We are pleased to announce our sponsorship of two new GPS osprey satellite trackers in support of the Tweed Valley Osprey Project.
The project protects nesting ospreys and has helped to attract these iconic raptor species. Before FES conservation work, they were believed to be absent in the Scottish Borders for more than 100 years. The trackers will operate for approximately three years in order to monitor the settlement and breeding of the species.
The Tweed Valley Osprey Project was founded in the late 1990s with the aim of encouraging and protecting nesting ospreys to breed in suitable locations within the Tweed Valley Forest Park. As part of the project a number of artificial nest platforms have been erected with great success fledging over 230 chicks with birds migrating to Portugal, Spain and West Africa.
The project has recently welcomed two new osprey chicks to the live nest site viewing location, hatched on 12th June 2018. This week the chicks were ringed and fitted with the GPS trackers, sponsored by Forest Holidays, in order to monitor the survival rate of the birds, to establish population dynamics, migration routes and identify threats to the welfare of the species. The tags will operate for approximately three years and will help to improve the publicâ€™s knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the birds.
Forest Holidays and Forest Enterprise Scotland hope the project and the addition of viewing centres in Kailzie and Glentress will bring new visitors to the area and boost tourism in Tweed Valley.
Now fully grown, the male and female chicks have been named Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The names were chosen by the public via a social media competition, hosted on Forest Holidaysâ€™ Twitter feed.
Forest Holidays CEO Bruce McKendrick says: â€œIâ€™m delighted that we were asked to support Forest Enterprise Scotland on such a wonderful project. Forest Holidays has always been committed to ensuring that wildlife is able to thrive within the forest and the Tweed Valley Osprey Project has been instrumental in re-introducing these beautiful birds to the area after an absence of nearly 100 years.â€
Eve Schulte, Environment & Heritage Ranger at Forest Enterprise Scotland, adds: â€œWeâ€™ve been involved in encouraging ospreys back to the area for twenty years and these amazing raptors have really been taken to the hearts of local people. They are a great attraction for the area and visitors come from far and wide to learn about and observe these incredible, beautiful birds. Weâ€™re really looking forward to finding out much more about our own local ospreys and their use of the environment as well as learning about their fascinating migration flights.â€
Forest Enterprise Scotland and Forest Holidays will continue to monitor Tweedledum and Tweedledee over the course of the next few years. The public can track their progress via live webcam feeds on Forest Enterprise Scotlandâ€™s website, as well as the osprey watch centres at Kailzie and Glentress.
Earlier this year, planning was approved for the partnership between Forest Enterprise Scotland and Forest Holidays to create 56 secluded eco-cabins, new biking trails and a walking route at Glentress. The scheme will bring Â£11.3 million investment, with Forest Holidays providing private sector investment of Â£10 million for the project and the remaining Â£1.3 million from Forest Enterprise Scotland.