Surprises of the breeding season!

This last week has been a cold one for the ospreys and they have been very careful to keep their eggs warm. Fortunately the snow did not cover the nest but we have been worried about them and their eggs. Luckily the weather has cleared up and every day we get closer to the hatching date. The osprey’s daily routine follows the same pattern; the breeding pair share the incubation of their eggs, chase off intruder ospreys, and the male (LM12) delivers fish to the female (LF15).

Around the osprey nest, the trees are becoming greener. Elsewhere on the reserve, other pleasures of spring have been surprising us!

A few years ago we put a camera in a nesting box with no success but this year a blue tit decided to make use of it. The bird started to slowly build a nest and we were wondering if the female would lay eggs. On the 27th of April, around 6am, we discovered with joy that she had laid her first egg.  Today we counted 4 eggs in the nest. We are very excited to see the development of this nest and to study the birds’ behaviour.

The eggs in the nest cup ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

 

Their behavior is completely different to that of the ospreys – up until this morning we only saw one bird in the nest. The female laid the first egg on the 27th of April, the second on 28th, the third on 30th and the fourth yesterday. Usually blue tits can lay anything from 7 to 12 eggs per clutch. Their eggs are smooth, slightly glossy and measure around 12 by 15mm. The female starts to incubate just before last 2-3 eggs are laid. For the first time this morning we “met” the male. We caught a glimpse of him on the camera as he hopped around the entrance to the nest box.

 

First appearance of the male ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

 

The blue tit in our nesting box leaves the nest around 5:30am, with the first light, and is careful to cover her eggs with nest lining (moss, leaves and feathers). She comes back to the nest a couple of times during the day but does not incubate the eggs. She returns to the nest for the evening at around 7:30pm, digs up the eggs, and starts incubation for the night.

A curious bee in a nest box ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

Fingers crossed for more surprises in the breeding season! Stay tuned for more news of our lovely blue tits as well as the ospreys!

 

Chloe Fourneret Species Protection Officer

 

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Preface

This last week has been a cold one for the ospreys and they have been very careful to keep their eggs warm. Fortunately the snow did not cover the nest …

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