It's hard not to be passionate about Highland Perthshire as a place to live in as well as visit. Hopefully these blogs prove the point!
Both our resident ospreys are still in the area although their visits to the nest are getting less frequent. The male delivered a fish this morning to his mate just before 9am and both birds showed normal behaviour towards each other. Both have been spending time on perches around the Loch and in particular flat topped tree, where the male was seen delivering a stick yesterday- is he beginning to build a frustration eerie? If you visit us you will need some patience to see our birds but they are still about.
Q: The ospreys seem to have been mating again – why?
A: Yes there have been quite a few mating attempts between our pair- mostly the female has given him the brush off and we don’t think any have been successful. In all the footage we have recorded, there have been no attempts where the female’s tail height and the male’s position have been right for successful fertilization. This is obviously the strong hormonal urge in the male to procreate, but the mating won’t be successful if females reproductive cycle isn’t right in terms of timing.
Q: Will they still lay more eggs this year?
A: No, it is highly unlikely the female could lay a second clutch at this very late stage. Ospreys do sometimes second clutch if their eggs are lost or destroyed very early in the season but not this late in the year. The birds know that if they laid now, the chicks would not have time to mature enough before the autumn migration window to survive.
Q: Is Lady moulting- she seems darker? Is it still the same female on the nest?
A: Yes, it’s still our old lady, but yes she has had a makeover! She has almost completed her annual moulting and has new darker feathers growing in all over. She seems very dark by comparison to April when her old tatty feathers were very faded but these have now been replaced.
Q: Will you be doing any satellite tracking of other chicks this year?
A: In the absence of Loch of the Lowes osprey chicks this year we had looked into the possibility of satellite tagged another young osprey from an SWT reserve in Angus. This is the same place Blue YD came from- this year the parents are doing well and have two chicks. However, the timings on this nest and the availability of the expert team to do the tagging unfortunately haven’t worked out. There is only a very small window of opportunity when the chicks are around 42 days old when they are the right size and temperament to ring and tag. If they are too old there is a chance they will try to fledge as the climber approaches instead of ‘playing dead’ and this introduces a risk of injury etc. We feel the bird’s welfare must always be paramount so have decided to not attempt this nest this year.
This sadly means a fallow winter season this year for our exciting satellite tagging project, but we have high hopes that the transmitter will be used here next year and continue to reveal more migration secrets of ospreys.