Saturday, 2 October 2010

Osprey

Despite the earlier forecast the weather wasn't too bad today until well into the afternoon, by which time I was just about ready to give my tired feet a rest. There were quite a few birds around today, a complete summary is on the Bockhill page of KOS Web Site.

The star bird for me was an Osprey, that Nigel picked up flying way over the golf course, as we walked along the path beside the course.

At first it looked as if it was heading directly towards us be at one point it circled round and looked as if it would head off towards the sea before it reached us.

It turned back towards us and continued heading south. As it passed I managed to get a branch partly in the way and just about managed this image between the leaves. The kink in the wing looks rather strange!

Up until it actually reached the cliff top it, surprisingly, had caused no disturbance amongst the gulls or corvids in the area. As it approached the monument it circled round and then all the gull decided it was time to show their disapproval of the Osprey's presence.

Unfortunately it didn't hang around and after one rather convenient (for us) showy circular display it continued it's journey and appeared to head out to sea.

Osprey were probably quite numerous in Scotland up until the 17th century but habitat change, persecution and egg collecting caused them to become extinct in 1916. They may hay bred in England, as they are mentioned in Shakespeare's play and other literature from the 15th and 16th centuries. After their demise in Scotland they continued to be seen as rare passage migrants and a pair returned to breed at Loch Garten 1n 1954. Breeding success was poor until extensive wardening gave then more protection and now there are around 160 pairs breeding. In England the (re-) introduction scheme at Rutland Water, where young were translocated to a suitable breeding site before being released to migrate to Africa. They returned to the site, where artificial nests (a technique used in the USA and other countries) were provided to encourage them to stay, and they are now well established. Another pair now nests in the Lake District and with the numbers passing through Kent who knows when they may start at Bough Beech or Bewl Bridge.

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