Well, what a peculiar season this is turning out to be. Samson was a week later than normal in arriving and then spent a couple of days wandering around before settling down to do any repairs necessary to the nest. We then spent a long time waiting until it was clear that Freya wasn’t coming back. Then we got a female who seemed to settle down, only to disappear after a couple of days. The pattern then continued when, a week or so later, another female arrived and Samson launched into his, by now, well practised courtship display. She was clearly not impressed and only stayed for a few hours, not even waiting for a fish. Then finally, on Fri 24 May, another female arrived on the nest.

A new female touches down on the nest on 24 May

She obviously liked what she saw and immediately started food begging to Samson. He disappeared off to do her bidding (clever chap) and she moved to the dead tree where it became clear that she was ringed, but she was not Freya. She had polished off her second fish from Samson before she deigned to lift her feathers enough for me to read the blue Darvic ring KX7 on her left leg; a Darvic ring on that leg meant she was hatched in Scotland. I was able to submit the number and quickly received the response that she was a 2 year old bird and had been ringed at Tain, up in Easter Ross, on 4 Jul 17, not far as the osprey flies from where Freya had been ringed the previous year.

KX7 making it abundantly clear to Samson that she’s hungry and what is he going to do about it? (Samson is the browbeaten looking osprey closer to the camera)

She stayed all over the Bank Holiday weekend, stuffing her beak with numerous offerings from Samson and declining his kind and frequent invitations to become “better acquainted”, so I felt confident to announce it on social media. The next day she’d disappeared! Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday passed and so, on Friday, I updated the same accounts that it looked like she’d gone but I hoped that she might return if she couldn’t find any better offers elsewhere. Saturday morning? You’ve guessed it. There she was, sitting on the nest as bold as you like! As I write this, she is still with us, which makes it 12 days since she first appeared.

So I’m not making any pronouncements about how long and if she’ll stay. She clearly reads social media and is out to countermand anything I say. So, she may stay or she may not. I’m hoping that last sentence will be sufficiently vague as to keep her here with us; time will tell. She is too young to breed (if I find an egg in the nest tomorrow, I really WILL eat my hat!) but, if she stays we can hope that she will bond with Samson and form a relationship that may result in our having a family to celebrate next year……or maybe she won’t! I’ll write more as the situation becomes clearer, assuming it does!

Thank you for staying with me on this one!

Rosie Shields

4 June 2019

8 thoughts on “WILL SHE…WON’T SHE???

  1. Thank you for the update Rosie. It has been an interesting year at Born in the Borders. See you soon again


  2. Well, you’re certainly not having a dull time. Amazing that there are so many females around and that they actually manage to find a keen bachelor! How do they manage to find each other Rosie – surely not just by chance?


    1. The non breeding birds will be flying around looking for a mate and a territory, Catherine. A solo bird with a territory will be looking for wanderers. He will skydance, often with a fish in his talons, to attract a female (and also to dissuade a wandering male from coming too close). At the height he flies when he’s doing that, he can see and be seen for miles. It’s a very obvious flying pattern with a very distinct message (Look at me. I am a male, I have a territory, I can fish, and I’m available) and wandering females will home in on it. When I next see you, I’ll show you some great pictures Brian took last year of Samson skydancing.


  3. Great news, Rosie. Thanks for the update. Fingers crossed that she stays!! And more importantly, comes back next year! Great that she is ringed. Takes the guess work out of identifying her.


  4. LOL Rosie sure has been a roller coaster of a season so far.
    As entertaining as it would be to see you eat your hat, I’ll settle for some bonding and hope for next season.
    Here’s hoping…..


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