Are you sitting comfortably? It’s been quite a day on the loch so far….
A quick guide to the perches – I’m going to be referring to several different perches so I thought I’d try and describe them to you. The perches go from left to right round the loch:
The Squinty Tree – a dead branch halfway up a Scots Pine behind a Silver Birch Tree. It is to the far left of the nest but lower down. A favourite of both the male and female.
The Dead Tree – as it sounds a dead tree that is just below the nest and a favourite perch of the female
The Nest Tree – another tall Scots Pine with the nest near the top!
The Flat Top Tree – a Scots Pine that lost its top in the gales a few years ago, to the right of the nest at about the same height
The Boingy Branch – a straggly Scots Pine that is taller than the others to the right of the nest. A favourite perch of all the males as it has great fish spotting opportunities and a clear sight to the nest. The perch is higher than the nest.
The Point Tree – a large spreading Scots Pine opposite the hides at to the far right of the nest. They use several perches on this tree most of them about the same height or above the nest.
It started off with our young female YZ showing us her flying skills before she roosted up on the Point Tree where she’s been for most of the day. She has been out practising again a few times today.
Our female has been dotting around mostly on the Squinty Tree perch before taking off and having a good fly around the loch. She’ll be beginning to build up her wing muscles for migration, last year she left on 3 August so we could only have a few days left with her. As she was flying around she was getting lower and lower, was she trying to fish? It didn’t look like it as there was no hovering or spotting. She then landed in the water and proceeded to have a good long bath. She was there for about 10 minutes ducking and splashing, much like you would see a blackbird in a puddle. It was wonderful to see her do this as so far we’ve only ever seen her land briefly on the water. She appeared to be enjoying herself and in no hurry to finish until she was content she was clean, she then headed back over to the Squinty Tree to dry herself out.
Our male appeared with the remains of a fish mid morning and disappeared with it briefly. He’d flown right over the female with it and she hadn’t shouted so we assume she wasn’t hungry and perhaps neither was he as he reappeared without it a short while later. He proceeded to do a fantastic talon wash, where they skim their talons along the surface of the water to clean them after a meal, right in front of the hides. He also saw a couple of intruder Ospreys off the premises but it was more of a follow on to make sure they left than a determined pursuit.
More was to come
An adult Heron appeared over the loch and was flying around the nest site. Blue YZ was over on the Point Tree so no cause for concern but the female was on the Squinty Tree and I was surprised she was tolerating it. Not for long. The next thing I heard was a loud scream and turned to see the Heron in the water with the female, talons out, divebombing it. The Heron continued to cry as the female chased it up from the water to the opposite side of the loch. What happened next was the best surprise of all. Our male appeared, presumably alerted by the Heron’s cries, and joined forces with the female to take it in turns divebombing it. This is the first time I’ve really seen him in action, so often he flies around with the intruders having no impact. The Heron wasn’t getting the message and turned back towards the Osprey nest; big mistake. The female responded by attacking the Heron with her talons, the bird changed direction again and the male and female continued to divebomb it until they were out of sight. Neither adult called out during the fight so there was no alarm call for Blue YZ to respond to so instead she sat tight in the Point Tree, perhaps learning a thing or two.
Phew, they all settled down again afterwards and Blue YZ is currently making her feelings very clear that she’d like fed.
I mentioned yesterday she took her first dip so a huge thanks to Steve Earle and Colin McPherson who caught that milestone moment and shared their photos with us. We’re lucky so many people are happy to share their photos but we also have to be responsible so please remember the copyright law regarding photos on the internet.