It’s been quite a day here at the Loch and I’m going to start with what’s been happening on the Great Crested Grebe nest.
At lunchtime today the second egg hatched and we were able to see the minutes old chick on the nest and soon swimming in the water with its parents. One of the adults continued to sit on the nest meaning there was another egg to hatch, until then we couldn’t be sure how many eggs were there but three is normal clutch size. We spent the rest of the day watching the nest looking out for both the chicks. Then about 4pm this afternoon the nest had a surprise visitor. The adult on the nest suddenly came off, alarm calling and doing the ‘walking on water’ technique they use. We couldn’t see what had caused it until a large, dark shape suddenly hoisted itself on the nest. It was our resident dog Otter after a quick snack. It appeared to take something from the nest and drop quickly back into the water. A minute or so later it was back on the nest disappearing as quickly as it appeared. My heart sank as there was no sign of either chick on the nest and we couldn’t see them on either parent’s back. One of the adults returned to the nest to continue incubating the egg but still no sign of the chicks. That’s nature – tooth and claw, predator and prey. But this story isn’t over. A short while later one of the chicks was spotted on their parent’s back, only one has been seen so far but there’s hope the other one is snuggled in beside it. I assume the otter was after the remaining egg and failed to get it so it could return again. Watch this space.
Over on the Osprey nest the intruder was back and followed the same pattern as yesterday, circling above the nest before swooping down and almost landing. Again our male pursued and again they were both spotted playing on the thermals a short while later! Our chick has been testing and stretching its wings more and more often and giving us all a bit of a fright by standing on the edge of the nest while doing it.
Our male brought in a huge Brown Trout came in this afternoon, which is just as well as they hadn’t been feed for about 17 hours. David Mylan, one of our Reserve and VC team, has been analysing the fish data and with help from Jack Holmes, our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award volunteer, have produced this handy Fish Pie chart showing what has been brought into the nest over the last three months.
Also spotted on the loch was a female Goosander with her two, almost grown up, chicks and two Tufted Duck chicks that were also getting their adult plumage. Round by the Visitor Centre Cherry Bowen, another member of the VC team, spotted a Common Lizard.