More aggression from 5R and an account of a memorable morning

With 9F spending most of yesterday on the nest we weren’t sure how 5R would react to her flying today. Would he continue where he left off on Sunday and chase her every time she took to their air, or would he relent and let her enjoy her new-found freedom? Sadly, it seems to be the former. With 5R away for much of the morning, the young female made numerous short flights to and from the nest. This afternoon, though, with 5R back in the bay, she was chased as soon as she left the nest. For the time-being at least, it would seem she is going to make the most of the time 5R spends away from the nest. Let’s hope it doesn’t continue that way.

While all this has been going on, we have almost forgotten about 8F. The young male has now been flying for a week and is starting to make longer and more confident flights away from the bay. It doesn’t seem possible that only seven days have passed since he left the nest. That morning, volunteer Kathyu Reynolds was on duty to see the magic moment when he left the nest for the first time. Here’s her account of an exciting morning…

“Monday morning 16 July 2012, it is 5.40 a.m. as I quietly close the door on my sleeping husband and leave for my regular Monday morning shift in Waderscrape Hide, Manton Bay, observing our lovely Ospreys. As I close the door I think, why oh why did I volunteer for this shift. Of course that has been answered several times over the last few months; the barn owl looking for breakfast in the meadow next to the hide; the little owl perched on a fallen tree; the sparrowhawk; the cuckoo looking for a nest to lay her egg, the kestrel hunting in front of the hide; the marsh harrier and the female osprey giving a wonderful aerial display as she chased him away from the nest. What would I see this morning? 8F has been wing flapping and helicoptering vigorously over the weekend. Perhaps I would see his first flight?

I got to the hide weighed down with scopes, binoculars and my morning coffee. Both adults in the bay, chicks quietly in the nest. At 6.20 one of the chicks started to wing flap and helicopter, then stood on the side of the nest looking down, was he judging the distance? Then at 6:34 a.m. it was my great privilege to see Osprey 8F make his first flight.

I was not really sure if it was him at first sight. Was that an intruder? No, just one chick on the nest and 8F is flying around by the poplars with his mother. Excitement is building as I realise what a special moment I am observing. 8F stayed in the air for 45 to 50 seconds then he landed on the T perch just near the nest. At 7.05 5R returned to the bay having been absent for about 40 minutes landed on the T perch next to a 8F with a small fish as if to say “well done son”. However 5R quickly took the fish to the nest, was this to encourage his son to return to the nest?.
8F took his 2nd flight at 7.14 it was a short flight of 30 seconds and he just flew between the T perch and the nest and returned to the T perch. Between 7.14 and 7.30 he took several more short flights, it appeared that he was practising his turns and landing on the T perch. It appeared to be easier to land on the T perch than on the nest. The male and female joined him on the T perch and they also made short flights as if to encourage him. Finally at 8.42 he had another short flight and this time he successfully landed on the nest (see video below). He settled down into the nest: well he deserved a good rest after his exciting morning.

Now where is my flask of coffee forgotten about in the excitement.”

2 responses to “More aggression from 5R and an account of a memorable morning”

  1. Jill W

    This does seem like very strange behaviour and is so sad for 9F. Have you spoken to any of the other osprey projects, here and abroad, to see if they have any ideas as to why 5R might be doing this? It would be interesting to know if this type of behaviour has been witnessed anywhere else.

  2. Valerie Webber

    just a question Tim . Is this going to keep her back strength wise for her long trip south later next month , surely she needs to get as much flying in for her long journey