Osprey Project14/04/2021

Osprey Diary 2021

Want to know all the latest Osprey in Poole Harbour? Scroll through below to read this years daily sightings updates.

Thursday 13th May

Another quiet day on the nest, with CJ7 being off camera for most of the day, although we’ve had no sightings of her reported around the harbour.

While things are a bit quieter for Osprey action in Poole, we will be reducing our live Q & A sessions to one session per week, on Thursday mornings 10-11am, starting next week. If you have any urgent questions in the meantime, please get in touch with us via email at osprey@birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk.

CJ7 on livestream nest

Wednesday 12th May

CJ7 was on and off the nest frequently today, though not for too long at any one time. We received one other sighting of her over the Wareham Channel around 1pm, but she returned to the nest an hour later without any fish, so she may have simply been exploring the harbour.

CJ7 on her nest giving us a rare close up

 

Tuesday 11th May

The strong wind kept CJ7 mostly around the nest today, though she did return from a short trip with a large fish at just before 11am. The winds strong seemed to thwart her feeding efforts however, because she was still clinging to a large chuck of the same fish 8 hours later! Indeed she moved into the nest to shelter on several occasions and we were treated to brief, rare view of her eating just before she departed to perch in her usual feeding spot behind the camera.

There were two other osprey sightings were reported in the harbour this morning, one over the Wareham Channel and one over Holes Bay. The latter is not somewhere we often see CJ7 hunting, so perhaps this was a passing migrant.

CJ7 on her nest with a fish

 

Monday 10th May

After an early morning appearance CJ7 was absent for much of the morning, but returned mid-afternoon to hunker down in the nest out of the wind. She left again at 4:30pm and was spotted five minutes later interacting with another large bird over the Arne peninsula, before later landing on another of the artificial nests in the Harbour. The local Ravens once again took advantage of her absence, stealing both the 3rd and 4th remaining unfertilised eggs from her nest just after 7pm. CJ7 returned 30 minutes later with more nesting material and scarcely seemed to notice the eggs were gone. It will be interesting to see if she produces any more in the coming days or whether she’s finished now for this season.

Raven stealing an unfertilised egg from CJ7’s nest

 

Sunday 9th May

CJ7 landed in the nest at 5:14am this morning and stayed for around 40 minutes before heading off south. It seems she missed out on her usual meal time yesterday as she returned at 9:19am with a decent sized catch and landed behind the camera, where she remained all day! Interestingly there was another sighting of an osprey flying South-West over Upton at 10:45am, whilst CJ7 was still feeding on the nest, so it’s possible that there is another bird in the harbour.

CJ7 on the livestream nest at first light

 

Saturday 8th May

An extremely windy day, and one that brought a fourth(!) egg for CJ7. She appeared to have laid her latest unfertilised egg at around 08:10 this morning, standing up to reveal it at 08:26. Though it is less common for Ospreys to lay clutches of four, it does happen on occasion, so not a huge surprise to have another today. In 2015, female Osprey Mrs G at Glaslyn Osprey Project laid 5 unfertilised eggs before a raising a new clutch with a partner, so this is certainly not a new phenomenon.

Glaslyn have recently released a nice article about translocated 014 and her new partner, which gives an update on their progress here: https://www.glaslynwildlife.co.uk/2021/05/update-from-the-pont-croesor-friends-of-the-ospreys-nest/

 

Friday 7th May

No signs of any arrivals yet today, but the winds are turning in our favour. CJ7 has been intermittently on the nest through the day, and was photographed over Lytchett Bay this morning. Unfortunately, it’s been a quiet day otherwise for Ospreys in Poole Harbour, but hopefully that will soon change.

CJ7 – Lytchett Bay – Tony Furnell

 

Thursday 6th May

Another quiet day for Osprey activity in Poole today, but we have exciting news about 014 in Wales. On her new nest with Z2 (Aeron), 014 laid her first egg yesterday morning – the first bird from the translocation project to breed! We’re obviously delighted by the news, and hope there are more eggs to come in the next week or so. We will keep you updated with further details when we can. Otherwise, there weren’t any reports of Ospreys in the harbour today, other than CJ7. Winds for Osprey arrival looks more favourable from tomorrow afternoon until mid next week, so let’s hope there are some young Ospreys on their way.

 

Wednesday 5th May

A very mixed day for weather today with intermittent showers and it’s likely that CJ7 is perched nearby the nest this afternoon, again hunkered down in the rain. There was a sighting of interest this morning, with an Osprey reported in the Wareham area at 11:05am, while CJ7 was on the nest. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive any photos from the motion-sensitive cameras on other nests, so we can’t confirm any ID from this sighting. Our hopes are high for the next few weeks, so keep your eyes on the skies for any incoming young Ospreys!

 

Tuesday 4th May

After the first two unfertilised eggs were taken yesterday by a Raven, the nest didn’t stay empty for long. CJ7 hunkered down in the extremely high winds and laid her third unfertilised egg at 12:32 this afternoon. The newly laid egg has stayed out of view of the camera for most of the day, hidden by the tall sides of the nest, and CJ7 has stayed in view. Hopefully the winds will die down soon, making conditions more suitable for hunting.

 

Monday 3rd May

Now I know we said we wanted southerly winds to push young birds north on migration, but this is a bit much! Gusts of up to 60mph this afternoon left CJ7 clinging onto the nest for dear life, and lead to a very impressive vertical take-off!

She did leave the nest for a few hours in the early morning and we finally saw a bird brave enough to venture into the nest and steal her unattended, unfertilised eggs. One of the Ravens from a nearby breeding pair landed on the nest perch and cautiously moved into the nest, before rather impressively managing to fit an entire egg in its beak! It carried this off (potentially back to its own nest to feed its mate or chicks) and less than a minute later returned to collect the second.

It’s good that the nutrients in the eggs aren’t going to waste and when CJ7 returned she looked supremely unbothered by the lack of eggs (which she likely would have buried or removed from the nest herself in due course anyway). Ospreys typically lay clutches of 3 eggs so she may lay another in the coming days, which will likely also be snatched at the first opportunity. There’s no need to be worry about future years when there is breeding though, as any fertilised eggs will be incubated around the clock and rarely, if ever, left unprotected.

A Raven stealing an unfertilised egg from CJ7’s nest

 

Sunday 2nd May

A day largely away from the nest for CJ7 today as she made her first visit of the season to another of the artificial osprey nests we’ve place around Poole Harbour. There was also a sighting of an osprey over Morden Bog mid-morning, which may also have been her wandering a little further afield.

Her absence meant that her two unfertilised eggs were left unattended and slightly vulnerable. Indeed on several occasions jackdaws landed on the nest, but incredibly they didn’t attempt to eat or even inspect the eggs. Perhaps they were wary that CJ7 might swoop in at any second, or perhaps they don’t recognise the eggs as food.

CJ7 on another artificial nest in Poole Harbour

 

Saturday 1st May

During the night at 03:04, CJ7 laid a second unfertilised egg. We expect a third to follow in a few days time. She spent most of the day off camera, continuing to avoid incubation, and wasn’t reported elsewhere in the harbour. She brought in a fish to the nest at 16:26.

 

Friday 30th April

One osprey was seen with a fish over Lytchett Bay at 11:50am. This may have been CJ7 as she left her nest very early at 5:34am and didn’t return until 12:54pm, but after this stayed around the nest site (which certainly suggests she had  already fed).

 

Thursday 29th April

No sightings of CJ7 away from the nest today, and she hasn’t visited other nesting platforms in the harbour for a while. She appears to be staying in close proximity to the nesting site, although still continues to avoid incubating the egg. Tomorrow we could be due another egg, as they typically lay around 3 days apart, so we will be looking out for her egg-cupping and laying.

 

Wednesday 28th April

Although it started out sunny, we had the first rainy day in Poole for a long while, which meant CJ7 was largely inactive and spent a lot of time on the nest. Though she occasionally rested in the nest, covering the egg, she did not pay much attention to it and rarely spent time incubating, which indicates that she is aware it’s unfertilised. She has continued with nest maintenance and scraping out the egg cup, and the nest looks in fantastic condition. Comparatively with last year, the shape of the nest is much deeper and more suitable for protecting the eggs, showing her experience building (see images below) For more information about the laying and what we can expect, you can see our blog post with FAQs from last year here.

CJ7 was seen over Middlebere at around 12:50pm, but no other sightings were reported. Outside of the harbour, 2 Ospreys were reported at Lodmoor today, which is a good sign for new returnees coming through Dorset.

CJ7 on the nest with unfertilised egg

CJ7 and first egg in 2020

 

Tuesday 27th April

Osprey sightings are building again as younger birds begin returning to the UK. In Dorset today, there was an Osprey reported over Lodmoor, which isn’t far away from the harbour, but likely to be a passage bird. As we approach May, anticipation is building for our local returnees – hopefully young birds from the 2019 translocated cohort.

This evening, CJ7 laid an unfertilised egg in the nest at 19:48. We anticipated that she may lay this year, having laid 3 unfertilised eggs last season. Last year, the first egg was laid slightly later in the month, on the 30th of April, with a second following on the 3rd May, and the final egg on the 7th March. We expect that CJ7 will go on to lay a full clutch of eggs in the coming days.

CJ7 with her newly laid unfertilised egg

Monday 26th April – no reports

Sunday 25th April – no reports

Saturday 24th April

It’s been a breezy day! High easterly winds haven’t been conducive for Osprey arrivals, and CJ7 has been hunkered down on the nest for most of the day. Interestingly, an Osprey was reported over Middlebere at 10:30am, while CJ7 was on the nest – so perhaps another Osprey is in the area, although no photos or further details were reported.

CJ7 on Livestream Nest

Friday 23rd April

We have a fantastic Osprey Project update today: 014 has returned to Wales… and is on a nest with a male! 014 was a female released in the 2018 cohort of the translocation project, and returned to the UK last year for the first time, being seen multiple times in Wales and later in Devon. The male, ringed Z2 and known as ‘Aeron’, fledged from Dyfi in 2017. Both are therefore young birds and it is their first time attempting to nest. They have been seen copulating in the last week, which gives hope for the potential for eggs this year. This is a brilliant milestone for the project and the whole team are thrilled. You can read more about her return here.

In Poole Harbour today, activity has been low again, with CJ7 spending most of the day at the nest site. An Osprey was reported from Coombe Heath at RSPB Arne over the Middlebere Channel at 9:30am, which was presumably CJ7.

014 & Z2 (Aeron) on their nest 

Thursday 22nd April

Another quiet day for Osprey activity – although we’re hoping that something exciting is just around the corner. There we no reports of Ospreys around the harbour today, and CJ7 treated us to views of her on the nest throughout much of the morning and afternoon.

Another 3-year-old (Dinas) has been seen at Dyfi today, so it seems we’re getting a new stream of young birds coming in. It will only be a matter of time before the first 2-year-old is reported, which is when we can really start crossing our fingers for birds from our 2019 cohort of released chicks to return for the first time.

CJ7 resting on the nest this afternoon

Wednesday 21st April

CJ7 was intermittently present on the livestream nest today, though was reported over the Middlebere Channel heading towards the Wareham Channel at 11am. An Osprey was also reported flying over Brands Bay towards Little Sea at 14:25. The individual was large, suggesting it to be a female, and ringed on its right leg. Interestingly, CJ7 hasn’t been reported in that area before, though we can’t confirm whether it was her reported.

Tuesday 20th April

What a stunning day! All this warm weather clearly has CJ7 feeling lethargic as she stayed on and around the nest for most of the day again. She was briefly seen over the Wareham Channel but didn’t appear to have caught anything when she returned.

Things have been very quiet so far this week on the migrant front, but yesterday evening an osprey was seen arriving off of the sea at Abbotsbury, just along the coast from Poole Harbour. Could this signal the start of a new group of younger birds arriving back from their migrations? Most first-time-returners will typically arrive in May or June, but a few turn up in late April, so the next few weeks could be very exciting!

CJ7 showing off her wingspan on the livestream nest

Monday 19th April

A heavy mist hung around the livestream nest site for several hours after sunrise this morning, leaving a heavily dew covered rather damp. This may have contributed to her inactivity early on, though she seemed highly alert and on the lookout for any intruders.

Once the sun had begun to dry her feathers she quickly perked up however and brought in another few assortments of nesting material. She left the site at 10:34am and returned several hours later at 2:36pm without being spotted anywhere else in the harbour. She made off with purpose once again at 3:44pm and was photographed in the Middlebere Channel just after 4pm, returning to her nest almost exact 1 hour after she left.

The only other time she left the site was at 7pm, returning just 13 minutes later – closely pursued by a gang of corvids – and began scratching away behind the camera, presumably eating a fish. She certainly seems to prefer hunting at this time of day recently, maybe because there’s less human activity or perhaps she’s targeting higher tides.

A bedraggled CJ7 in the mist this morning

 

Sunday 18th April

It seems that CJ7 was the only bird active in the harbour once again after yesterdays potential visitor. She left her camera perch and landed in the nest at 5:41am, where she remained for much of the morning, bringing in some more dry grass and other materials to line the inside of her nest. She disappeared at 9:29am, and was photographed 15 minutes later at Morden Bog! She returned an hour later and continued her caretaking duties with several unhelpful interruptions from the local Ravens. She left again at 4:21pm and was seen not long later hunting in Lytchett Bay. She could be seen carrying a successful catch past the nest when she returned at 5:41pm.

Our visitor centre on Poole Quay is now open once again (Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm) so you can come and watch CJ7 and her nest in all their glory on our enormous screen! Whilst here you may also come across the latest edition to our osprey family: this amazing needle-felted osprey who was made and kindly donated by Sandra Hayman!

Needle-felted osprey by Sandra Hayman

 

Saturday 17th April

It’s been an active day for CJ7, leaving the nesting site just after 9:30am to hunt, returning an hour later with a small fish. She’s spent lots of time on the livestream nest today, occasionally adjusting nesting material, and at 2:11pm was repeatedly mobbed by a raven as she defended the nest (see video).

No Ospreys were seen from the Pop-Up Watch this morning, though one was reported flying East over the Wareham Channel. We can’t be sure that this bird was CJ7, so there is potential that this was a second bird in the area.

Friday 16th April

CJ7 has been distant from the livestream nest today, making a quick appearance just after 10am, but not staying for long. A ringed Osprey was reported on the Middlebere nest shortly after, which is highly likely to have been CJ7, before being displaced by a crow. At 4:10pm, she returned to the nest site, landing behind the camera to feed on a fish.

Remember to join us at Ham Common Viewpoint tomorrow morning from 9-11:30am for our Pop-Up Osprey Watch. We’re more than happy to answer any questions about the project and will be on hand to point out Ospreys hunting in the Wareham Channel. For those who aren’t local, we will still be running our regular Q & A on the YouTube livestream from 10-11am.

Thursday 15th April

Unfortunately another quiet day for Osprey activity, despite running the Pop-Up Watchpoint at Ham Common this morning. No Ospreys were seen over the Wareham Channel during the watch, although it became apparent that CJ7 had been hunting out of view, after she returned back to the perch behind the nest with a fish later in the morning. CJ7 continued nest building through the day, being particularly busy bringing in sticks in the late afternoon and not visiting other nesting sites in the harbour. Only one other sighting was reported, at around 7:40pm this evening, as an Osprey was seen drifting west high over Swineham.

The next Osprey Watch at Ham Common will run on Saturday morning from 9-11:30am. Despite not having any Osprey sightings this morning, there were still views of Marsh Harrier and Peregrine over the Wareham Channel, so it’s definitely worth coming along.

CJ7 Adjusting Nesting Material

 

Wednesday 14th April

Another quiet day for osprey activity around the harbour today, despite the favourable conditions. CJ7 was very placid today and seems to now be mostly satisfied with the progress she has made with building up her nest. She was on the nest and perches almost all day, the only real exception being when she departed to catch her usual evening meal. It was wonderful to see her perched there in amongst the mist this morning looking so calm and content. Let’s hope her patience will be well rewarded in the coming months. We can’t wait to see if any new birds return from the translocation project.

We’re also excited to say that we’ll be running two free Pop-up Osprey Watch events this week at Ham Common Viewpoint from 9am – 11:30am on Thursday (tomorrow) and Saturday. We’ve had one of the best springs on record for ospreys in Poole Harbour, and the Wareham Channel is THE place to look for them at this time of year. Join one of our experts to hear the most recent project updates and hopefully see some ospreys for yourself!. Please note that BCP car parking charges apply. Social distancing will also be in place and we won’t be able to share optics so please bring your own binoculars!

CJ7 in the mist this morning on the livestream nest

 

Tuesday 13th April

CJ7 was much more faithful to her favourite nest today, carrying out lots of minor adjustments and egg cup scraping. One of the few exceptions was a late morning jaunt to the harbour where she was photographed once again! She also departed late in the evening and returned with a fish, which she ate out of sight of the camera.

There was only one other osprey sighting today, of an individual carrying a fish low over Lytchett Fields at around 8:45am. So there were at least two birds present in total. Might this change over the next few days with the improving weather? Hopefully the easterly winds won’t pose too much of a barrier to migrating ospreys and we’ll get some more new arrivals.

CJ7 – Poole Harbour – Tony Furnell

 

Monday 12th April

Today we had another surprise when CJ7 visited the Middlebere nest platform for the first time this year! After spending the morning making improvements to her usual nest, she was seen flying in from the north and alighting on the Middlebere nest perch at 11:20. She was quickly harassed by crows and then chased off by a determined shelduck, but returned briefly before departing once again to the east at 11:50, passing right over the Coombe viewpoint and making for a lovely photo opportunity.

At around midday a single bird was seen passing north over Upton Country Park, and just after 1pm two individuals were simultaneously seen soaring over the woodland at the top end of the Middlebere Channel. The drifted slowly towards Hyde’s Heath, where a possible third bird could be seen soaring behind the far off in the Wareham Channel.

Also of interest was a beautiful female kestrel on the main perch on the livestream camera nest.

CJ7 – Middlebere – Fiona Liddiard

CJ7 on the Middlebere nest

 

Sunday 11th April

The exciting news from today was our first visiting ringed osprey to the harbour this season and the first visitor to CJ7’s nest, who was present at the time and wasn’t all that friendly!

At 15:27 CJ7 landed on her nest and could be seen looking nervously overhead and bouncing her wings in a defensive posture known as mantling. A minute later a second bird could be heard landing above the camera, and CJ7 moved to the far side of the nest before taking flight. The other bird also took off and landed briefly in the nest, though just for long enough for those watching to see that it had a blue leg ring on it’s right leg with a code reading 3AX! This is another female from Rutland just like CJ7, though this bird hatched back in 2018. This isn’t her first time back to the UK, she returned last year and turned up on both the Dyfi and Glaslyn nests in Wales on 9th May within the space of around 90 minutes. So will she stick around here for a while or continue on north somewhere?

We all got our hopes up for a moment that it might be a male, and it’s easy to feel a little despondent that all the birds in Poole Harbour at the moment seem to be females. However in a few years’ time when we have more males returned from the translocation project they should have no problem attracting in migrating females, and there’s a good chance the population could grow quite rapidly!

3AX appeared to follow CJ7 around the nest area for another 20 minutes and made 3 further very brief landings on the nest before she appeared to give up and leave. CJ7 then sat guard on the nest for much of the rest of the evening, only leaving later to catch a fish which she flew past the camera with before landing above to feed.

Elsewhere an unringed bird was seen hunting in the Middlebere Channel around 9am, but otherwise a quiet day.

3AX (Rutland, 2018) on the livestream nest

 

Saturday 10th April

What a day! Today we hosted our Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit in partnership with the Self-Isolating Bird Club, and it proved to be a truly inspiring set of discussions about the future of conservation. What’s more, CJ7 even put in a live appearance on the livestream camera just as the Poole Harbour translocation project was being discussed during the Raptor Reintroductions panel! You can watch the whole day here:

CJ7 arrived with a meal very early this morning, landing briefly in the nest after being disturbed by a passing mystery bird (probably a kestrel). Once she’d had enough to eat she discarded the remaining scraps in the nest, but later carried them away and presumably finished them off. Then it was back to nest arranging, and she continued to bring in more large sticks, alongside small clumps of heather and grass until a person was briefly seen walking past the nest and she flew away. Fortunately she was not put off for long, returning a few hours later and continuing with nest building right into the early evening.

The only other sighting was an osprey bird heading towards Middlebere from Hyde’s Heath at 7:20pm, which may well have been CJ7 as she departed her nest around 10 minutes earlier.

 

Friday 9th April

It’s been a relatively quiet day for ospreys in Poole Harbour today. Once again there were no sightings at Middlebere, further confirming that the female (we’re fairly sure it was just one individual now) departed early yesterday. There was however a sighting of a bird soaring over Lytchett Bay, which slowly drifted east towards Holes Bay around 8:52am.

Meanwhile CJ7 was nest building again from first light until around mid-morning, mostly bringing in smaller materials to line the inside of the nest. She was less settled in the afternoon but continued to nest build and once again brought in dinner around 6:15pm, which she briefly landed in the nest with and began guarding after something (likely a corvid) bothered her off of her perch.

 

Thursday 8th April

Only one bird was seen at Middlebere today, departing towards Wareham Channel at around 8:45am. Possibly the same bird was seen circling high over Hyde’s Heath five minutes later. It may well be that the unringed female which has been present for the last week or so has finally departed and continued northwards on her migration (perhaps triggered by the favourable change in the winds).

Not long later two birds were seen simultaneously flying over Lytchett Fields, both heading north. One of these may have been CJ7, but she was on her nest almost all day once again, bringing more of a variety of nesting materials such as bracken, mulch and even sprigs of gorse. She departed to hunt for dinner at 5:50pm and was back on the nest by 6:15pm: she really is an efficient hunter!

The only other sighting was of a single bird hunting in the Wareham Channel at 7:15pm, which caught a flatfish 15 minutes later and landed on the northern shore to feed.

CJ7 bringing a stick to the livestream nest

 

Wednesday 7th April

A nest building day once again for CJ7 today as she brought in another succession of sticks. It’s incredible to see the difference she’s already made just in the space of the week! She stopped at 10am to visit another nest in the harbour and returned with a light snack 12:34pm, but was finished within 35 minutes! Then it was back to work until around 5pm.

The unringed Middlebere female was on and off the nest throughout the morning. True to her recent behaviour she returned with a fish in the early afternoon and remained until later evening feeding and preening on the nest. We’re still not certain if it is Beaky, though based on the underwing pattern we’re fairly sure it isn’t. That said we’re also not 100% sure whether it is a single bird, given that some of the markings look very different between different images. We’ll continue to investigate!

Otherwise there was a sighting of a bird over Hyde’s Heath at Arne around midday, and two birds were seen simultaneously over the Wareham Channel in the early evening. Of note besides ospreys was a Tawny Owl briefly on the livestream nest at 8:39pm this evening!

Unringed female on Middlebere nest

 

Tuesday 6th April

The unringed Middlebere female appear to have roosted overnight on the nest as she was stretching on the perch at 5:12am. She stayed for at least three more hours before disappearing, but later returned at 1:10pm with an enormous fish! She remained there feeding on and off until at least 8pm. An unringed bird female was also seen flying over Coombe Heath towards the Wareham Channel at 11:49am so this may also have been her moving between hunting grounds.

CJ7 was away from her nest from mid-morning onwards, and we hope she was off interacting with the multiple other individuals seen in the harbour today. The first, which flew over Little Sea at 10am was likely a new bird arriving from the continent! Another was seen hunting in the central harbour between 1-1:30pm, and later moved into Lytchett Bay. Finally there was also a single bird seen from Swineham this evening. Not a bad round-up for a cold day in early April!

Unringed female over Middlebere – Fiona Liddiard

 

Monday 5th April

An early start from CJ7 this morning as she arrived on the nest and began arranging materials not long after first light. It was a calmer day for her in general, with the exception of the sudden appearance of a kestrel on the nest which gave her a great shock and caused her to take flight! Fortunately she didn’t go far and was soon bringing in more branches, some of quite impressive dimensions!

Despite the downturn in the weather there was still a decent amount of migrant osprey activity too, with individual birds seen seen soaring over Morden Bog on two separate occasions, and a further 3 records around the Wareham Channel. This included a pale individual (possibly male) eating a fish atop a dead tree on Hyde’s Heath at Arne!

The unringed Middlebere female was also present, eating and digesting a single enormous fish from 10:23 until early evening, but for a period of time during the late morning there was also another bird roosting nearby on Saltern’s Copse. Which made us wonder, might we be seeing two different birds taking it in turns to use the Middlebere nest? We’ll be comparing some trail camera photos tomorrow to try and find out.

Unringed osprey with fish – Hyde’s Heath – Luke Philips

 

Sunday 4th April

CJ7 upped the ante again today, bringing in at least six sticks in the space of 15 minutes just after 8am! She then headed off towards the harbour, where she was potentially seen hunting in the Middlebere Channel from Coombe heath, whilst the unringed female (who again caught two fish today) was sat on the nest. CJ7 returned to sit above the camera on the livestream nest at 9:29am but took off again 30 minutes later to join a second osprey soaring overhead. The pair circled high out of sight together but with little aggression between them so it may well have been a male… This is the first time we’ve seen her interacting with another osprey this season so it’s a very exciting record!

Sightings of other soaring ospreys came in thick and fast throughout the morning and early afternoon, with multiple individuals reported over both the Wareham Channel and Morden Bog. No doubt they were all making the most of the excellent weather conditions and the resultant thermals!

 

Saturday 3rd April

Some serious sticks being added to the nest by CJ7 today! She seems to be finding plenty of decent material close to the nest as she’s never gone for more than a few minutes. She left at 10:45 and wasn’t seen again until at 13:36, when she moved from above the camera down into the nest. She immediately began cleaning her beak on the nest substrate, indicating that she had just been enjoying a tasty meal on the perch. Her activity at and around the nest definitely seems to be increasing each day, and we expect this to continue over the coming weeks.

The unringed Middlebere female landed on the nest with a fish at 7:33am and remained throughout the day. That is until around 17:00 when she left and returned with a second enormous fish! Two other ospreys were spotted from Lytchett Bay mid-morning, the first of which with a fish and the second without. Potentially one of these individuals took their breakfast to Wareham Forest as an unringed bird was photographed there with a fish at 11:24am. And finally in the late afternoon there was a possible sighting over Holes Bay, meaning that there were between 4-6 individuals in total in and around the harbour today!

CJ7 basking in the sun on the livestream camera

 

Friday 2nd April

CJ7 has been settling back in nicely, and was on and off of her nest on several occasions again this morning. She was last seen on the nest at 9:10am, but a bird which was presumably here was spotted fishing in the Wareham Channel at 9:30am. After 10 minutes she carried her fish to the Arne shoreline where she remained until 11:10. At 12:20 she reappeared with the what was left of her catch on one of our other artificial nests and was photographed by one of our trail cameras.

The unringed female was also still present at the Middlebere nest early again this morning, bringing a small fish to the nest at 7:22am which she stayed to eat for most of the morning. After finishing her fairly small catch she moved to a nearby tree and later to one of the perching posts on the salt marsh, where she was mobbed by a Red Kite 11:50 for around 7 minutes! Just after midday she headed off in the Wareham Channel direction and returned to the nest at 1pm with a second, larger fish, where she remained until this evening.

A third individual was also spotted flying in from the south towards the Wytch Channel.

CJ7 – Alison Copland

 

Thursday 1st April

Just like clockwork… CJ7 is back!!! She landed above the livestream camera at 12:21pm and finally moved into view on the nest at 1:31pm. She made herself at home straight away with a bit of nest arranging and briefly egg cup scraping! In previous years it’s taken her about a week to settle down on the nest, as she wanted to explore the local area again and see what’s changed. And true to fashion, later this afternoon we received a picture of her on another of the artificial nests in the harbour, no doubt checking to see if there are any new occupants!

Interestingly though she doesn’t seem to have been to inspect the Middlebere nest though, where yesterday’s unringed female was present between 8:22am and 3:51pm eating a single enormous fish! She also returned to the nest multiple times this evening. We’re still not certain if this is Beaky, as its very typical of her to catch enormous fish but not to take hours to eat them… We’ll be keeping a close eye on her behaviour as well as CJ7’s.

CJ7 back on the livestream nest!

 

Wednesday 31st March

Other than an early osprey being harassed by gulls over Old Town Poole, the majority of today was cold and quiet. The northerly winds which are about to set in for the next week or so may well slow down osprey passage through the harbour, so we didn’t have much hope for further sightings this evening.

We were delighted therefore to receive our first osprey nest platform pictures of the season! We have installed motion-sensitive camera traps to five of the artificial osprey nests in Poole Harbour, which transmit images every two hours using the mobile phone network. Today at 5:33pm an image was capture by the Middlebere platform camera showing a well-marked female (perhaps the same bird seen yesterday at the livestream nest?) land in the nest! At first we wondered if this might be the female whom we’ve seen use this nest regularly during April over the last two springs, called ‘Beaky’. However from today’s initial pictures this bird does not seem to have the same heavy bill as Beaky does. Further pictures will help us to decide, so hopefully she’ll stick around over the coming days!

Tomorrow is the first day of April, which is the date that our resident female CJ7 returned to Poole Harbour back in 2019. Will she be back, or will she keep us waiting?

Unringed female on the Middlebere nest

 

Tuesday 30th March

The forecast of a beautifully calm and sunny day left us sure that we would receive an abundance of osprey sightings this morning, with most of our team of staff and volunteers out in the harbour from key vantage points. However when by 11am there was not a single report we were perplexed. With a report of a bird flying over Holt to the north of the harbour, we began to wonder if conditions were so good that birds were simply passing straight through on migration…

Then we were rewarded for our patience with our first osprey on a nest of the season! An unringed bird with a prominent breast band (likely female) landed above the camera on our livestreamed nest. Sadly it didn’t move into the nest for viewers to see, nor did it stay for long, and after just five minutes had disappeared towards Poole Harbour.

Two birds were also seen later in the day over the Wareham Channel. The first was hunting and have caught a fish easily proceeded to land on the northern shoreline. The second seemed to be moving north with more purpose, and passed over Lytchett Bay were it was also seen to continue north. A third bird also appeared to follow suit around half an hour later, this time passing north over Rockley park.

 

Monday 29th March

No osprey sightings today.

 

Sunday 28th March

There were still at least two ospreys present in Poole Harbour today with simultaneous sightings late this afternoon by local volunteers, who were out counting the wetland bird species as part of a British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) scheme. The first was picked up by multiple people as it hunted in the Wareham Channel. To our surprise, once it had caught its dinner, it proceeded to carry it over to the Arne shoreline and eat the fish… on the ground! This behaviour is common in West Africa where there is less risk of disturbance or predation, but here in the us it’s far less common and very rarely recorded in busy Poole Harbour. It was obviously reminiscing of the tropics!

The second bird was seen at the same time passing over Brownsea island. It was also carrying a fish and may well have landed in a tree on the north shore of the island to eat.

 

Saturday 27th March

A bumper day for ospreys in the harbour this morning, with no less than three seen in quick succession over the Wareham Channel. The first bird caught a fish just before 9am and carried it towards the Arne Peninsula. The second bird made a successful catch 30 minutes later, but rather than searching a suitable dining perch instead circled higher and higher until it was lost in the sky. Then an hour later, a third bird could be seen also carrying a recent catch, this time heading in the direction of Middlebere. Given this trajectory, we had hoped it might be picked up by some visitors at RSPB Arne, however no further sightings were reported.

 

Friday 26th March

No osprey sightings today.

 

Thursday 25th March

Another quiet day, though an anonymous note left in the Middlebere hide indicated that a singly osprey had been seen at around 4pm.

Osprey sighting reported the old fashioned way!

 

Wednesday 24th March

A quieter day again today with just a single sighting of an osprey departing from Arne Hill at first light. This is likely to have been one of the birds seen yesterday, making the most of the  good weather conditions to continue north on their migration.

 

Tuesday 23rd March

Today was the first day of the year with confirmed osprey sightings in Poole Harbour! A little later than previous years (usually around the 13th or 16th March) it seems that birds may have been held up by bad weather on the continent over the last few weeks.

The first bird appeared in the Wareham Channel just before 9:30am, where not long later it caught a fish and carried it off to a birch tree on the Arne shoreline. At 10am a second (presumably different individual) also appeared and also began hunting, with little success. After around half an hour it gave off and made off over the Arne peninsula in the direction of Middlebere.

Finally there was another sighting south over Holes Bay, which may have been the unlucky bird from earlier or new individual.

Osprey – Wareham Channel – Joe Parker

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