Turbulent times

The last post mentioned the high winds. They have continued, accompanied at times by heavy rain, so the ospreys have been spending significant time sheltering in the trees.

A nice pose from the new female on Nest 1 (c) Forestry Commission

A nice pose from the new female on Nest 1
(c) Forestry Commission

However, there has been activity on the nests too. In the case of Nest 1 there has been almost more turbulence from ospreys than the weather!  YA and the very dark headed female had appeared to be really getting into the swing of the breeding season when along came another female. She was first seen on Wednesday and between 13.00 and 15.00 ospreys were on and off the nest. YA came down soon after the female, who appears quite a mature one, but he went to an edge and mantled rather than try to move her on. They flew away but not far and the female was soon back. There were several episodes of landing, YA mantling, then leaving the nest. At about 14.00 the dark headed female landed and she and the ‘new’ female conducted quite balletic mantling on the edge of the nest, affected by the strong gusts. At about 14.15  YA joined in the display. By 14.35 the dark headed female had left. She hasn’t been observed since but particularly with the poor weather it doesn’t mean she has given up yet. After 15.00 on Wednesday none of the three was seen on the nest. But what an afternoon!

Tension on Nest 1 as the 'new' female stays put (c) Forestry Commission

Tension on Nest 1 as the ‘new’ female stays put
(c) Forestry Commission

On Thursday, YA was on the nest soon after the power came on, looking up, and after a few minutes the ‘new’ female landed. YA mantled then left the nest. The female flew off soon afterwards and for the next few hours only YA was seen on the nest although some technical work on the streaming meant viewing was limited.

So what is going on? The new osprey could be an ‘intruder’ en route elsewhere. She is not ringed so is not the same female that was around Nest 2 a week ago, nor is she a returning Kielder offspring. But it is possible that she is actually YA’s mate from last year returning late from migration. Earlier posts mentioned lack of certainty that the dark headed female was YA’s 2012 mate, and the apparent slow development of their relationship supports the ‘new bird’ theory for her. Time will tell which of these females eventually wins YA’s favours, but the appearance of competition will slow progress on Nest 1.

Meanwhile, Nest 2 has suffered some damage, largely cosmetic, from the gales. All 37’s sterling work building up a stick fortress has been in vain! The ospreys are fine, and on Thursday afternoon the female showed signs she is getting ready to lay. She adopted the incubating pose over the egg cup and only left it when 37 brought her a fish. Whilst she went off for a late lunch, he scraped the cup a bit more and shuffled moss. So despite the need for a bit of re-building, the focus is on getting the bed comfy!

The Nest 2 female sits on the egg cup on the rather dishevelled nest. (c) Forestry Commission

The Nest 2 female sits on the egg cup on the rather dishevelled nest.
(c) Forestry Commission

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2 Responses to Turbulent times

  1. viv blake says:

    What incredible observations – Thank you, Joanna. I wonder how long Nest 1 occupants can continue the courtship rivalry?

  2. joannadailey says:

    The dark headed female may have conceded already given she wasn’t seen today, although there’s a big caveat because the weather didn’t encourage sitting on the nest and the camera wasn’t always on screen. Hopefully resolution will be soon! YA took a few days to commit to the dark headed bird, which could suggest he was trying to wait for his mate. So if the new arrival is his regular partner it could be ‘all systems go’ quite quickly. Last year, his first on the nest, the pair were mating more or less straight after meeting.

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