Well, I know you’ve all been waiting to hear whether Juno laid a third egg yesterday and I can tell you that she did…..probably. However, handover of incubating duties have been very slick, Juno seems to have particularly feathery pantaloons and the loss of the nest camera for 24 critical hours have combined to leave a tiny bit of doubt as to whether she managed a third egg or not. What I will say is that there was a very odd incident yesterday when Juno who was in the nest, suddenly jumped up, flew a circuit and then landed back on the nest for no apparent reason, almost as if she’d had an electric shock or someone had stuck a pin in her. Perhaps it might have been the surprise arrival of a third egg? Moreover, Samson seemed to be having far more difficulty incubating comfortably yesterday and today than he did earlier in the week, which might suggest a larger clutch than there was on Friday. The screenshots so far have been inconclusive.
I also promised to let you know of any other goings on during the past 10 days or so. Nest furnishing proceeded apace at the start of the period with both birds bringing in primarily soft material to furnish the nest having perhaps decided that they had done enough building of stick walls. As in previous years, man made rubbish continued to be mistaken for natural material and baler twine and bits of plastic continue to cause concern when they are deposited on the nest. Luckily, most has ended up outside the nest, thankfully as a result of a few windy days, but the threat is ever present. Juno has been particularly enthusiastic, on one occasion bringing in what looked like a giant wig! She felt that if she was going to spend the vast majority of May sitting on the nest, she was going to make absolutely sure that she was comfortable.
Since egg laying started, Samson has probably done more incubation than is normal for a male plus, of course, doing all the fishing. Juno has been content to sit in the dead tree and only take over incubating when she wanted him to go fishing. However, in the last day or so, she has started actively seeking to take her turn on the eggs, although she has still to learn the eviction technique of the shoulder under Samson’s body when he’s reluctant to give up the cosy nest.
There have been one or two intruding ospreys in the area but they have been seen off some distance away from the nest, often before they are even in sight of the human observers. Crow bashing has been tackled by whoever is on the nest perch and, with one exception where Juno got carried away with Samson’s pursuit of a pair and joined in, the incubator has been able to sit tight. The herons which appeared to be setting up home alongside the burn that runs under the nest tree have now decided that the other side of the River Teviot is a far safer option, especially as one of them was hotly pursued by an irate Juno on Thursday right across the field and the river before she called off the attack.
So now is the time where we just sit and wait. The hatching window opens at the very end of the month and the signs are encouraging that Samson and Juno are developing into a good team. She seems to be learning fast and developing her instincts equally quickly and Samson is doing a great job as teacher and provider. Nevertheless, May is going to seem a very long month and I’m trying hard to keep a lid on expectations from this new pairing. I’ll let you know how things develop.