Our hopes for a second osprey chick for our Loch of the Lowes nest this season have all but faded now and it looks like our wee chick will be a brood of one. Thursday is day 44 for the first egg, and day 41 for the third egg, and it now seems very unlikely that either will hatch ( normal incubation is between 35 and 40 days) .
Both eggs however, now appear to be damaged, with cracks etc so it will be interesting to see if the female tolerate their presence in the nest much longer. At the moment she is continuing to brood these eggs, but she will eventually give up realising they are not viable ( though last year that took 70 days!).
You will have noticed how fastidiously clean ospreys are around their eerie (these birds always excrete over the edge of the nest, and tidy away fish scraps to minimize flies etc) and an unhatched egg could become a health risk if it harbours bacteria etc. The female may decide to remove the egg by pushing it off the nest, or she may bury it beneath a layer of moss etc deep in the nest cup.
All our thoughts and attention now turn to the single precious wee chick, who will be at a huge advantage , with no shortage of food and attention. Our parents won’t have to struggle quite so hard to provide for just one- there will be plenty of fish and plenty of room under mum for shelter etc. It has the very best of chances with two such capable parents such as these, so here’s hoping it goes on to be the 49th chick our female has successfully fledged from this nest.
It seems like a good moment to thank everyone involved in this years Nest Protection Watch. It seems like a long time ago we started the round the clock shifts ( I can’t remember what a regular sleep pattern is!) but this vital task has been successful yet again this year in protecting the birds and preventing disturbance problems. The watch is staffed by a range of hard working people: our Species Protection Officers( Douglas Thomson and Thomas Plant), residential volunteers ( Laura Cunningham and Byran Turnbul) and a small army of dedicated local volunteers who give up their time so generously to help. To every one of you a heartfelt thank you for your contribution.