Hopes high as Tweed ospreys return

THE Tweed Valley ospreys are back and setting up home.

There had been sightings of the magnificent birds in the area since the beginning of March.

The female returned to the area’s main nest on March 26, exactly the same day as the previous year.

But the male didn’t arrive until later.

Osprey information officer Diane Bennett said: “All’s good with our birds. We have seen the male, we know he’s back. We haven’t confirmed it’s him because we haven’t seen his leg ring but we are pretty sure it’s him.

“On March 26 the female was sitting on the main nest. She was mantling and looking skyward as though there was a bothersome intruder about.”

But it seems the right male has returned for the birds have been seen mating at the nest.

“The male arrived back a little later [than the female] but we do not have a confirmed date as there were a few teething troubles, now ironed out, with the new high-definition cameras, ” said Ms Bennett.

The birds of prey form life-long bonds and usually return to the same nest site each year.

After wintering in sub-Saharan Africa, they fly about 5,000 miles to return to the region.

Over the border, the Kielder male and female, the first to breed successfully in north-east England for at least 200 years, have made it back.

RSPB’s area conservation manager, Nick Adams, said: “Last year the female was delayed for over a week due to bad weather en route, so we are delighted that the wait has been short this time. The birds have been exemplary parents since 2009, raising a total of seven chicks. We have great hopes of another osprey family being born in Kielder, boosting the re-colonisation of the species to other areas of England.”

Osprey courtship often involves the male attempting to woo his partner with food. The birds breed, incubate their eggs, nurture the young until they fledge and teach them how to hunt within five months. By the end of August the chicks must be independent and preparing to migrate.