Let’s have a guessing game to start this blog. Which female, if any, has been on the nest this last week? Hands up who thinks it was 3AF? OK, and Unringed? Bandit? No one? Well, good tries everyone ….. but you’re all wrong. It was JW6, of course!!
Let me enlighten you. As is customary with blogging about the action on this nest, it was left hanging with the two females who were fighting on 19 April drifting away to the north; neither returned that day. The following day, as the camera came on at 0500, there was JW6 on the nest perch munching away on a trout with Samson looking on in the background. She has been around this area before as she intruded last May at Kielder. She is a 2018 bird who was an only chick on a nest near the Lake of Menteith, near Callander. I have no idea if she was one of the birds fighting the day before but she had certainly made herself at home although Samson’s mating attempts were met with upraised wings and a distinctly frosty reaction from her.
She may not have wanted to mate but she was very keen to call the nest her own and she was rearranging the nesting material before the morning was out and has regularly been bringing in more sticks and grass to decorate it to her taste. Samson meanwhile has been collecting some sensible things but, as usual, has also been bringing in lots of man made waste washed up by the river. He has, however, been doing an excellent job of keeping his new mate well supplied with fish and she eventually was persuaded that fish had to be paid for and she now allows him to mate with her.
The first few days, JW6 was ever present, only occasionally having a fly around to familiarise herself with the area or having a bath. Unlike 3AF, she was not prepared to tolerate buzzards approaching too close to the nest and we have seen some superb flying displays as she and Samson have seen off the neighbourhood buzzards; on one occasion, Samson dropped back to the nest and watched as she vigorously pursued one particular bird and we think she might have stolen a few of its tail feathers!
In fact, there has only been one cloud on the horizon and that is that, for the last three days, having behaved very much in the mornings like a female preparing to breed, she has suddenly taken off around midday and has disappeared for the rest of the day. She doesn’t appear to go the same way or feed while she is away but I admit to being concerned that she doesn’t yet possess the commitment to incubate for 40+ days or brood very young chicks for substantial periods of time. Maybe she’s just enjoying a bit of freedom before egg laying or maybe there’s another reason. Your suggestions would be welcome as would anyone else’s recollection of similar behaviour in ospreys. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted. Update: JW6 disappeared again late morning this morning (26th) and reappeared during the afternoon, but not before intruding on at least one nest at Kielder.
The restaurant opened today in line with the relaxation of Covid restrictions and, I have to say, that the cakes look as yummy as ever and the rest of the food will be equally good. Visitors to the restaurant will be treated to views of anything going on on the nest and walkers down by the river can often find one or another of us watching, scratching our heads and trying to make sense of the goings on between these two enigmatic birds and we’re happy to try and answer your questions. Those not able to visit will have to wait until I write again before finding out whether we are likely to have a family again or not. What a weird season it is being again!