Here’s today’s news…
We arrived this morning at 9am to find our resident female at the nest tucking into a large fish. After closer inspection we believe the fish to have been a rainbow trout – these are found in nearby Butterstone Loch and make an excellent meal for an osprey regaining its strength after a 3,000 odd mile migration.
She didn’t hang around for long though, leaving the nest (with fish) at 9:02 for nearly two hours, returning at 10:53. Maybe she just fancied a change of scenery whilst enjoying her ‘breakfast’.
Shortly after returning at 10:55, still carrying half of the fish, our female was joined by an uninvited guest. Another osprey landed on the nest – unringed, so not her partner 7Y, it stood at the edge of the nest whilst our female spread her wings to protect both the nest and the remains of her fish. This behaviour, known as ‘mantling’ is a typical defensive posture for a female osprey defending her nest site, lying somewhere between driving the intruder off and accepting its presence. The stand-off ended at 11:15 when both birds flew off and our resident female quickly returned to re-assert her authority.
The nest site remained quiet over the next few hours until 14:36 when another interloper landed on the branch behind the nest. There were also two other ospreys flying around in the vicinity so at this point we could see four ospreys – the most so far this season.
As with the earlier visitor, the bird on the branch was unringed, so not our female’s partner of last year. Our female repeated her ‘mantling’ display, but then surprisingly at 14:41 flew off, leaving both the remains of her earlier fish and the nest unguarded. The bird on the branch then proceeded to drop down onto the nest before flying off with the fish.
This ‘theft’ was the last action of note with our female returning to the nest minus fish shortly afterwards. Undoubtedly though, this will have been the first of many dramas to unfold over the coming months.
The highlight today was unquestionably the appearance of a brilliantly coloured male yellowhammer. These beautiful birds, typically of farmland and hedgerow have been infrequent visitors to Loch of the Lowes in recent months but have started to put in the odd appearance over the past week or two. A visitor also reported a distant view of a red kite this morning from one of the hides.