Good morning all.
Following the adverse weather conditions over the weekend from showers of driving hail to a beautiful rainbow arching across the loch, the new week commenced a little calmer. Laddie sat happily upon his observation post across from the viewing hides on Monday without the requirement of having to take shelter in the trees as he had done the day before. Incubation changeovers continued to be effected and an assortment of nesting materials were gathered and deposited. Laddie has taken incredibly well to incubating four eggs and affords each one with the same delicate attention as he carefully folds in his lethal talons and settles himself upon them. His fishing exploits remain unencumbered and even in the harshest of storms has proven he can spot and hunt his prey effectively although the end of the week did prove a little scant in the way of catches so perhaps the fish were swimming at a lower depth than would normally allow for good fishing to take place, though despite this, he maintained position upon a selection of observation perches around the loch.
Life around the loch continues to thrive as spring heralds its’ emergence and the resident great crested grebes continue their spectacular courtship display while the oyster catchers sweep past announcing their presence with their peep-peeping calls. The beaver has now become a regular early morning and evening visitor making its way from the inlet that joins the loch with Craiglush behind the nest tree and heading toward the visitor hides. Laddie maintains his early morning arrivals allowing Lady to take a wing-stretch and break prior to beginning his fishing for the day and all seems to have settled into a regular pattern once again.
Intruders have made an occasional nuisance of themselves but our birds have taken no prisoners and sent them on their way before any problems have arisen. One female having the audacity to attempt a landing directly upon the nest but was swiftly evicted with Laddie giving chase. There was also a crow which took a liking to a large catch made by Laddie but fortunately was not successful in stealing it away and a little chaffinch decided to check out the nest site curious as to what Lady was up to.
Nesting materials have been arriving at a phenomenal rate with large branches being a particular favourite for Laddie. His antics upon depositing them being a facsimile of those witnessed last year, when Lady often took the brunt of a heavy object as it crashed down upon her back or lifted one of her wings up high as he caught the offending object within her feathers.
Nestcap for Saturday, 4th May.
It is a calm and sunny morning as Lady incubates her four eggs. Laddie pays a fleeting visit around 7:00am and is witnessed attempting to rearrange a large branch, trampling across her in the process of doing so. As he departs, she rises, rotates the eggs and settles back down with a shuffle, turning her head to expose a side profile which shows she has an errant downy feather caught upon her beak. During the morning numerous changeovers of incubation duty take place with Laddie sitting tight at one point and ignoring the fact that she has arrived back and is vocally evicting him from his important position. After ten minutes of unsuccessfully urging him to move she gives up and takes flight, she may as well have a decent break while the opportunity is there for the taking, as once she has young to attend to, any such breaks will be few and far between. No sooner has she vacated than Laddie rises, turns the eggs and settles himself back down.
Following the calm start to the day, the afternoon has become rather windy and the nest, high up in their great Scots Pine tree sways back and forth. Lady is once again on incubation duty and sat tight upon their clutch. Regardless of the weather, she will not allow her eggs to become exposed to the elements or passing predators and steadfastly remains upon them as the small embryo’s within form in their protective shell casing. It is estimated that a first hatching should take place around the 25th May therefore incubation is probably half way along at this point. Given that there are four eggs this year, this provides an excellent chance that any such hatching will produce her 50th chick, what a phenomenal achievement that would be and one which I am sure will have champagne corks popping across the globe.
The evening sees a visit from Laddie at 6:55 pm when Lady rises and moves away from the central cup in order to allow him access to take over incubation. He has no fish and up to this point has not been seen to deliver anything other than nesting materials yet again today. With a swift wing stretch and a cursory glance into the central cup he takes back to the air and leaves Lady to return to incubation duties. He is normally so eager to take over and it is therefore something of a surprise that he chose to not stay and undertake one of his favoured tasks but perhaps there is something that has taken his interest around the loch. He finally returns at 8:15 pm with a large fresh catch, at least Lady will now get to have that long-awaited meal and ensure she does not go hungry overnight. As she retreats to her feeding station with her meal tightly clutched in her talons, Laddie settles himself down to a spot of nest duty.
The New Kid on The Loch.
Our third fundraising book has now gone to print. We had a wonderful response to last year’s compilation ‘The Lady Returns’, thank you to all who supported us, we hope those of you who are interested will enjoy our latest edition entitled ‘The New Kid on The Loch’. Our new adult male from last year being heavily featured with some outstanding photographic inclusions from Neil MacDonald, Ross Forsyth, John Monks, José Antonio Manzanedo, Paul & Eth Jessett and our very own Jan Ellis together with contributions from Matt Davies and Emma McVey. How can we ever thank them all enough for what they so kindly share with us.
As with last year, I will distribute the books at the annual blogger’s gathering taking place at Loch of The Lowes on Sunday, 19th May so please add your names in the ‘Leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the Book Request section on the Fundraising tab if you would like a copy ordering or PM me directly. The cost is £15.00 per book. For those not attending the annual gathering, books will be mailed upon request. Proceeds from sales will go toward the upkeep of the Lady of the Loch Wildlife Village Website, Dyfi Osprey Project, the Rutland Osprey Fundraising Program and Loch of the Lowes Osprey Fund.
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.