What an afternoon of excitement at Loch of the Lowes with no fewer than five ospreys seen over the loch and a new arrival. We cannot yet be 100% certain if it is the veteran female affectionately known as “Lady” by many- but here’s a summary of what we know so far:
Mid afternoon a new bird arrived at the nest and this is unequivocally NOT the same female who has been at the nest all week courting and mating with our resident male. Her markings, eyes and behavior are completely different to the earlier female, and the earlier bird has not returned to the nest since.
This new arrival’s behaviour is EXACTLY as we would expect of “Lady “- she is confident and relaxed on the nest, and hasn’t left it since she arrived. She immediately began tidying it and moving things around, as she always does.
The male arrived and immediately looked comfortable in her presence, and lost no time in mating with her- and has done so several times this afternoon. His behavior earlier this week towards the other female was very different, and we think this is also an important clue.
As you will remember “Lady” is not ringed so we usually identify her by markings and in later years using the patterns in her eyes- much like iris recognition technology now widely used on people. However, this technique is new with birds and there is very little scientific research into it as yet- we know eyes can change a little from year to year but not how much for example.
What we can see when we zoom in with our camera, is that this bird has markings exactly where we would expect “Lady” to have them , but that the shapes are slightly different from last year. Could this be natural change? Is it possible that another bird could have 95% the same markings as her?
We have the honest and say that whilst I am personally confident it is our remarkable resident female, there are some inconsistencies in the eyes especially that give me pause for a little doubt. I think her behavior is a more telling clue and as this evolves over the next few hours and days, this will give us more information.
Lastly apologies for the webcam going down for a short while- the serve crashed with all the demand. We are trying to restart it as we speak. Thanks for your patience- We know you are all as excited as we are!