September 19, 2023

Ospreys at the Old Melrose Estate

On 23rd April 2022 a pair of Osprey appeared at Old Melrose and started building a nest at the top of one of the large Douglas Fir that overlook the River Tweed.


Luckily for us and our holiday cottage guests the tree is right in front of our two new Lodges (East Tweed and West Tweed). The female has been identified as “Blue 110” by a ring on her leg. She was born in late May 2018 at a site on the Black Isle. In 2021 she had been spotted at Keilder and other nearby nest sites however she did not breed that year. Less is known about the male although we believe him to be of a similar age.

After a month of nest building which included lining the new nest with moss and grass the female was ready to start breeding and by mid June she was sitting on eggs with the male watching over her. Rearing chicks was new to her and many Ospreys lose their first batch of eggs to crows and buzzards who raid the nest. However, Blue 110 knew instinctively what to do and stayed with her eggs and by early July her first chick had hatched and the male was hard at work catching fish from the river two or three times a day and delivering them to the nest where the female would tear strips off them to feed the chick. On 6th August the chick took to the air for the first time and was fully fledged. The three Osprey remained at the next for two more weeks and then at the end of August they headed off independently on their long migration South. We were thrilled to learn in November that the female had been seen at Somone Lagoon, Senegal. We held our breath and waiting to see if they would return in 2023.

In early April 2023 the male Osprey arrived back at the nest followed a few days later by a different female. However, soon afterwards our female arrived and the new intruding female was encouraged to leave the area although she continued to return at points over the summer. Repairs were made to the nest which is now significantly larger and by the end of May the female was sitting on eggs again. By July her chicks had hatched and we were able to spot three little heads sticking out of the nest. The male was kept very busy providing fish and I have heard of sightings up and down the river within a five mile radius of an Osprey been seen taking trout and sea trout from the river right in front of frustrated anglers. The chicks all developed quickly and by the end of August the sky was full of Ospreys swooping and calling to each other. We must thank the Ospreys who have kept our Holiday Cottage guests entertained through out the Summer months. There is something wonderful about being able to sit on the decking in the evening with a drink in one hand and a pair of binoculars in the other watching the sun set whilst admiring the Ospreys flying overhead.

At the end of August things quietened down as the Ospreys started to think about their migration South and slowly one by one they slipped away. At the time of writing we are keeping our fingers crossed that the adults find their way back to us yet again in 2024.