We last updated on these nests on 8 May. At the time, the Nest 3 female was being courted by KN7, a 4 year old from Perthshire. The Nest 3 male had moved to a new platform, Nest 7, with 3 year old KX7.
Sadly, the Nest 3 courtship appears to have failed as KN7 has not been recorded in any clips since 14 May. The nest is occasionally empty for all of a 30-40 minute clip, but the female is often there.
From the footage, and also from seeing her hunting, the female is catching fish for herself. She usually brings whole fish to the nest. As in the screengrab above, she will stand for hours in the manner of a male waiting for a female to appear so he can sky dance.
The male now at Nest 7, KM18 (that title is replacing KF18, which could confuse re ‘F’ being for female), has visited Nest 3 occasionally. There is no evidence he has provisioned the female, although on one occasion he was eating on the nest as she stood behind him with her own fish. Would he have offered her his, if she had not already made a catch? Maybe.
He hasn’t been seen on the footage since 17 May, when both were on the nest.
There is little work being done to the nest and no indication from her behaviour that the female will lay eggs, although it can’t be ruled out.
Probably the best that can be hoped for Nest 3 is that a new male arrives in the next few weeks and bonds with the female.
Limited field observations at Nest 7 have found both KM18 and KX7 incubating. Yesterday, the pair were distracted by a persistent unidentified intruder. Neither incubated the eggs, and the intruder was able to make a brief landing on the nest before being chased away. KM18 went back to incubate.
This will be the first time since recolonisation began in Kielder Forest that an immediate replacement for a missing partner has not been found. But this is an unusual situation, and KM18 may have disrupted the nascent relationship between KN7 and the female. Or perhaps KN7 was just found wanting!
Currently, 7 nest sites in Kielder Forest are occupied, but there are pairs on just 6 of them. At least 2 of the pairings are new. Interesting times ahead.