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Glesni Starts her 2016 Migration

Posted: Sunday 21st August 2016 by Emyr MWT

Glesni has started her migration south.


She was last seen at dusk, Friday evening, 12th August. She roosted on top of the camera pole and most probably started her migration at daybreak Saturday morning, 13th August.

Glesni has, in all probability, headed south for the winter.

In all, Glesni was with us on the Dyfi for 132 days, having arrived on 3rd April; that's four months and 10 days, or 36% of the year.

This was Glesni's 'earliest' breeding year on record having laid her first egg on 18th April (22nd April the previous earliest laying), which probably accounts for her leaving us a little earlier than previous years:

2013: 31st August

2014: 19th August

2015: 24th August

2016: 13th August

When she left, the weather was perfect for migration. As I write this blog eight days later, she is most probably in Africa already and over half way to her final wintering destination (unless she's one of the small minority of ospreys that overwinter in southern Europe of course). With all the awful weather we've had this weekend, including migration-thwarting 60mph winds, her decision to go last weekend seems like a prudent one.

And just like in 2015, as soon as Glesni was gone, her nemesis, love rival and cousin was already filling her shoes. Blue 24 lost no time in making herself at home on the nest she covets so much.

Monty (left) is joined by Glesni's cousin as soon as she has gone


Poor Relations

Normally, the significance of Blue 24 moving in this late in the breeding season is of no great importance. Another couple of weeks and both Monty and Blue 24 will have started their own migrations, quite independently of each other, not to set eyes on each other again until the first week of April 2017.

But the stakes this time around are just a bit higher.

We had a 'full house' last year; three eggs, three chicks and all three fledged and started their migrations south; Merin, Celyn and Brenig. This time, we've had six eggs (including Blue 24's three), only two of which hatched and by now, the start of the juvenile migration window, only the one surviving. Just one surviving chick from a potential six!

August 21st: Blue 24 back on Glesni and Monty's nest

Moreover, Blue 24's determination to rekindle her bond with this successful nest is as strong as ever and this has potentially serious consequences.

Tegid, during the stage of his life where he should be stocking up on as much fish as he can eat, is suddenly sucked in to this polygamous love triangle and is merely a pawn, a bit-part actor in Blue 24's script. She means him no harm - this is not personal, Tegid is just another obstacle for Blue 24 to overcome.

So with the strong winds and Blue 24's constant bombardments, Tegid's last few days on the Dyfi are a lot harder than they should be. He's fine, don't get me wrong, but he could have done without all this hassle.

Tegid flies down the estuary towards the 'Dragon perch' to get away from his marauding Auntie


Ecological Fix

As you know, I have written much this year about man-made osprey platforms being erected too close to primary active nests. We have two on the Dyfi, both less than a mile away and now, Blue 24 has laid eggs in both of them - in 2015 and 2016, with next to no chance of them ever hatching, with just Monty as the sole male. Both of these nests are well within Monty's territory.

The ramifications of these platforms are now more obvious than ever - even in late August as Tegid prepares for the greatest journey of his life, we are still seeing the effects of these platform location decisions.

Blue 24 on another Dyfi platform in 2015 in which she laid egg(s)

In just a few weeks, mid September, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust will be hosting the first ever meeting of the yet to be established 'Welsh Osprey Forum'. All the key stakeholders and decision makers working with ospreys in Wales will meet in the 360 Observatory, and we will be discussing a wide ranging agenda with just one overarching objective - the continuation of the establishment of ospreys as a species in Wales and beyond.

All the people at the meeting have the interests of the ospreys at heart, we know this. We just have to make sure that we communicate with each other and make decisions on a strategic basis in the interest of ospreys. We need to look at the past, learn from it, and make good quality decisions with an eye to the future.


What next for Blue 24?

Blue 24 will be seven next year. We have to give her the best possible chance of having her own offspring. She is not only wasting her own breeding years, she is affecting other ospreys as well, it's a spiralling double whammy. We've been stuck on four pairs of ospreys in Wales for three seasons now, we owe it to Blue 24, and others, to try and help them, not hinder them.

Blue 24 starts nestorations on Glesni's nest - but it's all in vain


If we can sort the platform proximity issue out over the winter, Blue 24 will have less of a pull towards the Dyfi. Sure, she may well return before Glesni and lay claim to the main nest, but once displaced by Glesni, as she has been for the last three years, there would be no other nests within a mile of Glesni''s nest to tempt her to stay. Furthermore, there would be no other nests within Monty's territory, meaning that Blue 24 would not waste yet another year laying eggs in vain, or compromising the productivity of other breeding nests.

We need two things to happen. More nests outside other males' territories and more young males. There are plenty of other nests around and thankfully, we have more males showing up too. Blue 9R from Welsh nest ON4 has been re-spotted back as a two year-old this summer as well as another 2014 bird - Blue CX7, A Scottish male from a Loch Doon nest in Scotland.

This Scottish male (named Elsa, don't ask!) has been spotted several times in Wales since early June


Blue 9R - a ON4 nest offspring from 2014 has been re-spotted three times this summer as a returning adult


While we're talking of fixing stuff, we will replace the nest perch, colloquially called the Boing Perch, over the winter. It was dead drift-wood five years ago; after what has happened this year, a belt-and-braces approach won't do anyone any harm in 2017. After all, it's called the Boing Perch for a reason!

Blue 24 lands on the Boing Perch this week, she will be one of the last ospreys to do so

Happy Birthday

It's Tegid's birthday today (and Janine's - happy 32nd!!), he's 84 days old, 12 weeks.

We haven't seen him on the nest as much as normal due to Blue 24's presence, he's usually hanging out on some of the river perches, keeping out of trouble. The average migration age of the combined Dyfi chicks to date is 88 days, time will tell whether Tegid will stay longer, or shorter, than the average.

So as Glesni gets ever closer to that sunny beach in Senegal, we're left here to see out the last few days of this year's Ostenders before the series ends for another seven months.

Rain, more rain and high winds - and people wonder why Glesni left so early!





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