Incubation and intruders at the nest

The long incubation period at the osprey nest site of up to 40 days is well under way. The soon to be parents have settled in to a routine of domesticity. They take turns to incubate and they really are such a great partnership.


The female was feeling hungry while she was incubating her three eggs and she was very vocal in letting her feelings be known to her partner who was perched up somewhere off screen but nearby enough for her to know that he was tucking in to a good fish meal. She was calling her beseeching “kee…kee..kee” cry, for around 20 minutes. The male osprey ate the head of the fish, as he had done all the hard work to go off and catch it, but – like the dutiful partner that he is – once he had finished eating his portion, he flew on to the nest and a slightly miffed female (who doesn’t obviously appreciate being kept waiting), snatched her take-away from him and instantly took off with it. The fish was a good size and looked to have striped flanks, so it didn’t appear to be the usual trout but possibly a jack pike caught from a nearby lochan.

Some unwelcome guests

Later, a fully fed and contented female returned to the nest and the birds swapped over, the male flew off and the female settled back down on to the eggs. A fairly uneventful hour went by, when suddenly two jays landed on the osprey nest either side of the female. The female osprey was sitting down on her eggs so they were not perceived as a threat to her and she appeared unconcerned. However, the blackbirds that have their territory close to the osprey nest could be heard alarm calling and were very upset by the appearance of the jays. Both jays swooped away from the nest, off in the same direction, just as the female blackbird landed on the bottom perch of the osprey nest. Her back could just be made out at the bottom corner of the screen. All went quiet for a while and then the female blackbird flew away. Shortly afterwards the beautiful, melodious song of the male blackbird could be heard once again. Hopefully the happy singing from his nearby territory perch means that the jays didn’t steal eggs or nestlings from the blackbirds.

The heron chick continues to thrive and is beginning to look more bird-like than reptilian. The parents are now leaving the chick for longer periods. Don’t they ever learn? Last year the chicks were eaten by crows. Clearly, they think that the young bird is capable of defending itself…and we hope that they’re right.

More wildlife news from Glentress

The blue tit is now incubating at least nine eggs. The jays at Glentress have now got a brood of four chicks and are still incubating the fifth egg. Our new Glentress bees are as hypnotising to watch as ever; a totally, fascinating colony. They are busy building new chambers, the queen is populating the nest chambers and the workers are bringing in hefty pollen sacs now that there is gorse, cowslips and a few other wildflowers, in flower at the Glentress site.

More updates soon, thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Incubation and intruders at the nest

  1. Barbara Crowther (@chocoholix)

    Thanks for the blog! Any chance of telling us a few more details on the ospreys? When was the first egg laid at Tweed Valley, or when you roughly expect to see the first one hatch? That would be great so we can check in with the webcam around that time! Thanks so much!

    1. forestrycommissionscotland

      First egg was observed on 21st April, second two were observed on 26th April. David, one of the volunteers has just reported that we have our first chick on the nest today. We hope to see the other two within 4/5 days also. Thanks for reading!


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