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A Visitor from the South

Posted: Thursday 21st May 2020 by Emyr MWT

Yesterday we welcomed our first ever Southerner to the Dyfi.

The Dyfi was calm, no frantic intruder calls, as an osprey gently glides in from up river and quietly lands, unannounced, on the nest. Everybody watching just assumed it was Idris.

But hang on - this bird had a blue leg ring.

Here's what happened:


A Cosmopolitan Season

Blue 014 was our seventh intruding osprey in seven weeks that was ringed and we've managed to identify. We've actually had an eighth - a Scottish bird (ring on left leg), but couldn't quite make out the characters on the ring. Janine is still struggling to get over it.

Seven intruders identified on the Dyfi nest in 2020 (Dyfi birds in red)

So, in less than two months we've had two Welsh intruders, a Scot, a Northerner, a Midlander and now, to finish off the set, a Southerner.

This is amazing news in terms of the UK osprey population, we seem to be attracting more intruders every consecutive year.


Strange Behaviour?

But did you notice Telyn's almost deadpan reaction? No frantic calling, chipping, chasing... just a bit of mantling when Blue 014 first landed on the nest. If anything, for the 20 minutes Blue 014 was with us, it appeared as if Telyn was food soliciting. What could explain this atypical response to an intruding osprey?

Idris wasn't around; did the fact that Telyn was on her own to deal with an intruder affect her behavioural response? Maybe doing (next to) nothing was her best strategy with three eggs just about to hatch? (Reminder - hatching due 23rd May onwards)

Did Telyn immediately recognise Blue 014 as an immature two-year old, knowing full well she posed no threat to her or her eggs?

Surely she hadn't known her from her African wintering grounds and recognised her?


In 2018 I had the pleasure of visiting the Birds of Poole Harbour visitor centre and the translocation project they are running.

Based on the success of the Rutland Project (there would be no ospreys in Wales without it), Roy Dennis and Dr. Tim Mackrill had joined forces with the guys down in Dorset to translocate a number of Scottish chicks each year for five years. The project started in 2017, so Blue 014 was one of their second year's birds.

Blue 014 in her feeding pen, 16th July 2018


It's always nice to have returning birds back, but we are absolutely delighted that Blue 014 has successfully returned to the UK as a fully fledged adult.

2018 was a particularly rough year for the Poole guys, as a number of their young ospreys died due to the record-breaking heat that year compounded by possible Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. I remember the very same thing happening to one of the Glaslyn chicks in 2006, low Thiamine levels were suspected then too, predicated by 30+C temperatures (in Wales!)

Black 2J (Black 80's sister) succumbed to the intense heat-wave of early July 2006


The Poole team watched Blue 014 start her migration on 31st August 2018 - they must be absolutely overjoyed to have her back less than 21 months later.

Many people have worked tirelessly to make the Poole Harbour Osprey Translocation a success, it was a pleasure to meet some of their volunteers and staff back in 2018. This is a long game, but results will come - just look at Rutland and Wales.

Brittany Maxted and a volunteer monitoring the class of 2018 - in the obligatory caravan


Blue 014 is one of the first pieces of the developing jigsaw to be laid down in what will become a grand and successful osprey picture in Dorset. In ten years they will look back at Blue 014 returning, just their second osprey to be re-sighted back in the UK, as one of the foundation stones of a long and fruitful osprey re-establishment project. Poole Harbour and the surrounding habitat is absolutely perfect for ospreys.

We wish everybody at Poole, including Blue 014, the very best of luck.


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