At one stage today we had four ospreys on the Loch of the Lowes and the intruder dramas have gone on all day. We have our resident Osprey pair chasing a heron ( which could be a danger to the chick) and giving chase to two stranger ospreys straying too close to the nest. You may have noticed on the webcam the females tell tale ‘mantling’ behaviour ( when she drops her wings and flattens herself out) and alarm calling whilst watching above for danger. No harm was done however, and the wee chick continues to do really well. The first fish deliveries get earlier and earlier- ten to four this morning a fish arrived to the nest with our male for dawn breakfast!
Some people have been asking about the chick’s gender: the short answer is that we don’t know yet if it is male or female. There is no ‘external plumbing’ in birds, and in Ospreys no clear difference in plumage ( unlike say in ducks) so clues are very small. Generally female Ospreys will end up 30% larger than the males but in chicks with different ages and feeding, this can be misleading as an older well fed male may be larger than a poorly nourished or younger female. Experts can usually tell at ringing if the chick has thicker legs that it is a female- but the only way to be 100% sure is a DNA test, or waiting for 3 years to see its behaviour at mating!
We have also had some other great sightings today, such as Goldfinches, a Jay and lots of fledglings on our feeding station ( including three of our recently fledged Blue tit chicks having an argument over who got fed!) . Most excitingly a group of visitors reported seeing what can only be a Pine Marten in the woods near our track- unusual in daylight, but not unheard of this time of year when females are working extra hard feeding young kits.
Your ranger team has been out surveying on our other local reserves and finding a huge range of wonderful wildflowers etc but a worrying lack of butterflies for this time of year. Here is a great photo of our smallest Perthshire reserve, Brerachan Meadow yesterday- ask us for more details if you would like to visit.
The team was also at Balnaguard Glen today with some lovely local volunteers improving the way marked trail and surveying everything from insects to birds: here’s our staff member David having fun with fungi: