All our excitement about a second hatching on our Osprey nest seems to have come to nothing, as neither of the remaining two eggs have hatched in the last 24hrs or so. We have not given up hope altogether as it has been known occasionally for eggs to take longer than 24hrs to hatch, but it is looking increasingly less likely. Not only have the cracks in the eggs not gotten any bigger, there has not been any more movement visible by a chicks beak at the hole, and the female’s behaviour has also changed. She was almost frantically restless yesterday evening, as she presumably responded to the sounds of the chick moving inside the egg, but she has since grown much calmer. It is normal for ospreys ( and most other birds) not to help the chick out of the egg- hatching must take place slowly and naturally for the chick to survive.
Why these eggs haven’t hatched is a difficult question. If we presume that they were both fertile, it is possible that the chicks inside were too weak to hatch or that the egg shells were too hard for them to be able to break through (due to hot dry weather?) or there may be another cause. We may never know the answer exactly, though we will try to investigate further when we can do so safely.
Despite our disappointment we must focus on the fact that we have one healthy and very strong chick who is doing brilliantly- and that in itself is an important achievement for our birds.
Today this wee one has been doing brilliantly, actually waddling over to the male to peck at the fish- a bold confident chick indeed. The male osprey has brought in four fish so far today, but the last at around 7.20 pm caused quite a stir: the large Pike was brought in alive by the male to the nest, and he had serious problems releasing it from his talons despite the female grabbing it greedily. In the struggle, the fish got loose and it was still alive so flip flopped around the nest and almost flattened the wee chick several times- despite it being very comical the wee one was at serious risk, so the male promptly removed the fish from the nest and brought it back 20mins latter with the head removed- a much safer dinner!
In other wildlife news, two Common Terns were spotted fishing on the loch today and the ranger volunteers and I had a great afternoon doing botanical surveys at Tummel Shingle Islands and Brerachan Meadows, two of our Perthshire reserves with stunning spring wildflowers.