Wildlife Diary 22nd April

Our male osprey seems to be developing a real appetite for enormous fish and this got him into trouble yet again today, when he tried to take a pike in front of the hide, and once more struggled to get it up and away. He then duly ate it for an hour or so, before sharing the rest with his mate- minus the bits he dropped in the loch en route! He caught another fish at 8.15 this evening and has yet to share any of it- is anyone else sensing a pattern here?

Our female osprey has spent quite a lot of time this afternoon sitting on the dead tee just to one side of the nest, preening, and drying out- after which she seems much more like herself.

She did, however, spring to the defence of her nest this evening when a very cheeky intruder osprey landed on the nest, after circling overhead slowly, landing on the top of the nest tree, and then chancing a short landing. This was an unringed bird, who didn’t stay long after our female gave it hard time! Remember that it is normal for there to be intruder ospreys this time of year-mostly young birds or neighbours, or birds still passing through. Our pairs’ nest is in no danger through with such an experienced female to defend it.

Intruder Osprey at Nest 22nd April by Bryan Turnbull


More Osprey Questions:

Q: What are Oxters? (see yesterdays Wildlife Diary)

A: A Scottish word for ‘armpits’ so in osprey terms, , where the wing meets the body. This is how deep our male osprey was dragged in yesterday by a very large fish.

Q: If he drowned , what would happen to the nest and the eggs?

A: If, heaven forbid, anything happens to the male of an osprey breeding pair, the female will carry on as long as she can, but will eventually be forced to leave the eggs to feed herself and they are then usually predated or exposed for too long. This has happened at UK nest sites such as Aberfoyle and Rutland Water when something has happened to the male:  in one case, he died after being entangled in fishing line, the other bird was suspected shot. There is no way a female Osprey could carry on alone with eggs or chicks- it’s a two bird job, raising an Osprey  family.

Q: When will the chicks fledge and reach full size?

A: If we are lucky and these three eggs do hatch, it would be around the last week of May. They will then  generally take 7- 8 weeks before the chicks  fledge and reach full adult size. For more details on what is normal when during the chicks development, please  see our FAQ page ( link at the top of this page).

In other wildlife news, we have had Redpoll and Brambling on the feeders at our woodland feeding station today, as well as a Sparrowhawk flying through to grab a bite. Unusually for us, a Coot was seen on the Loch today and the Great Crested Grebes have been more visible- we are hoping this is not because their early nests in our reedbeds have been flooded , with the loch having gone up a couple of feet with all the rain.

In mammal news, our Red Squirrels have been super conspicuous and enjoying the new tree trunks we put up to help them get to the feeders without having to go to the ground. Our Bank Voles have been seen in broad daylight around the centre- too quick for me to photograph alas, but Bryan Turnbull was luckier! And lastly, great news: the hedgehog we re-released a few weeks back after a winter in rehabilitation, was seen on the camera trap, alive and well!

Vole by Bryan Turnbull

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Our male osprey seems to be developing a real appetite for enormous fish and this got him into trouble yet again today, when he tried to take a pike in …

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