Osprey Diary at Loch of the Lowes – Week 8

Volunteers, staff and visitors alike at Loch of the Lowes have been on tenterhooks this week as we waited for the first signs of egg-hatching on our resident ospreys’ nest. Finally, as the week draws to a close, our patience has been rewarded and we started to catch a glimpse of some very exciting egg action… stay tuned to the end of the blog and see what all the fuss is about.

It was a busy start to the week for our pair of breeding ospreys LM12 (male) and NC0 (female) and while we’ve been struggling to take our eyes off the nest, we’ve been able to witness some interesting events in and around the incubating couple.

LM12 has been serving up a large variety of fish this week, keeping both the fish enthusiasts and his partner NC0 happy. Perch, rainbow trout and even a grayling has been on the Lowes’ nest menu this week!

NC0 holds a perch in her beak just after LM12 delivers it to the nest.
NC0 with a recently delivered perch from LM12 © Scottish Wildlife Trust

The male picked up his fishing rate considerably compared to the previous week and we observed a total of nine fish brought into the nest by Thursday morning. The week before, NC0 had received five fish suppers from her mate. It’s likely that a combination of slightly warmer and calmer weather and the preparation for the chicks’ arrival has led to LM12 increasing his fishing activity.

However, the tricky part this week doesn’t seem to be LM12 catching the fish, but rather the pair struggling to keep their talons around the slippery servings. A frustrating but comical moment was captured on the webcam when NC0 excitedly flew off with a fish brought in by her mate, only for the loud ‘thud’ of a fish hitting the forest floor to be a heard a second later.

The pair also had us giggling when we witnessed an awkward LM12 stepping directly on his female companion’s head as he attempted to shuffle around the nest.

Wednesday was a day that left us feeling star-struck, as we had a visit from celebrity osprey ‘Rothiemurchus,’ a male osprey with the blue/white ring ‘AE’. This VIP (Very Important Pandion haliaetus – that’s one for all of you osprey nerds out there) has played a special role in providing insight into the amazing migrations taken by these birds, having been fitted with a satellite tag as a juvenile. He is a recurring star on the Loch of the Lowes Webcam, having also made a cameo appearance last year, which you can read about here. This time around he seemed keen to have his major film role, standing in front of the camera on the nest for a whole seven minutes! He returned a few hours later but was quickly chased off by a defensive LM12.

After a busy first half of the week, things seemed to be quietening down on the nest, with only a few intruding ospreys flying over and another fish brought in by LM12 (which NC0 managed to hold onto this time). This was until a faint cheeping sound was picked up by the webcam microphone on Friday afternoon…

And so the un-hatched chick was letting us know that they were on their way out of their shell-tered home, and sure enough, around an hour later, a tiny hole (or pip) on one of the eggs appeared. This pip was on one side of the darkest egg showing where the chick inside had broken through using its egg tooth, a specialist lump on its beak. With hatching now imminent, we are all keeping our eyes peeled for that first glimpse of chick number one.

NC0 stands over her three eggs with a small hole visible in one.
Egg ‘pip’ © Scottish Wildlife Trust

Make sure you stay tuned to the live webcam to follow the hatching and keep up to date with the daily lives of the ospreys by following us on Twitter or Facebook for regular updates.

India Thomas and Anna Welch
Species Protection Officers

The Trust’s Osprey Protection Programme at Loch of the Lowes is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

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Volunteers, staff and visitors alike at Loch of the Lowes have been on tenterhooks this week as we waited for the first signs of egg-hatching on our resident ospreys’ nest. …

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