Wildlife Blog 11th May 2011

Events from the nest today:

Today we have seen some osprey drama here at Loch of the Lowes. At 12.05pm, our male osprey, 7Y, returned to the nest with a fish.  As he attempted to deliver his catch to our female, an intruding osprey landed on the nest!  Our female grew distressed and made a series of alarm calls.  7Y sprang into action and chased the intruder off the nest, still gripping the fish he was delivering.  Once he had successfully seen off the third osprey, 7Y returned with the headless trout at 12.20pm which our female then accepted and flew away from the nest with.

This afternoon has seen another intruder in the vicinity at 2.30pm which circled the nest. Our male – who was incubating at the time in our female’s absence – mantled and called. We cannot be sure whether or not it is the same bird that landed on the nest this morning, but our male’s presence was enough to cause the intruder to leave the area.  

A few inquiries have reached us via ospreys@swt.org.uk regarding the headless fish that our male has been delivering to the nest.  Our male, 7Y will feed on the fish first, before delivering it to his mate on the nest.  Ospreys always begin feeding at the head of the fish and waste little of their catch.  It is the remainder of the fish that is delivered to our female with the head already devoured.  On occasion, our male will not take any of the fish for himself and deliver an entire fish to his mate.

Weather conditions can influence the species of fish that is caught and brought to the nest. This will depend on the behavioural habits of the fish in question. For instance on calmer days, trout may rise closer to the surface to feed on flies, while warmer days may see pike entering shallows to spawn; giving an osprey opportunity to catch such fish as they can only dive about 3 feet into the water. Species we are likely to see brought to the nest here at Loch of the Lowes include pike, perch and trout. We may also on occasion find salmon, presumably brought from the River Tay. 

Those lucky enough to have witnessed our male osprey fishing over the loch will have seen a fantastic display of skill. When 7Y fishes, he scans the surface of the water until he spots a fish; then hovers over the water, locking his sight onto the potential catch. In what seems an effortless manoeuvre, he plunges – often just dropping halfway to the surface before committing, closing his wings and diving feet first with talons ready to seize the fish. Once the fish is plucked from the water, both feet are used to hold on as the outer talon reverses (a special osprey trait) until the fish is facing forwards. 7Y will then usually fly away with the fish in order to eat its head before delivering the remainder to our female.

Other wildlife at Loch of the Lowes:

Elsewhere on the loch this morning were 2 great crested grebes, 3 mute swans and several mallards. At the far end of the loch were an oystercatcher and a redshank. Swallows and black-headed gulls flew over the loch.

At the feeders were a robin, pheasants, chaffinches, great tits, blue tits, siskins, a greenfinch and a pied wagtail, while the call of a whitethroat could be heard. A red squirrel was enjoying peanuts from the box feeder.

Anna

Perthshire Reserves Seasonal Ranger

Preface

Events from the nest today: Today we have seen some osprey drama here at Loch of the Lowes. At 12.05pm, our male osprey, 7Y, returned to the nest with a …

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