Rare chicks on their own

    Arno Bay osprey Maris. PHOTOS: ROD CARRICK
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    A pair of rare young Arno Bay ospreys have left the nest and are now learning how to fish under the watchful eyes of their parents and the Eyre Peninsula bird-watching community.

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    The chicks – named Ollie and Ziggy during a town-wide competition drawn in December – have been hard to spot since hatching out in spring and heading away from the tall communications tower parents Maris and Bligh have nested on.

    Young osprey travel up to 20km from the nest, so Arno Bay Ospreys committee member Rod Carrick has been on the look out ever since.

    “They jumped the tower,” he said.

    “We’ve been having trouble since Christmas to track down where they are.

    “It’s just a matter of finding them.”

    The parents are one of only about 50 breeding pairs left in the state, but a concerted effort by conservationists is slowly starting to pay off.

    New nesting towers – valued at about $30,000 each when installation by helicopter is factored in – have been built along the state’s coastline, including at Arno Bay and Sleaford.

    And more are planned for this year, including at Port Lincoln, Streaky Bay and Tulka.

    Mr Carrick said the naming competition was a big success, with schoolchildren and tourists becoming more aware of the plight of the endangered birds, including sending in photos of osprey in their natural habitats.

    “We drummed up a bit of interest for the schoolkids and people around,” he said.

    “We had a choice of 70-odd names that came through.”

    There is also new signage going up on the Arno Bay boardwalk where osprey – who only raise about two chicks per year and only eat fish – can sometimes be spotted hunting for food.

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