Another day of fruitless incubation at the osprey nest at Loch of the Lowes- these birds are nothing if not persistent! Today is 60 days since the first egg was laid so now hope no remains of hatching of course , but the birds parental hormones are still driving their behaviour.
This morning we thought the female might be finally ready to give up when she appeared to begin to bury the eggs with twigs and moss, but then she changed her mind and uncovered them again and continued incubating. This could however, be a sign of things to come, and just the sort of clues we are looking for to decide when it will be right to intervene to remove the unhatched eggs.
The male osprey does seem to be even more distracted than previously and has left the eggs today a total of six times. This evening the eggs were alone for an hour and half minutes while the male and female took off in pursuit of an intruding osprey. This intruder was tantalisingly a blue ringed individual- probably male, but alas none of the photo’s taken show the ring clearly enough to read the numbers/letters. It wasn’t , however, carrying a transmitter so isn’t likely to be Blue YD alas. We have had a lot of excited calls from people mentioning blue ringed ospreys sighted around the UK , hoping they are Blue YD. However, there are many ospreys in Scotland in the last 2-3 years who have had blue rings fitted, so not every sighting is likely to be him- however, they are all still very useful!
Todays wonderful photos where taken this week by Osprey watch Volunteer Ray Leinster- used here with his kind permission- thanks Ray!
Q: Is it possible that the aerial on Blue YD’s back could have attracted a lightning strike during a thunderstorm?
A: No, these devices are not attractive to lightning and are mostly made of plastic. There havn’t been any recorded lightning strikes of ospreys with tags that we are aware of.
Q: How frequently to ospreys return to the area of their home nests?
A: This is a difficult question to answer concretely as there haven’t been enough wide scale studies to give good statistics. The average survival of young ospreys through their first 2 years has been estimated at anything between 50- 20 %. Of those returning to their country of origin, only a small proportion have been seen at their natal nest site itself. However, many more have been recorded in surrounding areas- for example Lowes born birds have been seen and breed across Scotland and northern England. The theory has always been that males are more ‘home bodies’ as they are recorded more often at natal nests in later years, and that females disperse more widely to avoid inbreeding.