By Lindsey, Wildlife Interpretation Officer
It’s been all go on the Osprey front. Our resident male doesn’t seem to know what to do with the new female. He’s made several mating attempts but only one appeared successful but in between times he appears to be ignoring her or landing on the nest and mantling (holding his wings out) showing he’s not happy. Then he suddenly started bringing big sticks into the nest, three in quick succession, and both birds moved them around. Having both birds do the housekeeping is generally a sign that the birds are settling down together. But he’s ignoring her food begging calls, also a key point of courtship when he presents her with fish – some of you may remember the live and feisty Pike he brought in last year which promptly bit him on the leg. Saying that he appeared with a large Trout mid afternoon, flew over the nest with it and disappeared. This fits with his behaviour last year when he would do the same, fly over the nest with a fish, as if he was showing it to her, then disappear for an hour to eat it before returning with the remains. At the time of writing there’s no sign of him or the fish.
The new female bears a striking resemblance to our regular female affectionately known as ‘Lady’ and given the volume and persistence of her food calls she sounds similar too! We’ve no way of knowing where this female has come from but it would nice to think she was one of previous chicks returning home. As it’s the same female who made herself comfy on the nest last year it would suggest she didn’t find a mate or a nest for herself.
I also watched her divebombing and harassing another, smaller Osprey. With the light and distance I couldn’t tell if it was our male or an intruder bird but she meant business. What happens if our regular female returns? Expect a Battle Royale!