Tweed Valley Osprey Project Officer Diane Bennett brings us the latest news from the nests

The chicks at the main nest are now in their seventh week and are fully feathered and looking chunky and healthy.

With only a week to go before they will be ready for flight, in principle, we would have expected to see a lot more stretching and flapping to test the wings out while they are sitting in the nest.

However, with the recent very hot weather they have been conserving their energy until it was needed. The weather took a dramatic change to bring us thunderstorms with lightning and torrential rain which gave the chicks (Tweedledum and Tweedledee) something else to contend with.

Mrs O no longer has to do the motherly umbrella over her young as their own feathers are waterproof now too, so they just had to sit it out and wait for the rain to stop and for Dad (SS) to bring some fish in. Although this must have proved to be tricky with the rain dappling the surface of the water making visibility very difficult.

SS not only brought a good fish for his family, but he also fed the young birds himself, Mrs O is reaching the stage where her work is almost done and she can relax a bit more now as the chicks race towards adulthood and independence.

SS still has much work to do and he must continue to provide for his family even when the young birds fledge. He will bring fish back to the nest for them to return to and feed. Once they are flying, the young birds will soon need to learn to find fish for themselves and master the most difficult part, to actually catch them.

This will all take time and, fortunately, they will have the back up from their dad, whereas, it is generally the female that will leave the family quite quickly.

Mrs O will need to begin to prepare her own body for migration by building up her reserves and getting into tip top condition ahead of her partner. SS has been continually hunting and fishing all summer and must be very fit already, so his readiness for migration should take less time.

FK8, the female tagged osprey from Tweed Valley that has nested in the Dornoch area has successfully raised one of her chicks. The other chick didn’t survive but we don’t know what happened. The remaining youngster will be ringed and fitted with a tracker this week. The nest site that she has occupied is a very established site and has been productive for many years. FK8 is the new female at this monitored site. Nobody knows what happened to the original bird but she never returned this year and FK8 jumped in to take her place.

She is possibly with the original resident male or it could be a totally new pairing. As a first time mum she has done well to raise one of her young to adulthood. We should hopefully have more news about her next week and photos of her ringed offspring.

We have received some back-dated news about a bird from Tweed Valley that has returned this year. PW3 is a male osprey raised here at one of the original nest sites in Tweed Valley that has been occupied since 1998. To date 34 ospreys have fledged from this nest location making it one of the most productive. PW3 fledged in 2016 and was one of a brood of three with two sisters in the nest with him. He was spotted on his migration in 2016, 45km south west of Paris fishing at some lakes on his way south and hasn’t been seen since.

Then, this summer, he was spotted and photographed at Bakethin Weir, Kielder Water, by Mitch Teasdale on June 25 at 6.13pm and her husband got a great photo of him.

We know that he didn’t stay at Kielder because on June 28, he was again spotted back on home turf in the Borders, flying and fishing at St Mary’s Loch in the Yarrow Valley.

As a two-year-old male he will be looking for territory for next year and hopefully that may well be in the Tweed Valley Osprey project area seeing as he is spending the summer here.