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DOP/DWC Mid-June Update

Posted: Sunday 14th June 2020 by Emyr MWT

Here's a roundup of everything you need to know...

Dyfi Chicks

As I write on Sunday morning our two chicks are 19 and 17 days old. Without having a third sibling in the nest to compete with they are flourishing.

With no exceptional weather so far, thankfully, there's plenty to eat - mostly mullet, flounder and bass this week - and, despite some moderate 'handbags' now and again, there's been very little aggression in the nest cup. There is always more fighting between three chicks; 2020 is placid.

Feeding time - 14th June

 

Idris has recently caught two very unusual fish - both of which we only saw Monty catch once in the last nine years he was with us: a garfish and a mackerel.

Careful.... garfish. One of only a few fish species that ospreys will not start eating head-first...
 
Fresh mackerel from Cardigan Bay

The younger chick has almost caught up with its older sibling in terms of body size, but it's still pretty easy to tell them apart, especially when we zoom in.


Ringing

Good news regarding ringing and DNA swabs...

We will be able to go ahead and ring our chicks this year despite the restrictions imposed by the virus lockdown. There's an added layer of paperwork to do, but we can do it, legally, and the buccal (DNA) swabs too.

If you missed the last blog, we'll remove the unhatched egg (Egg No 1) while we're at the nest, it almost certainly didn't hatch due to prenatal failure (chick development arrested very early on, or didn't start at all).

This egg will be put in a display case so that visitors to DOP will be able to see a 'real' osprey egg. All under licence.

Egg 1 is unhatched and will be removed during the ringing process

 

Intruding Ospreys

2020 is our best ever year in terms of being able to identify ringed birds that pass our way. We've had three more intruders just in the first half of June, all two-year olds (2018).

10 identified intruders so far in 2020 (penultimate column is age when first sighted)

Blue 014 (Poole Harbour) visited us again and we've had a bird land from our nearest Welsh nest to us - Llyn Clywedog (around 12 miles away). Blue KS8 is a female and the first ever Clywedog returnee to be identified - many congratulations to John Williams and all involved at Natural Resources Wales.

Dylan & Delyth's 2018 offspring returns to Wales, Blue KS8

 

Yesterday we had a Scottish bird visit - a 2018 male from South Argyll, Scotland - Blue LJ2. This guy was with us last week as well on 2nd June but we couldn't quite make the whole of the leg ring out that time.

Blue LJ2 whizzes past the Monty Perch yesterday

Interestingly, LJ2 has an overgrown claw on his right foot which will potentially aid ID at any future nest intrusions.

My... what big nails you have

Sometimes you get an osprey that is spotted many times over in a short amount of time - Blue LJ2 is one of these.

Blue LJ2 was spotted at the Kartong Bird Observatory in The Gambia in October 2018 when just four months old, again in December 2019 and again in January this year. And now we've spotted him twice on the Dyfi nest in 11 days!

Blue LJ2 is retrieved from a wader mist net in Kartong, Gambia five months ago, January 2020

Is he on his way up to his natal Scotland for this first time as an adult or will he stay around with us in Wales?

And finally on the subject of intruders, here's an English bird that intruded the Clywedog nest this week - Blue 283, female, from Esthwaite in the Lake District.


Blue 283 photographed by John Williams


Welsh Update

Glaslyn and Clywedog have three chicks, Brenig (Blue 24) have one, we have two and ON4 in Snowdonia have an unknown number of chick(s).

Most if not all Welsh nests will be ringed in the next three weeks and have buccal swabs done. So a minimum of 10 Welsh chicks this year, potentially (hopefully) 12.

Blue 24 has, for the third year running, one surviving chick at her Brenig nest

 

Springwatch Star

Idris may only have been with us a little over two months, but he is quickly climbing the celebrity ladder.

He was on the BBC's Springwatch programme on Friday evening, clumsily doing some nestorations.

He really shoud have left it to Telyn and concentrated on the nightingale..

Here's the video:

 

 

Dyfi Wildlife Centre and DOP Opening

We are still in lockdown in Wales with a 5-mile leisure travel restriction and Police monitoring spots, turning motorists back.

The recent easing of lockdown measures in England do not apply in Wales and we're stuck with it. Only this week the head of NHS Wales went on record stating that the lockdown measures should stay in place for some time yet.

Perhaps this is not surprising given that Wales has the highest number of virus infections in the UK on a per-capita basis:

 


This is particularly devastating for us as we now have to make the regrettable decision that we will not realistically be able to open DOP and DWC this summer.

Even if things get better by August, all our staff (except one) are on furlough and we've not had any time to train them, nor any of our volunteers, on the new systems in place in the Dyfi Wildlife Centre. We will miss out on one full season of entrance charges so I would like to thank you once again for supporting us via donations; we would not have got this far without you. Desperate times.

 

And Finally...

In adversity there is always opportunity.

The Dyfi Wildlife Centre is more or less finished down stairs to welcome visitors. However, due to the lockdown it looks rather basic. Not opening at all this summer gives us a really long runway to finish all of the centre off - properly, with all the trimmings, bells and whistles.

Our contractor, Gareth Jones, pulled off a minor miracle to build a centre for us in less than seven winter months. We were undefeated in terms of the wettest winter on record, timescales, budgets, insulation design faults, and other minor issues.

However, a single-celled organism, invisible to the human eye, has finally done for us.

The final strips of local Dyfi cedar are installed just before the lockdown

We will now open on St David's Day 2021 - 1st March. This is only 8½ months away.

With just one member of staff, let's concentrate most of our efforts on the ospreys for the next 10 weeks. Then, gradually, we will get all our people back and finish the Dyfi Wildlife Centre off in style by the end of the year and ready ourselves for opening on 1st March.

All the best things in life are worth waiting for they say. I couldn't agree more.

Stay safe, folks.

So close...

 

 

 

 

  

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