Our ospreys are settling in so well to their incubation routine, and today was a peaceful and calm day here on the loch.
Our female has had a couple of fish and a whole 2hours away from the nest this evening, while our male took his turn on the nest. The male seems only to keen to take over incubation duties when he gets the chance- what a model father figure he is. You will notice that when he is incubating, he is a real fidget- constantly moving around and fiddling with things in the nest, and even putting moss on his own back- we thinks it’s just a way to channel energy.
There has been no real intruder activity over the last two days, though Val, one of our staff, reported yesterday seeing the female being very puzzled indeed by the site of a hang-glider high in the air over the loch – it must have seemed like a very big bird indeed to her!
We are still awaiting for any sign of a second egg arriving- if we are that lucky. Tonight or tomorrow are the most likely times for it to arrive so keep an eye out for the classic low-lying posture and straining in the female.
Lastly, a couple of questions about eggs;
Q: Could our female still lay two or three eggs this season?
A: Yes, we hope so. She has a pretty reliable record of laying three eggs and we hope she equals this. But we are overjoyed we have even one egg laid by such a veteran bird.
Q: How far apart are the eggs laid?
A: Osprey eggs are usually laid 1-3 days apart, that is with an average of two days between each, over up to 10days for the whole clutch.
Q: Does the eggs start being incubated and developing straight away or do they all hatch together?
A: Unlike birds such as ducks and tits, Ospreys incubate each egg from the beginning, meaning some will hatch a day or two ahead of their nest mates. This can lead to some chicks having a size and age advantage. The opposite strategy in many small birds, of delaying incubation until there is a full clutch, means all chicks hatch together and hence an individual is more likely to escape predation but has to compete for survival.
Q: When will the egg hatch?
A: We hope all will go smoothly with our osprey’s incubation this year but we can’t take for granted this egg will hatch. If all goes well however, the earliest we could expect a hatching would be the 25st May. This is based on the average osprey incubation being between 37 and 39 days (though it can be a couple of days longer or shorter).
Lastly, a big thank you to everyone who has sent us such lovely messages of support and celebration – that so many of you have taken the time to write to share your appreciation of the birds, and our hard work to protect them, is so very much appreciated here amongst our small team of staff and volunteers.