Calmer day!

After all the excitement of the first Kielder egg of the season on Friday, Saturday was quite a calm day. The official opening of the revamped Kielder Castle took place so in addition to the usual mix of cyclists, walkers, tourists and locals  a number of invited guests enjoyed an opportunity to watch osprey TV in the Cafe!

YA and the dark headed female getting on famously (c) Forestry Commission

YA and the dark headed female getting on famously
(c) Forestry Commission

On Nest 1,  YA and the dark headed female are almost certainly the established pair, with them both being observed on the nest during the day. Readers of earlier posts will recall that they started mating at roughly the same time as the Nest 2 pair so eggs should be imminent. They are mating quite often and high frequency of copulations usually precedes laying. Sorry about image quality, click to enlarge.

After a long shift by his mate, 37 settles onto the egg (c) Forestry Commission

After a long shift by his mate, 37 settles onto the egg
(c) Forestry Commission

On Nest 2, Mrs 37 put in a long stint of incubating until about 14.45. She turned the egg every 20 minutes or so to ensure even incubation. The temperature at Kielder was still only 6 or 7 degrees at best during the day. She had a short flight to exercise her wings a couple of times. At 14.45 she was pleased to see 37 fly in with a fish and she was off! He put in a 2 hour shift. He is a bit of a fidget so re-arranged some moss and pecked at some bark every now and then. He too was diligent at turning the egg. When she returned, 37 took the remains of the fish away and she checked her egg carefully before settling on it again. This is a normal osprey incubation routine.

Very unusually, at Caerlaverock in Dumfries and Galloway the male has done almost all of the incubation for the first two of their eggs. Some males obviously take to incubating more than others; at Loch of the Lowes, where the amazing female known by many as Lady has just had her 67th egg and the fourth this year, her mate sometimes has to be nudged off the eggs. But to be the primary incubator, even for a few days, is extremely rare for a male.

Last year, the Kielder Nest 2’s first egg was laid on 26 April – the same date as this year. The second followed on 28 April 2012 so are we in for a treat on Sunday?!

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