Well, three osprey eggs is more than I dared hope for just a few days ago- it seems like our veteran female is determined to prove our doubting her was unjustified.
We can confirm that the third egg was laid early this morning and some eagle eyed webcam viewers did indeed glimpse it around 6.45 am, but it wasn’t until later this morning that we got a really clear view. This is no surprise as the male has been bringing in huge clumps of moss and grass to the nest and it is getting deeper and deeper – the latest this evening almost as big as his mate!
Perhaps the birds are snuggling down ever deeper in the nest in response to the females little incident at 5.37pm on Monday night, when she was sitting with her tail to the wind. The strong gusts caught her under her tail and flipped her tail over beak, in a somersault of 180 degrees. She pivoted on her head and then lay on her back with her legs waving in the air for a few seconds, before righting herself in an undignified flurry of feathers. The poor bird looked totally surprised and embarrassed (if you’ll forgive the human terms) but she was none the worse for her ordeal. The gusty winds also made things difficult today as she took off only to bump straight into the male, but they are no doubt grateful to bask in the lovely warm spring sunshine we’ve been having – at last!
Interestingly the fish coming to the nest have now diversified, from just brown trout a week or so ago, to Pike and Perch as well over the last few days. We think this is because as the water warms up finally, these fish are coming closer to the surface of our local lochs and within reach of the ospreys 1m dive depth.
Elsewhere on the loch, the Beaver has been seen every day this week, at either dawn or dusk, from the hides. Today around 2.30pm an otter was seen fishing in the reed beds in front of the osprey nest- unusual in broad daylight and quite a treat to see it with a fish. The great crested Grebes have been courtship dancing less as they get ready to nest and lay their eggs- let’s hope they lay them high and dry this year.
Lastly I would like to say a big thank you to our Osprey Watch volunteers who are currently helping staff our 24hr, 7 day a week nest protection rota. There are more than 70 people on this team, of all ages and backgrounds, all helping to protect the birds by donating their time to sit in the hides and record osprey behaviour, and watch the loch and woods for any signs of potential disturbance to our birds. This task is sometimes cold, monotonous and even stressful, but there is still no substitute for dedication and human observation and field-craft skills. A special welcome to the 16 new volunteers who have joined us this season – we hope you enjoy your wildlife watching and welcome to the osprey team. We will be on duty every day and night until our ospreys are safely hatched.