Good morning all.
Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to all who have covered the admin posts during our absence, what a splendid couple of weeks it has been. There was our wonderful few days on the Isle of Mull with Jan and Susan but Nick will fill you in more on that no doubt with an assortment of pictures thrown in for good measure. Following this, there was our annual gathering last Sunday where old faces and a few new ones came together for a fabulous catch-up and then subsequent week at the loch watching the ospreys from where I bring you my weekly post:
Following the disruption to the webcam over the previous week, live streaming was back on track by Saturday 18th but Laddie was still out of favour since leaving the nest unattended for over an hour the day before, his only saving grace being that the weather was reasonably good and the eggs were therefore not left exposed to the horrendous storm that had invaded the area just twenty four hours later. It could not have been a different story once Sunday dawned, although grey and damp from the heaviest of showers, the sun broke through cascading the loch with intense warmth that dried out the nest and surrounding area throughout the afternoon. The loch-side wildlife returned to its business and one of the female mallards that had been incubating her fourteen eggs ventured out with her newly hatched family of ducklings to take a swim beside the viewing hides. Laddie was again noted to be absent from duty for a thirty minute period but Lady was perched close enough in one of the trees to spot that he was no longer there and quickly took over once she had realised this.
Intruders to include buzzards and straying ospreys have made intermittent visits throughout the week, whilst on one occasion two ospreys soared above the nest with one taking a chance by swooping down as Lady incubated but no harm came to her and they quickly left the area once it was apparent she was not going to be dislodged. During this time Laddie was not witnessed to be around in order to provide that much needed defence and protection so it was assumed that he was away on one of his fishing expeditions. He has been a little elusive on occasions though has surprised viewers from the hides with some amazing osprey trickery by emerging from within a well-hidden look-out post and suddenly appearing at the nest. He has however kept the nest well-stocked with fish and provided onlookers with some spectacular fishing attempts and successful catches from the loch right in front of the hides, a rare sight for some and absolutely amazing to witness with the naked eye. He continues to bring in nesting material and at one point during the week was spotted taking an entire oyster catcher nest from the golf course and returning to his own nest where he promptly placed this across Lady’s back. One very bewildered oyster catcher was then left to search in vain for the nest it had worked so hard to construct.
The eggs are now only days away from hatching with no signs of cracking up to Thursday although on Friday there was movement witnessed to be taking place around one of the eggs and a possible sighting of pipping. Lady continues to protect them from the sporadic elements that have deluged, one particular storm on Wednesday being so fierce that as she returned to the nest she hunkered down flat and was bombarded by heavy hail with Laddie leaving and flying low over the loch and around the trees to take shelter.
The great crested grebes have been providing much entertainment with their pair bonding and exquisite displays, at one point being rudely interrupted by a second pair which ventured too close to them resulting in a spectacular fight where the pair broke up and actually took on the invaders in an incredible display of aggression. The male taking on the intruder male by grasping his neck and forcing him underwater many times whilst the female took on her rival. The fighting continued for around ten minutes where, for most of that time only three of the grebes were witnessed, it was quite some while before the fourth appeared having left onlookers under the horrific conclusion that it had come to its demise but following a further display of aggression both it and its mate made their way to the far edge of the loch by the inlet. By Thursday one of the pairs had begun to construct a nest in the lily pads to the left of the viewing hides and could clearly be seen collecting weed and sticks as building materials, the male being witnessed on a continual search back and forth, presenting his findings to the female in order to impress.
The deer have been regular visitors crossing the inlet that divides the loch with Craiglush and have regularly grazed the woodland beneath the trees used as perches by the ospreys opposite the hides, with the white hind still being witnessed in the area. The Canada geese now have a small family and have regularly been seen gliding across the far end of the loch.
The otter has been viewed making its way through the inlet during early mornings and again in the evenings and therefore continues to provide viewers at those times with stunning sightings.
Finally, I bring you the nestcap for Lowes covering Saturday, 25th May together with the update from Cors Dyfi.
A beautiful day dawned at Lowes and Laddie was already on early incubation duty at 6:15am. It is an incredibly important time as hatching is now imminent with movement having been witnessed around at least one of the four eggs early on Friday evening and again today. Both ospreys are now listening and watching the clutch intently, tilting their heads to one side, checking and re-checking the eggs which now appear to display some of the signs of emergence of a new chick.
During the afternoon Lady incubates as Laddie stands alert and chirping, checking all about them but he is soon off and in search of food and successfully lands a fresh catch which he delivers to the nest at 1:42pm. Taking possession of the fish she leaves with it in her talons, taking it to one of her favoured feeding perches leaving Laddie to return to incubation.
Just after 5:00pm Lady is on watch and calling, Laddie sweeps in calling and ducking as an intruder is witnessed in the airspace above the nest. It would seem that it stays in the area for around ten minutes but eventually moves on leaving the nest under the careful protection of its residents.
It is a beautiful morning in Wales and on the Dyfi nest both Glesni and Monty share incubation. Although this is Glesni’s first egg, Monty is already an old hand at what will be required and will hopefully show her the way if needed. Instinct is however an incredible force of nature and all female ospreys that have successfully (and unsuccessfully) reared young have had to start somewhere.
Following the nerve-racking action of yesterday where a crow was witnessed taking a peck at the egg and then stealing Glesni’s fish, it returned today for another scout around. It still is not clear whether the crow created a puncture hole in the egg as the camera has not been able to identify it with any degree of certainty but it is hoped that this isn’t the case. Later in the day however, the egg was left unattended and open to predation for a period of approximately twenty two minutes.
Monty brought in a fish at 7:44am which Glesni took away to her feeding post while he settled himself down to look after his precious egg. Another fish was delivered 5:49pm which Glesni took from him but was seen to walk right over the egg while making her way across the nest. This poor egg really is taking the rough with the smooth and it is hoped that no harm has come to it from either the crow or Glesni. However, at 7:07pm she delighted all when she produced her second egg, providing the outcome of the osprey population at Dyfi a fighting chance this season in the event that egg number one may have become damaged but this is something that only time will tell.
Many thanks to all who supported us with book sales of The New Kid on The Loch, I was able to give a £200 donation to Loch of the Lowes during our gathering on the 19th which I have requested to go towards the webcam fund.
Just as a little dip into our time on Mull, I was so pleased to be able to get the following pictures from trip out on Loch Na Keal.
Our birthday girl today is Jan (EC), so please join me in wishing her a very Happy Birthday
The Dyfi Osprey Project and the Scottish wildlife Trust have kindly given their permission for us to post still and video images from their webcams. To visit their sites please click on the relevant link. Loch of the Lowes. Dyfi Osprey Project.