitored nest?

Thank you for joining me and thank you to ‘T’ and her source for the information on runt ospreys. We all continue to wait. I am waiting for the hatch at UC Berkeley Peregrine Falcons, the arrival of Alia at the Loch Arkaig Nest, and for Tiny Tot to get fed. It is going to be a long night!

Thank you to the following streaming cams where I grabbed my images: Achieva Osprey, Clywedog, Cors Dyfi Wildlife Reserve, and Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife.

World Osprey Week Begins

World Osprey Week is from 22-26 and it celebrates the arrival of the Ospreys from their winter migration in Africa back to the United Kingdom in spring. For the second year, the pandemic has caused previous large celebrations to be much scaled down. Still, it does not damper the enthusiasm of Osprey lovers throughout Wales, England, and Scotland as they welcome home these beautiful yellow eyed sea hawks.

There is even an app and a website where you can go for sightings and confirmed arrivals on nests. This is very impressive.

And there are educational programmes and YouTube videos all week. Here is Day 1:

There are also free digital educational packets which you can order on line. Simply go to this URL and sign up: www.lrwt.org.uk/wow

Now let’s check and see which of the Ospreys at monitored nests have arrived so far.

The very first Osprey to arrive was Blue 25 (10), a female. She is back on one of the Rutland’s nests. Blue 25 (10) was born in Rutland in 2010 – hence, the (10) in brackets behind the tag colour and number.

The stars of the Mantou Nest are Maya and Blue 33 (11). They arrived within thirty-minutes of one another. Great planning! Blue 33 (11) flew in at 12:29 followed by Maya at 12:56. These two have been together and raising chicks since 2015. And they wasted no time in getting reacquainted. The streaming cam caught them mating at 1pm! After fighting over a fish that Maya caught, Blue 33 decided some nestorations were in order.

After bonding it was time to eat and you can see that everyone wants the fish that Maya caught! Too funny.

All is calm again and it is time to start getting the nest in order. Don’t you think Blue 33 (11) is handsome?

Blue 33 (11) looking up at the camera.

And both arrived back on the nest right before dawn on the 22nd of March to start things off:

Laddie (LM12) arrived home at 5pm, 21 March, at the Loch of the Lowes Reserve nest. He is the resident male at this nest. There is a new female as of last March tagged NCO. She was ringed as a chick at Loch Ness in 2016. His former mate was LF15. She went missing on the 7 August 2018.

Lock Arkaig is awaiting the arrival of Louis and Alia.

The nest at Glaswyn is awaiting for the arrival of Mrs G (the oldest Osprey in Wales) and Aran.

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust is waiting for arrivals to their Foulshaw Moss Osprey Nest . 2021 will be the eighth year running – should the mated pair arrive – that Osprey chicks have been born on this nest. The couple are Blue 35 (female) and White YW (male). This mated couple have fledged sixteen chicks between 2014-2020. At least one of their fledglings, Blue 5N, of 2018 has been spotted in The Gambia in 2019.

So everyone is waiting! Some people are trying to keep six screens open at one time in case someone arrives today. Enjoy the beginning of World Osprey Week! Find a nest and enjoy all the fun of the arrivals.

And before I close this off. Just a note. The Achieva Osprey nest fooled me again. All three had full crops this morning at 9:33 CDT. Wow. So happy. Let’s hope Jack continues to bring in very large fish. It helps.

Thank you to Achieva Credit Union, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Friends of Loch Arkaig FB, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Scottish Wildlife Trust for their streaming cams where I got my scaps.