As I write, the male Osprey has just brought in a lovely whole brown trout to his mate a the nest, and there has been another seamless switch in incubation duty between them, with the female leaving to eat elsewhere as normal. All seems to be well on the nest so far- but we are getting really twitchy , checking every time the birds stand looking for the tiniest hint of hatching in the three eggs. Tomorrow is the earliest feasible date the first egg could hatch( 35 days) – but it is more likely to be between Sunday ( 36days) and Wednesday next week ( 39 days). Needless to say we have everything crossed for luck- and can only hope some warmer settled dry weather coincides with our new arrivals.
The rest of our Blog today comes courtesy of one of our wonderful Osprey Watch volunteers: what an nest protection watch shift is really like, from the horses mouth so to speak:
“Note to self – do it again!”
The loch is calm. Mist is lifting off the water, and there are teams of Sand Martins chasing each other low over the surface. As the mist clears away, I can see the reflections of the trees and the clouds perfectly on the loch’s surface, with only a few small ripples to distort the image. (Note to self – bring a better camera).
Right on cue, a group (a “water dance”, as I discovered) of great-crested grebes move out from the trees near the hide and start to swim across the loch.
It is beautiful. The only problem is that I had to get up at 5-30 a.m. to get here. (Note to self – remember to turn the alarm off properly when I get home).
I am a volunteer and my companion for this morning is the vastly knowledgeable Ranger Emma. She recognises the call of a little sedge warbler that sings just below the hide window for the whole time I’m here. There are other sounds too. The soft noise of the blue tits and the finches in the trees. The far away call of a canada goose. The cry of a curlew.
And then, of course, there is the female Osprey herself. The whole time we can see the nest out of the hide window, and see her every move on the hide camera. She is snuggled down over the nest. Every so often she shuffles around a little and gets comfy again. I must admit that two hours in the hide in the morning isn’t the most comfortable of experiences (note to self – bring a cushion!) but it is far preferable to what the female has to put up with. Although this morning is almost perfect, the previous night has been terrible, with wind and rain for hours. I don’t envy the female. I don’t envy the people on nightwatch either!
Today, nothing exciting happens while I’m on watch. The female goes for one short wing stretch before settling back down. No fish. No sign of the male. It’s not like this every time. I’ve seen four ospreys at once, one year; and fish deliveries; and fly-bys by crows. Today, it is peaceful and wonderful, but time flies when you are surrounded by nature, and very quickly it’s time to go home.
The only thing left to do now is sign up for the next shift!
LC Kendal (Chairman, volunteer committee).
Laslty a absolutely fabulous photo from Ross Forsyth of the Goosander and chicks seen earlier in the week: