Settling into a routine
Life at the main nest has settled into a routine with the long process of incubation in progress. The majority of the duty is carried out by Mrs O, with regular swap overs when PW3 returns to the nest to bring her some fish and to give her a little break. He has started using the pine tree off to the left of the nest to feed and then delivers the rest of the fish to Mrs O. The camera pointed onto the nest picks up when Mrs O is getting impatient and begins calling loudly to demand her share of the fish.
When she takes the fish, she generally just hops off onto the perch to the right of the nest and then PW3, gently climbs into the nest and sits down on to the eggs to keep them warm and protected. The good thing is that neither bird seems to have left the eggs for very long at all, keeping them protected at all times. Considering that they lost all three eggs last year this is good practice for them, to be very cautious and guarded.
We do not know the exact date of when the eggs were laid but we think they will be due to hatch at the end of May. So next week we will be watching intently, hoping to see the arrival of little ospreys hatching into the world.
There is little to report around the activity on the main nest. The highlight of Mrs O's day at times was to change 180 degrees position in the nest, turn the eggs around and maybe scrape the nest cup a little deeper, moving some nesting material about with her beak. PW3 has brought a little extra moss and a few more sticks to create a ridge at the edge, which will afford some protection when the young hatch. It is different from when SS was at the nest, as he would constantly fret about the nesting material and bring lots of sticks in, over the season, to keep building up the sides.
So far there have been visits from a jay, hanging about and cheekily looking for scraps of food, and some cute siskins taking the opportunity to collect some osprey down with which to line their own nests.
The ospreys have been extremely stoic, holding steady during terrific hailstorms which were battering down and bouncing off their backs. Thankfully they did not leave their post when on egg sitting duty and kept them shielded from the unseasonal, hammering balls of ice.
The weather has been really wet and cold and we just hope that it improves around hatching time. Ideally, we want the conditions for fishing to be more favourable for PW3, as a new dad having to provide for a brood and a partner for the first time in his young life. Mrs O has more experience in raising a family. She first appeared at the main nest site in 2017 where she had a rival female, FS2, battling for the attention of White leg SS. The season was late to start and neither bird produced eggs that year, but Mrs O returned early the following year (2018) and quickly established herself as the partner of SS with whom she raised 2 chicks. Although she was seen to flit between the main nest and the back up nest during the early part of the season before she finally settled with SS. In 2019, the pair had three chicks and we named them Luna, Hope and Buzz. Luna and Hope were Satellite tagged and sadly neither survived; one hitting overhead powerlines in Dorset while the other made it to Gambia where its signal abruptly ceased. Buzz wasn’t tagged and we hope that he survived and will return to breed someday. So having raised 5 chicks in total so far, Mrs O should be an experienced Mum and hopefully successful parent with her partner PW3 this year.