We know the last five days have been an incredibly anxious time, not only for staff and volunteers of BGGW, but also for you, our loyal supporters. We would like to share this update with you, explaining the actions that have been taken behind the scenes since Friday last week.
When we left the Visitor Centre on Thursday evening 20th May, a storm was already raging. Mrs G still had the remains of a fish on the nest when Aran left at 19:42 and we assume he went fishing.
It was 15:02 on Friday before Aran landed on the nest again, without a fish. Aran repeatedly left the nest throughout the afternoon and evening, returning without a fish. This caused us great concern as Mrs G had fed the remains of the previous day’s fish to the chicks at 12:04.
We originally thought Aran’s failure to provide fish was due to the flooding after the storm, which was so bad we were unable to open the Visitor Centre. However, we observed Z2/Aeron delivering a fish to the Pont Croesor (FotO) nest on Friday evening.
By Saturday morning, when fish was still not delivered to the Glaslyn nest, it became clear that there was another reason for Aran not being able to fish. It is at this point we noticed he had missing primary feathers from his right wing and he was visibly fatigued.
With the third chick now hatched, it was becoming a matter of urgency. Mrs G was increasingly agitated by the crows, who no doubt sensed she was stressed and vulnerable, having to protect the chicks by herself on the nest.
As we had never previously encountered such a situation, we sought advice from osprey expert Dr Tim Mackrill whose advice was to provide Aran, Mrs G and the chicks with fish until Aran returned to health. He suggested that fish could be placed on a feeding station close to the nest where the adults would see the fish.
This was going to be a challenge, but we took advantage of the Live Streaming going down on Saturday night to provide supplementary feeding. Carrion crows are a constant threat to young chicks who are at risk of being predated, therefore, we had to place the fish between dusk and dawn, when the crows are roosting.
The following day, Sunday, Mrs G fed the chicks regularly and they looked healthy. Aran, who had not eaten since Thursday, arrived at the nest, and tentatively ate some innards before tackling the flesh of the trout. He ate well for the rest of the day.
Throughout Sunday, Mrs G and Aran were troubled by the crows and also by KS8, a young Clywedog Osprey who had previously visited the Glaslyn nest. KS8 landed on the nest close to the fish and while she was tolerated for a while by the resident pair, Mrs G sent her away with a flea in her ear. Aran also chased after her and it looked as if he had gained strength from feeding.
Aran looking stronger but his right wing still does not look right.
Sadly, the first chick died in the nest late on Sunday afternoon. It had been eating well previously and the cause of its death is unknown.
We were confident at this stage, that Monday morning would bring better news as there was still a whole fish left on the nest. But, shortly after 7am, KS8 landed on the nest and stole the fish. Fortunately, Mrs G had fed the chicks earlier.
This was a real set-back as we could not provide more fish until dark lest the crows predate the chicks if Mrs G left with Aran still not strong enough to defend the nest.
We feared for the chicks during the day, but they remained surprisingly strong despite not being fed. Mrs G and Aran continued to defend the nest against the crows. Aran moved from the short perch to the nest edge to be closer to the chicks and to defend them better. Mrs G also removed the dead chick from the nest.
Aran flew off to roost in the early evening. At dusk, supplementary feeding was again provided and Mrs G, who appeared to be starving, attacked the provided fish voraciously, eating for a full fifteen minutes.
Today, Tuesday, Mrs G has continued to feed the chicks and Aran has returned to the nest and has fed well throughout the day.
Our intention is to continue to provide fish until Aran’s condition has improved and he is able to consistently fish for his family.