Osprey Diary April 9th

Nest material delivery 9th April by Marion Moore- copyright
Nest material delivery 9th April by Marion Moore- copyright

Our ospreys here at Loch of the Lowes have done more nest renovation this spring than I can ever remember! It all started of course when the male arrived early on 21st March, and in the absence of his mate, started the yearly “housework”. This involved digging out sprouted grass, bringing in new sticks for the sides, and moss to line the centre- which is carefully excavated to create a safe and well insulated egg cup. Once our female osprey arrived on the 31st, she too got involved- often moving everything he had just brought in again till she’s happy! The nest cup is starting to look rather like a crater and soon the birds will need a ladder to climb out of it! So far the nest has had a lot of new sticks ( broken from mostly dead trees around the loch in spectacular flypasts, with the talons) and a huge amount of moss and dried grass- even divots from the nearby golf course.

 Elsewhere , our young 2 year old osprey Blue YD continues to do well in Senegal and has spent most of the last week on a prime bit of beachside habitat – you can see his movements on our interactive map – follow the link to the right on this page.

Q: Has it ever been known for an Osprey to fail to return from migration one year then turn up the next at their nest site?

A: Good question- this has not been recorded as far as I am aware in the UK. The osprey’s instinctive bonding to a successful nest site and urge to breed is very strong, and usually only broken by their failure to make it through migration, or human disturbance at a nest site which might make them move nest.

Q: What is the colour significance, if any, of the leg rings?

A: These are known as Darvic rings, and are very lightweight plastic. They are used by many scientists and bird ringers to make individuals easily identifiable from a distance, as each has a unique colour and number/letter combination. Though the same colours are often used by people working in the same area over a number of years, the colours do not necessarily represent a specific year or place.  

Q: I heard today of an egg laid just 3 days after arriving at Manton Bay- is this possible?

A: Yes it is- as our friends at Rutland water explain in their blog today, if the female has been stimulated to start ovulating prior to her arrival at the nest- for example if she had a mating elsewhere on route or with another male off site.

After our fascinating discussion about odd things turning up on osprey nests as nesting materials (see previous Blogs) we have had a great suggestion from Laurie in the USA to ask this,  from our avid osprey watchers:

Q: What is the most unusual living creature you have ever seen in an Osprey nest?

A: Well at Lowes, we’ve had small birds like blue tits, wrens etc , a ladybird, a red squirrels and a pine marten- and that’s whilst the osprey where in situ! At another SWT reserve , our ospreys had to chase off a pair of greylag geese who tried to claim the tree top nest- and I seem to remember Manton Bay at Rutland once had an Egyptian goose too.

More answers about #unusualnestvisitors most welcome to ospreys@swt.org.uk

Preface

Our ospreys here at Loch of the Lowes have done more nest renovation this spring than I can ever remember! It all started of course when the male arrived early …

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