Whilst we wait for our ospreys to produce eggs on the famous Loch of the Lowes nest, the poor birds have been putting up with intruders (yesterday especially) and poor weather ( a very miserable hail storm this afternoon!).
Frequently our resident female seems to be tantalisingly close to egg laying- spending time adjusting her nest cup bedding etc, but never seems to settle down to sit and lay. And so we wait some more….
Some readers and visitors have asked some more excellent questions:
Q: Is this female a record age for an osprey?
A: We cannot be exactly sure of this birds age as she is unringed- we do know she has been coming to nest here for 22years, and we estimate her age to be at least 25 years ( as Ospreys are generally three years old or more at first breeding) , and possibly more. There have been other records of ospreys surviving into their late 20’s but this is considered very rare. There is no doubt she is an exceptional bird!
Q: Could this new male be one of her offspring as you mention males are attracted to their natal nests sometimes?
A: Yes this is possible (see the Lake District Osprey Project blog for a very recent example of this) but we cannot be sure as this bird too is unringed. Normally in nature, where there is an instinct to return to a natal area, thsi is not too ‘tight’ to avoid inbreeding, or one gender of the offspring spread out and look elsewhere, to avoid mating with siblings. We are still learning how this works in ospreys.
Q: Why does the male not sleep beside his mate on the nest?
A: This is normal- in Ospreys the males almost never do, roosting instead nearby on a favorite perch, close at hand if there is any trouble.