It was definitely a day of two halves – with not much happening during the first half of the day and all the action at the end of the day.
The weather was cloudy, sunshine and showers – in no particular order, but constantly changing with the benefit that we only had one air attack from the midges. The rain was heavy enough at times to force shelter in the hut doorway and through this we discovered that Don can eerily predict the arrival of the rain to the nearest 5 minutes – so we will ensure we have him on our watch next season.
It all began at 9.50 a.m. when the first visitors arrived to see what was to be the sight of the morning with the male in his very favourite tree to the left of the nest, the female on her camera pole and the lazy fledgling (HO) in the nest, although she sneaked away onto a nearby tree pretty quickly. HO spent most of the day indolent in the nest or on a tree, with only a couple of short flights. We feel she really ought to get out more as she has to prepare for her first Olympic event – “Flying to Senegal”.
Around 16:00 it hotted up a bit when some visitors reported seeing an osprey overhead and flying towards nest 2.
The excitement really started when a buzzard (or two) was spotted in the vicinity of the nest and an enduring aerial attack took place. The buzzards are pretty persistent but of course our osprey won the gold medal with the buzzards coming in last.
At 16.30 an osprey approached the nest from the left to be met by another landing on the nest and a visit to the TV in the Boat Inn confirmed that the first fish of the day during our shift had been brought in (about time – or perhaps this is Dad trying to encourage a bit of fishing from HO). It was Mother initially eating on her own, however, HO then appeared and Mum allowed her to finish the fish off.
We had visitors from the Netherlands and New Zealand and a few ‘returners’ from last year as well as a few days previously. All were sorry to learn of the last Ospreywatch of the season and expressed their anticipation for next year.
Sadly, it was the last Ospreywatch of the season and the visitor numbers of 135 reflected this following an announcement in the previous day’s blog. In fact a good few visitors turned up at the end of play wanting to get in a last viewing – and one little lad returned with his Mum full of enthusiasm to show her what he had seen just as we took the last bit of kit to the office. Fortunately the TV stream was on so they were ushered to the Boat Inn.
It is always sad to pack up the equipment on the last day, but so very gratifying to know that we, as volunteers, have enthused and excited just about all of our visitors over the 2012 season. If we have encouraged a percentage of these adults and children to cherish and safeguard our ospreys then we have all contributed to the conservation, respect and subsequent increase in population of our wonderful Pandion haliaetus.
‘Roll on next year’ we all shout!
Don, Joanna and Joyce
But it isn’t all over yet….
Although Ospreywatch is over, if you have your own ‘scope you can try your luck at finding an osprey in the trees round the nest area from Mounces, a car park and viewpoint a mile up the road from Leaplish, just before Hawkhirst Scout Camp. The common spotted orchids are in profusion there too.
The blog will continue to report on Nest 2, and also the progress of HO, which should accelerate soon.