Sunday, April 06, 2008

Local birding: Ospreys - Brockholes Quarry, Lancs - 6th April 2008.

The early April 'push' of Ospreys up the country is one of my most anticipated aspects of the local birding calendar and today was one of those magical days on the local patch, with no less than THREE Osprey moving through during the course of the day.

Mark Fanshawe rang at 10:00 to say there was an Osprey in view over No1 pit. Then another call followed at 10:15 to say he had another in view at the same time!! The first bird moved on in a NE direction but fortunately the 2nd bird lingered in the area for 4hrs allowing c20 birders, including myself, to twitch it.

After fishing both onsite and on the adj River Ribble to the NE of the site, this Osprey eventually caught a Fish and after some 20+ minutes of flying around with it at various heights and at distances of c1km, it eventually came nearer and to our delight landed in Boilton Wood to commence feeding.

Gavin Thomas could see the bird perched from his viewpoint near the M6, but the main group of birders including myself to the east of No1 Pit could not. Suddenly, spooked by a Buzzard, the Osprey took flight and to our astonishment flew and landed on a lampost on the north carriageway of the adjacent, busy M6 Motorway. As there was no multi vehicle pile up, we assumed no birders had driven below it for the ten minutes it remained before it returned to Boilton Wood to recommence feeding!

Photo: Gavin Thomas.
By shifting our positions to the bund separating No2 Pit from No3 Pit, some superb views of the Osprey were had for 20 minutes, much to the delight of all present.
It was during these views that we noticed the bird was colour ringed Red/White 6A on the left leg. The bird was ringed at a site called Ordie 4 near Dunkeld, Perthshire, ex brood 2/2, ring no. 1337913 on 14th July 2001. From 2005 it has been a breeding bird in Aberfoyle in Central Region, Scotland.

Above: Photo - Mark Fanshawe.

Below: Showing some of the ring detail. Photo: Gavin Thomas.

Following increasing harrassment from the local Magpies and Carrion Crows, Osprey No2 eventually flew NE, upriver, at 14:20 for at least a kilometer, still carrying the remains of its catch.

A few other birders had arrived onsite too late, and whilst stood on the compound banking at the NE end of the site, scanning upstream to see if bird No2 would reappear, Gareth Morgan rang at 15:10 to say that there was an Osprey over No1 Pit! - This bird had missing inner primaries in the left wing and was clearly ANOTHER bird as the earlier two were both fully winged!

Above & below: The third Osprey of the day was in view from 15:10-15:20 as it passed over the site, pausing to hover over the small, newly created scrape in the compound, before fishing briefly below Tunbrook Wood, then flew due north.

I remained onsite until 19:00hrs but there was no further Osprey action. Todays events highlight well the value of all day, multi-observer coverage.