Notes from the Night Watch Team 18th May
Thankfully we have had another quiet week on night watch with no disturbance incidences affecting the ospreys. We did however have an incident of illegal deer poaching at the start of the week. This was on the neighbouring land so we were in contact with the Local Wildlife Crime Officer and Game Keeper who swiftly dealt with the situation.
We regularly see large herds of Fallow Deer during our night shifts and decided to capture some footage on them on the camera trap which you can watch by following these links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr_ilwQWpvI and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPAP8HrLEow&feature=relmfu
There has been some fairly awful weather this past week, with strong winds causing the nest to sway from side to side and relentless rain pouring down on the incubating female Osprey during the nights. This has left her soaking wet by the morning as can be seen in the picture below.
Despite all this rough weather the pair have been doing a great job of keeping the eggs incubated and as dry as possible at all times. We have been noticing some very slick changeovers where the female will use her wings like an umbrella to shelter the eggs from the rain as the male gets into position to take over incubation.
Another recent pattern we have observed is that the male has been bringing in lots of large sticks, as opposed to the softer nesting material of dried grass and bracken that he collected before the eggs were laid. The pair have been using these to build up the edge of the nest in preparation for the arrival of chicks and the nest has taken on a new shape with a much deeper central nest cup.
Finally, working through all the data collected by all the excellent Osprey Watch Volunteers we have discovered, among many other things, that the male osprey has been receiving some underserved criticism for being selfish with the fish he has caught.
Thomas Plant Species Protection Officer