Here at Loch of the Lowes we are all now eagerly awaiting the possibility of osprey eggs any day – today is eight days since she was first mated this year, so the first egg could well be imminent.
Q: What signs will there be that a bird is getting close to or has laid an egg?
She will start to sit in the nest centre all the time, and will shuffle and strain when she is laying the actual egg. Confirmation comes when she tips her beak down and rolls and rearranges the egg under her body- and we should then catch a glimpse too. On average our female osprey usually lays her first egg very early morning, but it can happen anytime, so keep a sharp eye out for this behaviour.
Q: Will they stop mating when eggs are imminent or laid? She seemed to reject his advances today.
A: Female ospreys do sometimes reject mating attempts, but the birds will continue to mate right up until the last of up to four eggs is laid, so this isn’t a sign of eggs being imminent necessarily.
Meanwhile, ospreys are not the only birds courting- on our loch the Goldeneye duck are in full swing with their charming courtship dances. Here is a stunning photograph kindly contributed by one of our osprey watch volunteers Ray Leinster:
More osprey Q and A tomorrow folks.