Night watch notes from Loch of the Lowes
Thankfully the weather has been much kinder to our Osprey pair over this last week, with little rain and only light winds. Our resident female has been sitting tight on the eggs, only rising from them for a wing stretch or to reposition herself throughout the night.
The male has been taking his turn incubating the eggs at first light; we are unsure where he roosts but can assume it’s a favoured perch close by the nesting tree.
We have been analysing some of the data gathered by the army of dedicated Osprey Watch Volunteers and have subsequently produced graphs showing these interesting trends from the birds first arrival in late March up to present.
As soon as the pair returned on the 30th of March there was a flurry of mating attempts, these than steadily decreased over time until the first egg was laid. There were much less mating attempts between the arrival of the second and third eggs and finally the female began to reject the male’s attempts.
Since then, the male osprey has been doing a very good job of protecting the eggs from intruder ospreys and potential predators such as Gulls, Crows and Jays and of course catching a steady supply of fish.
We can see from the chart that Pike and Trout seem to be the favoured species. The 21% of fish type we are unsure of can be attributed to the fact that the fish delivery can sometimes be a rapid change over with the female taking the (usually headless) specimen off somewhere else to eat.
Quite why the male tends to eat the head of the fish is unknown, but a comparison could be that of Grizzly bears only eating the brains of spawning Salmon in American rivers and discarding the rest, it is thought that the head part is the most nutritiously rich.
Finally, if you would like to see the spectacular sight of an Osprey flying towards the nest with a giant Pike dangling from its talons, this last graph will help you decide the best times to visit!
Douglas & Thomas Species Protection Officers