Snow springs suprise

Home building

The ospreys on the main nest have bonded as a couple and they do make a handsome pair. They have been bringing in nesting material to complete their home for the summer. Lots of sticks have been used to build up the sides of the nest and the interior has some soft furnishings of fresh moss.

There is a big age difference between the male, SS, and female, AS6. He is a very experienced bird, now seventeen years old. His new bride is only three years old and this will be her first husband. She is a particularly striking looking bird with flawless dark plumage on her back and wings, and she seems to be in beautiful condition.

The lovely couple 25th April

The handsome couple SS and AS6

Making an egg cup

The male osprey has been dropping down into the centre of the nest, lunging forward and kicking his legs backwards, a comical looking antic but his method of digging out a small cup shape in readiness to hold precious eggs.

white SS the main man 2nd May

white leg SS surveys the nest

Snowstorm and jay visits

All of this homely business went on hold when a mighty snowstorm took them quite by surprise on Friday 29th April. Both birds could be seen sitting the storm out, while the nest became swathed in almost 15cm of snow.

best not get our feet cold

Sitting on the perch to avoid getting cold feet

On 30th April, the business of nest building began again, but this time material was being added on top of the snow. A bit of a fruitless task, as when the snow melted, the careful construction just became a heap of sticks.

All of this activity has been witnessed by the ospreys’ new pals, a pair of jays. The jays haven’t been bothered at all by the big predators that have taken up residence, and the ospreys seem to tolerate their presence without any reaction towards them at all. This has served to increase their boldness and they hop about like they own the place.

Dont mind me

Don’t mind me!

Once all the snow melted, domestic bliss resumed at the nest site with the continued construction work to get it ready.

Stick dispute

The birds had their first lovers tiff on Sunday 1st May, when the female, AS6, decided that the stick she brought in simply must take pride of place to the left of the nest but her husband had other ideas and insisted that it be put to the right of the nest. A squawky female struggled to pull the stick her way, while SS heaved it across to the other side. He won the battle by eventually just perching on the stick and it remained in a halfway position between their preferred targets. However, when he went fishing, I am sure she moved it to her goal.

spot of nest building AS6

Egg laying expected soon

We are expecting AS6 to lay her first egg any day now. Ospreys are capable of raising broods of up to 4 chicks but usually they have 2 to 3. A first time breeding bird such as AS6 may possibly only have a small brood. That is just speculation though and we will just have to wait and see!

Video footage of the story so far…

Tweed Valley bird in England

Finally, an update on EB, the Borders osprey nesting at Kielder. She has had a testing time keeping her three eggs warm in all the snow, whilst at the same time dealing with intruder ospreys harassing her. She’s determined to keep the clutch safe – even when her partner 37 returned and offered a chance for her to leave while he took his turn to mind the eggs, she displayed true grit, refusing to leave and sitting tight.

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