____________________________________We are all by now only too well aware of how often Ospreys buck all the trends with regard to our perceived knowledge of them. We continually hear reports, or witness through the various webcams, incidences of previously unseen or unheard of behaviour, quite often, things that we wouldn’t perhaps otherwise see. This year has seen no exceptions to this seemingly wilful determination to baffle and confound the experts, and rewrite the manuals!!
At Lowes, Lady’s own contributions to rewriting the text books are well documented, with her now legendary loch-side slurp of water two years ago, her most poignant display of unusual behaviour! Peter probably won’t thank me for reminding him, but from what I’ve seen and learnt in my short time of watching Lady, I’ll be forever convinced she saved that one just for Peter, but just for maximum effect, she timed it to coincide with the arrival of the TV crews!! (Sorry Peter!!)This year though, we’ve seen unusual behaviour at DYFI, with Nora’s “attacks” on Monty, apparently coinciding with deliveries of flatfish! I’ll never forget the look on poor CUELAN’s face when Nora took one such offending catch away from the nest, and, given his start in life, I imagined him to have taken great umbrage at seeing a perfectly good meal taken from right in front of him!! Also at Dyfi, who could forget that look of pure astonishment on Monty’s face when Nora took it upon herself to try and feed him??!! I’m sure he was thinking something along the lines of “What the HELL are you doing woman?? I’ve a reputation to uphold, I’ll never live THIS down!!”
At Lowes, only a week or so ago, we witnessed Lady’s coaxing of BLUE44 back to the safety of the nest, following the dramatic nature of what many of us feel was an “accidental” fledging, and his subsequent adventure away from home! Now, I don’t imagine that is unusual behaviour in itself, but I’m sure it’s not something we would normally come to witness for ourselves, but thanks again to the webcams, we certainly now have a greater awareness of events that don’t go quite according to plan!!
Perhaps the most bizarre behaviour though, has been witnessed at MANTON BAY, where, following the mishap during 9F’s maiden flight, when she toppled 5R from his perch, her dad set about a series of aerial attacks on her, almost every time she took to the skies! It appears from their reports, that this is behaviour the team at Rutland have never previously seen, and it clearly gave rise to a degree of concern, because for a while, it didn’t show any signs of easing off, and yet curiously, once 9F came to rest, 5R was seen to settle alongside her on several occasions?? The attacks were, by all accounts, reasonably aggressive in their nature and as the days progressed, the team could only speculate as to the trigger for these airborne attacks, but have concluded that it may be linked to 5R’s quite unceremonious removal from the perch by his own daughter!!! The only respite 9F had from this, was when 5R was away from the bay, and she could fly in peace, but also realised that it was safer to stay on the nest when dad was home!
We can perhaps assume that 5R saw his daughter as he might an intruder, and was merely following his imprinted instinct to avert a perceived threat. Thankfully for everyone at Rutland, this now seems to have eased off considerably, and a modicum of calm and (whatever passes as) normality for an Osprey, has been restored!! (For the time being at least!)
At Lowes, following a somewhat shaky start to his solo flying career, BLUE44 seems to be growing in confidence, and both his flight, and landing techniques are being honed, with far more controlled flying being witnessed around the loch.At Loch Garten, the two girls, ALBA, & CALEDONIA, have also been making good flying progress, although there was apparently a similar collision to that at Manton Bay, not long after fledging! There has also been witnessed a first attempt at fishing from one of the girls!! Cuelan too, is making excellent progress down at Dyfi, something that not so many weeks ago, we thought might not happen – his progress in particular, I’m sure we’ll watch with great interest. Methinks some teary eyes are due when this young lad migrates!! With incredible timing for my post, just yesterday, EMYR posted incredible footage of something he, and nobody else at Dyfi has ever seen before – young Cuelan set about swallowing WHOLE, a small Sea Bass!! Certainly unusual behaviour within my limited framework of knowledge and experience!! Given the frequency with which our Ospreys move the goalposts of perceived wisdom, the only thing which we can predict with any certainty, is their unpredictability!! Nobody can accuse Ospreys of living a dull and boring life!! So, whilst this is still an exciting stage in the Osprey season, fraught as it is, with danger at times (events of such nature we’ve already seen!) but, it also means that it’s not too long now till the end of another chapter in the stories of our respective favoured nests. Already, some of the adult females are beginning to fish for themselves more frequently, so building their strength in preparation for their long migration, upon which they will soon embark. Still plenty to see, but don’t put the kleenex away just yet!! Pictures © Copyright John Wright, Rutland & Leicestershire Wildlife Trust. With thanks. A clip from yesterday
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.