Posted: Sunday 15th October 2017 by Emyr MWT

Monty left over six weeks ago.

He and Glesni will have reached their destination by now, emancipated from the shackles of reproduction and all the energy that takes for another six months. Aeron, Menai and Eitha will have reached their latitudinal goal too in all probability, their life-adventure just starting.

The three youngsters will be getting acquainted with the different world their innate urges dictated they fly to, along with hundreds of other young ospreys the same age as them, learning all about being an independent bird in a hostile world. They are 146, 145 and 142 days old respectively today, almost five months.

Mind you, the ambient temperatures won't be much different, it's 19°C in Wales today as I write this in mid October!

Menai, Aeron & Eitha


Website

We've been working hard on the website for the last two weeks. Kim has updated various pages so they now include all the 2017 information and I've been working on a new Stats layout.

We're also working on a completely new website design for the 2018 season. It will be easier to navigate, easier to understand and will be mobile-friendly. Whether you're watching on a 42 inch monitor or a 4.2 inch phone, the website will work beautifully for you.

The new 2018 website will also include an incredible amount of information about our ospreys in charts, biographies, tables, graphs and fish pies. Beautiful to look at, and easy to read.

Check out the new updated Bios here

 

Interpretation

Talking of new ways of interpreting information, we have recently produced new panels for DOP 2018. We'll put the large poster-size aluminium panels in the 360 Observatory for your viewing pleasure..

The top-right panel includes every osprey born in Wales all the way back to that first chick from the nest near Welshpool in 2004. Every single ringed chick is on there, colour coded for easy reading; there's also a quick-check table for all those chicks that have been re-sighted back in the UK as adults, including the ones that have successfully bred. Yep, Clarach is on there!


Another Welsh Osprey Re-sighted

This week we heard news of another Welsh chick that has been identified as an adult.

Glaslyn's 2014 female chick, Blue 8C, was photographed on the Atlantic coast of Senegal last week by Céline Ricard, the first time this bird has been positively identified since she left the Glaslyn back in 2014.

Blue 8C photographed in Senegal on 7th October                                        © Céline Ricard

Interestingly, Google Maps reckons it would take 67 hours to get there by car, driving non-stop.

At a realistic pace of 8hrs driving a day, it would take you 14 days to drive to Popenguine, Senegal - about the same time as an osprey takes to get there, if not slower!

 

Blue 8C is also the very last chick that the original Glaslyn male, Orange 11(98), sired. He fathered 30 chicks in all over 11 consecutive years, Blue 8C is the 30th and his final offspring. Many congratulations to all the volunteers at Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife (BGGW) for another re-sighted offspring.

She will have most probably returned to the UK as a two-year-old last year and again this year. Indeed, there is a chance that she may even have bred this year (both Nora and Glesni bred as three-year-olds).

What a fitting tribute to the legacy of Orange 11(98). She looks a bit tatty, moulting a few flight feathers as you'd expect at this time of year, but she looks in great condition - let's hope she returns next year.


Nest Maintenance

I visited the Dyfi nest last week to assess the nest site after another breeding season. We have an awful lot of work to do before next April.

The larch perch is starting to rot at the bottom - harsh Atlantic weather is taking its toll. The fact that this part of the reserve is tidal and underwater several times a year doesn't help either.

The top of the larch has a different type of damage - ferocious woodpeckers!

A female great spotted woodpecker gouges into the larch pole looking for grub - literally

Woodpecker holes 

 

We'll ask Scottish Power whether they'll be kind enough to donate one of their telegraph poles to us, it's about the only thing that will withstand the harsh Dyfi environment.

The nest will have to be overhauled too. It's been up 10 years this year without any significant maintenance - the thought of something bad happening to it once the ospreys are here doesn't bear thinking about.

Finally, our 10m tower scaffolding has failed its H&S checks. It's bent, buckled and rusty; we'll need a new tower to do our winter nest works. We bought the scaffolding second-hand five years ago on the cheap, it's time for a safer tower.

 


The nestoration work will cost around £4,000 in all, most of this being the scaffolding. We don't have this kind of money at the moment - if anyone knows of a company that would like to donate a 10m scaffolding tower to us - please let us know! A second-hand unit would be fine, so long as it's complete and safe.

 

Social Media

Many of you follow us on various platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They all have a different purpose and many times, a different audience.

We regularly get requests to engage with people on Instagram - a photographic app that features images in a square format.

Paradoxically, Instagram is an app that's used by mainly (ahem) 'young' people; those of us photographers old enough to remember those halcyon medium format days of Hasselblads and Rolliflex will remember the square format with great nostalgic fondness.

We've been testing out the Instagram platform recently (euphemism for 'how the heck does it work?"). Expect a brand new DOP Instagram account early in the new year.


Online Shop

Good news: after a hard-drive issue earlier this month, we've finally sent the 2018 Calendar for printing. The DOP online shop will reopen in a couple weeks on the 1st November.

Expect some new items in the shop for the first time, including chrome osprey key-rings and DOP beanie-hats!

DOP 2018 Calendar available on 1st November - cover image likely to change!

 

And Finally

You may remember around nine months ago I told you about our plans to build a fit-for-purpose visitor centre at DOP. Over two levels with amazing live pictures, a shop, a cafe, toilets, two floors, fully disabled access including a lift and a Gallery/Exhibition Centre upstairs with incredible views over the reserve, the osprey nest and the Dyfi River.

Bottlenecking 40,000 visitors for five months every year in and out of a 25 year-old portacabin with limited car-parking is extremely challenging and not the best experience in all honesty - neither for the visitor nor us. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded 360 Observatory is absolutely amazing and we hope to build an equally iconic 'Dyfi Wildlife Centre' to replace all the modular cabins, sheds etc we've amassed over the years.

The Dyfi Wildlife Centre would be built using Larch and Douglas Fir from sustainable forests in Wales along with a plethora of other reclaimed materials. The whole building would be based on environmental sustainability, making it one of the first carbon-positive buildings in the UK, generating around 10 times more energy than it consumes.

We're still working with the Heritage Lottery Fund. It's a long, active and ongoing process, as soon as we hear anything, we'll let you know.

Look out for another osprey genetics blog from Dr. Helen soon. Meantime, have a think about the 10 metre scaffolding tower we need for the nest maintenance; do you know anyone that can help?

Douglas Fir - it's the future..

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