Monday, 10 June 2013

Chicks Galore at Aberfoyle!

New arrivals in the Aberfoyle osprey nest
New arrivals in the Aberfoyle osprey nest

Three osprey chicks have made an appearance live on camera and are already growing up fast. The first chick hatched on Thursday 30 May, bang on the 38 day incubation period. The second chick eventually hatched four days later on Sunday 2 June, quickly followed by the third chick on Tuesday 4 June.

The chicks are being cared for by their parents, Katrine and Drunkie. The female osprey Katrine is nine years old, whilst the age of her mate Drunkie is unknown. Both birds have been named after local lochs where ospreys are regularly spotted fishing.

Last year this adult pair successfully raised two out of three chicks, so this should mean another good year for the ospreys. Now that the chicks have hatched it’s time to bring in the fish to feed their hungry youngsters! 

The male is living up to his reputation of being excellent at fishing, having recently brought in a huge rainbow trout for the female and chicks to feast on. This year we’re monitoring the types of fish being brought to the nest. To date the majority of the fish has been rainbow trout, followed by perch.

Our peregrine chicks
Our peregrine chicks

A peregrine falcon family is also being watched with our cameras. Three chubby peregrine chicks are being fed several times and they’re putting on weight fast. In about 2 weeks time these chicks will fledge.

We’re getting daily reports from the public of hunting ospreys and peregrines. With hungry mouths to feed, this is your best chance to see these magnificent birds of prey. There’s such an abundance of wildlife within a few minutes walk of the David Marshall Lodge – an assortment of warblers have returned, and close to the Wildlife Hide there are red squirrels, bank voles and a variety of woodland birds.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Ospreys Return to Aberfoyle as the drama unfolds

Aberfoyle’s ospreys have returned to begin a new season, and there have already been clashes over ownership of the birds’ huge nest.

Ospreys at the nestThis year’s drama started in early April when the first female returned and quickly found a partner. Together they set about improving the nest, bringing in branches and soft nesting material, while the male regularly brought in fish.

But soon the birds’ behaviour changed from being a relaxed couple preparing to start a family, to a pair defending their home from an intruder.

Aberfoyle ospreys at the nest
When the pair on the nest began spreading their wings it became clear they were trying to put off another bird from flying too close. Sure enough a third osprey was spotted a short time later.

Overnight the new osprey displaced the original female and it looks like she has now paired up with the male! We’re hoping to identify these birds soon and then we’ll know how old they are and where they were hatched.

While a momentary calm has now decended, the drama may well not be over. The female should start laying any day now. There's still time for other ospreys to invade and claim the nest and her mate!

The ospreys can be viewed live inside the Mini-Lodge at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre (David Marshall Lodge), which is open 7 days a week from 10am til 5pm.