Osprey Diary Sat 4th May

As I write this evening, our male osprey has just brought in a large and intact Perch , with its domed dorsal fin and distinctive red side fins, to the nest. The female grabbed the fish in a huge hurry, as she was seriously hungry- as you can probably tell by the amount of shouting she has done this afternoon! We call this a food begging call, and it usually has the effect of stimulating the males response to provide- but it doesn’t always work.

Some people have written expressing concern that the male doesn’t seem to be fishing as much for his mate as during the initial courtship and egg laying stage. To some extent this is normal- he will have been working hard to impress her at first, with the hormonal flush of mating. Now she is incubating, her energy needs are fairly low and he may not feel so stimulated to respond to her. I seem to recall last year, he also had a lull in fish deliveries around this stage , which concerned us for a while, but when the chick hatched, his behaviour changed drastically- he brought in more than enough fish for the family, presumably a conditioned and hormonal response to the sight of his offspring.

Some people have asked if it is possible his lack of fish deliveries is because he is elsewhere spending time with another female, but this is highly unlikely- he is spending a lot of time on this nest, including long stints incubating, and is often in site around the loch. We would only worry that this was the case if he disappeared for long periods regularly, or for whole days at a time.

It is also possible that the female is fishing for herself, especially in the morning when she regularly takes a break from the nest for some time. Again, this is not unheard of, and will cease when the chick or chicks is hatched.

What is certain is that she is doing fine with one to two meals a day- so we need not worry about her starving.

Lastly a quick mention of a couple of other species recently arrived: beautiful Redstarts in our woodlands, Reed Bunting in front of the hides, and the Warblers. This latter family of little brown birds are often overlooked by casual observers, as they are a range of well camouflaged browns, olive and yellowish green, and being as small as a robin. However, they have some of the most musical songs of anyone of our UK birds, and we currently have willow and wood warbler being heard on the reserve.

Willow Warbler at Loch of the Lowes 2012 copyright Neil Macdonald
Willow Warbler at Loch of the Lowes 2012 copyright Neil Macdonald

 

Preface

As I write this evening, our male osprey has just brought in a large and intact Perch , with its domed dorsal fin and distinctive red side fins, to the …

Posted in

Blogs -

Stay up to date with the Scottish Wildlife Trust by subscribing to our mailing list 

Back to top