Welcome back to Tweed Valley Osprey Project
We have great news that Mrs O has returned to the main nest site and is with her new partner with the blue leg ring. Hopefully, with the season now underway and with the return of our volunteers to operate the camera, we will be able to get a clear picture of the ring number and identify this bird.
Sadly, this pair's breeding attempt failed during hatching week last year, as all three eggs vanished from the nest. We think the most likely culprit was a local pine marten but that is just speculation as we did not see what happened.
This year they are back for another attempt and, so far, we are pleased to see they have two eggs in the nest and Mrs O is incubating them. There is a mystery third egg that has been pushed out of the nest and can be seen teetering on the edge. We do not know the date that they were laid so it will be a nice surprise around hatching time when and if chicks finally hatch for the pair.
We also have a camera on the new back up nest and hope to be able to screen some images from that pair too.
The other nest sites monitored within the Tweed Valley Project Area are also now occupied with pairs. Sadly, one of the sites is under a lot of pressure from recreational disturbance which has caused it to fail in the past, as well as disturbing other nearby ground nesting birds. Police Scotland are aware and have taken steps to try to prevent further disturbance this year by putting up signage to make people aware. It will be closely monitored for further disturbance.
Seasons news roundup for 2020
Three of the Tweed Valley project area's regular breeding sites failed to produce any young.
Thirteen nest sites were checked in total, of which eight sites had nests with eggs but only seven went on to produce young ospreys which matured to fledge from their natal site.
One of the nest sites had a large dead chick in the nest. This was a male chick with two female sisters which successfully fledged. The young male most probably died due to a lack of food, as there had been a prolonged period of heavy rain in the lead up to the ringing.
A couple of the nests contained infertile eggs with no embryonic development evident.
In total there were 17 osprey juveniles which fledged successfully from Tweed Valley in 2020, with a bias towards an increased number of female offspring (data based on wing length and bird weight measurements at the time of ringing).
Sadly, one of the nests was disturbed by the public once the first lockdown restrictions were eased. It is thought the birds moved to another nearby site as they had been seen carrying fish into the forest location but a site has not been confirmed.
To date, Tweed Valley Osprey Project has benefitted from 249 chicks raised within the project area. With the high mortality rate of young ospreys, it is encouraging that a good number are being raised to boost the population. If one third of these young birds survive, that gives fair promise to a thriving, breeding population going forward.
The Darvic ring numbers for Tweed Valley birds fledged in 2020 were: 334, 335, 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349. One chick was not fitted with a Darvic as it looked very emaciated and Tony thought that it would probably not survive.
Further afield we have had some very encouraging news of sightings of Tweed Valley birds spotted in other areas and returning adults have been spotted at their wintering grounds.