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So, who’s that now?

Posted: Thursday 9th August 2018 by Karis MWT

MWT Three ChicksMWT Three Chicks

The chicks are enjoying a never-ending game of musical chairs. This is perfect for their development and has certainly been keeping us on our toes!

It has been a fantastic week at Dyfi Osprey Project. Lots of sun, a much-needed splash of rain, and lots of enthusiastic visitors here to see these magnificent birds. All three chicks are doing really well and are getting more and more adventurous each day.

Dinas, Alys and Helyg testing out the ‘high low’ perch.
MWT three chicks

It’s not your average days’ birdwatching

For those of you who haven’t yet visited us this year, what are you waiting for? The Dyfi ospreys will be around for another three, maybe up to four weeks, with even more intruders, more raptors and more action!

Here’s a little summary of a typical day in the Obs from this week (I'll be putting a few 50p in the jar, don't worry), and I challenge any of you not to start planning your visit after reading this to experience our kind of birdwatching for yourselves.

Alys and Helyg doing their daily exercises! Who are they looking at? We’ve been having regular visits from a female marsh harrier this week, could it be her?
MWT Alys and Helyg

So, we arrive in the Observatory, talk to the office and find out which osprey is which from the ones we can see around the nest. Everyone feels that they have a good grasp of what is going on and you’re ready to go.

<Take a breath here, you'll need it!>

You then turn away for 1/10th of a millisecond to look back and discover that not only have they all switched places, but two ospreys have disappeared, Monty has seemingly materialised out of thin air with a fish (swiftly followed by a hungry and previously AWOL chick) and there are now also three red kites, a marsh harrier and a great white egret all flying around in the distance to act as a distraction, giving the absconding ospreys time to swoop down behind the trees and disappear. You can also throw a few intruders into the mix here for good measure too, if you’d like?

As volunteers and visitors all rush back and forth across the observatory with their binoculars, two ospreys then simultaneously reappear upstream and downstream of the nest, with one having flushed out a third bird, who may or may not be one of ours. Having looked back at the nest to check whether this is in fact a new addition, or whether it is one that has just flown off without you knowing, the birds will then all harmoniously settle down on perches and you think calm may have been restored.

However, they will sit on their new perches just long enough to be found by the camera operator, before once again taking to the skies, leaving the Live Streaming to focus in on a charming piece of driftwood and some cows going about their daily business in the background. The cameras then return to the nest site just in time to record one of the ospreys coming in to land, before a battle for the fish begins and Monty beats a hasty retreat to the birch perch. Repeat this as many times as possible before 5.30pm when all five birds mysteriously reappear and sit nicely around the nest site preening their feathers.

Incoming! Telyn arrives late and all of the good spots have been taken.
MWT Telyn incoming

As you can gather it has been a rather hectic week, and there is certainly more to come - but we wouldn’t change it for the world. There hasn’t been a single dull moment and I can safely say that it has been one of my favourite weeks of the season so far. We have all been treated to some amazing flybys, and every visitor has been getting involved in following the birds as they continue to investigate their surroundings; helping us to keep tabs on their whereabouts and contributing to a really lovely atmosphere in the Obs.

Monty sat watching one of his chicks fly off - again.
MWT Monty

Lots of ‘Telyn off’, but she keeps coming back

We still have the lovely Telyn for now, though she has barely spent any time at the nest during the day - this has led us to falsely believe she may have set off on migration multiple times over the last week. She continues to bring fish in for her chicks, and has still been feeding them on the nest from time to time. Monty doesn’t exhibit such behaviour at this late stage in the season, and he will return to the nest simply to drop off his latest catch with the first taker. Well, that is the plan!

Poor Monty, the things he has to put up with! Don't worry, he is absolutely fine and has been catching plenty of fish since this happened.

In addition to the cameras around our main nest area, we also have a trail cam on the feeding perch adjacent to the Observatory. This has been invaluable in recent years and has given us some fantastic insights into the lives of our ospreys away from the nest and 'out of hours'. We have recently been out to retrieve the images from this camera and have had some brilliant shots of Monty, like this one of Monty vs. Crow.

Monty, in no uncertain terms, telling this crow that he will not be sharing!
MWT Monty with crow

 

There have been no photos taken of the chicks on the feeding perch as yet, but having watched Alys fly straight over it to explore the next valley along, we don't think it will be long before they try it out for size. We'll certainly keep checking the camera and I’m sure we’ll have a few to show you by the end of the season!

 

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