Today is a day that summarises all that Osprey have to cope with in the UK- good and bad.
Firstly, at the Loch of the Lowes nest, our birds have incubated with dedication through a hot still morning and then an afternoon of hail and sleet showers( yes sleet falling on spring blossom!) There have been two fish deliveries to the nest and all seems well- we are now all on vigilant watch for any tiny signs of the eggs hatching.
Elsewhere today our friends at Tweed Valley Ospreys have announced the arrival for their first chick of the season- possibly the first in Scotland this year. Further south at Rutland Water, there are now four chicks, with three at the Manton Bay nest, and one at Site B nest. RSPB Glaslyn in Wales also has two chicks. There are also long awaited osprey eggs now at both the Lake District Osprey project (the first for a new pair of birds at Bassenthwaite) and at Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust Cors Dyfi in Wales too. These latter two sites will have chicks born a full month behind others in the UK, which means a very spread out year- let’s hope it’s a long mild summer so all the chicks are big and fit enough to make autumn migration.
Most worryingly though, news today from our friends in Dumfries and Galloway of a suspected raid on an osprey nest by a human egg thief. The incident happened at the National trust For Scotland Threave Nature Reserve, a fabulous site where a pair of ospreys have been nesting on an artificial platform in a wetland area near the castle for a few years.
Here’s what happened:
“ On the evening of Monday the 21st of May, a disturbance to the Osprey nest was seen near the island. Basically a man with climbing gear and a bag was questioned by a canoeist. We presume he was after the eggs of the Osprey. The nest is under constant watch until hatching. Please be vigilant and let us know if you see any suspicious behaviour around the Threave Estate.” NTS Rangers
It is unbelievable that in this day and age, an unscrupulous and ignorant person would still steal protected birds eggs (or any eggs) , kill the chicks inside, and put at risk the species recovery, for their own selfish and illegal thrills.
And of course this incident shows the vital hard work done by so many unsung locals, volunteers and staff at so many osprey breeding sites across the UK keeping the birds safe. This is , after all , why we still do a 24hr Nest Protection Watch here at Loch of the Lowes – we only wish it were uncessary!