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Threave Chick blue BK Pont Grandic, Noyola, Gulf of Morbihan, Britany, France 2010. Image courtesy of David Ledan.

The story so far...

Ospreys have been seen regularly throughout the years, either passing through or prospecting for potential nest sites and more recently, within the Dee river system of Threave estate. Trust staff, countryside staff and tenant farmers on the estate can recall seeing Ospreys in the area annually over a number of years.

In 2007 Karl Munday contacted Ciril Ostroznik and asked if he would put up Osprey platforms at Threave Estate in an attempt to encourage the birds to nest.

The following year an osprey (ringed black 80) appeared creating a lot of interest - he was positively ID'd and traced back to Glaslyn North Wales. This was at the time the only successful Osprey nest site in Wales. There was no idea of the origins of the female as she was un-ringed. Our birds during 2008 went through the ritual of pair bonding for the future, with no eggs being laid that year.

Threave Osprey chicks and castle
Image courtesy Keith Kirk & Ciril Ostroznik 2009

In 2009 the male, black 80, was back with presumably the same female; and there was a very successful year with the birds continuing behaviour that further cemented their pairing, and demonstrated faithfulness to the Threave nest.

The birds' behaviour, as the season progressed, suggested we had eggs, which was much to everyone's delight. This turned out to be a great success for Osprey conservation and the National Trust for Scotland. Both the chicks were ringed and they fledged shortly afterwards, offering great views to the public.

In anticipation of the coming season, and riding on the success of 2009, we had a public viewing Osprey platform constructed to encourage the wider public to come and see these very special birds.

In 2010 our male turned up on 27 March and the spectacular Osprey skydance was being performed to the female on 10 April. Once again our birds demonstrating their commitment to one another, and the site, with the public having great views of our male fishing close by to the nest. Our pair managed to raise three young, all ringed in July.

One of our chicks (blue BK) was sighted in Pont Grandic Novola, Gulf of Morbihan, Britany, France on the 19 September in the Regional Natural Park. It was great news to hear of the whereabouts of one of our chicks.

In 2011 our birds raised two chicks successfully, with excellent Osprey viewing that season. The success of the Threave ospreys would not have happened had it not been for the joint working between local land owners the Milligan family, Ciril Ostroznik, Dumfries and Galloway Council, North Solway ringing Group, Scottish Natural Heritage and NTS osprey volunteers. The Dumfries and Galloway osprey population is now rapidly increasing and the future is looking very promising for the species in southern Scotland.

For the 2012 season we have a very dedicated team of NTS Osprey volunteers who are on hand every day during the breeding season (April- September) to show and inform visitors of the Ospreys daily activities. Please look out for our Threave Osprey leaflet which tells the story of the place, our birds, and the people involved.

For more information about wildlife at Threave and the latest Threave Osprey news, please visit our team blog at

2013 Osprey update

  • 30th April: Female appeared to be incubating eggs. Incubation period: 35 – 42 days.
  • 11th June: The female is confirmed feeding down into nest. Therefore chicks hatched.
  • 24th June: Confirmation of two chicks.
  • 9th July: The two chicks are a month old. Fledging period: 50 – 55 days.
  • 17th July: The two chicks are ringed, two young female osprey. CU8 and CU9.
  • 29th July: 1 juvenile fledged the nest in the early morning before 10:00am.
  • 30th July: 1 juvenile fledged the nest at 11:30am.
  • 6th August: The two juvenile are two months old.
  • 16th August: 1 juvenile seen catching a fish from Castle Hide – 17:05pm.
  • 18th August: 1 juvenile seen from Castle Hide diving for a fish.
    Catch unsuccessful – 15:30pm.

The chicks were successfully ringed on Wednesday 17 July with the following rings: Blue CU8 (BTO ring 1408283) and Blue CU9 (BTO 1401851) and both thought to be female.

The blue darvic rings were placed on the left leg, the BTO silver rings on the right. CU8 weighed 1.74kg and CU9 was 1.89kg. They were both pretty lively on the ground and one had to be held to prevent her making a run for it. Karl Munday (Head Ranger) was nipped a few times on the hand by one of the feisty chicks.

The nest is getting quite crowded with the growing chicks and the adults. Both adults have been bringing in sticks to make the nest bigger.

Did you know?

Ospreys became extinct as breeding birds in Scotland in 1916 and were only seen as passing migrants until 1954 when a pair recolonised naturally in Scotland.

Scotland has more Osprey breeding locations than anywhere else in the UK.

The osprey has the highest degree of legal protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Osprey's can close their nostrils to avoid water getting up their nose.

Threave Osprey Chick ring details:-

2009 Ringed 16/7/2009
Darvic Blue BB BTO ring 1408259
Darvic Blue BC BTO ring 1408253

2010 Ringed 13/7/2010
Darvic Blue BK BTO ring 1408259
Darvic Blue BL BTO ring 1408260
Darvic Blue BM BTO ring 1408261

2013 Ringed 17/7/2013
Darvic Blue CU8 BTO ring 1408283