On a wing and a prayer – ospreys faring well

The crowded osprey nest in the Tweed Valley
The crowded osprey nest in the Tweed Valley

TWEED Valley osprey chicks this year have avoided the fate of many others across the country and survived despite the weather, writes Sally Gillespie.

And last Thursday the young birds finally learned to fly.

Osprey officer Di Bennett said: “Our ospreys have done remarkably well to raise chicks to survive this summer of deluge and rivers mostly in a state of spate.

“We have heard news of chick fatalities across the whole of the UK.

“Birds have simply not survived due to the cold, wet summer and lack of food.

“One chick from each of the nests at Caerlaverock, Aberfoyle, Loch Garten and Kielder have been reported as having died in the nest, while two chicks died at the Dyfi nest in Wales.”

There was yet to be a final count at all the osprey nest sites in the Tweed Valley said Di, adding: “We do know that at least two of the nest sites have very good healthy chicks ready to fledge.

“The parent birds are finding a good food source to exploit and this is looking very optimistic for the future of Tweed Valley-raised ospreys.”

Meanwhile, viewers could see chicks on the main camera nest as they learned to fly.

Di told us: “The on-screen antics of limbering up ready for flight was super to watch and we witnessed many concerted wing-flapping sessions then on the first day without rain, two of the osprey chicks took to the skies at last, followed later in the day by the third chick.

“It is always a very worrying time when the birds make their first flights as they can crash land and struggle to make lift- off again. The day after their debut flights all of the family were seen back at the nest and all were looking healthy and well: a safe first adventure for the youngsters and this has now set them well on their way to full maturity. They will spend their time from now on familiarising themselves with the landscape and following their dad to learn fishing and hunting skills.”