Thursday, 25 March 2010

Osprey returns for 20th time

Just in case anyone missed this one in the news today… the UK’s oldest known breeding female Osprey has just returned to her nest in Scotland for the 20th consecutive year! Isn’t that just brilliant? I’d say well worth republishing some previous blog photos of her from last year in celebration. At an estimated 25 years old, incredibly, she is over three times the average lifespan of an Osprey!!

There is a
live cam link for this nest if you'd like to see her. Although, at the moment she won’t be sitting on the nest at all times during the day during the evening you should be able to see her. The camera shows a picture when its dark. After completing a 3,000 mile migration from West Africa she deserves a night in don't you think?

Female Osprey sitting on nest on day first chicks hatched, 2009.
Chicks indicated by coloured arrows in next photos.




Clicking on photos will enlarge them.


Scottish Wildlife Reserve, Loch of the Lowes tell us on their website:

“She arrived about 2pm on Tuesday and immediately settled back into her nest. She began renovations and bringing in extra nesting material straight away as we expected. She is also in very good physical condition, which is vital for the breeding season.

"No sign of her regular mate yet- and we know there is bad weather (desert dust storms) on the migration route which may have slowed some birds down. However, we have had another visit from a stray male osprey yesterday, who flew over the loch calling and tried to land on the nest a couple of times- he was seen off by our female in no uncertain terms."

The big question they are asking next is "So will our veteran osprey couple be reunited in the next few days? We hope so!"


2009 Stats from Visitor Centre wipeboard

Based on last year's stats you can see (above) that it was over a week after her return that her breeding partner arrived to join her. This will probably be the way it will go this year too. A nervous time for the centre perhaps although not as nervous as it is when there are eggs. At that time a team of about 70 volunteers watch the nest 24 hours a day to safeguard any eggs from thieves and poachers. It is believed that about 200 pairs of Osprey breed in Scotland.

The centre will know the male when he arrives as he can be identified with a green leg ring. I have to say I find this whole business of returning to the same nest after such a long journey absolutely fascinating especially when this breeding pair are not expected to have spent the winter together. If you want to follow this nesting story you can find their diary here.


Gosh, I’ve just realised that when I was watching and videoing a female Blackbird collecting nesting material in my garden, the live cameras and many sets of eyes and binoculars were watching this very special nest. This female Osprey is known to have laid 55 eggs with an incredible 46 that hatched and fledged… pretty amazing!!


Sorry, this evening I’ve come just come back to this posting with one final thought. This one’s on a much more personal note. Here’s an alternative look on the stats…

Photo taken at the 1993 Floriade in the Netherlands.

My eldest daughter (shown above) will be 20 later this year… very scary indeed! Yep, and she can drive real cars now too! We celebrated her birth in 1990 which would have been the first year of a clutch of eggs by this female Osprey on this nest. Wow… every year during my daughter’s life this Osprey has returned to this nest and added to the Osprey population of the world!!

PS. Even scarier for me, my youngest daughter has just turned 17 (legal age for driving in the UK) and she is also learning to drive! I wonder if the Osprey (or any other bird for that matter) ever thinks again of the young it brings into the world. Probably not, it’s likely to be the same ‘survival of the species’ that plants have. Mm… we’ll never know :-)

Have a great weekend, be it with your family or out and about watching birds and wildlife :-D

12 comments:

Shady Gardener said...

How interesting, Shirl! The osprey is something I know nothing about. Once my computer comes home again, I'll be sure to follow your link to learn more!! :-) What a fascinating bird.

Your birds are in the process of leaving the nest. How does it make you feel? I miss mine. But they're both married with young children, and that's a wonderful step for all of us!! :-)

Southern Lady said...

I can't believe that the birds have come back to the same place for 20 years. Wow, aren't animals so smart? Carla

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a wonderful story about the Osprey. It is amazing to think she made that long migration so many times let alone having so many successful nesting years. WOW Congrats to you too for you nestlings have grown and prospered too. Time does fly doesn't it.

caroline said...

Excellent post, and I would just like to comment on how cute your eldest daughter looks in that picture :D xx

shirl said...

Good evening Caroline… why thank-you!

Yes, cute that’s true… you should have seen the dance moves shortly after the driving! Lol… that’s history of course ;-) Mm… should you not be writing an essay instead of browsing here? xo

shirl said...

Hi there Shady, I’ll be honest, pre blog neither did I. I absolutely love being able to click on a link and see a bird like this live now. Hope you get your PC back soon :-)

I guess I am in denial re my own fledglings. One has another year at school plus a summer to go. The first hasn’t kept in good health (sadly) in her first year at Uni and has had to repeat it. She will be home again in a month or so for placement and her summer break. She is only doing test flights for the moment ;-)

Gosh, being a grandparent… seriously in denial there!! Delighted to hear you are enjoying yours :-D

caroline said...

My dance moves are something special and not to be laughed at!! and yes I do have an essay but I have to prepare a 15 mins exercise class for my class at uni tomorrow so I'm doing that at the minute. And your probably wondering why preparing an exercise class gives me an excuse to be on here...and well its safe to say my logic isnt quite up to the same standard as my dancing skills!! :) night night xx

shirl said...

Hi again Caroline, I stand corrected ;-) Your logic is what makes you special! Night, night xo

shirl said...

Hi there Carla and Lisa :-)

Carla, neither can I! Yes, I agree completely… its absolutely fascinating :-D

Lisa, delighted you enjoyed it. Perhaps I should have asked for stories of the Bald Eagles… I know absolutely nothing about them. Although, I do have a link on my menus for a nest in Canada. Just looked at it now and there is an Eagle sitting on it right at this minute too! Oh yes, time is definitely flying by :-D

Layanee said...

That is amazing.

patientgardener said...

What fantastic news - the ospreys always looks to beautiful when I see them on TV

shirl said...

Hi again Layanee and Helen, you are both right there… great news and an amazing stat for such a beautiful bird :-D