Fascinating footage of the guillemots at Durlston in Swanage, incubating their eggs, has been captured by the country park’s remote controlled cliff camera, while towards Poole Harbour, a webcam is documenting the life of a female osprey, while she waits for her mate to turn up.
The guillemot colony at Durlston is the second largest on the south coast with around 400 birds, of which about 200 are visible via the cliff camera. They started arriving in March to breed and many have now produced an egg, some of which are bright blue.
Four weeks until the chicks start to hatch
Senior ranger at Durlston Country Park, Katie Black who has been watching their progress said:
“The guillemots are packed onto the ledges, hundreds of black and white bodies squashed together, a good number of these have now laid their single egg and are incubating. This will continue for the next four weeks until the chicks start to hatch, with both the male and female taking their turns on duty.”
Once a chick is three weeks old, it will dramatically jump from the ledges, plunging into the sea with its father, who will care for it in the water until it’s independent. All this will be captured on camera over the coming weeks by the ranger team.
This is the latest footage filmed on Friday 1st May 2020.
In this video clip, filmed on Thursday 30th April 2020, blue eggs are just visible underneath some of the guillemots.
Hope of capturing nesting ospreys
Meanwhile, over the other side of Purbeck, overlooking Poole Harbour, a crowd-funded webcam has been set up on a nesting platform by the charity, Birds of Poole Harbour, with the hope of capturing nesting ospreys.
Last year CJ7, now a five year old female osprey spent last summer bonding with a now three year old male osprey LS7 but didn’t produce a chick, so this year with the webcam installed, the team was delighted when CJ7 returned from Africa in early April this year.
Producing an egg
Since then she has been building a nest and surprised everyone on Thursday 30th April 2020 by producing an egg, however sadly, it is infertile because she is still waiting for a male osprey to turn up.The production of an infertile egg by CJ7 is due to a boost in hormones, showing that she is ready to breed.
There’s still hope that LS7 will fly into Poole Harbour before the end of the breeding season but he only has about another ten days to do so, otherwise he has blown it for another year!
See whether LS7 arrives in time by watching the live webcam.
In this video below, osprey project officer, Brittany Maxted tells the story behind the Poole Harbour ospreys and details the ‘will they, won’t they’ antics between CJ7 and LS7.
For more information
Durlston Country Park, just south of Swanage in Dorset covers 320 acres of very special countryside with an amazing diversity of wildlife: 33 species of breeding butterfly, over 250 species of bird recorded, 500 wildflowers, 500 moths and thousands of other invertebrates.
The Poole Harbour Osprey Project aims to restore a breeding population of ospreys to the south coast over five years. It started in 2017.