All entries for October 2006

October 24, 2006

Ospreys on campus

Writing about web page http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/guide/o/osprey/index.asp

Over the past two days, myself and Phil have been watching possibly a pair of Ospreys circling over and fishing from the lake next to the large white MBA building near the gatehouse roundabout (we’ve not seen them together but there seem to be two different looking birds from the same species). These birds really are amazing to watch. The wingspan of the larger animal must be nearing 2 metres and the prey it stalks demonstrates the size and power of it. On Monday, we watched the larger osprey drop from tree level to the surface of the lake, with talons outstretched to grab a decent sized carp from the water before carrying it off and today, the same bird attempted to snatch a duck from the lake. Anyway, these birds are very rare within the UK by all acounts so if you’re walking down scarman road next to the lake, its worth having a look around in the sky for one of them. It’s likely that they wont stay for long on campus as they are on the migration trail but with such a good food source as the lake nearby, its possible that they will stay for a few days. Both of us gardeners took our cameras into work today to try and snap the opsreys and i’ve made a really crappily edited .jpeg of the images from my camera. however, john the photographer from the mba building took some photos with his digital SLR so they are well worth looking out for. Anyway, here’s some info i nicked from the RSPB website and the images that i took of the bird today:

Osprey
Pandion haliaetus

Seen in flight from below the osprey has white or slightly mottled underparts. The long wings are angled, bending at the ‘wrist’ which has a black patch contrasting with the white wing linings, and at a distance it could be mistaken for a large gull. This spectacular fish-eating bird of prey is an Amber List species because of its historical decline (due to persecution), and low breeding numbers.

Breeding
The core population area in the UK is in the Scottish Highlands where ospreys favour areas with Scots Pine forests, fresh water lochs and rivers. These provide nesting and feeding sites similar to those found in Scandinavia.

Wintering
Coastal regions of Africa. UK birds mainly winter in West Africa.

Passage
Migrating ospreys can stop at any suitable lake or reservoir with plenty of fish, sometimes staying for days before moving on.

Where to see it
Its main UK stronghold is in Scotland with public view nest sites at Loch Garten, Speyside, and Loch of the Lowes, Perth. It recently began breeding in England at Bassenthwaite, Cumbria and at Rutland Water (where it was introduced). A pair can also be found in Wales in the Glaslyn Valley where there is a public viewing point. Can be seen at almost any large body of freshwater during spring and autumn migration.

Ospreys over Radcliffe House

October 2006

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