Whilst the incubation of eggs by our resident Osprey pair is overall going very smoothly, there have been a few dramas over the last couple of days.
On Saturday both birds repeatedly chased Canada geese that had gotten too close to their nest- at one point dive-bombing them in the water to force them to leave the ‘osprey end’ of the loch.
On Sunday we have had an intruder Osprey return the favour- dropping in on our female in the nest and causing quite a storm- our resident male turned up to help see him off, and both of our birds frantically mantled until the intruder got the message. Mantling is the classic defensive posture of an osprey- shoulders dropped and wings flattened- and is used in defensive and aggressive displays of territory etc. This avoids too much in the way of physical contact which could be risky for both rival birds so is best kept to a minimum. This same intruder osprey few over the nest twice more – he seemed to take a while to get the message! Our male Osprey also gave chase to a buzzard on Sunday so there is nothing wrong with his protective instincts, that’s for sure.
We have again seen panting behavior in our female over the weekend- a response to the warm sunny spells we’ve been having as this is the bird’s normal way of loosing heat.
There have been a couple of clumsy changeovers between the osprey parents on incubation duty today- at one point the male stood on an egg and we held our breath- but thankfully it was fine. You will have noticed how both birds curl their huge talons inwards to walk on their ‘knuckles’ when the eggs are on the nest to avoid breaking them- quite a feat with those!
On Sunday the male brought in another large Pike at lunchtime- he is noticeably upping his game this week and is now averaging nearly two fish a day which we are taking as a very good sign- lets hope he is a good provider for his chicks when they hatch: Only two weeks to go until the earliest possible hatching date, the 21st May.
Elsewhere on the reserve we have had a pair of Common Sandpiper arrive on the loch, lots of deer sightings, another Pine Marten sighting , and lots of squirrel courtship going on around the centre.