It has been a very eventful and hectic week here so the best place for me to start would be where I left off on Saturday 16 May. On Sunday at around 3 pm we were a bit concerned when the male returned to the nest and started making alarm calls whilst looking down below the nest. This led us to believe that there was either an unwanted predator stalking below the nest or someone was out for a stroll and perhaps unaware that there was an osprey nest above them. We then spent the nest hour watching him and driving around to ensure there was no-one near the nest. He seemed to calm down after circling around the nest a few times before finally leaving to perch on a tree close by. The presence of deer on our excursions around the reserve told us that there was no-one nearby as the deer would have been scared off by any walkers. This left us at a bit of a loss about what caused the male to react in this way. The male had brought in fish at noon and at 4:15 pm and the female was feeding the chicks but unfortunately, as had been from the start, the first chick appeared to be getting the majority of the food. The following day the female started to act odd in the morning and behaving the same way as the male had done. When she flew off and returned we soon discovered what had caused all the commotion the day before. It was not a predator or human presence which got the male so riled up, it was simply that he had dropped a fish down the side of the nest and could not get to it. He certainly gave us something to think about!
The mother and chicks were fed both in the morning and the evening on the 18th but by then the second chick was already getting incredibly weak and the lack of food the next day combined with the bad weather we were experiencing did not help matters. Unfortunately the youngest chick passed away at around mid-day which left everyone upset and concerned for the wellbeing of the remaining chick if the weather did not improve to provide the male with the right conditions to fish. The male did bring in three fish later that evening between 4:45 pm and 9:25 pm but it was all too little to late for the youngest chick.
Our sorrow was replaced with joy on the morning of the 20th when our third egg hatched. We noticed a crack in the egg on Monday 18 May but it had taken two days for the little chick to finally muster all its strength and break free form the shell at 8:25 am. The mother and the first chick were fed at 5:12 am and it was just a matter of time before the male would return with a fish for the newly born chick. Weather conditions were ideal for fishing and it was a beautiful day so we had great expectations for this chick if the weather remained good. We waited in anticipation all day, constantly reassuring ourselves that he would come in with a fish soon, but it never came. We were seriously concerned for the chicks wellbeing by tea-time because there was still no fish in sight although the male had returned twice to the nest empty handed so we knew there was nothing wrong with the male. By 9:50 pmhe finally brought in a very small fish but the female only fed herself and the oldest chick. The lack of fishing by the male recently has concerned us slightly but the female has certainly seemed to have had a good word with him because over the last few days he has been returning with quite a few fish and both chicks are getting fed and looking healthy. She has even had to leave parts of the fish for later because she is getting too much food to eat in one go so hopefully her stern words have kicked him into shape and he will bring in fish more regularly.