Posted: Saturday 23rd June 2018 by Emyr MWT

A quick osprey update

Boring

It's been a boring week in a way - but that's good.

No dramas, no bad weather, no incidents. In fact, everything is going just perfectly.

This weekend the chicks are three weeks old and they are doubling their weight each week at this stage. We usually see more aggression in three-chick broods than those with two offspring, but even the domestic handbags have been kept to a minimum this year.

Here's one little boxing match from Tuesday:

Chick aggression in ospreys is normal, in fact it's good for them. They'll need that hormonal aggressive instinct once they're independent in a couple of months, so seeing in-fighting amongst chicks in a brood is a sign of strength and competitive fitness.


Ted Rogers

There are only 1.6 days separating the youngest to oldest chick this year - the smallest margin we have ever seen on the Dyfi. This has proven challenging when we try and identify which bird is which, but we think we're on top of it.

Occasionally we get all three chicks lining up in an age-order line-up from the youngest to the oldest, Bob 3, Bob 2, Bob 1. So, we call this arrangement a "Ted Rogers" after a British comedian who had a light entertainment show in the early 1980s called 3-2-1

Two adult ospreys, a suspended mullet, three chicks and, from the bottom up, a Ted Rogers!


Monty has upped his fish deliveries this week as you would expect him to with more calories required at the nest. The usual array of aquatic biodiversity has been observed at the nest including mullet, trout, bass and flounder. He did bring one rarely caught species in this week too - a perch, a coarse fish, on Wednesday.

Some lovely views of all three chicks

 

Elsewhere

Glaslyn - all three of their chicks are doing great; they are almost a week ahead of the Dyfi trio. Aran has started catching his favourite delicacy - the garfish, a needle fish with pincer-sharp teeth and green bones. Monty has caught garfish here on the Dyfi, but we haven't seen one for a few years now.

The garfish is one of the few fish that ospreys don't start eating at the head-end first - for obvious reasons! Practically all fish species are eaten head-first by ospreys - males and females - simply because it's the easiest way in. Don't believe those old textbooks that go on about male ospreys needing more energy and eating more nutrition/fat/calories in the brain/head - it's a load of old tripe. Well, nearly.

Aran with a garfish

 

ON4 - The other nest in Snowdonia has unfortunately failed this year after successfully breeding for the last six consecutive years and raising 15 chicks to at least ringing age. Both adults seem to have abandoned the nest and despite both being unringed, were possibly the pair seen at various sites over the last week or so from the Glaslyn, Dwyryd, Mawddach and possibly the intruders we've had at Dyfi.

A pair has also been spotted in the Elan Valley this week too, just to the south of the Dyfi in mid Wales.

An unringed very 'white' male, photographed in the Elan Valley this week              ©Kev Joynes


Clywedog - Closer to home, John Williams at Natural Resources Wales tells us that there are three chicks at the Llyn Clywedog nest, great news after just fledging one last year.

Llyn Brenig - The guys at Welsh Water have confirmed again that Blue 24 and her Scottish partner have "at least one chick" based on the feeding behaviours they can see; let's hope there are more.

This week we donated a picture of Blue 24 to the North Wales Wildlife Trust to use in their mobile people-engagement truck; BGGW have done the same with a photo of the Scottish male, Blue HR7, that they have - look out for them if you visit Brenig.

Blue 24 - six foot high!


Ringing and DNA

All the DNA licences are in place again this year to continue our Welsh osprey DNA research project.

First to ring and swab their chicks will be the Glaslyn, followed by ourselves in around a fortnight. The Llyn Brenig folks are still looking at the logistics of ringing Blue 24's chicks - we'll let you know.

 

And Finally

So, boring it may be and notwithstanding a moderate battering from Storm Hector a couple of weeks ago, all the Welsh chicks are doing just fine with plenty of food coming in. The long-range forecast looks good too, so as these youngsters begin to be able to thermoregulate for themselves now, they are leaving behind the precarious first 10-days of life when they are most prone to weather and disturbance events.

Boring is good, I like it.

Bobby Bâch finding life in the Dyfi sunshine too much for him/her this afternoon

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