This year we’ve been lucky in having an almost daily viewing of osprey hunting on the Basin. Thanks to the tern raft camera, and some nifty camera work from one of our volunteers, we’ve been able to capture some of this behaviour. As this footage shows, hunting mainly consists of gliding and hovering over an area in search of prey (a behaviour very similar to that of a kestrel), before diving into the water to grab any fish it has detected. Osprey have a relatively high success rate when it comes to hunting, ranging from 50% to 80%, but this hunt was unsuccessful and the bird flew off to try another spot.
The tern raft also gave us another unexpected result in capturing osprey behaviour, when an individual landed on one of the rafts post to groom itself. This is an important activity for any species to ensure the feathers are kept in good flying condition, but with the osprey there is an added benefit. Its over developed preen gland produces a waterproofing oil which, when spread over the feathers, allows the individual to dive into the water without its feathers becoming waterlogged.
Georgina Bowie (Visitor Centre Assistant)