Wildlife Blog 4th May 2011

Events from the nest today:

Now three weeks after the first egg was laid, incubation continues on the nest with our female sitting throughout the night.

At 5.13am, our male, 7Y returned to take over incubation duties for two and a quarter hours while our female left the nest, returning at 7.30am.

7Y brought a fish to the eyrie at 11.15am, which our female flew away with to eat elsewhere. Another fish was delivered at 2.31pm; again our female flew off with the catch.

One of the questions we have recently received via ospreys@swt.org.uk inquired into the mating attempts of ospreys and whether it continues after the first egg is laid.

Mating occurs frequently once the pair has returned to Scotland, though in fact most attempts are unsuccessful. Roy Dennis (author of ‘A Life of Ospreys’) estimates that only 40% of around 160-190 attempts at mating are successful.

Another question we received asked how big an osprey nest is. Most nests are around 30-40 centimetres tall and over a metre in diameter. The average weight of a nest is an estimated 200 – 300 kilograms. According to Roy Dennis, well established nests can reach a greater scale – up to 2 metres in diameter and over a metre in height. The eyrie at Loch of the Lowes is has been in situ for over 20years, and its size is comparable to that of a double bed! The appearance of the nest changes dramatically during the breeding season as if eggs should hatch, the nest will be gradually made into a platform to make more room for growing chicks and for greater ease when they are ready to fledge. This is the time when the true scale of the eyrie becomes apparent as when the adult ospreys stretch out their wings (the span of which being over 5 feet [or 150 centimetres]), the dimensions of the nest can be compared.

Other wildlife at Loch of the Lowes:

Elsewhere on the loch were two great crested grebes, 2 mute swans and a barnacle goose.

Around the reserve, the distinctive call of a cuckoo could be heard; while the feeders were visited by two red squirrels, a dunnock, a robin, 2 blue tits, a coal tit, three great tits, approximately 10 chaffinches, 3 greenfinches, a siskin, and two great spotted woodpeckers. Often seen clinging to branches and tree trunks, the drumming of a great spotted woodpecker often announces its presence, with the males and juveniles displaying a red patch on its crown. The great spotted woodpeckers that visit the feeders at Loch of the Lowes enjoy peanuts from the box feeder.

Anna

Perthshire Reserves Seasonal Ranger

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Events from the nest today: Now three weeks after the first egg was laid, incubation continues on the nest with our female sitting throughout the night. At 5.13am, our male, …

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