We have had a very eventful week here with the ospreys. Whilst out in the canoe on Thursday evening monitoring the reserve, we spotted what we thought was probably the male getting repeatedly attacked by a gull. The osprey did not even bat an eyelid at this aerial attack and continued staring into water surface looking for a tasty meal. When the attack got too much, the osprey retreated to find a quieter area to hunt. The osprey returned on several occasions and each time was met by an aerial attack from the same gull no matter how far away the gull was when the osprey made an appearance. At one point we heard the gull yelling from half way down the loch where it made a beeline straight to the top of the loch where the osprey had just appeared over the tree line so the gull appeared to be spending its whole time watching for the osprey’s return.
Friday was an even more eventful day but for the chicks this time. We have video footage of the ospreys fighting very aggressively on the nest. One of the juveniles was on its siblings back pecking it repeatedly and grabbing it by the neck, pulling it with all its might. The other juvenile finally gave in and flew off the nest leaving its sibling feeling very smug about its defeat. This is normal behaviour for ospreys as it is their way of saying ‘this is my nest so get off’. The juveniles also regularly fight over fish which has been brought in the nest so it is not uncommon to see them laying into one another.
We also have footage from Friday of one of our chicks getting dragged off the nest by the father. The father arrived at the nest with a fish which the juvenile appeared to try and take hold of but we think it may have grabbed hold of dad’s talons instead. The male took off with the juvenile still attached and dragged it over the edge of the nest. Thankfully the juvenile was not hurt and arrived back on the nest after several minutes. It must have been clinging onto the nest for dear life as when it returned it was clinging to a stick. The shock of falling out of the nest also seemed to make it forget how to open its talons as it acted like the stick was stuck to its foot before realisation dawned on it and it opened its talons and let it drop.
After saying in the previous post that it is very rare for juveniles to hunt at this stage and before they leave for Africa, one of our juveniles did the unthinkable and was spotted catching a fish on Sunday. This would have been spectacular to see and a few lucky spectators also managed to take photos of this fantastic event. This photo of the juvenile with a fish was kindly sent in by Neil MacDonald who has also very generously let us post it on the web for everyone to see. Thank you again.
In other news, if you have noticed wire mesh on the cameras of the bird feeders, it is actually a pen to try and keep the mallard ducks out since they can no longer fly at the moment. This is because they are going through an eclipse where they moult all of their flight feathers at once. You may also notice at this time of year it appears that all the male ducks have gone. This is not the case. The males actually lose their breeding feathers and take on the colours of the females. The ducks have been secluded to try and encourage grass re-growth below our bird feeders because the ducks have not only eaten all the grass or pulled it out whilst looking for seeds, they have also exposed tree roots with their constant trampling. With any luck the grass will soon regenerate and the ducks will be discouraged from coming to the feeders.